Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pumpernickel Bread and Spinach Dip

 I love pumpernickel bread and there seem to be a few ways to make it. Most recipes call for caraway seed but I'm not overly fond of it so I didn't use it.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seed..optional
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • Approx 3 cups white flour
  1. Pour water, beaten eggs, molasses, oil, sugar, and salt in mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. Stir in rye flour, whole wheat flour, and yeast. Add white flour 1 cup at a time and knead till smooth and slightly sticky but not sticky enough to cling to the bowl.
  3. Place in a greased bowl, cover and set in a warm place to rise.
  4. Allow to rise till doubled, approx 2 hours.
  5. Punch down the dough and form into 2 round loaves and place them on a large greased cookie sheet.
  6. Let rise for 30 minutes and bake at 375º for 35 minutes.
  7. If you want a chewier crust brush the bread with water the last 10 minutes of baking.
I remember it used to be popular to serve spinach dip in a pumpernickel bread bowl at showers or parties. I haven't had this in many years..it is every bit as good as I remembered. This dip is enough to fill 1 pumpernickel bread.

Spinach Dip:
  • 1 cup spinach which has been chopped and cooked
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup dry vegetable soup mix
  1. Wash, chop and cook spinach, the only water you need for cooking are the drops of water on the leaves from washing. Cook just until it wilts and turns bright green, takes about 2 minutes, drain liquid. 
  2. Whisk together mayo, sour cream and dry vegetable soup mix. Add spinach and stir till well blended.
  3. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.
  4. Before serving, cut the top off the pumpernickel bread and tear off bite size pieces out of the center of the bread to form a bowl.
  5. Pour spinach dip into the bread bowl, place bits of bread around the bowl and serve.
  6. Once those pieces are gone start in on the bowl..this one's edible!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chicken Perlo

A Southern specialty, Chicken Perlo refers to a South Carolinian rice dish. Perlo is the low country pronunciation. Other parts of the United States call it rice pilau. I used my cast iron dutch oven to make this in.

1 cut up chicken fryer, skin removed.
1 green bell pepper sliced
1 onion sliced
4 slices of bacon cut into 1 inch pieces.
1 cup white rice
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
2 Tbsp. oil

Heat oil over medium-high heat in dutch oven or large fry pan. Add chicken pieces and cook about 10 minutes or until golden, turning once. Transfer chicken to plate. Reduce heat to medium and add bacon. Cook for approx. 4 minutes until browned. Remove bacon and discard all but 2 teaspoons bacon fat from pan.

Add onion and green pepper to the same pan and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice and stir until evenly coated. Stir in bacon, salt, pepper, wine and chicken broth. Return chicken to the same pan or dutch oven. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered for 40 minutes or until rice is soft and chicken is thoroughly cooked.

You can enjoy this as a one dish meal or serve it with a nice salad and warm bread.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rustic Chicken Caesar Salad

This is a Chicken Caesar with a rustic Italian appeal.
We had one similar in Montreal at a wonderful sandwich shop and I was so impressed with the presentation that I thought I'd try to duplicate it at home.
You can prepare the chicken, bacon, dressing and croutons ahead of time
and then assemble the salad just before serving.
I served it with stuffed mushrooms on the side for a light supper.

For the Salad
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips and saute'ed with garlic until cooked through
  • 5 slices bacon cut into 1 inch pieces, fried crisp and drained on paper towel.
  • Lemon Caesar dressing ( recipe follows)
  • Home made croutons (recipe follows)
  • A wedge of Parmesan cheese
For the home made croutons:
  • 1 small loaf French or rustic Italian bread
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  1. To make the croutons: Cut bread into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Place bread in large bowl.
  3. Combine melted butter with seasonings in a small bowl.
  4. Pour butter over bread cubes and toss until evenly coated.
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss again.
  6. Spread in a single layer on a large baking pan.
  7. Bake at 300º for about 30 minutes or until dry and crisp stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove from oven and cool. (If making ahead, store in covered container in refrigerator)
For the salad dressing:
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 or 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  1. To make the dressing: Combine all ingredients except olive oil and sour cream in a quart jar or deep bowl.
  2. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly until dressing is smooth.
  3. Add sour cream to the jar and whisk until smooth.
  4. Set aside while you assemble the salad.
To assemble the salad:
  1. Wash romaine leaves, spin dry in salad spinner or blot dry with towels.
  2. Tear romaine into bite sized pieces into a large bowl.
  3. Just before serving, add 1/2 the dressing to the romaine and toss, adding more dressing if needed. Add only enough dressing to moisten the romaine. Too much dressing produces a soggy salad.
  4. Add chicken slices, bacon pieces and croutons and gently toss again.
  5. Pile salad high on individual serving plates.
  6. Using a potato peeler, shave about 6 2-inch strips of Parmesan cheese on top of each salad and serve immediately.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Countryside Potatoes

When I first got a microwave oven (a very long time ago)...I took a microwave cooking class.  This was one of the dishes that we prepared in that class...and has remained a favorite throughout the years.  It's a great side-dish in the summertime, when we prefer not to heat up the oven.  But I make it any time of the year...a creamy, potato dish that goes perfectly with grilled meats and a salad.

