Reducing a 9 x 13-inch pan recipe

Cook’s notes: I’ve been fascinated by small batch baking and reducing recipes for baked goods lately. Here are some notes I’ve found useful.

9 x 13-inch pan. Volume: 15 cups (24 to 36 cupcakes)

  • Cut recipe in half and use an 8 x 8-inch square pan
  • If recipe calls for 1 egg, use 1 egg (not 1/2 egg)

Square pan volume: 2 quarts or 8 cups (12 cupcakes)

  • 9 x 9-inch square pan
  • 9 x 5-inch loaf pan
  • 8 x 8-inch square pan

For any of these, cut the recipe in half and use a 6 x 6-inch square pan.
Note that a bread recipe for a loaf pan can be baked in a square pan.

Round pan volume

  • 9 x 2-inch round (8 cups): Also makes 12 cupcakes. Cut recipe in half and use a 6-inch round pan.
  • 8 x 2-inch round pan (6 cups): Same as 75% of a 9-inch pan recipe.
  • 6 x 2-inch round pan (4 cups): Makes 6 cupcakes.

Source: Includes Cake and Baking Pan Size Conversions – Allrecipes,,,,


Nut-free Snacks with Protein


Cook’s notes: Here is a list of snacks that are balanced with carbs and protein but don’t rely on nuts. I’m not allergic to nuts, but it’s nice to have nut-free snacks. I put nuts in my morning smoothie and don’t always want to eat them again in the same day. Hard-boiled eggs are also high in protein, but I can’t stand their texture, so they are not listed here.


Pick one dairy or protein serving: Match with one fruit, veggie, or grain:
1 oz. cheese (2 Babybel cheeses, 1 Laughing Cow wedge, 1 string cheese) 1 cup berries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, or pineapple chunks
Black beans with salsa, 1 cup 1 piece of fruit: apple, banana, nectarine, orange, or peach
Canned tuna, 3 oz. 2 small fruits: Mandarin oranges, plums
Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Applesauce, 1/2 cup (unsweetened)
Cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. Dried fruit (1 oz.): 9 apple chips, 4 dried apricots, 1/3 cup dried fruit, or 2 Tbsp. Craisins or raisins
Deli turkey, 2 oz. 1 low-fat [black bean] brownie
Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup Bread: 1/2 bagel, 1 corn muffin, 1 slice whole-wheat bread, 1 English muffin, 1/2 pita pocket
Hummus, 2 Tbsp. Plain oatmeal, 1/2 cup
Low-fat milk, 1 cup Popcorn, 3 cups
Roasted chickpeas, 1/2 cup Tortilla chips, 10 each
Sunflower seed butter, 2 Tbsp. Whole-wheat Fig Newton cookies, 2 each
Sunflower seeds, 3 Tbsp. 1 cup raw veggies: Baby carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, or sugar snap peas
Turkey jerky, 1 oz. 1/2 cup cooked veggies or baked sweet potato

Sample combinations:

  • 1 cheese stick with 1 serving of crackers
  • 1 cup lowfat milk with 1 banana
  • 1 Laughing Cow cheese wedge and 1 cup raw red bell pepper strips
  • 1 oz. Brie with 1 cup cherries
  • 1 oz. cheddar cheese and 1 cup grapes
  • 1 oz. turkey jerky and 1 orange
  • 1 string cheese with 3 whole-wheat crackers
  • 1/2 bagel [or 1 rice cake] with 2 Tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup black beans with salsa and 10 tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas with 1/2 cup baked sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup plain oatmeal with 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup berries
  • 2 Tablespoons hummus with 1 cup baby carrots
  • Half sandwich: 1 slice whole-wheat bread topped with mustard and 2 oz. turkey or chicken
  • 2 ounces deli turkey, 1 ounce aged cheese, 1 cup mini pearl grape tomatoes, and 4 pitted Kalamata olives (EatingWell:  October/November 2005)
  • Mix 3 oz. canned salmon with low-fat mayonnaise, and eat with 1 serving of whole-wheat crackers


2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Snacks without Nuts

Cook’s notes: It’s easy to get into a snack rut, for me, of 1 apple with 1 oz. cheddar for my afternoon snack. Plan ahead, so you don’t just grab some chips from the vending machine. Adding produce to snacks is an easy way to improve your daily eating.

