Thursday, September 30, 2010

Matrimonial Squares

I like to trick myself into thinking that these are healthy, after all they are chocked full of oats and dates. OK...so they have loads of sugar, and margarine to hold them together. These are so quick and easy to bake and they freeze well... and taste great.

Crumb Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup margarine (you can use butter, but it changes the taste in this recipe)
Date Filling Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lb pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Method:
  1. Stir together all dry ingredients for crust. Cut in margarine until you have a fine crumble.
  2. Press half of the crumble into a lightly greased 9x9 cake pan.
  3. Place dates, sugar and water in a microwaveable bowl and cook for 1 minute. Stir and cook another minute, or until dates are bubbly and soft. Immediately stir in baking powder and vanilla. Stir well.
  4. Pour hot date mixture over crust, and top with remaining crumble.
  5. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Granola Chews




Granola Chews

2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
3 cups granola
2 cups dry oatmeal
1 cup walnuts chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, soda and salt and set aside. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla till creamy. Add one egg at a time to the creamed mixture beating after each egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in granola, oatmeal and walnuts.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. I like to use the scoop shown because the dough is easy to drop onto the baking sheet and the cookies are uniform. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Watch after 10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Moist and Tender Chicken Breasts


Since we enjoy chicken, I always love a variation on ways to prepare chicken breasts. This recipe for moist and tender chicken is quick and easy .

1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp Thyme
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
4 chicken breasts
½ onion chopped
2 tbsp oil

1.Mix together mayonnaise with cheese and spices set aside
2.Pound chicken breasts, salt both sides
3.Heat frying pan and sear breasts on both sides until lightly browned
4.Place breasts in baking dish , add onions and cover with mayonnaise mixture.
5.Bake at 375° for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until chicken is tender.
6.When done, remove breasts from dish and pour grave into blender. Blend until gravy is smooth and thick. (it will have separated during baking)
7.Serve chicken and gravy with rice or potatoes - add veggies or a salad.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

I had pumpkin puree left over from baking tarts and decided to use it up in cookies and muffins. These cookies are soft with a bit of a spicy bite and combined with a cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of chopped pecans they are great to serve as a dessert. I couldn't wait and had to have one as soon as they were frosted:)

Cookie ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Blend flour, baking bowder, baking soda, salt and spices together and set aside.
  2. In a bowl cream together butter or margarine with the sugar. Add in pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla and beat until creamy.
  3. Mix in dry ingredients.
  4. Drop by tablespoon on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  5. Bake in 350º oven for 12 minutes.
  6. Place baked cookies on cooling rack. Cool and frost.

Frosting:

  • 2 cups icing (powdered) sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon soft butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • chopped pecans
  1. Combine icing sugar, cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla and beat until creamy.
  2. Frost cookies and sprinkle chopped pecans over the top.
  3. If you have frosting left over it can be stored in a closed container in the refrigerator.
  4. Yields: 3 dozen

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bread for the Journey

I came across a lovely bed of Dahlias last week and the intricate design and beautiful colours reminded me of the following passage and its message for me.
Matthew 6: 25-34
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin, Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' ... your Heavenly Father know that you need them.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It is part of our human nature to worry when circumstances unfold over which we have no control. However this great God of ours shows us through His amazing creation, His love for beauty, His care for the smallest detail, that He has control over everything and we can safely leave the outcome in His hands.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Broccoli Salad

I was given this recipe from my mother in law. The cooked dressing really makes the salad. When fresh peaches are in season I use them in place of the can of mandarin oranges. Fresh diced mango is also a good option.

Dressing Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Method:
In saucepan whisk together eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and dry mustard. Add vinegar and water. Cook slowly until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in mayonnaise. Cool Completely.

Salad ingredients:
  • 6 - 8 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 8 slices chopped, cooked bacon
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 10 oz can mandarin oranges, drained, or 1 cup fresh peaches or mango
  • 1 cup slivered toasted almonds or sunflower seeds
Method:

Marinate broccoli in cooled dressing for several hours. Add remaining ingredients and toss well. Serves 6-8.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Pork Cutlets


This is a meat, potatoes, vegetables and gravy (all in one dish) meal I often made when the kids had things going on after school and I was in the car a lot. It was handy to put everything in the oven and come home to everything done. Add a salad and everyone should be happy.

