From My Recipe Books...

with Gena Gibson

Oct. 27, 2015

Pumpkin Fluff Dip

The only time I have eaten a savoury pumpkin recipe was pumpkin pasta – and while it tasted surprisingly good, it made about a tonne and overstayed its welcome in our household, and I haven’t made it since. Now, we stick to pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies (delicious ones I had in this column several years ago!), and now, I might have to add this very easy pumpkin dip.

1 16-oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 5-oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 15-oz. can solid pack pumpkin
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Homemade pumpkin pie spice:
Combine 1/4 cup ground cinnamon, 4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 4 tsp. ground ginger and 1 tbsp. ground allspice. Store in airtight container.

In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Chill in the refrigerator until serving.
Serve with graham crackers, or Nilla wafers, or apple slices, or whatever you like to eat sweet dip with. Tip: Sandwich some dip between two graham crackers and freeze it. Voilà: pumpkin ice-cream sandwich!

June 9, 2015

Overnight Raisin Oatmeal Pancakes

Start in the evening, stick it in the fridge to soften overnight, and then finish it in the morning. And voila; pancakes! This recipe comes from

2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup raisins

In a medium bowl, mix together the oats and buttermilk. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the oatmeal mixture, eggs, butter, and raisins. Stir until just moistened. Allow batter to sit 20 minutes before cooking. If batter is too thick, add buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time, until the batter reaches the desired consistency.
Heat a lightly greased, large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the hot griddle for each cake. Cook pancakes until bubbles appear on top, flip, and cook until lightly browned on bottom.

Jan. 27, 2015

Whoopie Pie Cake

Facebook can be a pretty useless pastime (except for the Era Facebook page, of course: it's awesome!). But now and then, my Newsfeed features delicious-looking recipes, and this is one of them, from a website called

1 box chocolate cake mix (prepared per package directions) + 1 extra egg
cocoa powder for dusting the pan

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups Marshmallow Fluff
3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Grease two 9x13inch pans with butter and dust with cocoa powder; set aside. Prepare cake according to package directions, but add in an extra egg to the mix. Split the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely.

In stand mixer, beat butter and Fluff together until smooth. Turn mixer to low and slowly add in powdered sugar. Turning mixer back up, continue mixing for 30-60 seconds until smooth. Spread the filling on top of one of the cakes. Top the filling with the other cake.

In small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to almost a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then pour over top of cake.

Note: You could also bake this in 2 9x9 round pans.

Jan. 13, 2015

Classic Meatloaf

I made this meatloaf on Sunday, just to make sure it tasted as good as it sounded. I used less ground meat, and all I had was chicken, so I went with it. Also had no brown sugar or Dijon mustard – so ketchup did the trick. And yes, it was worth the extra chopping – with the added bonus of more vegetables! -Gena

1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
4 white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. dried Italian herbs
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tsp. olive oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
hot pepper sauce to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
Place the carrot, celery, onion, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped, almost to a puree. Place the minced vegetables into a large mixing bowl, and mix in ground beef, Worcestershire sauce and egg. Add Italian herbs, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix gently with a wooden spoon to incorporate vegetables and egg into the meat. Pour in bread crumbs. With your hand, gently mix in the crumbs with your fingertips just until combined.
Form the meatloaf into a ball. Pour olive oil into a baking dish and place the ball of meat into the dish. Shape the ball into a loaf, about 4x6 inches. Bake in the preheated oven just until the meatloaf is hot, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, ketchup, Dijon mustard and hot sauce. Stir until the brown sugar has dissolved.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven. With the back of a spoon, smooth the glaze onto the top of the meatloaf, then pull a little bit of glaze down the sides of the meatloaf with the back of the spoon.
Return meatloaf to oven, and bake until the loaf is no longer pink inside and the glaze has baked onto the loaf, 30 to 35 more minutes.

Recipe for Dec. 16, 2014

Gingerbread ice cream sandwiches

Nothing says Christmas like gingerbread – but it's easy to twist it into something surprising with these ice-cream sandwiches, with cinnamon ice cream! These are from Taste of Home magazine.

3 cups vanilla ice cream
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a blender, combine ice cream and cinnamon. Transfer to a freezer container; freeze for at least two hours.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, then molasses. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate two hours or until easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-1/2-in. gingerbread-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.
To make ice cream sandwiches, spread 1/4 cup softened ice cream over the bottom of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Wrap each in plastic wrap; freeze on a baking sheet at least 1 hour. Yield: 1 dozen.

Recipe for Dec. 2, 2014

Eclair Cake

I haven’t tried this one yet, but it sounds good – how do you go wrong with vanilla pudding, graham crackers and a sweet cocoa frosting?

2 (3.4-oz) packages vanilla instant pudding mix, dry
3-1/2 cups whole milk
12 oz. cool whip
2 (14.4-oz) packages graham crackers

3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. milk
3 tbsp. cocoa
1 cup powdered sugar

Blend milk and vanilla pudding packets for about two minutes. Fold in Cool Whip.
In a 9x13-inch pan, layer graham crackers to cover entire bottom of pan. You may need to cut and shape the crackers to fit nicely. Pour half of pudding/cool whip mixture on top and level.
Put another layer of graham crackers to cover entire surface. Cut and shape crackers accordingly. Put the second half of pudding/cool whip mixture on top and level. Put the final layer of graham crackers on top with bumpy side down. This will help the top look more smooth when you go to put the frosting on top. Once again, cut and shape crackers accordingly to avoid pits and cracks.
FOR THE FROSTING: Microwave butter and milk just enough so that they are melted together. You do not need to boil it. Add cocoa and powdered sugar and blend together. This will be a runnier frosting/glaze. Pour over top of graham crackers and smooth out nicely. (The original recipe creator says she usually doubles the frosting recipe.)
Refrigerate overnight and dig in!

Recipe for Nov. 18, 2014

Chicken Parmesan

A simple chicken-breast recipe. You can use fresh chicken breasts, or the frozen ones if you thaw them in the fridge overnight first.

4 boneless chicken-breast halves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup flour
2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or prepared
2 eggs, beaten with 1/4 cup milk
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Lightly pound the boneless chicken breasts to even out the thickness of the meat. Flour each piece and dip in egg mixture. Press the breasts in bread crumbs and coat evenly.
Sauté the breasts in olive oil in a skillet, preferably cast-iron. Turn pieces to brown evenly. Transfer chicken to a shallow baking dish that is large enough to accommodate all of the chicken without overcrowding.
Top with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake in 350 degrees F oven for about 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh, chopped basil and/or parsley. Serve Parmesan cheese on the side.

Recipe for Nov. 4, 2014

Graham Cracker Toffee

My mom has made a similar recipe to this one, so when I found it, I had to keep it for myself. It’s easy, it's delicious, and you can substitute peanuts or whatever kind of nuts you want. Fair warning, though, it’s hard to just eat one! -Gena

16 graham cracker sheets
half cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans
6 oz. milk or semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Cover prepared cookie sheet with whole graham cracker sheets.
In saucepan, bring brown sugar and butter to a boil over medium heat. Boil for four minutes stirring constantly. Pour over graham crackers and bake for eight minutes at 350 degrees F.
After baking, immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of graham crackers and let sit for about two minutes. Spread melted chocolate with a knife. Sprinkle nuts over the top.
Let sit for about two hours and them cut and serve. You can also cool them in the freezer for a quicker serve time.

Recipe for Oct. 14, 2014

Pumpkin Roll

Looking for a dessert for your Thanksgiving meal? This one includes traditional pumpkin, but in a different format – a roll. It comes from The Food Network, and is one of Trisha Yearwood’s recipes.

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup icing sugar
Two pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.
With electric mixer, beat eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sifted ingredients to egg mixture and blend until fully combined. Spread batter in jellyroll pan. Sprinkle dough with chopped pecans. Bake until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, 14 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes.
Invert cake onto wire rack. Sprinkle some icing sugar on a large tea towel and carefully transfer warm cake to towel, folding sides of towel over cake. Roll cake up in towel and cool in refrigerator thoroughly for about 45 minutes.
With an electric mixer, combine the icing sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake. Gently re-roll the cake up and refrigerate it until you're ready to slice and serve. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Recipe for Sept. 30, 2014

Refried Beans Without the Refry

This recipe got almost five stars at, with people loving the fact that it has the taste of refried beans, but is made healthier by not involving any frying at all! It also gives you a reason to use your slow cooker, if it has been sitting gathering dust all summer.

1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
9 cups water

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on high for eight hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than one cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.
Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

Recipe for Aug. 12, 2014

Juicy Peach Crisp

6 fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter

Preheat an oven to 375 Fahrenheit, and grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
Place the peaches in the bottom of the baking dish, and sprinkle them with almond extract.
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles crumbs.
Sprinkle the flour mixture in an even layer over the top of the peaches, and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until the peaches are bubbling and the topping is browned.

Recipe for July 15, 2014

Corn Dogs

I have never made these, but with the Almonte Fair this weekend, it seemed like a good time to use the recipe. Let me know how it works – maybe I’ll give it a try when the Perth Fair comes around!

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal
Hot dogs

Mix all ingredients together and add enough milk to make a thick batter. Dip hot dogs into batter and deep fry until golden.

