I bake bread for my family every week. Home baking is not that hard, not that time consuming, and certainly cheap! You don't need a bread machine or a lot of fancy equipment. This blog features a tutorial on home bread baking, tips on equipment and ingredients, and recipes for real home cooking.



It's just too easy to make a cheesecake! One of the guys at work told me that oe can buy premade cheesecake filling. Why bother, when it is easy to make cheesecake from readily pronounceable ingredients?
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 pound cream cheese, broken into small pieces
  1. Blend the cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the 1/4 cup of melted butter, and line the bottom of a 9 inch ungreased springform pan.
  2. Blend the sour cream, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the eggs, and vanilla in a food blender for 1 minute. Add the cream cheese. Blend until smooth.
  3. Blend in the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Pour into springform pan.
  4. Bake in the lower third of a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes.
  5. when the baking is finished, remove the cake from the oven and turn on the broiler. Broil the cheesecake, watching carefully, until the top shows little spots of brown.
  6. Refrigerate at least four hours before cutting.

Macaroni and Cheese


This is the home made kind that we eat on special occasions.

  • 2 T finely chopped onion
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • a bay leaf
  • pepper
  • 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  • 1 lb pasta
  • 2 cups grated cheddar
  • bread crumbs

  1. In a heavy fry pan, melt butter and saute onion until golden.
  2. Add flour and stir to coat flour with fat.
  3. Remove pan from heat. Scald milk in microwave. (If you add cold milk to a hot pan you will have lumpy sauce.)
  4. Slowly add hot milk to flour and butter in fry pan, stirring to avoid lumps. Salt to taste, and season with pepper and a bay leaf. Cook on low heat, stirring often to avoid sticking, for 20 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Cook pasta al dente, then drain.
  6. Layer a greased baking dish with pasta, shredded cheese, and a ladle of sauce. Repeat layers. ending with sauce. You can add a little more milk if it seems dry. Top with breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until it is browned and bubbling.

Basil Pesto


This is fast to make. Grind up the pesto while the water for the pasta is coming to a boil.
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts or shelled walnuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound Fettucine or Spaghetti
  1. Start heating the pasta water
  2. Place the basil, nuts, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor, or chop these ingredients by hand with a sharp knife. If you are using a machine, pour in the olive oil and process until you have a smooth paste. If you are using a knife, chop as finely as possible, then transfer to a bowl and blend in the olive oil. (If you want to freeze pesto, stop here and put your pesto into small jars, coat the top with a little more oil, and then put it in the freezer.)
  3. Transfer to a bowl and blend in the cheese.
  4. When the water comes to a boil, salt it and then add the pasta. Heat a serving dish. When the pasta is cooked, transfer it to the serving dish. Blend a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water into the basil mixture, and then toss the pasta with the basil pesto.
We also use pesto as a sauce on "Green Pizza".

Click here to start bread baking tutorial

About me

  • I'm Susan Och
  • From Lake Leelanau, Michigan

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Looking for more?

There's more to food than just nutrition, otherwise we would all be eating custom-formulated kibble. I didn't exactly learn to bake from my grandmother, but my ancestors, even the ones I never met, have informed and influenced my lifelong exploration of cooking and food. Want to read more? Check out this entry from my home blog, French Road Connections