Monday, June 25, 2018

100% rye sourdough bread

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First of all - to give credit where credit is due, I've tried the bread recipes from these websites: , , and .

They're all very similar.  You take your sourdough starter, add rye flour and salt.  Add sweetener if you feel like it.  Mix it (it's more like a batter than a dough), let it rise in the pan and bake it.  The proportions I've been using:

1 cup rye sourdough starter
3/4 cup water
3 cups rye flour
1 tsp salt

Mix together.  It's like a thick batter.  Grease your loaf pan and put it in the pan.  Put the loaf pan in a large freezer bag so it doesn't dry out.  Let it rise until it's up to the top of the loaf pan.  Bake at 375 for 1 hour.

Now, the rest of the story:
to make rye sourdough starter - use filtered or bottled water (not tap water because it has chlorine), stir in about 1 TLB of rye flour for each 1/3 cup of water.  Let it sit on the counter top.  The second day, add another TLB of rye flour.  By the third day, it should be bubbly.  Then it's ready to use.  From this point onwards, just use most of it for your bread, saving a little bit.  Add more water (now I use tap water) and flour.  It's good to go.  I keep it in the fridge and bring it out to warm up just before making my bread.  When it's working right, it smells like apples to me.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Pink Princess Cake

Dry Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup diced ginger
2 tsp baking powder
 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp salt

Wet ingredients
3 large eggs
½ cup grated zucchini
1 cup raisins
1½ cups grated beets
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup oil

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Make a well in the centre.  Add the wet ingredients.  Stir.  Spread into greased Bundt pan.   Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes or until done.

Here's what it looks like before it's baked.  Unfortunately, it's not nearly as pretty a pink when it's baked, but it still tastes wonderful.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pumpkin Soup

When pumpkins are so inexpensive in the fall, I like to purchase one and make all things pumpkin.  Today we made pumpkin pies and pumpkin soup.  Both of them are dairy-free, as there's too many people (including me) that just don't handle dairy well.  For both recipes I used coconut milk instead of regular milk - and for cooking with pumpkin, I read the fat content and try to get a can of coconut milk that has a higher fat content.

Pumpkin Soup

1 can (400 mL) coconut milk
3 cups pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup diced onion
1 tsp salt
1 TLB minced garlic
1 TLB fresh minced ginger
2.5 cups vegetable stock (I used the leftover liquid from the pumpkin)

Mix everything together.  Cook in a slow cooker., or on top of the stove, I guess, until you're ready to eat.  It's really good if it's pureed with a hand blender.

Serve with pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) and diced kale as a topping.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Once a math teacher....

I caught a ride to Weyburn for a funeral today.  Ruth and I were commenting that 20-30 years ago, when we had a big gathering, it was likely a wedding.  However, now most of the big gatherings we attend tend to be funerals.  This was a big gathering, and it was wonderful to be able to visit and share with so many people.

The car was full - Ruth and Walter in the front, and three of us in the back.  The middle back position had a child, I'm not going to use his name, as things posted on the internet can come back to haunt you years later, but let's say he was under eight years old.  He likes to play cribbage on my phone, so I changed the settings and showed him how to count the points for himself.  He enjoyed that; he could find the pairs and when there were three in a row, but had trouble figuring out which combinations would add up to 15.  However, that took up most of the time on the way to Weyburn (a generous hour's drive).

On the way back to Regina, I played a "game" with him.  I counted out my spare change in my wallet, and borrowed a few more coins from Ruth until I had 15 coins - all nickels and dimes.  I was determined that I would teach him that 9+6=15 and 10+5=15; as well as the commutative property of addition, so that 6+9 is the same as 9+6 and also equals 15.

Anyway, to say it took awhile would be an understatement.  Because 15 coins is a lot, and we couldn't lose any, we used my hat to hold the coins, plus a hand.  I'd have him count how many coins in my hand - and there would always be either 5, 6, 9 or 10.  Then he had to guess how many coins were left in my hat.  For example, he'd count 6 coins in my hand, and guess there were 5 coins in my hat.  So then we'd count how many coins were in my hat - and there were 9 of them.  Then, with him watching, I'd switch, and have 9 coins in my hand... how many coins are in the hat?  And he'd guess 12 or some other random number.  We did this for about 45 minutes!

