Iced Tea Punch

On beautiful summer weekends, I love to get out of the city, travel the back roads and fill my lungs with farm-fresh air! In my area there are lots of interesting places to visit along the way, like small markets, greenhouses, craft shops, and wineries. It’s always nice to drop into your favorite spots, as well as look for places you’ve never been.

Last Sunday was one of those days. My husband and I headed out after lunch, and made our way to Archibald’s Orchard and Winery to see if there was anything new. After a couple of taste tests we settled on a couple of nice hard cider combos – apple/cranberry and apple/cherry. These are light refreshing drinks that are nice to sip on alone or pair with a summery meal.

Next stop was a roadside market for some fresh corn on the cob, and to browse through the flowers and crafts. This is another favorite place of ours. For me, the next best thing to picking my own food – if i can’t actually grow it myself – is to buy it somewhere close to the field it came from.

Earlier on the trip I had spotted a sign for another apple cider place that I’d never seen before. So on the return leg of our trip we detoured to find it and check it out. Geissberger Farmhouse Cider is a small, family operation that has been making fresh (non alcoholic) cider for years. They have a mobile set up now that travels to local orchards to process and bottle cider right on site. The really neat thing about their products (which includes some tasty combinations like the one with sour cherry we bought) is the packaging. They are using the “bag-in-a-box” format that some wines are now sold in. The beauty of this being a much longer shelf life after opening, since it prevents air from getting in.

This is a perfect example of what this blog is all about – “Old fashioned goodness and twenty first century know-how”!

Anyway…with apples on my mind when I got home, I had an idea. Ice tea is one of my favorite summer drinks. What would it be like combined with some apple cider? After a little experimenting I came up with a combination that suits my taste. I use green tea since I don’t do well with much caffeine.

The recipe is below. This is just one of many possible variations of course. Why not experiment yourself and share your blend in the comments section.


Iced Tea Punch

A refreshing summer time drink with little or no sugar added - unless you want to!

Course: Beverages
  • 2 tea bags green tea
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups unsweetened apple cider
  • 1 lemon, juiced - if used add a little sweetener (optional)
  • 1 cup soda water (optional)
  • ice cubes
  • to taste honey, maple syrup or sweetener of choice (optional)
  • 2 shots vodka (optional)
  1. Pour the boiling water over the tea bags and steep for 5 -15 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. Remove the bags and let cool to room temperature. 

  2. When tea is ready pour it into a two quart pitcher. Add the other ingredients that you want to include, except the soda water and ice cubes. Stir to combine. Then add the soda water and ice cubes just before serving. 

Recipe Notes

Try other juices to add a variety of flavor to the punch, like; white grape juice, sour cherry, or cranberry. 

No Bake Desserts

If you can’t take the heat, find a recipe that doesn’t involve baking!

I really don’t know how my mother survived doing what she had to do in the kitchen during the summer. Being in that kitchen was like being in an oven itself. At least she had an electric range and didn’t have to rely on a wood burning stove like her mother did.

I am very thankful for my modern kitchen – air conditioned and well equipped to help shorten my baking time. Still, when the Ontario heat and humidity start to rise, I look for recipes that don’t involve turning the oven on at all.

Our families enjoy our homemade desserts – all year round – so into the kitchen we go. If that is you, I have a trio of easy dessert recipes that will minimize your time spent keeping company with your oven, and more time sipping lemonade on the patio. Below are the recipes for chocolate macaroons, peanut butter Rice Krispy squares, and chocolate-peanut butter crunch bars.

If you are making these to be gluten-free, just make sure that the rice crispy cereal has no barley malt in the ingredients.


Chocolate Macaroons
Course: Dessert, Gluten Free
Servings: 40
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups GF rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  1. In a medium bowl mix together the rolled oats, vanilla, coconut and cocoa powder. Set aside. 

  2. Put the first 4 ingredients into a medium pan and over medium heat, bring to a rolling boil. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir well. 

  3. Using a small scoop or a 2 tablespoon size spoon, scoop onto parchment paper. Let cool and store in an airtight container. Can be frozen. 

Marshmallow Squares
Course: Dessert, Gluten Free
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or margarine or butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups butterscotch chips
  • 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispy cereal
  • 1 package small colored marshmallows
  1. In a medium pot melt the coconut oil, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Cool slightly so marshmallows don't melt.

  2. Then add the Rice Krispy cereal and marshmallows. Mix together and spread into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Cool and cut into squares. 


Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars
Course: Dessert, Gluten Free
  • 3 cups Rice Krispy Cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or margarine or butter
  1. Grease a 8 X 8 inch pan. 

  2. Measure rice cereal and put into a medium bowl. Set aside.

  3. Put the rest of the ingredients into a medium pot and melt over medium low heat, stirring constantly. 

  4. Pour over the rice cereal and stir well. Pour into the greased pan. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Cut into bars. Best when kept refrigerated. 

Gluten free biscuits


When I was young, biscuits were made with flour, soda, buttermilk, and real butter. Not a lot of ingredients, but they were a popular and versatile little bread. They were devoured by the dozen in my family when served with soups and stews. Add a bit of sugar and they became a desert when topped with fruit and whipped cream.

My family still enjoys them when I make them to go along with a nice bowl of chowder. But in recent years, having developed a gluten sensitivity, I’ve had to pass on biscuits. But not any more. I now can have my soup and biscuits too! With the new flour mix I recently found, I now have a recipe that will make a biscuit that has a good texture and taste very close to the original biscuit made from wheat flour.

Just last week I had old fashion strawberry shortcake for the first time in 5 or more years. It was delicious in spite of having to use non dairy whipping cream!

I do these recipes and share them with you because I want everyone to be able to enjoy the flavour experience of good food, even if you have a food sensitivity or allergy. I know what it’s like to feel left out when people are sitting together eating. Although you enjoy their company, it would be nice to also enjoy the food they are having.

So I sincerely hope the recipes here are benefiting you or others that you love.

Gluten free biscuits

A light textured gluten free biscuit that is great with soups and stews. Add a little sugar and they are perfect for strawberry shortcake.

Course: Breads, Dessert, Gluten Free
Servings: 12 muffins or 16 3" biscuits
  • 4 cups gluten free flour mix with xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (If making as a dessert)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

  2. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the coconut oil and stir it into the dry mix until you get a crumbly appearance. 

  3. Mix the egg into the water. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and pour in the liquids. Quickly stir together just enough to combine. Don't over mix or they become heavy. 

  4. Put muffin papers in muffin pan. Scoop and fill muffin tins about 2/3 full or dump mixture onto a floured surface and with your hands gently shape and flatten dough to about an inch thick. Cut out with a 3 inch round cookie cutter and place onto a parchment covered cookie sheet. 

  5. Bake in a 425 F oven for 25-30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before eating. 

Recipe Notes




This morning when I was making pancakes I found myself thinking about my mom and all the pancakes she must have made for a family our size. It would have taken about 6 cups of flour, 6 eggs, 6 tablespoons of baking powder, 6 cups of milk …. well you get the picture. That would have made about 48 pancakes, just for each person to have 3 small pancakes. That’s a lot of time standing at the stove. I am sure her recipe was for a lot more than that because my brothers had big appetites.

We didn’t have the luxury of having real maple syrup, except when my eldest brother would bring some home when he’d visit in the summer, thanks to my sister-in-law and her family in Quebec! Our syrup of choice was usually molasses (a well known Maritime delicacy – haha!)

This time of year – being strawberry season – we had pancakes with fresh strawberries and fresh cream from our own cow, Buttercup, whipped to perfection. So yummy! Wonderful memories.

Today there are many flavors of pancakes, and toppings to put on them. Since finding the gluten free flour mix – which I put on my web page last week – I have much more success with making a fluffier, evenly cooked pancake. I have been told that they even taste better than ones made from wheat flour. Give them a try on someone who thinks gluten free has no flavor and see if they can tell the difference.

Pancakes (GF)

Course: Breakfast, Gluten Free
  • 1 Cup Gluten-free flour mix
  • 1 Cup Almond milk
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3 Teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar (optional)
  1. Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a bowl.

  2. Stir milk, vanilla, and eggs together thoroughly in a 2 Cup liquid measuring cup.

  3. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, and pour in the liquid ingredients.

  4. Stir QUICKLY together, just until well combined. Do not over stir or pancakes will not turn out fluffy.

  5. Cook in an oiled frying pan on medium heat until edges are dry and center is bubbly. Flip and finish cooking for another 2 minutes (approx.) Center of pancakes should spring back when pressed gently. 

Recipe Notes

For a different flavor, you can substitute some of the gluten-free mix with another flour, such as buckwheat. See the gluten-free flour mix recipe for proportions to help you do this.

