Monday, January 31, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy, moist...and almost healthy with the addition of oatmeal...these cookies have been a family favorite for decades.  When my grandson comes to visit...we bake cookies...and these are usually his pick!

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
  1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add flour, oatmeal, soda and salt and mix until well blended.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips (and nuts).
  5. Drop dough in large mounds (ice-scream scoop works great) onto greased cookie sheet.
  6. Flatten mounds slightly.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bread for the Journey


This Year is Yours!
God built and launched this year for you;
Upon the bridge you stand;
It's your ship, aye, your own ship,
And you are in command.
Just what the twelve months' trip will do
Rests wholly, solely, friend, with you.
Your logbook kept from day to day
My friend, what will it show?
Have you on your appointed way
Made progress, yes or no?
The log will tell, like guiding star,
The sort of captain that you are.
For weal or woe this year is yours;
Your ship is on life's sea
Your acts, as captain, must decide
Whichever it shall be;
So now in starting on your trip,
Ask God to help you sail your ship.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
~~~~~
How many of you are coasting out there alone on the rough waters? A dear friend who is going through a difficult time shared this poem with me this week which reminded me that January is over and we still have 11 more months to choose how we want to sail our ship. It was interesting that we both wished we had our mother's here by our sides to share their stories about how they set their sails, and how they maneuvered their ships over those tormenting waves and storms.
I'm not sure who is directing your sail, or what kind of captain you are...but I know that you are not alone out there with your difficulties. I'm sure there are some days you wonder why you even got up. I, along with others have felt heartache and pain, unsolved problems and yet, like the captain of the boat...we are encouraged to look ahead and steer the way. Sometimes it's easier to look back.
So as you move forward in your day, weeks, or months, I encourage you to rest in the knowledge that tomorrow is still in God's hand. Our joy is not in the day, but in the Lord, who made the day. It is our day to use or lose. Let's set our sails and keep looking to the face of God as we waken each day.
"Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever." Ps. 145:2

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Here's a simple way to add extra flavour to mashed potatoes.
They are a perfect accompaniment for meat loaf or roast beef.

Ingredients:
  • 5-6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
Method:
  1. Boil potatoes together with garlic cloves, in salted water until fork tender. Drain.
  2. Heat butter and milk until butter is melted.
  3. Pour hot milk mixture over potatoes. Add parsley cream cheese and sour cream. Mash well. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Shrimp Feta Pizza

A local restaurant makes this very tasty luncheon pizza. I've come up with this version to make at home.


For each individual pizza you will need:

  • 1 - 6 inch pita bread
  • 1-2 tablespoons prepared Pesto Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup small shrimp
  • about 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese.
  1. Spread pesto sauce over surface of each pita bread.
  2. Sprinkle red pepper and shrimp over pesto.
  3. Crumble feta cheese over the top.
  4. Bake at 350º until hot and cheese begins to melt - about 10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with a few shrimp and a little more feta and serve.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jam Tart

Here is another way to use up jam, last time I used up strawberry jam in muffins, today it will be apricot jam in a tart.
I love the buttery taste and the crunchiness of the coarse sugar and cornmeal in this tart.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract..use whatever flavor you like with the jam you are using
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup jam
  • coarse sugar for topping the tart

Method:

  1. Mix butter and sugar till combined. Stir in the egg and coconut extract.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, except for the coarse sugar.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture just until it comes together, don't over mix.
  4. Separate dough, form about 2/3 of it into a disk, wrap up and chill. Do the same with the remaining 1/3.
  5. Once chilled, allow to warm slightly to room temperature. Then take the 2/3 disk and press the dough into a slightly greased 9" pan, patting it evenly onto the bottom and sides.
  6. Spread jam over the dough. Roll out the remaining 1/3 of the dough using as little flour as possible and place on top of jam. I cut star shaped pieces but as you can see it kind of rises together and you can't really see the shapes.
  7. Sprinkle top generously with coarse sugar.
  8. Bake at 375º for 25 minutes.
  9. Cool and serve..although I must add it was just as delicious served warm.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roasted Pepper Soup


I've enjoyed making this flavorful sweet and spicy soup as an appetizer or lunch. You can make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I like it either way.