Finally, I told him that if he got it right ten times in a row, he could keep the coins!  This provided a great incentive.  He'd get it right two or three times, then would do a random guess again, and we'd start over.  We arrived in Regina before he finally got the idea.  And then it was, well duh!  If there are 6 coins in your hand, there are 9 in the hat.  And if there are 9 in your hand, there has to be 6 in the hat.  And the same with 5 and 10.  And what had been an exciting game, all of a sudden had become boring!

Let's see if he can remember when I see him tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Lately I've been thinking a fair bit about how my eating (and cooking) habits have changed so much from when I was growing up.  And, to be fair, I think probably everyone's have - but mine haven't changed the way the general population's has changed, at least, I don't think so.

To begin with, there's eating out.  Now, according to what I read in the news, this is a major change.  According to what I've read, people in Western Canada eat out on average 1.6 times a week, while in Atlantic Canada and Ontario is twice a week, and in Quebec it's 1.4 times.  (I'm referencing this blog for the info.)   I likely don't eat out that often, I'm maybe twice a month - but ok, that's fair.  Compare that with Americans, who according to this blog, eat out 4.2 times a week!

Now, compare this to when I was growing up.  I can actually remember every time we ate out, because it was a very big deal!  We dressed up, it was budgeted for, and it was probably at a Chinese restaurant, because we got more bang for our buck there.  We ate out maybe once every few years!  To be fair, we did have 8+ kids, so eating out wasn't a small affair, anyway.   Even if we were travelling, we'd pack a lunch or make a lunch.  I remember when McDonald's first came to Saskatoon - and that you could get a hamburger, small fries and small drink for a dollar.  (To compare, I was making 50 cents an hour babysitting around that time.)

However, it's not just eating out that's different.  The foods I cook are quite different than what I grew up eating.  I was raised in a family with British roots.  Even though I grew up in Saskatchewan, where perogies are served at every buffet, wedding and potluck these days; when I was growing up, I had never tasted them until my sister, Ruth, started dating Walter, who has Polish roots.  His mother was horrified that we didn't know what they were, and sent down two ice cream pails of home made ones.  (And they were delicious!)  Broccoli was an exotic vegetable, and I had never tasted sour cream until I went away to boarding school for high school, and it was one of the options to have on your baked potato.  I remember the first time our family tasted pizza (and we weren't all that impressed, either).

When I was a child, we had porridge (oatmeal) for breakfast most week days, pancakes on Saturdays and cold cereal on Sundays.  We always came home for lunch until we were in high school, when we brown bagged it.  Lunch was frequently homemade soup with homemade bread, however canned cream of tomato with grilled cheese sandwiches was comfort food.  Supper was usually a hamburger casserole of some kind, or meat and potatoes.  Sunday dinner, when guests were always invited, was a roast with potatoes and gravy and a lettuce salad.   Common vegetables were peas, carrots, potatoes, corn, cabbage and beans.  Bread was served at every meal, usually homemade white bread.  It was all very good, filling food, and most of it was grown in our garden, baked in our oven, or purchased locally (at the Coop).

Compare that with the way I cook now.  To start with, I'm cooking for 1-4 people, not for a family of 8-12.  That might make a difference right there.  But even so, the menu is pretty different.  Most days I do have porridge for breakfast, but it's Red River cereal, not oatmeal.  (It helps that I'm allergic to oats, though.)  Lunch is pretty much always reheated leftovers from the fridge.  (In the microwave - something we didn't have when I was growing up).  And supper is based on a salad!  My sister Ruth and I usually plan out a week's menu together, grocery shop and cook together when we can (on Saturdays if I'm not working, but we'll fit it in whenever we can).  We usually make two salads and a casserole, and have the rest of the week planned out.  We rarely make a lettuce salad, as it won't keep over a week, but make all kinds of weird and wonderful ones using vegetables and other grains that we would have never heard of when I was a child.  Things like sweet potatoes and black beans, or quinoa and currents, or beets with dill pickles and sauerkraut!  Delicious, but definitely not something we would have even considered.

