Sunday, December 22, 2013


Oh, hello there... Long time no cook, eh?

I will admit - life got a little busy. But with the holiday season, my thoughts were constantly turning to grandma. There was a reason I started this blog, and that's the same reason I'm here today; to remember Mrs. Mary Murphy.

I made this recipe awhile back, but didn't blog it at the time. And I'm sorry for that - as it is absolutely delicious! Seriously, the best (and easiest!) meatloaf recipe I have ever tried.

The Recipe Card

The Process

Soak rolled oats in tomato juice for 10 minutes. Yes, I use my iPhone as a timer. Wonder what grandma would think of that ;)

While the oats are soaking (this is a really important step by the way! The oats soak up all the juice and I can only assume this is why the meatloaf is so juicy and delicious), I shooed my children out of the kitchen so they wouldn't see me crying over the onions.

In a separate bowl, I combined the egg, mustard, salt and pepper

And then added it to the ground beef

Yum! ... ;) Add in the rolled oats and you're off!

I packed mine into mini loaf pans instead of one large loaf pan so I could have a variety of toppings.

Yes, that's right, variety IS the spice of life!

Pop 'em in the oven, and an hour later, you have a delicious dinner!

The Recipe

1 cup Rolled Oats
1-1/4 cups Tomato Juice
1 Egg
1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
1/4 cup Onion (minced)
1-1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Mustard
1/4 tsp Pepper

1. Soak rolled oats in tomato juice for 10 minutes.
2. Add slightly beaten eggs, ground beed, onion and seasonings to combine thoroughly.
3. Pack in greased loaf pan 4-1/2" x 10".
4. Bake in moderate oven 350 degrees for 1 hour

Serve hot or cold. Yields 12 servings.

My Personal Notes

  • I followed the recipe exactly for this one. I wouldn't change a thing!
  • The toppings I used for my mini loaves were:
    • 2 plain (no topping)
    • 2 Ketchup (for the boys)
    • 2 Sweet & Spicy Mustard (from Epicure)
    • 2 Red Pepper Jelly (homemade by my mom)

That's it! Easy-peasy. I promise you, if you make this one (and you're a fan of meatloaf), you will not be disappointed!

Even my kiddos loved it!

Be sure to check back next time for some delicious Cherry Macaroon Cookies. My husband described his first bite as having 'fireworks' in his mouth. :)


Monday, August 5, 2013

Pastry (Florence Fletcher)

Good day!

This post is going to be a quick one. It's more of an 'add-on' to last post (the Garden Quiche) and conveniently, this recipe is also from the kitchen of Grandma's friend, Florence Fletcher.

To it and at it...

The Recipe Card:

The Process:

Like most recipes so far - you start with a lot more lard than should be legal. Again, I use vegetable shortening instead of lard. I use a pastry cutter to blend it all and make it 'crumbly'.

The recipe calls for "1 egg (water for 1 cup)". Alright, what exactly does that mean!? I figured it meant that you put an egg in a measuring cup and then added water so that the contents equals 1 cup. I called my mom to confirm (I seem to use my 'lifeline' call every time I'm in the kitchen), and she agreed. So it was decided. 

Since there was little direction on the recipe card, I went with the standard - make a well in the dough and pour the egg/water combo in the centre. 

And it mixed up beautifully! This recipe makes 2 shells, so I cut it in half and covered one half with some plastic wrap while I worked with the other. 

I rolled it all out and laid it overtop of my pie plate. 

With a knife, I cut along the edge of the pie plate and scraped off the excess. At the advice of my mom (during the egg/water call), I handled the dough as little as possible. I had reserved some dough from this half to start working on the braids. 

Typically, this is where the recipe would end. You'd stuff your goods in there and you'd be off and running. Buuuut, because we live in a world of Pinterest and fabulous Bloggers, I couldn't stop there. I saw this really great pin one time where this woman had created a braided edge for her pie crust. Here's the process as I did it. 

With some extra dough, I cut 3 strips out (as straight as I could). Carefully pinch them together on one end.

So, I thought I remembered reading somewhere that you use egg yolk to help pastry stick together and use egg white to give pastry a nice golden-brown shine when baking. Turns out it's the opposite, so I basically just shined up the inside for no reason and didn't help myself at all with the 'stick' problem.

Squish the pinched end into the crust a bit and then just start braiding. Close your eyes and pretend it's hair if you need to. Though I will caution you, it can fall apart pretty easy! When you run out of a strip, cut another one and attach to the end of the original... Just keep on going until you're at the end.


