Choco/Raisin Brownie Cookies.

I know I know...another chocolate chip cookie recipe?!!!!

What does one do when it is a rainy Friday evening, the family is all out and you've finished your 'to do' list for the weekend ahead? You decide to create something in the kitchen. Well, you know I HAVE to have chocolate chip cookies for the next week's lunches and I am always game for something different. I found a recipe on all recipes but it just wasn't quite what I was I experimented. YAY! It turned out rather nicely. Now...where are those boys to try them out?! Sigh..guess I will have to take a bite or two before I post.

(makes about 5 doz. - I'm sorry but I tend to make big batches!
Just divide measurements in half for smaller amount)

  • 5 squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking pwd.
  • 8 tbsp cocoa pwd.
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
In the microwave or a double-boiler, melt the chocolate squares and butter. Meanwhile, beat together the egg, vanilla, and sugar until they thicken. Stir in the chocolate mixture. Combine the dry ingredients, then beat them into the batter just until blended. Fold in the nuts, chocolate chips, and raisins, then refrigerate the dough for an hour. Roll the dough into balls and flatten them slightly. Bake at 325 for 13 to 15 minutes, just until the puff. They get firmer as they cool...and the tops crinkle lovely!!!!! These are so good....even I had to try them...and everyone knows I would much rather sit down to a slice of good cheese and farmer's sausage than anything sweet!

Apple Muffins

Apple from the oven to warm the 'inner man'! They are great morning, noon or night...
and a perfect addition to the school lunch bag.  This recipe came from Betty Crocker's cookbook (copyright 1969)...which happens to be one of my old favorites.

Apple Muffins
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coarsely grated apple
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Beat egg.
  2. Stir in milk, oil and grated apple.
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients, just until flour is moistened.  Batter should be lumpy.
  4. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full.
  5. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes...or until golden.
  6. Yield...12 muffins
*Optional Crunch Topping: Sprinkle muffins with a mixture of 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup chopped nuts and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. The topping is wonderful on fresh muffins...not quite so good later on.

Freezing Apples

This is going to be a very simple and “maybe everyone knows how to do this”post, but I thought it would be kind of fun to put this annual fall activity to memory.
My parents bought some land by a lake 30 years ago and, besides enjoying many family gatherings there, we have enjoyed the apples, pears, plums, walnuts and hazelnuts that come free to the family that’s willing to go and pick or gather them up.

So this is what you do in order to have quick access to apples for crips or apples sauce in the winter:

  •  wash, quarter, peel and slice apples, throwing them into salted water as you go ( about 1 teaspoon salt per 8-10 cups water in a large bowl)
  • when bowl is full, pour it into large colander and let cut up apples sit while you continue with the next bowl
  • spread apples on cookie sheets in single layer and freeze until solid, then bang frozen cookie sheet on counter to loosen apples
  • put apples in ziplock bags, pushing out the air, and store in your own organic freezer section.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

Nothing fills the home with warmth and goodness like the smell of homemade soup. Yet another simple soup to make is Potato Leek Soup. Easy and quick, the only trick is to make sure you purchase a leek with a long white stem (the white stem and light green parts of the leek provide the best parts for cooking) and then to clean between the layers carefully. For this soup, you could slice the stem in half for easy other recipes you want to preserve the 'ring' for aesthetics.

There are many ways to make this yummy soup...this is mine. If you want to make it all vegetarian (as I do sometimes) just substitute the low sodium chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

2 tbsp of butter
2 bay leaves
pinch of tarragon

1 large or two small cleaned and sliced leeks 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
4 to 6 medium potatoes, sliced

(I leave the skin on for a more healthy soup
you may peel them if you are worried about 'looks
....the peel on lends to a more 'hearty looking' soup.)

