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Preacher Tuna Salad

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Mike and Nancy, our preacher and his wife, invited us and two other couples to dinner after the evening worship service several Sunday’s ago, and we dined on sandwiches, chips, veggies, and fruit – the perfect “after church meal” because everything could be prepped in advance and put out to serve upon arrival.  I was absolutely delighted to discover that the tuna salad had been prepared by Mike himself!  I do know men that cook, but not very many, so this just tickled me to pieces to know that our preacher had made the main part of our supper.

Nancy told us there was only two things he makes, and judging by how much we loved his tuna salad, I’m probably going to be wanting the recipe for his other specialty soon!  He informed me there was a secret ingredient before I bit into it, so I was prepared to encounter it. Apples! Of all things.  I’ve never ever heard of adding apples to tuna salad, but he said it helps cut the fishy taste. I agree, it does cut it!  And I can’t tell you how good it tastes and feels to bite into a crisp chunk of sweet apple in a tuna sandwich.  So good.  Maybe you have to taste it to believe it, and I hope you’ll make this so you can experience it for yourself.

Mike doesn’t really use a recipe, but he gave me the ingredients he uses, and I’ve included my own measurements for those ingredients in this recipe.  Definitely add more or less to suit your own tastes.

Preacher Tuna Salad

Printable recipe
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1 can tuna, drained well
1 hard boiled egg, diced
2 slices of apple, diced (use a sweet variety)
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish or finely diced sweet pickle
2 tablespoons diced sweet onion (optional – Mike doesn’t use onion, but we prefer it this way)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients in a bowl & serve on bread or croissants for that extra-special preacher touch. Makes 2 sandwiches.

Recipe source: Mike O’Neal


Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins

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These are the best tasting wholesome muffins I’ve ever made. Made with whole wheat flour, honey, apples, carrots & walnuts, they are not only good for you but have a very moist and tender crumb (this surprised me) and are really delicious (this surprised me too). They are so good, in fact, that I replaced my dinner with them tonight!

[OK, fine. Here’s the full disclosure. I meant to only have one as a snack (I baked them in the afternoon) and it was so yummy, I nabbed another. And another. Then I had to break one apart to take a picture of the inside so I figured I may as well eat that one too. By then I no longer wanted dinner!]

I plan to store them in the freezer and pop one or two into the microwave on busy mornings. I think they’d be wonderful with a cup of black coffee.

Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins
Recipe adapted from An Edible Mosaic
Makes 12 large muffins

2 eggs
1/3 c canola oil
1/4 c 2% milk
1/2 c honey
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 large finely shredded carrots
1 large or 2 small sweet apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (I used Fuji)
1/2 c chopped walnuts

1 oz Neuchâtel cheese (low-fat cream cheese)
1 1/2 tsp honey

Preheat the oven to 350F and put paper liners in your muffin pan.

Beat together the eggs, oil, milk, honey, and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Lightly stir the wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in the carrot, apple, and nuts. Fill the muffin tray (the batter will come up to the top and mound in the center) and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

To make the glaze, warm the Neuchâtel in the microwave, then stir in the honey. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled muffins with a fork, or put it into a Ziploc bag, cut the corner, and squeeze it over the muffins while sweeping the bag back and forth.

Nutritional Information (per muffin): 224 Calories, 11g fat, 37mg cholesterol, 225mg sodium, 29g carb, 3g fiber, 4g protein

I very finely shredded the carrots so they're hard to see, but I promise they're there!


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My friend Rhonda’s grandmother, who is a full blooded Czech, learned how to make kolaches from her own grandmother and she passed the recipe onto Rhonda, who in turn passed it on to me after I begged and pleaded for it.  As you may already know, I was born in the wrong century and am constantly longing for a butter churn and a kitchen the size of our toilet that barely fits the wood burning stove.  Since I unfortunately have a decent-sized kitchen and an electric oven, I try to keep history alive through the food I make by using old recipes.  I don’t do it often, but I enjoy cooking and baking so much more when I’m using a recipe like this one.

