The Things We Do To Make Our Kids Smile…

November 28, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

a) I need to invest in a box of food prep gloves.  I think my hands are permanently stained at this point.

b) A shout-out to my friend Candace for the instructions :). Thanks!  😘

Tonight I dyed the tips of Caity’s hair, and my hands, with liquid Cherry Kool-Aid (hence the need for food prep gloves!). She’s thrilled with the results – I think it’s a neat effect, and certainly cheaper than going to a Salon.

Here’s how you do it:

Boil enough water for two mugs.  Pour the water into the mug and add about 1/4-1/2 of the Kool-Aid bottle to each mug. Separate hair and place a ponytail holder at the top of where you want the colour to stop.  Repeat for as many ponytails as you need.

Make sure they’re wearing a shirt which can be thrown out if necessary and wrap a dark towel around their shoulder to protect from the dye.

Dip each ponytail into one of the prepared cups and let sit for at least 7 minutes – or as long as they’ll hold still.  I let Cait read while she was waiting to pass the time.  I had to put the mugs on a Kleenex box to get it to the right height.

Carefully take the ponytails out of the cups and dry with paper towel.  Blow dry the dyed ends.  Rinse them with cool water until the water runs clear.  Blow dry the hair and style.  This should last a few washes, fading as it goes.

It works best on blonde hair.

Caity loves the look and has already told me that next time she wants blue.

The nice thing about dying just the tips is, if you don’t like it, you can cut it off 🙂

Advertisements

Girls’ Weekend 2017 and an Argo Grey Cup Win to Boot..!

November 27, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Christmas, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Recipes, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Another year, another Grey Cup game (Toronto Argonauts won btw), and another girls’ weekend 🙂

In years’ past, the girls were obviously much younger and it was easier to get them to watch a Christmas movie with me while we camped out on the floor for an indoor picnic.  I can tell Lexy’s older and in High School now, because getting her to spend more than 20 minutes out of her room can be a struggle.

That is, unless you make cookies….

This year, we (by ‘we’, I mean ‘me/I’) decided to make Sugar Cookies.  I tried a recipe for Sugar Cookies years ago, but it didn’t turn out very well and was discouraged from ever making them again.  I did a lot of research this year and the batch we made were really good.  Lexy said the recipe is a keeper, so here we are.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup room temperature unsalted Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg

Method:

Cream together Butter and Sugars until well blended (about 1-2 minutes) and smooth.  Add Vanilla and the Egg and beat for another minute.  Add the Flour 1 Cup at a time, mixing after each addition.  Once all the ingredients are in the mixer, beat for 3-5 minutes.  The dough will be a bit sticky.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Pour dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and cover, then knead the dough until it comes together.  Shape into a rectangle or square.  Completely cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to use, or at least 1/2 hour.

We made two batches of the dough.  When the second batch had been made and wrapped, the first one was pretty much ready to roll.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4” thickness.  You will need to dust your rolling pin as well as the surface – just don’t add too much flour.  You can also roll the dough between pieces of parchment paper if you find it too sticky.

Using your favourite cutters, cut out cookies and place the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Usually I use two baking sheets, and keep one of them in the fridge while I’m waiting for the other batch to bake.  Starting with a cold sheet pan helps prevent the dough from spreading – it’s a good tip for shortbread cookies. Reroll the scraps and cut cookies until you have the dough used up.

Bake each tray for 15 minutes, turning after the first 8 minutes.  Take them out just as they begin to brown.  Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Makes 19-25 cookies, depending on the size of your cutter.  Use rolling bands (like elastic bands for your rolling pin) or wood strips to ensure you have dough rolled evenly.

Royal Icing (a.k.a. The Royal Bitch):

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Water (plus several Teaspoonsful for thinning)
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Gel Food Colouring, assorted colours

Method:

Beat Meringue Powder and Water, using the paddle attachment, until it foams (about 1 minute). Add Vanilla and 1 cup of sugar at a time until it is all incorporated, beating well (slowly at first or you’ll wear the powdered sugar – don’t ask me how I know this) after each addition.  Beat the heck out of it for about 2 minutes until the mixture becomes light and airy.  You now have icing which you can use to ‘glue’ a Gingerbread House together.  Add the additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing well after each addition until you get to Flooding consistency.  To tell if it’s right, run a toothpick or fork across the surface of the icing and it should ‘repair’ and disappear within 15 seconds.

