Friday, September 30, 2011

Sierra Crackers


Note to Sierra: I'm not sure you will see this recipe but I named it for you! I was really sorry to miss you at the MCC Relief Sale ... I did look for you but didn't find you!

It is getting easier to buy Gluten Free products and crackers are one of the easier things to find that taste good but GF products are expensive and sometimes its just nicer to be able to make them yourself !
This cracker is quick, easy and loaded with healthy nutrients.

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup gf oatmeal flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour or ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 tbsp ground sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • sesame seed for topping
  1. Measure dry ingredients into bowl and mix thoroughly
  2. Stir olive oil and water in a cup
  3. Pour liquids into dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until ball forms
  4. Place ball of dough onto a piece of parchment paper , flatten dough with hands , cover with a piece of plastic wrap and roll out the dough between parchment paper and plastic wrap until quite thin -- keeping sides as rectangular as possible.
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and press them down under plastic wrap.
  6. Cut into desired shapes using knife or pizza wheel works well.. (cut but do not separate crackers)
  7. Slip parchment paper with crackers onto a cookie sheet.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  9. Let cool , then separate crackers.
  10. Enjoy plain or with cheese or desired toppings.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mushroom Bacon Melt

This is comfort food for sure.
We own our own business and work from home
so I'm always having to think up something for lunch.
This hot sandwich provides a quick and welcome meal.

  • 2 slices bacon cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 onion, cut in half and then sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon butter ( if needed)
  • 5 or 6 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese - I prefer Swiss or Gryuere
  • whole wheat or 7 grain buns
  1. Fry bacon until crisp.
  2. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel, reserving 1 Tablespoon bacon fat
  3. Add sliced onion to the pan and cook over medium heat until wilted.
  4. Add mushrooms and butter and continue to cook until mushrooms and onions are browned.
  5. Add bacon pieces and sprinkle shredded cheese over top.
  6. Cover and remove from heat.
  7. Cut buns in half and toast lightly.
  8. Butter buns (if desired) and top with mushroom/melted cheese mixture.
  9. Serve with tossed salad.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chocolate Beet Cake


Are you wondering what to do with the last of the Beets in your garden.  I made this cake for a group this last weekend and not one person could detect the Beets and the entire cake was enjoyed by all.  Give it a whirl and let me know what your picky Beet eaters thought.
I made this cake again last night.  ..making a few more changes to get the flavour and crumb just right.
It is moist and it stays moist!!
No beets in your garden?  Try canned beets. .but not pickled!!

  • 6 medium beets, enough to make  1 1/4 cups mashed beets 
  • 1 3/4 cups plus one tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup instant chocolate pudding mix (about 1/2 a small package)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Wash the beets well and remove all but 1 inch of the stems.  Cover with water and bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer until tender.  Test the largest beet with a sharp knife.  The beets test done when the knife easily slides in.  Drain the beets and run under cold water and slip the skins off with your hands.  
  2. Dice into large pieces and put into a food processor or blender and pulse until the beets are finely ground. If you do not have a food processor, mash with a potato masher until very finely mashed.
  3. Measure the beets to make 1 1/4 cups. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift together the the flour, cocoa, instant chocolate pudding mix, baking soda and salt.
  6. In a large bowl, using a handmixer beat the sugar and eggs together until thick.
  7. Slowly add the oil, sour cream and beets and then the flour mixture and vanilla.
  8. Pour into a greased 9 X 13 pan and bake for about 35 minutes.  Test with a toothpick. 
 Whipped Cream Icing

  • 2 cups whipping cream 
  • remainder of a small package instant chocolate pudding mix (about a 1/4 cup)
  1. In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream with a hand mixer until frothy.
  2. Slowly sprinkle in the instant pudding  and continue to beet until thick.
  3. Spread over the cooled cake and keep refrigerated.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

High Bush Cranberry Pie

This is highbush cranberry season here on the prairies! These cranberries when ripe are tart and juicy and excellent for pies or jellies. This is my favorite pie at this time of the year! It brings back memories of growing up on the farm, picking berries and Mom baking pies and freezing the rest of the berries to enjoy in winter. This pie is amazing served warm with ice cream.
After your berries are picked and cleaned, head to the kitchen to make your favorite pastry. Once your pastry is made it's time to make your filling.
Filling for one 9" pie you will need:
  • 3 cups highbush cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  1. Mix together until well combined.
  2. Spoon into your unbaked pie crust, cover with a top crust, trim off excess and crimp the edges.
  3. Brush top with milk, sprinkle with sugar (optional).
  4. Cut vents for steam to escape while baking.
  5. Bake at 425º for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375º and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer.
  6. Serve warm with ice cream..if you are feeling generous share the pie with friends. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Freezing Tomatoes

It's tomato season...I've had a wonderful harvest and am thrilled with the results, the only thing is that I cannot keep up with them.  Now that we have had our first rain, I heard that we should quickly pick all our tomatoes as to save them from getting blight. 
I was chatting to Lovella about my abundance in fruit and she asked me what I did with them all?
I said, "You just wash them, throw them in a bag and freeze them."  What?  She did not believe me.  I said, "I've been doing that for years, and then in the middle of winter when I have time I use the frozen tomatoes to make my fresh chilli, salsa, soup, or spaghetti sauce."
