Apple Cake

It's that time of the year...apples are plentiful and apple desserts are the best! This moist apple cake recipe is written on the back of a stained and worn recipe adaptation of my favorite carrot cake and one that I have been baking for many years. While I'm at it, I usually prepare a double recipe and put one cake in the freezer without frosting; it's handy to pull out at a moment's notice and serve for dessert with ice-cream and caramel sauce. We are in the middle of corn harvest on the farm and the guys like a treat out in the fields every once in awhile. I baked them an apple cake yesterday...which they ate off disposal plates, with a plastic fork (and without the flower) but enjoyed nonetheless!

Apple Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 cups coarsely grated apple
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Combine eggs, sugar and oil in mixer.
  2. Add apples.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix .
  4. Pour into greased 9x13 inch pan and bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes.
  5. Frost with cream cheese icing when cool.

Cream Cheese Icing
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 brick)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups icing sugar...or until desired thickness
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together until fluffy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Apricot and Chocolate Chip Bar Cookie

This is a recipe I've had floating about for some time. It is one of those kind of recipes you can easily whip up and bring say an office gathering. In fact...this came from a colleague way back when. These days I use Splenda when possible but other than that the recipe is the same..still tastes good and hits the spot.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I use Splenda half and half brown sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots

Turn the oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking pan with vegetable spray or line with parchment paper. Beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and blend until smooth. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and apricots. Press the batter into the prepared pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden and the pastry begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. The center should be slightly soft. Cool on rack for 15 minutes. Cut into 18 bars when still warm, then let cool completely before removing from the pan.

Humus and Tzaziki Dip

Necessary accompaniments with any good pita bread or with falafel or as a 'spread' for a pita sandwich...both are easy and best made 'from scratch'.


  • 1 cup chick peas soaked overnight or 1 cup canned chick peas
  • 2/3 cup tahini paste (ground sesame - paste)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • fresh ground black pepper

Drain the chick peas and put them into a saucepan. Cover with fresh water and boil simmering for about 2 hours or until they are soft. If using canned chick peas omit the first step. Put into a food processor and add the rest ...mix til a soft paste forms. Add salt to taste. (I hate to add salt but it DOES bring out the lemon and garlic so if you want to keep it low sodium...use a salt substitute)


(For this use, or used as as a dip, the sauce is left creamy and simple with garlic and lemon. If you wish to use Tzaziki as a side dish then chopped or shredded cucumber is often added.)


1 cup plain yogurt (uhm...not vanilla flavoured...real good, honest, simple, plain creamy yogurt)
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp lemon juice (fresh if possible)
1/4 cup chopped or shredded cucumber (optional - use if a side dish/omit for dip)
salt to taste
dash of fresh ground pepper

Whip ingredients together and let sit in fridge 1/2 hour to let flavours mingle. You can add a wee bit of finely minced onion as well but a simple plain dip is best.

Falafel - Chick Pea Patties

I think I first became familiar with this wonderful dish when I became a vegetarian many moons ago and then, when as a student, I couldn't afford to buy and eat meat anyway. It is a delicious, protein packed 'finger dipping' food served as a main course, popped into a pita half or as an appetizer at parties.


  • 2 cups chick peas soaked in water for 24 hours or 1 19oz can of chick peas
  • 1/2 spanish onion chopped into fine pieces
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley (fresh if possible)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander (fresh and optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • oil for frying

Drain the chick peas and place in a food processor. Add the onions, parsley and coriander, garlic, cumin and salt to taste. Add the flour and process until well blended. Add flour if needed to make a binding pliable 'paste'.

Roll into small balls about 1 inch in diameter and flatten into patties. Let them 'rest' for about 15 minutes and then deep fry them in batches in hot oil turning them over once they are a dark brown. Drain them on paper towels and serve with humus and/or tzatziki, (recipe to follow and as pictured.)

Italian Prune Nut Bread

Italian prunes are sweet and juicy...and perfect for a healthy lifestyle. Try them in a quick bread for a change from the ordinary.

