Tag Archives: recipe

menu for a mid-winter’s eve

brrr! after a way-mild start to this week, our temps plunged on tuesday eve! over the span of a couple hours, the thermometer dropped from a high of seven degrees (celsius) to about minus six! then yesterday, the snow fell steadily – biggest snowfall yet this winter! (good news for a ski fanatic…which i am not!).

today i’m going to share with you the ideal january winter weekend meal. you know: it’s been a long week, you want nothing more than to cosy up at home, enjoy a warming dinner, then snuggle into the couch with a (knit) blanket covering you up and a delightful movie popped into the vcr queued up on the pvr. or, perhaps you’ve invited some dear friends over for conversation and socializing – the following selections would be appropriate for casual entertaining, also.

here is my proposal for your dinner:

  • borscht (cabbage soup)
  • raw veggies and salsa
  • tea biscuits
  • cherry crumb pudding

and the recipes!

borscht

this hearty soup is a part of my german-mennonite heritage. it seems that each village “back in the old country” had its own take on how to make the best borscht! our version does not include beets, although this root vegetable is a staple in many recipes. here is a modernized version of my family’s borscht:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 T oil (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 – 5.5 ounce cans tomato paste
  • 4 cups hot water (see below)
  • 2 tsp (or foil packages) beef bouillon (like OXO brand)
  • 3 T chopped parsley or dried flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6-7 cups coarsely chopped cabbage (approx 1 small cabbage)

in a very large soup pot, sauté ground beef, onion, celery, and green pepper until redness is gone from the meat (if meat is really dry, add the 2 T oil). [note: break meat up with fingers before adding it to the pot, then chop at it all the time it is sautéing so taht you don’t have big chunks of meat]. add remaining ingredients EXCEPT cabbage and combine thoroughly. simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. add cabbage, combine and simmer COVERED for 1 more hour. note: if soup is too thick for your taste, add 1-2 cups hot water.

option: when serving the soup, dollop on a spoon of sour cream (or plain yogurt!). this was a favourite addition, when we were kids!

raw veggies and salsa

i would add a platter of cut-up veggies to add a rainbow of colour, some crunch and some more fibre (!) to this meal. set out a mild and a hot salsa for dipping – that will also add some heat to warm everyone’s hearts!

tea biscuits

now we’re going to jump over to the other side of my family tree, to my scottish heritage. my grandma c used to make tea biscuits pretty much every time we would go over for dinner, when we were little – she knew they were my favourite! these biscuits would make an excellent accompaniment to the soup and veggies. serve them hot!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk

cut shortening into dry mixture until it is the consistency of coarse crumbs. make a well. add milk. stir quickly just until dough follows fork around bowl [doesn’t that just sound like a grandma’s practised hand!]. turn onto lightly floured surface (dough will be soft). knead gently with heel of hand about 15 strokes. roll or pat about 1/2 inch thick. dip cutter (a small drinking glass works fine!) in flour. cut dough straight down – no twisting. bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.

cherry crumb pudding

after the more time consuming and labour-intense soup and biscuit making, this dessert will come together in a flash! [the topping of cake mix + butter is outrageously delicious!].

  • 1 – 19 ounce/540 ml tin of cherry pie filling
  • 1 – 250 gram size white or yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, cut into thin slices (easier to do if cold from fridge)

put cherry pie filling into oblong baking pan (approx 11 – 7 inches) and spread evenly. sprinkle and spread DRY cake mix evenly over the filling. cover top with butter slices. bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes (but watch carefully after 25 minutes so that the top does not get burnt!).

please share YOUR idea of the perfect mid-winter menu! and what are the origins of your recipes? my winter picks are definitely different than what i would propose for a mid-SUMMER eve menu…but family classics would still reign supreme for the hot months, too!

STICKY BUNNNNNNSS!!

on the twenty-fourth day of december...

i have absolutely zero pictures of buns to share with you, today.

mom is actually doing the baking of the sticky buns today. hence, why we will be photo-free. but, i really wanted to share this family recipe with you, and to do so after christmas seems rather anti-climactic. so, in a couple of days when i share some christmas day photos, i will be sure to include close-ups of buns. [if you haven’t gathered already, yes, buns are just about up there with balls in terms of humour that cracks me up].

