Potato and Farmer Sausage Casserole

I remember how Lovella thought she might lose a “whack of readers” when she posted a recipe that called for farmer sausage. It’s funny how this smoked pork sausage seems to find its way into all kinds of recipes, where it’s readily available. If you prefer, you can substitute it with smoked ham. This is really just a version of scalloped potatoes and adding the meat makes it an easy family meal. I got the recipe from a friend, Karen, a number of years ago, but have changed up the sauce amounts a bit. If you use a few more potatoes, just double the first 5 ingredients of the sauce.


  • 6 small / med. potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 - 3/4 link farmer sausage, peeled and sliced


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ - 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup

  1. Arrange potatoes and farmer sausage in layers in greased 8 cup casserole dish. 
  2.  Melt butter; blend in flour, salt and milk gradually, stirring constantly. 
  3. Add cheese and soup, stirring until sauce cooks. 
  4. Pour over potatoes and sausage. 
  5.  Bake at 350 F for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours. Serves 6

Mexican Spirals

I wanted to post this before Christmas, but when I didn't get to it, I realized that it could be quite timely with New Year's Eve parties coming up and using up the leftover turkey. These are great little appetizers that can be made ahead, frozen and heated when you need them. We love them served with a little dollop of salsa! I got this recipe from my friend Herta, whom I talked to today, and she laughed when I told her I still make these every Christmas! I think she's probably found some wonderful new recipes I have yet to find out about. =) But when it comes to our family . . . well there are some traditions you just don't change!

  • 1 pkg (250 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh hot jalapeno pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 10-inch tortillas
  1. Combine all the filling ingredients. 
  2. Divide mixture between tortillas, spread evenly and roll up tightly. 
  3. Wrap and chill at least 2 hours. 
  4. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Unbaked slices freeze well. (Layer with wax paper and place in sealed container.)
  5. Bake at 350 F for 12 - 20 minutes, until you can see the cheese bubble slightly on top. Serve with salsa.
You will find the ends kind of "loose", but I fix those slices by filling in with other ends ... they'll never know once they're baked. Enjoy!

Honey Dijon Vinegrette

In our home we prefer homemade dressings to bottled. I like to know what ingredients are put into my food and try to avoid ingredients that I can't pronounce.
This is a lightly sweet and tangy dressing all at the same time. My oldest daughter signature dressing that she often makes. We really enjoy it.

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Shake all ingredients together in a well sealed jar until it thickens and everything is emulisfied. 
  2. Keeps in the refridgerator for a week or two. 

Garlic and Sage Roast - Slow Cooker Style

By all means, don't reserve the use of sage for turkey alone....it goes very well with beef...especially when cooked slowly in your slow cooker.

What you need:

  • 1.5 kg. beef oven roast (or a roast of your choosing)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves cut in half
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tsp each of tarragon and savory
  • 2 cans low sodium chicken broth (and 1 can water) or 1 900 ml box of chicken broth
  • 20 mini carrots or equivalent cut up carrots
  • 4 medium potatoes cut in half
Cut 8 deep slices into sides and top of roast and push garlic cloves deep inside. Pour 1 tbsp olive oil in crockery pot. Place roast on top. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and pinch of salt, bay leaves, sage, thyme and savory. Add broth and cover. Turn on low heat for four to five hours (depending on how rare you like it...just check from time to time to see). 1 1/2 hours before done, add potatoes and carrots. If you wish....you may make dumplings and add them 3/4 hour before completion time. A quick dumpling recipe can be found at the Bisquick site here or make one of your own recipes.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Have I got a recipe for you! A few weeks back, I was visiting In a Garden...who was sharing her version of Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss bars.

Truth be told, I had never tried this Starbuck's holiday treat but they looked most delicious, so I just had to check them out for myself. We had friends coming over for coffee last night and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand...so here is my version. They are rather rich but most delightful!

