Cooking with Kids: Mason Jar Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Beat the lunch-making-blahs with an easy, colourful mason jar salad. Kids will love helping prepare it as much as eating it. And it makes fantastic adult lunches, too!

Cooking with Kids: Mason Jar Salad

Cooking with Meredith

Adding lettuce to the Mason Jar Salad Meredith proud of her mason jar salad

Make up a mason jar salad. It’s:

  • Crunchy. Sweet. Tangy.
  • Got bright fruits. Colourful vegetables.
  • Chunks of chicken or ham.
  • Crunchy bits.
  • Fun to serve.

All the things kids love. Really. They don’t all just want candy and chips for every meal.

Mason Jar Salad Ingredients on a Tray

Set out an array of vibrant ingredients. Let children add a slurp of their favourite salad dressing or this sweet raspberry vinaigrette to a jar, then layer in their own veggie rainbow, along with a few chunks of protein. Top it off with crunchy nuts or seeds.

Pack it into their lunch kit with a plastic plate or bowl, and let them dump it out for a fun lunch they’ve chosen themselves. What a welcome change from sandwiches!

mason jar salad with crunchy pumpkin seeds Just dump out the Mason Jar Salad and eat

If you’re a big kid (which we all are), pack yourself a delicious salad into a quart jar for an adult-sized meal you’ll love just as much. In fact, you can make up several of these mason jar salads on Sunday night and they will keep in the fridge for four to five days for easy work lunches throughout the week.

Or pack up a bunch for a family picnic or road trip.

Meredith and her Mason Jar Salads

The wonderful thing about these salads is that anything goes, really.

They can be totally customized to everyone’s individual tastes or dietary restrictions. You can make a different salad for each day of the week for endless variety. The seal on mason jars keeps the salad fresher than when sealed in plastic (and they don’t absorb flavours like plastic containers do, especially when refrigerated for several days.) Use wide-mouthed mason jars if making the larger sized salads,  for ease of dumping.

There are only a few simple rules for making a great mason jar salad.

  1. Pack the dressing at the bottom (any kind of your favourite dressing – homemade or bottled, creamy or tangy).
  2.  Layer with a couple of hard veggies at the bottom to make a barrier and separate the dressing from the softer ingredients and salad greens.
  3. Place the proteins at the bottom if they are bland and would benefit from being soaked in dressing – like cooked chicken breast or tofu cubes. Place any other protein higher up.
  4. Place the lettuce or other greens second from the top.
  5. Place anything that you want to stay crunchy at the very top.
  6. Seal the jar by adding the canning lid and screwing it finger tight (don’t vacuum seal the jar like for canning!)
  7. Keep the jar upright while refrigerating, to keep the dressing from the soft ingredients. But even if the jar tips while being transported in a lunch bag for a few hours, the lettuce and crunchies won’t get soggy in that amount of time.
  8. Mason jar salad will stay fresh, if refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

* * * * *

Mason Jar Salad on a plate

Scrumpdillyicious Mason Jar Salad

In a pint-sized (500ml) mason jar, pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of your favourite salad dressing or the sweet raspberry vinaigrette recipe below. For a generous adult-sized salad, use a wide-mouthed quart-sized (1 litre) mason jar and adjust the amount of dressing to taste.

Add a few layers of hard vegetables that won’t get mushy from soaking in the dressing – like diced carrots, cucumbers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, sliced celery, defrosted frozen green peas, halved snow peas or sugar snap peas, sliced red or green cabbage, diced bell peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced raw asparagus, sliced canned baby corn cobs, cooked corn kernels, sliced mushrooms, avocado cubes tossed in lemon juice, diced or sliced radishes, green onions, diced raw beets, blanched green beans, sliced black olives, etc.

Add a layer of protein – like cubed cooked chicken or beef, diced ham, diced slices of salami or other cold cuts, cooked shrimp, diced tofu, crumbled or shredded cheese of any kind, chopped or sliced boiled eggs, curds of cooked scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, etc.

Add an optional layer of cooked pasta, or other grains (like rice or quinoa), cooked or canned beans, diced cooked potatoes, if you like.