Italian Prune Nut Bread
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 2 cups Italian prunes, pitted and chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  1. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar, cinnamon and baking soda.
  4. Blend sour cream and orange peel; add to creamed mixture alternately with dry ingredients.
  5. Stir until blended.
  6. Add prunes and nuts; mix well.
  7. Divide between two greased loaf pans (9x5x3 inch).
  8. Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean.
  9. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool thoroughly on rack.

I've made it without the's good either way!

Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie is so simple.
You can use a frozen purchased crust or make your own.

Dorothy's Pie Crust
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pound cold lard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  •  cold water
  1. In a large bowl or your kitchen machine, measure flour, brown sugar, salt and the baking powder. 
  2. Cut in the lard which you've already cut into cubes with a sharp knife. If you have a large food processor you can do it in there. Pulse until it looks like oatmeal.
  3. Without a food processor, use a pastry cutter and cut until it looks like oatmeal or use the paddle of the free stand mixer to slowly mix until all the bits of lard are mostly the size of oatmeal.
  4. Put the egg into the measuring cup add the vinegar and then add enough water to make 1 cup.
  5. Slowly pour in the egg/water/vinegar mixture and stir with a fork just until all the bits are combined and moistened.
  6. Dump out onto a counter. . and pull together to form a ball.
  7. Divide into 5 pieces. Shape them into discs and wrap them separately in plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate them or freeze them until you need them. Let them thaw in the refrigerator.
To Bake a pie shell

  1. Heat your oven to 400. Roll your dough out to fit a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. Ease it in without stretching and to bake it empty, line with aluminum foil pressing it against the edges and bake it for 10 minutes.
  3.  Remove the foil and bake until brown. Cool
Chocolate Cream Filling
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups of whole milk (you can use 2% but it won't be quite as rich)
  • 3 beaten egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
  1. In a large glass bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt.
  2. Slowly add the milk and the egg yolks.
  3. Add the chopped chocolate.
  4. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir and repeat until it is hot and bubbling. About 10 minutes total.
  5. Add the vanilla and butter and stir until smooth. Pour into the cooled pie shell and Chill.
Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Walnut Cake

This is a nice pan cake to serve; with an orange/lemon infused flavour, crunchy walnuts inside and drizzled with a lemon syrup when taken out of the oven. It is simply delicious and a favorite at my home.


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
6 tbsp sugar
finely grated rind of orange
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5 tbsp milk
1/2 cup coarsely ground walnuts


3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice

Turn oven to 350 and grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.

Mix four and baking powder. Put the butter sugar and orange rind into a warmed mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in eggs. Fold in the flour alternatively with the milk and then add walnuts. Transfer to pan and bake in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until firm to touch. Meanwhile put the syrup ingredients into the saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and then boiled for 5 minutes.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven spoon syrup evenly over the surface. Let sit in the pan until quite cold. Cut into squares or fancy triangles to serve.

Peachy Fruit Dip

With all the fruit still available you might want to try this! This recipe is large, so I usually cut it in half and it serves well with a large fruit platter.
  • 1 cup whipping cream (or cool whip topping)
  • 1 pkg instant vanilla pudding (just the powder)
  • 2 cups peach yogurt
  1. Whip cream. Add vanilla pudding powder and whip. 
  2. Add peach yogurt and whip.
  3. Serve fresh with fruit. You can also try it with pina colada yogurt.

Harvest Loaf

I have a feeling this will be one of the first of many pumpkin recipes posted, so you might want to make sure you have canned pumpkin on hand. It is one of my daughter’s favorite autumn loaves and is especially good when the chocolate chips are still soft. This recipe makes two loaves or you can cut it in half to make one.

  • 3/4 cup butter (soft/room temp)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 2 cups cooked pureed pumpkin (398 ml can)
  • 3 cups flour 
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup chopped nuts (optional)
  1. Prepare two 9 x 4 inch loaf pans by greasing with shortening or cooking spray, and dusting with flour.
  2. Beat butter and sugar well. Beat in eggs until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin. 
  3. Mix dry ingredients with spices and chocolate chips. Stir into wet mixture until combined.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes at 350° F, until toothpick tests done. 
  5. Cool 10 minutes in pans and then remove to cooling rack.
Before baking, I sprinkled some chocolate chips in a row on top. You can combine nuts and chocolate chips if you like. Once cooled, a drizzle of about 1/4 - 1/2 cup icing sugar with maybe a teaspoon of water and a drop of maple flavoring is optional. Plain is great too.

