Featured

The House from 1915

World War I is still waging on. Sir Robert Borden is the Prime Minister. The US reject the proposal for women to have the right to vote…..

The year 1915 – 

World War I is still waging on. Sir Robert Borden is the Prime Minister. The US reject the proposal for women to have the right to vote. The first coast-to-coast long distance phone call in the US, with Alexander Graham Bell. John McCrae writes Flanders Fields. The Rocky Mountain National Park is established. Pluto is photographed for the first time. The Vancouver Millionaires win the Stanley Cup. Babe Ruth’s first career home run. Einstein’s theory of general relativity is formulated. The 1 millionth Ford car is manufactured. Frank Sinatra is born.

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1915 has so many world changing events happening, and yet a family in rural Saskatchewan are in the midst of building their home. Little do they know the years it will age and weather, the many lives lived in it and the history made. If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell! I can only imagine the hard work that building a house in 1915 would be; none of our modern tools like air nailers, table saws, and shop lights.

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Old Farm SiteFast forward almost 100 years – Jake and I had been married just over a year and had been looking at buying our first house. We are both hard working, industrious, and like to think big. None of the houses we looked at in North Battleford were quite what we were looking for, so we kept looking and this once in a lifetime opportunity practically fell into our lap months later – with one day to decide if we would take it!

Now, we had seen this house many a time before as we had farmed land around it. It was abandoned, so we had ventured a peak around and knew what the place looked like.  But the farm land was being sold and as a last minute discovery on our part, the buyers and sellers were both willing to exclude the farm yard and a few acres from their deal to be sold separately, however their papers would be signed in 1 day!

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Obviously, you can guess what we decided, but it was a lot of discussion and hoping we were making the right call. This place was OLD and had not been well cared for in the last 11-12 years (from the timeline the neighbours have given us). It needed a lot of work. A LOT!

The Ugly – So what shape was it in? The one day we had to make our decision, we decided to take a walk around the acreage and revisit the house, sometime early May with snow still on the ground. I remember all the broken glass on the floors from vandals breaking out the windows. I remember the rain blowing in through where the glass should have been and the floor soaking wet. I remember the pigeons living inside frantically trying to escape the intruders through those empty windows. This poor, old house needed someone who was willing to fix everything!

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And we took it  –  to be continued…
If you have enjoyed the beginning saga of our adventures with the Old House on the Prairie, please subscribe to my blog for the next update on our story!

(Please note: historic information taken from wikipedia and dates for the house are from the best information we have gathered from neighbours and the library)
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Cantaloupe PUPsicles

This quick, easy recipe was a hit with my dogs!

It is a great summer treat to help beat the heat – and is healthy for them!

And the other great part? It only has 3 ingredients!

You can use this recipe with either cantaloupe or watermelon.

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I actually was making a frozen cantaloupe sorbet for my hubby and I when I realized that if I just left the sugar out, I could make some treats for the pups while I was at it.

First, remove the seeds and cut the rind off, then slice the cantaloupe into chunks.

Next, toss them into the food processor or blender with about 1 tablespoon of cold water and a teaspoon of lemon juice.

(I personally love my KitchenAid food processor)

Blend until it is an even consistency.

I bought these cute dog paw silicone molds off Amazon a while back and I can’t believe this is the very first time I have used them! They were under $20 for a set of 4 molds.

Spoon the mixture into the silicone mold and freeze until it is solid.

PRO TIP: the molds are very flexible, so you should set them on a cutting board or baking sheet that you can place in the freezer with the molds before adding the cantaloupe mix. This will help prevent spilling.

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And viola! You just made the cutest, healthy dog treats ever!

And as I mentioned, the only difference in this recipe versus what I made for my husband and I is the sugar; if you want to sweeten this up a bit and serve it to guests, just add a tablespoon of sugar (the melon is already sweet, so a little sugar is all it takes).

Oh, and you can also use an ice cream maker to make it more of a sorbet slush consistency for the humans.

