Sunday, May 31, 2009

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake

Sponge Cake was apparently Queen Victoria's favorite. In 1855 Queen Victoria enjoyed afternoon tea with formal dress and cake . . . .and so of course I made it for our Victoria Day long weekend in Canada which is held in May. I checked UK recipe sites on the proper preparation of Victoria Sponge cake. . .they are all nearly exactly the same. . .and they measure their ingredients. They use equal weights of flour, sugar and butter. They generally do not call for milk except for a small amount .. a bit at a time until the batter slowly drops from the spoon. My friend Jill sent me this recipe which she found from where I often find tasty things to bake and cook. I used the list of ingredients to make my cake. . .and added a pinch of salt. . .don't all cakes need salt?

I baked my cake in a 6 inch across and 3 inch high cake pan. The batter rose perfectly to the top. It did sink slightly in the middle. .but with a fluffy whipped cream topping. . .who knew?
The other thing that I never do grease my pan. . I simply cut out a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom. I want the batter to climb up the pan. . .and when it is greased. . it is hard to climb up. Not greasing helps the cake to stay level .. .in my opinion. Another important note about cakes that are baked with butter. They really are best served room temperature. Once the butter hardens in the cake. . it seems dry. .but served fresh the day it is made. .the crumb is tender and moist. Put the cake together with custard and cream. .no more than an hour before serving. Refrigerate until serving. Of course you could impress your guest by completing it while they watch. . .

Victoria Sponge Cake
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar or berry sugar. .or caster sugar (UK recipes all call for caster sugar which is a cross between North American white granulated sugar and icing/confectioners sugar. . .a quick blitz in the blender would probably reduce the granulated sugar to caster sugar perfectly)
  • 1 cup of soft butter. .(with my experimenting. . I found that the butter should be very soft. . .not melting. . but soft enough to be starting to slump)
  • 2 large farm fresh eggs (In most recipes they would use 4 farm fresh eggs. . which of course I endorse. .but then just enough milk to make the batter drop from the spoon. . .next time I intend to measure my ingredients and try it that way)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Trace around your cake pan. . .and cut out parchment paper to line the bottom. The recipe called for an 8 inch pan. . .I used a 6. . .so experiment with what you have.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a piece of waxed paper. . .(I use this so I can funnel it into the batter)
  3. In your mixer bowl, cream the butter. . .and then add the sugar and whip till light.
  4. Add the eggs. . .one at a time. . .until each egg is completely beaten in.
  5. Add 1/3 of the flour. . and then 1/3 milk. .until both are added in .. .and then the vanilla.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake the cake . ..for 20 minutes. . and then test. Mine took longer because it was a higher pan. I turned my oven down to 375 for another 10 minutes. . .and tested with a toothpick until it came out clean.
I then let the cake cool in the pan upside down for 10 minutes and removed to cool completely on a wire rack. I split the cake in half. . . filled with a simple custard that I've used for years. .
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Blend dry ingredients in a medium saucepan or microwave safe mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and the milk. . .whisk . .and heat until it comes to a boil and thickens. .
Whip 1 cup of cream and 2 tablespoons sugar .. .and pop it into a piping bag with a large star tip. .pretend you are an artist. . or a kid. . have fun swirling on top of the cake. . and garnish with some fresh berries.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Rollkuchen - Gluten-Free

My daughter has been begging for some time for Rollkuchen. I have been telling her that I didn't think it could be done 'gluten-free'!
But I was craving them as much as she was - so, finally I thought 'what harm in trying?'

I lay awake thinking about it one night ... and came up with the following recipe .. and to my delight, not only does the dough handle extremely well but the Rollkuchen taste VERY much like the real thing. They even 'puffed' up !
I met my 'tester' non-gluten-free husband at the door when he came home and said .. "Here - close you eyes and take a bite and tell me what you eating!!" He dutifully complied ... and said ... "Rollkuchen? they are awesome... now I just need some jam to go with them!"

My daughter's response ?? "MOM! HOW did you do that ?? HOW did you make them SMELL like wheat?? How did you make them taste just like the real ones ?? You HAVE to put these on your blog!"

I smiled, feeling quite gratified!!

Sometimes it is quite permissible to substitute one flour for another in gluten-free baking but I think exchanging any of the flours from the mix I used would not bring about the same satisfying results .

Ingredients for Rollkuchen

flour ----  1/4 cup brown rice flour
---------- 1/4 cup white corn flour
---------- 1/4 cup white bean flour (or chickpea flour)
-----------1/4 cup millet flour
----------- 1/4 tapioca starch/flour
1/2  tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 rounded tbsp of sour cream
1 egg


Put all dry ingredients into a small zip lock bag and mix thoroughly
In heavy duty blender whip butter, egg and milk
Add dry ingredients and beat on high until dough becomes smooth.
Turn out onto lightly dusted surface (dust with sweet rice flour)
Knead lightly into a elastic ball... dough will be soft and very manageable.
Put into bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or longer.

