Mom’s Rice Pudding

My Mom’s rice pudding is used quite often to torment other family members on Facebook. When she makes it, there is always one family member that is miles away and the post reminds them what they are missing.

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Found this photo on Granny Canuck’s Facebook from last year.

We had a good portion of my family up here for Ducks Unlimited dinner on Saturday and Sunday was time to have family dinner at my aunt’s house. After some convincing, it was decided the rice pudding should be the dessert.  Plus, I needed a blog post and no one had her recipe so we did our best to write it down as she went along.

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The ingredients we start with, don’t use converted or instant rice.  Only long grain and good quality preferred but this is all that Northern in Moosonee had.
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I love my aunt’s new Samsung gas cook top.  I keep telling myself; one of these days.

 

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Hey Mom, LOOK!

 

The Stuff You Need

  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 cans of Carnation condensed milk, not sweet milk.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • cinnamon and nutmeg optional for serving

 

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After the first boil and just added the can of Carnation milk.

 

The Stuff You Do

Granny Canuck eyeballs everything and works this recipe by feel, look and taste so this is just a rough guide of her magical rice pudding.

  1. Put the raisins in warm water to rehydrate them a little.
  2. Put a large pot of water on to boil and add the rice.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Then drain and rinse rice with cold water.  Don’t worry that the rice is not cooked, we are just removing the starch.
  4. Add 4 cups of water in a pot and add the rinsed rice.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce till the rice is just cooked, don’t worry there will still be a lot of moisture, this is the pudding part.
  6. Add 1 can of Carnation milk and sugar.  Cook stirring frequently as not to scorch the bottom for 5 minutes adding more milk if necessary to get a creamy texture.
  7. Remove pot from heat add, salt, nutmeg, butter, vanilla, drained raisins, and stir to combine and melt butter.
  8. Serve warm with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon.  You can also add a splash more of Carnation milk like I do.

 

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Here are the notes from our day and as you can see on the bottom, there is still family bantering between Tasha and Harvey!

 

 

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Adding the raisins at the very end and getting ready to taste!

 

 

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The final product of warm and creamy rice pudding!

Hope you enjoy making this; as much as we had fun making this blog post and sharing.

 

The Wetum Ice Road

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Our journey on the Wetum Road started today at 9:25 AM after an overnight to visit Granny Canuck in Cochrane.  Loaded up with groceries, a full tank of gas, lunch, and Reese our miniature poodle co-pilot, we start our venture to the tip of James Bay in our 4×4 Nissan Titan.

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Truck all loaded up and ready to go North!

Built in 2012 by Mocreebec and contract partners;  the seasonal winter road connects Moose Factory and Moosonee to Highway 634 and then onto Highway 11.  We start the real journey at Smooth Rock Falls and travel along highway 634 to Fraserdale.  After Fraserdale, the road continues to Abitibi Canyon and then on the Wetum road.  Up to this point, the road can be traveled in the summer as it’s used for maintaining the dams.

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KM 0 | 10:35 AM | Town of Smooth Rock Falls

Resetting the odometer to zero at the local Esso gas station for 1.19 a liter, we are now ready to tackle the journey onward to Moosonee.

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Esso gas station in Smooth Rock Falls, last gas station for 300 KM.

KM 49.4 | 11:13 AM | ONR Track Crossing

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Looking North, this is the tracks that take the Polar Bear Express train to Moosonee.

KM 79.8 | 11:45 AM | Abitibi Generating Station Dam Crossing

Providing 349 MW of power to the Ontario Power Generation grid, the dam was put into service in 1933.  If you would like to read more about the generating station, please follow the following link to Ontario Power Generation.

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Getting ready to cross the generating station.
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Looking down the Abitibi Canyon.
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Halfway across the generating station.

KM 126.9 | 12:21 AM | Turning onto the Wetum Road – 170 KM To Go

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KM 238 | 2:10 PM | Crossing The French River

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A little Lightroom touch brings out the beauty in a grey overcast day.

