Roasted Garlic Soup

Well, I’m sure you weren’t expecting to be home on a Wednesday but here you are. How about a nice Roasted Garlic soup recipe that will help boost your immune system & your mood! Keep everyone healthy & happy with this tasty soup!

Roasted Garlic Soup

Five entire bulbs of garlic roasted to perfection and incorporated in a creamy soup. You can stop at the puree stage, and refrigerate for up to one day before adding the cream and lemon juice.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: garlic, Gluten Free, vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Grandma Antionette


  • 5 bulbs garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee
  • 4 leeks chopped
  • 2 medium onion chopped
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour or Gluten free to make it GF
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian version
  • cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives Optional


  • Cut off top 1/4 inch of each garlic head. Place in a small, shallow baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Press individual garlic cloves between thumb and finger to release. Chop garlic.
  • Melt butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, leeks, and onion; saute until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add flour and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in hot broth and sherry and oregano. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
  • Puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor.
  • Return soup to saucepan, and add cream. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and white pepper. Garnish with chives.

Meatless Monday – Crockpot Eggplant Parmesan

Crockpot Eggplant Parmesan

This scrumptious Slow Cooker Eggplant Parmesan will have everyone thinking you spent all day in the kitchen. Set it, forget it then enjoy it!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 25 mins
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Cuisine: Comfort, Italian
Keyword: comfort food, crockpot, high protein, low carb, low fat, nut free, one dish meal, slowcooker, vegetarian
Servings: 12
Calories: 258kcal
Author: Grandma Antionette


  • Crockpot, Slow-cooker


  • 5 pounds eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs You can use Gluten Free bread crumbs to make the recipe GF.
  • 5 ounces Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese sliced or shredded
  • fresh basil for topping


  • Peel eggplant and cut into 1/3 inch rounds. Layer in a colander, sprinkling each layer with salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes and then pat dry.
  • Spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Whisk together the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Stir together breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl. Dip eggplant in egg mixture and then in the breadcrumbs.
  • Layer 1/3 of the slices in the slow cooker. Top with 1 cup sauce and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers two more times. Cook on low for eight hours.
  • When serving, top with fresh basil leaves.


Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 1380mg | Potassium: 678mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 775IU | Vitamin C: 9.1mg | Calcium: 317mg | Iron: 1.7mg


Looking for something fun to enjoy with the kids or grandkids this winter break? We’ve found a bunch of local places and activities that the kids will love, with many specials available for the break!

Deer Park

Deer Park


Garden City
Flushing –

Lake Grove
Mt. Sinai

Port Jefferson  –
Port Washington
Riverhead –


Deer Park
Port Jefferson

Crockpot Fajitas


We have a little recipe to put a smile on your face – Crockpot Fajitas! You can go meatless or meat them up with anything you like. The base stays the same, just add the protein of your choice set it, forget it and eat!

Hot delish fajitas will be awaiting your return!

Crockpot Fajitas

This Crockpot fajita recipe is super easy and can include whatever protein you like. Some prefer meatless with mushrooms, some like fish beef or chicken. The base recipe is the same but you can make this recipe yours.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time6 hrs 10 mins
Total Time6 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: crockpot, fajitas, low calorie, slowcooker, vegetarian
Servings: 6
Author: Grandma Antoinette


  • Crockpot


  • 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 3 bell peppers ideally 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green cored and sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion halved and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Protein options:

  • 2 lb chicken breast cut into strips
  • 2 cup portobello mushrooms sliced and peeled with the stems removed
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans


  • Pour half of the canned tomatoes into the bottom of a slow cooker and spread into an even layer. Top with half of the peppers and half of the onions. Sprinkle garlic in. Top with your choice of protein.
  • In a bowl whisk together chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper. Evenly sprinkle the seasoning over protein. Top with remaining half of the tomatoes, then layer in remaining peppers and onions.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH heat about 2 1/2 – 3 hours or low heat 4 – 6 hours.
  • In a small bowl whisk together lime juice and honey and add to slow cooker along with the protein and season with additional salt to taste if desired (I sometimes like to add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro too here but this is optional). Gently toss. Serve warm in warmed tortillas optional toppings.


Optional Toppings
Cilantro, sour cream, salsa, guacamole or sliced avocados, shredded Mexican cheese (optional)

9 Months in the womb. Weeks 15-18

As we follow Yolanda through her pregnancy, she talks about what she is experiencing during weeks 15 through 18. At this stage, the baby is around the size of a pomegranate, and you may be able to tell the sex of the baby. Some symptoms you may be dealing with include leg cramping and swelling of your legs and feet.

Instant Pot Chicken Marsala

Instant Pot Chicken Marsala

Incredibly juicy chicken cutlets cooked in mushroom and Marsala wine sauce. This flavorful dish comes together in your pressure cooker in less than 30 minutes! Fast & Fabulous!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Chicken, comfort food, high protein, Instant Pot, instapot
Servings: 4
Calories: 329kcal


  • Instant Pot


  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

The Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 8 oz. white or baby Bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup Heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water


  • Make sure that your stainless steel insert is in your Instant Pot. Press “saute” setting and wait 2 minutes.
  • Add oil and butter to your Instant Pot and let it melt.
  • Cut each chicken breast lengthwise, to make two cutlets. Season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.
  • Brown each chicken cutlet on each side. Remove onto a plate.
  • Add more butter to the Instant Pot. Add garlic, onion and mushrooms and saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  • Press “cancel/off” button. Add chicken stock and wine to vegetables. Stir well.
  • Place chicken in the sauce. Close the lid, set valve to “sealing” positions (the newer IP models do it on their own).
  • Make sure the IP is set to cook at HIGH pressure. Set timer to 7 minutes.
  • The IP will beep and it will start coming to pressure. That can take about 5 minutes.
  • Once the timer is done, press “cancel/off” button and let the Instant Pot release pressure naturally.
  • Once the pressure pin drops, carefully open the lid away from your face.
  • Remove the chicken and set on a plate.
  • Mix cornstarch with water, heavy cream and add to the sauce in the pot. Stir and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken.
  • Serve chicken with sauce over mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, rice or noodles.

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash in your Instant Pot yields a perfectly cooked squash—not mushy, but tender and holding its shape. Spaghetti squash is also a perfect base for so many sauces or just a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese as a side dish. At the market, look for squash that are about 3 lbs.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Cuisine: American
Keyword: diabetic, Gluten Free, heart healthy, Instant Pot, instapot, low carb, low fat, one dish meal, soy free, spaghetti squash, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4
Calories: 109kcal


  • Instant Pot


  • 1 3 lb spaghetti squash halved
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper


  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds.
  • Pour 1 cup water in the Instant Pot. Place a wire metal steam rack in pot. Arrange cut halves of squash on top of the steam rack. Put minced garlic on the inside center of the halved spaghetti squash.
  • Cover Instant Pot, and fasten the lid. Lock and seal the steam valve.
  • Set to HIGH pressure for 7 minutes. (The pot will take about 15 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
  • Allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then carefully release pressure by turning valve to VENT.
  • Remove lid, and, using tongs, drain accumulated liquid from squash halves. Using a fork, scrape out flesh into spaghetti-like strands in a bowl (should have 4 to 6 cups)
  • Add olive oil, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper, to squash and toss to coat. Serve hot.