Apple Juice Fruit Pops
This recipe was in a recent Parents magazine. I remember freezing apple juice in popsicle molds a few years ago, but haven’t thought to do it for a long time – now I will!
In a bowl, mix together 2/3 cup of water and 2/3 cup of apple juice. Put 6-8 blueberries, 2-3 peach slices or 2-3 strawberry pieces in each of six 2-oz. ice-pop molds. Gently pour the liquid mixture into each mold (you can reposition the fruit after you have poured in the liquid).
Freeze for 6 hours or until frozen.

Recipe for July 1, 2014

S'mores Dessert Squares

It’s July! That means warm summer days and nights, camping, and possibly s’mores? If you want the taste of s’mores but you’re stuck inside – or you just feel like baking – try these dessert squares. I found them as I was going through old recipes at the office, and this is from a favourite-recipes book by Lanark Adventure Day Camp in 2007. Enjoy! -Gena

64 graham crackers, divided
5 tbsp. butter, melted
3 tbsp. sugar
3 1/4 cups cold milk, divided
1 pkg. chocolate instant pudding
2 pkgs. vanilla instant pudding
1 1/2 cups thawed cool whip topping
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 square semi-sweet chocolate, grated

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Finely crush 40 of the crackers. Add butter and sugar, mix until well blended. Press firmly onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake 8 minutes or until lightly browned; set aside.
Pour 1 1/4 cups of the milk into medium bowl. Add dry chocolate pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Spread over crust, top with rest of the crackers.
Pour remaining 2 cups milk into large bowl. Add dry vanilla pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spread over wafer layer in pan. Refrigerate at least three hours or until set.
Preheat broiler just before serving. Top dessert evenly with marshmallows. Broil 1 minute or until marshmallows are puffed and lightly browned. Sprinkle with chocolate. Cut into 24 squares. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Recipe for June 17, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Cream

Strawberries and rhubarb – I see so many recipes that combine these two. That must mean that they're meant to go together, right? The early strawberry varieties are ready; head out to the patch!

1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
2 tbsp. plus 1-1/2 tsp. sugar, divided
1-1/2 tsp. water
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
Additional sliced fresh strawberries, optional

In a small saucepan, combine the rhubarb, 2 tbsp. sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a small bowl; cool to room temperature.
Place strawberries and remaining sugar in a food processor; cover and process until pureed. Stir into rhubarb mixture. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into two parfait glasses or dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with additional berries if desired. Yield: 2 servings.
Editor's Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Nutritional Facts
1/2 cup equals 148 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 27 mg cholesterol, 9 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein.

Recipe for June 3, 2014

Marinated Pork Medallions

I don't known much about pork, but this recipe got five stars at, so I'm sure it's worth a try! -Gena

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 pork tenderloins (1 pound each), cut into 3/4-inch slices

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salad dressing, pineapple juice and soy sauce. Pour 1/2 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the pork; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.
Drain and discard marinade. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.
Grill pork, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160°, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Yield: 5 servings.

Nutritional Facts
5 ounces cooked pork equals 364 calories, 14 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 101 mg cholesterol, 877 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 37 g protein.

Recipe for May 20, 2014

Boston Cream Pie (Made Over)

This lightened-up version of a Boston cream pie is simple, especially if you use a pre-made angel-food cake. But it’s almost as easy to make the angel-food cake from a mix, and not that hard even from scratch (just a lot of beating). Regardless of how you get the cake made, the rest is easy and delicious! This recipe comes from Kraft.

1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
1-1/2 cups cold skim milk
1 cup thawed Cool Whip Lite or Fat-Free whipped topping, divided
1 round angel food cake (10 oz.), cut horizontally into three layers
1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Beat pudding mix and milk in medium bowl with whisk two minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup Cool Whip. Stack cake layers on serving plate, spreading pudding mixture between layers.
Microwave chocolate and remaining Cool Whip in microwaveable bowl on high 30 seconds; stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Spoon over cake. Refrigerate one hour.
How to slice cake evenly: Mark the cake into three horizontal layers with toothpicks. Use a long serrated knife and gentle sawing motion to cut the cake into the layers as directed.
Make ahead: Dessert can be made up to four hours in advance. Remove from refrigerator 30 min. before serving.

Recipe for April 29, 2014

Chicken Chimis in the Oven

Feel like going Mexican for a night? Here's an easy way to do it. I found this recipe at, and the author suggests serving your chimichangas with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups salsa
3 tbsp. water
1/4 cup chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 pound cooked, shredded chicken breast meat
1 cup refried beans
6 (10 inch) flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit (220 Celsius). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
Heat two tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in salsa and water. Season with chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Return mixture to the saucepan, stir in the chicken, and cook until heated through.
Spoon an equal amount of refried beans down center of each tortilla, and top with equal amounts of the chicken mixture. Fold tortillas over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Arrange seam-side down in the prepared baking dish, and brush with the remaining olive oil.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, turning every five minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Recipe for March 11, 2014

Pasta Casserole

A request and subsequent search for a simple ground-beef and pasta main dish (with few vegetables and no cream cheese/sour cream/cottage cheese) led to this recipe for pasta casserole. You can switch up the type of pasta, use green onions instead of one large onion, and probably use whatever kind of cheese you want. Versatility is good!

16 ounces dry fusilli/spiral pasta
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
48 ounces canned tomato sauce
4 ounces pepperoni sausage, sliced
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for eight to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no pink shows; drain.
Combine in a 9x13-inch casserole dish: pasta, ground beef, bell pepper, onion, tomato sauce and pepperoni; blend well. Top with shredded cheese.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.

Recipe for Feb. 25, 2014

Parmesan Ranch Chicken

3/4 cup crushed corn flakes
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (1 ounce) envelope ranch salad dressing mix
8 (4 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Combine corn flakes, Parmesan cheese, and ranch dressing mix in a bowl. Dip chicken in melted butter; roll each chicken breast in corn flake mixture until evenly coated. Place coated chicken in the prepared baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven until chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recipe for Feb. 11, 2014

Maple Pudding

My friend Trina Conboy (from Taylea Farm in Dewitt’s Corners) posted this delicious-looking recipe and photo online, using a pot she made in her pottery business. She says this is an old family recipe courtesy of her mother-in-law, Margery Conboy, which I’ll have to try very soon with the local maple syrup I have from last year’s crop.

1/4 cup water
1.5 cups maple syrup

2 tsp butter
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt

Bring water and syrup to boiling point and pour into deep baking dish. Stir often. Mix batter and pour into maple syrup in baking dish. Bake at 350 for approx. 35 minutes. Should be slightly brown on top. I add a little more maple syrup on top of serving dish. Goes great with ice cream.

Recipe for Nov. 19, 2013

Angel Yeast Biscuits

I made these biscuits as a change from regular tea biscuits on Sunday, after finding the recipe in a Taste of Home Christmas cookbook from 2001. I asked the rest of my family if it was worth the extra effort, and all three said yes. Of course, they weren't the ones making them...but they're pretty easy!

1 pkg. (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1 tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup warm buttermilk (110° to 115°)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup cold butter

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in buttermilk; set aside. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in yeast mixture; mix well.
Turn onto a floured surface; gently knead for 1 minute. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll to 3/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. round biscuit cutter. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Prick tops with a fork. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.
Editor's Note: Warmed buttermilk will appear curdled.

1 serving (1 each) equals 193 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 21 mg cholesterol, 361 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Recipe for Nov. 5, 2013

Homemade Goldfish Crackers

This is just one of many recipes on the Internet for homemade goldfish crackers – and since my family enjoys the store-bought kind, I have to try these...soon! This recipe comes from

1 cup plain flour
8 oz. shredded sharp/extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cold butter (cut into cubes)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. cold water

Using a pastry blender, cut butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs. Add salt to mix together. Add shredded cheese and cut into the mixture. Add water, 1 tbsp. at a time.
Use hand to form dough and divide into 2 portions. Wrap them in plastic and chill for 20 minutes (or longer). Preheat oven to 170°C. Line baking trays with parchment papers.
Take out one portion of the dough from the fridge. Work with one portion at a time. Place dough in between two sheets of wax paper or cling wrap. Roll dough out to 3mm (1/8 in) thickness. Cut out shapes with your choice of cookie cutters and transfer to baking tray.
Bake for about 15-17 minutes, until crackers are crispy and golden around edges. Cool for 10 minutes on baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

You can substitute it with 50-100% whole wheat flour.
Shred the cheese finer than what is shown in the photo so that you can easily cut them into the mixture.
Get orange cheese if you can.
If you have food processor, pulse everything (except water) together until the dough resembles coarse sand.
Thinner dough means crispier crackers; thicker dough means puffier, more bread-like crackers. But, the dough must not be too thin or else the crackers will be difficult to handle.
Crackers will turn soft pretty fast even they are kept inside an airtight container. Best to be eaten immediately or within a day or two.

Recipes for Oct. 8, 2013

Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is easy and delicious, and now is the best time of the year for apples, whether at an orchard or with apples from one of your own trees.

10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled,
cored and sliced
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Place the sliced apples in a 9x13-inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tbsp. flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all.
Combine the oats, one cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.
Bake for about 45 minutes.

