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Instant Pot Ham and Pinto Bean Soup

Wondering what to do with your leftover Easter Ham? Try this Pinto Bean Soup! I make this every time we have ham. I usually always make it in the crockpot but I wanted to try it in my instant Pot this time and let me tell ya, this is the way to make this recipe!

This is a very economical meal to make.

I started by soaking one pound of dried Pinto Beans. You can soak them overnight but I prefer the fast method. I rinsed and covered one pound of dried pinto beans with water in a medium pot. I put them on the stove and brought them to a boil. Let them go for about 2-3 minutes then remove from heat and cover with a lid. Let them sit in the water for about an hour. Then rinse and drain.

Here’s my ingredients:

  • 1 lb dried pinto beans soaked
  • 5 C Water
  • 2-3 cups of chopped up ham (if you have a ham bone, throw that in for extra flavor. I didn’t this time)
  • 1 medium size onion chopped
  • 3-5 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 T Chili Powder
  • 1 t Oregano
  • 1 T Cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper

Add all ingredients to instant pot. Close lid and seal. Choose manuel for 26 minutes.

After 26 minutes, let instant pot naturally release for about 30 minutes. If you had a bone, remove it.

These are so good with additional chopped raw onions and cornbread.

Here’s my cornbread recipe:

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Freezing Buttermilk For Recipes DIY

I don’t use much buttermilk, so when I need some I have to make a trip to the store and I use it for my recipe then it usually sits in the refrigerator until it expires and has to be tossed. Well, since COVID19, I’ve been rethinking about how I do things. I’m trying really hard to not be wasteful. I’ve been getting satisfaction from using up everything that I have on hand.

I am trying not to go out unless completely necessary. Last time we went out for supplies I grabbed buttermilk. I’m making my Smokey Pinto Bean soup today with my Mom’s famous cornbread recipe. I will let you in on that recipe as soon as I make it, it’s yummy. I am freezing the buttermilk that I don’t use today for future recipes. Here’s how I’m doing it..

Supplies needed:
  • Buttermilk (well obviously)
  • Freezer Bags
  • Measuring Cup
  • Marker

I start with fresh buttermilk. I’ve read it lasts for up to three months in the freezer.

I chose a one cup measurement for each quart bag. Liquid expands when frozen so whatever container you use, leave room for expansion. I like the baggies because if you freeze them flat, you can stack them and they don’t take up much room.

Mark the bag. I put the date I freeze and the date it should be used by and the measurement and of course what’s in the bag.

I find it less messy if you roll the top of the bag down before you pour in liquid.

Carefully, try to squeeze the air up and out before sealing. Freeze lying flat. When it’s time to thaw, it that’s fast. I sit on counter or you can run the bag under cold water. Watch for my Pinto Bean Recipe coming up soon!


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My Grilled Pizza Dough Recipe

I’ve been doing a lot of baking since the quarantine for several reasons.

We are only supposed to go out for essentials, A lot of places are closed, Certain foods are hard to find, and being “locked in” brings boredom.

I have been wanting pizza and our favorite pizzeria is temporarily closed so I thought I’d grill one today.

Here is my dough recipe: This makes one 12” pizza

  • 3/4 C Warm Water
  • Yeast packet
  • 1-1/2 – 2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 1 t salt

First, dissolve one packet of yeast in 3/4 C warm water. This takes a couple of minutes.

Next, stir in flour, salt and oil. You can mix by hand or use a mixer. I prefer by hand because kneading dough is very therapeutic to me.

Mix until dough forms a ball then turn out on flat surface to knead. Knead for 6-7 minutes. Add flour a little at a time if too sticky.

Form into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a draft free area. I place on stovetop and if it’s cold in the house, I turn on the oven on warm for about five minutes then shut off. The warmth helps dough rise. Rising takes about an hour to hour and half.

Once dough has doubled in size, punch down and knead on counter for a minute then form into a crust.

I place the crust on a large cutting board to transfer outside.

Preheat grill, I use gas. Rub oil on grate (important) then place crust on grill.

