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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Orange Julie

I'm sure most people have tasted or at least heard of an Orange Julius.  I've only heard of them and never tasted one.  We just don't have a store close enough to where I live and when I was visiting the city I thought the prices were somewhat inflated for a milky orange juice drink and never bought one.  Somewhere along the way I acquired a copycat recipe for the drink.  We all liked it, especially Peter.  It is reminiscent of the orange Creamsicles that I used to love as a child (and still do) but it's much healthier or can be much healthier if you don't use sugar.

Some recipes for Orange Julius include an unhealthy dose of sugar but we found it sweet enough just as the recipe is written below, but be my guest to add a little sugar to the mix if you feel you'd like a sweeter drink.  And to be fair, this isn't a real Orange Julius, it's an "Orange Julie" as the other name is most certainly copyrighted to the umpteenth dollar.  So the "Julie" version is not as sweet. (I'm just guessing the real Julius is sweet by the amounts of sugar the copycat recipes include. Remember, I've not tasted the real thing.) 

When choosing the orange juice concentrate, buy the best you can afford so the flavour is bright with orange and not bitter like some of the cheaper brands can be.   Also whole milk works best but even skim milk or soy/plant based milks work well. 

So here's my take on something I've never tasted.  You might say it's the original calcium fortified orange juice. 

Orange Julie
1 cup milk
1 cup water
8-10 ice cubes
⅔ cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients in a blender.  Blend on high until smooth.  Pour into glasses.  Garnish with orange slices if desired.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Banana Orange Julie: Add 1 fresh or frozen banana, peeled and sliced
Strawberry Orange Julie: Add 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
Berry Orange Julie: Add 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries
Kiwi Orange Julie:  Add 1 or 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
Pineapple Orange Julie: Add 2 slices fresh pineapple

Just put everything in the blender and let it do what it does best.
Your Orange Julie should be thick and smooth.

 Doesn't that look good.  Anyone want a Julie Mustache?

Good anytime of the day!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kidney Bean Roast

Kidney Bean Roast or loaf has made the rounds among family and friends for years.  I don't make it often but Florence, Anne's mother, makes it, so I've eaten more than I've made.  This particular recipe was passed on to me by another dear friend, Marilyn, but Florence says it's the same as she makes.  

Kidney beans are not a favourite of mine unless they are in something like a chili or salad.  This tasty loaf disguises the unloved bean and I can eat it without turning up my nose or muttering nasty remarks under my breath.  It's really quite tasty.  I wouldn't make it or post about it if I didn't like it. 

As I stated above both Florence and Marilyn make this roast but they are opposites when it comes to cooking and baking.  If Marilyn and I made this roast the taste would be almost identical.  If Florence and I made this roast you'd never believe we had the same recipe.  Marilyn usually follows the recipe but Florence considers a recipe a map with many roads that lead to the same destination.  Even Anne says she can never get anything to taste like her mother's because the finished product is so different from the original recipe.  Both Florence and Marilyn are fabulous cooks so whatever route they take to the finished roast, it will be delicious.

You'll notice there aren't any herbs or spices, apart from the onion soup or bouillon powder.  The garlic powder is miniscule so add more if you wish and kick it up with your favourite herbs or spices.  I think a little chili powder and chopped sweet pepper would go well but I'd top it with salsa instead of the sweet ketchup.  I kind of like it the way it is as I like the sweet topping but I'm sure you'll add your own touches to this roast and make it your own.  

The only strange ingredient in this roast is the vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.  This can be hard to find but you may be able to find it at a health food store if it's not available at your local supermarket.  I actually found mine at a dollar store.  But not to worry, you can substitute a steak sauce or even soy sauce in its place.  Of course, if you're not vegetarian, and not serving this to vegetarians, use the regular Worcestershire sauce. 
Kidney Bean Roast is especially good served cold with  beet or mustard potato salads or macaroni salads and is excellent in sandwiches.  

Kidney Bean Roast
1 -19 fl. oz can kidney beans, mashed fine
1 large onion
1 or 2 tablespoons oil or butter
1 cup grated carrot
1 - 1 ½ cups bread crumbs
2 eggs
½ - 1 cup grated cheese
2 tablespoons onion soup mix or 2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian) or steak sauce or soy sauce
Pinch of garlic powder

cup ketchup 
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 9x9-inch pan for a thick roast or an 8x11-inch pan for a thinner roast and set aside.

