Life-Saver Window Cleaner

While I love sparkling clean windows, I have all my life been frustrated with cleaning windows.  I've always thought I must be the dumbest housewife ever, since I could never get my windows so sparkling clean  that I didn't mind if the sun was shining when guests came.
I have used every window cleaner suggested to me. The window cleaner that worked best for me had a unpleasant smell that lingered. If I could have achieved perfect results, I might have put up with the smell, but I didn't. I did the vinegar and water thing too, but wasn't happy, and I don't care for the smell of vinegar.
I followed every suggestion.  "Don't clean windows when the sun is shining on them, they dry too fast."  Right! The just cleaned window not in the sun - looks great! ~ until the sun comes round the corner with a smug smile that says ... "HA! gottcha!"  Yes, there are the streaks.

THEN ...
Last week I read a historical novel set in the mid/late 1800's.  In the story, the hotel housekeeper is trying to teach a high society girl how to clean - everything has to be spotless, including the windows.  I don't know where the author got the hint but the cleaning solution the housekeeper used was starch and water. You wipe the window with the solution, let it dry and then wipe off leaving the window streak-less and shiny! Really? and no odor?

Gotta try this one !!
So I experimented a little with proportions (of course the book never gave that -  only said so it looked right)

My solution recipe :
  • 2 rounded teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of water 
  1. Stir until starch is completely dissolved. 
  2. I used toweling to dip into the solution and then wipe over the window. 
  3. Let dry completely -- can't over dry. 
  4. Using newspaper, or toweling or rag (preferably use something lint free)  wipe off the dried solution!  and THEN ...  where did the glass go ? 
  5. A little solution goes a long way. 
Below -- My before, during and after photos of the first two windows I cleaned - it is time for spring-cleaning, right?
(All photos were taken with the sun shining on the windows) 

                                                               Window below - dirty 

                                                Window with starch solution wiped on

Solution wiped off - Window squeaky clean ! 
Note - the star is blurred in this photo because the camera couldn't see the window to focus on it.

                                                              Window - dirty

 Window with solution wiped on 

Solution wiped off - Window squeaky clean  
(the outside of window needs cleaning too, I couldn't reach it - need husband with ladder!)

Bread for the Journey-God's Plan

I see him in filthy clothing and a tattered and torn blanket. At times I see that coffee has been delivered to him in the morning, and sometimes a brown bag that resembles what may hold a meal. I'm thinking that over the years others too have compassion for this man who seems so alone and helpless. This man has value and God loves him as much as he loves me.

For several years now I have been praying for this man. I pray that in moments of clarity of mind that God will speak to his heart and mind. A stranger to me, but known, loved and valued by God. I pray that He will experience God's love and that he will come to an understanding that he is valuable to God and that God has a purpose and plan for his life. I can't help but think there are others too who pray as they pass by him. His story is a mystery to me, but I can pray for this man knowing that his life is an open book to our loving Father in heaven.

 When we lose all our sense of value and self worth it can take us down hill very quickly. But there is always hope. God comes into our messy hurting lives. He is The Master helper and healer.

God's word reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God meets us right where we are. He embraces us, offering hope and healing.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

When God gives us His heart of compassion, it leads us to pray for others.
God has given me personal hope, instilled in me that I'm valuable to Him, and I pray that each hurting lonely or struggling person will experience this too.

Easter is a time we celebrate God's love and power. He offers us a new life with a future and a hope. You, me, and the stranger on the street.

Buttermilk Dressed Potatoes - Flashback Friday -

This potato dish gets rave reviews and is simple to make.  
I thought it worthy of a Flashback Friday post.

  • potatoes (1-2 per person)
  • Buttermilk Dressing (recipe follows)
  • bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, fried until crisp and drained on paper towel
  • Cheddar, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, grated and tossed together
  • chopped green onions
Buttermilk Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Bake, or boil potatoes in their skins, They should be cooked through but still firm.
  2. Meanwhile, mix Buttermilk Dressing.
  3. Place dressing ingredients in a jar or gravy shaker  and blend until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. Cut potatoes into 2 inch cubes and place in buttered baking dish.
  5. Drizzle Buttermilk Dressing over potatoes.  Don't drench them in the dressing but be sure all the potatoes have some dressing on them.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon.  
  7. Sprinkle with the green onion or you can wait until the potato dish is baked and sprinkle the green onion over the dish just before serving.
  8. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are thoroughly heated and dressing is bubbling.

    Chicken Parmigiana and Tomato Sauce

    This is wonderful way to dress up chicken for a special meal.
    The tomato sauce recipe that follows is easy to make and full of flavour.

