helpful cooking facts, fun baking tips, and stories of my journey as a home cook

Best Holiday Dinner Tips

Are you starting to worry about your holiday entertaining? Maybe you have the holiday decor decided, the menu roughed out, the guest list firm, and you think you are ready to have the most fun and entertaining party ever. But do you really know how to make your party go smooth and also enjoy yourself? I would love to help you with that! It has ...
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Horizontal image of a table with gold red and silvery decorations. The words "Best Holiday Dinner Tips" are overlayed on a place setting.

Bread and Magic

You’ve heard the sayings, “bread is the staff of life”, "bread is life", and "bread is gold". They might seem old fashioned and cliché, but bread really does hold a great deal of meaning in our lives. We break bread together to be close and for many of us, bread is a daily need and sometimes a daily ritual. When I was young, my mom ...
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Where Have I Been?

If you are a regular subscriber, you probably already know this has been a super busy year for me, which has kept me from doing a weekly posting on Encharted Cook. However, I know there are quite a few readers of Encharted Cook who are not subscribers and have come to my blog and been disappointed that new content has not been posted regularly. There ...
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Blog Title - Cutting Board with Herbs and a Knife with the words Where Have I Been?

Shining Gifts

Each and every year I have always watched the same holiday movie while wrapping Christmas Gifts. It is my touchstone for the season and embodies the lessons I want to live every day of every year. Although, it is hands down my absolute favorite Christmas movie, it is not likely one that is favorited today. Like everyone, I have several favorite holiday movies I watch ...
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Shining Christmas Ornaments on a Green Christmas Tree

A Stress Free Turkey Dinner

Making Thanksgiving Dinner for family in 1984. My grandmother is on the right. Are you ready to have a stress free turkey dinner? One of the most challenging things cooks face is getting every dish hot and ready at the same time. If you are hosting and cooking the traditional dinner, the best thing you can do is make a timetable to help you. Because ...
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Jan Nunes in the kitchen circa 1984

New Blog Design

Beautiful Galleries Maple Bacon MeatloafSalted Toffee BlondiesBaked Beans Supreme Welcome to the new blog design for Encharted Cook! Over this past year, I discovered Encharted Cook could be so much better and so much more. So for 2 weeks in October, I began a much needed website and blog redesign. I hope you will enjoy this fresh new look and these improved features: ...
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Maple Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf on White Serving Platter with Fall Decoration

Green Dough

Green Dough? Who knew such a colorful term was about leavening! Do you have questions of why bakers choose baking powder instead of baking soda? It’s baking season, so let’s talk about leavening for perfecting your bake! Years ago, I worked for a wholesale food distributor that was also a flour mill. As part of their quality control, they had an employee that made bread ...
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Ciabatta bread, olives, & olive oil with the title Green Dough - Blog Title

Legacy Recipes

The last few days I have been looking through my personal recipe files for holiday recipes I could share with you. I’ve had this file since the mid 1970’s and have stored every recipe given to me from friends and family in it. Inside this small accordion file folder are handwritten recipes, clippings from magazines and newspapers, and small booklets that were giveaways in food ...
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Nearing Summer’s End

Here we are… in the final days of summer and I wonder where the time went. It is an odd time of season betweens. It’s not quite Autumn and the waning days of Summer are still warm, but a little less bright. This is the time of the year I look to cook lighter versions of comfort fare. Dishes like light pasta, simply made but ...
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Blog Title Banner of Nearing Summer's End. A special stone walkway in France that looks like small daisies or suns.


Nothing signals change more vividly than the changes we witness when one season ends and another begins. But, it often seems that the external seasonal changes we witness can also signal internal or personal changes. I love Autumn... and I was especially looking forward to this particular week when we seamlessly move to End of Summer Days and approach the Fall with the anticipation of ...
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Flaked Sea Salt

It seems to be everywhere. Flaked. Sea. Salt. Once only a favorite with cutting edge chefs and foodies, flaked sea salt is now mainstream… and not just as the finishing touch on savory dishes. It is now the darling of desserts. I swear I had not realized this as I was developing this weeks’ recipe, which was actually much earlier this year. I literally just ...
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Flaked Sea Salt Blog Post Banner. Scoop with flaked sea salt

Encharted Cook Now On YouTube!

