Friday, July 21, 2017

Mexican Layer Dip

I first posted this recipe in 2010.  I've been making this appetizer which is perfect to take along to a pot luck for so many years, that I would almost consider it a vintage recipe.
You can use purchased salsa and guacamole to put it together quickly or you can use some of the larger recipes of my favourite fresh salsa and guacamole which I am linking in the ingredient list.

  • 1 - 250 gram / 8 ounce light or regular cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups guacamole
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 small can black sliced olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1  1/2 cups finely shredded cheese
  1. Mix together softened cream cheese with sour cream and taco seasoning.
  2. Layer the cream cheese mixture into a 9 X 13 pan and then the remaining ingredients as listed.
  3. Refrigerate until serving time and serve with tortilla chips.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Italian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This is a light meal that you can wrap up in your favorite type of lettuce. It's packed with lots of flavor. It would make a nice appetizer when served on smaller bite sized greens like endive.

  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onions (white or red or a combination of both)
  • 1/4 cup each of red and green bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon minced, fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lettuce leaves, for serving

  1. In a large bowl, mix together chicken, celery, onions and peppers.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, chicken stock and Italian seasoning.
  3. Pour mixture over chicken and vegetables, mixing until well-combined.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Refrigerate, allowing flavors to meld, for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Spoon mixture into lettuce leaves and serve.
  7. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  8. Serves 6-8.

If you want a different flavor you could add Cajun seasoning instead of Italian and have a little kick or if your family likes heat add some diced jalapeno to the mix. You could use a rotisserie chicken as a shortcut, too.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cinnamon Twists

A friend gave me this recipe a long time ago and I'd forgotten all about it until recently.
I found the recipe in my old binder and made these for our church picnic a few weeks ago.
They are crunchy and reminiscent of Mexican Churros but they are baked rather than deep fried. 
They were so good I'll be making them again soon.
They are the very best right out of the oven but were enjoyed the next day as well.
It's a big recipe so you could halve it if you like.

  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 cups  cold butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup water
Sugar mixture:
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut together cold butter and flour as you would for pastry.
  3. Mix in salt, yeast and sugar.
  4. Add liquids and mix well.
  5. Refrigerate dough 4-6 hours or overnight. (it will rise, but not very much)
  6. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl..
  7. Divide dough into 8 sections. 
  8. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar/cinnamon mixture on counter or pastry sheet. (I used a silicone pastry sheet)
  9. Roll each section out into a long rectangle approximately 14 inches by 6 inches using the sugar/cinnamon instead of flour..
  10. Cut into 1 1/2 inch by 6 inch strips.
  11. Be sure both sides of dough are sprinkled well with the sugar/cinnamon.
  12. Twist each strip before placing on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  13. The twists do not have to rise on the pan but form all the dough and place all the twists on the pans before beginning to bake them.
  14. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes.  I like them a bit on the crisp side so I baked them until they began to brown nicely.
  15. Makes about 90 twists.

If serving the following day.  Pile all twists on a cookie sheet and place in a cold oven overnight.  That way they will not absorb any moisture and will still be crisp in the morning.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Peach Almond Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is delicious plain or take it up a notch by adding whipped cream and more toasted almonds and it is fit for a queen! Serve it as a dessert or for brunch, either way you will please the taste buds!
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cans each 398 ml/ canned peach slices 
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced and toasted
  1. In a medium sized bowl beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar on medium high speed until light and creamy.
  2. Add eggs, extracts, and sour cream and mix until well blended and the batter is smooth.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients except the cinnamon and mix just until combined.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Spread 1/2 of the batter in a greased 10" round springform pan. You can use a square pan.
  6. Top with half off the peaches and sprinkle half of the sugar cinnamon mixture over the peaches.
  7. Spread remaining batter over the peaches and arrange the remaining peaches in a nice pattern and sprinkle with the remaining sugar cinnamon mixture.
  8. Sprinkle almonds over top.
  9. Bake in a 350ยบ oven for 1 to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check cake for doneness at 55 minutes. (my oven took the full 1 hour and 15 minutes)
  10. Serves: 10 generous slices

Monday, July 17, 2017

Apple Sauce

I've been able to watch my girls feed their little ones applesauce this past winter.  My mom always made it during the summer months with fresh transparent apples.  It was my job to go and pick up the fallen apples every morning and evening.  It was not my favorite job.  So today I decided to show you the method my mother used for making apple sauce.  Do any of you remember this food mill?
Applesauce is a side dish that's so easy to make and gives flavor to any pork meal.


  • 12 large apples
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  1. Cut and core apples
  2. Place apples into a heavy enamel pot adding 2 cups of water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Place a bowl under the food mill and fill with cooked apples.
  5. Now begin cranking the handle back and forth till all the pulp has been sieved through the mill.
  6. When completed, your pot will have remaining cores and peels. 
  7. Add sugar to taste and pour the sauce into freezer containers and store in a freezer. 
  My mother gave me this food mill in my early years of marriage.  I am so happy that I kept it as it tells many stories of days gone by. Do any of you still use one like this?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bread for the Journey

Last week one day we took advantage of the beautiful weather and took our bikes into Vancouver.

While we were there I noticed how safe we felt and how other people observing basic rules of bicycle lanes and pedestrian traffic made everyone's leisure time enjoyable.  There were police on ATV's checking out the beach but they didn't seem to have any concerns either.   

At one stop, we were offered free bike valet, keeping our bikes safe while we walked around the market. They began to offer this service because thieves had been stripping down everything off of locked bikes since they couldn't steal bikes themselves.

I thought to myself... such fools!  

It reminded me of the summer series we have been enjoying at church and all the good bits of advice that Proverbs offers.  There is plenty of things said about fools and lots of words on probable outcomes for those that heed wisdom.  We are learning about embracing wisdom. 
"The book of Proverbs shows that the Bible cares about both eternal matters that deal with Heaven and Hell, and temporal matters that we engage with everyday.  In a world where there are voices screaming at us from every angle about what is good, true and beautiful, Proverbs provides the still small voice of Lady Wisdom to teach us what is generally (but not always) true, so that those who are willing to listen can live the good life here and now."  (Northview Community Church website)

If you are looking for some great food for thought as you enjoy your leisure time this summer, check out my church's summer series called Wise Up.  

My son, pay attention to what I say. Remember my commands.  Listen to wisdom, and do your best to understand.  Ask for good judgment. Cry out for understanding. Look for wisdom like silver. Search for it like hidden treasure. If you do this, you will understand what it means to respect the Lord, and you will come to know God. 

Enjoy your leisure time!

Friday, July 14, 2017

California Salad

I first posted this salad back in 2009. This one is worth mentioning here on the blog again. As you can see there are very few ingredients in this salad, but the dressing is what really makes this salad so tasty. 

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, broken into bite size pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)
  • 2 cups corn chips, add to salad right after tossing with dressing
  1. Tear romaine into bit size pieces.
  2. Chop tomatoes and slice green onions and toss them into the romaine. 
  3. Add cheese and olives if desired.
  4. Add corn chips after tossing salad with dressing. Serve immediately so the chips stay crisp.
The dressing for this salad looks almost curdled once blended together and the oil separates as it sits. Give it a good stir just before pouring it over the salad ingredients.

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 clove crushed garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1. Place all dressing ingredients into a blender or small food processor and blend until dressing is creamy with no lumps. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Keeps well in the refrigerator for several days. The lemon juice helps the avocado to not discolour, but I usually toss the avocado stone into the dressing in the refrigerator as that helps it not to brown as well. 
    2. Place prepared vegetables in a large bowl. When ready to serve, toss with dressing and corn chips. Toss gently.