Ingredients:
  • 4 sweet red peppers
  • 3 sweet potatoes or yams
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Italian herb seasoning (rosemary and basil mix)*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
Method:
  1. Cut peppers into into 1-inch strips. Peel and slice yams. Coarsely chop up onion.
  2. Toss vegetables, peeled garlic, oil, Italian herbs, salt and pepper in large roasting pan.
  3. Roast (covered)  in 400 F for 45 - 60 minutes. Until tender.
  4. Stir 1 1/2 cups cold water into roasted vegetables to cool slightly, then blend in blender or food processor (in batches) to puree.
  5. Pour into cooking pot. Add chicken broth and a bit more water, to desired consistency. Bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with sour cream. Serves 4-6
* I use Pampered Chef Rosemary Herb seasoning mix

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

German Pancakes - Gluten Free (crepes)



One thing I have really missed since I went on the Celiac diet was German Pancakes. I tried to make them a few times and they ended up in the garbage. If they don't taste 'right', (meaning the same as regular) I'd rather go without ! But the other day I tried again and achieved SUCCESS !!! My husband accused me of using wheat flour! When I served them to my family -- Celiacs and non - I got big smiles and thumbs up - I had to mix up more batter! Even if I say so myself , these ARE really good !!! ** Ingredients 4 eggs 1 cup whole milk 1/2 cup pancake mix (recipe following) (butter for frying) (NOTE - the above ingredients are in easily multiplied/divided amounts to suit the number of people to be served - the 4 egg amount will make 10 - 8"pancakes)

This batter does not like to stand - so mix only as much as you are going to use in one preparation - do not set any aside to use later.


  1. Whisk eggs, milk, pancake mix together in a large measuring cup or bowl until perfectly smooth. The batter will be thin.

  2. Using a heated frying pan, place a small dab of butter on the hot pan held off the element and tilt it to coat the bottom with the melting butter.

  3. Still holding the frying pan off the element pour in just enough batter (a scant 1/4 cup) to coat the bottom of the pan, tilting the pan to let the batter spread. If it doesn't spead easily add a little more milk.

  4. Placing pan back on the element let it cook until nicely browned, then slip a spatula under it and flip over to brown the other side. (these are easy to flip UNLESS you try to flip them too soon)

  5. Remove pancake to a warmed plate (I place the plate on the warmer element on my stovetop)

  6. Repeat from step 2 until batter is used up, stacking the pancakes on the plate.

  7. Serve rolled up with sugar, pancake syrup, fruit syrup, fruit, whipped cream - as desired !

*****

Pancake Flour Mix


  • 1/2 cup white bean flour

  • 1 cup white corn flour

  • 1/4 cup potato starch

  • `1 tsp xanthan gum

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Mix thoroughly and store in cool, dry place. (fridge is OK)

*****

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wurst Bubbat / Stir Bread with Smoked Sausage


As a child I was always happy when this was served along side a bowl of soup. The bonus is that this bread is just stirred, not kneaded. Ah soup and bread, the perfect comfort food on a cold winter's night.
  • 1 package or 1 tablespoon of quick rise yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups scalded milk, cooled to lukewarm
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/3 to 4 cups of four
  • 1 double link farmer sausage or about 1 1/2 lbs of your favorite smoked sausage cut in to 16 pieces.
  1. Combine all the dry ingredients including the dry yeast, with 3 cups of flour.
  2. Add the beaten egg and milk.
  3. Stir with a spoon adding enough flour to make a soft dough til it can barely be stirred anymore.
  4. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.
  5. Add the 16 pieces of sausage to the top of the dough.
  6. Let rise about 1 hour and bake in a 350 oven for 40-45 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bread for the Journey

I’m a Great Aunt, (pronounced “ont”). When my grand nephew was 2 years old he announced to his mother, “I don’t want to obey!” I love his immature honesty. I don’t want to obey either but I’d never say it outright. I’m passive aggresive in my disobedience. When God reveals an area of my life that needs a change I really test Him. Is that really what you want me to do? Is that really your voice? Like, right now? How about next week? Can we go slowly in that direction? Sometimes I can ignore Him completely.

There are times when obedience does come more easily. What sweet times those are. I want to be a more trusting child and say yes quicker to whatever God wants from me. I want to be in His word more so that I know what he requires of me in this relationship with Him.

Deut. 30:11-14-16; (ESV)

“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.”

I’m remembering the song we used to sing in Sunday School, Trust and Obey. Simple but true.

Trust and Obey

(text: John H. Sammis, 1846-1919)

When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word
what a glory he sheds on our way
while we do his good will
he abides with us still
and with all who will trust and obey

(refrain)

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey.

