Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Make ahead Maple Soy Pork Kabobs

I bought a box of Neufeld Farms  pork kabobs through a Youth fundraiser recently.
They were delicious and a great option for a quick, "freezer to grill" dinner.
They got me thinking about trying my own version.
So I gave it a try and was pleased with the results. Weeks later, on a busy day,  it was so nice to just pull the bag out of the freezer, thaw them and grill them for an easy supper.
Here's what I did.

2 fresh pork tenderloin (NOT previously frozen)
Depending on the size of your tenderloin and the number of pieces on each kabob, this should make 6-8 kabobs.

For the Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (tip for grating ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar or shaker and mix well.
  2. Pour over pork in ziplock bags and remove as much air as you can before sealing.
  3. Of course, you can use this marinade for pork tenderloin or chops as well.  Just marinate the meat for about 2-3 hours before grilling.
Here's a few pictures to show how I put the kabobs together.:

The wooden skewers I had on hand were too long so I snipped them to length with my pruning shears. 
(My 'problem solver' husband's suggestion)

Using fresh (not frozen) pork tenderloin, cut the meat into 1 1/2 inch chunks and thread 5 or 6 pieces on each skewer.
Do not crowd them.

  1. Make the marinade and set aside.
  2. Place enough skewers for a meal into a ziplock bag. (Fold a piece of parchment paper several times and put it into the bottom of the bag and then tuck the sharp tips of the skewers into the fold so that they do not puncture the bags).
  3. Divide marinade between the bags.
  4. Zip bags shut, being sure to squeeze out as much air as possible.
  5. Label the bags and date them and freeze.
  6. The day you want to serve them, thaw in the fridge.
  7. Grill over medium high heat for about 15-20 minutes, basting frequently with remaining marinade. Use a steak knife to cut into a chunk of pork to test for doneness.
  8. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Spicy Dark Chocolate Cookies

These cookies with surprising ingredients are very tasty and have a nice after kick of spice to them. Enjoy them with a cold glass of milk or a cup of coffee. My sister Lana made them this past weekend and shared them and the recipe with me.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 oz. of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together either on the stove top in a heatproof bowl over simmering water (whisking until glossy and smooth) or in the microwave in 25-second increments (whisking after each 25 seconds). Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat together the brown and white sugar, eggs and vanilla extract on low speed until mixed well. Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne.

Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated well.
Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Scoop 12 equal rounds of the cookie dough for each cookie sheet making 24 cookies in total (approx.1-1/2 tablespoons each)
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes.
Cookies should still be a little puffy and soft.
Immediately slide the full sheet of parchment paper with the cookies onto a cooling rack.
Cool and enjoy with a cold glass of milk.
Note: If you enjoy sweeter cookies you can increase the brown sugar to a cup.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins will always remind me of my mom who seemingly has baked these non-stop for her grandchildren for many years. It occurred to me recently that maybe I should get the recipe from her. These muffins freeze well and are easy to put into a lunch for a treat.


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips (she uses mini size)
  1. Beat butter and sugar, adding in the eggs.
  2. Stir in oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
  3. Add combined dry ingredients. If cocoa does not incorporate nicely into flour, sift dry ingredients before adding to wet.
  4. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350 F, 20 minutes for medium size. Makes about 24 medium size or 18 large size. These are great done as mini muffins, bake less time, until toothpick test comes clean.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bread for the Journey

God loves you.
 I don't know what your journey is, but I know that God's love reaches to the weariest, the loneliest, the concerned, the wounded, the one in despair, the broken hearted, the fearful one.

Psalm 33:22 
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Pear Bread

There is a story behind this moist and delicious pear bread.   More than three decades ago, I was gifted a loaf by a dear lady named Frieda.  After a long day of work, I recall how nice it was to have the fresh pear bread to enjoy with the family in the evening.  Frieda told me it was a recipe from a cookbook put out by a group of local women.  I had the cookbook at home, and made a mental note to bake the pear bread in my kitchen sometime. Time flew by and several years ago I finally got around to baking the pear bread...and I brought Frieda a loaf.  Not so long ago, I brought her another loaf…along with a bouquet of tulips.  She was diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago and did not expect to see the flowers of spring the following year. Since then, two years have come and gone.  Frieda has enjoyed the tulips and now she is smelling the roses!  And tomorrow she will be celebrating her 90th birthday. She's still looking terrific and feeling quite well.  Her only explanation is that God still has a purpose for her on planet earth!  It seemed a good day to share this recipe.  Feel free to leave your birthday greetings to Frieda in the comment section.  I happen to know Frieda reads this blog!

