Friday, 27 July 2012

3 Bean Salad!

Recently on a hot day lounging in the sun I pulled out some of my older cookbooks.  I found an old church cookbook that had been gifted to me as a wedding gift.  I hadn't looked at it for ages...I kinda had written it off as a bunch of old recipes that weren't exciting....

Well, I came to realize as I re-perused the cookbook that church cookbooks are full of familiar recipes that we all know for a reason....THEY ARE GOOD RECIPES THAT PEOPLE LIKE!  Ok, it took me a while to figure this out.  Sure, maybe there isn't a lot of variations on things, or funky ingredients, but there are recipes that have stood the test of time.

So in tribute to church cookbooks everywhere I decided to make a recipe my mom makes.  A great 3 bean salad....with a few extras.

What you Need:

1 can (14 oz) red kidney beans
1 can (14 oz) green beans
I can (14 oz) yellow wax beans

1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped yellow pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped purple onion


3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt

What to do:

1. chop celery, yellow pepper and onion.

2. In a large jar ( I ironically used an old bean salad jar from Costco :), add drained and rinsed beans.  Aren't they pretty in the jar!

3.  Add chopped celery, pepper and onion.

4.  In another small mason jar....I like jars.....combine sugar, vinegar, oil, and salt.  Look at the pretty layers...apparently I like layers.

5.  Make sure you have a lid on it.....and shake to dissolve sugar.


6.  Pour dressing over the beans and vegetable mixture.  stir or shake jar to mix the salad.  Let marinate for a couple of hours.


Then ENJOY!  Thank you church cookbook ladies!!!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Cherry Raspberry Jam

Summer bounty! I love when I go to the grocery store or fruit truck and I see BEAUTIFUL, RIPE, JUICY Fruit!  And right now is cherry season!  I adore cherry season.  A few years ago (before chillins) my husband David and I went to Kelowna for a holiday and behold!!!! It was Cherry season and we could pick cherries from the trees in people's yards for a dollar a pound. It was glorious!

But alas in northern Alberta cherry trees aren't really in abundance....but my husband is growing a cherry tree in our backyard this year....It yielded one  And then we picked it too early in our enthusiasm to try it.  Yep, all four of us had a nibble...If only we had waited another week. :)

Well, cherries do make their way up here in the land of the almost midnight sun, and I bought me a few bags and set to work to try a new jam...Cherry-Raspberry...Oh boy is it GOOD!

So here is the recipe!

What you need: 

2 3/4 cups pitted dark sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
1 cup crushed raspberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon of margarine or butter

2 pouches of liquid pectin ( I like Bernardin)

 Oh sweet cherries.  One of my favorites!


I don't have a cherry I just cut of the fruit.  Apparently you can use a paper-clip...hmm!

Here is my prepared fruit - crushed raspberries and chopped cherries. 

Sterilizing Jars:  These can sterilized in the oven at 225 degrees F for 10 minutes, and should be kept warm until filling time.  Lids should be placed in boiled water until ready to use. I just have my sealers in a pot simmering (not boiling) while I cook my jam.

Here are my sealers ready to go.  (It's important to have everything prepared ahead of time in canning)

Now to get down to the cooking business:  Mix first 4 ingredients in large saucepan. 

Bring to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. 

Add the 1/2 tsp of butter or margarine. (this helps reduce foaming)

Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.  

Remove from heat and stir in liquid pectin pouches.

Stir and skim off any foam for 5 minutes. 

Pour immediately into warm sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 of an inch of rims.

Place hot sealer on top and screw on the lid rings.

Let stand for 24 hours to set.

Makes 7 - 1 cup jars.

Then bake up some of your favorite biscuits and eat that jam up!  It is glorious stuff!!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

My Birthday Cake!

Yep, today is my birthday.  I am 35 years old.  Crazy.....time is going by fast, but, hey,  you are only as old as you feel.  Today I feel oh.......29?!

My birthday is smack dab in the middle of summer.  Which is alright, but usually means that it is celebrated on summer holidays, so cakes.....don't always happen.  This year I was perusing Pinterest and found this beautiful cake.  My parents were up this past week so we had a little celebration early.  It was so nice to have my mom around to help make my birthday cake.  Here it is.  :)

It was a lovely cake!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Updated Chicken Pot Pie

I love Chicken Pot Pie!  Just adore it really.  Comfort food to the max.  Unfortunatly I never made it as it looked so hard to do....I really hate making pie crusts.....REALLY.

Anyways, I discovered this recipe from Kraft Canada and I tweaked it to suit my tastings.  I love this recipe.  It truly is easy to do and looks FANTASTIC!  I told my sister about this and she made it and loved it as well.  Everyone thought she was a gourmet cook.  And she was!  One day recently we both made it on the same weird.....Didn't even tell each other that we were going to do it....Sister telepathy....(ok, not really, just mutual cravings for comforting chicken)   Make this for a quick meal for the family, or double it for company fare.  The secret is Puff Pastry for the flaky and buttery...why would anyone make a pie crust again...

What you need:

2 Tablespoons of Zesty Italian type dressing
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cups of frozen mixed veggies (any mix)
1 can can (10 fl oz/284 mL) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2  a package (397 g) frozen puffed pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

What to do:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Heat dressing in large skillet.

3. Add chicken and cook and stir till cooked through.  About 5 minutes.

4.  Stir in vegetables and soup. Cook for 2 minutes.

5.  Pour into a greased 9 inch square baking dish; sprinkle with cheese.  Set aside.

6.  Roll out block of pastry on lightly floured surface to fit baking dish;

Looking good!