Recipe

  • 1 cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until it is an even consistency.

Fill silicone molds, then place in freezer until solid.

Enjoy spoiling your pet!

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If you try this recipe out, don’t forget to drop a comment and a photo of how it turned out for you! (Don’t forget to include your pooch in the pic!)

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Compound Butter

I have wanted to try my hand at compound butter for some time now; all the mouth-watering recipes on Pinterest are just sooo tempting!

This week I needed to prune my basil, but didn’t have enough to make a full batch of pesto so I decided compound butter would be the perfect way to use up the extra herbs.

And as long as I was softening a whole block of butter, I thought I would try a couple different recipes to see which I liked best.

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I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but one of the combinations I had seen was honey orange compound butter – and we have our own home-raised honey, so why not?

The first savoury recipe I tried was roasted garlic & dill with chives, which I plan to use on baked potatoes, mashed potatoes or perogies.

For the second savoury combo, I used the excess basil I had pruned, oregano, and some purple thyme flowers to give it a pop of color. Oh, and roasted garlic. Gotta love garlic in almost everything!

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I plan to use the herbed garlic butter for pastas, steaks, and buttering grilled cheesers (I’ve already used it on grilled cheese sandwiches and it turned out AMAZING). Hmm… And I’ll bet it would be great on grilled corn on the cob…

I found that making compound butter was really easy and fairly quick once the butter was softened. And the beauty of so many different combinations really leaves it up to your imagination as to which ingredients to add!

And how much to add is up to you, too… If you love garlic, add lots. If you want a hint of citrus, add a smidge of lime zest.

It is supposed to last for a couple weeks in the fridge (remember, this is my first time making compound butter and haven’t tested the shelf life myself yet); if you want to store it longer than that, just pop it in the freezer.

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The first step is to allow the butter to come to room temperature so it is nice and soft. (I used salted butter, but I’m sure you could make unsalted work as well)

I put my butter in the mixing bowl directly from the fridge so I wouldn’t have to try getting soft, sticky butter out of the packaging later.

I know at least a few of you are thinking you’ll skip the wait time by throwing your butter in the microwave – don’t do it!!!

Every time I have tried softening butter in the microwave in the past, I end up with at least part of it getting melted – and you want soft butter, not melted butter!

Once the butter is nice and soft, you get to start your gourmet recipe!

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Add your ingredients of choice and then mix everything together well until it is an even consistency.

I used an electric hand mixer, but you can also mix it with a whisk or spatula (the softer the butter, the easier to mix).

Once all the ingredients are well incorporated, spoon it onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it, then form it into a log.

It won’t shape perfectly at this stage since the butter is still so soft, so place your compound butter back in the fridge for a while until it hardens up a bit, but isn’t completely hard.

Now you can roll it on the counter to get a more even “roundness” to your shape.

So now that you know the process, let’s get to the recipes I tried out!

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Honey Orange

As I mentioned, we have our own home-raised honey from our bees – and I had been looking for some fun recipes to use the abundance of honey we have on hand.

I don’t usually eat much sweet stuff, so I made this batch smaller than the rest.

Recipe:

1/2 cup soft butter

1/4 cup raw honey

Zest from 1 large orange

In the future, I think I’ll save some of the orange zest and roll the simi-hardened compound butter in it to give it a bit of extra “wow factor”

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I tried this out on pancakes and YUM! It had such a nice balance of sweet from the honey and fresh tartness from the orange zest.

It would also go well on cornbread, biscuits or even banana bread.

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Dill & Roasted Garlic with Chives

Dill and garlic are two things I use in sooo many recipes!

They work together so well to create a complex flavour profile in recipes like mashed potatoes, creamy green beans, and creamed peas & potatoes.

This compound butter will also go great on baked potatoes for BBQ season.

Recipe:

1 cup soft butter

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

3-4 cloves roasted garlic, diced

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

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Herbed Garlic Butter

Basil, Oregano, and Thyme are staples in my herb garden.

