A Clean Counter Space Helps

A nice clean counter for preparing meals. 

Our kitchen is a galley style kitchen with limited counter space, but adjacent to the kitchen is the utility room with a spacious counter.  Recently though, that space had become the place to deposit everything that needed to be put somewhere but  not necessarily there.  I think we all have such a space, but I needed that space to be able to prepare a meal I was making.  So first order of business was to declutter the counter.  Here's the Before and After. 
Before the counter is cluttered and impossible to use. 
Broken DVD thrown in trash. 
Unbox the electric kettle and discard box. 

Electric kettle goes to kitchen. 

Ensure goes to Food Bank. 

Keurig and lamp stay at one end of counter. 

Maggie's treats belong in the cabinet above the counter .

Opened the box of Maggie's meds and shelved them.  Discard box. 

All storage containers shelved in their regular space. 

I've had this plate for some time with the intention of starting this around the neighborhood. Shelved it for now. 

I kept this tray on the counter to place things temporarily before putting them in their proper "home."
After decluttering I have lots of usable counter space. 

I have managed to keep that area more or less free of clutter. and it has been helpful to have that extra space to prepare meals.  Do you have a counter space that needs to be decluttered?

Dutch Baby Oven Pancake

Dutch baby pancake out of oven topped with blueberries and lemon curd. 

A recipe recently in Parade magazine, the insert in the Sunday News and Observer, intrigued me because I like pancakes and this is a unique kind of pancake.  I'm not very good at making regular pancakes so I thought this might be easier, and it is!!!  Laura is the one in the family who makes delicious blueberry pancakes, the regular kind.  This was easy though and it is delish.

  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • large eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tsp powdered sugar
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)
  • ½ cup lemon curd


  1. Place rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth.
  3. Place butter in a heavy, ovenproof 10- to 12-inch skillet. Place in oven 3-5 minutes or until melted. Remove from oven. Swirl pan to coat with melted butter. Pour batter into pan. Bake 17-20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Remove from oven; sprinkle with blueberries. Sift powdered sugar over top. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired. Serve with lemon curd.


Serves 4-6.
The ingredients ready to mix together in the blender. Easy. 
Melted butter in pan.
Batter put into pan. 

Out of oven, all puffed up.
I topped the pancake with frozen blueberries and lemon curd. 

Ready to take out of pan. 
Ready to eat.  I topped with a dollop of ricotta cheese because I had no whipped cream. 

Laura makes the best blueberry pancakes I've ever had and I don't dare make regular pancakes for her, but I will make this for her one day.  

An Almost Dairy-Free Crustless Quiche

Almost dairy-free crustless quiche. 

In the past year I discovered that I have an allergic reaction to most dairy products---lactose intolerance.  Consequently I have tried to make dishes that require milk by substituting coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk.  I do draw the line though when it comes to cheese, and I do use cheese in small amounts.  Here's a recipe I tried for making an almost dairy free quiche.

1 yellow onion sliced into half moons.
8 oz carton of baby bella mushrooms
8 to 10 asparagus spears (I had left over from some I had steamed.)
6 eggs
3 tbs of all purpose flour
3/4 cup coconut milk unsweetened
couple of grinds of black pepper
a dash of paprika
a dash of dried thyme
1/2 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese (I grate my own cheese because I learned that cheese that is shredded contains a form of sawdust to keep it from clumping together.  You can check this out on Snopes.) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 or 10 inch pie pan with butter.

Pteheat 3 tbs of olive oil and cook onion until it is caramelized.  Add the caramelized onion on the bottom of the pie pan.
Caramelize the onions. 
Spread caramelized onions on bottom of pan. 

In same pan saute the mushrooms.  Add mushrooms to pie pan.  Cut up asparagus spears into small pieces and add to pan.  
Add mushrooms. 
Add asparagus. 

Mix together the eggs, coconut milk, flour, pepper, paprika and thyme with a whisk until well blended.  Add the mixture on top of the vegetables in the pan.  
Egg mixture. 

Shred cheese until you have about 1/2 shredded and then add this to the top of the pan.  With a spoon flatten down everything until it is even on top.  
Shred 1/2 cup of cheese. 
Ready for oven. 

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in 350 degree oven. 

Out of oven. 

Remove from oven when it becomes brown on top and a toothpick in the center of the quiche comes out clean. Let the quiche sit for at least 5 minutes before you cut and serve it.  It is also good cold.