Homemade Montreal Seasoning

homemade spice mixIs anyone else addicted to the Montreal seasoning mixes?

It doesn’t matter if it’s the steak or the chicken mix – we use this stuff on a daily basis!

We add it to our burgers, layer it on our roasts and sprinkle it on our chops.

It’s even the secret ingredient in our scrambled eggs.

It’s such a staple in our diet that running out is akin to a catastrophe! But it has happened – more than once.

It was during one of those times that I discovered you could actually make your own blend!

I played around with several recipes until I came up with this one that we now use almost exclusively.

It may not be exactly like Montreal – but it’s close enough! We call it our “house seasoning” and make it in bulk!

It takes almost no time to mix up, uses spices I already had in the cupboard, and can be personalized.

If you like it spicier – just add more cayenne.  Or swap out smoked paprika if you like a warm smoky taste.

Montreal Seasoning

7 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground rosemary
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika

Mix together in a bowl and store in a cool dry place.

(Or – if your like me – by your stove in an old spice  bottle because you use it all the time!)



Full House

10615967_10204631801374280_9211147631680570125_nMatt’s home!!!

My house is full again.

He hasn’t been home since Christmas – 8 months ago.

That. is. too. long.

We have so much to catch up on – and we’re filling each day to the brim!

Time with extended family.

A hilarious family night to watch the movies the kids produced years ago.


Favorite foods.

Gallons of coffee.

Mounds of laundry.

Sibling adventures.

And moments of just being. Cherishing the sound of his laughter and hearing his voice in the house.

The time is flying by.

Our week is almost gone.

Just a few more days to pack full of precious memories.

Sometimes I wish time could just stand still.

“Our state fair is the best state fair…”

I love the Iowa State Fair.

Maybe because it has something for everyone!

10433261_10204549168908520_7474021879587634149_nLike a mechanical bull for Dagmar. She stayed on for longer than 8 seconds.

Now she wants to ride a real one.

Oh dear.

IMG_1179And there was the free music.

Here’s Buddy enjoying a steel drum concert while we ate some lunch.

Notice his smile? Not only is he loving the drumming – but he also just found out his infamous yeast rolls earned a blue ribbon!

This momma sighed a huge sigh of relief!IMG_1192Then there’s our tradition of watching the local 5:00 news LIVE from the Fairview Stage!

We got there late and had to stand the entire time – but we saw everything – even the weather green screen and flub ups.

Didn’t catch any of the free food they were throwing out though…

And what’s the perfect way to end a day at the Iowa State Fair?

A ride on the Ferris wheel with your sweetie as the sun goes down and the lights go up.

Gotta love the Iowa State Fair!

This is Crazy

My baby girl jumped out of an airplane.

Yes she did.

Dagmar walked in, paid big money, and watched a ten minute minute training video.

Before I knew it – she was geared up and ready to jump.

IMG_6718Yes, jump – right out of that tiny little airplane behind her.

Thirteen thousand feet in the sky.



IMG_6728Once in the plane she was harnessed to the professional jumper behind her as they climbed in altitude.

And then she jumped.

IMG_6737Out of a plane at thirteen thousand feet.

Harnessed to a man she had just met.

IMG_6739And she fell through the clouds screaming and laughing.

This is crazy.

IMG_6750Free falling through the clouds.

And loving every minute.

IMG_6845Thankfully the chute opened.

And there she was floating in the sky – held up by just a blue and grey piece of nylon   attached to a guy she had just met.

This is crazy.

That is my daughter – who is already saving up to do it again.

The Tale of the 4H Yeast Rolls

BunsBuddy had to be up at 5:00 am to start making his yeast rolls for the State Fair.

That meant that I needed to be up a 5:00 am to make sure that Buddy was up to make his yeast rolls for the State Fair.

This is way too early to make anything.

I’ve always teased the kids when they work on 4H cooking projects that I want them to know it so well they could do it in their sleep.

It worked.

Buddy mixed up the dough with one eye open, set it to rise and went back to sleep.

I, however, was now wide awake.

I got to sit and watch the dough rise and wake him up when it was ready to make out into buns.

it was at this point that things started to get a little hairy.

You see – my oven is broke. And one needs an oven in which to bake yeast rolls. Our solution – Grandma’s house.

And since Grandma was currently in Minnesota – her oven would be free.

So – Buddy made out the rolls, quickly got dressed, and ran out to do chores.

And it started to rain.

Meanwhile I slipped on my flip flops (this detail will be important later) and proceeded to gather up the trays of rising buns and head to the mini van. In the rain. Dodging the chickens who had just been released from the coop, in flip flops that were getting more and more wet.

I should note that we now have three kids driving – with three different vehicles – all of which were currently parked in my driveway directly in my route to the mini van which was – of course – parked the farthest from the house.

I somehow managed to get the first two trays in the van and ran to the house for the next two,  again dodging chickens and rain drops in wet flip flops.

Buddy finished chores and jumped in the van with me.

We were on a very tight time schedule so I went over the baking time with him again. And again. And one more time just in case.

I pulled the van as close to the Grandma’s house as we could, each of us grabbed two sheet trays of beautifully formed and rising yeast rolls and headed to the porch.

When I hit the door I realized that with a sheet pan in each of my hands – I couldn’t open it. Thinking quickly, I balanced one tray between my elbow and chin, using my free hand to open the door.

it was just as the door opened that my wet foot slipped in my wet flip flop causing me to hurtle through the door sending one sheet pan of perfectly formed and rising yeast rolls to go crashing to the ground.

Thankfully only four rolls actually landed on the ground, in the doorway, and on the porch. The rest stayed on the tray – but they were no longer perfectly formed. Nor were they rising.

I brushed off my dignity – chucked the four errant rolls into the ravine hoping some varmint coon would choke on them – and rearranged the remaining ones, praying that they would be okay.

Buddy got the rest of the trays successfully in the house and the oven preheating. I went over the baking time with him again – this time pointing to the clock for added emphasis.

Then I left my baby alone to bake his yeast rolls and I took my slippery wet flip flops home to clean up.

Buddy got them baked right on schedule and Angel Girl and I were right on time when we picked him up. Things were looking up!

But then I realized that I had forgotten to grab the paper plates we needed from the table – where I put them so that I wouldn’t forget them.

This meant that we had to stop back at the house.

Which made us late.

Now we needed to make tracks.

But Angel Girl was driving.

Her top speed was 45 mph.

So I said, “Floor it Missy!”

She floored it – we hit 56 mph.

We made it to the extension office with 3 minutes to spare.

We handed off the precious yeast rolls to the county 4H coordinator who took them to the State Fair.

And there they were judged by a judge who knows nothing of the drama involved in getting them there!

Oh if those buns could talk!