Ingredients:

  • 8 thin sliced pork chops
  • salt, pepper or lemon pepper
  • favorite seasoning salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • flour for dipping
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 peeled potatoes, halved
  • 4 peeled carrots, halved

Method:
  1. Tenderize pork chops with meat hammer.
  2. Season lightly with salt, pepper and seasoning salt.
  3. Dip in flour and then beaten egg.
  4. Brown in a small amount of oil in heavy frying pan, both sides.
  5. Place browned chops in roaster. Add potatoes and some carrots.
  6. Cover with 1 can cream of mushroom soup, mixed with 1 can water. (mushroom soup and water can be added to pan drippings and heated first)
    Bake at 350F for 1- 1 1/2 hours.

When cooked: If more gravy is desired, remove meat and vegetables to serving platter, place roaster on stove top , add water mixed with 1 Tbsp of flour ( shake up in small sealed container) and bring to boil, stirring. Stir in some sour cream if desired.

PS As you can see, I did not cook the pork chops with the potatoes and carrots when I did the photo. We had fresh buns. A good hot sandwich option.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roast Beef in the Slow Cooker


Now with the fall season upon us, it is time for getting out the Slow Cooker. With just a little planning and fore thought, you can have your supper in the slow cooker all day. When you come home from a busy day the aroma will inspire you to do a few final touches, and supper is DONE! Thursday for me is a full day so I like to have my supper ready when I get home. This recipe is something that I came up with using leftover spaghetti sauce. It makes a wonderful gravy that is not a strong tomato flavor. I like to use leftovers in soups and other dishes so that nothing goes to waste.

  • a cut of your favorite roast beef ( I used an inside round), size depending on how many you want to serve
  • a chopped onion
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups of left over spaghetti sauce
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of cold water
  1. place your roast in the slow cooker.
  2. add onions, mushrooms, and spaghetti sauce.
  3. cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. remove roast and cover while you make the gravy.
  5. turn slow cooker to high and mix the cornstarch with the cold water.
  6. add to the gravy and stir well.
  7. bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes.
  8. add roast beef (that has been sliced at an angle and against the grain) back to the gravy.
  9. serve with mashed potatoes and your favorite side vegetable dish.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fresh Tomato and Mozza Salad


The first time I had an Italian Caprese Salad, I wanted to make it at home. At that time I was unfamiliar with the fresh mozzarella used in the original so I came up with this version.
It's quick to make and is a popular salad at our house especially with
summer's fresh lettuce, tomatoes and basil.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (use 1/4 cup fresh if you have it - chopped fine)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • green leaf lettuce
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 1 or 2 fresh vine ripened tomatoes (Romas are also nice)
  • coarsely grated good quality mozzarella
  • Chopped fresh chives or green onions
    1. Mix dressing ingredients together, blending well. Set aside.
    2. Tear washed and dried lettuce into bite sized pieces and arrange on a large platter.
    3. Slice tomatoes, pat dry and arrange in a circular pattern over the lettuce.
    4. Cut basil leaves into a chiffonade (thin slices) and sprinkle over tomatoes. (you can leave this step out if you can't get any fresh basil)
    5. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
    6. Sprinkle with chopped chives.
    7. Pour dressing over salad and serve.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Crock Pot Cabbage Rolls

    With summer coming to a close my barbecue will take a back seat to comfort meals from the oven and crock pot. Crock pot meals are such a life saver for those busy back to school days that are just around the corner. If some of your family does not enjoy cabbage, leave some of the meat balls unwrapped and place those on the top of the cabbage wrapped ones.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 pounds lean ground beef
    • 1 large onion, minced
    • 1 cup cooked rice, white or brown
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1 large cabbage, Asian or savoy work well
    Sauce:
    • 2 cans tomato soup
    • 1 28oz can stewed tomatoes
    Method:

