Sunday, October 31, 2010


For years I have wanted to make the anise flavored, orange scented Day of the Dead bread from Mexico. Here it is Halloween and again, I haven't gotten to it. This has to do with a problem Katrinka presented to me yesterday.

Oliebollen under a heat lamp at Dutch Heritage Day.

I decided I must start months in advance if I want to do projects for the different holidays throughout the year. This week I am going to concentrate on New Year's Eve and Oliebollen (Oh-Lee-Bow-Len) or Dutch Fat Balls. Every culture has its good luck food for the coming year to be eaten either on New Year's Eve or Day. For the Dutch, one of the foods is Oliebollen. This week I will post two of the seventeen recipes I have collected for Fat Balls. One is served at the Tulip Festival and Dutch Heritage Days. The other is a very old recipe that came across the sea with an immigrant mother of a friend. Both recipes are wonderful.  I hope you enjoy them both and have an excerise plan in place to remove the Oliebollen from your hips.

Inside a Fat Ball plump with raisins.

There were so many entries in this years Art Prize and I have only showed a few so today I thought I would add more of them for your enjoyment.

This is a GIANT nest.  At first I thought I don't want to meet the bird that built that nest.  Then I thought maybe the bird would care for me like the Eagles care for their young on the Eagle cam at Sidney, Canada.

Long hall draped with an exhibit. 

First prize winner was Calalry, American Officers, 1921 by Chris LaPorte.  An enormous No.2 pencil drawing done from a photograph the artist found.

The detail and the size were unbelievable.

This is Vision, one of the Top 10, which was just paint lines on multiple layers of silk.  Outstanding to see in person.

I loved this wave, river, beach, of different colored glass.

Outside this piece is the reflecting pool in the Art Museum's courtyard

Saturday, October 30, 2010


What do you do when you are assigned vegetables for the school Halloween Party?  This great pumpkin, and the ants on a stick are courtesy of our Daughter-in-Law.  She is so talented. She was told to bring vegetables to the party so she made a fabulous pumpkin out of them.  The pumpkin and the ants were a huge hit even though they are not made of candy.   I think they are just fantastic.  She made the pumpkin on an aluminum foil wrapped 10x15-inch jelly roll pan.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN and enjoy your munchy, crunchy vegeables.

Ingredients:  Baby carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, celery, a little sweet yellow pepper for the nose, cherry tomatoes and califlower.

What do you want to bet that Cindy will get the vegetable assignment for every party from now to when the boys leave the school?

Ants on the stick are made with celery sticks spread with peanut butter and dotted with raisin "ants".

What a wonderful way to celebrate a "candy" holiday without the candy!!!!  Enjoy!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010


For three days the Wind Wolves have been howling, whipping the Lake into a roaring frenzy.

Finally the wolves have headed back to the North Country.  After days of guarding the door from the wolves, I can finally relax.

As you can see, I am very modest.  I don't show my privates even when I am relaxing.

And we can get some sleep although it would be nice if Mom would stop with the flashing lights on her camera.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Leeks look like giant over-sized green onions.

I associate Leek Soup with heavy, creamy soups. This Dutch Leek Soup is light and healthy. The recipe is courtesy of the United Methodist Women of the First United Methodist Church of Holland, Michigan. They prepare this soup when they do lunches and dinners for the Holland Tulip Festival. They recommend serving it with a baguette and butter. Tom and I just gobbled it up plain. I had only made a half a recipe as there is just the two of us. Next time Tom demands! I make the full recipe as it is THAT! good!!

Top soup with grated cheese and serve extra cheese in a bowl.  Enjoy!!!

Maggi Seasoning is according to Wikipedia, "Maggi" is still synonymous with the brand's "Maggi-W├╝rze" (Maggi seasoning sauce), a dark, hydrolyzed vegetable protein based sauce which is very similar to East Asian soy sauce without actually containing soy. It was introduced in 1886, as a cheap substitute meat extract.” Maggi popularity has spread out of Europe to the rest of the world. It is very salty and should be used with care; however, it adds that special something that sends you back into the bowl for more.

A little bottle will go a long way as it is salty but good.