Pumpkin Waffles

As we come into Thanksgiving weekend, what better time is there to start thinking about pumpkin? Pumpkin pie, pumpkin desserts, pumpkin lattés at your favourite coffee shop – the choices seem endless. Here’s a pumpkin waffle recipe, if you want something a little different.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
In large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, purée, sugar, butter and vanilla; pour over dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Heat waffle maker; using 1/2 cup of batter per waffle, cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Pumpkin Pancakes: Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium beat; brush with 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil. Using 1/4 cup batter per pancake and brushing pan with more oil as necessary, cook for 2 minutes or until bubbles break on top but do not fill in. Turn and cook for 2 minutes longer or until bottom is golden.

Recipe for Sept. 10, 2013

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Bars

This is one of the recipes in the baking section of the Middleville Fair prize book, following the fair's pumpkin theme. The fair takes place this Saturday. See more recipes and details at

½ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cups canned pumpkin
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. each ginger and nutmeg
½ cup chopped nuts

Orange Frosting:
3 tablespoons shortening
2-1/4 cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon grated
orange peel

Candy pumpkins or candy corn optional for decorations.
In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla.
Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and nutmeg – add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in nuts.
Spread in a greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening, icing sugar, orange juice and orange peel until well blended. Frost the bars and cut into bars. Top with candy if desired. Yields 2 dozen.

Recipe for Aug. 27, 2013

Yellow Squash Casserole

With a yellow squash on hand thanks to a Perth Farmers' Market raffle win by my daughter last week, I started looking for ways to use it. The next day, what did I find in my e-mail inbox but this recipe for yellow squash – it was meant to be!

4 cups sliced yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped onion
35 buttery round crackers, crushed
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Place squash and onion in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in a small amount of water. Cover, and cook until squash is tender, about five minutes. Drain well, and place in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and cheese. Stir half of the cracker mixture into the cooked squash and onions. In a small bowl, mix together eggs and milk, then add to squash mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Spread into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cracker mixture, and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Recipe for Aug. 13, 2013

Peanut Butter Bars

This is a simple no-bake peanut-butter bar recipe that the author claims tastes just like peanut-butter cups. Even if it doesn't, how can it be bad? If you have kids, make this before they head back to school in September, especially if your school has a no-peanuts rule.

1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons peanut butter

In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.

Recipe for June 18, 2013

Pepperoni Provolone Pizza

This recipe comes from a Taste of Home e-mail that I get for the “budget-conscious cooks” – it’s also addressed to Edna, as is all of my Taste of Home correspondence, but as long as they keep sending me food e-mails, I suppose I can overlook it. Use your favourite pepperoni and cheese and get grilling!

1 can (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
2 teaspoons olive oil
2/3 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup prepared pesto
3 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded provolone cheese

Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 12-x10-in. rectangle.
Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Lightly brush both sides of dough with oil; place on grill. Cover and grill over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned.
Remove from grill. Top the grilled side of each pizza with pizza sauce, pesto, pepperoni, tomato and cheese. Return to grill. Cover and cook each pizza for 4-5 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned and cheese is melted. Yield: 2 pizzas (4 pieces each).

Nutritional facts
1 piece equals 403 calories, 23 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 47 mg cholesterol, 1,073 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 22 g protein.

Recipe for June 4, 2013

Glazed Strawberry Pie

Strawberry season will be upon us in mid-June, so there's no better time to stock up on strawberry recipes. Here's a recipe for strawberry pie, found at

9 inch baked pie shell
1 quart (4 cups) strawberries (more for a deeper pie)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla
red food colouring

Wash and hull berries and place in a large bowl.
Take 1 cup of the smaller berries from the bowl and mash them in a medium saucepan, adding 3/4 cup water. Bring berries and water to a boil for two minutes.
Combine dry ingredients and add 1/4 cup water to the dry ingredients. Mix them together till you get a smooth mixture.
Slowly add and stir this mixture to the strawberry mixture. Cook until thick and clear (about two minutes). Remove from heat.
Add butter, vanilla and, food colouring for a deep red colour (food colouring can be optional but it makes it look great). Mix together till even.
Let mixture cool. When it is cool pour it over the remaining berries till they are all coated. Pour glazed berry mixture into a baked pie shell. Chill and serve. Garnish with whipped cream.

Recipe for May 21, 2013

Country Pasta with Mozzarella

Original recipe makes six servings.

8 ounces rigatoni pasta
8 slices bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Cook rigatoni according to package directions and drain.
In a 10-inch skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned. Add the broccoli and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is slightly tender (about 4-5 minutes).
Stir in the cooked rigatoni, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley.

Recipe for May 7, 2013

Maple Butter Crêpes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup regular, 2% or fat-free evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Crêpes: Combine, in a blender, all ingredients. Blend at high speed, until well combined. Some lumps will remain. Let rest in refrigerator 30 minutes.
Lightly grease a 10-inch frying pan or crêpe pan. Heat over medium high heat. Drop approximately 1/4 cup of batter into hot pan, tilting pan in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. Cook the crêpe for about two minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Remove to a plate, let cool slightly and then fold into triangles.
Sauce: Melt, in same pan over medium heat, butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture just begins to bubble. Add folded crêpes and cook in sauce until warm. Serve immediately.

Recipe for April 23, 2013

Luscious Cream Puffs

These shortcut cream puffs are easy, taste decadent and can be made lighter with light ingredients. And the best part? They're delicious! This recipe comes from Kraft Kitchens.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 of 17.3-oz. pkg.), thawed
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup cold milk
1/2 cup thawed Cool Whip whipped topping
1 oz. semisweet chocolate

Heat oven to 400ºF. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface; roll into 10-inch square. Cut into nine circles with three-inch cookie cutter. Place two inches apart on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
Meanwhile, beat pudding mix and milk in medium bowl with whisk two min. Stir in Cool Whip. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
Melt chocolate as directed on package. Split pastry rounds; fill with pudding mixture. Drizzle with chocolate.
Tips: Prepare using fat-free instant vanilla pudding, fat-free milk and light Cool Whip. Or use white chocolate or chocolate instant pudding. It all works!

Recipe for April 9, 2013

Maple Pork Medallions with Peppers

I tend to be fairly particular about certain foods, especially meat – and with a seven-year-old who is fairly certain she is a vegetarian and another daughter who only eats chicken, mealtime doesn’t include much in the way of other meat or fish. But I need to branch out in recipes, so here’s one with pork (and maple). Enjoy! -Gena

1 Ontario pork tenderloin
1 tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
1 tart apple, cored
1 Ontario sweet orange pepper
1 cup apple juice
1/2 tsp. each dried sage and thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
3 tbsp. Ontario maple syrup

Slice pork into 1 1/2-inch thick rounds. Place slices down on cutting board. Lay piece of plastic wrap on top. Press or gently pound to even thickness no more than 1/2 inch.
In large skillet, melt butter on medium-high heat. Add pork and brown, turning once every 2-3 minutes per side or until golden. Transfer to plate. Meanwhile, slice unpeeled apple into thin wedges; cut pepper into bite-sized strips.
Pour juice into skillet and scrape up brown bits from skillet. Add apple and pepper; boil, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Pushing apple and pepper aside, return pork to skillet along with any juices. Sprinkle with sage and thyme; and cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Drizzle with syrup.
Simmer over medium-low heat uncovered until juices run clear when pork is pierced and still slightly pink inside, 8-10 minutes, turning meat and stirring apple and pepper several times. Remove pork to plates. Spoon apple and pepper on top. Increase heat to high; boil sauce, stirring often, until thick enough to glaze, 2-3 minutes. Pour over pork, apple and pepper.

Recipe for March 26, 2013

One-Bowl Easter Egg Brownies

4 oz. Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup candy-coated chocolate pieces
1 tsp. assorted confetti candies
2 Tbsp. decorating icing

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray with cooking spray. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high 2 min. or until butter is melted; stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar, flour, nuts, eggs and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 30-35 min. or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan. Cut into 24 brownies, using 2-inch oval-shaped cookie cutter. Reserve trimmings for snacking or another use. Decorate with remaining ingredients to resemble Easter eggs.

Recipe for March 12, 2013

Irish Soda Bread

3/4 cup raisins
1 cup boiling water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Place raisins in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water; let stand for five minutes. Drain and pat dry.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raisins.
Transfer to a 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).
Nutritional Facts
1 slice equals 161 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 22 mg cholesterol, 359 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat.

Recipe for Feb. 26, 2013

Hot Chocolate Brownies

Hot chocolate? Yes. Brownies? Of course. Hot chocolate brownies? You can't go wrong! This recipe is from the Robin Hood Baking Hour.

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
2/3 cup (150 mL) milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt
2/3 cup (150 mL) milk chocolate chips
1 cup (250 mL) miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup (75 mL) milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line eight-inch baking pan with parchment paper, overlapping two sides for easy removal.
2. Melt together butter and chocolate chips. Cool slightly. Whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs, one at a time and then vanilla.
3. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, salt and remaining chocolate chips.
4. Scrape into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until just set (centre will still be moist), sprinkle with marshmallows and chocolate chips for topping during last 5 minutes of baking. Cool in pan on rack.

