Monday, May 31, 2010

Monster Cookies

Monster cookies were my kids favorites at one time. Now I'm making them for the grands...and sometimes I even have a little helper in the kitchen. They are a large peanut butter oatmeal cookie...and are safe for those on a gluten-free diet if you use gluten-free oats.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup m&m's *
Method:
  1. Cream butter with sugars.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add peanut butter and mix until combined.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased cookie sheets...or lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes...do not overbake.
  7. Wait for several minutes before removing from pans.
*I prefer the baking m&m's...but the larger ones work as well.

Be sure to recruit a little cookie monster to help with the entire process!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bread for the Journey

Recently the power of prayer has been impressed on my mind. It is easier to take note when huge things happen in our lives and we see God's answers to our prayers..but we know that God is listening to our hearts even in the little things. When we pray in faith God does hear and answers in the best way for us..when He doesn't always answer according to our plan we tend to think it's unanswered prayer.

I want to share how He answered my prayer 'in a little thing' in a way that left no doubt that He heard me...
A number of years ago my husband was out of town on a business trip and I was home by myself. As I got ready for bed that night I felt a great fear come over me. I grabbed my Bible and opened it at random to James 5:16, the last part of the verse assuring me that 'the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective'. I picked up The Daily Bread, a devotional book and the devotion for the day was based on James 5:16..I got goosebumps..and felt God's peace flow through me. After spending some time reading the Bible and praying I was still in awe of how God had sent this verse to me twice. I picked up a novel that I was reading and a few pages in James 5:16 popped up again..I smiled and said 'okay God I get it'. Coincidence?? No way..there is no doubt in my mind that God heard me and took the fear from me.. I had peace!

James 5:16 NIV
'Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.'

Let's remember to pray for each other and trust God for answers in the little things as well as the bigger ones.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chewy Sandwich Cookies

I got this recipe from my mother in law, I used less sugar than she did and found they tasted just as good. They have a chewy texture and a hint of spicy flavor. She claimed they tasted best right out of the freezer. Either way I find them delicious.
There is no butter or shortening in this recipe..just in case you thought I forgot.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

1. In a bowl mix molasses, syrup, sugar, eggs and lemon juice until well blended.

2. In a separate bowl stir together 1 cup of flour, soda, ginger, lemon zest and combine with the mixture in the first bowl. Then add more flour as you need. I used 3 cups in total.

3. Separate the dough into 2 parts and shape each part into a roll. You may need a little extra flour as you shape the rolls as the dough tends to be a bit sticky. Wrap in waxed paper and freeze.

4. Remove from freezer and slice the rolls into approx 1/4 inch slices and bake at 350º for 8 minutes.

5. Cool on rack and put together with your favorite jam. I like wild plum jelly.

Yields: approx 38 sandwiched cookies

Friday, May 28, 2010

Broccoli with Bacon and Breadcrumb Topping

This is a quick way to dress up a vegetable.
I think it would be good with cauliflower or asparagus as well.
  1. Steam desired amount of broccoli in microwave.
  2. Prepare topping by cutting 2 or 3 slices of bacon into 1/8th inch pieces.
  3. Fry in pan until crisp.
  4. Remove all but about 1 Tbsp. of bacon fat from the pan.
  5. Add 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs to pan.
  6. Stir quickly until crumbs have absorbed fat, adding a tsp. of fat or butter if needed
  7. Sprinkle topping over prepared broccoli.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oma's Peppermint Cookies


Traditionally this is a Christmas cookie, but our family loves them when we have gone camping, sitting around the fire on cool evenings. Oma makes sure that the family is always well supplied, since camping season is finally upon us our freezer is stocked. We thank you Oma.
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 2 cups of thick plain yogurt or sour cream (she uses yogurt, tastes great)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. *baking ammonia* dissolved in 1/8 cup of warm water
  • 4 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 cups flour
  1. Mix all the wet ingredients together
  2. Add all dry ingredients
  3. Gently blend til smooth by hand with a wooden spoon
  4. Refrigerate over night, the dough is very soft and sticky.
  5. Roll out dough on floured counter in small amounts, dough is sticky so it is easier to handle in small amounts, and cut in desired shapes.
  6. Bake at 350 for 10- 12 minutes.
  7. Cookie should be white on top and light brown on bottom.
  8. Glaze with a little icing sugar mixed with milk.
  9. * baking ammonia can be bought in German deli's or specialty store.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"It Can't Be Done!" - Says who??

How many times have we been told something can't be done and then someone who didn't know it couldn't be done --- just went and DID IT !???

Near me is a bakery, the owner of which is an unpretentious man who had not heard that gluten-free bread could never be the same as wheat bread -- so he developed a method by which he bakes bread that NO ONE could tell the difference from regular wheat bread.

