Soft, Chewy Oatmeal Cookies


The base for this recipe comes from my moms chocolate chip cookie recipe. We grew up in the country and rode the bus each way to school. Most days we would get home starving and had to do chores before supper. She often had a plate of them ready for an after school snack. I played with the base and proportions to get these just perfect. In my mind, they are the quintessential cookie.
This makes about 20-24 nice, fat, soft in the middle, crispy on the bottom amazing,wonderful,sent from heaven as manna to the people… Ok, just really good cookies.

Preheat oven to 350°
1 c soft butter
1 c white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
Beat very well until fluffy and the sugar is mostly dissolved.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Mix until blended, then add:
4 cups Rolled oats
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Mix until it is all incorporated.

Now is the time when you lick the beater, the spoon, and toss a chunk into your mouth.
Scoop with ice cream scoop (the kind with the lever that kicks the ice cream out) onto a cookie sheet lined with Baker’s paper,do not press down. Bake at 350° ( I prefer on convection, it makes a softer cookie) until brown. Approximately 12 to 14 minutes.

Chocolate Flaugnarde


I was looking at my post on Raspberry Clafoutis thinking like a coach of a professional athlete. ” You are already great… But with the proper training …. You could be unstoppable”. Essentially this is the clafoutis recipe with chocolate added and no lemon zest … Not rocket science, but it shows how one simple ingredient can completely change a recipe. Flaugnarde translates into English as “soft” or “downy. Imagine a brownie… Except soft, light, creamy and quick to make. Start to finish, this can be on the table in 30 minutes. This one is a winner.

Preheat oven to 350°
In a mixing bowl
Add :

1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
Dash of salt
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
Whisk together

3 large eggs
1/2 cups melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
Whisk until its well blended .

1/3 cup milk

Whisk until very smooth… Approx 2-3 minutes

Place a layer of bakers paper over a 9″pie plate.

Pour batter into the pie plate. Cover with your choice of decadence… I made the one in the photo with about 1/4 cup of Skor®
chocolate bar bits and a handful of chocolate chips. But… Use your imagination. Im sure this would be great with nuts, caramels, cherries, a swirl of peanut butter, some coconut, really the rule of thumb is that if you find it in a chocolate bar it will probably work with this. Lightly shake the dish so your add-ins settle into the batter. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-28 minutes until it is nice and firm and the dish is set (not too jiggly).

Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes. This dessert is best served warm like a warm brownie.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and fruit or just as a slice by itself.

Portabella Arancini

I was on a business trip this past winter to Vancouver and went with a client to a really nice Italian restaurant. Being a born and bred prairie kid raised on potatoes and beef, if I cant recognize the name, Im usually pretty leery about it. The menu lacked english so I ordered Cannelloni (usually pretty safe) with a side of arancini. When it arrived I was a little scared. Its saving grace was that it was deep fried. If it contains bacon, or is deep fried… Im usually good for at least a taste. I was in love at first bite. Here is my rendition of arancini in honour of my customer that I was with. He owns a wonderful mushroom farm and grows the most beautiful mushrooms. His portabellas are the size of dinner plates. One feeds our entire family.

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup good quality white wine
1 cup finely diced portabella mushroom.

Add all ingredients to a medium pot and cook over medium heat until rice is soft and all of the liquid is gone. Set the pot in the freezer to cool the rice until the heat has dissipated and it is cool to the touch.

In a mixing bowl mix:
The cold rice concoction from above
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup freshly ground parmesan cheese

Now the fun…

In a deep pot or deep fryer, heat about 2″ of good quality vegetable oil to 350°
Take approx 2 heaping tablespoons of the rice mixture in your hand. In each wad of rice, press a 1/2″ cube of mozzarella cheese into the centre and roll to make a nice round ball. Each ball will be approx 2″ in diameter.
Roll the balls in a bowl of panko bread crumbs until you cant feel the stickiness of the rice. I find it works best to fill my hand with panko then set the ball in it and roll it around like a child making a clay ball.
Repeat until all of the rice is used up. You should get around 10-14 balls.
Set each ball into the hot oil and cook each side until they are a nice golden brown turning once.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towels to soak up the oil.

Serve hot over a large dollop of your favourite warm marinara sauce. You’ll have to google one or buy it in a can… I cant be the answer to everything. Actually, wait. Sauce from a can would be sacrilegious. Make it. 😉

Good, Greasy, Thick Crust Pizza & Breadsticks


Everyone loves a good greasy, cheesy slice of heartburn once in a while.  Living out in the country, take-out is rarely an option.  By the time you get it home, the box tastes better than the pizza.  When you figure out the cost of making a pizza at home, it really is an inexpensive option to feed your entire family.  This recipe will yield 2 – 15″ pizzas with some leftover dough to make cinnamon & sugar breadsticks… or buttery garlic breadsticks… or … plain breadsticks…or… whatever you dream up breadsticks.  I’d estimate total cost is less than 10$ and it tastes way better.  You can make this by hand… if you need to burn calories prior to the gluttony. Or, cheat like me and use a stand mixer.  Either way, ensure you mix it long enough to develop the gluten in the dough.