Add an optional layer of fruit  like blueberries, diced strawberries, halved grapes, canned mandarin orange segments, diced pineapple, raisins, dried cranberries, etc.

Near the top of the jar, add a layer of greens like baby spinach, shredded iceberg lettuce, or other spring greens.

Lastly, add a layer of something crunchy like nuts of any kind, raw or roasted & salted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, bacon bits, croutons, crumbled tortilla chips, tiny fish crackers, etc.

Add the jar lid and ring and screw it closed. Refrigerate upright until you pack it into a lunch bag. Can be kept at room temperature in the lunch bag for several hours until serving time.

To eat, dump the contents of the jar into a bowl. (You can eat the salad out of the jar, but it is a little bit awkward.)

Refrigerate sealed mason jar salads for up to 5 days.

* * * * *

Sweet Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • ½ cup (120ml) grapeseed oil or other mild-flavoured oil
  • ¼ cup (60ml) white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) seedless raspberry jam (purchase seedless, or push regular seeded raspberry jam through a seive)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Place all ingredients in a jar. Seal with a lid and shake vigorously. Or place in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

Makes a scant 1 cup (235ml).

Guten Appetit!

If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

For more fun cooking projects to make with kids, see the ‘Cooking With Kids’ series here.

You might also like:

Our Family’s Favourite Apple Cider Vinaigrette

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Green Salad with Spruce Tips

Tips and Tricks for making a fantastic MASON JAR SALAD

Posted in Cooking with Kids, Salads & Dressings | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spicy Zucchini Salsa

Make up a big batch of this zesty, spicy zucchini salsa to use the glut of zucchinis overflowing your garden, and you can enjoy the harvest bounty all winter long.

can a big batch of zucchini salsa

The Zucchini Monster has struck again! He comes in the night and turns those nice little banana-sized zucchinis into baby blimps ready to take over the world (or at least the kitchen).

huge zucchini plant produces zucchinis for zucchini salsa

look at the size of that zucchini plant compared to Pippa!

pail of zucchinis for zucchini salsa

hmmm, what are these strange objects? kitten curiosity

I think I’ve picked them all, then I miss a day (just one day) of checking those monstrous zucchini plants (they’re up to my waist) and there they are, hiding under the leaves – massive zucchinis  the weight of a watermelon, leering at me! There’s nothing to do but make zucchini fritters, and pie, and zucchini salad, and this spicy zucchini salsa to tame those green beasts.

Zucchini Salsa on a Corn Chip

We go through a lot of salsa in our home – Andreas can eat a jar in one sitting by himself – so it was time to make my own. I found a zucchini salsa recipe online to use as a starting point, then tweaked it til it was just right for us. I added spices and lime juice, and reduced the sugar drastically since we don’t like a sweet salsa – it needs to be zesty and bright and have a good hit of heat (for everyone but me – I am a wimp). The combination of seasoning and intense chili-pepper-kick complement the fresh flavours of this zucchini, tomato, onion, and pepper mixture. The salsa is nice and thick and perfect for dipping generously onto tortilla chips or plopping onto nachos and layered dips.

Zucchini Salsa in a sea of chips

The men in this household both gave it a two-thumbs-up for flavour and spiciness. Raymond gobbled up a bowl of the zucchini salsa with tortilla chips, then commented that it was the best salsa he’s eaten because he could just feel the burn leaving his mouth five minutes later as he was out mowing the lawn. I guess that’s a good thing.

Dip into some Zucchini Salsa

As for me, I made myself a special batch with half the heat level (*see below) and found it just right. (Although I seem to be able to gobble up quite a bit of the spicy batch when I have a margarita in hand!)

zucchini and mom's wimpy zucchini salsa

can’t have the boys tucking into my stash by mistake

With five huge zucchini plants in our garden there’s no chance of running out of green zucchini monsters to chop up for a bit of zesty deliciousness to snack on all winter long.

