Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Our Chicago Grand-daughters came up to see Opa on their spring break.  Our favorite oldest son took us all out to lunch at a lovely restaurant.  On the menu was a EBLT.  What is that?  It is a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich topped with a fried egg cooked to medium, and a slice of good Cheddar cheese. 

In the summer when I make BLTs, I use thick slices of wonderful home-grown tomatoes.  The tomato is the star of the show.  An EBLT is a wonderful winter version of a BLT.  The Cheddar and the egg give a whole new flavor profile while the homey BLT flavors are still present too.

I should have taken a picture of the sandwich as I wanted to share my discovery.  I didn't.  I didn't even take a picture of the half of sandwich which I brought home for supper.  Lately I think I am carry my head under my arm.  I didn't take pictures of our Grand-daughters and Son either.

So here is my "picture" of a fun sandwich to try at home.


Monday, March 28, 2011


Have you ever had one of those days?  I think I am having one of those lives.  I made two mistakes making these super easy bars.  Luckily you can't really do anything wrong that would effect these easy layered cookie.  Originally called "Hello Dollys" or magic 7 layer bars, the variety of cookies you can make with this recipe is endless.

Sweet, tart and delicious.  Enjoy!

Dried cranberries and vanilla or chocolate chips seem to be made for each other and this is my favorite variation of these bars.  I used the same method I came up with for RASPBERRY OR APRICOT WHITE VANILLA CHIP ALMOND BARS  http://michigancottagecook.blogspot.com/2011/02/raspberry-or-apricot-almond-bars-with.html   with these bars.  I lined the baking pan with non-stick foil with the non-stick side up.  It worked as well with these bars as it did with the raspberry bars.  The foil is lifted out after pan is cooled.  Foil comes right off and the bars are ready to be cut into bars.

I love my method for using non-stick foil to keep the pan clean plus it makes for easy cutting of the bars.

This is one of the cookies that Nelda always has in her freezer ready for company.
For Michigan Lake Effect White Chocolate Cherry Bars, make this recipe with dried cherries instead of dried cranberries.   The cherry version is particularly good with dark chocolate chips.

1 stick butter
1 ½ c crushed graham crackers
1 c coconut
1 c white chocolate chips
1 c dried cranberries
1 c nuts, chopped
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk

Ingredients:  Graham crackers, nuts, butter, coconut, dried cranberries, sweetened condensed milk AND

White chocolate or white vanilla chips.  This was mistake number one as I forgot to put the chips in the ingredient picture.

Melt butter in a 7x11-inch baking pan.  Layer ingredients in order given.  Do not pat down the graham cracker crumbs.  Drizzle with condensed milk.  Bake in preheated 350° oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  DO NOT OVER-BAKE.  Cool on a rack before cutting into bars.  Chill for easy cutting.

Carefully line a 7x11-inch pan with non-stick aluminum foil. 

Crush graham crackers.

Cut butter into patties and place pan in heating oven.  Be careful, don't let it burn.

Chop nuts.

Butter is melted.

Sprinkle graham crackers crumbs over melted butter.  Do not pat down.

Top graham cracker crumbs with coconut.

Top coconut with white chips. 

Here is mistake number 2:  Top white chips with dried cranberries.  Top cranberries with chopped nuts!!!!!!!!!!  Do as I say, not as I do.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over the nuts.  Bake in preheated 350 degree F. oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  Do not over-bake.

Cool on wire rack.  Chill for easy cutting into bars.

Lift foil out of pan.

Remove foil.

See how easy the foil comes off with little sticking to it?

Cut into bars of desired size.

Looking good. 

Ready to serve.  Aren't they pretty?

See all the layers of yummy goodness.

Go ahead and take a bite.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


On AOL News I watched this video and for the first time really understood how the water came into the town.  I found it incredible. 



After battling cancer for nine months with no positive results, it can be difficult to keep your spirits up.  However, positive thinking and hope are your strongest allies in the battle.  As a caregiver you are not only charged with keeping your hope and thinking positive, you have to keep the cancer patient hopeful and positive.  It can be emotionally, physically and mentally exhausting.  So if I don't post every day, please stick with me as I have so many wonderful recipes to share with you. However, at this time it may take me a little longer between posts.

All the chemotherapy armies that have been sent up against Tom's cancer have held the lines but have not been able to push the enemy back.  Our fantastic doctor is now using a relatively new company called, Intervention Insights, http://www.interventioninsights.com/
I can't begin to tell you how this test works to find what will battle Tom's individual tumor but it sounds very exciting.  We are very lucky to live so close to Grand Rapids as the research for this test was done at the Van Andel Institute for Cancer Research in Grand Rapids. 

