I started this blog so my daughters could find all of our family favourite recipes in one place. It has actually grown into more than just the family favourites but also other recipes we've tried out in our kitchen. I don't like to fill up the post with alot of chatter. Sometimes there's a little story to tell, but usually I like to get right to the point. So this is for them, but hope you find some recipes that you like as well. I'll be sharing a lot of recipes, and along the way you'll find some crafty things and maybe some helpful hints too!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Spaghetti with Arugula

This is a light meal that you can substitute pretty much anything in the ingredients with something you have in the house.

1 lb spaghetti (any pasta)
2 tbsps olive oil and 1/2 cup olive oil
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arugula (or spinach)
12 oz roasted red peppers (or cherry tomatoes)
1/4 cup walnuts (pine nuts?)
1-2 marinated artichokes (maybe black olives, you get the picture)
1/3 cup reserved cooking water
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/4 cup white wine (red would probably work)
black pepper

Start by lightly browning the garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil.  Toss in the walnuts, roasted peppers and artichokes and remove from heat.

Mix together 1/2 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup white wine and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.  Add this liquid mixture to the vegetable mixture.

Meanwhile cook the spaghetti and reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Now drain and toss in the arugula and mix together with the rest. Add as much of the reserved liquid as you need.

Add zest of lemon and top with parmesan.

Serves 3-4

Osso Buco Style Pork

Osso buco is traditionally made with veal but this recipe is very tasty, as well as economical.

2 lbs diced stewing pork
2 tbsps flour
2 tbsps olive oil
salt & pepper  
1/4 tsp celery seed
2  sliced onions
3 diced carrots
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
1 cup white wine
1 lemon
Bouquet garni:   bay leaf, sprig rosemary, fresh basil

Make sure the pieces of pork are uniform in size. Using a bag (I used a waxed cereal bag) toss the meat with flour, salt, pepper and celery seed.

Take a large skillet and heat oil.  Lightly brown meat, then add onions.

  Cook until translucent and add carrots, canned tomatoes and bouquet garni (take a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter and tie up the herbs in it with a piece of string).

 Cook 2-3 minutes.  Add tomato paste, water, wine, juice and zest of lemon.

Cover and simmer for 2 hours. When done remove bag of herbs. Serve with rice and sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 4-5

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Black Banana Bread

Do you have any of these hanging around?

Did you know that you can throw them right into the freezer for later use?  Just thaw, cut the peel opened and squeeze out the defrosted banana for baking or use frozen in a smoothie. 

Or you could bake a banana loaf right now! 

For 1 loaf:

2 bananas
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
2/3 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil


For 2 loaves:

4 bananas
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsps baking soda 
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup oil


For 3 loaves:

6 bananas
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsps baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
6 eggs
5 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 cup oil


Mash ripe bananas to a purée, then mix together with sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time.  Sift flour, baking soda and salt.(Sifting will affect the consistency of your finished loaf).
Add flour mixture to banana mixture.  Beat 4-5 minutes.  Mix in buttermilk, then oil.  If you don't have buttermilk on hand, just add a squirt or 2 of lemon juice or vinegar to milk.  
Pour into greased 9" X 5" loaf pans.

Bake in a 275F oven for 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 hours. (Yes that is 275F)

Cool in pan on rack for 5-10 minutes. 

Warm, with butter.......

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Potatoes and Carrots in Slow Cooker

I have seen Rotisserie chicken done in the slow cooker.  I've also seen potatoes baked in one.   Here's a recipe where you cook the whole meal together, carrots too.

Wrap small to medium sized potatoes individually in foil, and carrots, sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper, wrapped together in a packet.  Place them in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Now mix together:

1-2 tbsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp celery seed

Add juice of 1 lemon (3 tbsps) to make a paste.

Put the lemon in the cavity of the chicken and smear the whole chicken with the paste.  Messy but worth it. Lay the chicken on top of the potatoes and carrot packet.
I used a  3 1/2 lb chicken.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  This was it after 7 1/2 hours. 

Gotta go have supper now!

Everyone really liked it.  I think I would try just 7 hours next time. The chicken comes right off the bone.

Easy "I'm not kidding" Cushion Covers

I am NOT a seamstress!  I can sew a straight line and that is about all you need to do to make these cushion covers.
The original posting was here:


These pictures will show you my take on it.
After Christmas I thought...where am I going to store these new holiday pillows I got.  Hmm, hide them in plain site, just cover them! 
I had a piece of fleece leftover from one of my Mom's projects and it was just the amount I needed.

My pillows measure 15" X 15  1/2"
I cut each piece of fleece to 15 1/2 X 41  1/2"

Now fold a 1" hem at each short end. Luckily with fleece the material doesn't fray so you don't have to worry about that.

Iron the edge and sew up the 1" hem at both ends.

Now fold the material and overlap by 9" with the rough edge of the 1" hem up.  With this material you don't have to worry about the inside or outside of it, pattern is the same on both sides. See easy : )

Now fold the other side over top by 11  1/2"

Sew a hem along each opened side.

This is what it should look like at this point.

Turn it inside out and tuck your cushion inside. You want it tight so that you don't have a saggy cushion. Here's the before and after.

And next Christmas I'll just have to take the covers off.
This is so easy I might even make different covers for different times of the year.

I tried this idea to recover another cushion. It was a little trickier, but it turned out ok I think.
My husband has this "King of the Remote" cushion, but the back of it is all tattered and you can see the piping coming off here.