* * * * *

veggies for zucchini salsa

chopping bell peppers for zucchini salsa potful of zucchini salsa canning zucchini salsa - filling the jars

Kitchen Frau Notes: I find the salsa has the best texture when you finely chop the zucchini in the food processor, then chop half the onions and peppers in the food processor and dice the other half by hand to get a good proportion of larger chunks to finer bits.

Use fresh lime juice if you have it, but if not, the bottled lime juice made from concentrate works just as well. In a pinch, you can substitute the lime juice with lemon juice or 1 additional cup white vinegar.

This is a thick chunky salsa. If you’d like it more runny: after cooking, thin it with tomato juice or water to the consistency you’d like, then cook a few more minutes.

Let the chopped vegetables soak in salt overnight so the excess moisture is drawn out. Overnight usually means 8 – 12 hours, though I’ve had it sit for 18 hours before I got to finishing it, and the salsa still turned out great.

*Note: This recipe produces a medium spicy salsa with a good burn. For a mild salsa, use half the amounts of red pepper flakes, dry mustard, and black pepper. For a hotter salsa, increase the chili flakes or add a handful of chopped jalapeño peppers along with the bell peppers.

jars of zucchini salsa

Spicy Zucchini Salsa

adapted from this recipe online

  • 12 cups (1.65kg/3lbs+10oz) finely chopped zucchini (easily done in the food processor)
  • 4 medium onions
  • 2 large green bell peppers
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup pickling salt


  • 6 cups (1.5kg/3¼lbs) chopped, peeled tomatoes (*see how below)
  • 2 cans (156ml/5.5oz each) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes/chili flakes/crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) honey (or 3 tablespoons sugar)
  • 1 cup (240ml) white vinegar
  • 1 cup (240ml) lime juice, fresh or bottled (about 8 juicy limes)

The food processor works best for chopping the zucchini finely. Just make sure not to process so long that it turns to mush! Process the zucchini in 3 or 4 batches. Dump the chopped zucchini into a LARGE plastic, glass, or enamel bowl or pot. (Warning – I have had a salt solution eat a small hole into a stainless steel bowl, so I wouldn’t recommend using that.)

After chopping the zucchini, don’t wash the food processor canister, but chop two of the onions in it. Dice the remaining two onions finely by hand, and add all the onions to the zucchini bowl.

Then cut an inch (2.5cm) from the bottom and top of each bell pepper. Remove the cores and seeds. Finely chop the tops and bottoms of the bell peppers in the food processor. Cut the walls of the peppers into ¼ inch (.5cm) wide strips, then cut the strips crosswise to form ¼ inch dice. Add all the chopped and diced peppers to the zucchini.

Add the minced garlic and the ¼ cup pickling salt the the zucchini, and stir until the salt and vegetables are well mixed. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean tea towel, and let sit on the counter overnight (8 – 12 hours) so the salt can extract all the excess juices out of the vegetables.

The next day, drain the vegetables through a large colander or strainer. Rinse the bowl and return the vegetables to the bowl. Cover with cold water, stir, then drain again. Place the colander with the draining vegetables over a bowl, and leave to drain for ½ hour. Discard the draining liquid.

While the vegetables are draining, prepare the tomatoes.

*To peel the tomatoes, cut a small ‘x’ through the skin on the bottom of each tomato, then drop them into a pot of boiling water, in batches. After 1 minute, remove the tomatoes from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place them immediately into a bowl of ice water. The peels will come off easily. Dice the tomatoes into ½ inch chunks.

Place the chopped tomatoes and all the remaining ingredients into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Add the drained vegetables.

Bring to a full boil (one you can’t stir down), then reduce the heat to medium and cook the mixture, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring often.

Ladle the hot zucchini salsa into sterilized pint canning jars. Wipe the rims with a clean cloth, top with the hot, sterilized snap lids, screw on the lid rings so they are only finger tight.

Then process the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes.

