Monday, August 21, 2017

Cream Cheese Pastry

I made Judy's Peach Pie but wanted to try a new crust recipe with a cream cheese pastry which was delicious.

  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 1-8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Combine the dry ingredients and work in the butter and cream cheese until you have a crumble texture. Add the cream. 
  2. At this point the dough may be chilled for an hour for easier handling, but I made my pies immediately. 
I found this crust not to be as flaky as my other one, but richer and very tasty. This amount makes 2-8 or 9 inch double crusted pies. Just double the filling if you are using Judy's recipe for peach pie. I highly recommend you do as peach pie is awesome!!! 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bread for the Journey

John 13:34 
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, 
even as I have love you, that you also love one another."

I will be the first to admit that sometimes I don't feel very loving, especially if I have been hurt by someone. Jesus knows our human nature and knows that is usually how we feel after being hurt and feeling justified in those feelings. 
This is why He commands us to love one another, because it doesn't come naturally to us. Jesus knows His LOVE is the best buffer between hurt relationships if only we reach for His word to deal with our hurts and pain. God is not a God of "three strikes and you are out" kind of God. He has forgiven me endless times and keeps extending His mercy and love on me. My desire is to be more like Jesus. 

What would this world look like if we were able to extend that kind of love and mercy to the hurting world around us?! 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pavlova - Flash Back Friday

With all the fresh fruit available at fruit stands in our valley right now, I thought you might like to be reminded of this Pavlova
It not only highlights the fruits in season but is so delicious.
A truly beautiful dessert to place before your guests.
  • 3 egg whites at room temperature (I use large eggs)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (1st amount)
  • 2/3 cup sugar (2nd amount)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1  1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • fruit of your choice. Fresh berries are great, as are fresh or canned peaches, nectarines, pineapple, kiwi or a combination.
  1. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks begin to form.
  2. Add 1st amount of sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, beating very well between additions. I was told to check that the sugar had dissolved before adding the next amount. You can check by tasting a bit of the meringue to see if there are any grains of still sugar intact. This can take a long time so I don't always beat it that long.
  3. Beat in vanilla and vinegar.
  4. Mix cornstarch with the 2nd amount of sugar and continue to add sugar in small amounts beating well in between each addition until meringue is very thick and most of the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit a pizza pan. You can sprinkle the pan with a bit of water before putting the parchment down so it sticks to the pan. Alternately you can use foil which is lightly buttered.
  6. Pile the meringue on to the parchment in a circle about the size of a dinner plate. Using a spatula or spoon, push the meringue to the outside edges and indent the centre so it is lower than the sides.
  7. Place in centre of a 300 degree F oven and bake for 1 hour.
  8. After one hour, turn oven off. DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR until it is completely cold. (I usually bake my pavlova just before going to bed and leave it in the cold oven overnight.)
  9. Whip cream with icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
  10. Pile the whipped cream into the centre indentation of your pavlova. (You can do this a couple of hours ahead or right before serving.
  11. Top with cut up fruit or arrange fruit slices in a circular design. Do not put the fruit on until just before serving or the meringue will soften.
  12. Cut into wedges to serve.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Blueberry Sheet Pie

 It's mid August already, but I'm still taking advantage of all things summer. One summer treat is stopping by the local market each week and finding bins filled with fresh picked fruits and vegetables.
 Summer also brought company, and we had the rare treat of having my brother Wes and sister in law Kim from Kiev, along with local family over for Sunday lunch. Blueberries were just ready and so I decided that a Blueberry Sheet Pie would be our dessert. Using this dough recipe you can pretty much use any fruit you want. I've used apples, peaches and blackberries and they are all really wonderful! 

Have you noticed the new video clip here on the blog? You can find it on the upper right side bar. Hear Lovella share where all our book royalties go. Wes and Kim are working with Music Mission Kiev and there are a few photos in the video of the people they help. We are able to partner with them through our Celebrations Cookbook sales. 100% of the Royalties from that book go to help those less fortunate in the Ukraine. Listen to hear about our other project as well. Thank you for continuing to support our projects when you purchase one of our 3 cookbooks. 

