Liz & Joe’s

This goes back to when I was a kid.  Way, way back.  I was about six years old.  So, we are looking at about 50 years back.  I don’t know if either of my brothers will remember this, but I can remember this day like it was just yesterday, the smells and WONDERFUL taste of Elizabeth’s soup.

Liz and her husband Joe had a very tiny cottage like, outdated, very old restaurant on the top of the hill at Booth’s Harbour where my parents had a small boat and we had just put in our very old brand new to us, cottage!  Our ‘cottage’ was an old school bus that my parents found.  They working together gutted it, painted it, put in major bunk beds on both ends with cots and it was our escape for many years to come down by the water on Lake Erie.

One spring day, when there was bits of dirty snow on the sides of the road, my family, mom, dad, brothers Mark and Randy must have gone to the lake to check our brand new very old cottage.  For supper, we went to Liz & Joe’s, as the hand painted little sign said. My thinking is that this was a Hungarian couple.  They still had thick accents…  I remember walking into this dank little restaurant and the smell of cooking cabbage and savoury hunker down goodness just hit my nose and I’m sure I was drooling.  As a child I loved soup, stews all vegetables and meat and potatoes.  Much unlike both my brothers.  The lady with the brown grey streaked hair had a very large pot on the stove.  They had home made bread.  I don’t think there was a great menu choice, but they did have a grill.

Liz trotted over to the little table we all sat at, I think there was only maybe four tables in all and a little bar counter with swirly round seats.  She pretty much told us what we were going to get.  My brother Randy kicked up his heels.  I won’t eat that!  So Liz told him..’what’s the matter with you, no wonder you are so skinny!’  Joe yelled, ‘it’s okay, I make you a hamburger, you eat hamburgers?’  And, with that Randy was happy.

To this day, I remember that bowl of thick, thick soup, this ‘everything left over’ soup and that huge chunk of bread dripping with real butter and to this day, it still ranks up there with the best meal I’ve every had.

Today, I cleaned out my freezer, refrigerator and added a few ‘things’ and thought of Elizabeth and Joe.  As the day goes on, this soup will change as I try to get that wonderful flavour Elizabeth brought to my forever memory.  I will add the starch, either potato or pasta later in the day and it will thicken as the day goes by….




For most of us, this time of year and we are turning ourselves inside out trying to make things nice for Christmas.  The cooking, the shopping, the planning, wrapping, cleaning….painting….(yes we just painted and papered the living room)…on top of your regular work and it’s not a far stretch to get overwhelmed.

We don’t want to resort to feeding our family expensive processed food, or CRAP for short, yet we need meals to be quick and easy.

Tonight, after shopping and doing what has to get done, I did a home made sloppy Joe’s and fries.  So much better than the canned stuff.  You do have to simmer it a bit and stir a bit, but other than that, easy-peasy.




1.5 cups water, divided

1 lb of lean ground beef

1/2 bell pepper (green, yellow, orange, red ~doesn’t matter) chopped.

1/2 medium sized onion chopped

3/4 cups ketchup

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

2 tbsp garlic powder (heaping if you love garlic)

1 tbsp onion powder (don’t have to have this, but it’s nice if you do)

1 tsp Dijon mustard (if you don’t have dijon any mustard will do)

dash Worcestershire

1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/8th tsp cayenne (or more depending on your taste for heat)

Okay, here goes:

Saute your onion and bell pepper in some butter in a fry pan until the onion starts to get a a bit soft.

Add the hamburger and work with a fork until there are no big lumps.  Brown this up a bit.  Add half the water.  Stir it well.  Let it simmer a few moments.

In a bowl combine all the other ingredients.  All of them.  Make sure you don’t miss any.  Mix them up well, including the other half of water.

Stir this into your fry pan with the meat mixture.

Simmer, not boil all of this on a medium low heat stirring occasionally.  Simmer roughly about 30 – 40 minutes until it’s nice and thick like in the picture.  Taste and adjust your salt, pepper and cayenne. (some like it hot, some not)

Toast your buns during this time.

We have this with french fries.  I have a deep fryer but you can oven cook your fries or make home fries in a fry pan or have soup with this.  Or a beer and nothing else.  Depending on your mood and needs.

Trust me, this is delicious.



Belgian Endive (witlof) Casserole ~with zing!

Good morning my friends!  Welcome to my blog.  Today I want to share with you a recipe that I found on line, I’ve read a few versions of this wonderful dish and wanted to offer you my own variation.



2 lbs of potatoes peeled

2 heaping tbsp of Dijon mustard

1/4 cup cream

1/4 butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

6 medium Belgian Endive (witlof)

6 larges slices of black forest ham (if your slices are very thin double)

2 to 3 cups of shredded gouda cheese, or white cheddar cheese, or a mix of Monterrey jack, cheddar and some mozzarella.  I’ve used a few versions now and all are very nice.  I also like cheese so I go the three cups.

Method: (easy)

Boil your potatoes until fork tender.

While they are boiling, wash your endive, and cut them from top to bottom into 4 quarters.  Take out the nasty core.

