Two Year Review

Two years ago yesterday, I began this blog.  Coincidentally, today I am posting the last in a huge backlog of recipes tried and written up, but not yet posted.  It is the 545th recipe posted and dates from November 2012.

The delay came about because I wanted to be sure I linked this recipe to its unique Ethiopian ingredients and it was only recently that I was finally able to prepare Mitin Kimem.

I am not quite caught up yet, but the half-dozen recipes I still have to post are no more than a week old, not years old.  And in about a week I will mostly be posting only as new recipes are tried.  That will give me more time to improve other aspects of the site.

The biggest change this year was getting my first smart phone and with it the ability to take  my own pictures.  So all new recipes now are accompanied by my own images and even older posts are being updated with my own images as quickly as possible.



Have you missed me?

It must seem I have  dropped out after so many days of regular posting, often of two recipes per day.  And then nothing for most of a week.

Well you can blame my absenteeism on this baby:

My new iMax computer

My new iMac computer

Since my old computer was a PC using Microsoft XP and my new one is an Apple product with different programs as well as operating system, I have had to spend a lot of time learning to use the computer in new and unfamiliar ways.  So there has been no time for blogging.

But I will be back shortly.  I have not stopped trying  new recipes.

500+ recipes and ….. big news!

This afternoon’s post will actually be the 512th recipe since I began this blog nearly two years ago.  So let’s see where we are.

Good Breakfast Food:  114 of 241 recipes tried and 127 still to go. All recipes of cooked cereals, eggs and smoothies posted.

Salads—including salad dressings:  99 of 229 recipes tried, but also another 200 added since I received a gift of salad recipes.  Just as well.  Salad eating is generally healthy eating.

Soups: My goodness only 76 of 239 recipes tried so far.  I try to have as many soups as I do salads.

Meals with Bread or Pastry:  Looks like this is where I have been putting more effort—105 out of 274 recipes.  All 20 of the sandwich recipes have been tried along with about 20 each of sandwich spreads, burgers, pies and wraps.

Meals from the Oven: 97 of 358 main-dish oven meals.

Meals in a Pot—stove top meals prepared in a Dutch oven, kettle or saucepan: the soup pot has been busier than the oven 108 of 289 recipes

Meals in a Skillet—more stove top meals but the sort one makes in a frypan or wok:  but only 73 tried of these 246 recipes

The Staff of Life—recipes for all sorts of breads and crackers—also noodles and dumplings:  51 of 232 recipes

Desserts:  a mere 26 of 291 recipes   I can see that if I ever get to the end of this quest almost all the last recipes will be desserts and I will probably be posting only once a week.

Extras—everything else:  well I have tried 90 of these, but it is a huge category of 337 recipes. I have tried over half the beverages, but not many of other sub-categories.

But the major milestone in my life recently has not been recipe 500 posted, but an addition to the family:  my first grandchild.

Me as grandma1So if posting gets a little ragged you can guess why. Of course when he is a little older, I’ll have more incentive to make cookies.

Two steps

It seems I have hit another sort of milestone—in fact two of them.  This week I posted the final offerings in two breakfast sub-categories:  hot cereals and breakfast eggs (mostly scrambled).  In fact one dish (Kin’che) does double duty as it is a hot cereal combined with scrambled eggs.

I also decided to start a new breakfast category: smoothies (or instant breakfast). Of course, there are lots of other breakfast recipes that I haven’t tried yet: many more pancakes, muffins and granolas.

This has inspired me to start a new page: gluadys’ favorites.  On this page I will post a small selection of my favorite dishes from each of the menu categories I work with. And I will probably change the selections from time to time.  So if you want a quick peek at what I consider the very best casserole or salad or sandwich, this is where to look.

Be patient though.  I won’t get all categories up right away. Meanwhile the regular menu or category list will take you to all posted recipes of that type.

Milestone 200

Head Shot 3686Today I put up recipe #200. From the day I first began posting it has been 1 year, 2 months and 22 days. I also posted the last hundred recipes in  100 days. Would you believe there are still another 200 in the queue?