How to process: Set the jars into a canner with a rack or into a large stock pot with a clean dishcloth in the bottom. Put in only as many as will fit easily. You may need to do several batches. Pour hot water into the pot until it comes just up to the bottom of the screw rings on the jars. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot, and turn the heat down a bit so the jars continue to boil vigourously but don’t boil over. Boil them for 15 minutes. Then remove the jars with canning tongs and set them onto a towel on the counter. Don’t disturb them until they are completely cool. Check the seals: if the jar lids have been sucked down so they don’t move when you press a finger into the center of them, the jars are sealed. If the lids are still slightly bulged upward and you can move them up and down when you press with a finger, they didn’t seal and should be stored in the fridge to use up within the next month or two.

Tighten the rings on the sealed jars and store them in a cool dark place for several years.

Makes 9 or 10 pints.

Guten Appetit!

If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

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Magic Method for Easy Never-Fail Dill Pickles

Simple Canned Tomatoes

Pickled Beets

Sweet and Spicy Apple Butter

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guarding the zucchinis for salsa

Hey . . . stop that! I’m guarding the zucchinis!

Posted in Canadian Food, Canning & Preserving, Condiments & Sauces, Vegetables | 8 Comments

No-Bake Cherry Coconut Bars – a Delightful Use for Evans Cherries

Tangy, creamy, chocolate-covered and bursting with fruit flavour, no-bake Sour Cherry Bars are a decadent treat and a great way to use tart,  juicy Evans cherries. (Plus you’d never guess they’re made with healthy ingredients!)

Coconut & Evans Cherries Bars on pedestal plate

Every year I play Russian roulette with our Evans cherries – waiting as long as I possibly can to leave them on the trees so they get maximum sweetness, but not so long that the wasps discover them and start fighting me for those tart-sweet juicy orbs. The cherries are usually even sweeter after that first light frost, but not this year.

Evans Cherries Bars - Juicy Fruit Close up Evans Cherries Tree Loaded with Fruits

Everything has ripened so much earlier everywhere. Forests started turning yellow at least two weeks before they usually do – we saw our first yellowish leaves at the beginning of August – egads! What is that? Tomatoes and peppers have been ripening on the vine. Peas and lettuces were finished their season by the end of July. This year we were eating asparagus a whole month earlier than ever before – by the beginning of May!

If I wait for the frost to sweeten the cherries, the wasps will have polished off the whole crop – getting drunkenly lazy as they stumble amongst the clusters of fruit, eating big chunky holes into them and laying in wait to sting fingers as we try to pick any remaining cherries they haven’t attacked.

So we’ve been in cherry picking mode around here – Raymond’s been roped in to pick a pailful or two whenever I can nab him. The kittens usually rush out to help, too . . .

Picking Evans cherries for Sour Cherry Bars our kitten loves helping pick Evans cherries

We’ve been pitting them and freezing them and dehydrating them (they’re wonderfully tart substitutes for raisins and great for nibbling) and making cherry cordial and batches and batches of these wonderful Coconut and Evans Cherries Bars. I tell ya – they get gobbled up as fast as I can make them. I’ve made them for family, taken platefuls to pot lucks and given them to friends. The raves I get send me back to whip up another batch.

If you have a frozen stash of sour Evans Cherries – make sure to save some for these bars.

Mmm, coconut & Evans Cherries Bars

I’ve adapted my prize-winning No-Bake Coco-Lassies bars to morph into this fresh and fruity version. You don’t even have to turn on your oven. The tart cherry and coconut filling is creamy and rich with coconut oil, sandwiched between layers of deep dark chocolate. Oh my. ‘Tis a match made in Decadent Dessert Heaven.

Evans Cherries Coconut Bars, chocolate base

Evans Cherries for Cherry Coconut Bars

Evans Cherries Coconut Bars, filling Evans Cherries Coconut Bars, smoothing the filling

Evans Cherries Coconut Bars, pouring on top layer of chocolate

Evans Cherries Coconut Bars, chocolate topping

The best part is – though these bars look like they should be super sweet and trashy – they’re actually just a bunch of healthy ingredients stirred together with a touch of honey. Coconut oil is totally good for you in so many ways. Sour cherries are loaded with natural anti-inflammatory properties, and even honey and dark chocolate are good for you.

Hey, I think that classifies these bars as almost a health food.

 * * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Evans cherries are very juicy and fragile, so it’s best to use them shortly after picking or freeze them for future use. (See an easy method to pit and freeze them here.) The frozen fruits are wonderful added to smoothies, fruit crisps, and made into sour cherry pie.

Coconut oil is the binding agent for the filling, so these bars are best kept refrigerated since coconut oil melts at about 24°C (just 3 degrees warmer than room temperature). Let the bars come to room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving them so they are at their creamy best.

plate of Coconut & Evans Cherries Bars

Coconut & Sour Cherry Bars (with Evans Cherries)

gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free

  • 1¼ cups (240gms) chocolate chips, divided (dairy-free if necessary)
  • 300 grams (10½ ounces) fresh or frozen pitted Evans cherries or other sour cherries (1¾ cups pitted fresh cherries or 2 cups pitted frozen cherries)
  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) honey (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (275gms) unsweetened fine shredded coconut (or medium shredded coconut ground fine in the food processor)
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) virgin coconut oil + 1 tablespoon for top layer
  • 2 tablespoons long shredded coconut for garnish

Line a 9×9 inch (23x23cm) pan with a parchment paper sling that sticks up on each end by about an inch. Crease the paper along the inside bottom edges so it sits flat in the pan. You can clip the paper to the sides of the pan by using bulldog clips.

Melt half of the chocolate chips (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) in the microwave (1 minute on high, then stir till the last bits are melted) or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Put a small dab of chocolate under the parchment paper in each corner of the pan to help keep it from sliding around. Spread the melted chocolate over the paper in the bottom of the pan – an offset spatula works best for this. Allow it to harden – 15 minutes in the fridge or longer at room temperature. *Don’t wash the dish the chocolate was melted in – add the remaining chocolate chips to it and set it aside to melt again later when you add the final layer to the bars.

In a large saucepan, combine the fresh or frozen sour cherries, honey, and salt. Heat over medium heat just until the cherries come to a simmer. Add the coconut and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly, until the sweet cherry liquid has all been absorbed into the coconut. Evans cherries are so thin-skinned and juicy that they will naturally break into smaller bits as you stir them together with the coconut. (If using a firmer variety of sour cherry, you may have to chop them first or mash them with the spoon as you stir.)

Add the vanilla and the coconut oil and cook and stir until the coconut oil has melted and coats all the coconut flakes, about one more minute.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and scrape the cherry-coconut filling on top of the hardened chocolate. Press it evenly and smoothly into the pan with a silicone spatula. Allow to harden, about ½ hour in the fridge or longer at room temperature.

Melt the remaining half of the chocolate chips together with the 1 tablespoon coconut oil and spread this over the hardened filling. Sprinkle the long-thread coconut evenly over the top.

When the top layer has hardened, run a knife down the sides of the pan that don’t have the paper sling. Lift the slab of Salted Coco-Lasses from the pan by pulling up on the paper flaps. Place it on a cutting board and cut the slab into 24 small bars (4 rows of 6 bars) or 16 larger squares.

Store the Coconut & Sour Cherry bars in a covered container in the fridge – they will keep for several weeks. Remove from the fridge at least 15 minutes before serving to bring them to room temperature.

The bars also freeze well.

Makes 16 to 24 bars.

Guten Appetit!

If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

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pan of Coconut & Evans Cherries Bars

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies & Candy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cooking with Kids – ‘Pigs in Pillows’

A spoof on ‘Pigs in Blankets’, this variation uses slices of sausages wrapped in little pillows of corn dough and fried – a favourite with kids and easy for them to help make.

Cooking with Kids: Pigs in Pillows

Cooking with Meredith

Kids love eating ‘Pigs in Blankets’ – those little sausages rolled in biscuit dough – so Meredith and I came up with an easy version of squat little sausage slices wrapped up in pillows of soft tortilla dough fried until crispy on the outsides. So simple and satisfyingly crunchy.

Cooking with Kids: Pigs in Pillows, Pippa wants one, too

Pippa wants one, too. Should I give it to her?

