Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sugar cookies Emily was looking thru her craft book and found this cookie recipe. I promised to make it and we tried the recipe. It turned out great! 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/2 white flour, 1/4 cup of icing sugar, 2 tbsp of corn syrup. I beat the first two in the kenmore mixed with the paddle then added more butter and when it was the proper consistency I added remaining two ingredients. Put in fridge for 30 mins, roll out and cookie cutter. Let the kids decorate. Bake at 350 for 10 mins. I think i will mix in orange food colouring and make little pumpkin cookies for Hallowe'en!

Dump and run taco soup Read this recipe This website had this recipe that I tried twice. It is very easy. I made spaghetti for the family one night but cooked 2 lbs of ground beef and split it in half and put it in the fridge. The next day I made taco soup in the crockpot with it. I had some ladies over and while we were 'crafting it up' we stopped for a bowl of soup (and a handful of cookies, a girl has to keep her energy up). I changed the recipe a lot because I wanted to use up more of the ingredients I had on hand. My version went something like this. The taco soup - I cooked 1 pound of the ground beef (not 2 lbs) and mixed in taco seasoning. I used green salsa instead of green chilies. 5 peeled tomatoes instead of stewed tomatoes. I added 1/2cup of regular salsa (optional) and 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes. 2 cups of water. Some frozen corn, 1 can of kidney beans, you can use any beans. It turned out good!

Fall Feast

I have been collecting tons of fruits and vegatables from my family garden. This years harvest includes, peppers, squash, tomatoes, apples, onions, raspberries, cucumbers, wild grapes and more. I have done my canning of salsa, jams and pickles are in the fridge. I froze tomatoes, pumpkin, squash, apples and applesauce, raspberries. Now I am on the casserole stage of using up all these veggies. I like to prepare meals in advance while the food is free from the garden. I love to have crockpot meals ready in ziplock bags in the freezer for when there is a friend who needs a helping hand at a tough time. Today I have made spaghetti sauce and chili, butternut squash soup, beef stroganoff and orange chicken. I have been checking out some great websites for new crockpot recipes. I am going to share the links here so I can find them again another time.I'm having a heck of a time posting links (insert sad emotion). look in the comments for more links. The first comment is '8 crockpot freezer meals' including the orange chicken and beef stroganoff. Butternut squash soup-

Friday, July 26, 2013

easy refrigerator dill pickles I made these with our neighbors cucumbers. They are as easy and tasty as the blog I saw it on claims. Ashley is a pickle monster gave me the thumbs up with her mouth full of 3 pickles.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Muffins and my summer meal plan

My goal in the summer is to not turn on the oven. I use the oven a lot so I don't have to work to hard at the supper hour. My kids are nuts after 4 pm and I am usually cranky. So I like to put supper in the oven at nap time, and pull it out ready to eat at 5pm. It looks like a hot week is coming. So my meal plan for this week is Tonight -hamburgers and hot dogs. Sunday -BBQ pork chops and potatoes, salad Monday - Stew in the crock pot, Tuesday - Spaghetti (with extra meat cooked for taco's) Also use these leftovers to make chili for next week. Wednesday - Taco's or Taco salad. Thursday - Chicken breast on the BBQ, rice, and salad, Friday - extra Chicken cooked from night before in a Caesar salad plus eat up leftovers out of the fridge. We will eat fruit and muffins for snacks. Lunch is usually sandwiches, kraft dinner, or soup with cheese and crackers. Another great meal is stir fry. I love stir fry but my family doesn't. Also eggs, bacon breakfast style supper. This is a great summer meal. I made muffins this morning. I hope to get baking done this weekend in the morning while it is cool. Then we will have snacks without the kids eating all the fruit up on Monday. Also I suggest making a quiche while you are baking since it is a great lunch that can be kept a few days and eaten cool. This recipe is from 'Let's break bread together' United Church cookbook. This is my favorite cookbook and every recipe in it turns out for me. I make 'Blueberry bran muffins' I use the last cup of raisin bran cereal instead of all bran. The end of the bag that no one wants to eat. Today I put in one cup of chopped rhubarb in it instead of blueberries, Also i used 3/4 cup of milk and 1 -100gram expired container of yogurt. All the individual cups of yogurt that don't get eaten up in time I use in my muffin batter. Also I split 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour. Here goes. Blueberry Bran Muffins 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 1 cup all bran cereal. Beat eggs, stir in milk and oil. Add all bran and let stand for 5 mins. Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of white sugar, 4 tsp of baking powder, 1 tsp of salt, Add to bran mixture, stirring until just blended. Fold in fruit. Spoon into greased muffin tins, 3/4 full. Bake at 400 for 20 mins or until brown.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tips for canning

