Healthy Gravy Recipe

Would you like a healthy alternative to the standard fattening gravy!

Purchase your favorite dried beans. I use dried white beans for the color.

Clean the beans as instructed on the package.

Sauté your favorite diced veggies (onion, celery, carrot, leak, parsnip, garlic) in olive oil. Add your favorite dried or fresh herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, bay leaf). Add dried beans. Add 2 cups of your favorite white wine. Add water to cover. Remove bay leaf if you used one.

Simmer until beans are fully cooked. This could take 1-2 hours. Follow package instructions.

Let cool for 30 minutes.

Put in a blender and puree.

You can now store 1-2 cup of puree in freezer bags. Mark and date each bag and freeze.

The next time you need gravy, use this as your base.

Thaw. Place in pot and add your favorite vegetable, beef or chicken stock (depending on what type of gravy you need) stirring until you achieve your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

No one will be able to tell that the gravy is actually beans and veggies. Little fat and so much healthier.


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Lamb Stew/Bolognaise


2-LB Ground Lamb

2-TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2-Cloves chopped Garlic

1-Medium Onion, diced

1-Small Zucchini, diced

1-Small Parsnip, diced

1-Cup Red Wine

1-28oz Can Diced Tomatoes

Salt & Pepper to Taste

Brown Lamb with 1 TBS. Olive Oil. Remove from pan. Sauté Garlic, Onion Zucchini and Parsnip in the remaining 1 TBS. of Olive Oil until translucent (about 5 minutes). Return Lamb to pan. Add Wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Add Diced Tomatoes. Simmer covered for 1 hour.

This will be more like a stew.

Serve in a bowl with shaved parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

To serve a bolognaise, just simmer for about 3 hours covered. Serve over your favorite pasta. Remember the shaved parmesan and crusty bread!

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Great Idea!

So you love fresh herbs and you love flowers.

Why not kill two birds with one stone! Fresh parsley to use and enjoy. But don’t stop there: what about fresh cilantro, basil, sage. You got it now….be creative….mix and match.



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North Star American Bistro

North Star

I was able to make reservations on-line. We walked in and there were people waiting but they took us immediately. The Bistro was at least 85% full. We were seated in a cozy booth. The waitress was there to take our drink order. The drinks were served quickly and she took our order. She knew all the specials and answered our questions with knowledge of the menu.

This is what I had and it was delicious. The veal was tender and the risotto was cooked perfectly.


Veal Ragu

Braised free range veal, caramelized onion and mushroom risotto. Arugula, parmesan and truffle salad. 19.95 GLUTEN FREE

My husband had one of the specials which was Pecan, Coconut Shrimp and I believe it was 14.95. He must of had at least 10 large encrusted succulent shrimp.

Please visit North Star Bistro in the BROOKFIELD LOCATION: 19115 W. Capitol Ave. #100 (Sendik’s Towne Centre) 262.754.1515

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Brown Sugar Drops


  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Sour Milk (add ½ TBS. to milk will make it sour milk)
  • 1 ¾ cup Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • ½ cup Raisins
  • ½ cup Maraschino Cherries-quartered


Preheat oven to 400°. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Mix in egg. Stir in milk, flour, baking soda and salt. Chill for one hour. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper covered baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.


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Christmas Pretzels

So I was at a fabric store and found these molds for pretzel rods. I invested about $2 for the molds and I always keep melting chocolate in my pantry so I thought what the heck.

My son and I created these today. It was quite easy to melt the chocolate (double boiler), mold, insert the pretzel rod, cover the back and then cool. They came out of the mold perfectly. Some breakage of the pretzel so we learned to be careful.

Fun and an easy project! Check out Joann Fabric for the molds.

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Mock Double Bake Potatoes


  • 3 Large Russet Potatoes cut in half, length wise
  • Garlic Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh Parsley or Chives
  • Sour Cream




Preheat oven to 325°.  Place halved potatoes in a microwave/oven proof baking dish. I use glass. Microwave until potatoes (skin side down) are al dente. Poke tops of potatoes with a fork in several spots, twisting to loosen potato flesh.