Cranberry Bliss Bars

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, cut into chunks
  1. 4 oz. cream cheese, softened (half a brick)
  2. 3 cups icing sugar
  3. 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 cup diced dried cranberries
Drizzled Icing:
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Make cake by beating butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth.
  3. Dice cranberries. Add 3/4 cup cranberries and white chocolate chunks to batter; fold in.
  4. Pour batter into a well-greased 9" x 13" baking pan...spread evenly. Bake for 35 minutes or until cake is lightly browned on the edges. Allow to cool.
  5. Make frosting by combining cream cheese, icing sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a medium bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Frost cooled cake, using spatula to spread evenly.
  6. Sprinkle 1/4 cup diced cranberries over freshly frosted cake
  7. Whisk together 1/2 cup icing sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and shortening. Drizzle icing over cranberries. I used a pastry bag with a fine tip.
  8. Allow cake to sit for several hours before slicing. 
  9. Slice the cake lengthwise through the middle; then cut across three times, making a total of eight rectangle slices. Slice each of these pieces in half diagonally.

Yield: 16 generous, yummy slices of cranberry bliss.


Portzelky (New Years Cookies)

I've posted this recipe before on my blog .. .but since this is a Mennonite Recipe blog, it must be transferred over here. I trust that a few more Portzelky recipes that are a yearly favorite in some of the other Mennonite homes from the women on this blog will follow.
I decided to post it before New Years Day so that you could see what you needed and avoid a last minute rush to the market.

Portzelky (Terry's Grandma's Recipe) pronounced . . .
par cel tche

In a large bowl put
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Stir the yeast, warm water, and sugar together slightly and let rest 10 minutes.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  •  5 beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup very soft butter or (melted is fine)
  • 2 1/2 cups of warm milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir this together very well.
  • 4 cups of raisins (these must be fresh . .not something you dig out of the bottom of the drawer)
Start to stir in the flour. You'll need 7 cups. This will make a fairly stiff batter.
  1. Cover this up with plastic wrap or a lid and let rise until it's doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  2. Drop by tablespoons into hot, deep fat ( I Use Canola oil) and fry until golden brown. Now this can be a bit tricky. If the fat is not hot enough they will soak up too much fat and that is not good. If the fat is too hot they will brown too quickly and still be doughy in the middle. It's a good idea to throw some bread cubes in first to see how they fry. After all these years I still usually have to throw out the first one or two.
  3. It's a good idea to stick in a toothpick to the middle of the Portzelky every once in a while to make sure it comes out clean.
  4. When you take them out of the oil, put them on some paper towel to sop up the oil.
It has become tradition in my family to call together all my Geschwister (siblings) and their families to have a bowl of soup, and some Portzelky on New Years Day. This has become our Christmas gathering.

Eggs Benedict

This has been a family tradition for many a year now and the brunch crowd just keeps getting bigger. It really is an easy and delicious recipe. 
This recipe comes from a Safeway cookbook called "The Easy Gourmet".
Serve with steamed asparagus and a fresh fruit salad. This recipe serves four.
I however used 5 dozen eggs and two dozen English muffins to feed our crowd. Even the pickiest eaters had more than two helpings.
  • 4 English muffins, split and toasted
  • 8 large eggs
  • 8 round slices of back bacon or ham
  • Hollandiase sauce
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. One at a time, break the eggs and slip then into the water, Cook the eggs for 4-5 minutes. 
  2. Place the eggs on top of a toasted english muffin with a slice of back bacon or ham. 
  3. Top with the following Hollandiase sauce. 
Blender Hollandiase Sauce (my favorite version)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 c. butter melting and bubbling hot.
  1. Mix together in a blender the egg yolks, lemon juice and seasoning. 
  2. With the machine running, slowly pour in the butter. 
  3. Run the machine a little longer until the sauce thickens. 
  4. Spoon it over the eggs and serve any extra sauce on the side.
Hollaindaise Sauce (my brother's favorite)
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt butter, add cream, dry mustard and salt. 
  2. In a seperate bowl temper the eggs with some of the warm cream mixture and add eggs to the remaining warm mixture and stir and cook until thickened.
  3. Add lemon juice. 
  4. Also a very tasty sauce as well.