Drain and rinse kidney beans.  Place the kidney beans in a large bowl and mash as fine as you can get them.  I find a pastry blender does a great job.  

Peel and dice the onion and sautè in the oil until soft and translucent.  Add the shredded carrots and let cook for 1 or 2 minutes to soften. Mix onions and carrots with the mashed kidney beans.  Add the remaining ingredients, excluding to topping.  Mix well and pack into the prepared dish.  Mix the ketchup and brown sugar together and spread over the top of the roast.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  

*As an alternative to the ketchup and brown sugar topping, ⅓-½ cup of barbeque sauce can be used.

Mash the rinsed kidney beans.  I like to use a pastry blender because kidney beans have tough skins which are hard to mash with a fork. The pastry blender cuts through the tough skin easily.  I don't mash the bean too finely because I like a chunkier texture.

Mix the shredded carrots with partially cooked onion and cook a few more minutes until the carrots have softened just a little.

Mix the remaining ingredients together with the kidney beans, onions and carrots.  Pack into the prepared dish.  Stir the ketchup and brown sugar together and spread on the roast.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  

 I like the kidney beans left a little chunky.  I don't like mushy texture in a roast.

Perfect served cold with Beet Salad.

Delicious hot, served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Stuffed Hot Dog Buns

We're trying to eat all the bits and pieces in the fridge and freezer before we head out on our vacation and I found I had 3 hot dog buns and 2 veggie wieners lurking in the back of the freezer.  Now, that's fine if we only wanted one hot dog each because I could use the other bun for crumbs.  But, inevitably, when I ask Don if he wants one or two hot dogs his answer is always two.  

What to do?  How was I going to stretch two wieners into three buns?  It was then I thought of this recipe.  When the boys were young we called these "Coney Islands" but they aren't anything like a Coney Island hot dog--they aren't even real meat wieners.  But whatever they're called, they solved my dilemma of the uneven buns and wieners.  I mixed up a much reduced recipe and we were able to enjoy the Stuffed Hot Dog Buns--two for Don and one for me.☺

It must have been twenty years or more ago I came across this recipe.  Our church youth group put together a fund-raiser cookbook and one of the children, Caleb, submitted this recipe. I haven't changed the recipe much over the years except I've added the pickle relish and the garnishes to the mix.  These are baked in the oven but I'd wager a guess that they'd go well on the top rack of the barbeque--well wrapped in foil, of course.

Stuffed Hot Dog Buns
6 vegetarian wieners, cubed or sliced
1½ cups grated cheese
⅓ cup green onions, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 tablespoons olives, sliced (black or green)
2 tablespoons pickle relish or chopped sweet or dill pickle
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
10-12 pre-sliced hot dog buns 

Chopped green or mild white onions
Sliced olives
Extra grated cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan or dish with aluminum foil, leaving a large over hang to wrap around the top of the buns. 

Mix all ingredients together (except garnishes) and pack into hot dog buns.  Place stuffed buns in a prepared 9x13-inch baking dish.  Bring the foil up over the top of the buns and seal.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until hot through.  You may remove foil off the top the last 5 minutes to crisp the buns.  

Serve with desired garnishes, a green salad and perhaps a handful of potato chips or French fries. 
Makes 10-12 servings.   

 So easy to make.  Assemble everything together.  Chop, dice, grate, squirt and dollop.

Put everything in a bowl and mix well.  Now you're ready to stuff the buns.  You may prepare the mixture in the morning and refrigerate until ready to use for a meal later on in the day.

Looks like I can't count.  Do you see 3 or 4 buns?  Ha, ha, I still had enough filling for the four buns. Don had three and I had one.

 Before and after pictures.

A Delicious Meal.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Icy Peanut Butter Pudding Sandwiches

It's too hot to do much cooking or baking so I was looking for an quick and easy, cold summer treat to make and have on hand just in case company pops in.  These Icy Peanut Butter Pudding Sandwiches just hit the spot and take less than 15 minutes to put together.  Make them the night before or early in the morning and they'll be ready for dinner or supper.   Kids and adults will be happy you have them ready.

This is a recipe I used to make for the boys when they were young but they probably don't even remember eating them.   These are so easy to mix up the kids will be able to help. They'll love making their own "ice cream" sandwiches.  As an added bonus, they don't drip like regular ice cream bars.  The pudding keeps them from dripping when melted.  I can't guarantee they won't be squish proof, but they are dripless.

