Friday, September 30, 2011

Sticky Toffee Pudding

I have been wanting to make sticky toffee puddings for a few years now, but just never got around to it. (So many recipes, so little time). Well, I finally made it last weekend. All I can say about it is OMG!! This was a huge hit with the family.
I went through a lot of recipes and decided on this one from The Rock Recipes. It is absolutely delicious and very easy to make!

Sticky Toffee Pudding
(Printable Recipe)

1 1/2 cups water
8 oz. pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 extra large eggs
3 tbsps. molasses
2 tbsp. corn syrup
1 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

In small sauce pan add the chopped dates and water. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for a couple of minutes. Let stand while preparing the rest of the batter. Cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla together. Then beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the molasses and corn syrup. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Then add a third of this mixture at a time to the creamed mixture. Puree the date mixture and add the 1 tsp. of baking soda. Stir this hot mix into the batter and blend until smooth. Pour into greased and floured muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees 18-20 minutes or until the center is just firm. Serve with warm toffe sauce. (Recipe follows) These also freeze well.

Toffee Sauce
(Printable Recipe)

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla

Bring to a slow rolling boil for about 2 minutes before serving.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cabbage Rolls

We looooooove cabbage rolls. So since it's been cooler and rainy here lately I decided to make some. This is the way my Mom used to make them. This is a true comfort food! I have been making these for my husbands work crew every Christmas for 20 years. Normally everything is just thrown together but for the purpose of this blog I will give measurements.

Cabbage Rolls
(Printable Recipe)

1 head of cabbage with fairly large leaves
1 lb of ground lean ground beef
1 lb of grouind pork
1 cup Uncle Ben's long grain rice
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sage

2 10oz. cans Heinz tomato soup
1 48 oz. can tomato juice

Remove the core from the cabbage. This makes taking the leaves off as they steam much easier. Steam cabbage in a large covered pot to loosen off leaves. Set aside until cool enough to handle. In large stand mixer (or by hand in large bowl), mix together ground beef, pork, rice diced onion, diced pepper, salt, pepper, garlic powder and sage until thoroughly combined. Pour some of the tomato juice into a roasting pan to just to cover bottom. Place 2-3 tablespoons of meat mixture on each cabbage leaf and roll up tucking in sides as you go. Place cabbage rolls in pan. Once all the rolls are in pan pour the two cans of Heinz tomato soup over then the rest of the can of tomato juice. This will make you sauce. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper and place unused cabbge leaves over the top. This prevents over browning. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Enjoy!

We find they are always better the next day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cinnamon Buns

Stevie just loves, loves, looooooves cinnamon buns. If he had it his way he would eat them everyday. But since they're no the best for you, I make them only once in awhile for a treat on the weekend. I have tried the Cinnabun version, but always go back to my old standby classic.

Cinnamon Buns
(Printable Recipe)

2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup warm 1% milk
2/3 cup Becel margarine
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
7 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Becel margarine
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbsps. cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter


4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1% milk, added by tbsps.; just to make a spreadable glaze

In large bowl; mix warm water, warm milk, sugar and yeast. Set aside.
In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment; mix margarine, salt and eggs stirring well to combine; add yeast mixture mixing well. Add half of the flour and beat until smooth, then add remaining flour, switching attachment to dough hook half way through,(it will be sticky). Knead for 5 minutes.
Place in well greased bowl, cover and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down and let rest 5 min.
Roll out on floured surface to a 16 by 20 inch rectangle.
Spread dough with the 1/2 cup of margarine.
Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle 3/4 of mixture over dough.
Roll up jelly roll fashion and pinch edge together to seal.
Cut into 18 slices.
Coat bottom of 2-9x13in. baking pans with the 1/2 cup of melted butter. Sprinkle with remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Place 9 cinnamon rolls in each pan, cover and let rise in warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake 25-30 minutes until nicely browned. Cool slightly.
Prepare glaze and spread over rolls. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hot and Sour Soup

This is one of my favourite soups. I love all soups,but there are a few that I always make and keep extras in single serve containers in my freezer for my late night menopausal food attacks. This is one of them, along with Senate Bean Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup and Tortilla Soup. Homemade soups are yummy, good for you and curbs my cravings in the middle of the night!(or anytime for that matter) Honestly when I don't have a stash of homemade soup in my freezer, I panic. I feel like someone in the desert with no water in sight! Yeah, I know, weird! What can I say, I LOVE SOUP!!

