Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bread For The Journey

Last week when the dough was ready to be made into buns and my 7 year old granddaughter offered to do that for me.  It surprised me a bit to see that she was completely capable to get the buns on pans.

She has practiced a fair bit already and now it comes rather easily to her.  

Her joy in serving and helping is evident.  My own little boys and now my grandchildren want to help in the kitchen and it is somehow really rewarding to be able to see how they learn and are able to succeed in skills which they have practiced.  

If we are willing to teach and be taught, things that at first may seem awkward will become natural.  

Do we sometimes sit back and let others take on ministry opportunities because we think we are not good enough at some things?

I've been thinking that it is not too late for me to  learn to do something new.  
I've been asked to participate in something that I actually am nervous to try but  I know I can learn and maybe in trying, I'll find I'll be able to bless others who don't speak English and be blessed by spending time with people who are likely just as nervous as I'll be.   We will learn some things together.  They will learn a few cooking skills and I'll learn how to communicate and relate with a different culture. 

As I watch this young girl try and try again,  I'm encouraged that perfection is not a prerequisite for helping in a ministry.  

What is most important is a willing heart and a desire to be teachable and available.  

Let's not be afraid to say ...."yes, I'd like to help and I'll do my best."

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement he has brought us, the comfort of his love, our sharing in his Spirit, and the mercy and kindness he has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Anneliese's Kitchen - then and now

Thirty years ago we built what people like to refer to as their forever home. Although I know it won't be that, I love that we have been blessed to make so many memories here! This photo was taken soon after we moved in, so you can see the original birch cabinets with the dropped cabinets over the peninsula, sunshine ceiling, almond appliances and country themed wallpaper.

Ten years ago we did a kitchen make-over. This time our oldest grandson, eating his bed time cereal just like our son used to, prompted me to take this photo. The biggest change was the removal of the cupboards over the peninsula - which we enlarged with an over hang - and the professionally painted cabinets with some glass inserts and antiquing added in the grooves. You can also see the change in back splash, granite counter, appliances, lighting and flooring. It was a huge change that was a mess to live through but so worth it! 

While I'm here, let me tell you of some of my favorite things in my kitchen. In the little alcove behind the fridge (to the left of the stove) is my original pantry cupboard. It opens as two doors, with shallow shelving attached on the inside of the doors for small things, such as teas, oil and vinegar bottles etc. (like a fridge) The deep shelves are adjustable and store cereals, snacks, baking ingredients and canned goods. Then, on the left of the fridge, we removed what was originally a broom closet and put in a second oven, with deep drawers underneath. 

 I was very happy with the changes and I still am.

The peninsula is often used for serving food buffet style, but here you see it
as a crafting table.

Often times it is the place the grand kids eat their snacks at 
or enjoy baking parties.

 It is also a great coloring table, close to where I am and can keep my eye on them while cooking.

Speaking of cooking, I like my gas stove. 
It's either on or off - no hot spots to watch for.
It cooks evenly, without splattering and is easy to clean up. 

Probably the kids would say that their favorite thing to come from Grammy or Mimi's kitchen is the jam. 
Maybe buns and jam. Maybe a few more things.

The oven is electric. I like that the door does not get hot.
Kids can touch it when I'm baking.

Did I already say something about baking parties?
We try to have cousin cooking classes every once in a while.
They are a highlight for them and they ask when the next one will be.

I like things neat and tidy, but as you know, cooking is not always that way.
I try. I teach them to put the bowl of batter in the sink. 

That way the spills and the stuff that flies goes into the sink. 

 Even so, the kitchen is a place to have fun . . .

and my favorite happy place to teach those I love
because I see how much they love it!

The kitchen is also a place to set a pretty table . . .
whether it's to welcome a new member to the family with a shower,
hosting a care group or just having friends over.

It is a place where we keep making room
even if it means extending the table into the next room.
It truly is the heart of the home.

I'm glad that 30 years ago we built with an open concept in mind.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Flashback Friday - Coddled Eggs

Saturday mornings we like to have a leisurely breakfast along with a big pot of coffee. For flashback Friday I'm taking you back to this post when I showed you my pretty little ceramic egg coddler cups along with the recipe for coddled eggs. One of our readers mentioned using small sealed mason jars in place of the actual egg coddler cups. I said I'd try it...and yes it works well, and I thought they were really pretty served in tiny mason jars. I just saved you a whole lot of running around and also spending money on egg coddlers. Now you have no excuse not to try these.
Recipe yields 2 mason jars.
  • 2 small mason jars, with lids
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 4 eggs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dry basil
  • cheese, grated
  • ham, optional
  1. Place 1/2 tsp butter in the bottom of each jar. 
  2. Crack one egg into each jar.
  3. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and a dusting of dry basil.
  4. Add a little layer of cheese.
  5. Crack a second egg into each jar.
  6. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and a dusting of dry basil.
  7. Top with grated cheese.
  8. Spray lids with non stick spray or rub with a little butter so that the egg and cheese will release once cooked.
  9. Bring a pot of water to a boil. (should be enough water so that the jars are fully submerged) 
  10. I like to use a set of tongs to gently place seals jars into the water. Boil for 8 1/2 minutes. You can take one out of water, open and see if the egg is cooked to your likeness. If you want it cooked a little more just re seal and place back in pot for a few more minutes. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mulligatawny Soup