In addition, because I am lactose intolerant, and many other family members can't handle milk products, I cook with Rice Dream instead of milk.  Because of many other family food sensitivities, I cook from scratch, never using things like cream of mushroom soup or onion soup mix - things that were used all the time when I was growing up.

Finally, although I can make bread, I usually buy it - but never white bread.  I prefer pumpernickel, or at the very least light rye or 100% whole wheat.  I occasionally make homemade buns, but generally make them at least 50% whole wheat.  I keep my bread in the freezer, because I never serve it with a meal - if I have bread, it is part of the meal (as in sandwiches).

I don't know if the way I eat now is healthier than the way I ate growing up, but it certainly is different.

Monday, October 10, 2016

100 things I’m thankful for:
11.       God – In him we live and move and have our being.  He made us, he loves us, he models love for us….1
22.       My parents – I’m so grateful for my parents.  They are so generous to me and to others.  I get to see them regularly.  They still teach me how to be the best person I can be by modeling their lives.2
33.       My children
a.       Rose:  I’m so thankful she’s living with me right now.  I’m really enjoying getting to know her as an adult.  It also means that I’m not alone; that I have company.3
b.      Bram:  It’s so good to visit with him; to find out what’s going on in his life; I’m looking forward to trying nanowrimo with him in November. 4
44.       My siblings 5
a.       Ruth: we do so much together. She’s my best friend.  It’s been wonderful sharing our lives with each other.6
b.      Nancy: I really enjoy cleaning with her monthly and catching up on her family.  I love playing cards with her.7
c.       Walter: he’s been so generous to me; I wouldn’t be where I am now without him.
d.      John: I enjoy visiting with him, solving problems with him; getting to know his family
e.       Randy:  He’s also so generous to me.  He came over and raked my front yard for me and trimmed trees just last week.8
f.        Robert:  He and his family are right near the top of my “God bless” list.  It’s so good to know that they’re doing better.9
g.       Glenda: I really enjoyed the cruise we went on together.  She’s so generous with her time.10
55.       I can’t talk about my siblings, without talking about my in-laws as well:11
a.       Walter – who looks after my 4-plex for me, and helps with so many of the day to day things for me.12
b.       Al – it’s so good to visit with him every month; 13
c.       Anna – who is so hospitable, and always likes to have us over14
d.       Melissa – who has got her plate full right now, but it’s so good to hear that her kids are doing better15
e.       Lynn – who I’ve been friends with for such a long time.16
f.        Robb and Arlene; Doug and Darlene, who have shared a large part of my life as well.17
66.       My church families - really there’s 5 of them; the Saskatoon church where I grew up, the Yellowknife church where I spent 20 years, the Northwest church that’s my current home, and the Gentle Road church, when I share in their ministry, and the greater world church, where I have friends.18
a.       Saskatoon church: I still keep in touch with many of the members through Facebook, and conversations with my parents and my siblings.  I was so blessed with such a strong foundation, such strong people of faith to mentor me when I was growing up.19
b.      Yellowknife church: Although it’s been years since I’ve been back, this congregation is where I grew in faith as an adult, and where I raised my children.  I’m so thankful for the many gifts they graced me with.20
c.       Northwest church: which has welcomed me from the beginning when I arrived here.  It has been such a blessing to me.21
d.      Gentle Road church: which has encouraged me to grow in faith and in trust.22
e.       The greater world church – where I have friends because of our brotherhood in Christ.23
77.       The many blessings I’ve been showered with24
88.       My business – which is just starting to pay its way; giving me an income.25
99.       My home – I love my location; I love being able to be hospitable; having lots of space; I love walking to work26
a.       My bedroom 27
1.          I love my bed; it’s comfortable and has so much storage, where it’s always warm28
2.          The fan, which keeps me so cool in summer – and the installation is, again, a present from my dad.29
3.          The size of it, so there’s room for my sewing table and machines, and all my clutter.30
                              b.            My private bathroom, so I don’t have to share31
                               c.            My big living room, where I can have lots of visitors; the big living room windows, where I can see out on the world.32
                              d.            The four bedrooms, so I can have lots of guests or boarders.33
                               e.            The weird closets: 1 and 2, so I have space for storage; and right now so there’s space for my canning and my produce.34
                                f.            My kitchen: 35