Instant Pot French Onion Soup

Instant Pot French Onion Soup

Instant Pot French Onion Soup—A quick and easy way to make a classic French onion soup recipe in a power pressure cooker. Delicious every time!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: Chicken, Instant Pot, instapot
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 347kcal


  • Instant Pot


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 Large yellow onions — or Spanish onions halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 cloves garlic — minced about 2 teaspoons
  • 2 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine — such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 4 cartons Beef Bone Broth 8.25-ounce cartons
  • 4 cups Beef Stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 12 slices small baguette — cut about 3/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 lb sliced provolone Gruyère cheese — white cheddar fontina, and gouda, are also delicious


  • Turn the Instant Pot (or similar electric pressure cooker) to sauté. Add the butter and let melt. Once melted, add the onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Cook, stirring, until onions slightly soften and start to release liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons water. Cover and seal the Instant Pot, then set to cook on HIGH pressure (manual setting) for 20 minutes. Release pressure to vent immediately.
  • Remove the lid, then turn the Instant Pot back to sauté. Cook for 5 minutes until some of the liquid evaporates, then add the wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits that have collected on the bottom of the pot. Let simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the wine has evaporated. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaf.
  • Add the bone broth and stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the soup thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  • For the bread topping: When you’re ready to serve, preheat the oven broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyère. Broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, watching constantly towards the end so that the bread does not burn. Ladle the soup into bowls, then float the bread on top. Enjoy! Alternatively, if you have ovenproof bowls, you can ladle the soup into them first, top with each with a baguette slice and cheese, then arrange the bowls on a baking sheet and place the sheet under the boiler, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.

Instant Pot Parmesan Chicken & Potatoes

Instant Pot Parmesan Chicken & Red potatoes

This Instant Pot Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes recipe is an easy one-pot meal that the whole family will love. This is healthy comfort food at its finest and most delicious. Parmesan cheese over the chicken and potatoes on your plate is the final, delectable touch.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Chicken, Instant Pot, Potatoes
Servings: 4


  • Instant Pot


  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast Cubed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds baby red potatoes halved
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 clove garlic minced or chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  • Season chicken with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Select “sauté on high heat” on the Instant Pot and add the butter. Once hot, add the chicken and sauté for about 2 minutes on each side (will not be completely cooked).
  • Add the potatoes to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in chicken broth, garlic and thyme or rosemary. Secure the lid.
  • Select “Manual” and cook for 20 minutes on high pressure.
  • When cooking is complete, slow-release for about 10 minutes before releasing the rest of the pressure.
  • Transfer the chicken and potatoes to a platter. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan and garnished with parsley, if desired.

Meatless Monday – Crockpot Black Bean Soup

Crockpot Black Bean Soup

This Crockpot Black Bean Soup recipe is super easy to make, packed with protein, and it's super delicious! It also just so happens to be naturally vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. Woo Hooo
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal, Soup
Cuisine: Comfort, Mexican
Keyword: comfort food, Gluten Free, heart healthy, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 8


  • Crockpot


Main Ingredients

  • 1 large onion (yellow) chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers cored and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper cored and chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz cans)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Additional Garnish (Optional)


    • Combine all main ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker, and stir to combine.
    • Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until all of the vegetables are cooked and tender.
    • Remove the bay leaf.
    • Serve the soup warm, garnished with your desired toppings. Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

    Additional Options

    • use a blender or food processor to puree the soup completely (thick and smooth)
    • use a blender or food processor to puree about half of the soup (thick and smooth but still has texture)

    9 Months in the womb. Follow us throughout Yolanda’s pregnancy.

    Follow our Yolanda throughout her pregnancy as she talks about what she is experiencing. Here she talks about weeks 1 through 14. This is the start of the second trimester, where the pregnant mother may experience an increased appetite, varicose veins, and a stuffy nose.

    Stay tuned for the second trimester!

    -Dr. P

    Menorah Lighting & Hanukkah Celebrations on LI

    Menorah Lighting & Hanukkah Celebration

    1. Chanukah on Main Street Brightwaters
    Brightwaters Canal
    Brightwaters, NY 11718
    05:00 PM – 06:30 PM
    Sun, Dec 22, 2019

    2. Ronkonkoma’s 2019 Menorah Lighting
    at Raynor Beach County Park
    Ronkonkoma Ave.
    Ronkonkoma, NY 11777
    07:00 PM – 08:00 PM
    Sun, Dec 22, 2019

    3. Kings Park’s 2019 Menorah Lighting Ceremony
    at Kings Park Library
    Main Street/Route 25A
    Kings Park, NY 11754
    11:00 AM
    Sun, Dec 22, 2019

    4. St. James’ 2019 Menorah Lighting
    at The Triangle
    Route 25A and Lake Avenue
    St. James, NY 11780
    05:30 PM
    Dec 22, 2019 through Dec 29, 2019 (daily)
    Lightings will take place at 5:30 PM, except on Friday at 4:30 PM.

    5. Sayville’s 2019 Hanukkah Lighting
    at Sayville Chamber House
    175 N. Main Street
    Sayville, NY 11782
    06:30 PM – 07:00 PM
    Sun, Dec 22, 2019

    Christmas Tree Lightings all over the Island this weekend and next!

    2019 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting & Display

    Rockefeller Center – TONIGHT
    30 Rockefeller Plaza
    New YorkNY 10012
    Visit Website: Website.
    05:00 PM
    Dec 04, 2019

    Moriches’ 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

    at Center Square Shopping Center
    552 Montauk Highway
    Center Moriches, NY 11934
    Visit Website: Website.
    07:00 PM
    Fri, Dec 06, 2019

    Tree Lighting Ceremony at Mary Jane Davies Green, Manhasset

    at Mary Jane Davies Green
    Plandome Road
    Manhasset, NY 11030
    Visit Website: Website.
    04:00 PM – 05:00 PM
    Fri, Dec 06, 2019

    Orient Beach State Park’s 2019 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

    at Orient Beach State Park
    40000 Main Road
    Orient, NY 11957
    Visit Website: Website.
    06:30 PM
    Fri, Dec 06, 2019

    Annual Brookhaven Town Tree Lighting, Holtsville

    at Holtsville Ecology Site
    249 Buckley Road
    Holtsville, NY 11742
    Visit Website: Website.
    06:00 PM – 07:00 PM
    Fri, Dec 06, 2019

    The Maidstone Hotel’s 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony, East Hampton

    at The Maidstone Hotel
    207 Main St.
    East Hampton, NY 11937
    Visit Website: Website.
    05:00 PM – 07:00 PM
    Sat, Dec 07, 2019

    9th Annual Patriotic Holiday Tree Lighting, Nesconset

    at 316 Smithtown Boulevard
    Nesconset, NY
    Visit Website: Website.
    05:00 PM
    Sat, Dec 07, 2019

    Kings Park’s 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

    at Kings Park Library
    Main Street/Route 25A
    Kings Park, NY 11754
    Visit Website: Website.
    04:30 PM
    Sat, Dec 07, 2019

    Freeport Holiday Boat Parade & Tree Lighting

    Woodcleft ave
    Freeport, NY 11520
    Visit Website: Website
    05:00 PM – 11:00 PM
    Sat, Dec 07, 2019