2 cans low sodium chicken broth
(with enough water to cover)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

(you know me....please make it fresh pepper :)
about 1 cup of heavy cream
not necessary to add cream as the hand blender
will make it creamy...but if you want to 'splurge' and
add the cream....
go won't hurt you just this once

Melt butter in heavy soup pot
  1. Add bay leaves
  2. Add onions and leek sauteing until limp and just turning colour
  3. Add sliced potatoes
  4. Add broth and water necessary to just cover the potatoes
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Remove bay leaves
  7. Simmer until all tender.
  8. Use hand blender mash 3/4 of the soup to make creamy. Leave 1/4 as you want some 'chunkiness' when serving.
  9. Add cream if you so desire, stirring to mix and warm. Add pinch of tarragon. Keep stirring occasionally for ten more minutes and then serve with Anneliese's whole wheat bread or Marg's health buns or Lovella's no knead bread just posted yesterday

Gluten-free Pastry

I got the following pastry recipe from my friend Joanne, who is also Celiac. It is excellent tasting pastry ( as good as regular pastry) ! I know because I ate it before I knew I was Celiac and I was amazed that I could not tell the difference. The dough is also fairly easy to handle.


  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (NOT potato flour)
  • 1 cup sweet rice flour
  • dash of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • rounded teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsp ice water
  • sweet rice flour for rolling


1. Blend well together the flours, xathan gum, salt and sugar. (flours for gluten-free baking must be well-blended - either sift them several times together or I put them all in a zip-lock bag and shake the bag- no dust-method, smile)

2. Cut in butter and shortening

3. Beat egg , add vinegar and ice-water.

4. Stir into flour mixture forming a ball. (Add a little more water if too dry)

5. You may knead this a bit since rice flour crust can stand handling. Knead until you have a smooth soft ball.

6. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour or more to chill.

7. Roll out between wax paper dusted with sweet rice flour. I scotch tape the wax paper to the counter to keep from sliding. Peel off top layer of wax paper , flip over onto pie plate and then carefully peel off the other layer of wax paper and fit pastry into pie shell fluting edges -- for single crust pie or for double add filling and then top with top crust .

8. Bake at 375' until lightly browned.

recipe will make one large double crust pie , or one single crust plus one platz base (recipe for gluten-free platz to follow)

Multigrain No Knead Bread

The ingredient list is very simple but you will need one piece of critical equipment.  You must use a heavy enamel cast iron pot, either  round or oval doesn't matter but it must have a heavy lid. My pot is oval and measure 4 inches high, 10 long and 8 inches at the widest.

  • 1 1/2 cups Multigrain Flour. . . or Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of All Purpose White Flour
  • 1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten (some bread flours don't seem to need this)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 - 2 tablespoons of water

  1. Stir the flours and the gluten together in a large glass mixing bowl.
  2. Add the yeast and the salt.
  3. Add the room temperature water.
  4. Stir with a wooden spoon.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12 - 15 hours.
  6. Place a piece of parchment paper in a a heavy enamel cast iron pot with a lid.
  7. Shape dough into a ball and place on a piece of parchment paper covered with a large bowl for an hour or until double.
  8. Place heavy dutch oven with with lid into the oven and preheat to 450F.
  9. Remove pot from oven, place the dough with the parchment paper inside, place on lid and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove lid and continue to bake for another 10 - 15 minutes until evenly browned.
  11. Remove bread with parchment to a wire rack to cool. 

Chicken Almond Casserole

I have another 'function' to attend....and it is over the dinner hour. What in the world would one do without casseroles?! This is such a common casserole I almost feel silly posting it. Yet...I get asked time and time again to make this for events...I am guessing that there might be someone out there who has not made this yet...anyone?

I have made this so many times since I was first married that I don't even have a written recipe. I shall have to write it down for you as I start to put it together. If credit for my recipe goes anywhere it would go to a Mrs. Lawson in Calgary, who made this for guests after church on Sundays. Her exact recipe eludes me but this one is fairly similar.

Chicken Almond Casserole
10 - 12 servings - 2 casserole dishes (one to serve and one small one to keep at home)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (you can buy canned in pinch but this is a good way to use up leftovers)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup (or mushroom if you want)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 hard boiled eggs (this is a newer addition of mine....I don't think the original recipe I used had this but it seems to 'fill in the spaces' well)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (I kept changing the amount higher and higher until 1/4 cup seemed to suit my taste buds.
  • 2 cups celery chopped
  • 3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise....(if the whole thing is too dry...I would rather add more of this than any other ingredient. Of course, I only use Hellman's light...NOT that I am promoting any one brand but it is so much yummier. However, if you are used to the sweetness that comes with other will miss it if you use Hellman's.)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • crushed potato chips
Mix all ingredients except potato chips; refrigerate overnight or all day. Top with crushed potato chips. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. me...this is so addictive! the ingredients go so well with one another, you can 'mix and match' or substitute with marvelous results.