    • 4 chicken breasts or veal cutlets
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon basil
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 large egg beaten with a fork
    • 1 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • Greek Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
    • 4 slices Mozzerella cheese
    • grated Parmesan cheese
    1. Lay chicken breast or piece of veal between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet to an even thickness.
    2. Mix flour, basil, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.
    3. Dredge each piece of meat in seasoned flour.
    4. Dip floured meat into beaten egg and then Panko crumbs.
    5. Fry in 1/2 inch hot oil until nicely browned on each side, turning only once.
    6. Place meat on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until meat is done, about 20 minutes.
    7. Top each serving with a generous amount of warm tomato sauce and one piece of Mozzerella cheese, then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.
    8. Return to oven and broil, watching closely, until cheese begins to brown.
    Greek Tomato Sauce

    You can make this tomato sauce from ingredients
    you have in your cupboard.
    It is also great served over meatballs or shrimp or just plain as a pasta sauce.


    • 1 large onion finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup butter (no substitutes*)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
    • 1 can water
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    1. In a medium pot, saute` onion in butter and olive oil until golden brown.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
    3. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Veggie Burgers

    These burgers are my niece's recipe, so so good I actually would prefer these as much as a regular burger. They are baked not fried and have loads of wonderful flavor. One recipe makes about 8 patties depending on how large you make them. My niece got the recipe from a book written by Oh She Glows. 

    • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
    • 1/3 cup of warm water
    • 1 15 oz can of black beans (425g) drained and rinsed
    • 1 cup carrot or sweet potato, grated
    • 1/3 cup parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
    • 3/4 cup gluten free oats
    • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin Olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons tamari or gluten free soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin and dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. In a small bowl mix the flaxseed and water and let sit for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens.
    3. In a large bowl mash the black beans into a paste leaving a few whole for texture. 
    4. Stir in the remaining seasonings and flax egg. 
    5. Adjust seasonings to taste. 
    6. Divide the mixture into 8 portions and with wet hands tightly pack the into patties. 
    7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, flip and bake another 15 -20 minutes. An alternative would be to grill them for the final 15 minutes instead of baking them. 
    8. Serve on a crusty bun (gluten free if necessary, and top with your favorite conditments. Absolutely delicious. Really, trust me! 

    Pina Colada Pie

    If you can't join your friends who are vacationing in Hawaii, how about enjoying the flavours of Hawaii at home? This creamy pineapple coconut macadamia pie is a tropical delight.
    • pastry for a 9-inch pie (homemade or store-bought)
    • 3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2" pieces
    • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
    • 3 eggs
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 cup whole milk (or light cream) 
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted 
    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    1. Line a 9" pie plate with pastry.  Trim and crimp edges.
    2. Place pineapple pieces evenly over pastry-lined pie plate.
    3. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of coconut.
    4. Put remaining ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and creamy. 
    5. Pour the mixture carefully over the pineapple and coconut in pie plate. 
    6. Sprinkle macadamia nuts and 1/4 cup coconut on top.
    7. Bake in a 350°F degree oven for 50-55 minutes or until firm in centre and golden.
    8. Cool.  Refrigerate.
    9. Serve with whipped cream.
    Serves 8

    Slow Cooked Garlic and Rosemary Roast Beef Dinner

    This slow cooked roast with it's wonderful aromas wafting through the kitchen as it cooks, will be enjoyed long before it's served. Serve it along with roasted, cooked or mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.


    • 2 pound boneless rump, top sirloin or round roast
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • pepper
    • 2 - 3 cloves garlic
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 1/2 cup red wine or water
    • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
    • 1 sprig fresh sage
    side dishes
    • 4 yellow or red potatoes
    • 4 carrots
    • 4 cups green beans, frozen or fresh
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    1. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Tuck peeled garlic cloves under twine.
    2. Place in slow cooker.
    3. Add cream of mushroom soup, splash of wine, rosemary and sage.  
    4. Cook on high for 5 - 6 hours or on low for 7 - 8 hours
    5. Half hour before serving, cook quartered potatoes. Cook chopped carrots in a separate small pot for 5 minutes. Stir together carrots, green beans, olive oil and 1 crushed garlic clove. Roast at 400° F for 30 minutes in foil lined pan.
    6. When ready to serve, remove roast to serving plate and cover. 
    7. To make gravy, shake 1 tablespoon flour with 1/2 cup water in a jar, and add to roast beef juices, stirring until thick. If you like, you can pour the juices into a pot through a sieve and do the same.  There will be lots of gravy. Add some rolls to sop it up. Serves 4 ( use a 3 - 4 pound roast to serve 6 - 8) 

    Bread for the Journey - Bev

    I love this picture that my husband took recently of a seemingly angry bird!
    He looks mad, he's obviously being very vocal and there's no doubt his feathers are ruffled!

    In our church ladies' Bible Study we've been studying the Sermon on the Mount 
    and there are a few verses there that speak to how we should respond when
     our feathers get ruffled!

    Matthew 5:21, 22, 

    "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

    I don't think I've taken this instruction seriously enough.
     Jesus is not contradicting the law that Moses gave but is calling his followers
     to a higher standard than the letter of the law sets out.