Scoop potatoes out of water and put into a bowl.

Toss your quartered Endive into the hot boiling potato water.  Bring back to boil and boil them for 3 minutes.  Remove from water to a colander and let drain.

Now, add to the potatoes the Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, cream and butter and mash well.

Now line the bottom of an 8 by 10 baking dish (or close to that size) with the mashed potato mixture.

Next, on top of the potato mixture place your ham slices until all of the potato is covered.

Then, in a single layer place your belgian endive quarters.

Then on top of that put your lovely cheese.

Bake at 400 F for about 1/2 hour or until cheese is bubbly and browning a bit.

You and your family will love it.

Oma’s Crackle Chicken (a new spin)

This one is so delicious I have to share!!!  


Dry Rub ingredients:

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup Hungarian paprika (not hot!)

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. onion powder

1 tbsp (heaping) garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 tsp cumin

Other ingredients:

Sprigs of fresh thyme, oregano, sage.

Three cloves of garlic smashed

One onion quartered

One cut up celery stock

2 healthy tbsps of butter

One can of ginger ale.  (yup, so much better than beer)

~preheat your oven to 425 F.

Take all of the above dry rub ingredients and mix well together.  I use my hands and try to really infuse them together, the sugar helps this.

Next, take your chicken, about a 5 lb or more bird and rinse well and pat dry.  Tie the wings straight down the back. In the ‘other ingredients’, put everything except the butter and can of ginger ale inside the bird’s cavity.  Put the chicken over your can of half full ginger ale.  If you don’t have a way to affix this so it will say upright, that’s okay.  Make sure you have a rack in your roasting pan and pour the entire can of ginger ale in the bottom.  Now, tie the legs together. Gently lift small areas of the skin over the breast and legs and put in your butter. I use a small tablespoon to do this. Make sure you put the skin back and keep as much skin on as you can as it’s key to a tender meat.   Take your time and really rub and pat the dry rub into and onto your bird.  Patting it in place will help make it stick.

Carefully put your chicken in the hot oven.  Set timer for 25 minutes.  When timer goes, turn heat down to 225.  Slow roast her as long as you want.  I left my bird in for a few hours.  Check the temperature.  If you’ve hit the 165 mark testing inside the thighs and breast (take temperature in several areas to be sure) then turn your heat down to 200 and just let it go.

My husband and son raved about this chicken.  It’s a new variation of my old crackle chicken and they absolutely loved it.

Feel free to ask any questions…hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  Thanks for stopping by.



Although I can all through the year, this is the time where it can become all consuming and a full time job.  If you aren’t in the throws of doing it, you are thinking about it and making plans.

Last week I finished stocking up my beef and chicken broths to make sure I had it on hand and now I’m going full tilt into the fresh local offerings and of course from our own garden.  If I can’t can it, I freeze it.

So far I’ve got my strawberry jam done for the year and I just finished two batches of blueberry.  I have three ten pound buckets of local cherries on order.  1/3 will become jam, 1/3 will become pie filling and the final third will be canned in alight syrup to be eaten straight out of the jar.

As I move through my canning I promise I will post and make pictures, even videos.  I am learning this new software for my blog…so be patient with me.  Old dogs can learn new tricks, but just a bit slower at times.

Blueberry JamFresh blueberry jam.  Enough for the entire year.

I try to keep my canning and freezing to what we will use for the year.  This year I did pretty good.  I just ran out of green beans, I have one jar of corn left and only six quarts of tomatoes left.  As a scratch cooker having only six jars of tomatoes is very little.

I use only safe recipes for my canning.  Tested recipes and have learned that some things can be varied for personal taste, like with spices and flavourings of broths but that’s about it.  You have to stay true to the tested recipe and method to keep your family and loved ones safe.  I know that your grannies did it one way and ‘nobody died’ (as far as you know) but why take the chance.  Botulism kills.  When I was a child, I used to ride in my parents car laying in the back window.  Nobody died, well at least not in my family.  Today you wouldn’t even think of letting a child ride like that.  It’s the same with canning.  I don’t like vomiting.  I don’t like diarrhea.  And, I certainly do not want to kill anyone from botulism.  Tested, safe recipes are the way to go.  Bernardin, Ball or NCHFP (National Center for Home Preserving).

Stay safe and stay tuned.  Thank you so much for checking out my blog.  ~Leasa

New Laptop, new format, OH MY!

Well today I finally bit the bullet and decided to use this laptop to publish to my blog.  I miss the easy format that was built into my old laptop.  But this doesn’t seem too bad.  I’ll get used to it, I always do.

Today I started a new beef bone roast, half will end up as plain rich broth and the other half will be for canned onion soup.  Should be ready for the Pressure Canner on Monday or Tuesday, depending how nicely the colour comes along and richness.  Should be Monday, as I did add two shank steaks to the group and lots of marrow bones.

I’ll keep this one short as I still have to figure out how to put images into the text area here.  Ummmm.  I feel challenged.11011005_10153764690355616_8291036938378817270_n

I’ll keep you posted on the bone progress….

Thanks for visiting and your patience.