KM 241.6 | 2:18 PM | The Muskeg 

A large portion of the land in the James Bay Lowlands is muskeg or moss bog.  It is very similar to swamp land that is covered in a thick dense moss.  While walking on it, it’s very spongy and you can only travel on it during the winter months.  Want to learn more on muskeg, here’s the link to Wikipedia.

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KM 294.8 | 3:11 PM | Moose Factory

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Moose Factory in the distance as we cross the Moose River.

KM 301.4 | 3:32 PM | Moosonee

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Moosonee just off in the distance and our journey is complete.

From Smooth Rock Falls to Moosonee, our adventure was just over 300KM and around 5 hours.  We had a great time on the road, a few pit stops to let the dog out and stretch the legs, and two ‘hold on’ moments where the dog and 1/2 the cargo went flying.

I wouldn’t recommend traveling the ice roads if you’ve never driven on them before but if you’re in the area, want an adventure, hit me up!

Kettle Smoked Trout

 

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Summer can come anytime!  Simple yet tasty, kettle smoked trout.

 

With a snow advisory of 15-20 cm of the white fluffy stuff, all I can do is pull a Clark Griswold and stare out the window and dream of warmer days filled with green grass, campfires and of course real kettle BBQ.

I don’t have as much as a recipe today but inspiration.  That inspiration starts with a simple idea, fish.  When discussing dinners and menu planning around the house we often pick a protein and build around that.

This dinner, in particular, was based on what was on sale for fresh fish at the grocery store after picking that as our protein.  Being at camp, it was an easy decision to roll out the Weber Kettle charcoal BBQ.  My wife gave me the BBQ about 5 years ago for our wedding anniversary.  I used it once or twice and put it in the shed.   It is now a daily staple at camp and I don’t think we used 1 tank of propane on the gas BBQ this summer.  Rather, we used over 6 20lb bags of charcoal and enjoyed the whole process.

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Getting the kettle BBQ ready.  The charcoal chimney; a DEFINITE recommend!

 

Setup is pretty easy with a bed of coals on one side of the grill, some soaked smoker chips, a layer or parchment paper so the fish doesn’t stick, fresh trout, salt and pepper and a little bit of patience.  Once the chips started to smoke, the lid goes on and check it every 10-15 minutes.  Typically I add a few more smoker chips 15 minutes in and depending on size and thickness of the filets you should be enjoying in 30 minutes.

Just in case you’re stuck in 10 feet of snow like me, here is a visual reminder that greener days are just around the corner.

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Mrs. Canuck and Granny Canuck enjoying the sunset from our seasonal campsite.

 

What is your favorite camping meal?

The Trio Slider Brothers

So a cow, a pig, and a chicken walk into a bar and the bartender phones his chef friend to make him some amazing sliders.

We’ve all made burgers before, pulled pork sandwiches and no one could agree on what one to make.   We did the next best thing, make three sliders!  A smoked pulled pork slider with homemade BBQ sauce, a Buffalo Wing slider and a Beef Burger with homemade bacon jam to finish it off.

Big shout out to Mrs. Canuck for making the slider buns homemade!  Apparently, you can’t find slider buns in the middle of winter in Northern Ontario.

Read below for all the details you need to pull off your own slider party.

Pulled Pork Slider

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Even at -20, the Bradley Smoke ran like a champ.

Step 1 – Make the pulled pork or beg for some pulled pork.

  • large pork butt or shoulder
  • your favorite pork rub
  • smoker
  1. Bring pork to room temperature and rub seasoning over pork
  2. Follow smoker instructions and smoke pork for 6-8 hours
  3. Put pork in oven tightly covered at 300 for 3-4 hours until it pulls apart tender with a fork.

Step 2 – Coleslaw

  • package coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of celery seed
  • 1 tbsp of sugar, we like our coleslaw very tart, adjust to taste
  • dash or salt and pepper
  1. Put vinegar, celery seed, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Pour hot over the coleslaw mix and stir.
  3. Place in fridge for 2-3 hours to soak up all the flavor.