Close the lid and stay near by. It doesn’t take long to cook. Grill on one side and use a spatula to lift and check to see if it’s time to flip. I wait until the dough has firmed up and browned slightly, this only takes a few minutes.

This is what mine looks like when I flip it. Let it cook the same on the other side. At this point, you can apply sauce and toppings right on the grill, close lid and let the toppings melt. You have to watch the bottom of the crust so it won’t burn. I prefer to bring the crust in and add my toppings and place in oven at 425 for about 10 minutes. I like my cheese and toppings to brown a little. You don’t really get that on the grill.

You can freeze the grilled crust if you want to make it quick for a busy week night.

Here’s mine all set to go in the oven. I used some of my Easter Ham, pepperoni and onions.

Since the dough is already cooked, you can bake it right on the oven rack. It tastes amazing this way!

And that’s it! This is a great way to prepare homemade pizza!

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Almond Energy Balls Made From Almond Pulp

Here is a recipe I made from the pulp I had left over from making almond milk. I’ll post the link to my almond milk below.

Almond Energy Balls

These are a great snack to have in the refrigerator for snack times. They are healthy and satisfying. They are also easy to make.

Here’s the ingredients I used. You can add or take away whatever you like.

  • 1 Cup Almond Pulp
  • 1 C Old-fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 3/4 C Natural Peanut Butter ( I used some I bought from a local Amish store that grinds it fresh, you could also use almond butter)
  • 1/4 C Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 C Craisins
  • 2 T Honey

Mix all together and form into balls. Store in a closed container. Refrigerate.

My almond milk recipe:

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Homemade Unsweetened Almond Milk

I make a smoothie nearly every day. I use almond milk as my liquid. I mix fruit, usually a frozen berry mix and a banana, honey, fresh kale and I have a few supplements I throw into the mix.

Here is my almond milk recipe. It is really easy to make. You need a few supplies. You need a blender, a nut milk bag for straining and bottles to store your milk, I prefer glass. Below is a link for the nut milk bags I use.


1. Start by soaking whole unbleached almonds in water overnight.


2. Drain water off of almonds and give them a good rinse.


3. Blend 3 cups of water with one cup of almonds. You could do this on larger quantities if you have a big blender.


4. Pour liquid into a large jar using the nut milk bag to catch the pulp.


5. Slowly pull out the bag and give a good firm squeeze to release the milk from the pulp.

Store in refrigerator

6. Pour almond milk into clean jars and store in the refrigerator.

You can add different things to your milk to flavor it. Honey, Maple Syrup, Vanilla…I choose to keep my plain, unsweetened because I add honey to my smoothies.

Homemade almond milk has a tendency to separate, always give it a good shake before serving.

Now for the pulp. Don’t throw it away! There is good nutrients in the pulp. You can throw it in your baking recipes. You can refrigerate it or freeze it. You can also dehydrate it in the oven by spreading it out in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and put in the oven on the lowest setting for a couple of hours until you get a dry consistency. You can then have the option of grinding it into a finer power and you will have almond flour.

Almond Energy Balls

I made these Almond Energy Balls. They are a great snack to keep in the refrigerator. Here is the link to the recipe.

Thanks for stopping by!

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My Famous Ultimate Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This is my most requested cookie recipe. I’ve been making these for years, mostly for the holidays but we are currently in quarantine along with the rest of the country and I have to keep busy, so today is cookie day. It’s April, we are in northern Michigan, it is beautiful and sunny but it’s chilly so a great day for baking.

These cookies have a wonderful texture. They are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Here’s my recipe.


  • 1 c butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 2-1/2 c blended oatmeal
  • 1 t soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 12 oz choc chips
  • 1 c chopped walnuts

1. Measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder.

2. Cream room temperature butter and sugars, add eggs and vanilla with mixer.

3. Slowly mix in flour, oatmeal powder, salt and baking soda.

4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet.

6. Before I bake them I sprinkle a little sea-salt on each cookie. This is optional but it makes them so decadent!

7. Bake for 9-11 minutes depending on your oven at 375 degrees

Important: After I remove them from the oven, I let them sit on the cookie sheet for one minute, then I move them to a cooling rack.

If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think!

MAKES 5 Dozen