Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Oatmeal No-Bake Easter Nest Cookies

[by Guest blogger Lori]
Oatmeal No-Bake CookiesI made the assumption when my mom used to make these cookies for us that you just threw all the ingredients in a bowl, stirred it up and voila!  Having “no-bake” in the name apparently doesn’t mean that there’s no cooking involved and that they’re super easy. Super easy, they are.. but no-cook, they are not. A fun little tradition that my grandma started was making these cookies at Easter. She’d shape them into nests and put a couple of Cadbury Mini-
Eggs in them — who can resist mini-eggs? And now, my mom is making them for my little guy.  I love traditions :)  I recently asked her for the recipe so that I could send them to my son’s daycare. They were a hit with all the little bunnies today!
Recipe for Oatmeal No-Bake Easter Nest Cookies:
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
3 cups of quick oats
1 cup coconut (I use the unsweetened one… otherwise these are a little too sweet for my liking)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 – Combine sugar and cocoa in a saucepan.
2 – Add milk slowly. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
3 – Bring to a boil, add canola oil and oats stirring briskly. Cook for 1 – 3 minutes stirring constantly. (3 minutes was the magic number for me — no more or it gets a little hard)
4 – Remove from heat. Add coconut, vanilla and salt.
5 – Let the mixture cool a bit at room temperature so that you can handle it to make the nests (about 10 – 15 minutes).
6 – Using a spoon, scoop a ball of the mixture onto wax paper. Press in the middle to form a nest. Add 2 or 3 mini eggs.
7 – Refrigerate.  These also freeze well!
Happy Easter!!
Kath’s quote:  “Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing.”-Milton Snavely Hershey

Old Fashioned Walnut Slice


Do you ever get the craving to make something from your childhood that still retains that “old-fashioned taste”?  Such was the case when I found a huge bag of walnuts in my freezer.  This recipe is very similar to one that my Mom use to make.  They come out really hearty tasting and chewy-yum.

1 c flour
1/2 c butter 
2 eggs 
1-1/4 c brown sugar 
1 t baking powder
1 c walnuts, chopped
1 c shredded coconut 
1 t vanilla

Note: I doubled the recipe and used a 11 x 17 edged cookie sheet
Rub flour and butter to crumbs and pack tightly in buttered 10×10 pan. Bake in quick oven (400 degrees) until lightly coloured (about 12-15 minutes.) Beat the 2 eggs well, and mix in remaining ingredients; pour over first mixture. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 40 minutes. Leave for 6 hours at least before cutting into small squares. 
Kath’s quote:  “From morning till night, sounds drift from the kitchen, most of them familiar and comforting….On days when warmth is the most important need of the human heart, the kitchen is the place you can find it; it dries the wet sock, it cools the hot little brain.”-E.B.White 
posted under Desserts | 1 Comment »



I think that food is fascinating.  The is there the art of food, of which we are well aware, and the history of food and the science of food.  Food as an analogy is perhaps the most fascinating to me of all.  I am currently reading a novel entitled “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake”  by Aimee Bender which is a haunting tale of a nine year old’s discovery that she can taste the emotions of the person who has prepared the food that she is consuming. 

In this theme, I have found a poem that is short enough to reproduce here.  It is penned by a writer named Joyce Rupp. 

can it be?

have I forgotten so long

forgotten to feed myself?


for nigh a year now

I was slowly starving.

getting lost in busy days,

tossing aside the hunger

that chewed away inside.

yet, I did not die.

by some quiet miracle

I made it to this moment

of truth:

I nearly starnved to death,

it was not my body

that I failed to feed.

it was my spirit,

left alone for days

without nourishment or care.

and then one day

I paused to look within,

shocked at what I found:

so thin of faith,

so weak of understanding,

so needy of encouragment.

my starving spirit cried the truth:

I can!

I will!

I must

be fed!

