Savory Porridge

This is a no shopping, no reading recipe. All it requires is rooting around on your shelves for items you already have – things that will thicken – and an approximation for the correct amount of water.

Examples of thickening grains; rice, quinoa, oats, bulger, and couscous

For the water to grain ratio, it’s about 2 to 1. Two cups of water for every cup of solids.

When I make this, I place the dry items in a pot, then eyeball the water to cover it.

Here’s what I included with this batch.

Quinoa blend. This thickening grain comprised the bulk of the mixture.

Since lentils are thicker than the quinoa, the cooking time was based on these.

If using a bouillon base, calculate the amount to coincide with the amount of water used.

Heat on medium, stirring occasionally.

Taste test for doneness.

*Tip: If the grains still need more cooking time as the water begins to evaportate – add more.


Miners Shovel Bread & Watercress, Potato & Tomato Salad

Fast food for miners.

After a long, hard day in the creek bed shoveling and sifting gravel, the last thing a 49’er miner wanted to do was prepare a meal. This simple fare offered a quick fix as well as a host of health problems.

Shovel Bread

Start a fire. Let the wood burn down to coals.

2 tbsp butter
1 ½ cup flour
onion powder
1 egg

Stir until smooth. *The batter should be thick.

Using a clean shovel, rest it in coals until hot.

A deep fire pit is NOT necessary for this recipe.

Support shovel firmly over coals. Pour batter over the blade. Use a long-handled spatula or spoon to keep it in place until the base sets.

Lightly press against batter to determine doneness.

It’s done when it feels spongy.


Click on the photo to watch a video about malnutrition during the California Gold Rush.

Learn about Scurvy in California’s Food Capital.

Watercress, Potato & Tomato Salad

Finely chop potatoes.
Fry in oil till done.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Set aside to cool.
Chop or tear watercress into bite-sized pieces.
Add fresh or sun-dried tomatoes (in oil).
Dress with red wine vinegar and oil.
Top with grated cheese.




Huffington Post – Recipes That Show You How Watercress Is Supposed To Be Eaten

Sauteed Potato and Watercress – Quick Vegan Side

Cucumbers & Cream – Grandma’s

peel and soak in salt water enough cucumbers and onions for your meal for at least 1/2 hour
(if in a hurry eliminate above)ed george

Rinse with fresh water and drain.

Cream Sauce:

Mix in a bowl
mayonnaise to dress the cucumbers
add equal amounts of
sugar about 1 tblsp. ea.

(onion powder or onion salt can be substituted for fresh onion)

combine all – the sauce should be  about the thickness of pancake syrup or less – if it needs thinning, just add milk until the correct consistency is achieved –  serve over mashed potatoes

jon taking out curlers

family picnic with fishing

grandma erik

Grandma’s Potato Salad

Potato Saladpotato salad

Potatoes (pull done ones out of the pot as it’s boiling – peel when cool)
Eggs (hard boiled for 12 minutes then chopped)
Dried Onions (soaked for 5 minutes)
Green Onions (chopped)
1 – Cucumber (peeled & chopped)
Sweet Pickles (chopped) or Sweet Relish
Dill Pickles (chopped)
Black Olives (chopped)
Celery (chopped)


1/2 cup Best Foods Mayonnaise (full fat)
2 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp. Milk

Combine all into a bowl. Blend dressing and mix all together.

Salt & Pepper to taste


Always a staple at family gatherings – Grandma’s potato salad.  When working to reproduce the recipe ‘just like she did,’ I finally figured out the dehydrated onions and both the dill and sweet pickles combine to make those flavors that everyone thinks about in anticipation of the first bite.

…the potato salad in a wine glass…my silly ‘toast’ to Grandma…

The bowl in the image above came from Grandma’s kitchen. Whenever I pick one up to use it, my mind is filled with all of the wonderful things that were created in it throughout the years.

Buttercup Squash with a Pomegranate Topper

pomegranate seeds give the squash a sweet, crunchy texture

pomegranate seeds give the squash a sweet, crunchy texture

Cook Squash

Mash to desired consistency with butter and maple syrup.

Top with fresh pomegranate seeds.

Any Bread Stuffing

My husband has flour sensitivities. It took him a long time to find a brand of bread that agrees with him.
I use Sacramento Baking Company French Bread – Sourdough Wheat Walnut to make stuffing.

Servings – approximately 3 slices of bread per person.

chicken broth

2 tablespoons butter (or oil)

1 onion chopped

approximately 4 stalks celery

1 apple chopped

sage (fresh is best)

(Optional – mushrooms, cranberries, oysters, nuts and other herbs such as oregano, rosemary or thyme)

Cut bread into 1 in cubes. Spread bread out onto baking sheet and toast in oven on low heat (200 degrees) until lightly browned. Turn bread occasionally to toast on all sides.

Heat butter (or oil) in saute pan. Saute onion, celery & apple until tender.

In large bowl, combine sauteed items with bread cubes & spices. Mix till blended. Slowly stir in chicken broth until desired moisture level is achieved.

Cover and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.