Posts filed under ‘Recipes’

Sunday Morning Coffee +Thanksgiving Leftovers 2FER #2: CRANBERRIES


IMG_2120My favourite version of a traditional accompaniment combines fresh or frozen cranberries, orange juice, sugar and a whole orange to make a fresh, tangy relish for turkey or chicken. Use your microwave to make this fuss-free or, if you prefer, cook and stir on the stovetop a day ahead then cool until it’s time to serve.

  • 1 package fresh or frozen whole cranberries [ about 2 cups
  • 1 whole orange
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice**

**I usually combine a couple of spoonfuls of orange juice concentrate with warm water, but if you don’t have orange juice, just go ahead and use plain water for a slightly less “orange-y” sauce.

Slice off the stem and blossom end of the orange. Cut the orange in chunks and throw into a food processor or blender with the orange juice. Process until all the peel is shredded. Combine the orange with the sugar and cranberries in a VERY LARGE microwavable bowl ( ask me how I know this will bubble over if the bowl isn’t at least  twice as big as I think I need!).  Cover and microwave on high for about 8 minutes until bubbling. Remove cover, stir and continue to microwave uncovered on high for another 8-12 minutes or until the berries have popped and the sauce begins to thicken. [Sauce will thicken considerably more as it cools.] Cool to lukewarm and then refrigerate until dinner time.

This Canadian Thanksgiving, though, I popped the finished sauce into the fridge and….



When we remembered [just before I served dessert!], it was too late for dinner, so I was left with a double batch of sauce to use up. So, Sunday baking for LaRosa was an experiment: Joe Zaleski’s coffee cake from the old Quilter’s Neighbourhood site adapted for a fruit filling instead of the usual streusel.

Oh wow! Now we have a NEW family and church favourite: I have stockpiled bags of cranberries and plan to make up batches of sauce just for this wonderful 

Zinger Joe’s Cranberry Coffee Cake

bake at 350º for about an hour: makes a 9″ bundt or tube cake.

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream or yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar

I promise you: this is well worth using every bowl in your kitchen. Like the original recipe, you’ll need to start by organizing different bowls of ingredients, then combining them. Here’s how that goes:


  • Bowl #1: beat together margarine with first amount of sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
  • Bowl #2: stir together flour, baking powder and  salt.
  • Bowl #3: Sprinkle soda over yoghurt [or sour cream] beat with a whisk until light and foamy
  • Bowl #4: Cranberry sauce [we use our own recipe from above, but you could also use a can of whole cranberry sauce –not jelly)
  • Bowl #5: Stir together 1/4 cup sugar with orange zest and set aside.

Grease a 9″ bundt or tube pan. [I use Pam®]

Add flour and yoghurt mixture alternately to margarine mix, beginning and ending with flour. Beat well after each addition.


Beginning to add the second layer of batter on top of the cranberry sauce.


Ready for the oven.

Spoon half the batter into the bottom of the pan. Spoon cranberry sauce evenly over the batter. Top with remaining batter. Swirl with a long thin knife until bits of cranberry show through the top, but DO NOT STIR…you want to have streaks of berry not a pink cake! Smooth the top then sprinkle with the orange/sugar mix. Bake in middle of oven for about 1 hour or until it tests done. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.

Makes a wonderful dessert or a morning snack…sustenance for shopping on Friday after Thanksgiving, perhaps?


November 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm Leave a comment

Sunday Morning Coffee +Thanksgiving Leftovers 2FER: SWEET POTATOES

Sweet Potato Cake

Our folks at LaRosa don’t get to enjoy the best part of Thanksgiving: the cooks do a great job of Thanksgiving dinner, but food service protocol doesn’t allow for next-day meals of leftovers. Our Canadian Thanksgiving in October gave me a chance to share some of our leftovers with my friends in special treats for Sunday morning.  This year, one of our new favourites starts with my version of a Thanksgiving standard: Sweet Potatoes or Yams. Here’s my recipe for Thanksgiving dinner followed by the 2fer recipe beginning with leftovers as a base to build a wonderful autumn treat.

Sweet Potato Bake

I’m not a fan of sweet main course sides: I don’t get the appeal of yams with marshmallows. But, sweet potatoes or yams are a must-serve item for Thanksgiving dinner, so I’ve developed my own no-fuss take on this dish. (Sorry, there’s no photo for this part: my kitchen is no place for a camera when I’m cooking for a crowd!]

