This recipe doubles as hand care. How many recipes can you say that about?

It’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping!


Notes about the ingredients

If you’re as last minute as me, the big gigantic bag of prewashed, precut kale is awesome. Don’t worry, once you try this (and its olive oil/shredded parmesan counterpart), you’ll use up the bag of kale pretty quickly. Also, if you want to save money, get the coconut oil at Aldi, where the same jar that’s $7.99 at Kroger or Giant Eagle is only $4.99.


  • Kale
  • Coconut oil
  • Shredded coconut
  • Sea salt
  • Ginger powder


Preheat oven to 325° F.

  1. On a cookie sheet, spread out a generous amount of kale. It won’t lay flat, but keep it to a single layer so it can all get crispy.
  2. Scoop out a cherry-sized spoonful of coconut oil into your clean hands.
  3. Warm the coconut oil by rubbing it between your hands, then massage the kale with it. (I heard that massaging the kale removes bitterness.)
  4. Bonus: This is the step that doubles as hand care! Rub excess coconut oil into your skin. It smells great and makes your skin soft!
  5. Sprinkle with shredded coconut to taste.
  6. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste, and add tiny dashes of ginger powder.
  7. Bake at 325° F for 10 minutes, turning the pan around partway in case there are hot spots.

It’s done when at least half the kale feels crispy to the touch. It looks like a lot, but the crispy parts melt in your mouth, so it can disappear fast!

I wasn’t sure how this would be, so when it turned out pretty yummy, I decided I’d better write down what I did before I forget. The remains don’t look as appetizing as it did when I first made it, so I’ll add pictures when I make it again.


  • 1/2 cup of Della 4 Grain Rice Blend
  • 1 cup of water
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 or 3 dashes of nutmeg
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of rosemary
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • sea salt and mixed peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced and chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup of thin baby carrot slices
  • 1 and 1/2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 or 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup or more of walnuts (I like to leave them big)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup of ancient hard raisins (you can use fresh ones if you have them, but it’s a good way to use up ancient ones, as the steam plumps them back up)

Make rice

Follow directions on the bag of rice, adding sea salt, nutmeg, and rosemary.

Make veggies

  1. In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat (5 and a half out of 10), make a couple of swirls of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. (You can always add more later after tasting it.)
  2. As the oil heats, add onions and carrots and stir once in a while, adding zucchini as you chop it.
  3. Poke the veggies with a fork once in a while to test doneness, and when the zucchini is getting soft, add the broccoli and walnuts and raisins.
  4. Stir a bit until the zucchini begins to get a few brown spots and the onions are translucent, then cover with a lid to steam the broccoli for a few minutes. (I used the lid from my rice, which was smaller than the skillet, but gathered the broccoli under it.)
  5. Check the broccoli for bright-green tenderness and the raisins for miraculous plumpness, and then dump the whole shebang into the rice.
  6. Stir, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.

I was trying to duplicate the house salad at J. Liu (minus the bacon) and didn’t like the store-bought dressings I found at all. J. Liu calls theirs “sweet and sour vinaigrette,” and none of the varieties I’ve tried from the store can match it. So I was experimenting, and since I had opened a can of coconut milk for something else, thought I’d try that. Turns out it’s YUM! So here’s what I’ve come up with so far.


  • 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I ran out and used some canola, too)
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar (maybe less would do–it’s pretty strong)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (Kikkoman or other real soy–not la Choy)

Shake all ingredients in a bottle or jar with a good lid. It seems to emulsify pretty well and not separate like oil and vinegar. I think that’s a balsamic thing. Ah, no, Google reveals that it’s the honey. (Mustard also works.) Another interesting thing is that it’s not the vinegar that wilts the lettuce in your leftover salad–it’s the oil! If you’re interested, you can check it out here: The Food Lab.

Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed baby greens
  • Strawberries
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Candied pecans

I like to use a bowl with a lid (I found a cool melamine one at the Asian market that was pretty cheap) that I can shake the whole salad in. Oh man, it’s every bit as yum as the one at J. Liu, with an added hint of coconut flavor!

I made these for my mom for Mother’s Day, but judging by how many disappeared into the kids, they’re a hit all around!


I got Aldi’s new gluten free brownie mix, and added the cream cheese surprise! (I copied the cream cheese part from Bob’s Red Mill, and then realized the Aldi mix is four ounces smaller, and had to run out for a second box!) If you use another brand, just follow the instructions on the box for mixing up the brownies.

This made 24 cupcakes for me, and I filled them almost to the top. Brownies don’t rise a whole lot during baking. These are sooo rich that you could probably make them smaller, but no one left any behind.


  • 2 boxes of liveGfree Brownie Mix from Aldi (17 oz.)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c oil
  • 4 T water
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 package cream cheese (8 oz.)
  • about a third to a half bag of chocolate chips
  • 24 cupcake liners


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and put cupcake liners in muffin tins.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat one egg with the sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, water, and remaining eggs until blended.
  5. Add the two boxes of brownie mix to the mixing bowl and stir until just moistened.

Assemble and Bake

  1. Spoon about a generous tablespoon of brownie mix into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
  2. Top each with a generous tablespoon of cream cheese batter.
  3. Top each with another generous tablespoon of brownie mix.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes to half an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean (unless you hit a chocolate chip!)

I forgot to take a picture! I’ll go see if there are any left at Mom and Dad’s. 🙂










Ah spring, such as it is. (They’re predicting snow again.) I was feeling a little let down, knitting wise, with no more people wanting hats or slipper socks. I wasn’t in the mood to make more dishcloths. And then I spied my long abandoned scrapghan! I’ve got tons more colors to use up after a long (loooong) winter of knitting!

