Blogging since 2009, I'm a 1950s housewife to the bone and I love to share what I've learned with others. I'm a lifelong foodie, raised with Sunday dinners at my grandmother's and daily scratch cooking in my childhood kitchen. I'm a nerdy homeschooling mama of 3, and a wife of 17 years.

I drink tea when I knit and coffee when I do everything else.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day!
Day 1 - Skirt Steak w/ Chimichurri
Day 2 - Top Sirloin w/ Homemade Rub
Day 3 -
Rib Eye w/ Herbed Butter
Day 4 - Rosemary Chicken
Day 5 - Top Sirloin Gyros
Day 6 - Kansas City Style Pork Chops
Day 7 - Steak and Mushroom Kebabs
Day 8 - Dad's Hamurgers, 2.0
Day 9 - Top Sirloin w/ Mushrooms
Day 10 - Kid's Lunch
Day 11 - Chicken Souvlaki
Day 12 - S'mores Cones
Day 13 - Short Ribs

Kitchen & Sewing Skills!
Intro - Syllabus
Lesson 1 - Running & Whipstitch
Lesson 2 - Cookies

Day 2 of 100 Days of Barbecue


Technically, today was day 3, but I will blog about that tomorrow morning hopefully. Tonight, I’ll write about yesterday’s dinner, our second night of barbecue.

It was a fairly plain peppercorn steak, with roasted potatoes with bacon and chives and corn. Grinding peppercorns made me miss my marble mortar and pestle and I added a replacement to my wish list. I used pink, white and black peppercorns on the steak though I’m pretty sure any peppercorns would work just fine. The steak was a London Broil, the type I used most often for this kind of dinner. The potatoes I always rub with olive oil before slicing a few stripes in them and wrapping them in tin foil. I cook them on the top shelf of the grill to avoid charring the skin, and I usually put them on while the grill is heating up so they are in there longer.


The real star of last night’s dinner was the dessert – the dessert I almost didn’t make! I had already made a batch of strawberry cupcakes for the kids, but the grown ups were not as into them as the kids so I also whipped up this pie. It was perfection, and is now my go-to for strawberry pies and tarts! It’s so so simple too!

6 cups cleaned and chopped strawberries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg + splash of water for an egg wash

First, whip up a batch of pie crust. You can use store bought crust, but I really have to advise that you try to make it yourself. It’s usually so much flakier and getting good at making pie crust is pure magic.

Clean and cut up your strawberries, add the cornstarch and and salt and mix until the berries are coated. Then add the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and mix again until the berries are coated.


Line your pie plate (9″ works well with this recipe) with your pie crust and pile in the strawberry filling. Now, you could nestle a pie bird in the middle, cover it with another sheet of pie crust and bake it off. Or, you could get a little fancy with the top crust. I really believe that if your filling is beautiful, you should show it off. I looked everywhere for my pastry cutter – everywhere. I’m starting to think that I didn’t bring it with me when we moved since now I can’t even find any pictures of cut crust strips in my California kitchens! I did what most full time moms would do and I repurposed a toy to do the job. Although in this case, it’s not really repurposing since I used a play doh cutter and essentially, they are do the same job. I went with a basket weave to look rustic, made a plain border and then brushed the crust with my egg wash before topping with a generous sprinkling of sugar for crunch and sparkle.

This is one of those pies that never looks ready when you check on it. I baked it for about 45 minutes and when I checked, the crust looked great but the filling was really wobbily. I left it for another 30 minutes and returned to the same thing. So I turned the oven off and left it in there for another 30 minutes. By then, my husband wanted to try a taste. I warned him that it was really gooey and he had a little taste. Then he had two pieces! I brought a few pieces to my neighbors, one had never had strawberry pie before and she loved it, the other was supposed to eat one piece and bring the other to his roommate. He ended up eating both of them and this morning there was none left. It’s that good.

The natural sweetness of the strawberries (and of course the sugar) make it sweet, but the natural tang of the strawberries and the lemon makes it a little tart as well. Great with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or all on it’s own!

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Strawberry Ninjas

California, Healthy, Kids

This is not a recipe, it’s just a cute idea. It takes less than 10 minutes and it’s really adorable. All day in the sun was super fun and calls for some strawberry ninjas.

Strawberry Ninjas
fresh strawberries (hulled)
fresh whipped cream
mini chocolate chips

All you do is place the hulled strawberries upside down and cut enough of the point off so you can fill it from the top. Remove the point, fill the strawberry with whipped cream and put the point back on. Pop mini chocolate chips in as eyes and voila. Super cute snack for pretty much anytime.

Strawberry Ninjas

I spent the day at Seaside Lagoon with all the littles. With the load of work we have for homeschool this year, I’m not really a fan of taking a day for the beach, but I made an exception today because this is their favorite spot and it’s seasonal so it closes for the off seasons this weekend. Our last time for 2013 was super fun and I’m looking forward to going back again next year.