we have had my mom’s sticky buns for christmas morning breakfast ever since i can remember. even when my grandma c hosted christmas, mom brought over the sticky buns. now, i sure wish i had video capabilities for the blog. i would love to have a sound bite of my uncle paul, from years past, and his exuberant “sticky bunnnsss!!” shout as he burst in the door of my grandma and grandpa c’s house, christmas morning. from this moment on, the hilarity of christmas day was started. (this is the same uncle paul who is the king of wrapping paper ripping). uncle paul also holds a place of esteem when it comes to sticky buns because he is the only family member to actually spread BUTTER on his buns [<-intentionally worded!]. we all hoot with laughter, every year, because as you will see, the very last thing you need on sticky buns is more butter!!

file photo: uncle paul (and cousin joel) at christmas day sticky bun breakfast, 2010

you can see some buns, after all! there! on the counter behind joel and shadow are TWO leftover buns!

christmas morning sticky buns

DOUGH:

  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast (or 2 packages)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups milk , scalded
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 1/2 – 7 flour (lesser amount all you need on a dry, sunny day)

soften yeast in warm water. combine hot milk, margarine, sugar, salt.  stir til shortening is melted and mixture is lukewarm. add 2 cups flour. beat well (mom uses a handmixer). beat in yeast and eggs. gradually add remaining flour, beating well. (you will need to beat the last cup of flour in by hand; dough is too sticky for beaters). place dough in a greased bowl. grease top of dough. cover with greased wax paper and a clean towel. let rise in a warm place until double (approx 1.5 hours). stir dough down. divide into 4 pieces. pat each piece into a rectangle (approx 12″ x 8″).

FILLING:

brush each rectangle with 1 tablespoon of soft butter. over butter, sprinkle 1/4 c sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. starting at long side, roll up jelly-roll style. seal. cut each into 8 equal pieces.

TOPPING:

in each of 4 loaf pans, place a mixture of:

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup pecans or raisins

top mixture with 8 rolls, placed cut side down. let rise until double, about 45 minutes. bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. invert on foil paper placed on a rack. remove pans. cool. these will freeze well.

~*~*~*~*~

as you can see, these buns are intense both in terms of prep and buttery richness! the making of the sticky buns is an all-day labour of love for mom. but, we all adore them, greatly! there is also great debate amongst family members as to whether you prefer the pecan or raisin buns. (me -> pecan. not a raisin-anything fan).

i have never made sticky buns, myself. each year, there is talk that mom should give a demo lesson to the brother, sil ana, cousin kate…i would be in for a group sticky bun class!

do you have a traditional christmas morning breakfast/brunch menu? i know many families enjoy an overnight egg and bread dish…although at christmas, anything goes! want bonbons and eggnog? i say, go for it!

squares, not balls

on the twenty-first day of december...

it took a lot of balls to come up with last week’s recipe post!

🙂

this week, we’ll simmer down a little.

today’s recipe is definitely in the running as my favourite of our christmas treats. i was thinking that i have never known a christmas without these squares – and i am right! mom let me know that she has made this recipe every christmas since 1967, and she got the recipe from a teaching colleague/friend at smithson school.

now, you may know this recipe as “nanaimo bars,” but in our family, they always have been “squizzle squares.” (you’ll see why in a minute). we’re not sure whether it was me or the brother who came up with this name…matters not! squizzle squares they are, and will be forevermore!

once again, this past saturday saw me at the store and mom in the kitchen. we were both happy to be in our respective locations! by the looks of the photos, mom did a great job on the squares again this year – but no taste-testing ’til christmas! ’tis the rule!

this is mom's original, mimeographed copy - note how well-loved it is!

here’s your recipe:

Squizzle Squares
Butter a 9”X 9” square pan.
Part 1: The base
Over low heat mix together and stir until butter melts:
1/2 cup butter or margarine
5 Tablespoons cocoa
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

cocoa + butter...mmmmm!!

Remove from heat and add:
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 chopped walnuts
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
Press mixture smoothly into the greased pan.  (I press down the mixture firmly using the wide end of my pancake turner.)
Let mixture set in the fridge until very cold.

use your muscles!

Part 2: The icing
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons prepared vanilla custard powder
Just enough cream or milk to make of easy spreading consistency.  (Start with 1 Tablespoon of cream or milk and then add more very slowly, drop by drop, if required.)
Spread over cold, set base.

as kids, we used to lick the beaters and any icing remnants stuck to the bowl!

...and back into the fridge! second step, complete!