Divide the mixture by the number of colours you want to use and place each part of the icing into a plastic sandwich bag or piping bag.  Add different food colouring to each batch until you get the colour you want to use.  Snip a very small hole into one corner of each bag (ensure the bags are sealed first … again, don’t ask me how I know this…).  Outline the cookies, close to the edge, then pipe a bunch of icing inside the line (think of colouring in a colouring book when you were a kid).  Use a toothpick to spread the icing around the inside of the lines. Add sprinkles or other embellishments if you wish.  Let the cookies dry on a rack for several hours until the icing hardens, then pack them away so you don’t eat them all at once.

Somehow Lexy’s class benefitted from all of our hard work and we were left with only 8 cookies. :-s  Apparently the class gobbled them up.  Looks like we’ll be making more …

 

Are You My Mother…?

November 21, 2017 at 1:30 am | Posted in Birthdays, Christmas, Depression, Family Ties, Toeses and Noses | 3 Comments
Tags: , , ,

Yesterday I was told that she was so glad I was her Mom.

She told me how proud she was of me and my Father.

It wasn’t one of my Daughters who spoke those words, it was my Mom.

Any time lately when I call her, our conversations are nearly identical.  We’re caught in a hellish infinite time loop.

“Hello..?”, my Mom always answers the phone the same way, with trepidation and nervousness.

“Hi Mom, how are you?” My opening is always the same.

“Who is this?” She now sounds concerned.

“It’s me Mom, Kelly…”

“From where..?”

“Mom, I’m your Daughter…” I sigh, holding back tears because I don’t want her to hear me crying.

Sometimes hearing me say that phrase turns a switch on and she realizes who’s speaking.  Sometimes not.  It depends on the day, it depends on the last time I talked to her.

It’s so hard watching my Mom slip away from us, further each day.  My Mom’s Dementia is much worse than it was and she has been on a steady decline since the Summer, only a couple of months ago.

It seems lately that I’ve been getting a weekly phone call about her from the Nurses at her Long Term Care Facility.  Last week they found her sitting on the floor of her room, trying to rearrange the cables which lead to her bed.  She was confused and they weren’t sure if she fell, or just sat down. She’s been wheelchair-bound for the past two years since she fractured her Pelvis when a Resident pushed her while trying to gain access to my Mother’s room.

Two weeks ago, they called me to tell me they found her on the floor in her bathroom.  That time it was obvious that she fell and they were monitoring her for head injuries.

She thinks my Brother is my Husband, but she knows who my Husband is by sight – in person.  She doesn’t recognize people in photographs.  She doesn’t recognize herself when we show her a picture that we just took of all of us together.  “Who’s that?” she’ll point to herself, confused.

Sometimes she’s there.  I know she’s still in there somewhere, but the distance we have to travel to reach her gets farther every day.  She speaks to us in a combination of German and English, even though she hasn’t spoken more than a few words of German in thirty years.  That part of her Brain still functions sometimes. She doesn’t talk about Dad anymore.  He’s gone from her memory for the most part. I guess it’s a good thing that she doesn’t remember how much he suffered, the months before he passed.

We always fought from the time I was a teenager craving independence.  We were too much alike and butted heads often.  As the years went by and I had two wonderful girls, our weekly phone calls often ended up in yelling matches.  I would remind her of something coming up and she’d tell me that I never told her when I knew I did.  She would get insistent and stubborn and dig in her heels because I was wrong, I never mentioned that we were having Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or a Birthday, or my Sister invited them over when I had already asked them weeks before that.  It was frustrating.

When we would go visit, she would call afterwards and tell me that the girls must have broken the TV because she couldn’t get the clicker to work (she was pressing the wrong button).  “No one broke your TV…”, “Yes, they did…”, and so on.  When she moved into the Retirement home, the first few months we would have arguments about people coming into her room and moving things around when she wasn’t there, or taking her things.

