Crisp, Sweet & Chewy

Sourdough bakers are always looking for ways to utilize the “discard” from their starter when they feed and refresh it. Since I keep my starter on the counter and feed it every day, I am quickly running through recipes other than bread that can incorporate the discard.

I was really hungry for something sweet for breakfast, but didn’t want to make a traditional, sugar-enhanced recipe. So I made these absolutely delicious apple fritters, utilizing the discard from this morning’s feeding of my wild caught sourdough starter “Audrey,” and some sweet-tart organic Granny Smith apples I had on hand. The result is heaven — a crisp outer layer with chewy inside and bursts of sweet-tart apple. Yum! The recipe I made was enough for two people, but you can easily double or triple for more. And if by some miracle you have some left over, they reheat easily in a toaster oven.

Sourdough Apple Fritters


1-1/2 Cups Granny Smith or other tart apple, peeled, cored and diced small

1/2 Cup Sourdough Starter discard (be sure to stir it up well before extracting your discard)

Organic Coconut Oil – enough to make an inch in the bottom of your fryer or pan (1-2 cups) [We are lucky to have access to an excellent brand which is Virgin Cold Pressed and even smells lightly of coconut adding another element to the flavor of these fritters. I encourage folks to do their own research on coconut oil and health. There are differences of opinion, but I personally have concluded it is a healthy choice.]

1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/8 Teaspoon Fine Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Baking Soda

A note about the hydration of your starter: This recipe works well with starter that is 75% or even 50% hydration, which will support the apples well in the batter. If your starter is 100% hydration then you may want to sprinkle some flour into the batter until it is thick enough to support the apples.

  • Combine the apples and starter by drizzling the starter over the apples while gently stirring to coat them.
  • Sprinkle dry ingredients over the batter and mix to combine.
  • Set your fryer or pan with coconut oil to a medium high heat while the batter “sets up”
  • Check readiness of the oil by dropping a drop of batter onto the center and outer edge of the oil. If it creates tiny sizzle bubbles it is ready.
  • Spoon batter into the oil making sure there is about a half inch between spoonfuls. Leave the center for last as it is usually the hottest.
  • Fry until golden on the bottom then flip to fry other side. The timing will depend on the heat, but no more than 4 minutes on each side.
  • When both sides have fried to a crisp light golden brown, remove and drain on paper towels letting them cool to edible warm stage.

Now, it is traditional to sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on sweet fritters, but I prefer these plain and do not think they suffer for it because they are so tangy and tasty. But if you must, I would recommend instead sprinkling some organic granulated Stevia – just go lightly as it is very sweet. Serve warm. Enjoy!



How to Fight a SuperBug!


The Centers for Disease Control has just sounded the alarm that the end of the era of antibiotics is at hand. How did we get here? Simple. The inappropriate use of antibiotics that flood your body’s immune system rendering it weak or helpless, and flush into the water supply feeding bacteria rendering them stronger and more dangerous. A lethal combination for us. There are 3 things that we can all be doing now to protect ourselves from such superbugs:

  1. Stop using antibiotics inappropriately or even at all. When you flood your system with antibiotics for every physical complaint, especially ones where they can’t be effective or are even counter-productive (colds, yeast infections, etc.) you reduce your body’s natural immune system and kill the bacteria that you need for a strong immune system. Overuse of antibiotics, that are flushed into the ground water, is the primary reason bacteria have become resistant.
  2. Change your diet to promote a stronger microbiome, which comprises 2/3 of your body’s immune system and is responsible for promoting your physical AND mental health. Did you know that “feel-good” seratonin is primarily created in the gut, not the brain? Stop eating the things that feed the bad bacteria in your gut, sugar primarily, but processed foods generally. GMO grains contain glyphosates (a component of Monsanto’s “Roundup”) which have been shown to cause severe irritation to the gut (in pigs) and are antimicrobial, killing all gut bacteria, even the good ones, like antibiotics do.  Start eating more fermented foods (wild caught sourdough, home made sauerkraut and pickles, apple cider vinegar with the mother, to name a few). Those who already have gut issues should know that your gut lining replaces itself every couple of days, so changing your bad habits and adopting a gut friendly diet will change your life.
  3. Stock natural herbs and plants that can come to your aid if you do need assistance fighting off a bug. One such good choice is berberine, the yellow substance found inside the bark of many plants found growing naturally — nandina, oregon grape, barberry and many more. Berberine is an adaptogen, meaning it backstops your immune system and adapts to what your body needs when it is stressed. There are many other plants that do this. They should always be your FIRST choice, not antibiotics.

