Holiday Preparations

Holiday Preparations

Good evening everyone!  I’m a bit late with this post because I really haven’t done anything crafty this past weekend.  At this point I’m organizing Christmas.  I did finish baking the Raspberry Ribbon Cookies.  They are very good, according to Hubby, my taste tester. I concur. I put them in the freezer quickly, so there would be some left for Christmas.

I’ve been writing cards and organizing gifts. I have a large extended family and, while we normally don’t exchange much with each other, I singled out a couple of families for all the help they’ve been to us since we moved.  I’ve also singled out a few close friends for cards and gifts.

I love giving gifts, but I realize not everyone likes to receive. They feel an obligation to exchange gifts. Or they just aren’t “into” gifts. Or there’s financial reasons.  Or time constraints. Or…

That’s okay.  There are many types of gifts other than physical objects. I gift my time, or fulfill a need or want that comes up throughout the year. I will gift my experience and expertise to people who really need it and ask for it.  There are, of course, limits on that. I don’t like to be used any more  than the next person!  By taking a broad view of gift giving I am able to help more people and spread happiness throughout the year, not just at Christmas time.

I hope, wherever you are, that you find time to slow down during this holiday season (no matter what holiday you celebrate) and soak up some peace, and wonder at the marvellous world around you.

If you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a great week!




Recipe Sources

Recipe Sources

Good morning everyone!  Yesterday was a full day…of cooking.

I made cranberry jelly, apple peel and core jelly, red currant jelly, strawberry jam and roasted tomatoes.  I used the Cranberry Sauce recipe from “Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens”, as well as the strawberry jam recipe.  The apple peel and core jelly recipe came from .  The red currant jelly recipe is from The Spruce Eats  The roasted tomatoes recipe came from my sister.

In the end the results of Saturday were 6 cups of unsweetened applesauce and 22 cups of vegetable stock.  There’s no recipe for the vegetable stock…just scraps and a lot of reading in general on making stocks.

Unsweetened applesauce is pretty basic.  Just cut up apples, add a bit of water and let simmer until soft enough to put through a food mill.  I peeled and cored my apples to have enough cores and peelings to make the Apple Core & Peeling Jelly.  The apple peeling and core jelly was a bit a novelty and experiment.  The jury is still out whether it has enough flavour.

If you read my Saturday post you’ll know I spent Friday making three batches of kimchi. Two are from a cookbook titled “Summer in a Jar” (Kimchi I and Kimchi II) and one is from a large hardcover cookbook titled “The Complete Book of Korean Cooking” by Young Jin Song.   I made the White Cabbage Salad with Kimchi Dressing out of the latter cookbook, and am letting it sit to ferment until it becomes kimchi.

My daanmooji recipe (spicy pickled radish) came from a previous Korean boarder and can be found here.

That’s it for today. I hope to continue cooking and baking, but we shall see.  Take care everyone!  Thank-you for reading!  Have a great week!

Lovin’ My New Kitchen!

Lovin’ My New Kitchen!

Hi everyone!  No rug hooking this week…I’ve been making up for lost time in my new kitchen!  What have I been making?

  • cooking red kidney beans from dried,
  • cooking chickpeas from dried,
  • cooking black beans from dried,
  • baking johnnycake (aka cornbread),
  • baking 2 loaves of French bread,
  • baking a triple batch of whole wheat dinner rolls,
  • making a triple batch of whole wheat tortillas,
  • baking granola,
  • baking granola bars,
  • making Nanaimo bars, and
  • making Raw Energy Balls.

I am attempting to provide healthy snacks for Hubby for his bicycle rides. Though, I admit, the Nanaimo bars are just because they’re his favourite.  I used the recipe on the City of Nanaimo website .

My treat for you is my Raw Energy Ball recipe.  There are many versions of this floating around the Internet.  This is the version we use.

Raw Energy Balls

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground cardamon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter
  • unsweetened shredded coconut

Grind almonds until finely ground to meal in a food processor.  Add everything BUT the coconut.  Process until just smooth enough to shape, but not runny.  Squeeze into 1” diameter balls.  Roll in coconut.  Let sit in fridge to cool and firm up before serving.


As you can tell, it has been a busy week in the kitchen. This weekend we have company arriving. I may or may not post on Monday. Lots happening!

If you have been, thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend everyone!


Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Good evening everyone!  It’s been a busy week.  I’ve spent it processing food for the winter, emptying out the kitchen and preparing for the kitchen renovation. Tomorrow is the day the old kitchen is dismantled.