She used to hoard items like there was a famine coming.  We cleaned out so many stale-dated products from her cupboards when they moved to an apartment, bagsful of flour and sugar.  She had a chest-freezer full of meat that had been there far too long.  Toilet paper and Paper Towels were another thing she stocked up on.  And still we’d fight.  It would infuriate me that I couldn’t get through to her about whatever it was that we were currently fighting about.

I had no idea at the time that it was a symptom of her disease.  Gradually I learned to have more patience with her.  Now she kicks her feet back and forth like a little kid when she’s happy.  She’s cute and silly and everything that you would expect from a three year old, except that she’s 92.

She hardly has any short term memory to speak of, that is if she can speak at all.  She babbles.  Sentences not quite forming from her lips, yet she knows what she wants to say – it’s just stuck in her head.  But she’s so happy to see us when we go to visit.  Lexy usually insists on going with us because she’s always been close to her Nanny.  Caity gets bored on the car and usually stays home.  Mom can’t remember their names, but refers to them as the Big One and the Little One.

It feels like I’m looking at my future and that is completely scary.  It’s depressing.  It’s maddening and there’s no hope for her except to keep visiting and calling and letting her know she’s not alone and she is loved.

I can’t sleep.  I toss and turn most nights that I’m not sedated.  Sometimes that doesn’t even help.  I no longer look forward to large gatherings full of food and family or parties or even getting dressed.  I know, it’s not about me, but that doesn’t make it any easier.  Some times you just need to wallow.

 

When Your Kid Wants Spinach, Make Her a Quiche…

October 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Food, Recipes, Sisters | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 Frozen Pie Shell or use your own Pate Brisee recipe, if you prefer (I use this version)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Pack of chopped frozen Spinach (2 squares)
  • ¼ Fresh grated Parmesan (the strand kind, not the dust kind of grated Parmesan – deli section)
  • 1 Small Onion finely diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, smashed and finely diced
  • ½ Cup table Cream (or 1/3 cup Whipping Cream)
  • ½ Cup 2% Milk (or 2/3 cup 2% Milk if using Whipping Cream)
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter or Bacon Grease (if available)
  • Fresh grated Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Brunoise (very small dice) 3-4 Mushrooms – Shiitake, Cremini, Chanterelle or Button

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F (or to package directions).  Thaw and dock the Pie Shell by pricking all over bottom and sides with a fork.  Set aside.

Finely dice onions, set aside.  Same for mushrooms and garlic.

Thaw Spinach using water method: in a saucepan, add frozen Spinach blocks and 1 cup of water, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Stirring frequently, scrape the thawed Spinach off the frozen brick and stir into the water to prevent burning.  When all of the Spinach has been thawed, remove from heat and strain onto several layers of Paper Towel or cheesecloth nestled in a standing colander.  Allow to cool.  When cool enough to touch, wrap the Paper Towel or cheesecloth around the Spinach and squeeze out as much water as you can.  Repeat with new Paper Towel if needed.  Set aside.

When the oven has reached temperature, bake the empty Pie Shell per package instructions (8-10 minutes). Cool completely.  Reduce temperature to 325°F.

In a pan, heat Oil and Butter or grease until melted. Add the diced Onion and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the Mushrooms if using and sauté until tender (about 5 minutes).  The Mushrooms may have sopped up all of your Oil, if so, add another Tablespoon or pat of Butter.  Add Garlic and continue to sauté until translucent being careful not to burn the Garlic.  Add cooked, cooled Spinach, Salt and Pepper to taste and a round of Freshly grated Nutmeg. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes to incorporate all flavours.  Set aside to cool.  Try not to snack on this while you’re waiting.  It’s yummy.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Eggs, a pinch of salt and a couple of rounds of freshly cracked pepper. Add cheese and Milk/Cream mixture, stirring to incorporate.  Add cooked Spinach mixture and stir to incorporate.  Pour into cooled pan and place on a cookie sheet, then in the oven.  Bake at 325°F for 50 minutes, spin Pie half way after 30 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge.

Enjoy cold or at room temperature.