Squash and Apple Bake

My friend Dorothy submitted this recipe to our first GWG Greendale Church cookbook. 
It's been a favourite of ours for years. Definitely one of those comfort food recipes.
 It's a good dish to feed to those "fussy about veggies" kids and grandkids (and their elders).

  • 2 pounds squash - I've used butternut, or acorn 
  • 2-3 apples
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  1. Cut the end off the squash and peel. (I use a good potato peeler) Peel and core the apples.
  2. Cut the squash and apples into 1 inch cubes and place in casserole dish.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients except pecans and spread over squash and apples. top with chopped nuts if desired.
  4. Cover with lid or foil and bake for 50-60 minutes in a 350 F degree oven. Or you can cook it in the microwave until tender. Either way it makes a wonderful fall side dish.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Okay...I was lazy today...but at the end of a long baking day I realized that I still had not made my son's usual weekend request...chocolate chip cookies. I thought, maybe a quick cookie bar similar to a chocolate chip cookie recipe would suffice. So I dug into a stack of recipe books left for me to look at by a dear friend. This recipe is from the "Insurance Women of Portland - roses and raindrops" cookbook edition 1974-1975 submitted by Ede Dunn. Ms. Dunn...thank you very much for coming to my rescue...this late Sunday evening.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars
(believe it or not...I don't have a 9 x 9 pan so I am forced to double all the recipes. This does double very well. I am giving you the version for a 9 x9 pan even though my pics show the double batch)

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
Chocolate Mixture
  • 1 package chocolate chips (or in my case...equiv. block chocolate)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cream eggs, sugar, shortening and vanilla. Add flour and stir in oatmeal. Divide batter in half. Pat half mixture in 9 x 9 pan. Add the following chocolate mixture which has been melted together "in top of double boiler"...... I just put the chocolate in the micro for 1 minutes and then stirred in the butter, condensed milk, salt and vanilla. (I did not have chocolate chips but instead had a couple of bricks of Callebaut chocolate which I had purchased for a Christmas recipe coming up...oh well.)

After spreading chocolate mixture over the first layer, pat remaining mixture over top. (Now this is not as easy as it sounds. can wait til the chocolate is completely cold and it should be easier. However, if you are impatient like me...simply crumble the mixture evenly over the top so that no chocolate shows through. Then pat down evenly until all combine to make a solid top layer.)

Bake at 350 for 25 min. Cool completely before cutting.

Bavarian Apple Torte

I love the combination of flavors in this cake, but since there are those in my family who don’t care for for cream cheese, I don't make it as often as I'd like. I got the recipe from my friend Karin, when we were young moms, getting together for coffee while our toddlers played. I’ve modified the recipe somewhat.


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 - 3 thinly sliced apples
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  1. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour a little at a time and beat until crumbly to resemble a graham wafer type crust.
  2. Press crumbs out on bottom and a little up the side of a 8 1/2 - 9 inch spring-form pan. 
  3. Beat cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until smooth. 
  4. Pour into pastry-lined pan.
  5. Arrange apples on top of cream cheese layer and sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture
  6. Top with almonds.
  7. Bake at 400° F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375° F and continue baking for 50 - 60 minutes. Cover loosely with foil for last 10 minutes if almonds get too dark. (shorter baking time is if using a larger pan, because the cake will not be as high)
  8. Allow to cool 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge before removing the rim. 

Kotopoulo Rapama me Hilopites (Chicken in Tomato with Noodles).

If you haven't noticed yet, my family has a love affair with the, foods, poetry and writing, art and passion. How I would love to visit the little villages in Greece, sample the pure, pure olive oil, the cheeses, fresh yougurt...olives.....ahhhhh....sigh.

Meanwhile... I am content to read the poetry, listen to the music, dine out in good restaurants and then I try and recreate the dishes at home for our own enjoyment. This is our dinner tonight.