    Everyone, Christian or non Christian, agrees that murder is a sin and is deserving of punishment.
    But we feel justified in calling someone a fool (or worse) when we feel their actions deserve it.
    However we as followers of Christ, are called to treat everyone with grace and mercy as He did.
    That includes the person who cut you off on the highway,
      the fellow church member who offended you,
    your spouse when they've done something you thought was was ill-advised,
     or your child for a thoughtless or rebellious act.
    According to this passage, when we react in anger or derision,
    we too are deserving of judgment.

    This passage challenged me and with God's grace I will be thinking twice
     before reacting in anger or calling someone a fool.
    My prayer is that all of us as Christians will be known for the grace and mercy we show to others
    especially when our feathers are ruffled!

    Flash Back Friday ~ Coconut Scones and Rhubarb Jam

    These scones are so light and delightful and especially so when paired up with fresh rhubarb jam. I still have rhubarb jam from last summer so it was time to make these scones again. This time I changed the recipe a wee bit by reducing the sugar. I reduced the sugar to 1/3 cup and it was sweet enough. Unsweetened or sweetened coconut both work in this recipe but if you're using sweetened you can reduce the sugar further to 1/4 cup.
    Great to serve for breakfast or brunch and don't forget to gift a few to someone in need of a blessing.
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 cup finely shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted and cooled, then ground up in food processor (coffee grinder works too)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 1/2 teaspooons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut in 1/2" cubes
    • 1 1/4 cups cold whipping cream (I have used half whipping cream and half buttermilk)
    • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1. Combine dry ingredients including coconut, add butter pieces and pulse a few times if you're using a food processor and if not cut in with a pastry blender until no large butter pieces are visible.
    2. Combine cream and extracts and add to the dry ingredients and pulse a few more times till dough comes together. You may need to add a bit more flour at this time, just enough to handle the dough.
    3. Pat dough on baking sheet 1/2 " thick, form into a circle and cut into 10 wedges.
    4. Brush with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. I like coarse sugar best but granulated works.
    5. Bake at 425º F for 15 - 18 minutes, they will be golden in color.
    Rhubarb Jam:
    • 4 cups rhubarb
    • 3 cups sugar
    1. Mix the rhubarb and sugar together in a large saucepan and bring to boil on high. Then lower the heat to medium and boil for 10 minutes stirring frequently. Pour in jars and seal. 
    2. Yield: approx 4 jelly jars.

    Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/3 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/3 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 1/3 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups grated carrots
    • 2 teaspoons water
    • 1/3 cup chopped dates
    1. Cream together sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and salt.
    2. Add dry ingredients and mix to incorporate.
    3. Add vanilla and grated carrots. Mix well.
    4. Finely chop dates into a small microwave bowl and add the water. Heat for 45 seconds. Remove and mash with a fork. You may need to heat just a few more seconds if they are not soft. 
    5. Add softened dates to the carrot mixture. 
    6. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake in 300ºF oven for 1 hour. 
    Cream Cheese Frosting:
    • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    1. Beat all ingredients together very well until you have a whipped smooth frosting. 
    2. Frost completely cooled cake. 
    This cake keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, and freezes very well. A great dessert to have on hand in the freezer. 

    Yogurt Pancakes

    These were a nice change from regular pancakes made with yogurt instead of milk. We enjoyed them with a dollop of plain yogurt and pure maple syrup. Since childhood our family has enjoyed pancakes with sour cream and syrup. If you've never tried it you should. With these yogurt pancakes we used yogurt instead of sour cream and we enjoyed them.

    • 1 cup flour
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup plain yogurt
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
    2. In separate bowl whisk together the yogurt, eggs, oil or butter and vanilla.
    3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients combining well.
    4. Heat pan to medium high to cook the pancakes with a combo of vegetable oil and butter.
    5. Use 1/3 cup measure to proportion the batter and end up with 8 uniform pancakes. 
    6. Cook to a golden brown on one side and flip and cook the other side.
    7. Serve with your favorite toppings.
    Yield: 8 pancakes

    Double the recipe to serve more people.

    Nine Bean Soup

    This hearty soup can be made in a large slow cooker or on top of the stove.  It is so handy to have a pot of soup to warm up during the week.  Adding the bok choy at the end provides extra nutrition to the mix of beans. 
    • 1 smoked ham hock 
    • 1/2 pound chorizo,  diced
    • 9 cups water
    • 2 cups of nine bean soup mix, or a variety of beans and lentils (without seasoning)
    • 2 onions, diced
    • 1 cup celery, diced
    • 10 peppercorns
    • 6 whole allspice
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 tablespoon dried summer savoury
    • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
      1. 3 carrots, diced
      2. 1 28 ounce / 796 ml can diced tomatoes
      3. dash of natural hickory liquid smoke 
      4. 3 baby bok choy, chopped (optional)
      5. Salt and Pepper to taste
      1. Put the ham hock or ham bone and chorizo in a slow cooker set to low and add water along with beans, onion, celery.
      2. Add peppercorns, allspice, and bay leaves(tied into a square of cheesecloth or in a spice ball).
      3. Sprinkle with summer savoury and parsley. 
      4. Cook on high 6 - 8 hours. 
      5. Remove ham and break it apart into bite-sized pieces. Discard ham bone. 
      6. Add carrots, tomatoes, reserved ham and a dash of natural hickory liquid smoke.
      7. Continue to cook on low until carrots are tender. Add chopped baby bok choy in the last 15 minutes of cooking.  
      8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and add salt and pepper to taste. 