Tortilla dough is very easy to make – just mix warm water with masa corn flour until you have a soft dough – kind of like the consistency of playdough. Then form it around a slice of sausage and shallow-fry it in oil in a skillet until crispy and golden.

Masa flour/masa harina is actually corn flour that has been nixtamalized – a process where the corn is soaked in calcium hydroxide (simply the dust that results from scraping limestone rock) or wood ash, which not only removes the tough outer hull of the corn kernel, but unlocks many nutrients in the corn – increasing protein quality, increasing calcium, zinc, potassium, and magnesium, making B vitamins, especially niacin/B3, more available, and reducing phytic acid and mycotoxins. (Don’t worry – the corn is rinsed after soaking.)

In addition to the health benefits, the nixtamalization process makes the corn flour malleable and sticky so it holds together beautifully as a dough for making tortillas and other kinds of Mexican foods (like tamales, sopes, empanadas, and gorditas.) I have loved using masa flour for tortillas and all types of doughy delicious dishes since my last trip to Mexico.

Cooking with Kids: bag of Maseca Corn Flour for Pigs in Pillows

This is one variety of masa corn flour, available in supermarkets here

Meredith and I played around with making our own dipping sauces. We mixed up a honey mustard sauce by stirring prepared yellow mustard, dijon mustard, and honey into mayonnaise to taste. Yum.

We mixed barbecue sauce with applesauce for a mild sweet BBQ sauce. Yum.

We tried stirring barbecue sauce into mayonnaise – unappetizing brown colour, but tasted good.

Cooking with Kids: Pigs in Pillows with 3 Dipping Sauces

Cooking with Kids: Pigs in Pillows with dipping sauces

These kinds of pillows provide just the right amount of comfort and crunch.

* * * * *


Cooking with Kids: Pigs in Pillows & Dipping Sauce

Pigs in Pillows

  • a 4 to 6 inch (10-15cm) piece of your favourite smoked sausage (like kielbasa, smokies, garlic sausage, etc.), gluten-free if necessary
  • 2 cups masa corn flour (masa harina or maseca)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 2 or 3 tablespoons (270-285ml) warm water
  • oil for frying, like grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, coconut oil, or vegetable oil

Cut the sausage into twelve 1/3 inch (8mm) thick slices.

Cooking with Kids: Slicing Sausages Cooking with Kids: making the masa dough

Place the masa corn flour and salt into a bowl. Pour in 1 cup warm water. Mix until moistened. If the dough is dry, add 2 to 3 more tablespoons water, one tablespoon at a time, until you have a soft, pliable dough.

Pinch off a golf-ball sized ball of dough. Roll it into a smooth ball, flatten it slightly, then press one of the sausage slices into the top.

Cooking with Kids: make a masa dough ball Cooking with Kids: Press the

With your fingers, pinch up the dough all around the edges and bring it over the top of the sausage and pinch it to totally enclose the sausage slice. Pat it into a smooth rounded disk, making sure the sausage doesn’t poke out anywhere.

Cooking with Kids: Pigs in Pillows, enclosing sausage in dough Cooking with Kids: Pigs in Pillows ready to fry

Continue until all 12 pieces of sausage are covered.

Place a skillet on a burner. Pour in oil to ¼ to ½ inch (6-12 mm) deep, so it comes about halfway up the sides of the ‘pillows’. Heat the oil until hot over medium-high heat. Gently place six of the corn flour disks into the oil. Fry until golden, then turn over carefully with tongs or two forks and fry the other side until golden. Lay on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Repeat with the remaining sausage pillows.

Serve warm with your favourite dipping sauce*.

Makes 12 Pigs in Pillows.


*Dipping Sauces

Curry: ¼ cup (60ml) ketchup, ¼ cup (60ml) applesauce, ½ teaspoon curry powder

Honey-Mustard: ¼ cup (60ml) mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey

Creamy BBQ: Mix mayonnaise and your favourite barbecue sauce to taste

Guten Appetit!


If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

For more fun cooking projects to make with kids, see the ‘Cooking With Kids’ series here.

