Oatmeal Coconut Flour Bread Recipe

A Hearty New Combination of Baking Ingredients

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Oatmeal coconut flour bread
Oatmeal coconut flour bread
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Developing this recipe the other day, I started with the oatmeal, which I usually do for its fiber and cholesterol-lowering properties. Then I decided to have a go with the coconut flour, having heard so much about it. The result is this interesting oatmeal coconut flour bread recipe.

Why Coconut Flour?

It’s gaining popularity among the low-carb diet crowd and those who have a gluten intolerance. It has an impressive nutrition profile and may offer several additional health benefits. These include increasing blood sugar stability, better gut digestion, heart health, and even weight loss.

Ingredient List

  • 3 cups coconut flour
  • Whole wheat flour as needed
  • 1 cup quick steel cut oats; I used the HEB brand but any will do.
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pure cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup wheat bran
  • 1 tablespoon gluten (optional)
  • 3 cups water, heated
  • 1/2 cup nuts of your choice, chopped (optional)
  • 1 packet yeast

Preparation Steps

  1. If using fast-rising yeast, preheat oven to 425℉.
  2. Combine the oatmeal and 1 cup of very hot water in your mixing bowl. Allow 15 minutes for the oatmeal to soften.
  3. Mix in the remaining cups of warm water and the yeast.
  4. Mix in the egg, salt, sugar, flaxseed meal, wheat bran, gluten, and nuts.
  5. Mix in the coconut flour, 1/2 cup at a time. The dough will look a bit different that what you are used to with just wheat.
  6. Begin adding in the whole wheat flour and mixing until you have a nice, workable dough ball.
  7. Turn the dough ball out onto your whole wheat floured kneading surface. I’ve become a big fan of silicone baking mats.
  8. Continue to add whole wheat flour as needed as you knead. I do about 30 folds.
  9. If you did not use fast-rising yeast, let it rise for a couple of hours, and punch it down. If you did, just preheat the oven and proceed.
  10. Gently shape and press the dough into a rice flour dusted Banneton proofing basket.
  11. Turn it out onto a prepared (I use spray olive oil; butter will do as well) baking sheet (I use a pizza sheet).
  12. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Start checking at 30 minutes.
  13. Let the loaf cool on a rack and enjoy!

So that’s it for the oatmeal coconut flour bread recipe. It makes a very heavy, compact loaf. If you take a look a the picture at the top of the loaf you’ll notice a very unusual texture, not porous at all. Take that, wimpy store-bought white bread!



Additional Reading


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Delicious 100% Cocoa Lowers Blood Pressure

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Ghirardelli chocolate cupcakes
Ghirardelli chocolate cupcakes
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I’ll have to confess, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I enjoy the odd Reese’s peanut butter cups or pieces, but regular candy or cake, not so much. I do eat a small square of dark chocolate every day because it’s been shown to lower blood pressure naturally. The ingredient in this Ghirardelli chocolate cupcake recipe falls in that category; it is not processed with alkali, otherwise known as the Dutch method. That kind of processing takes away the hypertension benefit.

*Remember: once you lick the frosting off a cupcake, it becomes a muffin. And muffins are healthy. You’re welcome.

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 Cup pure cane sugar (or the sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/3 Cup flaxseed meal (for antioxidants, fiber, protein)
  • 3/4 Cup wheat bran (fiber)
  • 3/4 cup Ghirardelli premium baking unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp Himalayan (pink) salt; it retains all the essential minerals that are removed from commercial salt
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 3/4 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cups water, boiling
  • Frosting of your choice; or not

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
  2. Put baking cups in your cupcake pans. this recipe makes 31 or so cupcakes, so you’ll need 3 pans that hold a dozen each.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add in the milk and butter.
  5. Mix with a beater, medium speed, 2 minutes. Any stronger and you’ll likely be decorating the wall.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and the eggs.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Stir in the boiling water.
  9. Divide among the baking cups. Filling them about 80% full each leaves just enough room for rising.
  10. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes. Test doneness by pushing down lightly in the center with your fingertip. If the dent springs up nicely, you’re good to go.
  11. Remove from oven, cool, and frost if desired. I don’t frost mine; She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed does. As Pappy used to say, “Each to his own, said the man who kissed the cow.”
  12. Enjoy!