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and sliced half-inch thick. I usually cut these in half for half-circles so they’re easier to layer;
  • 3 slightly underripe pears – Bosc are my favourites, but any that aren’t mushy will do. If the skins are thin and attractive, you can leave them on, or peel if desired. Core and cut into slices.

Toss potatoes or yams in a bowl with a little olive oil [no more than a tablespoon], then layer in the casserole dish alternating with pear slices. You can drizzle with a little maple syrup if you wish. Sprinkle with about

  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Cover with foil and bake.  I do my bird at 325°, so I put these in alongside my roasting pan about an hour before it’s done. Test after about 45 minutes: if potatoes are fork tender, remove foil and let brown for 10-15 minutes. Serves 10-12 if you have other side dishes.

As usual, I made way more food than we could eat, anticipating leftovers. About 1/2 of the sweet potato dish was left, so I adapted an on-line recipe from Taste of Home to use them. The little bit of pear was a lovely light addition to this special autumn cake: everyone who tried it agreed “Yum!” (I’m sure this would still be a hit with any sweet potato leftovers: if you sweeten yours for Thanksgiving, you’ll want to reduce the sugar accordingly.)

Sweet Potato Cake

Start by scooping the leftovers into a stand mixer bowl and beat on medium until thoroughly mashed, or mash as you would potatoes.  Measure the sweet potato mix and return 2 cups to the bowl and beat with

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine

Beat until well mixed, then beat in

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 large eggs

Stir together:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon**
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger**
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves**
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom**
  • **SUBSTITUTE Pumpkin Pie spice if you prefer for any or all of the spices.

Add all at once to the sweet potato mixture. Mix just until moist, then stir in

  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (I used Craisins®)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Spoon into a well-greased 10″ bundt pan or tube pan. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted near centre comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 10-15 minutes before turning out to cool completely.  Before serving, dust lightly with

  • Icing sugar

Next time I may try this in a 9×13 pan: perhaps with cream cheese frosting? I’m betting it will make a wonderful dessert to serve after Turkey Pot Pie.

HINT: More than 2 cups of sweet potatoes/yams? Freeze leftovers to add to muffins or pancakes for added nutrition.


Looking for more post-Thanksgiving recipes?  Quilter’s Neighbourhood, has a couple of our favourite Thanksgiving leftover recipes: Turkey Pot Pie and Cranberry Muffins here.



November 1, 2013 at 8:21 pm 1 comment

Sunday Morning Coffee: RHUBARB PECAN BREAD

rhubarb breadScored some rhubarb from my mother-in-law’s garden [thanks, Marie Graham!]: half got chopped and frozen for a rhubarb pie; the remainder went into these lovely moist breads. I adapted the recipe from one handwritten by my daughter-in-law Bre-Anne’s grandma – the other side of the recipe card from the Pork and Beans bread I shared a while back. Next time I make this, I think I’ll cut the oil to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce to make this a little healthier.

Bake at 350° for about 50 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yoghurt or 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk [I used Greek Yoghurt thinned with milk]
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb [about 1/4″ cubes]

Mix sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and yoghurt or milk and beat until smooth

Combine flour, salt cinnamon and soda and add to liquids.

Stir in rhubarb and nuts. Divide batter into 2 well greased 8″x4″ loaf pans. Bake at 350° for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out on a rack to cool completely. Freezes well.


June 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

Sunday Morning Coffee: [er um shhhh….] PRUNE Bars


I gave my friend the last of a bag of prunes for her Mom. Just when I bought more for my cupboard, my friend showed up with a big bag to replace the ones she borrowed, leaving me with more than I could use in a lifetime of adding them to porridge. Browsing through my Company’s Coming cookbooks, I found a recipe for “prune chips” that sounded interesting. With a few changes, it’s become a surprising favourite in our household: think a moist yummy carrot cake-type bar. If you don’t tell anyone, they’ll never know it’s got prunes! [In case you’re worried, I think you’d have to eat the whole batch to suffer the “side effects” prunes sometimes cause.]

The food processor makes fast, non-sticky work of chopping the prunes. If you don’t have a processor, you can certainly chop them or cut into pieces with scissors dipped in warm water.


  • 1 cup prunes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon [I use a full teaspoon]
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

Stir the prunes into the 1/2 cup flour to coat evenly, then pulse in a food processor with the chopping blade until about the size of raisins [the flour keeps the prune from clumping and sticking to the blade.] Set aside.