Roll out quite thin, on a VERY lightly dusted surface .. use as little Sweet Rice flour as possible so the flour doesn't cling to the surface of the dough. You will find that if you turn the dough often ,(dusting lightly) that it rolls out very well without sticking much at all.

Cut into strips of desired size.

Deep fry in about 1/2 inch oil in frying pan until golden brown. The oil needs to be hot... heat to highest element setting and then turn back a little if you find they are browning too quickly. Lightly tickling the top of the dough strip with a fork after slipping into the hot fat encourages them to 'puff'.

Good warm or cold -- traditionally eaten with water melon or borscht .. or with jam or syrup for dessert!

(like all Gluten-free baking these are best the day they are made)

You may have trouble finding white corn flour and white bean flour. If you do they are available on line here.... white corn flour white bean flour

Friday, May 29, 2009

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breasts

I need recipes for baking. . but when it comes to cooking, I often put together dinners from previous flavours that I enjoy. This chicken recipe is easy and can be made earlier in the day. . .refrigerated and popped in the oven 30 minutes before you are ready to serve.
Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breasts
  • 1 chicken boneless skinless chicken breast per person
  • enough Prosciutto to wrap around. . I used 3 very thin slices per breast
  • Cheese of your choice. I used Provolone.
  • 1 basil leaf per breast
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • Italian seasoning
  • olive oil
  1. Slice almost all the way in half. . horizontally the chicken breast.
  2. Put a slice of cheese and a small sprinkle of sun dried tomatoes.
  3. Close the chicken breast up and sprinkle with Italian Seasoning.
  4. Lay one Basil leaf on top.
  5. Wrap with Prosciutto.
  6. Lay each breast on a Baking Pan. . .leaving enough room between each piece of chicken for adequate browning.
  7. Brush each piece of Chicken with a bit of Olive Oil.
  8. Bake at 425. . .for 20 minutes. . .slice one to make sure it is no longer pink in the middle. .
  9. Remove the chicken from the pan. . .pour the juices and scrape the browned bits into a small saucepan to reduce for several minutes. .pour over chicken.

Greek Seasoning and Feta Cheese is a very good flavour combination.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mile High Strawberry Dessert

This whipped, frozen strawberry dessert is a cool treat for a warm summer day. I've been making it for decades...ever since I tasted it at a barbecue one summer. It is from a local church cookbook...submitted by a Bev K. That happens to be the same Bev that is also a contributor to this very blog. With local strawberries now's the perfect time for trying this flavourful frozen delight.

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  1. Place flour, brown sugar, chopped pecans and melted butter into a 9" x 13" pan.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 350º for 20 minutes...stirring occasionally.
  4. Pack crumbs firmly into the bottom of the pan with a fork.
  5. Cool.

Strawberry Filling:
  • 2 egg whites*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries or 1 box (10 oz.) frozen strawberries, partially thawed
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • fresh strawberries (optional)
  1. Combine egg whites, sugar, berries and lemon juice in large, deep mixing bowl.
  2. Beat on high speed until stiff...about 10 minutes.
  3. Whip the whipping cream in a separate mixing bowl....and fold into the strawberry mixture.
  4. Spoon over the cooled crumb crust in the pan.
  5. Place in the freezer and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.
  6. Remove from the freezer about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
  7. Cut into squares and serve partially frozen.
  8. Top individual servings with a dollop of whipped cream and sliced fresh strawberries (if desired).
Editorial note:  Pregnant women, children and people with compromised immune systems should not consume raw eggs because of the possibility of salmonella.  Pasteurized egg whites are readily available in the egg section of the grocery store. 


    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Fruit Crisp

    Crisps are such a quick dessert to throw together when company walks in the door. If you have some fruit on hand and basic pantry ingredients, you will never be in a pinch for something to serve. Rhubarb is one of our favorite crisps. I love to serve individual crisps. It makes serving a cinch and everyone gets the perfect amount of fruit and crispy topping.
    To make it easier yet. . .I am providing the ingredients. . .per person. . . do a little math. . and you can make it for four. . .or two. . .or eight.
    Fruit Crisp
    Ingredients per person
    • 3/4 cup of chopped fruit. . .I've used rhubarb in these pictures
    • 1 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar. . .( I like it not too sweet. . so increase sugar to four tbsp. if you do)
    • 1 tablespoon flour
    • 2 tablespoons rolled oats ( I use a hearty hot breakfast cereal that has rolled oats, rye flakes, sunflower seeds, barley flakes, and flax seed. . .why not add a bit of nutrition to the mix?)


