Pumpkin Pie (with gluten/grain free options)

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2 1/2!

Years ago, when I was first asked to bring pies to our church Supper, I had never made my own pie shells but had watched my mom do it many times.  It couldn’t be that hard, right??

Now I know it’s not, but that first year, and for many years afterwards, I struggled with it.  Too much water or not enough water, too much kneading, ripped then patched-together dough…I could make bread, how come I couldn’t make pie crust??

One year my husband rushed into the kitchen after I had let out a blood-curdling scream. Instead of finding me cut and bleeding, he found me crying with dough stuck to the walls (which I had thrown there in frustration).  Yup, not a pretty sight.  He led me out of the kitchen and took over the pie making.  And that’s what he did for many years, and he still usually makes our pies for the Harvest Supper, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.  But not always.  As for me…

This year I just poured the filling into greased ramekins, but I have often resorted to frozen pie shells, with homemade filling.  Still tasty, and mostly homemade.  I have mastered the art of pie crust making…but often take the lazier (and still tasty!) way out. Life has enough stress already, wouldn’t you agree??

Here’s our family’s favourite recipe!  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie

Makes 2 large pies.

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. mace
  • one 28 oz. can pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups 10% cream or whipping cream, or a combination of the two
  • two 9″ pie shells (homemade or frozen) (or skip the pie shells for the gluten-free option)

With electric mixer on low, blend together brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, mace and pumpkin.  Add your eggs, mixing well.  Blend in the cream.  Pour your mixture into the ready pie shells.  Place the pies (and ramekins) on the bottom rack in the oven (I like to place them on a cookie sheet in case of overflow) and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes more or until firm and crust is well browned.  A knife inserted into the center of the pie should come out clean.  The pie will often crack near the center when it is done.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

GLUTEN-FREE OPTION:   Instead of using pie shells, or if I have too much pumpkin mixture for my pie shells, I like to pour the mixture into greased ramekins.  It makes a tasty, gluten-free option.

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TACO TUESDAY – fun food

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2 1/2!

Guess what we had for supper last night???

I may not eat them myself, but I really enjoy Taco Salad.  I just find them messy, but my husband absolutely adores them and the mess doesn’t bother him.  We just put a lot of napkins out on the table, and keep a sweet drink on the table to put out any mouth fires from the hot sauce.

It’s a really fun food and great for an informal gathering too!  No need for a casserole or roast every time you have guests over.

We usually use hard taco shells and have a taco salad (recipe included) to go with it.  I make my own seasoning (recipe included) which is delicious!  We also sometimes make taco shells out of grated cheese (recipe included).  Or…you can just put all of your fillings on a piece of romaine lettuce (makes a nice boat).

After putting meat in the taco shell (we buy flat bottomed shells when possible – they stand up on their own), we have a variety of toppings for people to choose from:  Frank’s Hot Sauce, salsa, sour cream, lettuce and grated cheese.  You could also include finely diced tomatoes.

Just pan fry your ground beef in a pan until cooked and crumbled.  Next add seasoning (with a touch of water, if needed, to help it to mix in), and serve!

The left-over meat can easily be make into a chili, so don’t be afraid to make too much.

TACO SEASONING (for 1 pound of meat)

(make sure that each individual spice is gluten free, if needed)

  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

 

TACO SALAD

Cut up a bowlful of lettuce.  Add some French or Catalina salad dressing to the lettuce and toss until well coated.  Next add in salsa, and mix again.  Toss in some meat and you’re done!  Optional add-ins:  tomatoes, grated cheese and crushed corn chips.

CHEESE TACO SHELLS

On a dinner plate, place a square of parchment paper.  Place a handful of grated cheese on the paper, spreading it out into a circle.  Microwave for approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds (microwaves will vary).  After removing from the microwave, fold the cheese and paper into a taco shell shape as it cools (shouldn’t take long).  It will hold its shape and add your taco meat and toppings as desired.