While we wait for results, we battle on trying to live in the moment, fight negativity, and trying to keep physically strong during this very trying time.  If you or someone you know is in the battle, do check out the Intervention Insights web site as it is fascinating.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Instead of Cottage-style wonton soup, I should call this Dutch-style wonton soup because my inpiration for this recipe was a Dutch soup.  Yummy, yummy, yummy.

I came up with this recipe after making a Dutch vegetable soup which had tiny meatballs in it.  I have made wontons once from scratch.  Christy lived in Renton, Washington when she, her two neighbors and I spent the afternoon making filled wontons.  Sealing the wonton wrapper always looks so easy when you see a chef doing it on TV, but in reality ours were very stubborn about sealing no matter how we tried doing it.  We had so much fun and ate ourselves silly with fried wontons and wonton soup, but I have never tried to make them again.
I love the taste of the pork or pork and shrimp filling in wontons, but when I order the soup in restaurants the filling is tiny inside a large wonton wrapper.  I decided I would make little meatballs of the pork filling.  Then using chicken broth, I would cook the wonton wrappers, add some vegetables, the meatballs and season to taste.  This is a WONDERFUL SOUP.  It is wonderful at any time of the day or any season.  The cottage-way is quick and easy!!

I like some vegetables in my soup.  I use a packaged mix of oriental vegetables; however, just some pea pods or chopped cabbage would be good too.

Won Ton wrappers, or wide noodles
Mixed oriental vegetables or vegetables of your choice
Soy Sauce
Green onions, chopped, for garnish
Pork filling meatballs
Salt and pepper

Ingredients:  Chicken broth, wonton wraps, green onions, pork filling meatballs, soy sauce, salt and pepper.

I make these meatballs and freeze them in a single layer in a freezer bag so I can have a hot cup of soup anytime I want it. 

1 lb. ground pork, not pork sausage
3 T soy sauce
2 T dry sherry, see note
1/2 t sugar
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 T cornstarch
Dash of  oriental sesame oil
1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t salt
1 egg white, beaten until foamy

In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients.  Mixture can be chilled for easier handling.  Make small meatballs or scoop with a small scoop.  Place on a cookie sheet with sides and lined with parchment.  Bake in preheated 300 degree F. oven for 25 minutes for small meatballs.  Adjust time for larger meatballs.  NOTE:  Rice wine vinegar can be substituted for the sherry.

Ingredients: Ground pork, dry sherry, soy sauce, oriental sesame oil, water chestnuts, green onions, sugar, egg white, salt and pepper.

Put ground pork in a bowl.

Separate egg.

Beat egg white until foamy and set aside.

Drain water chestnuts.

Clean onions.

Finely slice onions.

Finely chop sliced onions.

Add onions to ground pork.

Finely chop water chestnuts.

Add to ground pork.  Add egg white to ground pork.

Add rest of ingredients to ground pork.

Mix well together.

On a cookie sheet with sides, put a sheet of parchment paper.

Take a small scoop of pork filling mix and fry it in a pan so you can eat it to check to see if seasoning is correct.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Scoop small balls of meat and put them on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake in a preheated 300 degree F. oven for 25 minutes or until there is no pink in the middle.  Time will depend on what size you make the meatballs.

Cool and put them in a single layer to freezer individually or use immediately.

Finished meatballs.  Delicious.  Tasty. 

In a large pan, put chicken stock and heat over medium heat.  When hot, add wonton skins and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add a handful of vegetables and pork filling meatballs.  Cook until vegetables are tender crunchy and meatballs are hot.  Season to taste with soy sauce, salt and pepper.

I like to cut the wrappers on the diagonal.

I cut them into four pieces.  You can cut them any way you wish.  Wide noodles work well too.

Clean and slice green onions for garnish.

Heat chicken broth in a pan.

These are the vegetables that I buy.

When broth is hot, add some wonton wrappers.  Amount depends on how much soup you are making.  Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add a big handful of vegetables to broth with wontons.

Add some pork filling meatballs.  Cook until vegetables are tender crunchy and meatballs are heated. 

Season to taste with soy sauce, salt and pepper.

Put soup in bowls.

Garnish with chopped green onions.  The onions add color and a lovely extra flavor to the soup.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!