I don't think he'll mind if I tell his story, as he told it to me.
He was raised by his grandfather who was a baker, so a bakery kitchen is 'home' to him.
A few years ago he was at a BBQ picnic and his little godchild was sitting on his knee. The hamburger bun was missing from her plate -- she was Celiac. Turning a little pouting face up to the man holding her on his lap she whined plaintively, "Can't YOU make me some bread?"

It became his mission -- to make a gluten-free bread that was BREAD, not some rice cardboard at worst or an imitation at best.
His goal was perfection ! It took him a year and a half - but he did it !!
I tried to tell him that he had done what was declared to be impossible -- that he had done what no one else had ever done !!
He shrugged, smiled and said he had no idea - he never goes on the computer.
And to my suggestion that he could get rich just making that bread and distributing it, he replied he'd rather sleep.
He has two kinds of gluten-free bread in his bakery -- potato/flax seed bread and onion bread. Both are good but the potato/flax seed is my favorite! He also makes buns and other gluten-free products.

Since tasting his bread, I threw out the notion that gluten-free bread cannot be perfect bread and I have been experimenting taking into account a couple of tips he threw out. I'm not sure exact conditions can be duplicated in a home kitchen but I'm determined not to stop until I get at least close.

I have a bread that is fluffy and soft with a chewy crust . It is not perfect yet -- I will adjust the recipe if I discover more 'tricks' but here is the recipe as it is now...


Potato\Flaxseed Bread
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Knox Unflavored geletin
whisk then add .....

1 slightly rounded tablespoon reg. yeast (let proof until doubled)

Dry Ingredients1/4 cup white bean flour + 1 rounded tsp. (grind your own with a good coffee grinder from small white beans you buy in your grocery store -- bought bean flour mixes even if they claim to be white bean have a strong unpleasant beany flavor)
1/4 cup white corn flour + 1 rounded tsp.
1/2 cup potato starch
2 tbls. potato flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. ground flax seed (or use whole flax seed)

Liquid ingredients1 egg
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp oil (note:Flaxseed oil cannot be used in baking, since it goes rancid when heated)

Method

1.add proofed yeast mixture to the liquids in mixer bowl - beat lightly
2. add all at once the well blended dry ingredients
and beat on high for 5 minutes.

3.Scrap into a mid size greased loaf pan and smooth top with a wet hand.
4.Cover and let rise  until at least doubled in bulk  - it rises quickly.

5.While bread is rising heat oven to 350'
and
Prepare for the next step....
(this step was given to me in a dream ... I knew that there was something to do with steam in getting the right texture to the bread... and one night before I fell asleep I asked the Lord to help me figure it out. The next morning , I awoke with a dream picture fresh and clear in my mind showing me how to do the 'steam step'. )

Take your biggest frying pan and almost fill it with water... bring to a rolling boil on the stove top, cover it with a wire rack.... and put the pan of risen bread on top of the rack... Cover the bread and the frying pan with a large metal mixing bowl.
Let it steam for 7 minutes.
Remove the bread pan and immediately put it into the pre-heated oven to 350'.
6.Bake for about 50-60 min. (don't underbake)

7.Remove from pan and let cool on rack.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Breasts



First of all I want to put in a plug for Neufeld Farms (on the sidebar) for anyone living in the area. This is where I have most often purchases my stuffed chicken breasts, either for a large crowd or just to have an emergency dinner ready in the freezer. Secondly, if you love to make your own, these are very easy!

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless breasts
  • milk for marinating
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 pkg. chopped frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp basil pesto (I used Classico)
  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • a few shakes of garlic salt
  • a few shakes of your favorite seasoning salt
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Method:

  1. If using frozen chicken breasts, thaw in fridge overnight. The next day, put in Ziploc bag and flatten with meat hammer, using flat side. Place in bowl and cover with milk until ready to use, at least a few hours, to tenderize.
  2. Mix cream cheese, spinach and pesto
  3. Combine crumbs and seasonings in small bowl
  4. Spread filling on flattened chicken breast (check to be sure the side where the skin was removed, is on the outside.)
  5. Tuck in sides as well as possible and roll up, then place on parchment paper lined pan, seam side down. It's a bit messy and feels like it won't hold together, but it does.
  6. Once all the breasts are done, sprinkle generously with seasoned crumb mixture and drizzle with melted butter.
  7. Bake at 375 F for about 45 - 50 minutes or until juices run clear.

