Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Dinner

I expect most of you have your Christmas dinner planned down to the last piece of pie or whatever it is you are having for dessert. Whether you are having a traditional dinner or something new, the anticipation, celebrations and excitement will be the same. Some of you will have made your own traditions and some will carry on from where the rest of your family left off. I am one of these. Although we actually have our festivities a week or two ahead of the actual day, we manage to get most of the family home for a gift exchange and traditional turkey dinner. Only 3 could not be here as they live too far away but I am sure their hearts were here with the rest of us. A couple did call to say Merry Christmas to everyone which brought them closer. Thanks to my parents, their tradition lives on!
I trust that each and every one of you will have a wonderful Christmas and create new memories that will last a lifetime and beyond.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
12 oz. Chocolate chips
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 of an 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
2 1/2 cups blended oatmeal
2 eggs
1 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (your choice)

Measure oatmeal, and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
Cream the butter and both sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla mix together
with flour, oatmeal, salt,
baking powder, and soda .
Add chocolate chips, hershey bar, and nuts.
Roll into balls, and place two inches apart
on a cookie Sheet. Bake for 10 minutes
at 375 degrees.
Makes 56 cookies.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Mom's kitchen you could relax and just be yourself.  There was never any judgment made about anyone or anything.  Everyone was welcome to just come on in, sit and of course, have that always ready cup of tea. 
Believe it or not - my Mom's kitchen had everyone from hobos and trappers to celebrities and politicians come for tea and all were more than welcome.  As she would have said - they are all people just the same as we are.  People still remember and comment about the warmth and love in my mom's kitchen.

When I think about warmth and comfort the next thought is food.  One of my all time favorite meals is spaghetti with meat sauce.   We did not get it very often so perhaps that is why we considered it a special treat. 

I make my own sauce but I  use canned sauce and tomatoes.  It depends on what I have in the cupboard as to what goes into the sauce.  The base is a bottle of spaghetti sauce and a can of whole tomatoes.  I cut the tomatoes into chunks.  The rest could be all or some of the following ingredients.  Sliced or whole small mushrooms, green, red or whatever color bell peppers, onions (dried or fresh), fresh leeks (small wild ones), garlic (cloves or powder), chili peppers, hot sauce, carrot slices (precooked).  I throw it all in a pot and let it simmer until it looks thick enough to be spaghetti sauce - Each time is different and each time I have enough sauce to put several containers in the freezer for another day.  

As for the pasta - I will either use dried pasta or the fresh pasta you can buy in the deli. Sometimes I use the vegetable pasta, whole wheat pasta.  There are so many types to try out.   I find that other than cooking times pastas are all good and easy to prepare.  Some people prefer it al dente and some prefer it cooked all the way through. 

Because it is such a versatile meal - you can pour the sauce over the pasta or mix it in.  Some like to put parmesan cheese on top. 

Whatever way you like it - it is easy to make and fun to eat. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A family favorite - Syrupy Butter Tarts

One of the most popular things in my Mom's kitchen and in her home bakeshop was butter tarts the real drippy kind.  Customers would pack up even the day old ones and the frozen ones to take home with them.  Dozens and dozens of them.  Whatever was there didn't last long.  I use that same recipe for all the holiday festivities in my own kitchen now.  Everyone gets very upset if I don't make any and have started to come to my house early to bake them themselves.  They never last until the big dinner but we have fun making and eating them anyway. 

Syrupy Butter Tarts

1 cup raisins (soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes then drained)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 well beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well until foamy and pour into prepared unbaked pastry shells and bake at 350°F until golden brown.
Approximately 10 minutes depending on your stove.
Remove from tart tins before they cool too much, but be careful - they are still very hot on the inside.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend in Canada

What a lot of things we have to be thankful for.  All in all - we have had so many memorable moments with family and friends and giving thanks for whatever we had was easy to do.  I don't recall ever having a turkey dinner when I was growing up but we always had lots of chickens and pork.  New potatoes, squash, and carrots smothered in gravy and homemade pumpkin pie with real whipped cream for dessert.  I often wondered how my parents ever managed with 4 children but as time went on - those children brought more children to the dinner table and eventually - well, you know what I mean.  As the family grew so did their garden and there was always lots of good food to eat.  My mother, bless her, always cooked everything by herself and never wanted any help.  Now I find I am that mother, grandmother and great grandmother doing exactly the same thing and I am truly thankful for all of it. 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chilly? Chili!!!

