Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hot Curry Dip

It's the season where we can sit back and leisurely enjoy some hot appies. Here's one of those favorite dips with a pinch of curry, just perfect for this time of year.  Prepare it ahead of time and serve it nice and hot with a few of your favorite crackers.

Curry Dip
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 8 oz. package softened light cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. curry
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup apricot jalapeno chutney (red pepper jelly) 
  • additional sliced green onions
  • apple wedges and celery sticks
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Combine ingredients from the top list in to a bowl.
  3. Mix well and spread over bottom of a baking dish.
  4. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.
Topping Instructions.
  1. Combine coconut and almonds in small bowl
  2. Microwave uncovered on high for 1-2 minutes or until evenly toasted stirring after 20 second intervals.
  3. Spread jelly or chutney over warm dip.
  4. Sprinkle with coconut mixture and garnish with onion greens.
  5. Serve with apple wedges/celery sticks and crackers.
 This will become one of your favorites over the winter months. Simple, tasty with a hot tangy flavor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Black Forest Cake

 This rich moist cake starts with a cake mix. The addition of a can of cherry pie filling and a few other ingredients makes for a moist deliciously rich black forest cake. You may think there is an error in this recipe, but you don't add any water or oil to the mix. This cake bakes well in two 9" round pans or a 9x13 pan. I used a 9x13 and then cut and rolled the cake in a spiral. 

  • 1 Devils Food cake mix (461g)(this is a dark chocolate boxed mix, best if you can find one with pudding right in the mix)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 tbsp almond extract
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • can of cherry pie filling for decorating (optional)
  • chocolate shavings(optional)
  1. Pour dry cake mix into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Crack eggs into separate bowl and whisk slightly. Pour over dry cake mix.
  3. Add almond extract, pie filling and chocolate chips.
  4. Mix with a stand mixer, or hand held or just a large wooden spoon until all the dry and wet ingredients are well combined.
  5. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment, leaving extra paper over the edges of the pan to help lift it out after it's baked.
  6. Bake in 350ยบ for 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan.
  7. When you are ready to decorate the cake remove from pan by pulling it out with the over hanging parchment and place onto a cutting board.
  8. Cut cake into 1 1/2" long strips. 
  9. Beat whipping cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff.
  10. Turn one strip of cake onto it's side at a time and spread it thick with whipped cream.
  11. Onto a large flat cake plate, starting in the centre begin to roll cake into a circle. Continue on with the strips of cake and cream forming a spiral, until your cake is near the edge of your plate. 
  12. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.
  13. Decorate top of cake with more cherry pie filling and chocolate shavings.
Creating the spiral effect. 
When baking this cake in round pans just fill and frost with the cream as you would a layer cake, or cut each in half making a tall 4 layer torte style cake. For a really simple way to serve, leave cake in 9x13, cut and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dessert Crepes

When we toured the little town of Hyeres this past summer, we stopped at a sidewalk cafe and had the most amazing crepes! I decided that we would have to try these when we got home. I used an old stand by pancake (crepe) recipe from the Mennonite Treasury (p 15) and poured them a tad thicker than I would for "sugar roll up" type pancakes.  Dessert pancakes are not a lot of work and can be a fun to do around the table. I will post a banana hazelnut spread version, but the filling options are limitless.


  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • hazelnut spread, sliced bananas and whipped cream
  1. With hand mixer, beat eggs, milk, flour and salt, until fairly smooth.
  2.  Pour about 1/3 - 1//2 cup of batter into hot, lightly buttered 8-inch griddle.
  3. Cook both sides and stack on serving plate. Butter griddle as needed.
  4. Prepare filling and topping: sliced bananas, hazelnut topping in piping tube and whipped cream. When served, each guest can spread hazelnut topping down center of crepe, top with bananas, fold over and top with whipped cream. Hazelnut - free options to have on hand as well could be steamed, sliced apples or any fresh or cooked berries.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Turkey Pepper Chili

This chili is a great alternative to beef chili and one with some added ingredients that are considered to be a healthy alternative.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound white meat ground turkey
1/2 onion chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped
1 Anaheim chile seeded and chopped
2 cups chicken stock (or more if needed)
1 can 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can 15 oz. white beans or black beans (drained)
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. each of salt, cumin, and dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 cups of chopped Kale
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large pot, add onion, celery and all peppers and saute till onion is translucent. Add turkey and season with salt and pepper and cook through. If needed add a little of the chicken stock during this process if the turkey starts sticking to the pan. Add remaining ingredients, including Kale. Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature to a simmer. Simmer till the vegetables are cooked through. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with corn bread.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bread for the Journey