Recipe for Feb. 12, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Scones

Just in time for Valentine's Day, combine chocolate and dried cherries or cranberries into a sweet treat, courtesy of Betty Crocker.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
6 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup white vanilla baking chips
16 red candy melts or coating wafers (2 oz)

Heat oven to 400°F.
In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Using pastry blender (or pulling two table knives through mixture in opposite directions), cut in butter until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in cherries until coated with flour mixture. Stir in whipping cream, vanilla and egg just until liquid is absorbed into flour mixture.
Turn mixture out onto clean work surface; lightly knead 10 to 15 times or just until a dough forms. Using floured rolling pin or patting out with hands, roll dough into thick 15x2 1/2-inch rectangle.
With 2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut seven scones by placing cookie cutter in opposite directions directly on cut edge of previous heart. Place dough hearts about two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Reroll dough scraps into 5x2 1/2-inch rectangle. Cut two additional heart shapes from remaining dough; place on cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or just until edges are set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
In small resealable freezer plastic bag, place baking chips; seal bag. In another small resealable plastic bag, place red candy melts; seal bag. Microwave both filled bags on High 2 to 3 minutes, kneading bags twice, until chips and candy melts are melted. Cut off tiny bottom corner of each bag. Immediately squeeze bag with melted candy melts to drizzle melted candy over scones. Repeat with bag of melted baking chips. Let stand 10 minutes; serve warm.

Expert Tips
If you don’t have a 2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, roll or pat dough into an eight-inch round. Cut into eight wedges with sharp knife that has been dipped in flour. Separate wedges and place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Drizzle with melted candy melts and chips. Serve warm.
Any powdered sugar icing can be used in place of the melted candy melts and chips.

Recipe for Jan. 29, 2013

Country Chicken Casserole

This recipe comes from Foodland Ontario, and uses plenty of Ontario-grown vegetables.

4 tsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Ontario leek (white and light green parts), chopped
1 cup each sliced Ontario carrots and parsnips
1 cup quartered Ontario mushrooms

1 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% milk
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 cups shredded cooked Ontario chicken or turkey
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 cups torn whole wheat bread pieces

In large saucepan, heat 2 tsp. of the oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, leeks, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, 3/4 tsp. of the thyme, salt and pepper for six minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
Whisk flour into milk; gradually stir into saucepan along with broth and mustard. Cook, stirring, for five minutes or until bubbling and thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken and peas. Spoon into eight-cup (2L) baking dish. (Make ahead: Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to eight hours. Reheat in microwave until hot and continue with recipe.)
In bowl, toss bread with remaining oil and thyme until coated; sprinkle over chicken mixture. Bake in 425 F (220 C) oven for 12-14 minutes or until bread is toasted and sauce is bubbling.
Nutritional information: 1 serving equals 345 calories, 9 grams fat, 35 grams carbohydrates, 29 grams protein, 5 grams fibre, 550 mg sodium.

Recipe for Jan. 15, 2013

Basic Chili

The nights are chilly and we've settled in for the winter, now that it's mid-January. So it's time for comfort food! If you have picky eaters or you want a basic chili that you can add your favourite vegetables to, this is it.

2 pounds ground beef
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid

Combine ground beef, onion and garlic in large stockpot. Cook and stir over medium heat until beef is brown. Drain.
Stir in chili powder, salt, oregano, tomatoes and tomato sauce; break up tomatoes while stirring. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for one hour.
Stir in beans. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes; stir occasionally.

Recipe for Dec. 4, 2012

Shortbread Buttons

This is a recipe from the Robin Hood Baking Hour – but you can use whatever flour you prefer. These cookies are easy, cute and taste good. What more can you ask for? You can find the candy wafers at Foodsmiths in Perth, or more colourful Christmas colours at Bulk Barn.

1 cup butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1 cup icing sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
45 multicolored chocolate candy wafers

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients until a soft dough forms. This recipe doesn’t need a mixer, so have your bakers wash their hands and dig in! Start things off with a wooden spoon and then let your kids use their hands to bring the dough together.
Using 1 tbsp. of dough at a time, roll into balls and place on cookie sheet, spaced one inch apart. Press a chocolate candy wafer into the top of each ball, pushing down to flatten the dough. Press the dough into a measuring spoon to make the cookies all the same size.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until set and lightly golden. Let cool five minutes on sheets, then transfer to cooling racks.
NOTE: Freeze the egg whites in an airtight container and use them another time for a white cake or meringue.

Recipe for Nov. 20, 2012

Millionaire's Shortbread Bars

Okay, so you may not have started your Christmas baking yet – but shouldn't you try out a few recipes beforehand to make sure they're worthy? This is a variation on my mom's specialty that uses sweetened condensed milk as the middle layer, but with Eagle Brand's new dulce de leche flavour available, who can resist? -Gena

1 ½ cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour?
½ cup (125 mL) icing sugar
¾ cup (175 mL) butter, softened
1 can (300 mL) dulce de leche caramel-flavoured sauce
1 cup (250 mL) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8x8-inch (2 L) baking pan with parchment paper, overlapping the sides for easy removal.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and icing sugar. Blend in butter using a pastry blender or your fingers.Press mixture into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.
Bring caramel-flavoured sauce to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir constantly, cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Spread thickened mixture on top of baked shortbread.
Pour melted chocolate evenly on top of caramel flavoured filling and spread to cover. Chill in refrigerator, three hours or until firm. Cut into bars.
1. Reserve 1 tbsp (15 mL) of thickened caramel-flavoured sauce to drizzle on top of chocolate layer.
2. To melt chocolate, bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Place chocolate in heat proof bowl and place bowl over boiling water. Ensure bottom of bowl does not touch the water. Remove saucepan from heat. Let stand 3-5 minutes and stir.

Recipe for Oct. 16, 2012

Tuna Cakes

I have one e-mail address that is almost entirely devoted to recipes – from Taste of Home, from, from Parents magazine, from Kraft Canada...and probably more. Since I live in a family of picky eaters (and I'm not the most adventurous eater myself), I discard quite a few, but some, like this one from Kraft, become regular fare. I made these last week and yep, they're still good. -Gena

2 cans (5 oz. each) light or white tuna in water, drained, flaked
1 pkg. (6 oz.) stuffing mix for chicken or turkey
1 cup cheddar cheese (the recipe says mild cheese, I used light old cheese, it will all work)
3/4 cup water
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 cup mayonnaise or light mayonnaise
2 tbsp. sweet pickle relish

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Heat a large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat. Use ice cream scoop to add 1/3-cup portions of the tuna mixture, in batches, to the skillet, or shape into patties before adding them to the skillet.
If scooping, flatten into patties with back of spatula. If shaping into patties first, place in single layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate one hour before cooking to make it easier to handle in the skillet
Cook six minutes or until golden brown on both sides, carefully turning patties after three minutes.
Variation: Substitute one cup of part-skim mozarella cheese, four chopped green onions and one tbsp. lemon juice for the cheddar, carrots and relish.

Recipe for Oct. 2, 2012

Golden Cheese Yeast Bread

This recipe from Taste of Home magazine helped me win first prize in the cheese bread category at the Middleville Fair last month. My family is addicted to cheese, and this really is delicious! -Gena

6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm milk (120° to 130°)
1 egg

In a large bowl, combine three cups flour, cheese, sugar, yeast and salt. Add milk and egg; beat on low speed until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.
Punch dough down. Divide in half and shape into two loaves. Place in two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks. Yield: Two loaves (16 slices each).
Nutritional Facts
1 serving (1 slice) equals 127 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 16 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Recipe for Aug. 21, 2012

Give Me S'more Cake

Yes, the nights are getting shorter and the evenings are chillier - and true, we haven't had much opportunity to have a campfire, with these drought-like conditions this summer. So why not make a s'mores cake indoors, to retain the summer feeling?

Prep: 50 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling. Yield: 12 Servings

1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Line two 9-in. round baking pans with waxed paper and grease the paper; set aside. In a large bowl, cream the shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine cracker crumbs and baking powder; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
Transfer to prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar over low heat. With a hand mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating on low over low heat until frosting reaches 160°, about 8-10 minutes. Pour into a large bowl; add vanilla. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.
Place a cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting and sprinkle with half of chips. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake; sprinkle with remaining chips. Yield: 12 servings.
Nutritional Facts 1 slice equals 483 calories, 23 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 72 mg cholesterol, 309 mg sodium, 65 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 7 g protein.

Recipe for Aug. 7, 2012

This comes from The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski, and lately I've been using it with chopped cooked chicken, lettuce, cheese and some sliced pickles in an eight-inch wrap. With the Perth Garlic Festival coming up this weekend, give garlic a try!


1 cup low-fat Greek yogourt
3/4 cup English cucumber
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. dried dillweed
1 tsp. sugar
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Peel, seed and finely chop 3/4 cup of English cucumber. In a bowl add the cucumber, lemon juice, dill, minced garlic, sugar, salt and pepper and Greek yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Recipes for July 17, 2012

Mrs. Beeton's Every-Day Cookery: Mrs. Beeton, according to this 1912 cookbook, “has been the guide, philosopher and friend of countless happy homes for more than half a century.” The author, with no first name, was mentioned by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his study of married life, and added more to her cookbooks as more information became available. “The world of late has travelled at electric speed, and the far-reaching changes of time have touched household affairs from almost every standpoint,” the preface reads. We have chosen these recipes in honour of the upcoming 150th anniversary of the incorporation of Lanark village.

Cheese Omelet

INGREDIENTS. – 3 eggs, 1 tablespoonful grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoonful cream or milk, 1 oz. of clarified butter, pepper and salt.