Tip: do not use the whole can of pumpkin for one loaf just because you don't want to waste it. Too much pumpkin will make too moist and dense of a loaf. 

Ostiepkove tycinky (Cheese Sticks)

A colleague at work has noted over and over again that the results of my weekend baking means 'sweets' for the office staff. He has requested more than once that a more savoury item appear on a Monday morning. Then the other week he handed me this recipe with a roughly translated ingredient list and a request that I try this some weekend. I did....the result was a somewhat moist but savory appetizer which I am happy to share with you...note the bench scraper?!

  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes (nothing added!)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • for topping - caraway or sesame seeds

  1. Cook potatoes and mash.
  2. Mix shredded cheese, potatoes, butter, 1 egg, paprika salt and pepper
  3. Add flour and mix well
  4. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut into sticks. Transfer to oiled cookie sheet.
  5. Brush with egg wash.
  6. Sprinkle with sesame or caraway seeds
Bake in 340 degrees oven for approx 15 min.

Toscano Soup (similar to Olive Garden)

This is a delicious hardy soup loaded with goodness, in flavour and health benefits. The healthy version is in brackets.
6 Hot or mild Italian sausage (turkey Italian sausage)
8 slices chopped bacon (optional)
1 large chopped onion
2 stalks celery chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 thinly sliced potatoes with skin on (I like to use Russet potatoes)
8 c. water or chicken broth
4-6 chicken bouillon cubes (use only if using water)
(use low sodium and no msg)
1 bunch of chopped Kale
1/2 c. heavy cream (skim milk or omit)
crushed red pepper flakes to taste, add when browning meat,
omit if using hot Italian sausage, unless you like things spiced up..=}
(a can of black beans adds fiber) optional, i didn't add this time.
saute sliced sausage and bacon til browned, drain fat.
Add onion, celery, garlic and cook several minutes til soft.
Add water and potatoes. Cook til potatoes are done, add kale and cream, DONE!
Would you like some freshly grated cheese or cracked pepper with that?

Rice with Vermicelli

Basmati is my rice of choice for almost every rice dish where flavour is more important than its function (i.e.- sushi rolls, etc). If using basmati always 'fry' it in butter and use a broth to cook it in. This simple little recipe is a change from the norm and a favorite with the 'macaroni' crowd.
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • drop of oil
  • 6 oz of vermicelli, broken
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 cans broth and 2 cans water
  • salt to taste...if you must
Melt the butter in the saucepan with the oil to prevent the butter from burning (uhm...this is a good tip to keep in mind whenever you are using butter to 'fry'.) Crush the vermicelli with hands and brown in butter...don't burn...just brown. Add the rice and stir to coat all the grains...add the fluids and bring to boil. Simmer until no broth remains...about 20 minutes. It will be moist and yummy and beautiful with the golden vermicelli.

Ham and Bean soup

  • 8 oz bag of white beans (or 2 cans of white beans can be used intstead adding them to the soup at the end) 
  • 3 cups of diced ham
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 c. liquid including reserved bean liquid
  • 4 beef bouilon cubes
  • 2-3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 4 c finely shredded cabbage
  • 1-28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • salt and papper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups each of frozen peas, green beans and corn
  • 1 cup of dried small pasta like macaroni
  1. If you are using dried beans soak the beans over night. Drain the beans. 
  2. In a large pot with a bit of oil, saute the onions until soft with the diced ham. 
  3. Add the garlic and the rest of the raw cut up vegetables
  4. Add the water including the drained liquid from the beans if using the dried beans.
  5. Add the bouilon cubes, canned tomatoes and bay leaf. 
  6. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. 
  7. Add the frozen vegetables and pasta, cook another 15 minutes. Add the canned beans at this time if not using dried beans. 
  8. Just before serving top with fresh chopped parsley and grated parmessan cheese. (optional)

