Saturday, December 31, 2011

Portzelky ~ New Years Cookies



This is a recipe repost from several years ago but I think it is worth a reminder today that tomorrow is the day to heat up a pot of oil, make a batch of raisin fritter batter and call your friends and family over to celebrate a new beginning to the new year.
Every year we open up our shop to our extended family.  I use a campstove to heat the oil and ask everyone else to bring something savoury to share for a late afternoon meal after the little ones have napped.

Here is Anneliese's recipe.  Pick one and begin a wonderful tradition in your home.

  •  2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted cooled butter
  • 2 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 cups raisins  (or you can eliminate the raisins all together as some prefer them plain)
  • 7 cups flour
  • additional sugar for dipping or rolling while still warm
  1. Sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over the warm water in a large bowl.
  2. Let the yeast mixture sit until it becomes foamy.
  3. Add the sugar, beaten eggs, melted cooled butter, warm milk and salt and stir together really well.
  4. Add the raisins and 4 cups of flour and beat hard with a wooden spoon.
  5. Stir in the remainder of the flour and cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to double for about an hour.
  6. Heat the oil to 375 and using two tablespoons drop spoons of batter into the oil.  When cooked on one side, they will naturally turn over.  Test the first few with a toothpick to be sure they are cooked in the center.  If they are not quite cooked in the middle, try making them slightly smaller. Do not overcrowd your pot.  (see photo)
  7. Once evenly browned, remove them using a slotted spoon to paper towel.
  8. You can roll them immediately in sugar or allow everyone to have their own technique for dipping into sugar while eating them.  If you want to freeze the leftovers, roll them in sugar first.
This has been a wonderful year for the Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity this blog has allowed us.  Without all of you who support us we wouldn't have a reason to post our recipes here or have a book that we can use to fund raise for feeding hungry children.  We are so blessed by your friendship and we pray that we will continue to be a blessing to you through sharing what God has given us in our faith and heritage.

From all of us at MGCC . ..may you have blessed new year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ham and Spinach Pie


This is a delicious Pie that can be served for brunch or supper. The colorful layers let you see all the goodness that goes into this pie. Serve with a fresh Fruit or green Salad.

  • enough pie crust for a two crust pie, homemade or store bought
  • 6 slices of your favorite deli ham, sliced thinly, or 2 cups of diced ham
  • 2 cups of low fat cheese, you can use whatever cheese you have on hand, try Swiss, Cheddar, Mozzarella, what ever you prefer
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup each of a red and green pepper for color
  • 4 cups of fresh spinach*
  • 4 eggs well beaten
  1. Start with a unbaked pie shell and layer in the ham and cheese
  2. Saute the onion, garlic and peppers til softened
  3. Add the fresh spinach and cook long enough until the spinach wilts down, this only takes a few minutes.
  4. Layer that onion and spinach mixture on the ham and cheese
  5. Pour over 4 beaten eggs
  6. Top with the second layer of pastry and brush the top with a bit of reserved egg to give it a deep color when baked.
  7. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

*note- you can use frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fire Roasted Meat Lovers Pizza

Most of us don't have a brick oven to bake our pizza's in. I have to ask....does anyone out there have a brick oven, or an old fashioned wood cook stove with an oven on one side? We used to go to a cabin in the interior of BC during the holiday. The cabins source of heat and cooking was an old cast iron cook stove. While Scot kept the stove at a constant heat on one side, I'd place a turkey into the oven cavity and    we would enjoy the juiciest turkey. We made all our meals during those holidays in that stove, including fire roasted pizzas. I've often thought how neat it would be to look for an old stove like that and build it into an outdoor kitchen. 

Our BBQ retired at the end of summer and we decided to replace our gas grill with a modern charcoal grill called The Big Green Egg.
My husband has been turning out the closest thing to fire roasted pizza's I've ever eaten.
Don't panic! If you didn't get a Big Green Egg for Christmas you can use your gas grill
and your oven will work too. I've used all three methods with success....but do try grilling your next pizza....it adds another element of flavour. 
Ingredients for crust:
  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
Method:
  1. Stir together water, yeast and salt. Stir in the oil. Mix the flours together and then add to the liquid mixture.
  2. If using a mixer, fit with dough hook and mix on low until dough comes together into a smooth ball. You can also just use your hands and knead it together until your dough is smooth. With either method you may need to add a little more flour. Your dough will be elastically smooth, but not really sticky. Pour a small amount of olive oil into your palm, pick up the dough ball and coat lightly, and then place back into the bowl and allow to rise about and hour.
Note: I often make my dough a day or two ahead of time. Just mix and put into an air tight container in the fridge. Take out, remove lid and leave on counter for an hour. It will rise nicely. Punch down when you are ready to put onto your pizza peel.

