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Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Mazidra is a rather new addition to my box of favoured recipes.  I was introduced to this tasty dish some years ago when I was helping with a healthy cooking class at church.  I was doing the recipe demonstrations and this dish was on the menu.  Never having even heard or tasted this before I was left to follow the recipe to the letter and I was happily pleased with the outcome.  So many "healthy" recipes aren't fit to feed a dog let alone a hungry family.  Food needs to be tasty as well as healthy!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Glazed Carrots

I don't know when I started making glazed carrots but I have been for many years.  They usually show up at special meals like Christmas or birthdays, but every once in a while I make them because we like them.  

These would make a lovely side dish for your New Year's Day dinner.  In Newfoundland, the New Year's Day dinner is just as big an affair as Christmas dinner with family gathering for another substantial feast, although usually later in the day because of the late night festivities of New Year's Eve.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

May you all have a wonderful Christmas.  

The Christmas Story
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.  So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Date Pudding--A Christmas Surprise

When we were little girls my sister looked forward to the days Mom would make a steamed date pudding.  I didn't like dates in pudding and would eat around them.  Back then I'd rather have raisins in a pudding but my taste has changed from those many years ago around the old dining room table and today a steamed date pudding holds a place of high regard in my repertoire of dessert recipes.

How to Stuff A Christmas Stocking

Every Christmas Eve my sister Heather and I would hang our little stockings on the fireplace mantel and go to bed.  Mom had made these stockings when I was about 7 years old and they were hung with great ceremony and excitement with the promise of great rewards to shortly appear.  We were not "believers" (being wise beyond our years) and knew who the real Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus were.  Nevertheless, the excitement level was just as high or perhaps higher knowing who would fill our stockings to overflowing and actually change the stockings into something almost magical by morning.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pudding Sauces

Here's a selection of pudding sauces you can use over a steamed pudding.  My mother served pudding several times a month and our favourite sauce was the Nutmeg Sauce but we were often served a Brown Sugar Sauce as well.  There are a few more I will add over the next few months but these three will give you something to work with now.  

Gluten Steaks

I know some of you out there will turn up your noses at this recipe as you may be on a gluten-free diet but for those of you who eat bread this is the dish for you.  I was doing a little research on the gluten-free diet craze and found out 80% of people on a gluten-free diet don't have a Celiac Disease diagnosis. (Mayo Clinic Research published in  American Journal of Gastroenterology)  Some people who are not diagnosed with Celiac Disease may have an intolerance to gluten but most of the general public can eat away at wheat and other grain products. Gluten is actually the protein left in the grain when the starch is taken away and is a good source of vegetable protein for vegetarians or anyone wanting to incorporate more plant products into their diet.   

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

If you're looking for something easy and festive, look no farther.  Anyone can do these, even a child if supervised melting the chocolate.  You'd be surprised how often I've been asked to make these for parties or church functions.  I guess it's the sweet and salty thing going on with the pretzels and chocolate.  As it happens I was supposed to make these Chocolate Covered Pretzels last weekend for refreshments following a Christmas concert.  The program was out of town and as soon as we got on the road I remembered the pretzels.  Not only had I forgotten to bring them, I had forgotten to make them!   And at that moment of truth I couldn't even remember where I had put the pretzels when I brought them home from the store.  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Aunt Cora's Jam Squares

Here's a very special Jam Square that holds more memories than I can tell you about.  Aunt Cora always served these when my sister and I visited her when we were children.   

Lois, Fella and Heather
Aunt Cora
Aunt Cora, my father's sister, lived with her two unmarried cousins, Will and Elsie. The house was devoid of most childhood pleasures, except for Aunt Cora's dolls which adorned her bedroom and a few board games like Ludo.  We weren't allowed to play with the dolls because they were keepsakes, and I suppose they were much too old to be played with anyway.  But Aunt Cora liked to give us a good time when we visited and would play games like Ludo and Tiddly Winks with us. And we were allowed to play with the old dog, Fella, patting him gently while telling him he was a good dog.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Red Lentil Soup

It was an unusually cold and windy day.  Brrrrrrrr..... -10 C and the windchill was even colder.  Felt just like the dead of winter.  December is not usually THAT cold. 