  • 1 package (24 oz. / 680 grams) frozen hash browns
  • 1 cup half and half cream (10% MF)
  • 1 teaspoon teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chives, chopped (or other fresh garden herbs of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • paprika
  1. Microwave hash browns in covered casserole for 9 minutes on high.
  2. Add cream, salt and chives.  Mix with a fork.  
  3. Cut butter into pieces and place on potatoes.
  4. Microwave uncovered for 6 minutes, or until boiling.
  5. Stir mixture and spread evenly in baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and paprika.
  7. Microwave with 1/2 power, uncovered for about 9 minutes, or until tender.
6-8 servings.

*Either cubed or shredded hashbrowns can be used, but we prefer them shredded for this dish.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bread for the Journey - Fountains


















Since our trip to Montreal recently I've been thinking a lot about fountains.
Watching the fountains on one of the plazas there, the water seemed alive as it danced up from the pavement.
I was reminded that the Lord is called the Fountain of Living Waters. (Jeremiah 17:13b)

Just as water is necessary for life and growth, so Christ, as the source of living water is necessary to Christian life and growth.

Psalm 36: 7-9 says "How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life,
In Your light we see light."

When we accept Christ into our lives that inexhaustible source of living water is poured into us. But it shouldn't stay there. It should overflow from our life to others so that they too can have life and growth.

John 4:14:
"But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
John 7: 38
"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." John 7: 38

Does the Stream of Living Waters overflow freely from you into the lives of those around you?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Honey Glazed Chicken


Summer has arrived...Did you say we had four warm days? Nevertheless it's officially summer now and by now the barbecue season should be in full force. I'm going to share with you one of our family's favorite chicken recipes. I always find it interesting how my own kids say, "Mom, why don't you post that honey garlic chicken recipe?" And I'm thinking....that recipe is so old...but we all know that some of those recipe simply take priority on a hot sizzling summer day.

Instructions.
  • One whole roasting fresh chicken or
  • 4 fresh chicken breasts with skin and bone-in, or back attached.
Honey Garlic Sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soya sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  1. Heat butter on low heat, till melted, adding sugar, honey, soya sauce and garlic.
  2. Bring to a slow boil. Don't over cook because it will caramelize.
  3. Lay the chicken on the grill on low heat.
  4. Baste chicken with sauce frequently, until the crust is a light charcoal color.
  5. Cooking time: (45 minutes for bone-in breasts/ 11/2 hour for rotisserie whole chicken)
  6. Serve with your favorite salad.

I'm sure by now your mouths are watering. Even if it's not a hot sizzling summer day, you can just pretend that it's hot and hold your umbrella in the rain while you enjoy your favorite chicken dish.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Asparagus Tortellini Salad

Fresh garden vegetables and cheese filled tortellini
tossed with a creamy dressing and served over a bed of baby spinach.
This is a perfect salad for your back yard barbecue,
or for taking along on your next picnic. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 350 gram package tri- coloured cheese filled fresh tortellini
  • 2 cups broccoli pieces
  • 8 asparagus spears, cut 
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cups of fresh baby spinach. I like to use this as a 'bed' for the salad when serving it, but you can mix it right into the salad. 
Dressing Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup creamy ranch dressing
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, or 1 tsp dry parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed


Method:
  1. Boil tortellini according to directions on package. Remove from heat and immediately pour very cold water over. This will stop them from cooking longer and also cool them off quickly to add to the vegetables.
  2. Place cut up broccoli and asparagus in a sauce pan with a little bit of water. Bring to a boil and immediately turn off. Drain, and run cold water over vegetables. This will keep them crisp.
  3. Cut and place all other vegetables in a large plastic bowl and add cooled steamed vegetables and cooled tortellini. Put lid on bowl and give a good shake to mix. 
  4. Whisk or blend together dressing ingredients. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over salad, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. 
  5. When ready to serve lay a bed of fresh baby spinach leaves on a platter and top with marinaded salad. If the salad has absorbed the dressing, add the remaining and toss, or serve remaining dressing on the side.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Surprise Muffins


These muffins are great for a snack, or even a special brunch. It has a little surprise inside each one, filled with some cream cheese and your favorite jam. I like using Apricot jam for a light delicate flavor that compliments the cream cheese well.
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of bran, I used oat bran
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used 1/4)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 of a 8 oz package of cream cheese cut into 12 squares*
  • apricot jam (or Jam of your choice)
  1. Combine all the dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir gently til all flour is moisten but still a bit lumpy.
  4. Fill greased muffin tins til about 1/3 full.
  5. Add the cream cheese, and top with 1 teaspoon of jam (I did more).
  6. Top with remaining dough.
  7. Bake at a 375 oven for 18-20 minutes.
  8. Remember your oven temperature may differ slightly so you want the tops to be golden brown and spring back when gently pressed on top.
  9. I have never frozen these because they disappear rather quickly.
*I only had a half a package of cream cheese before I realized it and doubled the muffin recipe, so your chunks of cream cheese will look bigger. I found this amount of cream cheese to be just fine too.







Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bran Whole Wheat Soda Bread


This is about the easiest loaf of bread you can make. It involves no yeast or kneading . . . it's quick and a healthy choice, with a nice crunchy, rustic looking crust. Tastes wonderful while still warm, with your favorite topping.

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 - 2 1/4 cups buttermilk
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. and grease 4 1/2" X 8 1/2 " bread pan.
  2. Measure all dry ingredients into large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Make a well in the center and add 2 cups buttermilk all at once.
  4. Stir to mix. All dry ingredients should be mixed in just so that mixture is slack but not mushy wet. If you need more liquids add a tad more buttermilk.
  5. Add a light dusting of flour and shape into loaf. Lay or press into pan.
  6. Bake at 375 F for 50 minutes, until browned nicely.
  7. Run a knife around the edge and transfer to cooling rack. The crust is hard when you first take it out of the oven, but softens as it cools.


 More Hints:
  • Wheat germ, oat bran and wheat bran are found in the same section as the flour or in the cereal aisle with the oatmeal. For longer lasting freshness, freeze all unused wheat germ, bran and ww flour.
  • You may substitute oat bran for wheat bran, white flour for whole wheat flour.
  • Try to use real buttermilk. If you cannot get it, try a mixture of half milk and half plain yogurt.
  • Slice and freeze any leftover bread within 24 hours, for sandwiches or toasting. Homemade bread does not have the same shelf life as store bought bread.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pretzel Dessert

This pretzel based dessert with an orange filling is delicious and simple to make. After the first bite my g'daughter said 'this is so good'!

Crust:
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels, I used my food processor
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  1. Crush pretzels in the food processor, add sugar and melted butter and pulse till combined. If you don't have a food processor crush pretzels with a rolling pin, then add sugar and melted butter and stir till combined.
  2. Pat crust into an 8" pan and bake at 400º for 10 minutes.
  3. Cool on wire rack.
Filling:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Combine the filling ingredients (minus sour cream) in a large microwave safe bowl and whisk till smooth.
  2. Microwave on high till it thickens, stirring frequently. Takes approx 7 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till cool.
  3. Once cool fold in sour cream and pour filling into crust. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
  4. To serve top with whipped cream and decorate as you wish. Sprinkled with a little grated orange peel adds a nice tangy flavour. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Roasted Grape Tomato and Mushroom Pasta


Cherry tomatoes will soon be ripe on the vine and in the meantime I have been buying the little cartons of grape tomatoes in the produce section.  Pairing them with mini Bella mushrooms makes a delicious beginning to a quick pasta dish.  You could do this completely vegetarian but I like to fry some boneless chicken breasts in the pan first to add flavour to the sauce.

  • 3 cups sliced mini Bella or button  mushrooms
  • 3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less to your likeing)
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • a handful of fresh basil and parsley mix chopped
  • 5 cups baby spinach . .more or less ...if you like more wilted greens. .add more
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Spaghetti noodles for four
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil. I don't use parchment paper here because I dont' want to waste any of the juices that eventually seep through the paper. ..but not the foil.
  3. Slice the tomatoes and put them in a medium sized bowl and add the mushrooms and garlic
  4. Toss together with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  5. Spread the veggies in a single layer over the cookies sheet and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.
  6. Roast about 40 minutes or until the juices have been released and the veggies are beginning to caramelize.
  7. While the veggies are roasting. . . preheat a large skillet on medium high heat and add the oil and the chicken. 
  8. Brown on both sides and then cover leaving the lid tilted over the pan so that you don't steam the chicken but still keep the heat in. 
  9. Heat the water for your pasta and cook it while you finish your sauce.  Reserve one cup of pasta water.
  10. Turn the heat to medium and cook the breasts through.  Remove to a plate and keep warm in the oven.
  11. Add the cream to the pan to deglaze it. Stir for a minute to scrape the bits off.
  12. Add the veggies and the juices from the cookie sheet into the large skillet.
  13. Add the reserved pasta water to the skillet.
  14. When the pasta is al dente. .drain it.
  15. Add the spinach and the herbs  to the pan and stir one minute until it wilts. 
  16. Serve the veggies and chicken over the pasta and grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the dish.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bread for the Journey


