Thursday, March 31, 2011

Go Anywhere Rhubarb Squares

These squares are great!  Tart from the rhubarb but just sweet enough with a buttery shortbread crust.  Here is the link to the original recipe.
Go Anywhere Rhubarb Squares
1 c. flour
1/3 c. icing sugar
1/3 c. butter or marg
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. finely chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
Combine flour & icing sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.Press into the bottom of a greased 9x9 baking pan. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes.
Combine first four ingredients. Stir in rhubarb; pour over warm crust.

Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack. Serve warm if desired. 

Since we really like these squares, I freeze rhubarb so I can make them during the winter.  I chop the rhubarb into small cubes and freeze the 3 cups needed for one recipe in a freezer bag.  I mix it up with the rhubarb frozen and it turns out great.  You may have to cook it a little longer with frozen rhubarb but no other adjustments need to be made.  Enjoy! :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lulu Goes to a Party

My sister lives on an acreage near Saskatoon.  We had the party for my dad's 80th birthday at her place.  Over the last few weeks, I had been doing the baking (lemon squares for my dad as well as the party plus a variety of other dainties).  All recipes have either been posted or will be posted over the next month or so.

Everyone was at my sister's place so Lulu had to go as well.  I couldn't leave her shut in my parent's laundry room nor could she have free run of their place.  Since my sister has a cat, and Lulu doesn't like noise and crowds, we set up a room for her downstairs.  All day long, I conducted Lulu tours for people who wanted to meet the travelling chicken.  She got tired of all the fuss after awhile and would hide in her carrier.

When most of the people had left, my sister put her cat out for awhile so Lulu could come upstairs.  Lulu then wandered around the kitchen which is decorated with strawberries.

"What's in the pot."  Lulu asked.  "Anything edible?"

"These look interesting."  mused Lulu.  "They should be tasty - so nice and red."

"They were too hard," pouted Lulu.  "Maybe they aren't ripe yet."

"Hey! What's this in this dish?"  questioned Lulu.  "It looks like food."

"Hmmm.  I wonder if someone left this here for me."  asked Lulu.

"I don't like that piece.  It's too big and lumpy."  fussed Lulu.

"I don't like those either.  Isn't there anything here that tasted good?  I'll have to keep digging until I find some."  said Lulu with determination in her eye.

"Oh, oh.  Someone made a mess here.  I don't think I'll get invited back to this place."  mumbled Lulu as she checked out the mess she made.

"Aah!  Back at grandma's on my own favorite rug - messed up just so."  sighs Lulu.  "Almost as good as being home."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On the Road with Lulu

My dad turned 80 this month so we had a family supper and a party for him in Saskatoon.  My neighbour volunteered to look after the chickens while we were gone but it was too cool to leave Lulu outdoors.  Last time we all went out of town and left the chickens was in the summer and Lulu was able to stay outside and sleep in her nest in the garage.  Usually my son had been home but he wasn't going to miss grandpa's birthday.  So Lulu came along on the trip. 

First on the list of things to do was pack our luggage.  Here is Lulu's and my luggage.

My luggage.

Lulu's luggage.

When I travelled with Lulu last summer, we went to Edmonton to visit my aunt in the hospital.  She sat in her carrier in the front seat.  We stopped a number of times along the road so we both could stretch our legs.  Here Lulu is checking out her travelling accommodations.  She has room to turn around in plus food and water in her carrier.

This time the trip was not only to Edmonton in one day (I took two in the summer) and onto to Saskatoon the next, it was too cold and wintry to stop and let Lulu out.  "If you think I'm going out in that cold weather, you're crazy."  exclaimed Lulu.

So Lulu had the back seat mostly to herself.  I would sit with her on occasion and she would sit out on blankets instead of in her carrier.  She liked being able to see what was happening around her.  When I sat with her I usually held her on a towel on my lap.  Naturally she put me to sleep like she does when we lay on the couch.  She is much better than a sleeping pill.  She didn't sleep though, as she was watching trees and poles fly by.  She would watch one tree until it was out of sight and then watch another.  She was making me dizzy watching her watching trees.

Since the trip to Edmonton took over ten hours, we travelled the last of the trip in the dark.  I hadn't latched Lulu's door and heard it slam a couple of times but I didn't see anything in the backseat in the dark so thought it might have been a rough spot on the road.  It turned out Lulu snuck out of her carrier and lay down on some of the luggage and blankets as close to the front seat as she could.  She didn't make a sound and when I found her there once we got to Edmonton, it reminded me of a little kid who sneaks out of their room when they are supposed to be in bed.  This is a pic I snapped from the front passenger seat with Lulu as close as she can get without giving herself away.

We did stop to get some "touristy" pics with Lulu.  We stopped at Vegreville, Alberta so she could see the egg. 

She wasn't impressed by the size of it because it was too cold and blustery for her.  A couple of quick snapshots and back into the warm vehicle.

We also stopped at Radisson, Saskatchewan to show Lulu the Red Bull but again the wind ruffled her feathers and she was anxious to leave.

We stayed with my parents in Saskatoon and Lulu came out to the party at my sister's place but that is another story.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Palt is a Swedish potato dumpling stuffed with meat (usually pork).  I am not Swedish but my in laws are.  I learned to make palt when my ex's maternal grandmother came to visit us years ago.  I had seen my mother-in-law make it but Grandma Johnson had me help her so I know how to make it.  I don't have a recipe to follow as I make it by feel just like Grandma Johnson showed me. 