In the mixing bowl add:

2 ²/³ Cups of warm water

2 Tbsp Sugar

1 Tbsp Yeast

Stir it up and allow the yeast to proof for 5 – 10 minutes.


¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp of good quality Olive Oil

1 tsp Salt

½ Cup Powdered Skim Milk

8 Cups All Purpose Flour 

Start mixing slowly with the dough hooks (or your 20″ biceps) till it is all incorporated. The key to a good pizza dough is working it long enough for the gluten to develop enough to trap those tiny little yeast bubbles inside.   Some flours are higher in gluten and you can get away with working it less, but in most cases approximately 10-12 minutes later you will see the dough start to look and feel almost smooth and velvety. 

Take the dough out of the bowl and dust your work surface with some flour.  Cut off approx 1/3 of the ball of dough for the first pan and start pressing the dough out with the tips of your fingers starting from the center and working your way out until the bottom is around 1/4″ thick and the sides are 3/4 – 1″ high . Now is the time you can experiment tossing the dough in the air if the kids aren’t watching.  We all have our childlike fun when we can get away with it, most just don’t admit to it.   Once you have the dough stretched out a bit larger than the size of the pan, Dump around 3 or 4 tbsp of  olive oil on the pans and heavily grease the pans (if you are feeling health conscious, you can skimp on the oil, but I take no responsibility for a pizza stuck to the pan.  Alternately you can line the pan with my best friend – bakers paper/parchment) Set the dough on the pan, don’t press it down if you can help it.

Allow the pans to proof (rise) for 20-30 minutes in a warm windowsill.  You can skip rising but the result will be a pizza with the density of plywood.

Now… make it pretty. Spread your sauce of choice (in a pinch a can of tomato paste,basil, oregano, garlic powder will suffice) Add whatever toppings you desire.  Some of our favorites are mushrooms, feta, peppers, pineapple, ham, cooked chicken,  bacon, sausage, pepperoni, fresh basil…  

Finish with your favorite pizza mozzarella.  

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Preheat your oven to 500°… you want to cook this hot and fast.

Depending on how thin or thick you pressed the dough, the type of pan you are using, altitude etc…  cooking time can vary from 12 minutes to 15 minutes.  Just watch and don’t be scared to pop the oven open and take a quick peek under the edge.  When its golden brown its done. 

Supper and Dessert all from the same dough

Now for dessert.  Roll out the leftover piece of dough with a rolling-pin to about 1/2″.  Slice into 1″ wide pieces, brush with melted butter, coat with sugar and cinnamon or whatever you heart desires and bake just like the pizza… these only take around 7-10 minutes.   

Raspberry Clafoutis


Here is an elegant not too sweet summery dessert that you can whip up in 5 minutes with ingredients found in most kitchens. It cooks in 30 mins and serves warm. Its perfect for those summer drop in visitors and times when you need a quick dessert that will surely impress. This is loosely adapted AKA “made way better”…from Larousse Gastronomique (an essential cookbook in every kitchen).

Preheat oven to 350°
In a mixing bowl
Add :

1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
Dash of salt

Whisk together

3 large eggs
1/2 cups melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon

Whisk until its blended and creamy yellow.

1/3 cup milk

Whisk until very smooth… Approx 2-3 minutes

Place a layer of bakers paper over a 9″pie plate.
Cover the paper with about 3 cups of nice fresh raspberries… Or any other firm berry for that matter… Strawberry, blackberry, blueberry,cherry…

Pour batter over the berries. Bake for 25-30 minutes until it is nice and golden brown and the dish is set (not too jiggly).

Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes. This dessert is fine and historically served warm.
Dust with powdered sugar. Cut and serve.

Creamy Alfredo Sauce (Joey Tomatos rip-off)


Creamy Alfredo Sauce served on spaghetti with panfried portabella slices and fresh tomatoes

This is one of the easiest recipes to throw together when you want to quickly impress your friends or family.  It is one of those dishes that looks harder to cook than it really is . This is a rip off of the alfredo served at Joey Tomatoes chain of restaurants.  I cant tell the difference.

Start to finish you can have super on the table in under 15 minutes.

Alfredo sauce is one of those things that is an abomination to make low fat… Just sayin.

Shopping list

1/2 cup butter

3-4 cloves minced garlic (or more if you like garlic)

1/2 cup cream cheese

2 cups 1/2 & 1/2 cream (10% milk fat)

1 cup fresh parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/2 tsp nutmeg

In a saucepan over medium heat melt:

1/2 cup of butter

ImageAdd the garlic and the 1/2 cup of cream cheese.  Whisk quickly to break up the cream cheese.

It will look like a grainy buttery mixture.  This is normal.


2 cups of 1/2 & 1/2 cream (feel free to use whipping cream… It’s only that much better.

Dump in the 1 cup of parmesan cheese. Add the nutmeg and the pepper.   Keep whisking until it looks nice and creamy. 