Part 3: The topping
Melt 1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate and drizzle back and forth in thin streams over top of the icing.
Let stand until cold.
Cut into squares or oblongs with a very sharp knife.

see, aren't squizzles more fun than a solid chocolate top?!

the finished product: and now you know why these are called SQUIZZLE SQUARES!

my favourite way to eat these squares remains unchanged from childhood: i nibble off the squizzled chocolate, then eat the rest of the square in small bites, savouring the mix of textured chocolate base and creamy icing top. mmmm!

let’s talk about SQUARES! (even though they’re not nearly as amusing as BALLS). i adore the apple squares at tango palace in toronto. i am very fond of dates squares. i can take or leave brownies.

at christmas, i love our marzipan squares, peanut butter squares, and my grandma c’s recipe of coffee squares. i dislike and refuse to even taste the caramel squares that are part of our christmas sweets collection – mostly because they are an add-on in recent years, and not part of our “traditional selection!”

i may be able to squeeze in one more recipe blog post before xmas…it depends on mom’s productivity!

🙂

have to say, i’m kinda jazzed about the idea of blogging about BUNS!

balls. and nuts.

on the fourteenth day of december...

i am warning you right now: i have the sense of humour of a nine year old boy when it comes to the words balls and nuts. however, you cannot have an innuendo-laden blog post when it is all christmas all the time. it’s a rule. so, i’ll be boring good. but you just know i am snickering while i’m typing. (the same thing happened last year when i made recipe #33, peanut butter cookie dough balls, last year as part of my 40 recipes project). i swear i will be 80 years old and still very easily amused by sophomoric humour.

i promised you some christmas baking recipes during the month of december, and here is the first one! on saturday, mom started baking our traditional and favourite christmas goodies. first up? chocolate peanut butter balls. the rule has always been that we only ever have balls at christmas [although for the guys it may be different. sorrrrryyyy!!!].

since i was at the store on saturday – and, well, let’s be honest, even if i had not been working, i would not have been baking – i made mom and dad photograph the balls so i could have actual pictures to show you, along with providing the recipe. this is a diddly-fiddly project, and pictures will help with the step-by-step instructions. mom and dad are experienced at taking photos for the blog because i gave them a similar assignment back in may, when they dined at rube watchco to celebrate mom’s bday. as you will see, dad’s photos are clearer than mine ever are!

mom is the total queen of christmas baking. dad’s involvement is limited to two jobs: he cuts up the pans of squares, and he dips balls.

mom needs her own show on the foodnetwork! she is a retired teacher and explains instructions well!

here is the recipe. you can pretend that mom is talking to you.

chocolate peanut butter balls
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup peanut butter [use standard-issue supermarket peanut butter.  The consistency of organic peanut butter or fresh-ground peanuts does not work in this recipe].
1 cup dates, cut very fine
1 cup fine coconut [use unsweetened dessicated].
1/2 finely chopped pecans
Mix all of these ingredients:

just like this!

Shape into balls about the size of a large marble.  You will have approximately 4 dozen, give or take a few.

rows upon rows of balls...

Over hot water, melt 4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate + 1 square of either bittersweet or unsweetened baking chocolate along with a piece of paraffin wax (yes, that is true) that is about 1 inch X 2 inches.  Do not try to melt it in the microwave; it makes a compact, goopy mess.

chocolates + wax - ready for melting!

Keeping chocolate mixture hot, dip the balls into chocolate.  That is Dad’s job.  He uses a narrow metal skewer to pierce each ball and then finishes off any holes made by the skewer with a flourish of drizzled chocolate.

great action shot, guys!

remember that your chocolate bowl will be HOT! and don't drop your balls!

tangent: mom and dad reno'd their kitchen last year; it COULD be a tv set!

freshly dipped balls...

dad's got his technique down to a science, after all these years - a little doo-dop swirl to hide the skewer hole!

Place dipped balls on a waxed paper surface (we use a baking sheet):

balls, balls and more balls!

Chill in the fridge until hardened, then store in a sealed container.
These apparently keep well although I [this is still mom talking] have never had the experience of tasting them stale. They are one of the recipes wiped out first.
I have been making this recipe each Christmas since 1971.
~*~*~*~*~
if i [ok, it’s me as in i, again] was going to help with this recipe, i only would want the job of grinding the nuts:

mom's vintage nut grinder - and thanks for adding in festive background touches whoever took this pic!

mom has had that nutgrinder for 48 years! she received it as a bridal shower gift from her next door neighbour. it is a super fun gadget to use. and much easier to clean up than a food processor would be!