I love using them in Italian dishes like lasagna, fettuccine or herbed olive bread.

I already used this compound butter on grilled cheese sandwiches with the olive bread and it was to die for!

Recipe:

1 cup soft butter

3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

3-4 cloves roasted garlic, chopped

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Clearly, I need to hone my skills to get perfectly round logs – but hey! Once the butter is melted over a juicy steak, no one will care if it wasn’t perfectly shaped!

So what do you think? Which combos should I try next?

Drop a comment below!

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Egg Salad Sandwiches

Here on the prairies, seeding is in full swing.

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For those of you who don’t farm, that means many a long day (and often well into the night) spent in the field getting crops in the ground.

I have done my fair share of those long hours and am thankful to be able to get a full night of sleep, but want to do my part to help my hubby out while he is pulling the all-nighters running the seeder.

Hence sandwiches.

We live in the country, so picking up Subway or other fast food isn’t exactly convenient (or cost effective)…

I try to keep a good variety of sandwiches in the mix so Jake doesn’t get tired of just eating the same kind day after day.

(we also have chickens that have been laying like crazy, so egg salad sandwiches are a great way to use our farm-fresh eggs).

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Egg salad sandwich mix is pretty quick to whip up and stays good in the fridge for several days – and is sooo fast to spread on some bread and send out to the field!

The biggest thing is having an easy-peel method for the boiled eggs, otherwise it can be a huge pain to make. I do not have the patience to pick tiny pieces of shell off each egg, to my easy-peel method is a must!

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Once the eggs are all boiled and peeled, I either chop them into pieces or simply use a fork or potato masher to mash them up.

Then, I add about 1 cup of Miracle Whip (my hubby prefers it over Mayo, so if you are a hard-core Hellman’s person go with that!), 1 tablespoon of mustard, about 3 pickles (chopped), and sometimes even a bit of dill and stir it all together.

Obviously some salt & pepper to taste is recommended as well…

Depending on how “stiff” or “runny” you would like your mixture, you can take some extra time to really make sure the yolks are well mashed – or – you can add a splash of pickle juice for some extra zing.

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And viola! You are prepped for the next batch of sandwiches within minutes!

Ingredients

6-8 hardboiled eggs

1 cup Miracle Whip

1 Tablespoon mustard

3 pickles, finely chopped

Dill (optional)

Salt & pepper to taste

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Directions

Chop or mash the hardboiled eggs.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Add egg salad mix to bread and enjoy!

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Easy-Peel Boiled Eggs

Ever since we got laying hens a couple years ago, we have had a surplus of eggs; this pushed me to get creative with the ways we used them up without wearing out one boring, old recipe.

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I mean, 10 eggs a day for just 2 people is a lot!

Even with selling eggs, we always seem to have more than enough.

Of course you have breakfast options like scrambled, fried or poached eggs and some great lunch options by using boiled eggs on a Cobb salad, in egg salad sandwiches or potato salad.

Devilled eggs are a classic favourite, however the biggest deterrent for me is peeling the eggs.

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If the eggs are really fresh (like the home-raised eggs we get on our homestead), they can be a real chore to peel!

Poorly peeled egg with the old method

The quality and freshness of the eggs are unbeatable, however the shells tend to stick to the boiled eggs and I end up with ugly, marbled looking eggs. (Not to mention the waste of throwing away parts of the egg that are stuck to the shells!)

Well, no more!

I had heard that the InstantPot makes for the quickest, easiest “boiled” eggs (although they aren’t actually boiled in water, rather steamed) and I decided to give it a shot.

Instant Pot

Sure enough, the first batch turned out great.

And then the second batch had the same amazing results.

And then the third batch proved this method was, indeed, a consistent winner.

It still helps if the eggs are at least a few days old, but it isn’t necessary.

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Start by adding a cup of water to the bottom of the pot, then add the eggs on top of the metal rack (I make sure mine aren’t touching the water).