METHOD. – Whisk the eggs well, then add the cheese, cream, and a little salt and pepper. Have the butter ready, heated and well skimmed, in an omelette-pan, pour in the egg mixture, and stir over the fire until the eggs begin to set. Now fold one half over the other, making it crescent-shaped, or fold the sides towards the middle in the form of a cushion. Allow the omelet to brown slightly, then turn it onto a hot dish, and serve immediately.

TIME. – 10 minutes. AVERAGE COST, 8d. SUFFICIENT for 2 persons. SEASONABLE at any time.

Cheese Biscuits

INGREDIENTS. – 3 ozs. of grated cheese, 2 ozs. of butter, 3 ozs. of flour, 1 yolk of egg, cayenne, pepper and salt.

METHOD. – Rub the butter into the flour, add the cheese, season to taste, and mix into a stiff dough with the yolk of egg. Roll out the dough to rather less than a 1/4 inch in thickness, stamp it into rounds or cut into fingers, and bake in a quick oven until crisp. The biscuits will keep for a long time in a tin, and can be heated when wanted.

TIME. – 3/4 hour. AVERAGE COST, 5d. SUFFICIENT, allow 2 to each person.

Farmer's Fruit Cakes

INGREDIENTS. – 1 cup of dried sour apples, 1 cup of golden syrup, 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of butter, 1/2 a cup of sour milk, 1 teaspoonful of soda, 2 teaspoonfuls of cinnamon, 1 teaspoonful of cloves, 1 egg, 2 cups of flour.

METHOD. – Chop the apples fine, and soak them over night; in the morning let them simmer for 2 hours iwth the golden syrup. Prepare the other ingredients as for any cake, beating well, and adding the apple and syrup when a little cool, but not cold. Bake in small greased tins in a moderate oven.

TIME. – 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour. AVERAGE COST, 10d.

Eggs, Snow

INGREDIENTS. – 5 egs, 1 pint of milk, sugar, essence of vanilla.

METHOD. – Boil up the milk, sweeten to taste, and flavour with vanilla. Whisk the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, put 1 tablespoonful at a time into the boiling milk, and poach until firm. Turn 2 or 3 times during the process, and as each portion is cooked, drain and place in a glass dish. Beat the yolks of the eggs, add them to the milk, and strain into the jug. Stand the jug in a saucepan of boiling water, and stir the contents until they thicken. Let the custard cool, stirring occasionally meanwhile, then pour over and round the snow eggs, and serve.

TIME. – About 1 1/4 hours. AVERAGE COST, 9d. to 1s. SUFFICIENT for 6 or 7 persons.

Shepherd's Pie

INGREDIENTS. – 1/2 lb. of cold mutton, 1 lb. of mashed potato, 1 oz. of butter or dripping, 1/2 pint of gravy or stock, 1 teaspoonful of parboiled and finely-chopped onion, salt and pepper.

METHOD. – Cut the meat into small thin slices. Melt half the butter or fat in a stewpan, add to it the potato, salt and pepper, and stir over the fire until thoroughly mixed. Grease a piedish, line the bottom thinly with potato, put in the meat, sprinkle each layer iwth onion, salt and pepper, pour in the gravy, and cover with potato. The potato covering may be given a rough appearance by scoring it in every direction with a fork, or it may be made to resemble an ordinary crust by being smoothed over with a knife, notched at the edges, and brushed over with the yolk of egg before baking. When egg is not used for this purpose, the remainder of the butter or fat must be put on the top of the pie in small pieces. Bake in a moderate oven until the surface is well-browned.

TIME. – To bake, from 30 to 40 minutes. AVERAGE COST, 10d. to 1s. SUFFICIENT for 3 or 4 persons.

Shortbread, Scotch

INGREDIENTS. – 2 lbs. of flour, 1/4 lb. of cornflour, or ground rice, 1 lb. of butter, 1/4 lb. of castor sugar, 1 oz. of sweet almonds, a few strips of candied orange-peel.

METHOD. – Beat the butter to a cream, gradually dredge in the flour, and add the sugar and sweet almonds, which should be blanched and cut into small pieces. Work the paste until it is quite smooth, and divide it into 6 pieces. Put each cake on a separate piece of paper, roll the paste out square to the thickness of about 1 inch, and pinch it round the edges. Prick it well with a skewer, and ornament with 1 or 2 strips of candied orange-peel. Put the cakes into a moderately-heated oven, and bake from 25 to 30 minutes.

TIME. – 25 to 30 minutes. AVERAGE COST, for this quantity, 2s. SUFFICIENT to make 6 cakes.

Calf's Head

INGREDIENTS. – 1 tin of calf's head, frying-batter, tomato, piquant, or other suitable sauce, frying-fat.

METHOD. – Slice the head neatly, dip each slice into the prepared batter, and fry in hot fat until crisp and nicely browned. Serve the sauce separately.

TIME. – About 1/2 an hour, after the batter is made. AVERAGE COST, 1s. 4d., exclusive of the sauce. SUFFICIENT for 5 or 6 persons.

Recipe for July 3, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch

My dad brought me some rhubarb, which I have never used before – so I looked up this recipe at, and it was a hit. I used half sugar and half Splenda in the mix, and it was delicious.

1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 cups diced rhubarb
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a large bowl, mix white sugar, 3 tbsp. flour, strawberries, and rhubarb. Place the mixture in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, butter, and oats until crumbly. You may want to use a pastry blender for this. Crumble on top of the rhubarb and strawberry mixture. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp and lightly browned.

Recipe for June 19, 2012

Chili Con Carne

This recipe comes from the new Food for Thought cookbook, which is available at local schools and will benefit the Food for Thought program in county schools, as well as the schools which sell the cookbooks. Lucie Poulin, a volunteer at Maple Grove Public School, offered this recipe for Chili Con Carne – it really couldn"t be much easier, and if you like, you can buy the fresh ingredients for this chili at the McDonald’s Corners Farmers’ Market over the summer months!

1 lb. ground beef
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
10-oz. can kidney beans, drain and keep 1/2 the juice
1 small can tomato soup
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup tomato juice
2 tbsp. vinegar
Pinch of crushed red pepper
2-3 tsp. chili powder

Simmer for about one hour.

(See? It couldn’t be any easier!)

Recipe for May 22, 2012

Chewy Granola Bars

I found this recipe through Taste of Home magazine, and it really is a great alternative to store-bought granola bars. A bar of similar size has a similar number of calories, and if you want, you can probably lower the fat content by switching up the sugar for Splenda and using some light butter in place of some of the regular butter. But if not, you still have no reason to feel guilty!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins or semisweet chocolate chips, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the honey, vanilla and egg; mix well. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats, cereal and nuts and raisins or chocolate chips if desired.
Press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen.
Nutritional Facts: 1 bar equals 160 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 19 mg cholesterol, 91 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1-1/2 fat.

Recipe for May 8, 2012

Wild Leek and Potato Soup

John Parks is the chef at the popular outdoor wood-fired pizza oven at the McDonald's Corners Farmers' Market. The market opens on May 19 at MERA Schoolhouse in McDonald's Corners. Vendors are offering recipes using fresh country produce for the Recipe Corner.
One of the first bounties of spring is the wild leek. Full of flavour, this creamy soup will wake up hibernating taste buds.

1 cup, diced celery and carrot
2 cups diced wild leeks (use tops for garnish)
2 cups peeled diced potatoes
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Butter - 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
bay leaf
500 ml 10% cream
salt and pepper to taste

Sweat celery and carrots in 1 tbsp. butter and oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Stir in wild leeks. Add enough liquid stock to keep from sticking. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in potatoes, add stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 1/2 hour. Remove bay leaf, strain, return bay leaf to mixture and bring back to a boil, add 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup flour. Whisk vigorously until dissolved. Reduce heat and stir often. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in cream just prior to serving. Garnish with wild leek leaves.
Optional – return vegetables to soup as is, mashed or pureed in food processor.

Recipe for April 24, 2012

Lanark Spring Salad

Kristine Swaren of Blue Chicory is a vendor at the McDonald’s Corners Farmers’ Market. The market opens May 19.

One of the first things up in my garden is spinach – either from seeds I put in last fall, or from over-wintered roots. Fresh greens taste so good in the spring. This salad works with any greens – mix and match to your taste: spinach, salad greens, arugula…and if you’re feeling adventurous throw in some fresh dandelion leaves and sedum (before it’s more than two inches high).
Then mix up a Lanark Highlands salad dressing. Mash a clove of garlic and put it into a bottle. Add equal parts olive oil and maple syrup, say a quarter cup each, then add a glug of balsamic or cider vinegar. Shake well, adjust the sweetness or vinegar to taste.
Next fall, make sure to clean up an area of the garden and plant some spinach and onion seeds so you can enjoy the earliest possible salads.

Recipes for April 10, 2012

Maple Pork

Karen Sisty sent in this recipe using maple syrup. The syrup season may have been shorter than usual, but you can still find plenty of syrup around for this recipe!

Pork tenderloin
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. soya sauce
2 tbsp. catsup
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tbsp. coriander (optional)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves minced garlic

Place pork in resealable bag. Whisk ingredients together. Pour over pork. Marinate one hour or more. Transfer pork and marinade to baking dish. Roast at 350 Fahrenheit for 40 minutes uncovered. Let pork stand 10 minutes. Slice and drizzle sauce over and serve.

Recipes for March 27, 2012

Maple Ice Cream

Eggs and heavy cream make a rich and delicious old-fashioned ice cream. Feel free to add about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, walnuts, or toffee chips during the freezing period.

