Pie Day!

It’s a throw back pi Day, with one of our favorite spring time pie recipes.

Five minutes.

Fresh strawberries.


Five Minute Fresh Strawberry Pie

One of the sure signs of spring, at least in this neck of the woods, is when the strawberries return to the store fronts. They will also return to my garden, but that’s admittedly closer to summer. Anyway…there are strawberries and I was fortunate enough to find a sale where I could get a full flat of 8 pounds for $7.49! Around here that’s a fantastic price so I got a full flat. Having a full flat lead to deciding that there must be fresh strawberry pie in our house, and fortunately with Ultra Gel it only takes 5 minutes.

Now, a couple of notes before I share the recipe. First of all the recipe calls for sliced strawberries. How sliced you want them is upto you. If you like a chunkier pie then cut your strawberries in halves or quarters. Otherwise slices or even diced will work just fine. It’s all according to your taste. Secondly this pie is an oddball as far as how long it keeps. The problem is that when the strawberries are refrigerated they tend to weep and this adds a lot of moisture to the glaze which will end up thinner than when you started. You can combat this by either making your initial gel thicker knowing it will thin down a little, or by cutting the strawberries and letting them sit in the fridge for upto an hour to pull the moisture out (which you then drain off and use, don’t waste strawberry juice!) before adding the gel, or by eating the pie all at once as soon as you make it. That last option is my favorite!

And make sure to always top off with lots of Ultra Gel Whipping Cream and a strawberry fan for flair.

fresh strawberry pie

Five Minute Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 baked pie crust or graham cracker crust

1-1.5 pounds of fresh strawberries, sliced (1 pound for a 9 inch crust, 1.5 or more for a 10 inch crust or a deep dish)

1 cups sugar

1 package strawberry Kool Aid

2 cups water

1-2 Tablespoons lime juice – to taste

10 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Combine sugar, kool aid and water and mix until sugar is complete dissolved. Whisk in Ultra Gel one tablespoon at a time until completely combined. This will give you a medium set. You can add more or less Ultra Gel to taste, but remember Ultra Gel will keep thickening for 3-5 minutes after you stop adding more. So start with a little less than you think you need, see how it sets and then add more a little at a time.

Fold gel into strawberries until desired ratio of gel to berry is achieved. Pour coated berries into pie crust and top with whipping cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This doesn’t cut really crisp, but it tastes oh so good!

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

A few weeks ago I was attending an all day conference and knew I was going to get the munchies. As I was packing up I had a craving for cookies, specifically peanut butter cookies. My family doesn’t love peanut butter cookies in the way I do and this was a great opportunity to try a really fast gluten-free peanut butter cookie recipe I’d seen online and all over Pinterest. I ended up making the recipe twice, and it’s kind of an amazing recipe because it has less than five ingredients and counts on the protein from the peanut butter and egg and the candy properties of the sugar to make a cookie without flour or any leavening. It works really well. The reason for twice was that I did have one complaint about the first batch. It was very dry…so Ultra Gel to the rescue! And it worked fantastically.

I may have eaten all 2 dozen of the cookies in about 3 days. Don’t tell anyone.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter cookies

1 cup sugar (this will work with as little as 3/4 cup)

1 egg

1 cup peanut butter (Chunky or creamy)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Combine all ingredients until very well mixed. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes before scooping out. Cook at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes until the edges are light brown. Allow to cool on the tray for 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

These would be delicious drizzled with a little chocolate, though not as easy to take to conferences without making a big mess.:)

Peach Habanero Salmon

I was recently asked for one of my favorite fast recipe using a Cornaby’s product. It took almost no time at all to share this recipe for Peach Habanero Salmon. The Peach Habanero cooking sauce is an amazing combination of heat and sweet and delicate enough to match perfectly with fish. Salmon is a great fleshy fish with a lovely flavor and nutritional punch, easy to cook and reasonably priced. I generally figure about 1/4-1/3 pound of salmon per person because it’s just that good.

peach salmon

Peach Habanero Salmon

1/3 pound salmon per person

Cornaby’s Peach Habanero Cooking Sauce



Prepare salmon by rinsing gently (if needed) and check for any pin bones. You’ll lay the fish out depending on your method of cooking. Oven: Place fish on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, skin side down. Grilling: Lay out on a plate for preparation before being moved to the grill, or prepare on cedar plank. Smoking: Same as Grilling. All methods: Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and then spread with a generous layer of cooking sauce. Cook until fish is done through at the thickest part, opaque and flaky. Serve warm.

Shepherd Pie with Sweet Potatoes

As we’ve been looking for ways to eat better we’ve become big fans of sweet potatoes and yams. Yes, there is a difference. Real yams come from Africa or Asia and are rarely actually seen in American mega marts. What the store calls yams are the colored starchy root which most of us picture as a Thanksgiving side covered in marshmallows…usually to be avoided at all costs. Sweet potatoes are a similar root, but grown in the US and are usually white or off white in color and only a little sweeter than traditional potatoes. Both yams and sweet potatoes are packed with fiber and flavor and nutrition and they can be cooked in a lot of different ways, all of them pleasing, though few of them with marshmallows.

So now that we’ve dealt with sweet potato stigma let’s get down to our recipe. This shepherd pie recipe is one of my family’s favorites, and our go to anytime we have left over mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. It’s a simple recipe, easy to make ahead and, thanks to a bit of Ultra Gel to hold it all together, even freezes well.You can use various vegetables in it, though I’ll give you measurements with string beans.