    Grace Tree Lighting at Grace Episcopal Church, Massapequa

    23 Cedar Shore Dr.
    Massapequa, NY 11758
    Visit Website: Website.
    05:00 PM
    Sat, Dec 7, 2019

    Annual Train Car Tree Lighting and Visit with Santa, Port Jefferson Station

    Terryville Chamber Train Car Park
    1003 Rt 112
    Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776
    Visit Website: Website.
    06:00 PM – 08:00 PM
    Sat, Dec 07, 2019

    2019 Christmas Tree Lighting at Deepwells, St. James

    at Deepwells Farm County Park
    Route 25A and Moriches Road
    St. James, NY 11780
    Visit Website: Website.
    04:30 PM
    Sat, Dec 07, 2019

    Belmont Lake State Park’s 2019 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, West Babylon

    at Belmont Lake State Park
    Southern State Parkway, Exit 38
    West Babylon, NY 11703
    Visit Website: Website.
    04:15 PM
    Sat, Dec 07, 2019

    Bellport Village’s 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony

    at Bellport Village
    Bellport Lane
    Bellport, NY 11713
    Visit Website: Website.
    06:00 PM Sat
    Dec 07, 2019

    Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery’s 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony

    at Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium
    1660 Route 25A
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
    Visit Website: Website.
    05:00 PM – 07:00 PM
    Sat, Dec 07, 2019.

    Nesconset’s 2019 Holiday Lighting – Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting

    at Gazebo Park
    127 Smithtown Blvd
    Nesconset, NY 11767
    Visit Website: Website.
    02:00 PM – 04:30 PM
    Sun, Dec 08, 2019

    Medford’s 2019 Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting

    at Medford Memorial Park
    Route 112
    Medford, NY 11763
    Visit Website: Website.
    04:00 PM
    Sun, Dec 08, 2019

    Stony Brook Village’s 2019 Holiday Tree Lighting

    at Stony Brook Village Center
    111 Main Street
    Stony Brook, NY 11790
    Visit Website: Website.
    05:30 PM
    Sun, Dec 08, 2019

    OLA Knights of Columbus Children’s Christmas Parade, Copiague

    at Great Neck Road/OLA
    1400 Great Neck Road
    Copiague, NY 11726
    Visit Website: Website.
    06:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    Fri, Dec 13, 2019

    15th Annual Tree Lighting at Planting Fields, Oyster Bay

    at Planting Fields Arboretum
    1395 Planting Fields Rd.
    Oyster Bay, NY 11771
    Visit Website: Website.
    06:00 PM – 08:00 PM
    Fri, Dec 13, 2019


    -Dr. P

    Christmas Time Bucket List

    Happy snowy Tuesday!
    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas out there, so we put together a little “Christmas Time Bucket List” to help keep you organized this holiday season.

    Week 10 – Crockpot Apple Cider

    Crockpot Apple Cider From Scratch

    Today’s recipe for homemade slow cooker apple cider might seem like a lot of work but it's super easy. It’s made 100% from scratch and has been one of my favorite entertaining recipes over the past few years. Don’t believe me, try it for yourself!
    Prep Time20 mins
    Cook Time6 hrs
    Total Time6 hrs 20 mins
    Course: Drinks
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: apple cider, apples, crockpot, slow cooker
    Servings: 10 Cups
    Calories: 125kcal


    • Slow Cooker


    • 8 gala apples quartered or any apples you have on hand Remove the core
    • 1 orange sliced leave the rind on
    • 4 sticks cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
    • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
    • 10 cups water
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar


    • Place your quartered apples into a slow cooker.
    • Add in cinnamon sticks, orange, whole cloves, and allspice in there and pour in the 10 cups of water.
    • Cook on high for 3 hours.
    • After 3 hours, mash the apples with a potato masher.
    • Add in brown sugar and cook an additional 1-3 hours on low.
    • Using a cheesecloth, strain the solids from the liquids.
    • Discard solids and store liquids in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for later use.
    • Enjoy!

    This Not That Thursday – Skip the Bread, Veggie Stuffing recipe

    Skip the Bread, Veggie Stuffing recipe

    If the group you're feeding on Thanksgiving Day has someone who is vegetarian, gluten-free or following a low-carb special diet, this is the stuffing recipe you’ll need to make the day perfect!
    Skip the carb-filled stuffing and have extra turkey 😉
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time40 mins
    Total Time1 hr
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: American, Thanksgiving
    Keyword: comfort food, Gluten Free, low calorie, low carb, low fat, stuffing
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 90kcal


    • large skillet


    • 4 tbsp. butter
    • 2 meduim onion chopped
    • 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
    • 2 stalks celery chopped or thinly sliced
    • 1 medium head cauliflower chopped
    • 1 cup 8-oz. package baby bella mushrooms chopped
    • 1 tsp Kosher salt add more to your tase
    • 1 tbsp Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
    • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped rosemary
    • 1 tbsp. freshly chopped sage or 1 tsp. ground sage
    • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth


    • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until soft, 7 to 8 minutes.
    • Add cauliflower and mushrooms and then season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.
    • Add parsley, rosemary, and sage and stir until combined. Pour over broth and cook until totally tender and liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes.
    • Serve hot and enjoy!

    Week 9 – Crockpot 4 Cheese Spinach Artichoke dip

    Crockpot Four-Cheese Spinach & Artichoke Dip

    If you’re looking for a great holiday appetizer, this serves a ton of people and is super yummy! 
    I love the combination of these two simple vegetables into a creamy dip. The recipe I’m sharing today is leagues above the recipes I’ve made in the past, taking spinach and artichokes from simple to extraordinary thanks to the addition of the 4 cheese blend. You are welcome!
    Prep Time20 mins
    Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
    Total Time3 hrs
    Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: artichoke, comfort food, crockpot, slow cooker, slowcooker, spinach
    Servings: 16


    • Crockpot


    • 1 jar 12 ounces roasted sweet red peppers
    • 1 jar 6-1/2 ounces marinated quartered artichoke hearts
    • 1 bag 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese cubed
    • 6 ounces cream cheese softened and cubed
    • 1 ⅓ cup feta cheese crumbled
    • 1 ⅓ cup provolone cheese shredded
    • 1/3 cup fresh basil minced
    • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 3 cloves garlic minced


    • Drain peppers, reserving 1 tablespoon liquid; chop peppers.
    • Drain artichokes, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid; coarsely chop artichokes.
    • In a 3-qt. slow cooker combine spinach, cheeses, basil, onion, mayonnaise, garlic, artichoke hearts, and peppers.
    • Stir in reserved pepper and artichoke liquids. Cook, covered, on high 2 hours.
    • Stir dip; cook, covered, until cheese is melted, 30-60 minutes longer.
    • Stir before serving; serve with crackers.

    Week 8 – Crockpot Maple Pork Ribs

    Crock Pot Maple Pork Ribs

    Skip the same old boring barbecue sauce and opt for a maple dijon syrup glaze to slick up these pork ribs. These tender ribs are slow-cooked in a luscious maple-mustard sauce.
    Easy peasy and finger lickin good!!!
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time5 hrs
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: crockpot, maple, ribs, slow cooker, slowcooker
    Servings: 4
    Calories: 428kcal
    Author: Grandma Antoinette


    • Crock Pot


    • 2 pound boneless country-style pork ribs trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
    • 4 teaspoons canola oil
    • 2 medium onion sliced and separated into rings
    • 4 cups maple syrup
    • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard or spicy brown if you prefer


    • In a large skillet, brown ribs in oil on all sides; drain.
    • Place ribs and onion in a 1-1/2-qt. slow cooker.
    • Combine syrup and mustard; pour over ribs.
    • Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 5-6 hours.

