RECIPE: Gluten Free Bisquick Lemon Blueberry Scones

Pin It

If you followed this blog, you may have noticed that sometimes I share gluten free recipes. When we discovered my daughter had ADHD in 5th grade, I vowed that drugs would be a last resort for us. After doing some research we found that many families saw a lot of success on supplements and diet changes. We quickly saw a huge difference in my daughter’s behavior (as in worse) when she had dyes and chemically laden food-especially dyes. We also noticed that gluten made her spacey and foggy, and also hurt her stomach. We cut out gluten from her weekday meals as best we could, as well as dyes. The supplements helped to keep her focused and calmer during school. She is now entering 8th grade with all A’s with no help from a 504 or IEP. She is doing it on her own and has even made a small circle of friends- which was challenging for her when she was first diagnosed.

She does cheat on gluten at times, but she knows it’s her choice and she suffers the consequences. But she tries to not cheat during the week and insists on no gluten for her school lunches because it makes her day at school easier. So this treat I make on Sundays and freeze for weekday breakfasts to switch it up a little. Bisquick mix makes it easy, and I applaud their effort in accommodating gluten free diets. Their website is lacking in GF recipes using this mix. I hope they can expand their recipe development to support this mainstream product in the future. The fact that we found this GF mix in a little town called Baldwin, Michigan is proof that gluten free is a healthy choice that has found it’s way in every nook and cranny of this country. Until our food supply gets “cleaner”, many people are making gluten-free a lifestyle change to improve their digestive and cognitive issues. Big food companies had better take note.

GF Bisquick Lemon Blueberry Scones

1 cup GF Bisquick Mix
¾ cup whipping cream plus 1 Tbsp. for brushing on top
½ cup fresh blueberries, picked through and rinsed
1 ½ Tbsp. blueberries, mashed in a cup with a fork with 1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 400˚.

Add the vanilla extract to your mashed up blueberries. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the baking mix with the 3 Tbsp. of sugar and the lemon zest.
Add the whipping cream and mix with a fork until dough forms. 

Add the mashed up blueberries and knead into the wet dough. Finally add the blueberries and knead them in to distribute them evenly.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil.

Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and shape into a 6-7” circle. Cut into 8-12 triangles, gently pulling them away from each other.

Brush the tops with the reserved whipping cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until tops are lightly golden. If some of the triangles grew together during cooking, take a sharp knife to cut them away from each other while warm.

Serve warm.

RECIPE: Cheddar Pork Sausage Mushroom Strata

Pin It

Fathers Day was Sunday and for my hubby, he loves fly fishing. We decided to do a long weekend over Fathers Day for his benefit up on the Pere Marquette river. My husband loves stratas for breakfast, so when we were left with a ton of bread during dinner at one of the local restaurants, I asked to bring it home to dry out for a strata. The cottage we were staying at was not as well equipped as my home kitchen so I had to keep things simple. The same can be said for the small grocery store in town. But sometimes simple is better. The pork sausage was easy to find at the local grocery store as well as mushrooms, and the pork does the heavy lifting in the yummy, uber simple egg bake.

This serves 12, so freeze extra squares for weekday breakfast or make it for a crowd that’s over for brunch. One of these days I am going to help make some stratas at my next girl scout leader weekend. It’s a perfect way to use up left over vegetables the night before. Just throw things together the night before in a big pan and let them sit. Wake up, yawn, pull out the strata, let it sit out for 30 minutes while you make coffee, and in it goes for an hour!
So easy.
So delicious.

Cheddar Pork Sausage Mushroom Strata


1 ¼-1/2 lbs. bulk pork sausage
9 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
a small 12 inch loaf of bread, cubed and dried out for a day (roughly about 4-5 cups)
1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp garlic powder
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
½ cup diced onion
½ tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste


Grease a large 3 qt. pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the cubed bread you have been drying out for the day. Set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the pork sausage until it’s no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork (draining as you go) into the bowl with the bread cubes. Discard the dripping BUT reserving about 1 tablespoon left in the pan.

Heat up the drippings over medium heat and add the onions and garlic powder and cook until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until beginning to release their juices. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms have browned, add everything in the pan to the bread bowl. Give everything in the bread bowl a good stir. Let things cool down in there while you prep the eggs.

In another large bowl, beat the 9 eggs with the spicy brown mustard. Add a dash of salt and a couple grinds of pepper and add the milk. Whisk well.