Here are some templates with fruits and vegetables to make planning snacks easier.

  • 1 oz. cheddar and 1/2 cup grapes
  • 1 oz. cheese and 2 slices deli turkey
  • 1 oz. cheese, 1 serving crackers, and 1 mini cucumber
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup yogurt with 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup black beans, 1 oz. cheese, and 1 corn tortilla with salsa
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds with 1 oz. turkey jerky
  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal with 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup raw veggies with 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1 cup chocolate milk and 1 banana


Fruit choices: Match with 1 oz. cheese, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup cottage cheese or yogurt, 2 graham crackers, or 1 oz. turkey jerky.

1/4 cup raisins
2 Fig Newton cookies
1 apple
1 banana
1 pear
2 mandarin oranges
1/2 cup blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
1/2 cup seedless grapes
1 cup cherries

Vegetable choices: Match with 1 oz. cheese, 1 serving of crackers, 1/4 cup hummus, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup bean salad, 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas, 2 slices deli turkey, or 2 cups popcorn. Vegetables are also tasty with Russian Dressing Dip, which is made with Greek yogurt.

1 mini cucumber
1/2 cup marinated beets
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
1/2 cup raw veggies
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/2 cup roasted squash
10 snow pea pods
12 baby carrots
12 cherry tomatoes

Review: Beating the Lunch Box Blues

I cooked a few recipes recently from Beating the Lunch Box Blues by J. M. Hirsch (link). I wish a lot more of his recipes gave proportions, if not exact measurements, but this book is full of great ideas. The layout is energized, and a lot of the recipes will work for grown-ups taking their lunch to work.

Two of the recipes I tried have already been posted online, so those links are shared below. Overall, I highly recommend this book.

Garlicky White Beans and Tomatoes: Hirsch’s idea to roast canned white beans with tomatoes was really clever. The original recipe called for chicken thighs. However, this recipe makes an excellent side dish without meat:

  • Mix 2 cans of white beans (drained) with 1 pint cherry tomatoes and 4 cloves minced garlic. Toss with 3 Tablespoons olive oil and 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary; season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425F on a foil-lined pan for 20 to 25 minutes. We served this with fluffy quinoa.

Turkey Sloppy Joes (link): These were terrific the next day. The list of ingredients is a little long, but the tomato sauce with roasted red peppers came together quickly in the Vitamix blender. I omitted the anchovy fillets and used smoked gouda  instead of shredded cheddar. Hamburger buns are not necessary: the sloppy joe mix can be served over pasta.

Thai Curry Barbecue Chicken Thighs (link): Oh my goodness. This recipe makes a sauce from red curry paste blended with peanut butter. It’s just delicious, even without marinating. Serve with Greek Yogurt Coleslaw.

Recipe Roundup: Tried and Liked April 2015

Black Bean Brownies without Flour (link): One of my coworkers started a Vegan Lunch Club, where we bring dishes to share. It’s been a fun way to try out new vegan recipes. At our first potluck, no one brought dessert, but we talked about black bean brownies. This recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie is great: vegan, gluten-free, and very fudgy.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing with Greek Yogurt (link): This dressing is awesome on roasted beets or with raw baby carrots. It’s also good on salad. Reduced the honey in the recipe to 2 Tablespoons, and it’s still plenty sweet.

Rosemary-Garlic Chicken in the Slow Cooker (link): A wonderful way to cook boneless skinless chicken breasts so they aren’t dried out. The rosemary and garlic blend to make a delicious gravy.

Recipe Roundup: Tried and Liked Jan 2015

Quinoa Muffins

Quinoa Muffins

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Bowl (link, quickie recipe below)
Inspired by an article on the Weary Chef blog. Conveniently, we had leftover barbecue chicken and pork in the house. This would also be good with the addition of 1/2 cup beans.

Place 1/2 cup cooked quinoa in a bowl. Top with 1/2 cup shredded barbecue chicken (or pork) and additional barbecue sauce. Warm in the microwave. Top with a sprinkle of cheese, and heat for 30 seconds on High until the cheese melts. Serve warm.

Quinoa Muffins (link)
This recipe is an excellent. The cooked quinoa texture is similar to oatmeal. I made the muffins with regular 2% milk and not buttermilk, and they turned out delicious. I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the batter and got 15 tasty muffins (not 12).