Chicken, Cheese and Broccoli Quiche

Substitute as you please to use up those leftovers from your Christmas Dinner. But do enjoy this simple homemade quiche. It is so easy I hate to admit that I too have used 'pre-made' boxed biscuit mixes for this type of quiche before. But they are much more expensive and making your own biscuit quiche is not only more economical...you can use ingredients you already have in your pantry. This makes a 13 x 9 inch pan...simply divide in half for a smaller version.

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (turkey, smoked salmon, sausage or bacon)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper (or green, yellow, orange...are you getting the picture?)
  • 1 cup chopped frozen broccoli, thawed (or fresh cooked and drained, or asparagus, or leftover corn....etc.)
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan (goat cheese, leftovers from a party tray...etc.)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400F.

Spray a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle the chicken, onion, peppers, cheese and broccoli in baking dish. In a separate bowl mix the rest and beat until smooth. pour over the chicken mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand five to ten minutes before slicing and serving.

Anise Cookies

Okay...baking on Christmas Day? Well...I just HAD to try out some new cookie sheets that were under the Christmas Tree didn't I? And besides....fresh cookies with cocoa or tea while watching a Christmas special...well...it was too tempting.
This old cookie recipe is a simple one indeed but the anise gives it enough of a 'nip' that it isn't too sweet. You can frost these or sprinkle coarse sugar on top. The boys were content tonight to have them 'as is' with a simple cup of tea.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 anise extract (or almond)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp aniseed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking pwd.
1 tsp baking soda

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the extract. Combine the flour, aniseed, salt, baking pwd. and soda. Gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into 1q inch balls and place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten with a cup dipped in sugar. Bake at 375 for 6 to 7 minutes or until set. The inside will be a bit softer than the outside.

Rum Raisin Muffins

If you don't have time for the traditional Christmas Cake but feel you might be missing out...try these little delights. Baked in a muffin tin, these are more like mini cakes than a traditional muffin. However, serving them for a brunch with a nice cuppa wouldn't be all that bad either.
This is a recipe from a book which a friend gave me ...just in time for Christmas baking.
"Muffins - sweet and savory comfort food"@2008

1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup dark rum or 2 tbsp rum extract plus 1/4 cup water
2 cups flour ( I used 1 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup whole wheat)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking pwd.
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I added 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
6 tbsp softened butter
1 cup sour cream
1 egg room temperature
3/4 tsp. vanilla


1/3 cup icing sugar (pwd. sugar)
a few drops of fresh lemon juice.

In a small bowl cover the rains and currants in rum and soak overnight, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400 ( My oven is always hotter so I use 375F) Spray muffins tins with nonstick spray or use muffin liners. Drain the raisin/currant mixture and reserve the extra rum.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. Cut in butter until coarse meal forms. Mix in the pre-soaked raisin and currant mixture. In a small bowl whisk the sour cream, egg, vanilla and 2 tbsp. of the reserved rum until smooth. Stir into the flour mixture until just moistened. Fill the muffin cups to 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

To make the glaze, combine the icing sugar and lemon juice together with about 1 tbsp of the reserved rum. Drizzle the thin glaze over the slightly cooled muffins. Makes about 12 to 16 muffins depending on how big you make them.

Hazelnut Roll

Here is just a tiny glimpse of what you will see in our home on Christmas Eve.
The Hazelnut Roll has been a favorite in our home for many years.
It came from a long time acquaintance who could not eat flour.
So she shared this dessert with us and it was voted a keeper in our home.
It does take some time and patience, therefore when I set out do this task,
I make sure I have a morning free and I always make two rolls.
Do not try to baby sit in between....
Do not double the recipe.
I make them individually.
Take it straight out of the freezer and serve it.