I used a small-sized macaroni, Ditali, for this soup as I did not want to over-power the size of the other ingredients. I definitely like the celery flavor and even though it is listed as an optional ingredient, I will always add it.

Lyden cheese is what the church uses with their soup. I used Gouda. Lyden cheese contains cumin seeds and I will eat it, but it is not my favorite cheese. I love Gouda. Good Gouda can be found at:

Leeks can be very dirty and sandy. I finely slice them.  Then rinse them well in a colander. I use my fingers to “fluff” or separate the slices into individual rings.

2 T butter
4 leeks, finely sliced and thoroughly rinsed
8 c chicken or vegetable stock
½ c macaroni, any type
1 t Maggi soup seasoning
½ c celery, chopped, optional
3 c cheese, grated, mild Gouda or Lyden
Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients:  Leeks, celery, butter, chicken broth, macaroni, Maggi seasoning, Gouda cheese, salt and pepper.

In a 3-quart saucepan, melt butter.  Add leeks and celery; saute for 5 minutes.  Do let them brown.  Add stock and bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni and cook for 10 to 20 minutes until tender. Add salt, pepper and Maggi seasoning to taste.  Just before serving, sprinkle some of the grated cheese over the soup. Serve with the extra cheese in a separate bowl at the table.

Thinly slice leeks.

Rinse well to remove sand and dirt.

Chop celery.

Melt butter in a saucepan.

Add leeks and celery; saute for 5 mintues.

Measure out macaroni.

Remove wax from cheese.

Grate cheese.

Leeks and celery after sauteing for 5 minutes.

Add broth and bring mixture to a boil.

Add macaroni.  Cook until the macaroni is tender. 

Soup ready to be seasoned.

Add Maggi Seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

Add cheese to soup bowl.  What a wonderful Dutch treat!!!  Enjoy??

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Sometimes in the winter when I am done with chores for the day and curled into a corner of the couch with a good book and a warm blanket, the wind coming out of the frozen land of Northern Canada will whistle around the corners of the cottage. The wind outside today does not whistle. This is a huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down, wind that is howling outside.

I returned to the cottage at 5am this morning after taking our Son to the airport in Grand Rapids. I parked in our parking lot because of a large tree that shades our driveway which I don't want to be blown down on the van. We do not have a garage. As I started down the hill to the cottage, I walked into a solid wall of air. I was walking, but I wasn't going anywhere as the wind was pushing at me harder than I was walking.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The wind is howling, I mean really howling.  The lake is roaring.  Only 12 foot waves at the moment, but they are expected to raise to 18 feet by tomorrow as the winds continue.  The wind has been clocked at over 50 miles an hour at times and it is only going to get worst.  It is going to be a LOUD night on the lakeshore.  If we continue to have power, we will keep you posted and post pictures.

They are calling this storm a Chiclone or a Great Lakes Cyclone.  Before it is over, it is expected to have a barimetric low pressure equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane.


Creamy Turkey and Broccoli stuffed Quick Baked Potato.

When I posted P.F.Changs CHICKEN IN LETTUCE WRAPS-NOT, I promised more uses for your bottle of Sherry. Spiked with sherry, I always look forward to this hot-dish after I cook a turkey. This casserole is wonderful with left-over turkey as well as with chicken. It is quick and easy for a family dinner; yet rich and delicious enough for company. Tom says the Sherry wine gives it a gourmet restaurant touch. If you don’t want to add alcohol, just add more milk and maybe a little more cheese to make up for the flavor loss.

Celebrity chefs have made cooking with canned soups a very out-dated, archaic way to cook. However the soup companies have kept up with the times, making low-fat and low-sodium products available. These new soups work well with the old recipes which call for “cream of…..” soups. Chef’s have sous chefs and other helpers for prepping food and making sauces. When it is just me and company coming or I need to get a dinner on the table, I’ll take all the help I can get from Campbell’s. You need to know my hometown was Grand Rapids, Michigan, which according to a grocery survey I once read, is the city where the most cream of mushroom soup is sold. This is Grand Rapids, Michigan not Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Minnesota is known as the hot-dish capital of the world which means Michigan is using a huge amount of cream of mushroom soup.