Gluten Free Flour Mix

Since I have been learning to cook/bake gluten free, I have been looking for a good all-purpose flour mix that would make it easier. Well I have found it! A big thank you to Erika at A Little Insanity. com. It makes a great loaf of bread, wonderful non-gooey pancakes, and light textured muffins. It doesn’t have the slightest bit of grainy texture that I find in some other flours. I find it’s easiest to mix the amounts in the recipe and store it for future use, but it is a simple 1:1 ratio of flours, so it’s easy to make a smaller amount if you wish.

You can add up to 25% of another flour to have more variety of other grains in your diet or to suit different recipes. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour you can substitute 1/2 a cup with another grain. ( 1 1/2 cup all-purpose + 1/2 cup flour of choice = 2 cups) Just remember to add another 1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum to your recipe for every 1/2 cup of flour you substitute. That way you will have the same ratio of xanthum gum that’s in the all-purpose flour mix. For example, if your plain pancake recipe calls for 1 cup of flour and you want buckwheat pancakes, it would look like this – 3/4 cup all-purpose+ 1/4 cup buckwheat, + 1/8 teaspoon xanthum gum = the 1 cup of flour.

There are a variety of whole grain flours that you can use that are gluten free and add variety to your diet – like corn, garbanzo bean, quinoa, sorghum, teff, mesquite, millet, oat, buckwheat, and sweet potato flour. Some of these are stronger in flavor than others so experiment and see which ones tickle your taste buds.

Gluten Free Flour Mix
Course: Gluten Free
  • 4.5 Cups White Rice Flour
  • 4.5 Cups Brown Rice Flour
  • 4.5 Cups Sweet Rice Flour
  • 4.5 Cups Potato Starch (or Tapioca Flour)
  • 2.5 Tablespoons Xanthan Gum
  1. Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until well blended.  Store in an air tight container. (Makes approx. 5L / 2qt. which fills 2 large Mason jars).

Recipe Notes

4.5 Cups = full 680g package shown in photo. 

This mix can be used with up to 25% of another flour (e.g. buckwheat, corn, bean. etc) in a recipe. If so, add 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum for each 1/2 cup of  substitute flour. For example, if a plain pancake recipe calls for 2 cups of all purpose flour, you could substitute 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour + 1.5 cups of this mix + 1/4 tsp. of xanthan gum.

Black Beans on Rice


Beans and rice are staple foods in many countries, going back thousands of years. They are inexpensive and easy to prepare so there are many dishes in which they are the star ingredients. They also can be mixed with many different herbs or spices that make them unique to the flavors of different ethnic groups. The recipe that I am going to share with you is of Indian origin.

This recipe – Black Beans on Rice – has been a staple in my family for at least 20 years. My youngest child was a picky eater, yet I could depend on this recipe to get a good meal into him. When he moved out he took the recipe with him. That shows how attached he was. He has added his own twist now by adding hot peppers or hot sauce to it.


Black beans and rice is an excellent vegetarian dish.The combination provides all of the amino acids making a complete protein meal. There’s an abundance of information out there about the benefits of black beans. Here’s just a brief nutritional summary:

A one-cup serving of cooked black beans provides (in daily recommended values):

227 calories 15 grams protein
15 grams fiber
0 fat
64%  folate
40%  copper
38% manganese
35% vitamin B1 Thiamine
30% magnesium
24% phosphorus
20% iron

Adding diced tomatoes on top will provide some vitamin A and C. And for those who aren’t vegan or dairy sensitive, some sour cream will provide some additional fat and nutrients.

So easy and tasty

Even if you aren’t vegetarian I am sure there is a good chance you are going to enjoy this recipe. It is very easy to make and can be made ahead and reheated. Since we can just go to the store and buy beans already cooked in a can this recipe is even easier now than ever before.

Black Beans on Rice

A quick nutritious inexpensive staple dish.

Course: Gluten Free, Main Course, Side Dish, Vegan
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or vegetable juice more if needed
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce gluten free
  • 3 cups cooked rice of your choice
  • tomatoes diced
  • sour cream or yogurt optional
  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. 

  2. Drain and rinse the black beans. Set aside. 

  3. Prepare the onions, garlic, celery and peppers. Saute in the oil in a medium pan  or frying pan until the onions are transparent. About 5 minutes on medium low heat. 

  4. Add the beans, broth, tamari sauce, and cumin. Simmer until the liquid is half cooked away. You don't want the mixture to be too dry. If to dry add more liquid to your liking.

