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What Recipe Taught You to Cook?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I have a friend who is learning to cook in a Senior's Nutrition class. Today the class was shown how to make Minestrone Soup.
I am so proud of her initiative. I believe in nutrition and here she is, taking the bull by the horns to get some help in homemade meals.

Can you believe how far our society has come away from "the farm" and the idea of "mom stays at home and makes all the meals"?

Her lesson takes me back to my grade six Home Ec. class where we mixed a can of tuna with some mayo, chives, frozen peas and some cooked rice.... TA DAAAA- we made a casserole.

Can you remember your earliest cooking or baking lessons? What was on the menu?
Did you learn alone or with a parent or friend?

Got any suggestions of easy and healthy meals I should share with my buddy?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERIO5 5/14/2012 9:13AM

    What a good question! I learned to cook from my mom. I think most of my early meals involved ground beef put into some kind of casserole! I have lots of good memories of learning to cook and bake with my mom... emoticon

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OPTIMIST1948 5/13/2012 10:08PM

    Believe it or not, the first thing I remember making was a coffeecake that was listed (in of all places) my 6th grade textbook. My mom was a busy person with her career at that point, but she still made the time to say "Go ahead, I'll help you if you need it."

The next major thing I made was for 6th grade Home Ec. if we brought in a "baked good" we got extra credit. They were thinking cookies, but I decided I wanted to learn how to bake bread. Sure enough, Mom had a great recipe (that I still use) for oatmeal bread with molasses. Boy were those home ec teacher surprised!

What a great blog posting. It brings back so many wonderful memories. Not really helpful for your "how to cook" purposes, because I think the way to learn to cook is just do it a BUNCH of times. Screw up lots. Dont be afraid to toss burned items. Even if you dont like it - its edible. You dont have to make it again.

I think SlowCooker recipes are fairly indestructible. Many are easy to adapt to the stove too.

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GOSPELCLOWN 5/13/2012 12:56PM

    Thanks, Margaret! I wouldn't have thought of olives!

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GOURMETLOSER 5/11/2012 7:14PM

    I grew up cooking alongside my FATHER! Mum never did much of the cooking unless we were having guests.
I have heaps of recipes but I'm not good at following any of them! I'm much better at throwing things in without measuring.
I can think of another yummy casserole that I love....
White Sauce (Milk, flour, salt and pepper to taste, an optional teas butter for a richer flavour)
1/2 cup chopped olives
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Buy a cooked chicken (or cook one.) Break/chop it up into bite sized pieces. Make a white sauce (either Packet mix or Bring most of a pint of milk to the boil (+/- a knob of butter) in a thick based or non stick pot. (The thick base lessens the chance of the milk catching on the bottom of the pot.) Use the remainder of the milk (about 1/3 cup) to bring ~2 tablespoons of flour to a thinish paste. I use a shaker but you could just beat it hard until there are no lumps. As the pot of milk comes to the boil watch it carefully as it can boil over easily. Once it is at the boil or just before, stir it while you slowly add the flour mixture. Keep stirring to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pot while it comes back to the boil. Stir and boil for a minute or two to cook the flour and then take it off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is too thin make a little more flour and water mix, add and cook another couple of minutes. If it's too thick just add more milk and stir well.
Layer 1/3 of the chicken in a casserole dish. Sprinkle some slivered almonds and chopped olives over it and cover with sauce. Repeat. Finish off with another layer of chicken, Sprinkle with breadcrumbs (+/- grated cheese) and place in the oven at about 375 F for 30-40 minutes until heated all the way through and the top is browned. Serve with lettuce salad or vegetables.
The almonds and olives just give this really simple dish a 'gourmet' touch.
My best wishes to your friend.

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GOSPELCLOWN 5/8/2012 11:41PM

    One of my first recipes was a cup of cooked rice, can of mushroom soup, cup of frozen peas and a can of tuna.

Anyone remember that casserole? Maybe there were broken potato chips on top.... can't honestly remember.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 5/2/2012 9:34PM

    my dad's chili! he was a pinch of this and a pinch of that kinda guy though! emoticon

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GOSPELCLOWN 4/25/2012 12:15AM

    Just a wee note more: My neighbour wore her new apron ( that I sewed for her birthday) to her cooking class. All the other students told her that it was impressive! Ahhhh.

