Monday, 21 July 2014

Simple Raspberry Jam

It's been a rough week in the Ladybug house, we're all tired and stressed. I needed a cooking outlet today - I've been so busy that blogging has been on the back burner and I can totally tell!

So, today we needed to get out and do something! Lady & Bug and I went to Maan Farms, which had a huge fire in their main building last week, to give them our support. We got a flat of raspberries and made some jam. 

I've been experimenting with jam recipes this year, trying to decide which one I like the best. Here's the one I used for raspberries today, it's a little more tart than the one I usually make, but I really liked it...the best part was that it is so simple! It doesn't even need Pectin. If you want to know more about the jam making process, see my post on Strawberry Jam or Apricot Jam.

Lady & Bug helped to mash the berries and scoop out the sugar into a bowl, but I wasn't brave enough to let them help with anything else yet, maybe next year!

Simple Raspberry Jam

5 cups Crushed Raspberries
1/4 cup Lemon Juice (optional)
1/2 tsp Butter
5-6 cups Sugar (depending on your desired sweetness)

Cook raspberries, butter, and lemon juice in a large pot until it reaches a rolling boil (can't be stirred down) - cook for 1 minute. Add sugar quickly and stir constantly until it comes back to a rolling boil. Boil for 3 minutes (watch your fingers!). Remove from heat and remove any foam on the top. Fill sterilized, hot jars 1/4" from top. Clean top of the jar well before sealing with lids. Boil in a canner for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool for 24 hours before putting away.

Happy Jamming!


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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cherry Varenyky (Pierogi)

Cherry Varenyky is one of Papa Ladybug's favourite things, so when it's cherry season, I try to make him some. Varenyky (aka Pierogi) is a Ukrainian/Mennonite traditional dumpling usually stuffed with dry cottage cheese or potatoes, but sometimes you'll find fruit in them too. It's been a few years since I had the time to do this, but this morning, amidst the insanity and sleeplessness, I decided it was time. Plus, it's a huge thank you to nana and papa ladybug for taking the kids for the night so we can sleep!

Cherry Varenyky

2 Egg Whites
1 cup Milk
3 cups Flour
1/4 tsp Salt

Cherries, halved and pitted

Mix eggs and milk together in a bowl. Add flour and salt and mix until dough is well combined. Add more flour to make a slightly less sticky dough if needed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling out dough (I usually do overnight).

Roll out dough and cut squares or circles. You can also pinch off dough and make a ball to roll out for each one. Once your dough is rolled and cut to desired shape, place 2 cherry halves in the centre, sprinkle with a bit of sugar and fold one side over and pinch together to create a half circle or triangle. Use water to moisten edges if you are having trouble getting the edges to stick.

Add to a pot of salted boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain water and serve with rogers syrup, cream gravy, sour cream, sweetened whip cream or sugar as desired. I personally like them for dessert with whip cream and sugar.

Other great fruit Varenyky options include strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, peach, and blackberry.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Giardiniera (Marinated Salad)

Picnic season is here, time for something perfect for a day at the park.

Giardiniera is basically Italian style marinated vegetables, a great summer condiment/salad for a picnic or antipasto platter, it can be spicy or sweet, and easy to play with the ingredients if you don't like something. This is not a quick recipe, it takes about 2 days to make it, but it's super easy and worth the time to make your own.


1/2 head Cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1/2 head Broccoli , chopped into small florets
2 ribs Celery, chopped
3 Carrots, sliced diagonally
2 yellow Peppers, large diced
0-6 Serrano peppers, sliced (optional, depending on desired heat)
1/2 cup Salt
3 cups Water (more if needed)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp Celery Seeds
1 Tbsp Sugar (optional)
1 cup Vinegar
1 cup Oil (I used Canola Oil)
2 Roasted Red Peppers, cut in large strips
10 baby Pickled Pepperoncinis, whole

First, combine the cauliflower, broccoli, celery, carrots, and peppers together in a large bowl. Pour salt over the veggies and add water (enough to cover the veggies). Mix well and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, pour the veggies into a strainer and rinse well with water to get rid of any excess salt. Pour veggies back into a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cover bowl again with plastic wrap (or pour into a large jar to keep in the fridge) and let marinade for at least 24 hours before serving. 

Great on an antipasto platter, in a salad, or just as a side/salad on a summer picnic.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Rollkuchen & Watermelon

It's hot right now and who can resist fried dough and watermelon?! 

