Fried Bannock Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Directions

  1. Measure flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir to mix. Pour melted butter and water over flour mixture. Stir with fork to make a ball.
  2. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead gently about 10 times. Pat into a flat circle 3/4 to 1 inch thick.
  3. Cook in a greased frying pan over medium heat, allowing about 15 minutes for each side. Use two lifters for easy turning. May also be baked on a greased baking sheet at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes.

How to Make the Best Hamburger Ever

Ingredients

Quick special sauce:

  • 1/4 cup each of mayo, yellow mustard, maple and ketchup
  • Zest and juice of one small orange and lime
  • ¼ cup pickled jalapeño
  • A splash of sherry vinegar

Burgers:

  • 2 lb ground boneless chuck
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • ½ lb ground bacon
  • 1 tsp each onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp dried shitake powder
  • ¼ c Worcestershire sauce

Garnish:

  • American cheese
  • Butter pickles
  • Potato Rolls

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients for sauce. Set aside until ready to assemble.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine meat and then fold in spices, shitake powder and Worcestershire sauce. Divide into thin patties.
  3. Cook patties over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet or griddle top. Layer 2 patties with a slice of cheese between them.
  4. Top with shaved onion and bread and butter pickles. Serve on a potato roll burger.

Mark is 16 today

16 years ago today Mark was born.  Today we are celebrating another time the earth has circled the sun and Mark hasn’t been tossed off.

Mark Cooper turning 16

For his birthday, we gave him a new hiking backpack.

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and a pair of Pentax UP 8×21 black binoculars.

Pentax UP 8x21 black binoculars

They are the same kind that the boys got me for Mother’s Day and are perfect for hiking and a a Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan knife.

Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan knife

and a pair of Sennheiser HD 202 II headphones.

Sennheiser HD 202 II headphones

We also got him a front pocket wallet from Cabelas.  Jordon has one and loves it and so we got Mark one.

After work today, we are taking him to Mr. Mikes Steakhouse Casual and then this Sunday, we are taking both Oliver and Marley for their first long hike in Prince Albert National Park to the Spruce River Highlands.  It is going to be a 8.5 km hike into the backcountry and back near Anglin Lake.  Hopefully we make it back in one piece.

Back in the day turning 16 meant that you could get your drivers license.  Mark is in drivers education this year and under new rules, he has to pass his drivers education and then have a clean drivers record for 9 months and then he gets his driver’s license.  I guess that mean’s that the sidewalks are safe for another couple of months.

That was quick

I don’t know what happened but Mark grew up.  It doesn’t seem like 16 years yet but on Friday he went for his first job interview and got a job working in the produce department at Safeway.  He’ll be working weekends and a couple of evenings a week.

Like most of us, he was horrified of his first interview and didn’t think he did that well.  As someone I know told me, you bring most of our self-doubt along to the interview so no wonder you think you did so poorly.  So in between then and now we have been busy getting his banking information, a Social Insurance Number and preparing him for what will be a bit of a learning curve.  That being said, he’ll do fine.

He’s so nervous about the rest of his life.  He wants to travel but doesn’t know where to begin.  Today Jordon broke it down for him and helped him plan some trips for the summer after high school if he saves up enough money. 

We are travelling this summer and next summer.  When he is 18, we are driving out to Vancouver/Victoria for his birthday and then later that summer, heading to Yellowstone.  He is making some other plans with Jordon.

I can’t believe he is almost an adult.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Kung Pao Chicken RecipeSkip the take out and try serving this classic, spicy stir-fry over whole-wheat or plain pasta.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups peanut oil
  • 6 dried red chilies
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted peanuts
  • 6 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup  rice wine or dry sherry
  • 5 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black rice vinegar

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, egg whites, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch. Mix well.
  2. Place a large wok over high heat until hot. Add peanut oil. When oil is very hot, remove wok from heat and immediately add chicken pieces, stirring to keep them from sticking. When the pieces are white on all sides, after 2 to 3 minutes, drain them and all the oil through a stainless-steel colander in a heatproof bowl. Reserve 5 tablespoons of the oil, and discard remainder.
  3. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1/3 cup water; mix well and set aside. Reheat wok with reserved oil. When very hot, add chilies and stir-fry until slightly blackened. Add peanuts, garlic, scallions and ginger, and stir-fry until lightly browned.
  4. Add chicken pieces, stock, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Mix well, and stir in cornstarch mixture. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to low and let mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix again, and serve.

