Saturday, October 4, 2014

Thoughts on Literacy

" A book is made from a tree.  It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles.  One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years.  Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you.  Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another.  Books break the shackles of time - proof that humans can work magic."
 - Carl Sagan

Monday, September 8, 2014

Children`s Book Review: A Nursery Companion by Iona and Peter Opie

Title: A Nursery Companion
Authour: Compiled by Iona and Peter Opie
Publisher: Oxford University Press: 1980

"The best books for children invariably seem to be ones that parents too can enjoy; and in the early years of the nineteenth century, when gaiety and colour were admitted to the nursery, and extraordinary coming-together took place of child and adult.  Booklets were produced for the young that were of such quality that even intellectuals warmed to them; and for a while the happy state existed in which the innocent and the sophisticated could share the same literature."

In this 'celebration of an epoch' this archival of nineteenth century children's publication, or collection of booklets, is historical, colorful and fun, albeit irrelevant.  It is, I suggest, mainly for the adults, although a number of selections may entertain the more well-rounded of older children.

For instance, Peter Piper's Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation is a reservoir of tongue twisters representing every letter of the alphabet.  It's super fun to read and the illustrations are earthy and traditional.

My favourite entry is definitely Dame Wiggins of Lee - and her Seven Wonderful Cats. In the tradition of Old Mother Hubbard, this 'worthy old soul' doted on 'seven fine cats' of which kept her safe from mice and rats.

And yes, there is an entry entitled The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and her Dog, as well as The Gaping, Wide-mouthed Waddling Frog, an excellent illustrative lesson on Punctuation Personified, and among others, Dame Dearlove's Ditties for the Nursery.

It's a fun, historical piece that would fit well in both a children's collection and adult library.  Look online for copies.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rustic Peach Jam

5 1/2 pounds Freestone peaches, fuzz gently rubbed off of skin
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (don't use bottled)

Cut the peaches into slice, leaving the skin on. (The skin on the peaches boosts the flavor and helps thicken it.  The peaches need to be ripe for this recipe but not too ripe as the the riper the fruit, the less pectin.)

In a large glass bowl, add the sugar to the peaches.  Cover and let stand for a minimum of 4 hours.

In the meantime, prepare canning jars and lids.

Transfer peaches and sugar to a large saucepan and add the lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the jam is thick.  It should take 15 or twenty minutes.

Ladle peach jam into hot jars. Wipe rims and seal with lids.  Process in boiling water for ten minutes.
Remove from water bath and let cool on counter.

You should hear jar lids pop when they cool and seal.

Friday, August 22, 2014

It`s Canning Season! The Mason Jar

Worth a repeat!

The Mason Jar

Since the beginning of time, acquiring, harvesting and preserving one's own food had been essential to one's survival.  The process took on many methods including salting, brining, drying and the use of different variations of seasonal and cold storage.  In 1858, the invention of the home canning jar by tinsmith John Landis Mason (who invented a machine that could cut threads into lids, which made it possible to make a jar with a reusable, screw-on lid) took the art of the preservation of food to a new level.

Farmers, pioneers, settlers and even urban families quickly adopted this 'mason jar' method of preserving food.  The popular transparent storage container was ideal for readily identifying its contents and for the proper monitoring of the preservation process to ensure food safety.

In fact, home canning spiked during the World War II years, with Americans buying more than three million jars.

Yet, sadly, during the 1950's the popularity of mass food production in tin cans and plastic containers along with the invention of the home freezer as an alternative preserving method and the migration of people into urban centers caused the decline of the home preservation of food using mason jars, or more pointed, as a necessity to survival.

Alas, in less than a century, the beautiful mason jar's hardcore, purposeful life was over.

Nowadays, there are still a number of believers whom still preserve their home grown produce and flavours using the mason jar method - and why shouldn't they?  A mason jar full of fruit, jam, pickles or relish is visually appealing, customized to one's particular taste and healthy in ensuring that one knows exactly what is in the jar they are eating.

The mason jar has also found other uses as excellent alternatives to modern storage systems, and still, the romantic, organic symbolism - possibly, the representation of a more simple time - of the old vintage jars combined with the sheer purpose of the physical design makes for great arts and crafts and has influenced many designers in their modern home and restaurant decor.