"You need to post that." says Lovella.  That's a great idea.
It's funny how sometimes the simple techniques that we use, need to still be shared with our wonderful readers.


Instructions
  • Pick your extra tomatoes or go purchase a batch of fresh ones
  • Wash them
  • Package them in a plastic bag
  • Throw them into the freezer
Now let the busy months of the year pass by and by January you will begin to remember those frozen tomatoes in your freezer.
  • Take them out
  • Do not thaw them as they are difficult to cut.
  • Throw them into a sterile sink with hot water.
  • The peels will peel off very easily.
  • Cut them into the desired size.
  • Make your favorite salsa, spaghetti, soup or chilli sauce.
 ~~~~~~~~~~

Another kitchen gadget....

I entered Elsie's kitchen, (SIL)  and saw these fresh peaches sitting on her counter. Then my eyes turned towards this peculiar kitchen gadget.
"What's this I asked?"
She said, "You don't have this in your kitchen?"
"Take one home right now...I have two of these."
While making my salsa today...my daughter not only enjoyed this gadget, but noticed how it poured so simply into the jars. No more dripping syrup on my jars and towels.
Are you still looking for a good Salsa recipe?
 
 This kitchen gadget is inserted inside your jar.  I promise you..."No More Mess!  And No More Burns!"


Sometimes it's the simple things in life that keeps life running smoothly. I have not ventured out to see where these could be purchased...But I know you will all want one...Let's see who knows what they are, or what they are called or better yet, who has one of these?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bread for the Journey

 
"And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today.
You must teach them to your children, 
and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk;
at bedtime and first thing in the morning.
Tie them on your finger, wear them on your forehead
and write them on the door posts of your house."
Deuteronomy 6:7-9

When I was a young parent...I remembered hearing those scripture words quoted.
They have been embedded in my heart for years and years.
I'm one who loves visual learning and this commandment could not of been better said.
I remember thinking what it would look like if I went running around with ribbons on my fingers....
posting verses all over the doors and windows...
Knowing and recognizing the influence that parents can model, I too wanted to influence my children.
We are taught to use the practical day to day aspects of life to teach our children,
not just those related to church and to private schools.

This past year I have had the pleasure of working through
'One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.
Once again, she has illustrated how we can stop and marvel at the depth,
and detail, the light and shadow, of all the scattered moments in life.
Again, in our practical day to day living, whether cleaning up their rooms,
or washing the boys clothes, or baking them some cookies;
we can continue exercising the gift of prayer and thanksgiving for the next generation.

Today,  my heart warms as I've discovered  young parents teaching young children
to bow down quietly in reverence before their Maker.
Let's encourage one another in teaching our children and grandchildren the truths.
The words from the scriptures give proof that the next generation hands on the legacy of faith.

Whether you are young or old...
join with me as we continue to see the daily blessings that God gives to us.
Let's dare and encourage each other to live fully right where we are.
 "They awaken us to our lives...
One hundred times a day, everywhere we turn, everything we touch, everything we see.  
Holy One of blessing, Your presence fill the Universe.
Your presence fills me."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Salad Dressings: Buttermilk Herb and Thousand Island

These are two of my favorite home made salad dressings.
Both are quick and easy to make.

Buttermilk Herb Dressing
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Parsley chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • pepper to taste
  1. Blend mayonnaise and buttermilk in a jar or shaker
  2. Add fresh herbs. salt and pepper
  3. Shake or blend well.
  4. Store in refrigerator until needed.


Thousand Island Dressing *
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 can ( 10 oz/284 ml) tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon green pickle relish
  1. Place all ingredients except relish in blender.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Stir in relish.
  4. Refrigerate until needed.
* Thousand Island dressing recipe can be doubled. Just be sure to refrigerate it in a tightly sealed jar.




Friday, September 23, 2011

Baked Zucchini Sticks

Zucchini are plentiful at this time of year...if not in your garden than at the farmers' market.  Here's a new twist to an old favorite of mine...oven-baked rather than deep-fried zucchini sticks. Crisp on the outside and soft inside...they are quite addictive. Be sure to find nice young zucchinis about 9 or 10 inches long...not the ones that got too big in your garden.


  • 3 zucchini, cut crosswise in half, then cut in six pieces lengthwise
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper...or sprayed well with cooking oil.
  2. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and oregano.
  3. Beat eggs in shallow bowl until frothy.
  4. Dip zucchini sticks in egg, then coat in crumb mixture...one at a time.
  5. Place in single layer on baking sheet.
  6. Bake 20 minutes or until tender crisp and golden in colour.
  7. Serve with a ranch-type dressing (we prefer jalapeno ranch) or even salsa. 
  8. Serves 6

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Spice Cake


    Spice Cake

    1 pkg. yellow cake mix
    1 pkg. 4 serving size Jello instant vanilla pudding (3.4oz.)
