Category Archives: Sandy’s Cooking

I did it.

So here we are at the end of November. I posted every day of the month, I am pleased to say. I loved every minute of it.  I hope you had some pleasurable moments as well. While I will not promise posting every day (I know I will not in the coming months) I do plan to be a bit better of a FRIEND of bloggers by actually visiting their blogs and (SHOCK) leaving comments. I plan on leaving so many comments that you’ll be sick of me and beg me to go back to blogging myself just so that I will leave you alone for a change! 🙂

I made the homemade yogurt yesterday and as Norma says, I am ENTHUSED. To say the least.
One thing that you may not know about me is that over the years, I have been on a quest for healthy eating. Real food! To know what goes into my food and have a choice over that. That is not to say that I haven’t polished off a bag or three of Doritos in my time or that I don’t enjoy an occasional filet ‘o fish at McD’s. I do. But mostly, I like to avoid things like high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that I cannot pronounce and have no place in nature that a conglomerate decides is good for MY food.
Well, I say, “NOT MY FOOD!” Hell no.

Hell. No.

This particular quest started when I had kids. Jarred baby food for MY baby? I think not. I don’t know what is in that jar! So, I made my own. I got a blender and blended up veggies and meats and fruits that Andy and I ate and I froze them in ice cube trays. I thawed and warmed them in a bowl of boiling water because I did not have a microwave at that time.

I am not perfect on this quest of mine. I still eat plenty stuff I wish I did not. But I am getting better. It gets easier as I get older.

So, making my own yogurt falls right into place with all of that.

Now, let me tell YOU that homemade yogurt is WONDERFUL! I love it. Love. LOVE! It is creamy, tangy, delicious and oh-so-white! Just beautiful to look at as well as to eat!

I basically followed the crock pot yogurt recipe here, with these exceptions.

Here’s how I did it:
I used 1/2 gallon of 1% milk from Whole foods. No hormones and pure, natural milk.

I added a 1/2 cup of powdered milk to add more protein and calcium to the mix. (I also bought this at Whole Foods)

I covered my crock pot and heated the milk on HIGH for about 3 1/2 hours until the milk was 180 °F (although I strived to readch 180º, it only got to 178º and would not budge up anmore). I then took the crock off the heating element and took off the cover, letting it cool to 120º which took under an hour.

I took about a cup and a half of the heated milk out and mixed into that about 1/2 cup of Stonyfield plain yogurt. I wrapped the covered crock with a bath towel and put it into the oven. leaving it there overnight.

9 hours later, I stumbled down into the kitchen expecting to find milk in the oven but I found yummy, creamy, thick yogurt.

I topped some with Starbucks sugar free vanilla syrup and a spootch of vanilla extract and brought it to work with me. What a delicious, nutritious treat.  I am over the moon about my homemade yogurt. And you will be too. It’s easy and moneysaving and one of those moments of magic in life that brings a smile to your face.

I plan to add some fruit to some of the yogurt, perhaps some mango  and some blueberries.

So many possibilities.


Filed under life, random, Sandy's Cooking, stuff

musings and a bit of begging at the end

Another Thanksgiving, come and gone. How does time go so fast? I have a decent amount of leftovers which some will become a wonderful turkey tetrazzini tomorrow or the next night. A few sandwiches, a soup and we’ll be done. Our fill of turkey.  Tonight I made a lasagna, not being about to think turkey thoughts one more minute. It sure does make the house smell wonderful.

And while I am on the subject of food, I have a crock pot of milk heating for homemade yogurt. I have looked into making yogurt before but did not want to buy another gadget to clutter my already cluttered kitchen. I am trying to get rid not receive! And frankly, those yogurt makers did not make much yogurt. If I am going to eat yogurt twice a day (at least) then making 6 whole containers does not last long and doesn’t seem worth the time.
Sometimes blogland is a funny place. I have yogurt on my mind, searching yogurt makers and then a good friend makes crock pot yogurt. Seems lots of times, we are all on the same wavelength. Great minds, and all.

Tomorrow night, hopefully I will be eating homemade yogurt.

Back to work tomorrow. Honestly, it might be more restful working than keeping up this Thanksgiving pace!


There is an emergency brewing and only us knitters can help.Thre is a Red Scarf shortage. Can we let that happen? Can we sit idly around while  some orphans, come February will have cold necks? Red Scarves are needed. Read about it here, think about knitting one up. A nice worsted yarn will knit up quickly, perhaps a pattern like the Irish Hiking Scarf? Just something I am thinking about….