Kolaches are a Czech dessert and are hard to describe.  They’re not really like a doughnut, not really like a danish, definitely not a cookie.  I guess the closest I can describe them is “pastry-ish.”  The dough is sweet and buttery and they are quite delicious.  I changed the method so that the preparation time was cut by half, but they didn’t seem to suffer for it.  I still spoiled my dinner by gorging on them.


Adapted from Rhonda’s recipe that was passed down from her Grandmother

1 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of milk
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup warm water
4+ cups of flour, divided
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 ¼ tsp (1 packet) rapid acting yeast

Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add milk and heat just until warm—about 110 degrees.  Set aside.

Beat egg in a medium bowl, then add a small amount of the warm milk & butter mixture to temper it, mixing it in.  Add a little more and continue beating, adding all the rest of the liquid in a steady stream.  Mix well, then stir in the water and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour and the remaining ingredients.  Whisk in the liquid mixture until smooth.  Slowly add the remaining flour, stirring with a spoon until it gets too stiff and then using your hands.  When you have enough flour, the dough should be soft, but stiff enough to clean the sides of bowl.

Knead dough in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about five minutes.  Lightly spray three baking sheets with Pam.  Pull off 1-ounce pieces of dough, about the size of a walnut, and roll into balls.  Place a dozen on each cookie sheet in rows of 4×3, evenly spaced.  Spray the tops with Pam and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in size.

While the balls are rising, prepare filling(s).  Recipes follow.

Make a dent in each ball by pressing finger through to the cooking sheet. Leave about 1/2″ edge around outside of circle. Spoon filling into center. Brush sides of rolls with melted butter.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on racks. Makes 3 dozen.

Apple Filling
(my recipe)
1 t cornstarch
2 T sugar
2 T brown sugar
1 T butter
1 t vanilla, lemon juice, apple juice or water
1 ½ cups chopped apples

Stir the cornstarch & sugar together in a small bowl, then add the brown sugar and stir until well blended.  Set aside.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in the sugar mixture & liquid.  Stir in the apples and cook over medium heat until apples are as tender as you desire and liquid is thick.  Sprinkle on as much cinnamon as you wish and stir it in well.  You can sprinkle your choice of nuts over the kolaches with this filling if you desire.  I used pecans.

Sour Cream Coconut Filling (my recipe)
½ cup sweetened, shredded coconut
2 T sugar
2 T sour cream

Mash all ingredients together with a fork until well blended. Mixture should be thick and creamy.

Coconut Filling (Rhonda’s recipe)
3 T butter
½ cup coconut
½ cup brown sugar

Melt butter and stir in the coconut and brown sugar until well blended.

Other fillings–all from Rhonda:

Prune & Apricot Filling
1 cup dried prunes
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 TBSP. lemon juice

Cover dried fruits with enough water to cover them. Cook on med. heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain. Add remaining ingredients.

Poppy Seed Filling
1 cup ground poppy seed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk (probably whole)
1 & 1/2 tsp. lemon juice or 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 & 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Blend all ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool before filling kolache. Will fill one dozen or more.

Prune Filling
Cook 1 pound of dried prunes until very tender, remove seeds and sweeten to taste with sugar. Add 1/8 tsp. full cloves and grated rind of 1/2 lemon, if the flavor is desired. Cook until quite thich. You may add a little vanilla if desired.

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake

Update: I won first place for this cake at the 2012 state fair!

This is my most requested recipe and the only one I’ve ever purposely not blogged.  It has always been raved over to such a degree that I felt it was the best weapon in my dessert arsenal and, just like I used to keep the name of the perfume I wore secret so I could be special and no one else would smell like me, I wanted to keep this to myself as well so I could be the only person supplying the joy it induced.  (OK so it’s available on Paula Deen’s website, but no one had to know that! Teehee!)  I’ve now come to my senses and realized joy should be shared on a much wider plane.  I think if everyone made and shared this recipe, the world would be a happier place.  And who am I to keep us from achieving world peace?!

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and finely chopped apples
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10” bundt cake pan.  Set aside.

