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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 2, 2015] - It's that time of year again! I'm doing a bit of tweaking then blogging. Enjoy!

  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Superbowl Prep Underway

It's that time of year!   The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the NFL, first played on January 15, 1967.  Super Bowl parties have been part of the tradition.  Typically, finger food type snacks like chicken wings and chips with dip are served at these parties.  Super Bowl XLIX will be played on February 1, 2015.  We are hosting our annual Super Bowl party, expecting about 20 guests so preparations are underway.

devil eggs
I have a tentative menu:  deviled eggs, Mexican layered dip, nachos & cheese, loaded tater tots, chili, veggie tray with hummus, chili dogs and pulled pork buns.  There is a bit of overlap in the ingredients which lessens the prep while increasing the versatility.  For example, green onions will be used for the Mexican layered dip, loaded tater tots and the veggie tray.  The chili can be served as is, with nachos, as chili dogs or on the tater tots.  Most of the food prep will be done on the Saturday, using slow cookers on Sunday.  The only cooking on Sunday will be the tater tots.

My husband requested the deviled eggs.  I put out a tray for game day last week and they last all of about two minutes.  They were a huge hit!

Deviled eggs are inexpensive and easy to make.  The only problem with making deviled eggs is peeling.  The fresher the eggs are, the harder they are to peel with the shell pulling off chucks of the egg white.  The reason being, fresh eggs are more acidic than older eggs so the shell sticks.  The good news is you know your eggs were fresh.  The bad news is, the resulting peeled eggs are aesthetically unappealing for deviled eggs.  The easiest way to get perfectly peeled eggs with no sticking is to add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the water when cooking the eggs.  Baking soda will reduce the acidity of the eggs so the shell doesn't stick. 



Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Pantry and Freezer Cleaned Out Continues

I'm doing some basic cooking as the pantry and freezer cleaned out continues.  It's basic by choice because we are working on a couple of projects on the house so creativity is out the door.  So far I've used up the rest of the moose meat, made a lovely meatloaf (ground beef) and quick stew in the pressure cooker.  In addition to the meats from the freezer, I've used up a few jars of home canned foods (stewed tomatoes, green beans, whole kernel corn) as well.   While the meals have been basic and easy to prepare, they have been delicious.  There is no real plan of action as to what to use.  It has been more or less I pull a piece of meat from the freezer look around in the pantry to complete the meal.  Tonight made bacon wrapped scallops and spaghetti squash from the freezer, and steamed fresh spinach and potatoes.  Funny story about the bacon ~ I had $50 worth of coupons for Maple Leaf products that had to be used by the end of December 2014.  Since we had away, I hadn't used them so had no choice but to use them all at once when I did my groceries for New Year's Day.  No Frill had Maple Leaf bacon on sale so that's what I bought.  Even after giving the kids a couple of packages, I still have several in the freezer!

Overall, I have made a slight dent in the pantry and freezers.  There's at least a bit of wiggle room now so if I keep up at this pace, both storage areas will be under better control in no time!   The past week's progress has been encouraging.  Even though there is still a lot to be used up, it is quite doable.  We are hosting games night and a Superbowl party so that will help reduce a few things too.  Next week, I plan to get a bit more creative with both the slow cooker and pressure cooker.  It's time to put a bit of fun into the cleaning out process!




Friday, January 09, 2015

Joy of Cooking (2006) Cookbook


Joy of Cooking Cookbook

Cookbooks have always been my favourite gift to give as well.  I've had an interest in food since I was knee high to a grasshopper!  I grew up in small town Canada, population less than 2,000.  There were no fast food restaurants or take-out but there was a variety store with a very small lunch counter.  My Mom, like all the ladies there knew how to cook and can.  I likely borrowed every cookbook our small library had, often begging my Mom to make one of those fancy recipes.  To make a long story short, I loved cookbooks especially my Mom's old Betty Crocker.  I can remember being so excited when I got my first copy of Betty Crocker cookbook, the first Christmas we were married.  It's still my favourite cookbook!

Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, you name it and I can find a suitable cookbook as a gift!  Every bridal shower I have gone to, I have gifted the Joy of Cooking.  It has always been a cookbook I wanted but never bought for myself.  This Christmas, one of our kids gifted me with The Joy of Cooking (2006), 75th Anniversary edition.  There are 4,500 recipes to discover, 500 new recipes and 4,000 classic recipes.  I am so excited!


Thursday, January 08, 2015

Creamy Turkey Bake

We are in food crisis mode here!  Our pantry is overflowing, both chest freezers are stuffed and things are falling out of the refrigerator freezers.  Part of the problem stems from us being out of country for three months last year so we are using our pantry stores in the manner we were accustomed to.  My husband wants to extend our time at our vacation home to four months this year so for the foreseeable future, we will not be needing a full year's supply of food at home.  The bottom line is, I need to pare down the pantry and freezers so that means meals from both supplemented with fresh produce and dairy combined with reduced stocking.  I have a plan so we'll see how successful it is.

turkey bake ingredients
It is quite cold here so extra heat from the oven sounded good.  Last night's dinner used the rest of the milk, turkey and last roll of puff pastry from the freezer, a jar of home canned beans and mushroom soup from the pantry, two potatoes and Old Bay Seasoning to make a simple yet tasty casserole.  The bulk of the meal's ingredients came from the freezers and pantry, not bad for a start.  It doesn't seem like a lot but using something from the freezers and pantry to make a meal should make a difference.  It will be important to do this for every dinner so ideally five days a week since we eat out twice a week.  Some meals will use a bit more from both but others less.

assembling the turkey bake
There really isn't a recipe for this casserole.  I used one sheet of the puff pastry and about 2 1/2 c of cooked turkey cut into bite sized pieces, and a can of milk.  I cooked the potatoes in the microwave oven until just tender, then let cool enough to cut into bite sized pieces.  I drained the beans then mixed the turkey, potatoes and beans in a casserole dish.  I mixed the soup, milk and about a teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning in a separate bowl.  I poured the soup mixture over the turkey mixture as pictured then placed the sheet of puff pastry on top.  The puff pastry didn't fully cover the top, leaving about an inch open on each end.  I baked the casserole at 400°F for about 30 minutes until the filling was bubbly and the crust golden brown.

turkey bake
This casserole did not cut into neat, tidy squares.  Cutting through the crust then scooping out with a large spoon worked well.  The yield was 6 generous servings.  The turkey bake topped with the light, flaky crust was rich and creamy, warm and steamy just perfect for a frigid winter dinner.  Overall, I was pleased with the casserole.  It was just a bit higher in sodium than I would like but other than that the nutritional values were good. 

The sodium came from the puff pastry and soup, mainly the soup.  This is a problem with all commercially canned soups, one reason I seldom use them.  However, cream of mushroom soup is a pantry staple I use for quick sauces.  I will have to rethink that plan once I've exhausted my supply.  Thank goodness I only have a couple more cans left!

Nutritional information per serving:  518 cal, 47 g carbs, 17 g fat, 34 g protein, 1,046 mg sodium, 8 g fiber