Thursday, June 28, 2012


Thanks for visiting my blog today.  In celebration of Canada Day
and my appreciation for this wonderful country, I am giving away
two cookbooks.  One will be drawn from comments left at this post
and another one at Hutt-Write Voice.

One of the perks of publishing a book is having the Lethbridge CHAPTERS
bookstore sell books by local authors.

I get to do a booksigning and at the same time meet the friendly
 staff and customers.  It was fun to hear from people who had already
purchased the cookbook and to interact with others
who love to cook and bought copies.

I decided to reminise with pictures of some  previous posts ...
here is Honey Wheat Bread.

Baking a beautiful pie like this Saskatoon berry pie is
my idea of time well spent.

This lemon cheesecake square garnished with kiwi is
from one of my first posts and the recipe is in the cookbook.

I try to balance the recipes on my blog to include appetizing
and wholesome main dishes like this Crusted Herb Baked Chicken.

Yes, I have a weakness for sweet and pretty treats like this
Raspberry Cream Pie.

I love a good stir-fry with the addition of quinoa to
add lots of protein to the meal.

Summer is here with an abundance of berries and what
a beautiful tasting experience they bring.

Please leave a comment to enter your name in
a draw for an
This offer will be available to residents of
Canada and the US only.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Are there members of your family that like the amazing top half of a muffin?
I have some dear grandchildren that are into that preference.
And why not?  That's usually where the crunchy topping resides!
The bottom half tends to be more dry.
I purchased a whoopie-pie baking pan that I hoped would
be the perfect solution to the top-half dilemma.
Today I put it to the test with a recipe that makes 18 muffins.

Raspberries and chopped rhubarb are added to the egg, oil
and buttermilk mixture.  The dry ingredients are mixed in until moistened.

Pictured in the back is the normal muffin pan with 10 spaces filled.
That left enough batter to fill 12 half-cups of the whoppie-pie pan.
A sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon provides the crunchy topping.

I am so pleased with this pan even though it is not dishwasher safe.
The muffin is all and more than I expected.  And yes,
the top half is amazing!  Which means I can have two
tops for the same price (in calories) as one!
I will be using this pan over and over.

Raspberries and rhubarb shine in these muffins
so the bottom is just as good as the top!
Good news for those of us who are not
as fussy about tops.


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups packed brown sugar
1¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Blend dry ingredients mixing well; set aside.

½ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1¼ cups buttermilk
1¼ cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup raspberries
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

Whisk together oil, egg and buttermilk in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in raspberries and chopped rhubarb.
Add dry ingredients mixing thoroughly until moistened.
Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin pans.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle on muffins.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
Note: I baked the shallow muffins for 20 minutes and the remaining 10 muffins
for 25 minutes.
Yield: 18 regular muffins.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


At times a week can bring its own challenges ... other times it
is comfortable and idyllic.  For me, this week was one of the latter.
Rain and sunshine in abundance taking their turns to shower and warm 
the fields and flowers. 

Early one morning I saw a rare rainbow in the western horizon.

When the birds were not busy foraging and feeding their young,
they were sounding out praises.  On the rainy days I heard
the warblers and finches in chorus.
Some sounds were totally new but the singers were well hidden.

This visitor has me puzzled.  I watched it for a time thinking it was
a juvenile robin but something looks a bit different.
My grandson tells me it looks like a 'teenage' bird rather than
the baby robins I watched the mother feed.

We watch each other a lot ...  my family of deer and I.
If they know their boundaries, we are good friends.

As I mowed and mowed around the yard, I felt a sense of gratitude
for the beauty of the outdoors and nature.  Away from noise and smog,
the air is fresh and crisp ... there is peace and serenity.

My flowers are planted, the rain barrels are full and my back is
cooperating with the rest of me.
I had a lively conversation with a blogger friend that I
have never met face to face.

