Keeping up the Traditions #holidays #family


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The quote above is particularly apt as the years go by.

When I was a child, Christmas meant decorating the tree we went into the forest to collect. My mom would pack up a lunch and bundle us in warm winter coats, mitts and toques, and then away we would go, my dad driving us deep into the woods where the very best trees were hidden.

We’d traipse through deep snow, broken only by Dad’s footprints, until we found the perfect tree. Not too big, not too small, even branches and a crown made for an angel.

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A few days later, we could finally decorate. Lights first, then garland, tinsel, and ornaments- some we made and some passed down through the family. Then Dad would add the tree topper and our living room was transformed into a magical place!

Years later, when I married and had my own family, we switched to an artificial tree for the holidays. They’re convenient; you don’t need to fight with the lights, and it’s better for the environment.

But, the magic was gone.

Other traditions took its place- family breakfast Christmas morning before the exchange of gifts. Afternoons spent outdoor skating or tobogganing while the turkey cooked. The passage of time marked by those who joined the festivities, and family members we’d lost.

Then my grandson was born.

Christmas is made for children. The wonder on their precious faces fills our hearts with love and joy. They remind us of the magic of our youth and the importance of family.

My grandson

Then, my daughter was given the opportunity to gain her masters degree, but it was across the country and suddenly Christmas was down to DH, Mom and I.

I’m not complaining, many people spend the holidays all alone, but I have to admit I’m floundering.

We went to look at lights last night, DH and I, (Mom stayed home) and it was nice- quiet, but nice.

It’s so different looking at lights without snow on the ground and freezing cold air in your lungs! lol

What do you do to allay depression during the holidays?

I’m trying, really, I am!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas

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Baking up Memories #FamilyFirst #Dessert #Recipes


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One of my favorite treats my mom always made was Lemon Poppyseed Loaf. She had a baking table at our local Farmer’s Market where she sold Nanaimo bars, Butter Tart Squares, Rocky Road Squares, Lemon Pies and the most delicious glazed loaves.

Customers would line up to buy her desserts and she rarely had leftovers- our loss!

https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/lemon-poppy-seed-bread/

Lemon Poppyseed Loaf

This is sure to be a hit in your home, too!

baking

Cooking up Memories-Breakfast Wraps #Recipe #MealIdeas


Now that January has arrived, many of you are busy making those pesky resolutions and wondering how to keep them.

I have an easy #MealIdea to help!

I developed this wrap at the restaurant one spring when the tree planters were in town. They could eat like, well, tree planters, lol.

My grandson dressed up for Christmas- my café in the background

I only had room for fifty guests and a grill no more than three feet wide, but none of that mattered when those kids came to town. They would fill the booths and had no problem with pitching in to help my girls serve them.

One young man even took off his boots at the door because they were muddy! They were the best of customers and I really miss their smiles. They loved their breakfasts and especially liked my place for the cooked to order items. No pre-made sausages or bacon in my restaurant!

Blessed to be highlighted in this foodie guide!

The wrap I’m sharing today was a favorite with my customers.

Breakfast Wrap

3 large eggs

chopped tomato

chopped mixed peppers

chopped onion

Grated cheese mix (Cheddar, mozzarella, swiss or gruyere)

2 slices cooked bacon

12 inch tortilla (tomato, spinach, whole wheat)

In a medium bowl mix eggs, tomato, peppers and onion, then scramble until cooked in medium-low frying pan.

Once the egg sets up, you can lay the tortilla over the top to warm, then remove it to add cooked bacon and cheese mixture to the eggs and cover until cheese melts.

Lay egg mix down the center of the wrap, fold up from the bottom until tortilla cradles the eggs, then fold in left and right sides until covered (like a baby’s diaper 🙂 )

I used to leave mine open on top and seal with a toothpick through the middle, but you can also close both ends and cut through the middle. The choice is yours!

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Cooking up Memories- EggNog French Toast #Recipe #Christmas #FamilyFirst


Happy Holidays!