Hot and Sour Soup
(Printable Recipe)

3 cartons of Campbell's Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 14g (.5 oz.) package dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped
1 can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1-1" piece of ginger
1 cup leftover pork, cut into small strips
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. pepper
350 g PC Blue Menu extra firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1 carrot, cut into 1" strips and julienned
1 can beansprouts, drained
Green tops of 3 green onions, cut into 1" strips and julienned
3 tbsp. cornstarch
6 tbsp. water
2 large egg whites, beaten
1-2 tbsp. sirrracha hot chile sauce
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

Combine first eight ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer 5 minutes. Add vinegar, pepper, beansprouts, carrot, green onion and tofu. Cook 2 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water; add to pan and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly drizzle in egg whites while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in hot chile sauce and sesame oil.

Microwave Chips.........Really!!

I was on the internet last night trying to find a recipe that might copycat Hostess Hickory Sticks, 'cause I love them, and instead came across this recipe for microwave chips. Since I love my "chippies" too, I set out to make them for our snack last night. I never ever would have thought that chips out of the microwave would be crispy let alone taste so freakin' great! The added bonus.....they are way healthier than bought chips or deep fried! You have to do it in batches, but who the heck cares. Did I mention how great they are? I love it when you find a recipe where you still get the feeling your eating "junk food", but your not! So, without further ado here is the "complicated" recipe.

Cooking spray

Whew! Need to give my fingers a break after typing that ingredient list.

Slice potatoes thin. I used russet potatoes and sliced them on a mandolin. Place slices in bowl of cold water and let sit for at least ten minutes.

Dry in batches on paper towels.

Fold a piece of parchment paper in half and lightly spray with cooking oil. Place slices on one half and fold over.

Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. This will vary depending on your microwave and how thick your slices are. As soon as you see them start to brown, take them out. Put on a plate and sprinkle with some sea salt or whatever you like for that matter.

Then crunch away and I do mean crunch! It still just amazes me how crispy they come out! It's crazy, I tell ya....just crazy!! It's going to take me awhile to get over this one.

(Printable Page)

Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate and Sunbutter

This post was originally done last fall when we found out that our grandbaby Emma had a severe peanut allery.

I finally got to London to pick up more SunButter since we ate up that first jar pretty quick. I was anxious to try it instead of peanut butter in my Banana Cream Pie. I melted it with some chocolate chips and drizzled it over the bananas before adding the custard and it turned out great! Bananas. chocolate and SunButter, need I say more! You can check out SunButter, the great alternative to peanut butter at

First I started with the easiest ever pie dough recipe that I got off of the Dini Petty show about 15 years ago. It comes out great every time! A combination of butter and lard (lard, not shortening) is what makes it so flaky and flavourful.

Pie Dough
(Printable Recipe)

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup cold lard (I use Tenderflake)
1 large egg
2 tsp. cold white vinegar
cold water

In a food processor combine flour and salt; cut lard and butter into small half inch cubes and with processor running drop alternately into flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs with a few larger pieces. In a measuring cup beat egg until foamy; add vinegar and enough ice water to measure 2/3 cup. With processor running add egg mixture all at once. Processing until dough forms a ball. Press into 3 discs. Wrap and chill 15 minutes. Will keep in fridge for 3 days just remove from fridge and let sit for 15 minutes before rolling. I have also found that this dough freezes well, too.

For the Banana Cream Pie (adapted from my Betty Crocker cookbook)
(Printable Recipe)

1 pre-baked and cooled pie shell

4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups milk
2 tbsps. butter
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup SunButter
4 oz. chocolate chips (I used President's Choice)

Beat egg yolks with fork in medium bowl and set aside. In saucepan mix sugar cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in milk and cook over medium heat; stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir half of hot mixture into egg yolks to temper; then stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool slightly while you peel and slice 2 large ripe bananas into the bottom of the cooled pie shell.

 Then microwave chocolate chips and SunButter together on high about 30-60 seconds and stir until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle over bananas.