    Week 7 – Crockpot Chicken and Vegetables

    Crockpot Chicken with Vegetables

    Even a beginner cook could make this crockpot chicken and have it turn out perfectly. This recipe could not be easier. A few minutes of prep and you’ll come home to a deliciously cooked chicken with veggies on the side.
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time7 hrs
    Total Time7 hrs 15 mins
    Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: Chicken, comfort food, crockpot, Gluten Free, one dish meal, slowcooker
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 329kcal
    Author: Grandma Antoinette


    • Crockpot, Slow-cooker


    • 3 Medium Carrots peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 2 Ribs Celery and cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 2 Medium Onions halve 1 and slice the other
    • 8 Small Red Potatoes quartered
    • 1 Teaspoon Salt divided
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper divided
    • 1 Medium Lemon halved
    • 6 Cloves Garlic (I leave them whole since my kids don’t eat them)
    • 1 3/4 Lb broiler/fryer chicken
    • 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary crushed
    • 1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
    • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
    • 2 Teaspoons Paprika


    • Place carrots, celery, 3 cloves of garlic, sliced onions, and potatoes in a 6-qt. slow cooker; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
    • Place lemon halves, onion halves and 3 garlic cloves in the chicken cavity.
    • Tuck wings under the chicken and tie drumsticks together. Place the chicken over the vegetables in the slow-cooker, breast side up.
    • Mix together rosemary, lemon juice, oil, paprika and remaining salt in small bowl; rub all over the chicken.
    • Cook, covered, on low until a thermometer inserted in thigh reads at least 170° and vegetables are tender, 6-8 hours.
    • Let stand 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the vegetables.

    Week 6 – Crockpot Shredded French Dip Sandwiches

    Week 6 – Crockpot Shredded French Dip Sandwiches

    Shredded French Dip Sandwiches

    Nothing says “comfort food” like the aroma of a warm roast wafting through your home. These Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches are a perfectly satisfying and easy dinner option for this rainy Halloween night. The contrast of the crusty French bread and the tender, juicy meat brings this sandwich to the next level.
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time6 hrs
    Total Time6 hrs 15 mins
    Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: comfort food, crockpot, french dip, high protein, slow cooker
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 397kcal
    Author: Grandma Antoinette


    • Slow Cooker


    • 1 3 lb Boneless beef chuck roast Trimmed
    • 1 Can 10-1/2 ounces condensed French onion soup, undiluted
    • 1 Can 10-1/2 ounces condensed beef consomme, undiluted
    • 1 Can 10-1/2 ounces condensed beef broth, undiluted
    • 8 to 10 French or Italian rolls split


    • Halve roast and place in a 3-qt. slow cooker.
    • Combine the soup, consomme, broth, and bouillon; pour over roast.
    • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
    • Remove meat and shred with 2 forks.
    • Serve on rolls.
    • Skim fat from cooking juices; serve juices on the side for dipping.

    This, Not That, Thursday – DIY Indoor Herb Garden

    Good afternoon lovely people. 

    We have something special for you today! Our “This, Not That, Thursday” is about indoor herb gardens. An indoor herb garden is a great way to have fresh herbs all year long and in almost any climate. Plus if you grow them from organic non-GMO seeds, you’ll know you’ve got the best of the best for your family.

    Savor the flavor of your favorite herbs and add a bright bit of green to your kitchen when you bring your herb garden inside. If you have a sunny windowsill with at least four hours of sunshine a day, you have everything you need for a flourishing garden full of herbs such as mint, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

    There’s no benefit to growing herbs you aren’t going to use. Start with the ones you use often. If you’re still not sure which to grow, here are some ideas:

    Rosemary – This herb is spicy and warm and great paired with beef, lamb, or chicken. Rosemary is also helpful for keeping rodents and mosquitoes away.

    Thyme – Thyme is most often used as a spice in culinary uses and its aromatic and rich flavor is perfect for soups, stews, and marinades.

    Oregano – Oregano is often used in Greek and Italian food (especially tomato dishes).

    Mint – Mint is a tasty herb that adds some freshness to any dish (especially lamb!).

    Basil – Most well known as the main ingredient in pesto, basil is a delicious and mild herb.

    Sage – Sage is a great herb to add to pork or turkey sausage and combines well with any other herb on this list.

    You can start your herb garden from seeds, or to get a quick start, you can purchase established herb plants from your local garden center or grocery store. When you purchase established plants you won’t have to wait long until the plants are mature enough for harvesting fresh herbs when you need them.

    -Dr. P

    Week 5 – Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

    Love chicken dinners? Love slow cooker meals? Love Italian food? Then you will LOVE our slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe! This amazing chicken cacciatore is packed with protein and vegetables that are slowly cooked for maximum flavor and minimal work. Set it & forget it!

    Set it, forget it, then serve it up hot!

    Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

    Love chicken dinners? Love slow cooker meals? Love Italian food? Then you will LOVE this slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe! This amazing chicken cacciatore is packed with protein and vegetables that are slowly cooked for maximum flavor and minimal work.
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time7 hrs
    Total Time7 hrs 15 mins
    Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
    Cuisine: Italian
    Keyword: Chicken, crockpot, Gluten Free, high protein, low calorie, slowcooker
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 207kcal
    Author: Grandma Antoinette


    • Slow Cooker


    • 2 Medium Yellow onions thinly sliced
    • 1 3/4 Lbs broiler/fryer chicken cut up and skin removed
    • 3 Cloves Garlic minced
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 can 14-1/2 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 can 8 ounces tomato sauce
    • 1 can 4 ounces mushroom stems and pieces, drained, or 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
    • 1/3 cup white wine or water


    • Serve with Pasta or Gluten Free Pasta for a GF version.


    • Place onions in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Add the chicken, seasonings, tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms, and wine.
    • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve chicken with sauce over your pasta choice.


    Nutrition Facts
    1 serving (calculated without pasta): 207 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 73mg cholesterol, 787mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 27g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 2 vegetable.

    This, Not That, Thursday – DIY Natural Cat Treats

    Hello again! Since many of today’s cat treats are full of preservatives and chemicals, why not make them yourself? That’s why this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” is on DIY Natural Cat treats. It’s relatively easy and quick, and, best of all, you know what kitty is eating!

    DIY Natural cat treats

    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time15 mins
    Total Time30 mins
    Course: Snack
    Keyword: cat treats


    • food processer


    • 1 5 oz can tuna in water, drained
    • ½ cup oat flour*
    • ½ cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 heaping tablespoon catnip


    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
    • Combine all ingredients in a food processer with the blade attachment.
    • Blend until mixture is smooth.
    • Roll into small ½ teaspoon balls and place onto the parchment. Press a finger each ball to flatten slightly
    • Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are slightly browned. Cool completely before surprising your kitty with a treat made just for them!


    To make your own oat flour, simply grind old-fashioned oats in a clean coffee grinder until transformed into a light powder.