Father's Day
The love of parents is the closest we can come to understanding the heart of God.
Today on Father's Day
We honour all earthly fathers who modelled for us
the Father love of God
May your Father's Day be blessed!
*********
No Room in the Inn ?
a picture in nature of a parent's love

I was walking in a local park the other day and came across this Mother Goose
with a little one sleeping beside her....
I thought it was cute until I saw that there was a baby tucked under the mother's wing and wondered why the outside duckling
had not snuggled safely under the wing as well ....
But as I was to find out -
it was because there was no room in the inn !
Last one 'to bed' sleeps outside the wing!!
Take a look at the video !

video

We are moving into summer vacation time when families jump into the car
and travel to far off places.
I'm sure you, like me, at the end of a long day's travel have looked for a place to stop for the night and found only "No Vacancy" signs.
It is a discouraging feeling to know there is no room in the inn for you to rest.
****
Perhaps you happened upon our blog this morning
and you,
like the little duckling,
are on the outside looking in ... feeling that you don't really belong...
not even sure that you could....
it seems everyone else is always ahead of you...
that the 'Inn' is always full by the time you get there.

I want you to know ..
that God the Perfect Father is welcoming to all who wish to come .
The Inn of God's Love ALWAYS has room for one more...
no one need sleep outside the door.
Call on the Name of Jesus ...
He will always hear and answer.
His love, His forgiveness, His strength, His comfort --
whatever you have need of He offers to you!
And best of all ... if you but follow Him, as a little duckling,
He will lead you in the way that you should go!

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28
Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
Psa 17:8
"My sheep (ducklings) hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
John 10:27
********

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wonderful Any-time Muffins Gluten-free

Amanda Barkey, from Costa Mesa, California, kindly sent me a recipe for muffins that she had adapted from a Martha Steware recipe for "Healthy Morning Muffins")
Her recipe sounded wonderful and I specially liked that she said it was very 'changeable- friendly'.
Since I was eager to try her recipe and didn't have all the same ingredients I substituted with what I had .... and the resulting muffins were SOOOO GOOD ! I LOVE them !!!

Even my husband, who does not like muffins and eats gluten, loved these muffins and told me to make them often !

I will give you Amanda's recipe (which she graciously gave me permission to share) and my adaption as well.... Choose one or the other , mix and match or adapt to your own special needs ... I'm sure you will be as delighted with the result as I was.
Not only are these muffins delicious, they are as healthy and nourishing as you make them and a go-anywhere snack.

Just a thought -- if you make your own changes and are happy with the result, how about sharing your recipe here in the comment section ... Let's see how many variations we can come up with!

Amanda's Muffins (gluten-free, sugar free and low in fat)
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup Almond flour (meal)
  • 3/4 cup Brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup xylitol (and all natural alternative sweetner - its even good for your teeth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats (gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 4 medium carrots shredded
  • 1 medium ripe banana , mashed
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xylitol, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats, flax, and raisins. Add oil, egg, milk, carrots and banana and stir until blended.

  2. Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter , ( I use large ice-cream scoop). Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin come out clean, 23-25 minutes. Serve muffins warm or a room temperature. (To store, keep in an airtight container, up to 3 days) Enjoy them as they are with a pat of butter or a dollop of cream cheese for a decadent treat!
****************************************************
My Version Muffins - (Julie's)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or almond meal)
  • 1/3 cup ground sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup white corn flour
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 3 tbsp. oil (I use grape seed oil or olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 small or one med/large banana
  1. Blend well together almond flour, ground sunflower sees, ground flax seeds, brown rice flour, white corn flour, millet flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices , sugars
  2. In blender put ripe bananas, oil, milk and eggs, and mix until smooth.
  3. Pour liquid into mixer bowl and then add the dry ingredients ... Mix on low until well blended
  4. Add sweetened dried cranberries and grated carrots.
  5. Divide batter between 12 sprayed muffin cups
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until nicely browned.
Helpful tips - I cut down the time needed to mix up this recipe by pre-grating carrots and freezing them in 1/2 cup amounts in small zip-lock baggies. Also watch for grocery store specials on ripe bananas... Last time I got a bag of 24 bananas for 99 cents ! Not one of them was overripe or bad. I put them -with peel on - in a plastic bag in the freezer and they are perfect to pull out when a recipe calls for bananas. It takes only a few minutes to thaw them enough to allow easy peeling and pre-frozen bananas mash so nicely.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Anything Fruit Squares (Easy Platz)


This platz is quick and easy with very little fuss and whips up in no time. My mom makes us so much apple pie filling that I find all kinds of recipes to use it in, and this is one of my personal favorites.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of hard margarine or butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Mix all the ingredients together making coarse crumbs.
  2. Pat 1/2 of the crumbs down firmly in a 9x9 inch pan.
  3. Fill with a your favorite pie filling, fresh or frozen fruit, or jam if you prefer.
  4. Top with remaining crumbs.
  5. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes and the crumbs on top are a golden brown color.
  6. That is how easy it is. No fuss, and you have a nice treat for the fasba table or evening dessert with some friends.
  7. It is best to store this cake uncovered, otherwise the crumbs tend to get soggy.
  8. I have never frozen this either, this is the kind of thing, I prefer freshly made, but am certain that it could be frozen. Just thaw it without being covered, again so the crumbs hopefully stay crunchy.




