Thursday, November 26, 2009

'Secret' family pastry recipe

This is my mothers grandfathers pastry recipe. I am guessing it to be easily 70yrs old. The trick is to handle it as little as possible once the wet ingredients go in. Flaky, old fashioned, hard to screw up goodness.

3 cups flour
1/2lb lard (I use vegetable shortening)
1 teas. salt
1/2 teas baking powder

cut with a pastry cutter until crumbly.

in a separate bowl or measuring cup add
1 egg
2 tbsp. vinegar
cold water added to the above to equal just 1/2 cup.

beat lightly and add to crumbled mixture. combine until just dough. roll on floured surface. makes two, two crust pies

Sunday, November 8, 2009

depression cooking lessons for a recession??

if you are anything like us, your finances have taken a big hit over the past year. despite tightening our belts on daily expenses and kiboshing the luxury 'extras' (like dishtv & starbucks), things are tight. uncomfortably so!

and if you are anything like us you and your DH/DW have been discussing ways to either reduce costs or increase income - maybe both!! I came across this very cool utube site called Depression Cooking with Clara. Clara is a 90+ spitfire who goes back to the basics of cheap cooking - sharing recipes from when she was a kid in the great depression. she also is incredibly cute and entertaining when sharing her life stories.

according to Clara, a family who had chickens and a garden actually ate pretty well during the depression and if you were lucky enough to be able to afford such luxuries, a sack of flour and a sack of potatoes - you had everything you needed to be healthy.

hmmm, a sack of flour and a sack of potatoes - luxuries? and here I am be-moaning the loss of my DVR . . . . makes you think. and be grateful. not to mention - many of her recipies look very scrummy! as Clara says 'eat and enjoy!'

Friday, November 6, 2009

Brunch with friends

A few days ago I had a couple girlfriends over for brunch. What a fun, fun time! I just love cooking for people and trying new recipes. I suppose entertaining can be stressful at times but this was easy, easy, easy and gave me a good excuse to clean up the house too! Maybe this will become a monthly thing???

Along with a fresh fruit salad, here is what I served:
Turkey Sausage w/ Potatoes and Veggies. This is a super easy overnight recipe I stole from one of my favorite blogs - a year of slow cooking. The link to this blog is on my list. Here is the link to the original recipe:

I followed it almost exactly but used turkey instead of chicken sausages and added one package of sliced mushrooms. I don't really measure anything but I cant see how anyone could screw up something this simple! It smelled great and was very tasty!

The other thing I tried was a baked French toast dish. There are a ton of baked French toast recipes on-line. I just read a bunch and then tried to come up with something that looked good to me. These look like alot of work but you do everything the night before let it sit in the fridge over night and then just pop it in the oven - so EASY!! This was so yummy I think I may do it again for Christmas morning!!

Dorinda's Apple-Craisin Baked French Toast Casserole:
1 loaf fresh multi-grain bread cubed
2-3 small apples washed, cored and chopped (I left the peels on but do what suits you)
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1/4 cup butter melted
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar (divided 3/4c plus 1/4c)
1/4 cup butter (cold for dotting the top)
6 eggs
1 cup milk or fat free half & half

Toss cubed bread in a large bowl with apples, craisins, cinnamon, 3/4c brown sugar and melted butter. In a smaller separate bowl beat together the eggs and milk with a fork. Pour over the bread mixture. Mix well to coat the bread. Place into a lightly greased 9x13 pan - you may have to pack it down a bit. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator over night.

The next morning lift the foil and dot the top with butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar (and a sprinkle of cinnamon if you like). Bake at 350 for 30-40mins or until 'set'.

The online recipes suggested serving your baked french toast with maple syrup but the girls and I all agreed this is plenty sweet on it's own. I bet my kids would have put syrup on thiers though!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Re-blogging Body image and the beast

I have a few things I want to blog about but never seem to find the time!! So here is a reposting from last year. It is still applicable and something I still think about. Also it occurred to me - I really don't have weight problem - I have a depression/body image problem that I medicate with food. hmmm . . . . something to think about. What about you?

First I must make two statements:
Women struggle with body image
I am a woman


I am a person who has been very fat. And a person who has been relatively thin. Here's what I have learnt from my experience:
- I have felt fat and ugly at both a size 6 and at a size 16
- I feel strong & powerful & sexy when I exercise regularly no matter what the scale says
- I know the difference between healthy, wholesome foods and junk
- I often choose to ignore what I know

A while ago (after taking a piece of chocolate) I confessed to a friend that I knew I would be much happier if I just lost these last (nagging, persistent, resistant, frustrating, infuriating, want to crawl under the covers and cry) ten pounds. Did I mention that I was eating chocolate at the time? This friend looked at me like I had suddenly taken all leave of my senses - he looked at me like I was completely crazy. He sighed, paused and then said very carefully (being married and therefore having some experience with female sensibilities) "If you will pardon me saying so - you are perfect. I mean lose weight if it makes you happy . . . but to me, and probably to a lot of people - you are just perfect." Now it was my turn to look at him as if he had completely lost his senses.

Now here's the thing. This is a good friend that does not lie and does not say things to make people 'feel better'. I believed him. Kinda. For about three minutes I actually believed that I was better than okay, better than fine. But one good look in a full length mirror later was all it took for the ugly beast of insecurity to rear its head again.

I know so many women like this! I know so many beautiful women who think of themselves as average, so-so or even ugly! A good friend that is one of the most beautiful women I've ever known who hates her own thighs; another beautiful woman who despises the size of her hips; another that feels if she could just 'fix' a certain facial facial feature she might just be pretty. What the heck?!? These are all gorgeous women - what is wrong with us?

I wish that all women would turn that focus into living positive lives.

Eating to sustain and nourish instead of eating our emotions. Exercising to build muscles and strong hearts rather than to burn more calories. Loving and taking care of ourselves a little bit more instead of harping on our flaws and taking care of everyone else.

Boy that sounds good. I just hope I can take my own advise to heart!