  5. Serve on the rice and top off with the diced tomato and sour cream or yogurt if desired. 

Energy Nuggets

Energy Nuggets

My Mom used to make a simple little treat called a frying pan cookie. It was sugar, egg, and dates cooked in a frying pan, then mixed with coconut and Rice Krispies and rolled into balls. I remember her hating to clean up the frying pan that was a sticky mess. As a child, I loved those cookies but I agree, the process was a bit messy.

My version of the frying pan cookie doesn’t involve the sticky frying pan. In fact there is no cooking involved! They are made with the assistance of my trusty food processor and I use a tiny ice cream scoop to shape them into balls. I think back on how much time and energy Mom spent in the kitchen preparing food. It sure would have been nice if she’d had the help of a machine like this.

My little energy nuggets, though inspired by Mom’s frying pan cookies, are quite different. I’ve added a couple of ingredients to give them a nutritional punch and a bit more crunch! One of these, which wasn’t readily available – if even heard of – until fairly recently, is cacao nibs. These are simply chocolate in its purest form. They are dried and fermented bits of cacao beans and have a texture similar to that of roasted coffee beans.

The other optional ingredient in my nuggets is a greens powder mix. There are a number of different brands and combinations of these nutritional supplement mixes (designed to be used as drinks or shakes) found in health food stores or equivalent sections of large grocery chain stores. I happened to have a jar of it on hand and decided to add a bit to this recipe just to feel less guilty about eating them!

This is fast and easy recipe to make. They are a great finger food for children and adults, in lunches or potluck dinners. And no one will ever guess that they are gluten free. But one word of warning – they tend to have a short shelf life. Not because they don’t keep well, but because people can’t keep their hands out of the cookie can!


Energy Nuggets

Chocolaty, sweet, crunchy little energy balls.

Course: Dessert, Gluten Free, Snack
Servings: 30 Nuggets
Author: Ruth Phillips
  • 1 Cup Dates pressed down
  • 1 Cup Walnut pieces
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa or carob powder
  • 1/4 Cup Liquid raw honey
  • 1/3 Cup Cacao nibs, dried fruit, or nuts
  • 1 Cup Krispie rice cereal or granola Gluten free
  • 2 Tablespoons Macro Greens super food powder (GF) Optional
  • Coconut Shredded
  • Cocoa powder
  • Sesame seeds
  • Almonds, peanuts, or cashews Ground
  • Hemp hearts
  1. Put the dates, walnuts, cocoa powder, and vanilla into a food processor. Blend until ingredients begin to clump together.

  2. Put this mixture into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir well by hand. Mixture should stick together when formed into a ball. If it is too dry, add a little more honey.

  3. Roll into balls about tablespoon size. (Or a #40 scoop).

  4. Roll balls in your choice of coatings listed above. 

    Best stored in the refrigerator.

Vegan Creamy Corn Chowder

If you come from a Maritime family I am sure your mother had a recipe for fish, clam or corn chowder. Although personally I have never eaten clam chowder (believe it or not!), I certainly have had my share of fish and corn chowder.

The American Woman’s Cook Book tells me that the word chowder comes from the French word chaudiere, meaning caldron. The chowder originated as a community fish stew to which each neighbor contributed something; milk, fish, potatoes, crackers, pork or some seasoning. These contributions were all cooked together in the common caldron, from which chowder derives its name, and each contributor withdrew his share of soup when it was ready. (I wonder if this is where the term pot-luck originated?) The chowder we eat today is very similar; a mixture of vegetables, seafood, and seasonings cooked in milk.

Many years ago, I discovered that everytime I ate milk (or other dairy products) I ended up with a sinus infection. So decided to find a way to have my much loved chowder without the health issues. I developed a vegan version of this traditional meal that doesn’t include the milk (or fish of course) yet it’s equally delicious. Instead of adding milk – of any kind – I take out some of the chowder when it is finished cooking, puree it with a blender, and add it back into the pot, giving the whole chowder a nice creamy texture.

I created this recipe before milk alternatives like almond, rice, or soy were available. I’ve since tried using them, as substitutes in the original recipe, but don’t like the flavour. They are too sweet for my liking. But you may wish to experiment with them. And of course, if you’re not on a vegan diet, you can still add the seafood.

Corn chowder is a hearty, nutritious meal that’s quick and easy to prepare. My family always enjoys fresh hot tea biscuits to go with it (topped with Molasses – if you’re a Maritimer!) Watch for my biscuit recipe in another post.

If you’ve never tried it, you owe it to yourself to make a pot. If you’re a chowder fan, I’d love to hear your comments on this dairy-free version.

Vegan Creamy Corn Chowder

A hearty mix of vegetables and herbs with a creamy finish.

Course: Gluten Free, Soup, Vegan
  • 1 small cooking onion chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 3-4 medium potatoes diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup carrot grated
  • 2 cups fresh, frozen, or canned corn
  • 1/2 cup sweet pepper chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • boiling water
  1. Wash, prepare and measure vegetables. Set aside on cutting board. 

  2. Put oil in a large soup pot and add the onions, celery, and garlic. Cook just till onions are transparent.

  3. Add in the potatoes and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes. Stir frequently so the vegetables don't stick to the bottom of the pot. 

  4. Fill up a tea kettle with water. Bring to a boil. While waiting for the water, add the salt, peppers, corn and herbs to the pot. Add just enough water to the pot to cover the vegetables. 

  5. Cook just until the potatoes are soft.  About 15 minutes. If to much water boils away before the potatoes are cooked add more boiling water so the cooking doesn't slow down. 

  6. Scoop about 2 cups of the chowder into a blender and blend till smooth. Add back into the pot. This gives you a creamy texture. Add the black pepper. If you like a thinner chowder add more water till you get the consistency you like.

Sweet Potato Waffles (GF)

Years ago, my step-father gave me a cook book that was published in 1946 – The American Woman’s Cook Book, by Ruth Berolzheimer. It’s a hardcover, thumb indexed book with 800+ pages and literally thousands of recipes. It contains some very unusual recipes, like pickled pigs feet, stewed calf’s heart, roasted squirrel, and broths made of calf’s brains or oysters. None of these odd dishes tempt me in the least, but there are others that are really good. Many of them I will be sharing with you in time.

One of the gems from this old book is a recipe for sweet potato waffles. The sweet potato makes them softer than regular waffles. The book suggests serving them as a side dish with turkey or chicken. As I was testing my own gluten-free version of these I realized that another way to use them is like bread! How about a waffle sandwich (a waffle-wich!) made with sliced turkey and cranberry sauce? It’s quite tasty. My daughter added a slice of Brie to hers.

These waffles are not too sweet so they work well as a bread or traditional breakfast food. Adding some sweet spices would make them ideal for a dessert – topped with fruit and whipped cream, or a sauce made from cranberries and maple syrup.

In addition to the taste and versatility, sweet potato waffles are a great way to slip more nutrition into a meal for kids – or adults – who aren’t fond of eating vegetables!



Sweet Potato Waffles

This is a soft moist waffle that makes a great dessert or sandwich. 

Course: Dessert, Gluten Free, Side Dish
Servings: 3 belgium waffles
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large eggs whipped till frothy
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes mashed
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup GF flour mix
  • 1 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg optional
  1. Combine the dry ingredients into a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Put the liquid ingredients and sweet potato into a blender and blend till smooth and creamy. Pour into a medium bowl.

  3. Add the dry mixture into the liquid and mix just enough to combine. Mixture should look smooth and frothy.

  4. Cook in a preheated, well greased waffle iron. When done they should remove easily by using a fork to loosen the edges before pulling them free. 

Recipe Notes

These are a bit soft inside when freshly cooked. They have a better texture when cool. 

They are great eaten as a side dish with chicken or turkey and also as a sandwich filled with cranberry sauce and turkey slices. They also taste great with yogurt and berries, and with a sauce made of cranberry sauce and maple syrup.


Old Fashioned Rhubarb Recipes

May was always a busy time of year when I was a child on the farm. There was the large vegetable garden to plant, the strawberry patch to weed, and the start of the yearly food storage. The first food being rhubarb. We would spend hours picking, then cleaning, chopping, and packaging it for the freezer.

Rhubarb has been eaten for centurys. (For a little history about it go to Most often it was stewed and Mom was no exception. She would fill a large pot up with chopped rhubarb, a little water and some sugar and cook it till it was soft. I would sit down and enjoy a bowl of it for a snack. I even ate it raw. (I can envision the sour look on your face) Actually, I would dip the stalk into sugar. But I recommend that you make sure it is washed thoroughly. I got pinworms eating it that way.

You can find lots of things to make with rhubarb. Cakes, pies, jams, wine, and muffins to name a few. Variations of the old recipes that have been passed down to us from our grandmothers are still the favorites. Occasionally though, someone comes up with a new idea – like the one for rhubarb viniagrette I found on posted below. I did try it out. It has a delicate flavor and is best on a simple salad of mixed greens with fresh stawberries.

Here are a couple of great rhubarb classics – gluten free – and the new vinaigrette.

Rhubarb Spice Muffins

Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb Vinaigrette