Monday, August 18, 2014

On Sustainability

“It shouldn't be the consumer's responsibility to figure out what's cruel and what's kind, what's environmentally destructive and what's sustainable. Cruel and destructive food products should be illegal. We don't need the option of buying children's toys made with lead paint, or aerosols with chlorofluorocarbons, or medicines with unlabeled side effects. And we don't need the option of buying factory-farmed animals.”

- Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Worth A Second Look - Piano Lessons and Pianos in the Home

 That old piano.

It`s big and clunky and a nuisance.  It just sits in the corner and collects dust.  I hate moving it around and nobody plays it anymore.  I inherited it from my grandparents, nobody in my family wants it and I need the space for my new sectional leather couch.  Here it comes Kijiji, for free, if you haul it away. 

Don`t do it.

How about taking a look at that incredibly beautiful piano with a fresh set of eyes:
  •  Not willing to pay for or can`t afford lessons?  There are many publications/on-line tutorials for you to teach yourself.  A huge accomplishment and very satisfying!
  • Boost your brain power.  Lessons can improve your IQ.
  • Playing is a stress reliever.
  • A grand piece of furniture with a shelf for your treasures. It adds character to your home.
  • Provides extra seating when needed.  The piano bench can usually seat two.
  • If you're not afraid, refinish it.  Stain it a different color or paint it to match your decor.  You were going to get rid of it anyway...for free.
  • Very vintage.  Home decor is so cookie cutter and trendy nowadays.  Pianos will come roaring back in style, therefore..
Piano's and piano lessons are definitely worth a second look!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cherry Whiskey

Cherry Whiskey
Mrs. Spence.

Take eight quarts of fine ripe cherries; put them into a jar, then pour over them six quarts of either good whiskey or brandy; let it stand for a month, then take out the fruit, bruise it in a mortar, put it back into the liquor, and let it stand another month; strain off the liquor, and to every quart add three-quarters of a pound of loaf sugar; let it stand to settle and cool; when quite cold bottle and cork well.  Excellent, and improves by keeping.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Super Easy Roasted Asparagus and Zucchini

1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and dried
1 small zucchini, sliced
3-4 tablespoons oil, vegetable or olive
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to season
Red pepper flakes to season

In a large bowl, toss asparagus and zucchini with oil, making sure vegetables are covered.  Lay out on cookie sheet or baking pan.  Salt and pepper to season and sprinkle with red pepper flakes (they're spicy so use sparingly) and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes.  Serve hot.
Recipe by Brooke Waronek

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On Knowledge and Confidence...

"The world's best chefs have learned what ingredients should be included in their dishes, but they become the best when they outgrow the cookbooks."

                                                - Harvey Dorfman

 Photo by Jacklyn Waronek

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Meat Sauce for Pasta

1 796 ml can crushed tomatoes
1 540 ml can diced tomatoes
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 small cooking onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock
Dried or fresh herbs for seasoning: sweet basil, oregano, parsley, chives
Salt and pepper to season

In a large frying pan, brown ground beef.  Add onions and cook until translucent.

Add crushed and diced tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, bouillon and seasonings to ground beef mixture.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for about an hour.  Adjust seasonings as sauce simmers.

Serve over spaghetti or favourite pasta.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Use Butter Generously

From Use Butter Generously by Miriam Williams: The Farmer's Wife Cookbook

"Fats which are competitive to butter all have their place, but one does not yearn to be particularly lavish with them.  With butter it is different.  I level-measure baking powder, spice, flour for cakes or gravy, but when it comes to measuring butter for seasoning, it's a rounding table - spoonful or a generous lump.  Few things make me bristle like the restaurant sandwich which isn't spread with butter, and clear to the edges, too.  The dairyman who almost caused a rift in the church by his explosions over the "measurably skimpy" pats of butter which the ladies aid served at the church supper, has my sympathy."