My four-year-old niece spied a tablecloth in a basket and that was all
she needed to plan a tea party.
First we need a centerpiece she informed me.  She quickly painted a
smiley face and placed a pansy into a tiny vase. 
I was invited to bring the snacks including
celery.  I was a bit surprised so I asked if she eats celery. 
'No, that's for you', she told me.
So we had grapes and raspberries, chocolate chips and a sour cream
cookie.  She poured the ginger ale into the tiny glasses which
I purchased at a thrift store just for these occasions.

Lord, for your goodness to me this week, I am truly grateful!

Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:6 NIV

The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance
and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places,
yea, I have a goodly heritage.
Psalm 16: 6 KJV

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I love potatoes in any form and especially in casseroles that
combine spices with a sauce and cheese.
Leftovers have the same delicious taste when reheated.
This attractive and tasty dish would travel well to a potluck meal.

Potato chunks are mixed with the sauce, bacon bits
and cheese.  Make changes in the herbs and spices to suit your own taste.

Pile into a casserole dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Saute bread crumbs in melted butter for a crisp topping.


6 to 8 medium red potatoes
1 tsp. butter or margarine
½ tsp. salt

Cook potatoes in skin with butter and salt in water until tender, about 20 minutes.
Cool to the touch; peel and cut into chunks. 

½ cup sour cream
½ cup prepared ranch dressing
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (or 2 tsp. parsley flakes)
2 tsp. chopped fresh dill ( or ½ tsp. dried dill)
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ cup bacon bits
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine sour cream, ranch dressing and spices; mix until well
blended.  Pour over potatoes, add bacon bits and cheese; mix gently.
Pile into a buttered 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup soft bread crumbs
3 tbsp. butter or margarine

Sprinkle casserole with cheddar cheese.
Melt butter and stir in bread crumbs; saute for several minutes until
bread crumbs are crisp.  Spread over cheese layer.

Bake in preheated 350° oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until bubbly.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Friday, June 22, 2012


The first time I made a Taco-in-a-bag was for a concession.
The 'bag lunch' was an instant hit and I put together more than I
care to remember. 
How about taking these to a picnic?
Everything can be prepared ahead of time and all you need to do is
keep the meat sauce warm.  Guests can complete their own taco
to individual preference.  The recipe is easily adapted to
serve a large crowd.

Snip a corner of the package of Nacho cheese taco chips
and cut open length-wise.  Squeeze bag slightly to crush chips.
Don't try to crush the chips before opening the bag ... it might pop.

The foil on the inside of the bag is reflecting and the picture
could be better.  I have added a scoop of the meat sauce
and a heaping spoonful of sour cream.
Having sour cream in a squeeze bottle works really well when
serving a picnic crowd

Add a handful of shredded lettuce and some chopped tomatoes.

Top with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese.
Serve Taco salad dressing and /or salsa for extra flavor.
Clean up is a breeze!


1½ pounds ground beef
1 medium onion
1 can (10 oz.) tomato soup, undiluted
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (OLD ELPASO is good)

Cook and stir beef and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender.
Drain off fat.
In medium saucepan, combine soup and taco mix.  Cook over medium heat
until boiling.  Add beef mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.

8 to 10 pkg. Nacho cheese taco chips
(individual serving size)
1 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded lettuce
1½ cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Taco salad dressing and Salsa

For each serving, snip corner of taco chips package and cup open
 lengthwise.  Squeeze bag slightly to crush chips.
Spoon about 1/3 cup meat sauce into bag.
Add 2 tablespoons sour cream, a handful of lettuce,
2 tablespoons tomatoes and a sprinkling of cheese.
Add salad dressing or salsa as desired.


1½ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup ketchup
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon each of :
garlic powder
onion powder
dry mustard
Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Cover and process
until smooth.  Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


My favorite method of shaping cinnamon rolls is this wreath or
tea ring.  It looks complicated but it really isn't hard to do.
Not only is it very attractive, there can be multiple servings
on only one round pan.

I normally make cinnamon rolls from a much larger sweet bread
recipe but today I wanted a dough that would fit onto one
14 -inch pizza pan.
All of the dough is rolled into a rectangle and spread with the
butter, sugar and cinnamon filling.

