Grandma Swan Week

the best cook I have ever met has to be the farmer’s Grandma Swan… she created two cookbooks and handed them down to all of her children and grandchildren… I even have copies to give my children someday… so I decided this week to only use her recipes in my meals to the field and make it into a ‘tribute’ week to Grandma Swan…  I intend to do this every year out of respect for the way she cooked and what she taught me…

there are a few interesting recipes as ideas around what can be called a salad have changed and I didn’t realize that you could make pie came in flavours such as ‘Flapper’, ‘Mincemeat’, ‘Raisin’, ‘Apricot’ and ‘Sour Cream’

my hope was that these recipes would help the farmers remember the ‘good old days’ as they were out there…  even though I cannot re-create them the same way that Grandma Swan made them…

my daughter has been growing pumpkins this year and was so excited to use one for a pie…  and her favourite, roasted pumpkin seeds…

for the seeds she had to pick every seed from the ‘guts’ of the pumpkin

then she boils them for 10 minutes

finally roasted them with some salt in the oven and they were so delicious… it made me think if everyone had to work this hard to eat food, would we pay more attention to what we are eating?

the pumpkin got roasted and you can tell when it is done by piercing them

for the filling I scooped the pumpkin flesh into a strainer to drain any excess liquid off

I used the Vitamix to blend the pumpkin into a great texture to use for baking and pies… I froze what I wasn’t going to use and I will see if that works out or not!

both Grandma Swan and my Grandma Reed (who was an amazing pie maker at her own restaurant) used lard in their crusts…  so I have always used their recipes and lard…

the colour of fresh pumpkin pie is decidedly different than if you are using the canned pumpkin… it also has a fresher, lighter taste to it…

and the smell in the house is something I figured Grandma would be happy with…

this was another trick she taught me…  and I buy Whip It at our local store to put in whipping cream…  my daughter has a bit of a weakness for real whipping cream so she tends to volunteer to make it…  the key is to put the bowl and whisk in the freezer for awhile before you whisk up the cream…

I let the pies rest for about an hour after I cooked them and then put them in the fridge for a few hours before slicing them up…

Grandma Swan's Pumpkin Pie



  • 1 lb lard
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • milk or water


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup hot milk
  • pastry for 10” pie shell


  • for the pastry, cut up the lard and add to flour, salt, and baking powder
  • using a pastry blender, mix the lard in with the flour
  • beat the egg in a measuring cup and add 1 tbsp vinegar and water or milk until you get 1 cup
  • add to the lard/flour mixture and combine into a ball
  • cut into four and form four separate dough balls
  • wrap in saran wrap and place in the fridge to cool
  • for the pie filling, beat the eggs slightly
  • gradually beat in sugar, spices and salt
  • stir in pumpkin and hot milk
  • pour into pie plate lined with an unbaked pastry
  • bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes
  • lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes until you can insert and knife in the center of the filling and it comes out clean

it was actually a little difficult to find a salad recipe that didn’t sound like a dessert…  apparently in 1987 it was totally fine to have salads named ‘Pistachio Salad Surpise’, ‘Molded Salad’, ‘Orange Sherbet Salad’, ‘Sunshine Jello’, ‘Creamy Pink Salad’, ‘Jello & Rice Salad’, ‘Strawberry Jello Delight’, ‘Jellied Shrimp Salad’ and then something novel sounding called ‘Vegetable Salad’

I settled on ‘Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad’… I used a product called Thieves to wash veggies and fruits that need it and it works really well…

the fun part was buying Miracle Whip and using it in a dressing… brought back many good memories… and makes a yummy dressing…

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad


  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small chunks
  • 2-3 bunches broccoli florets, cut into small chunks
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar


  • in a large bowl, add the cauliflower, broccoli, onion and cheese
  • mix the Miracle Whip, vinegar and sugar
  • pour over the salad and combine
  • put in fridge for 1/2 hour to let the flavour set

one of the dished Grandma Swan was most famous for was THE BEST hash brown casserole ever… the men in this household filled the freezer with deer sausage this last winter so I used some of that to go with the hash brown casserole…

one of the best things about paying tribute to Grandma Swan is when I look through her cookbooks and cook the recipes from them I get to think about how it made her happy to cook for all the farmers in her life and how serious she took her role as the provider of great food in her household…  she was and is inspiring… love you Grandma… I hope my children use your cookbooks well someday…

hash brown casserole

  • Servings: one 9x13 casserole
  • Print


  • 2 lb frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pint whipping cream, unwhipped
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine


  • mix together 1/4 cup margarine, salt, pepper, onion, whipping cream, soup and cheese
  • butter 9×13 inch pan and place hash browns in bottom
  • pour liquid mixture over hash browns
  • mix 1/4 cup margarine and corn flakes and put on top of potato mixture
  • bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

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