    Asian and savoy cabbage leaves are much softer than regular cabbage leaves, and so you can just peel them off the head piece by piece and use them. If using a regular cabbage place it in several inches of water and steam for several minutes, which will help the leaves to peel off easier. Cut away the thick part in the middle of each leaf so you have nice thin leaves to roll your meat in. Swiss chard and beet top leaves also work really well and add a little different flavor and colour.
    1. Prepare your cabbage leaves.
    2. Mix all the other ingredients together well with your hands.
    3. Place a large spoon of meat filling on each cabbage leave and roll up. If you choose to leave some without the cabbage, just form meat balls .
    4. Layer inside of crock pot.
    5. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over cabbage rolls.
    6. Set your pot on low and cook 7-9 hours.
    Serve over mashed potatoes or rice. Left overs freeze well. You can also bake these in the oven on 350º for 1 1/2 hours.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Chocolate Layer Cake

    Here's a tried and true recipe for chocolate cake...adapted from one I found in the Mennonite Treasury cookbook many decades ago. It became a favorite of my hubby's...and is still served every year on or around September 11th (his birthday).  Quick, simple and moist!


    Quick Chocolate Cake
    • 1 cup Kraft Miracle Whip salad dressing
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup Fry's cocoa
    1. Blend Miracle Whip and sugar. 
    2. Stir together dry ingredients and add alternately with water. 
    3. Pour into 2-nine inch round layer pans...greased and/or lined with parchment paper.
    4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
    5. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pans.  
    6. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting when cool.

    I was thinking of keeping our favorite frosting recipe a secret...since it seems to have fallen out of favour over the decades.  But I'll share it with you...and you can decide for yourself.  Since this recipe contains raw egg, it is not recommended for those who are pregnant or who have a compromised immune system. If you have any concerns, use pasteurized eggs. It is a fluffy, not-so-sweet icing that goes down as smooth as silk!

    French Silk Frosting
    • 1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (not icing sugar)
    • 6 tablespoons Fry's cocoa
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
    • 2 eggs (pasteurized eggs are an option)
    1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. 
    2. Add cocoa and vanilla; beat. 
    3. Add eggs one at a time, beating for about 5 minutes after each addition. 
    4. Chill before spreading. 

    I'm not a huge chocolate fan myself, but add French silk frosting to this moist chocolate cake and I quite enjoy a nice slab!   However you wish to frost it...give the cake a try. 


    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Bread for the Journey

    Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patients. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    Ginger Snaps Gluten Free

    My kids were getting ready for a several hours road trip and my youngest granddaughter was dreading it since she so quickly gets car sick. I made a batch of these ginger snaps and delivered them as they were leaving. They were quickly devoured by the whole family. But there was no talk of car sickness the whole trip !!
    ¾ cup butter

    1 cup white sugar

    ¼ cup molasses

    1 egg

    ¼ cup tapioca starch

    ½ cup potato starch

    1 cup rice flour

    1/3 cup white corn flour

    1 tsp xanthan gum

    2 tsp baking soda

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 tsp ginger


    1. Cream together the butter, sugar, molasses, and egg.

    2. Sift the dry ingredients together, making sure they are well blended together and add to the creamed mixture.

    3. Put dough on dusted counter (with potato starch) and knead in extra flour until dough is just at the not too sticky stage.

    4. Cover dough and refrigerate overnight.

    5. Preheat oven to 325° (a hotter oven makes the cookies spread too much)

    6. Pinching off small pieces of dough roll into a ball in the palms of your hand and then roll in sugar.

    7. Place balls (don't flatten) on ungreased baking sheet about 2" apart and bake for about 13-15 minutes.

    8. Remove pan from oven and place a large chocolate chip in center of cookie.

    9. Cool slightly in pan before removing onto rack.

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Zucchini Loaf


    This recipe (altered somewhat by now) was given to me by Susan . . . probably before we shared in the adventure of sharing and loving the same grandkids.

    Ingredients:

    3 cups flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 whole seedless orange
    1 egg
    3/4 cup oil
    2 cups grated zuchini
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 cup nuts, optional


    Method:


    1. Prepare 2 small/med loaf pans.
    2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
    3. In blender, put cut up orange with peel, egg, oil, grated zucchini and vanilla. Blend well.
    4. Add blended ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir in chopped nuts.
    5. Bake at 350° F for 50 - 60 min. or until tests done with tooth pick.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Hearty Beef Stew


    "Every house where love abides
    And friendship is a guest,
    Is surely home, and home sweet home,
    For the heart can rest."
    ~Henry Van Dyke~


    I usually buy a large roast that is on sale and cube the meat into stewing meat or stir-fry strips etc. and freeze them in portion sizes that I would use for one meal. You would be surprised as to how much money you are able to save if you do a little of the work your self. This stew has very simple ingredients with that, comes a good and flavorful homemade earthy goodness, better known as, "Good ol' comfort food". Start with a fresh salad, then serve the stew along with your favorite biscuit or bun and a nice fruit crisp for dessert and your family will be very happy!

