Thursday, June 22, 2017

Strawberry and Peppers Salad / Salsa

It is fresh local grown strawberry season here. I got this recipe a few years ago from my friend Susi and we have enjoyed it ever since! Try putting it on BBQ burger, or alongside grilled chicken and steak; it is delicious! You can leave everything coarse like the above image, or finely chop like the picture below to serve as a tasty salsa with tortilla chips. It is good either way.

  • 1/2 of a medium red onion,  thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced and seeded
  • 1/2 each of a yellow and orange or red pepper (I used a green pepper too), sliced into thin strips or finely diced
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • add pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups of sliced or diced strawberries
  • cilantro or parsley optional
Combine all the ingredients and serve as a salad or salsa. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rhubarb Cake

In rhubarb season this year, I bought ten pounds of rhubarb from a lady who grows and sells it from her farm. It was fresh picked just for me and it wasn't long after it was pulled from the plants that it was washed, in my oven or in the freezer.
One of my aunts shared a tip with me about freezing rhubarb. She said instead of freezing it pre-chopped, it preserved much better left in full stock with part-ends on. So I tried it that way this year - one immediate advantage is that it saved me a lot of chopping time!!

My husband's mother was known as a good baker and she made a rhubarb cake that my husband loves ... He doesn't like rhubarb pie ๐Ÿ˜ž, which is my favorite pie ... but he does like this rhubarb cake. Especially since his Mom has been gone many years.

Above is a photo of my mother-in-law's handwritten recipe ...  and the translation below.
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 cup sour cream 
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 2 cups rhubarb (or amount as desired) 
  1. Beat eggs well, add sugar and beat until well mixed.
  2. By hand stir in sour cream.
  3. Blend dry ingredients and stir into egg/sour cream mixture until smooth. 
  4. Pour into 9"x14" baking pan and smooth top with spoon. 
  5. Sprinkle chopped rhubarb over top of batter. 
  6. Follow instructions for crumb topping. 
  7. Bake for 35- 40 minutes in 350 degree F oven. 

crumb topping 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1 package vanilla sugar
  1. Mix sugar and flour.
  2. Rub butter into sugar/flour until evenly crumbed.
  3. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.
  4. Sprinkle contents of vanilla sugar package over the top of crumbs. (This really MAKES the crumb topping!) 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas

A few of us have been participating in an ESL cooking class at our local church. 

This Enchilada recipe is one that was taught by one of the other leaders and I enjoyed it so much that it is one that I also now make at home.   You can purchase red enchilada sauce if you wish but I think you will find that making your own sauce is less expensive and delicious.  

Red Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and the onion and fry for several minutes until tender crisp.
  3. Add the seasonings, tomato sauce, and salsa and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in water, bring to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the enchilada mixture. 
Enchilada Mixture
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 8 flour tortillas
  1. In a large fry pan, heat oil and add in onion, frying a few minutes until tender crisp.  Add spinach and stir until it starts to wilt. 
  2. Add in cooked rice, black beans and taco seasoning. Stir. 
  3. Add in one cup of cheddar cheese, and stir until cheese is melted.
  4. Lay tortillas out on the counter, divide enchilada mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla and roll up.
  5. Pour enough red sauce into a  9 X 13 pan to cover the bottom. 
  6. Arrange filled tortillas in the baking dish and pour remaining sauce over the top.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 F. for about 30 minutes or until bubbling in the middle.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with salsa and sour cream. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fruity Rice and Chicken Salad

This salad serves quite nicely as a summer time meal. You can change fruits to your preference. I'm thinking mango or pineapple would be good.

Caramelized Almonds:
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Stir together almonds and sugar in a skillet. Place over medium heat stirring constantly until sugar melts and the almonds start to turn golden. Watch carefully as they will burn quickly. 
  2. Remove from skillet onto a plate and set aside to cool.
Salad Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup cooked rice, either brown or white 
  • 3/4 cup celery, diced
  • 3/4 cup green or red grapes 
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 small (284 ml/10 oz) can of mandarin oranges
  1. Combine chicken, rice, celery, grapes, blueberries, and mandarin oranges.
  2. Add dressing to the chicken combination and toss well.
  3. Refrigerate salad at least 1 hour before serving. Just before serving stir in the caramelized almonds.
  4. Serves: 2 to 4 depending on appetites:)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • To a small jar with a screw top, add dressing ingredients, shake well and pour over salad.
  • Dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
* Sometimes I use flavor infused oil or vinegar. It's a nice change.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bread for the Journey

My ninety four year old father lives with my oldest sister's family and my niece snapped this photo of her dzeda, our pop, praying on his knees before laying down to sleep. He does this every night and he prays out loud, in Russian. Since my niece hears these prayers most every night she wanted to capture the moment on film. I'm glad she did.

In trying to decide what to share on this Father's Day the thought came to me to share Jesus' instruction to us on how we ought to pray.

Matthew 6:6-13 (ESV)

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
(For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.)
This last sentence is not included in the ESV but is in the KJV and probably the ending we have all learned. 

If you are stuck in your prayer life and wonder where to start try starting with this prayer. We have a heavenly Father who loves us and who hears us when we acknowledge Him as our Father and cry out to Him for mercy and help.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Flash back Friday / Banana Split Cake

I posted it first way back in 2008, so I thought it was time to revive this recipe once again. This is a simple cake with just a hint of banana marbled with chocolate, topped with vanilla ice cream, in a luscious strawberry sauce. The cake freezes well and is nice to have on hand for visitors that drop by on short notice. 

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 banana mashed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup instant cocoa mix ( I used a 1/4 cup chocolate syrup)
  1. Grease a bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In mixing bowl beat butter on medium speed about 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating 1 minute after each addition.
  4. In a small bowl stir together mashed banana, sour cream and milk.
  5. Add dry ingredients and banana mixture alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined.
  6. Into 1 cup of the batter, fold in cocoa mix or syrup, stir gently.
  7. Add batter to cake pan and pour chocolate batter over plain batter. Swirl.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 - 70 minutes, or until cake test is done. Cool 5 minutes in the pan. Gently remove and serve with the following strawberry sauce and ice cream. 

Strawberry Sauce:

  • 4 cups strawberries
  • 1 cup liquid, from the frozen berries and added water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Thaw berries if frozen and drain, saving liquid. In a saucepan add water to drained liquid to equal one cup liquid. 
  2. In a saucepan, mix liquid and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Mix cornstarch with a little water and add, cooking until mixture runs clear and thickened. Add berries and lemon juice. Cool. 
  3. When cake and sauce are cooled, top with ice cream and sauce and voila ... dessert. Serves 12.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pulled Pork Poutine

Salads and veggies make it to our plates almost daily, but there are times we just want to eat pure comfort food. Poutine really hits the spot! Crispy fries, BBQ pulled pork, cheese curds. You might ask how much of each ingredient. That's up to you! How many are you serving? How much do you want to eat? Poutine is like making nachos, you just make enough!

  • French Fries, enough for as many people are eating
  • BBQ pulled pork (here's one recipe)
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Cheese Curds
  1. Lay fries on baking sheet and bake according to instructions on package. Make sure you bake them long enough to be crispy. You don't want soggy fries. 
  2. While fries are baking, heat BBQ Pulled Pork.
  3. When fries are done either transfer to a meat platter (oven proof) or leave on baking sheet.
  4. Top fries with layers of pulled pork, grated cheese and cheese curds. Creating a pile of cheese meaty goodness.
  5. Put assembled poutine back into a 400ยบ F oven until cheese melts. Watch it, as you just want the cheese to become soft and warm.