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.