A few weeks ago, I did a test video on my Lillet Bellini recipe and announced it only on Facebook, just to get my feet wet in video. It was a start. It only had 12 views, but at least I had created a short video and shared it. But that was as far as I went. Only one video and only shared on Facebook ...
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A Better Burger

Have you ever wondered how to make a plain hamburger taste better? Today it seems we are going overboard with toppings to make a better burger. But, what if it’s not truffle cheese and sriracha bourbon laced sauces that we need to get more flavor from our burger? What if all we need is a better bun? That was my thought process when my husband ...
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Red Red Wine

Are you a wine lover?  Whether you are a wine enthusiast or haven’t quite found a wine you like, you will love a red wine dessert sauce with fresh berries. I first created this recipe years ago for a small get together with friends that included dinner. I wanted an easy dessert that wouldn’t take a large amount of prep on the day of the ...
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A Perfect Summer Sip

Sometimes, you just want something different… Right? A couple months ago I was really missing not having a glass of my favorite aperitif, Lillet Blanc. It had been a very long time since I had this flavorful refresher. I was first introduced to Lillet Blanc about fifteen years ago during a Wine Sensory Experience class and I was hooked. The instructor served it in the ...
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Lillet Bellinis in a variety of glassware.

Making Streusel Toppings

One thing that really makes muffins and coffee cakes of all types extra special good is a sweet and crunchy streusel topping. These toppings, also called “crumb” and “crunch” toppings, are easy to make and the basic version is completely made from pantry and refrigerator staples. So, I thought this week, I’d talk about streusel and crumb toppings and share a new chart that will ...
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Saving Jell-O

I don’t know for certain if it is true, but it seems gelatin side dishes and desserts have lost their popularity.  Which is really a shame, because gelatin can be an easy casual dessert or be elevated to an amazing treat.  When I was growing up, my mom made plain Jell-O gelatin at least once a week.  Gelatin salads and desserts were always on a ...
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Saving Jell-O

Forever Summer in a Salad

Hello Summer... I’m so glad you are finally here! I can’t say I have a favorite season, because I really love them all. I crave the change and the feeling of renewal when seasons change. What seasonal change does for me is remind me to break ruts and live in the now. But, it also reminds me of seasons of years past. So, with summer ...
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Beautiful blue green lake and the words "Hello Summer".

Elderflower Notes

Ah Elderflower! Sweet, light, and fresh, the delicate little flowers are charming and the scent is absolutely heavenly. When the essence of the blooms is extracted, you have the most exquisitely delicate flavor. Think of soft delicate sweet Spring air and that is Elderflower. Like linden, this is not really as exotic as you might think in the culinary world. Years ago, I took my ...
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Close up of Elderflower Blooms.

Royal Wedding Viewing Party Treats

I know all around the world there are many people just as excited as I am about the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and his lovely bride to be Meghan Markle. Even my husband is excited! You see, we were in London on our honeymoon the day their engagement was announced. Actually, we were on a tour bus to Windsor Castle when a royal ...
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Cooking Oils – Which One to Use?

Happy May Everyone! I hope spring is here or soon on it’s way to you where you live! This week I am, again, in California helping my brother, Steve, get to his V.A. appointments over the next few days. You remember Steve, right? Wicked sense of humor, gentle in nature, and not doing as well as he could. I’ve had 3 previous trips this year, ...
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Banana Muffins for Mother’s Day

With Mother's Day quickly approaching I thought it would be nice to do another muffin recipe. My family rarely went out for Mother’s Day Brunch and instead opted to make Mom a nice dinner at home. But when we did go out, we went to a quaint small historic hotel that served a beautiful brunch with an assortment of petite muffins on every table. So, ...
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Cute paper muffin liners that stand on their own

Green Goddess – A True Classic

What makes a classic? Wouldn’t any dish or recipe that has endured 95 years be easily considered “classic”? 1923 was 95 years ago and the year that Green Goddess Salad Dressing was invented by Executive Chef Phillip Roemer of The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The Green Goddess Salad was (and still is) a bed of hearty greens dotted with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and a ...
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Encharted Cook is Now on Yummly!