    1. Spray your individual small gratin dishes or 8 ounce ramekins with cooking spray. . or use a square pan for four people.
    2. Divide the rhubarb into each dish.
    3. In a food processor. . . (not at all necessary). . combine your butter, brown sugar and flour.
    4. Dump the butter mixture in a bowl. .. and crumble in your oats with your fingers. . .until well mixed and crumbly.
    5. Evenly divide the crumb mixture over each gratin dish.
    6. Preheat oven to 375. . .and bake until the top is crunchy and well browned. . and the bottom has formed a thick bubbly sauce.. . .about 35 minutes. I pop these in the oven while we are eating dinner. They can be put together in the afternoon and left to sit covered with plastic wrap on the counter.

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Make Ahead Roast Beef

    This is a great way to serve a Roast Beef Dinner with lots of gravy, for Sunday (or any time) without having a lot of work when company walks in. Roast Beef served this way goes far, because the trick lies in slicing it thinly, which is easier once it’s cooled.
    When shopping for a roast, look for one that is not too big, sort of shaped like a loaf. It should be lean and look like it would slice nicely. (Imagine slicing it like a loaf of bread) It’s okay if it has fat along one side, but it doesn’t have to. Boneless top sirloin, inside round roast and cross rib roasts are good. A 3 lb roast will serve 6 – 8 people. It’s also great as a left over.


    • 3 lb roast beef
    • Lawrys seasoning salt
    • 2 – 3 garlic cloves
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 1 can sliced mushrooms

    Make ahead Method: (On the morning of or day before serving)

    1. Season roast with Lawrys seasoning salt.
    2. Place roast in a roasting pan that has been sprayed with Pam.
    3. Bake uncovered at 350F for ½ an hour.
    4. Take roaster out of oven and place a couple of cloves of garlic under the twine or on top.
    5. Cover with lid, turn oven down to 300F and continue baking for another 1 ½ hours.
    6. Cool completely. (You can leave it in the roaster and put it in the fridge after 1 hour.)
    7. Once, roast is cooled, slice it as thinly as possible, using a sharp knife.
    8. Put your roaster with the drippings from the roast on medium heat on the stove. Stir in 1 can cream of mushroom soup and 1 can sliced mushrooms. Stir until it cooks. Taste for flavor - if it's too salty, shake up 1-2 Tbsp flour and 1 + cup water in a closed container and add, according to taste.
    9. Using a large lifter, add the sliced meat to the gravy, leaving it sort of intact. Scoop some of the gravy on top of the meat.
    10. You can now re-heat it in the oven right away for 15 min or refrigerate it and re-heat it the next day for about ½ hour, during which time you cook and mash the potatoes.
      When it’s time to serve, lift it out with a large lifter to put on a serving platter. Pour a bit of gravy on the meat and the rest into a gravy bowl.

    Monday, May 25, 2009


    Rösti is a traditional Swiss potato dish...considered by many to be a national dish. When we were in Switzerland visiting our friends (Pierre and Ute) many years ago...we were invited to Pierre's mother's home for supper. I will always remember her warm she bustled around in her cozy kitchen and served us a delicious dinner which included rösti. It wasn't too long after our visit that Pierre's mother passed away...and so any mention of rösti brings back fond memories of that dear old lady. After a little research...and a few trials...I'm ready to pass along my method for cooking 'glorified hashbrowns'...or rösti.

    To make Rösti you will need:

    • 3 or 4 medium potatoes (Russets or Yukon Gold work well)
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • Butter
    • Salt
    • A grater
    • A non-stick or cast iron frying pan
    • A plate that barely fits inside the pan.

    Grate the raw potatoes into a bowl...using a large-holed grater.

    Use a non-stick skillet. Melt 2-4 tablespoons of butter in the pan. Saute onions until somewhat tender.

    Add grated potatoes and salt. Cook over medium heat several minutes, stirring two or three times to coat the potatoes evenly with butter.

    Then pat the potatoes into a cake with the spatula and let cook for 10 minutes. Cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes.

    When the bottom of the potato cake is golden brown, place the plate on the potatoes and invert the pan, holding onto the plate. Remove the pan and set it back on the stove. Add another tablespoon or so of butter and let it melt.

    Slide the rösti back into the pan, golden side up, and cook for about 15 minutes, pressing down once or twice to make the pancake stick together a little more. You can cover it to get the potatoes cooked in the middle, but remove the cover at least 5 minutes before the end, so that your pancake is crispy on the outside.

    Slide rösti onto plate and serve by cutting into wedges. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a side dish with ham and salad...and call it dinner (as we did the other night). Or, make it the main course and top with a sunny-side-up egg. Any way you serve can't go wrong!

    A cast iron pan seemed like the perfect cooking utensil for rösti...but I soon found out that my 'almost new' pre-seasoned cast iron skillet required a little more seasoning! Once it was coated with a thick layer of potatoes...I switched to a non-stick pan. I'm sure Pierre's mom used cast iron...but my Canadian version is cooked in a T-fal pan.

