Friday, December 05, 2008

Carrot Pudding, Just Like Grandma's

A traditional family recipe that finishes almost every Christmas Dinner that I can remember. I only started liking it a couple of years ago. I made it for the first time last night. It feels really cool to be part of the making of a tradition!

As per Grandma's instructions, I added 1/2 cup softened butter to the pudding mixture and stirred the baking soda into some of the grated potatoes before mixing them in--she says it activates the soda and makes the pudding lighter in texture. I also cut the amount of cloves in half. It just seemed like a lot considering how strong they are. I then packed the mixture into clean pint jars (two for this recipe) topped with seals and rings, and then steamed as per the instructions. Don't forget to put a rack in the bottom of your pot.

I filled one jar a little too full so it didn't seal properly. Richard and I tested it last night. The pudding is rich, moist and sweet with just the right amount of spice.

Edited to add:
Leave LOTS of room in the jars for expansion.  Don't fill them more than 1/3 full or you will blow the tops off.

Substitute rum extract for vanilla or just add big splash of actual dark or spiced rum in the sauce for an extra delicious kick.

Carrot Pudding
Submitted by: Joyce Rehagen
Rated: 5 out of 5 by 7 members
Yields: 7 servings
"Moist, dense and spicy, this steamed pudding features grated carrots and potatoes, a handful of raisins and a fragrant mixture of ground cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Top with a rich and creamy butter sauce for a truly magical dessert."
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup peeled and shredded
1 cup white sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine carrots, potatoes, sugar, raisins, flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, all spice, and ground cloves. Transfer mixture to a clean 1 pound coffee can. Secure wax paper over the top and place the filled can in a large pot with 2 to 3 inches of water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a simmer.
2. Steam the cake for 2 hours. Serve warm.
3. Buttery sauce: In a medium-size pot, combine butter or margarine, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Heat until the mixture is liquid. Spoon mixture over the warm carrot pudding to serve.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Eggnog latte

Here is a quick treat that goes perfectly with knitting on a chilly afternoon.

Commercially prepared eggnog. (I just found peppermint eggnog at my grocery store today and oh my is it yummy in a latte!)
Strong hot brewed coffee or espresso
A large microwavable mug

Fill your mug 2/3 full with eggnog (Use more if you plan to use espresso). Microwave on HIGH 30 seconds, or until it is hot but not boiling. Top off mug with coffee. Stir. Shake in some nutmeg or garnish of choice. (I really like this)

Curl up. Cup your mug in both hands and enjoy.

Breakfast Treat.

Winter has officially arrived. There is snow on the ground and a chill in the air. Oatmeal is always welcome on a cold morning, but sometimes it's nice to shake things up a little.

Here is a variation I came up with when I had some leftover streusel topping from baking muffings.

Blueberry Streusel Oatmeal

Streusel topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened.

Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

1 cup oats, regular or quick cooking
2 cups water
dash salt
2/3 cup frozen blueberries*
prepared Streusel
milk or evaporated milk

In a large microwave bowl combine oats with water. Add a dash of salt, if desired. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, then 60% power for 5 minutes if using quick cooking oats or 7 minutes if using regular oats.

Immeditaly divide cooked oatmeal between two large bowls. Top hot cereal with approx 2 tablespoons streusel each and and divide berries between the bowls. Mix well. Top with milk or evaporated milk to taste.

*You can thaw the berries beforehand if you want, but it helps the cereal cool down faster, which is great if you have hungry impatient kids waiting for breakfast!

You will have steusel left over, but just put it in a plastic container and store in a cool place.

Serves two

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Onion Soup for the lazy.

I have a bad cold today. I wanted something soothing. For some reason, French Onion Soup came to mind. I poked around on the Internet and the recipes were all too big or had too many ingredients. I wanted something easy and sort of quick. I messed around in my pantry, and this is what I came up with. It is pretty tasty for only having a handful of ingredients.

Lazy French Onion Soup
Serves 2 generously.