Step 3 – BBQ Sauce

There is only one BBQ sauce we use in the house when it comes to ribs, chicken and pulled pork.  It’s one I’ve been using for 10+ years and here is the recipe.

  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple juice or apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  1. Cook onion with a little bit of oil till it’s soft, about 5 mins.
  2. Add all other ingredients and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes stirring every so often as not to burn.

Step 4 – Assembly

  1. Split your slider bun and toast with a little bit of butter on a hot pan.
  2. Add pulled pork and drizzle some sauce on the top.
  3. Top with coleslaw.
  4. Enjoy!

Bacon Jam & Smoked Cheddar Burger Slider

Step 1 – Bacon Jam

  • 1 lbs bacon
  • 2 large sweet onions, sliced thick or thin, you choose; we like thick.
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 2 – 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until cooked but not crispy, it needs to have some give to it.
  2. Take out the bacon and drain most of the bacon fat, leave 1 tbsp to start the onions.
  3. Return pan that the bacon was cooked in and set to medium heat and cook onions for 8-10 minutes
  4. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and cook for 20 minutes until onions are caramelized.
  5. Add coffee, vinegar, and cooked bacon to pan and cook until it resembles a thick jam, stir every 5 minutes.  This should take 10-15 minutes.
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The “bacon” shot.

Step 2 – Burger

I typically don’t do anything to my ground beef when making burgers.  I believe you need to let the meat speak for itself, no eggs, no bread crumbs, just beef and good old fat.

  • 1/2 lbs ground beef for 6 slider burgers
  • smoked cheddar cheese
  • bacon jam from above
  • 6 slider buns
  1. Take medium ground beef and form into a patty.
  2. Heat a frying pan medium-high heat, season burgers with salt and pepper and place in pan.
  3. Fry burgers until the juices run clear, living in Canada we cook our burgers to well done, just don’t go WELL done and turn them into hockey pucks, eh!
  4. Sprinkle the cheese on the burgers to get melted and gooey.

Step 3 – Assembly

I’m pretty sure you know how this goes, but just in case you don’t.

  1. Split bun and toast with a little butter in a hot pan.
  2. Put cooked burger and cheese on the bun.
  3. Put bacon jam on the burger.
  4. Put the top on bun, burger, jam and squash down.
  5. Eat.

 

Buffalo Chicken Slider

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The chicken just out of the oven and ready to get pulled apart.

Step 1 – Shredded Buffalo Chicken Breast

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 cup Franks Buffalo Wing sauce, 1/2 cup to cook and 1/2 cup once shredded.
  • Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing.
  • Slider buns.
  1. Add chicken, onions and 1/2 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing sauce to a slow cooker or heavy dutch oven.
  2. Cook for 4 hours if using a slow cooker on low or 300 in the oven for 2 hours.
  3. Take chicken out and shred using two forks.
  4. Put chicken back in the pot and add the other 1/2 cup Frank’s to the shredded chicken, keep warm until you are ready to plate.

Step 2 – Assembly

  1. Same as above sliders, toast the buns with a bit of butter in frying pan.
  2. Pile on a good serving of chicken to the slider bun.
  3. Top with blue cheese or ranch dressing.
  4. Put the top on the bun.
  5. Last but not least.  Eat!

 

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The completed plate of beef, chicken, and pork!

No Sugar Added Peach Greek Yogurt

I’m trying to amp up my photography game when it comes to the blog.  I have been shooting most of my food shots with my iPhone and having access to a Sony A6000 camera, it’s time to dust it off.

I make various versions of this from time to time and you can choose anything you have in pantry, freezer or fridge.  The basics remain the same each time, natural Greek yogurt base, stevia to sweeten, a dash of vanilla and from there, let your imagination go wild.