    4 eggs
    1 cup applesauce or pear sauce
    1/2 C. water
    1/4 C. oil
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg

    Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl of electric mixer and blend then beat at medium for 4 minutes. Pour into well greased and floured 10 inch tube or fluted tube pan. (I’ve used a bundt cake pan and an angel food cake pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. DO NOT UNDERBAKE. Cool in pan for 15 min. remove and cool on rack. When the cake has cooled and before I serve it I give it a dusting of powdered sugar. It's good by itself or served with vanilla ice cream.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Grilled Pork Tenderloin

    Even though summer is coming to a close, we are not done with the grill. I think I will drag that out for as long as possible. The idea of this bacon wrapped tenderloin comes from my cousin, Alvina, who hosted us while in Manitoba this summer. Alvina used seasoned pepper, garlic salt and seasoning salt. When I prepared this recently, I did not have the same spices she had, but found the recipe quite forgiving, turning out very nice with an added (thyme) herb mix from Palestine, which I got at Ten Thousand Villages on one of our signings.
    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
    • sliced bacon (maybe 10 - 12 slices)
    • seasoning salt
    • (zatun) thyme herb mix
    • pepper
    • garlic powder
    Method:
    1. Sprinkle pork somewhat generously with spices.
    2. Cover, lengthwise, with slices of bacon.
    3. Cut a long piece of kitchen twine (longer than a yard or meter long), wrap and tie it around one end, holding the bacon in place. Continue wrapping with twine, looping it and and extending it another inch as you go down. Knot at the end and, if you have twine left, bring it up, around the back side and knot again.
    4. Place on grill at 325 F, lid on for most of the time, turning slowly to brown all sides. for about 25-35 minutes, depending on thickness of pork.
    5. Transfer to serving dish, remove twine, and cover with aluminum wrap to sit for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serves four.
    To complete this meal, we roasted thickly sliced yams, in the oven, seasoned with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper as well as grilled chopped baby asparagus on the grill, seasoned with olive oil and garlic.

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    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Spicy Chicken Soup

    The season is upon us again to get the soups simmering on the stove top or in our slow cookers.
    I love coming home to a meal all ready that just took minutes to assemble in the morning, and greets us with wonderful aroma that says "Welcome Home" and we enjoy a steaming bowl of soup. If your slow cooker is way back in the cupboard collecting dust, bring it out and start enjoy using it regularly. Just for this recipe alone, you will be glad you did.

    Spicy Chicken Soup
    • 2 cups of mild salsa
    • 1 28 oz. can of tomatoes
    • 4 cups of chicken broth
    • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 onion chopped
    • 3-4 garlic cloves
    • 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning mix or more to taste
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    • 2 cups of frozen corn
    • 4 chicken breast
    • 1/2 cup of freshly chopped parsley or cilantro
    1. Put all the ingredients in to the slow cooker.
    2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
    3. Take out the whole chicken breast an shred return to soup.
    4. Add the chopped parsley.
    5. Serve with sour cream (or plain yogurt for a lower fat version), low fat grated cheese and Tortilla strips if desired.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Stuffed Cannelloni

    When we have salmon I like to use the left overs
    in pasta dishes. This simple filling is perfect in cannelloni,
    manicotti or large shell pasta. Add a salad, and supper is ready.
    Ingredients:
    • 1 200 gram package of cannelloni shells

    • 1 small red pepper, finely chopped

    • 1 clove garlic, minced

    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    • 1 250 gram tub ricotta cheese

    • 1 egg, slightly beaten

    • 1 1/2 - 2 cups baked salmon, flaked into small pieces

    • 1/3 cup light cream

    • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chipped

    • 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

    • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

    • 3 cups tomato sauce

    • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

    Method:
    1. Cook pasta as directed on package. Do not over cook. Drain.

    2. In a non stick pan over medium heat saute garlic and peppers in olive oil for 3-4 minutes.

    3. Stir together next 7 ingredients and add peppers and garlic.

    4. Pour half the tomato sauce into a shallow casserole. Fill pasta shells with salmon filling and lay over sauce in a single layer.

    5. Pour remaining sauce over pasta, making sure the pasta is all coated. Top with mozzarella.

    6. Bake in 350º oven for 30 minutes.


    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Bread for the Journey



    Matthew 25 35-40For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
    Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’


    I sit here at my kitchen table, pondering the thoughts that are crossing my mind for this "Bread for the Journey". I am reminded of the singer and songwriter Steve Bell and the great story teller he is. He told us that often he forgets words to his songs, or as he is writing, he just can't come up with just the right words, hence it becomes, nananananana, or deereetdeereetdeeree. Well you get the picture. I thought, wouldn't that be funny, to find these words of no particular meaning on "Bread for the Journey". I know what I want to say, but have no words that can accurately express it what I am feeling.

    I think of Lovella's post on the Food Grain Bank, and how privileged we are not only having food to eat, but a multitude of choices, and we grumble because we don't know what we want to eat, or complain if something is placed before us that we don't like to eat. There are millions if not billions of people have NOTHING or very little to eat.

    I think of the Good Shepherd Shelter in Ukraine that we are donating our author royalties to, and MCC that helps so many, who are stricken in war, poverty, famine. I browse the internet, and look through my cookbooks for ideas on what to make for supper,the choices are endless. Dare I grumble about all the dirty dishes and clean up that comes with it, when we have had the privilege of preparing food to eat, while others search for tiny morsels found in garbage dumps, or God knows where to feed themselves or their starving children?