First the food processing. I love home canned peaches and prefer them over store bought. So on Monday Hubby and I went on a gorgeous drive up to Wolfville, Nova Scotia to the farm markets – ostensibly to look for peaches. Well, that ended up with us coming back with over $70 worth of goods, including a $45/2 litre jug of maple syrup.  I picked up two huge zucchini for $1 each, a 5 pound basket of green tomatoes, two 5 pound bags of beets, a bag of salad greens, four 2 quart baskets of peaches and a quart of fresh strawberries.

In the end the peaches weren’t ripe enough to can.  I didn’t have time for them to ripen before the kitchen came out, so I decided to try to make peach jam.  I ended up with peach syrup. All’s good. Hubby says it tastes great for pancakes!  I made zucchini relish, pickled beets, green tomato chutney, and chow-chow.

On a whim, after watching a YouTube video on a channel named Frugal Jo, I made a clementine marmalade of 1/4 cup sugar per clementine.  I simmered it for half an hour and was rewarded with a lovely fridge/freezer marmalade.

My goal this week was to sell the stove and give away the microwave. After some back and forth with potential buyers, it appeared that was not going to happen. So we will remove them tomorrow with the cabinets.  The stove is still listed online for sale.  The microwave will be taken to recycling.

We were out buying paint for the kitchen too.  Hubby prepped some of the walls today and is going to do the painting as soon as the old kitchen cabinets are removed.

We’ve spent the last two days emptying out the kitchen.  We have a lot of stuff in there.  I’m culling as I go, and will continue to cull as things go back into the kitchen.

So…nothing happened in rug hooking this week.  Nor anything creative for that matter.  BUT…great strides were made in preparation for the kitchen renovation.  I did spend time organizing the paper mess of recipes and kitchen information on my cookbook shelf.  I’m still not finished with that, but I’m getting there!

If you have been, thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend everyone!



Merry Christmas !

Merry Christmas !

A busy week visiting within our Covid bubble. Exchanging cookies and gifting a pie to the neighbour. Baking…and baking….

The cookie exchange cookies disappeared quickly. I made Hubby some of my version of the mini brownies from the store – just to keep him out of the cookies! The recipe is from an old website of an old acquaintance. I can’t find it online now. So here is the recipe for Bernadette’s Brownies.

Bernadette’s Brownies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream the sugar and shortening in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. Either pour into a greased 8×8” pan or divide into 24 mini muffin pans with one side foil cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Bernadette’s Brownies

I made more Danish Butter Cookies. This time I made the Almond-Cherry Cookies. I also made an orange flavoured cookie dipped in semi sweet chocolate. Only I didn’t have any oranges for rind, so I grated up some clementine rind. Now that’s tricky business! Clementine rind is thin!

Chocolate Dipped Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted and softened
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange peel (I used clementines)
  • 1 egg
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl press flour into butter to blend. Okay, this is where I gave up initially. I washed my hands and used my fingers to break up the clumps of butter and mix it with the flour. Much easier and quicker.

Add sugar, orange peel, and egg. Stir until a stiff dough forms. You can refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes at this point if it’s too soft to roll. Otherwise, roll it between two pieces of wax paper to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1 x 2” bars. Place 1” apart on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second increments. Be sure to stir between microwave sessions. Dip cookies halfway in melted chocolate. Place on wax paper to cool and harden the chocolate completely Makes 30-40 cookies.

Chocolate Dipped Cookies

I also made my Ninety Minute Rolls from “Dining on a Dime” cookbook. Only I use a different method. If you feel brave enough to take on yeast, read on!

Ninety Minute Rolls (modified)

  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (one package)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

Mix flour and yeast together in big bowl. put sugar, salt, and butter in smaller bowl. Heat water and milk to lukewarm, either on the stove or in the microwave. Add lukewarm water and milk to salt, sugar and butter. Stir with wooden spoon till butter is melted and the salt and sugar have dissolved (doesn’t feel gritty under the spoon).

Stir liquid ingredients into dry. Stir till dough forms. Knead a few seconds till everything holds together. Place a dishtowel over it and let sit 10 minutes. Then knead on oiled or floured surface (depending how tough the dough is) 20 minutes.

Let rise 15 minutes, or till double in size, in a warm draft free place with a dishtowel overtop. Punch down and divide evenly into roll size amounts. This should make 8 or 9 rolls (I often quadruple this recipe). Place formed and pinched rolls into 8×8” lightly greased pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

Ninety Minute Rolls

I wrote on Monday that I’d made tortiere for the Holiday season. We often serve it Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. My recipe makes enough for both days for 4 people. I have modified the recipe by using my ex-sister-on-law’s pastry for the crust.

So here are the recipes for both. As you can see from the size of the pastry recipe, it’s a good idea to set aside a whole day for the pastry and make pies and tortiere at the same time.

