Miss Maggie

Oct 262015


Yup, you read it right, these delicious, affordable, easy to make, brownies are not only gluten-free and dairy-free, but they’re fat-free too. And they taste good. What low fat diet is complete without fat free brownies? Certainly not mine! With this recipe you can have your brownies and eat them too. Pretty cool huh? I’ve used GLAD flour in this recipe to replace all-purpose wheat flour. It works flawlessly! My whole family approves of this recipe and they are the first to say Yuck! to fat-free goodies. Four paws up and happy faces all around!

This recipe is adapted from one in the book Secrets of Fat-Free Baking by the amazing Sandra Woodruff. If you do eat gluten then you can replace the GLAD flour with all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour and the recipe will still turn out fine.

Fat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free Fudge Brownies


  • 1-1/2 cups GLAD all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup egg whites or liquid egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa, sugar and salt. Add the applesauce, egg whites and vanilla. Beat smooth. Batter will be thick.

Coat an 8 by 12-inch or 9 by 13-inch pan with no-stick spray. Turn the brownie batter into the pan. Spread smooth. Bake at 325° for 25 to 30 minutes. The edges will be firm and the center will be mostly firm, but still a little soft.

Allow to cool for at least 20-minutes. Cut into 24 pieces (4 x 6). Serve with pride.

Assuming 24-servings.

Per Serving: 116 Calories; 1g Fat (4.4% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 58mg Sodium.

Calories By Percentage: 4% Fat; 89% Carbohydrates; 7% Protein

Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Oct 252015

Chaos in the Kitchen

My grandmother broke her hip about a month ago. She was in the hospital for a couple of weeks. She almost died, and then she didn’t. She went to rehab to get her physical strength back and maybe walk again. Then she took a down turn last weekend. Went back to the emergency room. Was in the hospital a few days and is now home with hospice care. Family from out of town is starting to come visit so they can see her while she’s still mostly alert and with-it.

She’s not eating much, so she may only have weeks, or maybe months. Or she may get her appetite back and then go on to live several more years. The way things are going right now though, it doesn’t look so good. Big sigh.

The family is neither hastening nor prolonging her life. We’re just letting God do His thing and accepting His will, whatever it may be. If it’s time for Granny to go home to be with her heavenly Father and her husband, who she has sorely missed since he passed away in 1976, then that’s okay. She’s 94. She has lived a long full life and dying is just another part of living. I’ll miss her sorely, but going home to Jesus is not the worst thing that could happen, that’s for sure. So I’m accepting of the process, at least as much as I can be.

Preparing myself for losing my Gran is a big deal. My life changes. My thinking changes. Living is different that it was when she was still in good health. Like most changes, it’s uncomfortable and there’s nothing I can do about it except adapt and take things one day at a time.

The next thing happening in my life is that I have been plateaued in my weight loss for 10-months now. Another big sigh. On the bright side I have maintained my 60-pound weight loss, for which I am sincerely grateful to the Lord because it is only through his Grace that this has been possible. On the other hand, I surely would like to lose the rest of my weight so I can be as healthy as I possibly can. That would be a very good thing and also make me feel like I had more control in my life. Right now I feel like I don’t have control of much, especially with Gran’s health declining so rapidly. It’s a lot of emotional stress. Working on my blog is one of my traditional methods of managing my stress, so I may in fact, find myself blogging more, or maybe less if I’m sad. I can’t predict it one way or the other.

What I can do is continue to work on my health goals for my self. The most selfless thing I can do is continue to take care of myself and make my needs–emotional, physical and spiritual–a high priority. The most selfish thing I could do is put my needs last and everyone else’s needs first. It seems easy to put my needs last, like maybe I should do for everyone else and let my needs take a backseat for the moment. In fact, that is the most lazy and selfish thing I could do. The less care I give myself, the less strength and energy I have to serve God and the other people in my life. So I am reminding myself, that making sure my needs are met is the most selfless action I can take right now. It seems counterintuitive at first thought, but it’s still true. Maintaining my own health is the kindest thing I can do for anyone else in my life. And it’s the kindest thing I can do for myself too.