The egg setting automatically is set for 5 minutes, however you can adjust it to less time if you would like soft boiled eggs.

If you have never used an Instant Pot before, you need to make sure the lid is securely fastened and the vent on top is in the “shut” setting (it is marked on the lid).

The timer starts once the pot is pre-heated. Once it has finished the cycle, I do a quick decompress.

Some people say to allow it to naturally decompress for 5 minutes before releasing the steam, however I find that it cooks the eggs more than I would like that way.

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Once all the steam has all been fully released, carefully open the lid and immediately plunge the eggs into an ice water bath.

If you are only doing a few eggs at a time, you can use a bowl with ice water.

For larger batches, I find it makes less mess to just run cold water into my sink, add ice, and chill all the eggs at once without worry of overfilling a bowl.

Once the eggs are FULLY cooled, you can remove them from the ice water and start peeling them.

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Egg shell peeling properly

The egg shell should pull away from the egg completely and easily, often in large pieces of shell.

I like to peel them into the sink so I can rinse the eggs under running water to make sure there are no small pieces of shell left on them (I hate that gross “crunch” of egg shell when I am eating).

I should also mention that I gently tap the boiled egg against the sink or counter to slightly crunch the shell before I start peeling them.

With easy-peel boiled eggs, it really should only take a few minutes to peel a dozen eggs – and you are set for whichever recipe you are making.

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Oh, right! I forgot to mention that pickling eggs is another great way to use up excess eggs.

At the moment, I am experimenting with different pickled egg recipes to see which ones come out as the approved winners by my hubby – I’ll be sure to share them with you later!

Have you tried this method? Drop a comment below!

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Krupsua (aka Dutch Baby)

Here I go again… sharing all our secret family recipes!

Okay, I did ask my mom if she was okay with me publishing our family recipes and she was more than happy that I was able to share them with the rest of the family – and all of you!

One of the biggest weekend breakfast treats for us was Krupsua.

I can’t remember whether the origin was from our Swedish or Norwegian roots, but it certainly has “heritage” written all over it.

Most people would likely call this type of food a “Dutch Baby.”

In any case, it always goes over well with our family – and we rarely have leftovers!

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That being said, the reason this is a weekend favourite is because it takes about an hour of bake time. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in getting up an hour early on a work day just to get breakfast going!

Krupsua is one of those foods that immediately brings to mind memories for me; so often, when we visited Grandma and Grandpa Plate, this was a meal I would help Mom and Grandma make…

There was a smell of fresh coffee in the kitchen, Grandma’s tidy counters ready to cook, and the sound of their grandfather clock gently chiming every 15 minutes…

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Side note – I make no apology for being “that blogger” who has a big story with each recipe. Each of my blog posts are tied to something very important to me – and let’s be honest here, I’m doing this more for me than for you. 😉

But let’s get into the recipe!

I always start by adding the milk and flour together, then whisking well so they are a nice, smooth mixture.

This has proven to be a very important step, because the times I have skipped it and added the eggs right away, things just weren’t as good as usual.

Next, I crack all the eggs into a separate bowl (or more often, a measuring cup) and beat them until they are an even consistency.

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Then I add the eggs into the milk-and-flour mix, along with the salt, sugar, and (sometimes) a splash of vanilla extract.

All the while, my oven has been pre-heating to 400° and a baking dish with about 1/4 cup butter have been heating as well.

Ideally, the baking dish should have tall sides to give the Krupsua a nice, high rise.

Once the oven is fully heated and the butter in the baking dish has melted, the batter gets added and then the wait begins!!

Mom’s recipe says to bake for 40-60 minutes (uncovered) – I find it typically takes the full 60 minutes to finish cooking properly.

Some people may choose to bake it with a lid or tin foil for the first 20-30 minutes, and then remove the cover for the remaining time.

Either way, you NEED to make sure you leave enough room for the Krupsua to rise without touching the top of the oven (or lid, if you choose to use one) so it doesn’t burn!