I hope Shirley gets a lot of encouragement out these lessons and from any new friends that may arise from this experience. We all have to start some time, right?

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Who Still Hostesses Tea Parties?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I think one of life's pleasures is visiting with friends over a cup of tea. I used to have the delicate tea cups and fancy tea pot to do just that.

But I have moved, got rid of all that 'stuff' and now my aquaintances seem to prefer a mug of coffee over the tea 'party'. (sigh)

Am I wanting to return to the childhood days of Alice in Wonderland and not see the reality of today? Why DO I prefer a quiet setting with tea over a McDonald's paper cup of coffee?

Guess I'm a hopeless romantic or some sort of frustrated Victorian-era wantabe who likes the china, linens and tea treats.

If you live nearby me, I have not gone to the Empress Hotel for the very expensive high tea experience. Would going alone seem.... weird??

Anyone out there fancy up their table just to have a wee cuppa all by themselves?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AGAWRITER 3/27/2012 9:22PM

    Sounds wonderful. There is a tearoom near me, where sometimes I go with friends, and sometimes I take a book and go alone. The owner knows me, and just starts a pot of my favorite when I come in. And I have friends I make chai for, starting with a milk infusion. No fancy cups, they have small children, but definitely the tea pot, and all the ceremony.

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IUHRYTR 3/27/2012 9:12PM

    Don't hesitate to go and meet new people while enjoying a simple beverage in a peaceful atmosphere. It does seem like all restaurants are so noisy nowadays, doesn't it? I, too, prefer a quiet place to simply talk. -- Lou

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AVANELL 3/27/2012 3:27PM

    Very interesting! I've never had a tea party. Sounds like fun, though. Hope you can find someone in your area with that same interest so you can have a friend to join you and not have to go alone!


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    I know EXACTLY how you feel! I love tea, but it's always better when you're sharing it and sadly we've become SUCH a coffee culture (I blame Starbucks)!

My tea service has more of a Middle Eastern/Eastern feel, though -spartan Japanese cast iron, or the silver pot with it's flamboyantly curved spout. I adore the Moroccan-style gunpowder green with mint, or a delicate Asian white or green.

That's not to say the Earl doesn't have a place at my table, but in the absence of many people with whom to share these tea parties, I've found that variety helps. I'll try a new blend, and convince someone else to try it and before you know it, I have them looking at tea pots, presses and infusers.

If you don't know people that drink tea, convert some, and then throw your lovely tea parties.

Mad Hatter optional ;)

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FUZZYBEEZ 3/27/2012 2:08AM

    I have never had a tea party, not even as a kid. But I do love a nice hot cup of tea. I have one of those glass teaballs that steeps about 2 good cup fulls of tea. And I found this neat place thanks to my aunt that has all kinds of flavored teas. I keep all sorts of flavors of tea on hand now....lemon, ruby mist, raspberry pomegranate, spice apple, peach, mint, plain, holiday spice, etc.

I don't really have anyone to invite over for tea either. So it's just for me. I will fix a teaball full and take it and my cup and curl up in my favorite chair with a book for the evening. Now that's a great way to spend a evening in my book.

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JUDITH316 3/27/2012 1:35AM

    I sure can identify with you, I love tea parties, I have bone china cups and a full tea service, I use them at times when I have my friend over for lunch, she is English, I also have coffee mugs and use them but I am partial to using my bone china dinner set and my tea/luncheon set...My grandmother gave me all her tea cups and saucers and I for a time collected them from whoever wanted to buy me china cups and saucers for my birthday or christmas...A little old fashioned but I love it... emoticon

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Shopping For Bulk Food

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What came to mind when you read "bulk food"? Did you imagine I was shopping for 20 cans of soup and a dozen boxes of cereal?

That would be my spouse's style. He is a frequent Costco shopper.

But that's not my style. I try to locate places that offer bins of bulk raisins, scoops of flour and unpackaged spices. Entire bulk stores were common in the previous province (Ontario) where I used to live.