Hazel Nut Roll
  • 1 1/4C. ground hazelnuts
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 11/2 C Whip Cream
  • 1/4 C. sifted icing sugar
  • Purchased chocolate hazelnut spread.
  1. Grease 15x10 cookie sheet.  Line with parchment paper and grease again.
  2. Heat oven to 350'
  3. Using a mixer, beat sugar and egg yolks on high speed for 5 minutes.
  4. Beat in extracts. Beat one more minute.
  5. In separate bowl add ground hazelnuts, baking powder, and salt - mix well with fork.
  6. Combine hazelnut mixture with sugar mixture.  Beat for 2 more minutes.
  7. Beat egg whites till stiff, but not dry.
  8. Fold egg whites into the cake batter by hand. 
  9. Spread batter in prepared pan.  Bake for 20 -25 minutes.
  10. Flip cake onto damp cold tea towel, sprinkled with icing sugar, to prevent the cake from sticking.
  11. Remove the parchment paper.
  12. Roll the cake up in the towel; let cool for 15-30 minutes.
  13. Unroll and trim off crusty edges if necessary.
  14. Spread with a layer of chocolate hazelnut spread. I use Nutella. 
  15. Then add a layer of whipped cream. I add a stabilizer to the whipped cream. It should be stiffly whipped, otherwise it is too difficult to roll up.
  16. Roll up the cake once more and garnish  with additional cream and hazelnuts.
  17. Freeze the hazelnut roll on a cookie sheet for several hours until hard; then wrap with plastic wrap and seal it in a plastic bag. .
Have fun and enjoy the treat!
If you can't figure it out, stop by and I will serve you a piece with freshly roasted coffee.

I've made my order for fresh hazelnuts and so can you, by contacting Poplar Grove Arbor,
Email address: hazelnuts@shaw.ca or phone: 604-796-2550

Coconut Milk Cream Pie

I really like a good cream pie. Cream pie with a fresh flaky crust just has the perfect texture combination for me.
Here is a link to Dorothy's Pie Crust. 

  • 1 baked 9 inch pie shell
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 2/3 cup (400 ml) unsweetened coconut milk... give the can a good shake.
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. This can all be done in a saucepan over medium heat but I like the non-scorch proof method of a microwave.
  2. In a large measuring cup or another large glass microwave safe bowl, combine the sugar, and the coconut milk.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the milk until no lumps remain. Add to the coconut milk and sugar mixture.
  4. Put into microwave and heat on high speed for 2 minutes at a time, then stirring and continuing until it is bubbly.
  5. Put the egg yolks into a small bowl, and add a little bit of the hot milk, stir, and add a little bit more of the hot milk. . .continue stirring vigorously. This will keep the egg yolks from becoming scrambled eggs.
  6. Pour the egg mixture back into the large bowl with the remaining hot milk mixture.
  7. Heat again in the microwave until thickened and bubbly. Total time is usually around 10 minutes for me.
  8. Add the vanilla and the coconut and the butter and stir until combined.
  9. Pour the hot filling into the cooled pie shell and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Chill the pie completely for a few hours and then dollop the whipped cream on.
  11. If you want toasted coconut for garnish, put a little coconut on foil and put into the oven at 325 until lightly toasted.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

This recipe comes from my MIL and I used to make them at Christmas but now my daughter Brenda makes them. She was so kind as to send me this pic and allow me to share it here.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp soft butter
2 cups rice krispies
1/2 cup peanuts

Put in fridge for 1/2 hour. Roll into balls. Place on pan and freeze.
Melt 1 cup chocolate wafers or rosebuds with 3 tbsp paraffin.(optional)
Keep melted chocolate in a bowl over hot water while dipping the frozen peanut butter balls. Place them on a pan without touching till they are firm. Need to be kept in a cool place.

Smoked Salmon Chowder

Unbelievable cold and snow this year makes one yearn all the more for warm soup and good company around the kitchen table. Maybe even with a slice of fresh brown bread.