I am not an expert on canning. My mother has made me paranoid about contamination and exploding jars. Every summer I can jams and salsa. They are both so high in sugar (and salsa has vinegar) that the risk is less than canning say - stewed tomatoes or unsweetened applesauce. I have done pickled beets, dill and bread and butter pickles too. They keep for YEARS. I know this cuz my family won't eat the ones I canned 3 years ago. I have gotten much faster at canning. The prep is always a lot of work but I enjoy cooking so it is fun for me. In the last two years when the kiddo's were babies I did all the prep one day and the cooking in the next. Today one of the local strawberry farm opened. Emily and I picked 2 - 4litre baskets. They cost $13. I bought 1 box of certo and 2 bags of sugar totaling $10. I made about 12 cups of jam. It is still cheaper than buying jam at the store but it is a lot of work. I always think that canning is not necessarily cheaper but I do it cuz I enjoy it. Plus homemade tastes SO much better. The best reason to can food is because you have a garden. This keeps your healthy vegetables year round. It cuts down on your grocery bill and you can feel good about eating less preservatives. I love opening a jar of food out of my cupboard and knowing this was something I provided all on my own. It feels like I cheated 'the system'. My trick for canning is to use the dishwasher. It saves me a lot of hassle and time. I fill it up with the jars, sealers and lids. I run the dishwasher first. While it is running I clean and prep my food. Jam doesn't take that long to cook so don't put it on the stove til the dishwasher is starting the sanitation cycle. The dishwasher gets so hot I take the jars and lids out as I need them. Keep the door closed as much as possible. The jars pop with in the hour of sealing the food in them. It works really well for me. I also freeze my tomatoes whole, fresh from the garden. When I pull them out of the freezer I just run them under hot water and the skins fall right off. Perfect for chopping into salsa for caning. Blanching tomatoes is a lot of work. This freezing way means that if you don't have enough tomatoes to make a batch of salsa all at once you just keep adding them to the freezer til you do. genius. Another super tip is if you have a friend that cans as well - do a trade. Trade jam for pickles. My friend make green tomato salsa and I make red spicy salsa so we split a batch. My aunt makes a beef chutney. I have a couple jars but I don't need a whole batch. My mom makes raspberry jam and chili sauce and I trade with her my salsa and strawberry jam. Canning also makes great thank you gifts. Who doesn't love homemade food!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Homemade Pizza

I used to own a pizza place. It seems a long way from the daily grind I live now. But yes I used to have staff and an income. I didn't make pizza for a couple years after I sold it. I didn't think my oven could do justice to my recipes compared to stone oven I had at the pizza place. My friend Kate gave me her homemade pizza dough recipe and I am trying to make it my own. I have made this few times now and though it is nothing like 'Village Pizza'. I do like getting the kids involved and we have made it a rainy day, use up the leftovers in the fridge favorite. Pizza 2 1/2 cup flour, 2 1/4 tsp yeast, 1/2 tsp sugar, and salt, 1 cup warm water, 2tbsp olive oil. I put yeast, water, sugar in mixer and let sit. Then add oil, salt, and 2 cups flour mixture. Add the rest of flour until soft ball forms, not too sticky, then kneed for a few min. Set aside until ready to use. I use ragu spaghetti sauce for pizza sauce. Then canned pineapple, sliced meat, pepper, mushrooms. Ashley likes to make 'pizza faces' and Emily like to eat the toppings and not eat the cooked pizza. Bake 450 for 10 to 15 mins.

