Friday Night Special – Sloppy Burger And Coleslaw

If your house is like ours, Fridays are always a little special and this is one way to make it fun. You can curl up in front of the TV and make it a movie night with popcorn to be made later. See if you agree.


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4-6 Kaiser buns, halved
  • 2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups baby spinach, stems removed


Heat the skillet on medium heat, adding the minced garlic, stirring for 60 seconds then add the rosemary. Stir until well mixed. Add the ground beef cooking until no longer pink, then add the ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper and stirring to mix well.

Halve the buns, butter them and place under the broiler until starting to bubble and brown on the rims. When ready to plate, add the cheese to the meat mixture and quickly stir together. Remove from the heat, pile equal portions on the bottom half of each bun, place a generous amount of spinach on top and place the top of the bun.

You can either serve the slaw on the side of the plate yourself or let everyone add their own. Either way, this is yummy. Pickles and a cold  beverage takes this over the top.

Grilled New York Strip Steaks With “Wow”sauce

With all the isolating, world wide, this would be a good time to set the table with a clean tablecloth, napkins, steak knives and a glass of your favorite beverage to make this a special time.

You will need:

  •  New York Strip steaks, about 8 oz. each
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat  grill pan over high heat until just smoking. Brush the steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 4-5 minutes on one side until golden. Turn them over and reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for 5-6 minutes for a medium-rare doneness.

Wow Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. creamy horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Combine all these ingredient in a bowl , season with salt and pepper and set aside. When ready to serve, brush the steaks with this sauce and make sure you have little bowls for each person to use as they wish.

Make a beautiful, crisp green salad, add a twice baked potato and you have a very special meal.


Irish Dinner/Recipes/Pictures

As I mentioned yesterday, here is the dinner we prepared and served.


Guinness Irish Stew

  • 2 1/2 lbs. Sirloin tip, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes, all excess fat removed
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 x 900 ml containers of beef stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can Guinness beer
  • 1 cup Sangiovese wine (Merlot would do)
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 bay laves
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 bag, Golden little gem potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. fresh parsley

Before browning the beef, sprinkle the meat with the salt and heat the oil in a large pot (not frypan) over a medium heat.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and work in batches. Cook without stirring until a nice brown on one side, then using tongs turn the pieces over and brown another side. Repeat until all sides are browned. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the meat pieces until all are browned. Return the meat to the pot.

Add the garlic and onion and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the beef stock, water, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worchestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pot and cook at a bare simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Add the potatoes and carrots and cook a further 60 minutes. If you can, let it sit for 24 hours and then reheat and serve. OMG! Is that ever good. To thicken it take 4 heaping tsp. of flour and mix with 1/4 cup of water. Mix together and temper it with some of the stew, then add to the stew. Perfection at its best.

Best Pea Soup You Will Eat (my site under Soups)

Blood Orange Creme Brulee

Use any recipe you like or even the instant kind. Just make sure  you zest the blood orange and steep in the custard while you are making it. The flavour is very subtle but there. When caramelizing the topping, grate some more of the blood orange zest on top. Add a few segments of the orange on top for decoration. The taste of a blood orange is so different from the ordinary orange and would not be the same, for sure.


Dinner For Two On Valentine’s Day

I wanted to share what occurred yesterday in our home. A home that was over-flowing with love in ways others may not understand. It was so beautiful and the pictures today will show you just how beautiful and meaningful it was…for us!

My husband has a knack for finding the most perfect card (for any occasion) that always brings a tear. We decided this year, due to the fact we are hoping to change our residence, celebrating our 25th Anniversary and taking a mini vacation later on in the Fall, we would buy each other a card, enjoy a dinner at home and simply enjoy the day.

I set the table a couple of days ago, bought fresh flowers (Tulips- one of my most favourite) in three colours to go with the table setting and bought a couple of reddish candles. I did not want the Christmas red and these appeared more mellow.

Don asked me what I wanted for dinner…I immediately answered scallops with your famous salsa. Then he asked me to make his favourite desert New Orleans Bread Pudding With A Whiskey Sauce and it grew from there. He added Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Coleslaw (OH,OH,OH…MY FAVOURITE. ) No one can make this like Don. In fact, I won ‘t eat it anywhere but here. Somewhere down the line he added Baked Beans (his way). Then he added Crab stuffed Zucchini With Melted Cheese on top. Grrrroooaaannnn!