    • 2 lbs of cubed beef
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 chopped onion
    • 1 clove garlic crushed
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 carton of low sodium beef broth (or equivalent bouillon cubes and water about 4 cups)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
    • 3 large carrots
    • 1 1lb of sauteed mushrooms (didn't have any today but we like them)
    • 3 potatoes cubed
    • 1 cup each of frozen green peas and green beans
    • 2 heaping tbsp of cornstarch or gravy maker
    1. Brown the beef in the oil, add onions and garlic til onions are softened.
    2. Add the beef broth, bay leaf and parsley. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender. Depending on the cut of meat it could be one hour to three hours.
    3. Add carrots and potatoes, cook 20 more minutes.
    4. Add the sauteed mushrooms, peas and beans.
    5. Add the cornstarch or gravy maker dissolved in a little bit of water, and cook til thick and the raw taste of the cornstarch is gone, about 5 minutes.
    6. Take off the heat and let stand for about ten minutes.
    7. Now is a good time to start with that salad.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Creamed Corn

    What is is about corn and weddings? Well, let me take you way back. It was in the month of September that we were married, (1973) Yes, we could plan a wedding, but all I remembered, was that we had to be back to harvest corn. Here we are 37 years later...still talking about corn on our wedding anniversary. Let me share a delicious family recipe for Creamed Corn, only one thing different...I now have well deserved help. Over the years we have enjoyed preserving the corn together, while husking, washing, cutting, cooking and bagging.

    Husking dozens of corn cobs. It's easy enough to double this recipe once you find a system in place...in fact you can share this with your family and and don't forget to check out this recipe. Corn Chowder Soup.

    I am used to cutting it by hand....he decided to use the electric meat cutter. Give a man a machine and he'll do anything.
    Thank you Judy for helping restore a long lost recipe.

    Creamed Corn

    • Husk 5 dozen corn.
    • Wipe off the hair with a tea towel.
    • Then cut it directly off the cob. (no blanching)
    • Put the corn kernels into a large turkey roaster.
    • Add one pound butter.
    • Add one 500ml half and half cream.
    • Cook at 350 degrees for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
    • Keep covered.
    • Then cool the roaster which is full of corn in an ice water bath. I cool it in my bath tub with lots of ice.
    • Then bag it and store in your freezer.
    In the winter, you can just throw it in the microwave, till it is heated through and through. It's like eating fresh corn off the cob.
    Things have changed over the last 37 years. But we can still stand and smile at each, preserving corn together, reminiscing about the the wonderful memories created, and thanking God for for preserving our years together.


    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Pumpkin Toffee Tarts

    Pumpkin season is here again and these tarts will not disappoint. The flavor of toffee bits and pecans with spicy pumpkin is a wonderful combination.

    Ingredients:
    • 18 unbaked tart shells
    • 1 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup whipping cream
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    • toffee bits
    • chopped pecans
    1. Preheat oven to 375º
    2. Place tart shells on baking pan.
    3. Whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, cream, eggs, vanilla and spices until well blended.
    4. Spoon 1 teaspoon of toffee bits into each tart shell.
    5. Fill tart shells almost to the top with the pumpkin mixture.
    6. Sprinkle chopped pecans over top.
    7. Bake for 30 minutes.
    8. Serve plain or with a dollop of whipped cream.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Zippy Party Dip

    Quick and easy...and delicious!

     



     Zippy Party Dip
    • 1 cup / 250 ml cream cheese
    • 1 cup / 250 ml sour cream
    • 1/2 cup / 125 ml hot salsa
    • 1 tsp /5 ml chili powder
    • 1 1/2 - 3 cups /400-750 ml shredded Tex-Mex cheese
    1. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and salsa together well.
    2. Spread in bottom of casserole or any nice ovenproof baking pan.
    3. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chili powder.
    4. Spread grated cheese over to cover.  (Use more or less depending on the size of your pan).
    5. Bake in 350°F / 175°C oven for 25 minutes, or until heated and bubbly.
    6. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or raw veggies.
    *I have on occasion made the dip in small ramekins for individual sized servings...as pictured above. 