(first of all...there is no right or wrong way to make this...chopped fine or in chunks; or mix match the ingredients. I make it with whatever I have on hand. This is how I made it today to warm up after shoveling snow)

  • 2 to 4 slices chopped bacon (optional)
  • 4 potatoes cut in small cubes
  • 2 stalks celery chopped fine
  • 2 large carrots chopped or equivalent mini carrots
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1 can kernel corn (you could use frozen but there is a nice crunch in the canned corn)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth, or two cans condensed broth with required water added (I use low sodium)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Fresh Ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I use whipping cream_you can use evaporated milk too)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • pinch Sea Salt
  • several green onions chopped for garnish
  • 2 inch by 4 inch (rough size) of smoked or bbq. salmon tip (I used double smoked as I love that smoke flavour...you don't need a lot of salmon for flavouring)
If you want to use the bacon....saute first and then crumble. Return to soup pot. Saute the onions, potatoes, carrots and celery in about 2 tbsp butter (or oil from bacon) on low till delightfully soft and fragrant. Add bay leaves, thyme, red pepper and kernel corn. Stir and cook a bit longer on low heat. Add the broth (you may need to add more or just add water if necessary) Bring to a very quick boil and then turn down very low and simmer for awhile...til the flavors are infused ... about 1/2 hour. Just before serving remove two cups of 'soup'. Blend the rest with a hand blender til creamy but still chunky. Return the two cups of vegetables. Add cream and the smoked salmon which you have chopped into fine bits. Stir and simmer ten minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top each bowl with fresh chopped green onions for garnish.

Green Bean Casserole

It seems there is always a green bean casserole at the holiday table, most often using Campbell's cream of mushroom soup as the sauce. This is a slightly different variation, one which we prefer.

  • 3 cans green beans, drained (French or regular cut)
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can water chestnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt dash of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can French-fried onions
  1. Melt butter in saucepan.
  2. Stir in flour and cook over medium heat about 1 minute.
  3. Add milk and cook until thickened, while whisking.
  4. Stir in salt, sugar, pepper, onions, and sour cream; heat through. 
  5. Add green beans, mushrooms and water chestnuts; stir to coat.
  6. Transfer to casserole dish. (Can be made the previous day and refrigerated at this point.)
  7. Spread cheese over top and sprinkle with french-fried onions.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. 

If the casserole has been refrigerated, allow about 30 minutes more cooking time.

Artichoke and Roasted Pepper Dip

Put this appetizer out on your kitchen island and for sure you'll have everyone right where you're trying to finish up the meal. My son-in-law loves to tease me about that! So, depending on how stressed you want to be, plan your placement carefully. If I remember right, I got this recipe from my niece, Pauline.


  • 1/2 cup miracle whip ( I do more)
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 jar roasted sweet red peppers, patted dry and chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 each: green onion chopped, clove garlic, minced

  1. Stir together miracle whip, cheese, peppers, artichokes, onion and garlic. (I save a bit of the cheese to sprinkle on top) 
  2. Spoon into 9 inch pie plate or similar small, low baking dish. 
  3. Bake at 350 F 10 - 12 min. Serve with crackers, corn chips or guacamole chips.


These were another favorite cookie in our home at Christmas. I could never could stop at 'just one'. You will notice that I made mine extra big this year...just to get my fill with ONE cookie! Ha!
Makes about 2 1/2 doz....depending on the size :)

Cream the following ingredients well:

1 cup butter
2/3 cup icing sugar (pwd. sugar)
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup fine chopped walnuts
1 tbsp water

Form into small rolls the size of fingers. Place on parchment lined cookie pans. Slightly flatten. Bake at 300F for 20 minutes. Roll in icing sugar while still warm.

Shortbread Cookies

This recipe was from my Mom's friend Esther Moore. Her and her husband John were our pastor couple when I was growing up in Victoria. He was a musician as well and afew of his songs are published in church Hymnals. One of my favorites of his is Burdens are Lifted at Calvary.
These cookies are easy, and they melt in your mouth.
1 cup softened butter
4 tbsp white sugar
2 1/2 -3 cups flour
Whip together butter and sugar. Add 2 cups of flour and continue to add flour until dough comes together in a soft ball. It will be soft but manageable to roll out on a floured counter. Roll out to 1/4 " thick and cut with cookie cutters. Leave plain or decorate with colored sugar sprinkles.
Bake @ 325 for 12 minutes. Let rest on pan for one minute and remove to a cooling rack.