      Bread For The Journey


      The ten of us women have had a very special friendship for the past 10 years. We have shared tears, laughter, encouragement, and prayer together. We love each other and are friends (family) for life! I call them 'sisters of my heart'.
      I also have other friendships that I've treasured for over 50 years. These are friendships I don't take lightly. They are precious and close to my heart, an unbreakable bond between us. It takes time and effort to build these relationships but are truly worth it in the end.

      Friends don't necessarily agree with each other all the time but true friendship allows you to separate the 'wheat from the chaff'. You keep the valuable and let the rest blow away!

      Friends enrich our very existence. In the Bible we read that David and Jonathan had such a friendship.
      1 Samuel 18: 1 - 4 ESV tells us how close these two verse 1 it tells us that 'Jonathan was knit to the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul..'  That is true friendship.
      I want to be that kind of friend.

      Sour Cream Orange Buns

      I have to admit that when I first posted this recipe almost 10 years ago I hesitated sharing it because I wanted to keep it a secret. I still had no idea what I'd signed up for and felt a little bit like maybe some recipes were too sacred or something like that. After all these years,  I'm just happy if I can find a recipe to share.

      • 1/2 cup sugar 
      • 3 eggs
      • 1/2 cup butter, very soft or melted
      • 1/2 cup sour cream
      • 2 cups hot water
      • 7 cups flour (approx)
      • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 cup melted butter (approx) for brushing
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 1 cup coconut
      • grated rind of two oranges
      • 3/4 cup sugar,
      • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
      • 1/2 cup sour cream,
      • orange rind and juice of 1/2 orange
      1. In bowl of stand mixer or large mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs well, then beat in butter and sour cream. 
      2. Add water and a few cups flour, then the yeast and salt. Continue adding four to make a soft dough that holds together. The amount varies with the humidity of the day. (If you are using a mixer, use a dough hook attachment. Transfer dough to a large bowl when the flour is well incorporated.) Knead dough to hold a soft shape that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It’s okay if it’s still a little bit sticky.
      3. Sprinkle lightly with flour and shape into a ball by pushing down and under along sides while rotating bowl with left hand, until dough is smooth. Cover and let rise 1 hour.  (top right photo is of risen dough)
      4. Pinch risen dough in half and roll each out (using a light dusting of flour under and on top) to about 10”x 20”. Do not press or work dough too hard. 
      5. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1/3 of the filling. (1/3 for each half and save 1/3 for topping). 
      6. Roll up jelly roll style and slice into about 1 inch slices.
      7. Place on greased or parchment paper lined pans, leaving a bit of room to spread. (as in bottom left photo)
      8. Cover with tea towel and plastic. Let rise 1 hour. They can be touching when they are ready, for pull apart buns. You can place them further apart for more individual buns.
      9. Sprinkle with some more of the coconut filling and bake at 350° F about 20 min. 
      10. Meanwhile, bring glaze ingredients to boil and cook, stirring, for 1 1/2 minutes. the glaze can thicken a bit while it cools. Spoon over buns while they are still hot. This topping is yummy. You may want to make extra to drizzle just before serving Yield: 3 dozen

      Two Bite Brownies

      Chocolate lovers little indulgence. So quick and easy, and the wonderful smell of chocolate baking will draw the family into the kitchen. Great alone or put one or two into a bowl with ice cream. 
      (yields 48 Two Bite Brownies)
      • 3/4 cup butter, melted
      • 1/2 cup cocoa
      • 2 cups brown sugar
      • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla
      • 1 cup flour
      • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, optional
      ***if you want a little espresso flavour remove 1 teaspoon of cocoa from the 1/2 cup and add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the mix***
      1. Melt butter.
      2. In a separate bowl whisk eggs and vanilla together.
      3. Stir in dry ingredients and then add the melted butter. Stir until all ingredients are mixed together well. 
      4. Divide batter between greased mini muffin tins. ( I just give the whole tin a quick spay with oil. The mini pans are so tiny and finicky to rub each one individually.)
      5. Bake in 350ºF oven for 8-10 minutes. They will puff up and be set but not completely firm. You don't want to over bake them. Check them earlier than later if your oven bakes on the hot side.
      6. Allow to sit in pans for about 30 seconds and then using a sharp paring knife gently lift brownies out of tin. These freeze well. 