Apple Pie

My favorite local produce store had a huge bin of apples on sale yesterday. The sign SOFT, Perfect for pies and applesauce. I had not planned on making 6 pies for the freezer, but sometimes plans change! I bought 24 apples and then I ran over to the super market and bought 8" aluminum pie plates and headed for home. I usually stick to my favorite pie crust recipe. I use the recipe on the Tenderflake shortening box. It was enough for 6 8" double crust pies and I formed a ball out of the remaining pastry dough and frooze it for another day when I need a quick crust for a pie. Pie dough freezes very well. Just wrap it in syran and put into a freezer zip lock bag.
Apple pie filling
24 medium sized apples peeled and chopped (I use
an apple peeler)
1 cup flour
1 1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup melted honey
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
Peel and chop apples into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Divide apples between pie shells and top with pastry. Flute edges and make several slits on top crust. This help the steam release when baking. Using a pastry brush I brushed whipping cream onto top crust and sprinked with raw sugar. This does not have to be done but gives the pie a glaze and an added sugary crust.
To Bake: Pre heat oven to 425. Bake pies for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 and bake another 40 minutes.
To Freeze: You can freeze the baked pies once cooled or, freeze unbaked. When ready to bake put frozen pie in 450 oven for 15 minutes and reduce to 350 and continue to bake for 1 hour. Insert a knife into pie slits to make sure apples are soft. It is better to bake the froozen pie abit longer to make sure it is baked through.
I have donated pies from this recipe to many MCC sales. It's fun to be able to contribute to such a good cause.
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Spinach with Black-Eyed Beans (Vegetarian)

A complete meal...this spinach and legume dish is nourishing and delightfully simple. Serve hot or cold. I will be serving it cold tonight with Cajun snapper and a crisp salad with fresh basil, tomatoes and goat cheese...want to come for supper?


  • 1 1/2 cups black-eyed beans, soaked for 1 hour
  • 5 tbsp olive oil (as there are no real spices used here...the kind of olive oil you use will influence the taste of this simple dish....always use extra virgin if possible)
  • 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 bunches fresh spinach chopped or 1 bag/container frozen chopped spinach, thawed.
  • fresh ground pepper
Soak the beans for 1 hour. Then put in pot, cover with water and bring it to boil. Simmer about 20 minutes but be careful....they should not turn to 'mush' for this dish. Drain.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onions until they are translucent. Add the spinach and continue to fry stirring continuously until cooked...Add salt and pepper to taste and then stir in the drained black eyed beans. I love this served cold as a side dish....simple and delicious.

Trish's Zucchini Mousaka

Traditionally this one dish Mediterranean meal is made with eggplant. But not all members of my household care for that splendid purple vegetable that so wonderfully absorbs the flavours of the dish it is served with. So....the humble zucchini suffices in most of my dishes. As one loses that starchy element if you don't use an eggplant...I add a layer of rice in my version of Mousaka.

There are four layers in my version of Mousaka. Meat, Rice, Cream cheese sauce and the Zucchini and vegetables.

Rice: Melt 2 tbsp butter in saucepan. Saute 1 minced clove garlic; when softened add 1 cup BASAMATI (nothing else really will do) and stir till well coated with the butter and garlic. Turn up heat and add two cups chicken broth. (1 can plus 1 can water will do). Bring to a boil and then cover and turn to simmer for ten to 15 minutes; fluffing when the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.

Slowly brown 1 lb lean ground beef over low heat. While still pink add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1 minced clove garlic and 1/2 finely chopped white onion. Continue to brown, draining when done.

Zucchini and Vegetables: In a separate skillet heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Saute 1 clove minced garlic and 1 sliced zucchini. Add 1 tbsp fresh basil pesto sauce and 1 tbsp sundried olives in oil. Add salt and fresh pepper to taste. Add 1 red and 1 yellow pepper sliced in rings. Continue to saute until vegetables are slightly softened. Put aside.

Cream Cheese Sauce: In a bowl whisk 3 eggs, 1/4 cup flour and 1 cup of whipping cream at room temp. Pour mixture into a saucepan in which 2 tbsp of butter has been melted. Bring to a light boil ...turn down heat. Add about 4 tbsp goat cheese. Keep on a very low heat until used in the layers.