Filed under life, Sandy's Cooking


My Thanksgiving table

To answer DebbieB’s question (she said: “I can’t stand the suspense! Didja cut it???”). Yes. I did. Now, I’m just assuming that she is indeed asking about the pumpkin pie. She may have been sidetracked and is asking me if I cut the well, ahem. Cheese. But I doubt it. Because we never talk about that here. And? We never will please. I know it’s only natural but here is a “THAT” free zone.

Yes, I did cut the pie. But not until after Thanksgiving dinner, like a good doobie. I had a sliver. I couldn’t eat any more after that. In fact, I was in bed by 8:30, snoozing away. Well deserved, I’d say!
However, for breakfast? Bigger than a sliver. A delicious way to start the day, if I don’t say so myself. I wish you pumpkin pie for breakfast. With whipped cream. And a scootch of nutmeg. I did not, however think of taking a picture until I was left with a plate and a few lonely crumbs. Perhaps tomorrow’s breakfast will be better planned out.

For dinner, along with my turkey leftover hash, (home fried potatoes, turkey, gravy and a bit of bell’s seasonings sprinkled in), a glass of leftover wine, pinot noir and a HUGE helping of salad. I am CRAVING veggies. Lots of them! That can never be a bad thing.


I would love to say that I did not shop today but I do not consider myself one of the black Friday shoppers. I DID, as I do every year, think of the shoppers at 3:30. Then I rolled over and pulled up the covers. Some things are traditions and should never be tinkered with.

But around 3:00 (PM, that is)  Bethany and I went to Barnes and Noble. Sometimes a girl just has to buy books. One of the most basic needs of life, honestly. The store was bustling but not too busy, the lines were on the short side, which I was thankful for.
The thankfulness just goes on and on, doesn’t it?



Filed under random, Sandy's Cooking

Blessings abound

Just waiting for it's whipped cream! (It's hard not to eat it for breakfast! but I made the kids wait for tonight for the apple pie, I must do as I say!)

Give thanks for the blessings
that daily are ours
The warmth of the sun
The fragrance of flowers
For the joy of enjoying
And the fullness of living
Are found in the heart that
is filled with Thanksgiving
~Helen Steiner Rice


Filed under random, Sandy's Cooking

The name is pie. Pumpkin Pie

This Thanksgiving eve has been filled with baking. My home smells wonderful however, I still have to clean up a bit before I can think of going to bed.
I roasted my sugar pumpkins this morning.

Pumpkins go in the oven


About an hour later, they look like this:

A knife slips into the flesh easily, they are soft to the touch, ready for pie.

I let them cool and then cut them in half, scraping the seeds out. (The color is a bit off on these photos, however these particular pumpkins were not very orange. They are more like a squash yellow.)

ready to be cleaned out

Into the food processor they go. Nothing added, please!

Time for a whirl

Whirl until smooth

Pie ready, no can in sight!

I then followed a Martha recipe which is undocumented. It is in the oven right now baking, almost done. Can you smell it?

Honestly, using fresh pumpkin is not labor intensive and is almost as easy as opening a can. But feels so much more smug.

I’ll show you the pie tomorrow.

I still have a sink of dishes waiting. For that? I am not so grateful!


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Favorite dishes

My thoughts are all wrapped up around the Thanksgiving meal as of today. I love to plan the meal. It’s almost as fun as the eating. Maybe (truthfully) more fun. The planning goes on all week but the eating, well, you know how long THAT takes.
The dish that I look forward to the most? Is the stuffing. It’s a meat stuffing that is my family’s tradition. What I would have previously called a “french Canadian thing”. but now know to be An Acadian thing. Meat stuffing, not a stuffing at all in the traditional sense, truly a “dressing”. But we shall NEVER ever refer to it again as a dressing, capish?
My family’s version has ground beef, ground pork sauteed with onions, salt and pepper, drained and cooled. Then I break apart a stuffing bread, wet it with water and squeeze the bread into the meat until mixed well, using the whole loaf of bread. This part is wonderfully messy. Love it. Sprinkle generously with Bell’s seasoning (poultry seasoning to you non New Englanders) then add basterfuls of turkey broth until the stuffing is moist.
When I got married, I realized that the rest of the world did not eat MY meat stuffing. I was crushed. If I wanted it as part of my adult tradition, I would have to bring it to the table myself. I serve both the meat stuffing and the turkey stuffed bread stuffing on the day. Something for everyone.
I love family traditions almost as much as I love the stuffing itself.
SO, I’m curious. Tell me what dish you are looking forward to the most? What is YOUR family tradition that you carry on or that you miss dearly? (and should start yourself from now on, says me!)