1 cup maple syrup (preferably dark amber)
1 tbsp. cornstarch
6 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup skim or low-fat milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a simmer.
In a bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, cornstarch and egg yolks. Pour about one third of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly, then stir the egg yolk mixture into the remaining cream into the saucepan. Stir to blend well. Lower the heat to medium-low and heat, stirring constantly, until hot and slightly thickened. Do not boil. Pour through a mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Cover and chill thoroughly.
Freeze in your ice cream machine following manufacturer's directions. ?Makes one quart of maple ice cream.

Maple Mousse

1 cup pure maple syrup
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp. unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Bring maple syrup to a boil (You can use a pyrex measuring cup to do this in the microwave).
In a large bowl, whisk yolks and temper with a small amount of maple syrup, while continuing to whisk. Add the rest of the maple syrup to the warmed yolks and whisk to combine.
Measure 1/4 cup of the whipping cream and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin and allow to sit for five minutes. Heat gelatin mixture gently in microwave to help dissolve the gelatin (alternatively, you can set the bowl in simmering water to heat).
Whisk this gelatin mixture into the maple syrup mixture. Set aside. Whisk every 15 minutes or so over the next hour till the mixture has the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.
Whip remaining cream. Stir about a quarter of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least an hour before filling your shells.

Recipes for March 6, 2012

Make-Your-Own Pocket Bread

This is a recipe meant to include kids in your baking, but feel free to make it on your own as well!

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt

Pour the water into the bread machine pan. Add the sugar and flour. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast. Pour the salt into a corner of the pan.
Set the bread machine for the dough cycle (usually 1 hour and 40 minutes), and press the start button. When the cycle is finished, remove the dough from the pan and divide it into about 6 pieces.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Dust the cutting board generously with flour. With a rolling pin, flatten each piece of dough into a circle about 5-6 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick. Place these pitas on a cookie sheet.
With a grownup helping:
Place the cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the preheated oven. Close the oven door and cook for exactly 1 minute. (Do not open the oven door during this time.) Then move the baking sheet to the highest rack and continue to bake until the pitas have blown up and are lightly browned (3 to 7 minutes).
Serve the hot pitas with butter, peanut butter, cheese slices, or whatever sounds good!
Yield: About 6 pita pockets
Nutritional Information: Per pita: 260 calories, 9 g protein, 56 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat, 0.1 g saturated fat, 5 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 358 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 3%.

Recipes for Feb. 28, 2012

Spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

I've made a version of this meal before, and spaghetti squash is a surprisingly good alternative to spaghetti, with much fewer calories! You can also cut the spaghetti squash in half and microwave it face down on a plate in the microwave for about 16 minutes, then follow the recipe on how to scrape out the strands.

1 spaghetti squash (about 1.25 kg/2 1/2 lbs)
250 g (8 oz) extra lean ground turkey or chicken
75 ml (1/3 cup) seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 egg
750 mL (3 cups) no salt added chicken or sodium reduced vegetable broth
1 green onion, sliced or 15 mL (1 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1 small clove garlic, minced
30 mL (2 tbsp) grated Parmesan cheese

Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut side down on parchment or foil-lined baking pan and prick skin all over with a fork. Roast in 375°F oven for about 45 minutes or until very tender when pierced with knife; set aside.
In bowl, stir together turkey, breadcrumbs and egg until firm. Using heaping teaspoonful (5 mL) roll into small balls; set aside. In saucepan, bring broth, onion, if using and garlic to simmer and add meatballs. Cook, stirring gently for 5 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
Using fork, scrape squash out of skin into long strands and divide among shallow bowls and ladle meatballs and broth over top to serve. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

Per serving (six of 36 meatballs per serving; about 150 mL/2/3 cup of spaghetti squash; 125 mL/1/2 cup broth)
Calories: 158
Protein: 12 g
Total fat: 6 g
Saturated fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 60 mg
Carbohydrate: 15 g
Fibre: 2 g
Sugar: 1 g
Sodium: 243 mg
Potassium: 337 mg

Recipes for Aug. 30, 2011

The following recipes are all in the Middleville Fair booklet. I've made all of them, and while I couldn't try the rosemary bread or the beet chocolate cake - yes, you read right, that's BEET chocolate cake - the rest, especially those Melting Moments Cookies, turned our pretty well. For more details, visit

Rosemary Bread

1 cup water
¼ tsp. ground pepper
3 tbsps. olive oil
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
1-1/2 tsp. white sugar
2-1/2 cups bread flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast
1/4tsp. Italian seasoning.

Put ingredients in bread machine following manufacturer’s directions for adding ingredients. Select white cycle.

Blueberry Almond Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup milk
1 egg
½ cup Mazola Corn or Canola Oil
½ tsp. almond extract
½ cup sliced almonds
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease standard 12-hole muffin pan or line with paper baking cups.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl. Whisk together milk, oil, egg and almond extract.
Add to flour mixture and stir just until flour is moistened. Fold in almonds and blueberries Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin pan.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until a deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool.

Whole wheat orange scones

1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup oat bran
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsps. baking powder
Grated peel from one orange
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ cup milk
3 tbsps. margarine
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, oat bran, sugar, baking powder, grated orange peel and ginger. Using a fork, work the margarine evenly into the flour mixture. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk. Add to the dry mix. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop the scone batter onto the sheet by the spoonful, to make 10 scones. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Molasses Bars

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup molasses
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
½ cup hot coffee
½ tsp. baking soda

Cream butter & sugar together. Add egg. Add molasses, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves - stir. Add ½ of the coffee and stir. Mix flour and baking soda - add ½ of this mixture to creamed mixture and stir. Add rest of coffee, followed by rest of flour mixture, stirring after each addition.
Spread in greased 9” x 9” pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Test with tester. (Icing recipe follows)

Beet chocolate cake

1-1/2 cups white sugar
2 extra large eggs
1 cup oil
6 tbsps. cocoa
1 can (19 oz.) beets
1-1/2 tsps. baking soda
1-3/4 cups unsifted flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ tsp. peppermint flavouring (optional)

Drain beets and mash into pulp. Combine white sugar and eggs and beat until fluffy. Add oil, cocoa and beets and beat well. Add baking soda, flour, salt, vanilla and peppermint flavouring - mix well. Pour into greased angel-food pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 60 to 65 minutes. Turn off oven and cool in oven with door closed.

Melting Moments cookies

½ cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
3-1/2 tbsps. white sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup custard powder
1 tsp. baking powder

Mix in order given. Drop by ½ tsp. on greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees F for approx. 10 minutes.

2 tbsps. butter or margarine
2 tbsps. custard powder
Some milk and icing sugar

Cream butter/margarine with custard powder. Add milk (just a little) - then add icing sugar. Mix together until slightly stiff. Place some filling on one cookie, then join with another cookie (like a sandwich).

Recipe for July 5, 2011

Grandma Dekok’s Strawberry/Raspberry Sauce Recipe

I stole this recipe from my friend Debbie's family website, at The farm is in the rural Kanata area, and berries are still available locally - pick some up and make some sauce!

1 qt. strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 qt raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 cups water
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Bring 2 cups water and sugar to a boil. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup water to make a paste.
Add the strawberries and raspberries to the boiling water.
Bring to a boil again, and add the cornstarch paste.
Stir until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Cool and serve over ice cream or angel food cake.

Recipes for May 17, 2011

Angel Food Cake

Simple, using Simply Egg Whites - and a cake that isn't terrible for you. Win-win!

1 1/2 cups Naturegg Simply Egg Whites, well shaken
1 tsp. each cream of tartar and vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cake and pastry flour

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine egg whites with cream of tartar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Beat, using an electric mixer, on high speed until foamy. Slowly add 3/4 cup of the sugar, beating constantly, until mixture holds stiff peaks (it will take a few minutes!). Stir flour with remaining sugar in a separate bowl. Gently fold one quarter of the dry mixture into the egg white; repeat three times. Spoon batter into an ungreased, 10-inch tube plan with a removable bottom and smooth the top.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until pale golden and cake springs back when touched lightly. Turn pan upside down with the edges resting on two cans; cool completely. Serve with your favourite fruit or dessert topping, or fluffy icing.

Pumpkin muffins

These are great to give picky kids (and adults!) some of their needed vegetables.

Vegetable cooking spray
1 1/2 cups apple-juice concentrate
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups canned, unsweetened, solid-pack pumpkin
1 1/4 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat 24 muffin tins with cookking spray or line each with cupcake paper. combine the juice concentrate, oil, eggs, egg whites, pumpkin and raisins in a blender jar and puree. Mix together the flour, wheat germ, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Gradually add the pumpkin mixture, blending by hand just until well combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the centre of one comes out clean 9or with just a crumb or two attached).

Soft Bread Twists

So delicious – a little work, but it's worth it. Or alternatively, use the dough setting on a bread machine, and go from the middle of the recipe.

1 pkg. active dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
5 1/2-6 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
Pizza sauce or salsa, optional

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water; let stand for five minutes. Add the milk, egg, oil, 1 tsp. salt and 4 cups flour; beat on low speed until smooth. Beat 5 minutes longer (you can use a dough hook, or just use a wooden spoon and your own power). Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes (dough might be a little sticky). Please in a greased bowl, turning once to cover top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.
Do not punch down. Divide dough into eight pieces. Combine cornmeal and oregano; sprinkle over work surface. Roll each piece of dough in cornmeal mixture and shape into a 15-inch-long rope. Cut each rope into three pieces. Twist each piece and place on greased baking sheets.
Bake at 400 F for 8-12 minutes. Combine garlic powder and remaining salt. Immediately brush twists with melted butter, then sprinkle with garlic-powder mixture. Serve with pizza sauce if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.