My daughter in law introduced me to this soup and when I asked for the recipe she told me she'd gotten it from our other daughter in law so there's no doubt that great cooks think alike.
After serving it for lunch today I realized I'd left out the cooked rice. 
 It was delicious even without it.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh or frozen ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (like Montreal steak spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice
  1. Over medium heat, melt butter and add olive oil to your large soup pot.
  2. Cook onion, carrots and celery until they begin to soften.
  3. Add garlic and cubed chicken and cook until chicken is almost done.
  4. Add spices, tomatoes and chicken broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Stir in apples and cook just until they begin to soften then 
  7. Add the parsley, rice, coconut milk and lemon juice and heat gently.
  8. Serve.

Tip: Instead of adding raw rice to the soup during the cooking, I like to add rice that's already been cooked at the end so that it doesn't absorb the broth and over-thicken the soup.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Macaroon Peach Jam Tarts

Found this recipe on a page ripped out from an old magazine. I love the taste of coconut combined with almond flavoring and peach jam! You can use any jam of your choice, raspberry would be another good choice. You will want to use a thicker jam, not too soft. The peach jam I used was a bit too soft, I would have liked more of the jam to show in the tart.
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, I like using angel flake
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 15 - 3" tart shells, placed on a baking sheet.
  • Peach jam, 1 teaspoon per shell
  1. Whisk together eggs, water, sugar, almond extract, coconut, and baking powder.
  2. Scoop 1 teaspoon of jam into each tart shell.
  3. Spoon coconut mixture over jam in each tart.
  4. Bake in 425º oven for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350º and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown. They will puff up as they bake, then deflate a little as they cool.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. These tarts are a nice treat to enjoy warm or you can freeze them for another occasion.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lazy Man's Cabbage Rolls

This is really simple to put together and tastes every bit as good as the regular cabbage rolls. It doesn't photograph well but with colorful additions to the plate it looks quite appetizing. I served cheese toast and pickled beets as sides with this dish. These lazy man's cabbage rolls freeze well..double the recipe and package up a few meals to go in the freezer or share with another family.
My daughter Alison shared this recipe with me and I adapted it slightly.
  • 1/2 pound ground beef, you can use half ground pork if desired.
  • 1/2 cup Minute rice 
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped..I omitted this as we are not onion lovers:)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 cups coleslaw mix
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato juice..I used V8 juice
  1. Mix together ground beef, rice, onions if using, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. Pour a thin layer of tomato juice on the bottom of a 8" square pan.
  3. Crumble half of the meat mixture over the juice. 
  4. Layer half of the cabbage mix on top of the meat mixture.
  5. Pour over 1/2 cup tomato juice.
  6. Repeat layers and pour over the rest of the tomato juice.
  7. Cover loosely with foil and bake in 325º oven for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Check every 30 minutes, if it looks like it's getting too dry add extra tomato juice. I didn't have to add any.
  8. Serves: 4 to 6 depending on the appetites:)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Refrigerated Pizza Dough Gluten Free

A friend sent me a recipe that I modified to work for me.
Not only do I love this dough - in how it handles and  how it bakes up  - but I also love it because I can make the dough ahead. What a treat to make home-made pizza - on the spur of the moment -  with the dough already mixed,  risen and ready to use.

If you like thin-crust pizza this one wins the prize.
My grands also love it topped with only cheese  making it a quick, great snack!

  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp traditional yeast
  • 1/4 cup oil 
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 3 cups Julie's Flour mix 
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour 
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • sweet rice flour for handling/rolling dough 
  1. Proof yeast with sugar in warm/hot water 
  2. In mixer bowl blend oil, honey, eggs 
  3. Add proofed yeast 
  4. Add blended dry ingredients, mix on low then beat on high speed until dough is smooth, fluffy looking and light - about 3-4 minutes
  5. Scrape dough into a bowl large enough to allow for at least a double increase in rise - cover and let - between 1-2 hours. 
  6. Do not stir down, but place covered in the fridge until you want to use it. This dough will keep for 5-7 days in the fridge. Recipe can be doubled. 
  7. When needed, scoop out a portion of the dough, place on dusted parchment paper (using sweet rice flour) and lightly work in JUST enough sweet rice flour to allow dough to be handled easily. You will be surprised how very little it takes considering that the dough seems quite 'wet' to begin with. 
  8. Roll dough thin on the parchment paper, cover with desired toppings and slide parchment and pizza onto baking pan. Dough handles well, but if you wish, you can cover dough with plastic wrap and roll over top, removing plastic wrap when dough is rolled thin enough. 
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees -- or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbling.  Exposed parchment paper will turn color, but it is no problem.  You can trim the edges down after you slide it on the baking pan before baking. 
Note - you can add your favorite spices/flavours to this pizza dough - experiment!