I came up with this version of Ghirardelli chocolate cupcake recipe to add another healthy option to my snacks, baking, and workout recovery food list. But that aside, it’s just plain tasty.

Additional Reading


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Getting Enough Minerals in Your Diet?

Insufficient Nutrition Can Be Robbing Your Optimal Health

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Forms of Nutraceuticals
Forms of Nutraceuticals
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So what exactly are nutraceuticals? According to Dictionary.com, they are, “a bioactive compound occurring as a food component, additive, or product, including vitamins, dietary fiber, herbal extracts, carotenoids, and probiotics: nutraceuticals are said to promote health and well-being, allegedly helping in the prevention and treatment of disease.”1

So basically, these include dietary supplements as well as basic foods. Ideally, we would get all necessary minerals and nutrients via the food groups but this is rarely the case due to lifestyle. You may have assumed that since minerals are in so many foods you are in the safe zone. Not so; in many cases strict vegans and even borderline vegetarians may be missing out on important trace minerals and the ones in your multi-vitamin may not be as high-quality as you suppose.

Calcium for Strong Bones, Teeth, and Heart

Calcium is one of the most important and abundant minerals in our bodies. WebMD.com says, “Calcium is a mineral that is an essential part of bones and teeth. The heart, nerves, and blood-clotting systems also need calcium to work. Calcium-rich foods include milk and dairy products, kale and broccoli, as well as the calcium-enriched citrus juices, mineral water, canned fish with bones, and soy products processed with calcium. Calcium is also taken as a supplement.”2 Which foods are calcium-rich? According to Kidshealth.org,3

  • Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice, cereals and, crackers
  • Canned salmon, anchovies, and sardines with bones
  • Green leafy vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli

Potassium for Your Nervous System

Potassium keeps your muscles and your nervous system working properly and minimizes the possibility of cramps. Your blood and bodily tissues, including muscles, contain water. Potassium helps ensure that the quantity of water is optimized between cells and body fluids; it performs a balancing act. You can find it in:

  • Legumes, such as beans, split peas, lentils
  • Bananas, tomatoes
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes, with skin intact
  • Green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli

Zinc for Your Immune System

We all know the importance of our immune systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, this mineral gives a powerful boost to your immune system. This system fights off common illnesses and infections. It is also involved cellular growth and assists in healing wounds, such as cuts. It is found in:

  • A variety of nuts including cashews, pecans, walnuts, and almonds
  • Legumes, such as peanuts, split peas, and lentils
  • Cuts of meats such as beef, pork, and chicken

The Strength of Iron

Our bodies utilize the mineral iron to transport oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. This is a critical function because our bodies depend on oxygen to maintain life. Iron also assists in the production of hemoglobin. This is the component in our red blood cells that moves oxygen throughout our bodies. Get your iron in:

  • Eggs
  • By cooking in cast iron cookware
  • Dried fruits like apricots and raisins
  • Whole and enriched grains like quinoa, wheat, and oats
  • Various cuts of meat, particularly red meat like liver or beef

Steps for Good Health

All the minerals listed above originated in the earth and seas and got into the food chain that way. Research shows that the mineral depletion in the soil was about 85% during the years from 1900 to 1940.

Adding specific soil amendments in organic farming programs has made a measure of progress in bringing soil health back from the brink. Unfortunately, chemical techniques are still applied to most crops and meats found in your local grocery store. To maximize your health goals:

  • Take your supplements daily.
  • Purchase organic produce and free range meat whenever possible. Yes, you’ll pay a bit more but mineral and nutrient deficiencies cost even more in the long run.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity puts stress and strain on your body and impacts your overall health. Intermittent fasting for weight loss and maintenance is a great strategy for most people.
  • Consume fresh, local fruits and produce. They generally taste better and as a bonus they support your local economy which impacts you directly.