    Week 4 – Heavenly Crockpot Potato Soup

    Slow Cooker Heavenly Potato Soup

    Grandma Antoinette's Potato Soup loaded with chunks of tender, hearty potatoes and made with a rich and creamy soup base. This soup is a family favorite and for good reason – it’s easy to make and absolutely delicious! Top it with cheese and bacon and no one will be able to resist.
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time8 hrs 30 mins
    0 mins
    Total Time9 hrs
    Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: comfort food, crockpot, low calorie, one dish meal, slowcooker
    Servings: 12
    Calories: 179kcal
    Author: Grandma Antionette


    • Slow Cooker


    Main Ingredients

    • 8 Cups Diced Russet potatoes
    • 48 Ounces Chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian version
    • 1 10oz Can Condensed Cream of Chicken soup, undiluted or Cream of Celery soup for vegetarian version
    • 1/2 Cup Chopped yellow onion
    • 1 Large Carrot diced
    • 1 Stalk Celery diced
    • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
    • ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
    • 1 8oz Package of cream cheese – Cubed


    • ½ Lb Sliced bacon cooked and crumbled (Omit for vegetarian version)
    • Minced chives
    • Shredded Cheddar cheese


    • In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine all the main ingredients EXCEPT the Cream Cheese.
      Cover and cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or until potatoes are tender.
    • Add cream cheese; stir until blended. Serve immediately & enjoy.
    • Garnish with bacon, cheese & chives if desired.


    Nutrition Facts
    1 cup (calculated without bacon): 179 calories,
    9g fat (5g saturated fat),
    25mg cholesterol,
    787mg sodium,
    21g carbohydrate
    (2g sugars, 2g fiber),
    4g protein.

    This, Not That, Thursday – Bat Houses for Organic Pest Control

    Did you know that a single little brown bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour

    One gray bat will munch on 3,000 insects in a night. I don’t know about you, but those statistics make these little nighttime flyers pretty popular with me. Would you like to attract some bats to your homestead for natural, non-toxic organic pest control?

    The first way to get the little critters interested in your yard is to leave a dead tree if you happen to have one. Some dead trees can pose a problem if they are close to your house or other structures, but if you have a tree that can be left on your property, chances are the bats will eventually move in. The bark that loosens up and pulls away from the trunk when a tree dies provides a perfect little crevice for bats, who love to squeeze into small spaces.

    If you’re like most people and having a dead tree on your property is not an option. The next best choice is to install a bat house. If you are handy and want to try building your own bat house, here is a link on DIY Bat house plans If you’d rather purchase a ready-made bat house, those are also available online, amazon sells them for $25-$60. You may want to visit the website for Bat Conservation International. You’ll find bat house plans, ready-made houses, and all kinds of fascinating bat information.

    Now, onto where to place your Bat house. They are best located near a permanent source of water, especially a marsh, lake or river, which is by far the most likely to attract bats. They should be hung roughly 12–15 feet above the ground, where their approach is unobstructed by vegetation or utility wires and they are sheltered as much as possible from the wind. A bat house can be placed on a tree or pole, although those attached to the side of a building have had the most success because they provide temperature stability.

    Since appropriate temperature may determine how (or even if) your bat house is used, you may wish to consider several factors before mounting it. Lower temperatures, due to higher altitude or latitude, require that bat houses intended for use by nursery colonies be oriented to receive maximum sun, especially in the morning (southeast exposure). Another way to gain heat absorption is to add tar paper or dark-colored shingles to the Bat house roof. Even in hot climates, bat houses should be positioned to receive morning sun

    No matter if they are summer residents only or hang out all year long, it is well worth your time and effort to attract them to your homestead by installing one or more bat houses on or near your home. Encourage other community members to do the same. You’ll enjoy the natural pest protection that they will happily provide you and your family.

    Week 3 – Crockpot Rosemary Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

    Crockpot Rosemary Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

    This is one of my weekend favorites. 2-3 hrs in the slow cooker and before you know it, a superbly delicious, soul-warming meal. I use this when I have leftover chicken handy, usually grilled chicken or leftover rotisserie minus the skin. Skip the chicken and rosemary and you've got yourself a wonderful vegetarian mushroom risotto! Either way, enjoy 😉
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time2 hrs 45 mins
    Total Time3 hrs
    Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal, Side Dish
    Cuisine: American, Comfort, Italian
    Keyword: crockpot, one dish meal, risotto, slowcooker
    Servings: 8
    Author: Grandma Antoinette


    • Crockpot


    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 cups precooked chicken skinless
    • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms about 8 oz
    • 1/3 cup chopped onion
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 3/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup dry white wine or additional chicken broth
    • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon Rosemary or a few fresh sprigs
    • Asiago or parmesan cheese shreds optional
    • Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves optional


    • In a large skillet saute mushrooms, onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat . Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly browned and liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally.
    • Add in rice, stirring to coat for 2 minutes.
    • Dump the rice mixture to a 4-quart crockpot. Stir in broth, chicken, wine, and pepper.
    • Cover and cook – low-heat setting about 2 hours and 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
    • Top with cheese and/or parsley. Serve immediately.


    Cooking times may vary a little depending on slow cooker brands. Some run  hotter than others. For this recipe, I used Crock-Pot.

    Week 2 – Crockpot Sweet & Sour Pot Roast

    In honor of Rosh Hashanah, this week’s Crockpot recipe is a flavorful pot roast for a delightful family dinner. (Brisket can be used if you prefer).

    The rules are simple: Get a good piece of meat from your butcher, season it, cover it with liquid or sauce, and cook a long time over low heat. You’ll need to have this on for about 7-8 hours but it will be worth it!
    L’shana tova umetukah

    Crockpot Sweet & Sour Pot Roast

    The rules are simple: Get a good piece of meat from your butcher, season it, cover it with liquid, and cook a long time over low heat.
    Prep Time30 mins
    Cook Time8 hrs
    Total Time8 hrs 30 mins
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American, Jewish
    Keyword: Gluten Free, nut free
    Servings: 8


    • Crockpot


    • 3 pound pot roast
    • 2 large onions
    • 6 large carrots cut thin
    • 5 stalks celery chopped
    • 8 cloves garlic chopped
    • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
    • 6 Tbsp of cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 3/4 cup beef stock
    • 3/4 cup red wine
    • A handful of fresh cut herbs – parsley and tarragon


    • Heat up a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle all sides of your pot roast with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Add pot roast to the sauté pan and brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). When pot roast is browned, add to crockpot.
    • In same skillet, add a touch more oil and sauté onions, celery, carrots, and garlic for about 5-10 minutes, cooking the vegetables just a touch.
    • Meanwhile in a measuring cup add wine, stock, brown sugar, ketchup, and vinegar. Whisk and set aside.
    • When vegetables are done add cranberries and cook for another minute. Pour in the wine mixture and add herbs, bring to a boil.
    • Carefully pour vegetables and sauce over pot roast, cook high 4-6 hours or on low 8-10 hours.
    • When done, take out the meat, let it cool for 5 minutes or until it’s easy to handle, cut, plate and spoon some vegetables over with a touch of gravy.


    Side note: This pot roast can be cooked a day in advance; let the meat and vegetables cool in the crockpot in their juices, and then cover and refrigerate. Reheat, covered on high, about 30 minutes.

    -Dr. P

    This, Not That, Thursday – Using Apple Peels & Cores

    Apples! Did someone say apples? This week “This, Not That Thursday” is all about saving those apple peels and cores.

    Every fall we take at least one trip to an apple orchard near us. They have family-friendly activities, wonderful local canned goods for sale, and of course, apples. So many apples! Plain apples, apples to make applesauce, pies, crisps and the “mother” of them all… Apple Cider Vinegar

    When making any of the above you will probably peel & core some of those apples but did you know you can use the peels and the cores to make apple cider vinegar? This way you have virtually no waste! WINNER!