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What’s for dinner Wednesday

The big question as the cook of the family is “what is for dinner?”  Tonight I had to have an early dinner because we are going to an art show (Hi Faith!) so it had to be quick-ish. But delish, always.

Shaw’s Get Inspired Recipe Cards to the rescue! Tonight will be Skillet Baked Spaghetti . You can find the recipe here: CLICK FOR RECIPE

First, I gathered my ingredients.


I cooked the ground beef and sausage out of it’s casing until browned.

ground beef and sausage cooking

I drained the meat, added garlic (lots of garlic)

chopped garlic

I also added some red pepper flakes and oregano. When the garlic was smelling wonderful  I added 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes. (I doubled the recipe. We have a lot of hungry people eating here) And 3 1/2 cups of water.
Then in goes the spaghetti, broken up into smaller pieces. It looks a bit like a porcupine with the noodles all spiky.

Spaghetti goes in to cook!

About 12 minutes later, it looked delicious!
I then added about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cream, a bit of shredded Italian cheese mix and then put the rest of the cheese on the top.  Into the oven it went.

Honestly, if I had to do it again, and I may have to it was that good, I won’t bother with the cheese on the top. It was not needed and won’t be missed.

Dinner is served!

It was absolutely delicious, easy and filling. A nice hot dinner to greet the fam. It is not trying to be health food, something we won’t dine on every evening but a taste bud delight to have tonight.

Bon Appétit

What’s for dinner at your house?


Filed under Sandy's Cooking

Cookies, timing, an old hatred of silverware and a pumpkin shortage

chocolate and white chip cookie

chocolate and white chip cookie

You know what I like best about baking cookies? (Besides the obvious “eating the cookie”?) Setting the timer. 11 minutes in my wonderous new oven, is the perfect time for a perfect cookie. 11 minutes. Doesn’t seem like much time, right? But when I set that timer, I got elbow deep into the pile of dirty dishes waiting for me in the sink. I had let them stack up a bit. You know how that happens kind of all of a sudden. There is a few dishes in there so you pass on it. The next time you glance over? Mountains. It was like that. Mountain climbing in dirty dishes. No good view on this mountain.

11 minutes later, I had gotten the bulk of the dishes washed, even the dreaded silverware. I have hated washing silverware from way back. WAY back. I don’t know what it is, so tedious I guess. Gag me with a spoon. And a fork, and butter knife and steak knife for that matter. Hate them.

But when that 11 minute timer buzzed, sweet cookie aroma filling the chilly air, I only had a couple of pans left to wash. Life seemed a little easier. And cleaner.  Then I could enjoy my one cookie. I’m not much of a sweet eater but I do have to have 1. Preferably still warm and melty.


I watched the movie Marley and Me last night. I have the puffy eyes this morning to prove it. Kind of a tearjerker at the end. I enjoyed it, a good heartwarming, funny (and sad) movie. Made me think about getting a dog. And then Mitchell smacked me in the head.


Autumn has arrived in full force. I plan on making boeuf bourguignon for dinner and while that is cooking perhaps take my mother in law out for a ride to view some foliage. (She feel a couple of weeks back and broke her hip. She has been in a rehab since. Perhaps she’d like to break out for a while today!)

Enjoy your weather. What’ it like where you are? I know Vicki has had some snow. So has Kim (her blog has disappeared! I know I am a bit out of it blog wise, but what the HECK??) . Have you? (Make a snowball for me!)


And in a totally unrelated note, when I was at the store yesterday, I wanted to buy a can of pumpkin to make our favorite autumn pumpkin bread. Not ONE can of pumpkin to be had. A weird run on pumpkin. Weird.


Filed under life, Sandy's Cooking, stuff

Eating with family

Family traditions are wrapped up in food, aren’t they? Most holidays have a food association with them. In most families anyway.

“it wouldn’t be Christmas/Thanksgiving/Easter/my birthday without [fill in the blank with your favorite food]”.

My family is French. Acadian, actually. My relatives hail from Moncton, New Brunswick.

In a quick email conversation with Li, we had a discussion about poutines. To most of the world, poutines are french fries with cheese curds, smothered in gravy. To me (and I guess a smaller portion of Canada), poutines are a potato ball stuffed with pork and boiled. Sounds appealing, right? Depends on your upbringing I suppose because I can find a dozen people right this minute who will be drooling in 10 seconds flat at the word “poutines”. (We always said it as a plural) (and “OUR” pronunciation of it is POO=TZINS)

So, anyway, I promised I would write out my families recipe for Li but being a blogger (YES! I still am a blogger) I thought I’d squeak an entry out of it.

