Thursday, April 27, 2017

Apple Blueberry Dump Cake

I saw this idea on a cooking show and wanted to see if it would work with some of my frozen fruit. It did turn out and those who ate it enjoyed it. Use whatever frozen fruit you might have. I had blueberries from our bush and apple slices from our tree.

  • 1 quart frozen blueberries
  • 1 quart frozen apple slices
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 stick of melted unsalted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Dump frozen fruit in a prepared (greased)  9 x 13 or larger baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over the top of the fruit.
  4. Sprinkle oats evenly over the top of the cake mix.
  5. Sprinkle nuts evenly over the top of the oatmeal.
  6. Drizzle melted butter over the top as evenly as possible.
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes.
  8. Cool slightly and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Squash and Bean Soup

I served this soup to our five visiting grandchildren this past week 
and they pretty well finished it off!
This recipe makes almost two ice cream pails full and freezes well.

  • 1 pound Italian sausage meat
  • 1 1/2 pounds hamburger
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 quart carton beef stock
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 cup diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds discarded and cubed into 1-inch dice
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (like Montreal steak spice)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cans navy beans, drained
  1. Brown Italian sausage in skillet until cooked through.  Drain fat and place in large soup pot.
  2. Brown hamburger in the same skillet, drain fat and add to soup pot.
  3. Add onion, peppers and celery to skillet and saute until they begin to soften.  Do not overcook.
  4. Add vegetables to pot with seasonings. (don't add the beans until later)
  5. Simmer for 1/2 hour or until squash is tender.
  6. Add navy beans and adjust seasonings to your taste.
  7. Serve hot or cool and freeze until needed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This coffee cake was my go-to when guests were coming for coffee and dessert during the 80's.  I pulled the recipe out not that long ago and it is just as delicious as I remember it.  It stays moist and fresh tasting for several days.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup sour cream (regular or low-fat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cinnamon Nut Mixture
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 
  2. Spray or grease an 8X10 or 9X13-inch pan and set aside.  
  3. Dice the butter if it is cold to help it soften quickly.  
  4. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon and nut mixture in a small food processor if you have one until nuts are finely chopped, or alternately, chop nuts and then combine with sugars and cinnamon.  Set aside. 
  6. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar and cream together well.
  7. Add eggs and beat until combined.
  8. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then half of the sour cream and repeat, mixing well after each addition.  
  9. Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan, then sprinkle with half of the cinnamon nut mixture, spoon the remaining batter over top and spread gently to cover the nut mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon nut mixture.
  10. Bake about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean in the center. 
  11. Serve warm or cool completely and then cover lightly to retain freshness over a few days. The crumbs on top won't be as crisp but the coffee cake will stay moist and fresh tasting. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Peanut Butter Cookies

Many years ago some of my husband's cousins compiled a family recipe book called Cookin' Like Grandma. Family members young and old were encouraged to submit recipes, stories, memories and drawings. I recently picked up the recipe book when looking for this cookie recipe, and found myself reading through the stories, memories, history, scriptures, and little notes, enjoying the sketches that weave the Balisky family together. It reminded me of how blessed I am to be a part of this family.
This cookie recipe was submitted by cousin Todd. My mom in law Eileen bakes and delivers these to us regularly. No matter what age of life we are at, our moms still know what we enjoy. 

  • 1 cup butter, soften to room temperature
  • 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Cream together first 3 ingredients until well blended and smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Shape spoonfuls of dough into walnut size cookies. Place on cookie sheets and flatten with a fork. 
  4. Bake in 350ºF oven for 8 minutes. 
  5. Remove to cooling racks. 
Yields at least 3 dozen crispy little cookies.
**these freeze well**

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bread For The Journey

Imagination paints the artist's canvas 
Imagination weaves the author's tale
Imagination carves the sculptor's image 
Imagination builds the craftsman's masterpiece.

Imagination  is a gift God gave us to 'see'  beyond what we can see with our physical eyes.

The photo above is my  amateur attempt at painting 
 a 'hole in the wall' in my en suite,
My en suite doesn't have a window but I wished it did,
so I let my imagination create one.
It lets me see  the blue sky on the other side.of the wall every time I walk into the room.

Our physical senses dictate what we can see and limit us to an earthly view -
 they erect a wall preventing us from perceiving,
what is beyond  the physical reality of this earthly life.

But the Master of all Creation
created a hole in the wall that blocks our view of the heavenly realms.
He sent Jesus!
Whose words and life open to us a window through which we can see and understand
beyond what our physical senses allow,
We can see the invisible God of all eternity ...   
We can see the reality of the spiritual Kingdom of God, 
where the Son always shines, and the possibilities are unlimited. 

"Now to Him, who by His power working in us is able to do
 far beyond anything 
we can ask or imagine."
Ephesians 3:20
(CJB version) 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sour Cherry Pie

My parents moved from their house into a one bedroom apartment and it was time to clean out their giant freezer and use the produce that was in it. My aunt and uncle have a sour cherry tree in their backyard and we usually use the cherries for platz, fruit mooss, or jam, but this time I wanted to bake a good ol' fashioned cherry pie. I was thrilled with the results. I used my favorite pie dough recipe, which makes three double crust pies. I must make a disclaimer first before you try this recipe; our family really likes tart fruit, and one cup of sugar was enough for us, but it may not be for you. You may want to increase the sugar according to your own taste.


  • 6 cups pitted and defrosted sour cherries
  • 1 cup white sugar (or more depending on your taste for tartness)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  •  milk or cream and a bit of sugar for the topping, optional
  1. Squeeze all the liquid from defrosted cherries.
  2. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extract. I find the almond extract really brings out the cherry flavor. 
  3. Pour into the pie shell, dot with the tablespoon of butter.
  4.  Finish the pie with the top crust, either with your choice of lattice or full crust. I think the lattice looks pretty on a cherry pie exposing the vibrant color. Anneliese gives a tutorial on how to here
  5. Brush the top of the pie with a bit of cream and sprinkle with sugar. 
  6. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. 
  7. Top with some vanilla ice cream and enjoy. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Kotletten (meat balls) ~ Flashback Friday

It is 'Flashback Friday' and I am re-posting a recipe that I shared here in the very early days of this blog, in June of 2008. Some call them Kotletten or Cutletten and others know them as Klopps, but no matter what you may call them, they are a tasty deep-fried meatball. We had them often in my childhood home, and they were delicious right out of the pan for dinner.  But there were always plenty left for tomorrow, to make sandwiches or for a cold picnic dinner. Now I only make them once a year, for our traditional cold Easter buffet.  They showed up last Sunday on the meat platter, alongside the sliced ham and grilled farmer sausage.  We have been enjoying them 'every which way' this past week, especially at lunchtime sandwiched in a roll with mustard and pickles.
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1-2 slices day-old bread 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium potato, sliced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  1. Soak bread in water, and wring out excess.
  2. Add the 'soaked bread' to a blender along with all other ingredients except for ground beef, and blend until smooth.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine pureed mixture and ground beef.
  4. Mix well with your hands.
  5. Form meat balls of desired size.
  6. Heat about 1/2 inch oil in frying pan and cook over medium-high heat. 
  7. Turn meat balls over once well browned on the bottom side; cook several minutes longer.
Tip: If not using a blender, grate potato and onion before adding to meat mixture.

My theory is that if I am going to be deep-frying I might as well make it worthwhile, so I did five times this recipe last weekend.  The meatballs not only taste great cold, but can be frozen to use in other dishes.

We'd love to hear your memories of Mennonite meatballs in the comment section.