    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    Coconut Prawns

    We first tasted Coconut Prawns about 8 years ago on the Island of Roatan, Honduras when our oldest son was working there as a missionary. They were truly memorable and I asked Tim to get the recipe for me. The first time I made them was in our camper on a trip to the Maritimes. Each town on the Gaspe' Penninsula had it's own fresh fish shop and we treated ourselves to fresh shrimp and lobster at every opportunity. If you make these once, I guarantee you'll make them again.
    • 2 lb. large, raw prawns, deveined*
    • 1 cup flour
    • 3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
    • 1/4 tsp. gound pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. ginger (optional)
    • 3 egg whites
    • 2 cups coconut - I used fancy flaked coconut

    *I use the largest prawns or shrimp I can find. Using the raw ones ensures that they are not overcooked and rubbery.

    1. Remove shells from prawns, leaving tail shells intact
    2. Mix seasonings with flour in shallow bowl
    3. Beat egg whites just until they are foamy and soft peaks form. Do not overbeat as the egg white will not stick to the prawns if they are too dry.
    4. Place coconut in another shallow bowl.
    5. Coat each prawn with seasoned flour, then dip in egg white until well coated, then transfer to coconut and coat gently on all sides.
    6. Fry in 1 inch of oil over medium heat, turning once. They are done when the coconut is golden brown and the prawns have turned pink. (I usually check one by cutting in half.)
    7. Drain on paper towel and serve.

    Saturday, May 23, 2009

    Greek Salad

    I got this recipe from my good friend, Herta K. and it’s the salad that I make most often, even if I just have lettuce, cucumber and some colored pepper. The flavor in this salad is enhanced by the fresh basil, but if you do not have it on hand, just use about 1 ½ tsp of dried basil mixed in with the dressing. For the mustard in the dressing, I like to use a Country Dijon mustard or one that has whole mustard seeds in it.


    1 bunch romaine or loose leaf lettuce, chopped
    1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
    1/4 c chopped green onions
    12 pitted ripe olives
    3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
    1/3 English cucumber, sliced
    1 green or red pepper, chopped
    1/4 c fresh chopped basil


    ¼ cup olive oil
    2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    ½ tsp sugar
    2 tsp Dijon mustard
    ¼ tsp salt
    1/8 tsp pepper

    Shake dressing ingredients in tightly covered container. Toss salad ingredients.
    Pour dressing over top and toss to coat.

    Friday, May 22, 2009

    Blueberry cheesecake

    This cheesecake is a must have for our oldest daughter. It has been her choice of desserts since she was a little girl. My Tante Helga introduced us to this velvety smooth mousse type dessert and it comes from our home church cookbook submitted by T. Bergen. (By the way T-your reputation for a wonderful baker is proof in this dessert).

    • 2- 8 oz packages cream cheese
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 TB. lemon juice (fresh is best)
    • 2 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 large tub of cool whip (or equal amounts of whipped cream)
    • 3 cups frozen blueberries
    • or 1 can of blueberry pie filling with a squeeze of fresh lemon to brighten the taste of the pie filling.

    1. one prepared graham wafer crust, either bought or your favorite recipe. (try chocolate wafers as an alternative, it is very nice also). Press into a 9" spring form pan.
    2. With a hand mixer beat cream cheese with sugar
    3. add lemon juice and vanilla
    4. fold in cool whip until smooth
    5. fold in frozen blueberries ****
    6. set in fridge for several hours to set
    7. if you prefer to use the pie filling, add it on top before serving, (don't forget to freshen the taste with the lemon juice, it really makes a difference).**

    We always have to have more berries on top of what ever cheese cake is being served so serve a mix berry sauce on the side, but that is totally optional.

    **if you choose to add the pie filling as opposed to the berries folded in Do Not fold in pie filling with the cream cheese.

    **** you may choose to omit that if you are using pie filling......or go ahead and use both, but I didn't have blueberries.

    Thursday, May 21, 2009

    Cream of Leek Soup

    I have made a variation of cream soups quite often because they are so quick and easy. However, unlike soups that get better the longer you cook them, it is best to serve cream soups without cooking them too long. Acid, heat and salt can cause milk to curdle, and even more so if you use a low fat milk. In order to avoid this problem, do not boil the soup hard or long and add the bouillon cube flavor at the end of the cooking process, without bringing the soup to another boil. I have revised my written recipe here, specifying to add the bouillon flavor (salt) at the end, but personally, I just throw it in with the rest of the ingredients near the beginning.