So…our meal was something like this:

Crab Stuffed Zucchini

Scallops With Papaya Salsa

Pulled Pork Sandwiches With Coleslaw

Baked Beans

New Orleans Bread Pudding With Whiskey Sauce


Fresh Coffee

We took our time, enjoyed each course and chatted about our favourite things we have done over the past 28 years (27 Valentine’s). It was so enjoyable and quite a few giggles along the way.

This was simple (for us) done with love, and a sense of mystique as well. I have saved every card we have given each other over all these years and have, from time to time, gone over them a few times. Nothing can take away the feelings these conjur up each and every time they are read. I hope, one day, that our children will read these cards and see that, yes, a real love can come on the second go-round.

Yes, we celebrated our way and now the next celebration is Easter and then birthdays…….

I am so thankful for my life and what it gives this home of ours in love replenishing.


Learning Curve-Family Fun

I haven’t put up anything for a couple of days and the reason being, we have family here to spend some time. As one daughter was coming from Belgium  (where she lives) for her vacation, and family from Alberta (son and family) and Vancouver (daughter and family), we thought we would celebrate ‘Christmas” together.

We also, Don and I, suggested that each family would pick a theme and prepare a dinner from start to finish, this way we weren’t in the kitchen all the time. (good idea, huh?) They could not, say, called it Italian and put out a plate of pasta and leave it at that. Oh no, you had to go the whole 9 yards.

First night, we did the Christmas dinner….turkey, mashed potatoes, 3 veggies, homemade cranberry sauce, gravy and stuffing. By the way, the temperature here was 37 plus degrees. For dessert we had pumpkin pie with whipped cream, shortbread and homemade mincemet tarts. Whew! Christmas crackers, candles and some decoration took place as well. Also, some mini gift cards…after all, we did say Christmas, right? You all know us so well….

The kids took the job of cleaning up and what a great help that was.

Day Two – Carole, from Belgium, prepared a Belgian “stew” has a name I can neither pronounce nor spell. We had Belgian style frites and it was wonderful. This time (again) the kids took over the job of cleaning up. I have never been kicked out of a kitchen so often in my life. I tried to give away more Christmas baking for dessert.

Day Three – The two families (with teenage daughters in tow) prepared this next adventure. Don and I were first banned from the dining room area (open style home and hard to do), then the kitchen and finally the entire house. We were left on the deck. The girls were shown what I have as far as candles, tablecloths, dishes are located and were left to do their thing.

The day before we were asked to take a guess what their theme was an, of course, could not. Well, here the story continues…..

The table was perfectly set with a blue cloth and a shining silver cover…candles, black and white on the table and, around the room many candles were on (battery operated). When it was time, we were invited back into the house, asked to pick out someting in the bottom of a big box and, lo and behold, they were for each of us….from Harry Potter! Our grandchildren are so hooked on Harry and the gang, it was all making sense now.

Dinner was fabulous…each dish has a name from one of the foods eaten in the Potter movies…in reality it was a spinach and strawberry salad ( Gilley weed and red slug salad) , macaroni and cheese  (mugglemac), with asparagus (broomsticks) and, for dessert, a chocolate “pudding” cake. They called it The defence of black arts pudding. The two moms helped out in the kitchen as well, but my oh my, this was a production. The thought and work put into this dinner was mind boggling.

Today, being day four, one family heads back to Alberta. We get to keep the others for another day and then, they too, will leave the parents/grandparents. The one sad note was one son and one more daughter were unable to attend. It would have been so wonderful to have everyone, just once, together at the same time.

We are so very blessed for this past week  I don’t think I would change any of it. The kids went down the channel on a raft, everyone went cherry picking, the girls swam in our lake, played bocci on the lawn and just relaxed on the deck. By night time (sun finally set) it was beautiful…we played hawaiian music,and just laughed and talked.

Thank you God for this time. We surely won’t forget it.


Friday Night Dinner With Our Neighbour

Our neighbor, who has become a good friend, gets to come over when we need to experiment or feel she might want some company or just for no reason at all.  Last night was the latter…no reason at all.

We tried to keep it light, healthy and simple…..sort of! We need to and she is getting ready for a mexican vacation (you know…bathing suits, sexy dresses)


We started with a glass of perfectly chilled white wine (no eats here…) and enjoyed some conversation while poor Don did his thing in the kitchen with the lemon risotto.

