Sharing the fun and creativity in my world and encouraging the same in yours.

Posts tagged ‘baking’

My Mom’s Apple Pie And Cooking With Food Allergies


My mom cooked almost everything from scratch. The first house we lived in had a good-sized garden and the second house had a barn and acres of farmland. This meant LOTS of fresh produce to eat, freeze, can, and cook with daily. Of course, on the occasion when she was pressed for time, she’d use a box of say, cake mix but always added an extra something to it to make it special. Other than that, she always preferred cooking and baking from scratch when possible.

One of our favorite baked goods was apple pie using Red Delicious and Winesap apples (half and half) from our own trees. Since Winesap apples are not available here in the south (something I am very upset about), I cannot seem to duplicate the flavor and texture of my mom’s apple pie.

Sometimes, though, a pre-made crust can come in handy. ;)

Homemade Apple Pie With Pre-made Crust

I find Granny Smith apples hold up well, though, and my son loves the slight tang of their flavor. The Red Delicious apples are usually too mealy and simply turn to mush by the time the Granny Smith apples are cooked so I simply removed them from the pie altogether. I remember making our own crusts half the time and the other half of the time, we used pre-made crust. Depending upon my mood, I use both as well.

Leftover Single Crust? Chop up apples, add a little sugar and cinnamon, and voila! Homemade Apple Turnovers.

Leftover Single Crust? Chop up apples, add a little sugar and cinnamon, fold over, and voila! Homemade Apple Turnovers.


As far as cooking from scratch goes, I cook from scratch now and have for about 25 years with rare exceptions. During my college years, I came to appreciate homemade food and have found my body is better for it.

Besides the many health benefits of cooking and baking from scratch (and incorporating as many organic items as money allows), I love the flavors of fresh produce. Dehydrated onions vs. freshly chopped onions sauteed in olive oil? No comparison. Fresh for me!

One other very important reason why I cook from scratch is food allergies. Both my husband and my son have food allergies.

Our son’s are more extensive than my husband’s so as a result, I am a detailed-reader of food labels, triple-checking before I buy anything. I even have to be careful about buying a turkey for Thanksgiving! Did you know some turkeys have milk/dairy in the “flavorful injections”? Who knew?


My husband is allergic to raw green peppers but can eat them when they are cooked. My son is allergic to raw celery but can eat it once cooked. Cooking apparently breaks down certain proteins and changes them in such a way that their bodies can handle the green pepper and celery just fine! Amazing, huh?

They both are allergic to most, if not all nuts; our son is allergic to all things dairy and eggs along with some fruits. My husband is allergic to most fruits but can eat apple pie since it’s cooked, but he can’t eat cherries at all. Bananas? No problem.


These are just some of the restrictions I’ve had to learn to cook around for more than 25 years and when I read this post to my husband just now, his reaction was, “Oh my God! That’s overwhelming!” I think he finally got a glimpse at the conversation that occurs in my mind when I’m grocery shopping and adapting recipes! 😀

But, thanks to my parents’ appreciation of fresh produce and homemade meals and my mother’s lifetime love of cooking, baking, and experimenting, it’s been an easier challenge for me than most.

Thank you, Mom!

And because of my mom, I already knew the basics of preparing, cooking and baking from scratch; I simply had to discover substitutions and create my own variations. The most difficult part for me? Remembering to write down the amounts of certain items for the next time I make the dish, something my mom did very well. She wrote her reviews and adaptations into the cookbooks themselves. 🙂


Since it’s May and the month to celebrate your mother, did your mother have a favorite dish you’ve tried to replicate? Any success or adaptations?

Do you cook from scratch too? Did your parents?

Does your family have any food restrictions which have helped you become a more creative cook?

Please feel free to share your story in the comments below, or if you’d like, start to comment and link to a blog post to finish your cooking story. I’d love to read them! 🙂

Copyright 2011, 2012, 2013 – All rights reserved.


Gingerbread cookies are done!

My son and I made Gingerbread cookie dough yesterday to refrigerate overnight. Thank you, Betty Crocker for the recipe which I have followed to the “T” for years. These cookies come out beautifully plump and soft every single time. The flavors of ginger, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon dance in your mouth. ~drool~ (oops, excuse me.) I get rave reviews from my son, my husband and everyone who tastes them!! 😀

We decorate them with raisins, cutting the raisins in half to form the eyes, and keeping them whole for the buttons. You can, of course, decorate them any way your heart desires.

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We baked 15 large gingerbread people and 9 mini ones (this size is great for holiday parties or school events). 😉  We have about half of the batch left so we can bake some more cookies either tomorrow, Christmas day or the day after. I just dropped off some of these cookies to our neighbors. Merry Christmas!!!! 🙂

Special Note: Never be afraid to split the baking over a night or two…or three! I’ve found, over the years, this prevents “burn-out”. Once the dough is made, you can always freeze or refrigerate until you’re ready for more.

Extra Special Note: This recipe is dairy-free and egg-free. Check it out in your Betty Crocker cookbook! 😉

There really is nothing like a freshly baked gingerbread cookie, warm from the oven. Yum!

How is your holiday baking going?

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.

Baking powder instead of baking soda

Several years ago, when I went to make my dairy-free, egg-less chocolate cake recipe, I discovered I was out of baking soda.  (The recipe called for baking soda and red cider vinegar.) I looked online to find the substitution measurement of baking powder vs. baking soda so I could use what I had on hand in the kitchen: baking powder.

On a cooking site (forgive me, I’m not sure which one it was), they recommend using 3 tsp. of baking powder to replace the 1 tsp. of baking soda (minus the vinegar).

Okay, fine.  Skip ahead to one or two years ago, I was running low on baking powder. I only had 2 tsp. of baking powder left.  My desire for cake won out and I used the 2 tsp. and baked the cake anyway. I thought I’d just have a denser cake, which was fine by me.  It would still taste just as good. 🙂

‘Lo and behold!! My cake was as high, if not a little higher with only 2 tsp. of baking powder versus the 3 tsp. I’ve used all this time! I was pleasantly surprised!

Why? For two reasons. 1) This meant my baking powder would last longer, and 2) It decreased the amount of sodium in the cake. (We’re being careful about how much sodium we’re using in our diets.)

The calculations:

55 mg of sodium per 1/8 tsp.  = 440 mg of sodium per 1 tsp.

I was using 3 tsps. so…3 x 440 =  1320 mg sodium for a single-layer 9-inch cake!

Granted, you don’t eat one entire cake in one sitting but still, that’s a lot of sodium.  I broke that down to 220 mg per slice out of 6 generous slices, (remember, it’s only a one layer cake).

Versus: 2 x 440 = 880 mg sodium.  That’s about 147 mg of sodium per slice using the 6 generous slices example.

Now for the fun, money-saving part!

The container says there are 383 servings per container.  Remember, the servings are 1/8 tsp., so 383 divided by 8 = 47.875 or about 48 tsps. of baking powder per container. If you use 3 tsps. each time, you get 16 single-layer cake uses out of one container.

However…if you use 2 tsps. each time, you get to bake 24 single-layer cakes instead of 16 out of the same amount of baking powder from the same container!!!  🙂  Woo-hoo! 8 more cakes before I need to buy another container of baking powder!

In times like these, I’ll take that savings! 🙂  LOL  Life’s simplest pleasures.

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.