Pumpkin? Why yes, thank you!

Orange is not my favorite color, (though it does look great next to brown and gold). I’m actually not that crazy about pumpkin spice lattes, (though steamers are quite another matter).

However, I do like Pumpkin. Pumpkin Pie! Pumpkin Bread! (do not forget to slather cream cheese on top). Pumpkin Butter. Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, (I kid you not, they are tasty!)

Bob grew three pumpkins this year and two of them turned a traditional Autumnal Orange. The third, well, you could generously say it stayed a non-traditional green. It turned out to be the sweetest of all three and made a beautiful pie. These are the first pumpkins that we’ve ever grown past the stunted-wanna-be stage. Last week they filled my pie shells and then they filled us. We are the Ultimate pumpkin filled sweets ūüôā

I have people ask me all the time about how to use fresh pumpkin, so here it is again: Easy-ish Pumpkin Puree. It really is amazing to be farm-to-table with something like pumpkin pies but honestly, canned pumpkin is great and handy and not to be disdained!

Rice & Chocolate…

Um, no, not together.

Ever since I put the tip on here about washing out bottles with rice, I keep using it and it works SO well! ¬†Tonight, I washed out a peanut butter jar. ¬†(I know what you’re thinking…WHY does she keep old plastic jars??? ¬†Well, they are the perfect size for mini chocolate chips, salt for baking, baking powder, baking soda, flax, chia seeds…all of these are much better seen in a clear jar than in their bulky boxes and bags and the items I keep in the pantry I prefer in plastic because…well, because I have been known to. drop. things.)

Anyway…I usually wash them with my bottle brush but I thought, why not? and dumped some dry rice and liquid soap in, swirled with some water, shook it around and voila! ¬†Squeaky clean, very easy.

Help me..I’m Melllllllllting!
There are good ways to melt chocolate and then there is, in my humble opinion, the BEST way.

A¬†good, traditional way to melt chocolate is¬†in a double boiler. ¬†(This is a pot nestled¬†in another pot of¬†boiling¬†water). ¬†The chocolate is kept away from the direct heat and it shouldn’t burn.

Another good way, in terms of time spent and cleanup, is melting chocolate on a low power level in the microwave but there is still too much stirring and babysitting and possibilities of burning.

BEST, for me, is the way I’ve been melting chocolate for 20 years…remember to¬†start this process before you¬†start making your¬†recipe that needs chocolate.

I have a cereal bowl with a lip that fits perfectly onto a larger bowl that doesn’t have a lip. ¬†¬†

Chips in the cereal bowl on the left, boiling water in the deeper bowl on the right.

Boil water in an¬†electric kettle and pour it in the deeper¬†bowl. ¬†Put your chocolate chips into the smaller bowl and place that¬†bowl on top. ¬†It is VERY important that the chocolate¬†bowl either has a lip or it’s just large enough that it fits¬†snug in the larger bowl. ¬†You do NOT want the steam or the water getting into your chocolate. ¬†It seizes up which is exactly what it sounds like: it stiffens and is ruined. ¬†Place whatever amount of chocolate in the top bowl and cover with a little plate that will fit snugly over it. ¬†If you are supposed to melt butter along with the recipe, add it in, the more the merrier. (See chocolate glaze recipe on the right for eclairs, cakes and doughnuts)

OK, so you have your chocolate bowl on your boiled water bowl and¬†a plate lid on top. ¬† Now what? ¬†Leave it. ¬†Yep, leave it, don’t lift that plate. ¬†Make up the rest of the recipe and when you are ready for the chocolate, remove the plate, give it a stir and ta-dah! ¬†Melted chocolate that you didn’t have to watch, stir or worry about.


These are the chips after 10 minutes of being left alone. The chocolate is completely melted but in its original shape.




Perfectly melted chocolate!

If you have any shortcuts or kitchen tips you want to share in the comments, I’d love it. ¬†I really love reading tips & tricks. ¬†Um, I also like reading instruction manuals and cookbooks so that tells you something about me…



We tend to be grateful when we’re happy and it’s easiest to be¬†happy when things are going well.

However, I can choose to be grateful regardless of my circumstances, even if other emotions temporarily overwhelm my gratitude. ¬†I love the saying a grateful heart is a happy heart. ¬†If I am¬†grateful only when I am happy, I wouldn’t feel as grateful as often as I do.

Whenever I think about any of the things I am grateful for…my husband, my children, health, my home, family, friends, sunshine, a bite of something tasty, a beautiful sunrise, a design idea, a great book, a fantastic worship song…I tend to immediately thank God for them and when I do, my heart actually feels like it swells a little bit ūüôā I FEEL the gratitude there. ¬†And then I FEEL happy.

There are a lot of negative things I can think about and I sometimes do but my brain and my heart feel healthier when I think about the good things.