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The Stuff You Need

  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 package stevia or sweeten to your taste
  • a splash of vanilla
  • can peaches packed in water
  • granola, I used Nature Valley Chia Seed & Coconut Granola
  • natural honey

The Stuff You Do

  1. No lengthy instructions needed, add stevia, yogurt, and vanilla together then layer.
  2. Eat

What did you put on yours?  Please feel free to share your own version of this light and fresh afternoon snack!

Mariposa Market – Orillia, ON

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No trip to the Orillia is complete without stopping at Mariposa Market for lunch or to grab something for the road home.  My Mom’s sweet tooth and love for bread, cookies, pastry and anything that is market fresh keep us coming back for more.

On the menu today, was French onion soup; which had a hearty and rich deep flavorful broth accompanied by a lukewarm bun.   I had a cauliflower creme soup and a ham and cheddar baked sandwich but the picture didn’t turn out and I was hungry.

If you are in the area, definitely take a stop and grab a bite or something for the road, you won’t be disappointed.

Happy Birthday Morris, whoever you are!

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Happy 86th Birthday Morris, whoever you are.

Last night we drove from Timmins to Barrie for a little getaway with Granny Canuck and Mrs. Canuck to stop at Casino Rama in Orillia and take in some good restaurant eats and a little minor shopping.    A mandatory Barrie food stop for the traveling crew is “The Mandarin”.

Yes, it’s a Chinese buffet filled with fried food, sugary sauces and overeating indulgence like you’ve never seen before and we enjoy every calorie.  While we were having dinner, the usual banter of staff danced about to sing happy birthday to an elderly couple sitting close to our table.  We clapped with our sticky fingers and sang with the rest, only to find out the gentleman’s name was Morris, having dinner with his lovely wife and turning 86.   Once the excitement died down, I looked at my Mom and instantly knew what she was thinking.

Over the course of many years, we have all taken turns to pay it forward to unsuspecting dining couples, drive-thru customers, and coffee-goers.  One of my fondest memory is an elderly couple in their turquoise 1960’s Thunderbird behind us in the Dairy Queen drive-thru on a Sunday afternoon.  We paid for their ice cream and drove away.  A quick look in the mirror we could see the sheer surprise and delight on their faces as they were told their ice cream was on the silver vehicle driving north.

Tonight, we asked our server to make sure we picked up the tab for their dinner.   Normally we get to sneak out and leave them wondering; but in this case, the server who wasn’t too sure of our intentions pointed directly at us when they asked who paid the bill.  We all turned 50 shades of red and tried to sneak out; but before we could Mrs. Morris came to our table with tears of joy in her eyes and hugged my Mom.  On our way out, we shook the hand of our new friend and made our way to the hotel.

This isn’t a challenge to anyone to pay it forward, I’m not posting for a pat on the back, I’m posting because as I posted before, it’s the little things in life.  My Dad would sometimes do this, as cheap as he was.  Tonight we did it for Morris and Mrs. Morris to make his day a little extra special and a story he will remember long into his 90th birthday.

We did it in part for ourselves, the little thing that reminds us of Dad.  He would be even happier knowing it was two seniors.  After all, they get a 20% discount.

Homemade Salted Caramel Whiskey

You read that right!  The whiskey is not homemade, but the caramel and the love that went into it sure is.

While on a trip this September to Nashville, I picked up a single bottle of Ole Smoky Whiskey Salted Caramel.  The bottle didn’t last more than two weekends and living in Ontario,  I have no choice but to come up with the next best thing.   My own!

The Mrs. and I Googled a few ideas and they all used store bought caramel with cream and use a double boiler, freeze overnight to remove the milk solids but I had a different idea in mind, simple sugar and salt.  We couldn’t really decide on what one to try, so we made both.

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The start of the store bought butterscotch caramel whiskey mix.