Shirley’s Pastry

  • 1 pound vegetable shortening (or lard!)
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt (this could be cut in half)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until smaller than pea size. In a one cup measuring cup mix egg and vinegar. Add cold water to make one cup. Mix into dry ingredients. Shape into balls to roll out between sheets of waxed paper for pie crusts. Makes enough pastry for four double crust pies, or several tortiere!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs, finely chopped (I use my food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • One recipe Shirley’s pastry, or enough pastry for two deep double crust pies.

Put oil in a large pan over low heat. Add all ingredients but pastry. Mix well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes. Cool. Line 2 – 8×8” pans with pastry. Divide meat filling between them. Cover with pastry, seal, and prick with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

That’s it for my Christmas post everyone! Have a great Holiday Season and Merry Christmas!

Christmas Preparations

Christmas Preparations

Hello all! Christmas preparations are underway here. I am busy cooking for the freezer. Yesterday I had Hubby’s help in making a huge pot of Hearty Salmon Chowder from Anne Lindsay’s “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”. We had some for supper and froze the rest

Hearty Salmon Chowder

I made cranberry sauce yesterday, using a long time favourite recipe from “From Old Nova Scotia Kitchens”, modified, of course. Cranberry sauce was one of the items requested for Christmas Day dinner and I am happy to oblige.

Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce (modified)

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Put this all in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Boil hard for 3-5 minutes. Then pour into sterilized cup canning jars. Makes 2-3 cups.

Lemon Tea Loaf

I also made another lemon loaf, just so I could take photos and share the recipe with you, my readers. Well, okay, it was so we could enjoy it too! Here is the slightly modified recipe. The original is from Anne Lindsay’s original “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”.

Lemon Loaf (modified)

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Rind of one lemon

Prepare pan by lining sides and bottom with tin foil, shiny side up, and lightly greasing with butter. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream sugar and butter. Add egg and yogurt and mix well. Add milk and mix well. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir into egg mixture. Add grated rind. Pour into a prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven. Leave in pan. Let cool 3-5 minutes. Mix juice of one lemon with 1/4 cup sugar. Spoon over top of loaf evenly. Let sit till until lemon juice and sugar soak in a bit. Then lift from pan, peel off tin foil, slice, and serve.

Aside from that this week has been busy with arranging a safe way to acquire Christmas gifts and devising safe ways to give. Tis the season for online e-gift cards folks!

Talk to you all on Monday!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Well my creative weekly review is short and sweet today. I didn’t do anything creative. I decided to take a break and deal with some things we’ve been putting off since our move. We’re working on organizing finances, rewriting wills, stocking the freezers for winter, and enjoying the season by using technology to visit with friends and family.

The Christmas season is in full swing here. I was helping a friend decorate her Christmas tree Monday, and I’ll be helping the second friend decorate later this afternoon. I mailed my first batch of cards this week, and hope to mail another batch today.

I did bake one batch of Danish butter cookies. I split it into four parts and made two parts Finnish nut logs, one part cherry topped butter cookies, and the last part apricot jam filled butter cookies. I put half in the freezer for our two person cookie exchange, and then Hubby and I ate the rest! Granted it was about 12-18 small cookies, but still! I promised Hubby I’d make him more before Christmas.

Danish Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1-2 tsp. Water, if needed
  • 2 1/2 cup flour

Put everything but water in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Mix until it forms a smooth, pliable dough. If dry, add water. Gather dough into a ball and knead briefly. Can be refrigerated up to one week.

Now for the fun! You can make different types of cookies with this basic dough! I make:

  • Finnish nut logs which are this dough rolled into ropes and dipped in beaten egg before being dipped in a mix 1/4 cup almonds to 2 Tbsp. sugar. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.
  • Raspberry Ribbons where you make a rope, press an indentation down the centre, bake 10 minutes, fill with raspberry jam and bake another 5-10 minutes. When cool you drizzle them with 1/2 cup icing sugar to 2 Tbsp. milk.
  • Cherry cookies. Make 1” balls and place on baking sheet. Just cut maraschino cherries in half and push a half into the centre of each cookie. You could also push a whole almond in instead. And you could add 1 tsp. almond extract with the teaspoon of vanilla extract when you make the dough.
  • Apricot cookies. Form 1” balls. Dip in beaten egg, followed by a mixture of 1/4 cup chopped almonds and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press an indentation in the middle of the top with your finger. Bake 10 minutes. Then spoon in apricot jam. Bake another 5 – 10 minutes.
  • There are other options. These are some from “Scandinavian Cooking” by Beatrice Ojakangas, an old cookbook in my possession. I combined several to create the Apricot cookie recipe.

Enjoy the cookies!

Into a New Week

Into a New Week

I was busy this weekend and knit up a neck warmer, using short rows and an elastic/stretchy bind off – both new techniques to me.  Though I did take a course on Craftsy a long time ago on short rows.  I discovered I couldn’t access my Craftsy courses, which is very discouraging.  I cannot only not remember my password, but I can’t remember which email I had my account under!  Sigh… I’m debating buying the year membership through my new email address…so I have access to everything all year.