~*~*~*~*~

ok! the christmas baking has started – wheee! the brother will be very happy because choco peanut butter balls are his favourite. i will be very happy when mom makes pans of squares – those are my favourites!

do you do holiday baking, and if so, are they recipes that you only make at christmas? one year, when i was a teenager, poor mom had a rotten case of the flu during the week or so leading up to christmas. so, i did all the christmas baking that year! that is the one and only time i have ever made our traditional christmas goodies. and miracle of christmas miracles, everything turned out deliciously!

oh, my aching sweet tooth

how’re you doing, now that the hallowe’en candy has been in the house for at least 48 hours??! well – i mean YOUR house, possibly. our condo building does not get trick or treaters, and i have no young ‘uns so there are no hallowe’en treats chez moi, currently.

candy photo opp in toronto!

to continue the trip down the hallowe’en memory lane, i was a typical kid and ate all my favourite hallowe’en candies first. that would be mini-chocolate bars (but only certain ones! jersey milks, for example were the last of the chocolate bars to go – such a boring variety!).

genetically, our family (this would be my mom’s side of the family tree) has a sweet tooth that knows no bounds. proof: one of our favourite desserts when we were little was ice cream with real ontario maple syrup poured over the top. back-up proof: our traditional christmas morning sticky buns are legendary for their extraordinary richness: butter, sugar, nuts and raisins enrobe the velvety sweet dough.

my sweet tooth has evolved as i’ve matured. i don’t think i could take the maple syrup + ice cream combo any more. however, i do love my sugary cereals. i have yet to meet a type that is too sweet. best combo ever was my invention of mixing cap’n crunch, alpha bits, honey comb and corn bran squares. ka-zing!!!

i was listening to the radio the other day and the on-air personality mentioned recipes you can make to use up left-over hallowe’en candy. i’d already come across one idea, thanks to the blog world. averie posted her recipe for butterfinger bars which incprporates candy corn. i honestly never have considered using up hallowe’en candy in baked goods – in the past, the extent of my chocolate experimentation has consisted of subbing in smarties for chocolate chips, in cookies – that’s as inventive as i have ever gotten!

(source)

so, if you are trying to deplete your (or your offspring’s!) candy stash, there are tons of recipes out there. i liked the real simple website – they provide ten recipe ideas which make use of everything from twix or snickers bars to skittles to sweetarts to kitkats [who would ever have that choco bar leftover??!]

what do you do/did you do with the dregs of the hallowe’en candy collection? we used to use those boring old jersey milks for s’mores!

rate your sweet tooth on a scale of 1-10 (1 = low, 10 = through the roof): i’d peg mine at 7.5. it’s hard to make a cake, cookie or square that is “too sweet,” yet i find fudge, candies, syrups, some ice creams to be too much. for cereals, it’s hard to find a sweeter variety than count chocula (the marshmallows send it over-the-top!).

(source)

~*~*~*~*~

november thankfulness:

(for wednesday, november 2): yesterday, i was thankful for a sunny day in toronto! i swear the last 4/5 wednesdays were varying degrees of rainy/cold/grey, so to see a skyline like this…


still my favourite shot of toronto, as you come in on the gardiner

…and to be able to wear just a light sweatshirt was simply glorious!

if you’re chilled to the bone…

…there is nothing like HOT SOUP to warm you up.

the easiest thing is to crank open a can of campbell’s…however the sodium content in tinned soups is enough to make your head spin. (even the “25% less sodium!” variations are heavily salted).

(source)

with the rainy/chilly/damp/cold weather of this whole past week, soup may be just what you need on a cosy night in. here’s one of my all-time favourite soups that my mom has made for eons. enjoy!

split pea soup

[recipe is in mom’s own words. and remember, it is intended for me, the non-cook. therefore, it’s written in plain and simple terms!]

soak two cups dried green peas for several hours in plenty of water. i soak them overnight; just let them soak until you’re ready.

simmer for three hours:

  • the peas (drained)
  • ham bone (or a smoked ham hock)
  • 8 cups water

after two hours, add:

  • one large onion, sliced
  • four potatoes, diced
  • 1 stem celery, cut up
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

lift out bone. remove bits of meat; add to soup at end of cooking time. cut up meat if pieces are larger.

serves 4-6.

true confession time: i have never actually made this soup myself. but i have very much enjoyed MOM’S makings of it!

[i bet a vegetarian version of this soup would be delicious, too. mom made this not too long ago, shared some with me, and she had shredded carrot included with that batch – a yummy and healthy addition. for a veg version, i have no clue as to what you could add in as a protein replacement. please enlighten me if you have any ideas.].

