Monthly Archives: June 2012

Canada Leaf Cookies

I don’t camp well.

Last year I mentioned how I fell out of the tent trailer. I wish I could say this was an isolated case.  Aside from the expected sun burn and being eaten alive, my memories of camping are dotted with similar events that suggest that maybe camping is just not for me.

When I was about 6, my family left for a camping trip in a provincial park. We got there, got the camp set up, made dinner and then later on settled down to sleep. The next thing I remember, I am waking up in my room. At home. Apparently, sometime after I went to sleep, the sky literally opened up and just poured rain. As in it rained so hard the tent was flooded.  With a couple inches of water.  Enough that my parents decided there was no waiting this monsoon out, and packed us up in the middle of the night.Dad went back the next day and packed up our soggy gear, and we spent the rest of the trip at home.

Another time, when I was about 18, my boyfriend at the time and I were volunteering at a kids camp with the church. He had driven me up to the camp as I didn’t drive at the time. On the last day, we were heading down to the beach, I was walking walking down with a group of campers, and he was driving down with some supplies. This was when we discovered that Dodge Neons are certainly not off-road vehicles. The road to the campsite was fairly narrow. Since he had been driving down supplies, he had left after us, and what turned out to be a not-so-smart move, steered a bit off the road in order to avoid us.  What we didn’t expect, was that he would drive over a stump, blow his front tire and then proceed to get stuck.  As in blow his tire so violently that the rim was damaged beyond repair. As in so stuck, that he had to be towed out of the camp ground. Fortunately Mom had come up for the day and was able to give me a ride home.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and I find myself a man who is an outdoorsman. As in he only likes to camp in remote areas, where there is absolutely no amenities, hours from civilization and where practising bear avoidance is not a good idea, but an absolute necessity. I am truly afraid to go camping with him.

So, what does camping have to do with cookies? Not much other than I associate long weekend in the summer with camping or cottaging ( happens when you sort of live in the heart of cottage country).   Plus it’s Canada Day long weekend, and I was feeling patriotic.

Canada Leaf Cookies.

makes about 36 cookies

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp extract of choice ( I used vanilla, but have also made these cookies with orange or lemon)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • red food dye ( I used Americolor Super Red )
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until smooth.  Beat in the extract.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Gradually add it to the butter mix.
  3. Split the dough into thirds.Set aside one third. This will stay white. Add red dye to the other two thirds. Add it gradually until you get the  desired Canada Red. Split the red dough in half, then roll all three into long logs ( about 30cm/12 inches long). Squish all three together well ( if not they won’t stick and will fall apart after you bake them). Wrap and refrigerate for at least and hour
  4.  Roll out vertically to about  3mm (1/8 in) thick. What you want to end up with is a long ribbon of dough with three horizontal lines of colour running the length, wide enough to just fit your cutter.
  5. Cut with a 3in maple leaf cutter, then transfer to a cookie sheet. You will end up with mostly red dough left, so you can collect that up, re-roll it, then cut it  for all red leaves.
  6. Bake in an oven preheated to 325°F for about 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for a couple minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. 
Baking cookies is so much better than camping.
– Mel
P.S. : Here are a couple other Canada day treats from last year:
Categories: Cookies | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Steve’s Pulled Beef

Last weekend, we were fortunate enough to be invited up to our friend’s cabin for the day.

I always enjoy when we get invited up there. It’s located in an old ghost town that is only accessible these days by an old fire route. Mostly now it’s just a bunch of hunting camps, but many of the old buildings are still partially standing, and there is an old graveyard somewhere, although we have yet to find it.We were treated to a wonderful lunch( I provided the cookies 😉 ), and challenged to a friendly shoot out. Zombie targets were involved.  I’m happy to report that the paper zombies did not survive. 🙂

This is our friends recipe, and he is both a butcher and an excellent cook. We first had it on a prior visit up to the cabin. It was so good, that Mr Ginge beat me to the punch and asked him how he made it. And we’ve made it many times since we got the recipe. It’s perfect for the summer months because you just throw it in the crock pot and let it do it’s thing all day. So it doesn’t heat up your house.  Which  in last weeks heat wave, was golden.