In other news…Friday we went to a friend’s place for food and games.  Saturday we had company over all day and overnight.  I made low fat cinnamon buns in the afternoon.  We had a very tough stewing hen for supper, courtesy of me not reading the label.  Had I realized it was a stewing hen I would have cooked it longer and slower in the crockpot.  Ah well.  I cooked it for another four hours after supper, stored it in the fridge overnight, and made a lovely chicken noodle soup for supper Sunday.  Company also brought us some cooked farm fresh bacon.  Sunday morning we feasted on it, scrambled eggs, and toast/cinnamon buns.

Sunday, after company left, we went to a nearby mini multicultural festival in the city.  It’s called Community Connections and happens one afternoon every March.  They give away ethnic food and the kids perform (and some adults too).  Plus there are tables for different organizations and cultural groups to advertise themselves.  It’s all people from that one area of the city.  They also have a lot of really cool door prizes, including two kids bikes.  This year I won a gift basket of beauty products.

We had a slow evening last evening as Hubby is coming down with a cold.  I was plotting my next knitting adventure.  I have to measure my circular needles to make sure I have a 9″ one.  If I do, then it’s on to fingerless mitts to match my neck warmer.  I have lots of yarn left! 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

Jean’s Cinnamon Buns (modified from “The Best of Cooking Light 3”)
Serving Size : 18 large buns

5 teaspoons instant quick rise yeast
1/2 cup hot water
7 cups flour — divided
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree, or fresh
1 cup skim milk, hot
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter — chilled, cut in small pieces
1/2 c. raisins, soaked for 20 minutes

Mix yeast, 6 c. of flour, 2 tbsp. white sugar, and nutmeg.

In separate bowl mix 1/2 c. hot water, pumpkin puree, warm milk, oil, and salt. Mix well to dissolve salt.

Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir. Let sit 10 minutes. Knead approximately 10 minutes till smooth and elastic. Add flour as needed.

Divide dough in half. Roll out to 12″x10″ rectangle.

Combine streusel ingredients: 6 tbsp. white sugar, 6 tbsp. brown sugar, 4 tbsp. flour, 3 tsp. cinnamon and chilled butter pieces. Cut butter in with pastry blender. Sprinkle half of mixture on each rectangle. Sprinkle on the raisins.

Roll tightly, starting with long edge. Press firmly to eliminate air pockets. Cut roll in 1″ slices. Place on greased cooking pan. I line my pans with parchment paper or wax paper to make for easier removal of the buns after cooking.

Let rise till double in size (approximately 45 minutes). Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake 20 minutes until golden.

Cool in pan 15 minutes on wire rack.  Remove carefully and enjoy!

Opt.: Mix 1 ½ c. icing sugar, 2 tbsp. hot water and ½ tsp. vanilla extract to make a glaze to drizzle over buns.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Pumpkin Puree

To cut the costs of this, I make my own pumpkin puree every fall at Halloween, when pumpkin is cheap.  I cut up the pumpkins – two large ones will give the equivalent of about 20 cans of pumpkin.  I cut them up, clean them out, and put them skin side up on a baking sheet with sides in the oven.  I bake them in a 325 F oven for up to an hour, maybe more.  I scrape the pulp into the food processor and puree it.  Then measure it out in can size amounts into ziploc freezer bags and freeze it till needed.  Instructions courtesy of “Joy of Cooking” (1980 edition).

Another way to make pumpkin puree is to simply poke the outside of an entire pumpkin with a sharp knife or fork, so that steam can escape, and bake in the oven for half an hour to an hour at 325 F.   Take out and let cool.  Cut and scrap strings away, saving seeds to make a pumpkin seed snack.   Then scrape the flesh off the pumpkin, puree, and freeze like above.



Thanks to Madam Chretien, our then Prime Minister’s wife, and “Canadian Living” magazine tortiere became a family favorite over 20 years ago and remains so to this day.  We only serve it over Christmastime, starting with Christmas Eve.  If we have extra it graces our Boxing Day table or New Year’s Eve table.

As always, over the years I’ve made a few modifications.  I’ve use gluten free flour for the crust, but I still prefer the real unbleached flour crust.  I’ve replaced the lard based pastry with an oil based one.  I’ve increased the meat in the recipe. In the past I’ve replaced half the beef with TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein) – a soy product.  I reverted back to full meat when someone in the family developed a soy intolerance.

This is in no way a low calorie or gluten free recipe, but for one or two nights of the year I figure that’s okay.  I basically assume I’m eating gluten, and calories, over Christmas.  They are in everything and everywhere.

