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!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Potato, Tomato and Cauliflower au Gratin

So many tomatoes at the end of the summer!  I'm trying to use them anywhere I can.

For this dish you'll need:

2 red potatoes, skin on and cut in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cauliflower, cut in small flowerets
2 tomatoes (or as many as needed to cover a layer) cut in
   1/4 inch slices
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

For b├ęchamel sauce:

4 tbsps butter or marg
4 tbsps flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella, you could also use cheddar or really any cheese you like)
Garlic powder and parmesan

Spray a 13 X 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Start with a layer of potatoes, overlapping a little. Salt and pepper to taste.

Next arrange the cauliflower over the potatoes.

Now layer the sliced tomatoes over the cauliflower.

And top that off with the sliced onions.

Sprinkle chopped basil over all.

To make the b├ęchamel sauce melt butter in a saucepan and add flour, salt and pepper. Stir well.
Whisk in the milk and cook 1 minute.
Remove from heat and add shredded cheese.

Pour the sauce over your vegetables, sprinkle with garlic powder and parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 375F oven for 45 minutes.

Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Easy Grape Jam

These grapes had been hanging around too long. Yuck
So I turned them into jam.

To a saucepan add:

1 cup sugar
3/4 - 1 cup grapes (red, black or green)

Bring to a boil, then simmer until thickened.  At first you'll see the sugar get lumpy, but as the fruit cooks down the sugar will melt.

Stir while cooking on medium heat for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from heat and add 1 tbsp lemon juice.
Pour into sterilized jars.

These were very flavourful grapes, but they had seeds. Next time I'll use seedless.

Keep in fridge or process jars in a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes.  Makes 2 small jars of jam.

You might also like:

Raspberry Rhubarb and Hot Chili Jam


Pineapple Basil Jam


Cantalope Jam


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Classic Mint Sauce with Malt Vinegar

I love bringing fresh cut mint into the house. It smells so good!
Here is all that you'll need for this recipe:
(it makes about 3 0z.)

1 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup malt vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

To make this traditional English mint sauce remove the leaves from the stems.  A few of the tender shoots may be left in.  Measure about 1 cup of mint lightly pressed into the measuring cup.

In a food processor add the malt vinegar to the leaves and pulse  until finely chopped.

Put it in a saucepan along with the brown sugar and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Pour into a sterilized jar. Keep in the fridge and use within a week.

Or process in a hot water bath 15 minutes to keep longer. 
Now I really have to get me some lamb!

Salmon and Dried Cranberry Sandwich

Always looking for something new to take in your lunchbag? Try this.

1 small piece of cooked salmon, chilled  (or canned salmon)
1 heaping tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp dried cranberries
shake or 2 of lemon pepper
pinch of paprika (looks like more than a pinch in the photo)

Mash together and spread on your bread.
Garnish with spinach leaves.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Earl Grey and Orange Shortbread

The orange zest in this recipe gives the shortbread a really fresh taste.  The dough is easy to handle and keeps it's shape while baking.

2 cups flour
2 tbsps (5 teabags) Earl Grey tea
1/2 tsp salt (only if using unsalted butter, otherwise no salt)

1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup salted, room temperature butter, cubed
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 orange

In a food processor pulse the first three ingredients.

Then add the remaining ingredients and process just until it comes together.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 20-30 minutes.

You may have to leave it out on the counter a few minutes before handling it.  Take some of the dough and roll it between 2 pieces of plastic wrap to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut out cookies with a cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes or just until lightly browned.

Depending on the size of cookie you make you will get about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

You might also like:



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tomato and Cheese Vol-au-Vent

I was planning on making this tomato pie recipe, but saw these little vol-au-vent pastries in the store and thought why not.  Here's my  take on tomato pie.


6 vol-au-vent (baked pastry shells)
3/4 cup tomato, seeds removed and chopped
5-10 basil leaves, chopped
2 tbsps green pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp parmesan
few shakes each of onion powder and black pepper

Place chopped, seeded tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Leave 10 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.

Layer tomatoes, then peppers and basil, equally divided in vol-au-vent cups.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together and dollop on top of the vegetables.
Bake in a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes. 