Now is a good time to start the pasta. The time it takes to cook the pasta is the time it takes for the sauce to simmer.

Add salt to taste. The cheese adds saltiness so be careful not to over season

Keep the sauce on a slow simmer whisking  while you prepare the pasta every few minutes.  This is a great sauce served with some panfried mushrooms, sliced chicken or panfried garlic shrimp and topped with fresh tomatoes.


The finished sauce.

Tarte au Sucre (Quebec sugar pie)

image” Eeeevil, evil, evil. Thats what you are.  But O’ sooo pretty , and yummy and…. FATTY!!!! Aaaahhhhhhhh Golum ….Whyyyyyyyy???? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy do you do this to yourself??? (Bang head on rock or fish)

I won a trip this past winter out to where the company I work for was founded in Kingsey Falls, Quebec.  Part of the trip was to see some of our operations and understand some of the rich history of the company. Here nestled in a corner of North America where for 2 days I think I was the only English speaking person in town… I found evil.   But the best kind of evil.  The kind where you sit back, let the creamy sugar roll off of your tongue, sip some rich dark coffee, lick your fork, smack your lips, imagine yourself as a child eating your grandmothers best recipe, licking the spatula… And then.  “monsieur…do you ever aaaave tarte au sucre before?”….. “Mai non!!!” “really???”  Here I am having lunch with the 5 presidents of a 4 billion per year company and the best I can come up with is ” I sure hope there is more of this!”  What an idiot.  But you know what, everyone had a great laugh and the conversation became lighter, and the wine flowed, and we indulged …and I basked in the afterglow of a food orgasm like no other.  The house keeper came by and I asked her what it was… The secret she said in her best broken english was… the maple syrup.  I asked her for the recipe… Tried in my best sales suave to pry it from her family recipe closet.  The closet tasked with guarding her historical gems for hundreds of years.  The same closet that held her rich history and heritage of hard work and celebrations, of parties in the sugar shack when the maple trees flowed with their nectar in the early spring.   The answer… was like trumpets from the gates of heaven.   As her eyebrow lifted, a smile came across her lips and she leaned closer as not to reveal the closely guarded secret.  I was prepared for a recipe of CIA spy code proportions.  I readied my photographic memory. ” you only got ONE shot at this kid” I told myself in reassuring self-talk.  She took a breath and whispered heaven in the form of two sweet words into my ear…. “Google it”.

I guess even the most guarded family secrets get leaked.


In a medium saucepan over medium heat:

1 Cup Brown sugar

6 Tbsp white flour

mix well into sugar with whisk.


1 Cup of the finest pure maple syrup you can find

1  1/2 c whipping cream

4 Tbsp Butter

1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring the entire time , boil for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour into your crust or tarts.

Bake in the oven at 400° for five minutes then turn down the heat and bake at 325° for 25 minutes.

Allow to cool. Serve with a dollop of whipping cream.

Lie back, take a breath…and prepare for a food orgasm. 😋


Apple Smoked Honey Maple Chipotle Ham ~ (so good your father-in-laws jaw will drop)


Summer is here. Time for sitting on the deck, sipping libations. Enjoying the heat.  I came up with this simple recipe on a whim… Actually on mothers day.  Start with a nice bone-in ham if you are aiming for 6:00 pm supper…. Its a good idea to start getting this going around  2:00. But don’t let that scare you off.  This is a start and leave, check whenever you run out of beer or your pina colada glass runs dry kind of BBQ.

Take your ham. I usually buy mine from Costco, they sell a really nice smoked ham. Unwrap from the plastic and remove the plastic plug in the centre of the bone (should I really have to include this step…?) Wash it well in the sink under cold water. Take a knife and score it in a checkerboard pattern across the top, this helps hold onto the glaze as you pour it over.  The grid lines should be approx 1/2″ apart.  Warm up your BBQ To barely more than 200 to 250°. Sugar burns at around 260° so the goal is to keep the heat under 250°.  On a 4 burner unit, only light 1/2 of the burners. In order to keep this nice and moist, we will be cooking it indirectly.  So for example, the left side will be the heat and the right side will be meat. Left heat, right meat…say it 10 times fast.

Above the heat set a metal pan or tin pie plate full of water, ensure when you go for a refill of your drink, give the ham a drink too.  Fill a smoker box full of apple chips, soak the chips for 20 minutes in water.  Set the smoker box over the heat.  Set the ham on the cool side of the grill on top of a heat proof baking sheet or piece of tin foil.  Close the lid. SOCIABLES!

After your next bathroom break, mix up the glaze.  Wash hands first. … You would be surprised.

In a medium bowl mix:

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup honey (melted in microwave for a minute or so)

1/2 cup maple syrup

peel and smash 4 or 5 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp Chipotle powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

Whisk it all up.

With your basting brush, every time you lose at lawn darts or remember to, brush the glaze over the ham.  When 6:00 rolls around. Pull it off and carve away. Its easy,moist, so full of flavour and makes a great ham sandwich the next day.  If your father-in-law has much negative to say about this one, feel free to start a Water fight. 😜