The traditional method, with ham and cheese, is one of the first fancy type meals I made as a young "wife." I follow the same procedure, but for the filling I completely wrap a piece of cheese in a thin slice of ham. White cheddar works well. Again, I tuck in the sides as well as possible, and roll up as tight as I can. Once it's on the pan, it won't move. And the nice thing is, you put it in the oven and the work is done. A simple vegetable or salad and maybe some wild rice - your fancy meal is done.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Saving the Seasons

Have you noticed the beautifully covered book on our sidebar?

This last week I read through my own copy of Saving the Seasons and have enjoyed browsing the recipes. I appreciate beautiful food photography and I've been admiring the attractive photos of the fresh from the garden bounty and creative displays of preserved foods. Saving the Seasons is a brand new book published by Herald Press. It is written by Mary Clemens Meyer and Susanna Meyer a mom and daughter team. Together they have taken a step by step approach to preserving locally grown foods.

Spring is the perfect time of year to go through your freezer to use up the berries, fruits and veggies from last season to make room for this years produce.
I found one last package of frozen strawberries. . .allowed them to thaw and then used the strawberry jam recipe in the Saving the Seasons.





If you get started early in the season and take advantage of fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak at your local farm market. . .you'll save both money and time later on.
Nothing can match the flavour of home preserving. Saving the Seasons has valuable tips that making your home canning and preserving a success.

While I was in the section on drying foods, I remembered that somewhere up in our attic is a food dryer and I'm wondering now why its been up there for so long. Years ago it was used to dry bananas, plums and apples and this year I plan to add tomatoes for their Sun Gold Tomato Mayonnaise.



Strawberry Jam


  • 5 cups crushed strawberries ( I used up my berries in the freezer, I allowed them to thaw before measuring them)
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1 box powdered pectin
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  1. Wash, stem and crush strawberries. Measure exact amount into a large cooking pot.
  2. Into a separate bowl measure the sugar. . .exactly.
  3. Stir pectin into the pot. . .add the butter.
  4. Bring to a full rolling boil that doesn't stop bubbling when you are stirring.
  5. Quickly stir in sugar and boil exactly 1 minute. . .stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and skim foam from the surface of the jam.
  7. Use a 1 cup measuring cup to fill your jars. . leave a 1/2 space.
  8. Apply lids and tighten down.
  9. I always allow to cool completely and then keep them in the freezer.
  10. If you do not freeze. . process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Makes 8 half pint jars.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bread for the Journey

I was reminded again this week of the vast love of God.
To realize that God infinitely cares for each detail of my life is so profound I can only praise and thank him for his never ending quest to be my friend.

O Lord you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely O Lord.
You hem me in - behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Psalm 139: 1-6
NIV translation

As I walked through the field of wild lupins,
I thought about how God "hugs me".
 I have seen how God is faithful to meet me at my point of need.
He truly does care for each person.
He understands hurts. .
he sees hearts . .
and he loves us still.

What a wonderful Saviour.

All for now. . .

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tuscany Soup

The artisan bread was in the oven...and called for some soup to go with it. Here's my version of Tuscany soup...adapted from an Alpha recipe.


Ingredients:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 pound smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 4 cups broth (chicken or beef)
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 300 grams cheese-filled tortellini
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Method:
  1. Saute onions, celery, carrots and garlic in oil in large pot.
  2. Add sausage slices and stir until meat is browned and veggies are tender.
  3. Add tomatoes, stock, kidney beans...along with seasonings.
  4. Bring to a boil....then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in spinach and tortellini.
  6. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until pasta is done.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  8. Serve in individual bowls...sprinkled generously with shredded Parmesan cheese.
  9. Makes 8 servings.
* Use fresh basil and oregano instead of the dried herbs if available.
**Use the meat of your choice...ground beef works well in this soup.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Burrito Bowl

A few weeks ago I stopped for lunch at Chipotle and tried one of their burrito bowls. I decided to duplicate it at home with my own ingredients. This is really simple and tasty. It's great to layer with any leftover meat you might have like shredded beef, chicken, or pork.

Here's what you will need. Rice, Beans, (I chose to mix black beans, chili beans, and kernel corn with peppers) and the meat of your choice. A great meat choice for this dish is Carnitas (Mexican Fried Pork) I buy this at Costco because my Mexican Sister-in-law said her mother who cooks authentic Mexican food all the time said it was very good.
For the layering process you will also want cheese and fresh ingredients like tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, cilantro, green onions, and any salsa you choose.
Now start layering...start with the hot ingredients. First rice, then meat, cheese, and then add your extras. You can serve warm corn and flour tortillas with the Burrito Bowl.

If you are having a potluck you can have everyone bring one ingredient and then let everyone build their own bowl. Don't forget to have someone bring dessert!!