This recipe is quite large.  It makes 2 8″ square cake pans of tortiere, or one very full 9″ round tortiere.  I usually bake one for Christmas Eve and freeze the other for New Year’s.  This year I’m just making one for Christmas Eve.

I serve tortiere with salad and a vegetable. This year it will be Kitchen Sink Salad and a mixture of vegetables. Depending on our guests we may or may not add perogies to the menu.  Dessert will be an new original recipe, Blueberry Custard Crepes.

Serving Size : 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef, lean
1/2 large onion — finely chopped
1 medium potato — peeled and diced
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1 teaspoon sage
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Pastry recipe for 2 double crust pies

Put oil in large pan over low heat. Add all ingredients but pastry. Mix well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes. Cool. Line casserole (2 – 8″ diameter pies) with pastry. Fill with meat filling. Cover. Seal edges and prick.

At this point you can either freeze them, bake one and freeze the other, or bake both.  Bake at 375 F for 30-35 minutes.

Venison Barley Soup

Venison Barley Soup

We had company arrive last night with a venison roast in their crock-pot for our later (much later) supper.  We plugged the crock-pot in and went to see the Holiday Train and hear the performance.  Had a lovely venison roast for supper afterwards.  But then we were left with a bit of roast and some stock.  What to do?  Why make soup for lunch today! So here’s the rundown on how to turn the remains of a venison roast (if there is any) into a yummy venison barley soup.

We only put one cup of vegetables in this soup.  I think it could have used more, at least another half cup.  Peas would be a good choice to add as well.  Spices can be adjusted to taste.  The venison pot roast had been cooked with just a couple bay leaves and 12 peppercorns for flavoring.

Venison Barley Soup

1/2 c. finely chopped onion
3/4 c. finely chopped celery
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. barley
4 c. venison stock
4 c. water
1 tsp. Better Than Beef bouillon, dissolved in 1 c. boiling water
1 c. mixed vegetables (we used beans and carrots)
1 c. diced leftover venison roast
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried
3/4 tsp. thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. marjoram leaves
1/2 tsp. savory or rosemary
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Soak barley in a cup of cold water 10-15 minutes.  While soaking the barley, saute onion and celery in olive oil.  Add 4 c. water and 4 c. venison stock.  Add strained barley and vegetables.  Bring to a boil.  Add venison and turn down to a simmer.  Simmer 15 minutes.

Add bouillon, spices, salt, and soy sauce.  Simmer another 45 minutes, or until barley is about the half the size of a pencil eraser and tender enough to eat.

Serve with fresh biscuits.


Pear Streusel Cake

Pear Streusel Cake

This recipe can be made a multitude of ways.  It originates, again, from one of Anne Lindsay’s cookbooks – “The Lighthearted Cookbook”.  I modify it, as always.  I’ve had it with plums, peaches, or apples on top.  This is my first time with pears.  It was pretty good.

There is a glaze that goes with it that I do not use – too sweet.  And I cut the sugar by about one quarter cup.  I also was out of cinnamon, so substituted pumpkin pie spice instead.  I prefer the cinnamon though.  I also subbed butter in for margarine.  And yogurt for milk.

This recipe works better if the eggs are at room temperature.  The whites whip up easier and fluffier.

Pear Streusel Cake

1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. white granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 c. yogurt (plain natural) or milk substitute (almond milk would be good)
1 1/2 c. white flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 14 oz. can pear halves

1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. soft butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

Grease the bottom of a 9″ springform pan, or a 9″ square pan.

Cream together butter, sugar, egg yolks and beat till light colored and fluffy.

Mix dry ingredients together (flour and baking powder).  Alternate adding to egg mixture with yogurt.

Beat egg whites till stiff and fold into the batter.  Scoop into pan and even out top.  Drain and slice pears.  Arrange on top.

Make topping and sprinkle over the pears.

Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 35-45 minutes.  Or until top springs back when you touch it.

Banana Cake

Banana Cake

Here is my version of gluten free Banana Cake.  It’s an Anne Lindsay recipe modified from her cookbook “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”. These cookbooks are excellent and have stood the test of time for our family.  They were originally published in the 1990s and we still cook recipes out of them today.

The original Banana Cake recipe is more low fat and calls for an orange flavored icing.  I do not like the icing because it makes the cake too sweet for my tastes. But if you like sweet, go ahead and add an icing on top.

I replaced my gluten free flour mix for the equivalent amount of wheat flour and it worked fine.  I also replaced buttermilk with sour cream.  I had some sour cream that needed to be used up.

I buy my bananas from the over ripe bananas at the grocery store for half price and put them directly in the freezer in their skins when I come home.  When I need them I thaw them in the microwave for 1 minute each, cut the end off with a pair of scissors, and squeeze the soft, thawed banana out into a bowl or measuring cup to mash.