Getting enough minerals in your diet with healthy foods and supplements is not difficult. It might take a slight alteration in your lifestyle but you’ll be happier in the long run.

References

  1. Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/nutraceutical?s=t
  2. WebMD.com, Calcium, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-781/calcium
  3. Mary l. Gavin M.D., Kidshealth.org, Minerals, https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/minerals.html

Further Reading and Relevant Recipes


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Egg Spinach Pie Recipe

Comfort Food With Just Enough Spice to Wake Your Taste Buds

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Egg and spinach pie
Egg and spinach pie
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I had plenty of time to get hungry yesterday afternoon while I was on a long hike with one of my dogs. I felt creative so I came up with this simple egg and spinach pie recipe. I enjoyed it and I bet you will too. As usual, use organic ingredients when possible.

Ingredient List for the Crust

  • 3/4 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal
  • Whole wheat or white flour as needed
  • 1 Cup rice flour
  • 3 Cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
Making dough for the crust
Making dough for the crust


Ingredient List for the Filling Mix

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Habaneros
  • 4 Cups fresh spinach, chopped (I suppose you could use the frozen stuff if you prefer)
  • 3 Cups cheddar cheese, diced or shredded

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flaxseed meal, rice flour, and baking powder.
  3. Add in the water and mix well.
  4. Start adding in the whole wheat or white flour a bit at a time, mixing until you have a nice, stiff ball of dough.
  5. Turn it out onto the surface of your choice (I used a casserole dish.
  6. Roll out your dough so that it fits in the dish on the bottom and up the inside walls.
  7. Combine the filling mix ingredients and pour them into the dough.
  8. Bake. Mine took 50 minutes for this first time experiment recipe. When the egg mixture doesn’t jiggle, you’ve got it right.
  9. In the last 10 minutes, distribute the cheese on top so it will melt.
  10. Remove it from the oven, give it a couple minutes, and enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this egg and spinach dish. Like most of my recipes, this one was developed with substitutions in mind. I had cheddar cheese on hand and it worked out well, but I’ll most likely get a bit more creative next time. Leave a comment if you made a delicious change!

Related Articles


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Recipe: Chicken Jerky for Dog Treats

Save Money with a Sharp Knife and a Food Dehydrator

by Kelly R. Smith

Chicken jerky in dehydrator for dog treats
Chicken jerky in dehydrator for dog treats
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I know, you are probably looking at this and saying, “What? Chicken jerky for dog treats? Is that not just a wee bit indulgent?” Sure you’re right, but hear me out. It’s all about the money and the nutrition. Dog treats are like mattresses; the mark-up on them is outrageous for such a common commodity. Why? Because they can get it. And the nutrition? Just look at the ingredient list on the box. Now look at the ingredient list on a package of raw chicken pieces. No contest.

I have tested this out on our four rescue dogs Eddie, Frankie, Maggie, and Sammie. Why do their names all end with “ie?” I don’t know; another mystery of the universe. Anyway, offering them a commercial treat in one hand and a homemade one in the other, they choose my cuisine every time. Not to pat myself on the back, of course.

What You Need to Make Chicken Jerky

This is fairly easy. You will need a food dehydrator. Depending on the size of your dehydrator you will need skinless chicken pieces. For example, I use an Ivation 6-Tray Food Dehydrator. It’s a commercial version, but reasonably priced. It holds about 2 pounds of chicken. Or beef. Or lots of sliced apples. You get the idea. Yes, this is most likely a model that a prepper or homesteader would invest in. You will also need a very sharp knife and a large cutting board.

Making the Jerky

The process here is straightforward. In fact, it is the same as my teriyaki beef jerky recipe, omitting the marinade overnight step. Of course, if you are making it for you, knock yourself out. Better still, make 3 trays for Fido and 3 for you. That’s called humane, I believe.