Recipes for April 12, 2011

Butter Mint Pillows

These are a good (and good-tasting) alternative to the mints made with cream cheese, if you're not a fan. Make them in Easter colours and serve them with dinner!

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1 box (1 pound) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 tbsp. heavy cream or milk
1 tsp. mint extract
Liquid food colouring

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. With mixer on low, beat in sugar, cream and extract until creamy and smooth. Turn sugar mixture out onto a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar; knead until smooth and satiny. Divide mixture into thirds: Ting one pastel pink (or your choice of colour), one pastel green (or your choice) and leave one remaining portion white. Cover each portion with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
Line two baking sheets with nonstick foil. Lightly dust work surface with icing sugar. Working with one colour at a time, roll out 1/4 cupfuls of the mint mixture, using your fingers, into a 1/2-inch-thick rope. Cup rope into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pillows. Transfer mints to prepared baking sheets with a spatula (be careful, the mints are soft and will squash easily). Repeat with remaining mint mixture.
Let air-dry at room temperature for one to two days until firm enough to handle. Transfer mints to covered containers. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Chocolate Billionaires

1 package (14 ounces) caramels
3 tbsp. water
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup crisp rice cereal
3 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp. shortening

Line two baking sheets with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the caramels and water; cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in pecans and cereal until coated. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto prepared pans. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until firm.
Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip candy into chocolate, coating all sides; place on prepared pans. Refrigerate until set. Store in an airtight container.

Cheddar Loaves

3 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm milk
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs
3 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, butter, eggs, sugar, salt and 6 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for three minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead cheese into the dough. Divide in half; shape each portion into a six-inch round loaf. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 Celsius for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Refrigerate leftovers (if, of course, you have any left over!)

Tangy Meat Sauce

Double this recipe and have some left over for next time!

1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar (or use regular vinegar; I did)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
Hot cooked spaghetti

Crumble beef into a two-quart microwave-safe dish. Add the onion, green pepper and garlic. Cover and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, stirring frequently; drain. (You can also do it the traditional way, on the stove).
Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, salt, basil and oregano. Cover and microwave at 70 per cent power for 6-8 minutes or until heated through, stirring once (or again, do it on the stove!). Serve with spaghetti. Yield: 3 cups.

Recipes for March 22, 2011

Machine 100% Whole Wheat Bread

This is my go-to recipe for whole-wheat bread, when I don't have time to knead and rise. It always turns out!

1 cup water
2 tbsp. molasses
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. all-purpose or bread-machine yeast
1 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients in bread machine in order given. Follow manufacturer's instructionsn for large loaf. Makes one loaf.

Creamy Chicken

Grab a few chicken breasts and you're good to go. I've cut this recipe in half and made two as well, if you don't want leftovers and your kids (like mine) refuse to eat chicken unless it's breaded.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
1/2 tsp. salt
1//2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (regular or half-fat)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Clean chicken breasts and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder (or whichever seasonings you prefer) on both sides of chicken pieces.
Bake for 25 minutes, then add cream of chicken soup and bake for 10 more minutes or until done. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Honey Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour (or use a mix of white, whole-wheat and wheat bran)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup hooney

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, butter and honey; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-quarters full. Bake at 400 F for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

Caramel Krispie Treats

I usually only make these at Christmastime, because they're so rich (and delicious!), but they would be great for any special occasion.

1/2 cup butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk, regular or fat-free
1 package (about 40) caramels
5 cups +/- Rice Krispies

Melt the butter over medium heat and then add the sweetened condensed milk. Next add the caramels and stir until all is melted. Last, add the Rice Krispies (you can use as much as you like). Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let set 30 minutes – if you can wait that long!


Recipes for Feb. 1

Even though the groundhogs all appear to have avoided seeing their shadows, meaning an early spring, the wintry weather this week in the Lanark area and all across central and eastern Canada may have some people craving comfort food. Here`s an idea: Try out They have everything from chili to chicken to delicious desserts. Check them out!


Recipes for Jan. 18

Cheese-Garlic Biscuits

These are as easy as can be, using Bisquick mix. They have come in very handy when I run out of school snacks the day or two before grocery day. I sometimes add oregano or Italian seasoning to the butter-garlic mixture, and if you don't have any cheese, just omit the cheese and bring down the amount of milk a little.

2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Heat oven to 450 F. Stir Bisquick mix, milk and cheese until soft dough forms. Drop dough by spoonfuls (I like to use an ice-cream scoop I got in Perth for 25 cents!) onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Stir together butter and garlic powder; brush over warm biscuits.

Bread Machine Garlic Bread

1 1/4 cups water
2 tbsp. dry milk
2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (or try a mix or white and whole wheat)
2 tsp. active dry yeast

Add ingredients in the order listed. Set bread machine on basic white-bread setting, 2-lb. loaf, light or dark setting as desired.

Chocolate Butterscotch Scones

These were originally called Chocolate Peppermint Scones, so use peppermint extract, vanilla raspberry – whatever you like! I got a whole bunch of extracts from my grandmother, so I chose butterscotch and they were delicious. You can also switch up the type of chipits you use.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat or white pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup cold butter
1 carton reduced-fat vanilla yogourt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp. butterscotch extract
1 cup white-chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk the yogourt, buttermilk, egg and extract; add to crumb mixture just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Divide dough in half; transfer each portion to a greased baking sheet. Pat into a six-inch circle. Cut into six wedges, but do not separate. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400 F for 18-20 minutes or until puffed and tops are cracked. Remove to wire cracks and cool.

Blueberry Quick Bread

I like to use part whole wheat flour, and it's not even noticeable.

1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, don't thaw first)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg, milk and oil. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating just until combined. Fold in blueberries.
Pour into a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

Turkey Meatloaf

Tried it the other night; it's good! I actually had no marjoram, ground sage instead of rubbed sage and regular mustard instead of Dijon – you can play with all these recipes and come out with something edible! Throw some ketchup on if you want a little extra flavour.

1 egg white
3 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp. chopped ripe olives
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. rubbed sage
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. ground turkey

In a large bowl, combine the egg white, ketchup, Worchestershire sauce and mustard. Stir in the oat bran, green pepper, onion, olives, garlic, celery salt, marjoram, sage and pepper. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well.
Pat into a loaf in an 11x7x2-inch baking dish (I made it in a 9-inch loaf pan) coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 375 F for 55-65 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 F.


Recipes for Nov. 9:

Peanutty Candy Bars

These are so easy to make, and my husband said when eating his second...or third...or sixth... “These are the best squares in the world.” And trust me, he knows his sugar!

4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2/3 cup peanut butter, divided
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 pkg. butterscotch chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped salted peanuts

In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter, 1/2 cup peanut butter, corn syrup and vanilla. Press into a greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 12-14 minutes or until mixture is bubbly around the edges.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butterscotch and chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Stir in peanuts and remaining peanut butter; spread over the oat mixture. Cool for 10 minutes, chill until set.

Tiny Tim Sandwich Cookies

I know it's early for Christmas recipes, but start gathering them now, because December is closer than you realize. These are so cute – but it doesn't make as many as the recipe says, as is usual with recipes. Use your own judgement!

1 cup sugar, divided
2-3 drops red food colouring
2-3 drops green food colouring
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup confectioners'/icing sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups confectioners'/icing sugar
3 tbsp. butter, softened
4 1/2 tsp. heavy whipping cream
3/4 tsp. almond extract
Red and green food colouring, optional

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and red food colouring; set aside. In another small bowl, combine remaining sugar with green food colouring; set aside. IN a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. Gradually add flour and mix well. Shape into 1/2-inch balls.
Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Coat bottom of two glasses with cooking spray, then dip one in red sugar and the other in green sugar. Flatten cookies alternately with prepared glasses, redipping in sugar as needed.
Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
For frosting, in a small bowl, combine the icing sugar, butter, cream and extract. If desired, tint half the frosting red and the other half green. Frost the bottoms of half of the cookies, top with remaining cookies. Yields 5 dozen (or something less!).

Starving Guy Chicken Pie

This recipe is from the Looneyspoons cookbook by Janet and Greta Podleski. I love these cookbooks, and this is one of the recipes I make regularly. It's a little different than the original, but use your own favourite vegetables and go crazy with it.

2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 green onions or one medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced carrots
1 cup celery, cut into pieces
1 can (10 oz.) cream of chicken soup (or your favourite), undiluted (can use lowfat/low sodium)
1 1/2 tbsp. flour
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. each basil and thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/3 cup skim milk

Heat oil in large deep skillet. Add onions and garlic, cook over medium heat until tender. Add broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Potatoes should be slightly undercooked. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, stir together cream soup and flour and add to the vegetables. Add chicken and remaining ingredients. Stir well. Pour into a medium casserole dish.

For crust:
Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Combine flour, baking powder, sage and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk. Form a ball with the dough, adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky. Roll dough out on a floured surface to fit the top of the casserole. Place dough over the chicken mixture. Prick several times with a fork. Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let cool five minutes before serving.