      Cottage Cheese Waffles

      The other day I looked through my stash of handwritten recipes and came across this one from long ago. I decided to make these waffles on a Saturday night when I didn't know what to make for supper. They were so delicious, airy, and light. I will be making them again. Next time I will make the sweet white sauce that's usually served with waffles in our household. Our granddaughter asked 'Grandma you didn't make white sauce'? The unthinkable in her books!
      Add fresh fruit and bacon and you have a delicious breakfast, lunch, or supper.
      • 2 eggs
      • 1/4 cup buttermilk
      • 3 tablespoons oil 
      • 1/2 cup creamed cottage cheese
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
      • 1/4 cup flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
      • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      1. Beat eggs, buttermilk, oil, cottage cheese, and vanilla until well blended. 
      2. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined, the mixture will be somewhat on the thin side.
      3. Cook in waffle iron until done..they will be golden in color.
      4. Serve with maple syrup or white sauce. 
      5. Yield: 4 waffles

      Six Week Bran Muffins

      You might be thinking this is the old original recipe that we've all had for years...and you are right! Sometimes it's good to pull out an old favourite and jazz it up a bit, or bake it in different shapes and sizes. This is a large recipe, but disappears faster than the 6 weeks it can last. Adding dates to this old standby makes them even more moist and tasty.
      I use Anneliese's Sticky Sauce when I want to make some of them a little sweeter and stickier.
      Once you've made the muffin mix, you can bake up just several or a whole pan at a time. Try poking a few frozen blueberries into the batter just before baking or grating some orange rind into the batter.
      All variations freeze well.
      • 3 cups bran buds (I use All Bran Cereal, Kellogg's brand)
      • 3 cups bran flakes
      • 2 cups boiling water
      • 1 cup butter
      • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
      • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
      • 4 eggs
      • 4 cups buttermilk
      • 1/3 cup molasses
      • 5 cups flour
      • 2 tablespoons baking soda
      • 1 tablespoon baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1 1/4 cups dates, chopped fine
      • 2 tablespoons water
      1. Stir bran buds and flakes together in a large glass bowl. Pour bowling water over them and allow to sit.
      2. In another large bowl cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs, buttermilk and molasses and beat well.
      3. Add bran mixture and mix well.
      4. Measure all dry ingredients into another bowl and stir to combine.
      5. Add dry mixture to to bran and buttermilk mixture and stir or mix to combine.
      6. Put chopped dates and last amount of water into a microwavable bowl. Cook in microwave for 1 minute. Take out and stir well. Mixture will get pasty. You may need to put it back in for 30 seconds. Don't over cook as they will burn. 
      7. Add cooked date mash to batter and stir well to combine.
      8. Store whole mixture in a well sealed container and place in refrigerator. Give the mix a little stir when you are ready to bake some muffins. If adding in some extra fruit or zest, put some of the mix into a small bowl and stir in the extras. The mix will be good for up to 6 weeks if kept well sealed and in refrigerator. 
      9. Choose the size of tins. Spray lightly if not using a liner. For regular size muffins, fill cups to 2/3 full and bake at 400ºF for 15-18 minutes. Ovens vary so check with a toothpick. If using mini muffin tins, bake at same temperature but check at 10 minutes. 
      Sticky Sauce method: (for 12 regular size muffins)
      • 4 tablespoons butter
      • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
      • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
      • 2 tablespoons honey
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
      1. Put all ingredients except for vanilla in a small sauce pan. 
      2. Stirring constantly bring to a light bowl until sugar has melted. 
      3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
      4. Grease muffin tins and then divide mixture between 12 muffin cups. (these don't work with paper liners)
      5. Put muffin batter right on top of the sticky sauce. Filling to 3/4 full. 
      6. Bake as directed above. Remove sticky muffins upside down to a cooling rack immediately after baking. 
      This is where I bake and family and friends young and older gather. As you can see it's small and cozy, but spills over into a casual living space with a cozy fire place...and yes, you can take your 'cup of stuff and a thing' into there and put your feet up, or sit at the island. I may put you to work with a cutting board and sharp knife if you sit there. 

      Seafood Crepes

      This is a perfect dish for date night.  The crepes can be divided between individual gratin dishes. The flavour of the seafood is delicious in the creamy white sauce. The recipe can be easily doubled to serve company. 

      Seafood Crepes  
      • 1 cup all flour
      • 2 large eggs
      • 1 cup whole milk (more if needed)
      • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • Butter as needed to cook crepes

      Seafood Sauce
      • 1 tablespoon butter
      • 1 portion salmon
      • 2 tablespoons butter
      • 2 tablespoons flour
      • 2 cups whole milk
      • 1 cup small shrimp, peeled and deveined
      • 1 cup small bay scallops
      • 1/3 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
      • 3 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
      • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