    It is also totally possible to make apple cider vinegar from the whole apple so don’t worry if you don’t have leftover peels and cores from anything.

    There are several more elaborate ways to make apple cider vinegar at home, but today I’m gonna show you how to make it from apple scraps. I especially like this method since it allows me to use the apples for other stuff while still making a valuable product from the “waste”.


    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time5 d
    Total Time5 d 10 mins
    Course: Snack
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: dairy free, Gluten Free, heart healthy, low calorie, low carb, low fat, low sodium, nut free, soy free, vegan, vegetarian
    Author: Grandma Antoinette


    • One quart jar
    • One canning lid ring OR a rubber band
    • Coffee filter OR paper towel


    • 5-6 Large apples Apple peels & cores any browning/discolored flesh from organic apples
    • 2-2 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar I like Turbinado raw sugar
    • 2-2 1/2 cups water boiled and allowed to cool


    • Cover the bottom of your jar with apple scraps, filling no more than 3/4 full. The apples need room to expand and stay submerged.
    • Add 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar and 2 cups of filtered water to the jar. The apples should be completely submerged. Mold can grow on any portions of apples that are not covered and ruin your batch of vinegar. If your scraps float to the top of the jar add a smaller jar on top to keep them submerged.
    • 3.Stir the apples, sugar, and water and cover with a coffee filter. Secure with a canning band, or a rubber band.
    • Allow apples to sit in a warm, dark place for 2 weeks. Above the refrigerator or on the top shelf of a cupboard are great places. Just don’t forget you put it there!
    • After 2 weeks, you might notice some fizz or bubbles. That’s good news! Strain out the apple pieces and compost. Cover the apple cider vinegar again with a coffee filter and canning band. Allow continuing to sit at room temperature for another 2-4 weeks.
    • The vinegar may become cloudy or a SCOBY could form on the top, both of which are normal. Taste test the vinegar once a week until it’s to your liking. You can stop the fermentation process by replacing the coffee filter with a canning lid and storing it in the refrigerator.
    • Use your homemade vinegar just like you would store-bought vinegar– for cooking, cleaning and everything in between


    Tip: You don’t HAVE to use a quart-sized jar, but it’s what I readily have available. Feel free to use whatever size jar you have on hand. If you use a different size jar, the ratio is 1 Tbsp sugar per 1 cup water.
    NOTE: About preserving and pickling with homemade vinegar: It’s generally recommended that you do NOT use homemade vinegar for any sort of preservation. In order to ensure the safety of your home canned products, you need a vinegar with an acetic acid level of 5%. Since most of us don’t have a way to check the levels of our homemade vinegar, it’s best just to skip using it for canning or preserving– better safe than sorry!
    NOTE: You want the peels to be from apples that have been scrubbed very, very well. Organic apples are preferred, but simply buy the best you can afford and wash them very well. Secondly, it’s okay to use brown or bruised apples. However, it is NOT okay to use moldy or rotten apples.

    Week 1 – Crockpot Apple crisp

    Crockpot Apple Crisp

    This Crockpot Apple Crisp is a perfect way to use some of the apples you got while apple picking out east! This super easy dessert is bursting with juicy apples, brown sugar, and a buttery oat crumble topping, just like grandma used to make.
    Prep Time30 mins
    Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
    Total Time4 hrs
    Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: soy free
    Servings: 8 People
    Calories: 366kcal
    Author: Grandma Antoinette


    • Crockpot


    The Apple Mixture:

    • 8 Granny Smith apples (Or what you have on hand) peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
    • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon salt

    The Crisp Topping:

    • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
    • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
    • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    • teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup cold unsalted butter cut into cubes


    Apple mixture:

    • Place sliced apples in the slow cooker. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir. (Be sure to use a non-metal spoon so as not to scratch your slow cooker insert.) Let sit while you prepare the crisp topping.

    Crisp Topping:

    • Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the oat mixture until the mixture starts to clump together.
    • Back to the apple mixture, stir one more time and then spread apples out into an even layer. Now, sprinkle on the crisp topping evenly.
    • Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 3-3½ hours, until apples, are soft. Turn off heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving (keeping the lid on).
      We serve it with vanilla ice cream, but you can use any flavor you like. Enjoy!


    Nutrition Information
    Serving size: ⅛ recipe
    Calories: 366kcal
    Fat: 13g
    Saturated fat: 7g
    Carbohydrates: 64g
    Sugar: 42g
    Sodium: 158mg
    Fiber: 7g
    Protein: 4g
    Cholesterol: 31mg

    -Dr. P

    This, Not That, Thursday – DIY Aloe Vera Gel

    It is easy to make aloe vera gel at home. All you need is a few healthy leaves of the aloe vera plant. If you have an aloe vera plant at home or in your garden, then you are lucky! Aloe vera gel is an excellent all-natural healer for skin issues such as sunburn, rashes, acne, among others. Aloe vera gel is also known to promote healthy hair growth. You can even preserve the gel for a month by adding natural preservatives.

    How to make Aloe Vera Gel

    Make your very own natural healer and skin cleanser!

    Prep Time 30 mins – Total Time 30 mins

    Appliance Needed: Blender, Refrigerator Serving size: 1 cup


    • 2 aloe vera leaves
    • 500 mg vitamin C (optional)
    • 400 IU vitamin E (optional)


    1. If you have access to an aloe vera plant, take a sharp knife and cut off a leaf from the outside of the plant, close to its base. They are usually more mature and contain plenty of gel. If your plant is too young, make sure you do not cut off too many leaves at once. Aloe vera leaves are also available in supermarkets in the produce section. You can usually get 1/2 a cup of gel from 1 mature aloe vera leaf.
    2. Wash the leaves under cold running water to remove any dirt on the skin.
    3. Place the leaves upright in a bowl to let any white or yellow resin to drain off. This can cause irritation to the skin.
    4. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin of the aloe vera leaf on one side. You will see the sticky gel underneath.
    5. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the gel. Collect the gel in a clean glass container and make sure you do not get any pieces of the leaf skin in it.
    6. If you have collected a lot of gel and want to preserve it, you can mix it with natural preservatives. In a blender, add aloe vera gel and vitamin C or vitamin E capsules. For every 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel, you can either add 500 mg of vitamin C or 400 IU vitamin E. The foamy gel should be put in a clean, airtight glass jar. It will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 months.
    7. You can also use fresh aloe vera gel to make a nourishing aloe vera juice or add it to smoothies.


    Consider growing an aloe vera plant in your home as they are low-maintenance plants and grow easily. Aloe is generally safe for most people, but if you have an underlying health condition or take medicines or use herbs, talk to your doctor before using aloe as it could react with other medications and substances.

    -Dr. P

    Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

    Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

    "This is a creamy variation of a family classic. The Cream cheese addition takes it to the next level. Serve over hot, cooked egg noodles to complete this easy peasy dinner ."
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time8 hrs
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: high protein, nut free, soy free
    Servings: 4
    Calories: 376kcal
    Author: Grandma Antoinette


    • Slow Cooker


    • 1 pound cubed beef stew meat
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 4 ounces cream cheese


    • In a slow cooker, combine the meat, soup, onion, Worcestershire sauce and water.
    • Cook on Low setting for 8 hours, or on High setting for about 5 hours.
    • Stir in cream cheese just before serving.