    3 Tbsp. margarine or butter
    3 Tbsp. flour
    3 cups milk
    2 cups water, divided, OR 2 cups chicken broth
    2 Tbsp cheez whiz
    1 small bunch leeks, chopped
    2 baked potatoes, coarsely grated
    2-3 Tbsp cooked, crumbled bacon pieces or Real Bacon Bits
    1 ½ chicken bouillon cubes (omit if using broth)


    Make a white sauce by melting margarine and stirring in the flour with a whisk. Gradually stir in milk and 1 cup water (or broth) and keep stirring until it comes to a boil.
    Add cheez whiz, chopped leeks potatoes and bacon. Simmer on low for about 5 – 10 min, until leeks have changed to an olive color.
    Add bouillon flavoring dissolved in 1 cup boiled water, OR rest of broth. Also, some pepper if you like. Stir and serve. Keep warm on very low heat, if you must. Refrigerate left over soup immediately and re-heat without boiling.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

    My wonderful Aunt Emmy used to make these cookies and gifted me with the recipe for them. She was my mom's youngest sister and we loved spending time with her and her family. In fact I spent several summers living with them so I could babysit for her while she packed peaches on their farm.

    I've photographed these cookies on the one surviving plate from my mom's everyday dishes - Somehow this plate, which brings such warm memories to me, always enhances the taste of anything dished out on it.

    • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 cups oatmeal
    • 1 1/4 cups margarine or butter
    • 2 1/3 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 Tbsp. cold water
    • 3/4 cup coconut
    • 1 1/2 cup sultana raisins *

    * My mom taught me to wash sultanas, running water through them until the water ran clear. Shake the water off and add to recipe.

    Blend white and brown sugars, eggs and margarine in large bowl of mixer.

    Add remaining ingredients in order.

    Mix until well blended.

    Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake.

    Remove to brown paper or racks and cool.

    These cookies freeze well.

    Monday, May 18, 2009

    Pineapple Dessert Squares

    When I was growing up our family always went to church on Sunday morning and evening. Often after church on Sunday evenings my parents had several couples over for coffee. Mom would have a light lunch ready for her guests and us four kids always looked forward to the food. This is just one of the desserts she served on such occasions. The butter crust has a very delicate texture, and compliments the light pineapple filling and coconut meringue.

    Pineapple Dessert Squares
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup butter
    Using a pastry blender cut the butter into the flour until you have a fine crumble. Press into an 8x8 pan and bake at 325 for 2 minutes. Take out and let sit while you make the pineapple filling.

    • 1 398 ml (14 oz) can crushed pineapple with juice
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 tbsp corn starch
    • 2 tbsp butter
    In a sauce pan stir together pineapple, sugar and cornstarch. Stirring constantly bring ingredients to a boil until it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Spread over crust.

    Meringue Topping
    • 2 egg whites
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 cup coconut
    • 1/8 tsp baking powder
    • 1/16 tsp salt
    Beat egg whites, sugar, baking powder and salt together until soft peaks form. Fold in coconut. Spread meringue over pineapple mixture. Return to oven and bake another 20 minutes until the meringue is a light golden color. It is best to let this square cool before cutting to let all layers set. These do not freeze well.

    Sunday, May 17, 2009

    All Day Mushrooms

    This recipe was given to me from my friend Marg. It is a great side dish for steak. In the photo I have shown the mushrooms served the way they are when they come out of the crock pot, and the others have simmered in cream for 10 minutes after they come out of the crock pot.

    All Day Mushrooms
    • 3 lb whole mushrooms-stems on and washed
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2 cups red wine-non alcoholic works fine
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 tsp dill weed
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 2 chicken boullion cubes
    • 2 beef boullion cubes

    Put washed mushrooms into a large crock pot. (you can use a large stock pot and cook over low heat following directions the same) Combine the remaining ingredients together and pour over mushrooms. Set crock pot on low setting and cover. Cook for 4 hours. Remove the lid and cook another 4 hours. To serve remove mushrooms from liquid with a slotted spoon. Discard liquid.

    Optional Cream Finish
    Pour 3/4 cup cream into a non stick fry pan and and heat over medium until it begins to get hot. Add cooked mushrooms and simmer for 10 minutes until cream thickens.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009

    Raisin Buns

    I have searched my recipe books looking for my Mom's raisin bun recipe but couldn't find it. Finally I found one in Canadian Home Cooking that comes quite close to Mom's! I would add more raisins next time.

    1 cup warm water, 2 tbsp yeast, 2 tsp sugar

    Mix and let sit for 10 min.

    1 cup white sugar

    1 cup milk, scalded

    1 cup mashed potatoes(cook and mash)

    5 eggs, beaten

    1 tsp salt

    3/4 cup oil

    7-8 cups of flour

    2 cups raisins(I will do 3 next time)

    Scald milk and stir sugar into milk and cool to lukewarm. Add beaten eggs, mashed potatoes, salt, oil and flour. Mix and knead until you have a smooth soft dough..approx 5 min. Let rise for 25 min, punch down and knead in the raisins. Let rise again till double in size. Grease pans, form buns, place on pans and let rise again for 30 min. Bake in 350 oven for 11 minutes. Yields...3 1/2 doz

    Friday, May 15, 2009

    Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

    I've been making this peanut butter cookie recipe that my mom in law gave me for years. . .but recently I have made it with some healthier choices in the ingredients. . and now. . sharing a cookie and having a cup of coffee in the afternoon .. .seems to make sense.

    Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
    • 1 cup butter
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 farm fresh eggs
    • 1 cup natural peanut butter. .( it's a great way to use up what is left at the bottom of the jar)
    • 2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/2 cups porridge oats. . or I use Hot Cereal Mix which has a blend of rolled oats, rye flakes, barley flakes, sunflower seeds and flax seed.
    • 1 1/2 cups trail mix
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    1. Cream the butter and sugars together.
    2. Add the eggs and vanilla.
    3. Add the peanut butter.
    4. Add the dry ingredients.
    5. Add the trail mix.
    6. Bake in a 350 F oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown . .I prefer these crunchy.
    7. Let cool .. and then store in freezer bags in the freezer. .

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Every once in a while when our daughter's were growing up they would copy down a recipe from one of their friend's moms. This recipe became a favorite of ours and we called them Mrs. Neufeld's cookies. The secret to them turning out almost like bite size brownies is taking them out of the oven when they are not quite baked. If you love chocolate these are for you.

    • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups flour
    • 3/4 cup cocoa
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
    Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Do not over bake. Let cookies rest on pan for 1 minute and then transfer to a cooling rack. Cookies will flatten when cooling. They should be very soft and a little chewy.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    Meatballs and Mushroom sauce

    This is a quick family meal,* especially if you can just take a bag of meatballs out of the freezer. If you don’t have any, go here (Apricot Glazed Brunch Meatballs) for a basic meatball recipe. Make the whole meatball recipe and freeze the leftovers for another meal.
    25 – 30 pre-cooked meatballs

    • 2 Tbsp margarine
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
    • dash of thyme
    In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt margarine, saute mushrooms onion and garlic until tender, stirring often. Add mushroom soup mixed with milk. Bring to boil. Stir in the sour cream and meatballs. Simmer 10 - 15 minutes, adding thyme near the end. Serve over rice or pasta.

    * adapted from a Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup recipe

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Rhubarb Streusel Pie

    One of the best tastes of spring is rhubarb pie. Rhubarb is now ready for the pickin' in gardens don't miss out. I have used the same rhubarb pie recipe for ever...but this year I thought I would try a streusel topping...just for a change. You can bake the filling in a traditional double pie crust if you prefer.

    Rhubarb Streusel Pie
    • 1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
    • 4 cups rhubarb, cut in 1/2" lengths
    • 1 1/3 cups sugar
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1. Combine sugar, flour and nutmeg. Add to eggs and beat. Stir in rhubarb.
    2. Pour into pastry lined pie plate.


    • 1/4 cup oats
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter
    1. Mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over pie.
    2. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes.
    3. Reduce heat to 350F and bake about 40 minutes longer...until rhubarb is cooked and topping is brown.

    Serve warm with a scoop of premium ice-cream.

    Sunday, May 10, 2009

    In honour...of Mother's Day

    Who inspires you?

    I have many people in my life that give me inspiration. . . . .
    but today ...
    I think of the dear girls that I share this blog with .. .
    and the inspiration that they are to me. .

    Since this recipe blog began less than a year ago ..
    friendships have been formed that are nothing less than God's provision for our souls.

    Years ago . . my mom belonged to a group at church called the "Dorcas Ladies Aid".
    They would meet once a month . quilt or sew together. . share each others joys and sorrows. . to encourage and challenge each other . . and to look into God's word.

    I belong to a group sharing through our computers. . .called "Mennonite Girls Can Cook".
    We meet to chat over our computers. . .here and there through out the week.
    You, see the part. . .where we meet to share our recipes. . . but far more than that. .
    behind the scenes we have found a safe place to share our hearts with one another.

    When one of us has a need. . .we hold them before our Heavenly Father in prayer. .
    When one of us. .needs a bit of love. . .we all ((((hug)))).
    When one of us needs courage to carry on. . . we all cheer!!
    When one needs a bit of advice. . .we offer bits of our own experiences that are tried and true.

    Besides being friends. . .these girls are all mothers.
    We are all either in process of emptying our nests. . .or we are empty nesters.
    Between us we have about 320 years of mothering.

    Each of us are our husband's wife. . our children's mom. . .and our parents daughter.

    The recipes that we share with you have all been made. . .
    not for earthly financial gain. . .
    but out of love. . .
    for family and friends .

    Often the recipes have been quickly put together. . .
    camera in one hand. . . phone in the other. .
    inviting our children, parents. . .friends. . . and sometimes new friends over to help eat our wares.

    Time and time again. . .
    I have been amazed at the kindness that each "girl" has for her family.
    The love for her husband. . . her children. . grandchildren.. . . and her parents is evident by the quick adjustments and allowances she makes each day to meet all the needs around her.

    Each girl is purposing to pass what she knows. . .down the line. .
    to the next generation. . . and also to you.

    There was a time. . that when sharing a recipe that was a bit tricky. . .
    many homemakers were reticent to tell all. . .keeping back little tricks big tricks. . .keeping it their special secret in the kitchen.