Our menu was: 

 Salad: Greens with pears and goat cheese (we added blood orange segments as well),    with  freshly made parmesan crackers. (I changed the cheese to Asiago and Romano – fabulous)

Entree: Poached salmon  in white wine and seafood broth

lemon risotto

poached fennel and red onion (same broth as the salmon)

Dessert:  Chocolate Whipped Cream Cake with a drizzle of a luscious vanilla sauce.


We need kudos here, we managed to take pictures of the table setting, salad and main course. Sorry, but the dessert was gobbled up before we could take pictures. Damn, we did it again!

The table setting was simple, colourful and in the dining room. How perfectly delightful it was.


Saturday Lunch

Today we are having my cousin and her husband for lunch. It is a simple lunch consisting of silky squash soup (recipe on site), Mediteranean sandwich made with focaccia bread from our favourite local bakery (Osoyoos) and homemade strawberry angel food cake.

The table is set (royalty, you know). It is nothing to put on some flowers, cloth napkins and, simple charger plates. See what happens? You are showing you care and that they are important (they are).


The soup is fantastic and we wanted to show them what wonders their homegrown squash can do.

The sandwich is one of the signature sandwiches that Don makes. They are fabulous and served with a little coleslaw. Yummy!


Dessert is a homemade angel food cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Uh….sorry, the dessert was eaten before we remembered to take the picture. It was sooooooo yummy!


What more can you possibly ask for? A glass of wine perhaps and finish with a perfect cup of tea/coffee. Great way to spend a Saturday, catching up with life, telling misshaps from growing up (always) and just enjoying the company.

Special Dinner For Special People

Tonight we are putting on a dinner for Frances, owner of Home Hardware in Osoyoos and the lady who puts on the cooking classes that we all attend. Also, her sister, Virginia,  is here from Toronto as well as  Susie, Linda and Judy and her husband, Innes who are her special and hardworking ladies who assist in preparing and making sure all goes well at these evenings.

Our dinner tonight is to say a very simple “thank you” for all her work and fabulous way she treats people. She makes you feel that you matter and are very important. Not everyone can pull this off and be sincere at the same time.

The table was set in deep wine colours and snow white plates/bowls etc.

This is our menu for the evening:

Hors d’oeurves:  Camembert cheese with basil leaf, bacon jam and cherry tomato – making a pretty flower

Appetizer:  Duck Terrine (Don’s best) on toasted baguette slices  and garnished with fresh figs from our garden, caramelized and drizzled with fig balsamic vinegar.

First course:  Silky smooth Cauliflower Soup with seasoned Pear chips

Entree:  Beef Bourguignan, mashed potatoes and garlic sauted green beans

Dessert:  two chocolate mousse shots (bittersweet, white chocolate with pecans and milk chocolate with hidden raspberry) and lacy citrus cookies. These were mixed when served.

All the above was served with appropriate wines, juices, tea and coffee..

Um, so sorry you couldn’t come!  It was a blast.





Valentine’s Menu For Me

This was, by far, the most romantic Valentine’s I have ever experienced. See if you agree.

For breakfast, Don made Blueberry French Toast, dusted with powdered sugar, fresh coffee and the bestest card he could find. (We did exchange cards and 4 cooking classes taking place in the early Spring).

I took him out for lunch.- he says “we did the lunch thing” and ate probably the best pizza around.

Now, for dinner:

A glass of wine (Pinot Noir) to start with and a toast to each other.

Now we started with a Winter Salad -radish, avocado, carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, chick peas, sugar snap peas, red peppers and an incredible lemon, sour cream and garlic aoli dressing.

Get ready….here it comes – an absolutely delicious twice baked potato covered with cheese which has melted, asparagus and, without a word of a lie, a Filet of Beef that was a good 2 to 2- 1/2 inches high and barbecued with a balsamic/red wine reduction. I left not one speck of anything on my plate. Did I mention we put the dieting aside today?

We were so full, I had a glass of Burgundy Ice Wine and Don had a cheesecake ball with salted caramel for dessert. He wanted to make crepes but I don’t know where we would have put it.

All in all, it was a day made in heaven. I even asked him if he was leaving me and he responded “next year your turn and I’ll clean up”. Sounds fair to me except I can’t possibly dirty every dish we own. JUST KIDDING.

I loved every second of it and now I’ll spend the next 11 months pampering him to make up for it. Agree?