As I mentioned, this recipe makes 2 pie shells (which I sure most recipes do), and I was NOT going to go through all that a second time. That's a one-shell kind of project. For the second one, I did the ol' fork-marks-in-the-crust trick and was done with it. 

The Recipe:

1 lb lard
5 cups Flour
1 egg (water for 1 cup)*
1 tbsp vinegar
3 tsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder

*See note below.

My Personal Notes:

  • I warned you that the ingredients were a tad surprising for pastry! But I also told you that it was absolutely delicious. Flakey without being dry! Yum. 
  • "1 egg (water for 1 cup)": I interpreted this as "crack an egg into a measuring cup and add enough water in to bring the contents up to 1 cup". If someone interprets this differently, please let me know!
  • Specific to the braiding as opposed to the recipe - The thinner the better, really. Mine were too thick and bulky. Also, there's no need to have the braid as 'tight' as mine, it makes for a lot of crust!

Try this recipe out with your favourite pie or dinner dish. It would be an amazing Tortiere pastry!

Well, there you have it - a great recipe and the added bonus of a peek through the window to my insanity when it comes to details :)

Up next, Mealoaf. Mmmm, who doesn't love meatloaf?!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Garden Quiche (Florence Fletcher)

Ok, so here I was thinking it had only been a few weeks since I last updated. Turns out I was way off...

That doesn't mean that I have stopped cooking though! As promised, I bring you grandma's quiche recipe today. This is by far one of my favourite recipes in this little box. One that I know very well and always looked forward to when she made it. Seriously, egg with pastry. Does it get much better?

One of my favourite things about quiche is it's really an "anytime" kind of meal. Winter, summer... Morning, evening. I've made it for Easter brunch, and I've made it for a casual Sunday night dinner. When in a pinch, make a quiche.

This recipe belongs to Florence Fletcher. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of Florence ("Flo"*), but I know they are around. My grandma had a wonderful album from her time working for the war effort some place in Quebec. I believe my brother still has the album, so I'll scan a photo and post it as an update soon. Until then, I thought I would share this absolutely wonderful photo of my grandpa helping my grandma up on to a tree stump. I adore this photo.

The Recipe Card:

The Process:

This is such a super easy and quick recipe to make. If you're using frozen prepared pie shells, it's even quicker. The majority of my time in the kitchen was spent making (and braiding) the pastry. In fact, it took so long to make the pastry that I worked up quite an appetite. My absolutely darling husband made me a gourmet snack of toast with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. He should start his own blog, don't you think?!

I prepared my pie shells and placed the broccoli inside and then sprinkled with the (delicious) cheese.

You will notice that with the second pie crust, I did not braid the edge. I needed to save time and my sanity. I opted for a very classy fork-design-in-the-edge option, a la Stouffer's Chicken Pot Pie.

Whisk together the soup mix, basic, milk and eggs.

Pour over the broccoli/cheese and you're done like dinner. 

Pop it in the oven for 40-45 minutes and socialize with your brother, sister-in-law and adorable nephew while you wait. This last part is optional, but highly recommended.


The Recipe:

1 Knorr Leek soup mix
1 pkg frozen broccoli thawed & drained
1-1/2 cups grated Gruyere Cheese (see notes)
2 unbaked pie shells (coming soon!)
1/2 tsp dry Basil
4 medium Eggs
1-1/2 cups 2% Milk

Over 375.
Arrange broccoli and cheese in pie shells.
Whisk soup mix and basil with eggs and milk.
Pour into shells.
Cook 40-45 minutes
Cool 10 minutes

My Personal Notes:

I remember one time I tried to make this for a small group of friends that I was having over. I was probably around 15 or so. Natalie, Ben, Nick and Marieka were coming to "hang out" and I thought it would be grand to show them how fabulous I was in the kitchen. When I got to the part in the recipe about adding the Knorr soup mix, I figured you actually had to prepare the soup as per the instructions on the package, and then add it to the recipe. Needless to say, we had a very sloppy quiche that night. I highly recommend not doing that!

  • I used fresh broccoli, not frozen/thawed/drained. I know, I'm such a traditionalist. 
  • If you're at all like me, you have no idea what Gruyere cheese is and why it's any different than cheddar (which I was going to get until I realized I have access to infinite information in the palm of my hands -or more accurately, the bottom of my purse- my iPhone!). I pulled over in the cheese and deli section of the grocery store and quickly googled Gruyere Cheese. It is in the swiss family and is named after the city Gruyere in Switzerland. It's also ridiculously expensive and tasty as all get-out. Mine looked like this and cost around $8-$9. It yielded almost the 1-1/2 cups. 
  • As it turns out, non-fancy crust tastes just as good as fancy crust. 

My husband has an aversion to quiche that I don't quite understand. Regardless, he suffered through and ate it all, saying "for quiche, it was OK". I've got to take what I can get ;)

Please give it a try!

Up next, I'm going to share the Pastry recipe I used for this. It surprised me some of the ingredients in it, but it was hands-down the best, flakiest pastry I've made.


*A little bit of "history"
My grandmother always used to address cards with the recipients name on the envelope, but the name was always in quotes. I would get a card addressed to "Tara-Jane", as if to say "if that is your real name". It was so endearing. These are the small things I remember about my grandmother - the things that will never be forgotten. My brother and I often sign our cards like this, just for fun because it makes us smile. 

I love you, "grandma". 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Shortbread (Chrys Radmore)

Shortbread is one of my favourite cookies. They're great as a snack, they're great after dinner with a cup tea... and they always remind me of Christmas. Apparently, when my dad was younger, he used to refer to them as "Clean Cookies".

Christmas at my grandparent's house was heaven. Warm, cozy, outdoor Christmas light glow in the living room, the smells, the sounds... the incredibly uncomfortable dresses and panty-hose I always needed to wear. We always went to church on Christmas Eve with Grandpa, and when we came home we'd open presents and eat delicious desserts. All sorts of cookies, squares and cakes. The top-ranking in my books was the shortbread, no questions asked.

This recipe is credited to Chrys Radmore. Chrys and her husband Lorne were the witnesses when my grandparent's got married. Their nephew (Dave Radmore) was in my parent's wedding as well. Berdina Radmore's husband and Lorne were brothers - Dave Radmore was Berdina's son.

Get all that? haha.

Grandma is wearing a very light blue dress.
When I got married, I wore the sash from this dress under mine as my 'something blue'

So, onto the recipe, shall we? It's a tough one, so pay close attention...

The Recipe Card:

The Process:

When a recipe starts out with a pound of butter and a cup of icing sugar, you know you're in good shape. When those two ingredients comprise 2/3 of the recipe, you know you're in even better shape.

I creamed the butter and icing sugar together first.

Full disclosure: I can't lie...
I unleashed my inner child and had a bit of a taste-test at this stage.
Then I added the flour. 

I started panicking that it was just never going to get mixed, so I decided I would just my hands. Biggest mistake of my life. Before I did that though, I took off my grandma's ring and put it on this little ring holder she used to have in her room. She stored her rings on the centre part, some watches and usually some random earrings. It was always fun to poke around in it. 

Anyway, recipes like this always freak me out a little. I'm always amazed that all that flour can get mixed in perfectly. Just when I feel like I'm losing hope, it all starts to come together and it's a beautiful thing.

Back when I made the jam layer treat, there was a handy little tip about flattening the bottom layer with a spoon dipped in hot water. I was blown-away by this at the time, but when it came time to make the shortbread, I distinctly remember my grandmother telling me that before we pressed on them with a fork, we had to dip the fork into warm water. I was helping her do this and was singing a little song "dip dip shake squish". I was home from school sick and she told me that if I was too sick to go to school, then I was too sick to "dip dip shake squish" - but then she let me do it anyways :) After making cookies we likely sat in the living room drinking ginger ale and watching Bob Ross. 

In the oven. I've got my helper in the kitchen with me keeping an eye on the progress.

The Recipe:

1 lbs Butter
1 cup Icing Sugar
4 cup Flour

Bake at 325 for 20 minutes

Personal Notes:
  • Absolutely not necessary to grease the baking sheet. The butter from the cookies themselves even melted out of them a bit - causing a little boiling-butter party around the base of the first batch in the oven.
  • I gave them an addition 2-3 minutes, and I feel like it have have been another minute. Or, the oven at 350 for the same amount of time.
It yielded about 6 dozen. We ate a lot of them, brought some over to my brothers to share with his family and my dad, and then gave some to friends. 

Needless to say, making these sure brought back a lot of memories. More so than any other of the recipes so far. 

Next up, another one of my favourites Garden Quiche.