So I took it apart and salvaged the front panel.  I washed it and ironed it flat along with a piece of black material.

Here's where I had to figure out the inside and out of it.  I pinned it first to see if I had it the right way before sewing.

I made the back the same as the original pattern, overlapping so that I could just tuck the stuffing in. No zippers for me!
And here's the finished product.  

Old Fashioned Butterscotch Pie

This is a favourite recipe from the good old Five Roses Recipe book, edition twenty-five.  This cookbook, in one version or another, has been in both sides of our family for many years. Both our grandmothers and mothers had it in their kitchens as we have it in ours. I don't know if it is in print anymore, but if you ever see it in a used bookstore, pick it up.
1 single 9-pie crust (or see below for cookie-like crust)
6 tbsps flour
pinch salt
2/3 cup cold milk
1/4 cup butter/margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar 
1 1/2 cups cold milk
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 meringue recipe (below)

Have single pie crust baked (450 F for about 8 mins) and cooled.

Mix flour and salt in small bowl.  Add 2/3 cup milk and beat until smooth.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add brown sugar and cook until thick.  Add 1 1/2 cups milk all at once.  Use a whisk to stir while cooking over medium heat.

When smooth stir small amount of hot mixture into flour and milk mixture.  Add to remaining cooked mixture in saucepan, whisking well so you don't get lumps.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  Cook 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Stir a small amount of hot mixture into beaten egg yolks, then add egg mixture to remaining cooked mixture in saucepan and cook stirring one minute longer. (Adding a small amount of the hot mixture to the eggs keeps it from cooking the egg yolks.  You don't want that!) Add the vanilla.

Fill baked shell with butterscotch filling and cool while you prepare the meringue.

For meringue you will need:

2 egg whites (at room temperature, cold whites or ones with yolk in them will not fluff up well)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 425F. 
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Gradually add sugar and cream of tartar, beating between additions until mixture holds shape.

Pile gently onto cooled pie filling, spreading to overlap onto pie crust edge (it might shrink away a bit if not holding onto the crust).  

Bake until lightly browned 4-5 minutes.

Or if you'd rather, here's the cookie-like crust:

1/2 cup butter or marg
3 tbsps sugar
1 cup flour
1 tbsps ground flax (optional)

Blend ingredients together and press into an 8 or 9" pie plate.(yeah no rolling!)
Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes. Let cool then pour in the butterscotch filling and proceed as above for meringue.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Herbed Butter

Just mix this together, then roll up (as you would slice and bake cookies) and keep wrapped in plastic wrap and foil in the freezer.  When you want to use it take it out of the freezer about 20 minutes earlier.  Slice off what you need.  

1/2 cup softened butter
1-2 tbsps parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp thyme
zest of lemon

You could use any herbs you like really....oregano, sage, rosemary, etc

It was soooo good on steak.  When your steak is cooked give it a squeeze of fresh lemon and top with a slice of herbed butter.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Old Fashioned Baked Beans

This is a great recipe to make when it starts getting cold out.

4 lbs white pea beans
4 sliced onions
2 tbsp salt
8 tsp cider vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp dry mustard
1 cup molasses (or more)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4-1/2 lb sliced salt pork, lean pork, or bacon

And the secret ingredient (If you have it. But don't worry if you don't. You'll see about that further in the recipe)

Sort and rinse beans.  SOAK BEANS OVERNIGHT in fridge covered in cold water.  Check after a couple of hours, you may need to add some more water.  

Drain.  Add 20 cups cold water

Cover, heat to boiling, then simmer 30 minutes or until nearly tender.  (The beans should be tender at this point, they will not become any softer in the oven) Drain again.

Add all remaining ingredients in a large heavy casserole or pot, stirring to combine.  Add enough water to cover mixture.
(Or you can use the secret ingredient here - sauce you saved from this pulled pork fajitas recipe plus enough water to cover)


Cover with lid and bake in oven at 250F for 7 hours.

Always keep an eye that they don't get dry.  Add warm water as needed to keep beans covered. 

At this point you can take out 1-2 cups of beans and mash, then stir back into the pot.  And I usually add more molasses than called for, but that's a matter of taste.

One hour before serving, remove cover to darken the beans.
With a large recipe like this you'll want to freeze some for later in the winter.

Pulled Pork Fajitas

This is good served as fajitas or served on rice.  You could also roll them up like enchiladas and keep them warm in a casserole, with sauce poured over top.

Serves 4-6 people
(or 2 with leftovers for the week)

2-3 lbs boneless pork shoulder butt, trimmed of fat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup salsa
3/4 cola beverage
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsps rice or white wine vinegar
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1 tsp red pepper flakes

8 large flour tortillas

Place pork and onions in a deep casserole (narrow enough that most of the meat is covered with sauce).  Pour sauce over top.

Bake at 300F for 3-3 1/2 hours or until pork is tender.
If you want to use a slow cooker cook on low for 6 hours.

Shred using two forks and combine with sauce and return to oven to keep warm until ready to serve.

I tried serving some pulled pork on top of Spiralized Potato Latkes. Not traditional I know, but soooo gooood!
Here's the link to the latkes

Note: Reserve any leftover sauce/juices from the pulled pork and freeze.  You can add it to this old fashioned baked bean recipe. It's the "secret" ingredient!