    Nutrition Facts
    Per Serving: 376 calories;
    27.3 g fat;
    9.5 g carbohydrates;
    22 g protein;
    97 mg cholesterol;
    711 mg sodium

    This, Not That, Thursday – Beeswax Wraps

    On this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday,” we want to discuss beeswax wraps. Last week we touched on DIY reusable snack bags to move away from disposable plastic, so this week we’re focusing on plastic cling wrap.

    If you’re like me, there’s probably no love lost between you and plastic. Most food-related plastics – including cling wrap and so-called “BPA-free” containers – “can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen”* 

    Fortunately, there are so many amazing alternatives available like leakproof glass containers and silicone stretchable lids that stretch to fit a variety of container sizes, and of course beeswax wraps!

    When you pack your own lunch every day (maybe your kids’ too), it might feel like you’re always adding cling wrap to your grocery list… enter beeswax wraps. The pliable covers fold up around foods and cover bowls of leftovers. They rinse clean with cold water and mild soap (hot water would melt the wax!) and you can reuse them time and time again.

    These bee-autiful storage solutions sell for about $18 for a pack of three on Amazon, but if you’re feeling crafty, they’re super easy to DIY. Either way, you’ll easily recoup the cost by buying fewer sandwich bags and plastic wrap. If you use three plastic bags per day and a box of 150 costs about $10, you’re already spending more than $70 per year on something most people just throw away after one use.

    These beeswax food wraps are not hard to make, but they do take a little bit of time, so plan ahead for that. This recipe makes four wraps, but it’s easy to double the recipe if you want to make more.

    Cut the muslin cloth to whatever size works best for you, or even different sizes if you wish. You can use pinking shears if you want to make the edges fancy. I personally love the look it gives. The pine resin is probably the hardest ingredient to come by, but I was able to find a good source on Amazon. Beeswax pastilles are probably the easiest form of beeswax to use here, or you can do what I did and grate some off a block of beeswax.


    • ¼  cup beeswax
    • 2 tablespoons pine resin
    • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
    • 4 squares of 100% cotton muslin fabric (I used 12″ squares)


    • small saucepan
    • glass pyrex measuring cup
    • parchment paper
    • baking sheet
    • 1″ wide paintbrush
    • clothes drying rack
    1. Melt the pine resin in a double boiler (I use a glass pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water) over medium heat. 
    2. It takes a while for the resin to fully melt, but once it does add the beeswax. Stir using a wooden or bamboo stick until the resin and wax are completely melted together. 
    3. Then slowly drizzle in the jojoba oil. Turn the heat to low to keep it all melted. 
    4. Preheat the oven to 225°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one square of muslin on the parchment and use the paintbrush to brush it all over with the beeswax mixture. 
    5. Place the baking sheet in the oven just long enough to fully melt the beeswax. It should only take a couple of minutes. Take it out of the oven and spread the beeswax around again with the paintbrush, so that the whole muslin cloth is coated evenly. 
    6. Then take another square of muslin and lay it on top of the first square to blot up the extra wax. Flip the two squares over so that the blotting square is now on the bottom. 
    7. Return the baking sheet to the oven briefly, just long enough to liquefy the wax. 
    8. Remove from the oven, and hang the first piece of beeswax coated muslin on a clothes drying rack to dry. 
    9. Use the paintbrush to spread the wax on the blotting square, which is now your working square, and repeat the whole process again.

    Once they are all dry, they are ready to use! They work perfectly for covering bowls, just as you would use plastic wrap. The beeswax can be warmed in the hands and will conform to the bowl and stick to the rim. The pine resin gives it some stickiness as well.

    FYI: Beeswax wraps aren’t air-tight and won’t keep highly perishable items (like raw meat) fresh. We recommend using them to cover foods you’ll eat within a couple of hours or the next day, like a sandwich, bowl of pasta, or piece of fruit. For longer-lasting leftovers or smellier items like cheese, you’re probably better off sealing them up in reusable glass containers. With that in mind, here’s how you can make your own beeswax wraps <3 

    *Concluded a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives(source 1, source 2)

    This, Not That, Thursday – Diatomaceous Earth

    This week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we’re talking about Diatomaceous Earth. It’s the “Jack of all trades” of natural home care products, and it has applications in the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and more. An added bonus is that DE is so safe and non-toxic, it’s frequently used in water filtration.

    What Is Diatomaceous Earth, Anyway?

    DE is, as mentioned, a white powder naturally occurring from the fossils of diatoms (a type of algae found in river beds and lake beds). The diatoms form a very hard shell of silica in a tubular shape.

    When dry, DE appears very fine and soft to the naked eye but microscopically it has some very unique qualities:

    • High Silica Content: These fossilized diatoms have a very high silica content (which is used to build hair, skin, and nails).
    • Hard as Nails … or Diamonds: DE is very hard (only two points lower than diamonds on the hardness scale). It looks like a tiny cylindrical tube with many holes in it when viewed through a microscope.
    • Holds a Strong Negative Charge: DE has a very strong negative charge, which makes it purifying and beneficial in several ways.

    Since the 1960s DE has been commonly used in things like toothpaste, as an anti-caking aid, for clarifying beer or wine, and to eliminate pests naturally. In fact, you’ve likely consumed products that contain traces of DE without even knowing it! While I’m usually not a fan of hidden ingredients, DE is one we don’t need to worry about.

    Note: you should only use “food grade” Diatomaceous Earth if you intend to use it around your house. This is distinct from “pool grade” Diatomaceous Earth, which is coarser and designed to help filter pool water. 

    Copper Polish

    Do your copper pots look dull? A mixture of vegetable oil, vinegar, and DE can return it to its store-bought shine. Just rub the mixture vigorously into the pots until you can start to see that copper color come back.

    Water Stain Removal

    Notice a buildup around your water faucets? Mix together lemon, vinegar, vegetable oil, and DE in a small bowl. With a damp cloth, use that substance to scrub the deposits away.

    Oil Spill Cleanup

    Interestingly, DE can hold up to twice its weight in liquid. That makes it useful when you accidentally spill oil on your driveway. Just coat the spill in DE and let it soak the oil up. Then, sweep up the DE and throw it away. When you clean the area with hot, soapy water afterward, it’s much less likely to leave a permanent stain.

    Shoe Deodorizer

    Do your shoes sometimes resemble a petri dish? Hey, don’t be embarrassed. Fungus thrives in conditions exactly like the inside of your shoe. However, there’s one crucial ingredient that all fungi need in order to thrive: moisture.  

    By sprinkling DE in your shoes, you’ll steal away that moisture and neutralize foot odors at the same time.

    Refrigerator Deodorizer

    DE absorbs odors. That’s incredibly valuable when you have an old fridge that is filled with the smells of years’ worth of groceries. 

    To improve the odor, first, find a container (like a coffee can or a mason jar) and stick a few holes in the lid. Pour DE in the container, slap on the lid, and stick it inside of your refrigerator. As the air slowly circulates, you should notice it start to smell more neutral in about a week.

    Repel Bugs & Fleas

    Pest infestations in your home are maddening. But it’s possible to clear your home of insects without using pesticides. Since DE absorbs oils, a small sprinkling of the stuff can cause bugs to shrivel like raisins and die, even though the substance is harmless to humans and pets. If your home is under siege, thoroughly clean your bedding, carpets, and upholstery, then dust these surfaces with DE.