Variations:

  • Replace Spinach and Parmesan above with Ham and Gruyère, replace Nutmeg with a pinch of dried Thyme.
  • Replace Spinach and Parmesan above with Ham, Gruyère and cooked and cubed Potato, replace Nutmeg with a pinch of Thyme and chopped Fresh Rosemary.
  • Same as original recipe above, but add cubes of leftover roasted Chicken (replace Parmesan with Cheddar).
  • Replace Brunoise Mushrooms with Mushrooms sautéed in butter with Onions and Garlic and a splash of White Wine (your choice of Mushrooms and Wine), add par-cooked Asparagus cut into 1″ pieces, and ½ cup frozen Peas. Replace Nutmeg with a pinch of dried Thyme.
  • Replace Spinach, Parmesan and Nutmeg with Roasted Garlic, Crispy Pancetta (sautéed with a splash of White Wine) and a pinch of Oregano and lots of fresh cracked Black Pepper

Great, now I’m hungry… :-S

Sunday Dinner … Cannelloni…

September 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Posted in Caityisms, Family Ties, Food, Recipes, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

We just came back from Curacao 🇨🇼, which was a birthday present to myself. It was a big one afterall, 50. Ugh.

The one good restaurant we ate at on the resort had a great Lasagne and I’ve been craving it since we came back. Instead of making the five hour plane trip again, I whipped up a batch, but spun it into Cannelloni.

I used blanched, fresh Lasagne noodles which were cut in half and rolled length-wise. This turned out to be the perfect size for a Cannelloni. The filling is Ground Beef, Onions, Garlic, Spices, Spinach, Mushrooms (don’t tell Caity), a bit of Béchamel sauce and a bit of Spaghetti sauce to moisten the meat. There are a lot of steps, but it’s worth it.

For the Filling:
• 1 Large Finely Chopped Onion (Reserve 1/4 Of The Chopped Onion For The Spinach)
• 2 Cloves Of Finely Chopped Garlic (Reserve 1/2 Of One Clove For The Spinach)
• 2 Lbs Lean Ground Beef
• ½ Tsp Garlic Powder
• ½ Tsp Oregano
• ½ Tsp Dried Thyme Leaves
• ½ Tsp Italian Seasoning
• Several Rounds Of Fresh Ground Black Pepper
• ¼ Tsp Coarse Kosher Salt

Brown the Beef and drain off the fat when almost cooked through. Add back to the pot.  Add the Onions and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Push the beef to one side to create a little space for the Garlic. Sauté the Garlic, careful not to let it burn, then combine with the rest of the Beef mixture. When completely cooked, set aside.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

For the Spinach:
• 1 Block Frozen Spinach, Thawed In A Bit Of Water In A Saucepan On Low Heat Until Completely Cooked. Drain The Spinach In A Colander Which Is Lined With Paper Towel. When Cool, Squeeze As Much Water Out Of The Spinach As You Can And Put In A Saucepan.
• Reserved Onion And Garlic From Above
• Pinch Of Nutmeg
• Finely Diced (Brunoise) Cremini Or Brown Mushrooms
• Several Rounds Of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• ¼ Tsp Coarse Kosher Salt
• 1 Tsp Butter

Sauté Mushrooms in Butter for 5 minutes, then add Onions and cook until the Onions are translucent. Push to one side and add the chopped Garlic. Sauté the Garlic for a few minutes, be careful not to burn the Garlic. Stir all the Mushrooms, Onions and Garlic together. Cook until all vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add Salt and Pepper, Nutmeg and cook an additional 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary .  Set aside.

For the Mornay Sauce
• 1/2 cup Butter
• 1/2 cup Flour
• 4 cups Milk (not Skim Milk)
• Pinch of Nutmeg
• Pinch of Salt
• ½ cup grated Parmesan and 1/4 cup grated Asiago

 

 

Melt Butter in a Saucepan. When bubbling, add Flour and stir to incorporate. Stir frequently and don’t let the mixture brown – congratulations, you’ve just made a Roux! Cook for 2 minutes. Heat the Milk in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Slowly whisk the Milk into the Flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture will tighten immediately, then add another 1/2 cup, whisk. It will start loosening.  When the mixture is loose, and smooth, but not too thin, add more Milk until all the Milk is in. Don’t pour into the Milk too quickly or it won’t thicken. When the sauce coats the back of a spoon, add the Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper. Add the Parmesan and Asiago and Cook one minute longer and when the Cheese has melted, taste for seasoning, adjusting if needed, set aside. When almost cool, cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming on the sauce.