Growing up, Christmas for our family often meant trips to Wilmore Park for a day of tobogganing with our cousins, hot cocoa and shortbread cookies with our grandparents, and… Christmas morning gift opening!

My tree in Alberta

Years later, after my dad passed away, DH (darling hubby) and I slowly took over the Christmas Day festivities. One of the things my brothers and daughter looked forward to was a big holiday breakfast.

I was lucky enough to have the use of an industrial kitchen (my restaurant) and would prepare platters of bacon, sausage, and ham the day before. Then, Christmas morning, while the meat was warming in the oven, I cooked up pancakes, eggs, toast, vats of coffee 🙂 and waited for the hordes to arrive.

Our house in Alberta

One of the family favorites was Eggnog French Toast. It’s easy and delicious!

Eggnog French Toast

Ingredients

1 dozen lrg. eggs

1 litre eggnog

2 loaves of bread (French loaf works well)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

Heat skillet med/hot with a dash of olive oil.

Mix eggs, eggnog, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla together in a large bowl until smooth. Dunk bread in mixture to evenly coat, then add to hot pan. Flip after a couple of minutes and remove when golden brown. Repeat process until you have enough for your family.

Hint

I average approx 1 egg for 2 slices of bread and cook 4 slices for the men. You can easily suit this to your needs.

Enjoy!

Cooking up Memories- Waldorf Salad #Family #Inspiration


The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. An air of festivity takes hold as stores bring out their holiday decorations and old time favorites play on the television.

One of my favorite Christmas recipes came from my grandmother- Waldorf salad. Every year I’d look forward to seeing that fancy glass bowl filled with chopped up apples taking pride of the place on our dining room table. It was Grandma’s donation to our holiday dinner.

Grandma and her sister

We’ve kept the tradition going, even though she passed away a few years ago. Now, when I look upon that simple bowl of salad every year, I feel her presence among us and smile.

WALDORF SALAD

1 cup Mayo

4 tbs. milk

2 tbs. sugar

Whip Mayo, sugar and milk together to form a loose dressing.

6 Spartan or Mac Apples

1 cup Chopped Walnuts

3 Stalks Celery

Use lemon juice or citric acid to whiten apples.

Peel and chop apples and celery into bite-size pieces, sprinkle with lemon juice. Add walnuts. Stir in dressing and refrigerate until use. Enjoy.

***

Papa and buddy- 2013

Cooking Up Memories- Oriental Chicken Wings #Recipe #GreatMealIdeas


It’s the Holiday Season and Christmas Parties are just around the corner!

With Christmas just a few short weeks away, I thought I’d share a family favorite recipe with you today-Oriental Chicken Wings

When I went into the restaurant business in 2001- January 1st :)- I had no concept of what it would entail. I’d been a waitress- server as they’re called these days- for most of my career, so I had a good idea of the day-to-day work, but it turned out that’s just the tip of a very slippery iceberg!

My plan (and you know what they say about plans) was to continue serving while the previous owner, a long-time family friend, would stay on in her capacity as a cook. This worked fine for the first two months, then the doctor told her she had to get off her feet (too many years on cement floors destroyed her knees) and I was suddenly on my own.

I had two options; try to find a fitting replacement I could afford in our town of seven thousand, or take on the job myself.

Now you have to understand something; I was previously known as the KD (Kraft Dinner) queen, I kid you not. I had a basic knowledge of cooking, enough to keep my family alive, and that was all. And little or no interest in learning. But… I had no choice.

Stubbornness, will power and a hunger to succeed got me through those early days, along with the support of my mother, who taught me how to make killer soups. 🙂

 I had the restaurant for thirteen, mostly happy, years and if there’s one thing I learned, it’s to go after your dreams- you never know if you’ll succeed if you don’t try!

Okay, on to the recipe. This was a favorite at the BlueJay (my place) and will be a hit at your next holiday function.