I usually put mine on the second-to-lowest rack to leave plenty of room, while also baking evenly.

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As the Krupsua bakes, the sides will begin to rise first, getting a golden-brown finish on the edges.

Once the center begins to rise, as well, you are almost there!

I have made the mistake of trying to rush the process and take the Krupsua out before the center had risen fully. Don’t make that mistake. Just wait!

You want the center to get a golden-brown finish before you pull the Krupsua out of the oven.

Oh! And the center will fall again as soon as you take it out of the oven!

Don’t worry; that is perfectly normal.

Some people in my family love the crispy exterior of the Krupsua, whereas others love the soft, custard-like interior.

I’m pretty sure there is an agreement between a few of them that one person gets all of the crunchy parts and the other gets all the soft, buttery middle parts.

Grandma Plate often had rhubarb sauce or strawberry sauce on hand, which we would drizzle over our individual servings.

Some in my family prefer to eat their Krupsua plain…

… And others prefer to use syrup!

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Ingredients

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

1 cup flour

2 cups whole milk

5 eggs

1 t salt

2 T sugar

1 t vanilla extract, optional

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 400º and place a large bowl with the butter inside.

Next, mix the milk and flour well so there are no lumps left.

Beat the eggs and add them to the flour mixture.

Add the salt, sugar, and vanilla extract to the mix.

Once the oven is preheated, pour the mixture into the bowl with the melted butter.

I typically find that I need to bake it for 60 minutes to ensure the centre is fully cooked, though if you would like to speed up your bake time, you can use buttered muffin tins instead of the large bowl.

Remove from the oven and allow to set for a few minutes before serving.

You can serve it plain, with syrup or with fruit.

Enjoy!

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Easy Homemade Marmalade

With everything going on in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have had a lot more time on my hands at home to try out new things that interest me.

Having extra oranges on hand that may or may not get eaten before they got hard, the idea of trying to make my own marmalade so they didn’t go to waste came to mind. Also, a bit of extra vitamin C in my diet wouldn’t hurt, right?

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I personally do not like overly sweet food, so I adjusted the recipe I found to have less sugar than called for by about half.

First, I washed my oranges and lemon, cut the ends off, then cut them into quarters and then into thin strips. Next time I would try cutting them into thin rounds first and then into quarters to see which method is easiest to get the thinnest strips.

Make sure there are no seeds before adding the orange and lemon to the pot. (I saved the cut off the ends of the oranges to make a vinegar cleaner later).

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Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.

I let the batch set overnight as this gives the orange’s natural pectin time to set. Some recipes called for pectin, which I did not have on hand, so I chose this method rather than wait until the next time I made it to the grocery store (which wouldn’t be for a while given the government’s strong recommendation to stay home unless absolutely necessary).

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The next day, I brought the batch back up to a boil, then turned it down to a simmer for 2 hours.

The next step was to bring it to a gentle boil for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring continuously to avoid burning. The recipe said to use a candy thermometer and bring the temperature to 220 Degrees F – I actually whipped out my candy thermometer, despite my temptation to “wing it!”

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That being said… My batch only made it to about 210 Degrees before it started looking gelled enough, so I took a spoonful of the marmalade out and put it in the fridge for a minute to test how it set up. 

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It was the consistency I wanted, so I took my marmalade off the heat and put it into 3 clean, sanitized pint jars and sealed.

Of course my spoonful to test it was tasty, but I still HAD to try the marmalade with fresh, homemade sourdough bread for my final rating – and let me tell you, this will not be the last time I make this recipe!

It makes for a great breakfast when slathered on top of sourdough English muffins.

I had a friend joke that they call marmalade “old people jam” and it made me laugh; Pinterest already thinks I am an older lady, so why not just embrace it? Haha

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Recipe

4 Medium Oranges, sliced thinly

1 Lemon, sliced thinly

6 Cups Water

4 Cups Sugar (if you like it sweeter you can add another 4 cups of sugar)

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Directions

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Remove from heat, cover, and leave overnight.