In fact the first one still in the queue is dated more than a year ago.  Good thing I manage at least to write up the recipe with comments as soon as I try it.  Sometimes there is such a long stretch between trying it and posting it, I have forgotten how it turned out and whether I liked it or not.

One thing I have decided at this point is that I am not going to add more recipes to the queue.  I will post a new recipe within 24 hours of trying it, and also schedule some from the backlog.

So next post will be yesterday’s supper: Curried Cod

Coming out of hiatus

No, I haven’t stopped my quest.

But having reached 100 recipe posts as well as all the cookbook posts, I decided to take a bit of a break.

Instead of posting more recipes I have been doing some background work, including beginning a page listing the recipes alphabetically.  This will be my permanent record of recipes tried.

You will note that not every recipe in the index is linked to a post.  This is because, since I am trying recipes in published cookbooks, rather than creating my own inventions, I need to keep copyright protocol in mind.

When I contacted various authors, they were very supportive, as long as the available recipes were only a small sample of recipes in the book.

So you get a quick link to only ten recipes from each book.  And, in a bit, I will also need to remove older recipes altogether. So if you have a favorite among the unlinked recipes, download it while you still can. Try searching by category or a menu topic such as main ingredient.

Too late?  Then you have two options:

1. Go buy/borrow the book. (preferred option)
2. Send me an email. Only one request per email, please.


Now to get on to posting more recipes.  100 up, and at this point 250 more already tried, typed up and ready to post.

A Year Later

So, I got into a routine of posting about every three days.  But here it is, March 23, 2013 and I haven’t posted since February 27.

I began this blog February 29, 2012.  So we have come round a full year.  And where am I at?

Well, I have found it takes much less time to try a recipe than to type it up, and less time to type it up than to turn it into a post.

One delay, early in the quest, was the passing of my son last March.  I needed to get some more posts ready for the blog I am doing in his memory and that has kept me away from this one.

Then there was my daughter’s wedding a month ago.  If I hadn’t already scheduled those last posts, there would have been none in February at all.

And, of course, life just keeps on happening.  So, a year later, I have tried plenty of recipes, I have typed up 335 of them, but have only posted about 80.  In fact, more than a year after beginning the blog, I have only posted recipes tried in the first two months!!!

So, lots more to come.

Meanwhile, I have entered the world of smart phones.  Hasn’t made much difference in most communications, except that I am learning to text.  But now I have a camera for the first time in over 20 years.  So I can now take my own pictures of my culinary creations.  I will also be editing previous posts as I retry those recipes to insert my own images.

Today was Seedy Saturday here in our neighbourhood of Toronto.  So between gardening and cooking, I will be immersed in good food and ready to share my adventures.

Being Creative with White Sauce

Like the author of this site I learned how to make a basic white sauce in a home economics class more years ago than I care to count.  Can’t say I was much impressed then.

But when I began to realize how variable this simple recipe can be and what a scope for creativity it offers, it became very interesting indeed.

Every part of the recipe can be modified for different uses.

The fat component can be melted butter, lard, shortening, margarine or any sort of oil. Gravies are a “white sauce” in which the drippings from the roast form the fat component.

The starch component is usually wheat flour, but can be potato, soy, barley or rice flour.  Corn starch and amaranth flour are the choices for making a clear sauce.  They have more thickening power than other flours, so use half as much per cup of liquid.

The liquid component is usually milk, but can just as well be water, broth, tomato juice, or fruit juice or a blend of several of these.  A touch of white wine is great in a sauce for seafood.  A clear sauce using fruit juice as the liquid makes a nice pancake topping. A clear sauce made with chicken broth and soy sauce often completes an Asian stir-fry dish.

Then there are all sorts of things one can add to a white sauce: vegetables, meats, cheese, tomato paste, peanut butter, a whole assortment of herbs and spices, and ,for sweet sauces, fruit, chocolate, sugar, honey or other sweeteners.

So, where do you use white sauce?  Virtually everywhere.