Beat butter, egg and sugar together until fluffy. Add lemon juice, water and chopped walnuts. Beat to mix [I use my stand mixer to make quick work of this.]

In a separate bowl, stir together 1/2 cup flour, soda and spices. Stir in the prune/flour mix. Add all at once to butter mixture and stir just until moistened. Turn into a well greased 8″ square cake pan. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool in pan. If desired, dust with icing sugar before cutting into squares. [I cut 24 — 4 x 6 for church, or 16 — 4×4 for Frank’s lunchbox.]

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do: they stay fresh and moist for a couple of days and freeze well too. Feel fry to adjust the spices to suit your own taste.



June 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

Sunday Morning Coffee: BANANA SNACKING CAKE

ImageWhile I like the flavour of banana cake, I find most too dense. So, when I excavated three frozen bananas while cleaning my fridge’s freezer, I set about to make a lighter version with all the flavour of traditional banana snacking cake, but without the heaviness. I knew it was a hit when we all had one little piece after dinner…then another and another and… As you can see from the photo, it wasn’t long before the pan was half empty!

June 2, 2013 NOTE: in the original post, a “1” was added in front of the 1/2 cup of butter required. Yikes! The corrected version follows. My apologies to anyone who tried the recipe in its first posting — unless of course, you like a VERY buttery cake!


  • 3 medium bananas [I freeze overripe bananas and use them without thawing]
  • ½ cup butter or hard margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Greek style yoghurt or sour cream*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 ½ cups white flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 squares semi-sweet chocolate [or ¼ cup chocolate chips]
  • 1 T vegetable oil

Beat butter. Add sugar, eggs and bananas and beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, mix yoghurt and baking soda and stir with a fork: it will become light and puffy. [*You can use regular yoghurt if you like, but you will need to add about ¼ cup more flour to compensate for the extra liquid, and your cake may be a little heavier.]

In a third bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

Add flour mixture and yoghurt to banana mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Mix only until moist. Stir in walnuts (you can leave the nuts out if you wish or add chocolate chips instead/as well as — there’s always room for chocolate!)

Pour into a greased 9×12” pan – I use a large rectangular Pyrex® dish. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and cake springs back when touched.

NOTE: it will look like there’s not enough batter, but this cake rises almost double. I was worried when I checked half way through: the center looked puffed and gummy, but it was perfect when it was finished. 

While the cake is baking, microwave the chocolate and oil on low until melted, stirring to mix. After removing cake from the oven, cool on a rack while you drizzle the chocolate over the top. [I’m told that chocolate is optional for some people….just not anyone I know!].

I think this might freeze well, but don’t imagine I’m ever going to find out for sure! If your family has more restraint than we do, drop me a note to let me know! 

God bless


May 30, 2013 at 7:57 pm 2 comments

Sunday Morning Coffee: SWEET or SAVOURY SCONES


Scones for Flo’s memorial tea: cheese and onion [bottom]; cranberry and white chocolate [middle].

Some Sunday mornings, it’s all I can do to drag myself out of bed and turn the oven on, let alone dream up a complicated treat for coffee time. On those days, the temperature is set to 425°, and  I throw together some variation of this basic scone recipe. For a tea party or morning coffee gathering, make two varieties at the same time, or choose to make one batch of either sweet or savoury. The recipe doubles easily to serve a crowd.

BASIC SCONES [makes a total of 12 medium sized or 16 small]

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup cold butter [ you can use hard margarine, but butter really is better]
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup plain yoghurt OR 2/3 cup buttermilk

Stir together flour sugar, salt and baking powder

Cut butter in until crumbly. At this point, if you are making sweet and savoury scones, split the flour mixture between two bowls. Add any one or two* of the following to each bowl [amounts given are approximate for a FULL recipe: halve if you are making two varieties – add more or less to taste].

*or none for lovely plain scones perfect to serve with butter or jam.