      1. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the flour, the milk, (a bit at a time) vegetable oil, and salt and begin whisking. Pour in the remaining milk.  Add additional milk if needed. The batter should be like heavy cream. Refrigerate for one hour.
      2. Heat a 9-inch non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of butter to the pan and then ladle about 1/4 cup batter into the pan,  tilting the pan to evenly coat bottom. Cook until the top surface is no longer wet and then flip over and cook for another 10 seconds.  Stack crepes on a plate.
      3.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter is melted, add the salmon to the pan and cook on each side until browned and the center is nearly done. Set aside on a plate.
      4. In the same saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter, and add the flour, stirring to combine. Whisk in the milk slowly to combine and continue to whisk over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. 
      5. Add the shrimp and scallops and simmer just until the seafood is opaque. ( a few minutes) Add the parmesan and half the Gruyere cheese.  Add half of the chives and parsley. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
      6. Break up the salmon and divide between crepes. Add a few tablespoons of the seafood to a crepe, Roll it up and transfer to a greased baking dish or put two in individual baking dishes.  
      7. Top with the last of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake at 350 F until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly.  Top with the last of the chopped herbs. 

      Makes 8 crepes

      Bread for the Journey

      In the midst of uncertainty, confusion and loss
      this picture depicts a simple beauty that still remains.
      The only explanation I can find is that
      she has made deposits into her spiritual well being.
      She has filled her mind with hymns and spiritual songs
      from the time she was a youth,
      from before I was born,
      and they remain as a final blessing to her now.

      As I sat beside her last Sunday, singing the following hymn,
      I asked her if she was enjoying this.
      Her responses to other things may not always make sense,
      but her response now was,
      "Who wouldn't like that song?"

      So ... for that reason I have to share it.

      1. I come to the garden alone,
        While the dew is still on the roses,
        And the voice I hear falling on my ear
        The Son of God discloses.
        • Refrain:
          And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
          And He tells me I am His own;
          And the joy we share as we tarry there,
          None other has ever known.
      2. He speaks, and the sound of His voice
        Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
        And the melody that He gave to me
        Within my heart is ringing.
      3. I’d stay in the garden with Him,
        Though the night around me be falling,
        But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
        His voice to me is calling.
      4. Charles A. Miles, 1913

      This leaves me with one question:
      What kind of deposit am I making 
      in the memory bank of my mind?

      "How blessed is the person who does not take the advice of the wicked ...
      but he delights in the Lord's instruction."
      Psalm 1:1-2

      Flashback Friday ~ Baron of Beef

      This year we are in the middle of renovations in our kitchen.  So I quickly made this baron of beef dish, before my appliances were removed, knowing that I would have the perfect leftovers for the following week. All I needed to do was to warm up the dish in my microwave.   Little did I know that we would be off skiing and it became the perfect supper to serve to the family when we all arrived home to my daughter's house.  If you check back you can see that this has always been a favorite over the past years.

      Baron of Beef
      • Sirloin Tip Roast
      • 3-5 pounds
      • dry mustard
      • 1 package dry onion soup mix
      1. Rub with dry mustard/onion soup mix
      2. Put it in the oven to roast and add some water
      3. Roast approximately 2 1/2 hours. (depending on the size)
      4. When the meat has cooled, slice it very thin and layer it in the same roasting pan.

      • 1 cup ketchup
      • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
      • 1/4 cup vinegar
      • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon celery salt
      • 1 clove garlic
      • 1 tablespoon minced onions
      • 2 tablespoons soya sauce  
      1. Blend these items together in a small bowl.
      2. Layer this sauce over the meat.
      3. Cook for 1 hour in the oven at 350° F
      Tip:  When the roast is finished cooking, I leave it in the roasting pan to cool.  Then I take it out to slice thin and put it right back into the roasting pan so that all the juices can be mixed together which gives that added flavor.

      Curried Sweet Potato / Carrot Soup

      I love any kind of creamed vegetable soup with exotic spices and flavours, whether ordering at a restaurant or trying them at home. This easy to make soup is sure to warm you on a cold day.

      • 2 sweet potatoes (yams) peeled, chopped  (4 - 5 cups)
      • 5 carrots, peeled, chopped
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
      • pepper
      • 1 onion, choped very fine
      • 1 tablespoon vinegar
      • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
      • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated fine
      • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cury powder
      • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
      • 4 cups chicken stock ( I use water and 3 teaspoons better than bouillon) 
      • 1 cup half and half cream
      1. Chop peeled yams and carrots into 1 inch slices. Bring to boil in salted water and cook for 5 - 7 minutes. Drain. Transfer to aluminum lined roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and pepper. Roast at 400° F for 30 minutes.
      2. In the meantime, cook onion with the rest of the olive oil in the same pot as you cooked the vegetables. Cook until soft and golden.
      3. Add vinegar, garlic, ginger and spices. Cook, stirring for a minute, then add 1 cup broth. Simmer until the roasted vegetables are done. 
      4. Blend roasted vegetables along with the cream in blender (or add all to pot and use immersion blender.)
      5. Add to pot along with enough broth to make the right consistency. 
      6. Serve with a dollup of yogurt or sour cream, if desired. Pumpkin seeds, toasted coconut and chives are options for garnish.  Serves 6

      Mashed Potato Waffles

      Not sure what to do with leftover mashed potatoes?  Here's something you may not have thought of.  Pull out your waffle iron and cook up some savory waffles for a brunch treat.