Bring to a boil the next day, reduce heat to a simmer for 2 hours.

Bring to a gentle boil for 20 – 30 minutes. Target heat using your candy thermometer is 220 Degrees F. Test thickness by taking a spoonful and placing in the fridge for a minute; if it is watery, continue to cook. If it gels well, your batch is done.

Fill clean, sanitized jars and seal with hot water bath. 

Makes about 3 pints.

Enjoy!

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Have you made marmalade? Do you plan to give it a try? I would love to hear from you below!

(Published April 2020)

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Fried Tacos

You can never go wrong with tacos! I mean, we even have a day of the week dedicated to their deliciousness!

My family’s taco recipe is a little different than what you traditionally think of when you are planning Taco Tuesday (or TacoS Tuesday, as my niece calls it).

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We actually fry our tacos, which makes the cheese super gooey and extra delicious!

First, you’ll need to fry the ground beef. Once it is cooked, drain excess fat off.

Add salt & pepper to taste as well as 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.

Next, spread refried beans on half the corn tortilla. CLICK HERE for the refried beans recipe.

Then add your ground beef on top of the beans and then a slice of cheese.

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Fry the taco, folded over, in a pre-heated pan with oil. Don’t add too much; you just want enough to give the tortilla a nice golden finish.

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Flip to the other side when the first side is golden brown.

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Once both sides have been fried, you add your toppings!

I personally love sour cream, chunky salsa, jalapeños, cilantro, avocado, green onions, and lettuce on my tacos. You can also add Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, tomatoes or cucumbers.

Guacamole is another tasty option too! (CLICK HERE FOR MY GUACAMOLE RECIPE)

They also freeze really well, so I will often make a large batch and freeze the leftover tacos (it seems impossible to have leftover tacos, right?!) to have as a quick, yummy lunch later on.

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Just microwave for 2 minutes from frozen and – viola! Tacos!

What are your favourite toppings for tacos? Drop a comment below!

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Spicy Shrimp Taco Lettuce Wraps, Shrimp Street Tacos, and Carne Asada Taco recipes!

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Fried Zucchini Steaks

Try out this creative way to cook zucchini!

I absolutely love fresh, homegrown zucchini!

When the plants start producing, however, it can be hard to keep up with using the bounty before it gets over-ripe or goes bad.

Therefore, I like to have a wide variety of recipes to choose from so we can eat tons of zucchini without getting sick of it.

Fried zucchini steaks are a family classic that I have loved since I was a child!

(I also love my zucchini pizza boat recipe for grilling season)

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Fried zucchini steaks are quick and easy to make – and my husband thinks it smells like KFC! lol (I assume because I use canola oil to fry the zucchini steaks)

So let’s get started on this recipe!

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I begin by slicing the zucchini into thick rounds. This recipe works best with an oversized zucchini.

Next, I beat an egg in a pie pan and coat one zucchini round at a time in the egg.

Then, I coat the zucchini round in flour.

Once I have about 4-5 zucchini steaks coated, I add them to a pre-heated pan with canola oil.

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It should only be enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan; if you use too much, it will splatter and make a mess.

I salt and pepper the zucchini steaks as they fry and then flip them when they are golden-brown on the first side.

How long they should be cooked will depend on you; some people prefer them to be fairly crunchy, whereas other people like their zucchini steaks cooked until they are soft all the way through.

If you would like crunchy zucchini steaks, I recommend cooking them on higher heat so you still have a nice, golden crust on them – but with a shorter cook time.

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If you would like them to be soft all the way through, you’ll likely want to cook them on a medium heat so you don’t burn the outsides while trying to get the insides nice and soft.

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You can serve these zucchini steaks as a main course or as a side veggie.

Make sure to prepare lots if your family loves this dish as much as mine does! We rarely end up with leftovers!

Fried zucchini steaks go well with scalloped potatoes and dilly green beans for a garden fresh meal – or you can throw some actual steak into the mix!

