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On the Bookshelf

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you’ll know that I collect cookbooks. I am constantly getting them from the library and checking out them in stores or online. I try to get books that add to my collection. I love it when they teach skills and offer recipes that involve ingredients that are relatively normal. Like I could find them at one of the local grocery stores.

3 Cookbooks that are new(ish) to my house:

1. Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts.  You may or may not know that I also loooove Martha! Well I love her  staff;)I love the stuff they come up with and her cookbooks always rank high in my mind! Recipes I’ve tried in it: Chocolate Cream Pie, Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie, Berries and Cream Tartlets, Tarte Tatin, Peach Tartlets, Chocolate Almond Tart with Fleur de Sel, Banana Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie,  Ginger-Pear Hand Pies, Rainbow Puff-Pastry Tarts, Rocky Road Tart and the Leek and Olive Tart.

Pros: It has a very diverse collection of pies and tarts. It has lots of basic recipes and then some more advanced. It covers multiple purpose doughs and gives step by step picture instructions for each.

Cons: It had a few recipes with ingredients that are hard to find at your local grocery store (well at least in Southern Alberta.)



2. Bourke Street Bakery: This book is beautiful! I love all the beautiful pictures in it.  I’ve never been to the real Bourke Street Bakery but after reading this book I SURE want too! (Too bad it’s in Sydney, Australia…) The food photography is amazing in it. The recipes range from breads, pastries and other sweets. I’ve only tried a couple recipes. The sweet shortcrust pastry, empananda dough, pan au chocolat, beef and bean sausage rolls (sooooo good!), pork and fennel sausage rolls (sooooooo good), chicken and bacon sausage rolls, Goat Cheese and Leek Tarts, lemon curd tarts, chocolate ganache tarts, chocolate mousse tarts, and the apple galette.

Pros: Some really amazing recipes. Some that are so nothing similar to anything I usually eat. Some totally new recipes. Totally new and cool flavors. Great pictures and great explanations.

Cons: This book is not for a baking beginner! It has some intense recipes.


3. The Grilling Book:  I looked into a lot of cookbooks about barbecuing. I really don’t have a lot of experience cooking on one and we got a new one last summer. I wanted a book that would teach me all I didn’t know. This book is it! I was not disappointed. It teaches about gas and coals. I have only tried one or two of the recipes in this book but I’m looking forward to trying more this summer.

Pros: Step by step instructions. Great recipes covering sides, sauces, tacos, and all kinds of meat. Great flavors and fantastic sauces.

Cons: I haven’t found one yet!


All three of these books added a lot to my cookbook collection.

Leftover Easter Ham Chowder

This post was originally  posted on Lolly Jane where I contribute food recipes once a month.


It seems there is always another holiday around the corner and certain foods get equated with certain holidays. Easter just passed and in my mind, Easter means ham. Not those boneless precooked ones, but the big, thick bone down the middle, marbled with fat, salty and strong flavored ham. When I was a kid my mom would make a sweet and a little bit sour mustardy pineapple sauce that i would happily smear all over each thickly cut piece. Yum!

Not long ago I was in the meat freezer section of the grocery store and I saw a big ham and those flavors and smells totally came back to me. I  bought it right then. Later that week I cooked a huge ham and some tasty scalloped potatoes in the middle of the week. It was awesome.;)As usually happens to me, there was lots left over. (I always cook for an army!) Those leftovers led to this soup. I actually saved the bones that had bits of the meat still stuck to the outside and a bunch of the crispy, tough skin. I added all that into the chicken stock and milk to add more flavor. It’s not necessary but if you’ve got it laying around, why not!


Leftover Easter Ham Chowder

  • 3 Tbsp margarine
  • 3-5 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 /2 chopped onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 3 boiling potatoes, diced and peeled
  • 3 cups diced leftover ham
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk

In a heavy stock pot, melted the margarine and fry the garlic and onion until the onions turn clear. Add in the thyme and salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour over top and whisk in until moistened. Turn up the heat Add in the chicken stock and milk and bring to boil. Add in 2 cups of the diced ham and the potatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Stir in the cheese. Pour half the soup into your blender (or use an immersion blender right in the pot) and blend it up and pour back into the bowl. Adding in  other cup of diced ham. Serve with more grated cheese.

Baby Olivia entered the world

I’ve wanted to try birth photography for a while. I’ve seen some amazing pictures and I really really love lifestyle/ documentation. (I wish more people in southern Alberta would be in for it in their homes.. their homes even if they aren’t their dream home…. but anyways…) My SIL was going to have this baby when I was out of town. But she got induced and I was able to be there. It was wonderful. She did so good. And they were completely surprised by getting a girl. They have 3 boys at home and had just assumed it would be a boy. It was such a great surprise!!  um… I couldn’t help but share a LOT of pictures…. and I just really felt like B&W was just right for this occasion.

I’m so in love with this newest little one. I’m glad that Norah will have a little girl Davis cousin close in age to be friends with. And I am so proud of Whitney. She was seriously an all-star.


  • Jen - April 21, 2014 - 8:40 am

    So beautiful Rhonda. The black and white is perfect!

  • Alysha - April 21, 2014 - 9:12 am

    These are beautiful!! Great job. And how exciting to have a girl after 3 boys!!

  • Tisha - April 21, 2014 - 9:18 am

    Soooo beautiful!

  • Andrea - April 21, 2014 - 10:01 am

    These are beautiful! And how exciting to have a girl now. :-)

  • Kristin - April 21, 2014 - 10:09 am

    These are just beautiful. Had me tearing up!
    Whitney and Brad will treasure these forever.
    I can’t believe they had a GIRL! So happy for them!
    If I ever have another baby, you’re hired :)

  • Micah - April 21, 2014 - 3:37 pm

    Love these!!! So precious. I have always wanted to do a lifestyle shoot formy labor and am mad at myself for not doing it with the twins. Next time for sure. So happy for Whitney and Brad!!

  • Christal bevans - April 21, 2014 - 5:57 pm

    Beautiful all of them!!! Great job!!

  • Kelly - April 21, 2014 - 7:20 pm

    Wonderful photos, as always! It’s really special seeing those first moments captured so beautifully!! I wish we still lived a little bit closer because I would love to have you at the hospital with me in about 3 weeks from now :)

  • Carmen - April 21, 2014 - 8:02 pm

    Lovely! I loved how you captured those first moments so perfectly. What a treasure. Hmm might have you do this for our baby….if Jeff will go for it. :)

  • rita - April 21, 2014 - 9:34 pm

    these pictures have truly captured the emotions of such a beautiful celebration of birth and the miracle it is! the joy swallows up the pain, the worry and the doubt that can go into this experience of bringing one of Father’s spirits into this life. great job and thanks for sharing!

  • Jackie - April 23, 2014 - 5:10 am

    That was beautiful!

15 on the 15th – April


As always go over and see my friend Tracy who’s doing this with her family too. Did you try it this month??