 Pour filling over bananas and chocolate mixture; press plastic wrap over top of filling to prevent a skin from forming. Place in fridge at least 2 hours to set. Serve with a dollop of whip cream.

We like ours plain.  Yummy!!

Our peanut free little princess!!


I made my first batch of marmalade the other day. I've been going to try making it for years, but kept putting it off. My Mom loved it as does my hubby Steve, but I always found it kind of bitter. This marmalade I made tastes great! There isn't that bitter taste that I associate with bought marmalade. Steve absolutely loves it; I just wish I would have made it for my Mom before she passed away. She would have loved this!

I googled a bunch of recipes and finally decided on the one from It is called a "Classic Seville Orange Marmalade", but since I don't know what "Seville Oranges" are; I used what I had which was 2 lbs. of Navel oranges.

Here is Canadian Livings' Recipe
(Printable Recipe)

2 lb Seville Oranges
1 lemon
7 cups sugar

Scrub the oranges and lemon; cut off both ends and any blemishes. Cut in half crosswise and squeeze out juices, reserving pulp and seeds, and strain into Dutch oven.
Pull membranes from peels and place with reserved pulp and seeds onto a 15 inch square doubled piece of cheesecloth, bring up sides, tie with kitchen twine and add to pan.

Half orange and lemon peels and cut crosswise into paper-thin strips. Add to pan.

Add 8 cups of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer, stirring often and pressing bag to release pectin, until peel turns to mush when pressed between fingers, 2-2 1/2 hours.
Remove bag and let cool; squeeze juice into pan.  Mixture should measure 7 cups. If not, add water or boil until reduced.

In clean Dutch oven, bring sugar and fruit mixture to full rolling boil, stirring. Boil vigorously, stirring constantly until free of foam, thickened and at gel stage, 12-15 minutes. (Now this took me about 45 minutes)
Using sterilized jars, lids and utensils, fill 1 cup jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Cover with prepared lids and screw on bands.
Place in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Senate Bean Soup

Seanate Bean Soup is on the menu in the Senate's restaurant every day. There are several stories about the origin of that mandate, but none has been corroborated.

According to one story, the Senate’s bean soup tradition began early in the 20th-century at the request of Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho. Another story attributes the request to Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota, who expressed his fondness for the soup in 1903.

Which story is true? Quite frankly......who the heck cares! All I know is that since I made and tried this soup about five years ago (saw Paula Deen make it on her Paula!) it has become one of my families favourite soups. It's rustically simple and satisfying. Add a piece of crusty bread slathered in butter, yes I said butter, and your all set.

Senate Bean Soup
(printable recipe)

2 lbs. navy beans
4 quarts water
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2-3 pork hocks or a leftover ham bone
leftover ham, if using ham bone
2 carrots, diced (optional)

Rinse beans in hot water until they turn white. Put in large pot with pork hocks or ham bone and the 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 3 hour.

Saute onions and carrots in butter.

Remove pork hocks or ham bone and set aside to cool. Remove 2 cups of the beans, puree and return to pot with sauteed onions and carrots.

Remove meat from bones and add to pot along with chopped leftover ham if using leftovers. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: I add 2 chicken bullion cubes for added flavour.  I freeze the leftovers in single serving containers so I can enjoy it anytime!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Turkey Club Roll

I promised Steve on Sunday that I would make him a Turkey Club Sandwich. Well, I finally got around to it today, but with a twist. I was watching "Fresh with Anna Olsen" on the Foodnetwork while I had my morning coffee and she made Vegetable Salad Rolls with rice paper. So I thought "aha!" I will make Turkey Club Rolls! I had never used rice paper before and they turned out great! They were a big hit with Stevie, too!

I used some deli turkey slices, cooked up some bacon, julienned a carrot and green onion, seeded and julienned a tomato, washed some lettuce leaves and shredded some radicchio.  Once this was all ready, I filled a pie plate with hot water from the kettle to soften the rice papers in.  I added in the carrot, radicchio and onion because that's what I had on hand and I thought it would look nice!  but you could put anything in there like cucumber, red pepper, zucchini even herbs.  I seeded the tomatoes so they wouldn't be too wet.  Then I just dipped my rice paper, laid it on a clean tea towel, filled and rolled.  Easy peasy!!  Here's  the printable recipe for how I made them .