In the Spinach pot, add enough of the Mornay Sauce to be ‘saucy’ (about two ladlesful).  Stir in 3/4 of the beef mixture and stir.  The beef and spinach will soak up your sauce.

 

To the remaining beef, add 3 jars of prepared spaghetti sauce and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the Tomato Sauce mixture to the spinach, Mornay Sauce and beef mixture. Just enough to add taste, but not make it too saucy. You want it to look more like the photo above than the one below.  Set aside.

Preparation:
Fold the lasagne sheets in half and place in boiling water 2 at a time for 1 minute. Remove from the boiling water and place in cool water to stop the cooking process.

Put some of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the cooking dish to prevent the noodles from sticking.

Place the lasagne sheet with the short end towards you. Place approximately 3 heaping spoonsful of the meat mixture on the bottom portion of the noodle (closest to you). Gently roll the Lasagne sheet away from you to form a tube. Place seam side down in the pan on top of the spaghetti sauce.

Cover with remaining spaghetti sauce and drizzle remaining Béchamel/Mornay Sayce over the top. Top with 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan and 1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella.

Bake for 30 minutes at 300°F. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

The girls loved it, and the best part is Caity didn’t realize she was eating Mushrooms 🙂

:)

July 12, 2017 at 4:38 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Birthdays, Family Ties | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

Happy Birthday to my biggest-little one on her 14th Birthday.  Love you more than words can say 🙂

Blown Away …

June 26, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Family Ties | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

I have two girls, both of which I am enormously proud. However, this post is dedicated to my biggest-little-one, Lexy.

I would have thought that the words would have flowed so easily, but truth be told, I’ve had some difficulty composing this post. It isn’t very often that I’m at a loss for words, but this is one of those times.  You see, my daughter graduated last week from Grade 8 and she blew me away.  I’ve always known how smart, and funny, and kind, and caring she is.  She has challenged me since she was born – she always had an argument at the ready for anything I had to say.  On more than one occasion, I’ve had to concede.  This kid will make her mark in the world, and as her Mother, I can’t wait to find out how.

Lexy changed schools this year since neither her, nor her Sister needed daycare any longer (keep that in mind at the end of this post). She was very hesitant to change schools, because her old school and old friends were her comfort zone.  She knew everyone and fit in well.  At the beginning of this past school year, both Lexy and Caity would hang around at lunch and recess together because they were the outsiders, not having made any friends yet.  I shouldn’t have worried.  Both girls soon were invited to Birthday parties and after school to their new classmates’ homes for projects or play.  Lexy immersed herself in the extra credit assignments offered in her classes.  She signed up for, and got, the female lead in the play at her school.  I had heard her sing before, to the radio, but never really on her own.  When I heard her belt out “The One-Feathered Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz”, I cried – I had no idea she could sing so well.  That was the first time I was blown away by this kid.

When Lexy first learned to read, she was absolutely positive that she could not, would not, ever be able to read. It was impossible, hard and impractical.  Why couldn’t I just continue to read stories to her?  I remember one day as I was helping her read a story, it felt like a light bulb was turned on – all of a sudden she could read most of the words.  Pretty much since then she has read anything and everything she could get her hands on, and always at a much higher grade level than she was in.  Her Teacher commented earlier this year that her reading list rivaled his own.

Along with the prolific reading came her writing ability. Since she was little she would create stories with vivid descriptions and characters.  Her skill with writing was also far beyond her years.  She said she planned on becoming an author.

As a result of her performance in the play, and her amazing writing ability, her Teacher suggested she apply for our local school of performing arts’ theatrical programme.  That was the second time I was blown away by this kid.

At her Graduation last week, not only did Lexy graduate with honours (not a surprise), but she received awards for English, Music, Performer of the Year, and the Kiwanis Citizenship Award for Student of the Year.

Lexy accomplished all of that in just one year, while at a new school. That was the third time this year that my kid blew me away.