Cinnamon Swirl Pear Bread 
  • 3 cups chopped peeled ripe pears (3-4 pears)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 9 - 10 cups flour
  • 3 Tablespoons instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  1. Combine pears, water and 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Drain pears, reserving syrup. Add cold water as necessary to reserved syrup to measure 1 1/2 cups; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beaten eggs, butter, honey, salt, almond extract and lukewarm pears and reserved juice. 
  3. Stir instant yeast into four cups flour and add to other ingredients.  Beat well.
  4.  Continue adding flour to form a soft dough.
  5. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. 
  6.  Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
  7. Punch dough down; divide into three pieces.  Roll each portion into a 16-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle each surface with 1/3 of the cinnamon mixture to within 1/2 in. of edges.
  8. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seams to seal. 
  9. Place, seam side down, in three greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, (about one hour).
  10. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with foil. Bake 20 minutes longer or until bread tests done. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool.  
Yield: 3 loaves   
I have one more note of interest about the origin of this recipe.  It was submitted to the original cookbook by Bev Klassen.  Who knew that one day Bev and I would both be contributors to Mennonite Girls Can Cook...and that I would be the one to share it over here?  It is a small world after all!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Taco Pie

This is a recipe I had not made for a very long time. A quick and easy supper idea that can everyone enjoy, perfect for that on the go family.

You can use the basic recipe of biscuit mix, eggs and milk but change up the meat, cheese and seasoning to suit your families personal taste. If you enjoy the taco flavors you will enjoy this too. 
  • 1 lb of  lean ground beef
  • 1 chopped  onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of homemade Taco Seasoning or one package of low sodium store bought.
  • 1 small can of green chilies, drained
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of prepared biscuit mix 
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • olives of your choice (optional)
  • salsa  and sour cream
  1. Brown the ground beef with the onion and peppers on medium high heat.
  2. Drain excess fat.
  3. Add the seasoning and green chilies.
  4. Place the meat  mixture in  a greased 9" or 10" pie plate
  5. Mix together the eggs and milk, stir in the biscuit mix.
  6. Pour over beef. 
  7. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. 
  8. Top with the cheese and olives if using, bake another 5-10 minutes. Test the center of the pie with a knife and if it comes out clean it is ready.
  9. Let rest for a few minutes before cutting into it.
  10. Serve with salsa, sour cream and a salad.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Color your cupcakes (White Buttercream Frosting)

Last weekend we celebrated two of our grands birthdays.

The theme was to create color.

Here is an idea that the kids loved and can easily be created when you use either a cake mix or your favorite white cake.

  I'm going to share the frosting recipe here.  I've used this frosting for years to decorate squares and cakes and it's delicious and creamy. It is not too sweet and mimics true buttercream beautifully.
This frosting that will stay moist so that the artist can easily decorate their little cakes.  I used a flower shape tip to create the curly ribbon effect.

  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • dash salt
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine the flour, salt and about 1/2 cup milk in a saucepan and whisk it until there are no more flour lumps.  Whisk in the remaining milk .  Bring to a boil over medium heat and then simmer for several minutes so that all the flour is cooked.
  2. Remove from heat and place plastic wrap on the surface cool until room temperature.  Be sure it has no hint of warmth left since it will make a greasy texture to the frosting once you add the butter.
  3. Use a stand mixer if possible or a hand mixer, beat together room temperature butter and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cooled flour and milk mixture and vanilla.  Beat the frosting until light and fluffy, resembling whipped cream. 
  4. The frosting can be kept at room temperature for several hours or made ahead and refrigerated.  Before frosting your cakes, allow to come to room temperature and beat briefly to make smooth again.  
  5. This frosting is best served at room temperature. 
Julie has offered instructions to make this frosting GLUTEN FREE.  Substitute the flour for a flour mix of 1 part sweet rice flour and 3 parts cornstarch - you might have to adjust the 7 tbsp. of flour (probably need a little less)  

Makes enough to generously frost 3 dozen cupcakes.