vs. 4

Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet
or we’ll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.”

Saturday, January 22, 2011

White Chocolate Chip Craisin Cookies

This is a good cookie jar and lunch box cookie. It also works well for a gift giving idea. Using a clear glass container or jar, layer the dry ingredients along with the craisins and chocolate chips. Tie the recipe onto the jar with a ribbon and you have a sweet little gift ready to deliver to a friend. All they have to supply is the butter, eggs and vanilla, then add the jar of ingredients and bake themselves fresh cookies.
Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
Method:
  1. Mix together butter, brown sugar and eggs until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Using 2 spoons place medium size mound onto cookie sheets.
  4. Bake at 350 for 10-12. Allow to rest on pan for 1 minute and then remove to cooling racks.
Yields approximately 2 dozen cookies. This recipe can easily be doubled. Cookies freeze well.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jam Muffins

Ever have those little bits of jams sitting in jars and you really would like to open up a different kind? I am just too frugal to throw that out. Here is the perfect way to use up those little bits. You can use any kind of jam, I used strawberry this time.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, I used skim
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Jam
Method:
  1. In a bowl whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. In another bowl mix the rest of the ingredients except for the jam and add to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.
  3. Spoon half of the mixture into a greased muffin pan.
  4. Spoon 1 teaspoon jam into each muffin cup and spoon the remaining batter over the jam to cover.
  5. Bake at 400º for 25 minutes.
  6. Cool a few minutes in the pan, remove and cool completely on a cooling rack.
  7. These muffins freeze well.

Yields: 12 muffins

Oops, a little jam ran out of that one!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Turkey Chili



Turkey Chili

This is a great healthy version of chili.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound white meat ground turkey
1 onion chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cans 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes with green chilies.
1 can 15 oz.kidney beans (drained)
1 can 15 oz.black beans (drained)
2 zucchini chopped into bite size pieces
2 yellow squash chopped into bite size pieces
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. each of salt, cumin, and dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large pot, add onion and celery and saute till onion is translucent. Add turkey and season with salt and pepper and cook through. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature to a simmer. Simmer till the vegetables are cooked through. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with corn bread.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stuffed Boned Chicken

I want to call it de-boned, but apparently “boned” is the way to say it. My friend, Doreen invited me over last week to show me how to bone a chicken. Removing the rib cage from a chicken is not for the faint of heart and takes a bit of time, but all the work is done ahead and you may actually be able to put up your feet before dinner. I am posting Doreen’s recipe today and should really call it Almost Boneless Stuffed Chicken, since we left the bones in the wings. We each did two and I would suggest that once you are in the mess, you may as well. You can freeze both or cook one and freeze one.

Ingredients:

2 whole fresh chickens (3-5 lbs)

Seasoning:
1 Tbsp salt
1 ½ tsp ginger
1 Tbsp flour

Stuffing:
8 cups cubed bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried sage
½ chopped onion
¼ cup diced celery (optional)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chicken broth


Method:

  1. Prepare stuffing by cooking onions (and celery) in butter until soft. Mix all ingredients and set aside to cool.
  2. Remove rib cage and leg bones from chicken.
    Pictures and instructions are on my blog.
    There are a number of online videos you can check out as well. I have linked two:
    http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-de-bone-a-chicken
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe4qSPojwtw
  3. Once you have boned the chicken, lay it skin down on a working surface. Sprinkle lightly with some of the seasoning (mixing the ingredients called for)
  4. Beginning at tail end, sew up half way.
  5. Stuff with filling and continue sewing, folding flap from around neck over to sew shut.
  6. Rub outside of chicken with a little oil and the rest of the seasoning.
  7. Lay, breast side down, in roasting pan. ( I like the old black, speckled pan)
  8. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 375 F.
  9. Cover, reduce heat to 325 F and bake another 1 - 1 ½ hours, depending on size of chicken. (1/2 hour per pound total) I added carrots in the last half hour, then snap peas and frozen cranberries for the last 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and place on serving platter. Cover and let sit 10 minutes. If you wish to serve it with gravy for mashed potatoes, mix 1 Tbsp flour and 1 cup water in a covered container and stir into drippings in pan, stirring and bringing it to a boil.