Everyone at my house really enjoyed it. I think you will too. Simple, Easy, fresh meal in a bowl!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tweed Bars


I've always liked this unusual bar -
it's more like a cake and has a delicious buttercream frosting.
My friend Dorothy submitted this recipe to our first Greendale church cookbook.


(a bench scraper does a neat job of cutting these iced bars)

For the bars:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 squares semi sweet chocolate, grated
  • 2 egg whites, beaten (save yolks for frosting)
  1. Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper or grease and flour the pan.
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff
  3. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk.
  5. Fold in grated chocolate and beaten egg whites.
  6. Bake in 350º oven for 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool and frost.

Frosting

  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 squares semi sweet chocolate shaved
  1. Beat together butter and egg yolks.
  2. Add icing sugar and beat until creamy.
  3. Spread icing on bars.
  4. Melt shaved chocolate in a small bowl over hot water (not boiling)
  5. Drizzle chocolate in rows about an inch apart
  6. Working in the opposite direction, pull a knife tip through the rows of chocolate drizzle.
  7. Place bars in fridge until chocolate sets.

Note: I refrigerate these bars because of the uncooked egg yolks in the frosting.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reuben Sandwich

Fresh rye bread piled high with thinly sliced deli corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and a bit of Dijon mustard makes for a meal sized hot sandwich sure to satisfy your appetite.

Ingredients: (for 2 sandwiches)
  • 4 large slices rye bread, I use Winnipeg Rye but choose your favorite
  • 100 grams thinly sliced deli corned beef
  • 4 large slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drain and squeeze well
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard, or to your liking
  • 2 tsp butter
Assemble:
Lay out your bread on a cutting board and spread with mayonnaise and mustard. Divide and layer the meat, half the cheese well drained sauerkraut and then the remaining cheese onto one side of each sandwich. Top with the other piece of bread. Spread the outsides of both sides of sandwich for grilling.
Heat a non stick fry pan on low to medium heat. A lower heat helps to melt the cheese and heat the sandwich through.
Place the sandwich in the heated pan and allow to toast before flipping it to toast the other side.

Variation: 'The Ruby Sandwich'...for those who don't like as much tang.
Substitute ham and lightly dressed coleslaw for the corned beef and sauerkraut.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Rhubarb Slush

The rhubarb season is upon us...and here's one more delicious and nutritious way to enjoy your veggies. That's right...rhubarb is a vegetable...not a fruit. It is a good source of calcium...with one cup of rhubarb juice having more calcium than one glass of milk. Of course...I would still recommend that you drink lots of milk (smile)...since we happen to have a dairy farm! But if you have more rhubarb at your disposal than you know what to do with...here is an excellent recipe for a rhubarb beverage. The recipe came from my extended family in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia...where they grow rhubarb next to their apple orchard.

  • 6 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut in 1/2 in. pieces
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 3/4 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate
  • 10 cups club soda, sprite or ginger ale
 Method:
  1. In a large saucepan, bring rhubarb and 4 cups water to boil.
  2. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 5-8 min. or until rhubarb is tender.
  3. Mash rhubarb and strain.
  4. Reserve juice and discard pulp.
  5. Add sugar, concentrates and remaining water to rhubarb juice.
  6. Pour into a freezer container; cover and freeze until firm.
  7. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before before serving.
  8. Place equal amounts of slush mixture and club soda in each serving glass, or punch bowl.
  9. Serve immediately.

 *I doubled the recipe in order to use a full can of each of the concentrates.    

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bread for the Journey

All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee;
They shall sing to thy name.
Psalm 66:4

While travelling in Europe, I was always fascinated by the small quaint churches in the Alps. Steeples and churches could be found around every corner. I stumbled upon this church, and found these words written on the front door.

Alles Land Bete Dich an und Lobsinge Dir. Ps. 66:4

So many churches unfortunately looked abandoned. The beauty that surrounds us, is one significant piece of evidence that keeps us tuned in with God. Because of Jesus death on the cross, all believers today have personal access to God's presence everywhere and any time.
It's wonderful to know...that I do not need to physically go to church to worship. I know I can worship him alone in my heart. But how much more wonderful when I can worship with others.
I hope you can all find a place to worship with other believers.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Air Buns


I love homemade bread and buns, and baking buns is very therapeutic for me.
I usually add  half whole wheat flour, but this time at the request of my kids, I didn't.
This recipe makes a very light and airy bun. So good.

