Cooking with Julie

Kitty Litter Cake

I asked my son what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. His response… ”Kitty litter cake!”. Hmm… Ok, I can do that. What a fun cake! Kids and adults alike say either, “Eww, I just can’t eat that!” or, they just laugh and go for it! Either way, it’s great fun!

You’ll need to buy a new unused litter box and scooper, and wash and dry both.


One box spice cake mix.

One box white cake mix.

Two large packages of vanilla instant pudding mix.

One large package of vanilla sandwich cookies.

Green food coloring.

12 or more Tootsie Roll candies.


Prepare both cakes according to the package directions. Let them cool completely. It doesn’t matter what pans you use, because you’ll be crumbling them up.

Prepare pudding and put it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Crumble the sandwich cookies using a food processer, or put them in a bag to crush.

Set aside about 1/4 cup of the crushed cookies, and dribble some green food coloring on it and mix. This will look like chlorophyll.

Now you have all your ingredients ready. Time to assemble!

When cakes are room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl together.

Mix in half of the white vanilla crumbled cookies, and gently mix in pudding only until moist. Don’t over mix, or it will be too soggy.

Put the mixture into the litter box and spread evenly.

Unwrap three or four Tootsie Rolls and put them on a microwave safe plate. Heat only until pliable. It only takes a few seconds, so you might have to experiment with your microwave. Shape the ends so they are no longer blunt, and curve slightly. Bury them slightly in the mixture. Repeat with three of four more Tootsies. These will be the buried ones.

Sprinkle the rest of the crumbled white vanilla cookies on top. Then sprinkle the green cookie crumbs.

Make some more Tootsie droppings and place on top. Flick a bit of cookie crumbs on some of them for effect.

Don’t forget the side clinger!

Use the litter scooper to serve your cake!

Keep in the refrigerator when not scooping.



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Canned Zucchini Salsa

Got a lot of extra zucchini that you don’t want to waste, and no one wants to take it off your hands?  If you make zucchini salsa, everyone will love it, and if there’s any left, it will last all winter in your pantry!  Plus, it’s easy enough for us “non-Martha Stewart” types to make.


This salsa is sweet, with a just a touch of heat in the aftertaste.  This recipe makes about twelve 1-pint jars.


I chopped everything in a food processer, but you can do it by hand, too.

‘Day one’ ingredients

‘Day two’ ingredients

Day one:

In a large bowl combine; zucchini, onions, green pepper, red pepper and the 1/4 cup of salt. 



Mix together.

Cover and let stand overnight on the counter.


Day two:

Sterilize your jars in boiling water.  You can buy canning jars with lids and rings at most grocery or variety stores.



Rinse the zucchini mixture and drain well in a colander. Put into a large pot, then add mustard, garlic, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt, cornstarch, nutmeg, pepper, tomatoes and tomato paste.


Bring salsa to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.


Pour into sterilized jars and seal. A canning funnel makes it easy to pour the salsa into the jars.




Water bath (submerge in boiling water) the jars for 15 minutes if they have not sealed properly. You’ll know if they seal when you hear a “pop” or “click” as the jars cool.  Resist the urge to push the lids down yourself. 


The jars and rings can be reused, but the lids can only be used once.

Make beautiful labels for your salsa!  There is a variety of free labels you can print out from the internet.

These labels came from here…


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Creamy Grape Salad


Easy to make, creamy and sweet salad.  This is a summer treat that is great for pot lucks, or to enjoy at home! 


Take the stems off of about two pounds of grapes, and wash. 


While the grapes are draining, mix together 8oz sour cream, 8oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.


Mix the grapes in.


Place grape mixture into your beautiful serving bowl.


For the topping sprinkle a cup of crushed pecans, and one cup of brown sugar on top.


Let your salad rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour, for the flavors to mingle.

This salad is addictive!  The best thing that has happened to grapes since the invention of wine!

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Salmon Patties

You can make these delicious patties at home with just a few ingredients.


I used a 6 oz package of ‘Chicken of the Sea’ brand Pink Salmon.


In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of sliced green onion, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and a dash of cayenne pepper.  Stir in salmon, two eggs, and 1/3 cup of Italian flavored bread crumbs.


Divide mixture into four balls.


Put some of the bread crumbs in a bowl, roll the four salmon balls in it, and afterward discard the remaining crumbs.

Melt some butter in your skillet on medium heat and flatten the balls to about 1/2 inch thick.  Fry about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until they are golden brown.




Make homemade tartar sauce to go with your salmon patties!

Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of sweet pickle relish and two teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon.  Make this ahead of time, because it tastes best if it sits in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavors to mingle.


4th of July Treat



I came across this delightful snack that is so easy to fix, and it looks marvelous!  If you plan on going to a potluck or picnic this Independence Day, a colorful red, white, and blue, delicious and refreshing fruit layered dish with yogurt will make an impression!

You can make this your own by substituting instant vanilla pudding for the yogurt.  If you’re planning for a large crowd, make this in a large glass bowl.  Have a smaller bowl filled with granola for your guest to sprinkle on top.  Don’t forget the serving spoons!

