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Monday 7 December 2015

Custom Gift Certificates Now Available

Why not consider a cooking class as the perfect gift for the special people in your life? All of our classes include hands on learning, instruction by chef Katie Franks, a delicious meal we make together and a recipe book full of fun to take home at the end.

Great as a gift for individuals or groups and especially anyone who loves to cook and eat in good company. Gift Certificates can be purchased online and customized just the way you like.

Cost is $60 per person (no tax). See our Registration Page for easy PayPal payments or send an email to to order. For online orders please leave the name of the recipient and a brief message in the notes section.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Recipe of the Day - Homemade Hot Chocolate Powder

Reposted from 2012... Nothing says Christmas is coming like steaming cups of Hot Chocolate. I grew up on this stuff and so did my husband. This recipe can be adjusted to suit the tastes of those you are serving. We also love using Candy Canes as a stir stick at our house :) makes it pepperminty hot chocolate, yummy... Enjoy!

Mom's Hot Chocolate

10 1/3 Cups Carnation Brand skim milk powder
250 g Original Coffee Mate
750 g Nestle Chocolate Quick Powder
1/2-3/4 cup sifted dutch process cocoa powder

1. Using a whisk or pastry blender, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Store in large airtight container with a 1/3 cup measure or a scoop of the same size.

2. To serve: Boil water, add to 1/3 hot chocolate powder per cup.  Add milk as desired to cool it for little people. Serve with marshmallows, whip cream, baileys or peppermint sticks for stirring. Makes about 12 cups powder.

Note: Makes great gifts! Try wrapping up cello bags of powder with instructions, bagged mallows and candy canes... so cute!



Sunday 15 November 2015

Recipe of the day - Pub Style Beer Cheese

Here is a very easy recipe for delicious beer cheese (or Pub style cheese). Full of flavour and easy to keep on hand for entertaining. Ideal served at room temperature with pretzels, chips or veggie sticks. Don't worry when the kids love it too, the alcohol content is modest :)

Pub Style Beer Cheese

16 oz of sharp cheddar cheese, cut into bite size cubes or grated
4 oz cream cheese, room temp & cubed 
1.5 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
2 small cloves garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 -2/3 cups of beer 

1. Place all ingredients, except for the beer in a food processor. Blend until finely chopped. 

2. Slowly pour in beer a little at a time until desired texture is achieved. I started with ½ cup, and added a little more (about 2/3 cups). 

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Served with pretzels, crackers or some veggies! The flavour gets better you give it some time so making it ahead is a good plan.

Note: To make it Gluten Free: omit worcestershire and add 1/4 tsp salt

Monday 9 February 2015

Recipe of the Day - Homemade Mac and Cheese

2 cups Macaroni noodles, dry
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups old cheddar cheese, grated
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups old cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
5 grinds black pepper
pinch cayenne

1. Cook pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, make white sauce (aka bechamel). In a heavy saucepan melt the butter until bubbly but not brown. Add the flour all at once and whisk until it forms a smooth paste.  Begin adding milk slowly, a little at a time whisking all the while gradually increasing to a steady stream until all the milk has been added.  Add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Preheat the oven to 350'F.  Cook sauce over medium heat, stirring around the bottom frequently (to keep sticking and burning to a minimum) until sauce has first boiled, then thickened.  It is done when the sauce is thick enough to heavily coat a spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in first quantity grated cheese. Stir until fully melted.

4. Stir the drained noodles into the cheese sauce and pour into a 9x13 inch glass baking dish or other similar dish.   In another bowl, mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs and remaining cheese and toss to combine. Sprinkle over the noodle mixture as evenly as possible.  Bake uncovered until macaroni and cheese bubbles around the edges and the topping is a nice golden brown colour (about 30-45 minutes).  Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Alternatively, skip baking the pasta and freeze until you are ready to serve.  It may take 45 minutes to an hour in the oven if coming straight from the freezer.

Yield: One 9x13 inch pan or enough to feed 4-6 as a meal.