These steps are important not just for YOUR health, but for the health of everyone around you! We are all in this together!

How To Give Your Dog A Treat!



It seems like a “no brainer,” doesn’t it? But how you give your dog a treat can make a big difference in your dog’s enjoyment of the treat, their behavior, and their health. So here are a few quick pointers:

DON’T give your dog too many treats! LuckyLike! Treats for Dogs are healthy and made of human-grade ingredients, but they are not meal substitutes. And if you are giving a lot of treats all day long for no particular purpose, it actually diminishes their enjoyment of them! Make getting a treat … a treat! Over-treating can also quickly lead to obesity, which can lead to all sorts of health problems for your dog, especially as they age. Fat dogs are NOT cute — they are FAT!

DO make the treat a reward for good behavior. Make them sit for their treat, or go to their sleepy place, or fetch a toy, or just calm down! Giving a treat when a dog is misbehaving will yield misbehavior! You don’t want to “bribe” your dog to stop behaving badly, you want to approve your dog’s good behavior. Doing this is a form of affection. A dog should never “grab” for the treat in your hand – that just invites problems (and pain). Give them a verbal cue if they do grab — say “NO” and withhold the treat until they are calm, keeping it in your fist. They should open their mouth and let you put it in their mouth, without teeth touching your hand. Or take it from your open palm when they are calm enough to deserve it.

DON’T frustrate your dog by promising a treat and then not giving it. Or holding a treat over their nose for a long time while they are made to wait. If they are being good, reward them immediately, so they associate the good behavior with the treat!

DO think about giving treats as an important tool in training, but not the only tool. Your dog should first want to please you, and then want the treat. So be sure a treat is prefaced with “Good Boy” or “Yes” and then the treat, not the other way around.

I hope you will make LuckyLike! Treats For Dogs a regular part of your Best Friend’s day!



Wild Caught Sourdough Biscuits


Wild Caught Sourdough Biscuits

Today I threw out an old jar of commercial yeast that I had occasionally used before starting my wild caught sourdough starter “Audrey.” I did so because I just can never go back to the tasteless, stomach bloating, unhealthy baked goods that commercial “yeast” produces.Yesterday I baked a truly marvelous loaf of bread for a neighbor. You could smell the “sour” and she called later to confirm that the taste was true sourdough and wonderful! Slowly I am making converts. It is tough here in the South where cooking and baking reside in a different part of the mind than health. I refer you to Paula Deen or Southern Living recipes to make my point.

And nothing could be as quintessentially Southern as the biscuit. So producing a healthier, better-tasting, and better-looking biscuit should set off an earthquake here in North Carolina. We’ll see. There is little that is different in this recipe aside from other biscuit recipes, except the inclusion of a good wild-caught sourdough starter. And you do not need to “prove” the starter before using. Thus, the end result has wonderful rich flavor, but not the tangyness of a sourdough loaf which relies on the long-rise to produce that character. I should also note that wild caught sourdough is, in my opinion, a completely different animal (it is alive after all) from other “sourdoughs” which may even rely on commercial yeast as a base for the starter. Hah! What’s the point?

Wild caught sourdough breads will stay fresher longer. Because it pre-digests the gluten, you do not get the same physical reaction when you eat it. Making wild-caught sourdough biscuits is almost as fast as an ordinary biscuit recipe, but produces the richest, most satisfying biscuit you will ever eat. And they keep. And reheat wonderfully. Here it is!


Have all ingredients at room temperature — don’t want to give your starter a chill do we? Pre-set your oven to 425 degrees.

Mix 2 Cups Bread Flour (higher protein than regular flour), 1 Teaspoon Salt, 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda, 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder with a wire whisk to aerate (the equivalent of sifting, and a lot easier) in a large bowl.

In your food processor, or by hand, combine 1/2 Cup Butter (I prefer using it straight from the freezer) cut into little bits with the flour mixture and then process to the texture of cornmeal.