Strawberry Ninjas
Strawberry Ninjas
Strawberry Ninjas
Strawberry Ninjas
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Strawberry Shortcake


It started with beautiful strawberries. Huge, bright, lovely strawberries that inspired me to whip up a strawberry shortcake. For a split second, I thought of making an angel food cake with this but if I’m honest, as natural as angel food cake is to pair with fruit, I don’t really love it all that much. My husband doesn’t hate it but he’s not crazy over it either so I went with a pound cake.

I’ve been using Alton Brown’s pound cake recipe for about 4 years and it’s never gone wrong.

Strawberry Shortcake
Pound Cake via Alton Brown

16 ounces unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
16 ounces cake flour
16 ounces sugar
9 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat to 350 and grease and flour three 9″ cake pans, or one 9″ x 13″ cake pan or a bundt or whatever makes you happy, in this case I went with fou4 9: cake pans (only three were used so I covered the fourth in whipped cream and strawberries and brought them to my neighbor). Cream the butter and the sugar, then add the eggs one at a time. Be sure to scrape down the sides with a spatula and then add the vanilla and salt.

Now very slowly add the flour, with the mixer on low, until it is all incorporated. Then pour into your prepared cake pan and bake for about an hour.

While it’s baking, prepare your whipping cream and strawberries! Wash, hull and chop your strawberries into smallish pieces. If you prefer bigger chunks, go for it. When I make whipped cream for dipping fruit in, or for something like this when it’s acting as a frosting, I always use the one pint carton. I whip it into oblivion with 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar and about 1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla. I used 2 teaspoons when I made it for this cake and I also added 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar for a slightly different texture from the standard whipping cream we are always dipping strawberries in.

Strawberry Shortcake

Once the cakes have cooled, flip one out onto a plate (or whatever you’re serving from) and slater it in a layer of whipping cream. Then sprinkle the bits of strawberry on top, but do a whole lot of sprinkling. You’re going to want a lot of strawberries in this. Add the second cake carefully and slater that with a (not so) healthy helping of whipping cream as well, and then again with the generous sprinkling of the strawberries. I opted not to cover the top of the cake as well, you can always add a dollop of whipped cream and more strawberries on the side for anyone who wants more.

Strawberry Shortcake

This really does taste even better if you pop it in the fridge for a bit before you’re ready to serve it. The whipping cream softens up the cake juuuust enough that it’s got a nice texture but not enough that it’s soggy and because the cake is so sturdy it can also absorb some of the strawberry juice and still hold it’s shape. So good!!

Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake
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‘Cream Cheese’ Filled Strawberries


Generally, a bowl of strawberries doesn’t need any dressing up around here. All of the kids will devour a bowl without any sugar on them, without them being dipped in chocolate (though that never hurts, especially if it’s dark chocolate). Sometimes, though, I feel like a little something and these little somethings are just the thing. No dairy, just a little hit of sugar and a tofu punch at the same time! Totally impossible to eat just one.

Let’s get educational, shall we? What’s so great about strawberries and tofu anyway? Weeeell, since you asked…

What’s so great about strawberries?
-1 cup of strawberries has 141% of your vitamin C for the day and 28% of your manganese (not to mention the fiber, folate, iodine, potassium, magnesium, vitamin k and omega 3 fats)
-cardiovascular support and prevention of cardiovascular diseases
-improved blood sugar regulation, with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes
-prevention of certain cancer types including breast, cervical, colon, and esophageal cancer
-amazing combination of phytonutrients–including anthocyanins, ellagitannins, flavonols, terpenoids, and phenolic acids

What about tofu?
-4 oz tofu has 43.7% of your daily tryptophan (an essential amino acid which is the key ingredient in serotonin, which promotes feelings of calmness and relaxation), 39.6% of your calcium, 34.5% of your manganese and 33.7% of your iron (plus protein, omega-3 fats, selenium, copper, phosphorus and magnesium)
-the iron in tofu is important because it’s used as part of hemoglobin,which is responsible for transporting and releasing oxygen throughout the body
-…and hemoglobin synthesis also relies on copper, which is also in abundance in tofu
-soy protein can help to lower total cholesterol levels by as much as 30%, lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by as much as 35-40%
-soy protein may reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease
-lower triglyceride levels, reduce the tendency of platelets to form blood clots, and possibly even raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol)
-helpful in alleviating the symptoms associated with menopause

4 ounces non dairy cream cheese, like Tofutti
1/2 cup extra firm silken tofu
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon or orange juice

Just chop the tops off the strawberries and hollow them out. Pulse together all the ingredients and pipe the filling into the strawberries however you want. Pastry bag, zippy bag, spoon…whatever.
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Raw Brownie Bites


These brownies are raw, vegan and pretty good for you! Since they’re packed with nuts (heh) they’re about 170 calories each, not including whatever fruit you top them with (though at their size, it’s not like you can top it with much). More importantly though, are these notable vitamin counts (these percentages are for each brownie bite); 19% vitamin B6, 21% vitamin E, 99% copper, 39% magnesium, 77% manganese, 29% phosphorus, 21% zinc and decent levels of calcium, iron, niacin, pant acid, potassium, riboflavin, and thiamin.