I could not have been more proud of her than I was, than I am. She left me at a loss for words because there isn’t anything sufficient to adequately describe how I felt, how I continue to feel.

But I just have one thing to say to her… OK Lex, now what are you going to do for an encore? 😉

 

For the Record, Donut’s Birthday is Cancelled…

February 6, 2017 at 12:39 am | Posted in Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

Happy Birthday my darling Donut.  Today my littlest-little-one is 10.  Where’d the time go?  I officially have no more kidlets left with single digit ages.

birthday-girl

I’ve been attempting to write this post for about a week or so.  I’ve had a million thoughts go through my head, but nothing seemed fitting.  I don’t know that I have the words to tell you what I want to say about you on your big Birthday.

You know already that I love you … I tell you that many times a day.  You know already that I’m proud of you and your accomplishments and you know how beautiful you are – because those things too, I tell you every day.  You’re funny, you’re smart, you’re sweet and you’re kind.  You’re a big goof-ball.  You seem to be surprised when you do something well – but I’m not.  I know what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.

I hope you have a wonderful 10th Birthday and that all of your dreams come true.

img_0200

Love, Mama xoxo

Let the Girl’s Weekend Begin…

November 26, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Christmas, Daddy-O, Family Ties, Food, Movies, Recipes, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Alex is disappearing for most of the weekend since it’s Grey Cup time again.  The girls and I have the weekend planned.  We’re going to make Chocolate  Crunchy Shortbread Cookies, have an indoor picnic complete with Pizza and “Home Alone” tonight, and tomorrow we’re going to the movies with Grandma to see “Moana“.  Should be a great weekend, me and my big-little ones 🙂

Last year I found a copy of my Mom’s Shortbread recipe around the house somewhere.  I was so happy that I finally found a copy of the most incredible Christmas Shortbread that I had been searching for, forever.  My Mom can no longer bake or cook, or for that matter, even hold a coherent conversation any longer.  She can’t tell me her recipes because she doesn’t remember them.  Somehow, after I found the recipe I misplaced it, and it made me very sad – sad to the point of tears, over a stupid recipe.

So I searched the internet and stumbled upon the ‘Robin Hood Flour’ version of “Melt in Your Mouth” Shortbread Cookie. The ingredients, from what I could remember, were similar.  Damn they were good.  I cut up pieces of Dairy Milk with Crunchy (available at Walmart in the British Food aisle) and put them in the mix.  The cookies lasted until Tuesday. Except for the chocolate, they were my Mom’s recipe.  Mom used to shape the cookies into crescent moon shapes and after they were baked, she dipped half in melted chocolate.  Mom also sometimes added finely ground almonds to the dough.

img_2090

Ingredients:

2 cups (500 ml) Unsalted Butter

1 scant cup Sugar

3 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup Cornstarch

4 oz chopped Chocolate (if using) or more

“Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take your butter out of the refrigerator about an hour before baking so it will be nice and soft. This will make it easier for the sugar to mix in with the butter or shortening.

Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until very light in texture, about 5 minutes.

Creaming butter with sugar adds air to the batter, increasing volume to help better mix the flour into the butter mixture.

Add sugar and continue beating until sugar is completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine flour and cornstarch in a separate large bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined.

Flour straight from the bag may be compacted. To loosen it, scoop it out of the bag with another container or spoon before pouring it into your measuring cup. This will help you get a more accurate measurement. Level it off with a knife to make sure you have just the right amount.”

Chop the Chocolate Bar into smallish pieces and mix them into the dough.

cookie and chocolatebatter 2

“Place ball of dough by heaping  tbsp (15 mL) on prepared baking sheets 2” (5 cm) apart.  Press down with a fork.

making cookiesmaking cookies 2

Place your cookies about 2” (5cm) apart to allow for spreading

Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.  Remove cookies from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.”

baking

cookies

Keep the dough in the fridge between baking and use a second cookie sheet – let the first one cool off completely before you use it again (put it in the fridge), this will help prevent spreading.  Take the cookies out a minute or two before the time they’re done to avoid brown edges.