~*~*~*~*~

now let’s say you don’t have time to make soup. or you’re like me and you just don’t want to, hehe. you can also warm up by cranking THIS SONG and dancing around your kitchen. yea! that’s more my style! [i cannot get enough of this song!! sign me up in the snoop dogg fan club].

(source)

~*~*~*~*~

what’s your favourite soup on a chilly late-fall day? chicken noodle reminds me of being sick with a cold, so i won’t say that. i always loved my mom’s borscht (cabbage soup) – that’s another traditional family soup for another day!

what song do you just blast and sing along to? i am very partial to anything on jersey shore dance tunes!

DATE squares

mmmm, date squares!!

of primary significance in this recipe is the DATE.

this recipe comes from mom’s treasure trove. i’ve sampled a lot of date squares: from starbucks, café 1842 at the huether, coffee culture, a gluten-free variety from a health food store…none of the recipes match this one. i think the key *secret ingredient* is the orange juice.[date squares can be a little dry…this one is not, at all].

enjoy! and thanks, mom, for sharing!

Date Squares
(9” square pan)
Filling
2 cups pitted dates, chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
grated rind of one orange

Base and Topping
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups rolled oats (I use large flake oatmeal.)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine
To make filling, combine dates, sugar, water, orange juice, orange rind in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes or until thick and smooth.  Stir mixture frequently.
To make base and topping, combine flour, oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, baking soda, salt.  Stir well.  Cut in butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly.  Pat half this mixture into a lightly greased 9” pan.
Spread the date filling over the base.  Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over the top.  Press down lightly.
Bake 350F for 25-30 minutes.  Cut into squares when cool.

 

!coffeeeeeee-…!

bwah ha ha! did i manage to trick you with that title? did you think you were going to see me with a huge smile and a steaming cuppa joe in hand?

as close as i'm getting to coffee in a mug, i tell ya

sorry to disappoint.

but what i have to share with you today will not disappoint!

remember last week when we enjoyed family day in waterloo? well, that coffee cake that mom made for our mid-morning snack was too good to keep secret. how good was it, you ask? well, six adults and two kidlets managed to demolish the entire 9×9″ pan in one sitting. and remember: it was snack time!

mmmm...want a slice?

i asked mom if she would mind giving us the recipe, and she has kindly obliged.

this recipe is ancient! in mom’s own words…

The recipe comes from a Betty Crocker cookbook that I bought in 1958 (I was in Grade 11) when it was offered to all of us girls in what was then called Home Economics class.  I remember the teacher assigning each of us to try a recipe from the book and bring it for a taste-test to class,  but I don’t remember what recipe I made back then.

That cookbook greatly enhanced my baking and cooking abilities as a young bride and homemaker a few years later.  I think that the first time I made the coffee cake was when Grandma and Grandpa C came over to visit us in our first apartment on Becker Street in Kitchener shortly after Dad and I were married.”
[i kept in the caps because mom does not write in all lower case, like some people…]
Streusel-Filled Coffee Cake
Mix thoroughly:
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup soft shortening
1 egg
Stir in:
1/2 cup milk
Blend together with a fork or whisk and then stir in:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Spread half of the batter in a well-greased 9” square pan.
Sprinkle with half of Streusel Mixture:
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 Tblsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tblsp butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Add the remaining batter and then sprinkle remaining Streusel over top.
Bake 375F for 30 minutes or until toothpick stuck into centre of cake comes out clean.
Serve fresh and warm from the oven.
[i wonder if it’s possible to make this in a bundt pan? i ♥ bundt pan-shaped coffee cake!]
anyway, if you make this coffee cake, i bet you won’t be needing to wonder what to do with left-overs. it’ll be a hit with multi-generations!

coffee cake: yes or no, and at what time of day? mom also reminded me that i lovvvved blueberry buckle, as a kid. that is true! also, i luuuuvvved when our supper meal was a coffee cake, blueberry buckle or johnny cake. i’ve never been a big meat fan, so a carb-heavy dinner was right up my alley!

~*~*~*~*~

i’m off to theOTHERstore for my first shift today! whooowheeee! it feels like the first day of school!

happy almost-the-weekend, everyone!

sh!t my dad says

last christmas – or was it the christmas before? – we gave my cousin joel this book.