Banana Cake

1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. white granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1 tsp. grated orange rind
2 c. gluten free flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sour cream (light)

Cream butter and margarine.  Add eggs, vanilla, and ripe bananas.  Mix well.

In separate bowl mix orange rind, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Add alternately with sour cream, one third flour followed by one half sour cream, repeat, starting and ending with flour.

Line bottom of a 9″ round cake pan with wax paper cut to shape of the pan bottom.  Bake for 40 minutes in 350 F (180 C) oven.  Check center by pressing on it and seeing if it springs back.  Cool approximately 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  Let cool.


Tuna Alfredo

Tuna Alfredo


Tuna Alfredo

Tuna Alfredo is a nice gluten free and dairy free alternative to the real thing.  To make it the real thing simply use all purpose flour to replace arrowroot powder, regular pasta, and milk instead of almond milk.  I like to serve this on a cool spring or autumn day, when people are craving pasta.

Tuna Alfredo Recipe

3 cups uncooked rice macaroni
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. celery, chopped
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups almond milk
2 cans of tuna with liquid, mashed
2-3 cups finely chopped broccoli
2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Saute celery, onion and garlic in olive oil in a skillet. Add sunflower seeds. Cook till sunflower seeds are toasted. Mash tuna, and add with liquid and almond milk to the skillet and mix well. Sprinkle in arrowroot powder to thicken sauce.  Add chopped fresh broccoli and cook five minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta.


Dump Cookies

Dump Cookies


This recipe came from a lovely woman out near Herbert, SK who entertained myself and a couple friends one day.  She showed us around her farm and fed us lunch.  These cookies were dessert.  It was a fun time and the food was excellent.

This is a healthy cookie, if there is such a thing.  It actually makes a large batch.  I usually cut the recipe in half.  We don’t make these often.  But they’re good for when company comes.  These cookies have made an appearance in church bake sales and missions fundraising events as well.  I like them for a pick-me-up snack.

Makes 7 dozen 2″ cookies

6 eggs
2- cups organic raw sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 tsp agave nectar
1 cup butter
2 cups peanut butter (crunchy natural pb)
2 tsps baking soda

Mix in large bowl with electric mixer.

In a separate bowl combine 6 c. quick oatmeal and 7c. of any combination of the following:

Flax seed
Sunflower seeds
Nuts (we used pecans)
Dried fruit (we used dates, apricots and cranberries)
Sesame seeds

Add to butter mixture and stir.  Add more stuff if you need a stiffer dough. You want it to be stiff enough to roll between your hands and squish with a fork.  But not so stiff it crumbles.

Bake at 325-350 F for 10-14 minutes.  The original recipe said 350 for 12-14 min., but we found that overcooked them.  We found 325 for 10 minutes ideal.  Test one in your oven first, to see what settings are better for you.

Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to complete cooling.  When completely cool pack with wax paper between layers.  We found these went soft when stored on top of each other in plastic containers.  We suspect it’s the dried fruit in them.


Raspberry Ribbons

Raspberry Ribbons


Raspberry Ribbons, before glazing and cutting.

Haven’t made these lately, but they are on my radar for Christmas!  They are a version of Danish Butter Cookies that came from “Scandinavian Cooking” by Beatrice Ojakangas.  This year they will be gluten free.  But here’s the real recipe, complete with gluten…

Raspberry Ribbons
Makes about 48 cookies

1 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. water, if needed (if dough is dry)
2 1/2 c. flour

Put the above in a food processor with a metal blade and process until it’s smooth and pliable.  Gather dough into a ball and knead.  Can be refrigerated up to one week.

Now…to make the Raspberry Ribbons…

1 recipe Butter Cookie dough
1/2 c. raspberry jam
1/2 c. icing sugar
2 Tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Divide dough into fourths.  Roll into ropes about 1/2″ thick between your hands and a floured surface.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets about 2″ apart.  Using the side of your little finger, press a long groove the length of each strand.  Bake 10 minutes.  Spoon jam into the groove.  Bake another 5-10 minutes or until edges lightly browned.

Make a glaze with the milk and icing sugar.  Brush or drizzle over hot cookies.  Cut into logs diagonally about 1″ wide.  Let cool.




Noodles and Tea


Hi everyone.  I’m feeling a bit under the weather today.  But I have to go out in an hour or so for a lunch meeting.  So I’m sitting down with my Wellness Tea from Epicure, generously laced with echinacea and honey.  I admit I slept in quite a bit this morning.