    Note: If you are preparing a chicken for a later day, freeze uncooked stuffed chicken immediately and later thaw in fridge overnight

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Andersons' Pea Soup

This recipe comes from the famous Andersen family.. Somewhere down the line...it's been referred to as Andersen's Pea Soup. I looked this up on line....and now I realize it's been around for years. I still remember my mother in law coming home saying that she had the recipe to Andersen's Famous Pea Soup.
We love this recipe and on a cold day, there's nothing better than a hot bowl of soup, which brings a spirit of wholesome family warmth around the table.

Ingredients
  • Two quarts of water
  • 2 cups green split peas
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 pinch of cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Fill pot with water, add bay leaf and bring to a boil.
  2. Add split peas and boil hard for 20 minutes, then turn heat down until peas are tender.
  3. It suggests to strain through fine sieve and reheat to boiling point. I skip this process.
  4. Add celery, carrots and onion to pot and continue to simmer slowly for 1 hour.
  5. Add about 1/2 pound farmer sausage.
  6. Add spices.
  7. Add extra boiling water if it becomes to thick.
I do not strain my soup as I love the chunky peas the way they are...and it becomes quite tender while adding the other ingredients to the stock.
I love to add farmer sausage or bacon to this soup....It just adds that extra smoked flavor.
I served it for supper tonight...and the bowls are all licked empty, once again.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Perfect Steamed Rice


Making perfect steamed rice without a rice cooker can be a challenge.  This rice sticks together and fluffs up wonderfully with a fork. 
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1  1/2 cup water
  1. Put the rice in a colandar and rinse it well.
  2. Dump the rice in a saucepan and cover it with the water. 
  3. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat.
  4. Once little craters form on the surface of the rice, turn the heat to low and put the lid on.
  5. Simmer rice about 15 - 20 minutes without lifting the lid.  This is when it will steam so do not peek for at least 15 minutes.  At the 15 minute mark lift the lid and check to see if any water is remaining.
If you want more rice. ..just add more rice and water using the same quantities.
Do not use butter or salt.  Add these after the rice is finished cooking and fluffed.

This will make 3 cups

I loved this additional hint from Kate today in comments. . . so I am adding it here. . .
Kate says  "Remember when the rice and water are boiling not to stir. There is no stirring until after the rice has steamed and then it's fluffing. I was taught to let the water reduce until it is under the surface of the rice and bubbles are still forming in the "craters" so about 75 percent of the water has been absorbed."

Thanks Kate.

For brown rice. .my favorite is calrose brown.  . .use the same method but for 1 cup of rice use 2 1/2 cup water.  This rice takes longer to cook so you will need more water to boil away until the point of covering. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bread for the Journey


As a young girl I loved going to Sunday School, and listening to the stories of Jesus. One of my favourites was the story in Matthew 14:13-21 where Jesus fed 5000 from a little boys lunch.
I'm sure the mother of that little boy had no idea that her son would be asked to share his lunch and that Jesus would be able to turn five loaves and two fish into enough to feed 5000....and have left overs. The message I learnt from that story as a child was that God can do miracles.
Today this story asks me the question, 'what small thing do I have that I can give to Jesus?'
I know that He is able to take a small seed and produce a harvest.
This past year as us girls from MGCC have been working on our upcoming cookbook, we have marvelled at how God has given us the opportunity to use our gifts right at home in our own kitchens. He placed a dream in our hearts to feed hungry children, and continued to open the right doors for us to preserve the recipes handed down to us from our moms and grandmas.

Our kitchens have turned out many loaves of bread. It is our joy and privilege to be able to give so that hungry children can be fed, and find hope.
The crowds in the miracle story were not only physically fed by Jesus, He also spiritually nourished them through His teachings. This nourishment is available for everyone.

John 6:35
Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Turkey Bean and Kale Soup


Did someone say they wanted to eat something healthy?
We've been enjoying this soup since Christmas and when it was gone I went right back to town to buy more dried beans.

If you cleaned up your turkey carcass after Christmas dinner by putting it in the freezer,
it is a good time now to pull it out and try a new soup.


This Turkey Soup is full of nutrition with a dose of goodness in every spoonful with dark leafy greens and beans.
I always keep dried beans in my pantry and Kale is readily available during the winter months.

  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 4 litres of water or about 1 gallon
  • 1 500 gram bag of great northern beans (about 2 cups)
  • 3 stalks celery - diced
  • 1 large onion - diced
  • 4 carrots - diced
  • 1 large bunch of kale - torn into bite sized pieces  ( to make about 6 cups)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  1. Put the turkey carcass in a large stock pot and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer several hours.  (If you have a very large turkey carcass you might want to double the amount of water and then reserve half of the stock for another soup.  Freeze it in a ice cream pail.
