Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Bread for the Journey

Piles and Piles of Books

I have never counted how many books I have , but I know I have never at any point in my life felt that I had 'enough'!
I remember, as a child, reading the last verse in the gospel of John with wonder and awe.
How I wished that every one of those books HAD been written.
"And there are also many other things that Jesus did which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."
John 21:25 NKJV

Jesus, our Creator , Teacher, Healer, God
Jesus is still today adding to the things that could be written about Him.
His words are still true, His invitation still open to you and to me,
"And whatsoever You ask in My name, that I will do!"
John 14:13 NKJV
When we read the stories recorded in the gospels,
of the many people who came to Jesus with their needs and requests,
He did not turn them away, but rather had compassion on them.
We can have the same confidence today when we approach Him
with our concerns and burdens.
He WILL hear us and He WILL answer our prayer.
He WILL act on our behalf.
Even when our prayers are not answered the way we desired,
we can trust that God answers according to His wisdom and in His love,
working out His ultimate good purposes for our lives.
"Lord, we thank you that you are a God who works. We thank you that you never grow weary of your children coming to you with their needs, their concerns,
their tears.
We thank you that you always work according to what is best for us.
Help us to trust you with all our hearts. Amen "

Caramel Apples

Caramel apples are simple to make and rather inexpensive considering what a ready made caramel apple will cost you at a candy store.  While decorating the apples is a perfect family project, be sure to have an adult boil the caramel. I am still sporting a scar on my hand from my youthful attempts of boiling sugar and butter.

Be sure to use fresh local apples that have not been waxed.  This is the perfect time of year to make caramel apples. The apples must be as fresh as possible. I walked to our tree and picked these. .moments before dipping them. Ideally, choose apples that are still a bit tart.

This handy little apple chopper is perfect for caramel apples. 

  • very fine sandpaper
  • Popsicle sticks
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup golden corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter  (do not use margarine)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • about 18 medium sized apples
  • crushed nuts and various candy's and or melted chocolate for drizzle
  1. Wash apples and dry them.
  2. Use fine sandpaper to give them a bit of a rub.  This will help the caramel to adhere.  Do not break the skin.
  3. Use a tea towel to wipe the apples down, stick Popsicle sticks in the stem end,  and set aside.
  4. Prepare several cookie sheets by putting parchment paper down or be sure to grease your sheets well.
  5. Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a medium saucepan. 
  6. Stir over medium heat until butter melts and then add the sweetened condensed milk.
  7. Boil on high heat stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reaches soft ball stage. .230 degrees.
  8. This will take about 20 minutes.  Keep stirring.   Let cool about 5 minutes.
  9. Dip the apples into the caramel and set onto the parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
  10. If you wish to dip them into crushed nuts do that now and let them cool on cookie sheets before finishing the decorations.
  11. Place them in the refrigerator to cool slightly.  Once they have cooled. .you can decorate them.

Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin

This is a very easy no fuss dish to make and it is certainly company worthy.
It always goes over very well.

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, or 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  1. Combine first five ingredients in a plastic bag.
  2. Marinate at least 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove the pork and dry well with paper towels.
  4. Combine the honey, brown sugar in a plate and roll the pork in this mixture.
  5. Roll in sesame seeds.
  6. Bake at a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Pork is done when it reaches 160F with a meat thermometer, for medium, and 170 for well done.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest covered for 10 minutes.
  8. Slice thinly and serve.
Serves about 6-8 people.

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a easy Crock Pot soup my high school girlfriend Nancy shared with me that is filling and will warm you up.

  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa (mild, medium or hot)
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can (approx 15 ounces) black beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can (approx 15 ounces) diced tomatoes with jalapenos or green chilies ( choose according to the spice level/heat you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 or 2 6inch corn tortillas cut into strips
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Stir the salsa, chicken, corn and beans in a 4 quart slow cooker/crock pot.
  2. Stir the soup, tomatoes, water, cumin together in a separate bowl. Pour over the crock mixture.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or on high for 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
  4. Stir in tortilla strips, cheese and cilantro. 
  5. Cover and cook an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Enjoy with warm tortillas or corn bread!

