Lamb Anyone?

I’m starting to get a strong dislike for the beef we purchase locally. There seems to be a strong aftertaste on most of the beef that we’ve purchased. So, we’ve made a conscious decision to start purchasing other meat products and really diving in to tofu recipe’s.

Our first off the wall and so not like us recipe for the year was lamb. We love lamb and usually have it when we go to different restaurants. However, we’ve never cooked some here at home. My husband was searching the web and came across this fabulous web site: . We decided to try his recipe on the slow roasted leg of lamb. Peter Minakis knows his kitchen and dishes. Wow!

If you’ve been following along you’ll know that we are limited on space, spices, & herbs. We make-do though and make adjustments as necessary. The family voted on the dish and hands down, delicious and on the, “make again”, list. Not bad for picky eaters ages 13 & 15.

Of course all good dishes start with a good product. For this meal we went to the local wet market. These were our options. After careful consideration and looking like we knew what we were doing, we selected one leg. Knowing the space limitation of our kitchen we had him chop of part of the leg and thank God he took off some of the skin.

LambWe took the lamb home and prepped it like the recipe directed. Alterations – we have no access to fresh sprigs of rosemary or thyme. So, we used a bit of McCormick’s Rosemary leaves and left the thyme out. I didn’t get a picture of the slivers of garlic Mike inserted, but let me tell ya it looked and smelled delicious uncooked. Our oven is a small toaster oven, the dish you see here is the right size for a tight fit. It works well for us. As you can see, we didn’t have room for the taters.

Seasoned Lamb


Without further a-do, into the toaster oven it went. It smelled mouth-watering delicious, and the damn thing wasn’t even cooked yet. Ha!



Final product: Amazing and tender! The only rough spot was the leg part that was sticking out. A bit dried out but other than that, it was a wow and full of flavor!

The Final Product


Coconut Cream Pie -Peru, IN



We all have family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, this coconut cream pie is no exception. Mrs. Dorsie passed many years ago but her memory is still very much alive. Her baking recipes have been mastered by my sister-in-law Brenda.

My husband prides himself in being a coconut cream pie connoisseur sampling the delicious dessert all over the USA. Apart from his mother, Mrs. Dorsie, his sister’s baking concoctions are just as wonderful including the coconut cream pie pictured here.

Pictured here are a couple of fresh pies sitting on a cooling rack ready to be devoured. Don’t they look delicious?


For The Love of Coca & Natural Weeds – Grenada

I have to laugh at my feeble attempt at humor with the title of my post. What can I say, I love the aroma of coca and herbs in different dishes and baked goods. My friend Tim & his lovely wife Dianne went to Grenada and brought me back some, “goodies”, spices!

I’ve had the spices sitting up on the shelf with my other trophies (a variety of delicious wine bottles) waiting to be used in the, “perfect”, dish. I haven’t found the perfect dish to make yet; but, I wanted to share my goodies with you. The decorative coconut shell was filled with bay leaves, saffron, crushed bay leaf, mace, curry, turmeric, & paprika.



I now have a bottle of pure vanilla also from Grenada. I’m saving this one for my wonderful husband who will be making homemade ice cream. Can you hear the angels sing? I’m hoping my husband can hear them sing when I ask him to make the ice cream. It’s a long drawn out process. The end result is pure deliciousness!


Moving on to the coca. From the delicious rich fragrance I can only guess that these will be the most delicious chocolate balls we’ll ever have! My husband will love them… The hot chocolate aroma that will come from our kitchen will be heavenly! Can’t wait for winter. 🙂


Have you ever had lamb or do you like lamb? A well prepared lamb rack is absolutely divine with just the right amount of nutmeg. Even without any cooking going on at the moment, I can smell the aroma of some good ol cooking!


Grenada is well known as the Land of Spices due to the large number of spices grown on the island. The informative leaflet inserted in the spice filled coconut had some information I had not heard of before, it says: Ginger is used in preserves  curries, chutneys, pickles, vinegar, soups, sauces, gravies, stews, in ginger beer, as a hot spicy tea for gas(carminative), and for fevers (sudorific). It flavors puddings, cakes, soups, pumpkin pies, fruit sauces, stew, pot, roast, & barbecue dressings. And here I thought ginger was only good as that tangy horseradish like flavoring pickled and served at the Japanese house with sushi. hmmm


I love spices! This gift traveled from Grenada to America to China to my trophy shelf. 🙂 What’s your favorite spice and what do you use it in? Have you ever tried ginger beer? Enjoy!

2013 Recipe Adventures: 4 of 52 – Mushroom Patty Burgers

Now, I have to wonder if you’re thinking what I thought when Mike first said, “honey we are eating burgers tonight”. I was excited and said great. Out comes the mushrooms and ingredients. Hmm silly me for thinking I was about to devour a fat juicy hamburger! I was pleasantly surprised as we had some pretty fantastic tasting mushroom burgers.

