Monthly Archives: January 2013

Mom’s Lasagna

Top reasons why you should make this as soon as possible:

lasagna pan - GB

1. Mom’s lasagna is amazing. No bias here. You can ask Mr. Ginge

2. It is the most requested birthday meal in our family. Mom had to implement  a rule that people couldn’t ask for the same thing because everyone was requesting lasagna.

3. Because leftovers ( if there are any) are way better the next day.

lasagna 2- GB

4. It has magical properties. It turned my pasta-hating father into a lasagna-eating fool.30 years ago. True story.

5. It is the perfect vehicle for cheese. And it’s even better with cheesy garlic bread.

6.It freezes incredibly well, so you can have surprise / spur of the moment lasagna-that-is-already-next-day-better, without having any of the work. (just don’t tell anyone it’s in the freezer….shhhhh…..)

7. Because it is the ultimate comfort food. Nuff said.

lasagna 1 - GB

Mom’s Lasagna

makes 1 9×13 pan (about 12 servings)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef ( or any lean ground meat. We’ve used turkey, chicken, moose, venison. Basically, any ground meat you have on hand)
  • 1 can ( around 2 cups) tomato sauce
  • 1 box lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 lb / 500gr shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring for a few minutes until fragrant and the onions are translucent.  Add the ground beef, stirring to break up and continue cooking until no longer pink. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer to heat.
  2. In an ungreased 9×13 pan ( we almost always use glass), lay some cooked noodles length wise in the bottom of the pan. Spread some of the sauce over the noodles, then spread some cottage cheese over top. Sprinkle with mozzarella and  parmesan cheese.  For the next layer, lay the noodles width-wise, top with sauce, cottage cheese and shredded cheese. Repeat with remaining layers. ( I usually get about 5)
  3. For the top layer, top noodles with sauce cottage cheese, then sprinkle with mozzarella. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, and sprinkle with parmesan.
  4. Bake uncovered in an oven preheated to 350°F for 1 hour, broiling for the last 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Make this. Make this now.



I linked this recipe to The Weekend Potluck , Recipe Sharing Monday, and Strut Your Stuff Saturday!

Click the links for more great recipes!

Categories: Main Dishes | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments


I am a fairly avid reader.

Buttertarts 1 -GB


And by reader I mean if my nose isn’t stuck in a cook book or a food magazine, it’s stuck in a trashy romance that I am more than likely going to whip through in a matter of hours. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy other types of books, but I also enjoy trash.

Give me all the vampire, werewolves, witches, curses, otherworld fantasy romances you’ve got. I’ll be in my happy place.

buttertarts unbaked -GB

Having said that, I will admit I am a very unobservant book chooser. More often then not, I browse the romance section of the book store ( or lets face it the bargain section) and if the cover appeals to me, I’ll pick it up. 9 times out of 10 I’ll read the back cover, to make sure I haven’t read it, then home it goes.

This is where I usually discover, that it is part 6 of some absurdly long series, and I have no idea what is going on. ( Fortunately, there are some series which haven’t been too bad, the Dark Hunter series I read very badly out of order, as well as many Nora Roberts series that I have gotten second hand).  This causes some very frustrated attempts to read, and then I finally break down and go on the hunt for the other books in the series.

Does anyone else do this, or is this just a uniquely Mel thing?

buttertarts baked - GB

Regardless of any incurred frustration, I have stumbled on some amazing series this way. Or amazing in the fact if you enjoy trashy novels like I do! 😀

Honestly, I think I’m even worse when it comes to cook books. I see them on sale or cheap and I am compelled to buy them. Recipe overload. And then when push comes to shove, I turn to my most favourite cook books ( which I have often bought at full price) or a family recipe that is neatly stashed away in my recipe box.

Like these butter tarts. I’ve probably flagged a similar recipe in more than one cook book, but when Mr. Ginge begs me to make them, I turn to the hand written card I copied from my Mom’s recipes.

Go figure.


Butter Tarts

makes 12 buttertarts

  • pastry for a 10 inch double crust pie
  • 1 cup of add- ins of choice ( I used walnuts, white chocolate chips and chocolate chips, but really you could use whatever you fancy. Or none. They are infinitely customizable)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup golden corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out your pastry to 1/8 of an inch and cut 12 5 in circles. I don’t have a cutter that big so I use a clean tupperware dish.  Set each round into an ungreased muffin pan, gently folding the edges so that the pastry fits right down into the cup. 
  3. Sprinkle your choice of add ins evenly over the bottom of the pastry. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, cornsyrup, brown sugar, melted butter and salt. Pour into the prepared shells, so that they are each about 3/4 of the way full.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven 20-25 minutes, or until the filling has set. Let them cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and cool completely. ( make sure to do this, other wise any overflowed filling can set and make it hard to get the tarts out. Then you have a mess. A big one.)

From Mom’s recipe archive. 

Last time I made these, Mr Ginge left me one. He took the rest.

– Mel


Categories: Dessert | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Whole Wheat Banana-Pomegranate Muffins

So, this is the sixth time that I am participating in the Improv Cooking Challenge, hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Yay!

banana-pom- GB

After participating a few times now, what I am finding the most challenging is working with ingredients that I really don`t like.  Raisin`s  were a big challenge for me, and this month`s banana and nutmeg posed an interesting challenge. Neither Mr. Ginge or I are big fan of bananas.  I can`t really get over their mushy texture.