A few notes on the recipe: A blade roast is key. I have tried it with different roast, and they either haven’t shredded or not worked nearly as well. Also, this is one of those recipes that can’t be hurried up. It really needs the full 8 hours to get all tender.

Steve’s Pulled Beef

serves 4 

  • 1 2lb boneless blade roast
  • 2 tbsp montreal steak spice
  • about 1/4 beef broth or water
  • 4 buns


  • horseradish
  • bbq sauce
  • cheese
  • onions
  1. Rub the roast with steak spice and place in your slow cooker. Pour the beef broth into the bottom, secure the lid and set to low for 8 hours. 
  2. After 8 hours, remove the roast and shred with 2 forks. If there are any large bits of fat, be sure to remove them. They aren’t very tasty. Return the shredded beef to the broth, mix, and continue cooking on low for another 1/2 hour.
  3. Slice the buns in half, pile on some meat and add your favourite toppings. I like mine with a bit of BBQ sauce and some sharp cheddar cheese.
I would like to say that this was the perfect meal to come home to after our little road trip, but sadly, I am not that put together and forgot. Oops.
I linked this recipes up to The Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff SaturdaysClick the link to check out some more great recipes!

Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Avocado Salsa Triangles

Avocados are a relatively “new” food for me.

I have to admit, their green colour and texture, was an initial off-put for me. Not only that, it’s not always to find a perfectly ripe avocado in small town Ontario. Often it takes some grocery store hopping in order to find a semi-ripe one.

It wasn’t until the last 18 months or so that I really started eating them.  Someone made me guacamole, and from there I was hooked. It’s cool creamy texture was irresistible. Scoop after scoop, I just kept eating it. From there I have been putting it on just everything, toast, tacos, burgers, chips, salad. I’ll even eat it right out of the shell. Mr. Ginge, however is not quite as sold. He calls them ” those guac-ey things” and promptly turns up his nose.

Fortunately, Mom is also an avocado fan, and is willing to try thing that use the soft green fruit.  She was actually the one responsible for finding this recipe, and when we discovered that we had most of the ingredients on hand, we made it almost immediately.

This recipe comes from Averie of Averie Cooks (via Pinterest).  I’ve adapted it to suit our tastes, namely changing it from puff pastry to phyllo. We have made this for lunch a few times since she came across the recipe. We’ve also tried it using crescent rolls instead of the pastry. It’s  good that way, but we preferred it with the flaky phyllo.

Avocado Salsa Triangles

makes 10 triangles. Adapted from Averie Cooks

  • 5 sheets of phyllo pastry
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 salsa (I used homemade)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the salsa and the cream cheese. Set aside.
  3. Working with one sheet of pastry at a time and working with a sharp knife, cut each sheet in half along the horizontal ( the longest side). Cut it in half again so that you have 4 long strips. Set two strips aside. Lightly brush one strip with melted butter, then top with the other strip, lightly pressing them together.
  4. Place a couple slices of avocado on one end of the strip. Top with a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Fold the bottom corner up and meet it up with the top edge ( you should have a triangle). Keep folding over, keeping the triangle shape until you reach the end. Place on a baking sheet and lightly brush the top with butter. Repeat with the other two strips and the remaining strips.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden brown.  Let cool a couple minutes on the sheet, then enjoy!
Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Banana Upside Down Cupcakes

I don’t like bananas.

Which tends to be a problem when I have a big bunch of them sitting on the counter. Slowly going bad. Slowly dying.

Sure, maybe Mr. Ginge will eat one if he’s craving one, and one might find it’s way into a smoothie, but more often than not I am still left with a big bunch on the counter. Freezing them gets them off the counter, but really that just defers the problem, and now I have bananas being forgotten about in my freezer.

Banana bread or muffins will use them up quickly, but six loaves later, you just don’t want any more banana bread. So the pile of bananas still sit, while you wrack your brain, trying desperately to come across something that with use these darn bananas up.