There are so many different recipes for chili - I remember that my father was the one that actually made the chili at our house. Most of the ingredients were home grown and much different than what most other people make.  With the cooler weather here I thought this might be a good time to try one of my friends recipes. Randy loves to cook and has done some short videos that are great and interesting.  If you would like to try his chili, just click on the link below.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pickling Season

I know most of you are busy getting your pickling done or have just finished it. I know this is probably a little late for you but I remember my mom's saurkraut that she made. She had a huge crock pot that she used. I don't even remember how she did it but I can remember the big plate she stuck on top of all the cabbage and held it down with a rock. We always had to ask "how much longer before we can eat it?" The answer was always the same - "You have to wait". Eventually it was done and you would think it would have lasted a long time after she made so much but it disappeared quite rapidly with all of us eating it on everything.

Here is a mustard sauce recipe that she used for corn, leeks and cucumbers.

1 pint vinegar
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp dry mustard
1 cup sugar
1 tsp flour

Mix spices until smooth, add vinegar. Heat and stir until thick.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Prickly Pear Cactus

I remember one of the plants my mother had in the kitchen was a huge prickly pear cactus. It reached the ceiling and once a year we got to stay up to see the flowers open. The flowers only opened for a few hours for one night then they were done. The cactus was so big that it finally had to go because it would not fit in the kitchen any more. That reminded me of my cousin coming to visit and Mom baked some oatmeal date cookies for us. I have added the recipe she used and hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do.

Oatmeal Cookies:
1/2 cup shortening 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine 1 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour 1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups oatmeal

Cream shortening, butter and sugar. Add oatmeal and flour, salt and baking soda.
Mix in vanilla and water. Roll on floured board and cut in round circles. Bake at 375°F approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

1 cup chopped dates
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water

Spread about 1 rounded or heaping teaspoon of filling on one cookie and cover with a second cookie. Stored in a closed container they will remain soft for several days.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fresh Muffins for Breakfast

As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, my Mom had a small bakeshop in her kitchen. I am also quite confident that you have heard the say 'too many hands in the soup pot spoils the broth'. The summer that I helped her out we decided that it was a much better idea to have one doing some of the goodies and another one doing the rest. My job was to make cakes, donuts, muffins and lemon pies and Mom made the tarts, sticky buns, bread and anything else she wanted to try.
Although my family still enjoys all of these things, the muffins were and still are one of their favorites. They are easy to make, the batter stays fresh up to 6 weeks and you can just bake a few at a time. Great for kids lunches too!

Muffins by the Pail

2 cups natural bran
1 cup mazola oil
4 cups kellogg's bran flakes (we found that other brands of bran flakes were very soft but still usable)
4 eggs
3 tablespoons baking soda
1 quart of sour milk (a few drops of vinegar in fresh milk does the trick. I actually use one can of evaporated milk and one of water and enough vinegar to turn it sour)
2 cups boiling water
3 cups brown sugar
4 cups flour
2 cups of raisins
1 tablespoon of salt

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Let stand overnight. Stores up to 6 weeks in closed container in refrigerator. Bake in muffin tins at 350° until golden brown.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pumpkin Apple Pie

Apple Filling:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
3 cups sliced peeled tart apples

Pumpkin Filling:

3/4 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Pastry for a single-crust pie (9-in.)
Whipped Cream, optional

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt.
Add water and butter;bring to a boil. Add apples. Cook and stir for 4 minutes.
Place pastry in a 9-in. pie pan; add apple mixture. In a bowl, whisk pumpkin,
milk, sugar, egg,cinnamon and salt until smooth; pour over apple layer.
Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the
center comes out clean.
If necessary, cover edges with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent
Cool completely.
Garnish with whipped cream if desired.
Store in the refrigerator.

This recipe is another one of Suzanne's and sounds like it might be a nice one to try for Thanksgiving. I usually make apple pies and pumpkin pies separately but everyone takes a piece of each - why not combine them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hamburger Stew

3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pound ground beef
3 (8 oz.) cans of tomatoes w/green chillies (RO-TEL)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups diced zucchini
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
Salt and Pepper
In an ovenproof Dutch oven. layer the potatoes, then the carrots, crumble the beef over carrots, pour one can of tomatoes on top, layer the peas, then layer the onion, salt and pepper to taste, pour another can of tomatoes, then the layer of cabbage, then the diced zucchini, salt and pepper, then the last can of tomatoes, dot with the butter or margarine. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender.