Blest be the tie that binds...
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds,
Is like to that above.
John Fawcett ~ 1782

The words of that song have come to mind as we worshiped with believers in various churches we have visited while traveling.  Whether it was in the jungle of Haiti, the mountains of Switzerland, the dessert of Arizona, the prairies of Canada or on the islands of Hawaii...there was that 'tie that binds'.  I recall in particular, a church service we took in while vacationing in Kona, Hawaii some time ago. Our early Sunday morning walk took us past the Living Stones Church where the 7:30 am service was just beginning. Though the little church was already full, there was plenty of room in the oceanfront overflow area...and so we joined the outdoor service. The time of fellowship ended with communion and though we knew not a soul in the congregation...we felt that 'tie that binds'.  How special to share that common link...our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.  If we are in Christ, we share a bond that even the greatest diversities cannot break.

 But if we walk in the light, 
as he is in the light, 
we have fellowship with one another, 
and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
 1 John 1:7 ESV

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Green Tomato Jam

A little more preserving.. Not all the tomatoes ripened in the garden this year so I decided to make green tomato jam. A nice little appetizer or snack. Spread cream cheese on a cracker and add a little of the jam on top. If you like more heat add more jalapeno. This jam tastes great on toast too.
  • 4 cups green tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large jalepeno pepper, finely minced
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  1. Chop tomatoes, mince pepper and put both in a large pot.
  2. Add sugar, lemon juice and grated lemon peel.
  3. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Pour jam into sterilized jars and seal. 
  6. Store in refrigerator.
  7. Yields: 6 half cup jars.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Flashback Friday ~ Pumpkin Praline Trifle

I found this recipe in a magazine and have made it for two very special gatherings. It's a great trifle for our fall and winter celebrations.

The most time consuming part of the recipe is making the praline. The praline recipe yields enough to make 2 trifles. The creamy layers and pumpkin layers are very simple to make and assemble. If you have a large gathering with lots of preparations I would suggest making the praline up to a week ahead and then preparing the trifle a day or two ahead of your gathering.

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2/3 cups pecan halves or pieces (about 6 oz.)

Mascarpone Cream:
  • 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1- 8 oz. container chilled mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 - 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (I used already ground)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 - 3 oz. packages of soft ladyfingers. (I bought a 4.75 oz. box of soft lady fingers at Trader Joe’s and it was enough for 1 trifle)
  • 4-1/2 tablespoons of dark rum, divided
  1. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. 
  2. Bring both sugars and half and half to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium high heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes, whisking constantly. 
  3. Add butter, vanilla, and salt. 
  4. Attach candy thermometer to pan. Simmer without stirring until temperature registers 260 degrees F, about 8 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat; immediately mix in pecans. 
  6. Transfer to prepared sheet, spreading in a single layer. 
  7. Cool completely. Chop into 1/4 inch pieces.
 Mascarpone Cream:
  1. Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in large bowl until firm peaks form. 
  2. Set aside 1/2 cup mascarpone cream for pumpkin filling.
  1. Whisk pumpkin, brown sugar, whipping cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt to blend.
  2. Whisk in reserved 1/2 cup mascarpone cream.

Assembling the Trifle:
  1. Spread 1/3 cup mascarpone cream over bottom of 8×5 inch trifle dish (12-14 cup capacity). 
  2. Place layer of lady fingers over cream. Sprinkle 1-1/2 Tablespoons of rum over. 
  3. Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin filling over ladyfingers, spreading to edges. 
  4. Sprinkle 1/3 cup praline over. 
  5. Spread 1 cup mascarpone cream over. 
  6. Cover with another layer of lady fingers. 
  7. Sprinkle with 1-1/2 tablespoons rum, then spread 1 cup pumpkin filling over. 
  8. Sprinkle 1/2 cup praline over.
  9. Repeat 1 more time with 1 cup mascarpone cream, lady fingers, rum, 1 cup pumpkin filling and 1/2 cup praline. 
  10. Spread remaining mascarpone cream on top. 
  11. Cover and chill overnight.
  12. DO AHEAD. Can be made 2 days ahead.
Uncover trifle. Sprinkle 1 cup praline decoratively over top (reserving any remaining praline for another use)
 You can omit the Rum if you prefer...