cleaning out the fridge

Well my husband (who I like today) watched the kids so I could do a quick run to the store. I needed juice, fruit and potatoes. I forgot potatoes. Monday's I clean out my fridge. When I got back the kiddo's were napping so I started cleaning. I found my veggies getting soft. I made Beef Stroganoff for supper but while I was prepping that I chopped and peeled onions and carrots and divided them into 2 large ziplock bags, one for chili and one for beef stew. I also chopped celery and added it. I cut carrots and celery sticks to go with supper. I had leftover beef stock and one soft tomato so I added that to the beef stew bag. I put that in the freezer. My plan is to add the leftover beef stroganoff to this bag when we are done supper tonight. I put 1 tbsp of chili powder into the chili freezer bag with some opened salsa from the back the fridge. Later this week we will have spaghetti and I will add the leftovers to the chili bag. I wrote on the bags what I put in them. I will need to add meat and potatoes to the stew and beans to the chili but this will make supper easier when I pull it out some busy morning. It will be hot soon and I have been thinking about using my crockpot more. I hope this helps you think about how to use up what you have in the fridge. I hate wasting food. Most soft veggies can be froze straight from the fridge in ziplock bags. I have froze raw squash, onions, carrots, peppers and celery. They can easily be used in soups and stews. Unfortunately they will squishy but the nutritional value is still there. When I cook my noodles for Beef Stroganoff I will be making a greek pasta salad for tomorrow's lunch. I still have cucumbers and tomatoes and peppers to use up. If i plan ahead I should have enough meals out of my fridge to get us to the weekend before we need to get more groceries. Good luck to your family meals. I hope these ideas help.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 18 2013

Today I put my garden in. Our new dock also came today. The apple tree is in bloom and the rhubarb is growing up. We have had one rhubarb crisp already.

Friday, May 10, 2013

balsamic baked chicken breasts

Tonight I am going out for dinner with girlfriends!!!  Thanks to my mom and my husband for covering for me with my girls.  Since this was planned at noon today I won't be BBQing for the family as I had planned.  Instead I wanted something my mom just has to pull out of the oven.  Also My husband can reheat when he gets home from work.  So I took some frozen chicken breasts and poured in 1/2 bottle of Kraft balsamic vinaigrette dressing  into the bag of 4 frozen chicken breasts. (complicated, so try to stay with me) I baked them on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes at 350.  Cooking time will vary depending on the size of chicken breast and if they are completely thawed.  I put a piece of aluminum foil on the cookie sheet to protect it.  I also put in 4 washed potatoes to bake.  It smells so good. I am making a salad now.  It will be enough for tomorrow night too when I BBQ the burgers I pulled out for tonight.  Genius! Minimal effort from Mom = healthy wholesome supper!

cookie sheet
aluminum foil
4 large chicken breasts
Kraft Balsamic Vinegrette
4 large potatoes
Bag of pre-made salad mix.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thoughts on cake baking

This morning I got up at 5:30 -in the AM, because my husband went to the barn noisily and Emily woke up and called for me.  I got her to go (or so I thought) back to bed.  Unfortunately I started thinking about jobs I have to do to get ready for Ashley's birthday tomorrow. Plus I remembered I forgot to put in a load of laundry last night before bed.  Does anyone else have this obsession? Must put laundry in washer after 7pm in the evening to save hydro? We are also on a well so I run the washing machine in the evening and dishwasher in the morning. I just like my routine I guess. I  am usually not quite so OCD that I would get out of bed at 5:30 to do it, but I remembered wet dishcloths and pee accident pants I threw in the washing machine last night but didn't fill the load or turn it on....stinky.
Anyways, I started back up the stairs to go back to bed and I heard her voice again so we got up and baked muffins. It started as applesauce muffins and cleaning out the fridge. Then I saw a message on facebook from a friend that no one had signed up for snack at our MOPS meeting.  So I thought I could 'whip up' a coffee cake. I tried a new recipe. It was not my best but it was edible.
Then Ashley got up. Today is the day before her b-day. We had planned to go to MOPS then McDonald's (or the french fries store, as my girls call it).  The local movie theater had a free kids movie on this afternoon. The Croods.  So This was going to be Ashley's b-day party.  I wanted to take rice krispie squares for ease and less mess, BUT When Ashley saw the coffee cake she thought it was her b-day cake so I made her a confetti cake from a box mix to take to share after the movie. 'With pink-icing' - yes Ashley, with pink icing.  All before 7 am.
Tomorrow Ashley goes to school with rice krispie squares for her class.  Then we will have another cake with the grandparents at supper. That should be enough icing to last these kiddo's for awhile.  At least until the 28th for Emily's 3rd b-day.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Roasted Chicken legs with potatoes and carrots