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Bread for the Journey


    The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. Hab 3:19

    I took the above photo of a three-points antlered buck in my back yard a few days ago.
    He was born and raised by his handicapped Mom
    in our complex which sits on a mountain side.
    Because he was raised around people he is very tame. If someone is standing in front of his favorite snack -- our roses -- he just waits and then helps himself as soon as we step aside.
    We are not always amused !! smile
    But I say .. ."Anyone can grow roses, not everyone has deer who want to eat them."
    Deer are so graceful and so endowed with strength.
    I'm always amazed at the effortless way they leap over a fence.

    Habakuk declares that his trust is in God who has made him like the deer.
    That promise is for all of us.

    God's strength in me enables me to walk surefooted through my day and to leap over circumstances that could hinder or harm me. In what times I am afraid or aware of my weakness, I know that God's Spirit in me has made me strong. He has given me a place above the dark valleys of life and I walk with Him in high places.

    "Father, I thank you for your watchful care over your children. I pray that every one reading these words will know Your strength in whatever weakness they are struggling with. May they rest, knowing that in You they walk in high places where they are safe from all alarm.
    Amen"

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Chili Con Carne

    This a wonderful meal to make on a rainy cool day, it is perfect to let simmer in a crockpot all day and come home to a delicious and filling meal. This recipe is a guideline but you can add any vegetables you like or those leftover from another meal and adjust the spices to your liking.

    Ingredients:
    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • 2 medium celery stalks, cut up
    • 1/2 sweet red pepper, cut up
    • 1/2 green sweet pepper, cut up
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 1/2 cup green beans, cut up
    • 1-12 ounce/341 ml can of corn, with liquid
    • 1-28 ounce/796 ml can of diced tomatoes
    • 1-19 ounce/549 ml can of kidney beans or use a blend of beans
    • 3 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 red hot peppers, leave whole or cut up finely if you want more spice
    1. Brown ground beef in a frying pan chopping it finely as it browns.
    2. Pour into slow cooker, stir in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer on low for 8 to 9 hours.
    3. I served it with fresh baked multigrain bread and a salad.


    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Back to School with Pea butter n' Banana Wraps


    Summer is over and some of you are sending your children off to school. This can be one of the busiest times of year as you organize schedules, meals, car pools, homework and family life.
    When we sent our two daughters off to school 26 years ago I realized very soon that I was the key ingredient in making school mornings run smoothly. I was determined to send our girls off on a happy note each day, but like any other family there were mornings where we just barely got everyone out the door on time, let alone happy.
    I want to encourage you young mom's to be the key ingredient to a good start in your homes each morning. Getting a little head start on your day before the kids wake up is a good beginning. When your children walk into the kitchen, be cheerful. Sit around the table with your family for breakfast, pray for them, and keep the conversation positive. Children need and want routine and structure in the home, so set a plan into action that works well for your family. Teaching them responsibility and time management early will pay off.
    As they head out the door, be their cheerleader. Encourage them to be kind to their friends and to do their best. When they come home, give them some time and space to unwind. Be ready to listen when they want to tell you about their day. Most of all, just love them!

    With food allergies on the rise many schools have banned peanut products. I have a nut allergy and was so glad when I found a Pea butter that tastes good and is also gluten free.

    Needing a change from regular sandwiches? Think outside the bread bag. Grab a wrap and spread it with No Nuts Golden Pea butter, lay a peeled banana at one end and roll it up. For a little sweetness spread a layer of jam or honey over the Pea butter. So simple, so healthy, so delicious.


    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    BBQ Chicken with a Southwest Spice Rub



    Soon the BBQ season will come to an end for us, but I wanted to share with you this fantastic recipe of BBQ ed chicken with a south west spice rub. This amount makes enough for 4 large chickens. It help to have one of these contraptions that are very inexpensive and are a great substitute if your barbecue does not have a rotisserie.