 

TEA BISCUITS

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11, and Grandmelina to 2 1/2!

Today is St. Patrick’s day, and I’m making these biscuits to go with our stew (meatballs, potatoes and carrots).  Simple, but fresh and tasty!

Eat them for breakfast with honey, or fill them with fried egg, bacon and cheese.  Eat them for lunch with a bowl of soup.  Eat them on the side with supper.  Great with chili, stew, soup, and anything!  I like them warm with butter, or cool with Cheez Whiz (don’t judge me!).

Great for family meals.

These always get a lot of compliments when I bring them to potlucks and the kids love them.  Make sure your baking powder is fresh, and handle as little as possible for the fluffiest biscuits.  Enjoy!

TEA BISCUITS

(Makes 12-18 biscuits)

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 4 heaping teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup lard (or butter)
  • 1 cup water (or milk/buttermilk)

Mix together the first 3 ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Cut in lard (using a pastry cutter or 2 knives crisscrossing lard) until mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the water slowly, stirring with a fork.  Stir until mixture sticks together and forms a ball.

Dump the ball (and any leftover dry ingredients still in the bowl) onto a well floured surface (I like to use a cookie sheet to make clean up easier).  Knead the ball until smooth, dusting with more flour as necessary.  DO NOT OVER-KNEAD!!!  As soon as it is smooth, stop kneading.  With your hands flatten the ball until it is about an inch thick.  Cut biscuits out with a floured round cookie cutter or a floured glass.  Gather the leftovers into a ball, flatten again, and cut more biscuits.  Remember to handle as little as possible to get the fluffiest biscuits.

Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet at least an inch apart (unless you like soft edges then make them touch).  Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes.

OTHER ST. PATRICK’S DAY POSTS:

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Tea for Kids

40 Kid Friendly Meatless Lenten Meals

The Roman Catholic Church asks us to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday in Lent, and some families still choose to abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the year, and others on Fridays during Lent.  I like to have vegetarian options for my family for variety in my meal planning.  Some meals are very involved, and others are quick and simple.  I usually lean toward quick and simple.  Here are a few of my ideas to share:

Fish recipes:

  1. Fish sticks or salmon cakes
  2. Shrimp
  3. Tuna or salmon sandwiches
  4. Tuna casserole
  5. Broiled fish

Breakfast for supper ideas:

  1. Pancakes or waffles or french toast with syrup or fruit
  2. Cold cereal with milk and a fruit salad
  3. Homemade granola and berries
  4. Eggs – quiche, scrambled, fried, omelette, devilled – with home fries
  5. Baked beans and fresh rolls

Sandwich with soup ideas:

  1. Veggie subs and vegetable rice soup
  2. Grilled cheese and tomato soup
  3. Toasted tomato sandwich and corn chowder
  4. Chopped egg sandwich and cream of mushroom soup
  5. Fresh baked rolls and homemade soup

Italian

  1. Pizza
  2. Spaghetti with vegetarian tomato sauce
  3. Macaroni and cheese – homemade or from a box
  4. Fettucine alfredo
  5. Meatless lasagna

Mexican

  1. Chili covered in cheese with rice or corn chips
  2. Cheese and salsa quesadillas
  3. Nachos
  4. Vegetarian taco
  5. Layered refried bean dip served with corn chips

Oriental

  1. Spring rolls and vegetable stir fry with rice

Potatoes (with a side of cooked veggies)

  1. French fries or poutine – french fries with fresh grated cheese and packaged gravy
  2. Hash brown casserole
  3. Baked potatoes with a variety of toppings
  4. Scalloped potatoes, mashed or perogies

Salads

  1. Vegetable salad
  2. Potato salad
  3. Macaroni salad
  4. Bean salad
  5. Veggies and dip or hummus

Fast Food ideas:

  1. Fish burger
  2. Veggie burger
  3. Cheese pizza
  4. Mexican with beans instead of meat
  5. Fries, baked potato or salad

When we’ve fasted for the whole day, I like to make the kids something a little filling but not fancy like plain rice or macaroni with butter, or I’ll add a can of diced tomatoes to macaroni.  On Good Friday we also have hot crossed buns and I’ll post my recipe closer to Easter.