Thursday, June 16, 2011

Creamed by Boston Pie


Same Pie .  .
Different Name.
Yesterday morning I whipped up some Cream Boston Pie Creamed by Boston Pie for our celebration supper dessert. We cheered on our Canucks at our house and enjoyed watched the last game in a wonderful series . .
that we almost won. 
I've been making this easy cake that is called a pie for years. It still tastes as good as it ever did and large pieces were polished off last night in spite of us Canucks being creamed by Boston.
Congratulations to the Boston Bruins on a well played series.
Vancouver Canucks. . .we are still your fans and thank you for a great year and we'll be cheering again for you in fall!



Cake
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk. . add a teaspoon of lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit five minutes)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Put parchment paper at the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan or regular cake pan.
  3. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add the buttermilk, egg yolks, and oil and vanilla.
  5. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  6. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl. 
  7. Fold the egg whites into the batter with a spatula until combined.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean.
  9. Let stand 10 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
Custard
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream .. un-whipped  (you can use all milk. .for a lighter version)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine the sugar and the cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add the egg yolks and stir well.
  3. Add the milk and the cream and whisk together.
  4. Heat over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching. .. or cook it in the microwave until boiling. .stirring every minute.
  5. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.
Chocolate Ganache
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Heat the cream over medium heat until it begins to bubble ..near boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips and stir until smooth.
  3. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Assembling cake
  1. Slice the cake in half as shown.
  2. Pour a bit of custard over the bottom layer and let sit for awhile to set. . .add more when you can see it won't run over the sides.  .the custard will have to be just slightly warm or even cooler for it not to run over.
  3. Put the top layer over the custard.
  4. Drizzle over the chocolate ganache and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

BBQ'd Ribs in the Oven

These ribs are a great side to any BBQ, especially with Father's Day coming up this Sunday. It may be that the dad in your life loves ribs. Pork ribs are pricey, but go on sale quite often and freeze well.

Ingredients:
  • 2 - 3 lbs spare ribs (I use back pork ribs)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/3 c BBQ sauce
  • 1/3 cup hot ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 c vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
Method:
  1. Bake spare ribs at 350 F in covered roaster for 1 1/2 hours. Drain fat.
  2. In a small pot, sauté onion, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer 15 min.
  3. Pour over baked ribs and continue baking 1/2 - 3/4 hours, covered.
  4. Serve with baked potatoes or pasta and a salad.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Apple Bundt Cake


This is an easy apple cake recipe with a nice moist result.

The most time consuming part of this recipe will be preparing the apples.
Apple Bundt Cake
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups diced apples (approx. 4 apples)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat eggs and sugar well. Stir in next 5 ingredients and mix. Add next 3 ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. I used Pam baking spray with flour for my pan and the cake came out nicely. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool in pan 10 minutes before removing onto serving plate.
When the cake has cooled completely dust it with powdered sugar.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tex Mex Burgers


Summer time is burger time.
Fresh Pico de Gallo, fresh slices of avocado and a spicy mayo 
give this burger a bit of a bite.

Ingredients for burgers:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry taco seasoning
Using your hands mix all ingredients together well. Form into 4 burger patties.

Ingredients for Pico de Gallo:

  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced yellow and red pepper, combined
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 small seeded jalapeno pepper, dice very small
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 2-3 grinds fresh pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • juice of one fresh lime (do not use bottled lime juice)
Add all ingredients together in a non metallic bowl. This can be made earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. 

Ingredients for spicy mayo and other toppings:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek, which is ground fresh chili paste. You could substitute with hot sauce, or if you don't like it hot use ketchup.
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • Tex Mex cheese
  • 4 kaiser buns
Method: Once you have all your toppings ready, fire up the barbecue. The last few minutes the burgers are on the grill top with cheese. Build your burger and enjoy!