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Posted in Condiments & Sauces, Cooking with Kids, Meats, Pancakes, Crepes & Fritters | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Pimm’s Cup Cocktail (lightened-up version) – the Perfect Sip for a Day of Sailing

Pimm’s Cup is a classic British cocktail that livens up any summer gathering – a herby libation all dressed up with citrus, mint, and cucumber. This version’s lighter on the sugar so it’s even more refreshing.

lightened up Pimm's Cup Cocktail

Like I’ve said before, I’m so lucky to have friends who own a sailboat. Last week, I got to be a teenager again and have a sleepover on the boat with my friend, Sabine. It feels like playing hooky to pack up a cooler and head off for a girls’ night on her sailboat.

When I’m near boats or water, I feel happy in my soul. And flying over the water in a sailboat is just the best part of all that. Earlier this summer we spent a day with our friends on their sailboat at Wabamun Lake. The wind was fantastic – it’s usually our rotten luck to have a super calm day when we head out for a sail with them, but this time our luck changed. It’s so exhilarating to be skimming the waves with the boat tilting to almost touch the water on the sides!

Pimm's Cup Cocktail and Sailing

hello from the ‘Windchime’ – skipper Ian ‘hanging out’ at the bow of the boat, Raymond at the tiller, and Sabine (in pink) and I being lazy first mates

However, last week it was just us girls hanging out at the boat – reading our books, gabbing, eating good food, and bedding down for the night with the gentle rocking of the boat to lull us to sleep.

Pimm's Cup, heading out to the boat Pimm's Cup, Lazing at the Sailboat dinner & Pimm's Cup Cocktail on the sailboat Pimm's Cup, dusk at the sailboat

In the morning we hopped into kayaks to paddle around the bay and explore a peaceful little tributary hidden amongst the reeds.

IMG_6989b Pimm's Cup, two kayaks IMG_6971b

When we were out sailing with them last time, Sabine made us a big pitcher of Pimm’s Cup cocktails to have before dinner. That was the first time I’d tasted them, and I loved the herbal flavour – a wonderful summer drink infused with mint and cucumber, lemon & orange slices. This classic British drink is served at all kinds of summer parties and events in the UK. In fact, over 175,000 glasses of Pimm’s are served at Wimbledon every year!

Add-ins for Pimm's Cup cocktail

Pimm’s #1 is a gin-based infusion of herbs, spices, fruit juices and liqueur. When mixed with sparkling lemonade or soda and fruit slices, it’s called Pimm’s Cup. Sabine and I both found the drink to be quite sweet, so on our girls’ night we tried it with plain club soda instead – but then it was too bland and bitter. After another attempt, this time with half soda and half carbonated water, it was – in the words of Goldilocks – juuuuuuuuuust right.

a toast with Pimm's Cup cocktails

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: The classic Pimm’s Cup cocktail is made with 1 part Pimm’s to 2 parts lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. In this lightened-up version I’ve replaced half of the soda with sparkling water, so the sugar is reduced a bit and the flavour is less sweet.

Whenever I’m using the peel of citrus fruits like these slices, I try to use organic ones if I can find them, since chemical sprays are concentrated in the peels.

Pimm's Cup with citrus, cucumber & mint

Pimm’s Cup Cocktail – Lightened Up and Just Right

  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 slice of orange
  • 2 or 3 slices of cucumber
  • 5 or 6 mint leaves
  • ice cubes
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup/60ml) Pimm’s Nº1
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup/60ml) lemon-lime soda (like Sprite or 7-Up) or ginger ale
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup/60ml) sparkling water or club soda

In a tall glass, place the lemon, orange, cucumber, and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon or a muddler, gently bruise the fruit and leaves to release some of their flavours.

Fill the glass with ice cubes, and pour over the Pimm’s, lemon-lime soda, and sparkling water. Stir gently.

Makes 1 cocktail.

*Note: To make a pitcher of cocktails, slice 1 lemon, 1 orange, and ½ cucumber into a pitcher. Add a large handful of mint leaves. Muddle gently. Add ice. Pour in enough Pimm’s, soda, and sparkling water in a 1:1:1 ratio to fill the pitcher. Stir.


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