Chicken in Tomatoes with Noodles
(serves four to six nicely)
  • 4 chicken breasts (de-boned, skinned and chopped into 1 1/2 inch cutlets)
  • four cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • about ten mini carrots (or equivalent large carrot cut into sticks)
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes in paste
  • 1 cup fresh or can chopped tomatoes (if using can...add the juice- the fresh
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (you can cheat and use spaghetti sauce but please don't use ketchup)
  • pinch of tarragon
  • herb goat cheese
  • 1 cup cooking sherry (or wine...I had leftover red wine from the day before)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • Wide egg noodles
  • Chicken broth
Put butter and olive oil in deep pot and heat on low heat.Chop garlic cloves and saute. Add chicken and stir fry to light golden brown. Add sundried tomatoes, black olives and chopped onion. Stir fry lightly and then turn up heat. When sizzling add the sherry/wine and stir constantly on high heat. Turn heat to low when the wine/sherry has mostly evaporated. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and stir. Add zucchini cut into thicker slices (you don't want to lose the colour or texture) and the small carrots. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile....quickly cook wide egg noodles in chicken broth (they do taste better and if you don't want to waste the it and make soup with some of the leftovers).

Drain, toss with olive oil and fresh pepper. Place noodles on serving plate with hearty helping of the chicken dish. Crumble yummy goat cheese on top. Eat with a fresh green salad.

Fruit Cocktail Cake

This is one of the recipes I made allot for care group nights. It's not healthy at all but that is why it tastes so good. The canned fruit adds moisture to the cake and the topping is just plain fattening and delicious. It is a must to heap copious amounts of whipped cream on top and forget about the calories you are consuming and enjoy your cake! A good rich cup of coffee is a must with this cake.


1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs-slightly beaten

1 14oz can fruit cocktail-with juice

Combine all ingredients accept the flour and beat together well with an electric hand mixer. Add flour and blend until flour is all absorbed.

Grease a 9x13 pan or a 10-12 inch round or spring form pan. Bake cake for approx. 45 minutes @ 350.


3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla (add after other ingredients have boiled)

Just before cake is done place the topping ingredients in a microwavable bowl and bring to a full boil. Watch that it does not boil over. You can also do this on the stove top stirring constantly.

Remove cake from oven and immediately poke fork holes all over the top. I make them about 2" apart over the whole cake. Pour the hot topping over the cake slowly allowing the topping to soak into the holes. This makes the cake very moist. Allow cake to cool on counter. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. It is best when served just barely warm, but keeps in the fridge for a day or two. I have never frozen this cake, but I don't think the results would be the best.

don't even bother asking about the calorie count in this one. Just eat it!

Auntie Betty's Pasta Casserole

Years ago my Auntie Betty made this casserole for us and we enjoyed it so much that it has been a favorite of mine ever since.

  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 6 green onion stems chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 2 cans tomato soup

  • 4 ounces cream cheese

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • grated cheese for the topping

  • noodles of your choice. . .8 0unces

  1. In a large skillet, fry the ground beef, breaking it up and browning it.

  2. Add the garlic salt, salt, sugar, chopped green onions, and pepper. Simmer a few minutes.

  3. Add the two cans of tomato soup and simmer a few minutes.

  4. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and the sour cream.

  5. Cook the noodles until just tender.

  6. In a 9 X 13 pan, layer the meat sauce, noodles, and cream cheese/sour cream sauce.

  7. Repeat and then top with grated cheese.

  8. Bake at 350 for one hour.

Serve with a crisp green salad.

Lemon, Cheese and Honey Tart

You are going to LOVE these little tarts! If you like a touch of lemon and the hint of cinnamon let this middle eastern dessert tantalize your senses as it bakes and cools in your kitchen. Years ago I was treated to a slice of a delightful cheese tart...not too sweet and a cross between an egg and cheese tart. I've looked and tried similar recipes but without success....until today. I seriously modified a recipe I found on Global Gourmet and ended up with something very similar to the tart that I first tasted years ago. More importantly, it went over well with the guys at home...what more could I ask?!

I made 18 mini-tarts...but this is enough for a 'pie' which was how it was served to me. If using it in a pie I would use a deep crust and not a sweet crust. For this posting I used pre-made tart shells from the frozen section of the grocery store.

Pastry (your own but not toooooo sweet now)

  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon.

Partially bake your pastry shell...about ten minutes in a 350 oven. Remove from oven

Place ingredients of filling into food processor. Blend until smooth. Fill tart cups full - they will sink in the middle later. Lower oven to 200. Bake tarts for 30 minutes or until firm and top is golden brown and puffed up. Serve plain...the simple cheese and lemon infused with the cinnamon/honey will be all that you need.