In a casserole dish layer the rice, 1/2 the vegetables, and then meat, remaining vegetables and then top with the cream sauce. Sprinkle nutmeg on top and pop in 350 oven for 35 minutes. YUM!

Sparkly Ginger Cookies

This is a recipe from my daughter and it is a favorite in our family. I have baked these many times and I should add that they rarely make it to the freezer. I have made these for bake sales and they are grabbed up very quickly.

3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together the butter, sugar, molasses and egg. In separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture.
Roll the dough into small balls, approx 1.5" in diameter. Roll balls in white sugar, place on baking pan.
Bake for 10 min. Let cool slightly and transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

(sorry for the lousy was having a 'blue' day)

Okay...the truth is out...I am much more in my element creatively cooking...much more so than baking and you can probably tell it from my posts! This recipe is from my vegetarian days and originates from a recipe book from that era. I have liberally recreated the original recipe to suit my family tastes and my own preferences. If you are not vegetarian you may chose to serve a meat with this dish...ours was pork schnitzel. It is a bit of work...but
sooooo worth it. If you like'll like this dish. I even brought the left-overs in to work!!

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 med. white onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery finely chopped
  • 8 cups of whole grain bread cubes (I cheat and buy them pre-seasoned in the bulk section but if you don't then use the full amount of spices below. If you DO buy them already seasoned...please 1/2 the spice amounts or it will be toooo strong.)
  • 2 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp savoury
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I NEVER use salt unless I have to in can leave this out)
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley (dried will do too) minced
  • 1 vegetable bullion (or use two cups of homemade /bought low sodium (that is me again with the low sodium) chicken broth. If you use already constituted broth you won't need the water below.
  • 2 cups boiling water
Mashed Potato Crust:
  • About 10 medium to small potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (8 - 10 cups.
  • 1 stalk celery with leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
Peel potatoes and put in pot with cold water, celery, bay leaf and garlic. Bring to boil, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender.

While potatoes are cooking, you can start the stuffing. Melt the butter and saute the onion, celery. Saute until they are softening. Add your bread cubes, and spices mixing well. Add the bullion in 2 cups boiling water...or your heated broth. Mix well and steam covered over very very low heating for about 15 minutes or so.

Turn your oven on to about 350. In a separate small saucepan melt the butter and add the cream. Heat until it is hot without boiling. Mash your potatoes (having drained and removing the garlic and celery) in a food processor or normal way you prepare. Add the butter cream mixture and salt and pepper to taste.

Put the stuffing in an oven-proof casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes. Bake in oven for 30 - 35 minutes (depends on the depth of the casserole dish) until crust is golden. While it is baking prepare the Mushroom Cream Gravy.

Mushroom Cream Gravy:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 veg bouillon (again I use homemade/canned low sodium chicken broth) and then eliminate that water)
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • salt to taste (come on...ya don't need it!)
In a large frypan melt 2 tbsp butter. Add the mushrooms and saute till tender and juicy. Can you smell that wonderful smell?!!!!! Keep sauteing until a dark brown juice comes from the mushrooms. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon. Pour the juice in a measuring cup and save.

In the same frypan melt the other 2 tbsp butter. Add the flour and stir with a whisk to combine. Add the mushroom liquid and continue stirring with a whisk as the gravy thickens. Add the water and bullion stirring continuously. Add the cream and salt and garlic. At this point you can add the mushrooms again or you can serve them separately over or on the side of the Shepherds Pie. This is not a lot of work...just a lot of words and it is delish!!!!!!!

Applesauce . .simple and pure

100% pure farm fresh apples

I was just talking to Kathy on the phone. . and we were discussing the different ways to make apple sauce. . .and I was trying to explain my food mill .. .
well, it is so much easier to see than to explain.
In the collage, you can see the antique one that my mom used for 40 some years. . and beside it the new one that I purchased.
It is so easy .. .
Just wash your apples, put them in a pot with a 1/2 cup of water. . enough to cover the bottom of the pot 1/4 inch. Bring the apples to a simmer and simmer about 10 - 15 minutes or until soft and tender.
You don't need to peel the apples, nor core them nor remove the stems. . .
Just cook them.
Then, put the food mill over a large bowl and pour your apples into it and stir,
. . . once in a while you'll need to stir counter clockwise to scrape the peels off the bottom.
There is nearly no waste. . . .and leaving the cores and seeds in for cooking provides natural pectin to make a nice thick applesauce.
Once done. . .taste and add sugar to your liking.
Put the hot applesauce into sterile containers and freeze.