      • 2 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes
      • 2 eggs
      • 1/4 cup flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
      • 1-2 tablespoons chopped chives (or green onions)
      • 6-8 slices bacon, fried to a crisp and crumbled or cut into pieces
      • sour cream
      1. Preheat waffle iron on medium heat and spray with cooking oil.
      2. Combine potatoes, eggs, flour and salt in mixing bowl. 
      3. Stir in cheese and chives.
      4. Place a small scoop of mixture onto each section of the Belgian waffle iron and close lid.
      5. Cook until waffles are golden and crispy (about 5 minutes).
      6. Remove waffles and repeat with remaining potato mixture. 
      7. Serve waffles topped with sour cream, chopped green onion, and bacon pieces.
      Yield: 8 small potato waffles

      Peach Cherry Pinwheel Cobbler

      Cherry pie filling and canned peaches with a hint of lemon and cinnamon is a delicious combo for the filling. This was our dessert for Valentine's Day dinner.
      This is a little different method of making a cobbler. Rolling out the dough, spreading with peach jam and rolled up pinwheel style is a different twist to the topping.

      • 1 can 540 ml/ 19 oz cherry pie filling
      • 1 cup canned sliced peaches, drained and slices cut in half
      • Juice of half a lemon 
      • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      • 1 cup flour
      • 2 tablespoons sugar
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • Zest of half a lemon
      • 1/4 cup butter
      • 1/3 cup buttermilk
      • 3 tablespoons peach jam
      • 2 teaspoons coarse sugar 
      1. In a greased  oven/microwave 8" square baking dish combine cherry pie filling, peaches, lemon juice and cinnamon.
      2. Microwave uncovered for 4 minutes until heated through.
      3. In a medium sized bowl whisk together dry topping ingredients.
      4. Cut in butter until you have coarse crumbs.
      5. Stir in buttermilk just until dry ingredients are moistened. Dump onto your counter and knead lightly until dough forms a ball.
      6. Roll dough into 8" x 9" rectangle. Spread peach jam over dough, roll up like a jelly roll starting with 8" side. Cut into 9 even slices.
      7. Place slices of dough over filling.
      8. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, I was out of coarse sugar and used granulated.
      9. Bake in a 400º oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown
      10. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
      11. Yield: 9 servings  

      One-Skillet Steak for Two

      This is a complete one-skillet meal for two that is satisfying. I found the idea in a magazine and I added my own twists to the recipe.

      • 1 - (12 ounce) New York Strip steak 
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
      • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
      • 2 teaspoons, plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 1 tablespoon butter
      • 1/2 cup dry white wine or any broth, divided
      • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
      • 1 clove garlic, minced
      • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
      • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
      • 1/4 cup cream or half and half

      1. Season both sides of patted dry steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
      2. Heat a 9 inch cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium high heat.
      3. Rub seasoned steak with 2 teaspoons oil and cook, turning every 2 minutes, to desired doneness, about 7-11 minutes, depending on thickness of your steak.
      4. Transfer steak to a cutting board to rest.
      5. Heat remaining tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in the same pan adding 1/4 cup wine or broth slowly scrapping pan to de-glaze over medium high heat.
      6. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3-4 minutes.
      7. Add garlic 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
      8. Continue to cook, stirring, for one minute.
      9. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate and cover to keep warm.
      10. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the shallots to the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, 1-2 minutes.
      11. Add the other 1/4 cup wine or broth slowly.
      12. Add half the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted. 
      13. Add remaining spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted.
      14. Add the cream, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the cream has thickened slighty.
      15. Return the mushrooms to the skillet and stir them with the creamed spinach mixture.
      16. Remove from heat.
      17. Slice the steak and serve on top of the mushrooms and creamed spinach.
      18. Serves: 2

      Tips: When I went to the grocery store boneless Rib-Eye steak was on sale at $5.00 less per pound than the New York Strip so I used it instead and it worked nicely. If you buy a small bag of baby spinach you can use the whole bag, dividing it in two. It wilts down significantly. Have all your ingredients ready and proportioned before you start to make the process work smoothly.