To learn how to make your own butter in a mason jar, go to Monday, February 10th post here at The Summer Kitchen.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fried Oatmeal with Toasted Pecans and Raisins

1 cup pure wholegrain quick oat flakes (I use Only Oats)
2 cups water
salt, to season
1/2 cup raisins, chopped
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted in oven, then chopped
Butter for frying
Maple syrup for serving

Prepare oatmeal as per package directions: Bring water and salt to a boil.  Add oatmeal flakes.  Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until oatmeal is extra thick, stirring constantly to avoid burning.

Mix raisins and pecans into oatmeal and pour into small loaf pan.  Place in refrigerator to cool.  When oatmeal loaf is cold, remove from pan, careful not to break up.  Slice oatmeal loaf and fry in butter in pan over medium high heat to brown the outside and heat thoroughly.

Serve hot with maple syrup.

Tip:  Oatmeal is quite bland so be sure to salt accordingly.  Also, nutmeg or cinnamon could be added for extra flavor.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Worth A Second Look - Old Children's Folk and Fairy Tale Books

Like the loaf of bread the Little Red Hen made by planting the sees, cutting the wheat, going to the miller, making the dough and baking the bread, many of these classic folk and fairy tale picture books were once sought after, admired and enjoyed by many parents of and young children alike.

Now, the risk of losing some these classic stories to time is quite real.  Young parents tend to prefer providing trendy picture books written by new authors who write about modern day problems with more real life characters.  Ask any teenage kid nowadays who The Little Red Hen or Henny Penny is.

Besides, who better can teach about work ethic than The Little Red Hen.  And who better can teach about courage and bravery than the Three Billy Goats Gruff...and that Henny Penny?  Well, Foxy Loxy sure taught her a lesson about not being so gullible.

Now some old folk and fairy tales have survived the new age of popular children's picture book styles of writing, usually laced with a deeper level of wit and sarcasm, as one can't read The True Story of The Three Little Pigs or Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten, without knowing what the initial story is about.

These old anthropomorphic tales are simple and fun with real life challenges and problems that the main characters have to overcome.  They are stories that young children can relate to and are awesome opportunities for young children to talk about how they may relate to the story in their own lives.   

So, before they truly become the crumbs on The Little Red Hen's plate, we should give classic children's folk and fairy tales another glance because they are absolutley Worth A Second Look! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Garden Quote

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
                                                                   - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Georgia's Bran Muffins by the Bushel

4 cups Kelloggs All Bran cereal
2 cups Quaker Natural Wheat Bran
2 cups boiling water
5 cups flour
1 quart buttermilk
2 3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup shortening
4 eggs
5 teaspoons baking soda

Combine All Bran cereal and wheat bran with 2 cups boiling water. Cool.

Blend remaining ingredients together in large mixing bowl.

Add cereal mixture to ingredients mixture and mix well.

Line muffin pan with liners and generously spoon in mixture.

Bake at 37 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Review - FARM SANCTUARY by Gene Baur

Title: Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food

Author: Gene Baur

Publisher: Touchstone, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.: 2008


This book is about truth.  It is a very educated and factual look at current agribusiness practices; factory farming, the processing and marketing of farmed animals and the laws pertaining to it.  And during these discussions, you get to know a few of the animals that were rescued and mourn some that weren't.

You learn about where your food really could be coming from and this book makes you want to find out more about where it actually does.  Farm Sanctuary will help you to make a move towards eating more fruit and vegetables (if not entirely) or at the very least, to buy your meat, eggs and dairy from reputable farms that allow their animals to 'do what animals are supposed to do' (graze, peck, run, play and stay and raise their babies).

If you read one book on wanting to improve your health and go veggie or vegan, this is the one that will help you do that.  It may even inspire you to go a step further and help farmed animals live happy and healthy productive lives.  It's a smart book, for smart people by a smart guy.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Worth A Second Look - Really Old, and Especially Local, Cookbooks

Really old, local cookbooks provide its reader something new cookbooks cannot - a true history.  Most new cookbooks contain recipes created by modern techniques and a combination of ingredients from all over the world that are now readily available to the consumer.

When you read an old cookbook, many preparation and cooking procedures and techniques are assumed.

Take for instance, in the Robin Hood Cook Book, Recipes by Mrs. Rorer, circa 1915, the Cream of Tomato Sauce recipe:

  "After you have taken tomato sauce from the fire stir into it three tablespoonfuls of thick cream."