When I worked in the food business, we toured the Campbell’s mushroom growing facility in Fennville, Michigan. The mushrooms are grown in dark rooms in a “soil” mixture which contains manure brought to Michigan from Kentucky. They only use Kentucky manure as it comes from the farms raising thoroughbred horses. The horses have a very controlled diet; therefore, Campbell’s know exactly what is in the manure. When the mushrooms are ready for harvest workers, in miner hats with lights, go into the rooms and cut off the mushrooms that have reached the correct size.

So creamy and so flavorful, enjoy!!!

The lovely cream sauce is fantastic on mashed potatoes, left-over stuffing or rice. For something different, I like to serve this over baked potatoes. Stuffed baked potatoes use to be very popular but seem to have drop off the horizon. Time to bring them back!

Stuffed Baked Potato.

2 (10oz.) pkg. frozen broccoli, simmered
4 chicken breasts or left-over turkey

2 cans cream of mushroom soup or 1 can cream of mushroom and 1 can cream     of  chicken (low-fat, low-sodium works well)

1/2 c sherry wine or ½ c extra milk (not cream sherry)
3/4 c mayonnaise, I use less, low-fat works well
1 (8oz.) can whole mushrooms, or fresh mushrooms, I like canned for this recipe
1 c Cheddar cheese, shredded (I like sharp Cheddar)
1 c milk
Bread crumbs or cracker crumbs (cheese or a buttery cracker)

Ingredients:  Turkey or chicken, cheese, broccoli, canned mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, Sherry, mayonnaise and milk.

If using chicken, bake chicken like the turkey was baked only dark meat should be cooked to 180° if using. Debone baked chicken and cut into cubes. If using left-over turkey, cut meat into cubes. Cook the broccoli until just fork tender. Drain well. Drain canned mushrooms. Put cooked broccoli, chicken and mushrooms into a 3-quart casserole dish. Make a sauce out of all the other ingredients EXCEPT bread crumbs. Spread sauce over chicken and top with bread or cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until bubbly.

I bake my turkey breasts like my Mom roasted a whole turkey.  Put into a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Add some water and chopped onions.

Tent the pan with aluminum foil.  Leave two ends open like a pup tent.

Baked at 350° for 45 minutes or to 160°.

I used 20-ounces of fresh broccoli.  Washed and chopped.

Steam broccoli just until tender to the fork.

Skin and cut turkey into pieces.

Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Drain mushrooms.

Broccoli is done when you can pierce with a fork.

Put turkey, mushrooms and broccoli in prepared baking dish.

Mix the three ingredients together.

Put cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups right from the can into a mixing bowl.

Grate sharp Cheddar cheese.

Measure out milk and Sherry.

Add mayonnaise, milk and Sherry to the soup mixture.

Mix the soup mixture together.

Add cheese and mix well.

Pour soup mixture over the turkey, broccoli and mushrooms.

Casserole ready for bread crumbs or cracker crumbs.

Put crackers in a plastic bag.

Crush with rolling pin.

Sprinkle over the casserole and bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.

Serve and enjoy!!!!

A microwave cooks a potato quickly but it just doesn't have the texture and flavor of a baked potato.  A baked potato usually takes an houror more in the depending on its side.  I wanted both the flavor and the convience of cooking quickly so I started the potato in the microwave and then put it into a very hot oven for about 15 minutes.  My family loves potatoes done this way.

Scrub potatoes well and prick with a fork so the potatoes do not explode.

Cook the potatoes on HIGH in the microwave.  I cooked 2 potatoes this size for 9 minutes until they can be pinched and be soft.  Time depends on how many potatoes you do at once and the size of the potatoes.

This is optional:  I like to rub the skins after they have been microwaved with a little butter.

Microwaved and buttered potatoes.

Second optional step is to sprinkle with a little salt.  Put into a 450° or 500° oven for about 15 minutes.  Use the higher temperature if you like the skins of the potatoes crispy.

Beautiful quickly baked potato with Easy Creamy Turkey and Broccoli.

Easy Creamy Turkey Broccoli on Quick Baked Potatoes makes the whole family members of the Clean Plate Club.