    • 1/2 cup of smoked paprika / regular is fine too
    • 1/4 cup chili powder
    • 1 tbsp. salt / more according to taste if necessary
    • 2 tbsp. coriander
    • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 2 tbsp. curry powder
    • 1 tbsp. pepper
    • 1 tbsp. basil
    • 1 tbsp. thyme
    • 1 tbsp. cumin
    • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper.
    1. Combine and store in a sealed jar, in a cool and dark place. (like all your spices should be).
    2. First off you need one of those bbq stands for roasting a chicken upright on the bbq, or split your chicken in half and bbq that way.
    3. Schmear the chicken with your favorite mustard or the mustard you have on hand and give it a good massage.
    4. Rub your chicken generously with the spice rub, inside and out.
    5. Turn on half the bbq , place the chicken on the opposite side of the heat.
    6. Close the lid, and bake about 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until the meat thermometer reaches
      180 degrees when it is place in the thickest part of the thigh.
    7. Cover the bird and let rest for 10-15 minutes before you try to take it off the stand.
    8. Keep the carcass what ever you do, DO NOT throw it away. It makes a great soup for later on in the week.
    9. Finger licking good, make sure have lots of napkins.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Canned Tomato Salsa


    Canning your own salsa can be an enjoyable activity to do with a daughter or friend, since there is a lot of mindless chopping to do. The amounts of the ingredients that add flavor can be altered according to personal taste. However, it is important to keep the ratio of tomatoes and vinegar/lime juice as per recipe because not enough acidity can cause the salsa to lose flavor or go bad. For this recipe you will need an extra large stock pot or divide the ingredients between two pots.

    Ingredients:

    15 lbs Roma tomatoes
    3 lg onions
    6 - 8 sweet peppers in a variety of colors
    6 - 10 jalapeno peppers, seeded, chopped fine
    12 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 - 10 oz cans tomato paste
    2 cups vinegar
    1 cup lime juice (bottled)
    1/4 cup sugar
    3 Tbsp salt
    2 Tbsp paprika
    2 Tbsp oregano
    3 tsp cumin
    1 can black beans
    1-2 bunches cilantro, chopped

    Method:

    1. Prepare 24 - 8 oz canning jars by washing and keeping warm in 225 F oven.
    2. Prepare lids according to package directions.
    3. Wash and chop tomatoes, adding to pot as you go.
    4. Finely chop onions and peppers, adding to pot.
    5. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to boil on medium heat.
    6. Simmer for 15 minutes.
    7. Ladle into jars, using canning funnel, cover with lids and screw rings.
    8. Place into hot water bath in large canner, bring to boil and process for 20 minutes.
    9. Remove and allow to cool at room temp. Keep in cool storage.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Pulled Pork with Root Beer BBQ Sauce

    I had pulled pork cooked this way at my daughter's not long ago.  It is simple and tasty...hard to go wrong!  This is not so much a recipe...as a method.  Use any size pork loin roast...and the barbecue sauce of your choice.

    • 2-3 pound pork loin roast
    • 1 can root beer
    • 1 bottle barbecue sauce
    1. Place pork roast in slow cooker.
    2. Pour can of root beer over the meat.
    3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
    4. Drain juices.
    5. Shred pork and return to slow cooker.
    6. Stir in heated barbecue sauce and keep warm in slow cooker until ready to serve.

    It doesn't get any easier than that!  One can add sliced onions when cooking the pork...or make the barbecue sauce from scratch...or serve on homemade buns to make it even better...but it's good as is...plain and simple.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Chokecherry Syrup

    As a young girl I remember my mother making chokecherry syrup once the berries were ripe. We called it 'supsil'. I didn't always enjoy picking the berries but oh my I did love the syrup. My favorite way of eating this is to dip fresh zweiback in the syrup. A bit messy but so worth it! It is wonderful on pancakes too.
    This syrup is a great gift idea as well!