  3. Put the dried beans in a large saucepan and cover with water that is several inches above the beans.
  4. Bring to a boil.  Boil 2 minutes and turn off heat and let sit an hour.  Strain.
  5. Turn off the heat and strain the soup into another large pot.  Let the bones cool and pick of the meat and return it to the stock.  Discard the bones.
  6. Turn the heat back on and add the beans and seasonings.
  7. Simmer for an hour and a half and then add the vegetables, and simmer an additional hour or until the beans are tender.
  8. Taste the soup and if necessary add a chicken bouillon cube to bring the flavour to your liking.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lazy Napolean Torte





I had this dessert at my aunt's house many years ago, and was thrilled to know that it was made with unsalted soda crackers, I have also tasted this with social tea biscuits. I couldn't say if I prefer the tea biscuits over the soda crackers, they are both good. It is a very quick and super easy dessert to make and the bonus is it taste like Napoleon Torte with out the effort of making all the thin wafers by hand if you don't have time. When you are making dessert for a crowd it can easily be doubled and tripled. A single recipe makes a 9x9 pan. If you do not have any Dr. Oetker's custard where you live, I suppose any custard could work. I should of paid careful attention to how many soda crackers were used, but if you have a box, just layer til your done.
I think about 1 1/2 to 2 packages should do.

  • unsalted soda crackers
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package of Dr. Oetker's Vanilla Pudding
  1. Beat eggs with a wooden spoon, add the sugar mixed with the pudding mix and beat again.
  2. Stir in the milk and cook over medium heat til the pudding thickens. It can also be done in the microwave.
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
  4. Put a bit of pudding on the bottom of a 9x9 pan.
  5. Now begin layering the crackers with the pudding using enough pudding to cover the crackers. It should give you about 6 or 7 layers.
  6. Top the last layer off with some whipped cream or whipped topping.
  7. Let sit in the refrigerator over night or several hours so the pudding soaks through the crackers and softens them.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peppermint Cheesecake

Rhoda, my cheesecake lovin' sister gave this recipe to me.
It has just the right amount of peppermint, giving it a refreshingly cool taste.
This is a perfect make ahead dessert. Allowing it to sit for a day or two perfects the taste and texture.

Ingredients:
  • 4-250 gram packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • green food colouring, add 1 drop at a time until you get a 'minty' colour
  • 1 cup liquid egg whites, found near the egg cooler in your grocery store
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups Oreo crumbs
Method:
  1. Place crumbs in a lightly greased 12"spring form pan. Pour melted butter over crumbs and press onto the bottom of the pan forming your base crust. Set aside.
  2. Beat together cream cheese and sugar.
  3. Add peppermint and food colouring and mix until incorporated and you have a light 'minty' coloured mixture.
  4. Add liquid egg whites and beat just until blended. Do not over beat.
  5. Pour cream cheese mixture over crumbs. Bake at 350º for 40 minutes. Do not over bake.
  6. Allow to cool in pan for 3 hours before removing. Stores well, covered in refrigerator.
  7. When ready to serve decorate with whipped cream and mint wafers. Serves 10-12.
This cheesecake can easily be halved and baked in a smaller spring form. Freezes well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pineapple Rolls

These pineapple rolls are a wonderful addition to any brunch. They also are delicious cut in half, spread with butter and grilled!

Dough:
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 cups scalded milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 to 8 cups of flour

Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice, which you just drained from the can
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups icing(powdered) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
To make the dough:
  1. Scald milk, add sugar, butter and salt. Cool to lukewarm and add eggs which have been whisked.
  2. Mix in 4 cups of flour with the yeast. Stir in remaining flour one cup at a time to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Cover and let rise until doubled for about 1 hour.

For filling:

  1. Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour till smooth.
  2. Add the pineapple juice, crushed pineapple, suagr and salt.
  3. Bring to boil and cook for over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat and cool.

Preparing Rolls:

  1. When dough has risen, punch down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 24"x 12" rectangle.
  2. Spread filling within 1/2" of edges. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with long edge, pinch seam to seal.
  3. Cut into 16 pieces. Place close together in two 9" by 13" greased baking pans.
  4. Bake at 350º for 35 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans and cool.
  5. While still warm drizzle with glaze.

Some of you have been asking about letting the pineapple rolls rise before baking. I don't but I'm sure it's okay if you do.

