Saturday, January 28, 2012

For the Love of Cookbooks

You might say I have way too many cookbooks!  I admit that I have a slight addiction.  My Hoosier Cupboard is full and this is only part of my collection - not to mention the sewing machine drawer full of favourite recipe cards or the box full of looseleaf recipe copies!  I've decided to challenge myself and try to use these resources to the fullest, over the next year (one of my resolutions for 2012). Besides, it's fun trying new recipes - right?

Today I pulled "Favourite Family Foods" compiled by the sisters of the Markham Waterloo Mennonite Conference.  Since it's a stormy Saturday I decided to try making "Pluckets".  I enjoy doing yeast baking and this is one I've never made before.  The book has a similar recipe as well called "Monkey Bread"(instead of rolling the dough into small balls, this is flattened dough and cut into wedges) - might have to try that one sometime too.

The recipe (with a few alterations):
1 yeast cake dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
(I used 1 Tbsp. Instant Yeast)
1 Cup milk - scalded
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1/3 Cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs well beaten
3 3/4 Cups all purpose Flour (I used about 4 1/2 Cups) - enough to make a stiff dough.
Add sugar, butter and salt to scalded milk.  Cool to lukewarm and then add dissolved yeast, eggs and flour to make a stiff dough.  Knead and let rise till double in bulk.  Punch down and let rise again.  With buttered hands, roll small pieces of dough into walnut size balls.  Dip balls into melted butter and then roll the balls into a mixture of 3/4 Cup brown sugar, 3 tsp. cinnamon and finely chopped pecans (optional).  Pile balls loosely into an ungreased tube pan.  Let rise for 30 minutes and then bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Turn upside down onto a plate.  Wait a few minutes before removing pan.  Serve warm - pluck buns off as desired.  There's a note on the bottom of this recipe that reads "Dough should be started in morning for dinner" :).

This is how they turned out

I've tucked the book back into it's spot and closed the door for now.
  Time to make a pot of tea and
  pluck me one of those buns!

My antique sewing machine drawer full of well used and favourite recipe cards!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A "CHILI" January Day!

Chili Con Carne for a cold day in January!  I made a big batch yesterday and it's so handy (why don't I do this more often?).

I use a recipe that was on the label of a can of Red Kidney Beans back in the 1970's - that's when I was first married and learning how to cook!  I still use this same basic recipe now, with a few additions.  I didn't have red kidney beans on hand so I used a can of black beans.  Need to stock up on those beans!  I also added some crushed garlic.

Brown in 2 Tbsp. fat:
1 Cup chopped onion
1/4 Cup chopped green pepper
1 lb. ground lean beef
1 Can Red Kidney Beans
1 3/4 Cups stewed diced tomatoes
1 to 2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. vinegar
Simmer for one hour stirring frequently
I always add a can of mushrooms - drained, a can of corn niblets, a can of chick peas or white kidney beans, and sometimes a can of pork and beans.  We like this served with a garnish of fresh chopped peppers and small chunks of cheese!

It's hard to believe that just a few days ago we were
enjoying the warm sights, sounds, smells,
and tastes of Mexico!

Warm thoughts to you till next time.............


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life is Good Indeed!

What a week!


"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett - What a great book and the best part of all is I got to read it on the beach in Mexico!!!

How privileged I am to have such a wonderful get-away time to celebrate the big 6-0!!!  We had an amazing relaxing time and met some awesome folks!  Most of the guests at the resort were from CANADA and not only that - the majority were from the Western Provinces.  We walked on the beach, ate the best shrimp I've ever tasted, went to a colourful Mexican Market, read and lounged for a whole week!

La Penita Market
Salvador's famous Coconut Shrimp!

We had such fun with our new friends Ev and Leonard from Saskatchewan!  It was like we've known them forever.....miss you guys already!

I've added avocado, lime, pineapple, nachos, and tortillas to my grocery list for this week!

Life is good..........even though we are back to reality with a dusting of white snow on the ground.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Yeah, it's Friday the 13th (my lucky day) and as I type I am enjoying a delicious cup of "Jamaica Me Crazy" fresh ground and brewed COFFEE in my favourite pottery mug!!!!  Oh how I've missed you.

After 5 days of detoxing I weighed myself and I think I've lost about 3 lbs. since Wednesday - so that's not too bad.  I feel wonderful and am going to try eating healthier now that Christmas and New Years and everything is over.  Once Valentine's Day hits all bets are off as far as chocolate goes, however :).

The sauna is warming up and then I just have to decide which
toe nail polish to use.

I am so blessed and spoiled.

I heart weekends..........

Till next time - Adios!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Wednesday

Well, it's Wednesday and the caffeine headache has lessened - and I only ever drink 2-3 Cups a day!  I don't intend to give it up and that will be the first thing to indulge in after this week!  Otherwise, I'm feeling great - a little stiff from going to the gym however.  I notice on my face - my skin feels smooth and soft and I also really notice my improved digestion (too much information?).  I didn't weigh myself before starting - I just knew that my jeans were fitting much too tight.  Hopefully I will have shed a few lbs. after this.  Sigh!

I have always tried to keep my weight down as much as possible because my concern is getting "the diabetes" as they used to say.  It is very prevalent in my family on my mother's side and I have 3 siblings who have been diagnosed!  Something I definitely want to avoid if at all possible.  It's a battle for sure.

Today my meals consist of my morning smoothie, raw veggies, a couple of apples, a banana for lunch at work, and a huge salad for dinner.  My smoothie looks like sludge today but oh so delish.  I used 1/2 a field cucumber (peeled and seeded), 1/2 banana, 2-3 handsful of spinach, pomegranite juice, and best of all, 1/2 Cup of blueberries!  Yum.  Honestly, the food tastes great and my sweet cravings have subsided.