Store Bought Salted Caramel Whiskey 

  • 375 ml Jack Daniels or your choice of whiskey
  • 200 ml good quality caramel, we used President’s Choice Butterscotch Caramel
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  1. In a double boiler, add the 200ml of caramel and heat till liquid.
  2. Take caramel off heat and add salt, whisk.
  3. Add 375 ml Jack Daniels and whisk to combine.
  4. Toss in the freezer overnight or until milk solids freeze.
  5. Skim off milk solids from the top of whiskey mixture.
  6. Pour into a mason jar or any glass bottle.
  7. Enjoy straight or over ice.
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Repurposed a 375ml bottle of Kraken to measure out the Jack Daniel’s.

Homemade Salted Caramel Whiskey

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Kosher salt, sugar and 1/2 a 750ml bottle Jack Daniel’s.
  • 375 ml Jack Daniels or your choice of whiskey.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Prepare an ice bath for the cooking pot you are using.
  2. Pour whiskey into a heatproof bowl.
  3. Add sugar, corn syrup, water to a heavy bottom cooking pot.
  4. Turn burner to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Swirl the pot on the stove once it begins to turn amber and the water is evaporated.
  6. Keep cooking the sugar mixture, until a deep golden brown.  This is a tricky step, I’ve burnt a few, I’ve undercooked a few, it just takes time and patience to get it right.

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    Caramel just starting to turn amber, keep a good eye on it.
  7. Remove from the heat and place in an ice bath, to stop the sugar from cooking and then add the salt.
  8. Once the caramel is cooled, pour into the whiskey and whisk to dissolve any sugar bits.
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The whiskey and the caramel become one.
Final Results
We had 4 taste testers, as we made this at a dinner with friends.   All of us preferred the homemade caramel version compared to the store caramel.  The whiskey was clear and not cloudy due to the milk in the store bought version.
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The two versions of our homemade caramel whiskey, store caramel on the left and homemade caramelized sugar on the right.
We all found the 1 cup of sugar to 375 ml whiskey made it a little thick like syrup but it had a better mouth feel than the store version.  I would suggest you play with the caramel to whiskey ratio to your individual taste.  My next batch, YES there will be next batch will be 1/2 cup sugar to 375 ml Jack Daniels, or because it won’t last long one cup of sugar to 750 ml bottle of Jack.
As soon as I get the sugar to whiskey ratio figured out, the plan is to try different types of whiskey,  like Irish or even some excellent Candian Rye Whiskey.  Of course, as these happen they will be posted with the instructions and the taste test results.
If you try this and use a different whiskey, or a ratio of sugar, homemade caramel, store bought caramel, please let me know and I’d be happy to try and make a batch to share around the campfire this summer!
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The Winner

Blogging on the rails.

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My rotation is done in Moosonee and I’m sitting here on the Ontario Northland Train writing this blog post and will post it once I have the internet once again a little further south.

The train has been a vital part of Moosonee since 1932.  The construction was started in 1921 and construction was completed on July 15, 1932. Since it’s opening it has carried many a local passenger, tourists, groceries, cars and even homes.

Up until 2012, the ONR was subsidized by the provincial government where there was the discussion of privatizing the ONR.  While I prefer to keep my blog politics free,  an agreement was made after the ONR provided a report to the government to restructure and sell of ONTERA their telecommunication’s division.

I remember as a young boy traveling the train just before Christmas to visit my Nanny in Moosonee.  Three families would all cram into her 2.5 bedroom base house, the presents almost flowing into the kitchen and wake up to the smell of bacon, coffee, and cigarettes.  I can vaguely remember the Commodore 64 computer the family got that sparked my love for all things electronic.  After Christmas was done, we’d repack all our gifts in boxes, load them on the train, unload in Cochrane and drive back to Timmins.

Now, twenty plus years later, I continue this routine working in Moosonee.  In this case, we bring our clothes, foods that are difficult or expensive to get up there, like rye flour for pumpernickel bread.

If you would like to read a little more about the history of the Ontario Northland Railway, please have a look at the ONR Wiki.  If you have any specific questions, please let me know and I will try my best to answer or find someone that might have the answer.

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** Historical information provided from Wikipedia.