    I ask the Lord for forgiveness of my unsettled spirit and turn my thoughts to gratefulness, and ask my self, (not for the first time either) what is my responsibility as a Christian.
    Jesus calls us to feed the hungry, help the poor, visit the sick and the lonely. What can I do? I am only one person, but I am one. I can't do every thing, but I can do something and what I can do, I will do by the grace of God. I may not be able to feed all the hungry in the world, but I can create an awareness, here on the blog, in my family when we talk about why I am serving 'beans and rice' today. To be thankful for all that has been given to me, and do my small part in building God's kingdom.
    For those of you have purchased our book, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for partnering with us, to make a positive difference in this world.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Chicken Salad with Peaches

    This is a simple salad I made for an afternoon on our boat.
    The flavor combination was one we really enjoyed.

    When fresh peaches are no longer available,
    you could substitute mango, papaya, canned mandarin oranges or nectarines.
    • 4 cups fresh lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces (romaine, leaf or a mix of greens)
    • 1 celery stalk, sliced
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion or fresh green onions
    • 1 bell pepper cut into chunks ( I used half a red pepper and half a yellow)
    • 1-2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
    • 1 small tomato, seeded and cut into chunks (optional)
    • 1 small cooked chicken breast (per person), preferably grilled and chilled, cut into 1 inch cubes
    • Ranch Dressing or Buttermilk Herb Dressing ( recipe scheduled for the 24th)
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews.
    1. Layer all ingredients in order on individual plates and serve.
    2. Pass extra dressing. Serves 2-3 people

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Antipasto Pasta Salad


    This recipe will feed approximately 12 people or more as a side dish. Make it up ahead of time when you know company is coming.
    1 lb. cooked pasta shells or bowties drained and cooled
    16 oz. Italian Mix Giardiniera (marinated carrot, cauliflower, peppers, celery, pickles, onion)
    12 oz. marinated artichoke hearts
    1 cup baby spinach leaves, julienned or whole
    1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion,
    1/2 cup Italian salami of your choice, cut into strips or cubed
    1/2 cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
    White balsamic citrus basil dressing or any Italian dressing you prefer to taste
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    Fresh chopped parsley to garnish
    Garbanzo Beans (optional)
    Mix all ingredients togther. You can serve it immediately or if you want a more marinated taste let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours. If you have ingredients that are your antipasto favorites go ahead and add them to the salad. If you like a meatier salad add more than 1 type of Italian salami to the bowl. Be creative to your families taste buds! This can be made a day ahead. After it has sat in the refrigerator you might want to add more dressing before you serve it...

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Honey Oatmeal Bread

    This year has been a first for us....from the land to the table. Now, more than ever, we need to make decisions about cooking and eating that support the kind of agriculture that takes care of the land we hold in trust for future generations. Somehow, because of an unusual rainy season...the corn could not be planted...and so the winter wheat crop that was planted last fall as a cover crop, turned into golden wheat, which was threshed at our farm this year.  This was truly a historical moment for our family.  You can read about our experience of growing our first crop of wheat.  Meanwhile I was excited, because in my early years I used to cook for all our farm workers and I made all my own bread using freshly ground wheat. I found my old wheat grinder which was under a heavy coat of dust. I gave it an overhaul and put it to work. This recipe found itself straight from the land to our table.




    Honey Oatmeal Bread
    • 41/2 - 5 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
    • 2 Tsp. vital wheat gluten
    • 2 packages fast rising yeast
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1/3 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup oil
    • 1 Tbsp. salt
    • 1/2 cup oatmeal
    Instructions
    1.  In a larger mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flour and yeast.
    2. Heat milk, honey, oil, and salt in microwave till about 115 degrees. (luke warm)
    3. Add to dry mixture in bowl.
    4. Beat at low speed with electric mixer for 1/2 minute scraping sides of bowl constantly.
    5. Beat 3 minutes at high speed.
    6. Slowly stir in oats, gluten and remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Take note that gluten is added to freshly ground wheat flour in order to give elasticity and and more volume.
    7. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic (8-10 min.)
    8. Shape into ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.
    9. Cover and let rise in warm place until double (45 minutes)
    10. Punch dough down and return to lightly floured surface.
    11. Divide in half and shape dough into two greased bread pans. (medium size)
    12. Cover and let rise for until double.
    13. Bake at 375 F. for 35-40 minutes.  
    14. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
    Take note:  You can also make this same bread using commercial wheat flour and you would not need to add the gluten as it is only needed on coarse whole grain flours.
      Add a little bit of fresh butter with some fresh home-made blackberry jam.
      I will be packing a loaf of fresh bread for our anniversary picnic today!

      Wednesday, September 14, 2011

      Chocolate Puffs

       Oh what a treat it was when my parents would come home from grocery shopping and I would see Mom pulling a bag of chocolate puffs out of the cardboard box. Cardboard boxes were often used to carry home the groceries instead of paper bags. And of course these treats were doled out sparingly..oh how I treasured each bite.