Chocolate Marshmallow Roll

Another Christmas Favorite...this pretty sliced chocolate roll would find a place on Mom's three tiered serving tray when company arrived.


  • 4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 pkg. coloured miniature marshmallows
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup coconut

Melt butter and chocolate. Remove from heat (I use the microwave with 30 second spurts.) Add 1 well beaten egg and icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and then beat til glossy. Add 1/2 cup broken walnuts. Mix and cool a little. Add the marshmallows when it is cool enough not to melt them. Stir until coated. Pour on wax paper and spread out sprinkling with the coconut. Form into a roll using wax paper to surround it. Put into fridge to cool. Slice before serving in 1/8 inch slices.

Can also be shaped into balls and roll in coconut or icing sugar or press in pan for square coating with a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Note: This slice must be kept refrigerated.


With the cold crisp dry air we have been having I decided to make Pavlova since it turns out the very best when the air is dry. This is one of the easiest desserts to make if you can beat an egg, and whip some cream you can do this.

  • 4 egg whites (separate each egg into a little cup before adding it to your glass or metal bowl that has had a warm water wash to free it from grease)
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  1. Prepare your baking sheet first. Lay down a strip of parchment paper or waxed paper on your cookie sheet. Lay a luncheon sized plate down in the center and trace around it. It will enlarge to fit on a dinner sized plate.
  2. Preheat your oven to 300 F.  I did mine in a convection oven at 275. F
  3. Beat your egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a stand mixer or a hand mixer until soft peaks form.
  4. Slowly add your sugar.
  5. Combine the vinegar and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the egg white while you are beating.
  6. Add vanilla and beat until very stiff. You should be able to turn your bowl upside down.
  7. Spread the egg whites onto the parchment paper, just to the edges of your tracing.
  8. Bake for an hour. Open up the oven and have a peek.  The meringue should feel dry and no longer soft. If need be, leave it in another 10 minutes and check.
  9. Leave the meringue in the oven and turn it off. Leave in until completely cooled.
Beat 2 cups of whipping cream and spread over top the meringue just before serving.
Slice kiwi and put pomegranate seeds on top for a Christmas dessert or strawberries and kiwi or whatever is pretty and in season.

Chili Meat Pockets

I'm not sure who gave me this recipe but I used to make them for the children's school lunches.
 They would also be great as appetizers for those Christmas parties. 
If you have a food processor, use it for the pastry.

For the Chili Meat filling:
  • 2 pounds. ground beef
  • 1/1/2 cups onions chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons Chili powder ( or to taste)
  • 4 envelopes beef bouillon powder.
  • Cheddar cheese cut into pieces about 1/4"x 1"x 1/1/2".
For the Pastry:
You will need to make the recipe twice to use up the filling.
  • 1 cup creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
For the Chili Meat filling:
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/1/2 cups onions chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder ( or to taste)
  • 4 envelopes beef bouillon powder.
  • Cheddar cheese cut into pieces about 1/4 inch x 1 inch x 1/1/2 inches.
  1. Prepare filling first.
  2. Brown ground beef and onions until meat is cooked through. Drain fat. 
  3. Add chili powder and beef bouillon powder and cook a little longer stirring well until seasonings are incorporated. (Do not add water)
  4. Set aside to cool while you make the pastry.
  5. Place all pastry ingredients in bowl of food processor and pulse until dough begins to stick together.
  6. If mixing by hand, cut margarine and cottage cheese into dry ingredients and then mix by hand until mixture holds together and becomes somewhat sticky.
  7. Divide dough and roll each piece out to about 1/8th inch thickness on floured surface.
  8. Cut circles using a cutter about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
  9. Place 1 piece cheddar cheese on one side of each circle. 
  10. Top with about 1 tablespoon of meat filling.
  11. Fold in half and crimp edges together using a fork. 
  12. Prick the tops with your fork to let the steam out when they bake.
  13. Place on baking sheets and bake at 375 degrees C for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  14. Serve to the kids with ketchup for dipping or to the adults with red pepper jelly.
  15. Keep the Chili Meat pockets in the fridge or freezer until serving.
  16. They heat up best in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or turn the oven off and let them warm if frozen.