What are some of your family’s favourite meatless meals?

POTATO BUNS and our Summers at Waupoos

potato buns and our Summers at WaupoosHi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling Mother of 11, and Grandmelina to 2 1/2!

Our summers wouldn’t be the same without a vacation at Waupoos.  Waupoos Family Farm is a cottage vacation for families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a vacation.  The kids and I have been Host Family for a week these past 10 summers – and we love it!

Because Waupoos gets funding to hire student staff, the Host Family gets lots of time to relax and enjoy their week.  We get to swim in the inground pool, go on wagon rides, enjoy the farm animals, help ourselves to the garden and fresh eggs, sing at the campfire, make arts and crafts, play pool and ping pong, slide and swing, hang out in our cottage, and of course we get to visit with old friends and make new friends.

Besides visiting (lovingly referred to as poolside ministry) and running morning chapel, we also organize games, crafts, movie nights, pancake lunches and baking.

This was one of our recipes that we made together, and enjoyed tremendously.  Hope you enjoy it too!

POTATO BUNS RECIPE (makes approx. 100 buns, adjust recipe as needed)

Mix in a large bowl:

  • 5 cups scalded milk (or warm water)
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes (no liquid added)
  • 1 cup fat (butter or margarine)
  • 1 cup sugar

Let cool to lukewarm, then add:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 Tbsp. quick rise yeast

Let stand for about 20 minutes.

Add:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 11-12 cups additional flour

A little more flour may be needed, but dough should be soft.  Turn out onto a flour dusted cookie sheet, and knead, dusting dough and cookie sheet with more flour as needed, until dough is no longer sticky and is satiny.  Let raise in warm place until doubled in size.

Shape dough into buns and place on greased pans.  Let raise in warm place until almost doubled in size, then bake at 400°F, starting on lower rack and changing to upper rack about halfway through for 15 minutes total of baking time.  After removing from oven, brush tops lightly with melted butter to remove any flour and soften dough.

 

BUTTERSCOTCH CONFETTI

butterscotch-confetti WOLF

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2 1/2!

Another favourite of mine.  So quick and simple, I make ours in the microwave but you could make it in a pot on the stove.  Easy to make with children too!

Enjoy!

BUTTERSCOTCH CONFETTI

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 8 oz. (250g) small coloured marshmallows (bag)

Melt the butter and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 1 minute.  Stir in the butterscotch chips until melted.  Let cool slightly if needed and add the marshmallows.  Stir until marshmallows are completely coated and pour mixture into a greased, foil lined 9×9 inch pan.  Refrigerate.  Cut into 36 squares (or as desired).

MORE DESSERT RECIPES TO TRY:

Coconut macaroons – grain free

Melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies

No bake cheesecake

Spiced doughnuts

COCONUT MACAROONS – grain free

coconut macaroons WOLFHi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2 1/2!

We LOVE coconut.  Some of us are also grain free.  And I love easy and delicious.  So I made some coconut macaroons for my DH and kids today – half to eat now, and half to freeze for Christmas (only 9 days to go!).  We’re getting ready to watch our Santa Claus Parade and enjoy some treats afterwards.

COCONUT MACAROONS

  • 6 cups (200 g x 3) sweetened coconut
  • 1 can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well.  I made balls of the coconut mixture and placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  If you’d rather not get your hands so messy, you can place rounded spoonfuls of the coconut mixture on the parchment lined baking sheets instead.  Bake each batch at 350°F for 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely and remove (I used a metal flipper to facilitate removal).

Want to dress up your macaroons?  Dip the bottoms in melted chocolate.

MORE DESSERTS TO ENJOY:

Melt-in-your-Mouth Shortbread cookies

No Bake Cheesecake

Spiced Doughnuts