  • 4 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp. quick rise yeast
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tbsp.vinegar
  • 2 tsp.salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar ( I use 1/4 cup)
  • 10 cups flour/ a little more if needed
  1. start with about 6 cups flour, add the yeast salt and sugar and stir together.
  2. add the warm water, oil and vinegar.
  3. stir together with a wooden spoon adding more flour till it is hard to stir.
  4. add remaining flour a bit at a time till you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough that is no longer very sticky when kneading.
  5. knead for a few minutes by hand on a floured surface.
  6. let rest in greased and covered bowl in a warm place for about 40 minutes. I use my oven with the light on.
  7. Make into buns by either pinching off a piece of dough the size of an egg. Shape into a ball.
  8. Place it onto a 11 x 15 inch baking sheet about three buns across and 4 buns down. About an inch apart from each other. 
  9. Let rise for another 40 minutes.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Watch your oven, temperatures vary.
  11. Share and enjoy!!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bodentorte (Fruit Flan)

In the 1930’s there were two little boys, living in Russia, who loved to play together. Through difficult circumstances, they were separated when one of them, my dad, moved across the country and later across the ocean. My dad was a young adult when he found out that his friend, Abram - back in Russia, was really his half brother, having been given to an aunt when his mother died. Even though their father remarried, his firstborn had stayed with the aunt. Years later now, connecting with him in any way was impossible, but in time they found each other and my dad began his mission to get him out of Russia.
By a miracle my only uncle and aunt on my dad's side with their children, arrived at Vancouver airport in late 1978. I cannot explain in words, the emotions of such a re-union, one that requires getting to know each other, even though you are family. At first we had trouble communicating because of language barriers, but eventually they all learned English. I am so proud of my Tante Leni, who now so easily translated her recipe from Russian to English for me, as she read it to me. She is one of the bravest and most gracious women I know.
 



Ingredients:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs whites
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar (optional)

Filling:
 
Berries or a combination of fruit with a pkg of fruit glaze OR
1 qt. canned peaches along with syrup and 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch.

Method:
  1. Prepare 11" flan pan by greasing, being careful to get into all the creases. Sprinkle with flour and tap to get it evenly all over.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, beat egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow.
  3. Stir in liquids and then combined dry ingredients.
  4. Beat egg whites with cream of tarter and gently fold into batter until just blended. Do not beat.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes, or until a nice golden color.
  6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Pull away the edges gently by hand or slide a butter knife along the edges to make sure they come loose. Invert onto cooling rack. You may have to peek under the pan and gently slide the knife across part of it.
  7. Allow to cool and fill with favorite fruit and top with glaze, following pkg directions. If using drained canned peaches, mix up 1 1/4 cups of the juice/syrup with cornstarch and heat, stirring until it comes to a boil. Cook, stirring a few minutes. Cool slightly and pour over fruit.
  8. Beat 1 cup whipping cream, adding 1 - 2 tsp sugar, until it begins to thicken and soft peaks form if beaters are raised. Do not overbeat. Spread on cake, forming soft peaks with back of spoon.
     

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

I remember as a young girl pulling out long stocks of pink rhubarb from the garden, washing it and then asking for a little dish of sugar to dip it in. That is still a treat I have when the rhubarb is in season.
Rhubarb is the first fruit you can find coming up in the spring. If you have always wanted a rhubarb plant, but don't have the room in your yard, plant it in a big barrel or planter. I have had great success that way. Add lots of compost and you will have rhubarb to share.

When I only have enough dough for a single crust pie, I add a crumble or meringue topping.
There are many good pie crust recipes to choose from here on the blog. I use the one on the Tenderflake box. The nice thing with that recipe is it makes enough for a number of pies. I make the whole recipe, use what I want, divide the rest, flatten pieces into discs, wrap and freeze. When you need a pie crust all you do is thaw a disc roll it out and you are ready for another pie.

Ingredients:
-1 unbaked pie crust
-6 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb (if using frozen allow to sit until almost thawed)
-1/3 cup flour
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-2 eggs -separated
-2 tbsp sugar (for meringue)
-1/4 tsp cream of tartar
-1/2 tsp vanilla

Method:
Prepare and roll out pastry for a single crust pie.
In a large bowl mix sugar, flour, and nutmeg together. Separate the eggs and add the yolks to sugar mixture. Using a fork blend together and then stir in rhubarb.
Transfer rhubarb into the pastry shell and bake at 375º for 35-45 minutes.

Meringue:
Beat room temperature egg whites until they begin to get frothy. Gradually add sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla and beat until mixture is thick and glossy. Once fruit pie is cooked, pile the meringue on top of hot fruit creating peeks with the back of a spoon.
Return pie to oven and bake meringue until golden. About 8-10 minutes. Stay with it so it doesn't get too brown.

