Category Archives: Cooking From Scratch

Pinterest Projects USB Cables and Lemon Chicken

The USB Cable Management original pin.

My version.

USB Cable Management

I can never find the right USB cable that is attached to my computer. One allows me to charge and access my phone the other allows we to get the photos off the camera. So when I saw this pin I thought that it was a great idea. It flopped the first couple of iterations, mainly due to my desk. The first set of binder clips I bought were to small and the cables didn’t pull through easily and they could clamp on to the thick top of my desk. The second set were bigger and the cables pulled through easily but they still didn’t fit on my desk. That led to attaching them to a ruler that I then had sticking out from my desk and wedged under my computer. That worked but was not ideal. The final iteration was the piece of metal that I found in the hardware store and some double sided foam tape. This is working great. I can always find the right cable. The last cable is for my headphones and lets me keep it reeled in. All in all I would consider it a flip but it took some work to get there.

Lemon Thyme Chicken original pin.

My version.

Lemon Thyme Chicken

Second up is Lemon Thyme Chicken. This one came about because the kids came home with Lemon Thyme from Grandpa’s garden. They wanted to make something with it and chicken was on the menu already. A Google search brought up a Pinterest page. It looked good although my wife’s description was ‘Anaemic’. I had to make a number of changes. First I only had boneless skinless chicken thighs. Second I had to substitute lemon juice from a bottle rather than fresh squeezed. One lemon equal 1/4 cup of juice. I also added more garlic, probably close to double as that is how my family likes things. I would make it again as is but I think this is going to evolve into something different rather quickly. I already have ideas for changes. So again I would say flip.

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Seven things I like to Cook from Scratch

I have always liked to cook and usually from scratch. Things slipped a little bit with the arrival of kids. Then I became a stay at home dad with a tight budget and I started getting back to scratch way of cooking. Now the budget isn’t as tight and things have started to slip again but for health reason as well as the budget I want to get back at it.

1. Bread

Homemade Bread

I love making my own bread and it is one of the items that I consistently make rather than buy. The recipe has under gone some changes over the years and is currently undergoing another refit. The bottom line is that it cost me 60 cents for a large loaf and I know what is in it.

Baking Bread Revisit

2. Sauces

Chicken Cacciatore Plated
Chicken Cacciatore

Sauces is one I have never done a blog post on mostly because I almost always just eyeball all the ingredients. Some like spaghetti and cheese sauce I had long since learned from my mom. Both of those can be modified to many more. An example is that my recipe for Chicken Cacciatore is pretty much the same as my spaghetti. Other I have picked up over the years mainly by looking on the backs of bottles that I used to buy and breaking it down to the few ingredients it actually is.

3. Pancakes

Margeret making Pancakes

Pancakes are so easy to make, they freeze well and you can reheat them in the microwave or toaster. These replaced the boxes of Eggo waffles. I’m not sure that they are cheaper but I know what goes into them and we can slip in some whole wheat.

4. Cakes

One of the rules that we had growing up was that we could have anything for dessert as long as we made it ourselves. So cakes and cookies were high on our lists of things we need to learn how to cook. The only box my mom allows is for Angel food cake and only because it takes so many egg whites otherwise. I have recently rediscovered one of my favorite cakes from my youth thanks to Google. Wacky Cake is a chocolate cake that I can’t even imagine how many times I have made and it is always delicious.

5. Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

The first cookies that I can remember cooking are Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies. I have made those so many times that I can make them without a recipe. I have a set of Christmas cookies that I make every year. I need to post the recipe for two of them as they are naturally gluten free. In university I got the nickname Cookie man as I frequently came with cookies to share. One of those cookies that I must of made for my then wife to be was Chocolate Crinkles. I lost the recipe somewhere along the way and my wife found it again. I did not remember making them for her and though I had lost the recipe before meeting her.

Chocolate Crinkles

6. Mac and Cheese

The next still have store bought equivalents that sometimes come in to the house. They are not as good but sometimes it is what we crave. For my wife and sometimes kids it is KD. I have taught my daughter how to make her own Mac and cheese. With her homeschooling this year it is quite often what she makes for herself at lunch time. Still KD comes into the house through mysterious channels. It is eaten quickly as the kids discover it.

7. Chicken pot pie with Baking Powder Biscuits

Chicken Pot Pie Light Levels Adjusted

My guilty one is frozen Turkey Pot Pies. I can make Chicken Pot pie with Baking Powder Biscuits and that is a great way to stretch leftover chicken to another dinner. However those days that plans go astray the pot pies make a return. Particularly if it is a night that mommy is out as they are ‘Not my favorite’.

Chicken Pot Pie with Baking Powder Biscuits

Overall I feel that we are eating healthier. There is more natural ingredients, more fiber, less salt. I would like to get more veggies into everyone but I am a meat and potato guy myself so it is a stretch. It is also cheaper overall. There are a few things that I spend more on but the health benefits justify the costs.

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Sausage Rolls

One of my daughter’s all time favorite lunch is sausage rolls. They are really easy and fast to make. I also use the same pastry to make Cornish Pasties. I will have to do that recipe next time I do a roast.

Sausage Roll

I use weights when I make this dough as it is more accurate but I did put down the cup measurements. I learned the trick of grating frozen butter in from Chef Michael Smith’s Show on Food Network. It makes it a lot easier. I still end up cutting it in as well.

For the water the least amount you can use the better as long as you end up with a loosely held together ball. Sitting for an hour will allow the flour to fully absorb the water.

I just use frozen sausages I buy in a bulk box. That is why some look a little cooked. I had to microwave then to defrost and as usual that resulted in a little cooking as well.

I roll out half the dough because that fits on my surface and is quicker than rolling out 8 individual pieces. I brush the bottom half to make in stick together when I roll it up. When I am making normal sized one I run my fingers along and it is pretty easy to feel where the sausages end.

I love using parchment paper to keep things from sticking or making a mess. I also brush the tops of the sausage rolls with milk to help them brown.

Sausage Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Whole Wheat Sausage Rolls
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 8
  • ½ cup Hard Margarine (110g)
  • 1½ Cups Whole Wheat Flour (220g)
  • ½ to ¾ Cup ColdWater
  • 8 Sausages Thawed
  • Some Milk for Brushing
  • Some Flour for rolling
  1. Measure the Flour in to a bowl.
  2. I keep my Margarine in the freezer which makes the cutting in step simple. I grate the frozen butter straight in. I then cut it into the flour but it takes a lot less work.
  3. For the water you want the smallest amount for it to form into a ball. I start out with ½ cup and cut that in. I add more if needed until it looks like the picture below.
  4. Put into a zip lock bag and let rest of an hour in the fridge.
  5. Divide in half and roll out until it is 4 sausages wide.
  6. Lay out the sausages as shown and brush the bottom half with some milk.
  7. Roll up. Seal up the seam with your fingers.
  8. Here I cut it into site sized ones. You can also find the gap with you finger and cut into normal sized ones.
  9. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes

Sausage Rolls Step by Step