    We all have an opportunity to leave a legacy in one way or another don't we?
    I feel blessed to be a witness to something very special happening here on this blog.

    There is no selfishness shown here. . .
    only a joy in giving. . .and sharing. . .and a hope that young cooks. . will learn something worth passing on to their own families.

    It is evident. . .that each girl that has contributed to this blog has a gift of hospitality. . .
    a heart to bless others. .
    and a desire to give and receive love.

    (click on the photo to enlarge it)

    When I asked the girls to send me photos of their mom and mom in law so that we could honour them. .
    they were quick to respond and willing to share.

    Many of the photos were sent with a longing heart. . .to see their mom again.
    Most of the pictures sent to me. . .were accompanied by loving words of honour, respect and sentiment by a daughter who has been loved by beautiful women.

    Often when we prepare the recipes. . .that our mom once made.. .
    our memories are heightened by the aromas that we associate with being in mom's kitchen.

    The moms we still have with us are cherished. . and honoured today. .
    The moms we miss will forever now hold a special spot here in the recipes that live on.

    To the girls that I am honoured to share this blog with. .
    I say . . .well done . . .
    I am so inspired by each one of you.

    Your commitment to put your families first in your lives. . .
    is a legacy that will not be overlooked.
    I am certain. . that if I had called up the children of these girls. .they would all agree that they have amazing and loving moms. . .I'm sure of it.

    I have often said. . that I love it when God plants an idea in our hearts. .
    run with it. . . something extraordinary is about to happnen.
    May we continue to honour our Heavenly Father in our homes with our gifts of hospitality. .
    and on this blog.

    Happy Mother's Day to you all!
    All for now. . . with love,

    Saturday, May 9, 2009

    Asian Salad

    This makes one fantastic, colorful salad, and without the dressing you can keep it for a few days, if it lasts that long. It is one of my favorite salads, and it goes over very well with all ages.

    1 small package whole wheat linguine noodles, cooked, rinsed and cooled. (or just add crunchy chow mein noodles instead as a topping). The noodles are completely optional. It makes the salad stretch for a crowd.

    • 1 bag of cole slaw mix
    • 1 bag of spinach
    • 3 peppers, red, orange, yellow julienne
    • bean sprouts
    • 1 bunch green onion chopped or
    • 1 red onion slivered, but not both
    • juice of 1 fresh lime
    • 1/2 c. olive oil
    • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
    • 1/3 c. low sodium soya sauce
    • 1/3 c. brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger 
    • 2 cloves of garlic minced
    • 1 jalapeno minced and seeds removed, optional

    You can make this a lower fat dressing by eliminating the olive oil all together and still have a wonderful taste.

    I add grilled chicken to make it a meal on its own, brushed with szechuan sauce, ( I use President's choice light)
    Sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro.
    If I know the salad will get eaten the same day I add tomatoes and cucumbers, add what ever veggie you like, the more the better, the more color the more appealing.
    I have even sprinkled toasted cashews on creative.

    What makes this salad so fabulous is the dressing.
    When my family takes this salad to go we put it in wraps or in pitas, and add the dressing as needed, other wise it gets soggy.
    Well I think you get the idea on how versatile a salad can be......but boy that dressing.......Mmm!

    Dig in!

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    The Authentic Schnetki

    The recipe for the orginal Schnetki has been altered and modified over the years until it finally retains only its original ‘name’. Today, in most Mennonite kitchens it is now indistinguishable from a ‘biscuit’.

    I still make them the way they were made in the Ukraine by the Mennonites – the recipe passed on to me by my Mother in law.
    They have always held a place of honor in my kitchen – maybe more so than any other food - because of what Schnetki mean to my husband.

    Let me give you the background story.

    In the month of September of 1941 my husband’s life was forever altered.
    He was a 4 year old boy living with his parents and younger brother in a Mennonite village in the Ukraine.
    It was WWII, and the order had come down from the Ukrainian officials -- all men 16 and over were to be gathered out of the Mennonite villages and marched to Siberia. Because they were of German descent, they were now enemies of the state.
    My husband’s father was one of those men who were marched away under guard that September morning – many never to see their families again.
    The tearful wives and mothers tried to do what they could to send some items of comfort with their men, knowing that they would be encountering harsh treatment and impossible living conditions.
    My husband very clearly remembers watching his mother bake Schnetki on the outside hearth and pack them up for her husband. That was the last time he saw his father . The image of his father walking out of his life, carrying the Schnetki is forever imprinted on his mind!

    And for the 68 years since that day, Schnetki have been his ‘comfort’ food… perhaps subconsciously connecting them with the father he was robbed of.
    I could not count how many Schnetki I have made for him ….. and still do. When I ask him what he is hungry for I know the answer before I ask.