Congratulations to Mrs. Pyle. ..from Mrs. Pyles Baking Adventures for winning our Third Anniversary Celebration Signed Book.   We loved all the comments.  I printed them all off and numbered them and used a random number generator to pick the winner.

j.pyle said...
"I love the wareneki! It was something I had never even heard of but my hubby loves it and I love to make it! Congrats on 3 years!"
June 11, 2011 9:20 AM

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bread for the Journey


Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (Psalm 23:6)

We all know this too familiar passage called the, 'The Lord is My Shepherd.'
David spent his early years caring for sheep. We know that sheep are completely dependent on their shepherd. In David's daily walk with God, he learned that his Good Shepherd was sufficient for every need. He could say these words from his personal experience.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

I have been reminded over this past year once again, that even though I cannot see "all the days of my life," it doesn't matter. Do I look ahead and wonder what next week or next year look like?

David said "ALL" the days, not just the bright days, but the dark ones too, not just the easy days ahead, but the difficult days also. He doesn't say months or years, but "days"__the "days of my life," each one of them.

Someone paraphrased these words and said, "Goodness to supply every want, Mercy to forgive every sin; Goodness to provide, Mercy to pardon."

It is wonderful that we can have the assurance and eternal confidence of knowing that His goodness and mercy are with us today. If it was good enough for David, it will be good enough for me and my family. I already know that I too can say that I have felt his shepherding strength in my own life during my recent year in a totally different way.
And it will also be good enough for You! I'm hoping that you too, can join in, feel comforted, share and own the same promise for your life.

"Shall follow ME all the days of MY life."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Third Anniversary Celebration

photo credit Beatriz Photography

Ten Girls. .
Three Years. . .
One thousand four hundred and thirty posts ..
Two and a half Million  ..plus ..Visitors  . . .
One Cookbook . . .
Lots of encouragement . .
Many blessings . .
Lots of fun with our Facebook fans.

It's time to say we appreciate you all.
You are the reason we are sellings thousands of books . ..
helping to feed hungry kids in an orphanage in the Ukraine.

It's time to celebrate!
We are giving away a book signed by all ten of the girls!!

Leave a comment on today's post telling us which recipe on the blog or in the book is your favorite so far.

If you leave another comment on facebook we'll enter your name again.

No more than two entries per person.  (one comment on the blog. .and one comment on Facebook)
Contest closes tonight at 11 PM Pacific Time.
Contest is open to Canadian and US citizens.
If you do not have a Profile which includes contact information or Facebook  ..you must include contact information to qualify.
Winner will be announced on Monday both here and on Facebook.

Have a fantastic Weekend!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rustic Rhubarb Tart


The other night when I was in a fright of a hurry to get a dessert ready for a last minute call to have friends come watch the game with us. . .I did what I often do. ..made a rustic tart.  The wonderful thing about making a rustic tart. .is that it is quick to bake since it is so thin and the name rustic implies that careful crimping of bottom and top crust is not needed. It is also very good for beginning pie bakers since you can see from just looking at the tart if the fruit is cooked.   I simply take a disc of dough out of the freezer. ..and let it thaw while I prepare the fruit. 
  • one disc of fresh or frozen, thawed pastry about 1 inch thick and 5- 6 inches in diameter
  • 3 1/2 cups of diced rhubarb (about a pound)
  • 3/4 cup sugar  (this is not overly sweet. .knowing that I'll serve it with ice cream)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • milk or cream for brushing the side of the crust edge
  • sugar for sprinkling over the crust edge
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Roll the dough into a large circle.  Try to keep it somewhat round.  The crust should be fairly thin.
  3. Transfer the pastry onto your rolling pin ..rolling it up and then onto a large cookie sheet.  It is a good idea to put parchment paper on your cookie sheet for easy clean up.
  4. Combine the rhubarb, sugar and flour and spread evenly over the pastry dough but keep it an inch and  half from the edge.
  5. Work your way around the crust, turn the edge over and pat flat encasing the edge of the rhubarb.
  6. Brush milk over the edge of the crust and sprinkle the crust edge with sugar.
  7. Cut a hole in the center of a piece of foil, to expose the rhubarb but cover the crust and place it over the tart to prevent the edges from browning too much.  Remove once the rhubarb has cooked through and finish baking until the crust is brown.
  8. My tart took about 35 minutes to bake. 
  9. Cool and serve with ice cream.

Be sure to come back to Mennonite Girls Can Cook tomorrow.
We are going to be celebrating our third anniversary . .
and are going to give away a signed copy of our book!!

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Crab Cakes


    Here is how you can take one can of crab and make it into a light luncheon for the ladies. Add a green salad and some homemade tartar sauce and you will have an elegant meal that is sure to impress.
    By the way – it’s also a sure way to satisfy a hungry husband.