8-9¬†Summing it all up, friends, I‚Äôd say you‚Äôll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious‚ÄĒthe best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. ¬†Philippians 4:8,9

No need to wait for the 3rd Thursday in November. ¬†I’ll beat the rush and be thankful and grateful now¬†ūüôā


Chicken Noodle Soup…Comfort in a Bowl

Cold weather is here and it’s a perfect time to make it. ¬†Nothing says “I love You” in this house more than Chicken Noodle Soup, unless it’s homemade lasagna and that shouts¬†“I LOVE YOU” ¬†ūüôā ¬†Yes, both are¬†favourites here at the Mihuc’s.

This is one of those recipes that I’ve been making since 1984. ¬†It is from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook¬†and I have repeatedly made this for our family, other families and¬†students at the Bible College in Ireland. ¬†I never get tired of it. ¬†We always eat the leftovers for lunch until every drop is…gone. ¬† If I’m cooking it to give away, I cool it and put it into 2 large Ziploc bags then nobody has to return any pots. ¬†It looks weird in the bag but it certainly is more convenient¬†ūüôā

Chicken Noodle Soup with crusty bread, salad or on it’s own, (hey, don’t knock it, it has vegetables, protein and carbs, it’s a whole meal).

Photos to come…


All Things Pumpkin


It’s October! ¬†

(translation: it’s the start of Pumpkin Time!)

I have always loved pumpkin pie and I make more pies than we will ever need each year at Thanksgiving so I can:

1. Eat pie every morning for breakfast until it’s gone.

2. Share with friends.

3. Share with Annette. ¬†Ha, this is not to say Annette is not a friend it’s just that I always made an extra pie for Annette in Ireland because she fell in love with them in college and it became a special treat. ¬†This goes beyond the “would you like some pie?” ¬†ūüôā

The reason October is the start of Pumpkin season in this house is, of course, this is the season fresh pumpkins are available.  All the years I was in Ireland I had to make my own pumpkin puree from fresh because there were no canned pumpkins.  Um, pumpkin pie is not an Irish delicacy.    Did I complain, not at all.  I pulled out my Joy of Cooking and found out how to make it myself.

And no, we *don’t* celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland. ¬†Well, our family did and we invited American and Irish friends, but the country as a whole, nope.

Recipes are on the side for how to make your own Fresh Pumpkin Puree¬†and¬†Pumpkin bread.¬† I’d include the recipe for pumpkin pie but I have always taken it straight off the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can and I have a VERY old label that I keep in my recipe box.

Which reminds me…people often ask if I can tell the difference between the fresh and the canned in pies. ¬†I think I can. ¬†I haven’t done a taste test though…hm. ¬†That would be fun. ¬†And I think both are great because they. are. pumpkin. pies. ¬†I just think the fresh has a bit nicer flavour. ¬†If I ever taste test, you will read it here ūüôā

Happy Pumpkin Days!

Save the Date?

I think there may be only  two kinds of people.

(Apparently, I don’t mind committing the crime of Over Generalization).

The first are those who care about the calendar they use, wanting it to reflect “who they are,” (please read that soulfully), and be able to look repeatedly at each image for an entire month and still appreciate it. ¬†Then there are those who really couldn’t care less as long as the squares and dates are there and they can see it without squinting too badly. ¬†I’m fairly picky about my calendars: the paper needs to have the right coating to write on it properly, the photos or graphics need to please me each time I look at it and then there is the all important where-do-I-put-this-thing-so-I-actually-remember-to-look-at-it decision. ¬†Ugh.

One day a few years ago, I was cooking at the stove when I looked up at the white tile back splash and tah-dah! ¬†The tiles looked just like a calendar! ¬†And that is when my dry erase calendar was born. ¬†It is the first calendar I have ever had that I actually look at and use every single day. ¬†Everyone in the family can add their activities, write a grocery list on the side and I get to decorate it to suit the month. ¬†The added bonus is that once a month, my tiles get cleaned ūüôā

Calendars are also a Christmas tradition in our house. ¬†Everyone gets one as a “surprise,” ¬†like their “surprise” pajamas each Christmas Eve. ¬† It’s a little thing but like all traditions, it would be missed if we didn’t do it. ¬†Besides, then my family would have to go. pick. out. their. own. calendars. ¬† The stress would be too much.

This makes me think of other Christmas traditions that I will blog about later with photos…advent candles, advent notes, gingerbread houses and Christmas crackers.