      These chocolate puffs are not even close to perfect in appearance as those bought ones were..but they sure taste good!
      When I cut one to show you what the inside of the cookie looked like, the chocolate shell cracked just like the bought ones did when cut in half. This is a small recipe so no worries about having to store them although I think they would freeze well.
      Here's the recipe..

      • 1/2 cup flour
      • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
      • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
      • 3 level tablespoons butter, softened
      • 3 level tablespoons brown sugar
      • 1 egg
      • 6 large marshmallows, cut in half
      • Strawberry jam
      • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped..I used good quality chocolate bars, 5 oz of dark chocolate and 5 ounces of milk chocolate. You can use what you prefer. 
      1. In a medium size bowl whisk together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
      2. Using your mixer, cream butter and sugar until light, beat in egg.
      3. Add flour mixture and mix till combined.
      4. Drop by spoonfuls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Dip the bottom of a cup in flour and press down the cookies to flatten them.
      5. Bake at 350º for 9 minutes.
      6. Remove from oven and top each cookie with a dab of strawberry jam and place a marshmallow half on top.
      7. Bake another 2 minutes till marshmallows have softened.
      8. Remove cookies from oven and using a metal spatula gently press down each marshmallow. 
      9. Allow cookies to cool.
      10. For chocolate coating, place chopped up chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of hot simmering water. Stir until melted.
      11. Place one cookie at a time in the chocolate, using a spoon cover the cookies with chocolate, lift up cookie with a fork and tap on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place cookies on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Cool cookies in fridge to allow chocolate to harden. This takes approx 15 minutes.
      12. Yields: 1 dozen delicious puffs

      Tuesday, September 13, 2011

      Cheeseburger Soup

      Nothing warms the tummy like a hearty bowl of soup
      served up with fresh baked bread.
      Why not bake up an apple pie or crisp to finish off the meal.
      Cheeseburger soup is thick and rich,
      and will have your kids asking for a second bowl.

      Ingredients:
      • 1 pound ground beef
      • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
      • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
      • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
      • 2 tsp basil
      • 2 tsp parsley flakes
      • 8 tbsp butter, melted
      • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
      • 8 cups cubed potatoes
      • 1/2 cup flour
      • 4 cups Velveeta cheese
      • 4 cups milk
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 1/2 tsp pepper
      • 1/2 cup sour cream
      Method:
      1. In a large heavy soup pot brown beef. Half way through browning add onions, carrots and parsley. Continue to brown until vegetables are tender.
      2. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer until potatoes are tender.
      3. In microwave or a small pot on stove top melt butter and stir in flour until smooth. Stir this into the hot soup.
      4. Cut Velveeta into cubes and add to hot soup along with milk, salt and pepper.
      5. Stir over low heat until cheese has all melted. Remove from heat.
      6. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream.
      Soup will scorch easily so make sure you turn your burner to simmer once potatoes are cooked and you begin to add the milk and cheese. This soup can be reheated very slowly. Does not freeze well.


      Monday, September 12, 2011

      Red Beans and Rice

      Wondering what you, your family or your church can do to remember people suffering from drought and hunger in east Africa?

      One way is by eating a simple meal—a meal of toast and butter, or a ration meal, similar to what is provided in refugee camps—then donating the funds saved to help people in that region.

      It’s a meaningful way to symbolically identify with people in that region, help children learn about hunger, and make a contribution to help people who don’t have enough to eat.

      You can do it once, once a month, or once a week—however it suits you, your family, or your church.

      Beans and rice are eaten daily around the world. Here is a simple variation to try at home.






      Ingredients:

      • 2 cups dried red beans
      • 1 quart water
      • 1 large onion, chopped
      • 1 bay leaf
      • pepper, to taste
      • salt, to taste
      • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
      • 3 cups rice

      Method:

      1. Soak the beans overnight in cold water; drain.
      2. Heat the beans in about a quart of water, add all ingredients except salt, and boil for at least 2 hours.
      3. When beans are tender, mash them up with a tablespoon of oil.
      4. Serve on boiled rice.

      All the information you see today and much more can be found on the Canadian Foodgrains Bank Website.

      Did you know that until September 16/11 the Canadian Government is matching dollar for dollar donations to the famine in Africa? Please go check out this page for more information. Every dollar counts!

      Sunday, September 11, 2011

      Bread for the Journey


      Early in August I stood in a glass walk way overlooking ground zero.
      Watching the security. ..
      the preparations for the memorial site and the surroundings. .
      I wondered and tried to imagine . .
       the suffering of those that found themselves trapped ..
      those that watched in horror . .
      the unspeakable grief that so many families were left with. . .  .
      and those that continue to suffer the effects of being part of the rescue mission. 


      I don't know why God allows such things to happen but I know what the reason isn't. It is not because he doesn't love us.  He knows each of us and waits to comfort us.  In fact. . .God cares deeply about us and our suffering and  became involved when he sent his one and only son to come to earth as a wee baby.  As a man, he willingly took all of our sins upon himself and died that we might have life.

      "For God so loved the world. .
      that he gave his one and only son. .
       that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life".
      John 3:16

      "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
      your walls are ever before me."