    Tartar Sauce
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 4 slices sweet pickle or one dill pickle finely chopped
    • 1- 2 teaspoons pickle brine
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar ( if desired)
    • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed or 1 Tablespoon fresh dill chopped
    Crab Cakes
    • 4 tablespoons Panko* bread crumbs, (first amount)
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
    • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce (opt.)
    • 1 170 g. can crabmeat, drain and squeeze out excess liquid
    • 2 tablespoons Panko* bread crumbs (second amount)
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    * Panko or Japanese bread crumbs can be found with the regular breadcrumbs in the grocery store. They are coarser and crispier than regular bread crumbs.
    1. Mix Tartar sauce ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until serving.
    2. For Crab cakes, mix first 9 ingredients together in a bowl.
    3. Add crabmeat and mix gently with a fork until crab is well distributed.
    4. Working with one generous tablespoon full at a time, form the crab mixture into 3-4 inch patties about 1/2 inch thick.
    5. Dredge each crab cake on both sides in the 2 tablespoons of panko crumbs.
    6. Preheat oil at medium heat in a skillet.
    7. Fry crab cakes until golden brown on each side, flipping each only once.
    8. Serve immediately with homemade tartar sauce and lemon wedge.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Sorrel Moos

     My Mom cooked this moos (we pronounce it mouse) in spring as soon as the sorrel would be ready to cut. And the wonderful thing was that sorrel grew fast and it would soon be ready for another cutting. She would alternate between cooking moos or summa borsht..sorrel is used for both. Either one tastes wonderful..the moos is especially delicious paired with something savoury.
    Norma, my sister, asked Mom for the recipe and of course Mom didn't have a written recipe..so one day Mom cooked the moos and my sister measured the ingredients. I am so glad she did:)
    Now I have my own row of sorrel plants in my garden and since they are a perennial they come up year after year and I get many cuttings all summer long. I freeze the extra to use in winter.

    • 8 cups water
    • 2 cups raisins
    • 4 cups chopped sorrel leaves
    • 6 tablespoons flour or cornstarch  
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup whipping cream
    1. Boil water and raisins together for 10 minutes.
    2. Add chopped sorrel leaves and bring to a rolling boil.
    3. Stir in the flour (or cornstarch) and milk which have been whisked together.
    4. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
    5. Add cream and bring mixture to a rolling boil.
    6. Remove from heat and cool.
    7. You can eat it hot or cold..I like it both ways.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Jelly Roll

    I pulled this recipe out of my mom's recipe book not that long ago
    knowing it would be a hit. My husband is not a big dessert lover,
    but mom knew that this was one he would enjoy.
    After the first bite we both said at the same time...
    "this tastes just like being at mom's".



    Ingredients:

    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla or lemon extract
    • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted twice
    • 1 1/4 cups jam

    Method:
    1. Beat together very well, eggs, baking powder and salt until creamy yellow and thick.
    2. Gradually add sugar, beating well.
    3. Sift flour several times. Add sifted flour to egg mixture and gently fold together until all the flour is incorporated.
    4. Line a 13"x18" baking sheet with wax paper. Lightly rub it with softened butter and then sprinkle it sparingly with flour. Pour batter into pan.
    5. Bake in 350º oven for 25-30 minutes. Cake will be light in colour and spring back when gently touched in the centre, or tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Do not over bake.
    6. Immediately invert onto a clean cotton tea towel that is generously sprinkled with powered sugar. Pull off wax paper.
    7. Working quickly spread jam over hot sheet cake and starting at the short end, roll hot cake using the tea towel to help roll. Some of the jam may run out the ends...not to worry.
    8. Once you have it rolled up, keep the tea towel over it and 'tuck it in'. The steam from the hot cake helps to keep the cake moist as it cools.
    9. As soon as the cake has cooled remove the towel and place on a serving tray. Dust with more powdered sugar.

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Butterflied Leg of Lamb Roast

    My parents were born and raised in the area of Southern Russia between the Black and Caspian Seas and then in Persia which is now Iran. Lamb was part of their regular diet. This is a wonderful way to cook lamb. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

    You can ask your butcher to bone and butterfly your leg of lamb. If there is a lot of fat you can trim some of the fat.

    1 leg of lamb (4-6 Lbs.) boned and butterflied.
    4 red potatoes
    1 large onion
    Olive Oil

    Seasoning Mixture:

    1-1/2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
    2-Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 C. Dijon Style mustard
    1 – Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    1 – Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

    In food processor add the salt, rosemary, garlic, and process as fine as possible.
    Add the mustard, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice and process for a minute longer.
    Place lamb on baking rack fat side up and spread the processed mixture over the fat side of the lamb.
    Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

    In the meantime wash and cut 4 red potatoes (or any potatoes you desire) in half lengthwise.
    Quarter the large onion.

    Place the potatoes and the onion in the baking dish, sprinkle with Olive oil and toss the onions and potatoes so they are coated nicely. Place the rack with the lamb over the vegetables. This method of roasting will give the vegetables nice seasoning from the drippings off the roast.