Ingredients for topping:
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 pound ground hot Italian sausage
  • hot and mild pepperoni sticks, sliced thinly making one cup
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, optional
  • 1/2 cup black olives, optional
  • 1/3 cup red pepper, diced, optional
  • 3/4 cup garlic and herb pizza sauce
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Method:
  1. In a large skillet fry together ground beef and Italian sausage. When it is about half way cooked add onions, mushrooms, olives and peppers. Continue to cook over medium heat. Add thinly sliced pepperoni sticks. Remove from heat. This can be made ahead of time or put onto the crust as soon as it's ready.
To assemble pizza using a pizza stone for all methods of cooking:
If you are using your BBQ, place the pizza stone right on the racks. Turn the gas grill on either side as you want to bake the pizza over direct heat. If you can, raise your rack to the highest level. When your grill is 400-450º your stone will be hot enough for baking. If you have 'The Egg' get your grill up to 500º If using your oven place your pizza stone in and heat oven to 450º.Once your heat source is at temperature  your stone will be very hot and ready for you to slide your pizza on.
While your stone is heating in your heat source assemble your pizza on a pizza peel. If you don't have a peel, assemble pizza on the back side of a cookie sheet. Rub the flat service you are using with olive oil and sprinkle with corn meal. 
Take your dough and in your hands or on a lightly greased counter top shape into a roughly round shell. 
Place pizza dough onto your peel and press to extend it to the edges and flatten it out best you can. It may look rustic....I like it that way! 
Spread with pizza sauce, Parmesan cheese, meat mixture and then top mozzarella cheese.
Working quickly open your heat source and slide the pizza onto the hot stone. 
Close and allow pizza to bake. Check your pizza after 10 minutes. Over a gas grill you want to make sure the underside is not burning. If it is, you may want to turn off one side of your gas grill and bake for the last 10 minutes over indirect heat. 
At about 20 minutes lift one corner of your pizza to check if it's done. Time may vary with the thickness you make your crust. We like a thinner crispy crust so sometimes I only use 1/2-3/4 of the pizza dough per pizza. If you like a thick pan style pizza crust, use all the dough for one pizza, making sure it is baked all the way through. 
The pizza stone will be very hot. Leave the hot stone in your heat source and just slide pizza onto a pizza pan. Eat while it's hot!






Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Curry Mango Dip

With New Year's just around the corner...here's an appetizer dish that might just fit into your menu plan.  It's great to take along to a party...or to serve before an Asian style meal.  It was given to me by a friend a few years ago...and I have served it on numerous occasions.  It's Oriental...it's different...and it's good.


Ingredients:

  • 250 ml / 8 oz. light cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2/3 cups mango chutney
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Method:
  1. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and curry powder together until well blended.  
  2. Spread over bottom of serving dish.
  3. Spread mango chutney over cream cheese mixture.
  4. Combine green onions, raisins and chopped pecans and sprinkle over chutney.
  5. Serve with crackers.
Note ~ Mango chutney can be found in the 'Asian foods' section at the grocery store.

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    Brie in Puffed Pastry


    Brie in Puffed Pastry
    This is a very simple dish to serve as an appetizer or dessert.

    Ingredients:
    1 whole Brie ( I used a 19.6 oz. round)
    1 sheet of frozen puff pastry thawed
    1/2- 1 cup chopped toasted nuts (pecans or walnuts)
    1/2- 1 cup jam/preserves of your choice (I used a chipotle raspberry)
    1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. water.
    1 sheet of parchment paper
    Bread or crackers to serve with the Brie.


    Method:
    Roll thawed sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to approx. 12-14 inches square. Spread chopped nuts in circle in center of pastry. Top the nuts with the jam/preserves. Place brie circle centered on the jam. At this stage you can use some of the pastry to cut out a decoration for the top. Fold up the edges of the pastry to cover the brie completely. Flip the Brie wrapped in pastry over. Add decoration if you like. Place the Brie on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the pastry with beaten egg mixture. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

    Note: I prefer to scrape off some of the rind especially from the top where the jam and nuts will rest. I like the idea of the jam permeating the brie easier in the baking process. Although I didn’t have red grapes when I prepared my Brie but it would be a very nice accompaniment.





