Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday in Marg's Kitchen

I've always enjoyed hosting larger parties. Ten years ago when we remodeled our home, I inquired about building a patio covering for our back yard, for those times when it was cold and rainy, when we expected hot weather.  Finally we decided, forget the renovations, which would mean more expense, cleaning and maintenance in the long run.
Simple solution:  "Let's order tents for minimal costs and have a real party."

While I was in Europe visiting family this past May, word came out that Char, one of our cooks would be coming to BC. Immediately, I knew I was all in ..."let's make a party." In the background I heard Judy say that she would help!  I can tell you know ... I don't mind hosting, but it's sure fun to work with someone who has endless ideas.

Start an Event Outline.

Set a Date:  It didn't take long after a bit of chatter back and forth that we all settled on Monday, July 18th. Two months gave us plenty of time to plan, after all it's just an old fashioned BBQ.
Location: Bartel's back yard, rain or shine.
Time:  6:00 pm 
Purpose:  We love to get together, cook, eat each other's food and spend time connecting
Guests:  Mennonite Girls Can Cook with their spouses

It's way more fun to host and work together.  Invite a friend for a pre-post party planning time.

Find a theme, colors, country or formal.  Check out Pinterest for ideas. Once your theme has been decided upon, check to see what supplies you have in your home, in order to save yourself an extravagant cost.  Between both of us we could supply tables, and chairs, vases, flowers, and all sorts of things from tablecloths to burlap runners. We started texting back and forth chatting about the decor ideas we had in our own homes.
The menu had been discussed a few weeks earlier, as we decided to choose the 'signature dishes' posted in our forth coming book.   
One thing I'd like to emphasize is to make sure you let God orchestrate his own plan at the same time and be ready for the unexpected things he can do in an extra ordinary way.
We decided on favors, something homemade, something with wheat, to fit our theme which continued to develop as we thought about our new book, 'Bread for the Journey'. Our lists became longer and longer.

I have always enjoyed setting my table a few days in advance when hosting celebration events. It makes it look special and as the family pops by they know that I'm thinking of all the details to make it special. Planning in advance allows for those unexpected visits, like the grand kids dropping by unexpectedly.  Don't look at them as an interruption, but enjoy some activities with them and tell then what you are doing.  

What are things that you can do to prepare a few days in advance?

 Collect and count your cutlery.

Decide on your plates and napkins.

 Gather your coffee cups in a tray.
Clean your coffee pots.

 Plan for your favorite serving platters which help present your food,

Gather your linens.

Gather your floral bouquets

Use some old vintage canning jars.

Wrap your favors.
Judy had baked small loaves of bread and wrapped them individually.

Assemble your decor and play with it.

 Prep your food as much as you can in advance.

The final Day, Monday, July 18th, 2016!
Check everything once more on your list.
Enjoy this day ... do a quick clean, a few clean hand towels and tea towels.
We clean before and we clean after right?
The sun shone brightly from a clear blue sky, only for a few hours.
At the end of the day it was evident that we needed a tent.
Thank you Tent Guys for your wonderful prompt, friendly service.

It was so much fun decorating the table and making the seating plan.
Four Costco tables with costco chairs.  Simple and Easy.

But remember what I said about allowing God to be a part of this event?

Last week  (just one week before the party)
there was a real buzz of excitement, as Lovella announced
that a pallet of books had arrived in their shop.
She even asked us if she could peek.  You know the answer.
The excitement grew as we started coordinating our theme
as a 'book launching event'.

Little did we know that when our wheat was planted last fall that it would be
the perfect setting for our backdrop photo shoots with our books in hand.

And little did any of us know that our author copies would arrive just in time for our event.
The day was so perfect as we sat around the fire pit sharing our journeys.

More news will unfold over the next week.
I can only give you a peek of our cover.

Bread For The Journey!

This book is interspersed with devotionals that share our dramatic family stories and tantalizing
recipes, which invite us to extend our tables and share God's blessing with others.

That was a fun weekend in my kitchen.
I hope you can find some planning tips that make it easy for you?
What are some of your favorite planning tips?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Cottage Cheese Rolls - Gluten Free

These cottage cheese rolls are a favorite, be it family or friends - including all wheat-lovers. 
So I decided to bring them back for this FLASH BACK FRIDAY. 
I'll leave the original post here - except to note that now I use one cup of Julie's Flour Mix instead of the individual flours listed in the original recipe.  The dough handles so well. In the photo above I made the rolls without the added grated cheese as shown in the original recipe, which is the way I make them most often. 
The rolls are great with soup, or delicious as a snack with cheese or jam. 