Icy Peanut Butter Pudding Sandwiches
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1½ cups cold milk
1 -4 serving package instant pudding, vanilla, butterscotch or chocolate
24 graham crackers (see picture for size) or you could use 48 round chocolate wafers
½ cup chocolate chips, melted

Measure the peanut butter into a medium size bow.  Add milk a little at a time to peanut butter.  Mix until smooth.  Add instant pudding.  Beat with whisk or hand beater until well blended.  Let stand until thick--about 5 minutes.  Lay half the crackers out.  Use a butter knife to spread filling on 12 graham crackers.  Cover each with the remaining graham crackers.  Place the filled crackers on a cookie sheet or tray. Drizzle with the melted chocolate chips. Freeze about 3 hours until firm.  Store in freezer in covered container.  Makes 12 full size sandwiches or 24 half size sandwiches.  

Peanut butter seizes up when the milk is first mixed in.   Just keep mixing in the milk a little at a time until everything is well blended.  Mix in the dry pudding mix. I used vanilla pudding but butterscotch or chocolate would be awesome as well.  Mix about 2 minutes for a smooth texture. 

A full graham cracker contains two halves or in this case 4 quarters.  I used some halves and some whole.  The half size crackers are the perfect size for children or any one who wants a smaller serving.  

Finish the sandwiches with a drizzle of melted chocolate.  Freeze for at least 3 hours.

 Store the frozen sandwiches in an airtight container in the freezer.

 Large or small these Icy Peanut Butter Sandwiches will be a hit with everyone.  
And they won't drip and melt like regular ice cream bars.

Anyway you stack them, these sandwiches are a cool treat on a hot summer day!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cocktail Cake a.k.a. Gooey Coconut Cake

If you like coconut you'll love this cake with its gooey coconut topping!  You'll want a bite of coconut with each mouthful of cake. 

This is an old recipe but an easy dessert to throw together.  I guess I must have tasted this well over thirty years ago at a church potluck.  (So many good recipes come from those church gatherings.)  Oh my, it was absolutely delicious and of course I had to get the recipe. Janet, one of the young teachers  had brought the cake and passed it along to me.  It was eventually published in a fund-raiser cookbook the school was selling.  

As you can see this recipe received my check✔ of approval.

I've known Janet most of my life.  In my late teens I was actually her camp counselor.  A few years later we both taught at the same school.  Over the years the distance in our ages has shrunk and we're now both mature matrons (Does anyone use  that term any more?) with families and grandchildren.  She's still younger but what does a few years matter when we're both grannies?  

This moist cake is quite plain on its own, but it's the coconut topping that makes this cake so special.  The gooey, almost fudgy coconut topping is irresistible to coconut lovers.  Sometimes, when I eat cake, I like to scrape off some of the sweet frosting but not with this cake.  I'm wishing I'd doubled the topping recipe.

Because this cake is served from the baking pan, it travels well and it's the perfect cake for potlucks, family gatherings and barbecues. Have a bowl of whipped topping or cream ready to serve with it as it makes a nice addition to the presentation and taste. 

You may turn up your nose at canned fruit cocktail but in this cake even the yucky canned grapes are indiscernible.  If you have canned fruit haters in your house don't even tell them it's in the cake.  Rename it Gooey Coconut Cake--they'll never know the difference!  

Cocktail Cake
1½  cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup oil
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 -14 oz. can fruit cocktail
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13-inch pan.

In a large bowl, using a whisk, beat sugar, oil and eggs until creamy.  Using a spoon add dry ingredients;  mix well and add fruit with juice and vanilla.  Blend well.  Pour into a 9x13-inch pan.  Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.  While cake is baking the last ten minutes, prepare topping.

Boil for 5 minutes:
⅓ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
1 cup milk.

Remove from heat and add:
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups coconut (unsweetened is best)

Pour hot topping over hot cake and spread evenly.  Let cool completely before serving.

Serve with whipped topping or cream if desired.  A scoop of vanilla ice cream wouldn't go astray on top of this cake, either.

"E.T. phone home." Ha, ha, ha!
Meanwhile back in the kitchen, mix the sugar, oil and eggs together.

No need for a mixer--a whisk will beat the eggs, oil and sugar together.  I had to use a spoon instead of the whisk as the batter is very thick and stiff before adding the fruit cocktail and juice. 

Spread the batter in a well greased or sprayed baking dish.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the middle of the cake tests clean with a tooth pick or cake tester.