I’m soaking some rice noodles to cook for my lunch (my meeting requires I bring my own lunch).  I use doctored up store bought Classico spaghetti sauce to put over it.  Sorry, no photos of the sauce.  As I’m watching my sugar intake as well as being gluten free I just buy a very simple basil and tomato sauce, add ground beef, onion, garlic, and sometimes part of a chopped green pepper and grated carrot. The grated carrot gives more of a meat taste to the sauce.  If I use a lot of meat I omit the grated carrot.  I usually like to add 1/2-1 lb. of cooked ground beef to a jar of Classico sauce.

Today’s goal is to package up some more “Star Rug” greeting cards to mail to the SCC Boutique in Saskatoon.

Hope everyone has a great day! 🙂

Cornbread or “Johnnycake”



A good old-fashioned recipe we like to serve with Jambalaya.  This is a gluten free, sugar free, dairy free version.  You can use 1 c. regular white flour to replace the quinoa flour and tapioca starch.  If you use regular wheat flour, omit the guar gum.


1 1/4 cups fine cornmeal
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 1/4 tsp guar gum
1/2 tsp. NOW white stevia extract powder OR 1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 c. rice milk OR regular milk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put cornmeal, flour, tapioca starch, guar gum, stevia, baking powder, and salt in medium sized mixing bowl. Combine slightly beaten eggs, canola oil, and rice milk in a small bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir till just mixed. Pour into a greased 9” square baking dish and bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes or till lightly browned and firm to touch. Top with sugar free apricot jam or other topping.

Spinach Salad


Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

1 lb. spinach
1/3 c. sliced almonds, toasted
2 c. firm strawberries, sliced

1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 c. cider vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. water
1 small scoop (1/32nd tsp.) stevia extract powder (a pinch) OR 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 green onion, minced

Clean spinach and snap off stems and save for soup. Tear leaves in smaller pieces for salad. Toss first three ingredients. Shake dressing ingredients in a jar and pour over salad.

Chocolate Banana Ice Milk

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

Chocolate Banana Ice-cream

Love ice-cream, but can’t eat dairy?  Or don’t like dairy?  Try this delicious Chocolate Banana Ice Milk!

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of freezing this, it makes a wonderful smoothie!  Also, you can leave the cocoa powder out and make a lovely banana ice-cream.

This is a standard Internet recipe that’s been modified to be sugar free as well.  If you prefer to put in sugar just remember that 1/32 tsp. white powdered stevia = 1 tbsp. sugar.  The scoop found in the small bottles of NOW brand of white powdered stevia is approximately 1/32 tsp.

Banana Chocolate Ice Milk
Makes 4 cups

7 large frozen ripe, sweet bananas
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa (Dutch process)
1/2 c. almond milk/coconut milk combo (or one or the other)
1/8 tsp. stevia extract powder
1/4 c. ground pecans or other nuts (optional)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract/vanilla powder

Put bananas in microwave to thaw just enough to peel off the skin. Do NOT thaw the entire way. This takes about 1 minute on a 1200 watt microwave. I just go in 30 second increments until I can pull the skin off.

Throw in blender or food processor with rest of ingredients and blend for 1-2 minutes. If you want you can blend the pecans too, or you can just add the ground nuts to the finished product. I chose to do half and half.

Put ice milk in the freezer to freeze for about 1 hour in a metal mixing bowl.  You want it slushy but not rock hard.   Pull it out and smash it up by beating it with a mixer till smooth again.  It will turn light and loft up a bit.  Put in freezer again and repeat.  The third time scoop the ice milk into an airtight container you want it permanently stored in.  Put it in the freezer to freeze solid for good…well, until you decide to eat it!

If you have an ice-cream freezer you can use that instead of doing the above.


Black Bean Sweet Potato Wraps

Black Bean Wrap

I used to make this recipe in my gluten free, dairy free, sugar free days.  I’d swap out the wheat tortilla for a rice tortilla. Or not use any tortilla at all and just mound it on a bed of mixed greens on my plate.  I was careful to read salsa labels, as most have sugar in them. I’ve only found one brand without sugar, and I can’t remember the name, but the label has a windmill on it.  It’s more expensive than the other brands, but to my mind tastes better.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Wraps

1 ½ cups brown rice
½ cup wild rice
pinch sea salt
1 large sweet potato
3 cups cooked black beans
1 large avocado
mixed greens

Cook rice in 4 cups boiling water for 45 minutes.

Peel, dice and cook yam in boiling water for 20 minutes. Mash.

Lay wrap on plate and put a small amount of rice in the middle, some black beans, some sweet potato, some mashed avocado, some salsa and some mixed greens. Fold in one end and wrap.


Filled Beef Roll

Beef Roll

A recipe lost in the mists of time.  I think this recipe came from an old Better Homes and Gardens, or Betty Crocker, paperback ground beef cookbook Hubby brought into our marriage.  It was one of the recipes that sealed the deal!  He could cook!  I loved it.