Farmers' Chili

Al Neenya says we are going to have a cold winter...I've heard others say that also in the past week. So, let's prepare ahead of time and I'll share with you this all-time favorite chili dish. Our family loves chilli any time, but as the kids sat down to supper tonight, one of my family members said, "Hm....this has a smoked taste." Yes, it does...tweak this with some farmer sausage, and you will have one hefty bowl of Chilli.
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 ring farmer sausage cubed.
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can of canned tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (14 oz.)
  • 2 cans tomato past (6 oz.)
  • 1 can kidney beans (19 oz)
  • 1 can beef broth (10 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chilli
  • 1 1/2 cups Salsa
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Brown ground beef and saute onions together.
  2. Drain off extra liquids.
  3. Pour into a large cooking pot.
  4. Add all ingredients in order.
  5. Simmer and cook for 2 hours on medium heat.
Don't worry too much if all your ounces and milligrams don't match up completely...Just take whatever you have in your cupboard and I'm sure it will have just the right zest. Why don't they have a few standard sizes for cans instead of 5 different sizes?
Oh, by the way, add a fresh salad and don't forget to add some Health Buns.


Whole Wheat Bread

This is a moist, dark brown bread, great for breakfast or a healthy choice sandwich. It is always best to make sure the flour and grains you use are fresh. I prefer to store the ones I do not often use, in the freezer. As in most bread recipes, the type of flour you use is quite flexible. I would suggest to stay with at least 4 or 5 cups of whole wheat and then add other types of flour and cereal, if desired, until the dough is kneaded to a nice smooth texture. For example, if I do not have rye flour on hand, I simply replace it with whole wheat or multi grain.
Mixing a larger amount such as this, is easier if you can use a large Kitchen Aid or Bosch Machine.

  • 3 cups hot tap water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 cups multi grain (or 7 grain) flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup bran
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed

  1. Mix ingredients in order given, using about 1/2 the whole wheat flour amount before adding the yeast and the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Switch to kneading hook attachment on machine, when necessary, and add the rest of the whole wheat flour at the end, kneading until you have a smooth dough. You may need a little less or more. Transfer to a larger bowl to rise.
  3. Cover with a clean tea towel and plastic. Let rise 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Punch down gently, divide and shape into 4 small loaves (or 3 medium). Shape with greased hands to smooth the top.
  5. Place into greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise 45 - 60 minutes.
  6. Bake at 350° F, about 35 - 40 min.
  7. Remove from pans and allow to cool on rack.
  8. Slice and freeze any loaves you do not plan to eat by the next day.

Bread for the Journey

Philippians 4: 19 NIV

"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

God is enough. We can't lean on others to fill the void that only God can fill.
We will know He is enough if we spend our life following His leading, the course He has planned for us.
God does not change. He will always be enough.

Tabbouli Egg Salad

When we have our family gatherings everyone is known for bringing their specialty.
The Tabbouli Egg Salad is my cousin Charlene's recipe.
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 cups chopped mixed fresh veggies (tomato, cucumber,grated carrot and broccoli)
  • 1 green onion or 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, mint or parsley
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 3 tbsp lime juice, fresh with grated lime peel (peel is optional)
  • 1 tsp chili powder ( I usually do more and taste as I add and mix)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a sauce pan bring broth to a boil and slowly add eggs while whisking. Cook until eggs are set.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in couscous – let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients and toss with couscous mixture
  4. Refrigerate covered.
  5. To make this a gluten free dish, it can easily be made with 2 cups cooked Rice, or 2 cups of cooked quinoa instead of couscous.
This is such a light tasting and refreshing salad, that I don't wait to serve this only in the summer. Sometimes I like to make cold salads for Sunday lunch, so that after church, all we have to do is dig in! This is so good, I always double the recipe.