During the last ten minutes of baking assemble the topping by boiling the milk, sugar and butter together for 5 minutes then add the coconut and vanilla.  Pour the coconut topping on the hot cake and spread evenly to the edges.  Let cool completely before serving.

This cake is going to a church potluck, the origin of many good recipes in my box. 

I drizzled the plate with a little boiled milk and sugar and served the cake with a dollop of cream.

So moist and delicious!

Call it what you want, it's a coconut lovers cake!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Today was rainy and chilly.  I went shopping and by the time I got home my feet were cold because I'd worn sandals in the hope the weather would warm up.  It didn't and therefore the cold feet.  It's summer and the thought of firing up the wood furnace was just too much for me to bear.  We'd had all that blazing hot weather just a day or two ago and now a drop in the temperature had me shivering under a blanket.  By mid-afternoon I had to have something hot to drink so I went to the kitchen to see what I had in the cupboard.  I was thinking hot chocolate but didn't have any on hand. (Who would in the middle of summer??)  But my eyes landed on a jar of Nutella that I'd been using to make a cake.  There was quite a bit of the  chocolate hazelnut spread left in the bottle and I thought why not stir that in hot milk.  So, I did.  Just a small cupful to begin with, to test my theory.  It worked and tasted very good but there wasn't enough to warm my innards so I decided to make a larger mugful.  It took quite a bit of stirring to make the spread dissolve so I poured everything in the blender and the magic happened.  It not only dissolved the Nutella but made a wonderful creamy froth almost to the bottom of the mug.  It was like a steaming hot milkshake and the taste was wonderful.  I might make it again someday when I need a hot drink.

I think I must have drunk 400 or 500 calories today but I WAS COLD!  AND IT TASTED REALLY GOOD!  So if you're cold and don't have hot chocolate mix but find half a bottle of Nutella in the cupboard, you too can have this treat.  

(Obviously, this is not an old recipe from my box or files.  And this is not healthy--even when made with skim milk!)

Nutella Hot Chocolate
1 large mugful of hot milk
1 big glob of Nutella or some other brand will work as well (about 2 tablespoons)

Stir or blend (which will give you the creamy froth) the Nutella into the milk.  Sip slowly and savour the flavour.  Make one for your sweetie so you won't be the only one drinking 400 calories in one gulp.  

 The mugful of hot milk and the big glob of Nutella meeting each other in the blender.

 Ohhhh, creamy, smooth and frothy all at the same time.  And what a taste!

You, too, can make this.

print recipe

Nutella Hot Chocolate
Creamy hot chocolate made with Nutella.
  • 1 large mugful hot milk
  • About 2 tablespoons Nutella
Stir or blend (which will give you the creamy froth) the Nutella into the milk. Sip slowly and savour the flavour. Make one for your sweetie so you won't be the only one drinking 400 calories in one gulp.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 large mugful

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Blueberry Rhubarb Juice Concentrate

I love the taste of blueberries and rhubarb together.  They go together as the old song says, "like a horse and carriage" with the tangy rhubarb enhancing the sweet blueberry flavour.   The "Bluebarb" pies, crisps, upside down cakes and jams are superior creations that leave you wanting another bite. 

Rhubarb grows in my garden and we pick the wild Newfoundland berries, which grow freely and abundantly within walking distance of our home.  I freeze both for the upcoming seasons to make the aforementioned goodies all year long.  As the fresh rhubarb is almost all gone and the blueberries aren't ripe yet, I used my frozen blueberries and rhubarb to make this delightful drink that contains a good dose of summer in every sip.  If you make this make sure you freeze at least one portion to be mixed up during the cold winter to remind you that summer will come again. 

Blueberry Rhubarb Juice is a refreshing change from the ordinary ho-hum juices that are available on grocery store shelves.  I know you can buy blueberry juice but this is so much better tasting than the grocery store variety (when you can get it) and much, much cheaper than the juice you can buy in the health food stores. 

Drink some of the juice now and keep the rest frozen for a special occasion. Drink it lovingly in little sips, thinking of warm balmy days, buzzing bees,chirping song birds, bare legs and tank tops. 

Blueberry Rhubarb Juice Concentrate
4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (wild blueberries are best)
4 cups diced rhubarb, fresh or frozen
2 cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice

Over medium heat in large pot simmer and crush blueberries for 5 minutes. Add rhubarb and sugar and simmer together until rhubarb is broken and mushy.   Remove from heat and strain through a jelly bag or through several layers of cheesecloth.  Add the lemon juice and stir.  