Tips for perfect Meringue:
  1. Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before beating. This will allow for better volume.
  2. Make sure your bowl and beaters are clean and dry.
  3. Add the sugar gradually as soon as mixture begins to froth.
  4. To prevent the meringue from weeping, top the pie while it is still very hot. This helps the underside of the meringue to cook at the same rate as the top of it.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BBQ Teriyaki Pork with Apples

For the Pork:
  • 6-8 boneless pork chops - about 1 inch thick

Prepare Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soya sauce
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1 Tbsp. Montreal Steak spice or seasoned pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (adjust to your taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  1. Mix all marinade ingredients and pour into a ziplock bag.
  2. Add pork chops and seal bag, squeezing out as much air as possible
  3. Let pork marinate for at least 4 hours. Flip bag over once or twice during the marinating time.
  4. Preheat BBQ.
  5. Place pork on grill. (My husband does the BBQ-ing so this is how he cooks them.)
  6. Grill chops for about 15 minutes total time. Flip chops and baste several times as they grill. The meat will firm up as it cooks. When you think they are almost done, slice into the centre of the thickest one to make sure it's cooked through.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the apples.

For the Apples:

  • 3 large apples, washed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  1. Cut unpeeled apples into quarters.
  2. Core and cut each quarter into 2 or 3 slices
  3. Melt butter in pan and add apple slices.
  4. Sauté over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes before adding brown sugar
  5. Continue cooking until apples begin to soften. Do not overcook as they will not hold their shape.
  6. Serve with grilled pork.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Glazed Fruit Salad

With summer fruits filling the markets, it's easy and fun to make healthy meal choices. This hardly can be called a recipe, but it's a simple idea that dresses up a bowl of fruit.
I used the hollowed out pineapple shells as bowls, but you can use other fruit shells or just a bowl. The glaze will keep the fruit from turning brown.

Ingredients and Method
-8 cups assorted fresh fruit, cut into bite sized pieces (drained canned pineapple works well)
-1 19oz (2 cups) can peach pie filling.

In a large bowl cut up fruit and fold in the pie filling. Transfer well coated fruit into your serving bowl and enjoy.





Monday, May 10, 2010

Tropical Smoothie


Smoothies are a summer favorite here and as the fruits come into season the flavors change. They are quick and easy to whip up in a blender or the food processor.
A refreshing treat on a hot summer day!
Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups vanilla frozen yogurt...or ice cream
1 3/4 cups vanilla yogurt
1 small banana
1 cup pineapple chunks
1/4 cup angel flake coconut
1/2 cup milk
a little splash of vanilla
Put everything in the blender and mix until smooth.
Pour into pretty glasses and serve.
Serves 5

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bread for the Journey

Thoughts on Mothers Day
My mother is now in her Heavenly Home, but I'd like to dedicate the following verses to her.

I give thanks to God always for you (Mom), making mention of you in my prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father... 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3


I am so grateful for all my Mom taught me
-not only in practical life skills but above all In choosing what was right in the sight of God.
I encourage those of you whose mothers are still with you
to pray regularly for your moms, thank them often for their self sacrifice
and encourage them by choosing to spend time with them.

In so doing we are pleasing God who placed us in our families
and wants us to honour our parents.


Happy Mothers' Day to each one of you.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This is a recipe, adapted slightly, from one my mom made when she was baking for teen-agers and I did the same, usually doubling the recipe and mixing it in the large (Braun) mixing machine, using the hook attachment for mixing in the dry ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Method:
  1. Beat butter, adding sugar, eggs and vanilla, until well mixed.
  2. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients together and then add to wet mixture, stirring until thoroughly mixed in.
  3. Add oatmeal, chocolate chips and almonds.
  4. Drop by Tbsp onto cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 11 minutes or until barely golden in color.

I learned a trick from my fellow recipe contributor, Marg, to bang the cookie sheet on a hard, heat resistant surface as soon as you pull the cookies out of the oven. This makes them shrink down, for that chewy texture. Yield: 3 1/2 - 4 dozen

Friday, May 7, 2010

Opa's Yogurt Dip

It's time for fresh salads from your garden or your local markets. This recipe has been in our family for the past 30 years. "Can't you make Opa's Dip?" My husband's father, who is 98...who was a farmer in the past, has also acquired some new skills in the kitchen. He loves to help Helen prepare the meals.
This is one-low fat recipe that he has made himself. We use this for vegetable dips, or pour dressing over your salad. I just made a fresh batch to serve with our fresh vegetables.
It's salad time !

Opa's Yogurt Dip
  • 1 C mayonnaise
  • 1 C natural yogurt
  • 1-2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 shakes garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper for taste
  • 2 tbsp. Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. dill weed (dried)
  • 1 tbsp. parsley (dried)
Blend ingredients together with a whisk. Refrigerate and enjoy the blend of natural flavors.
Enjoy!