Jello Sugar Cookies

In my home, sugar cookies are usually baked  for special occasions...stars, trees and candy canes at Christmas and hearts for Valentine's Day.  But here's a simple sugar cookie recipe that the grands enjoy anytime of the year, one that requires no icing since the dough is coloured.  The jello makes a very pale pastel cookie; if you prefer a somewhat deeper colour, add food colouring.  An added bonus is the flavour of the jello.

  • 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1-1/2 cups  butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages Jello (4-serving size /any flavor), divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla 


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix flour and baking powder; set aside.
  3. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer until creamy.
  4. Add sugar and 1 pkg. of the dry gelatin, beating until light and fluffy.
  5. Add egg and vanilla; mix well.
  6. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well blended after each addition.
  7. Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
  8. Dip top half of each ball into reserved gelatin crystals.
  9. Place on ungreased baking sheets...crystal side up.
  10. Flatten with bottom of clean with a design if you want a pattern.  
  11. Bake 8 to 10 min. or until edges are lightly browned.
  12. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks.
*The featured cookies were made with peach jello.

 To make cut out cookies in any shape or form, use the same recipe and roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick.  Omit the gelatin crystals on top.  They make great 'cookiegrams' for any occasion!

Rice Krispies Treat on a Stick

With grandchildren coming and going I like to have fun little treats on hand, or to make with them. My granddaughter and I made these using a silicone brownie pop mold. To serve a group of children poke sticks into Styrofoam and pour mini coloured marshmallows all over the base to cover the Styrofoam. If you need to take a treat to your child's class this one works well as there is little mess. If you don't have a mold, just roll Rice Krispies into balls, dip into sprinkles and add the stick. Cool 'sticks up' on parchment paper.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 250 gram package regular marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  1. In a large sauce pan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted.
  2. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir in Rice Krispies.
  3. Lightly spay mold with cooking spray.
  4. Add candy sprinkles to the bottom of each cup.
  5. Fill cups with warm Rice Krispies mixture.
  6. Stick a sucker stick into the middle of each treat.
  7. Place in fridge to chill. Remove from mold and store in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Shepherd's Pie

This is one of my favourite comfort foods.
It's more a method than a recipe as it changes each time I make it.
Most of you have probably made this often and have your own version but for those few to whom it is new, you can start with the following instruction and then adapt the flavours to your own taste.
  • 3 or 4 raw potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • chopped onions
  • chopped red and/or green peppers
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • salt and pepper (second amount)
  • grated cheddar cheese or a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella
  1. Cook potatoes in salted water until tender.
  2. Drain and mash, adding sour cream, butter and milk until fluffy and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up with a spoon.
  4. Add onions and peppers.
  5. When beef and vegetables are cooked through, drain fat.
  6. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil and salt and pepper and mix well.
  7. Place beef mixture in bottom of casserole dish.
  8. Spoon mashed potatoes over beef, completely covering it.
  9. Sprinkle with grated cheese and dot with a few dabs of butter.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F until casserole is heated through and you can hear it bubbling.
  11. Serve.
Note:You can change up the flavours of both the beef and the potatoes.
For the potatoes : use garlic mashed potatoes or cheesy mashed potatoes or you can use up leftover mashed potatoes
For the beef: Use BBQ sauce, salsa or leftover gravy instead of the tomato sauce, chili powder instead of the basil
You can also add corn or grated carrot to the beef mixture.

Mystery Dessert

I don't know why the name . . . that is how I got it from my mom.  It's still a mystery why it's so delicious . . . you'd never guess it to be a fat-free cake.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 14 oz fruit cocktail along with syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup crushed walnuts or almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, soda and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork adding some of the fruit cocktail juice. Stir egg, fruit cocktail and vanilla into dry ingredients.
  3. Pour into shallow, greased 8x8 inch pan or pie plate.
  4. Combine brown sugar with nuts and sprinkle over top.
  5. Bake at 350° F for 40 minutes.
Serve plain, with ice cream or whipped cream. So quick and simple, yet delightful.

the cookbook winner is. . .