And that’s when I stumbled across these. These give me reason to buy bananas.   That won’t sit on the counter and won’t have a chance to slowly die. For this banana hater, they are that good.  As a special bonus, my dad loves bananas, so these are a perfect father’s day treat for him. Yay!

As a side note, these are better with still (mostly) firm bananas, because they have to be sliced.

Banana Upside Down Cupcakes

makes 18 cupcakes, adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook 1976

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 -3 sliced bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp dark rum ( or extract)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sugar, until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and let cool a couple minutes.
  3. Lay a couple slices of banana in the bottom of 18 cupcake cups. Sprinkle the pecan pieces over top. Evenly divide the sugar mix and pour over top of the bananas. 
  4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the rum, mixing well. 
  5. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add,  alternately with the milk, to the creamed mixture.
  6. Spoon the batter over the bananas, so that the cup is about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 15 minutes or a toothpick comes out clean. 
  7. Once they are out of the oven, immediately turn them upside down over a plate or clean cookies sheet. Leave the cupcake pans over the cupcakes for a couple minutes, then unmould. If they stick, gently tap them loose, or loosen by running a knife around the edge.
  8. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
The vanilla ice cream is key. 
P.S. Check out this bean burrito!
I linked this recipe to  The Weekend PotluckClick the link to check out more great recipes!

Categories: Cake and Cupcakes | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Mini Mushroom Turnovers

Guys. I did something bad.

Or maybe it was so good it was bad.

Either way, I was flipping through Mom’s copy of Canadian Kinette Cookery and I came across this recipe and bookmarked it for later.

Then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I took that as a sign.

I made them.

I ate them. Mom ate them.

We couldn’t stop eating them.

When my sister got home from work, she ate some. Then she went back for more.

I did intend to take some home for Mr. Ginge, but then we ate some for lunch the next day.

He ended up with three.

So, what I am trying to say is that these are good and you should make them. And try not to eat them all in one go.

Mini Mushroom Turnovers

makes about 36 mini turnovers

For the dough:

  • 1  pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c flour

For the filling:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pkg ( about 1 1/2 cups) mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the flour and mix until you get a soft dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. 
  2. In a large pan, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until tender. Add the thyme and the salt and pepper, then remove from heat. Stir in the sour cream and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out half the dough thin, about 2mm/1/8 in. With a 3 in round cutter, cut out some circles. 
  5. Place 1/2- 1 tsp of the mushroom mixture in the middle of the circles, fold over and pinch the edges to seal.
  6. Line them on an ungreased baking sheet and brush the tops with the beaten eggs. Poke the tops with a fork to let seam escape. 
  7. Bake them for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. 
Adapted from Canadian Kinette Cookery 1979.
Sooo good.
– Mel
Categories: Appetizers | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

I decided to make banana bread the other night.

What I didn’t realize, though, was that it was not in my cards to make banana bread.

It was Murphy’s law of quick bread. Every thing that could have gone wrong, did.

First, as I was pulling out the ingredients and lining them up, I noticed that we had run out of milk.  When I came back with a new carton, Mr Ginge informed me that we did in fact have milk. After I had opened the carton.

Next, as I measured out the now un-needed milk, I accidentally measured out 1 3/4 cups, instead of the needed 3/4 cups. After I dumped it into the bowl. which contained the dry ingredients.

I managed to make it though most of the recipe, then pour it into the prepared pans. When I moved the pans to pop them in  the oven, I discovered the two eggs that was supposed to make it into the batter. Ugh.

See the thing is, I’ve made banana bread before. Lots of times. Using the same recipe.  And a super simple one at that. (Like no-mixer-required simple)

Fortunately, it still turned out.  I might have cried if it didn’t.

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

makes 1 9×3 loaf

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  •  1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas ( about 2 medium)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9×3 loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon. Just mix until combined, you will still end up with a slightly lumpy batter, but you don’t want to over mix. Don’t forget the egg.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips, then pour into the prepared pans. 
  4. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a wire rack. 
adapted from Betty Crocker 1976

It’s really good warm, slathered in butter.
– Mel
I linked this recipe up to The Weekend Potluck! Click the link to check out some more great recipes!

Categories: Breads | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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