You can either scoop out balls of dough, round them, flatten them with a fork or roll the entire batch into two logs and slice when chilled (this method is easier for decorating).  You can pre-cut chilled logs, wrap well and freeze for 2-3 months – you can have cookies whenever you want 🙂

I rolled two logs, put them in the fridge and let them chill for an hour then cut them when ready and prepared the next tray while the first was in the oven.  The prepared tray was put into the fridge until ready to bake.  This greatly reduced the spread.

Makes about 45 cookies.

Should be a good weekend 🙂

Time For Thanks Giving…

October 5, 2016 at 12:03 am | Posted in Daddy-O, Depression, Food, Recipes, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fall is here and even though we can still wear shorts and t-shirts, it’s turkey time again. Actually, wearing shorts the second week of October isn’t all that unusual.  In Southern Ontario where we live, we often get an ‘Indian Summer‘ – a blissfully warm few days of gorgeous sunshine which follows the first frost of the season.  I haven’t noticed any frost lately, but it has been quite cool.  This past Summer was so hot, the cool weather was a blessed relief.

My Sister passed away last week.  She died from complications during a normal surgical procedure.  Saying she and I never got along was a mild understatement.  I shed about 5 tears.  Anyone who knows me, knows that is unusual because tv commercials can make me cry. Watching a particularly heart-wrenching episode of Grey’s Anatomy makes me sob.  I was despondent when my darling Dad passed away last year.  For my Sister, 5 tears.  I am free. Enough said.

Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend and I’m hosting dinner – I’m so excited, I haven’t looked forward to anything in a long time.  I love cooking Turkey – the house always smells so wonderful that you can’t wait for dinner.

I told Lexy she was cooking the Turkey this year.  She’s a little panicked, thinking I was serious 😉

I wanted to post some of the side dishes I plan on serving.  I’ll add pictures later.  As I’ve said in previous posts,  I started this blog to record my children’s antics and to house some of the family recipes for them when they’re older.  As I found out last week, one never knows when your time will be up.

Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash

1 – Medium sized Butternut Squash, scrubbed and sliced in half length-wise, seeds removed

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

Water (enough to go halfway up the Squash in the Slow Cooker)

In a bowl, combine Butter, Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Pie Spice, mix until combine and spread over Squash halves.

Place the Squash halves cut side up in the slow cooker – cut into smaller pieces if they don’t fit properly – note they will shrink a bit as they cook.

Carefully pour water down the side of the Slow Cooker making sure you don’t pour directly on the Squash.  Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until the thickest part of the Squash is very soft when poked with a knife.

Carefully remove the Squash from the slow cooker, trying not to lose the sugar/butter mixture or burn yourself.  Note, you can keep the Squash in the Slow Cooker until you’re ready to eat, just make sure the cooker is turned off.

Using oven mitts if the Squash is too hot to hold in your hands, scrape the soft flesh into a large bowl with a spoon, careful not to get the tough skin and stir to combine all the yummy juices and spices.

I used to just use Cinnamon and Brown Sugar, but I also liked a bit of Nutmeg flavour.  Then I had a brain wave and decided to use Pumpkin Pie Spice which already has both of those plus Ground Ginger, Allspice and Cloves.  It’s a heady mixture that pairs amazingly with the succulent Squash.  Just go easy on it, a little goes a long way.  I suggest you start with 1/2 of the 1/4 teaspoon first, mix it with The Brown Sugar and sample – see if you like the flavour strength.  If not, add a bit more until you’re satisfied.  It’s so good – even Lexy likes it.

The next dish is one of my favourites and can be cooked when the Turkey is done – if your oven is like mine, the Turkey will take up the whole oven.  This dish is the ultimate comfort food, dreamy vegetables baked in herbs – amazing with gravy or on their own.  The beauty of this side dish is it doesn’t matter if you have this exact combination of root veggies, pick your favourites.

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces

2 Large Parsnips, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces

2 Medium Red Onions, peeled and cut into quarters

1 Rutabaga (or large Turnip), peeled, cubed into 1″ pieces

4-5 medium Yellow Fleshed Potatoes such as Yukon Gold (a Canadian invention by the way), peeled, cubed into 1″ pieces

4-5 medium Carrots, peeled, cut into 1″ pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried Oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried Rosemary

1 teaspoon coarse Salt

Several rounds of Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Preheat your oven to 450F

Place all of the chopped veggies in a bowl.  The above quantities are an approximation – you will need enough veggies to fill a sheet pan completely, but loosely (to allow for flipping the veggies during cooking).