Ok, so why does any of this matter? Without getting into the other vitamins and minerals I mentioned, these brownies can be considered health food for the manganese and copper alone!

Manganese is one of those trace minerals found in all life forms, in humans it’s found mostly in our bones, kidneys, liver and pancreas. So what does it even do? It’s defo another of the random minerals that most of us don’t know much about, but when I started reading about it I was pretty impressed. It plays a role in bone formation, thyroid function, formation of connective tissues, sex hormone function, calcium absorption, blood sugar regulation, immune function and in fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Um, manganese had me at sex hormone function and carb metabolism! Eat it up!

I knew that copper was a big part of energy production and I knew that it’s important for nerve health, but I didn’t know until I wrote this that just like manganese it helps connective tissues, and that it helps your body use iron! Above all that, it’s essential for your skin and bones and your blood vessels and joints.

B6 has a rep for being the maker of antibodies, leveler of nerve function and blood sugar, and of course, our hemoglobin champ. Vitamin E, of course, is an antioxidant. Magnesium’s jobs are a little lesser known, essentially it’s responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscles, and the production of protien (among other things). Phosphorus, as you probably already know, is mainly used by your body for your bones and teeth. And zinc helps your immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Ewww. Let’s all bulk up on zinc.

The recipe and actual step by step are so simple it’s hardly a recipe at all, but that’s partly what makes them so great. If you have everything on hand, you can be eating these in under 15 minutes.

Raw Brownie Bites

Raw Brownie Bites – via Dr. Axe

2 cups walnuts, chopped
2 1/2 cups Medjool dates, chopped
1 cup raw cocoa (or carob)
1 cup chopped almonds
1/4 tsp sea salt

Raw Brownie Bites
Raw Brownie Bites
First, chop the dates and walnuts! Mmmmm.
Raw Brownie Bites
Raw Brownie Bites
Then process them together. You can even use your Magic Bullet or small blender if you don’t have a food processor, just be careful to add the dates one at a time so you don’t gum it up! Then add the cocoa or carob and sea salt. Now just press it into a mini cupcake tray! By the time you wash and cut your fruit, the little cakes will be ready to pop out and eat!
Raw Brownie Bites
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Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie


Today, I’m linking up with Organizing Junkie and Life as a Lofthouse for Menu Monday and with KD Buggie Boutique, Mom Blog Monday and Tough Cookie Mommy for Mingle Monday.

One of the best intros to a vegan diet, or even just helping people to be less put off by vegan food in general, is with vegan desserts. Strawberries are always amazing, whether you think bacon is a good idea or not. Amirite?!

I made this for dessert one day and my husband wasn’t really interested in it. He’s a trooper though so he tried and it he was sold! He ate one individual pie and asked for a second one. Then he insisted Wee One #1 try one, and as reluctant as he he, he tried it too and also loved it! Hooray for strawberries!!

As with the grapefruit pancakes post, I’ll go on a little about why this recipe is a healthy choice.

In order of appearance, let’s start with coconut oil! Coconut oil is a saturated fat, and we all know that saturated fats are bad for us, so what’s up? MSN Health does a decent job of covering both sides of the debate, while The Huffington Post explains that not all saturated fats are equal and Care 2 Make a Difference lists six healthy uses. The truth is that the jury’s out on this one. That may not have been helpful, except to confuse you further. Sorry (and welcome to the club).

Honey is a an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal substance. Um, so I take that to mean we should all be rolling in it?! There are also studies that claim honey can promote better blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity! Plus as many of us with hippie parents know, it works pretty well as a natural cough suppressant! Though that last point is moot with honey as an ingredient. Moving on!

Almonds are one of those foods we’ve been reading about as a ‘superfood’ for so long we’ve accepted it but what’s so super about almonds? They’re high in mono-unsaturated fat and that has been linked to lowering LDL cholesterol and a reduction in the risk of heart disease. The heart disease reducing ability comes from the vitamin E in almonds and of course almonds are also a great source of magnesium (amazing for your veins and arteries) and potassium (important for nerve transmission and contraction of all muscles including your heart).

Orange juice, yes, is full of vitamin C. The phytonutrients in oranges are helpful in lowering both blood pressure and cholesterol!