I'll repeat the recipe here with my new flour preference ... 
  • 1 cup Julie's Flour mix 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/2 tsp salt  
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1 egg 
  • creamed cottage cheese (to make 3/4 cup) 
  • extra sweet rice flour for handling dough
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in bowl. 
  2. Using pastry blender, cut in butter 
  3. Put egg in measuring cup and fill with cottage cheese to make 3/4 cup -- whisk together. 
  4. Add egg/cheese mix to flour and stir until a ball forms - knead until smooth using a little more sweet rice flour if needed.   Dough should still be a little sticky. I don't usually need any extra sweet rice flour.  
  5. Cover dough and chill for several hours  - at least two , its better over night.  
  6. Divide dough into parts as per desired use.   
  7.  For the cheese rolls -  one fist sized dough will roll into a 9-10" circle (dough is not more than 1/4 " thick)   Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese before cutting with pizza cutter into 12 slices. Roll up each slice starting with wide end rolling to the tip. 
  8. For the sausage rolls , roll dough (1/4" thick)  into a rectangle and wrap sausage pieces in a 'blanket'. placing seam side down.   I used Winkler Farmer Sausage that was wonderful.   
  9. For the schnetki  click on the link (above)  to the original wheat schnetki recipe and follow the same instructions to make them.  
  10. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Purse Cake ~ Simple White Cake

We celebrated my youngest granddaughter's fifth birthday last week, and I came up with a simple birthday cake that suited her just fine! She had pointed out a pink purse that she really liked several weeks ago...and so it became part of her birthday gift.  A 'pink purse cake' seemed the appropriate choice and was easy to put together.
Purse Cake
  • 1 9-inch round cake layer (Simple White Cake recipe posted below or use your favorite)
  • 1 recipe buttercream frosting (recipe below)
  • food coloured for icing
  • red licorice straws (for handles and purse opening)
  • 4 ring-shaped fruit flavoured gummies (for handle grommets)
  • white jelly beans for purse clasp
  1. Using a serrated knife, cut cake layer in half crosswise, making two half-circles. Use a small amount of the white frosting to sandwich the two half-circles together. Place cake, cut sides down, on a serving platter.
  2. Tint the remaining white frosting with food coloring. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Then frost cake generously, either swirling with an offset spatula or piping frosting onto purse using a star tip . 
  3. Place licorice pieces down center of cake where the two half-circles meet.
  4. Place white jelly beans in center of cake to form clasp. 
  5. For purse handles, place two jelly ring candies on each licorice twist. Insert handles into top of cake. 
Simple White Cake
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9" inch round pan...or line with parchment.
  2. In mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. 
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4.  Add vanilla. 
  5.  Combine flour and baking powder; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk and mix until better is smooth.
  6. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.  (Until toothpick inserted in center come out clean.)

 Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups icing sugar (more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  1. In mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until fluffy. 
  2. Add salt and vanilla; beat. 
  3. Gradually add the icing sugar alternately with the cream, beating well.  Add a little more icing sugar if needed to reach a spreading consistency. Makes about 3 cups.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Blueberry Pineapple Cobbler

It's blueberry season and one of my favourite desserts using these sweet little berries in cobbler. I've added fresh pineapple to this recipe and I think it brings this simple dessert up a notch.

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  1. Stir above ingredients together in a 9" square pan or pie plate. 
  2. Microwave for 3-4 minutes to just begin to warm.
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  1. Stir together dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in butter until small pea size pieces.
  3. Stir in buttermilk.
  4. Top fruit mixture with topping. 
  5. Bake in 425º oven for 20-25 minutes. Poke topping with a tooth pick to make sure cobbler topping baked through.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pepper Salad

My inspiration for this salad came from my cousin Sylvia who brought a similar salad to our cousin get together.  It's colourful, crisp and refreshing.  Just right for a summer barbeque.
I've used a Greek style dressing but you could use a favourite bottled or homemade vinaigrette.

  • 3 or 4 sweet bell peppers - I used 1 green,1  red, 1 yellow and and 1 orange 
  • 1 small can drained, sliced black olives (you could substitute whole pitted or unpitted olives)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut peppers into lengthwise slices, discarding membranes and seeds.
  2. Place peppers in a clear glass bowl and add drained black olives and crumbled feta.
  3. Place dressing ingredients into a jar or salad dressing shaker and blend, shaking well.
  4. Pour dressing over pepper salad and toss.  
  5. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ginger Snaps

Love these...I think you might too.
  • 3/4 cup butter 
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • extra sugar for rolling unbaked cookies in before baking
  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg and molasses and beat well.
  3. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Roll into 1 1/2" balls.
  5. Roll balls in extra sugar, coating with sugar all the way around.
  6. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 350º for 13 minutes. 
  8. Allow to cool one minute on pan before removing to cooling rack. They will take on more of a crackle top this way and get slightly crispy. 
Yields 2 1/2 dozen large cookies. 
**You can make the balls smaller to get more cookies, but then adjust the baking time down to 10 minutes.**

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bread For The Journey

my photo taken in Hawaii

My Self-Talk

Either God is God,
Or I am.

Either God is all-knowing and wise,
Or I am.

Either I trust God to guide me,
Or I choose my own way.

Either I walk in God’s light,
Or I walk in my own darkness.

Either God’s promises are true,
Or I trust in my own uncertain hopes.

Either God has a good plan and purpose for my life,
Or I try to define my own.

Either I trust my cares and concerns to God’s keeping,
Or I carry my own worries and burdens.

Either I live in God’s rest,
Or I choose my own distress.
May I always remember, my best doesn’t even reach to God’s worst,
And His best far outreaches what I can think or imagine!
The choice is mine.

Will I trust Him?
by julie klassen