I will also add that you could stir in the flour a cup at a time. That way you don't use any more flour than necessary.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tabbouleh Vegetable Side Dish




This is a wonderful healthy side dish that would go well with lamb or any meat you choose to serve it with.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulghur wheat (substitute Quinoa for Gluten Free Version)
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 green zucchini chopped
  • 2 yellow squash chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced

Directions

Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
During this sitting time saute the zucchini, squash, and diced onions with a tablespoon of Olive oil till the zucchini and squash are softened.
Add the sauteed vegetables along with the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. It's nice served warm but is also good if it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours allowing the flavors to be enhanced.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mushroom and Cream Dilly Chicken


Our church has pastorates which are smaller than our church but bigger than a care group.  We meet twice a month, mid week and when we get together we eat supper together to start our evening.  Most times it is a potluck and I thought it might be a good idea for us to start sharing some meal ideas for larger groups.
This Chicken in sauce is economical as far as a meat dish goes. 
  • 4 kilograms / 8 pounds  boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • 1 pound of frozen peeled large shrimp with tails on (optional)
  • 4 - 6 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 48 ounce can mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup dry onion soup mix
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freeze dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sherry or chicken stock
  1. Arrange the chicken thighs or breasts in the bottom of a large roasting pan.
  2. Sprinkle the sliced mushrooms over the chicken
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.  Cover.
  4. Bake in a 350 oven for 2 hours. Add the frozen shrimp and continue to bake an additional hour uncovered.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Note about cooking time.  I know this sounds like a very long time to bake the dish but it takes a long time just to get the sauce to a simmering point.  The chicken is not browned before putting the dish together so do not try to adjust the time.  If you break this recipe into half or even less.  ..adjust the cooking time.  If I was making enough for one family, I would still bake the dish at least one hour. . .and maybe even 1.5 hours.

This chicken served over hot rice or pasta or mashed potatoes with a salad and rolls  will serve 30 - 35 people. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bread for the Journey



Hebrews 12:11 NIV

" No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have trained by it."

The last few months I have been intent on de-cluttering our home and as a new year is upon us I am even more eager to get it done. The stuff falls into different categories..to keep, give away or throw away. It's encouraging as I go along because as each area gets de-cluttered I feel a new zeal for life!
As important as this is to me I believe that it is even more important to de-clutter emotionally and spiritually as well. When we get rid of the baggage that we carry around in all areas of our life we will become more excited and energized to be able to follow God's will for us.
We need to simplify life from inside out and when we do this we will have more time for studying the Bible and for prayer.
I pray for a closer walk with our Heavenly Father and less distractions to keep us from His Word.

The 'frost on the window' in the photo above is a beautiful work of art by God.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chicken and Rice Casserole


Left overs are being used up at our house this week. We are eating a little less and adding a few more salads to our meals.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup each, onion, celery, red pepper, carrots, chopped fine
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups left over chicken or turkey
Method:
  1. Melt butter. Saute vegetables until crispy tender.
  2. Add soup and stock. Stir to combine and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in cooked rice and meat. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased casserole dish and bake at 350º for 40 minutes. Serves 4.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Cherry / Raspberry Coffee Cake

There's nothing not to like about this coffee cake/dessert! You can change up the fruit to your liking. Its easy to make . . . a combination between a Platz and a cobbler. Another recipe from my mom.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 - 6oz pkg raspberries (frozen)

    Crumb Topping
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup butter

Method:

  1. Grease 9X12 or 10 inch round spring form pan. If you want to be able to lift out rectangular shaped cake, line pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients and cut in butter with pastry blender, till crumbly.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat eggs with fork, stir in buttermilk and vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring to moisten.
  5. Divide batter, spreading just over half of it (about 2/3) into greased pan.
  6. Spread with cherries and then raspberries. (frozen raspberries are easy to crumble by hand)
  7. Using a teaspoon, dot the rest of the batter over the fruit.
  8. Make crumb topping, using pastry blender, and sprinkle over cake.
  9. Bake at 350 F for 45 - 50 minutes.
  10. Serve plain, with whipped cream or ice cream.

for the visual learner - click to enlarge


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cranberry Molasses Dessert



This is a wonderful winter dessert with a warm sauce.