Most modern cooks wouldn't know where in their kitchen to start the fire and would question whether it be whipping, half-and-half or light cream that is used.

When you come across a recipe for Fried Oatmeal, then you know you've come across a cookbook of your grandmother's time.

Fried Oatmeal
  Make a good porridge, turn it into a small square pan until cold, cut it into slices, dust each slice with salt, pepper and flour, and fry them in a small quantity of hot suet, being careful to turn the slices but once.  Serve as you would cornmeal mush.

Cornmeal mush?

Besides learning about how and what a housewife prepared for her meals (because cookbooks back then were written for women) it is awesome to find little treasures, like written family recipes in the back of the book, old newspaper cutouts or advertisements that were stuck in the book during the time it was used.

You also can imagine that every food item, oil, spice and drink was organic.  When a cookbook was followed, say in 1910, the cook, most likely used produce that came from their own gardens and meat that came from animals on their small family farms as opposed to vegetables that are sprayed and trucked in from across the country and beef, pork and chicken that come from horrible factory farms.  

There's something about finding a cookbook from the turn of the century, written by a local person or company, that not only provides a fresh look on old recipes but teaches us a little bit about our history - and that is certainly Worth A Second Look!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Veggie Patties

3 medium potatoes, grated
1 zucchini, grated
1 onion, grated
1 sweet potato, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup flour
oil for cooking

In a colander, add potatoes, zucchini and onion and squeeze out moisture.  Place into large mixing bowl.  Add sweet potato, carrot, garlic, ginger, parsley, rosemary, oregano, salt, eggs and 1/2 cup of the flour.  Mix.

Scoop out about 1/3 cup, form into patty and roll in flour.

Fry in oil in pan until brown, or as crispy as you'd like.  Transfer to parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake in 400 F degree oven for about 30 minutes until cooked through.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and grated cheese.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Worth A Second Look - Cereal Box Prizes

Do you remember when the best part of breakfast was getting to the new cereal box before your siblings woke up in order to claim the new cool cereal box prize for yourself?

Well, I remember it well.  Growing up with five siblings, claiming the cereal box prize was a coup.   Once you got to the box you had to get to the prize.  There were three ways to do it.:
1. Dig your hand deep into the bottom of the inner bag, feel around and grab it.

2. Pull the inner bag out of the box, find out where the prize is located, return inner bag to box (if you try and dig it out before putting it back, the cereal will become displaced towards the bottom and the bag becomes difficult to get back into the box), and then proceed to dig for it.

3.  Pour out all the cereal, retrieve the prize and pour cereal back into box.

Note: I'm not sure of anyone else, but it always drove me up the wall when, after much digging, the prize was ultimately found at the bottom between the box and inner bag. 

Prizes included stickers, candy, bike reflectors, figurines, tattoos, watches and toy mazes.  My favorite toys of all were Winnie the Pooh or Disney spoon sitters and bowl hangers.  They were awesome. 

Nowadays, cereal boxes only have mail in or on-line offers.  Boo. But at least some of the boxes have interesting things to read, other than the ingredients, while you eat.

"You Might Be Canadian If....You know the French equivalents of "free", "prize" and "no sugar added", thanks to your extensive education in bilingual cereal packaging."

Check out this link:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Open Faced Broiled Chicken Sandwich with Herbed Butter

1 loaf French Bread, sliced
2 chicken breasts, cooked
1 cup medium cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup butter, softened
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
Sweet Basil for topping
Salt and Pepper to season

Turn broiler oven on to high.

Place slices of French Bread on cookie sheet.  Place in oven until lightly toasted.  Remove and flip slices over so that toasted side is on the bottom.

Thinly slice cooked chicken breasts, set aside.

To make Herb Butter, mix butter with minced garlic, chopped parsley and salt and pepper to season.  Spread on bread slices.  Place one slice of chicken breast on Herb Butter and sprinkle with cheeses.  Top with a dash of Sweet Basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Place under broiler until cheese is melted and the edges of the bread are slightly toasted.  Remove from oven and serve warm.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Banana and Pecan Stuffed French Toast

4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Pinch cinnamon
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2 bananas
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon allspice
4 slices french bread, or favorite white bread
Butter for frying pan
Icing Sugar for finishing

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees C.