  • 1/2 cup raisins, currants, dried cranberries, glazed fruit
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped strawberries or cherries, whole blueberries or other berries
  • 1/3 cup dark,milk, white chocolate – chopped or chips.
  • 1 tablespoon or so of grated orange or lemon rind [I like to combine lemon rind and finely chopped candied ginger]
  • 1/2 cup shredded apple [you may need less liquid if the apple is juicy]
  • finely chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger to taste


  • 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled medium or sharp cheese – cheddar, asiago, swiss, etc.
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion or minced onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped ham
  • 2-3 slices bacon, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
  • garlic, oregano, basil, black pepper to taste

In a separate bowl, beat together egg and yoghurt. Pour into flour mixture [half to each bowl if you’re making two varieties], adding just enough to moisten the mixture so that it clumps together but is not sticky. Depending on the thickness of the yoghurt, you may need to add a tablespoon or so of milk if the mixture is too dry.

Knead two or three times to form a ball, then pat each ball into a 6″ round on a greased cookie sheet: if you are only making one variety, make two 6″ rounds. Score into wedges: I usually do 8 small wedges; for larger scones: 6 wedges. You can also roll the dough out  about 1″ thick on a floured board and cut into rounds with a glass or biscuit cutter.

Optional: brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar [or cinnamon sugar for apple or nut scones]. For savoury scones, you may wish to brush with milk and sprinkle a little extra cheese on top.

Bake at 425° for about 15 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Serve warm.


– Kim

May 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

Sunday Afternoon Coffee: Old Fashioned/New-Fangled Oatmeal Cocoanut Cookies

cookies2Not for church this time: I seriously doubt these will last that long! Sunday afternoon quiet finds me puttering in the kitchen making a variation on an old-time family favourite from my Saskatchewan Grandmother’s CCF cookbook dated 1947.

While the internet is an amazing resource, there’s something soul-stirring about leafing through this piece of Canadian domestic history: so many recipes are “eggless” or “flourless”; “butterless” or even “sugarless” as scarcity and rationing challenged the creativity of women across the country trying to make appetizing meals and treats. I wonder how Mrs. D.J. Macdonald figured out that she could substitute Jelly powder for sugar in her “original cookies”?  Did Mrs. A. Marchant from Westbank, BC pick her own Queen Ann cherries for homemade Maraschino cherries?  And what would V.M. McKechnie from Tuffnell, Saskatchewan think of me sitting here with my computer on my lap typing in my variations on her recipe for Oatmeal Cocoanut [her spelling] cookies?

I’m sure she’d be amazed at the variety of options in my cupboard: if she was like my grandmother, she probably added a handful of raisins as a treat for special occasions. Dried cranberries would seem exotic beyond imagining! (Not to mention my precious stand mixer with its large capacity bowl and specially designed beaters!) I picture her sitting down at her  kitchen table to write a “good copy” of her favourite recipe and  mailing it to the CCF volunteer assembling the book. What would she think of  a “blog post” that will reach all of you with a click of the Publish button?

Our pantries, our kitchens and our methods of sharing have changed, but Mrs. McKechnie and I have a common aim: letting other cooks and their families enjoy recipes that work for us. I hope Mr. McKechnie enjoyed the cookies his wife made as much as Frank is enjoying these. I hope you do too.


(original Recipe by VM McKechnie, Tuffnel Saskatchewan in Canadian Favorites [2nd edition] published by the CCF in 1947)

375° oven for about 12-14 minutes

Makes 4 dozen 2″ cookies

  • 1 cup butter (margarine really doesn’t work as well)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups oatmeal OR
    • 1 cup rolled oats [NOT instant oatmeal]
    • 1 cup multi-grain cereal meant for porridge and baking [I use Rogers 9-grain]
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 ½-2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
    • a couple of  handfuls of raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruit [I used Craisins®] and/or
    • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter together with brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Mix oatmeal [or oats and multigrain cereal] together with cocoanut, baking powder and 1 cup of the flour. Add to butter mixture. Stir in any additions you choose. Add enough additional flour to allow you to handle the dough without it becoming too crumbly: I usually find that an additional 1/2 cup is all I need.

Roll walnut-sized balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten with a fork dipped in water. Bake in 375º oven about 12 minutes until golden brown. I find I have to switch the pans halfway through the baking time to get even browning. Cool on pan for a couple of minutes then transfer to racks to cool completely.

These freeze well….at least I’m pretty sure they do. Frozen cookies apparently taste pretty good too, so they’re always all gone by the time I get to the freezer! These are crispy rather than chewy, so I store them in a closed container.

Hope you enjoy making your own variation. If you know anyone from Mrs. McKechnie’s family, tell them my family says “thanks!”

God Bless!


April 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm 2 comments

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