Make the slices about 1/4 inch thick. As far as length of the strips go, 3 inches is good. Dogs are more into the dog treat itself, not the specific size. Arrange slices on your dehydrator trays, allowing some space between pieces for air circulation. Set the timer for 8 hours but begin checking it at 6 hours. You will know when it is done but the longer you go the crunchier it will be. That’s up to you and your furry friend. The picture below is our “done.” Compare it to the raw picture at the top of this page.

Dehydrated chicken jerky, preserved and ready to eat
Dehydrated chicken jerky, preserved and ready to eat

That’s about all there is to making chicken jerky for dog treats. Store them in the refrigerator and be generous. Your pup may even deign to share with you… if you’re a good human.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

The Health Benefits of Quinoa

Vegan Protein, Slow-Burning Fuel, Easy Preparation

by Kelly R. Smith

Cooked red quinoa, ready  to serve
Cooked red quinoa, ready to serve
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Runners, cyclists, and other athletes for that matter, need extra protein in their diet plans compared to their sedentary counterparts. Protein is an essential component in repairing the muscles which break down when working out.

To compound this issue, many people have adopted vegan/vegetarian diets, whether for health, religious, or trendy reasons. This makes it problematic to include a full range of nutrients, proteins and other amino acids in their meals on a daily basis. Ample protein is just one of the health benefits of quinoa.

So, Eat Quinoa for Protein

One of the simplest (and tastiest) ways to add essential amino acids (proteins) into your diet is to eat organic quinoa. This supergrain (pronounced keen-wa) is widely recognized as a “super food” by athletes, foodies, nutritionists, and others.

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, or goosefoot) is not in actuality a true cereal grain, but rather a “pseudo-cereal”; it is a food that is cooked and eaten like grains and has a similar nutrient profile. But from a botanical point of view, quinoa is closer to beets, chard, and spinach, and in fact the leaves can be eaten as well as the grains.



This is an very easy food to cook, just like rice, in fact. It can be eaten by itself or in a variety of dishes. It has long been traditionally cultivated in the Andes mountains located in South America. Fora long time in the past, production dipped as the invading Spanish Conquistadors forced the indigenous Inca Indians to grow potatoes instead. Horses weren’t the only thing they brought to the New World.

Nutritional Overview of Quinoa

There are several varieties available and they average an impressive 16.2% protein. To make a comparison, rice averages a meager 7.5%. It also contains an impressive amount of Lysine (398mg), folate (19% RDA), thiamine (13%), Manganese (58%) and vitamin B6 (11%).

To make matters even better, it ranks 35 on the glycemic index. Now compare that with basmati white rice at 58. A lower ranking means it is a slower-burning food. This makes it a natural choice to fuel endurance sports such as distance running.

Lysine is Important for Active People

The University of Maryland Medical Center says, “Lysine is important for proper growth, and it plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy. It also helps the body absorb and conserve calcium, and it plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendon, and cartilage.” It can promote wound healing by helping to create collagen.

Additionally, it may:

  • reduce anxiety by blocking stress response receptors.
  • protect against and treat cold sores by blocking arginine.
  • improve calcium absorption and retention.


How to Cook Quinoa

This grain is easy to cook; most varieties only take 10 to 20 minutes to cook. Just combine a 2 to 1 water/quinoa ratio. Check your package to make sure.

  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Add the quinoa.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Eat it by itself, your recipe, or add it to a salad.

It is also very adaptable to baking. For example, as an ingredient when baking bread. Because of the health benefits of quinoa, it is under consideration as a strong contender for a crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights. It has been designated as a “super crop” by the United Nations because of its potential to feed the hungry masses across the globe.

Further Reading



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Panama Canal Zone Johnny Mazetti Recipe

by Kelly R. Smith

Canal Zone style Johnny Mazetti
Canal Zone style Johnny Mazetti
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A lot of people will tell you that this dish originated in Columbus, Ohio, but it is safe to say that no group of people have enjoyed it as much as Zonians. Some variations on the name are Marzetti and Marzotti, but whatever you call it, it’s just the thing to wash down with a bottle Cerveza Panama (or Balboa or Atlas if you prefer; people seem to be polarized on this).

