Monday, December 31, 2018

Ending 2018 with Flour Power.

Well smack me upside the head with a bag of Blue Bird flour, I should have looked first!  With all the talk of gluten free, less carbs, more protein in flours made from coconuts and almonds, I experimented with less than edible results.  So why smack me upside the head?  I assumed…oh yes I did…that using the exact amount of other flours to all-purpose flour was the correct usage.  Talk about being a dumb bunny during a rabbit hunt!  Before I decided to make another attempt at substitution, this time I made sure to do a bit more research first and surely was surprised at the numbers.

First, some details about all-purpose, almond and coconut flours based on a ¼ cup measurement.  All-Purpose Flour: 114 calories, .3 grams fat, .3 grams protein, 4 grams carbs, and 2.5 grams fiber; not gluten free.  Needs to be sifted before usage as well to keep it from forming clumps in the batter.

Almond flour: 160 calories, 14 grams fat, 6 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fiber; gluten free; people with nut allergies need to avoid!  Tends to be grainy and sifting will not alleviate this.

Coconut flour: 120 calories, 4 grams fat, 4 grams protein, 16 grams carbs, and 10 grams fiber; gluten free.  Sifting not necessary as the flour is especially fine in grain.

When it comes to the necessity of having gluten free and high protein products, almond and coconut flours are the best choices; however they’re not lower in fat and carbohydrates.

Now comes the fun of figuring out how to substitute for all-purpose flour and how the batter and fully baked product comes out.  Almond Flour is heavier in texture, so do not press it down inside a measuring cup.  While it can be substituted measure to measure against regular flour, it is a moister flour, but still needs an extra egg to help with the binding process.  If a recipe call for 2 eggs, now you’ll have to use 3; if egg size is not specified, always use large eggs.   The batter is very thin, takes the same amount of time to fully bake as with all-purpose flour.  The texture is too moist to hold up on its own, almond flavor is very strong, but makes a nice bread pudding.

Coconut flour is extremely fine and absorbent; a ¼ cup is equal to one cup of regular flour!  It needs 2 eggs, plus what is called for in a recipe, for proper binding.  The batter is in-between, not thin like almond flour, but not thick if using regular flour.  Again it bakes the same amount of time as both almond and all-purpose; very moist, yet firm in texture.  The flavor though tends to be bitter, so add a half more portion of sugar than what the recipe calls for and use sweetened coconut milk.  Cakes/Quick Breads will also be a darker color due to the dark shade of the flour and coconut sugar; not over baked which the toothpick test affirms.

Is your head spinning yet?  Remember, you’re just reading about all this; try being me and figuring all this out!  Now you know I was looking stylish wearing three types of flour.  Basically it all comes down to trial and error when attempting to make substitutions in tried and true recipes.  While deciphering the measurements was a bit of a headache, in the long run, I had fun playing with food.

All this experimentation makes quite a mess for cleanup!

To save space, there will be the original recipe with the substitutions listed in parentheses.  Try out all three versions, or simply choose what suits your taste or medical need; just remember to have fun!  Now I’m off to stock up on Blue Bird, I’ve got holiday baking to do!

Vanilla Yogurt Quick Bread


For the Quick Bread:

1 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour (Almond uses same amount, Coconut = ¼ cup plus 3 Tbsp.)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup white sugar (Almond uses same, Coconut = ¾ cup coconut sugar)
2 eggs (Almond = 3 eggs, Coconut = 5 eggs)
2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups Greek vanilla yogurt
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup 2% milk (use unsweetened Almond milk w/Almond flour, sweetened Coconut milk w/Coconut flour)

For the Glaze:

¼ cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. water (or use milk product associated with the quick bread)


Preheat oven to 350 F and spray 1 and ½ quart loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add sugar and mix until combined.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, yogurt, oil and milk until fully combined; do not let wet ingredients sit or they will begin to separate.  Slowly add wet ingredients to dry continually mixing until fully combined.

Pour mixture into loaf pan; bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Place pan on cooling rack, use tip of sharp knife around edges of quick bread to allow it to release from pan’s sides.

Aluminum Foil under the pans just in case of overflow while baking.

After quick bread is fully cooled, remove from pan to plate; prepare glaze and drizzle over loaf.