Chicken legs in a roasting pan with  carrots and potatoes. Very easy  and cheap to make and surprisingly quick to cook. It is always a hit in my house.
I do this one night a week,  chicken legs, cut up potatoes and baby carrots in the oven. I cover the veggies with chicken legs and 2 cups of water. Uncovered Bake at 400 for 1 hour. It is like a roast chicken with less work. I get everything ready in the morning and I get it in the oven at 4pm. Wha-la supper is ready at 5pm, plus my kids love it.
 There is no chance of allergy problems because there is nothing added to this meal. It's a no brainer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I made a few meals for a friend who is going back to work after her maternity leave.  This is where I get excited.  Unfortunately for my friend she has to make the huge adjustment to leaving her daughter at daycare but for me - I get to cook.  I love cooking for friends who need a quick meal due to time restraint. I have cooked for friends who are planning for a new baby's arrival.  I love it. Preparing one month's worth of meals in a day is fun for me.  Kinda like running a marathon for others.  It is exhausting and not entirely fun but hugely rewarding at the end. Which is also a good way to describe child rearing actually.  Today I was thinking about freezer meals for one. This week I cooked a ham for my family. So with some leftovers I made quiche but I tried my recipe in muffins tins.  I am sure this is something other cooks have figured out before me but I am feeling like some sort of
genius.  These little quiche muffins are adorable and will be so easy to grab and go for a work lunch.

I use the bisquick recipe called Impossibly Easy Chicken n' Broccoli Pie.  I change it all around.  So here is what I made
1/2 of a very small onion chopped
1 cup of chopped  ham
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- insert frozen vegtables like spinach or cooked chopped broccoli, I used 1/2 a red pepper in mine
1/2 cup of salsa
1 cup of milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup of bisquick mix
1/4 tsp pepper
I put ingredients in order into a bowl. I whisked it lightly and poured into well greased muffin tins.
This will make 8 to 12 muffins,  I poured the remaining quiche mixture into a small pie plate after I filled the 6 muffin tins so I am not sure on the amount.  They smell amazing. I will freeze each quiche/muffin in it's own ziplock bag for easy grabbing. Wouldn't this be a great idea to take camping?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

low fat Cream of Broccoli Soup

So I made an attempt to make low fat broccoli soup.  I love cream of broccoli soup and a friend pointed out how cream of soups are so high in calories.  I have no idea the calorie count of this soup but it makes about 6 cups.  This soup has not been perfected by making often. I just made it this afternoon and it turned out so I am sharing what I did.