This recipe is for a pan measuring 13"x18"

  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks, plus enough milk to measure 1 1/3 cups
  1. In a mixing bowl combine flour and salt.
  2. Using a pastry cutter (or I use a cheese grater) cut or grate cold butter into flour mixture until very fine.
  3. Divide egg yolks and whites. Place egg yolks into a measuring cup and add cold milk to measure 1 1/3 cups. (save whites for topping-see instructions below) Whisk together until yolks are broken up. Add this mixture to the flour and butter mixture.
  4. Stir with a fork to combine. 
  5. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured counter and knead until dough comes together into a nice smooth ball. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator while you prepare fruit.
  • 9 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch **if using frozen berries stir in 2 tablespoons cornstarch**
  • 1 scant cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed Cornflakes or Special K cereal
  1. Gently stir corn starch and sugar into the berries. Set aside.
Assembling Pie:
  1. Take dough out of refrigerator and divide in half.
  2. Roll first piece of dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is very thin and fits your pan size. ** A tip for pie dough is to roll the rolled out dough around your rolling pin. Place over your pan or pie plate and gently unroll the dough to fit your pan.**
  3. Sprinkle the bottom crust with the crushed cereal.
  4. Top with the prepared fruit.
  5. Roll out second piece of dough and using the same method, roll onto your rolling pin and unroll over the fruit. Don't worry if it tears a little or does not quite fit right to the edges. 
  6. If you have any dough hanging over the pan cut it off. You can even use it to 'patch' the top if need be. If you can you can now pinch the top crust to the bottom one, but if for some reason your crusts don't come together it's all fine. It will still bake up beautifully. Randomly prick the top crust with a fork.
  7. Now take the egg whites that you saved when making the dough. Beat until soft peaks form.
  8. Spread the beaten egg whites over the top crust using your hands or the back of a spoon. 
  9. Bake in 375ยบ F oven for 35-45 minutes. The egg whites will turn a nice golden brown and become slightly crusty. This is what really takes this pie to another level. 
  10. As soon as the pie comes out of the oven drizzle it with a simple icing of approximately 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 3-4 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir these 3 ingredients together and just drizzle over hot pie.
This is best eaten on the day it's baked as you want the texture of the egg whites to remain crusty. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Carnitas Enchilada Casserole

This throw together casserole will work with a variety of leftover meat. We cooked a large portion of Carnitas (Pork Butt slow cooked with Mexican seasonings) and had lots of shredded pork leftover so we enjoyed this layered enchilada casserole.

  • 1 large can green enchilada sauce (approx. 28 ounces)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 can of pinto beans (approx. 12 ounces)
  • 4 cups leftover meat shredded or chopped
  • 3 cups of grated Mexican blend cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Pour a thin layer of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
  3. Layer 6 of the corn tortillas on top of the sauce.
  4. Distribute the meat over the tortillas.
  5. Distribute the pinto beans over the meat.
  6. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the meat and beans.
  7. Top this with 6 more corn tortillas and press down.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the tortillas.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cheese melts and mixture bubbles and is heated through. 
  10. Serve hot with a side of greens.
  11. Refrigerate any leftovers.

I had a package of the mini street taco size of corn tortillas so I used 8 of them on top instead of 6 regular sized ones. If your family really enjoys cheese you can top with more than 3 cups and put an extra layer of cheese on the first layer of tortillas before you add the meat. You can use grated Cheddar or Jack Cheese instead of the Mexican blend.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

We just love our sweet and spicy pickles with pulled pork sandwiches or any kind of sandwich for that matter.  These pickles take no time at all to put in a jar to cure for a few days.  
I store mine in a large pickle jar that I once got pickles in from a big box store but any kind of large jar with a lid will work.  If you don't have one jar big enough, divide ingredients between several quart sized jars. 

  • 7 - 8 cups thinly sliced cucumbers  (a mandolin works well)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced and quartered onions
  • 1 cup thinly sliced and quartered green peppers
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill heads (the umbrella looking part)
  1. Combine the cucumbers, onions, green peppers and salt in a large bowl and allow to sit for one hour.  Drain well.
  2. Put one dill head in the bottom of the jar and fill with cucumbers right to the top, packing down a bit to fit in as many as possible.  Add one more dill sprig to the top.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, and spices.  Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has melted.
  4. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, covering all the cucumbers.
  5. Put on the lid and refrigerate a few days to allow the cucumbers to cure before eating.
Once cured, the pickles stay well in the refrigerator a few weeks. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars

For anyone who loves the peanut butter and honey flavor combination, these bars are a quick snack, easy to make with kids. I had almost a full bag of Multi Grain Cheerios, getting slightly stale and was ready to throw them out, when I decided to use them for squares. Stuck together with yumminess they were good as new.

  • 3/4 cup liquid honey or corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups Cheerios (regular or what you have)
  • butter for a slight greasing of pan
  1. In a large pot, over low-medium heat, bring honey and sugar to a boil. 
  2. Add peanut butter and butter, stirring until smooth and bubbly. 
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the Cheerios. 
  4. Press into prepared 9x9 or 9x13 inch pan. 
  5. Cut into squares as soon as they are cooled off but still slightly soft. Yields 16-20 pieces
Note: Although you can use any kind of cereal, less sweet (such as regular or multi grain. is better. When I used Honey Nut Cheerios I thought they were too sweet. Also, using liquid honey and/or a tad less sugar may not firm them up as well as corn syrup, but they taste just as good.