7.  Place over chicken mixture, and fold under edges of pastry.  Make sure it covers the pan area and tuck it in.

8. Brush with beaten egg and cut several slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.

9.  Bake 30 minutes, or until deep golden brown.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Rhubarb Sorbet and Rhubarb Slush

It is plus 31 (Celsius) here right now which is  a veritable heatwave.  I know those of you who live south of.......Edmonton......experience hot weather all the time.  Not us.  So this is making me very happy, but hot...  So we are practicing siestas in the afternoons, which gives me time to create summer friendly treats, especially with my birthday gift.....:).....with rhubarb.....I like rhubarb....

I can't say it enough.....I really like rhubarb!  I really do!   It's succulent red stalks make so many yummy things...crisps, muffins, juice, slush.....sorbet.....yep!!  A very delicious icy treat to refresh you on a hot summer's day.  What a way to get your veggies eh?

I saw this recipe from Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  Which is an amazing Canadian blog full of hundreds of recipes from 10 lovely ladies.  They take turns posting recipes, and they have become so popular they made a cookbook.  The cool thing is the ladies have donated all their royalties to charity.  Such great hearts.

Back to the recipe!

What you need:

1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups water
5 cups cut up rhubarb (fresh or frozen

What you do:

In a medium sized pot combine sugar and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes until sugar is dissolved.

Add rhubarb to pot and allow to simmer for 10 minute until the fruit is falling apart.

With a fine sieve drain juice into a heatproof bowl.  Press rhubarb pulp gently to release more juice.

Here is where things can go 2 ways:  the non ice-cream make way, or the ice cream maker way.  Here is both.

Non ice-cream maker way:

Pour into a large glass pan or a bowl and freeze.  Stir every few hours until frozen firm. Once solid, break into pieces and pulse in a food processor until smooth. You will have to do this in  batches unless your food processor is very large.   Store in a plastic container for up to 2 weeks.

Ice-cream maker way:

Cool juice in fridge for 2 hours.  Then prep your ice-cream maker as per instructions.  Turn on, and pour in juice.  It took about 20 minutes to get to a good frozen consistency.

Lookin' good.

Store in Freezer proof container and allow to firm up for a couple of hours.

Scoop and Enjoy!

BUT....not finished yet....To make a really good slushie drink....

Add some club soda (or ginger ale...I find it a bit sweet myself) and sip your lovely drink and enjoy the summer!!!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Homemade Chocolate Icecream!! Oh MY!!!

It's my birthday coming up and I have been telling my family to remind my husband to buy me an Ice Cream maker for about 4 months now.  I really wanted it to be imprinted into his brain....I knew that I was going to really get this gift when we were in Canadian Tire and I saw the ONE I wanted....on sale...

So forget surprise..."oh you shouldn't have" or "how did you know?"  I showed him....therefore he bought it!  And boy am I glad he did!  He is too....he gets to benefit from this gift as well....Benefit being a bit of a loose interpretation as we will both need to go to aquasizing now...(Funny picture in my head right now...heehee...)

Anyways, one must try out said gift as SOON as possible to ensure that it works correctly.  So I went out and purchased the needed ingredients and set to work.  Wowza!  I will never eat store bought icecream (or so called icecream) again....

Here she all her glory... and yes that is a deer head in my dining room....

Yummy Home made Chocolate Ice Cream

You will need:

3/4 cup of sifted cocoa powder
1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of brown sugar packed
pinch of salt
1 cup of homo milk
2 cups whipping (heavy) cream
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract

What to do: 

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugars, and salt.

2. Add the milk, heavy cream, and vanilla.  Whisk until the cocoa and sugars are dissolved.  Cover and refridgerate 2 hours or overnight.

Time to make icecream!  In my machine I take out the frozen freezer bowl from my freezer and place on machine.  I then turn it on and pour in ingredients.  We let it mix for 15 minutes or so, until thickened.  You do what your machine tells you to do....

Here is what it looks like at the beginning of the process

15 minutes later....Wahoo!

We then scooped it out into a freezer friendly container and let it get firmer in the freezer.


A couple of hours later.....oh boy....THE BEST ICE CREAM EVER!!!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Cinnamon Anise Iced Coffee

My husband and I LOVE coffee!  And for the summer nothing beats the heat like an iced coffee.  I discovered this recipe from a Company's Coming cookbook and had to try it.  I love coffee, cinnamon, and I had some star anise in my spice cupboard looking rather forlorn that it wasn't being used.  So here is a recipe that showcases anise's licorice taste, all the while complimenting the strength of the coffee and the sweetness of the cinnamon.

Sounds sofisticated and complicated eh?

Not to worry. I found star anise at my small northern town's farmer's market, alongside the beef jerky!

So don't be afraid to try this easy iced coffee. You won't regret it!

What you need:

1 and 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup of ground coffee beans
3 tsp of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
whipped cream for garnish
brown sugar (a coarse one is pretty) for garnish

What to do:

Measure water, ground coffee, sugar, cinnamon stick and star anise into a medium saucepan.  Stir and bring to a boil on medium-high.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer uncovered for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Transfer to a small heatproof bowl.  Cover. Chill for 2 hours.  

Strain through fine sieve into another small bowl.  Discard solids. Chill for another hour or so.

Put ice into 2 "smallish" glasses. (One large one if you don't want to share). Pour in coffee. Top with whipped cream and brown sugar.  A straw would be good too.  Sip like your backyard is a Starbucks......with toys strewn everywhere and children squirting themselves with water guns....:)