Hmm, this is making me think happy thoughts about Christmas…

Oh, the little things…

I love figuring out ways to do things…

¬†I was washing a plastic container that we make Kool-Aid in, (I know, I know.¬† Don’t judge me).¬† The bottom was covered in a white chalky looking film that wouldn’t wash out with soap and water.
I was standing there trying to figure out what I could use that had a handle long enough that I could scrub the bottom when it came to me that I needed some kind of pebbles to swirl around the bottom to scrub it away.
[insert light bulb here]
RICE!  I poured in less than a handful of rice, a few drops of dish soap and a little hot water, swirled it around about a minute and ta-dah!  All clean!  The same could be done with vases and sports bottles.
I like to peel hard cooked eggs in two mad little ways. ¬†Neither one works perfectly every time but enough that it’s easier than actually peeling every egg.
  1. Dump the boiling water and the eggs into a strainer in the sink.  While running cold water over the eggs, bounce them around in the strainer so that they are knocking against each other, cracking.  Swirl them around in the strainer with the water still running and watch them peel themselves!
  2. Lightly crack the warm, cooked eggs and remove just the two ends.  Hold one end up to your lips and blow the whole egg out the other end.  Seriously, it works.

Happy Food

Yes, yes.¬† I know it’s suppose to be “Comfort Food.” ¬†Happy Food suits me better.¬† Happy Food makes me smile. ¬† Happy Food makes me want to clap. ¬† Happy Food is for sharing.¬† I always share Happy Food with other people…my family, my workmates, my friends from church.¬† It makes them happy which makes ME, Happier.

Take Last week, for instance.¬† One morning, I got up a bit earlier than usual and made Creamed Chipped Beef.¬† OK, so why was I making Creamed Chipped Beef at 5am?¬† So I could take it in fresh to work. ¬† No one in my family will eat Creamed Chipped Beef and I adore it so when I think we all need a pick-me-up, (or I just crave it), I make it early in the morning and bring it in to work.¬† My workmates are a DREAM…like me, they all love to eat and talk about the food we love to eat. ¬†Whenever I feel the “Need to Feed,” they are who I feed.

I grew up eating Creamed Chipped Beef. ¬†My dad, George, would make it for us every so often as well as spaghetti sauce on toast. ¬†In my house, these were considered breakfast foods. ¬†As a Navy man, he referred to them as SOS. ¬†Until my Junior. Year. In. College. I thought that meant Save Our Ship. ¬†Well, so it does, but not in this context. ¬†No, I’m not going to print it here. ¬†Go ask your dad what it means.

My favorite gravy-type Happy Foods:

Creamed Chipped Beef on Biscuits or Toast

SOS Meaty Pasta Sauce on Toast

Biscuits & Gravy

Recipes on the right


poached eggs

I have a confession to make.  When I bake and cook with eggs, I often break those eggs with one hand.

“What kind of lame confession is that?” you ask.

Well, the real confession is that when I do, I feel very chef-y.¬† Very professional.¬† As if I were on the Food Network with my own show.¬† Or something.¬† It doesn’t matter if anyone sees me or not.¬† I see me.¬† At that moment, I see myself as an eggs-pert.¬† Even now, though I can imagine you thinking how silly I am, all I know is that it makes me happy.

Another Eggs-ample:¬†¬†Last week, I was cracking eggs for stir fried rice and a little shell got¬† in the bowl.¬† This reminded me of one of my favorite tips I read somewhere years ago.¬† If you get eggshells in your bowl, use another piece of eggshell to fish it out.¬† It works every time!¬† It’s like a magnet ūüôā Now…I suppose I SHOULD point out that you SHOULD first wash the eggshell you are about to dip in your raw eggs, um, but I never have. In fact, I’m not certain if it will work then.

High Eggs-pectations:  I love, truly love, to make a perfectly cooked fried egg.  Strange but true, I had the goal of frying up perfect eggs since I was a teenager.  Getting the white cooked through yet not tough, leaving the yolk runny and just set at the edges, NOT breaking the yolk.   To hand up a perfect egg to one of my family or friends just. feels. good.  The steps to making a perfectly cooked, and pretty, sunny-side-up egg is on the right in my recipes.   Go ahead, be obsessive.  Be Egg-septional.

The Learning Curve

Well, I am learning more about this blog, day by day. 

Here are a few changes since the first postings:

1. You can now leave comments without your email address and without approval

2. You can LIKE a post or a recipe or one of my old MySpace blogs

3. You can see how many hits the blog has had.¬† Don’t get too excited about the number ūüôā¬† If you know as little about blogs as I seem to, it would appear as though hundreds have come.¬† Every time someone visits and every time they view any of the posts or pages it’s a “hit.”¬† Thank you, Peeps, for all those lovely hits.

4.¬† I edited the Easy Enchilada recipe because when I looked it over it didn’t appear so easy!¬† I have streamlined it and hopefully simplified it a bit.

I am certain I’ll add more to this as I modify through the weeks.

Thank you and Goodnight!

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