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Peach Berry Crumble

This recipe came to me compliments of my friend, Lenora. It's actually more of a cobbler than a crisp...and most colourful with the peaches and berries. I used blackberries and raspberries together with peaches...since that is what is in the freezer. I've had it with a combination of peaches, cranberries and blueberries...and it was equally good.

Topping:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Method:

  1. Combine flour and sugar.
  2. Cut in butter until crumbly.
  3. Stir in beaten egg and mix well.
  4. Set aside.

Fruit Mixture:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 (16 0z.) frozen sliced peaches (or use sliced canned peaches)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. In small saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar and cornstarch. Add water. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract.
  3. In ungreased 1 1/2 quart baking dish, combine peaches and berries.
  4. Stir in hot sauce.
  5. Sprinkle with topping mixture.
  6. Bake at 400°F for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Serve warm...with whipped cream or ice-cream if desired.
  8. Serves 9.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Poached Tomato Eggs

This is one of my father in law's recipes.
In our early years of marriage my mother in law ran Murchies Tea Room in Victoria. Chef Vincent Parkinson was the chef and took this recipe that Dad shared with him, and served it in the restaurant. I'm sure Vince perfected the recipe with his expert culinary skills and taste, but Dad's original recipe is wonderful.
In the menu at the tea house this was called Poached Eggs Oaklane.


Ingredients:
-4 cups chopped tomatoes (I like to use beef steak tomatoes, but any will work)
-1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or use 2 tsp dried basil)
-1/2 cup butter
-salt and pepper
-4 eggs
-toast, very crispy

Method:
In a heavy skillet, melt butter and add chopped tomatoes. Cook over medium heat until tomatoes begin to cook down. Add the basil and continue to cook until tomatoes are very soft. Turn down and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the tomatoes are cooked down, crack eggs into the tomato basil mixture and poach to your desired likeness.
While eggs are poaching place a lid over to help set the yolk.
When the eggs are poached to your likeness, using a large flat spoon transfer onto toast.
Serve with fried potatoes, bacon or sausages.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rhubarb Crunch Cake


This cake recipe comes from my friend Jan.
It's a moist dessert cake with a crunchy topping that features Rhubarb
and is one of the first things I make with rhubarb each spring.
It is similar to Lovella's Rhubarb Coffee Cake but is different enough to merrit its own post.

  • 3 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 small package strawberry jello
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. In a medium bowl, mix rhubarb with jello powder. Set aside.
  2. Mix topping ingredients in another bowl. Set aside.
  3. In large mixer bowl, combine butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well.
  5. Add half of flour with salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well.
  6. Add sour cream and mix again.
  7. Add remaining flour and mix just until blended.
  8. Spread 1/2 of cake batter into greased 9x13" pan.*
  9. Spoon rhubarb over cake batter (use a slotted spoon)
  10. Sprinkle 1/2 of topping mixture evenly over rhubarb.
  11. Drop remaining cake batter in spoonfuls over rhubarb/sugar filling and spread evenly so that all of the rhubarb is covered.
  12. Sprinkle the remaining topping over cake batter.
  13. Bake at 350º for about 35 minutes. Cake should be firm and nicely browned. Do not underbake.
  14. Serve warm or cold. Store leftover cake in refrigerator.

*tip - if using an aluminum pan, line pan with parchment paper to avoid having the rhubarb discolour the pan.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Rhubarb Tart with Custard Topping

I use tart pans with removable bottoms instead of pie plates often for the ease of serving. A tart pan is perfect for tart or rich fillings when the flavour of your filling goes a long way. Rhubarb, lemon and rich chocolate are perfect for tarts. Tart pans are also easier to edge the pastry. All you do is press it over the edge and allow the excess to fall off over the side. If you want to make this tart for a larger group. .. use all the crust dough to fill a large cookie sheet with edges and double the filling and topping. You could half the recipe for the crust but it is very handy to have crust ready in the freezer and it only takes an hour or so to thaw on the counter.

Crust (use half for the tart)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • milk
  1. Put both the egg yolks in a 1 cup measuring cup . . give them a quick stir with a fork and then add enough milk to make 2/3 cup.
  2. In a food processor or large bowl, combine the flour and the salt.
  3. Add the cubed cold butter and pulse until large crumbs form or cut in butter with a pastry blender.
  4. Add the milk and egg mixture until combined.
  5. Use half the crust dough to roll out and line a 10 inch removable bottom tart pan.
  6. Wrap the remainder of the crust dough well in plastic wrap and seal in a heavy freezer bag and freeze for future use. . .unless you double the filling and topping recipe and bake it on a cookie sheet.