    • 4 cups of chokecherry juice
    • 3 cups sugar
    1. Place whatever amount of chokecherries you have in a pot, cover just barely with water, bring to boil and simmer till the berries are soft.
    2. Mash berries, potato masher works well.
    3. Strain berries pressing them down to get some pulp with the juice.
    4. Whatever amount of juice you end up with, adjust sugar accordingly, 1 cup less sugar then juice is the ratio.
    5. Bring strained juice to boil, add sugar, bring back to boil and boil for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
    6. Pour into sterilized jars or into pretty decorative bottles. Keep refrigerated.
    7. Yields: 4 1/2 cups syrup


    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Bread for the Journey

    “Blessed Be Your name
    When I’m found in the desert place
    Though I walk through the wilderness
    Blessed Be Your name…”
    ~ Matt Redman ~

    Psalm 34:19 ~
    Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

    Isaiah 43:1-3

    But now, this is what the Lord says-
    he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel;
    “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
    When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
    For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….”

    Isaiah 43:18-19~
    Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
    See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
    I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

    So God promises to bring us through the wilderness. He does not abandon us. We can cling to these next great promises for our future…

    Isaiah 35: 9,10 ~
    But only the redeemed will walk there,
    and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
    They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
    Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

    Romans 15: 4~
    For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

    So I hope these verses encourage you to know that in the midst of our wilderness times, our times in the desert, and times of affliction (which are inevitable here on this earth), our hope, the promise that sustains us and lets us say “blessed be the Lord” is that Jesus has gone before us on this wilderness road and He promises because of his saving grace to bring us through our wilderness to our amazing gift in the future in heaven with Him. We have a future with Him without “sorrow and sighing.”

    Romans 15:13 ~
    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Blessed be His Name!

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Banana Blueberry Oat Muffins

    I've made these quite often this summer. They are a lovely, firm textured muffin.
    You can substitute a 1/4 cup ground flax, wheat germ or bran for 1/4 cup of the flour to make them more nutrituous if you like.
    One more thing to note - I distribute the blueberries between the muffin cups rather than folding them into the batter as we have quite large blueberries here in the Fraser Valley and the muffins can get quite juicy and fall apart easily if too many berries get into one muffin.
    • 1 1/4 cups flour (can use part whole wheat flour if desired)
    • 1 cup oatmeal
    • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 cup fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries
    • Pecan topping if desired ( Mix together: 1/4 cup oatmeal, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup chopped pecans)
    1. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
    2. Mix well.
    3. Beat together banana, buttermilk, egg and melted butter until smooth.
    4. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until blended.
    5. Stir in chopped pecans.
    6. In oiled muffin tins, fill cups 1/2 full. This makes 1 doz. medium sized muffins so you will have some batter left over for the next step.
    7. Top with 3 blueberries and then fill cups with remaining batter.
    8. Top each cup with 3 more blueberries
    9. Sprinkle with pecan topping if desired.
    10. Bake at 375º F for about 20 to 25 minutes. (A toothpick inserted into a muffin will come out clean)
    11. Remove from cups and cool on rack.

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Our Final Day

    It’s late Thursday evening as I sit down to view the photos that are supposed to capture the events of the day. They say a picture is worth a thousand words . . . and yet, I know that neither words nor pictures are adequate to describe the emotions of the friendships forged in these three days.
    We carpooled in twos and threes, gathering as a group in Chilliwack’s beautiful Minter Garden. Some took advantage of the sunshine for their drive in.

    By now we are getting rather good at seeing the right photo op and quickly finding a willing participant to take on a slew of cameras. The little business card tucked into their possession just might bring them to this site and see what all the fuss is about. (Top -left to right - Judy, Marg, Lovella -Middle - Julie, Betty, Anneliese, Bev - sitting at the bottom - Ellen, Kathy, Charlotte.)

    We strolled along meandering paths through lush flowering gardens . . .

    Stopping on bridges …

    with our cameras in hand, giving each other tips on photography . . .

    and Lovella showing us how it’s done.

    We talked about things that don’t matter . . . and things that do.

    Although summer is quickly coming to an end, the gardeners have done a great job keeping the grounds beautiful and showing off what’s in season.

    The smiles came easy!

    Our final meal was hosted by Julie in her Clubhouse . . .

    A true Mennonite meal of Borscht, Zwieback and Schnetki! Just what we would have ordered by this time!
    We laughed . . . we cried and we encouraged one another as we allowed ourselves to be real . . . and in doing this, we each realized our unique fit into a group where we are loved the way we are. . . yet challenged to grow and be who we were meant to be . . . in this season of our lives.

    Thank you to Marg and Kathy for the entertainment and organizing our first of - hopefully many - mini re-treats!