I am including the recipe from Treasured Recipes - 70th Anniversary of the Bethesda Lutheran Church - 1911 - 1981 so you have a starting point.

5 c grated potatoes or use a blender
4 c flour - approx.
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Mix grated potatoes, salt, flour and baking powder to form a dough, stiff enough to handle.

Put a large spoonful of dough in hand and pat out enough to make room for filling.  (Diced bacon, side pork or hamburger, or mix together as you wish)  Form dough around meat and pinch and roll to form ball shape.

Drop into boiling water (salted).  Cook 45 min. to 1 hr.  If you don't want a filling you can form into patties and cook as usual.  Flour may have to be varied (more or less).  Practice makes perfect.  Serve with butter, syrup or whatever.  Recipe can be doubled.


So now here's my palt recipe.  I use lean hamburger for my filling.  I add salt and pepper and roll the hamburger into golf ball size meatballs.  My mother-in-law used side pork either alone chopped up or mixed with hamburger.  I found it too greasy for my liking but I guess it is a matter of taste and what you are used to.

Peel and grate potatoes.  I now use my food processor to grate them as it is much easier.  Squeeze out some of the liquid or your batter will turn a pinkish colour from the potato starch.

Mix together potatoes and flour until you have a sticky dough.  I used to do this by hand but now use my Cuisinart.  I also add some water so I can add more flour so it is more dough like instead of grated potato texture.

Have a bowl of water available because once you start making the palt, you won't want to be turning on the tap with your doughy hands.  Grab a handful of dough - about a tennis ball size and flatten it on our palm.

 Place a meatball in the centre of the flattened dough. 

Form the dough into a ball around the meatball.

Make sure the surface is smooth without any holes.  At this point you can dampen your hand with water to smooth out the surface better.

Drop into large pot of salted boiling water.  If you don't have a heavy pot, place a plate on the bottom of the pot so the palt don't stick. 

Stir the bottom of the pot to loosen any palt that stuck when you dropped them in.

Reduce heat until the palt is at a gentle boil.  They will float to the top.  Cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  I usually cook them for 1 hour because I always have meat filling.  If you don't fill them, you could cook them for less time.

Remove from pot.  People like their palt in different ways.  Many people eat it with butter and salt.  When my kids were young they ate it with syrup.  Some people like it with sour cream.

When you cut the palt open, the centre has a reddish tinge to it.  Don't worry, it is cooked, it is just the colour from the hamburger.

Here is the palt cut up with butter and salt, all ready to eat.  It is not an attractive meal but it is tasty and sticks to your ribs.  I think palt to Sweden is like perogies to the Ukraine.

You always make extra palt so you can have leftovers.  You can cut it up and fry it in butter as I usually do.  Or you can cut it up and heat it slowly in cream. 

I hope you give it a try.  Enjoy.  :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sheep on the Road

If you are travelling in Alberta through either Banff National Park or Jasper National Park, you must watch out for wildlife on the road.

They have warning signs and slower speed limits in the parks but some people rush along oblivious to the danger that might be right around the corner.  Others come to sudden stops if they spot an animal and forget about the traffic behind them.

Rocky Mountain Sheep are often spotted beside the road but they also wander into the traffic lanes as well.  Often tourists on the road need watching as well.  I was travelling in the park once when a I spotted a woman flagging down traffic.  A man, (her husband we presumed) was standing in the middle of the highway taking a picture of a large elk that was just across the road.

Here we see a family of sheep that are licking the salt off the highway.  Late spring and early summer is when you find a fair number of animals licking the roads.

These sheep were in a parking lot instead of on the main highway but I've been stopped numerous times by animals on the road.

Just this fall, traffic was held up both ways by a herd of sheep on the highway near Jasper.  Semis had to grind to a stop and then slowly get back up to speed once the sheep had finally moved enough so the traffic could creep by.

Here we can see the young sheep getting braver as time goes by.  The parents are more relaxed so the youngster doesn't remain hidden.

He is learning independence but doesn't stray too far from his parents.  Tourists also have to remember that these are wild animals and to give them their space.

Photos taken in Banff National Park.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Basic Brownies and more

If you have a hankering for some great yet simple brownies - try these.  You can make them plain or fancy them up with some of the add-ins that following the recipe.  I found the original recipe on Backyard Chickens.

Basic Brownies
2 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa
4 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 c butter or marg
1 c flour

Mix sugar and cocoa well to prevent lumps.  Add butter, eggs and vanilla.  Mix with electric mixer until well blended.  Add flour and mix well again. 

Pour into ungreased 9x13 baking pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.  Do NOT overcook.  The toothpick test does not work with brownies. 

Marshmallows and walnuts for rocky road
chopped up caramel, coconut, and pecans for German chocolate
chocolate chips for extra-chocolaty
chopped maraschino cherries and chocolate chips for Black Forest
peanut butter chips
white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts
your own invention

I made Rocky Road Brownies.  I added 1 cup of walnuts and 1 1/2 cups of marshmallows. 

I didn't have any mini mallows so I used my kitchen shears to cut up large ones.  I found that rinsing them often in hot water and wiping them dry works great.  I also dropped the marshmallows into some icing sugar so they wouldn't stick together.  I found that all the marshmallows floating to the top and the brownies looked like a lunar landscape. 

I don't know if mini mallows would do the same or if they would stay down in the batter.  I would also use more marshmallows - 2 to 3 cups total.

Yummy!  Enjoy!  ;)