Filling

  • 3 cups of thinly sliced rhubarb
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup minute tapioca

Topping

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Combine the rhubarb, sugar and tapioca and arrange evenly over the crust.
  3. Cover lightly with some foil.
  4. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the tapioca is nearly clear.
  5. While the filling is baking stir together the topping ingredients.
  6. Pour over the baked rhubarb filling and bake an additional 15 minutes or until set.
  7. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  8. If there are leftovers. . cover with a bit of plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bread for the Journey

(photo by lululemon athletica)

Getting In Shape

When we hear someone described as 'being in shape' we immediately have a mental picture of a slender, well toned body. The kind of body we would love to see reflected in our own mirrors.

But those kind of bodies rarely come without some - and sometimes much - effort and discipline and training.

To be health conscious about our physical bodies is good,
but
it is much more important to be 'spiritually fit'.
"For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of this life that now is and of that which is to come."
I Tim. 4:8 (NKJV)

Do we put as much effort into getting into spiritual shape as we do our physical shape?

What does a spiritually fit person look like ?

They have been exercised in the fruit of the Spirit -
until they are formed into the image of Christ.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering , kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. "
Gal. 5:22,23 (NKJV)

What shape are we in?
******

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hospitality Soup/ Chicken Vegetable Chowder


There is nothing as comforting as a good and hearty soup/chowder/stew.
It welcomes family and friends around the table, with little effort or a big chunk of your grocery budget. When it is time to clean out the fridge before your next grocery shopping trip, you can create a new and interesting soup.
Allow me to share how you too can create this delectable dish, when you thought you had nothing good to eat at home.

First check what you have in your fridge, vegetables that look a little limpy, like carrot, celery, broccoli or cauliflower, you may not want to eat them as is, but for a soup it is just fine. What about a little left over roast beef/chicken or meatballs/spaghetti sauce.
Rinse out your nearly empty bottles of ketchup or bbq sauce into the soup.
Check your pantry. Do you have a can of beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, vegetables. Perhaps a bag of pasta or rice that barely has enough in it to use as a meal. How about a can of soup that can really stretch to feed a family on.  Use that as a base.

It really isn't that complicated to create "something" from "nothing" and make your budget stretch. Years ago a women came and spoke to our mom's group at church about "hospitality" and her tip to us was to have a container in the freezer for those little left overs from a meal that isn't enough to keep as meal, like rice, pasta, meat, vegetables or what ever it is. So instead of dumping it in the garbage, or eating it because you don't want to waste it, place it in the container and when you have enough, add it to your soup pot at the end of the week.

I have heard of this kind of soup referred to as garbage soup. But I refuse to call it that. I believe it is a privilege to have so much food in our country, that wwe even have leftovers. It should never be referred to as garbage. We should be wise with it, not wasteful and bless others with what we have, even we don't have a big food budget. Hence it is now called HOSPITALITY SOUP. I hope you refer to it that way as well.

Our family enjoys soups and I make it every week. It is never the same, but always tasty and satisfying with a batch of biscuits or fresh bread, you are ready to call everyone to the table.

This is just one of the soups that we have enjoyed. Remember if you don't have all the ingredients on hand that is OK, use what you have and be creative. You can make it your own, and use your imagination.



This is what I did for the picture above.

I call it a chicken/vegetable chowder.
Chowders are often dairy based and a little thicker than a broth based soup.
I used-
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 cups of leftover chicken/turkey/or try ground chicken instead. I used leftover roast chicken.
  • 5 cups of chicken broth ( it can be homemade, canned or powder based)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery stalks chopped fine (to hide it from my daughter)
  • 1 or 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 - 1 red or green pepper
  • sliced mushrooms
  • 5 medium potatoes, skin on if the potatoes are fresh, peeled if not
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen beans
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup of flour/ or 2 heaping tbsp. of cornstarch
  • 1 small can of skim evaporated milk/or if you prefer you can use cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. of ** secret ingredient**
  1. Chop up the bacon and cook until crisp. Drain all the fat.
  2. add onions and celery and saute til soft.
  3. add the broth, thyme and bay leaf and cook until potatoes are done
  4. mix the cornstarch or flour with the milk and whisk into the soup until smooth.
  5. cook for a few more minutes until thick.
  6. add frozen veggies, since they don't take much time to cook.
  7. add ** secret ingredient**........Dijon mustard. Yup that is right, I had an almost empty container of it that wouldn't squeeze out any more, so I rinsed it in the soup. It was so good, now I intentionally add a tablespoon of it to soup.   Pretty clever I thought, I love it. It doesn't taste like mustard but adds a nice depth of flavor.
You never know what you can create with what is in your nearly empty fridge or pantry.
Have fun creating, and let us know how it went.