Monday 2 February 2015

Upcoming Public Class Schedule

We are located in Guelph Ontario

Winter / Spring 2015

Date: Wednesday February 4th 6:00-9:00 pm
Theme: Pastry Made Perfect - Discover how easy perfect sweet and savoury pastry can be!
Where: London House Bed and Breakfast


Date: Thursday March 12th 6:00-9:00 pm
Theme: Sushi - Everything you need to know to make authentic 'seasoned rice'. Includes Maki, Sushi, Sashimi, and more. Note: you do not have to eat raw fish at this class, each participant makes their own ingredient selections.
Where: London House Bed and Breakfast


Date: Thursday April 16th 6:00-9:00 pm
Theme: Mexican - This class features a wide variety of dishes from traditional Mexican cuisine including how to make masa tortillas by hand...
Where: London House Bed and Breakfast


Date: Saturday May 16th 6:00-9:00 pm
Theme: SouthEast Asian - Our most poular class, focusing on authentic flavours and techniques
Where: London House Bed and Breakfast

Thinking Gift Certificate for Mother's Day? Email me at for more details.

Monday 26 January 2015

A Personal Note on my Family

Dear Friends of The Kitchen Door,

I haven't posted a personal update in some time and I thought it was time for a New Year post. I have always been told that life speeds up as you get older and I would agree with this statement, but add to it. Life does move faster, as it becomes more full. Let me just say I have been living in the fullness of life lately... That sounds so romantic, but there have been some heavy moments and some wonderful ones too.

It was November 2013 that we officially became a foster family to our beautiful little lady baby Zo. Her birth mother chose us to foster her and she came home from hospital at three days old. We are what is called a Family to Permanence, meaning if possible we will be Zo's adoptive family also. Of course that was over a year ago now and since then that little girl has brought us such joy and so much blessing! All babies are precious but this little girl just loves life and enjoys everyone she meets. She is funny and strong and crazy and now that she is one year she is also full of mischief and can trash the house or grab a chunk of Tricia's hair in the blink of an eye (Tricia turns 6 in February - how is that possible??). We remain Zo's foster family but have high hopes that we will become her adoptive family in the not too distant future.

Becoming a Family to Permanence took a step of faith for Ryan and I as it is without certainty of permanence that we would be bringing little people home. We felt fearful of the potential loss for ourselves and for Tricia. We felt excitement and apprehension about regular contact with birth family (3 visits a week since Zo was born). We also knew it was what we were supposed to be doing. So, we changed our status from Adoptive family to Family to Permanence and in short order Zo came home. We can confidently say we made the right decision. I wouldn't trade a minute of the last year and a bit. As is prone to happen, we have grown and learned so much and are better for it. In reflecting over the past year Ryan and I agree that we have learned most importantly to live in today without expectation of tomorrow. We have learned to celebrate growth and enjoy each moment (even the chaotic stressful ones) because we have no guarantee of more to come. We have learned to let God grow our family in His timing and not our own.

Well wouldn't you know that our growing Zo would have a half brother born one year and eight days later? We did not expect this wee man to be apprehended but when he was we got the call to come pick him up at the hospital when he was just 1 day old. Now we have Irish twins and life has changed dramatically again. We have even less assurance that this little guy will be ours forever but regardless we are in love and enjoying each day despite some borderline severe exhaustion! Seeing our crew grow so fast and watching the girls fawn over little man has been remarkable to say the least.

So we continue this 'fullness of life' adventure and the only thing we are lacking is sleep (like all young families). If you think of us, we would love your prayers for stamina and for the adoption of Zo to take place sooner than later. In the meantime, thank you for sharing in our journey, you know I will post tons of pictures as soon as I am allowed!

With love, Katie

Monday 5 January 2015

Recipe of the Day - Franks' House Dressing

I have been meaning to post this recipe for a long time now, but alas I had lost my recipe card... It's not a tricky recipe but it is amazing if made to these specifications. This salad dressing is used by my sister in law in New Port News Virginia Beach and by my mother in law in Frederick Maryland. Each of them make it slightly differently but both with great results so I have posted two versions and you can choose which suits you better.

Note: This dressing is shelf stable meaning you can keep it in the cupboard until you need it, which will likely be on a daily basis and thus you won't have to wait for it to warm up before using. Enjoy!

Franks Family House Dressing - Maryland Version
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp salt

1. Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a lid or a salad dressing shaker and shake well to combine. Shake before each use. Store at room temperature. Makes: 1 1/2 cups

Franks Family House Dressing - Virginia Beach Version
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp Tabasco
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp salt

1. Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a lid or a salad dressing shaker and shake well to combine. Shake before each use. Store at room temperature. Makes: 1 1/2 cups