Drizzle the oil over the veggies and sprinkle on the seasoning, salt and several good rounds of fresh ground pepper, mix well to coat.

Place a length of non-stick Aluminum Foil on your sheet pan.  Dump the seasoned veggies on the pan and spread out evenly.

Place in the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes and stir. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the veggies are fork tender and not burned.  Stir and flip the veggies so they caramelize and brown on all sides.

Place in a serving bowl and enjoy.  Try not to eat too many before they get to the table.

The veggies will hold in a covered dish on the stovetop for 4-5 hours if you want to make them in advance.  They can be served at room temperature.

Turkey Stuffing (for inside the bird)

My Mom’s recipe, it flavours the bird from the inside and tastes incredible.

1 Package Pork Sausage (Maple Leaf makes a great Pure Pork Sausage just for this purpose)
2 Slices dark Rye Bread (Dimpflmeier makes wonderful Rye but regular sandwich bread or pre seasoned turkey stuffing bread is also fine for this)
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Large Onion Diced
1/2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
Ground Black Pepper
Garlic Powder

Sauté the diced onion until barely translucent. Add the minced Garlic and sauté for a few more minutes. Remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl, place the Pork Sausage, and the sautéed Onions and Garlic. Add 1/2 Tsp. Poultry Seasoning, several rounds of freshly ground Black Pepper, and 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder.

Tear the bread into bite sized pieces and add them to the mixing bowl. Mix the mixture thoroughly but not too much that it all breaks down. Form into a loaf and stuff into the cavity of the bird (make sure there are no giblets in there first!).

When the Turkey is cooked, remove the stuffing – it should come out whole like a meatloaf. Slice and serve with dinner.

Dressing – for Outside the Bird

ingredients1 loaf Turkey Stuffing Bread (if you can’t find the pre seasoned bread, use a loaf of white bread and make sure you have lots of Poultry Seasoning)

Poultry seasoning (if you don’t have pre seasoned bread)

1 large onion diced

1 large clove Garlic, minced

2 half sticks unsalted butter, cut into slices – half for inside the mixture, the rest on top

4 packages OXO Chicken Bouillon powder and hot water prepared to package directions, set aside – note, you may not need all of the Bouillon; or you can use boxed low sodium Chicken Broth (Campbell’s)

Water, enough to fill the pan half way up the loaf

Saute onions until translucent and then add garlic. Saute for a few more minutes until the garlic is softened.  Remove from heat.

Make the bullion as directed on the package in a measuring cup.  Alternately pour a cup of boxed Chicken broth into a measuring cup.  Set aside.

torn-breadIn a large bowl, tear 1/3 of the loaf into small, bite-sized pieces.  If you used regular white bread, sprinkle liberally with Poultry Seasoning, then proceed to the next step.

If using the pre-seasoned loaf, scatter half the onion mixture over the bread.  Sprinkle some of the bouillon liquid or Chicken Stock over the bread and onions until the bread is just moistened.  The bread should hold a shape if you squeeze it in your hand, but it shouldn’t release any liquid. Add a few pats of butter. Mix to incorporate.

onion-bread-and-chicken-stockTear another 1/3 of the loaf and add the remaining onions and garlic and more bouillon or Chicken Stock as above.  If using the unseasoned loaf, add another round of Poultry Seasoning.  Mix.

Tear the remaining pieces and repeat as above.

Tear two pieces of Aluminum Foil and overlap slightly.  Dump the mixture onto the centre of the foil and shape into a loaf that will fit into the baking dish with some room on the sides of the dish.

ready-for-the-ovenPlace pats of butter all over the top and wrap the foil around the loaf so that the opening is at the top.  The dressing will steam in the oven, so the water can’t get in it.

Fill the pan with water, half way up the foil making sure water can’t  get into the package.

Place, covered, in a 350F oven for half an hour.  Remove lid and open the package for browning.  Place in the oven for another 1/2 hour.  The dressing is done when the top is crispy and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle.  So good with gravy 🙂

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: