Google+ Followers

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Saskatoon Berry Barn and MUSHROOM CHEDDAR SOUP

I like to make chicken stock ahead of time so that I can refrigerate it and then remove all the solidified chicken fat.  But I used to save some of that fat for Mom.

Mom loved soup.  Often, her letters after a bus trip mention a bowl of chicken noodle soup at a bus stop.  She liked it hot with lots of golden chicken fat floating on the surface.

The wonderful recipe I’m sharing today is from the Saskatoon Berry Barn.


1 tbsp butter
8 ounces onion
3 celery stalks
1/3 cup flour
5 cups chicken stock
12 ounces mushrooms (375 g)
½ cup 2 % milk
¼ tsp pepper
6 to 8 ounces old cheddar
Salt to taste
2 green onions for garnish

1.     Slice mushrooms and set aside.
2.     Grate cheddar and set aside.
3.     Finely slice green onions and set on the dining table beside your plate so that you won’t forget to garnish the soup.
4.      Finely chop the onion and celery in food processor.
5.     In a covered Dutch oven, sauté the onion and celery in the butter over low heat for 10 minutes to soften. 
6.     Stir in flour.  Cook for one minute.
7.     Slowly stir chicken stock with a whisk so that it won’t be lumpy.
8.     Add pepper and bring to a boil over high heat.  Then reduce heat to medium and cook for 7 minutes until thickened.
9.     Add mushrooms and simmer for 15 minutes.
10.                        When ready to serve, stir in milk and cheddar.  Stir constantly until melted.
11.                          Taste for salt.
12.                          Serve with green onion garnish.

                                      Soup, salad, and homemade Raisin Bread, yum!

Friday, 22 May 2015


 Feeling chill in laid back Boise, Idaho. . . hiking to Table Rock . . .  

Camping in a field of freezing mud . . .  

Exploring all the hangars in a military plane museum . . .

Joshua Tree, Mojave, Death Valley, a rough road over a mountain pass and through a snow storm in Yosemite . . .

Is this a dog’s life? J  Or what?

Sendin’ you our Love from Laredo!

And Best Wishes for a

Cherry Cake Day!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Stopping in CALGARY . . . on the way to LAREDO!

Andrew showed us his violin from Ukraine.  Daniella remarked that, of everything she saw in Ukraine, she enjoyed Lviv and the villages most.

Montana’s was busy and Diana’s Chorizo Poutine arrived cold but my Antojitos were nice.  I couldn’t resist ordering something Mexican sounding because I just couldn’t wait for the real thing in Laredo. J

Andrew is talking all the time now, but, once the food arrived, was totally absorbed by his fries and gravy so the adults were able to enjoy a lively conversation.

Daniela will be very busy this summer with different groups of overseas visitors who all plan to stay with her and Serg for a couple of weeks.  I asked how she does her meal planning and she told me has collected a bunch of recipes that don’t require a lot of time.  Also, she likes to serve one main dish with one side.

On the road once more, we were excited to see a couple of coyotes and lots of antelope between Medicine Hat and Swift Current.


Here’s a simple but delicious side dish to add to your collection, Daniela J


1 ripe tomato for each person
Fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves per tomato (or cut 2 large cloves in half)
1 tsp olive oil per tomato
Salt & pepper
Balsamic vinegar

1.     Choose a pyrex dish that is JUST big enough to hold all the tomatoes you are cooking.
2.     Peel the garlic cloves.
3.     Cut into a tomato just half way down.  Then cut across the same way so that it looks quartered.
4.     Stuff a garlic clove (or a half clove) into each quarter.
5.     Salt and pepper the tomato.
6.     Push 3 or 4 thyme sprigs into one of the cuts.
7.     Set tomato in baking dish.  Trickle 1 tsp oil into the cuts.
8.     Repeat with the other tomatoes. 
9.     Put balsamic vinegar beside your plate on the table so you won’t forget to add it to the tomatoes when they come out of the oven.
The tomatoes can wait now while you prepare other stuff.
·        One hour and 40 minutes before serving, heat oven to 350 degrees. 
·        Cook tomatoes for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  (You could also cook them the same amount of time at 400 degrees if you need to cook something else at that temperature.)
·        Set on the table and drizzle each tomato with balsamic vinegar.

Thank you HELLO MAGAZINE!  (Aug. 25, 2014)

I served these wonderful tomatoes with Harry Potter Stew and Dumplings  J.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Portrait of a Boy . . . and Empanadas #2


Laredo . . . here we come again!

Little pastry appetizers are very nice . . . but then you’ve still got to get dinner.

The thing I like about large empanadas is that, pair a couple of them with a salad, and you’ve got a lovely meal.  So worthwhile.  


Combine 1 ½ cups of pulled pork with ¼ cup BBQ sauce.             
Dough for EMPANADAS:  this  recipe is easy and worked really well:  
2 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter

·        In food processor, mix the flour, sugar, and salt.
·        Add butter and pulse to mix in well.
·        Measure 2/3 cup water BUT mix in only a few tablespoons at a time until a ball of dough forms.
  Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.
·        Roll each piece into a ball in your hands and flatten with the palm of your hand.
·        With rolling pin, roll pieces dough out on counter into 6 inch circles.
·        Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
·        Prepare egg wash by beating another egg yolk with a tablespoon of water.

For pictures and further instructions see my blog post:

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Aunt Florence ... and Ukrainian Tomato Toasts

        Florence was sixteen years old when she was asked to help out as a babysitter.  The German storekeeper and his wife in Inglis had a nine year old daughter with Downs Syndrome.

        When Florence first arrived, the little girl hung back, shyly.  “In two days, she was in my arms,” said Florence, proudly.  “She slept with me.  She was a nice little girl.  She was just a little slow to learn.”

        “If I went downtown the little girl went with me.  She loved ice dream and her father gave her money in the afternoon so we went for her ice cream.”

        Florence was paid a dollar a day, but the days were long and included evenings.  There were always supper dishes to do and there was no time off from Monday to Sunday.  Tuesdays and Thursdays were called “Train Night” because the train came in from Russell bringing supplies and mail.  Shelves had to be stocked and the mail had to be sorted.  “The town was lit up and stores stayed open until midnight for the farmers who had come into town.”

        “I was supposed to be the babysitter, but I did everything; cleaned the house and cooked meals.  I was a housemaid, but they were nice and I learned a lot.  On Mondays, we got up before six o’clock because we were doing laundry.”  Florence laughed.  “We were in town so I don’t know why we had to get up so early, but we did.”

“I was like one of the family.  I ate with them.  I still remember how things tasted different.  German dill pickles are sort of sweet and sour.  Their sauerkraut has a different taste and they mashed the potatoes for the potato soup.”

“I went to a dance sometimes on a Saturday, but not much because the next day you had to get up early.”

The job was supposed to be only for a month but it stretched out until fall.   Then Florence’s father came to fetch Florence home because she was needed to help with harvesting.  It was wartime and no men were available for hire so she had to help with everything on the field including stooking.   


 The German family “mashed the potatoes for the potato soup”.

With this wonderful Welsh puréed potato soup, I served a blue cheese toast and . . . 

Bohdan Zahny’s yummy Potaptsi z Tomatomi  (Tomato Toasts).

1.     Fry 4 slices of bread in butter on each side until well browned .
2.     Cover bread with slices of cherry tomatoes (or large tomatoes).
3.     Sprinkle with grated cheese.
4.     Broil until melted and serve hot.