Poutines were made only for special occasions. They are very labor intensive but just the aroma of one sets my mouth to watering.  Using google as my guide, it is known on the internets as Poutine râpée, which is not what we called it at all. In fact, rapee is a different dish altogether. Rapee is a casserole while poutines are the round ball.

So, I share my family recipe here. I have never personally made them but am planning to this Christmas. This will my present to my family. (MY family, my husband and kids will not eat them. I’ve somehow failed as a mom!! 🙂


As a rule, it takes 1 pound of potatoes for 1 poutine. This recipe is for 30 poutines. Believe me, if you (Read: I) are going to make them, may as well go for it and make them for everyone! They freeze well, but Acadian relatives and friends will gobble them up now.

30 pounds of potatoes

2 pounds ground pork

1 pound salt pork

Peel and cut the potatoes then divide them into thirds. Cook 1/3  boiling water for 20 minutes until soft.  Mash these.

Grate the remaining potatoes to a watery pulp. (This is not the big holes on a grater, it is the smallest holes. I am trying to figure out an electric way to do this. Grating that many potatoes on those small holes gets old fast. Not to mention the bruised knuckles. Any ideas?) .

Place the pulp in a pillowcase or wrap in kitchen towels. Squeeze out as much water as you can.

Mix the pulp with the mashed potatoes, in equal amounts

Mix salt pork and ground pork together

Fill one cup wtih potato mixture, then form round ball like a snowball. Press a hole into the ball with your thumb and stuff about a tablespoon of pork filling inside, sealing the hole when done.

Cut cheesecloth into 10 inch squares. Wrap each poutine in cheesecloth, knotting the corners.

Cook in boiling water for 2 hours.

I love to eat mine with a sprinkling of sugar, my mother eats her with applesauce, others just with salt and pepper.


15 pounds of potatoes

3 pounds ground pork

1 pound salt pork

3 eggs

1 sleeve crushed saltines

1 tsp baking powder

Grate potatoes to a pulp but do not squeeze the water out this time.

Mix all ingredients together well.

Place 1 tablespoon shortening in bottom of pan (big roasting pan or 2 lasagna type pans). Heat in oven until melted. Pour mixture into hot pan

Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour then turn oven to 350 adn continue baking for 1 hour 15 minutes for a total baking time of 2 hours. Top will be dark, golden brown when done.

There you have it. Owning a potato farm would be ideal!

Have you eaten poutines before? Would you eat them? Would you, could you, in a house? With a mouse? In a box?

What are your family food traditions?

P.S. Remember! No one ever claimed this is health food. That is why it is special occasion food. I, personally have not had poutines in years now. It’s time to fix that!


Filed under life, Sandy's Cooking

Taking a poll: Do you play the blame game?

My sleep pattern is all thrown off due to a recurring night time cough and a week long night time cold medicine usage that knocked me flat every night. Now? Can’t fall asleep and stay asleep to save my soul.

Hello. My name is Sandy and I am a nyquil-aholic.

Which, btw? Makes a grumpy me. Not pretty at all. I spent the morning being unreasonable crabby and then having 2 people “blame” me for their colds. Apparently *I* have the only germs around nowadays. Perhaps I was just being sensitive but if I am going to be blamed, perhaps we should compare symptoms, just to be sure it’s MY strain of germs. In fact. I would like it to be hereby known as the Sandysknitting flu. This may gain some momentum, quite like the swine flu.

Should I have stayed home for an entire week or maybe even 2 or 3 weeks by the time I shake my cough? I did stay home on day one of the sickness. Then it was the weekend. So by the time I hit work last Monday I was on day4 of the SNflu. (Sandysknitting flu, remember?)

But wait. Do you do this too? Tend to blame your sickness on those around you? Is it something that is a normal activity? Do you? Blame your cold on your friends/co workers? And plenty vocal about it too?



I spent a wonderful weekend quietly cooking up a storm. Sourdough bread, plenty of fresh spring veggies from the local farm stand made into a Spring Green Risotto (YUM), sourdough waffles and the piece de resistance? Strawberry Rhubarb pie which was particularly scrumptious.

Pass a dish!

Pass a dish!

I figure I would do like the old wives tale said: Feed a cold/SNflu!



Filed under life, random, Sandy's Cooking, stuff