Of course, being me, I had to dig through a metric ton of yarn bands and yarn scraps and long lost needles and long lost pattern print-outs and long lost dishcloth cotton, and STILL couldn’t find the pattern I was using. Defeated, I came in to my computer to find the pattern (which I’m sure I’ve printed out several times) and when I found it under two names: Stained Glass Pram Blanket and Honeycomb Stroller Blanket, both of which have identical long-winded patterns, I decided I didn’t want to waste two or three sheets of paper (to lose again by next spring). So I made a shorthand version of the pattern with standard knitting notation, then decided that maybe other knitters might appreciate a tree-friendly and eye-friendly version, too! So here you go, a PDF to download and print out:


In case you want to see what it looks like before downloading, here it is, in all its simple glory. If you don’t already know the shorthand, K means knit, P means purl, wyib means with yarn in back, and wyif means with yarn in front. And the asterisk * means to repeat everything between the asterisks until you get to whatever you need to do to the right of the asterisk.

Oh, oops, I forgot to add my border to the sides. I just knit an extra five stitches on each side of every row.

Scrapghan in Shorthand

CO 100 (or multiple of 8 + 12)

Border:                 *K* six rows

Rows 1 and 2:    *K*
Row 3 (RS):         With color, K1, wyib slip 2, *knit 6, slip 2 wyib * K1
Row 4:                    P1, wyif slip 2, *P6, wyif slip 2 * P1
Rows 5, 6, 7, 8:  Repeat rows 3 and 4 two times
Rows 9 and 10:  Change to BLACK. *K*
Row 11:                    With next color, K5, wyib slip 2, *K6, wyib slip 2 * K5
Row 12:                  P5, wyif slip 2, *P6, wyif slip 2* P5
Rows 13-16:        Repeat rows 11 and 12 two times
Rows 17-218:     Repeat rows 1-16 twelve times. Repeat rows 1-10 one time.

Border:                 *K* six rows

Bind off. Weave in ends.


I sure wish I had the patience now to figure out which row I left off on…

Updated: I totally messed up the number of stitches to cast on (it was tiny) and only making the neat edge on one side, so I’m overhauling the pattern.

I’ve been playing around with the herringbone stitch, which I find too fiddly to want to make something that would take a long time, like a scarf, but it’s so cool that I like it in small doses. I tried a potholder, since it’s a thick, squishy knit, but it turned out vaguely rhomboid in shape (or cattywompus, to use the technical term). Here it is, while I was knitting it, arranged as un-cattywompusly as I could manage.


I remembered loving the thick, solid edges of the beard I use in my bearded hat with twirly mustachios, and thought it would make a nice border to stabilize the herringbone and give it more of a square shape. I also am too lazy to make something so “large” as a potholder at the moment, so I’ll try this out on some squishy, absorbent coasters.



Sl1 = slip one purlwise
K1 = knit one
P1 = purl one
HK2togTBL = knit two together through the back loops, only dropping the first stitch from the left needle
HP2tog = purl two together, only dropping the first stitch from the left needle
* … * = repeat whatever is inside the asterisks

Notes: With herringbone, you use bigger needles than you normally would for the thickness of yarn because it makes such a dense fabric. I normally use size 8 needles for dish cloths and coasters and such, so I bumped it up several sizes for these.

Video tips:

Herringbone Stitch from iknitwithcatfur
How to do a long-tail cast on


CO: 26 stitches using long tail cast on

Border Row 1: Sl1, Knit to last stitch, P1
Border Row 2: Same as Border Row 1

Row 1: Sl1, K2 * HK2togTBL only drop 1st stitch * K2, P1
Row 2: Sl1, K2 * HP2tog only drop 1st stitch * K2, P1

Repeat herringbone rows 1 and 2 six or seven times, then knit the border.

Border Row 1: Sl1, Knit to last stitch, P1
Border Row 2: Same as Border Row 1

And there you have it. Once I finish one, I’ll post how many times to repeat rows 1 and 2 and a picture of the finished product!

This is the result of my third doctoring of the recipe I got from the Gluten Free Goddess, African Bean Sweet Potato Soup. The first doctoring got rid of the bell peppers (blech) and all but the black beans, but now it’s a whole different animal with four-grain rice, more spices, and a cinnamon stick! It’s very thick and hearty, so I’m calling it stew now. I’ll add a picture next time I make it.


Spices Veggies & Liquids Stir Ins
1 T olive oil

1+ T Panang curry paste

1/2 t or 1 stick cinnamon

pinch cloves

pinch nutmeg

1/2 t crushed red pepper
2 t minced garlic

1 medium onion, diced

2 medium or 3 small sweet potatoes, diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 quart light broth

1/2 c peanut butter melted in 1/2 c hot water
4 Grain Rice, cooked

2 T cilantro, chopped

juice from one lime

1 T brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

cilantro for garnish

Heat Up Some Flavor

(and make your kitchen smell really good)

  1. Heat olive oil in a big stew pot and add all ingredients from the Spices column. Stir to infuse the oil (and the air around you) with spicy goodness.
  2. Add garlic and diced veggies. Cook on medium 5 to 7 minutes, stirring several times, until softened. At this point, the combined aromas of spices and sweet potatoes will make your mouth water.
  3. Stir in broth and peanut butter melt, heat to a high simmer, cover, and lower heat. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Stir in rice and cilantro and simmer another 5 minutes.
  5. Add lime juice, brown sugar, salt and pepper, warm through and serve garnished with cilantro.

This stuff smells and tastes so good! For some reason, the zucchini, having no real flavor of its own, tastes almost like baked apples in this recipe. The rice adds texture that makes it more of a stew than a soup. But the true heart of it is the combination of peanut butter, Thai spices, and sweet potatoes. Thank you, Gluten Free Goddess!