How to brew loose leaf tea in your drip coffee maker

Equipment & supplies needed:

  • 1 cone style drip coffee maker, 8-cup or larger (flat basket will not work)
  • 1 electric coffee grinder
  • 1 permanent filter, cone style, like this one
  • Loose leaf tea

  1. Grind the tea (a small amount at a time) to the consistency of finely ground coffee, and store it in an airtight container.
  2. Place the permanent filter into the brewing basket of the coffee maker.
  3. Measure 3 teaspoons of ground tea and place it into the permanent filter.
  4. Fill coffee maker's reservoir with water, up to the 8-cup line.
  5. Turn on your coffee maker and allow the tea to brew into the pot.
  6. Enjoy!

Italian Christmas Cookies (knots)

Christmas cookies should be shared with friends and family, and this will make plenty for that purpose.

I remember these from when I was growing up. My stepmother's mom made them every year, but when she died, she kind of took the recipe with her (or so we thought, till now)

I had been on a long quest to try to duplicate them, but they never came out quite right.  Now I have a copy of the original recipe, which I have posted here for safe keeping.



  • 8 Cups All Purpose Flour (sifted well)
  • 8 Eggs
  • 8 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 Sticks softened salted butter
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar 

1. Mix together with your hands until a firm dough is formed.
2. Roll into knots and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes
or until bottoms are slightly golden brown.
3. Move cookies from baking sheet to a cooling rack as soon as they come out of the oven, as the heat from the pan will continue to cook them, and they easily become over-done.
4. Once cookies are cool, they can be decorated by dipping upside down in a thin icing (see recipe below) and then dipped into colored sprinkles / jimmies.


Icing:

  • Evaporated Milk
  • Confectioners sugar
  • Vanilla extract

Start with a cup of confectioners sugar in a large mixing bowl and add evaporated milk 1/4 cup at a time while hand mixing with a fork until smooth and blended well. You can alternate adding more sugar and milk until you get the desired consistency (thick enough to stay on cookie, thin enough to easily swirl the fork in). Once icing is ready, slightly flavor it with vanilla to taste.

Banana Bread (fat free)

This is a fantastic recipe to experiment with, changing the bananas to 2 cups of any pureed fruit and adding in additional ground spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. I have even done an oatmeal variation where I replaced the bananas with 2 cups of cooked and cooled oatmeal with good results, and one where I doubled the recipe and used 2 cups of cooked oatmeal and 2 cups of chunky applesauce and threw in some cinnamon, to make 2 loaves of apple cinnamon oatmeal bread.

Use your imagination and post a comment to share what comes out good.

  • 6 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 handful of uncooked old fashioned oats (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mash the bananas and sugar together.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Stir in the banana mixture and the vanilla, till thoroughly blended.
  5. Stir in the raisins.
  6. Pour into an ungreased nonstick loaf pan*.
  7. Sprinkle oats on top.
  8. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  9. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  10. Cool completely before slicing.

*If you don't have a nonstick loaf pan, or the one you have isn't of very good quality, you will have to grease the pan. Keep in mind that doing this would make the loaf no longer fat free.