Barbecued Chicken Recipe

Barbecued Chicken RecipeIngredients

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (try recipe below or use your favorite)
  • 6 to 8 chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs) skin-on, bone-in, about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Build a fire in your grill, leaving one side free of coals. When coals are covered with gray ash and the temperature is medium (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the coals for 5 to 7 seconds), you are ready to cook. (For a gas grill, turn one of the burners down to low or off, lower cover and heat for 15 minutes.)
  2. Meanwhile, combine barbecue sauce with 1 cup water and stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper, then put them on the grill directly over the coals and cook for about 15 minutes, turning once every 5 minutes or so, and brushing with the thinned barbecue sauce. When the chicken skin starts to crisp and darken, move the pieces to the cooler side of the grill and let them cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until a peek inside shows that the meat no longer has any red at the center.
  4. Move the chicken back onto the hot side of the grill and baste with sauce again, turning the meat a few times. Remove to a warmed platter and serve.

Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes.

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!  Hopefully your day is a good one and your kids treated you well.

I was woken up with the boys bringing me up some Mother’s Day gifts.  Oliver had made me a card and a gift at school.  The gift was a picture of him holding a sign that said, “Happy Mother’s Day” on it.  It was a great job by him and his teacher.

The boys got me a pink pair of Pentax 8×21 U-Series UP Binoculars.

Pentax 8x21 U-Series UP Binoculars

They are compact but of high quality and will be great to take hiking with us this summer.  They also come with a lifetime warranty.  I’m pretty excited by them.  Oh yeah, they are super cute and pink!

They also gave me some double sided Wendy Cooper business cards. 

Wendy Cooper Business Cards

There were some packages of Fujifilm Instax film and a Fuji Instax album.  It wasn’t just any film but Air Mail and cartoon themed film.  All of it was cool.

Fuji Instax albumFuji Instax album

I am always intimidated to print out my photos.  Jordon gave me a Itoya 11×14 portfolio which will force me to not only take some great photos but edit them and print them.  Luckily I know of just the place.

Itoya  Art Profolio Advantage, Bound Portfolio with Crystal Clear PolyGlass Pages for 11x14 from Don's Photo

For brunch, the kids took me to Smiley’s Buffet for brunch at 10:00 a.m.  It was quiet when we got there and insane as we were leaving.  Luckily we went early and got a spot (they don’t reservations for groups under 8).

I was kind of difficult when coming up with some Mother’s Day ideas to do and so Jordon just said fine, “I’ll plan something.”  He had the kids pack their bags and place them in the car.  After brunch were done, we got in the Ford Focus and hit the road.  He drove us to Prince Albert National Park where we wandered into the Parks Canada office and bought a Discovery Pass that is good for all National Parks and National Historic Sites from now until May 2018.  Jordon was giddy with it as he has wanted a Parks pass since he was a kid.  They never had the money for it growing up and we got too busy when were adults but he was so happy purchasing it.  He also got me a nice Parks Canada t-shirt. 

We also took some time to try out the Parks Canada Red Chairs…

Trying out the Red Chairs in Prince Albert National Park

The first couple of many I hope to enjoy this summer.   We also went for a walk around Waskesiu.   Despite being  before the long weekend, quite a few places were open.

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Oliver Cooper at Waskesiu

All in all, it was a pretty great Mother’s Day.  Thanks everyone for making it special.

Off to Regina

Jordon is doing something fun with Ford Canada tomorrow in Ogema and then in Regina.  We are jumping into this 2016 Ford Focus

2016 Ford Focus

and then driving to Regina where Jordon will get out, get into a 2016 Ford Flex and then drive to Ogema where he will ride on the Southern Prairie Railway train with author Robin Esrock and some other fun bloggers and writers.

I will check into the Regina Ramada with Mark and Oliver and then we are going to walk from the hotel to Wascana Lake which we will circumvent and then head back to the hotel for an afternoon swim before taking in supper in downtown Regina.

Later that night, we will head to Chapters where we will take in the book signing.  Should be a fun day.