Butter Balls.......from the Mennonite Treasury Recipes Cookbook

This recipe is from my well used Mennonite Treasury Recipes Cookbook. With the first printing in 1962, and knowing that the majority of these recipes predate the book, it is comforting to pull an occasional recipe from a tried and true time tested source.

This cookie is one that mom would make from time to time...a simple cookie and a bit like a vanilla wafer without the vanilla does that make sense?

Good for tea and dipping!

Butter Balls

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 2 cups flour

Cream butter and shortening and sugars thoroughly. Add well beaten egg. Sift dry ingredients and add. Mix well. Roll into small balls (they will flatten by themselves in the oven into perfect little dipping circles). Then bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a 350 oven. I found that 12 minutes was just right for my oven. Keep an eye on them and when they JUST turn brown, pop them out of the oven to cool on pan for two minutes and then slide them off onto a rack to finish cooling (to save the bottoms from scorching).

Banana Coffee Cake (Crater Cake)

This is a great recipe when you have extra bananas in the freezer and want something differant than muffins or loaves. I got this recipe from a community church cookbook and the page were this recipe is on is seasoned well with splatters and spills. Serve it up with some cinnamon whip cream and you have a simple tasty dessert ready for friends or family. It freezes well, I cut my cake into pieces and freeze it and then just take out as much as we need. (Usually it doesn't make it into the freezer.)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 bananas mashed
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup sour milk (in bottom of cup add 1 tbsp. vinegar then top with milk)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
    1. Mix first 5 ingredients then add the sour milk. 
    2. Add mixture to dry ingredients. 
    3. Place 1/2 the batter in a 9x13 pan and sprinkle with 1/2 of the topping.
    4. Repeat the layers and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes. Or until tooth pick comes out clean in center.
    5. Serve with a generous dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.
    Whipped Cream:
    • 1 cup of whipping cream
    • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
    • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
    1. In a cold bowl chilled in refridgerator with the beaters, Beat the cream mixed with desired amount of icing sugar and cinnamon until stiff peaks form. 
    Happy Baking....Enjoy

    Banana Split Cake (Banana Marble Cake)

    This is super simple and has just a hint of banana marbled with chocolate, topped with vanilla ice cream, (try this was butterscotch ripple, Mmm) smothered in a luscious strawberry sauce. I freeze bananas that are too ripe to eat because hey are better to bake with than the fresh ones in my opinion. I got this recipe from a co-worker about 25 years ago. We still enjoy it.
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup butter
    • 1-1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 banana mashed
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup instant cocoa mix ( I used a 1/4 cup chocolate syrup)
    1. Grease a bundt pan. Set aside.
    2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    3. In mixing bowl beat butter on medium speed about 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating 1 minute after each addition.
    4. In a small bowl stir together mashed banana, sour cream and milk.
    5. Add dry ingredients and banana mixture alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined.
    6. Into 1 cup of the batter, fold in cocoa mix or syrup, stir gently.
    7. Add batter to cake pan and pour chocolate batter over plain batter. Swirl.
    8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 - 70 minutes, or until cake test is done. Cool 5 minutes in the pan. Gently remove and serve with the following strawberry sauce and ice cream. 

    Strawberry Sauce:
    • 4 cups strawberries
    • 1 cup liquid, from the frozen berries and added water
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1. Thaw berries if frozen and drain, saving liquid. In a saucepan add water to drained liquid to equal one cup liquid. 
    2. In a saucepan, mix liquid and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Mix cornstarch with a little water and add, cooking until mixture runs clear and thickened. Add berries and lemon juice. Cool. 
    3. When cake and sauce are cooled, top with ice cream and sauce and voila ... dessert. Serves 12.

    I made this cake for a casual dessert for our friends this last weekend. I complained that I couldn't take a good picture, soooo our friend decided that was because he wasn't in it ...Yes you are right, this picture just takes the cake

    Danish Cream Squares

    This creamy dessert has been a family favorite for many years and is my daughter's choice for a birthday cake. She's not big on cakes and since today was her 30th birthday she got to pick and choose!  I got this recipe from my friend Wendy about twenty years ago, but have seen versions of it in recipe books.