Yesterday  the grands were over for brunch.
I had spent several hours. . .yes. .several hours cutting apart comments on Saturday and now I needed an impartial comment selector to pick the winner of our cookbook.
Kanneloni Macaroni. . .
mixed them all up. .

turned her face in order to remain impartial. . .
rolled up her sleeves to keep from hiding any stray comments in there. .

and picked. . .
Ang Nickel.

Congratulations Ang. . .
we are delighted to have you as the first winner of our book.
Your prize is still in the making and will be sent to you Spring 2011.
The rest of you ..  can preorder from Herald Press here. . get 20% off  and free shipping..

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words.
We appreciate each comment.
As I folded them.  .
I read each one and wished I could give you each a book.

I peeked to see what Anneliese has posted for tomorrow.
It's a mystery dessert. .
Do come and see.

All for now. .
with love,

Multigrain Bread

This is one of our favorite homemade breads, it is full of fibre and goodness. Great for toasting too.
This bread is simple to put together and your house will smell wonderful as it's baking.
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 cups bran
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup flax seed, ground
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups multigrain flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  1. Scald milk, add honey, salt, oil, and water and mix until honey is melted.
  2. Add bran, wheat germ, ground flax seed, and stir until mixed.
  3. Add whole wheat, multigrain, white flour, and yeast, stirring and kneading as you add each flour. Add the white flour 1 cup at a time, add a little more if you need to make a slightly firm but not too hard dough. Knead 8 minutes.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise in warm place until doubled in bulk for 1 hour. Punch down and cut into 4 equal pieces.
  5. Shape each piece into a loaf and place into greased 9 1/2" x 5 1/2" loaf pans. Using the rolling pin I roll each piece into a flat rectangle, then roll it up to form a loaf. This helps avoid air pockets in the bread.
  6. Cover and allow to rise until double in bulk.
  7. Bake in a 400º oven for 28 minutes. Sometimes my loaves 'fall in' a bit as they bake but it doesn't change the flavor or texture and I kind of like the rustic looking top.
  8. Yield: 4 loaves

Japanese Chicken

This chicken recipe has been one of my favorites for many years. It is quick and easy to make and freezes well for those nights that you just don't feel like cooking. Typically the sauce is not a thick one, but if you prefer it to be thicker, take 1 0r 2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in a bit of cold water and add to the sauce cooking it for 2-3 minutes so the cornstarch does not taste raw.
  • 6-8 chicken breast cut into 4 strips
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • oil for browning
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in 
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Dredge the chicken flour and brown on all sides.
  2. Place into a casserole dish.
  3. Add all the sauce ingredients and de-glaze the pan.
  4. Pour over chicken and bake for an hour at 350, covered.
  5. Pour sauce over your favorite rice, and serve with a mound of stir fried veggies.


Today is the last day to enter the draw for our cookbook which will be coming out June 201on the post Herald Press Comes Knocking will close after today and then the comments will be thrown in a teapot for a random draw. Winner will be announced Monday morning.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe came to me all the way from Kansas. From the first bite I knew I would be asking for the recipe. Thanks to my sister in law Lynda's friend Cindy for sharing it with me.

  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 15oz can pure pumpkin
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Beat together butter, sugars, egg and vanilla.
  2. Alternately add flours and pumpkin and beat well.
  3. Add oatmeal, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and beat until just blended.
  4. Lastly mix in chocolate chips.
  5. Drop onto cookie sheets and bake at 350º for 15-18 minutes.
  6. Remove immediately to cooling rack.
Cookies freeze well.

Beef and Barley Soup

Make a pot of soup early in the week and you will have something nutritious in the refrigerator for that supper that you might be tempted to go grab a bite.  My mom in law makes this soup often and we enjoyed it there one evening.  While we ate. . .she recalled what she puts in it. . and I jotted it down.  If you have a large family, you can easily double this recipe in a very large stock pot.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup pot barley
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 small head cabbage, chopped fine
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a small handful chopped parsley
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 6 allspice
  • 1 tablespoon dill weed
  1. Brown the ground beef in a large stock pot.
  2. Use a mandolin to prepare your vegetables or chop while your meat is browning.
  3. Add the onion and celery and fry until translucent.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients. 
  5. Put your spices in a spice ball or tie it in cheesecloth.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  7. Simmer several hours.