With a fork, beat the eggs, milk, cinnamon and salt and pepper together in a wide bowl.

In a separate bowl, smash the bananas and add chopped pecans and allspice.

Spread the banana filling on two of the slices of bread.  Cover with the other slice and soak the sandwiches in the egg mixture for a few minutes turning to coat both sides.

Melt the butter in the frying pan over medium heat and cook on both sides until brown.  Place both sandwiches on a cookie sheet and place in oven for about  10 minutes to heat through.

Dust with icing sugar.  Serve with maple syrup.

Variation: add chocolate chips to the banana mixture

Friday, May 23, 2014

Children's Book Review - THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Drew Daywalt, Pictures by Oliver Jeffers

Title: The Day the Crayons Quit

Author: Drew Daywalt

Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers

Publisher: Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group: 2013

Young Duncan just wanted to color.  One day in class, when he went to take out his crayons, he found a stack of letters, one from each color complaining about one thing or another.

The purple thought he colored outside the lines too much, the beige thought taking second fiddle to brown was insulting and the fight between orange and yellow on what color the sun really is was exhausting...

Duncan was perplexed for a moment but then he handled the 'crayon strike' in a very grown up way.  Way to go Duncan - I probably would have switched to the pencil crayons.

Easy Good Host Peach Iced Tea

1 cup Good Host Original Iced Tea Mix only ('cause it's in a world of its own)
5 cups water
1 cup brewed Peach flavored tea - my favourite is Peaches and Cream from Sloane

* Be sure to follow directions and steep tea for only required time, usually 3 to 4 minutes, otherwise it comes out bitter.  Let cool.

Mix Good Host powder with 5 cups water (it's a bit sweeter than directions call for).  Add in peach tea - no need to sweeten tea.  Add ice.  Serve.

"There is no need to have any special attitude while drinking except one of thankfulness.  The nature of the tea itself is that of no-mind." - Pojong Sunim

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review - COACHING THE MENTAL GAME by H.A. Dorfman

Title: Coaching the Mental Game

Author: H.A. Dorfman

Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing: 2003

I'm glad they added the ' - AND EVERYDAY LIFE' in the title 'cause while this book may be marketed toward coaches, it is invaluable to any adult who works with children and youth - especially parents.

On Learning...

"A willingness to know it all and that all we do know "ain't necessarily so" are prerequisites for learning and for attaining anything that comes close to true wisdom."

On Change...

"Change is an indication of learning.  Those who can't change don't learn."

On Self-Esteem...

"An athlete [or child] who continually refers to his inadequate performance is, to use Lawrence Durrell's metaphor, "tied to the wheel in the sinking vessel of [his] self-esteem."  His belief and confidence have eroded.  He comes to discount his successes and magnify his failures thus always confirming a negative self-image.  He will be cautious , rather than aggressive.  He will be distracted, rather than focused.  He will expect to do poorly, rather than expect to do well.  And he will tiptoe through life, intimidated by car salesmen and plumbers, never realizing his own self worth, despite being a good son, a good friend, a good teammate, a good husband and father.  A good young man."

On Despot...

"Power without wisdom is tyranny.  Wisdom without compassion is pointless."

On Honesty...

"Credibility is the coach's [or any adult in a leadership role] most important asset.  It is taken from him if he is discovered to be dishonest."


"I never have to agree with everything a person says, but I certainly have to trust the speaker believes what he or she is saying to me."

On Positivism...

"An athlete grows by wheat he feeds on.  Positive language allows him healthy growth.  He affirms himself, rather than degrading himself.  He examines possibilities, rather than pronouncing impossibilities.  He seeks ways to improve himself, rather than seeking ways to judge others poorly.   He is grounded in reality, rather than floating in imaginative thinking.  He expects the best, rather than being certain of the worst.  He looks for solutions, rather than wallowing in problems."