Makes 12 servings.

By the way, the original recipe quick bread had a firm texture, an overall vanilla flavor with just a slight tartness from the yogurt; a most excellent combination.

Happy New Year!!!

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Tis the Season for Cheesecake

As many know, I like to bake up treats for the holidays and give them out to show my appreciation.  Appreciation of those who have made my life easier through their dedication to their business and customer service.  I still find it kind of, well, for lack of a better word, strange that I am still hearing, “Mary, you’re the only one who does this for us every year.”  I find it strange that I keep hearing, “Be kind” all year long, yet at a time when kindness and appreciation are paramount, it gets lost around Black Friday until the New Year.  Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure kindness is in existence at this time of the year; probably just missing it while I’m in the kitchen baking.

By the way, just as I thought I was finished baking, dang it, wouldn’t you know I missed someone in my rushing around.  So here is my baking quote for the holiday season, “I am finished baking for the holidays, said no one ever!”, and yes, you can quote me if it’s applicable to yourself.

This is the year of pumpkin cheesecake; being a huge fan of pumpkin and cheesecake, is it no wonder they needed to meet and marry?  The recipe I will share with you has been in my personal recipe book since January 2011.  However, this year I decided to try out different cookie crusts than plain graham crackers; and add toppings like sour cream or chocolate.  While Roy and I enjoyed this taste adventure, I can definitely say I witnessed the absolute ingestion of these treats by the staff of the San Juan Record.  Unfortunately for editor, Ryan Collins, we were so engrossed in conversation that I do not think he even got to taste any; or maybe a crumb or two could have survived for his tasting pleasure.  Personally seeing the staff’s smiles, hearing the “mmm”s and “yum”s gave me a very good feeling deep inside.  You’re all awesome people, thanks for a great year!

By the way, the recipe bakes up one-9 inch cake, but can easily be used to fill up four to six - 4 inch mini spring form pans.  Just remember to make sure you seal the pan bottoms with aluminum foil, they will leak!  Speaking from experience here, as one new pan I purchased stated, “Guaranteed not to leak”.  Maybe in their test kitchen, but my oven was a whole other ballgame; thank goodness for self-cleaning ovens!

Just another example of my favorite quote by Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”  So to everyone, everywhere, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and enjoy the adventure that is life!

Pumpkin Cheesecake


1 and ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup melted butter
3 (8 oz.) packages softened cream cheese
1 cup pure pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs, beaten


Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare the 9 inch spring form pan by spray with non-stick baking spray; line bottom with parchment paper and spray paper with non-stick baking spray as well.  Place pan on aluminum foil and bring up halfway along sides, pressing to seal against pan.

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs with butter; mix together using a fork or pastry cutter until crumbly mixture forms.  Spread mixture evenly on bottom of pan and 1/3 way up the sides; place in oven for 5 minutes, remove and set aside.

In a large bowl, on medium speed, cream together cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, spice mix and eggs until well blended and smooth.  Pour mixture in pan, bake for one hour.  Turn off heat, open oven door slightly and let cake rest in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove cake, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight; use a warmed knife around sides of cake before releasing spring form pan.  Slide cake onto plate, removing parchment paper as it moves.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Options: Use shortbread, chocolate shortbread, honey or cinnamon graham crackers instead of regular graham crackers. 


Sour cream: 2 cups sour cream, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract.  In small bowl, combine all ingredients until smooth.  At 55 minutes of baking, spread over cake, sprinkle pumpkin pie spice over topping, bake for 5 minute before turning off oven and go into resting stage.

Chocolate Candy Shell:  After cake has rested, melt 1 cup of Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers, spread over cake, and continue with overnight resting.

Chocolate Ganache:  1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 cup chopped chocolate (milk or semi-sweet is traditional; bittersweet is my personal choice).  In a small saucepan, medium heat, heat the cream until bubbles just begin to form around the rim of the pan. Add the chocolate and stir until partially melted; remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth.  Spread over cake and continue with overnight resting; the ganache will thicken as it cools.

Mary Cokenour

Origination date: January 14, 2011
Updated version: December 2, 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Another 60 Years at Patio Drive-In

Patio Drive-In

95 N Grayson Pkwy (Hwy 191)
Blanding, UT, 84511

Phone: (435) 678-2177

Hours of Operation: Mon thru Sat: 11am-9pm, Closed Sunday

In the early 1950s, A&W opened two franchises, one in Blanding, the other in Monticello.  While Monticello’s franchise went bust due to lack of business, Blanding’s was booming; so much so, that the owner decided to cut ties with A&W.  In 1959, Patio Drive-In was born and while it has changed hands countless times, it has remained an icon of Blanding life. 

I first met current owners, Lana and Ricky Arthur, in 2015, but they have owned Patio since 2009.  The concept for the food at Patio has, and always will be, “We are not a fast food restaurant”, no, it’s a good food restaurant with proud owners and employees.  

On December 3, 2018, the Grand Re-opening of the newly remodeled Patio, community support displayed evidence of the pride locals felt about, not just the restaurant, but the Arthurs.  As we all gathered inside to say hello to Lana, Ricky, their employees, friends and neighbors, the swell of excited anticipation could be felt building.  Lana got her ribbon cutting scissors, borrowed from a local flower shop, but Lana was willing to do free haircuts that day, if anyone was brave enough.  Outside to the new entrance to the newly built dining area we followed; standing together while Lana, Ricky and Lana’s mom smiled at us.

Not being too fond of making speeches, Ricky let Lana do all the talking, just like a good husband should.  Lana’s voice cracked, her eyes moist with emotion, “I made it perfect for you.  My goal theme, “Another 60 Years!”  …opened in 1959…a desperate need to be redone and I knew I was the person privileged to do it and grateful I was able to do it.  …Another 60 Years!”  Lana also thanked her mom for all the support she had given them, in so many ways, and it just couldn’t have all been done without her.  Cutting the ribbon, being hugged and kissed by Ricky; we all cheered and then it was, “Come on it and eat!”

While many of us strolled around checking out the new d├ęcor, reupholstered bench seats and upgraded kitchen, there was Robert Turk at the register…the Patio’s first customer of the day.  Hey, he had his priorities correct, food first, then stroll it off afterwards.  

While the collection of license plates paneled one wall, another wall held a special memorial for local hero, Jason Workman.

Of course I had to check out the kitchen first and drool over the professional stove/oven/grill and deep fryer.  Ah, but I was not alone in my venture, along with hubby Roy, San Juan County was represented by Natalie Randall and Andy Platt from Economic Development and Tourism office, and Bayley Hedglin of the Chamber of Commerce.  We all know where the good food is!

Now let me get to the food.  Still sourcing as local as possible, Patio’s burgers come from a coalition of ranchers in nearby Colorado.  No more frozen burgers that needed to be marinated in au jus before grilling to perfection; oh no, now it’s fresh, and we all know fresh is best!  Which brings me to a menu item reserved just for locals; it won’t be listed on the menu board, but we can order it any time we want.  I am speaking about…The Houston, that specialty burger developed by former employee, Dallas Hall.  A juicy bacon cheeseburger on grilled bread topped with Swiss and Cheddar cheeses, lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo.

The Houston

Roy ordered the Big B, but added toppings of made fresh on the grill mushrooms and onions, oh you can taste the difference of freshly grilled.  My choice was the Chicken Ham and Swiss; the chicken tenders used are awesomely crispy on the outside, with tender, juicy chicken within; this sandwich takes two hands with all the toppings it comes with!  Who am I kidding, all the sandwiches at Patio need two hands…no regrets!

Ordering the combos, we both love those curly fries, more like waves of potatoes, deep fried, full of fluffy potato goodness and so yummy; 32 ounce fountain drinks come with combos and Utah’s all-time favorite, fry sauce, for your choice of potato side.  We were so stuffed, ordering shakes or ice cream cones will just have to wait for a return visit, a soon to occur return visit.  By the way, Patio may contain two dining areas inside now, but they are still servicing customers with a drive up window.  What I’d like to know is, how can anyone drive when needing two hands to eat one of Patio’s burgers???

Another 60 Years!  A concept that speaks about love of a business, love for a community and a future full of hope and the fulfillment of dreams. 

Mary Cokenour