If it will be out on the table for a while, you can keep it cold by setting the bowl in a larger bowl with ice on the bottom.

  • Layer these…
  • Prepared angel food cake. Cut angel food cake into one-inch cubes.
  • Raspberry preserves and raspberry low fat yogurt mixed together. 
  • Blueberries
  • Cut strawberries
  • Additional whole strawberries for garnish

Happy Independence Day!…&p=july+4th+independance+day&oid=80110082414f8a6c4d9661a5ed48450a&fr2=&spell_query=july+4th+independence+day&no=161&tt=142000&b=148&ni=21&sigr=1261d4ok8&sigi=124ckaf57&sigb=144qr6neh&.crumb=LaWLFr4gpBs

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Kyllo’s Restaurant On The Oregon Coast



On a visit to Lincoln City on the Oregon coast, we ate at a nice family owned restaurant on the beach, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.



We were seated immediately in front of a large window with an amazing view!


The D River is proclaimed the world’s shortest river.  It runs along the side of the restaurant.  We enjoyed seagulls taking a bath in the river as we watched them through the window.  We kept an eye out for whales, which are seen frequently in this area.



I ordered Kyllo’s clam chowder, which is very creamy and freshly made there.  I’m not a big seafood fan, but this clam chowder is delicious. 


This was a Dungeness crab seafood melt that my husband ordered.  I wasn’t quite quick enough with the camera, and this is what was left by the time I snapped the photo. When you order crab at any of the restaurants in Lincoln City, you can rest assured that it’s very fresh. Dungeness Crab is a plentiful meat on the North Pacific coast.


We’ll definitely eat at Kyllo’s again!

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Easy Beef Enchiladas


You can use any enchilada sauce you wish.  I chose Old El Paso mild sauce because it has no added MSG.


Soft taco flour tortillas are a nice size to use.  You can also use corn tortillas.  Plan for each person to eat about two to three enchiladas.  This recipe is for three to four people. Leftover enchiladas are delicious, so don’t worry if you make extras. Get a larger can of sauce if you prefer a saucier enchilada.

Brown about one pound of ground beef, and drain the fat.  Pour about half of the can of enchilada sauce into the beef and stir.


Spray your baking dish with cooking spray or wipe with cooking oil.  Place some beef in each tortilla and sprinkle with shredded cheese.





Roll tortillas with seam side down.


Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.


Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Make bowls of chopped vegetables to garnish the enchiladas, and have them available for everyone to dress their plate the way they like.  Shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado, salsa, sour cream,cilantro, and fresh lime wedges are some wonderful things to have for garnishes.




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Corned Beef and Cabbage


This traditional Irish dish is easy and hearty.  You can add potatoes to the cabbage too.

Place the corned beef in a Dutch over or large pot, and add enough water to cover the meat completely. Add the spice packet that came with it. Cover with lid and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer about 50 minutes per pound, or until meat is tender.


Add carrots and potatoes to the pot, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender.  Add the cabbage and cook for 10 minutes more. 


Remove the meat and let it sit for 15 minutes before cutting.  Cut against the grain in thin cuts.

Dish the vegetables into a bowl to serve.

Some things to ponder…

Many folks like to use beer, in place of water in the pot. 

New potatoes, or red potatoes are great with this dish. 

The perfect bread to go with this meal is Irish soda bread. 

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Boxed Lasagna


Cute little lasagna noodles with hamburger and an Italian flair tomato sauce.  We call it “faux-sagna”!  Super quick and easy lasagna made in one pan.  It’s a “Hamburger Helper” type of dinner that you can easily spruce up and make a nutritional meal out of.  I like the Farmhouse brand because it doesn’t have any added MSG, and like the box states, it’s “all natural”. 

005     You will need to brown about a pound of hamburger and drain the fat.  You can also substitute ground turkey for fewer calories.

This dish only takes about twenty minutes to complete.  Follow the instructions on the box.  You will be adding water and the contents of the box to the hamburger.  A pan with a lid is needed as well.


I paired this dish with a green leafy salad and parmesan bread sticks.  Garlic bread is another great option.  You can sprinkle some cheese on top, too. 

One box of “faux-sagna” will feed four to five people.

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Build Your Own Burger



As the weather warms up, it’s time to fire up the grill.  You can patty out hamburger yourself, but these frozen burgers can be delicious and so easy.   Just season the frozen patties with salt and pepper.  You can also use a little garlic powder if you prefer.


Have lots of fresh cut lettuce (this is red leaf and iceberg lettuce), tomato and onion, pickles, pepperoncini, and canned jalapenos to build your masterpiece.  The sauces can include catsup, mayonnaise, Thousand Island dressing, mustard, and BBQ sauce.

Oh, yes, and cheese!  American and Swiss are the best for burgers!

There are so many buns to choose from these days; sesame seed, onion buns, whole wheat, plain… etc.  I’ve even seen flat bread hamburger buns for the calorie counters.


Everyone can build their burger to personal taste. 



This is my masterpiece.

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