Rollkuchen is a traditional treat of fried dough served with watermelon slices. It's basically the Mennonite version of doughnuts. I was first introduced to Rollkuchen (and many other wonderful Mennonite dishes) from a dear friend and director at summer camp. She would make the staff these interesting dishes on our days off and when I married into a Mennonite family later in life, I learned to make them. We even have them when we're camping - Daddy Ladybug's family goes on a camping trip every summer to the Okanagan and each year we make Rollkuchen for a crowd of about 30 people (no small task). 


Oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)
3 cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Milk
~1/2 cup Flour for kneading

Heat oil to 375F. I used an electric frying pan with about 3" of oil. 
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients and add to dry. Mix well and add additional flour to knead to a soft dough that isn't sticky. Roll out about 1/4" thick and cut into long rectangles (about 4"x2"). Cut a slit in the middle and pull one side through the slit to make the twisty effect shown in the picture. 

Fry in oil until golden brown on both sides (turn once). Drain on paper towel and serve with delicious watermelon slices and your choice of toppings (some family favourites include: white sugar, powdered sugar, rogers golden syrup, pancake syrup, jam, honey).

A lovely summer treat!


Friday, 4 July 2014

Camping Menu 2014

It's July 4th, making this a long weekend for my neighbours to the south! I thought I'd share my 2014 Camping Menu to celebrate another fabulous camping weekend!

Day 1 
Warming Chili & buns
Nutella S'mores

Warming Chili

Cajun Hobo Packs

Day 2
Pancakes & Bacon & strawberries
Hero Subs (fresh sub buns, deli meats, veggies & condiments)
Cajun Foil Dinners
Pina Colada Banana Boats

Hobo Hash

Day 3
Thai Fe Salad, Rice & Grilled Chicken

Thai Fe Salad

Day 4

Nutella S'mores

Other camping meal ideas...

10 Great Meals for Camping with Kids

This menu is assuming you're heading out camping for dinner on day 1 and coming home after breakfast on day 4.

Happy July 4th!


Planning a camping trip? Here's an extensive camping packing list for your next trip!

Hobo Hash

Even breakfast can be made over the campfire!

Hobo Hash

2 Yellow Baby Potatoes
3-4 sausage links
2 Eggs, mixed well
2 Tbsp Milk
1 slice Tomato, diced
1 slice Onion
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt, Pepper, seasonings as desired

Pre-fry sausage and potatoes if desired (to keep eggs from being overdone). Combine all ingredients in aluminum foil and top with butter and seasoning. Wrap tightly in foil and cook for 10 minutes on a BBQ or on hot coals in a campfire.

Perfect hearty camping breakfast.


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Thai Fe Salad

Ok, you know those Santa Fe salads, well I planned to make one tonight for dinner, but was missing a few ingredients for the dressing, so thought I'd experiment with a little fusion...and voila, thai peanut dressing on a santa fe salad tastes FABULOUS! 

Thai Fe Salad

2 cups Corn (cooked from frozen or canned)
1 can Black Beans
2 Tomatoes, diced
1 Avocado, diced
1 Red Pepper, diced
3 Tbsp Red Onion, diced
3 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup Chunky Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Lime Juice
1/4 cup Oil
2 Tbsp Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Salt

Combine dressing ingredients well and let flavours blend while mixing the salad ingredients. Combine salad ingredients and top with dressing. Mix well and cool before serving.

This is a great salad for camping, ingredients are either fresh or canned and if you bring the dressing along it's a quick meal with some grilled chicken.


Tuesday, 1 July 2014


It's Canada Day today.  Happy Canada Day! 

Many people have extended the weekend or have started their summer vacation, it's pretty deserted around here! They're out enjoying their cabins and campgrounds - we seem to stay home on long weekends and go camping during the week when it's a little quieter, so we're at home enjoying the heat! 

This fabulous day calls for a great campfire dish.

I'm originally from a largely First Nations community and growing up, one of the staples was Bannock, a basic bread that is perfect for camping. It can be fried in fat/oil, baked in the oven, or cooked over fire.

Bannock fried in oil


2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup Powdered Milk
*Add 1 cup Water when making

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a plastic resealable bag and you've got a great bread option when camping. All you have to do is add the water, mix well and fry in a couple Tbsp of oil or fat or roast on a stick over an open flame. Top with Jam, peanut butter, cheese, butter, honey, or your favourite bread topping for a delicious easy camping bread . 

One of our favourite was to eat Bannock is to make Bannock Dogs - Bannock wrapped around a wiener and roasted on a stick over the campfire. We dip it in mustard or ketchup for a tasty campfire treat. 

Bannock Dogs

Happy Canada Day!