Spicy Green Beans

Before I move on to the recipe of the day, I would just like to thank all of you, our faithful reader's, for your overwhelming response and encouraging comments on yesterday's post.  Without all of you, there would be no cookbook!  We look forward to whatever the future may hold and thank you in advance for your continued support.

I would also like to thank our sponsors...whose links are listed on our sidebar...and who have for some time been helping us to 'feed the hungry' with their donations.  One of those sponsors is Lepp Farm Market, a wonderful place to visit if you happen to live in our area.  Their website is also a wonderful place to visit, especially the recipe section!  Today's spicy green bean dish is from Charlotte Lepp's collection, one we have enjoyed at our table several times now.

Spicy Green Beans

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed  
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek Asian chili paste (or 2 or 3 teaspoons if you like it hot!)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  1. Steam beans until tender crisp.
  2. Combine all remaining ingredients for sauce...and heat until sizzling.
  3. Pour sauce over the beans and serve. 
  4. These also make a great finger food appetizer.
* Hoisin sauce, chili paste and oyster sauce are all found in the Asian food section of the grocery store.

    Herald Press comes knocking!

    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Monday!
    Here at Mennonite Girls Can Cook we are thanking God for the food we have. .
    the privilege of friendships we share . .
    and now we are thanking God for the blessing of a book contract.
    So many of you have requested that we make a book and we are happy to announce that the project is well underway.

    They wondered if we had ever considered writing a cookbook.
    OH ..yes . .we had.
    When we began the blog we decided that it would be a publisher contacting us instead of us finding them.
    We knew that in due time.  .
    it would happen.. .
    and it did.

    Conference telephone calls with the Publisher. .
    many many emails between the "girls". .
    and the project which we have been working on behind the scenes began.

    Our spring and summer flew by.
    We selected recipes. .
    we baked and tweaked and cooked . . .
     and enlisted our friends and family to help us eat our test products.

    We developed concepts of colors and decided on a theme.
    We watched the weather for perfect photography skies.

    And then.  .
    we planned a party to sign our contract.
    On September 1st with our photographer to witness the event. .
    we all signed our names on the book contract with the publisher.

    After the contract was signed we enjoyed a photography session as a group for the cookbook and spent the day celebrating.

    Our efforts are now safely in the hands of capable editors and design teams.

    It is a joy to be able to have a purpose that is greater than ourselves.
    Our dream to feed some hungry children with the proceeds will be realized.

    We humbly thank each of you for your generous encouragement.
    Your comments and emails are valued and appreciated so much.

    Herald Press has an offer for those of you who love to shop ahead.

    We are delighted to have you along for the journey.
    All of you who are kind enough to comment and share our excitement on this post ..
     will have your name put in the teapot. . and one week from today we will do a draw. .
    for a complimentary copy of the book when it is released in Spring 2011.

    Many thanks to our Photographer for today's photos.
     Just Be. Beatriz Photography

    Comments are now closed. ...thank you for entering for the cookbook...Winner will be announced on Monday.

    Bread for the Journey

    If you are reading this , I wish you a VERY blessed Happy Thanksgiving Day.
    (you need not be Canadian)
    I hope, like me, you can say that your cup overflows with thanksgiving.
    I used to think being thankful depended on life being perfect, but of course that rarely comes to any of us.
    Some of the most thankful people are the ones who seem to have the least reason to be thankful, and those least thankful with the most reason to be thankful !
    So thankfulness is a condition of the heart -- a choosing to see one's glass half full instead of half empty.

    Walking along the trails near where I live, I was surprised this week how many wild flowers are still blooming . I expect them in spring and summer but they are a pleasant surprise and special joy late in fall when I am not expecting them.
    When we are asked to make a list of things we are thankful for , it is not hard to do and for most of us the list is long - a list of things we have received or enjoy.
    While we are quickly thankful for the things we have received and for the blessings that are ours, do we think to be as thankful for the things we 'give' ?
    Is the joy we experience when we give not like the joy of unexpected flowers?
    In Acts 20:35 the disciples reminisce saying....
    "And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
    I would like to challenge you this Thanksgiving to be thankful for the things that you ae able to give -- be it practical giving to those in need , or comfort, or a timely word of encouragement or a loving hug.