On the food front I read an amazing article at Raw Food SOS. It’s an article about the benefits of a low-fat diet. I’ve been considering switching over to a low-fat, calorie controlled diet to get over my plateau. The article gave me a lot of food for thought. It helped me make sense of the conflicting nutrition studies that I’ve read. It seems that extreme diets, either extremely low carb or extremely low fat, both have benefits. It’s the middle of the road, moderate ways of eating that seem to be the most troublesome. So both types of eating extremes have benefits which is why there are so many studies that seem to contradict one another. Low carb does work. Low fat also works. Both have equal value. Both have health benefits. One is not better that the other. They’re just different paths to the same destination–weight loss and improved physical health. Yay!

Once I understand this fact, I am in a great position to determine which way of eating is best for me.

Another article about low-fat diets

I’ve tried low carb. It’s an expensive way to eat. It is possible to do it on a budget, just like it’s possible to be wheat-free and gluten-free on a budget. It ain’t easy though. Just like being gluten-free on a budget isn’t easy. After a few days low-carb diets tend to make me feel sick, itchy, jumpy and I don’t sleep very well. Low-carb diets are not the best for me personally.

I’ve also tried low-fat. The last time I really went low-fat was in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. I kept my calories at 1500 a day for 3 solid months, and did not lose weight. It was pretty frustrating. At that time I was eating a lot of sugar, a lot of refined carbs, huge quantities of gluten and a lot of low-fat dairy. Now, of course, I know better. I know that whole foods and whole grains are better than pudding mix, low-fat cream of something soup, and white bread spread with jelly made from high fructose corn syrup. I’m older, hopefully wiser, and definitely know a bit more about nutrition. With my metabolic disorder glycemic index is a lot more important than I knew back then.

I believe that a low-fat diet, made from whole foods and whole grains is probably a better choice for me right now. I know for certain that a low-fat, whole foods diet is more affordable than a low-carb diet. So for the next couple of months, until the end of this year, I’m hoping to reduce my fat intake, reduce my calorie intake and hopefully see if I can push past this plateau and kick start my weight loss back into action.

I had hoped to have made more progress on my 1500-Calorie a day weight-loss booklet by now, but with my grandmother’s condition deteriorating it will not be done in time for the new year. Instead I hope to work on my Thin & Thrifty Category–getting it in better shape and doing what I can to update the information I have already shared. These are my goals between now and the end of the year.

  1. Update Thin & Thrifty; upload new recipes/articles.
  2. Reduce the calories and fat in my own diet.
  3. Continue exercising daily (walking and swimming).
  4. Continue attending 12-step groups for overeating.
  5. Continue reading my bible and praying for guidance.

I can’t do anything much for my Gran except be there with her and love her really well while she’s still around to receive it. I can do things to take care of myself and make myself strong and well so I can carry on her legacy of faith, family, friends and really good food. With God’s grace and mercy, that’s what I hope to do during this leg of my journey.

Oct 112015

Rice 4

In this recipe, corned beef replaces ground beef, to make rice into a Louisiana style skillet-meal. It’s a tasty way to use up your vast quantities of stored rice too.

Corned Beef Dirty Rice


  • 1 or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or other fat
  • 12 ounce can corned beef
  • 10 ounce can tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel)
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons dry onion
  • 15-ounce can mixed vegetables OR green beans OR corn, undrained
  • 1-1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or ground red pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the corned beef and fry it up, breaking it into small bits as it fries. When the corned beef is crusty add the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the flame to very low. Use a heat-diffuser or flame-tamer if you have one, or if your stove doesn’t have a low setting. Cover the pot with a good lid. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve hot with canned peaches on the side. Makes a good one-dish skillet meal.

If you store dried celery then add 2 to 4-tablespoons plus an extra 1/4-cup of water.