Bally Hoo Revisited-Isla Mujeres


Previous to my arrival on Isla, I have prepared a list of restaurants that I intend to visit again or try for the first time.  The idea of going to a single Isla restaurant more than once during my stay, never ever crosses my mind.  And yet during my 2011 visit I went to La Lomita, Tino’s (the Rib Man), La Brisa’s Grill and Fredy’s twice each and Chuuk Kay and Bally Hoo three times each!

Since Bally Hoo is close to the ferry, it was our destination of choice when D and Daughter #1 arrived.


It also made sense to watch the sunset from there before boarding the ferry to start our journey home on departure day.  While savouring Isla for our last moments, we feasted on shrimp ceviche one more time.

Both days we went ga-ga for the fresh caught fish and chips (although I do wish that they hadn’t resorted to serving frozen fries). 

But I could eat that fish every single day and wouldn’t even use a fork,  just pick the fillets up like a chicken finger and dunk them into the tangy tartar sauce. We also sampled the fish tacos-equally good.

On one occasion we stopped to have breakfast.  The coffee was steaming hot and poured often.  The setting was gorgeous and breakfast pretty darn good too. 

To be honest: I was on Isla, surrounded by the most stunning view, with my best girlfriend (who doesn’t live in the same city as me and so we only see each other twice a year)-it wasn’t about the food that day.  

Below is a photo of a Bally Hoo which are frequently used as bait for saltwater sportsmen.  They attract tuna, sailfish, mahi mahi and dorada.  As you dine on the stilted platform of the restaurant, they swim all around you in the shallow water.

Ahh Isla-my beloved second home. 

Kath’s quote:  “The only kind of seafood I trust is the fish stick, a totally featureless fish that doesn’t have eyeballs or fins.” –Dave Barry

Greek Spin on Classic Macaroni and Cheese


I have not posted a recipe to share in a very long time.  The truth is that I have not been home to prepare a meal in a very long time.  I have been to four fund-raising events involving food in the past four days.  I have another one tomorrow…..  Do you see how Manitobans love to celebrate life with food?  

You likely know that I am a lover of comfort food and especially carbs-being the bearer of affectionate nicknames such as “Potato-loving Polak” and “The Carb Queen”.  I find it interesting that the culinary world is recently embracing my obsessions with “souped up” poutine dishes and macaroni and cheese offerings. 

I still contend that my “Gourmet Mac and Cheese” listed under recipes is the best I’ve found, but for a delicious variation-you might want to try this:

4 c elbow macaroni (I used ziti)

3 T olive oil

1 onion, chopped (I used a purple onion for colour)

1 red pepper (I used yellow), cut into strips

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 small bag of spinach, chopped (I used frozen) 

salt to taste

3 T flour

3 c milk

pepper to taste

1/8 t nutmeg

2 c grated dill Havarti (I used mozzarella and garnished with 1 t oregano)

1 c crumbled feta

Kalamata olives, pitted and halved, quantity to taste

1/2 c bread crumbs

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.  While pasta is cooking soften veggies in 1 T of the olive oil in a skillet.  Add fresh or defrosted spinach after 5 mins.  Heat until spinach has wilted and then set aside in a bowl.  Wipe skillet clean and return to stove over med. heat.  Swirl in 2 T olive oil.  When hot, whisk in the flour.  Continue to whisk while adding the s & p and nutmeg.  Continue until flour is a light golden colour.  Slowly add the milk while continuing to stir and bring to a low boil.  When it has slightly thickened add the grated Havarti and then feta.  The feta will get melty but stay in chunks.  Combine all prepared ingredients in a casserole dish and top with bread crumbs.  Bring back up to temperature in the oven and then add 5 mins. under the broiler until the crumbs are brown.

I ran out of time for the last stage and so I added the veggies to the sauce and then tossed with the pasta.  I crumbled a little more feta and sprinkled the 1 t of oregano on top (instead of the bread crumbs) to serve.  Deelish!

Kath’s quote: “What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It’s a sure thing! It’s a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles.”-Nora Ephron

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