    "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
    1Th 5:18
    "Dear Father, all good gifts come from you, for which we are so thankful today. May we also experience the joy of giving and being thankful that we can bless others out of what we ourselves have received. Amen"

    Enviromentally Safe Cleaning Solution

    It is Saturday again, and it is cleaning day for many of us. I can't tell you how excited I am about this way of cleaning, it even has the younger generation helping out with a smile.
    I used it on my stove and cleaned up the grease and spaghetti sauce with one stroke, and the mirrors just shine. I love it!!!
    These days we are always looking for better ways of being good to our environment, and our own health. I always appreciate it when people pass on their ideas as to what they use to clean their home. These ideas came from my friend Karin that uses nothing else to clean. She says that the following she uses for windows, mirrors, sinks, appliances, just about anything.
    • 16 oz spray bottle (I used a 32 oz bottle and doubled the ingredients)
    • 1 tbsp. rubbing alcohol
    • 1/2 cup of vinegar
    • 1 tsp. dish soap
    1. Add enough water to fill spray bottle
    2. Spray on anything that you wish to clean and wipe with a soft cloth.

    Tea Tree Oil as a disinfectant
    • Once a week put four drops in the toilet, swish and let it sit til the next flush.
    • Or put a few drops in with some water in a spray bottle and spray down areas like toys or door knobs.
    • Puts few drops of Tea Tree Oil in the palm of your hand with shampoo helps to rid of lice (or keep them away) as well. We used this tip when we needed it and learned from personal experience that it really did work! Don't forget the hair still needs to be combed through with a special nit comb to get rid of any nits. Keep doing it until you don't see any nits anymore.
    Well there you have it, more ideas on how to have a cleaner and chemical free home.

    I would love to hear your ideas, or tips that you have for environmentally friendly and safe cleaning. Please share them in the comment box.

    Pizza Muffins

    Your family will think you are baking pizza when they walk in the door to the smell of these savoury muffins. The toppings you would put on top of a pizza crust are chopped up fine and stirred into a batter, then baked in muffin tins.

    Filling Ingredients:
    3/4 cups chopped pepperoni
    1/2 cup chopped ham
    10 oz can mushrooms, drained and chopped (optional)
    1 green or red pepper, diced
    1 small onion, diced
    1 cup shredded marble cheese
    1/2 cup pizza sauce
    1 tsp minced garlic
    1 tsp oregano
    1/2 tsp basil
    1/4 tsp dried chillies

    Dough Ingredients:
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    1/4 cup canola oil
    2 cups flour
    1 tbsp baking powder

    1. Stir together all filling ingredients.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and oil. Pour this over filling and stir well.
    3. Combine flour and baking powder and add to mixture. Stir to blend well.
    4. Spoon into lightly greased muffin tins.
    5. Bake 20-25 minutes @375º or until lightly browned. Serve hot or cold.
    6. Store in fridge or freezer. Yields 1 dozen muffins.

    Orange Cake

    I love the taste of citrus in cakes. When I came across this recipe I knew I had to try it. I adapted it to my taste.
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Juice and zest of 1 large orange
    1. Cream softened butter and sugar until creamy.
    2. Add egg, orange juice, and zest.
    3. Whisk dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, mix well.
    4. Pour into a greased 8" x 8" greased pan and bake in a 350º oven for 35 minutes.
    5. When cake is baked spread with topping.
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup coconut, flaked
    • 1/2 cup walnuts
    1. Spread topping on baked cake and put back in oven and set oven to broil.
    2. Watch carefully, once topping is bubbly and golden remove cake from oven.
    3. It is delicious served warm or cold.
    4. Yield: 9 pieces

    Brownie Cookies

    Embarrassingly easy ... but too good not to post!