Oct 112015

Colonial Corned Beef

Colonial Corned Beef is prepared in a deep skillet, on top of the stove. It uses canned potatoes, carrots and cabbage to turn canned corned beef into an amazing, family-pleasing meal. To make it extra special serve with stewed dried apples or applesauce an a hot bread like muffins, plain pancakes or biscuits.

I use a square can of corned beef, the kind that you open with a metal “key,” for this dish. If you use round cans of corned beef, such as Great Value brand, then you will probably need 2 of them. The meat can be sliced, or cut into pie-shaped wedges.

Colonial Corned Beef


  • 1 or 2 (12-ounce) cans corned beef
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans whole baby potatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole baby carrots OR sliced carrots
  • 1 (15-ounce) jar whole baby onions, optional
  • 2 (15-ounce) can cabbage
  • Black pepper & Red Pepper to taste


Open up all of the cans. Drain off the liquid from all of the vegetables except the cabbage. If possible, try to rinse the potatoes and carrots. Or put them into a bowl and cover with water. Allow them to soak for a few minutes before draining again.

Pour the cabbage into the bottom of a deep skillet. Slice the corned beef and place it in over the cabbage. Arrange the potatoes, carrots and onions (if you’re using them) around the corned beef. Sprinkle the top lightly with black pepper and a bit of ground red pepper or red pepper flakes. Don’t overdo it. Place the lid on the skillet. Heat over a low flame for about 15 to 20 minutes. The vegetables and corned beef should be heated throughout. Scoop into bowls and serve. Makes about 6 servings.

If you are serving 8-hungry people then use 3-cans of cabbage and 2-cans of corned beef. I always serve cold pickled beets as a side-dish.

Oct 112015

Corned Beef Patties

Corned Beef Patties are a family favorite. When you get tired of casseroles and other combination-foods, these patties make a nice change of pace. They can be served like a hamburger–on buns or large biscuits. Or they can be eaten like a cutlet, with a fork and a bit of ketchup.

This recipe was tested with a square can of corned beef. If you use a round can, like Great Value brand, you will need 2 cans. Drain off the liquid into a measuring cup. If necessary add enough water to equal 1/2-cup. Use this liquid in the recipe in place of the fresh water.

Corned Beef Patties


  • 1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 3 tablespoons dry onion flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh water
  • 12 ounce can corned beef
  • oil or shortening for frying


In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the potato flakes, dry onion and black pepper. Add the water and then scoop in the corned beef. Using clean hands, mash this mixture all together until it has the consistency of meatloaf. Divide the mixture into 4 to 6 portions. Using wet hands, form each lump of meat mixture into a thin patty. Fry in a skillet, in hot fat, until crusty on one side. Flip and brown the second side. Serve immediately.

While I usually use these as a main dish for dinner, they also make a good breakfast meat with pancakes or waffles.

To make a meal serve them with a hot bread, canned cabbage, sliced beets and canned pears. Pass ketchup and mustard at the table.

Oct 112015

Macaroni Salad

If you’re making macaroni salad with gluten-free macaroni, then Tinkiyada macaroni or shells will give you the best texture. Other, corn-based, pasta products, do not work as well in macaroni salad as Tinkiyada does. If you only have corn-based gluten free pasta, then by all means use what you have. But if you have a choice, then Tinkiyada seems to have better texture when it’s cold.

Classic Macaroni Salad


  • 2-cups dry macaroni or small shells, cooked according to package directions & well-drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar pimento
  • 8 ounce can green peas, optional (to make it pretty)


  • 8 ounce jar mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry onion flakes
  • 1/4 cup pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed (optional)


Begin by preparing the macaroni according to the package directions. After draining it, rinse with cool water to cool it quickly. Open the water chestnuts. Drain and rinse with fresh water if possible. Chop the water chestnuts into small bits. If you’re using the peas, drain them too. You can try to drain the pimento, but you dont’ have to.

While the macaroni is boiling, prepare the dressing. In a medium-sized bowl, big enough for mixing the salad, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Mix well. Add the well-drained macaroni, water chestnuts, pimento and optionally, the peas. Mix well. Try to be gentle with the peas.