Mix Together:
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
1-1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1-1/2 cups whole cranberries (frozen okay)

After you've mixed these ingredients well pour into a lightly greased 9x9 baking dish. You can double the recipe and use a 9x11 pan. Bake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
This can be made a day ahead of serving.

Just before serving prepare the sauce:

Mix together:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter melted
1/2 cup cream

Bring these ingredients to a boil. Cut cake into serving portions and pour enough sauce over each cake portion to cover. Serve immediately. The sauce is a very important part of this recipe because the cake is tart and the sauce brings a wonderful balance between tart and sweet. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

This soup is a delicious alternative to Chicken noodle soup. We’ve enjoyed it at several Italian restaurants and I thought I’d try to duplicate it at home.

Here’s the recipe I came up with. You can easily double it to serve 10-12 people.

  • 10 cups home made or purchased low sodium Chicken broth, divided
  • Italian style meatballs (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup uncooked Orzo (rice shaped pasta)
  • large handful of chopped kale or spinach
  • the rind of a piece of fresh parmesan (if available)*
  • several large leaves coarsely chopped fresh basil

For the Italian Style Meatballs:

  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Montreal Steak Spice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
  1. Mix breadcrumbs, milk, beef broth and egg together.
  2. Add ground beef, ground pork and remaining ingredients.
  3. Form into small meatballs. (about 3/4”) I use a tablespoon to measure the amount for each meatball.
  4. Cook meatballs 10 at a time in 2 cups of chicken broth. This will only take a few minutes for each batch. Cut one in half to see if it is done.
  5. In another pot, cook sliced carrots until just tender.
  6. Cook orzo in a separate pot of boiling water until “al dente”. (do not overcook)
  7. Add cheese rind to chicken broth in a large soup pot and bring to a boil.
  8. Turn heat down to a simmer and add meatballs, cooked carrots, cooked orzo pasta and chopped kale and basil.
  9. Heat until kale is wilted.
  10. Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan and chopped basil if desired.

Notes:

As with any soup recipe this one can be adapted to your taste. Some like it with garlic added to the broth. I’ve also seen it made with different leafy greens (arugula, curly endive, escarole)

Making the small meatballs is the tedious part of this recipe but you can prepare and cook them ahead of time and refrigerate them. The carrots and orzo can also be cooked ahead of time so they are all ready when you assemble the soup.

*I’ve noticed from my reading that Italians often add the rind or heal of Parmesan cheese to their soups. This not only uses up that last bit of cheese but adds flavour to the soup. And, it’s a a delicious mouthful if the melted cheese turns up in your bowl.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chicken Ala King

These little bread cups filled with left over turkey or chicken bathed in a flavourful sauce brings me back to my mom's kitchen. Back in the day when there was still regular Sunday evening church services my parents would often invite a group of their friends or new comers over for a light lunch after the service. During the afternoon mom would put our her best dishes and get things ready. Chicken Ala King is one of the things she would serve. along with veggies and dip, pickles and of course something sweet.


Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, thinly diced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cream (or milk)
  • 1/2 tin cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 8 slices sandwich bread, crusts removed
Method:
  1. Melt butter. Add onions and celery, and saute until translucent.
  2. Sprinkle with flour and stir to absorb butter.
  3. Add chicken stock, cream and soup. Stir well and let simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Add meat and peas. Simmer another 15 minutes.
  5. While the sauce is simmering, cut crusts off bread and press slices into muffin tin forming little bread cups.
  6. Toast in 400º oven for 8-19 minutes. When toasted, remove to plate and fill with sauce. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Great Northern Beans with Sausage and Pork Chops

This time of year. . .I love to enjoy the fragrance of a slow cooker meal getting better and better as the day goes along.  You'll need to start this dish the day before by soaking your beans.  Great Northern beans are a good choice for this dish as they won't be as prone to fall apart during a long cooking period. 
  • 1 pound or one 500 gram bag Great Northern Beans (rinsed and soaked overnight in a 6 cup measuring cup filled to the top with cold water)
  • 2 pounds or about 1 kilogram fast fry boneless pork chops
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon bottled minced garlic.  ..or about 6 cloves minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, with the juice
  • 1 ring kielbasa or farmer sausage cut into bite sized pieces  (optional. . you could cut both amounts of meat in half if you prefer less meat)
  • 1/3 cup pot barley
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon summer savoury
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 can tomato paste  (added after the beans are cooked through)
  • handful fresh parsley  .about 1/2 cup chopped
  1. Drain your beans and place in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Preheat a large fry pan over medium high heat. .do  not use non stick unless it is all you have.  You want to brown the meat. .and non stick does not do this easily.  Spray your pan with cooking spray and add the oil. 