    Roast the lamb at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn the lamb over carefully and roast an additional 20 minutes. Let the roast stand for 15 minutes and then slice on the grain and serve.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Bread for the Journey

    Team Spirit..that's what we've been hearing a lot about for the last while. Our province has an NHL team again. There is a lot of enthusiasm and a whole lot of celebrating happening.
    To perform as a team you need team spirit. You also need a captain to guide the team in order to bring out the best in each player.
    It is the same in the Christian walk..we need to be enthusiastic and work together as a team to further the kingdom of God. Our captain is Jesus Christ and we look to Him for guidance and to bring out the best in each one of us.
    Sometimes we want to fly solo but we need to remember that working as a team brings more strength to what we want to achieve and then more is accomplished.

    Romans 12:11 NIV
    "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Baked Oatmeal with Apple and Cinnamon

    I had no idea this tasted this good until I had it at my daughter's. It's one of those comfort foods that I could have for breakfast or for dessert. This can be prepared the night before; refrigerated and baked in the morning.

    Ingredients:
    • 3 1/2 cups oats or quick oats (not instant)
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup coconut (optional)
    • 1/4 cup oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 apple, grated
    • 1 cup milk

    Method:
    1. Mix ingredients in order given and pour into greased 8X8 inch pan.
    2. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes
    3. Serve warm with milk and brown sugar.
     It's a piece of cake to wrap up for breakfast on the way, or lunch.


    Good to the last crumb!
    Print

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    Hot Taco Dip

    We have had a lot of 'game day foods' around here lately...with the Vancouver Canucks looking for their first ever Stanley Cup title.  Here's a hearty hot taco dip that pairs up perfectly with a hockey game...or anything else you may be watching these days.


    • 1 can (14 oz / 398 ml) refried beans
    • 1 lb / 500gr lean ground beef
    • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix
    • 1 cup hot salsa, divided
    • 1 cup chopped Roma tomatoes (de-seed)
    • 1 chopped sweet pepper (red, yellow, orange or a mix)
    • 1 1/2 - 2 cups grated Tex-Mex cheese (use Monterey Jack, cheddar or Mozzarella if you prefer)
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • chopped onion greens, sliced pitted olives and chopped tomatoes for garnish

    1. Combine refried beans with 1/4 cup salsa.  Spread evenly over bottom of oven-proof dish (about 12" round or 9" x 12").
    2. Brown the beef.  Drain off excess fat and stir in the taco seasoning mix and 3/4 cup of  salsa.  Heat through.
    3. Spread the meat mixture over the bean mixture.
    4. Sprinkle with a layer of peppers and chopped tomatoes.
    5. Cover with a layer of shredded cheese.
    6. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes (or until bubbly and heated through).
    7. Just prior to serving, spread sour cream over the dish and garnish with chopped green onions, olives and tomatoes.
    8. Scoop onto plates and eat with warm taco chips.

    Tip ~ Place taco chips in a single layer on a cookie sheet and heat at 350° F for 5 minutes. 


    Before the game is over...you will be licking the bottom of the dish.  Enjoy!

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Homemade BBQ Sauce

    The burgers were ready for the grill when I realized I had no barbecue sauce.
    I gathered some ingredients together from my pantry and fridge,
    added a bit of this and that....
    and handed it over to my husband who was doing the barbecuing. 
    The liquid smoke and molasses added the flavour I was looking for.
    Then I made it again just to make sure I had the measurements right 
    to share with you.....cause that's how we do it here at MGCC. 


    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tbsp bottled lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tbsp molasses 
    • 1 tbsp prepared mustard
    • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1/3 cup chili sauce 
    Combine all ingredients together in a glass jar and stir well. Keeps well in the fridge for up to a month.



    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Peach Kuchen



    This cake base is such a dense and moist cake that is good to use for all kinds of things, like coffee cake, or even with strawberries and whipped cream. Today the recipe will feature it with peaches on top, and a streusel crumb topping.

    • 1/2 cup hard margarine or butter
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/4 cups of sour cream or plain yogurt
    • 1 28 oz can of sliced peaches, drained
    Streusel Topping
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup hard margarine or butter
    1. Cream margarine, sugar and vanilla.
    2. Beat in eggs one at a time until light and well mixed.
    3. Sift together all the dry ingredients.
    4. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternately with the sour cream, ending with sour cream.
    5. Pour the batter into a 10 spring form pan or 9-13 if you don't have a spring form.
    6. Add peaches in a pinwheel design or what ever you choose, it hides under the crumbs anyway.
    7. Top with the crumbs. If the crumbs get to brown for your liking you can cover them with foil towards the end if needed.
    8. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Test the cake by poking a knife in the center and if the knife comes out clean it is done. The time may have to be adjusted if using a 9x13 pan.
    9. Enjoy warm with some whipped cream or ice cream or at room temperature.