For the cake: in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt & cinnamon. Add the eggs, oil, orange juice, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix well with a whisk. Fold apples, coconut, and pecans into batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.

Shortly before the cake is done, make the glaze: Melt the butter in a large saucepan, stir in the sugar, buttermilk, and baking soda, and bring to a good rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the hot cake in the pan as soon as you remove it from the oven, making sure that it runs down the sides & middle to soak. Let stand 1 hour, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Recipe source: Paula Deen

This cake will stay fresh in the fridge up to a week–the glaze really helps it retain its moisture perfectly.  It also freezes extremely well.  Wrap the cake in several layers of plastic wrap before freezing.  If you plan to keep it in the freezer longer than a week or two, I would put a couple layers of foil over the plastic wrap.  To thaw, remove all wrapping and let sit at room temperature overnight in a container.

It’s very important that you don’t let all the sauce sit on top.  Spread it around, making sure it goes down the sides and down the middle of the pan so that it is all covered and soaks in evenly. (Your pan will not be this full unless you’re like me and can’t resist putting in some extra apples.)

This was a best seller at the Flying Pig last fall and I just got another order today from someone who just couldn’t wait until October to get another!

Chicken Kiev with Garlic Rosemary Potatoes & Walnut Apple Salad

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On the recommendation of my dear friend, Jaci, I prepared chicken Kiev when my little sister and her family joined us for dinner last night.  It was a raging success, even with all my mistakes (slightly burning the crust on the chicken (at least the inside was perfect), getting impatient with the potatoes and not waiting for them to get crunchy on the outside, putting too much vinegar in the dressing (that’s why the apples look brown–the balsamic dyed them!)), and my company is already looking forward to their next invitation for dinner.  Thanks for the great recipes, Miss Jaci!

Chicken Kiev with Sautéed Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
Rachel’s Food for Living by Rachel Allen

4 Chicken Breasts-skinned
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garlic Butter
4 oz butter, softened
2-4 garlic cloves
1 heaping Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, thyme & rosemary and used more than recommended)
finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 a large lemon

2oz flour
1 lg beaten egg
6 Tbsp plain breadcrumbs
oil for frying

8 potatoes
2 oz olive oil
coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Lay chicken breasts on chopping board; slit  but don’t cut completely in half.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cream butter & add garlic and herbs and zest and juice of lemon; mix well.  Spread garlic butter out onto the center of chicken breasts leaving about 1/2 inch all around the breast.  Fold chicken breast back to original shape.

Place flour,beaten egg and breadcrumbs on 3 separate plates (or shallow bowls).  Toss each breast in flour,coat with egg and roll in bread crumbs until chicken is well covered.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Cut potatoes into slices or cubes,dry with paper towels if needed.  Heat oil in frying pan, add potatoes,season with salt and pepper and cook on med low heat for 16-20 min until almond golden and crunchy on the outside but soft on inside.  Toss in garlic,chopped herbs and a little more olive oil,cook for couple more minutes until garlic is golden.  To keep warm, place in uncovered casserole in the warm oven.

Sorry no prep photos on the potatoes, just the finished product–it should actually look crispy and golden but I only cooked mine until tender b/c I had hungry people waiting.

For chicken, place 4 Tbsp oil of choice and 1oz of butter in frying pan–heat until hot.  Add the chicken and cook about 2 minutes on each side until golden,transfer to the oven for about 8 minutes until cooked through, serve with sauteed potatoes and salad–Jacie’s recipe follows.

Jacie’s Walnut Apple Salad

One bag baby spinach (I used 1/2 bag butter lettuces and 1/2 bag spring mix)
3/4 c walnuts–toasted (I used some pecans too)
1 sweet apple, such as Red Delicious, cored and diced (I used Braeburn for crispness)
1/2 c feta cheese

Make a dressing with 4 parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar with one tsp of honey per 4 T of evoo.  Toss with salad ingredients.

(If you don’t want to do the math, just mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp of honey.  Add more vinegar and/or honey to suit your tastes.)

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