(source)

i didn’t take the time to page through it that day (and still haven’t had the opportunity to explore it further) but what i do remember is joel sitting on the couch and laughing like crazy as he perused the content. he shared a few of his findings out loud, and we were all thoroughly amused.

my dear dad takes quite the teasing around here. the erv-man good-naturedly puts up with our gently mocking, teasing, and mimicking.

dad's 0.5 seconds-of-fame, on tv, in may!

dad’s had some classic lines, over the years…

~ “everything in moderation” – > whether he’s referencing running mileage, ipod volume, dessert servings, or stock market investing, the middle-of-the-road approach is dad’s tried ‘n’ true philosophy. and, really, i have yet to come across a circumstance where it doesn’t make good sense to apply this maxim.

~ “the clutch is your friend” – > i got my learner’s drivers’ license the very day i turned sixteen. after completing a young driver’s of canada course for basic driving skills, dad taught me how to drive standard. i give the man credit as he allowed me full access to our family’s toyota celica.

(source)

we started off going over to the (empty) parking lot at fairview park mall where i’d lurch around my race course the “roads” of the lot. dad very patiently guided me through the clutch vs gas pedal balancing act, and soundlessly endured my herky-jerky start-and-stop attempts. as i tended to act like the clutch pedal was on fire, dad would intone, “the clutch is your friend,” and this reminder helped me to e-a-s-e off of the clutch.

[sidenote: best story ever: after i graduated from parking lot driving, we went on to quiet, suburban streets. one time, we were at the corner of heritage and lorraine, at a stop sign, and for the life of me, i could not get the celica to GO! i kept stalling the car. i grew more and more frustrated/anxious as a few cars lined up behind us. finally, dad and i hopped out of the car, switched spots, and dad drove us out of the intersection. talk about being embarrassed!]. dad’s driving lessons paid off as i grew to love driving standard – it’s a handy skill!

~ “i don’t feel good if i don’t burp” – > belching and farting were not big issues in our family, growing up. for sure, we didn’t let fly air bursts in public, but if it was just the four of us at home, you let out what whatever air you needed to. mom, the brother and i were loud, quick and forceful burpers. dad tended to just blip out little burps. when we’d grow tired of hearing these and complain, dad would thump his chest or rub his stomach and plead his case: “i don’t feel good if i don’t burp.” [update: i checked with mom, and dad still says this phrase, to this day].

~ “the world is full of idiots” – > this is my favourite dad saying of all time. in fact, i have it on my facebook info page under “favourite quotations.” it used to be the tagline at the bottom of my emails. i have to give it to him, dad is just totally correct with this assessment.

patience is not one of dad’s many virtues – hey, the apple falls not far from the tree, i fully admit – so you are likely to find idiots on the roads, at the bank, at the grocery store, on tv…basically, no zone is exempt.

~ “this is not a casserole” – > growing up, one of our favourite meals was a ground beef dish that my mom would prepare quite frequently because we loved it so much. as far back as i can remember, whenever the topic of casseroles came up, dad always claimed that he won’t eat casseroles, doesn’t like casseroles, don’t give him a casserole. mom would protest with, “but this is a casserole and you love it!” so, that’s how this recipe became known as “the casserole that’s not a casserole.” enjoy!

the casserole that is not a casserole (aka ground beef in sour cream)

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 lb ground beef (mom always uses lean)
  • 3 cups (dry) medium egg noodles
  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1 /2 tsp celery salt
  • dash pepper
  • 2 tsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper [mom’s note: or just a 1/4 cup if you don’t like green pepper that much. but, don’t omit completely. this recipe seems to need that touch]
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tin sliced mushrooms, drained

[mom uses an electric fry pan for this recipe].

cook onion in the oil until tender, but not brown. add beef, brown lightly.

place noodles in a layer over meat. combine tomato juice and seasonings, and pour over noodles.

bring to boiling, then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

add green pepper; cover, and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the noodles are tender.

stir in sour cream and drained mushrooms. heat through, but do not return to a boil.

~makes about 6 servings – depends if there are teenage boy eaters involved. 🙂

any gems to share from your own dad? dad has always been a very good sport. in our after-supper hyper hour, this was not an unusual sight:

yes, that would be a bread basket on dad's head

we laughed til we cried, without fail!

~*~*~*~*~

31 FLAVOURS OF AUGUST

2/31

treat: tiger brownie from cafe 1842 (the huether)

price: $2.26

rating: *** 1/2 (three point five stars)

tasting notes: one star each for: the coconut-ty base layer; the black and white brownie doughs; the chocolate chips. bonus 1/2 star for putting it all together. this should have been on my initial list of must-have all-stars!