Seriously, these are incredible and so much healthier for us. The recipe we used was from GroupRecipes. It took about 30 minutes between the prep work and the first bite.

The Recipe

3 fork beaten eggs
3 cups coarse chopped mushrooms ( 8 oz )
1/2 cup flour shopping list
1/2 cup seasoned fine dry breadcrumbs
1/3 finely chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic ( optional )
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp pepper
cooking oil as needed


  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Use 1/3 cup mixture for each patty and shape into a 3 1/2 inch pattie.
  • Heat some oil over medium high heat in heavy duty skillet.
  • Fry patties 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
  • Serve as is on a bun with a slice of cheese if desired.

Try them and let me know what you think. We’ve made these twice and both times they were well received with the kids. Most of the recipe’s we are trying tend to lean towards the vegetarian side but only because the recipe looks good not because I’m ready to give up beef. Umm that’s a definite NO. 🙂

2013 Recipe Adventure: 3 of 52 – Oat Milk Smoothies

Our new found love, fruit smoothies made with fresh oat milk. We followed a recipe found on Veganlovlie’s Blog for making the Oat Milk for our fruit smoothies. I’ll admit, I was hesitant and not sure what this would taste like but part of our recipe adventure is to try new things. While reading through the site and other sites, we did find there is a health benefit to drinking this type of Milk vs. cow milk.

So, here we go…

The Oat Milk Recipe

1 Cup Oats, 1 liter water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

That’s it!

A word of caution: I found that the Oat Milk did not work too well to make scrambled eggs. I couldn’t get the consistency right and while cooking the eggs, the eggs were watery and not very attractive.

I do hope you enjoy the recipe and the smoothie!


2013 Recipe Adventure: 2 of 52 -Scones

This week I tried adding a little life to a simple scone recipe. The recipe then turned into a chocolate chip, strawberry, & banana scone. I used the basic scone recipe from then added the banana chips and strawberries. As an after thought, I threw in a cup of chocolate chips.

Appearance: Well, they didn’t look like the dense scone I usually buy at the bakery. They turned out a bit stiffer than cake but less dense than a scone. I do think they looked really pretty even without the icing. Taste: I substituted brown sugar for the white sugar. I think that made a difference as they were very good but not as sweet as we’ve had.

Substitutions: Sour cream is not readily available in this town. So instead of sour cream I used yogurt. Our local grocery store was out of small grain sugar at the time so I had to substitute brown sugar for white sugar. Sometimes the real challenge is being able to get the right ingredients or get really creative!

Since I used yogurt instead of sour cream, could that have caused the gooey dough? Anyone know? Recipe can be found under the gallery.


The Recipe


1/3 cup sugar I used brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup raisins (or dried currants) I used Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup sour cream I used yogurt
1 large egg
1/2 cup banana chips
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in chocolate chips, banana chips, & strawberries.
3. In a small bowl, whisk yogurt and egg until smooth.
4. Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
5. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.


2013 Recipe Adventure: Recipe 1 of 52 – Almond Biscotti

A new year means new adventures and experiences. Other than traveling and getting to know new places, I’ve decided that one of our adventures has to be in the kitchen. Adventures of the Smyth Kitchen if you will. Living in this part of China can at times limit us with ingredients and supplies. Things are not readily available as they are in the U.S. So, that means that at times we have to try to make things from scratch or improvise on recipes.

The challenge is to try to make successful meals and baked goods without using a box mix.  We are starting this new recipe adventure with Almond Biscotti’s. A huge thanks to my husband for being so patient while I snapped away while he baked. Hmm… love that husband of mine! 

Almond Biscotti

This recipe comes from Italian Dessert Recipes by Lisa Marietta Gianotti.

YIELD – About 16 Almond Biscotti


1 cup (400 grams) blanched whole almonds, toasted and chopped coarsely

2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon almond extractwe did not have nor could we find almond extract so we used vanilla extract. 

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups (225 grams) all-purpose flour


* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Toast almonds for 8-10 minutes or until golden.

Let cool and then chop coarsely. Set aside.

* Beat the sugar and eggs on until thick (about 5 minutes).

(When you slowly raise the beaters the batter should make little ribbons.)

* Beat in the almond extract.

* In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt.

* Add to the egg batter and mix until combined.

* Fold in the chopped almonds.

* Form dough into a log, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) wide. Really you can form however you want. It’s your biscotti. Pick the size that makes you happy.

* Bake for 25 minutes, or until the log is firm.

* Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). 

* Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) diagonal slices.

* Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet.

* Bake for about 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. (Many times depending on humidity it takes longer. I will take as long as the biscotti needs to get it dry.)

* Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.