If possible, allow the salad to sit for 30-minutes before serving to blend the flavors.

To make a meal, serve with ham or SPAM and cheese sandwiches or baked ham or fried SPAM and green beans. Add canned peaches to cover all of your nutritional bases.

Oct 112015

Potato Salad

Quick and easy, this classic potato salad is yummy enough for any occasion. I add water chestnuts for crunch and texture. They have very little flavor on their own, so no one is ever quite sure what they are. They just make the salad extra tasty. My family gives this recipe 2-thumbs up. Or 4-paws up, if you ask the pets, who don’t actually eat it, but for whom Fred often speaks as their union representative when it comes to meal-requests.

Classic Potato Salad



  • 8 ounce jar mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons dry onion flakes
  • 1/2 cup pickle relish


  • 3 (15-ounce) cans diced potatoes, well-drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, well-drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar pimento, optional (for looks)


First drain potatoes and water chestnuts. If possible, rinse them or place them in a bowl, cover with water and allow them to stand for a few minutes to rinse off the salt and the flavor from the can. The pimento, if you use it, doesn’t need to be drained, but you can try to do it if you like.

While the vegetables are soaking in the water prepare the dressing. In a medium-sized bowl, big enough to mix the salad in, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Mix well with a fork. Add the drained potatoes. Gather up the drained water chestnuts and chop them into small pieces. Add them to the bowl with the dressing and potatoes. Also add the pimento if you are using it. Stir well. If possible, allow the salad to sit for about 30-minutes before serving, for the flavors to blend. Serve cold. Makes 8 to 10-servings, or enough for a hungry family of 6 as a large part of the meal. Great for potlucks and picnics.

NOTE: If you have eggs, you can add a couple of chopped, hard-boiled eggs to the salad. If you have fresh onion, omit the dry onion and add 1/2-cup of chopped onion along with the potatoes.

To make a meal, serve with SPAM burgers or SPAM kabobs and pickled beets.

Oct 112015

Chef Beef Stroganoff

Author Laura Karr shared a similar recipe in her book The Can Opener Gourmet. If you do much cooking with canned foods, you will really enjoy her book and it’s companion Pop It, Stir It, Fix It, Serve It: Can-Do Cooking.

Beef Stroganoff is Fred’s absolute favorite storage meal in the whole wide world. We serve it over rice, but you can serve it over cooked spaghetti or egg noodles instead. Also good on popovers, biscuits, mashed potatoes, or pretty much any cooked grain.

I always add a splash of wine to Beef Stroganoff because it masks the slightly gamey flavor of canned beef in gravy. You can leave it out if you like, or replace it with a teaspoon of vinegar or a splash of grape juice. Since this dish uses canned soup, it is not gluten free.

Beef Stroganoff


  • 2 tablespoons butter or alternative of your choice
  • 8 ounce can mushrooms, drained
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans roast beef in gravy
  • 1 (10-ounce) can condensed mushroom soup
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons dry onion flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons dry white OR red wine OR sherry OR vermouth
  • About 1/2-cup sour cream OR homemade yogurt OR canned cream soured with lemon juice (see below)


First put the rice or noodles or grain on to cook. While your starch cooks prepare the stroganoff.

Melt the butter or other fat in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the drained mushrooms. Fry the mushrooms for about 5-minutes, or until lightly browned. This improves their texture. Add the roast beef in gravy, mushroom soup, dry onion and garlic powder. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Simmer for several minutes to heat everything completely and allow the flavors to mingle a bit. Stir in the wine. Simmer a couple of more minutes. Stir in the sour cream or alternative. Mix until creamy. Heat through and serve over rice or noodles.

To Sour Canned Cream: Shake a 7 or 8-ounce can of Nestle Table Cream briskly before opening it. Open the can; add 2-tablespoons of lemon juice or 2-packets of True Lemon (lemon juice crystals). Stir with a chopstick until the cream is thickened and sour. Stir about 1/2 of the can into the stroganoff. The remainder of the cream is good if you stir in a spoonful of brown sugar and spoon it over canned fruit. Yum!