Orange Rhubarb Muffins

  • 2 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 3/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 1/4 c. finely chopped rhubarb
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chopped pecans and chopped rhubarb. 
  3. In another bowl beat the egg with the oil, orange juice and zest. 
  4. Pour into the flour mixture and gently combine. 
  5. Divide evenly between 12 well greased muffin tins. 
  6. Bake between 25 -30 minutes until golden brown. (my oven does it in 20 minutes). 

Freezing Bacon

  1. When you buy bacon.......roll each slice into a pin curl and freeze individually, or roll two pieces together.
  2. Then when you need just a few slices for a recipe you will be able to use what you need and chop it fine very easily for what you need it for.
  3. I have been doing this for years, then a friend noticed me doing this and asked if I would share it on Mennonite Girls Can Cook, because she had never thought of doing that and it was a good tip.

Walnut and Honey Tart

Simply a wonderful Mediterranean tart. A long ago friend taught me the delights of this recipe when I was a student and on a minimum budget. Don't be fooled by the basic packs a very rich and delightful taste!


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
dash of salt
1 tbsp. icing sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp iced water


1 1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 lbs fresh shelled walnuts if possible (and here tis the season for them) and that would be about 1 lb before shelling
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup milk
2 heaping tbsp honey

Make the pastry by sifting the salt, flour and sugar onto a pastry board. Cut the butter in with a pastry knife and then crumble it together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Sprinkle the water on it and gather it together into a ball. Sprinkle the board with a little more flour, then quickly spread the dough away from you by pushing down with the heel of your hand to ensure that you evenly distribute the butter. Gather the dough into a ball again and and then allow it to rest in the refrigerator for about an hour.

While this is chilling bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil rapidly until the mixture begins to thicken and starts to change colour (be DOES!) As soon as it turns just the palest brown, remove from the heat and add the walnuts and butter. Stir well, then add the milk and return to a low heat. Simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until the mixture becomes quite thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Leave to cool a little.

Roll out two-thirds of the dough and use to line a 8 inch flan tin or tart pan. Prick the bottom with a fork. Pour in the filling and spread out evenly. Cover with the remaining dough, seal the edges well and make a pattern of vents in the top. Bake for 30 to 40 minus in a 350 over or until the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool a bit and then turn out of the pan and leave to cool on a rack.

Maple Fudge Sour Cream Cake

Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a plain piece of cake with icing; something that goes well with a glass of milk. This is one of those recipes I wrote out many years ago and I don’t know where it’s from. Ingredients include those that you most likely have on hand and it’s easy. You will notice that it has no maple flavoring added to it, but it does have that maple or caramel flavor. You could add some, but it’s great the way it is. If the batter is a little hard to spread, wetting the spoon or spatula helps.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Beat egg, adding sugar gradually, and then sour cream, beating until smooth. 
  2. Add combined dry ingredients. 
  3. Spread into greased 9 X 9 pan. Bake at 350 F, about 30 min. Cool and ice.
Maple Fudge Icing:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  1. Boil brown sugar, butter and milk hard, stirring constantly, 3 min. 
  2. COOL to lukewarm. Stir in icing sugar and continue stirring until spreadable consistency. This makes a generous amount of icing, but it’s pot licking good!!

Flapper Pie

This is a recipe I have been making for years. The filling is actually enough for 2 pies, but I always have made the whole recipe using a deep dish pie plate which makes a 'high pie'. You can easily make afew more crumbs and divide between 2 pie plates and then divide the filling.
1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/8 cup sugar
Melt butter and stir in crumbs and sugar. Press mixture into pie plate and bake in 350F oven for 10 minutes.
4 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
4 heaping TBSP corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
Put all ingredients except vanilla in a large microwavable bowl and beat well. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Give a good stir and microwave afew more minutes until mixture is bubbly and begins to thicken. Add vanilla, stir well and pour into pie crumb crust.
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
4 tbsp sugar
Beat egg whites and cream of tarter until soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until stiff. Pile onto filling, making sure to spread meringue right to the edges. Bake in 400F oven for 6-8 minutes until golden. Chill and serve. It is also very good if you time it just right that you serve it just slightly warm.