Out west, I have a difficult time finding my bulk food stores. Sure, some of the grocery stores offer bins of chocolate peanuts and bulk snack food. I want 'staples'-- and not the office kind!

Today I took a special trip to top up my pantry. I am able to buy just enough to fill my storage containers and not have to store the leftover packaging.

I bought some bulk parsley, Hungarian paprika, pitted prunes, garlic powder (not garlic salt), sunflower seeds and coconut.

I found cashews for my stir fry dinners and I bought some pecan pieces for a treat I serve close to Easter.

Today's shopping at the Natural Food depot for eight items, in amounts that I can control, cost me $14.03. That's not too bad.

Do you take advantage of places that offer bulk, unpackaged food?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RICHELLEMASON 4/4/2012 12:00PM

    I don't usually, I like to know the price of things, and not get the sticker shock after, I work in a grocery store, and if someone doesn't want bulk, because cost to much, it gets thrown in the garbage, so I just buy bags, when on sale, I have bought spices in bulk and do buy nuts, at Christmas ..... our store doesn't have that much bulk to buy.....not sure if this is a trend. I see lots go out though.

Comment edited on: 4/4/2012 12:01:26 PM

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IUHRYTR 3/27/2012 9:16PM

    I don't shop at the huge stores like Sam's Club, BJ's or Costco and haven't seen bulk groceries at the regular grocery stores. Often, I hate paying high prices for individual items. -- Lou

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Springtime is Springing!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

We are experiencing some troubling wind but for the most part, spring is beginning to transform our area.
We have a blossom count this month. Our residents are supposed to count the blooms on our property and call in to a central place so that a total may be made. (Then we publish it across Canada to toot our own horn.)

Today, I saw a bright yellow bush that heralds the start of spring. It was a Forsythia and I remember that colour since my earliest days! Crocus in many shades are popping up all over. Just north of my town, I have seen all sorts of pansies showing off their lovely colourful "faces".

It won't be long until daffodils are in full bloom across my territory!

Winter will have to give up to allow Miss Springtime to dance her way into our hearts again.

What tells you that the season of spring is on its way?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYATLAST 3/16/2012 2:38PM

    Cherry Blossoms! We have had such an early spring that many flowers have already come and gone!!! But this year, I'll have to vote for baby chicks. We have three new chicks and a whole lot of joy! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/16/2012 2:39:50 PM

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IUHRYTR 3/15/2012 11:52PM

    I enjoy spring but regret that we have had so many winter days over average temperature. Every day of cold is one more day we don't have of summer's high humidity. As for blooms, I have a five-part flower growing in the front yard. It's a brilliant orange and white. -- Lou

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GOSPELCLOWN 3/15/2012 11:34AM

    Anyone seen robins in their area yet?

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Still Learning About Massage

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Sorry if I am boring everyone. I can't believe how each and every time I am giving a relaxation massage or receiving a massage, I learn something.

Last night I was the giver and one and a half hours flew by! My partner had an extremely grumpy back (lifting plywood and working in the cold) and the room was set up just the way I wanted it: we have tealights, a scent diffuser, a heat pad (for feet or the lower back) and a massage pad.

Twenty minutes before I got there, I suggested he go and use the massage pad that he has owned for a decade. On the massage table the pad did a nice warm up and a gentle manipulation.

By the time I showed up, his back was warm and starting to loosen up. Talk about an Ah-ha moment.

From 8 p.m. until 9:30, I gently moved the skin and delicately rubbed only the muscle and padded areas. I was careful to stay away from bone and thin skin areas. The music was mellow. The lighting was dim. I controlled my breathing and let the cares of the day melt away as I got a mini workout.

At the end of a workday, giving or receiving a massage is about as good as it gets!

emoticon I still have LOTS to learn, but my blood pressure is improving as well as my sleep patterns. I feel like a own a little secret spa inside my own home. Maybe I should make a wee sign for the door!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 3/7/2012 11:05PM

    Good going for sticking with this. It is a winning situation for both you and your clients. emoticon -- Lou

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