2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 medium to large onion, cut in half and then sliced thinly
1 packet French Onion Soup mix
2-2/3 cups water
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (or Swiss, or Jack, whatever white cheese you happen to have.)
2 slices stale rye bread
1 clove of garlic
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Melt one tablespoon of butter over med-low heat in a medium sized saucepan. Add sliced onions. Cook onion until soft and caramelized, around 15-25 minutes. (Really. Don't rush this. The more patient you can be, the better the soup will taste.)
  • When the onion is soft and brown and sweet smelling, add soup mix, water and wine. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for five minutes.
  • While soup is simmering toast bread.
  • Crack the clove of garlic and scrape the broken edge over the warm toast. Butter toast.
  • Ladle soup into two ovenproof bowls. Float garlic toast, butter side down, on soup. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the toast.
  • Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted.
  • Dig in, but remember, the bowl will be hot! Don't burn yourself!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Handy Housewife Hint

I am a fan of silicone bakeware. I love how it flexes so you can pop things out. This comes in especially handy with mini muffins. I love how you can turn a pan inside out to wash the corners. It is nice how you can cram it into the dishwasher.

A cool thing I do with my pans is use them as liners in between my fry pans to preserve the non stick coatings when I stack them.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Manhattan Clam Chowder

I need to get this recipe down so I don't lose it. The book is due back at the library today!!!
Tasty and lighter than creamy clam chowder. Find some crusty bread to dip in your bowl.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

1/4 lb bacon, diced and browned
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 ribs celery, sliced
1 tbs dried parsley flakes
1-lb 12 oz can low-sodium tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
3 8 oz cans clams with liquid
2 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 medium-sized potatoes, cubed
  • Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
  • Cover and Cook on low 8-10 hours, until the vegetables are tender.
Update: I just found a neat product at my local grocery store: Seaquest Seafood Medley. It is a bag of about 1/2 pound of frozen mixed seafood. I used this in place of the three cans of clams and added a bottle of clam juice to make up the missing liquid and had a delicious seafood chowder.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes

Sundays are pancake days here. Based on the ingredients on hand we rotate between standard pancakes, banana, gingerbread with lemon curd, buttermilk.....Bacon or breakfast sausage and fruit on the side.

I came up with this recipe when I was presented with a beautiful ripe pumpkin from my Aunt's garden a couple of weekends ago. It is delicious and the pancakes rise wonderfully high from the griddle. The cinnamon and nutmeg smell like fall to me.

The recipe makes a lot because we eat a lot! Leftovers can be stacked between squares of wax paper and then stashed in the freezer to be reheated in the toaster for a yummy breakfast later in the week.

3 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp each baking soda and salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 1/2 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
  • Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl (flours through spices). Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients except for pumpkin puree. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently fold together with a fork. Just before ingredients are combined, add pumpkin and finish folding mixture together. It will be thick.
  • Spoon batter onto a non-stick griddle or greased frying pan set over medium heat. Spread the batter around with the back of your spoon a bit.
  • Cook until undersides are lightly browned and the edges are set. Flip and cook other side. Since the batter is so thick you will not get tell tale bubbles breaking on the uncooked surface of the cake. Watch the edges!
Makes around 15 pancakes, depending on the size.
Serve with your favourite toppings. Maple syrup is fabulous with these, as are slices of peaches.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summery Farmer's Market Stirfry

Ok, so, I didn't actually get all of the ingredients at a farmer's market, but I did use summery vegetables and some of them came from my Grandma's and my Aunt's garden. To me, when someone says stir fry I think of Asian flavours, but the ingredients in this one are decidedly Prairie home cooking.

two ears of corn
three medium-sized potatoes, scrubbed and chopped (only peel if you think you need to)
a generous handful of grape tomatoes
1 small zucchinni, or half of a monster from your Aunt's garden, chopped
1 cup (or so) of sugar snap peas, ends and strings removed. (these came from the farmer's market!)
half of a large onion, chopped
1-500 gm package of turkey breakfast sausage chopped into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup or so of your favourite balsamic vinagrette
1/4 cup or so of light feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
  • Steam corn in microwave on HIGH for five minutes and set aside.
  • Steam potatoes in microwave on HIGH for five minutes, or until just tender. Set aside.
  • While potatoes and corn are steaming, cook turkey and onions in your largest skillet with a bit of no-stick spray until no longer pink.
  • Cut kernels from corn and add to skillet with potatoes, salad dressing and the rest of the vegetables.
  • Stir fry until the zucchini is cooked, and the tomatoes have popped. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with feta cheese and eat on your porch.
Feeds four hungry people.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chocolate Popcorn

This makes fantastic movie night munchies. It is not too sweet, but intensly chocolaty.

Chocolate Popcorn Mix

1-1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted if lumpy
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. Store in a covered jar in the pantry for emergencies.