Shepherd pie is also sometimes called cottage pie and is very popular in the UK. Some of the earliest recipes featured ground lamb and whatever veggies were available. I tend towards ground turkey or beef because those are easier to come by, but if you have lamb on hand, give it a try!

This recipe is gluten free and you can make it with more vegetables and no meat for a vegetarian option! Change over the cheese for a soy cheese and you’re dairy free and vegan too. I love a recipe with options!

shepherd pie

Shepherd Pie with Sweet Potatoes

1 pound ground meat (turkey, lamb, beef or a combination)

1 medium onion, diced

1 can tomato soup (I prefer low sodium)

2-3 cups drained string beans (These can be home canned or store purchased. I also like adding diced carrots or zucchini squash if I have them on hand. It’s a good way to clean out your veggies)

1 small can tomato sauce

1/4 cup water

1-2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes or potatoes, thinned slightly

1/2-1 cup shredded cheese

In a medium saucepan brown ground meat and onion until meat is cooked through and onion is transparent and soft. Drain grease. Add soup, vegetables, tomato sauce and water and mix well. Add Ultra Gel and spices and cook until ingredients are warmed through. You can adjust the amount of Ultra Gel depending on how thick you want your mixture. Sometimes when you add extra vegetables it will increase the moisture level of the mix and you’ll want extra Ultra Gel to keep the mixture at the thickeness of a thick stew. Remove meat mixture to a 9×9 inch baking dish. Cover with potatoes and top with cheese. (If freezing, cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and date. Freeze for upto 4 months).

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until all ingredients are warmed through and cheese has melted.

Serve warm.

Tzatziki sauce

Okay….I screwed up. This was totally supposed to post over a week ago. But save draft is not the same as schedule draft. Le sigh.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for killer homemade tzatziki sauce. We use Ultra Gel in this Tzatziki sauce as it will keep the water in suspension from the cucumber, and it means you don’t have to drain your greek yogurt, so it speeds up making the recipe as well.

With the Super Bowl around the corner Greek Meatballs with this sauce would make a killer appetizer. Serve them up with some naan bread and you’re in business!


Tzatziki sauce

2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (Fresh is best)

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

3 cups plain greek yogurt

1-3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

salt and pepper

Combine cucumber pieces and salt in a colander and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse gently and shake dry. Combine cucumber, lemon, garlic and dill in a food processor and pulse until well combined and cucumber pieces are well chopped. Add mixture to greek yogurt and mix well. Allow to sit for five minutes, then whisk in Ultra Gel until just thinner than desired consistency is reached. Let sit for three minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. Yum!

Baked Stroganoff

Recently I found some really nice London Broil on sale and wanted one of those meals I could get going and not worry about for a while. I love a good stroganoff, particularly one with nice pieces of meat and mushrooms and this baked stroganoff is flavorful, easy and appeals to adults and kids.

We serve it up over rice or noodles with veggies on the side, and no one goes away hungry!


Baked Stroganoff

1-2 pounds london broil cut into 1 inch strips

3/4 cups flour+1 Tablespoon Ultra Gel

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups beef broth

1/2 thinly sliced white onion

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic in a large zip top bag. Add beef pieces and toss to coat. In a large cast iron skillet (Any heavy skillet, will do, but cast iron works particularly well), bring oil to medium high heat. Add beef pieces a few at a time, browning on all edges. Remove beef to a bowl. Deglaze the skillet with the beef broth. Add onion and mushrooms to broth and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in sour cream and Ultra Gel and bring to heat. Fold in beef pieces and salt and pepper to taste. Remove entire mixture into a 9×13 inch dripper pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are completely tender. Serve over rice or noodles.

This recipe freezes well. Move to air tight containers and freeze for upto 3 months.

Greek Meatball Lettuce Wraps

Since the first of the year the hubs and I have been trying really hard to eat a little better….where better mostly refers to a lot less sugar and processed foods and a lot more vegetables and lean proteins. By and large this has been working really well for us and even if the scale doesn’t always reflect it we sure feel better.

Now, admittedly, cooking under increased restrictions is always a bit of a challenge, but I’ve found by and large it’s a good one and we’ve found some lovely recipes. Today’s recipe is for a greek meatball lettuce wrap. The meatball is made from ground turkey and onions mixed with greek seasonings all wrapped up in lettuce with baby tomatoes and tzatziki sauce which is a greek sauce based on garlic, cucumbers and greek yogurt. This sauce is used on all kinds of foods such as falafel, gyros, kabobs and other fun treats, so totally worth knowing how to do. Ultra Gel is important in each of these recipes. In the Greek Meatballs the Ultra Gel holds everything together, making for a meatball which is moist and doesn’t fall to pieces. In the case of the sauce the cucumber can weep a lot of moisture into the sauce and make it watery. The Ultra Gel helps here by providing a stabilizing force. All in all it’s awesome. And just to keep you coming back you get the recipe for homemade Tzatziki sauce tomorrow! Hah. I know…I’m mean.

We totally could have frozen these greek meatballs, but between the husband and I we ate the entire batch of about 20 in three days.:)


Greek Meatball Lettuce Wraps

1 pound ground turkey (or a combination of ground beef and ground turkey is good too)

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lemon peel (opt)

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Combine all ingredients until mixed well. Scoop into 1 Tablespoon sized meatballs and place on a cookie sheet which has been lined with aluminum foil and a metal cooling rack. Cook meatballs at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.  Serve in lettuce wraps with Tzatziki sauce (purchased or homemade) and chopped tomatoes.