Before baking you could top the cheese mixture with a slice of tomato.

Or when you remove the vol-au-vent from the oven garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve right away.
Would be great as an appetizer or a side dish.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How to make T-Shirt Yarn step-by-step

If you have some old t-shirts (who doesn't?) why not make some t-shirt yarn and turn them into something else.

Lay the shirt out flat and cut below any graphic that might be on the front of your t-shirt. Cut above the hem too.  Note: It would probably be better to lay your shirt on a table.  I put everything on the floor.  Not good for the old back : (
Anyways, to continue

Turn so that the side seams of the shirt are at top and bottom.

Take the shirt at about 1/3 from the bottom and bring a fold up leaving a 1 inch margin at the top.

Cut 1 inch strips, but NOT through the margin.

Unfold strips and find uncut margin.  Your work will look like loops so far.
Do NOT cut the bottom opened.
Lay your work so that the uncut margin is flat.  You will only be able to have 3 or 4 strips flat at a time. Start from the outside edge on the left and make a diagonal cut to the first strip.

You can unravel a bit so you see that you are cutting the right way. Keep cutting diagonally until you have worked through the entire margin.  

Take short sections and give a tug to make the yarn.

Sew ends of each new colour yarn you create together and now you can use it to make a throw, some covered hangers, a rug, beach bags.... recycle, reuse.
I used 20 mm knitting needles here to make a throw.  It's soft and stretchy too.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dog Cookies

Your dog will love you (even more) after you make these.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsps wheat germ
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup milk
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps applesauce

Combine all dry ingredients then mix in the rest of the good stuff.  On a floured waxed or parchment paper roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch in thickness.

Use cookie cutter to cut out cookies and place on parchment lined baking sheet. They don't spread much, if at all, so you can put alot on the sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes in a 350F oven.

Makes 35 cookies (and one happy dog!)

Italian Burgers

The red wine and sundried tomatoes in this recipe give your old burger some oomph !

1  1/4 lbs ground beef
3 oz (1 cup) shredded old cheddar cheese
2 tbsps italian bread crumbs
2 tbsps dried basil
1 tbsps dried oregano
2 tbsps red wine
2 tbsps chopped sundried tomatoes
3-4 minced garlic cloves
2 tbsps of your favourite tomato sauce

Mix everything together and form into patties.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Most beef recipes tell you to bring the meat to room temperature before cooking, but with ground beef you want to take it from the fridge right to the BBQ.

Turn up the BBQ to high.  You want to cook your burgers on direct heat.  Cook 5-6 minutes until you see juices starting to come out the top.  Resist the urge to squish 'em!
Flip them over and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Take them off the heat and rest 5 minutes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Simple Noodles with Roast Beef

If you have leftover roast beef and broccoli from Sunday dinner you can make this on a busy weeknight.

4-5 slices cooked roast beef (this was teriyaki beef)
1 or 2  cups cooked broccoli 
several cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
250 g Tagliatelle a nido (or plain old egg noodles)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil  (divided)
salt and lemon pepper

Lightly brown garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil.
Add vegetables and meat.  Stir in lemon juice, balsamic and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.
Sprinkle salt and lemon pepper to taste.

Cook noodles, drain and toss with the vegetable/meat mixture.

Serve with parmesan cheese.

Serves 3.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pickled Mushrooms

If you like pickled mushrooms you'll probably like these. 
I don't like them but my husband tells me they're great.

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups water
3 cups mushrooms, small, halved or quartered
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vinegar
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
1-2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
3/4 cup canola oil

Combine lemon juice and water in a large saucepan.
Add mushrooms and salt and bring to a boil.

Simmer 5 minutes.
Drain and pour vinegar over.  Cover and let stand 5-6 hours.

Drain mushrooms and pack in sterilized jars.  I sterilize them by pouring boiling water in the jars and lids.  The knife prevents the jar from cracking from the heat.

Put bay leaves, oregano, basil and garlic buds in jar and cover with canola oil.  Keep in fridge.

If you want to store them on the shelf, process jars in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

This recipe makes 1 pint but it can be doubled.
When I tripled it (9 cups mushrooms) I filled 1 quart jar.