Add half the cheddar cheese to the bread bowl and mix well. Pour everything in that bowl into your prepared baking pan, making and even layer with the bread and trying to distribute ingredients evenly. You may need to move things with a spoon. Finally evenly pour the egg mixture over everything. Using the back of the spoon press down in areas so the bread gets saturated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350˚.
Let the strata sit out for 30 minutes before baking to take the chill out. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheese and bake for up to an hour. Mine took only about 45 minutes because I think the cottage oven is hotter than my home oven. You want the center to be as nice and puffy as the edges, and you are looking for a golden color all over. I rotate the pan once during cooking for even doneness.

Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

GARDENING: Top Eight Indigenous Prairie Wildflowers for your Garden

Pin It

There is something that happens at garden markets, some secret club or camaraderie amongst shoppers there. There is a sense that we all belong to that clandestine world of dirty fingernails and garden clogs. And striking up a conversation with someone next to you browsing the foxgloves means that you are speaking to a “club member”. I can’t tell you how many random conversations I have had with fellow garden shoppers, never to be seen again, never to know their names. But for that brief interlude, we share trade secrets and shared garden woes. A few weeks ago a fellow “club member” began randomly talking to me at length about indigenous gardening while perusing the Echinacea varietals.

Now I knew a thing or two about this philosophical approach. A close friend of mine went completely indigenous and I found it fascinating and a worthy cause, just not my cup of tea. I find the approach limiting design wise. I am an art director at heart, so I like to mix a cottage garden look mixed with a structured Victorian approach. But truth be told, I do add indigenous stuff in my garden a lot because they do so well. They belong in our area and in our climate. They take to the soil and propagate really well-sometimes too well. In fact, prairie plants put 2/3rds of their growth underground-so their root systems reach deep making them drought tolerant and able to deal with cold extremes in the spring. They are definitely for the lazier gardener that doesn’t want to deal with fussy biannuals like foxglove or tedious pruning that roses need.

The prairie wildflowers are many, but there are 8 basic ones that you can find easily and will be very fast growers in your beds. You can start them from seed of get starter plants from your local nursery. I happened to find a sweet little book in an antique shop that had a write up on each one with a botanical print to go along with it. (You never know what you’ll find in antique shops-love them!) Let me give you a quick rundown of each and my own experience with these.

1: Gallardia or Blanket Flower

This is a quick grower and has colors like an Arizona sunset. Though it has been a quick grower for me it has never taken over my beds like some indigenous stuff does (ie-daisies). It is very drought tolerant and grows more bushy then it does tall. I love it as filler for my borders.

2: Lanceleaf Coreopsis

This flower is also nice filler for borers and has a long bloom cycle, especially if you deadhead it diligently. Depending on the kind you get, these can get away from you. In my garden bed at my last house, I had to pull these out after a few years. They grew to be two feet high and just huge, crowding everything else out. The ones I have now seem to stay around 10 inches and just fill out the area versus get tall and wide. They have a nice yellow color to them, similar to bursts of sunshine in your beds.

3: Blue Flax

This flower is dainty and lovely, and blooms early. The ones I have seen at the market which may be hybrids are pretty low lying and will fill out the front of your borders. The ones you start from seeds and are more indigenous may grow to be 2 feet tall and very loose and spindly-very much like a wild meadow flower. The flowers will be in loose clusters or you will get them singly to each stem. They seem to like things a little dry and rocky

4: Columnar Coneflower

This plant is so cool. I bought a packet of seeds in Toronto one year in the space needle gift shop at a display selling indigenous Canadian wildflowers. Sadly only a few of the ones I bought actually came up. This was one of the few. The flowers have a cone at the center, like the torso of a ballerina, with flouncy yellow-red petals all around the bottom. The plant itself is loose, wild and spindly. After it came up I wanted to move it to more of a middle/ back spot in my bed. It’s tallness and looseness was too messy for the front border. But this is a very unique flower and one you don’t see very often in other gardeners’ beds. If you can find a home for it, I highly recommend it. It’s sturdy and keeps coming back year after year.

5: Oxeye Daisy

Oh boy. The daisy. I had some daisies I started from little seeds that just went crazy. I had to yank them out after just 2 years. They just got so full and so big that they overtook my narrow beds. If you have a large bed that you need to fill out cheaply and quickly, the daisy is a workhorse. It blooms pretty much all summer, and if it’s getting full sun-look out! This plant just explodes. If I had the room, I would have kept them in. I still may try again this year with a new partial shade bed I carved out that needs quick filling cheaply. But if you have an established smaller bed and just want to fill a small spot, just know that daisies are greedy flowers. They deliver, but they want a lot of space.

6: Black-Eyed Susans

Here is another workhorse for your garden. These plants bloom all summer and well into the fall. The ones I have had stayed around a foot tall and just filled out over the years. Evidently they sometimes grow to be 3 feet tall, so you will have to be careful if you have a small space. They almost look like mini sunflowers, with a brown center and sunny, bright yellow petals. They look great in the fall.