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Recipe

1 large zucchini

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup of flour

Salt & pepper to taste

Canola oil, as needed

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Directions

Slice zucchini into thick rounds.

Coat zucchini in egg, then in flour.

Place in a pre-heated pan with canola oil over medium-to-high heat (depending on “doneness” desired).

Fry until golden-brown on both sides.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

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What do you think?

Will you give this quick, easy – and yummy – recipe a try?

Drop a comment below!

Be sure to check out my other zucchini recipes – zucchini pizza boats & garden lasagna!

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Zucchini Pizza Boats

Summer is the time for lazy days at the lake, yard work – or harvesting tons of fresh veggies from the garden!

Here in Saskatchewan, this is the time of year that the zucchini go crazy.

Gardeners use every possible recipe to use up their excess and then start giving zucchini to their friends, family, neighbours, and maybe even complete strangers!

We all want to make sure the produce we have worked so hard to grow doesn’t go to waste.

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So I’m here today to give you inspiration for one more yummy way you can use your zucchini – Zucchini Pizza Boats!

The great part about this recipe is that it is low carb, does great on the grill, and you can use other garden fresh veggies.

Just like with pizza, it is a flexible recipe that you can pick and choose which toppings you would like to use.

I like to start with a zucchini that is borderline too large because the skin will be a little tough, which makes the “boat” hold its shape on the grill better. Plus this gives you a larger hollow to add your sauce and toppings to!

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Cut the zucchini in half long-wise and scoop out the soft, seedy part.

Don’t throw it out, though! We will use the insides in the sauce in a minute.

Next, heat a pan on medium heat and add some butter, a few cloves of garlic, and diced onion.

I personally like to add whole cloves of garlic; once they are nice and soft, I just smash them with my knife and give them a quick chop.

I find that method a lot quicker than mincing or grating them raw.

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Oh! And this is where the zucchini insides get added.

Next, add diced tomato and some chopped oregano & basil.

I like a bit of heat to my food, so I add an entire cayenne pepper (either a fresh, chopped pepper or a crumbled, dehydrated pepper).

Then, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. This really makes the flavour pop!

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And as expected, give the sauce a nice seasoning of salt & pepper.

Allow it to come to a simmer and cook the sauce down until it is no longer watery.

The more tomato you add, the more like a pizza sauce it will be.

Adding the zucchini insides, however, makes the sauce a bit different texture than normal pizza sauce, but hey – waste not, want not!

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Once your sauce has cooked down to the desired consistency, scoop it into your zucchini boats.

Then you get to add your toppings!

I find that the toppings work best when they are added first and then the cheese added on top; when the cheese gets gooey, anything on top tends to try to slide off if the zucchini boat isn’t quite flat.

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You can bake the zucchini boats at 350º for about 40 minutes (depending on their size, time will vary).

My favorite, however, is throwing them on the grill with a bit of smoke!

The flavour is amazing that way, plus if it is a hot day you aren’t heating up your house.

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On a pre-heated grill, it typically takes about 40 minutes on low-to-medium heat to cook the zucchini boats.

NOTE: Be careful how high your flame is; you do not want to char the skin!

You can also use a pre-soaked wood plank to add flavour (and catch any gooey cheese that tries to drip off).

I like my Maple Grilling Plank better for this recipe than my Cedar Grilling Planks because it has a lighter flavour.

I like the zucchini to be soft enough to easily pierce with a fork, but not so soft that it is falling apart.

Some people may prefer their zucchini to be firmer so they are almost crunchy still.

That is completely up to you!

Once you remove the zucchini boat from the heat, allow it to cool for a couple minutes.

Enjoy!

I promise this will become a fast favourite!

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While zucchini is usually served as a side veggie, I like serving this as a main – or even the entire meal because it is so filling!

Recipe

1 large zucchini

1 large tomato

1/2 large onion

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons butter

1 cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Basil & oregano, to taste

Salt & pepper, to taste

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Directions

Cut the zucchini in half long-wise and scoop out the soft, seedy centre (reserve for later).