1.       I love my kitchen appliances, especially my ovens, my stove top, my all fridge and all freezer, my dishwasher.36
                                                                    i.         My double ovens – where I can bake as much as I want; where I can have both of them full at the same time.37
                                                                   ii.         My stovetop, which is so easy to wipe down, and where things cook so quickly.38
                                                                 iii.         My all fridge, which has so much storage space.   I keep it pretty full, but it has so much room.39
                                                                 iv.         My all freezer, which also has a lot of storage space.  I love the ice maker in it, that my dad, once again, installed for me.40
                                                                   v.         My dishwasher, which makes my life so much easier; and is so quick to load and unload.41
2.       My washer and dryer: although I’m not thrilled with them being in my kitchen, it’s very convenient there, and they’re very quiet.  I love that I can have a load done in my washer in under 30 minutes.42
3.       That I have lots and lots of cupboards; I love my pull-out cupboard beside the stove top, I love the upper cupboards I put in above the washer and dryer, so I have room for my dishes there.  I love the “black cupboard” which doesn’t match anything else, but has space for my slow cookers, all my spices and baking supplies, and my cereals above it.43
                         g.                  My “down room” where we can send the kids and have an adult space and a child space.44
                        h.                  The dining room: where we have eaten so many meals, enjoying one another’s company; where there’s room for a table that seats 12, as well as a china cupboard.45
                          i.                  My front-hall closet: a Christmas present from my father, the first year I bought my house, and it holds so much.  There’s a huge bookcase on the backside for books, there’s lots of storage space in the closet and there’s two shelves above.46
                          j.                  The front entry: it’s so large; it has space for everyone’s shoes without intruding on the living room; 47
                         k.                  The carport – because if it was a garage, it would be full, but because it’s a carport, it means I have a protected space to park my car and I never have to scrape my windows.48
                          l.                  A paved driveway – such a luxury!49
                      m.                  A fenced backyard – a gift from my dad, again.50
                        n.                  Great neighbours – whom I visit with across the driveway all summer. 51
                        o.                  Lots of trees, which provide ample shade in the summer.52
                        p.                  The high ceilings throughout the house, which keeps it cooler in summer.53
                        q.                  That my house keeps me warm; it’s a real blessing not to have to worry about whether the furnace works.  It just does.54
110.   My garden – even though it didn’t produce much this year, it’s been so good having a garden, I love the feeling of promise in the spring when I planted, and the produce that it produces in the summer – and I still have tomatoes on the boxes in the front window in my living room!55
111.   Canning – my grandmother and my mother taught me to can.  I love having my cupboards full of canning that I made – that I can say, I did this!  I love being able to share the bounty with others.  I love not having to go to the store for things, because I’ve got it in my pantry.  I love carrying on the tradition, being resourceful, and thrifty.56
112.   My car – it’s not beautiful, it has several dents, but it gets me where I need to and it never gives me grief.57
113.   My sewing machines – yes, I have several. But this means that if I have trouble with one, I can just swap it out for another one.  I have spent so many joyful hours sewing.58
114.   My laptop – I spend many hours on it, and it’s so good to be able to be on Facebook, and see what my friends are doing; and to play mindless games on it, or to send email or the many other things I do with it.59
115.   The change in seasons:  it’s snowing out right now.  I love the way the seasons change – with the leaves falling in the autumn, the hot summer days; the adjustment to winter, with a bunch of cooler days interspersed with the warmer ones; the cold winter days to huddle indoors – it’s all good.60
116.   For fresh snow – and that I’m not out in it.61
117.   For a day off work.  Holidays are wonderful.62
118.   For family gatherings.63
119.   For great food – Rachel’s sweet potato casserole was wonderful, but the rest of the meal, including the pumpkin pie (dairy free!), peach pie, apple pie and lemon pie (but I didn’t try the lemon pie) was also very good.64
220.   For good books to read.65
221.   For warm clothes – I really like having my thermostat set low and wearing more clothes. 66
222.   Hot tea – for when it’s cold out. 67