Roll rectangle up jelly-roll style, starting with the long side.
I cut off the ends to bake separately.  Pace seam side down
on greased pizza pan or large baking sheet.
Form dough into a ring.

With a sharp knife cut ring two-thirds of the way toward center
at 1-inch intervals.

Separate the cut pieces slightly, twisting each individually
and fanning them out in a domino effect.
The end pieces will overlap and become part of the whole.

They are ready to bake after a one hour rising time.

If you need to take cinnamon rolls to a potluck or to some other
gathering, this is the way to go.  The presentation is beautiful.

My family has several preferences.  Some like them plain,
some iced with cream cheese icing, and others
simply glazed.

This batch was made for two special guys who did some
specific work here on the farm.  I know they both love
cinnamon rolls and this is my way of showing appreciation.
In addition I wanted to blog and I can't possibly eat all these
by myself.  We were all happy!


1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp. shortening
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 egg, beaten

Bring sour cream to a boil; stir in shortening, sugar, salt and soda.
Cool to lukewarm.  Stir in beaten egg.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

1 pkg. dry yeast (1 tbsp.)
½ cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
3 to 3½ cups all-purpose flour

In a small bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.
Combine yeast and sour cream mixtures.
Gradually add 2 cups flour, beating until smooth.
Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that is easy to handle.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic.
Round up dough and place into a lightly oiled bowl, turning
once to oil surface.  Cover; let rise in warm place until
doubled, about one hour.

½ cup butter or margarine, softened
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar

Roll dough into a 18 x 11-inch rectangle.
Spread with softened butter.  Sprinkle with sugars and
enough cinnamon to your liking.
Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal.
Place seam side down on greased pizza pan or baking sheet.
Cut off 1-inch at each ends if desired and bake separately.
Form roll into a circle.   With a sharp knife cut ring two-thirds of the way
toward the center at 1-inch intervals.  Separate the cut pieces slightly,
twisting each individually to allow filling to show.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on wire rack.  Ice with cream cheese icing or with
a powdered sugar glaze.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


A lush garden Path at Country Bloom greenhouse. 

Glorious assortments of flowers in wondrous colors hang in
profusion from the dome.

What wondrous beauty the Lord created!

Thou art worthy, O Lord,
to receive glory and honour and power;
for thou hast created all things,
and for thy pleasure
they are and were created.
Rev. 4:11 KJV

Friday, June 15, 2012


To satisfy a hunger for something really good and soft,
I made these tangy lemon cupcakes with berries late one evening.
Being a relatively disciplined person, I was surprised when I
ate one and then another and then   ...   I couldn't stop.
It must have been the lateness of the hour and the fact
that there was no one around to see me.  Or maybe because
they were light as air with just the right amount of sweet and tart.

To get down to the process of making these moist cakes:
Beating the first set of ingredients very thoroughly until
the mixture is light and fluffy is very important.

The saskatoon berry farms will not open for several more weeks.
In the meantime I am using the last of the berries I have in my freezer.
Feel free to use fresh blueberries.

After the frozen berries are added, the batter is cold and quite
dense.  You can try scooping it all into 12 greased cupcake cups
but I found that it made the cupcakes too large. 
So I chose to make 14 to 16 and they are still a generous size.

They rise beautifully without running over which ideal.
Don't worry if they test done before they are browned because
 over-baking dries them out.

Glaze the cupcakes while they are still warm.
If the glaze is set, warm in the microwave for a few seconds.
We want them all glazed over ... not iced!


¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, oil, sugars and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla; continue beating until smooth.

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture alternately
with yogurt, beating well after each addition.
Stir in blueberries.
Grease or line 14 to 16 large cupcake cups.
Spoon batter into cups filling to nearly full depending on how
large you want the cupcakes.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden
brown or wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack.
While cupcakes are still slightly warm, spread with glaze.

GLAZE:  Whisk together 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon fresh
lemon juice, ½ tsp. vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar.

Yield: 14 to 16 cupcakes