    Have you ever used Diatomaceous Earth? What did you use it for? How did it work? Share below!

    This, Not That, Thursday – Reusable Snack Bags

    Good morning! It’s almost Back to School & snacks are a big deal. This week “This, Not That, Thursday” is focusing on reusable snack bags. There is so much waste that comes from using single-serve packets or using plastic bags every day. Reusable snack bags are amazing and will save you money in the long run. You can buy them of course but we’re going to tell you how to make them.

    Materials for Making Reusable Snack Bags:
    – Outside cotton fabric—dig through your fabric stash! You just need enough to make two 6 1/2”x5″ rectangles (or whatever size you choose)
    – Waterproof food-safe fabric
    – Velcro
    – Coordinating thread
    – Scissors
    – Ruler
    – Seam gauge
    – Rotary cutter and mat (optional, but makes this project even quicker!)How to Make – Reusable Snack Bags:
    1. Cut your fabric. Cut two pieces each of the outer fabric and the line (6 1/2″ x 5″) but any size will work. Cut a strip of the Velcro/hook and loop fastener to 6 1/2″ (or whatever width your bag will be).
    2. Pin one half of the velcro strip 3/4″ from the top of one-liner piece, and sew all around the edges of the fastener. You may be tempted to not pin, even if you tend to freehand your sewing, you WILL want to pin in this.
    Repeat with the other piece of lining fabric and the other half of the hook-and-loop fastener.
    3. Pin one piece of the lining fabric to one piece of the outer fabric, right sides together (for the lining, the “right side” is the one with the fastener on it). Sew along the top, 1/4″ from the edge.
    Repeat with the other lining and outside fabric piece. Open up both pieces and run your finger along the seams to press them open. You’d usually want to iron here, but the high heat may damage the liner.
    4. Put together both pieces, right sides together, matching up the seams and the Velcro. Starting at the bottom of the lining fabric, sew around the perimeter of the piece, leaving a 2″ space open at the bottom of the liner to turn the bag. Backstitch at each end of your sewing for security.
    5. Turn the bag right-side-out through the opening in the bottom of the liner.
    6. Close the opening at the bottom of the liner by folding in the edges to create a seam. You can either topstitch over this or slipstitch it.
    7. Push the liner inside the bag, and you’re done! To make the bags lay flat, you may want to either finger press the top seams or briefly run over the bags with a very low iron.
    Cleaning Your Snack Bags
    Most of the time, you can just turn the bags inside out and wipe clean. But if it gets really dirty, wash in cold water and hang up to dry. If you choose to put these through the washer, I recommend putting them in a mesh laundry bag first, just so the Velcro doesn’t get caught on the rest of your laundry

    Grandma Antionette’s Dutch Oven Pot Roast

    Grandma Antionette’s Dutch Oven Pot Roast

    It’s getting a bit cooler here today and that makes me crave comfort foods. One of my favorite comfort meals of all time is my Grandmother’s pot roast. I remember sitting at her table with my siblings and cousins, inhaling plate after plate. One bite could make your whole week. Fork tender and juicy right from her dutch oven, this Grandma Anionette classic is a meal in one pan and perfect for your next Sunday supper.
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
    Total Time3 hrs 40 mins
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: dairy free, Gluten Free, nut free, soy free
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 500kcal
    Author: Grandma Antoinette


    • Dutch Oven


    • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
    • 2 medium onions sliced
    • 2- pound chuck roast
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 4 cups beef broth
    • 4 large russet potatoes peeled and sliced into 1-inch wedges
    • 4 large carrots peeled and sliced into ½ -inch thick pieces
    • 2 celery stalks sliced into ½ -inch thick pieces
    • 1-2 cloves of garlic
    • ½ cup red wine


    • Preheat the oven to 375.
    • Put your dutch oven on the stove and heat it over high heat 5 to 6 minutes to sear the meat. Add the oil and season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides. Add it to the pan. It should sizzle immediately.
    • Reduce the heat to medium-high, and let the meat sear on one side 5 minutes, then flip. Add the onions, and garlic then cook 5 minutes more. Deglaze the pot by adding wine.
    • Add the beef broth to the pot–it should come about halfway up the side of the meat.
    • Cover and bake 2 hours, then check the liquid in the pot. Add a cup or so of extra water if needed.
    • Reduce the heat to 300 and bake an additional hour, and then add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Bake covered 1 hour longer or until the meat is tender and the potatoes and carrots are soft.

    This, Not That, Thursday – White Rice Alternatives

    On this week’s installment of This, Not That, Thursday, we bring you 7 healthier alternatives to white rice.

    White rice is a cheap and easy starch many people choose to cook with, but there are healthier alternatives to white rice out there. Use these alternatives to amp up the nutrients in your meal.

    1. Red Or White Quinoa

    Quinoa contains the second most protein of any grain and has all of the essential amino acids. It is also naturally gluten-free and high in fiber.

    2. Cauliflower Rice

    Cauliflower rice is a great, low carb alternative to rice. It is also gluten-free and one serving contains a day worth of Vitamin C.

    3. Broccoli Rice 

    Broccoli rice is another great gluten-free low carb alternative full of fiber, plant-based protein, and iron.

    4. Barley

    Although not as popular as some of the other grains, barley provides a good serving of fiber and many other important minerals such as selenium.

    5. Farro

    Farro is an easy to digest grain that is full of protein and iron.

    6. Sweet Potato Rice

    Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fiber and also gluten-free.

    -Dr. P

    This, Not That, Thursday – 5 uses for used coffee grounds

    Something that never felt right to me was throwing away used coffee grounds. Many people wake up in the morning looking forward to their cup of coffee and then habitually toss the grounds into the trash without a second thought.

    As it turns out, there are many wonderful things you can do with these spent coffee grounds. Before you throw out those grounds after brewing up your morning beverage, give one of these ideas a try.

    1. Coffee grounds are wonderful at exfoliating your hair. 

    To exfoliate hair, use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup used coffee grounds, depending on hair length. In the shower, wet hair thoroughly. Massage grounds through hair focusing on the scalp. It helps to part the hair and work in sections. Once you have covered the whole scalp, thoroughly wet the hair again. Don’t try to rinse the grounds out as it won’t work. Use your shampoo to work up a nice lather. Then you can rinse it all out. A second shampooing may be necessary. Finish with your normal conditioner or apple cider vinegar rinse.

    2. Soil aeration and nitrogen boost for houseplants. 

    Adding coffee grounds to your houseplants helps the pH balance (toward acidity) as well as increasing nitrogen and aerating the soil. Tomatoes love acidic soil!

    3. Neutralize refrigerator odors. 

    Placing them in the refrigerator acts as a natural deodorizer. The only thing you need to watch for is mold if you use damp grounds. Replace immediately with fresher grounds if it turns into a science experiment.

    4. Weigh Down Ashes for Fireplace Clean-up:

    If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, those old coffee grounds will become your best friend. When it is time to clean out the ashes, cover them with a layer of wet coffee grounds to moisten and weigh them down. This will greatly reduce the amount of ash that will float up and coat your living room when you scoop them out.

    5. Pest Repellent

    Snail, slug, and cat repellent. In the garden, just mound up a barrier of used grounds around the plants which slugs and cats are attracted to. It will help keep them at bay.

    -Dr. P