Harvey Dorfman, sadly, passed away in February of 2011 at the age of 75.  His advice for adults involved in youth sports is truly invaluable.  Parents, teachers or any adult in any leadership role will find his philosophy incredibly sensible, simple, yet effective in its delivery.  This is a coaches, teacher's and parent's  Bible.  This book speaks for itself.

My favorite quote....

"The daily pursuit of excellence indicates a commitment to personal and athletic growth, which, in turn, helps build and reinforce self-confidence.  It it were easy, everyone would do it. It isn't; they don't."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Garden Veggie and Lemon Garlic Cream Cheese Spreads

Lemon Garlic Cream Cheese Spread
1 tub spreadable Philadelphia cream cheese spread
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chives

Garden Veggie Cream Cheese Spread
1 tub spreadable Philadelphia cream cheese spread
1 clove garlic, minces
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup grated zuchinni
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Mix together ingredients.  Flavored spread will last up to five days covered, in the refrigerator.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review - PRAIRIE STOREKEEPER by D.E. Macintryre

Title: Prairie Storekeeper

Author: D.E. Macintyre

Publisher: Peter Martin Associates Limited: 1970

A tiny slice of prairie history.

The settling of the prairies at the turn of the twentieth century was one of hardship, struggle and perseverance.   In 1906 D.E. Macintyre thought that opening a general store for homesteaders in the middle of nowhere (eventually, Tuxford, Saskatchewan) was an excellent entrepreneurial approach to a career he hoped would succeed beyond his imagination.  He would be the pioneer of pioneers.  They needed him.

What he had come to soon realize was that he needed them just as much as they needed him, if not more so.  Horrendous winters, prairie fires, horse thieves, tornadoes, loneliness, lack of heat for warmth and cold for storage hit the storekeeper hard.  Worst of all, the ladies kept bringing him in butter to sell.  LOTS of butter.

Tuxford was not immune to tragedy.

"On one occasion we invited a team of young lads from Moose Jaw to come out and play a game [of hockey] with us.  The game had not been going for long when one of the Moose Jaw players tripped on a hole in the ice and fell on his face with the heels of his skates sticking up.  One of our players, a powerfully built young man named Bob Gemmell, son of the man who had sold the town-site to the CPR, fell on top of the Moos Jaw player.  The heel of a skate penetrated the main artery of his leg.  He was carried into the drugstore.  Unfortunately the doctor was away on a country visit and, in spite of all we laymen could do, Bob died in a few minutes.  His untimely death was a shock to our close-knit community."

He eventually sold his store at Tuxford and didn't look back.  While he left the west for a brief period of time, Mr. Macintyre returned to pursue other business interests.  Prairie Storekeeper is one of those historically important accounts of prairie settlement as not many storekeepers took the time to record their story.  Worth the read if you can find the book.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Worth A Second Look - Sunny Boy, Cream of Wheat and Other Hot Cereals for Breakfast

A big player in the healthy breakfast department, Oatmeal, Sunny Boy and Cream of Wheat are all Worth a Second Look.  I have a hard time figuring out how I could have just picked up a cookbook featuring breakfast suggestions and recipes and not one single page made reference to hot cereal! Along with buckwheat, rice, bulgur, barley and other variations of grainy hot cereals, many good cold whole grain cereals can be prepared with either water or warm milk.  Prep times are reasonable and the health benefits are respectable as part of well-balanced, healthy breakfast:

Cream of Wheat has 30% of the recommended daily intake of Iron.
Sunny Boy has 24% of the recommended daily intake of Fiber.

 Top Ten Toppings For Hot Cereal

1. Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, Saskatoon berries...etc.

2. Bananas, peaches, mangoes and other fruit.

3. Brown Sugar

5. Cream: Use milk in larger proportions but a touch of thick cream is nice.

6.  Shredded coconut

7. Toasted Nuts: Pecans, walnuts, almonds...etc

8. Jam or Fruit Preserves

9. Maple Syrup, Honey or other liquid sweeteners

10. Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, allspice...etc.

To learn how to prepare toasted oatmeal, see or search Toasted Oatmeal, February 12, 2014 at The Summer Kitchen.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Brooke's Good Host Raspberry Tea

1 cup frozen mixed berries
2 tablespoon raspberry flavored loose leaf white tea
1/2 cup (or more) Good Host Iced Tea Mix
Water to fill pitcher

Place frozen berries in bottom of pitcher.