In a separate separate bowl or large measuring cup combine 1 C Wild Caught Sourdough Starter and 1/2 Cup Buttermilk. Mix into the flour/butter mix and combine quickly until you have a nice soft dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

Turn out on a floured board, knead for a half a minute (you don’t want to overwork) and roll to 1/2″ thickness. Cut out your biscuits using a large size biscuit cutter or a wine glass dipped in flour.  Place biscuits on parchment paper on a baking sheet so that their sides are touching (that is really important). Cover with plastic wrap (not tight, just laid over) and put in warm protected spot for a 1/2 hour rise. Set your timer – more is not better at this point.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Watch the bottoms closely – when they are golden and there is a slight gold to the tops, they are done. Ovens are individual things, so in my oven they need the full 20 minutes.

Can be reheated easily placing directly on the wire of your toaster oven set to “Warm/350” for a few minutes. They will taste every bit as good as when they first came out of the oven! Enjoy!

The Story of Lucky and Buster

Lucky and Buster

Lucky and Buster

Lucky found me on a very cold winter day. He was about 5 weeks old, abandoned, hungry and very eager to be rescued, bounding up to me as I walked to the store. I couldn’t resist. On the way home a friend remarked that he was “one lucky dog” and the name stuck. Lucky needed more than a good home and love, he needed a best buddy, and so a year later I found Buster at the local shelter. His mother had been killed by a car and the whole litter had just been brought in. Buster took to Lucky immediately and Lucky now had his “pack.” They have been as close as two dogs can be ever since.

This is why a portion of the profits from sales of LuckyLike Dog Treats go to support animal rescue and no kill shelter organizations.

LuckyLike Treats for Dogs are now available at CherryGal. They are made in small batches to maintain maximum freshness. Each bag is dated as to when it was baked. We use only the freshest, most natural (and preferably organic) ingredients. We do NOT add any sugar, salt, colorings, artificial ingredients or preservatives. LOVE and GOODNESS go into every bag of LuckyLike Dog Treats! Hand Made in the USA.



Lucky Like! Premium Dog Treats


A couple of months ago I got tired of the quality and price of good, safe dog treats for my two fellas, Lucky and Buster. So I started baking my own for them, and they loved them! The recipes evolved and perfected to the point that I decided to market to others. What my boys enjoy — wholesome, natural and organic ingredients, with no added sugars, salts or artificial anything — will soon be available at Stay tuned!

My Sourdough Gal


I have always loved bread, but it has not always loved me. There is much truth to the “wheat belly” and “gluten intolerance” theories of today. But much of my love of bread is tied up in childhood memories — a kindergarten field trip to the Wonder Bread factory in Baltimore where we each received a miniature loaf of wonder bread; my father’s weekly bread baking in the last years before his death, using a recipe from the ‘Joy of Cooking’ cookbook with white flour, store-bought yeast, butter and milk.

But then came the beginning of “another way.” The sixties with its foray into healthier eating. The release of the ‘Tasahara Bread Book” with its emphasis on Zen and whole wheat was a frustration for many of us as it produced heavy loaves that were in a different class altogether from the bread we had grown up with. That was followed by the proliferation of in-store bakeries and bakery eateries which offered delicious, artisan loaves with crispy crusts and chewy insides that were impossible to replicate in your home oven. Then came the No-Knead Bread Method, which relies on a cast iron dutch oven to produce similar humidity levels as a bakery oven. But none of these methods, improvements though they were, got me to a place where I could feel confident in the health of what I was baking and eating.

That is, until the Modern Sourdough Revolution sprang to life, with its focus on the science of bread. And then began a new effort on my part to generate delicious and wholesome loaves with the same tangy flavor and beautiful artisan good looks that I associated with sourdough. I started by purchasing a sourdough starter from King Arthur and managed to keep it alive through 3 semi-good loaves. Then I attempted to make my own starter in my Zoriushi Bread Machine. This was a disaster.

But recently, I watched a Netflix documentary by Michael Pollan on cooking which gave me new insight and hope. One segment of the show focused on bread, and the ancient art of fermented sourdough. The key is the fermentation — which not only provides sourdough with its unique flavor, but also breaks down the wheat flour to make it more digestible and healthy. I was hooked.

The New York Times has given excellent coverage to sourdough and there are several different ways to start your own “wild” sourdough. I chose to try making it from golden raisins. It takes about a week to produce the raisin water needed to create the starter. My first batch didn’t work out. I put the crock on my seed starting heat mat thinking it would facilitate it. I grew something in there, but it wasn’t yeast. Started again, this time putting it near my grow light but not on the heat mat, and checking every day to give it some air and a stir. In a week I had wonderful smelling foamy raisin stew. I drained off the water and began my sourdough culture with it. Eureka! My wonderful sourdough was born!

Serious sourdough aficionados name their starters. I decided to name mine Audrey after “The Little Shop Of Horrors” creature who was constantly crying “Feed Me!” I thought it would help me remember that a good starter is always a work in progress. It must be attended to on a regular basis to keep it viable. Like many serious bakers, I decided to keep Audrey on the counter in a protected nook near the stove but away from ceiling fans and air conditioners. I use her every day or every other day. I check on her daily and if I am not pulling out a cup or so to bake with I will take some and put it in a jar for a neighbor and then feed her with fresh flour and water. I’ve long abandoned the strict ratios and go by smell and appearance when feeding her. I know what she looks and smells like when she is happy and she rewards my diligence with exquisite bread, pizza dough, biscuits and hopefully soon, bagels (my next project).

I strongly encourage you to try your hand at making a wild sourdough. It is an adventure. It is fun. It is delicious and very satisfying. In future posts I will supply recipes that I have tested and now use regularly with great success. Emphasis for me is always on easiest. I have discovered that there seem to be a LOT of sourdough recipes that are much more complicated then they need to be. Ancient bread makers, I think, did it by my method — look and smell. If it looks good and smells good — you’re gonna bake gooood!

Poison Ivy in the Garden


Leaves of Three …


Let it be!

We all learned that saying as children, but it is often forgotten by young and old at annoying peril. When I was a very young child of tender years, there was a fabulous wooded “jungle” near our then suburban home with fabulous thick vines hanging down from trees — perfect for imitating Tarzan and Jane! That was my first introduction to poison ivy. Not everyone is as sensitive as am I, but most will get some level of reaction. If not the multicolored swelling and puffy closed eyes, then an itch so severe it will drive you stark raving mad. You would think I would learn my lesson, but several years later when my sister and I visited the Baltimore Zoo in October, we fed the tame deer there handfuls of colorful leaves. You guessed it — poison ivy. It took another 10 or so years for me to get hit again. Again in the Autumn, on a walk with my wonderful dog Martha through the woods in Massachusetts. My little fluffy Martha was the perfect host to pick up every drop of the Urushiol (poisonous oil) that coats the leaves and I didn’t even think about this when I nuzzled her and let her climb under the covers that chilly evening. THAT time required a trip to emergency room!


Today, I am extremely cautious about this noxious weed. As an avid gardener it is hard to avoid it, and once familiar with its habit, you become aware that it is ubiquitous and clever! Its scientific name, Toxicodendron radicans is a good indicator of danger. It spreads by runners underground and vines above ground and pops up under the leaves of your favorite plants. All parts of poison ivy are dangerous and it is very hard to eradicate if you are an organic gardener and don’t use the scorched earth pesticides available to kill it. I do what I can by donning throw away clothes that I pick up at yard sales giving me 100% coverage adding a face mask, scarf over my hair and ears, goggles and medical gloves and every Spring and Fall I go after it big time, using pliars to grasp and pull it out with, depositing it in heavy plastic bags for trash pick up.

After this, I will carefully remove all my protection, making sure it does not touch me in the removal, put them in the trash and don my favorite protection/remedy — Tecnu (which is very effective in removing the urushiol oils), rubbing it over any part of me that might have temporarily been exposed (not eyes) and then showering with good hot soapy water. The towel I use is put in the wash immediately. My clogs are “Tecnu’d” as are my pliars. And then I pray . . . seriously. If you think this is extreme, you’ve never experienced an exposure. Even the smallest patch can drive you crazy with itching and more serious exposures can blister and go on for weeks. Because I have dogs and cats that might also encounter patches, I do not pet them without applying Tecnu to my hands/arms afterward. If you do develop a rash, Tecnu has another product, Tecnu Xtreme, made of a plant called Grindelia Robusta which not only stops the reaction from spreading, but provides wonderful itch relief. And if you have a serious exposure, I’m afraid antihistimines and even cortisone treatments may be your only effective options.

Most people (85%) do have an allergic reaction if exposed. By the way, poison sumac looks very similar to poison ivy and is the one to watch out for in states outside the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states. Just as dangerous! And poison oak, which resembles oak leaves, grows at the base of oak trees in the Western states. When I get to Heaven, I intend to ask God what he was thinking when he created these plants (and mosquitos).

I hope this reminder is helpful. Let me know if you have other remedies or procedures for dealing with this ghastly plant. We gardeners have to share such important information.