Oriental Chicken Wings

Ingredients

3 pounds chicken wings (either whole or split wing- I use whole)

3/4 cup soya sauce

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp garlic salt

9×13 pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add wings to pan and set aside. In small bowl mix soya sauce, sugar, water, ginger and garlic until well blended. Carefully pour over wings. Use a serving spoon to turn wings over in mixture to coat both sides, then set uncovered in oven for 1 hour.

After 1 hour remove wings and turn them in pan to cook on other side, then return to oven for approx 1/2 hour longer (should be a rich, dark brown when done)

Now you can start the rice.

Cool Tip:

When cooking rice expect it to double its size. I vary between long grain white rice and some really nice multi-grain blends.

Rather than measuring everything out I use a medium heavy duty steel pot. Add approx. 1 inch of rice to the bottom, then place your index finger on top of rice, nail down like you’re pointing. Add cool water up to the first knuckle of your finger:

Bring water to a boil, then cover with lid and simmer on low for half an hour, but DON’T lift the lid! 

Your dinner is ready- enjoy 🙂

Baking up Memories-Rice Pudding #Recipe #Cooking


Rice Pudding

My family didn’t have a lot of extra money when I was growing up, but there always seemed to be enough to get by.

My dad would hunt and fish to fill the freezer, and Mom canned all kinds of fruit and vegetables for the pantry. I remember jar after jar of peaches and pears, jams and jellies. Dad drove truck for a big grocery chain and would get the damaged stock at discount prices, which was great, but it had to be immediately processed so Mom had her hands full.

We had two big canners, those blue enamel ones with the metal jar lifter that looked way too flimsy for the weight of those steaming jars. I imagine she suffered some nasty burns providing for her family.

This rice pudding recipe reminds me of those days. Times filled with the scent of baking and the kitchen counter filled with delicious treats. It’s like a warm hug in a mug 🙂

Ingredients

Servings-4/ Prep Time-45 min

2 cups cooked long grain white rice

1 ½ cups milk

1 cup sugar

2 tsp Corn Starch

2 eggs

2 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Vanilla

½ cup golden raisins

Directions

Add 1 cup rice to 2 cups water, bring to boil in sturdy pot. Turn heat down to simmer, cover with lid and cook 25-30 minutes. Don’t lift lid!

Set rice aside in medium-sized bowl to cool.

Add milk, sugar and corn starch to emptied pot and cook on medium heat until mixture thickens- approx. 5 minutes. Stir often to avoid scalding milk.

While milk is heating, crack eggs into small bowl and whisk lightly with fork.

When milk has thickened to a sauce consistency, pour approx. 1 cup into egg mixture, (set pot aside off of heat) and stir briskly together with fork. Place pot back on heat and slowly pour egg mix into the pot, stirring constantly.

Cook for 1 minute longer.

Pour over rice in bowl. Add cinnamon, vanilla and raisins. Stir and set aside to cool.

Enjoy!

Priceless Treasures #Holiday #Memories #mgtab


Priceless Treasures

Do you have homemade crafts passed down from generation to generation that you can’t bear to part with?

I’m probably one of the least sentimental people you’re likely to meet, but there are some items from my childhood that I coveted. Special bowls and vases tucked away in glass cabinets so sticky little fingers couldn’t break them.

My mom had an English cottage set; cookie jar, creamer/sugar, egg cups, and tea pot. I used to make up stories of imaginary people living in that village. 🙂

Another cool thing she had was a little hollowed out shell, smaller than a fingernail, with a carved ivory queen head for a stopper. Inside was an amazing menagerie of African animals in ivory; giraffe, lion, zebra, monkey, eight in all.

Along with these beautiful collectibles, my mom and grandma were busy crafters; crocheted doilies and tablecloths, handmade quilts, paper toile pictures, and eggery.

Eggery? you say. Eggery is the fine art of decorating hollowed eggs inside and out. The most famous, of course, being Fabergé, but I think my mom did pretty good work herself.

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Here’s a video on the process.

I guess with all the commercialism of the holidays it’s made me think about the things I’ve found have everlasting value.

There is no price on memories.

Happy holidays,

Jacquie Biggar