Monthly Archives: May 2013

Pioneering Recipe Books


My love affair with old cook books started many years ago. We had bought an older but well taken care of, very clean truck camper. While checking through the cupboards I found this…

Each new chapter explains the history of the pioneers and the diverse ethnic groups that were homesteading in Saskatchewan Canada.

My favorite has to be the Pioneer chapter. They touch on and explain in detail the process of preparing tradition things such as a sourdough starter and recipes for baking with it, curing a ham and making head cheese…. “Have a pig’s head well cleaned, brains, ears, eyes removed and the head cut into four pieces. When cutting up the meat be sure to skin the tongue and only use a small amount of the cheek part. Put in a large kettle…..”
It also includes this bannock recipe that I have been using a lot lately because it cooks up in the fry pan quickly, rather than heating the house to make biscuits.


This primitive sort of bread was introduced into the west by the Selkirk settlers. It has become a favorite of northern fur trappers.

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup shortening (I use butter)

3/4 cup water

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course bread crumbs. Add water and mix quickly to a soft dough. Turn out on floored board, kneed lightly for 30 seconds and pat into a 10 inch round. Cook in lightly greased frypan over medium heat till brown. (about 15 minutes per side) Serve warm. Yeild: 1  10-inch bannock.

Note: I never mess up my counter… just knead quickly in bowl and flatten into pan or make smaller ‘patties’ in your hands for quicker cooking and individual servings.

DSCN5160 I came across these other books at different garage sales. I love that I found a book compiled by the ‘Women’s Auxiliary of the Western Development Museum’. This museum is located in my hometown city in Saskatchewan and is an absolute favorite family outing. We were always sure to go at least once a year and never missed going during the holidays when they have their famous vintage toy display and Christmas trees with homemade old fashioned ornaments. So I was shocked and so excited to have found this treasure, randomly in Alberta.

Boomtown's First Edition Cookbook.

My next favorite is called ‘Buckskin Cookery, the pioneer section. A souvenir cookbook of pioneer recipes donated by old timers and natives of B.C.”  First printing in 1957 from Williams Lake, B.C.

It’s full of recipes and homestead hints.  Here’s a short hint for Clothes Pegs… “Soak the clothes pegs in a strong salt water solution and they will not freeze to the clothes on the line in winter.” And what do you suppose they did before you could buy sterilized potting soil?  “Flower Seeds.  When flower seeds must be started in the house, bake the earth thoroughly in the oven to kill all worms, insect eggs, and weed seeds.” Here’s a cute one… “Love Charm. Carefully dig up any female plant. Talk to it. Call it by name of girl. Dig up male of same plant. Talk to it, and name for man. Plant together. If plants live, couple will fall in love, if plants die, no good.” 🙂

Homestead hints, medicines, Witch doctor....

Homestead hints, medicines, Witch doctor….

This is the best, most interesting and amusing piece of history I’ve ever come across. This will be cherished forever in my home and put to good use as we set up our own homestead.


Scary sewing concepts debunked


Reversible, Lined, Hexagon, Kaleidoscope, Pinwheel  …. Did you cringe as much as I did when I first came across these words used in sewing?!

I have fumbled my way through a few large quilts. They were made from clothes and scrap material. My last two were about salvaging as much of the kids’ baby memorabilia as I could before we moved. I incorporated sleepers, including ones my mom had saved of mine, receiving blankets, maternity clothes I wore with them, memorable dresses/clothes. I even cut up a crocheted baby throw my mom made when she was pregnant with me. Even with all the different textures, somehow I pulled it off. I only wish the seams would have held out a little better.

I have since come to understand the importance of careful cutting, pinning and allowing enough for seams.

I’m not one to follow or take instructions very seriously. Call it what you like, stubbornness, laziness,  excitement to see the finished project, my way of being rebellious. I usually wing it first, fail miserably a few times and either learn from my mistakes or finally with much chagrin, follow the instructions carefully. With some first hand knowledge under my belt, my tail tucked between my legs, I listen intently to the process wishing I’d done just that 3 hours ago :p

My latest endeavour was the Kaleidoscope bag which came with detailed patterned pieces. Lining up the dots would have proven worthwhile because at the end of it all, my four separate pieces didn’t line up properly. I ended up only using two of the pieces side by side, on each side of the bag.


I had taken a free craftsy class awhile back to learn how to make a reversible market bag. There was no way of winging this one. A reversible or lined bag would be a huge undertaking for me. I followed carefully and rewound the video often. I ended up with a bag that was done correctly… if you can look past the fact that one ‘lining’ piece is wrong side out and it can no longer be called reversible. lol Also, the obvious pen marks made by measuring wrong. And not the ideal use of a pen…they don’t wash out. lol

Next up… I’m practising the hexagon. What the heck was I so worried about!? It all makes since once you sit down and do it. Just don’t forget to line up the dots!


Learn to knit a dishcloth



Learn to knit a dishcloth

I was finally able to find the pattern I was wanting to try and thought I would share it. (click on title ‘Learn…dishcloth) As new as I am to knitting, this was easy to follow and made a professional looking cloth.
I was confused to learn that the pattern on the yarn package wasn’t even uniform. I tripled checked that I was following it correctly and could even see that mine turned out looking the same as the picture. Very strange… the decrease did not match the increase. So I am very pleased to have found the pattern I will be using on a regular basis. 

FAIL on this pattern

FAIL on this pattern

Click on image to enlarge and read pattern


UPDATE:: I upped the size of my needles and using the same pattern now have an awesome face/bath cloth; including hanging hook 🙂

Lovin' the purple!

Lovin’ the purple!