Strawberry Cream Dessert

This is a great light dessert at any time of year. Even people who say they don't like cream cheese won't notice the layer (like my family!).

2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 36 squares)
6 tbsp. Sugar
10 tbsp. butter, melted
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cartons (one 16 oz., one 8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 package (3 oz.) strawberry gelatin
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup strawberry yogourt
2 tbsp. graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. butter, melted

In a bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press into an ungreased 13x9-inch dish. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Whisk in 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over the prepared crust.
In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in bowling water. Whisk in yogourt and six cups of whipped topping until blended. Pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for one hour. Spread remaining whipped topping over strawberry layer. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over the whipped topping.

Whoopie Pies

I admit, I haven't made these – but they look so delicious, and I will someday!

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 cups marshmallow cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with water and buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 5-7 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
In a small mixing bowl, beat filling ingredients until fluffy. Spread on the bottoms of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.

Homemade Fudge Pops

Even though something seemed to mess up the first time I made these, they were still DELICIOUS.

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
20 popsicle molds or disposable plastic cups and popsicle sticks

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Stir in the brown sugar, cocoa and salt. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened.
Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool for 20 minutes, stirring several times.
Pour 1/4 cupfuls into popsicle molds or plastic cups; top molds with holders or insert popsicle sticks into cups. Freeze until firm.

Oven Brown Rice

Easy, tasty and good for you. What more can you ask for? Try it with garlic powder if you don’t have garlic sauce, and try switching the regular butter with light butter if calories are an issue.

1 cup brown rice
1 cup beef broth
1 14.5-oz. can chicken broth
¼ cup butter, melted
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. seasoned salt
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. In a two-quart casserole dish, mix together rice, beef broth, chicken broth, butter, garlic salt and seasoned salt. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 60 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Zesty Turkey Burgers

We made these on the barbecue this summer a couple of times, and while they fell apart without much provocation, they were pretty darn good.

½ cup ketchup
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
1 pound lean ground turkey
4 lettuce leaves
4 hamburger buns

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Transfer half of the mixture to a large bowl; stir in oats. Set remaining ketchup mixture aside for basting. Crumble turkey over oat mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties.
Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Grill patties, covered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 16 degrees and juices run clear, basting occasionally with ketchup mixture. Serve on lettuce-lined buns.

Easy No-Knead Bread

Nutriflour bread is a mix of white bread and wheat bran, from what I’ve read. Try whole wheat, or a mix of white and whole wheat, or even just white!

1 envelope quick-rise yeast (2 ¼ tsp.)
¾ cup very warm milk
2-3 tbsp. BeeMaid honey, depending on level of sweetness desired
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
3 cups NutriFlour blend
½ cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp. poppy seeds, sesame seeds or sunflower seeds (optional)

Grease or line an 8 ½ x 4 ½-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Combine yeast, warm milk and honey in a large bowl. Let sit 5-7 minutes. Add oil, egg, salt and 2 cups of flour. Beat on low speed with mixer until blended. Increase speed to high. Beat 1 minute. Scrape bowl and beat 1 minute longer on high speed. Add remaining flour and yogurt. Mix well to combine.
Spoon dough into prepared pan. Sprinkle with seeds, if using. Cover with greased wax paper and let rise in a warm place 40-50 minutes or until dough rises to the edge of the pan. Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

60% Whole Wheat Bread

2 pkgs. Active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp. shortening
4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups water
6 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups all-purpose flour

Sprinkle the yeast in half a cup of warm water in which one tsp. sugar has been dissolved; let stand 15 minutes, then stir well. Scald milk; add sugar, shortening and salt. Stir until shortening melts; add water and cool to lukewarm. Add stirred yeast mixture to cooled milk mixture. Stir in five cups of flour and beat with a spoon well after each addition until mixture is too difficult to mix with a spoon. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead 8-10 minutes until smooth and satiny. Shape into a smooth ball and placed in a greased bowl, turn ball of dough over in a bowl to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm and humid place until double in bulk. Punch down, let rise again until double in bulk. Punch down again and turn out on a lightly floured board. Divide into four equal portions and round into balls; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Mould into loaves, place in greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ -inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm and humid place until double in bulk. Bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Clever Quesadillas

This comes from a little pamphlet promoting ground beef, but I’ve used ground soy, and just used ground turkey the other night with great results.

Pan-fry 12 oz (say a pound) of extra-lean ground beef seasoned with 1 tbsp. chili powder for 6 to 8 minutes, breaking meat into small chunks with back of spoon, until beef is browned and cooked through. Remove from heat.

Stir in half a cup each of shredded light Cheddar cheese and refried beans, 1/3 cup salsa and 1 green onion (chopped). Spread ½ cup over one small flour tortilla (I use whole wheat), top with a second tortilla. Repeat with 8 more tortillas.

Bake on cookie sheet at 450 Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Cut into wedges. Makes 5 servings.

Maple Tea Biscuits

2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup milk
In mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly; add syrup and milk and stir until mixture is moistened. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead 20 times. If dough sticks, sprinkle with more flour. Roll dough out to ½-inch thickness. Cut out biscuits; place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 Fahrenheit for 12 minutes or until lightly brown. Makes one dozen.

Holiday Party Punch

This makes a lot – make sure you have a big punch bowl!

2 cans of concentrated fruit juice (your choice)
8 cans of water
1 2-litre bottle of clear soft drink (I used Diet Sprite)
1 sliced lemon
1 sliced orange
1 cup strawberry halves (optional)

In a punch bowl, combine all the ingredients. For variety, freeze fruit juice instead of water to make colourful ice cubes.

Quick-Rise Pizza Dough

This is one of the quickest homemade pizza doughs you can make, and it turns out really well. Try it!

2 cups flour (either Robin Hood NutriFlour, as the recipe suggests, or half white and half whole wheat, or even all whole wheat, which I use)
1 envelop (2 ¼ tsp) instant quick-rise yeast
1 tsp salt
¾ cup hot water (120-130 F)
1 tbsp canola oil (or whatever oil you have on hand)

Combine flour, yeast and salt in bowl. Stir in water and oil to make a soft dough. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface; knead for 3-4 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Roll dough to 15x10-inch rectangle (or make it a circle, depending on your pan). Fit it into a greased pan,, add toppings, and bake in oven preheated to 475 F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crust is crisp.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie

Since I first made this a few years ago, my daughter tries to coerce me into making it for every special occasion – Christmas, Thanksgiving, the first weekend of the month.... But honestly, it's not like I'm too hard to convince!

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
2 ¼ cups water
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked
Whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, flour and salt; gradually add water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir for one minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into pastry shell. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before slicing. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Yummy Yeast Rolls

I made these a couple of times when I was drinking lots of Diet Sprite Zero, and wanted to try it out. You can use regular or diet lemon-lime soda.

2 pkgs (2 ¼ tsp each) active dry yeast
¾ cup warm milk (110-115 F)
¾ cup lemon-lime soda
½ cup butter, cubed
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
5 ¾ to 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. In a saucepan, heat soda and butter to 110-115 F. Add the warm soda mixture, eggs, sugar, salt and 2 cups flour to yeast mixture; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four portions. Divide each portion into nine portions. Shape each into a ball. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 3 dozen.

Eggless Cinnamon Buns

I've made these easy, tea biscuit-like cinnamon buns many, many times. The recipe comes from a church cookbook - the Central Lanark Pastoral Charge, to be exact - and you really can't go wrong with cinnamon and brown sugar!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. soft butter
3/4 cup sour milk (1 tbsp. vinegar in milk will give you sour milk)
cinnamon to taste (and I like to taste lots!)
brown sugar to taste (ditto)

Mix together all dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Add sour milk and mix well. Roll dough out on floured surface (should be about 3/16-inch thick). Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll dough up into a log. Slice into one-inch sections. Place sections, on side, into baking pan. Bake at 400 F for 12 to 18 minutes.

Blond Brownies a la Mode

I’m a sucker for recipe books and/or magazines, and Taste of Home is one of my favourites. For more recipes from what I consider the best food website on the Internet, visit or These blond brownies are delicious, and I’ve never even tried them with the maple-cream sauce and ice cream.

¾ cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (or chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips – they all work!)
Maple cream sauce:
1 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. butter
¼ cup evaporated milk
Vanilla ice cream and chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans. Spread into a greased 13/9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
For sauce, combine syrup and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for three minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in milk. Cut brownies into squares; cut in half if desired. Place on dessert plates with a scoop of ice cream. Top with sauce; sprinkle with pecans. Yield: 20 servings.

Easy Tuna Casserole

My mom made this casserole for my sister and I when we lived at home, and when my sister bought a house and I moved in with her, we made sure to write down the recipe. I still make it, sometimes replacing the tuna with chicken pieces (flakes of chicken or flakes of turkey would probably work well, and I plan to try it soon!). I’ve also used the brown Minute Rice, and it turns out creamy and delicious, too.

Two cups Minute Rice
Two cups water
One can of tuna, flaked or solid
One can of cream soup (chicken, broccoli, celery: your choice)
Salt and pepper to taste

Put water in microwaveable casserole dish; microwave until water boils. Add rice and let stand covered for five minutes. To replace rice with pasta, cook pasta, drain and continue recipe. Drain tuna well and add to rice or pasta along with cream soup; add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in 425 F oven for 15 minutes, or microwave for about 15minutes.