To make a meal serve rice or noodles, Beef Stroganoff, peas and carrots and fruit cocktail.

Oct 112015

Tuna Salad Sandwich

I serve tuna salad with potato chips or spread on rice cakes, since they’re gluten free. It makes good sandwiches too, especially on homemade bread. In my experience, this recipe makes enough for about 10-sandwiches, or 2-days worth of packed lunches. That’s assuming you are storing it in the fridge. If you don’t have a fridge or an ice chest, then eat it all at once, or maybe choose a different recipe that is not reliant upon mayonnaise.

To make a very pretty luncheon place a scoop of tuna salad on a plate, or spread it on a rice cake and place in the center of a plate. Surround it with mandarin oranges alternating with cut green beans. Arrange them like spokes on a wheel, with the tuna as the center. Serve with potato chips. This is a pretty and easy gluten-free luncheon. Also, kids like to arrange the oranges and green beans, so it will keep them busy for a while if you’ve got bored kids and the power is out.

If you’re having a community potluck, or serving a large group of scouts, and need a quick and easy dish to share, simply prepare a lot of tuna sandwiches and then cut them all in half, diagonally. Arrange the triangles on a serving platter. It makes an impressive display.  You will be amazed at how fast they disappear.

In this recipe I’ve used canned water chestnuts instead of the celery I usually put in tuna salad. Water chestnuts have a good crunch, similar to celery, and vague enough flavor that they don’t stand out as “weird” in tuna salad. Their main purpose is to add crunch since they have so little flavor themselves.

Classic Tuna Salad


  • 4 (5-ounce) cans tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh onion OR 2-tablespoons dry onion
  • 1/2 cup pickle relish
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) jar mayonnaise


Open the tuna and drain off the juice. Give it to the cats (the juice, not the tuna). Scrape the tuna into a small mixing bowl. Chop 1/2 a fresh onion if you have it. If you don’t, then measure the dry onion. Add the onion to the tuna. Measure the relish and add it to the tuna. Drain the water chestnuts. Rinse them in cool water if you can. Or put them in a cereal bowl and cover with fresh water. Allow the to sit in the fresh water for several minutes. Drain again and chop them into small, crunchy bits, about the size of your chopped onion. Add the water chestnuts to the tuna. Finally scrape in the contents of an 8-ounce jar of mayo. Mix it all together. Serve immediately or chill until needed.

Oct 092015

5 Can Bean Soup

This recipe is so easy and so good. You can make it with canned tomatoes, which are cheap and easy to find. Or if you feel very fancy you can add 1 or 2 cans of zucchini and tomatoes. Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces before adding if desired. However you go, this is a delicious soup.

Be sure to look no-salt-added vegetables when possible. It does a great job of reducing the sodium content of this soup. If you use all low-sodium vegetables then you may add 2 or 3 bouillon cubes for salt and flavor. Additionally, if you must add meat–beef, SPAM, vienna sausages and ham would all be good choices. I leave quantities to your discretion. I prefer it to be vegetarian, as written. Fred likes SPAM in his.

Vegetarian 5-Can Bean Soup


  • 15 ounce can kidney beans
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas OR black beans
  • 15 ounce can white beans
  • 15 ounce can green beans
  • 15 ounce can tomatoes, OR, better yet, 1 or 2-cans of zucchini and tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • Salt & Black Pepper to taste


Get out a nice big pot. Open up all of your cans. Do not drain them. Add their contents to the pot. Stir in the dry onion, garlic, and basil. Heat over medium heat until the mixture simmers. Simmer for about 20 minutes and serve. Add water if the soup seems to thick. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your liking. I also like to add a dash of red pepper flakes, not enough for heat, but enough for a little extra flavor. Makes about 6 big servings. Serve with hoecakes or cornbread on the side. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast before serving for a cheesy flavor boost. Or if you eat dairy then you can sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese.

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