In a pan on medium heat, sauté garlic, diced onion, and diced tomato in butter.

Add zucchini insides along with balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, basil, and oregano.

If you want some heat, add cayenne pepper as well.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Simmer until the sauce has reduced to desired consistency.

Scoop sauce into zucchini boats, then add toppings and cheese.

Bake at 350º for about 40 minutes or grill on low-to-medium heat for about 40 minutes.

Cook time will vary depending on the size of zucchini and desired softness.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Enjoy!

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What is your favourite zucchini recipe? Drop a comment below!

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Easy Biscuits and Gravy

I almost always make eggs of some kind for breakfast; fried, scrambled, poached… you name it, I’ve probably made it!

But, from time to time, it is nice to change things up with something different.

For me, biscuits and gravy are a treat because I don’t make it often.

Don’t ask me why!

Maybe I just get into a rut of making the same things over and over again…

Or maybe I make eggs so much because our chickens have been such prolific producers!

Either way, this biscuits & gravy recipe is always a hit.

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The Biscuits

Start by mixing the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Then cut in cold butter using a pastry blender.

Depending on how flakey you would like your biscuits, you can add anywhere from 1 – 3 tablespoons of butter. The more butter, the flakier the biscuits.

Pro Tip: Using cold butter helps make the biscuits fluffier and flakier.

Next, add the milk and gently mix until the flour is fully incorporated.

Make sure not to overwork the dough.

Then roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut into biscuits.

This recipe makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits, which I find is a perfect serving size.

I use my biscuit cutters from Amazon to get perfectly shaped biscuits with pretty scalloped edges.

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Pre-heat your oven to 400º and bake your biscuits on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I personally like to line my baking sheet with parchment paper so I have as little clean-up as possible.

You can cover the biscuits and allow them to cool or serve them hot!

The Gravy

Mom always used Jimmy Dean Italian sausage, however I recently discovered that a local business carries Mild Italian beef sausage – AND delivers to our acreage!

For those of you who have never lived in a rural location, you likely don’t understand the excitement of actually being able to get delivery…

Where we live, we can’t even get the mail delivered to our house – so this is a big deal.

Oh! And the beef is also high quality and ethically raised.

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While the biscuits bake, start the gravy by frying the sausage until fully cooked, breaking it into small chucks as it cooks.

Salt & pepper to taste (I like to season my meat now and then add more to the gravy later; this gives the meat great taste without the gravy getting too salty).

If you are using pork sausage, you will have plenty of drippings to mix the flour into, however if you are using a lean meat, you may need to add 1 tablespoon of butter.

Once the meat is fully cooked, sprinkle the flour on top of the meat and mix it in.

Allow it to brown slightly, string occasionally on medium heat (this step is the key to good gravy; browning the flour before adding the milk gives it a rich flavour).

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Add 1/3 cup of milk and stir until the mixture has thickened.

Add the remaining cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of beef stock; stir until it is combined and starts to simmer.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Remove from heat once it has reached the desired thickness.

Cut your fresh biscuits in half and scoop the gravy over both halves.

Enjoy!

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Biscuit Recipe

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cold butter (up to 3 tablespoons)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

Directions

Mix dry ingredients, then cut in cold butter.

Stir in milk and incorporate ingredients (do not overwork dough).

Roll out dough on floured surface.

Cut & bake at 400º for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits

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Gravy Recipe

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 teaspoon butter (optional)

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/3 cup whole milk

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Fry the sausage in a large pan, breaking it into chunks as you stir.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Stir in flour and allow to brown slightly (add melted butter if you are using a lean meat that does not have drippings).

Add 1/3 cup milk and stir until thickened.

Add remaining cup of milk and the beef stock.

Stir until thickened to desired consistency.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Scoop onto biscuits & enjoy!

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What is your favourite breakfast food? Drop a comment below!

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