I do, however, enjoy them in certain baked goods.

ban-pom muffins - GB

While I will almost always choose a chocolate chip muffin first, banana muffins are also a favourite.  C, who I used to worked with in the clothing store, would periodically make banana muffins and bring them in to share.  I think that she was the one who got me hooked on banana muffins.

I switched these up a bit by swapping to whole wheat flour and stirring in some tart pomegranate arils, and the end result is a delicious way to start the morning.

Banana pom muffins - GB

Whole Wheat Banana-Pomegranate Muffins

makes 10 muffins

  • 3/4 cups mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil ( or melted butter)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils, plus some for topping if desired.
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line your muffin pan with 10 liners. 
  2. In a bowl, mix together the banana, brown sugar, egg, oil, and milk.  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and nutmeg. Slowly add it to the banana mixture, stirring just until combined ( it’s ok if it’s a bit lumpy). Gently fold in the pomegranate arils.
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared pans so that each cup is about 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle a few arils on the top of the batter if desired. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then either or enjoy warm, or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Don’t forget to click the link to check out more great Banana and Nutmeg recipes!


I also shared this recipe at The Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays!

Categories: Breads | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments


Some days you just need some comfort.

Snickerdoodle 1 -GB

A cat snuggling on your lap.

A hot cup of tea.

A couch you can sink into and a book that will take you away.

Comfy pants.

Or maybe a favourite treat. Like cookies. 🙂

Snickerdoodle 2 -GB

Normally, my drug of choice is a warm, straight from the oven chocolate chip cookie, however, there are days when they just won’t do. Especially when it’s cold. I crave something a bit spicier, and these snickerdoodles fit the bill. I ‘m totally a soft-and-chewy type of cookie gal, but these are one of the exceptions. I love their crisp texture.

One of the earliest baking memories I have is watching my mom make these on the kitchen island in our home at the time. I distinctly remember her rolling the dough into ball then dipping them into the cinnamon sugar. And oh the smell that fills the kitchen! These cookies are worth it for smell alone!


Snickerdoodle 3 - GB


makes about 36 cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and the vanilla, beating until combined. 
  2. In another bowl, combine the baking soda and the flour. Gradually add it to the butter mixture, mixing until fully combined. Once the dough is mixed refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining sugar and the cinnamon. Roll the chilled dough into 1 in/ 2.5 cm balls, then coat in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool for a couple minutes on the baking tray, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Serve on a cold a snowy day with a good book and a cup of tea.


Categories: Cookies | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Caramel Apple Pancakes

2012 has been a rough year for me.

ca-pancakes -GB

While I will not deny there has been some amazing moments in the past year ( especially when it comes to my blog. I have seen some amazing growth in the past year and for that I am eternally grateful!), and I am more than grateful for the life that I do lead, 2012 has had some hardships that have been tough to overcome.  The year started with the loss of a job I loved and facing the difficulties of unemployment for the first time, the loss of my grandmother and the utter devastation it caused my dad, the frustration of not being able to find a job, the bittersweet loss of  a good friend who moved out of province,  struggled with certain aspects of my health, and dealt with what seems like an ongoing war with some people in my life.

I’ve never been an overly open person, and this little corner of the web has always been my happy place, however there have been points throughout the year where I have struggled to maintain an interest or a happy demeanour,  and have even gone months without baking, something that has always helped me relax and unwind. Fortunately,  I am surrounded by amazing people who love and support me, and give me ambition and inspiration when I have none.

These are my last parting words to 2012: I am glad we are through.

apple pancakes - GB

So, here’s to the new year, and an end to the depressing stuff. To new beginnings and a year focused on making it the most I can. A year I can enjoy the company of those who mean the most to me and who have always supported me ( and my blog 🙂 ) through thick and thin. A year where I can focus on my health and happiness. A year of continued growth and learning and of moving forward. And, most importantly, a year full of cookies and cupcakes (my favourites!).

And to bring in the new year, I give you pancakes!

Well, Mr Ginge brings you pancakes, since this was the result of a craving for pancakes and him searching through the odds and ends in the refrigerator.  Pair them up with some bacon and a tall lass of OJ and you are good to go.

caramel apple pancakes- GB

Caramel Apple Pancakes

serves 4, adapted from

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce ( we used what we had in the fridge, but you could always use homemade)
  • 3 tsbp melted butter
  • 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Make a large well in the centre and set aside.
  2. In a measuring cup or bowl, combine together the milk, egg, caramel sauce, and butter. Pour into the well and mix until smooth. Let the batter stand about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat up your pan with a bit of butter over medium-high heat. Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter  into the pan for each pancake. Top the pancake with a few slices of apple. Revel in the heavenly smell that is wafting from your kitchen.
  4. When the edges have bubble and are lightly brown around the edges give them a flip and then continue to cook on the other side.
  5. Flip them onto a plate and serve with maple syrup, additional caramel sauce, or a bit of icing sugar.

If you ask me, this is an excellent way to ring in the new year!

– Happy New Year-

Mel, Mr.Ginge and the kitties.


I linked this recipe up to The Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff Saturday.

Categories: Breads | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

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