  3. Sprinkle your chops with salt and pepper and begin to brown them. Don't crowd the pan. .or they'll just poach instead of fry.  As they brown, flip them over and brown the other side and then transfer them to the slow cooker.  Repeat until all the chops have browned.
  4. Add the onion to the pan and stir while it starts to turn translucent. . .add the garlic, and wine..  Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add this to the pot and then add the rest of the ingredients.(except the tomato paste)
  6. Add the tomato paste once the beans are cooked through.
  7. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low 10 - 12  hours or high 6-8 hours.  The best idea is to make it a day ahead and then reheat it the following day.  The flavours will continue to get better.
Use spoons or forks. ..your choice. ..but be sure to serve with crusty buns.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bread for the Journey

Fight the Good Fight...

I’ve been reading off and on a devotional by John Piper called Taste and See -Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life - 140 Meditations. I’m sharing part of Meditation 50 (How Can Elsie Run? How to Run and Box when You are over 80) I’ve highlighted in bold green print parts that really spoke to me…

…”Are running and boxing only for the fit and hardy?

The answer is that we all must run, whether old or young, whether sick or healthy. And this is possible for the sick and senile because the race is run with the heart, not the legs, and the fight is fought with the heart, not the fists. It is a race and a fight not against other athletes, but against unbelief. It is possible for the aged and weak to win this fight because the fight is a fight against lost hope, not against lost health.

Here’s the biblical evidence for this. In 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul says to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession” The fight is a “fight of faith.” It is not a fight to get out of bed, but to rest in God.

It is not a fight to keep all the powers of youth, but to trust in the power of God. The race is run against temptations that would make us doubt God’s goodness. It is a fight to stay satisfied in God through broken hips and lost sight and failed memory. The race can and may be run flat on your back. In fact, it may be run and fought better by the paralyzed than by the able and seemingly self-sufficient.

…Finishing the race means not giving up the hope of the gospel. It is a race against hopelessness, not against flawlessness.

When we cheer on the diseased or aging runners who run their final laps in hospital beds, what we are really saying is, “Do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35) The finish line is crossed in the end, not by a burst of human energy, but by collapsing into the arms of God. And let us not forget: In the Christian race, we do not finish alone. We finish together. It is part of the rules. “Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13)”

I find this very encouraging and I hope it will encourage someone out there who is having a hard time running. Keep the faith. Keep looking ahead to the Hope we have in Christ. Keep acknowledging God’s goodness to you every day. Blessings on you…

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wassail ( Hot Spiced Tea)

On behalf of our MGCC team,
I wish very one of you dear readers and followers of our blog
a VERY blessed Happy New Year!

******


My friend in the deep south has a family tradition of drinking 'Wassail' on Christmas Day. I think we might call it Hot Punch.

I remember in the early 80's we were at a meeting one winter evening where the hostess made a hot spiced fruit punch . It was the first time I had had anything like it and I still remember the taste of the first surprise sip!

This Wassail is just like it! I love it ! and when it is cooking the smell in the house is delightful!

I know Christmas is past ... but I think this hot spiced tea would be lovely for New Year's too -- or any winter day!
So, here is the Wassail recipe courtesy of my friend Tammie!
Ingredients
  • 1/2 gal. unsweetened tea (I used 8 cups of boiling water and 9 Orange Pekoe tea bags)
  • 46 oz. of Pineapple juice
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 24 whole Cloves
  • 24 whole allspice (or 3 tsp of ground allspice)
  • 1 tin of frozen orange juice (12oz/355ml)
  • 1 tin of frozen lemonade (12 oz/355 ml)
  • 2 cups sugar ( I found this a little too sweet - I think 1 1/2 cups is lots)
  • 5 cups water

Method

  1. Bring the first 5 ingredients to a boil in a huge soup pot (larger than a 5 quart size)
  2. Boil for 15 minutes
  3. then add the sugar and frozen juices
  4. Add 5 cups of water to make a total of 5 quarts wassail.
  5. Heat until hot. Serve .... can be kept warm in a slow cooker for a party.

200 cal. per 8 oz serving with significant Vitamin C .

**Note -- Don't forget to make your New Year's fritters ! Click on the picture at the top right side bar for the regular recipe or find my GF recipe here.

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