Greek Veggie Pizzas

My niece, Pauline, made these for a shower a number of years back and I was very happy to scribble down the recipe. These little pizza wedges also go over well as appetizers or a quick lunch. They are so simple to make, but very tasty.

  • 1 pkg Kraft Greek Salad crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 each: small red and yellow peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Kraft Sundried Tomato and Oregano dressing
  • 4 - 6 inch (pre-baked) flatbreads or Greek pitas (Olafsons)
  1. Sprinkle 1/3 cup feta cheese on each crust. 
  2. Mix peppers, zucchini and dressing. 
  3. Spoon over cheese, dividing evenly. 
  4. Bake at 425 F, 10 minutes. Cut into wedges.

Banana Marshmallow Slice

My mom used to bake each one of her children's favorite treats for Christmas...what mother wouldn't! Mine was the wonderful pinwheel cookies that Betty posted the other day. One of my sister's favorites was Banana Marshmallow Slice, a recipe she gave to my Mom and which soon became a Christmas regular. It's beautiful colours and sweet topping are just perfect to put on a plate of various squares.

Banana Marshmallow Slice

1/3 lb margarine (about 1 1/3 square)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp icing (pwd. ) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
30 marshmallows
1 mashed banana
15 maraschino cherries, halved

Cream margarine and icing sugar; then work in flour and salt. Pat into an 8 x 8 pan. cook at 324 F. for 25 minutes. Cool. Put the marshmallows and mashed banana in a double boiler stirring occasionally. (I put mine in the microwave for 30 seconds...stir, ten seconds and then stir...etc. until all melted. Then I add the mashed banana and made sure it is well blended.) Remove from heat and add 15 or 20 sliced maraschino cherries. Put on the first mixture already baked. Place in the fridge. When set, ice with butter icing below.

Buttercream Decorator's Frosting:

(yields 4 cups - my mom used to decorate cakes and thus the large amount. I used 1/4 this recipe to ice the slice. Be sure to keep this icing recipe on file...it is the best to decorate cakes and does not 'melt' or run like many others.)

1/2 cup veg. shortening
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup and 1 tbsp milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine
5 1/2 cups icing (pwd.) sugar

Cream butter and shortening. Add vanilla. Add pwd. sugar one cup at a time. Add milk last, beating at high speed. Blend until smooth. Keep covered with a damp cloth (I believe she meant, if you are decorating a cake otherwise I would place in a sealed container for storage) and refrigerate when not using. Lasts up to a week with rewhipping.

Sponge Cookies with Marshmallow Icing

These cookies sure take me down memory lane. I remember my Grandmother's big kitchen with her tall white cupboards and her tupperware 'bins' of cookies. These cookies would be lovingly layered between sheets of wax paper so that they would not ruin the beautiful colours of icing. The recipe my mom used is written below and is the same one her mother, my grandmother, used.

Ingredients (makes about four dozen)

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp soda
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the above together and let stand for about 1/2 hour or more Then add 1/4 tsp salt and enough flour to make it thick enough to roll into about 1 inch balls. (As usual...older recipes assume we all know how much that is. However, I used between four and 5 cups so try four cups first and then add in flour a bit at a time.) Place about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven til golden brown. When cold, cover with the following marshmallow icing. I will give the recipe below but I just melted coloured marshmallows in the microwave - only 30 sec at a time - and dipped the cookies in there. However, you will get a flavoured topping using marshmallows versus the gelatin recipe below.

Marshmallow Topping:

2 pkgs. gelatin
3/4 cup boiling water
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp cold water
1 1/2 cups white sugar

Dissolve gelatin in cool water. Then add boiling water, stirring until blended. Add sugar, then start beating about 12 minutes. Add the vanilla and colouring. Ice cookies, dip in coconut and lay on wax paper. Leave out to dry for 3 hours. Then pack in layers putting wax paper in between to prevent from sticking.