    • 1 pkg chocolate cake mix
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted
      2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
    2. Drop dough by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets.
    3. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes at 350 F.
    4. Cool before removing from cookie sheets.
      These are good for dessert, still warm, served with ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce.

    Yields 30 large cookies.

    Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

    This pie has been know to change the mind of those who don't normally enjoy pumpkin pie.
     It's lighter in texture and flavour than the traditional version and is a favourite at our family's Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners.
    • 1 10 inch pie shell, baked
    • 1 cup cooked and mashed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
    • 3 eggs separated
    • 1 cup sugar, divided
    • 1 cup milk
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/4 teaspon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter
    • 1/4 cup cold water
    • 1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
    1. Heat pumpkin in top of double boiler or microwave, stirring occasionally.
    2. Mix egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar and milk and add to pumpkin.
    3. Add salt, spices and melted butter.
    4. Stir and cook until of custard consistency - about 15 minutes. This can also be done in the microwave but you will need to use medium power and stir it frequently.
    5. Remove from heat.
    6. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small dish and let it soften for about 5 minutes.
    7. Add softened gelatin to hot mixture and stir until gelatin is dissolved and completely incorporated into pumpkin mixture.
    8. Chill until pumpkin mixture begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.
    9. In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.
    10. Gradually beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until glossy peaks form.
    11. Fold beaten egg whites into pumpkin mixture and continue to fold gently until white streaks disappear.
    12. Pour into baked pie shell and chill at least 4 hours.
    13. Top with whipped cream, sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar if desired and serve.
    14. This keeps well in the refrigerator for a day or two.

    Pumpkin Zucchini Loaf

    This loaf is a perfect way to add some nutritional goodness with fall pumpkin and zucchini, and whole wheat flour. The moisture of the zucchini and pumpkin make it a perfect combination and it gets better after a few days when it has been well wrapped.

    • 4 farm fresh eggs
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1- 14 ounce / 398 ml can pumpkin
    • 3/4 cup oil
    • 3 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup grated zucchini
    • 1 cup chopped raisins
    • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
    1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugars, oil, and pumpkin. 
    2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, the spices and salt.
    3. Add that to the first bowl with the wet ingredients.
    4. Add in the grated zucchini and the walnuts.
    5. Divide evenly between to 2  greased loaf pans.
    6. Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean.
    Makes 2 loaves.

    Bread for the Journey

    Bread . . . it speaks of physical nourishment and sustenance for life. It’s an all-encompassing word for food to a hungry soul. We use the phrase Bread for the Journey to direct us to our spiritual need for bread.

    Before the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus looked at the great crowd coming and asked, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” The truth was that they simply could not collect enough to feed so many. But Jesus found a way. Of course He would. Could it be that He was really showing them that by meeting their physical need He could meet their spiritual need as well?

    It was the next day when some of the people, who had been fed, were looking for Him and he told them, “Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6: 27) The discussion continued to where Jesus told them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry . . . If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever." (John 6: 35, 51) There is something about these words that has caused listeners to be offended, both then and now. However to those who have believed, they have become words of life.

    Lord Jesus, thank you for allowing your body to be broken to give eternal life to anyone who believes. Help us to believe and fill our hungry souls.

    Butternut Squash Soup

    It's that time of the year. The squash is fresh from the garden and the cool fall days make soup a favorite.

    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger root, minced
    • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
    • 2 apples, cored and cut into chunks
    • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
    • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • dash of nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup cream
    1. Melt butter in large pot, over medium heat.
    2. Add garlic, onion and ginger root.  Cook and stir for about 10 minutes, or until soft.  
    3. Add broth, squash, apples and carrot.
    4. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until very tender. 
    5. Purée soup using a handheld immersion blender.  (Can also be done in a regular blender in small batches.)
    6. Return pot to stove and re-heat on medium-low heat.
    7. Add seasonings and cream and heat until steaming, stirring as necessary.
    Serve with savory cheddar scones or French bread for a delicious lunch.