Steep Raspberry Loose Leaf Tea in approximately 6 cups boiling water (or equal to half the amount of liquid in the pitcher for 2-3 minutes.

Pour over frozen berries.  Allow to cool.

Fill rest of pitcher with water and add Good Host Iced Tea Mix to taste.

Add ice.  Serve. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Baked Spinach Dip

2 packages (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayo
1 packaged frozen spinach, thawed and moisture pressed out
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 package sliced bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 unsliced artisan loaf (French or Sourdough work great)

In a large bowl beat cream cheese and mayo until smooth.

Add in cheese, bacon, onion and garlic.  Mix until well combined.

Fold in spinach.

Cut out top of loaf and hollow out, being careful to break bread into large enough pieces to dip.  Fill shell with spinach dip.  Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours or until dip is heated thoroughly and cheese is melted.

Remove from heat and serve warm.

Dip and Photo by Brooke Waronek

Friday, May 2, 2014

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Balls

1 cup white sugar
2 cups crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
4 cups Rice Krispies cereal

In a large saucepan, mix together white sugar, white corn syrup and dark corn syrup over medium high heat.

Once mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat and immediately add peanut butter until mixture is smooth.  Add in Rice Krispies and stir until well blended.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon and shape into ball.  If mixture is too sticky, try cooling a bit more before shaping or adding a bit more Rice Krispies.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book Review - OOPS! 209 Solutions for Everyday Kitchen Mistakes

Title: OOPS! - 209 Solutions for Everyday Kitchen Mistakes
Author: Cooking Light Magazine
Publisher: OxMoor House: 2012

A book for every university student, new bride, husband that doesn't usually cook, bachelor, casual cook and...teenage boy.

I myself, have committed 205 kitchen mistakes out of the 209 (I don't substitute Fat-Free or Low-Fat anything for any reason and I don't sub margarine for butter).

I have turned my food too often, rinsed my raw chicken, carved my turkey into a grainy mess, added cold ground meat to a hot pan (still do) and twisted the biscuit cutter when making biscuits.  For shame.

Just this past Easter, my daughter commented on how my hard-boiled eggs were too hard - she noted the greyish green ring around the yolk - and lo and behold, the fix is in this book!  I tested to the T - and the fix is credible!

Great photo's, cute little balloon comments and to-the-point problems and fixes.  Just a great book to have around the kitchen.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cottage Cheese

The dish that screams picnic and hot weather the most for me is a simple bowl of cottage cheese topped with chopped green onions, fresh from the garden and seasoned with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. For me, that's summer in a bowl.

Back in the day, according to the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company's website:

"It [cottage cheese] was often made from older milk in which the natural bacteria had already started to work. The milk would be brought in and placed in a warm place (near the fire, behind the wood stove, or in the warming oven). Then after a day or so the natural bacteria would produce enough acid to cause the milk to form a curd. This was then cut, cooked to a dry curd, then washed with cold water. The finish was a cold dry curd with a tangy flavor. At some point someone realized that the taste improved with the addition of some cream to make the much richer tasting creamed cottage cheese."

And, on how to make cottage cheese:

"The primary process in making Cottage Cheese involves good dairy bacteria converting lactose to lactic acid. This lactose (or milk sugar) is an important component in our milk but unless it is converted by good quality dairy bacteria, some off flavors or worse may result. 

Several hours after the bacteria culture activity begins, the milk acidity increases to the extent that the milk coagulates into a solid gel which can be cut into small curds. This resulting curd is then cooked until the moisture is released and a dry curd is formed. Then this curd is chilled to the final cottage cheese as we know it. A final optional cream dressing may also be added to increase the richness and texture and this then becomes the Creamed Cottage Cheese."

Check it out:

Cottage cheese is loaded with protein, Vitamin B-12, calcium and phosphorous and can be included in such recipes as lasagnes, stuffed pasta shells, cottage cheesecakes, salsas, casseroles, biscuits, frittata’s, pancakes…etc

Favorite Brand of Cottage Cheese: Dairyland