Following is my list the traditional ingredients, but when I put some things in parentheses, that just means that these are substitutions I have experimented with and enjoyed. You are encouraged to do the same. You won’t be the first or the last, and there are many variations out there. Who knows what old Johnny would say about that?

List of Ingredients (Organic where Possible)

  • 3/4 lb. grated cheddar cheese (or mix it up; I last experimented with half cheddar and half asiago)
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large green bell pepper (or yellow or red)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I like red onions)
  • As much minced garlic as you like
  • 1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce (or Pace Picante Sauce, hot or mild)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 can of Arturo Sauce if you can find it; Amazon has it, (otherwise, 8 oz. can of tomato sauce)
  • 1 can of mushrooms (I prefer bulk shrooms; shiitake, baby bella, or portobello)
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato paste
  • Black and/or green olives, with or without the juice, about 7 oz. total
  • 18 oz. package of egg noodles (or try my egg noodle recipe)
  • Optional: Hot peppers! (I said Panama, right? Aji chombo or habaneros works for me.)

Directions

Preparing Johnny Mazetti
Preparing Johnny Mazetti
  1. Cook the ground beef and vegetables in a large skillet.
  2. Add in all the sauces.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.
  4. Add the olives and mushrooms.
  5. Remove from heat and cook the noodles.
  6. Mix it all together and place it in a 9” X 13” glass baking dish.
  7. Spread the cheese on top.
  8. Bake for 1 hour.
  9. Remove and enjoy.


This batch of Johnny Mazetti this size will serve 6 to 8 people, depending on appetite. This is a particularly good dish as a recovery food after a long run or after a hard workout. It is also one of those foods that gets better when reheated after being frozen or refrigerated; something about the flavors mingling together. It’s best served with cold beer or wine. Enjoy!

More of My Recipes


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Ranch Dressing Cheeseburger Recipe

by Kelly R. Smith

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Ranch dressing chesse burger
Ranch dressing chesse burger

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This recipe was updated on 12/29/20.

In our home the ranch dressing cheeseburger is the go-to sandwich when the mood hits for comfort food a la Americana. This recipe is just my humble twist on the old classic hamburger. The beauty of this dish is that the range of condiments and fixings is endless. As always, use organic ingredients whenever possible. Read on.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef. Or, ground bison if you’ve got deep pockets.
  • Buns; I prefer whole wheat.
  • Vegetables of your choice. In the photo above I used red onion, tomato, spinach, and a slathering of avocado on the bun that’s covered up.
  • Condiments of choice. That’s barbecue sauce you see in the photo. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed says it looks like burnt bun. Belay that misconception!
  • Cheese of choice. Mine was Swiss, hers was jalapeno jack.
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing powder. I suppose Hidden Valley is the standard but in my experience, the Kroger brand is the same thing for half the price. Dollars to donuts that it all comes out of the same factory.
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Put the meat in a mixing bowl and crack the eggs into it. The reason for 2 eggs rather than one or none is that the ranch dressing powder will make the patties crumbly when you go to flip them. The eggs prevent that. Besides, who couldn’t use more vitamins and minerals? Just say no to nutrient deficiency.
  2. Open the packed of dressing powder and set aside within reach.
  3. Mix the meat and eggs well with your (washed) hands.
  4. Mix in the powder. Your hands are slippery by now; that’s the reason for pre-opening the packet.
  5. Form the patties. I like to make 1/3 lb. patties rather than 1/4 lb.
  6. Cook the patties in your preferred method, skillet, outdoor or countertop barbecue grill, or otherwise.
  7. Assemble your burgers and enjoy!