Everyone with German or Mennonite Heritage has fond memories of these cookies; especially at Christmas. There must be as many ways to make these as there is to make borscht. For instance, this recipe was in my mother's recipe box yet I only remember my paternal Grandmother's "peppernuts" which were much dryer and hard....cut from a 'snake' or roll..and were more like nuts. These are delightfully soft but the taste is the same. This makes a huge batch...about six to seven dozen depending on how small you make them but they last for long time in a cookie jar on your kitchen counter. This will fill your house with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg...perfect for Christmas.

  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (I used 3 with a pinch of nutmeg too)
  • flour as needed to make pliable dough (I used five cups)
Cream together sugar and brown sugar. Mix the baking powder, cinnamon and flour in separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Add flour if needed to make pliable dough. Form into a small ball about the size of a quarter. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375F for 10 to 12 minutes. Don't worry if it appears soft....it will harden on the outside and have a soft centre...perfect for tea.

Rolo Cookies

If you are looking for a nice gooey, caramel-filled chocolate cookie...here's a recipe for you. They've been a Christmas favorite at our place for some years...since the time my sister was employed at Nestle Canada and had access to Rolos in abundance! Now it seems I'm always on a mad hunt just before Christmas, looking for Rolos. This year I found them at the third store...but they were all out of the regular Rolos, and had only the jumbo sized or a bag of minis. I used Rolo minis this year...and they work great! The cookies are a wee bit smaller...but nicer for the Christmas trays.

Rolo Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon sugar
48 Rolo candies (or one bag Rolo minis)

Cream 1 cup butter together with the brown and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs...beat well. Add flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Stir in a half cup of the chopped pecans.

In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup chopped pecans with 1 tablespoon sugar. With floured hands, wrap 1 tablespoon of dough around a Rolo, covering completely. Press one side of dough/ball into pecan sugar mixture. Place, nuts side up, 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes, or until set and slightly cracked. Cool two minutes...remove from pans.

Peace on earth will come to stay,
when we live Christmas every day

- Helen Steiner Rice

Oatmeal Cookie Mix Two Ways - gifts from the kitchen

Another Great Cookie Mix found in my friend's aunt's collection of recipes. This makes about 13 cups which you can premake and put in a sealed canister. It has a counter life of about 6 to 8 weeks (so the recipe says.....mine was used to bake up these variations in one day! Lots of cookies...very satisfied men in my house.)


4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups soft shortening
4 cups quick or old fashioned oats

Whisk together the flour, soda and salt. Mix in the sugars and then cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Blend in the oats and mix thoroughly Can be stored art room temperature in sealed large canister for up to 8 weeks. The following are three recipes you can use the mix for. For gift giving, place the mixture in a canister that seals well. Type out the three recipes below and glue on cute Christmasy index cards.

Toffee Bars

Cookie Base

2 cups Oatmeal Cookie Mix
1/3 cup dark corn syrp
1 tbsp vanilla

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces melted
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

In a medium mixing bowl mix together thoroughly all ingredients for the cookie base. Pat into a well greased 8 inch square pan. (I put tin foil in first and then greased the tin foil...I'm glad I did as this will turn into a very sticky toffee which might be hard to get out of the pan. Make sure your foil comes up and over the edges so you can just 'lift it' out when done.) Bake in a preheated oven at 450 F. (Yikes...in my oven that is HOT...so I used a 400 F setting just fine) for 8 - 10 minutes (You should see it 'bubbling and getting a skim coat'). Remove from oven. Flatten the edges with a spatula as they will cream up the side and you want an even surface...you can't do this when it hardens. Cool. Then refrigerate several hours.

Loosen the edges with a spatula or in the case of using tin foil....simply remove from pan using tin foil 'handles'. Spread melted chocolate on top and sprinkle with nuts. Chill. Cut into small squares. Keep stored in refrigerator.

Oatmeal Drops (makes about 30)

3 cups Oatmeal Cookie Mix
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
icing sugar frosting

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl except frosting of course :P
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in a 375F oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Top with frosting if desired.

Variations: Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts, dates (shown) raisins or chocolate chips