Thursday, September 18, 2014

Brie, Pear, and Arugula Pizza

This Brie, Pear and Arugula pizza would be great for an appetizer. I used a pound of store bought fresh pizza dough found in the deli section which really made this easy to make. If you want to make your own dough here's a link to one of Kathy's recipes for pizza dough.


  • 1 pound of pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup red onion sliced thin
  • 1 small round of Brie (4 oz.) sliced.
  • 2-3 fresh pears cored and sliced
  • A handful of Arugula
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare pizza pan with a little olive oil to coat.
  3. Prepare a surface with a little flour to roll out your pizza dough to fit your pan.
  4. Transfer dough to pan and stretch to fit nicely.
  5. Top dough evenly with the red onion slices.
  6. Bake in oven for up to 12 minutes until the dough is golden.
  7. Remove from oven and turn the oven to broil.
  8. Carefully add the Brie and Pears evenly on the dough.
  9. Salt and pepper these ingredients to your taste.
  10. Scatter the Arugula on top of the Brie and Pears.
  11. Sprinkle with olive oil.
  12. Place pan back in oven set to broil and watch very carefully removing just after the Brie melts.
  13. Cut into serving portions and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pie Pastry using Oil

There are always those times in the kitchen where the cook will scratch her head for ideas when she's run out of an important ingredient or is serving someone with diet restrictions. 
This pastry has no butter, lard or shortening but is made using vegetable oil. The pastry is easy to make, but there are a few tricks to rolling it out and fitting it into the pie plate. It bakes up tender and flakey. Once you've tried it...come back and let me know what you think.

This is enough dough for 2 single 9" pie crusts or one 9"with a bottom and top crust.
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, measure it loosely, do not pack it down
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup, plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil, I like to use a glass measuring cup so that the liquid amount is exact
  • 4 tbsp ice water
  1. Measure first three dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Add oil and stir until the pastry begins to look lumpy.
  3. Add the ice water and continue to stir forming a soft dough. 
  4. IF the dough is dry and not coming together add 1 tsp more oil at a time. Do NOT add more water to make a wetter dough. 
  5. Cut 2 pieces of wax paper that are at least 12" long. Sprinkle lightly with flour and place dough in middle. Sprinkle lightly with flour and top with second piece of wax paper.
  6. Roll dough that is between the sheets of wax paper. Once you have your desired size of pastry rolled out, carefully peel back top piece of wax paper.
  7. Pull the pie plate close to the pastry and carefully lift and flip it into the pie plate, moving it gently  to fit the pan. Peel back the wax paper.
  8. Bake shell empty, or fill with desired filling, top with second crust if pie calls for a top crust and bake.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pumpkin Pudding

Autumn is here and so is pumpkin season. So many ways to use pumpkin, here is a very simple dessert that should please the pumpkin lovers in your family!
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 package (4 serving size) instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg..I like freshly grated
  1. Beat milk with dry pudding mix until thickened.
  2. Whisk in pumpkin puree and spices.
  3. Spoon into bowls and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with whipped topping and a dash of cinnamon or sprinkle toasted and chopped pecans over the whipped topping and drizzle with maple syrup. Both are delicious.
  5. Yields: 4 generous half cup case you are wondering why I only display 3 servings here is because I only have 3 of these fancy dishes, the last one was served in a plain dish:)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Quinoa and Apple Salad with Curry Rice Vinaigrette

Autumn is only one week away and so it is time to think about ingredients that showcase the bounty that is ready to harvest. Our apples are ready to pick and so I'm happy to make recipes that include apples. My friend Jen made this salad last fall for us at a camping weekend. This delicious healthy salad can be easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd.
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cups rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (adjust to your preference)
  1. Place quinoa in a fine sieve. Rinse and drain. 
  2. In a medium saucepan add the quinoa to 1 1/2 cups boiling water, cover simmer about 12 - 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  3. Place the dried cranberries/raisins on top of the hot quinoa to plump them up. Put the lid back on allow to come to room temperature.
  4. Add the chopped apple, the nuts and green onions and feta cheese.
  5. Mix the curry vinaigrette, toss with salad and refrigerate.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bread for the Journey

It always amazes me how much the potted flowers depend on being watered to look beautiful all summer long. Daily sunshine and water keeps them going. As much as I love getting out into the garden to attend to the thirsty plants, there are days I loose track of time, I forget or I wrongly assume the little sprinkle of rain was enough, and soon those blooms give evidence of neglect.

The Bible tells us about a woman who was tired of going to the well every day. In reading of the account we know that she was speaking of physical thirst, but we also come to realize that she was searching for more than that. Jesus saw her heart and told her that . . .

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
In Matthew 5: 6 we read, 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

The woman at the well accepted the words of Jesus and many believed in Him because of her testimony. They obviously saw the new life in her. When the thirst in our soul takes us to the Living Water we find the spring that keeps on giving. Yes, we still need to drink, but it is right there . . . . strength, guidance and comfort in prayer and in God's Word as we worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Lord, you see the dry lips, the parched hearts in our souls, the thirst we have tried to quench in all the wrong places. Take our cup and fill it up to overflow.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Watermelon Cucumber salad

This salad is the perfect combination of the fresh flavours and textures of late summer.
I've brought it twice to potlucks and it proved to be a hit.
There's nothing fussy about making it which only involves stacking the ingredients in a clear glass bowl to showcase the colours.

  • chopped English cucumbers - I used the mini cukes which  tend to be sweeter. I quartered them lengthwise, then chopped them into 3/4" pieces. You'll need enough to cover the bottom of the bowl.
  • fresh blueberries - enough to cover the cucumbers
  • 1- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint sprinkled sparingly over the blueberries
  • cubed feta cheese cut into 1/2" cubes  (250 ml container, drained)
  • Watermelon cut into 3/4" cubes - use at least 2-3 cups 
  • Balsamic reduction (optional) It can be found in the vinegar section of the grocery store, 

  1. Find your prettiest glass bowl. My bowl held about 8-10 cups
  2. Layer ingredients in the order they are listed in. Use the mint sparingly as it can take over!
  3. To garnish the salad, sprinkle more chopped cucumber, and blueberries around the edge of the bowl and place a sprig of fresh mint in the center.
  4. Refrigerate for an hour or two before serving.
  5. If desired, pass the balsamic reduction to drizzle over the salad as a dressing.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Minestrone Soup

The fall is upon us once again, and what goes better with a crisp fall evening but a bowl of warm soup. This is a rich and flavorful hearty meatless soup that you can make completely vegetarian choosing vegetable broth. I like making soup on Fridays so we can have leftovers on the weekend.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red or green pepper, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped 
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of low-sodium broth (vegetable, beef or chicken) I used beef
  • 4 cups of water 
  • 1 28 oz can of tomatoes
  • 1 19 0z can of black beans, drained
  • 1 19 0z can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups pasta, cooked
  • a handful or two of baby spinach
  • Hot sauce, optional
  • grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  1. In a large soup pot saute the vegetables until soft.
  2. Add the seasonings.
  3. Add the broth, tomatoes, water, beans and bay leaf. 
  4. Simmer for an hour. 
  5. Add the chopped fresh parsley and spinach.
  6. Serve the pasta in a separate bowl and people can add it to their bowls if they wish to have some.  I find that the pasta become to mushy if left in the soup. 
  7. Each person can add the cheese and hot sauce into their own bowl if they choose too.