    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Oreo Frozen Dessert


    In Canada today, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday - a loved part of the Christmas holiday.
    The name comes from the British practice of
    "boxing up" Christmas gifts and food on the day after Christmas to give to the poor.
    Growing up, we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Day with one side of the family and with the other side of the family on Boxing Day.
    It meant 2 big meals back to back and lots of fun with cousins on both sides.
    If that's the case in your family, you may need a quick dessert today.
    This dessert is a breeze to make and tastes like Oreo ice cream.
    If you make it in the morning you'll have a yummy dessert ready
    for who ever comes to call on Boxing Day.

    • 1 package cream filled Chocolate cookies cookies (I use Oreos)
    • 1 pint heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee flavoured liqueur
    1. Break cookies into small pieces (kids love to help with this!)
    2. Place 1 cup cookie pieces in bottom of glass 9x13" pan.
    3. Whip cream, adding your choice of flavouring.
    4. Whip till stiff peaks form. (you do not want to sweeten the cream as the cookies will provide enough sweetness.)
    5. Fold remaining cookie pieces into cream.
    6. Pile into prepared pan and smooth top.
    7. Cover with foil and freeze for several hours or until firm.
    8. Remove from freezer about 1/2 hour before serving (or you can serve it frozen) and cut into serving pieces.
    9. Garnish with your choice of shaved chocolate, mini cookies, cherry pie filling or berries.

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    Bread for the Journey

    The beautiful story of Jesus birth resounds in chorus throughout the Christmas Season.
    Today we are celebrating the birthday of Jesus.
    He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords,
    who humbly came to earth to be our Savior.

    JOY JOY FOR CHRIST IS BORN!

    Luke 2:11-20
    "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
    he is Christ the Lord.
    This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and
    lying in a manger."
    Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
    praising God and saying,
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men
    on whom his favor rests."
    When the angels had left and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
    "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord
    told us about."
    So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, lying in the manger.
    When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
    But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
    The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had
    heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

    It is our prayer that you too are celebrating the joy of Jesus birth today.
    Just as the shepherds did, we also want to spread this wonderful news.
    A Savior is born...His name is Jesus.

    From our hearts and home, we wish you a blessed Christmas.

    Lovella, Anneliese, Judy, Betty, Bev, Charlotte, Ellen, Julie, Marg, Kathy

    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    Holiday Morning French Toast With Buttermilk Syrup


    This recipe was passed on to me by a wonderful cook in my husband's extended family.
    Make it the night before and pop it in the oven when you get up in the morning.
    The buttermilk syrup is wonderful and a nice option to the usual pancake syrup.

    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (1st amount)
    • 3 tart apples, cored and thinly sliced (it's fine to leave the apples unpeeled)
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • 1 loaf French Bread cut into 1 inch thick slices
    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1 1 /2 teaspoons cinnamon (2nd amount)
    1. Combine brown sugar, melted butter and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and spread evenly over the bottom of a 9"x 13" baking dish.
    2. Distribute sliced apples and cranberries over the sugar and butter.
    3. Arrange slices of bread over the fruit.
    4. Beat eggs together with milk, vanilla and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon until well blended.
    5. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread, being sure all bread is soaked.
    6. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 24 hours.
    7. Cover with foil and bake at 375º for about 40 minutes.
    8. Uncover and bake an additional 5-7 minutes.
    9. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
    10. Serve with Buttermilk Syrup. ( recipe follows)
    Buttermilk Syrup:
    • 1 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2 tablespoons white corn syrup (the clear kind)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    1. Place all ingredients except vanilla in a large saucepan.
    2. Bring to a boil over low heat and boil for about 7 minutes. Be careful as this syrup will boil over quickly and make a real mess.
    3. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
    This syrup is delicious over any pancakes, waffles or French toast.

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Light Gluten Free Biscuits


    Some weeks ago Colleen Wohlgemuth wrote me a sweet e-mail, and requested a recipe for baking powder biscuits. I had been thinking of working on a biscuit recipe that tasted good -- I didn't have one.

    So I worked on it with different flours ... and I like the flavour and texture of this biscuit recipe.

    You could of course dress it up for the holiday with adding shredded cheese or bacon bits or whatever you desire !

    • 1/4 cup millet flour
    • 1/3 gluten free oat flour
    • 1/4 white corn flour
    • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
    • 3 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp xanthan gum (or guar gum)
    • 1/4 cup cold butter
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 2 tbsp. sour cream
    • 1 egg or 2 egg whites
    1. