Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bread for The Journey


Easter Blessings

I serve a risen Saviour,
He's in the world today;
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy,
I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him
He's always near.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives 

today!
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And tho my heart grows weary
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading
Thro' all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him,
The help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Egg Nests


Over the past decade, we have made wee bird's nests in my kitchen every year about this time. From the oldest to the youngest, the grands have all participated.  Usually, we make the nests from rice krispee treats and add little peeps and eggs.  This year we tried something different as well.  The nests are made using a 'Chinese Noodle Cookie' recipe. 
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 3 cups chow mein noodles

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.
  2. Place chocolate and butterscotch  chips in large glass bowl. 
  3. Heat in microwave at full power, stirring every 30 seconds until chips are melted (about two minutes).
  4. Stir in chow mein noodles until fully coated.
  5. Drop by large scoops onto prepared baking sheet, forming a nest shape with your fingers.
  6. Place a few 'birds eggs' in the center of each nest.
  7. Chill for 30 minutes to harden. 
To make the nests of Rice Krispee Treats...press scoops of the mixture into greased muffin pans and shape into nests.  Or simply forms balls of the mixture and create free-form nests with well-greased hands on a lined cookie sheet.  Then call the wee grands...

...and let them fill the nests with 'peeps and eggs'.  It's a fun Easter project for kids in the kitchen!

This year Lucy, the youngest grand (upper right), came to help me fill the nests.  Some went home with her.  Others are the place-cards for our family dinner this Easter.


If you are in need of some bird's nests for your Easter table...there is still time.  Both methods are simple...and can be created in short order. 

Happy Easter from my kitchen to yours!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday


Matthew 27:45-46 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

Matthew 27:54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

John 19:31-33 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

What Christ's Sacrifice Means for those who will believe

Romans 6:22-23 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

It's so comforting to know that Good Friday isn't the end of the story but that Resurrection Day is coming. God bless you as you prepare to celebrate Christ's Resurrection.

For those of you who are still preparing food for Easter Sunday Celebrations I'll re-post my Seernaya Paska recipe here. You still have time for it to be ready to go with your Paska on Easter.


Seernaya Paska for Kulich/Paska (Russian Easter Bread)
The X and the B are for Xpucmoc Bockpec (Christ Arose)


Seernaya Paska
Ingredients:
9- hard boiled eggs
1-1/2 pounds Farmers cheese /a dry curd cheese like a dry cottage cheese can be substituted.
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar

Press the Farmers cheese through a sieve. (This is the hardest part of the recipe and optional) We do this if the cheese we are using has large curds. I usually use a wooden spoon and press it through a wire strainer a little at a time.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. (You will not be using the whites).
Press the egg yolks through the sieve.
Cream the sugar and butter together.
Beat in the egg yolks.
Beat in the cheese.
Add whipping cream and mix well.
You will place the mixture into a container lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth with holes in the bottom so the liquid can be strained. (I've used plastic flower pots adding extra holes in the bottom) You will need enough cheesecloth to wrap up and over the top of the cheese. Place the cheese mixture into the cheese cloth lined strainer. Bring the ends of the cheese cloth up and tie the ends on top of the cheese in a knot. Place the sieve into a larger bowl suspended with enough room for the cheese to drain without sitting in the drained liquid. Place a plate on top of the cheese an place a heavy rock, brick, or other weight on top of the plate. Refrigerate over night draining off the liquid every few hours.

Farmers Cheese or Hoop Cheese can be hard to find. There are Russian/Ukrainian delis that sell a dry curd cottage type cheese that will work. If you can find a dry cottage cheese at the grocers that will work too.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lemon Magic Custard Cake


With photos of 'magic cakes' showing up all over the blogs and pinterest lately...I decided to try a lemon version over here.  What's so magic about it?  You pour in one batter and once it is baked you have distinct layers...a custard beneath a cake.  Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and top with a dollop of whipped cream and some blueberries.

Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (lukewarm)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • icing sugar, whipped cream, berries (optional toppings)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Grease 8" square pan or a 9" pie plate (or spring form pan*).
  3. Separate the eggs. 
  4. Beat egg whites with 1 teaspoon lemon juice until stiff. (The lemon juice stabilizes and adds volume to the egg whites.) Set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy. 
  6. Add the melted butter, lemon zest and lemon juice, and beat until combined.
  7. Slowly add flour, mixing well.
  8. Add the milk slowly and combine thoroughly.
  9. Gently fold in the egg whites, 1/3 of them at a time. Make sure there are no lumps.
  10. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. This is a very runny batter.
  11. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden.It should still be slightly jiggly in the center.
  12. Cool completely before serving. 
  13. Dust the top with powdered sugar. Serve with berries and whipped cream, if desired.
*Unless your spring form pan has a very tight seal, the batter may leak through into the oven at the start of the baking period.   Though the spring form pan makes it easy to serve the cake...you might want to consider that!



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oatcakes


We discovered oatcakes when we visited Cape Breton. They are delicious served plain with tea or coffee. My sister and I decided to put date filling between the oatcakes and had a nice snack while travelling.
Another way to enjoy them..crumble on your yogurt for a delicious breakfast.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  1. Mix dry ingredients together, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
  2. Add hot water and stir until mixture comes together.
  3. Turn out dough on floured surface and roll out to 1/2" thick.
  4. Cut into squares and place on parchment lined pans.
  5. Brush with milk and sprinkle with coarse white sugar.
  6. Bake in 375ยบ oven for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden in color. Bake them a few minutes longer if you prefer them crispy. 
  7. Yield: 9 oatcakes
* Someone asked for my date filling recipe so I will add it here.
  • 1 pound package dates, chopped
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup hot coffee..I always use coffee but you may use water if you wish.
  1. Cook on low heat until thick and apples are tender, stirring occasionally..approx 10 minutes.
  2. Add more coffee or water as needed.
  3. Cool slightly before filling your cookies.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Looking at the Easter Table


At this time of year I like to go and look for the first signs of spring . . .  even in the wild . . . tiny bright green leaves or delicate buds of all colors making their first appearance.
A few sprigs in a vase can add a simple, yet beautiful look to the table.


One Easter I used a bunny shaped chocolate container to cut out some large cookies
and they added some fun.
I rolled them out slightly thicker than the small cookies and baked them until golden around the edges. I let them cool on the cookie sheet for fear of breaking them.
I've been asked for the icing recipe and, although I gladly share it, it's not one I  measure.
Start with about 2 Tbsp of soft butter or margarine in a 4 cup measuring cup or bowl. 
Then add about 2 cups of icing sugar (confectioners sugar) and a few Tbsp of milk. 
Stir well and adjust to a consistency that spreads nicely ... 
adding more icing sugar or milk, as needed. 
For piping, make sure it's not too runny. 
Spread on cookie and let air dry a few hours until set. 
I froze these cookies and thawed them, leaving them to air dry,
 as the icing thawed out wet and then dried again.


Another way to make a pretty centerpiece is to display sugar cookies in a basket.


Behind this bunny, you will notice the Paska used as a centerpiece.
I got that idea from Ellen.


Still another way to use Paska in a decorative way, before it  disappears,
 is to make Paska in cupcake tins and put them in little cupcake baskets or holders.

I hope these ideas inspire you today.
You can find the sugar cookie recipe here
and Lovella's Paska recipe here

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chicken Crepes for a Crowd


When I planned this meal I knew the biggest part of the prep would be cooking the crepes, but after that it is a very simple and easy meal, even for a crowd. While I stood there flipping the crepes, I stirred the sauce and altogether had them cooked and assembled in about and hour and a half. This part can be done the night before or whenever it works. The crepes along with the sauce, can be refrigerated on the pan and reheated 20 minutes before eating. I served them with rice, stove top dressing, cranberry jelly and a cucumber/tomato salad. Easy accompaniments. This recipe makes 36 (7 inch) crepes and will serve 12 - 15.

Crepes:
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  1. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs with hand held mixer.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing until smooth.
  3. Preheat non-stick 7 inch pan just below medium heat. You may want to slightly butter after every third crepe or so. 
  4. Holding pan up at a slight angle, pour a small ladle full (about 1-2 oz) of batter into pan, rotating to cover, then set back on element and cook until edges are firm enough to insert spatula to check if bottom is done. Flip and cook other side. Stack cooked crepes on plate.
Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 5 cups milk
  • 4 Tbsp Cheese Whiz or shredded Swiss or Mozzarella Cheese. (or combination)
  • 1 1/2 cubes chicken bouillon or 2 tsp better than bouillon 
  1. In medium saucepan, over low heat, melt butter, then stir in the flour.
  2. Using whisk, stir in milk just gradually enough to first get a smooth paste and then slowly adding the rest of the milk. 
  3. Stir frequently until bubbly. (I did this while cooking the crepes.) Add cheese and bouillon while cooking.
To Assemble:
  • 6 - 7 cups cubed/shredded cooked chicken (2 rotisserie chickens work well) 
  • sauce
  • 30 - 36 crepes
  1. Mix 3 - 3 1//2 cups sauce into shredded chicken, reserving the rest for the top.
  2. Place about 2 - 3 Tbsp of filling into each crepe, roll up and place side by side in Pyrex pans or cookie sheets. Plan so you can fit all in the oven at the same time.
  3. Drizzle with leftover sauce and refrigerate until ready to cook in the oven at 350 F for about 20 - 25 minutes, covered loosely with foil.
  4. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and serve hot with steamed broccoli and/or rice. Cook 2 1/2 - 3 cups rice, flavoring with 1 1/2 bouillon cubes or 2 tsp better than bouillon