      Isaiah 49:16

      "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
      2 Corinthians 1:3,4


      Lord God Almighty,  I praise you and and thank you for the gift of your son Jesus.
       I ask Lord,  that you draw near to those that are continuing to suffer in the aftermath of 9/11.  In a world where there is so little peace, I ask that you would show your great love and compassion to those that call out to you.  Help us to keep our eyes on you. You are the God of the universe and you hold everything together. Please hold us together and keep us from anxiety and panic. Go before us and lead us.  Thank you Lord for all the encouragement you send our way and help us to press on when things go bad.  Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world! Help us to remember that we have you in us...the God of the universe.
       Thank you Lord....we love you and are in awe of your love for us!
      Amen!

      Saturday, September 10, 2011

      Basil Tomato Savoury Bread Pudding

      This savoury bread pudding can be served as an alternative to potatoes or pasta.
      The flavours of tomato, basil and Parmesan are wonderful together.

      • 8 slices whole wheat or multigrain bread
      • 4 tablespoons olive oil
      • 2 shallots thinly sliced or 1 leek, white part only, washed and thinly sliced
      • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
      • 12 ounces grape tomatoes cut in half
      • salt and pepper
      • 1 cup packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
      • 1 1/3 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
      Egg Mixture
      • 6 large eggs
      • 1 cup whole milk
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • freshly ground black pepper to taste
      1. Butter an oval glass casserole dish ( see picture) or a 9x 13" glass baking pan.
      2. Cut bread into cubes and place in dish.
      3. In a skillet, heat oil and cook shallots or leeks and garlic for 3-5 minutes over medium heat stirring frequently.
      4. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste.
      5. Cook another 3-4 minutes.
      6. Remove skillet from heat and add basil, tossing lightly.
      7. Pour tomatoes and shallots over bread cubes in pan.
      8. Add 1 cups of Parmesan cheese and toss mixture until ingredients are evenly distributed.
      9. Make egg mixture.
      10. Beat eggs in a large bowl.
      11. Add milk and beat, adding salt and pepper.
      12. Pour egg mixture over bread and tomatoes. Stir lightly to be sure all the bread is moistened.
      13. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan over the pudding.
      14. Bake at 375º for about 20-3o minutes or until pudding is puffed and golden.
      15. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes or so before serving.

      Friday, September 9, 2011

      Tomato Bake

      Would you like another chance to win a Mennonite Girls Can Cookbook?
      Be sure to go and enter on their discussion page!
      I was telling my friend Barb about the abundance of tomatoes in my garden..so she shared this recipe with me. I don't really enjoy eating tomatoes but she told me to try this recipe, she said it was really good. And she is right..it is really good:) It's a nice quick lunch esp if you have tomatoes ripening faster than you know what to do with. I could use more recipes using tomatoes!!

      • 2 medium size tomatoes
      • 1 medium sweet green pepper, chopped
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • Butter or olive oil
      • 1/4 cup water
      • A couple of basil leaves, finely chopped
      White Sauce:
      • 2 tablespoons butter
      • 2 tablespoons flour
      • 1 1/2 cups milk
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • 4 slices of toasted bread, I used rye bread
      1. Cut tomatoes in half and place in pan, add water.
      2. Sprinkle salt and pepper and chopped peppers on the tomato halves.
      3. Place dabs of butter or a dash of olive oil on top.
      4. Bake uncovered at 325º for 30 to 35 minutes.
      5. While the tomatoes are baking prepare the sauce.
      6. Melt butter in a saucepan, whisk in flour until it's a smooth paste.
      7. Add milk slowly stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
      8. Place each baked tomato half on a toasted slice of bread and pour the sauce over it.
      9. Sprinkle chopped basil over top.
      10. Serves 2..can be adapted to serve as many as you wish!
      11. Note..you can add a few slices of hot peppers to the green peppers if you like a little heat:)

      Thursday, September 8, 2011

      Blueberry Muffins

      A quick and simple recipe which, for posting, I reconfigured somewhat to allow for the heaping cups and tsp I tend to use. Hope you enjoy these as much as we have over the years.

      Ingredients:

      • 2 1/4 cups flour
      • 2 Tbsp baking powder
      • 3/4 tsp soda
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/2 cup sugar
      • 1 egg
      • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
      • 6 Tbsp oil
      • 1 - 1/1/2 cups blueberries. (fresh or frozen)

      Method:
      1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Prepare 1 dozen muffin cups by greasing and flouring, or use paper liners.
      2. In a bowl or 4 cup measuring cup, stir together dry ingredients. Set aside.
      3. In mixing bowl, beat together egg, oil and buttermilk.
      4. Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring gently just until mixed.
      5. Stir in blueberries and scoop batter into muffin tins. Sprinkle lightly with sugar if desired.
      6. Bake at 400 F for about 25 minutes.

      Joyce Martens Loewen. .you are the winner of our Three Million Visitors contest on our Facebook page. Please email us with your address.  You can find Lovella's email address on her profile.. .scroll down on the right hand side.  :)

      Wednesday, September 7, 2011

      Pizza Pockets


      It is that time of year again, where school starts, and lunches are being packed. Sandwiches are easily taken but switch it up with this healthier version of Pizza Pockets.

      Dough:
      • 4 cups whole wheat flour
      • 4 cups unbleached flour
      • 2 tablespoons instant dry yeast
      • 2 tablespoons sugar
      • 1 tablespoon salt
      • 3 tablespoons olive oil (can use vegetable oil)
      • 3 cups warm water
      • 1 beaten egg, for egg wash
      1. Combine the whole wheat flour, dry yeast, sugar, salt.
      2. Add the warm water, and oil.
      3. Stir well.
      4. Add enough of the all purpose flour a little at a time to knead into a smooth and soft dough.
        You may not need all the of flour, or you may need a bit more, depending on the humidity.
      5. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
      6. Roll out the dough and cut into 6" circles.
      7. Fill with desired amount of filling.
      8. Moisten the edges of the dough and fold over to seal well.
      9. Cover with a damp cloth.
      10. Let rise for 30 minutes.
      11. Prick the tops with a fork, brush with beaten egg.
      12. Bake @ 400 about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped.
      13. If you have any dough left over, just form them into buns, let rise 30 minutes and bake the same as the pizza pockets.
      Filling:
      • 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
      • 4 cups of sliced mushrooms
      • 2 cloves of garlic
      • 1 red pepper chopped
      • 2 cups tomato sauce
      • 1 teaspoon basil
      • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
      • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
      • salt and pepper to taste
      • 1 cup low fat Parmesan cheese
      • 2 cups low fat Mozzarella cheese
      • 3 green onions chopped
      1. Brown the ground chicken with the mushrooms, peppers and garlic
      2. Add the tomato sauce, herbs, seasonings.
      3. Simmer 10 minutes.
      4. Cool slightly.
      5. Add the green onions and the cheese.
      Put desired amount of filling into the prepared circles. The yield for the pockets is determined by how much you put in. Also the filling can be very versatile, switch things up a little to your liking.

      "By being yourself, you put something
      wonderful in the world that was not there before
      ."
      - Edwin Elliot

      Tuesday, September 6, 2011

      Grilled Corn Salad

      The flavours of summer combine to make this salad a great side dish for a BBQ.  With sweet local corn and cherry tomatoes fresh from the garden...it's simple and delicious!


      • 6 cobs of corn, grilled*
      • 1/2 cup diced red onion
      • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
      • 3 tablespoons olive oil
      • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • 1 teaspoon sea salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
      • 1/4 cup chopped basil
      1. Preheat the grill to medium.  Remove the outer layers of the corn husks and then soak the whole cob in water for about 30 minutes.  Peel back remaining husks and remove hair.  Brush the kernels with olive oil; then pull husks back over the ear.   Place the cobs on the grill and cook for about 15 minutes.  
      2. Once the cobs have cooled, cut kernels off the cob.
      3. Add tomatoes, onion and basil to corn.
      4. Combine oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper; mix well.  
      5. Stir the dressing into the corn salad and enjoy!
       *The grilled corn gives the salad a nice smoky flavour, but you can also use cobs cooked on the stove top.


      ***Also. .please enter to win a cookbook on our FACEBOOK DISCUSSION PAGE.   Contest ends at midnight on Wednesday.

      Monday, September 5, 2011

      Honey Almond Oatmeal Spelt Cookies

      Celebrating three million visitors on our blog this week!
      Thank you everyone!


      Today. ..a contest for one MGCC cookbook giveaway begins on our facebook page on the discussion board.  Haven't been to our facebook page?  "Like it" today and join the discussions and recipe swaps.

       and later in the week we'll be providing details here on the blog how you can enter a draw for a second cookbook give away.


      Spelt flour is gaining popularity for its nutty texture and high protein content. It produces a tender cookie and pairs beautifully with oatmeal and almonds for a great cookie which is great for the freezer and lunch boxes.

      
      • 1 cup butter
      • 1 cup brown sugar
      • 1/2 cup white sugar
      • 1/2 cup liquid honey
      • 2 eggs
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla
      • 2 cups spelt flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 2 cups old fashioned oatmeal
      • 1 1/2 cups chopped natural almonds (skin on)
      • 1 1/2 cups raisins
      1. Preheat oven to 375 F
      2. Cream together the butter, sugars and honey.
      3. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.
      4. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and oatmeal in the order given.
      5. Add the almonds and raisins.
      6. Drop by spoonfuls on parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with a fork (the dough will be sticky).
      7. Bake until golden brown. Cool on cookie sheets as the cookies will be quite soft until they cool.

      Sunday, September 4, 2011

      Bread for the Journey

      I Am Standing on the Sea Shore

      I am standing on the sea shore,
      A ship sails in the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
      She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her
      Till at last she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says:
      “She is gone.”
      Gone! Where?
      Gone from my sight – that is all.
      She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her
      And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
      The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me,
      not in her.
      And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
      “She is gone”,
      There are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout:
      “There she comes”
      – an that is dying.
      Bishop Brent
      1862 – 1926
      Some of you may be facing the death of a loved one and I found this poem to be encouraging. I hope you do, too. Walking down the path of death with a loved one is difficult. Our God in His love gives us the comfort we need to make it through this difficult journey that is hard to understand on this side of our lives. Thankfully Jesus comforts us with these words;
      John 14:1-4 ~ “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
      More words of comfort;
      Psalm 48:14 ~For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
      Psalm 23: 4 ~ Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
      Psalm 73:23-24 ~ Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
      John 11:25-26 ~ Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
      May we all look to and cling to the Hope that will carry us through to the end.

      Saturday, September 3, 2011

      Chocolate Wafer Log


      Here's a quick chocolate lovers dessert for a warm sunny evening.
      Here's a recipe that is simple, delicious, and only takes a few minutes to assemble. Just in time for you to plan that last quick dessert for our long Labor Day Weekend. The chocolate lovers in your family will be coming back for more.
      • 1 box of chocolate wafers/200 grams
      • 2 cups whipping cream
      • 1/3 cup sugar
      • 1 pkg cream stabilizer
      • 1 tsp. vanilla

      Stack your cookies into piles.

        1. Whip the cream till stiff, adding sugar, vanilla and stabilizer. I always add "Whip It" by Dr. Oetker, cream stabilizer, to the whipping cream which prevents the cream from separating.
        2. Spread each chocolate wafer with a teaspoon of whipped cream. (or be a bit more generous)
        3. Stack in groups of six.
        4. Place stacks end to end on plastic wrap to form a roll, pressing together lightly.
        5. Wrap and refrigerate four hours.
        6. Frost top and sides with remaining whipped topping just before serving.
        7. Garnish with a few chocolate curls.
        8. Cut into diagonal slices to serve.
        9. Makes up to 10 servings.
        Make yourself a fresh cup of coffee and enjoy a dessert on your patio.

        Friday, September 2, 2011

        Chilliwack Corn Chowder

        It's the height of Corn season here in Chilliwack where we are famous for our corn.
        'Super Sweet', 'Tuxedo', 'Peaches and Cream' or the old faithful 'Jubilee',
        it's all sweet and delicious.
        I've made this corn chowder for years and years and it's always a hit.
        During corn season when we eat it fresh from the cob, I always cook a few more cobs than needed. I cut the kernels off the extra cobs, scrape the cobs with my big knife and put all that goodness into freezer bags for corn chowder later. Scraping the cobs gives you the extra starch that will add flavour and help to thicken the chowder.
        • 2 good sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
        • 2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
        • 1 onion, chopped
        • 1 stalk celery, chopped
        • 5 cups water
        • 1 teaspoon salt
        • 1/2 lb. bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces or farmer sausage, crumbled
        • 1 bay leaf
        • handful of fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
        • seasoned pepper to taste
        • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
        • few drops Tabasco Sauce
        • 3 cups corn kernels
        • 1 small can creamed corn
        • 2 cups milk or light cream or use half cream and half milk
        • Flour and more milk to thicken if desired.
        • chopped fresh parsley
        • cheddar cheese (to sprinkle as a garnish)
        1. Place potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf, parsley and salt in large pot or small dutch oven.
        2. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. If using farmer sausage, chop or crumble the sausage into the water and vegetables.
        3. Turn to simmer and let cook until potatoes and carrots are tender.
        4. While that is cooking, fry bacon until crisp and drain.
        5. When vegetables are done, add corn, Worcestershire and Tabasco and seasoned pepper.
        6. Taste and add more seasonings if desired. Let cook 10 minutes more.
        7. Add milk or cream and heat, stirring well.
        8. You can thicken the soup at this point if desired. Mix 1 Tablespoon flour with 1/2 cup milk and add to soup.
        9. To serve, garnish with shredded Cheddar cheese and snipped parsley

        Thursday, September 1, 2011

        Blackberry Beauty Custard Flan

        This flan should only be made several hours before it will be served.
        It takes 1 1/2 hours to bake and then it needs another hour to cool.
        It's one of those eat the same day you bake it desserts.
        Simple to make, elegant to serve.

        Ingredients for Crust:
        • 1 cup flour
        • 1/2 cup sugar
        • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
        • 1 tsp lemon zest
        • 1/2 cup cold butter
        • 1 egg, slightly beaten
        Filling Ingredients:
        • 3 egg yolks
        • 2 cups full fat sour cream
        • 1/2 cup sugar
        • 1/4 tsp vanilla
        • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
        • 1 egg white ( for coating the crust before adding berries and filling)
        • 2 cups blackberries, plus more for garnish (if using frozen berries dust them with 1 tbsp of flour)
        • whipping cream
        Method for Crust:

        1. Combine flour, sugar,  baking powder and zest. Cut in butter until fine crumbs form.
        2. Stir in egg until mixture forms a dough.
        3. Press into bottom and sides of 7"x11 flan pan with a removable bottom (or a 9" spring form pan.
        Method for filling:

        1. Mix together first 5 ingredients until just combined.
        2. Froth the egg white with a fork and paint the bottom of the crust with it. 
        3. Place the fresh or frozen blackberries over crust.
        4. Pour the custard over the berries.
        5. Bake in 325º oven for 1 1/2 hours. Cool.
        6. Remove from pan. Slice and serve with whipped cream and more blackberries.