Verna (my daughter-in-law's mother) and I were babysitting our little granddaughter who lives an hour's drive from our town.  We dropped into the local Dominion Superstore before we started our
"job" and I found bags of red lentils marked down 50%.  Oh, joy!  I love those pink tags.  I purchased 3- two pound bags as lentils never go bad if they are kept dry.  You could probably use lentils that had come from the tombs of the Pharaohs, but the best before date on these is 2015!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Plum Pudding

But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs. Cratchit left the room alone, -- too nervous to bear witnesses, -- to take the pudding up, and bring it in. Suppose it should not be done enough! Suppose it should break in turning out! Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back yard, and stolen it, while they were merry with the goose,. . .  All sorts of horrors were supposed. . . .  In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered, -- flushed but smiling proudly, -- with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, . . . with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

O, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs. Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind, she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.      
~A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Christmas Pudding was and still is a traditional part of my Christmas dinner.  My mother was a great hand at making steamed puddings.  We just took it for granted that some kind of pudding would appear on the menu several times a month.   They were usually plain or studded with raisins, dates or blueberries.  While my school friends may have consumed a plain or figgy duff with their potatoes and gravy, at our house pudding was strictly reserved for dessert.  Slices of steaming hot pudding, floating in a milky white nutmeg sauce, would be served when we had dutifully cleaned and scraped our plates clean.  But at Christmas the ordinary pudding was forsaken for a it's glamorous cousin--the Christmas Pudding.  

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Magic Cookie Bars

Here is one of the easiest baked cookies you can make and everyone seems to love them.  Magic Cookie Bars, Hello Dollies, Christmas Squares, 6 or 7 Layer Bars or whatever regional name they go by are an ooey, gooey, chewy cookie bar that's almost impossible to resist.  It seems everyone has a recipe for this cookie, some with with minor changes or additions but it's basically the same cookie. Today I used Chipits vanilla flavoured holiday chips to replace some of the semi-sweet chips.  I thought they would lend a festive holiday look to the cookies.  I don't particularly like the vanilla flavoured chips but I was gifted with 4 or 5 bags of them and thought I'd use some this way.  Mixed in with the real chocolate they were really good.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Sugarless Fruit Cake

Here's a cake for all you people who cannot or will not take the heavy doses of sugar and fat in traditional fruit cakes.  This cake is sweetened with the natural sugars found in dates and raisins and no other sweetener is added or needed.  And as an added bonus it's cholesterol free as well.  There's really nothing bad for your health in this cake.  It's full of unsweetened fruit, nuts, whole grain flour and oil instead of butter.  You could eat this for breakfast and feel totally justified in doing so.  It's so good for you it could be called the "elixir of life."  

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Boiled Raisin/Fruit Cake

Do not skip this post if you don't like fruit cake.  
Read on and you may find you've only tasted badly baked cake.

Boiled Raisin/Fruit Cake is another recipe from my friend Patricia.  You might remember her Lemon Squares posted a few weeks ago.  Patricia introduce me to this cake shortly after she was married, while living in that tiny apartment.  

Mom always made fruit cakes for Christmas.  I remember the big bowls of dried and candied fruit that had to be cut by hand weeks before the holidays.  But this was a different kind of cake.  It was lighter in texture almost like a ginger bread, very moist and spicy with lots of plump raisins. You didn't have to make this weeks before Christmas either, as it was ready to eat the day after it was made.   Mom always said it wasn't real cake because real cake had eggs and this one didn't.  She'd put a piece in her mouth, chew it up, roll her eyes and then proclaim it was alright but not real cake.  So I started adding a couple of eggs to the batter whenever I made this to send to my sister and Mom. I guess I've turned into my mother because now I usually make this cake with eggs.  

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Chik’n Burger

I've been making (and eating) lots of rich sweet cookies and cake lately, getting ready for Christmas, so I decided it was time I made something "healthy" to give my arteries a break.  These burgers are not only vegetarian but vegan and if you use the gluten free oats and Bragg's Aminos they're also gluten free.  I don't do gluten free, but for my friend Lynda I'm giving you these alternate ingredients.   The burgers are not called "Chik'n Burgers" because they taste like chicken but because they contain chick peas so don't expect to have a substitute McChicken Burger when you taste these.  They're good just the way they are.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Butter Spritz Cookies

I've been making these Spritz Cookies on and off for years.  I first used a cookie press but that was more trouble than it was worth.  All those cookie design plates had to be removed for each shape and then washing the thing with it's small chamber was always a hassle for me.  I never did get the hang of it and my cookies were misshapen at best. Poor little lopsided Christmas trees and stars.  Then I discovered the pastry bag and large French star tip and things took off.  They're still a bit fussy to make but they look so nice on a Christmas cookie platter. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Cocoa Truffles

If you're a chocolate lover you'll really love these.  Actually, I should say if you're a cocoa lover you'll really love these.  I think most people, unless they are a chocolate aficionado, wouldn't really taste a big difference.  How many of you substitute cocoa in a chocolate frosting recipe?  I do, all the time.  And most of us are just as happy to melt a bag of ordinary chocolate chips to spread over a cookie as hunt down a fine couverature chocolate.  Anyway, these little truffles will do nicely to fill in the gaps on a Christmas cookie tray.