2 medium onion
1 large clove of garlic
1 cup of chopped celery
Saute in 1/4 cup of water if you have a good Teflon frying pan.  Use oil if you need to in order for your veggies not to stick. I did not use oil, once my veggies were frying good I added a few tbsp of the chicken stock to keep things from sticking.
900 ml box of low sodium, low fat chicken stock.
2 broccoli heads
Chop up broccoli florets, peel broccoli stems and chop up. Add the chopped broccoli to the fry pan and let fry up a bit.
Once the onions are just starting to brown, put your veggies in to a food processor in batches. Add 2 cups of water with the veggies. As the vegetables purees, add 1/4 cup f flour a little at a time into the food processor. This is the secret to good 'cream of' soups. The flour will cook and thicken the soup with out clumps or needing fat to blend with the flour.
All the pureed vegetables, flour, water go into a  big pot with the rest of chicken stock.
De-glaze your frying pan with some of the chicken stock and add to pot as well.
Cook this on low for 1 hour.  Stir every 10 mins because the flour will settle and stick to the bottom of the pan.
Your soup should thicken, it will take a while. 
add 1 1/2 cups of fat free sour cream. cook for another 20 mins. Whisk well. Add pepper to taste.
I added 1 to 2 tbsp of low fat cream cheese.
tastes good and will improve the longer it sits. If it is not creamy enough you can add grated cheese to each bowl as it is served.
Next time I make it I think I will put in the crock pot to cook,  I wonder if that will work. Then add the sour cream at the end.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You know that joke about social media, where people post about what they are eating. Well I would do that a lot so instead I started this blog.  Tonight for supper we had pork loin, carrots and home made french fries.  It was easy and cheap.   I really want to post about it on my 'status update' but i am sure no one would care so I will share it here.
No frills this week had on sale the pork loin that comes precut.  I divided it into 3 sections and froze two which is 3 or four chops.  This may not be enough for your family but it is for ours cuz our kids are small. A 3 lb bag of carrots was .97cents and a 10 lbs bag of potatoes was $1.97. The pork loin was about $5.00.  Our supper was $7.94 divided by 3 = $2.65 for our family.  These are the things that excite me.  Supper was so good.
Pork Loin - 3 chops in a pan on broil for 10 mins each side.  Instructions were on the bag.
Homemade fries - I cut 6 potatoes into wedges and tossed them in a bowl with 1/4 cup of veg oil ( you can use olive oil) and 1 tbsp of dried oregano leaves, salt and pepper. Also I put aluminum foil on my cookie sheet before I put the potatoes on.  I started cooking these at 450 degrees oven for 15 mins before I cooked the meat with broiler on.  Toss the fries around when you go to put the meat in.  The fries will brown up nice finishing them under the broiler.  Just watch them cuz your oven is probubly hotter than mine. 
Glazed Carrots - I don't have amounts but this is how I do it.  Peel and chop carrots. Put in a frying pan with high sides. Put in enough water to cover. Cook uncovered on high til water evaporates. add a big  tbsp of butter and 'some' white sugar. Keep tossing. As the carrots continue to cook the butter should start to brown and the sugar with caramelize the carrots.  Taste one when you think they are ready to eat.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I don't have any exciting recipes to share today.  It is just another Friday at the end of a busy week.  My family has been fighting the stomach flu the past 8 days.  We haven't been eating much but I still have to provide meals. I cooked a turkey on Sunday that I had kept from Thanksgiving when they were on sale. We ate bits of that all week. I have made a lot of soup and sandwiches.  Today everyone is feeling better and looking for food.  Because of the flu I have not been grocery shopping in a couple weeks.  I want to express how much I appreciate my method of freezer meals ahead for many days.  Once again this morning I looked in the freezer and found homemade apple sauce, frozen strawberries, ground beef.  Today the girls and I made applesauce muffins, Smoothies with the strawberries and we will have meatloaf, potatoes and frozen corn and carrots for supper. We have our own beef from our dairy farm but our neighbours sell beef with that is hormone free and would recommend splitting a cow with a friend and stock your freezer.  This is more cost effective and so much healthier when you read about all the contamination scares.
  I am always so thankful by how much we all have.  I think we should have National eat out of your freezer week. In our house we could eat for a month without buying anything at the grocery store.  It is a great comfort to me to know we have this food planned ahead. However it does speak to consumerism and how much we think we need verses how much we actually need.  I take comfort knowing these strawberries and apples in my freezer (as well as pumpkin, rhurbarb and other foods) we have grown or gotten from our neighbours. So that is what I am promoting. Plan ahead, stock your freezer while food is locally ready, Eat out of your freezer as much as you can in the winter.  Save money, Eat better, Stress less.