That’s all there is to my take on the ranch dressing cheeseburger recipe. I hope you like it. Here are a few more of my creations; I only post those that have been spouse-approved so no worries! Share with your friends.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Shepherd’s Pie Skillet Recipe

by Kelly R. Smith

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Shepherd's pie skillet style
Shepherd’s pie skillet style

The weather is starting to cool off and that means two things — it is time for a flu shot and comfort food is the order of the day. This recipe for shepherd’s pie fills the bill nicely. Easy, frugal meals is just what we need as we spend more time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One good thing about this meal is its flexibility. There are any number of substitutions and additions you can make. So, let’s get started.

Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 box Beef Pasta Hamburger Helper (or the flavor of your choice)
  • Hot water/milk called for on Hamburger Helper box
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • Hungry Jack mashed potatoes for 6 servings
  • Water and butter called for on mashed potatoes box for 6 servings
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Chopped parsley (amount to taste)

Preparation Steps

  1. Using a 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring often, until brown. Drain the grease. Stir in hot water, milk, sauce mix, uncooked pasta (from the Hamburger Helper box), and thawed vegetables. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently.
  2. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pasta and vegetables are tender. Remove the pan from heat.
  3. Make the mashed potatoes as directed on box for 6 servings. Spoon and gently spread mashed potatoes over pasta mixture. Sprinkle with the cheese. Cover; let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

That’s all there is to the shepherd’s pie skillet recipe. You can substitute a different type of cheese, type of Hamburger Helper, and add additional spices. It’s all good.

More Recipes From My Kitchen



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As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Hire Me!


About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Synbiotics; What Does It All Mean?

by Kelly R. Smith

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The health benefits of probiotics
The health benefits of probiotics

This article was updated on 10/26/20.

Everywhere we turn nowadays we hear about probiotics. But what about prebiotics and synbiotics? Actually, they all work hand in hand. Here’s the rundown.

  • Probiotics. WebMD says, “Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called ‘good’ or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.” When you lose the “good” bacteria that inhabit your gut, after you take antibiotics for example, probiotics can help replace them. The two main types are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. You can get them through dairy and supplements.
  • Prebiotics. The Mayo Clinic tells us, “Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers. They act like fertilizers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.” They are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, mostly those that are rich complex carbohydrates, such as fiber and resistant starch. These carbs aren’t digestible by your body, so they pass through the digestive system to become food for the bacteria and other microbes. When your balance is off it can affect your metabolism.
  • Synbiotics. ScienceDirect says, “Synbiotics are a combination of prebiotics and probiotics that are believed to have a synergistic effect by inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria and enhancing the growth of beneficial organisms.” Evidence suggests that synbiotics influence the microbial ecology in our intestines. This is true in both humans and animals and synbiotics play a role in alleviating various illnesses.

Knowing what we know about prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics it becomes clear that we should maintain our diet with various types of foods in mind, organic whenever possible. This includes milk, cheese, fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha, whole grains, miso, fruits, and vegetables.

Benefits of Probiotics

  • Improves immune function. They assist in the treatment and/or prevention of many common conditions. Some of these include diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
  • Protects against hostile bacteria to prevent infection. Under normal (balanced) conditions, your friendly bacteria in your gut outnumber the unfriendly ones. Probiotics stand duty as gut-beneficial bacteria that create a physical barricade against legions of unfriendly bacteria.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.
  • Counters the negative effects of antibiotics. When you contract a bacterial infection, antibiotics are most often prescribed to as the immediate solution. That’s a Godsend, but unfortunately, nothing good comes free, and antibiotics kill bacteria arbitrarily, decimating both good and bad bacteria in your intestinal tract. By eliminating beneficial bacteria, your body is susceptible to a number digestive issues. Myself, when I go to the grocery store to have an antibiotic prescription filled, I also stock up on yogurt with active cultures.
  • Boosts heart health.
  • Lowers cholesterol. Probiotics contain bacteria that are effective in lowering total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Taylor Francis Online says, “Numerous clinical studies have concluded that BSH-active probiotic bacteria, or products containing them, are efficient in lowering total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.”

Others are reading:

References


Looking for more great content? Visit our main site I Can Fix Up My Home or our partner sites:

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!


Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.