    • graham wafers
    • vanilla pudding and pie filling, 6-serving size
    • 2 1/2 cups milk
    • 2 cups whipping cream (500 ml)
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
    • 3 tablespoons milk
    • 1 square semi-sweet chocolate
    • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine

    1. Line 9 x 13 inch un-greased pan with whole graham wafers, trimming to fit.
    2. Cook pudding with milk as directed, using only 2 1/2 cups of milk.
    3. Allow to cool; spread over graham crackers in pan.
    4. Beat cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff. Spread over pudding.
    5. Top with second layer of whole graham crackers, trimming to fit.
    6. Mix icing sugar and milk together well. It needs to be fairly thin (add more milk if necessary). Spread over cracker layer.
    7. Melt chocolate with butter (in microwave). Drizzle over top. 
    8. Chill. Let stand overnight before serving.


    Overnight Whole Wheat Waffles

    When our family comes for Sunday brunch I often make this batter first thing in the morning or the night before and keep it in the refrigerator or if they are calling when they are on their way, I let it sit on the counter.  The timing works wonderfully to make the batter and then start the vanilla custard and berry sauce.

     While you are working on the custard sauce and berry sauce you can easily put a bag of hashbrowns in the oven on a cookie sheet to bake.   Stir them once in awhile to crisp them and  and have bacon ready to put in the oven in a single layer on parchment paper for 20 or until crisp.

    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 2 cups of milk
    • 1/3 cup melted butter
    • 2 large eggs or 3 small ones
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/4 cup white flour
    • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes and until puffed.
    2. Add the milk, melted butter that has cooled a wee bit, the eggs and tablespoon sugar and the salt.
    3. Using a mixer, combine on medium speed until smooth.
    4. Add the flour and mix slowly until combined.
    5. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or let stand on the counter several hours.
    Bake the waffles in a hot waffle iron until the steam stops.

    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • dash salt
    • 2 cups of milk
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    1. In a microwave safe 4 cup measuring cup, combine the sugar and the cornstarch and salt.
    2. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, and add the milk.
    3. Stir with a whisk the milk and eggs into the sugar mixture.
    4. Cook in the microwave at one minute intervals , stirring with a whisk until it is boiling.
    5. Add the vanilla, stir well, and cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool until serving time.
    Berry Sauce
    • 3 cups of mixed berries
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    1. Mix the sugar and the cornstarch in a small bowl.
    2. Add 1/4 cup water to the frozen berries
    3. Heat in the microwave at one minute intervals until the berries thaw.
    4. Add the sugar and cornstarch.
    5. Continue to cook in the microwave until bubbly and slightly thickened.
    6. Allow to cool until serving time.

    Naryal Vaaro Mogo (Cassava in Coconut Cream)

    A lovely beef 'stew' of coconut with cassava, this curry dish is not too spicy but wonderfully fragrant with ginger, garlic and cumin. This dish is one among other traditional East African dishes I was introduced to over twenty years ago. I am sure that since then I might have tweaked it here and there to my taste but this is the way I serve it. As it is quite rich and filling, we eat this with some chapati or naan with a light salad.

    Ingredients (in no particular order, sorry) :
    • Beef in 1 " cubes - about 1 lb or 500 grams (cut up from roast or steak-beware of poor cuts in stewing beef that might leave this tough.
    • 1 tbsp ginger paste (or you can grate fresh ginger)
    • 1 tbsp garlic paste (or fresh garlic but make sure it is crushed)
    • 1 bunch fresh coriander (chopped)
    • 2 tsp. cumin pwd.
    • salt as noted
    • 1-14 oz pkg of thawed frozen cassava (mogo) (You can cook from scratch but that is a long and laborious process....difficult to cut cassava root and although I do buy it fresh, it is much simpler now that it is available in frozen packages.
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • fresh lemons for serving
    • 1 can of coconut (naryal) cream (I have never used a coconut bar so if you do...make sure when you follow the directions on the package that you have enough for a cup of it liquefied)
    • 1 chopped hot pepper (thai chili, or you can use a jalapeno - remember to 'de-seed' under running water to lessen the fumes)
    • two tomatoes chopped
    • water as specified
    Putting it together!
    • Cook the meat in 2 cups of water with the ginger and 1/4 tsp salt until the meat is tender. I usually bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for about twenty minutes.
    • Cut the cassava into about 1 inch cubes. Make sure you remove the thick fibrous strip in the middle of the 'root'. Cook separately in about 2 1/2 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt until tender. Be absorbs the water and can stick to the bottom. Check it often. I takes about twenty minutes also. Remove from heat and add the coconut milk. Stir thoroughly and cover to absorb.
    • When meat is done, skim fat from top of meat mixture. There should be just enough water to barely cover the meat. If there is too much, remove the excess. Add chopped tomatoes, cumin, garlic, turmeric, chili pepper and chopped coriander. Stir and simmer five minutes more. Add the cassava mixture and stir well. Simmer on very low heat another ten or fifteen minutes stirring often. It may seem like there is a lot of broth but the cassava will definitely absorb it. Cover and let sit until serving.