    Unless you are like my husband, with no need to watch cholesterol or high blood pressure or weight… you will not be rushing into your kitchen to make these Schnetki. I am posting the recipe to preserve the original recipes of our Mennonites in the Ukraine.
    Mennonites, historically being a hard-working people on the land , did not worry about calories or fat-content in food ! Even so – they have for the most part been a hardy, healthy people , enjoying longevity.

    There is a reason this ‘biscuit’ was named Schnetki . Schnetki is not a German word - it has obviously 'phonetically evolved' over the years from the word Schnecke meaning 'snail' and that will become self-explanatory as you see that the pastry is rolled up like a 'snail'.


    3 cups flour

    2 tsp. salt

    1/2 cup shortening

    1/2 cup butter

    1 egg + enough milk to make one cup


    Mix flour and salt together , then cut in the shortening and butter

    Put egg into a measuring cut and fill to make 1 cup

    Mix and turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth, form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap

    chill in fridge overnight! VERY IMPORTANT!


    Roll out thin and spread with butter

    Starting at one edge roll dough to about the size of your middle finger , then cut along edge of roll

    and roll dough again ... repeating until all the dough is rolled and cut into desired lengths... approx. 4"

    Bake in very hot oven 425' until browned ... about 15-20 minutes.

    When broken open they are very flakey.

    I also use the same dough to make perschki .... (fruit pockets)

    For plums or other fruit I will do the traditional four corners to the center style but for apples I always fold two sides up and over the apples. Cut the buttered pastery in squares and put 1/2 tsp flour and 1 tsp sugar on each square, lay apple on top and fold the two sides over.

    Schnetki are traditionally eaten with soup ....but I doubt there is a wrong time or meal to eat them .. according to my husband !

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    Rhubarb Coffee Cake

    This is another recipe from my mother in law Pauline. Her baking was and still is .. always perfect and was such a good inspiration for me as a young homemaker. This rhubarb cake isn't especially pretty but is tastes just wonderful. The cake is kept moist from the rhubarb and the topping of brown sugar, and butter makes a crisp and in the crater spots. . a chewy bite.

    Rhubarb Cake
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups white flour
    • 1 teaspoon soda
    • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 teaspoon white vinegar in a cup of milk)
    • 2 cups of finely chopped rhubarb dusted with a tablespoon of flour
    Topping ingredients
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
    2. Cream the 1/2 cup butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
    3. Add the egg and vanilla and combine.
    4. Stir together the dry ingredients.
    5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.
    6. Add 1/3 of the milk. . and repeat until all the flour and milk and butter mixture are combined.
    7. Add the chopped rhubarb.
    8. Combine the topping mixture to make coarse crumbs.
    9. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray.
    10. Spread the cake mixture into the pan. . and sprinkle the topping over evenly.
    11. Bake for 45 minutes.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009


    These cinnamon rolls have a bit of a different twist to them in looks and texture. This is a small recipe (makes 24 - 30) and really doesn't take long to do because you skip the first rising. It's a yeast recipe that also has baking powder in it, which has puzzled me, but I haven't tried to change it. If you've ever had "bear claws" - these rolls remind me of that kind of pastry. This is also another recipe I need to give credit to my mom for. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did, after not having them for a long time.


    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 c sugar
    • 1 1/4 c buttermilk
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 c hot water
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 6 cups flour, divided
    • ½ cup butter, melted or very soft
    • 2 Tbsp instant yeast
    Filling: (Blend with pastry blender)
    • 1 1/4 c brown sugar
    • 1/2 c flour
    • 2 tsp cinnamon,
    • 3 Tbsp butter, room temp
    • extra butter (melted) for spreading
    1. In mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, beat eggs and sugar well. Add buttermilk, salt and water.
    2. Mix 2 cups of the flour with baking powder and yeast, then stir into liquid mixture.
    3. Add butter, mixing well, and the rest of the flour (switching to dough hook if you have it) kneading until dough is smooth. You do not need to let it rise at this point. I just let it rest while I prepare the filling.
    4. Divide dough in half. Sprinkle rolling surface with flour. Shape and pat dough into a rectangular shape before rolling each half into a 10" x 20" shape, dusting with flour when needed. Spread with melted butter, then brown sugar mixture.
    5. Roll up jelly-roll style. Slice into 1 1/4 inch slices. While slice is still “standing up”, indent it almost all the way through with a pencil (dipped in flour) or spatula as though you’re slicing it in half again . . . this makes the sides pop up like wings.
    6. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. If you don’t use parchment paper, grease the pans and remove rolls as soon as you take them out of the oven.
    7. Cover loosely with plastic and tea towel. Rise 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Some buns will kind of lose their shape while rising and I sometimes (gently) re-indent them. Bake at 350 F, 15 - 20 minutes.

    Once cooled, drizzle with a thin icing. ( approx 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 2 Tbsp. soft butter and milk - until desired spreading consistency) I like to use a teaspoon or butter knife and just kind of ‘scatter’ the icing.