Thanks to a dear friend Suzanne for allowing me to use some of her recipes here.

This is also one that my mother often made for us as we always had lots of fresh vegetables from the garden and preserves during the winter.

Friday, August 28, 2009

In a Child's Eyes

We lived in the country in my growing up years so my memories are rather strange to most.  We did not often see other people but occasionally we had visitors.  One couple that came were rather memorable to me because they were a very quiet pair but sat in our kitchen for tea whenever they came.  I should say, the lady sat and the man stood.  I am hoping that nobody will take offense at this next bit as it is not meant to be derogatory to anyone either fat or thin.  The lady was very large in stature and the man was as thin as could be.  They were then referred to by myself and my siblings as the fat lady and the skinny man.  To this day whenever I mention the fat lady and the skinny man my brothers and sister know exactly who I am speaking about and none of us remember their individual names (if we ever knew them to start with).  

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Close the door"!!!

As I mentioned earlier - my Mom had a small bakeshop in her kitchen.  One summer I was available to give her a hand.  My job was to make the lemon pies, cakes and donuts.  The donuts and cakes were a new introduction that summer so of course had to have many testings done to make sure we had the right combination of ingredients to make the best.   The neighbourhood kids were excellent ginea pigs and I am sure they managed to gain a little weight despite having to bike over to do the testing.   She also had a flock of chickens and some ducks as well as dogs that were not averse to eating what was left over (which wasn't that often).  We also had to make sure the door stayed closed unless someone was coming in or going out so there was a constant cry "close the door"!!!  That was to keep the flies outside as we had baked goods setting out with no covers on them until they cooled.  That was a story in itself.   I remember one day Mom had accidently overcooked a pan of chelsea buns and the black smoke was just rolling out of the oven.   I told her that flies or no flies I was going to open the door to let the smoke out and I threw the door open. Surprise!!  there was a customer standing there just ready to come in.   Embarassing yes, but thankfully they just laughed and came in anyway. 

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another time I remember well was on a stormy April night, March 9, 1950. Now I am dating myself but the reason I remember it was because that was the night my brother was born. We still lived a long way from know civilization but the storm was so bad they could not get out anyway and my brother was born at home. My Dad was the midwife (for want of a better word). He waded through a flood to get some help but the lady had pneumonia and did not want to take the chance of giving anything to either my Mom or the baby so Dad was it. After the birth he put the baby in a basket and set him on the reservoir of the woodstove to keep him warm and brought me out in the middle of the night to see him. Neither my Dad or my brother are with us today but the memory will be with me forever.

Friday, August 14, 2009

One of my earliest memories in Mom's kitchen was having some people come to visit just after my sister was born. There was a girl maybe 9 or 10 that came with them. They brought me my first toys, 2 teddy bears. One was black and white and one was brown with homemade overalls. I don't know why I remember that time other than the fact that we rarely had visitors and I never had anyone to play with so that was a huge event in my life. I expect you can tell by this story, we lived a long way from civilization. I also remember that we had 'tea' and homemade cookies, which was also a fabulous treat. I have tea in quotes because I am also very sure that my mother would never have allowed me to have tea at 15 months of age. It was probably just water with a little powdered milk in it. I do remember the cookies because they were soft oatmeal and they are still my favorite kind today.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I have such wonderful memories of events that happened in Mom's Kitchen throughout my lifetime. The kitchen was the hub of our home because that was where company came, culinary attempts and successes took place, homework was done, all the facts of life learned as well as lots of laughter and love.

My Mom had a small bakeshop that was operated during the summer months and some of the things she sold were Bread, Chelsea Buns (Sticky Buns to some), Butter tarts, Muffins, Pies, Cakes and Donuts. My new website Rosas Bakeware . com will be online soon and I will occasionally have a recipe there that we developed for that bakeshop. You will also be able to buy some of the tools of the trade that we used during that fun and cherished time.

I hope you will share some of your stories of your Mom's kitchen with us and make your kitchen the hub of your home.