To prepare popcorn:

Melt 1/4 cup butter or hard margarine in the microwave. Stir in 1/4 cup chocolate popcorn mix. Drizzle over about 6 cups of popped popcorn in a large bowl. Toss to coat well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Handy Housewife Hint

We use twisty straws as a part of Emmett's therapy regime. They help strenghten his oral-motor muscles. Sometimes grunge gets stuck in the twisty bits and doesn't want to rinse free. I have found that soaking the straws in warm water with a denture cleaning tablet easily loosens dried on milk or juice so it easily rinses free. This works with dirty sippy cup valves too.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

This recipe was given to me by the mom of one of Emmett's preschool classmates. I need to get it down so I don't forget it--she literally just rattled off the ingredints while we chatted at the wind up party today.

In a food processor place:
  • equal parts cream cheese and goat cheese (I used a 140 gm package of goat cheese and around 1/2 of a 250 gm package of cream cheese)
  • 1 300-ml jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 scant 1/4-1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Blend until smooth. Serve with your favourite crackers, pita chips and raw veggies.

I was told this is also fantastic as a burger topping and sandwich spread.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Carrot Cake

Mama Bear asked me for my favourite carrot cake recipe. This is the one I swear by. It tastes fantastic, and if you don't tell anyone they will have no idea it is low fat to boot. I call this Anniversary cake because we had carrot cake as a wedding cake so I make it every year on our wedding anniversary now.

Jen's Anniversary Cake

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup drained, crushed pineapple
3/4 cup fat-free egg substitute or 3 whole eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk (you could also pour 1 tbsp vinegar into a measuring cup and top off with plain milk to measure 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pineapple, eggs, buttermilk, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Stir in grated carrots. Add flour mixture to carrot mixture and stir until well blended. Stir in nuts.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Set pan on wire rack and cool cake completely.
  • While cake is cooling prepare your favourite cream cheese icing. When cake is cool, slather with cream cheese love . If cake is not devoured in one sitting, store leftovers in the fridge.
If you need more slices this cake can easily be made in a 10 X 14 inch rimmed sheet pan. You may need to adjust your cooking time. I lined mine with baking parchment to prevent sticking.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (regular or low-fat)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 3/4 to 6 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • Beat first three ingredients with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in additional powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.
If you bake your cake in a 9 x 13 pan you will have leftover frosting. Do not despair. Spread it on graham crackers and top with fresh fruit slices. Dip cookies in it. Lick it off of a spoon. Use your imagination.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 bar plain soap (I use Sunlight, but I have heard of people using Ivory, or Fels Naptha as well)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup powdered Oxy clean (I use the generic brand)

Grate the bar of soap and then grind in a food processor until granulated. You should have around 1-1/2 cups of soap. Mix soap with remaining ingredients. Store in a covered container. Use 2-3 tablespoons per regular load.

This makes a plain, unscented detergent. If you want it to be smelly, add 10-15 drops of your favourite essential oil to the mix. The Sunlight makes the detergent smell lemony, but there is no lingering scent on the clothes. The oxy-clean is optional, but I found it makes a real difference in how stains come out of the kid's clothes.

I like to add the detergent first and let the water run over it to dissolve a bit before adding clothes.

Here is a nice site to start with if you are interested in making detergent.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Slow Cook Pork Roast

My mom gave me a new slow cooker cook book for Christmas. This recipe is loosely based on a pork chop recipe from that book.

1 3-4 pound pork roast
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
2 big tablespoons spicy mustard
1 pouch onion soup mix
1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger root.


Place roast in slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over roast. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours or HIGH 4-6 hours. Slice roast and serve with the yummy gravy in the pot.

So simple, and so delicious!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Slow Cook Sloppy Joes.

I freeze this for times when I need a meal and am too lazy to cook. It is great on toast, buns or poured into a pie crust with cheese on top. You could also pour it into a pie dish and top it with biscuits and bake.

Crock Pot Sloppy Joes:
4lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1-28 oz can tomato sauce
2 cans condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Cook beef in large skillet over med-high heat until no longer pink, stirring to break up meat. Drain fat. Add onion and green pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 5-10 minutes or until onion becomes translucent and mixture becomes fragrant. (I don't ususally add the pepper until the last minute so it won't totally turn to mush by the end of cooking)

Transfer meat mixture to slow cooker and add remaining ingredients, stir to combine.

Cook on LOW 4-6 hours.

makes 20-25 servings. I divide it into four 4-cup containers for freezing.