    Serve with fresh lemons for squeezing and chapati or naan.

    Homemade Hot Dog Buns

    A few weeks ago we planned to have a wiener roast and I got to thinking that I used to make homemade hot dog buns for our wiener roasts and so went on a search for the recipe. I didn't find my original recipe but found one on that seemed similar. I changed it up a bit.
    Can also be used to make hamburger buns.

    Homemade Hot Dog Buns

    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup butter
    2 1/2 cups white flour
    2 cups whole wheat flour(recipe called for just white flour)
    1 tbsp instant yeast
    2 tbsp white sugar
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1 egg

    Heat milk, water and butter until very warm.
    In a large bowl mix 1 3/4 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix milk mixture into the flour mix and then mix in the egg. Stir in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time beating well after each addition.
    When the dough has pulled together, turn it out into a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. I did this all in my Braun...that handy little thing!!
    Divide dough into 16 equal pieces..recipe called for 12 but it was stated that they were pretty big and 16 was suggested, which I did and they were the right size.
    With rolling pin roll and shape each piece into a 6x4" rectangle. Starting with the longer side roll up tightly and pinch edges and ends to seal. I didn't pinch the ends and they were okay. As you can see on the pic that mine didn't look perfect..should we say rustic, maybe??
    Place on greased baking sheet and let rise 20 to 25 min.
    Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 min until golden brown.

    Here the wieners are roasting.. turning black just the way I like them!
    Oh my they were so good..add a few veggies, chips and rice salad (which I posted some time ago) and dig in! I love wiener roasts and hope to have a few more before the snow flies. Actually it is quite fun to have winter wiener roasts too...then you don't mind cozying right up to the fire!

    Hoisin Chicken in Lettuce Cups

    This unusual appetizer is reminiscent of the lettuce wraps served in our local Chinese Restaurant. 
         I based the recipe on one I came across in Fine Cooking magazine's "Cooking Fresh" (2005) 
                                and tinkered with the ingredients until it suited my taste. 
                     It serves 6 - 8 as an appetizer but if you want to serve it as a main course, 
                                                             this recipe will serve 3.

    • 1/3 cup Hoisin sauce or paste (found in the Chinese grocery aisle)
    • 4 teaspoons rice vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lb), rinse and pat dry
    • salt and pepper
    • Iceberg lettuce leaves - either the small ones from the inside of the head or use a pizza cutter and cut round shaped cups from the larger leaves.
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
    • 1-2 green onions chopped or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    • 1 handful each of fresh basil and parsley, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
    1. Heat BBQ grill to medium high. In a small bowl, whisk the Hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and Soy sauce until blended. 
    2. Divide the Hoisin mixture equally into into 2 bowls. Set one aside - you will use it to moisten the chopped chicken later.
    3. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and brush with the Hoisin mixture from one of the bowls. 
    4. Grill the chicken thighs, covered, until well browned and beginning to blacken around the edges - about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, brush with the sauce and grill for another 5 minutes or so. Continue flipping the chicken and brushing it with the Hoisin mixture until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. This does not take very long.
    5. Remove from grill and let it rest for 10 minutes. 
    6. Chop the chicken into a fine dice. 
    7. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the Hoisin mixture, the basil, parsley and chives. 
    8. You can refrigerate the chicken at this point. 
    9. Just before spooning onto the lettuce leaves, stir in the peanuts.
    10. Place one heaping tablespoon onto each lettuce cup (I use a mini ice cream scoop), arrange on a platter and serve.

    You may want use the Hoisin sauce as a BBQ sauce. I've often cooked the chicken for supper and saved 4 thighs to make an appetizer for the next day.

    Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Spice

    Living in an area where cranberry farms are simply everywhere...this time of the year is most beautiful when the flooding of the cranberry fields begin. How appropriate then to dig into fresh cranberry recipes when the fall harvest comes complete with the tart little red berries.

    Never having made my own cranberry sauce before, this Thanksgiving I scoured recipes to try and find the 'right' one. I ended up with a combo of several but all looked too sweet. I basically followed the one on all recipes.....but lowered the sugar content. Just right for me...not quite sweet enough for the rest of the do a taste test before removing from stove.Ingredients

    • 4 cups of fresh cranberries
    • 1 1/2 cup water (I substituted 1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup orange juice)
    • 1/2 tsp pwd. cloves or if using spice bag, 5 whole cloves
    • 2 - 3 tsp cinnamon or 3 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 1/2 cups white sugar (2 if you like it sweeter)
    • fresh orange zest
    Remember that you can adjust the spices to taste by simply taste testing during the process...and with that wonderful aroma...who can resist a taste?!!

    Place the cranberries and liquid in a saucepan over heat. Put spices in a spice bag or put ground spices put in the pot. Cook until the cranberries begin to pop (they really do)...about ten minutes. Stir in the sugar and lower the heat. Continue to cook about five or ten minutes longer until the sugar has completely dissolved.

    Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. If using a spice bag discard it and then chill in the refrigerator overnight or 6 to 8 hours before serving.

    Yam Puff

    For years this has been a "for sure" when planning the holiday menus. The Puff is light and creamy with a crisp topping and "just" a hint of sweet.
    • 6 cups Yams  (about 4 medium) 
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 eggs . . beaten
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
    • 2 tablespoons Butter melted
    1. Put yams on a baking sheet and wrap them in foil and bake them at 350 F for an hour or until very done. I slide a sharp knife into the largest one to ensure it is soft enough to mash.
    2. After the Yam has been measured, mash it really well with a potato masher.
    3. Add the butter and eggs. Beat well. (this can be done the day ahead and wrapped and kept cold)
    4. Combine the flour, sugar, Baking Powder, salt, pepper.
    5. Stir into the mashed yams.
    6. Butter a flat casserole dish and spread the yam mixture into the pan.
    7. Combine the crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the Yams.
    8. Bake at 375 for about  45 minutes or until golden browned and puffed.

    Frosted Pumpkin Donuts

    I bought a number of pumpkins from a pumpkin farm last week. I baked and pureed them...there is nothing like fresh pureed pumkin! I baked pumpkin pies for our Thanksgiving dinner and I still had pureed pumpkin left so I was looking for something else to make.

    Frosted Pumpkin Donuts

    2 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    2 tbsp softened butter
    I cup cooked pureed pumpkin (fresh or from a can)
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    4 cups white flour
    1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 cup evaporated milk(I used skim milk)
    Oil for deep frying

    In a mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar and butter. Add pumpkin and lemon juice, mix well. Combine flour, b powder, b soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and add to pumkin mixture alternately with milk.
    Cover and put in fridge for 2 hours. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead 5 or 6 times. I needed extra flour to roll out the dough. Roll to 3/8" thickness and cut with a donut cutter.
    In deep fryer or skillet ( I used my wok) heat oil to 375 degrees..I test to see if it's hot enough by putting a 'donut hole' in the oil and if that rises to the top immediately you know the oil is hot enough. Fry donuts, a few at a time until golden, about 3 min, turn once and remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels to soak up excess oil.

    I didn't use the frosting recipe that comes with the donut recipe, I was looking for a frosting with pumpkin puree and found one at I only made half of the recipe as I wasn't planning on frosting all of the donuts.

    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

    4 oz cream cheese, softened
    1/4 cup cooked pumpkin puree
    1/8 tsp grated nutmeg, I also added 1/8 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 orange zested, I omitted this as I didn't have an orange in the house.
    1/4 tsp vanilla
    1 3/4 cup icing sugar

    Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange zest and vanilla together with a hand mixer at med speed. Add in icing sugar and beat until frosting is fluffy.

    Once donuts are cooled spread frosting on them. Some I frosted and sprinkled with crisp gingersnap cookie crumbs, some I coated with a sugar/cinnamon mixture and some I left plain.
    Crushed peanuts or toffee bits sprinkled on the frosted donuts would also be very good.
    These donuts taste amazing and I will definetly be making them again.