Cashews, another seriously healthy nut, have the same mono-unsaturated fat that lowers cholesterol and heart disease risks as almonds have. They are also linked to a reduction in coronary heart disease and of course, the elimination of those little bastards we call free radicals.

Strawberries are the star of this show, both in taste, presentation and health benefits. Not only are they amazing for all the reasons we already know they are amazing, like their off the charts antioxidant scores, their combination of phytonutrients, cardiovascular support, prevention of cardiovascular diseases, improved regulation of blood sugar, decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and prevention of of certain types of cancers (like breast, cervical, colon and esophagel) – they are a very good source of fiber (duh) and iodine (really?!) which can help protect us from radiation exposure of iodine-131.

So eat up!!

We are moving long distance in just a couple of weeks. I don’t want to jinx it so I’m not going to talk about it until we are on our way, but it means we are eating from our pantry, and while well stocked, it’s going to be funny next week trying to use up what we have!

This week’s menu (March 12 – 18)
I mentioned last week, I make two separate dinners most nights because I’ve made some dietary changes and I’m not pushing it on my family. They tend to join in with a healthy May-style breakfast and lunch and I make their faves for dinner.

Monday – Slow Cooked Chicken with Rice for the fam, Sweet and Sour Tofu and Rice for me

Tuesday – Visiting my folks! So I’m not cooking!! But I’m bringing this Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie for dessert!

Wednesday – Beef Stew for the fam, Falafels and Beans for me

Thursday – Chicken Legs and Rice for the fam, Vegan Quesadilla for me

Friday – Chicken Ceasers for the fam, ‘Creamy’ Tomato Soup for me

Saturday – Chili for the fam, Tofu Nuggets and Salad for me

Sunday – Chicken Alfredo for the fam, Chick Pea Salad and Flatbread for me

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie via Mama in the Kitchen
Cookie Crust
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 tablesppoon raw local honey
1 cup raw almonds, ground into a powder
Orange Cream
2tablespoons raw local honey
1 organic orange, juiced, (about 1/3 cup)
1 cup raw organic cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1 pint organic strawberries

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie

Blend all of the crust ingredients together in your food processor until it’s mushy. Grease whatever molds you’re using with coconut oil and then press the crust into the molds. Put these in the freezer for a while. You can leave them in for as little as it takes you to prep the rest of the recipe and hope for the best or do this part earlier in the day and make the rest later. I did mine all at once.

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie

Drain all the water from your soaking cashews and pulse them till you have cashew butter!

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie

Mix your cashew butter with the orange juice and the honey till it’s smooth.
Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie
Wash and chop your strawberries.

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie

Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie

Now the magic. Assembly time! Pop out the frozen crusts and layer them crust, strawberries, orange cream, strawberries.
Raw Vegan Strawberry Pie
Honestly so good and refreshing!

Homemade Ice Pops


Today I’m participating in Social Sunday at The Bewitchin’ Kitchen, Sharing Time Sunday at Raising Memories, and Social Sunday at Quick Tattletails.

As I write this there is about a foot of snow in my backyard and maybe 3 feet or so in the drifts on the side of the house. Ice Pops are not necessarily on the minds of my neighbors, I know but I? Am always thinking of summer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a stellar Canadian and I love the snow and all the ridic things that we as a culture do in the snow, aside from the average fare like snowmen and forts and snowball fights we as a family are big on riding the quad through the snow, going even further north to my husband’s parent’s house to go sledding and snowshoeing and abuse their snow machines. Way fun. Almost 18 months ago, we moved to the ‘snow belt’ of Ontario and holy shitballs living in snow valley can really make playing in the snow get old pretty fast. So I will make ice pops and think of the beach, thankyouverymuch.

There are so many different ice pops recipes and then almost endless variations on those recipes, they can really be whatever you want them to be. Martha has a good basic recipe to use as a jumping point like I did with these babies. This recipe is heavy on the yogurt and light on the fruit which is the opposite of how I made mine, but again you can just adjust for your own taste.

The two I made here are mango and strawberry. Both times, I used about 2 cups of chopped fruit, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cup of yogurt. The sugar isn’t for taste, you need it to help with the freezing. If you leave out the sugar your ice pops will harden like, well, like ice. Not so fun to eat. If you add the sugar, the ice pops stay softish and turn out way better! This is especially good when you’re serving them to kids because you don’t want them to bite into a rock hard ice pop, plus they’re full of fresh fruit and yogurt so that’s a healthy win!

ice pops

2 cups chopped fruit
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup yogurt

ice pops
ice pops
Blend the fruit in a food processor until it’s as smooth as possible. Not pictured, whisk the sugar and the yogurt together.
ice pops
Fill your ice pop mold about 1/3 of the way (or however you want the ice pop to look).
ice pops
Then add a layer of the sugar/yogurt.
ice pops
Mango Ice Pops!
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