Fresh Peach Pie

Fresh Peach Pie
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons peach jello
  • 5-6 cups fresh peaches, sliced
  • 1 baked piecrust (9 or 10 inch)
  1. Mix water, sugar and cornstarch in saucepan and boil until thickened. (Or use microwave oven.)
  2. Remove from heat and add the peach jello powder.
  3. Cool until lukewarm. 
  4. Stir in peach slices and pour into prepared crust.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Good food and good friends to share it wih ~ life is good!

Best Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

When I discovered "Only Oats" had certified gluten-free oats , I was THRILLED!! The thought of being able to eat oats again was exciting... especially my old-time favorite - oatmeal cookies.
(see how to order Only Oats below)

Then to top it all off.. I found this 'normal' recipe for 'normal' people !! All ordinary ingredients found in anyone's kitchen !!

But the cookie is GLUTEN-FREE !!

I have to share it with you !!

(oh.... for those of you who haven't had to learn all this stuff about gluten.... oats is a grain that is gluten-free but the problem is that farmers always rotate crops between wheat and oats which causes cross contamination because some wheat will always come up with the oats and be harvested together - so until Only Oats came to our rescue... oats was on the Celiac forbidden list!)

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies


  • one egg
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups oat flakes (Only Oats - gluten-free)

Put all ingredients into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and beat until well mixed.

(You may hand mix in 1/2 cup of your own preference of chocolate chips, M&M's, or nuts)

Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 375' for 15 minutes. Let set for a couple of minutes before removing from pan.

**NOTE-- Only Oats , distrubuted by FarmPure Foods, can be ordered online Canadian or US store here

Puff Pastry Pear Tart

I used nearly the same filling as I did for Dorothy's Pear Pie. . just changed it a wee bit. . . but what is very different in today's tart is the easy peasy rolled out puff pastry that I purchased from the freezer section of my grocery store. If you want to use regular pastry and want instructions for that check out the link for Dorothy's Pear Pie.

Pear Tart
  • 1 package rolled out frozen puff pastry thawed for 2 hours on the counter
  • 4 ripe Bartlett pears peeled, cored and sliced as shown above
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • sliced almonds for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 
  2. Lay pastry over a tart pan with a removable bottom.   Trim and crimp edges. 
  3. Arrange pears in a symmetrical pattern. 
  4. Put remaining ingredients (except almonds) in a blender jar and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour filling over the pears. 
  6. Sprinkle sliced almonds around the edge. 
  7. Bake until filling and crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. 

The result is a light tender pastry that holds the pear custard.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Chicken Enchiladas

There are several meals I like to make with leftover roasted chicken and one of them is enchiladas. If your family doesn't leave you with leftover chicken, pick up a rotisserie chicken, allow to cool, de-bone and use for several recipes. You can freeze cooked chicken  in small Ziploc bags.

  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1/4 chopped green pepper
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 c roasted chicken, cubed
  • 7 oz can green chili peppers, chopped
  • (OR canned jalapeno peppers - I use about 10 slices, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican spices
  • ½ teaspoon coriander or chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (OR dissolve 1 bouillon cube in 1 1/2 c hot water)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups jack cheese, (OR cheddar), divided

10 small soft flour tortillas

  1. In saucepan, cook onion and pepper in butter until tender.
  2. Combine onion mixture with chicken and chili peppers in a bowl.
  3. In saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp butter blend in flour, spices and salt with whisk; adding broth and tomato sauce, stirring until bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and 1/2 the cheese.
  4. Stir half the sauce into chicken mixture in bowl.
  5. Spread a thin layer of sauce over bottom of baking dish.
  6. Soften tortillas by warming and fill each with some chicken mixture. Roll up.
  7. Arrange filled tortillas in baking dish.
  8. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  9. Bake, covered, at 350 F for 25 min or until bubbly.
  10. Serve with Spanish rice, baked beans and veggies with a sour cream dip.