I am so excited to announce that The Encharted Cook is now a publisher on Yummly! Each of my recipes has a Yum button that you can use to save recipes from my site to your own personal recipe box on Yummly. To find me quickly on the Yummly website, please visit: Thank you all for your readership and support! Added Note on 4/15/2018: ...
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The Marshmallow Treats Contemplation

Did you know that the recipe for marshmallow treats on the back of the box of Rice Krispies is different today from years back? I was so surprised when I bought a box of Rice Krispies today and saw that the recipe on the back of the box was slightly different than the one I know. Even though it is different, in fact the recipe ...
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9-minute "crispy candy" Ad 1939

Got Eggs?

I love it when ingredients between dishes overlap, because at heart I like using everything up. It simplifies meal preparation and helps me be a thrifty cook. Last week I shared my recipe “Lemony Beet Salad”. After I prepared and posted the recipe, it occurred to me that I had all this lovely garnet colored beet juice… and that it would be a shame to ...
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A Spring Starter

Easter and Spring are nearly here and I want to share a pretty recipe for your spring table. This is a recipe my grandma, Evy May, taught me. You might be thinking that I learned all of my recipes from her. But, the truth is she did not cook at all until later in life… and could only prepare a handful of dishes well. Hmm, ...
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A Spring Starter Beets Blog Heading

I’m Now on Bloglovin!

Follow my blog on Bloglovin Just a quick simple post to let everyone know that Encharted Cook is now on Bloglovin! Just click the link above "Follow my blog with Bloglovin" I'm so excited! Thank you! ...
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Not My Great Grandmother’s Biscuits

It used to drive me absolutely nuts that I couldn’t make a biscuit as good as my Dad’s grandmother. You see, every time I made biscuits my Dad would say, “these are okay, but my grandmother made the best biscuits!” Seriously, you hear that once or twice and it is a great motivator to make a better biscuit. But, I heard it each and every ...
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Breakfast Treats

Most days in our house, breakfast is strictly high protein. It’s the type of breakfast I grew up with and the kind my husband prefers to start his work day off right. But, we have several days in the year that breakfast or brunch just has to include a baked breakfast treat. Birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries just don’t seem to be totally festive without some ...
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Unprocess Your Food!

Yesterday, I was at Target browsing the kitchen aisle when my eye caught on the side panels of personal waffle maker boxes. Usually, you find information about the new handy dandy appliance you are perusing, like features and its wattage. But, this time I smiled and stopped to take a closer look. The sides of these boxes were bright red and white emblazoned with the ...
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Stacked Boxes of Small Appliances

Mix by Hand

Do you know what the term "mix by hand" means? It might not mean what you think! To know exactly what it means in any particular recipe it helps to know when the recipe was written to really understand this term. A few weeks ago, I was going through my Mom’s handwritten cookbook that she began in the very early 1930's. As I read through ...
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Electric Beaters with Batter Clinging to Them

Home Again, Home Again…

It’s hard to believe that February is here already. I had planned to post this week’s recipe yesterday. But, I’m home again in California this week at the home that was my parent’s and now is the home for my brother, Steve. You would like Steve. He is a gentle person with a wicked quick humor. He hasn’t been well for many years and now ...
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Home Again and The Fridge is Empty

Easy as Pie

When I was growing up my family had a large backyard, where we had glorious fruit trees, one granny smith apple and one apricot tree. The trees were large and bloomed heavily in the spring… apple blossoms were white and the apricot was pretty in pink. Luckily the fruit arrived at different times of the year. The apricots were ripe around the Fourth of July ...
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Apple Pie on a White Plate

Better Than Pizza

I know what you are thinking…really?…Really?... REALLY? You have got to be kidding! A dish that is better than pizza? No Way. Last week my husband asked for a pizza dinner twice in the same week. We had pizza on Tuesday… and then he wanted it again on Friday. You see, pizza is his most favorite comfort food. No question about it… my husband LOVES ...
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Uncut Pizza on a Wood Block

Pie Interruption

I had it all planned…this week I was going to continue to discuss pastry and pastry washes. As a matter of fact, pie, is my topic for this month. But, while at the market I found the most beautiful packages of beef stew meat yesterday and I got totally distracted. Did someone say, “Squirrel”? I’m afraid so. But, I promise… next week I will have ...
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Welcome 2018

Hello!... and welcome to my new blog and website! I have a passion for cooking and creating my own recipes. It all began when I started tweeking existing recipes to personalize them to my own taste. You know, add a pinch more of this... substitute that for something else. I then moved on to wanting to make something completely my own creation. There was just ...
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Whole Apple and Berry Rustic Tart on a White Serving Dish