7: Gloriosa Daisy

This plant is part of the Black-Eyed Susan family. In fact, if the Daisy and the Black-Eyed Susan had a baby, this would be it. The interesting thing about this plant is it’s variation of colors. You may get a yellow flower or a red flower and all variations in between. It is also a long bloomer, well into October making it great for some fall color in your beds.


8: Purple Coneflower

This is a plant that has found it’s way into many gardens. It has also been made into a variety of hybrids where you can get yellow petals, white petals and even mixed colors such as “Mexican blanket” or “Paradise” (which can look like a Tahitian sunset). But one thing stays true to Echinacea,  it is a long bloomer (May to August), it’s roots go down very far making it very drought tolerant and they fill out nicely any place they are planted. This is one of my favorites. It’s affordable, works hard, stays in it’s spot and is pretty low maintenance-an overall winner.

Hopefully you will be inspired to put some prairie wildflowers in your garden. The bees and butterflies like them a lot, and it helps to keep the prairie plants alive and well in this day and age. Many native plants of the prairie have been lost to us over the years. We should try and conserve what we do have for future generations.

RECIPE: ‘If you like Pinia Colada’ Carrot Cake

Pin It

Back when my daughter was younger and at a small parochial school, there seemed to be a never ending need of baked goods for various school functions. I was always baking for a bake sale, birthday treats, class projects or parties.  So I started to buy box cake mixes (which is taboo in my book, I am a bit of a purist if you follow the blog) when it was on sale to keep on hand in the pantry. Usually I found out about needing to bake something at 8 p.m. the night before. After many late nights, I learned my lesson. Boxed mixes became my saving grace.

Interestingly enough, now that my daughter attends a public school, I am baking a whole lot less. A LOT LESS. Fascinating, really. Public schools just have better funding and bigger populations for volunteer support. They don’t have to run their schools with the help of constant bake sales from the same small handful of involved families.

But I digress.

So now that I don’t have to pump out baked goods like an oompa loompa factory, I have had some boxed cake mixes that were getting close to their “sell by” date in the pantry, and I wanted to play with them a little. Box cakes are great time savers, and with some clever mix-in ingredients you can make some really creative.

Like this ‘If you like Pinia Colada’ Carrot Cake.

Carrot cakes have a great nutty sweetness from the carrots, which I thought would work well with pineapple. And pineapple reminded me of some delicious Pinia Coladas my husband and I had in beach-side in Florida one year. (That was fun afternoon.)
So I decided to try and recreate a Pinia Colada with this carrot cake mix. I even use rum extract to get the experience-while keeping it kid-friendly.

I think if this were just for adults, I would use real rum and drizzle rum on the cake layers before filling and frosting.

Mmmmm, Naughty.

I also dare you to try and NOT sing “If you like Pinia Colada…and getting caught in the rain……” while making this.

‘If you like’ Pinia Colada Carrot Cake


1 box carrot cake mix (we like Betty Crocker #bettycrocker)
½ cup cream of coconut (reserve the rest for the frosting)
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
1 tsp. imitation rum extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup white chocolate chips

1 can white vanilla frosting
½ cup cream of coconut (us as much of the solids as possible)
1 ½ tsp. coconut extract
1 tsp. imitation rum extract


Preheat oven to 350˚ Cut parchment to line bottoms of 2 9” cake pans. Lightly spray with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the cake mix with the cream of coconut, the can of pineapple, oil, rum and vanilla extracts with a large whisk. Mix really well. Your arm should feel like you are having a working out. (You can also just use a hand mixer.) In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until combined. Add them to the cake batter and whisk until well blended. Add the shredded coconut and chocolate chips by hand with a spatula until evenly distributed.

Pour into pans evenly and cook in the middle of the oven, flipping their place once during cooking, for about 30-35 minutes. Cakes should be golden and spring back when touched lightly.

Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Then run a butter knife gently along the sides and transfer the cakes out to the racks to cool completely. Meanwhile make the frosting.

In a bowl mix the frosting ingredients together until well combined. By adding all this liquid, the frosting will be loose. Chill for about 30 minutes so you can frost the cake with some control.

Set cake on your serving platter. Fill the center with about 1/3 of the frosting and place the top layer on it. Frost a light crumb layer all over the cake and chill for 10 minutes. Then pull it out and generously frost the whole cake. Sprinkle the top with shredded coconut and edge the top outer circle with the white chocolate chips. Finally get a paper cocktail umbrella and run a maraschino cherry through it and place it at the center, just like you were pool side in Miami. Good times.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...