I'll give you a wee report on Friday to let you know how things worked out.

Here's to eating a rainbow! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Monday

It's Monday and this is the week I am going to do a wee raw food "detox".  The hardest thing for me is giving up my coffee.  By day 2 or 3, I seem to have a crazy caffeine headache.  It's all so worth it though.  I feel so good while on this 7 day program, my skin  becomes smooth, my digestion improves, and if I'm lucky I'll shed a bit of this Christmas weight gain!!!

I'm starting off the day with this smoothie.  It's a combination of pomegranate juice, 1/2 a banana, raw spinach, raw pineapple, a spoonful of Greek yogurt (I know it's not raw but I'm just using up what's leftover in the fridge),  and a dash of cinnamon.  This may look rather "green" but it tastes absolutely delicious!!!! AND it actually satiates my appetite.  Lunch will be some raw fruit and veggies and supper will be a delicious salad.

So - here goes - I think this is actually a week where there are no planned dinners or banquets so I should be able to do this!

Join me and let me know how it goes?!........

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Turkey Salad and Undecorating

Today is the last day for using up that bit of roasted turkey (I had frozen it but wanted to make use of it before I forgot I had it in the freezer).  It made a great salad for a first Saturday of the new year lunch.

Turkey Salad:
1 Cup of sliced grapes
1 Cup of diced celery
2 green onions - chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1/2 Cup grated cheddar cheese
3-4 Cups cooked diced turkey
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
Chopped parsley for garnish
Dressing - 1 Cup mayonnaise, 2 tsps. lemon juice, 2 heaping Tbsp. sour cream, 1 tsp. sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the ingredients with the dressing and serve on a bed of greens.  Add a spoon of cranberry sauce on the side if you still have some left over!  This would be good as a sandwich filling also.

Today was also the day that the decorations came down.  Even though I realize that today is still Christmas in the Ukraine!  I gave my German Smoker one last puff of incense and listened to a few more favourite Christmas carols, as I undecorated the tree and the bannister.  It's a big job but feels good to have it done for another year.  After I was all finished I enjoyed a wonderful cup of tea that I made in my new tea infuser - a gift from Becky.  So delicious Chocolate Chili Chai (especially with a splash of left-over Baileys).

How is your undecorating going?  Maybe you've been finished for quite some time already.

Next week - it's back to the gym, green smoothies, salads and lots of raw food.  I am thankful for being back into a healthier routine!

Blessings till next time....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Left Over Turkey? Make it into A-La-King!

A turkey or chicken left-over favourite from my friend Yvonne. It’s even worth roasting a turkey just to make this.  The "king" in this house really likes when the "queen" makes this!  The "princess" likes it too....

Turkey A-la-King
1 Can Mushrooms – drained (reserve ¼ Cup liquid)
½ Cup diced green or red pepper
¼ Cup diced onion or shallots
½ Cup butter
Sauté vegetables in butter for a few minutes
½ Cup Flour, ½ tsp. Salt, ¼ tsp. Pepper stirring constantly
for 1-2 minutes.
Stir In:
2 Cups light cream
1 ¾ Cups chicken or turkey broth
¼ Cup reserved mushroom liquid
Stir constantly till comes to a boil and thickens
2 Cups Cooked Turkey or Chicken – cut into bite size pieces
Add a cup or two of cooked peas or any left over vegetable (I like to use corn as well).
Heat gently till meat and peas are warmed.
I always add a sprinkle of cinnamon too.
Serve on warm freshly baked Patty Shells, tea biscuits, or bread
Tulips (made by cutting crusts off bread slices, butter,
and form into tart or muffin tins – toast in oven till slightly
Serve this with a green salad and/or steamed green beans.

Long live the Queen.......

Holiday Left Overs

Veggie Pizza

Do you have left-overs?  Oh my! The fridge is full of small containers and baggies and I am determined to use them up if at all possible.  My posts this week will hopefully reflect some creative left-overs meals.  Either that, or the dog will now be gaining some weight ;).

If you have left over vegetables from a veggie platter - here is a great way to use them.  This is a requested finger food for Becky's "girls" get-togethers and it's so easy to make.  You just have to be sure to have some crescent dough on hand!

Veggie Pizza

Bake two tubes of crescent dough (flattened out on a pizza pan, pizza stone or cookie tray). 
Bake at 375 for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool.
Spread with a mixture of 1/2 Cup sour cream, 1 block of softened cream cheese, and some mayo- seasoned with all season salt, pepper, dill weed, Worcestershire sauce and a dash of Tabasco or any flavours to your liking.
Sprinkle with finely chopped veggies – broccoli, cauliflower, green onion or chives, carrots, red/green peppers, mushrooms, etc.
Top with grated cheddar and mozzarella cheeses
Cover with shrink wrap and lightly press the toppings into the sour cream mixture.
Chill before serving.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Survived the Day!

Well, today was the day!
I survived and actually had a wonderful time
Felt the love of so many friends
and family
through emails, fb messages, phone calls,
text messages, and best of all, face to face.
Last evening we celebrated with Becky's future parents-in-law
with a delicious home-cooked meal prepared
by Patrick's mom, complete with white
chocolate mousse and birthday candles for dessert!
My amazing co-workers made today 
special with a high tea party at 
"coffee break" complete with fascinators, cucumber sandwiches,
scones and jam, specialty teas, and fancy
tea cups!
A beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived at work from
a thoughtful daughter and her fiance.

Pictures by Jen Konkle - who BTW is celebrating a birthday tomorrow Jan. 4th and planned this little tea with her partner in crime - Sara C.!!!  Thanks you guys!


High tea - what fun!

The flowers!!!
Life is Good!  Maybe being 16 60 isn't so bad after-all!!!

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