  • Cream soups (celery, mushroom, potato, squash, broccoli, whatever takes your fancy)
  • Cheese sauces for macaroni and cheese, to pour over vegetables.  Include beer in the liquid and you have Welsh rabbit.  (Which most people now know as Welsh rarebit.)
  • Curries (basically a curry sauce is a white sauce with the appropriate spices added)
  • Creamed chicken, tuna, etc. to be served over toast, polenta, or rice
  • Casseroles (substitute your own white sauce for canned soup)

Whatever the additions and modifications, a white sauce is basically a combination of fat, starch and liquid cooked to get a thick sauce. With that in mind, many apparently daunting recipes, like Bean & Noodle Casserole, resolve themselves into “Make a white sauce and ….”
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Some philosophical musings on eating meat

It may seem strange that, as a meat-eater, I have and recommend vegetarian/vegan cookbooks.  Or that, sympathetic as I am to that mode of eating, I still eat meat.  So a bit of background and philosophy.

My parents grew up as farmers.  My grandparents were all farmers, and the farm I remember was an old-fashioned, Norman Rockwell-type family farm, where, for the most part, animals roamed free in pastures or had generous-sized pens. As I noted in my other blog, one of my own experiences as a two-year-old was feeding pigs from the back steps of our farmhouse. Eating meat from animals we had raised was a perfectly normal experience for us.

On the other hand, I have great ethical objections to the cruelty visited on most animals raised for slaughter in modern “factory-farm” agribusiness.  I appreciate that many people choose a vegetarian/vegan diet to avoid being complicit in this cruelty. I would seriously consider eliminating all meat consumption if this were my only source of meat.

So I am thankful that I have access to meat from animals raised in more natural conditions. Not far away is a Rowe Farms outlet. And once a week I can get to the farmers’ market sponsored by the West End Food Coop.

I am also conscious that most of us eat too much meat.  The average North American eats more meat than kings of medieval times.  The planet cannot sustain a global population that demands so much meat.  In most eras of human life (including hunter-gatherer societies) meat supplemented a diet consisting mostly of fruit, berries, roots, nuts and grains.  Until the 20th century the average European had meat only on festive occasions. In Asia, the tradition has been to use small amounts of meat as flavouring in dishes consisting largely of rice and/or vegetables.

During the the World Wars I & II, in addition to rationing, governments promoted “Meatless Mondays”, and this was observed not only in many homes, but in hotels, restaurants and diners.  Today there is a move to revive this tradition to help us with a different problem: the struggle to maintain a sustainable planet.

“More greenhouse gasses can be prevented by going meatless one day a week than by eating locally seven days a week.” Nancy Callan, member, Board of Directors of Earthsave

Going meatless just one day a week reduces your carbon footprint by 28.5% for the whole week.

So although I haven’t eliminated meat from my diet, I have shaped my diet more and more along the following principles:

  1. Eat less meat.  Currently fewer than half my main meals of the day include meat.  It is even more rare for other meals. And of the meatless meals at least half are fully vegan.
  2. Most of the time, use meat as flavoring rather than as the focus of the meal.
  3. Use meat from naturally (preferably organically) raised animals.

I have found that by following these principles, I have a dish like Pork Chops and Brown Rice, very seldom, but really appreciate it when I do.  Pork chops is, for me, a favorite comfort food and a special treat now that I have them so rarely.

The stats

Altogether my 11 current cookbooks contain 2,744 recipes, not counting variations.  If I try at least one new recipe every day without fail, it will take 7 ½ years to try them all. Of course, there will be days I won’t try a new recipe.  So probably it will take closer to a decade.  Should have started when I was 20.

I have sorted the recipes into 10 categories:

Good Breakfast Food (240 recipes)

Salads—including salad dressings (224 recipes)

Soups (239 recipes)

Meals with Bread or Pastry (275 recipes)

Meals from the Oven (361 recipes)  almost a year’s worth of main dishes right there

Meals in a Pot—stove top meals prepared in a Dutch oven, kettle or saucepan (288 recipes)

Meals in a Skillet—more stove top meals but the sort one makes in a frypan or wok (253 recipes)

The Staff of Life—recipes for all sorts of breads and crackers—also noodles and dumplings (232 recipes)

Desserts (291 recipes)

Extras—everything else (341 recipes).

Each of these is further sub-divided into five or six categories, because I can get obsessive about organization and classification. But the point is to try recipes and enjoy good food.