Place potatoes skin side down in baking dish. Sprinkle with olive oil; coat both sides. Sprinkle with garlic powder, black pepper and parmesan cheese. Bake until potatoes are cooked and slightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley or chives.

Serve with a dollop with sour cream.

This is a great way to serve potatoes in a pinch. I have been working a lot of hours and this is an awesome side dish.


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Cranberry-Ginger Relish


  • 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar


  1. In a large saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, ginger, and 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until most of the cranberries have popped, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar.
  2. Remove relish from heat. Let cool to room temperature, and serve.

This was given to me by my daughter Rebecca.

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Seasoning Guide

Seasoning Guide

Us e the following suggestions as a guide when working with herbs and spices.  Crush dried or chop/snip fresh herbs to release the essential oils before using. Use three times more fresh herbs than dried.


Allspice meats, egg dishes, poultry brines, soups, vegetables, fruits, desserts
Anise meats, carrots, beets, green beans, mixed vegetable salads, breads, cakes, cookies, pastries
Basil meats, poultry, fish stews, egg dishes, stuffing’s, vegetables, pasta salads and dressings, breads, dips, sauces
Bay Leaf corned beef, spaghetti  sauce, fish, soups, stews, dried bean dishes, gravies, marinades
Caraway meat  loaf,  pot roasts, stews, egg dishes, poultry stuffing, vegetables, salads, breads, dips, spreads
Cayenne (red pepper) Mexican dishes, soups, chili, dips, spreads, snack mixes. I add this to almost anything
Celery (salt, powder/seed) Roasts, stews, egg dishes, stuffing’s, salads, breads, sauces, relishes, spreads, Bloody Mary drinks!
Chili Powder meats, poultry, fish, chili, stews, egg dishes,  vegetables,  dressings croutons, spreads, dips
Cinnamon pork, beef, chicken, vegetables, fruits, salads dressings, breads, French toast, cookies, pastries, desserts, beverages
Cloves pork, lamb, ham,  vegetables, fruit salads and dressings, cakes, cookies, pastries, marinades
Curry Powder beef, pork, poultry, lamb, fish, egg dishes, seafood salads, vegetables, rice, fruit, sauces, salad dressings, dips, cheese spreads
Dill (weed/seed) beef, lamb, poultry, fish, seafood, egg dishes, vegetable salads and dressings, breads, sauces
Garlic beef, pork, poultry, lamb, fish, seafood, soups, stews, egg dishes, vegetables, sauces, dips, snack mixes, popcorn….and anything you can think of! yum
Ginger meats, poultry, vegetables, salad dressings and marinades, fruit, breads, desserts, cookies, pastries
Marjoram meats, poultry, fish, seafood, stews, casseroles, egg dishes, vegetables, salads, breads, gravies, sauces
Mint beef, lamb, poultry, fish, vegetables, salads and dressings, stewed fruits, marinades, sauces
Mustard corned beef, egg dishes, macaroni salads, sauerkraut, marinades, sauces, dips, salad dressings, pickles
Nutmeg egg dishes, sauces, desserts, cookies, pastries, breads, fruits
Oregano meats, fish, seafood, stews, casseroles, soups, egg dishes, vegetables
Rosemary meat, poultry, fish, stews, casseroles, egg dishes, vegetables, salads, breads
Saffron Poultry, fish, seafood, stews, casseroles, rice, breads, cakes
Tarragon Meats, poultry, fish, seafood, casseroles, stews, vegetables, salads and dressings, cheese spreads, gravies, sauces
Thyme Meats, meat loaves, poultry, fish, seafood, stews, casseroles, egg dishes, vegetables, salads, breads, sauces, spreads


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White Texas Sheet Cake

I recently used this recipe (given to me from my friend Theresa) for my nephews wedding rehearsal. It was a huge success. My pan is 12×17 so I increased this recipe by half. Use extra milk if frosting is too thick.



1 cup butter

1 cup water

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda


1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup milk

4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup chopped pecans


  1. In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup butter or margarine and water to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, 1 teaspoon almond extract, salt, and baking soda until smooth. Pour batter into a greased 10 x 15 x 1 inch baking pan.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 to 22 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and tests done. Cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup butter or margarine and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Mix in sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Stir in pecans. Spread frosting over warm cake.
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