This may also be successfully frozen and reconstituted during the cold winter months when a taste of summer is more than welcome.  

To serve, dilute with 2-3 parts water, ginger ale or soda water.  Serve over ice cubes.

Makes about 4 cups of concentrate.

While the berries are simmering, crush them to let out more juice. I like to crush the blueberries with a potato masher.  After about 5 minutes add the rhubarb and sugar and simmer until everything is broken up and soft.  

I used a jelly bag to strain the juice from the pulp. You can also use several layers of cheesecloth instead of a jelly bag.  I tied a string around the bag and hung it from the cupboard door handle to drip.  After it stops dripping, squeeze the pulp with your hand to extract as much of the juice as possible.  Don't forget to add in the lemon juice.  

Ah, summer. . . in every sip!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Rhubarb Lemonade Concentrate

It's a million degrees out there today and the weatherman promises us it will be hotter tomorrow with the humidex values hitting 37-40+ degrees.  Of course, after the bitterly cold winter we had this hot weather is more than welcome.  The only problem is we never got any warning.  It was only 2 weeks ago I was hugging a heavy fleece jacket around my shivering body and complaining that June wasn't fit to be called a summer month.  And then BANG, without any gradual warming, we go from 10 degrees to 33.  (That's 50 degrees F. to 92 degrees F. for any Americans reading this.)  There was no middle ground.  The temperature on my back deck, with the sun reflecting off the white house, was 48 degrees by dinner (that's lunch for the rest of you) so going outside and sunning is not an option for my fair skin.  I'd roast like a turkey.  Ah, well, in a few days we may be looking for our fleece jackets again so I'll not complain. 

But, even though I'll not complain about warm or hot weather, I still like to cool down in such humid conditions and foods like watermelon, popsicles and cold fruit salad are the order of the day for me.  Don likes a little heavier fare so I'm glad we have a few leftover veggie burgers in the fridge.  It was a little cooler yesterday (29-30 degrees--almost cold, ha, ha) and that's what we had for supper.  Glad I
made extra so he can have something to keep him full.  Now, as I was mulling over what I could sip or nibble on to keep cool I remembered I had frozen rhubarb lemonade concentrate in the freezer that I had made last year.  Oh, joy, what a great way to cool down. 

This works just as well with frozen rhubarb as with fresh so I used frozen as I still have a few bags of  it in the freezer from last year.  So if you have a good supply of rhubarb and you don't want to make another pie or bottle of jam this is a great way to preserve the taste of summer. 

Rhubarb Lemonade Concentrate
8 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
3 cups sugar (use less if you like a tarter drink)
3 tablespoons grated lemon rind, about 3 or 4 large lemons
1 ½ cups lemon juice, fresh squeezed if possible

In large saucepan, stir together water, rhubarb, sugar and lemon rind; bring to boil. I also throw in any scraps of lemon skin that still has the rind still intact.  Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb breaks up, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through fine sieve, pressing out liquid. Stir the lemon juice into the syrup.   Let cool. To serve, add 3-4 parts water to 1 part syrup; serve over ice. Garnish drinks with a fresh slice of lemon, if you wish.

For a refreshing sparkling drink use part or all ginger ale or soda water in place of the water.

The Rhubarb Lemonade Concentrate should be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for no more than 2 or 3 weeks.  It freezes well and is best frozen in 1 or 2 cup containers so it can be easily reconstituted during the cold winter months when one is longing for a reminder of the hot, lazy days of summer

Makes about 20 servings.

I used frozen rhubarb to make the the Rhubarb Lemonade Concentrate.  Cook the rhubarb, sugar and  lemon rind together.  Rhubarb is mostly water so you don't need to add extra water to the mixture.  When the fruit is cooked, remove from heat and strain through fine sieve, pressing out liquid. Stir lemon juice into the syrup.  I think I'll use the leftover fruit pulp in a blueberry jam.

These containers hold 1 cup of Concentrate which I am freezing for the winter.  How good this will taste during the long winter months.

To make a refreshing drink mix 1 part concentrate with 3 or 4 parts cold water, ginger ale or soda water.  Serve over ice and make it fancy with a slice of lemon.

Cold and icy Rhubarb Lemonade.  
A great way to keep cool on a hot summer day.