      Bread For The Journey

      I Believe 

      It's been a year that we have walked through sorrow and grief of hearing the tragic news.
      Grief has such an interesting way of defining itself.  Each day it wears a new face.
      It's not the way I expected the year to unfold.
      This past week I have enjoyed watching the Olympics Winter Games in PyeongChang. As I watch and observe the Olympics,  I think of Joe and what it was like for him on his last day of work as he trudged up the Gold Coast Ridge at Squaw Valley to his job as a ski patroller. He was doing avalanche control work to ready the snow-drenched mountain for the day's onslaught of skiers. 
      Did he know he was going to meet his maker that day?
      Joe was the type of young man who loved nothing more than deep conversations
      from politics to quantum physics, to theology.
      He was not afraid to ask the hard questions.  But more importantly, he wasn't afraid to seek answers.
      It was so special to hear how one friend shared his experience while he spent the day touring in the mountains with Joe when he asked a very direct question,
      "Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?"
      Out of fear of the tough questions that may have followed, hesitantly, the words followed
       "Uh-huh, yeah sure."
      Joe quickly and confidently responded, with "Well, I sure do."
      That statement gave the confidence beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would be many more deep conversations, and endless powder turns for all eternity with Joe.
      What does your life represent....?
      Can people say of you, that without a shadow of a doubt
        they will share more life with you in eternity?
      Ask the tough questions in life and continue to seek answers.
      He has left a legacy in his life.
      Little do we know when our time will come.
      When I think of Joe, I realized he stood proudly on his podium and declared his belief in God and
      God took the Gold medal and draped it around his neck.
      Do you believe?

      They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household."
      Acts 16:31 NIV

      Cranberry and Ricotta Muffins ~ Flash Back Friday

      I first posted these moist and tender ricotta muffins using dried cherries but have found that they are great with almost any chopped fruit or small berries. Today I'm using Cranberries.  The original recipe also has the option of adding a sugar butter topping.  You can find the original recipe here. 

      Also, when I bake muffins, I prefer not to use cupcake liners. There used to be a muffin coffee shop in town and their muffins were just wonderful with a nice crisp exterior.  If you are having trouble getting your muffin pans to release without liners, it might be time to invest in some new ones.  My favourite pans are  USA tins.  I use them for Paska as well.  I don't even need to butter or spray them.  Marg told me about them and I've converted all my bread and muffin pans to that brand.
      • 1  cup ricotta cheese
      • 2 large eggs
      • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup whole milk with a teaspoon of vinegar)
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
      • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
      • 1/3 cup melted butter
      • 2 cups white flour
      • 1/2 cup white sugar
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (partly chopped)
      1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
      2. Spray a 12 cup non-stick muffin pan and set aside.
      3. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and eggs with a whisk.
      4. Add the buttermilk and the flavourings, lemon peel and then butter.
      5. Add the dry ingredients all together and then stir just until combined.
      6. Add the cranberries, just stirring until evenly dispersed.
      7. Fill the muffin cups almost to the top.
      8. Bake for about 20 - 25  minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.

      Cauliflower Chowder

      I came across a large bag of finely chopped cauliflower in my freezer a few weeks ago.
      We'd bought too much for the antipasto we made before Christmas and
      I'd bagged up the remainder thinking I could use it in soup.
      So that's what I did and it was delicious!
      It's  hearty, healthy and satisfying!

      • 1 1/2 cups finely diced cooked farmer sausage *
      • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
      • 1 onion chopped
      • 1 large clove garlic, minced
      • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
      • 1 large stalk celery, diced
      • 4 cups chicken broth
      • 1 cup half and half cream or whipping cream** 
      • 1 head cauliflower, finely chopped ( about 4 cups)
      • 1 bay leaf
      • salt and seasoned pepper (like Montreal steak spice)
      • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
      1. Saute onion garlic, carrots and celery in butter until vegetables begin to soften.
      2. Place vegetables in large soup pot and add cauliflower, bay leaf and chicken broth.
      3. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium low heat until cauliflower is softened. 
      4. Taste chowder and add seasoned pepper and salt if needed.
      5. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
      *You can replace the farmer sausage with 1 cup crumbled, pre-fried bacon
      **You can replace the cream with 2% milk if you like but you may need to thicken the soup with milk and flour blended together. Add thickening and stir as you bring it back to a boil. Simmer a few minutes, stirring well.

      Valentines Rice Krispie Treats

      I had not planned on posting this here but when the date was free, I decided to take it, even if just for a super simple treat today. Maybe you have some littles in your family to do this with. As you can see, these three-year-olds can do it, so anyone can.

      • 1/4 cup butter
      • 5 cups miniature or 40 regular (250 g pkg) marshmallows
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
      • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
      • 1- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
      • sprinkles of choice
      1. In a large pot, over low heat, melt butter, then add the marshmallows, stirring until melted.
      2. Stir in vanilla and cereal. 
      3. Press onto wax or parchment paper lined pan to about 3/4 inch thickness.
      4. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and insert lolly pop sticks. (optional) You can keep reshaping the cereal before it hardens.
      5. Melt chocolate chips.
      6. Put the melted chocolate in a piping bag (or small zip-lock with a tiny hole cut in it) to outline or cover part of the Rice Krispie cookies. (I quickly did this and then let the girls sprinkle to their hearts content.)
      7. Refrigerate until set. Slip into tiny cellophane bags and tie.

      If you do them without "help" you can perfect them a bit more ... but you'll miss out on the excitement of watching those sprinkles get dumped. I used a cookie sheet to work on for good reason.

      Happy Valentines Day!