Here is my version of the recipe:

Filled Beef Roll

Serves 4-6

1 beaten egg
1/4 c. rice milk (or regular milk)
1/2 c. quinoa flakes (or quick oats)
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. sea salt
dash pepper
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 c. cooked brown/wild rice (or white rice)
1/4 c. nutritional yeast (or shredded cheddar cheese)
2 Tbsp. chopped green pepper

Combine first six ingredients. Add beef and mix well. Pat mixture into a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, forming a rectangle. Combine rice, yeast and green pepper. Pat onto meat leaving 1” margin around edge. Roll jelly-roll fashion beginning with narrow side. Seal side seams and end by pressing tightly. Place roll, seam side down, in a loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Energy Balls

Energy Balls

This recipe has been around the Internet in various forms for many years.  It’s very rich and nutritious, with a high calorie count.  Great snack for hikers and travelers.

These are a great way to quell sugar cravings when you are just starting to go sugar free. However, they do have a fair amount of natural sugar in them from the dates. So people watching their glycemic index are going to have to curtail how many of these they eat!

Here’s my take on the recipe.

Energy Balls

Makes 12-15

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
¼ cup raisins (optional)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
¼ cup raw almond butter
unsweetened shredded organic coconut

Grind almonds in food processor till finely ground to a meal. Add everything else BUT the coconut. Process till smooth and a bit oily. Roll into 1” balls and roll in the coconut. Put in a container to store in the fridge.


Hubby’s Pancakes

GF pancakes - 2

I have this Hubby who loves pancakes.  So much so that he learned to make his own.  Today I wrangled the recipe from him (okay, I asked nicely and he gave it to me).  I make mine gluten free using my gluten free flour mix.  And I use almond milk to replace regular milk.  But the amounts remain the same.

I don’t know about you, but we like to serve pancakes with a little decadence around here.  We top them off with fresh fruit/berries and 100% Canadian maple syrup. Nothing like the real thing! 🙂

So here you go…

Hubby’s Pancakes
Makes 9  3″ pancakes

1 c. flour (regular or GF)
3 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 c. almond milk
1 tbsp. canola oil
Can add up to 1/4 c. of the following:
nuts (ground)
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds (ground)
flax seed (ground or whole)
quinoa flakes
frozen blueberries (can add up to 1/2 c.)
corn (can add up to 1/2 c.)

Mix dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients together.  Add wet to dry and mix thoroughly.  Cook in a skillet with lots of canola oil.  Cook on medium to medium low for 2 minutes on each side, or until bubbles start to form on top.  Then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.  Adjust heat if taking too long or burning before bubbles show on top.

Serve with berries and maple syrup…Yum!  We sometimes add a fried egg to this breakfast.  And, for the really hungry, we add sausages or bacon.  Enjoy! 🙂

Salmon Spirals

Salmon Spirals - 1

Salmon Spirals from “Looneyspoons”

Don’t quote me, but I think this recipe came from the cookbook “Looneyspoons”.  It is an excellent cookbook for heart patients as I recall.  And there is a sequel to it as well.

I’ve never tried this recipe gluten free.  The biscuit dough has to have a certain cohesion to roll out and wrap around the ingredients.  It is fluffy and light when baked.  I serve this with vegetables, like steamed broccoli, and a homemade hot mustard sauce. 🙂

Salmon Spirals
Makes 12 (serves 6)

2 cans salmon, drained, flaked
1/2 c. carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 c. celery, finely chopped
1/2 c. green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. low fat sour cream
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 c. white flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 Tbsp. canola oil
7 oz. skim milk

Grate carrot.  Chop celery and green onions.  Open salmon and flake.  Combine salmon, carrots, celery, and green onions.

In a small bowl combine lemon juice, sour cream, vinegar, mustard and pepper.  Stir till smooth.

Add sour cream mixture to salmon and set aside.

In a large bowl mix biscuit dry ingredients.  Put canola oil in measuring cup and add milk to make 1 cup.  Add to dry ingredients.  Knead 10 times.

Roll out on floured surface till at least 12″x 12″ and 1/2″ thick.  Spread salmon mixture on dough.  Roll like a jelly roll, pinching seams shut.

Cut into 12 slices 1″ thick using a serrated knife.  Spray oil on baking sheet.  Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.

Hot Mustard Sauce
Recipe modified from “Scandinavian Cooking” by Beatrice Ojankanga.  And if anyone knows where I can buy a new copy, let me know.  Mine is in pieces!  This recipe makes about 1 cup of sauce.

3 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 c. white sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom (a must!)
1/2 c. olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustards, salt, white pepper, sugar and cardamom. Gradually add oil and whisk till sauce is thick.

Pour a tablespoon or two over the Salmon Spirals.  Very spicy.  But nice with the sugar in it. 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: