My Sweet Marie

Archive for December 2013

I will bet most of you will be gathering with friends tonight for a big party, or maybe you and your sweetie will go out for a fine dinner at a white tablecloth establishment. Whichever your plans, have fun, drive safe or better yet, don’t drive. Grab a bus, cab or walk, please!

Having worked in the restaurant industry for so many years, I cannot go out for New years. When I have, all I can see are the staff working hard, hoping you will just gobble up and leave so they can get to their parties! So for many years, we have done our own thing. Denis and I have a neat tradition that we do every year, and I think I will share with you! No, no, not that! Jeesh!

After a great meal of many courses, we will retire to a comfortable spot, get out our 2013 calendar and we sit, sip and reflect. Some years we’ve cried over the memories, some laughter and sometimes, like this year, I plan to burn that sucker! I mean the calendar, not Denis! It really amazes me how much we do in a  year, what we see, who we spend time with. When it’s all there in black and white, and blue and red…well you get a great sense of who is important to you and what is.

When we’ve finished with the calendar, we will refill those glasses then spend some time on making predictions, talking about our hopes and plans for the New year. This is my favourite part of the night, aside from the yummy food of course! One year I remember predicting that my brother in-law and sister in-law would get a baby, as they’d been hoping for many years and it wasn’t long after that they did in fact adopt a beautiful little girl, Nicole. One of my favourite predictions ever! One year we predicted we’d maybe get another grand-child and not only did we get one that year but we got two! I think this year, I will predict we win the lottery, let me re-phrase, the big lottery, the jackpot of all jackpots!

When the children were small, we’d make them a special meal, which usually they asked for hot dogs as that was a rare treat to them but whatever they think is special, then we’d set the clocks up a few hours and at midnight (really 9 p.m.) we’d have our countdown and go on the porch with sparklers! They had champagne, (ginger ale) in champagne glasses and yell and holler, and in no time, they were in bed so that we could have our celebratory meal and get our New year’s eve going!

Whatever your traditions are and whoever you share them with, may they be filled with great fun, lots of love and a little sparkle!

Please don’t drink and drive! HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

Sweet Marie


I made a huge pot of this for the family Christmas party yesterday, here’s the recipe for you again! enjoy.

My Sweet Marie

Garlic Roasted Chicken:

Toss several pieces of chicken with olive oil, 3-4 cloves of garlic, onions,  salt and pepper. Lay flat on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and roast at 350 for about 1 hour and twenty minutes. Serve with glissants!

Glissants ( Sliders)

  • 4 cups of flour or gluten-free flour blend
  • 2 eggs
  • water ( about 1 cup, more or less)
  • 10 cups of boiling chicken broth
  1. Blend the first three ingredients together using only enough water to get the dough very sticky.
  2. Once sticky, form into a ball. Let the dough just rest for an hour or so, I put it in the fridge as I find it rolls nicer afterwards.
  3. Once well rested, roll out very thin, (my father would say very ‘tin’) (For gluten-free, you may find it useful to put the dough between two sheets of waxed paper.)
  4. cut into strips, drop into a bubbling chicken broth…

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Have you seen the movie Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase? Well that family has nothing on us! Surely if those directors and producers knew our family they’d be making movies about us! We are large and no doubt, in charge! I have seven siblings and when we all gather for holidays with our spouses and children, and their children we are now 55 or so people! It really is something to witness. Our family has a tradition where we take turns hosting the Christmas party. The host gets to choose the date, the venue and the menu! Sounds like a good deal doesn’t it?

This year was my turn and I chose to have a comfort food theme. You see when you have a hall, you have to plan ahead and book the hall early and make arrangements with people for different things.  I have to say that I was completely in awe of the food that showed up on our buffet table! We had two long tables set-up just for the food and we had to be very creative to get it all to fit! We had stew, cabbage rolls, even a vegetarian cabbage roll, Kapusta, chicken and sliders, shepherds pie, mac and cheese of three types, two types of meatballs, salad, sweet potatoes, squash, mashed potatoes, gravy, buns, corn bread, appetizers and desserts! Let’s just say if someone went home hungry, they have an issue!

Hosting is a lot of work as you’re the one who arranges everything, delegates odd jobs and gets there early so the hall is ready to go when the crowd rolls in. I was lucky to have my hubby’s help and my sister Monique and her husband Gaston showed up early too to lend a hand, thank you God for them! I can take a deep breath now knowing I won’t be hosting again for 8 years! Phew! I have passed the torch to my brother Denis and I heard a rumor he already has a theme picked out but I won’t let that secret slip….yet.

When hosting there’s the children to think of and we usually have a table set aside for them to do crafts, play games etc, but really what they like best is running wild. There’s plenty of room to do and as long as they stay out of the kitchen where they could get hurt, we’re all OK with it. They get to see cousins that they don’t see very often and it doesn’t take them long to warm to one another. They also usually get gifts from some of the generous aunts who love to see those kids smile!

For Mom it’s a busy day that wears her out but it’s a day where her entire family is gathered and everyone is happy to see one another. This year was a bit tough for her, even if she didn’t complain, it was her first Christmas without Fred and he so loved going to these functions. I feel he was there watching over all of us and making sure nobody burned the cookies!

Thank you all to my siblings, my nieces and nephews for all of the contributions and mostly to Mom for having such a large family for us to enjoy. And now I shall have a nap!

Love to you all,

Sweet Marie

Did you know the word fondue comes from the French verb fondre? There’s writings of fondues from as far back as 1735 in France, where melted cheese was served over a portable stove and bread was dipped in using long forks. In the 1930’s it became a national dish for the Swiss and didn’t make it’s way to America till the 60’s. Of course the hippies would bring that in, wouldn’t they? Probably had the munchies! So here is another fondue recipe for you in case you’re headed to a fondue party this season, bring something different. The goat cheese fondue is great for those that cannot tolerate dairy as well.


  • 1 lb of goat’s cheese
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion
  • thyme sprigs fresh
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • corn starch optional


  1. In the olive oil, sauté the garlic and onion.
  2. Add the wine and herbs, bring to a boil.
  3. Add in the cheese in chunks and stir till smooth.
  4. If thin, you may thicken by adding a bit of corn starch roux.
  5. Serve with dippers like breads, crackers, bread sticks, gnocchi, mini potatoes, veggies etc.

We’ve been invited to a fondue party tomorrow, which happens to be Christmas Eve. My daughter’s in-laws have invited us out and this is a tradition in their home for Christmas Eve. I’m all in! I have offered to bring a couple of fondues and today I experimented with some cheddar, oh my, I can’t have cheese (dairy) but I did sneak a taste as I have to be sure it’s good! Yep, sure is! I have been surfing for recipes but none really grabbed me so I did what I always do, raid the fridge. Here’s what I did:


  • 1 gluten-free beer
  • 1 lb of old cheddar (sharp)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 1-2 jalapenos diced small
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp. dry parsley
  • 2 tbsp. of cornstarch


  1. Cube your cheese and toss with the corn starch in a Ziploc bag. Set aside.
  2. In your fondue pot, sauté the jalapeno and garlic in the oil/butter.
  3. Add in the beer and parsley, bring to a boil.
  4. Add in the cheese and stir while melting.
  5. Once it comes to a boil, remove from stove and put on your fondue stand and serve.
  6. Use dippers like bread cubes or breadsticks, crackers, nachos, Fritos, steamed but still crisp veggies, cooked chicken or beef.
  7. I made mine up ahead and have refrigerated it and will go back to step 5 when ready to serve.


Tis the season. Today Denis and I made our tourtieres once again for the holiday season. A few will be gifted and some will be frozen for future dinners! Enjoy the tourtieres with a side of veggies and salad and voila, dinner is served! Don’t forget to have lots of desserts on hand for afterwards too!

Merry Christmas all!

My Sweet Marie

Tourtieres are a big tradition in our home. We generally serve them up on Christmas eve and nibble on the leftovers all through the holidays! We make enough to eat all year-long too and to share with those who don’t make them! No, I am not taking orders, thank you very much! Running a little late this year but finally the tourtieres are done!

This year I had an extra challenge of making a few gluten-free tourtieres along with the regulars! I will post my recipe for Gluten-free pastry next! It definitely is more fragile than my regular pastry recipe, oh my! They are kind of sad-looking but they’ll taste good! My other pastry looks beautiful!


  • 10 lbs of ground meat (I do a mix of pork and beef)  can do veal,turkey etc.
  • 5 lbs of mashed potatoes
  • pastry for 10 tops and bottoms (shells)
  • 4-5 tbsp dry sage
  • 3 large onions…

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This is a recipe that I usually do up in the fall so that when the holidays hit, I have a go-to appetizer for the drop-in guests! This fall was a bit crazy with life so here it is 5 days before Christmas and I making jelly! UGH!!! It’s easy to make and when you have someone drop by, take it out of the fridge, put a bit of cream cheese or goat cheese out with a dish of the jelly and some crackers and ta-da, appetizer! People love it and it looks as though you have slaved over the hot stove, kind of like the woman with the flour in her face!


  • 4 cups of red, orange, yellow and jalapeno peppers, mixed to your liking
  • 2 cups cider vinegar, divided
  • 5-6 cups sugar
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 1 pouch Certo liquid pectin


  1. Halve the jalapenos. Seed the jalapenos based on how spicy you want the jelly.  Seed and core all peppers.
  2.   Transfer the peppers to a food processor or blender, with half of the vinegar.  process till well chopped but not mush!
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large pot. Add the remaining vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 10 minutes.
  4.   Stir in liquid pectin. Boil for 1 minute, until jelly begins to thicken. Remove from heat, and ladle into sterilized jars.
  5. If keeping in the fridge, close the jars and refrigerate. If planning to keep on the shelves, process, covered, in boiling water for 5-7 minutes, or until sealed.