223.   Going for walks – and being healthy enough to do so.68
224.   Having a playground just across the street from my house.  I don’t go there that often, but it’s very nice that it’s so close when I have children visit.  69
225.   Having an extra parking lot right across the street from my house.  Again, I don’t use it, but when I have lots of guests, it gets used.70
226.   Also having extra parking in the back alley behind my house.  Usually there’s no option to park in a back alley, but because I’m right by the curve, people can park there without blocking the back alley.71
227.   Chokecherry bushes that grow just down the lane from my house – on city property, so it’s free to pick them.  I usually make chokecherry syrup every year from them – this year I made 3 batches! 72
228.   Having such good friends at church, such as Einar, who has me come and pick his apples and his grapes, so I can can them.  This year I made apple butter, apple pie filling, apple juice and grape jelly.73.
229.   Extended family – I’m so blessed with such a large extended family, with members who live all over the world.  I love checking my Facebook and seeing what they’re doing, and what’s going on in everyone’s life. 74
330.   When everyone goes home again.  I love having guests, but it’s so nice when they’re gone.  I’m thankful both ways.  75.
331.   Stores that are open, even when it’s a holiday. 76
332.   Having good health.  Rose and I went to Shoppers and checked our bp while we were there – and we’re very comparable; both of our bp’s are around 110/60. 77
333.   Having things cleaned up and the dishes done. 78
334.   Having turkey soup for tomorrow – and leftover turkey, of course. 79
335.   Because it’s cold enough out that even though there’s not enough fridge space for everything, I can keep things on my front step overnight. 80
336.   The beauty of a fresh snow fall. 81
337.   The way the Lord has blessed friends who have recently had serious health problems, and are now fine.  I’m thinking of both Walter P and Kevin V. 82
338.   Watching movies with my daughter. 83
339.   Clean clothes. 84
440.   A job (Rose suggested that one). 85
441.   Music – making music, listening to music, sharing music.  86
442.   Sleep – it’s so nice to go to sleep at the end of the day, I’m thankful that I can usually go to sleep easily and sleep well. 87
443.   Choices – right now, it’s choices for pie (maybe lemon? Peach? Pumpkin?) – but there are so many choices and open doors. 88
444.   The Party.  Ordinarily, it’s Monday night and I’d be just getting home from The Party; but, because it’s a holiday, we have the night off.  But I do love the kids and love the opportunity to help with it. (And I love the opportunity to stay home tonight, too.) 89
445.   The skills I have – typing, sewing, teaching, making music, etc. 90
446.   Even though so much of my family lives far away (Bram’s in YK, for example) – they’re only a phone call or a text or an email away.  91
447.   Toiletries – shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush – we’re so much better smelling than without it. 92
448.   Regular routines – I like knowing what I’m doing tomorrow, and the next day. 93
449.   Holidays and days off.  I’m enjoying today off; and I have loved the holidays I’ve gone on recently. 94
550.   Our government – I am thankful for the people who are willing to serve in public office.  I see the election debates going on right now in the States – and I know we’re supposed to pray for our authorities, and it’s essential.  95
551.   Chores and responsibilities -it’s sort of like medicine; I may not like them at the time, but they’re good for me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. 96
552.   A really good snow shovel – because it looks like I’ll need to use it this winter – maybe tomorrow.  97
553.   My Fitbit – it’s being charged right now; but I know that I try to get more exercise every day because I wear it.  98
554.   The comfort of prayer.  99

555.   That I have everything I need – the Lord has blessed me so very much and continues to do so.  100!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I don't know how we missed this salad

We don't make this salad really frequently but we really like it.  It's just that it's a bit picky to make, and it makes a lot - so we usually reserve it for potlucks and things like that.


1 1/2 cups prepared chicken broth
1 1/2 cups couscous (or if you're going gluten-free, use quinoa)
Combine and cook couscous in broth.  Let stand while you get other things ready.

Cook 1 cup lentils in a separate pot and let cool.

Combine in another bowl:
Mayonnaise Mixture
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup each chopped fresh mint and parsley
2 TLB liquid honey
1 TLB ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Mix together 1/2 of the mayonnaise mixture with the lentils and couscous.

Layer the following ingredients in the order given:

Mayonnaise mixture
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 cups sliced English cucumber
2 cups cherry tomatoes
Mayonnaise mixture

Top with 1/2 cup each of dried apricot (sliced smaller), dried cranberries and seeds or nuts.

Serve with lettuce if desired.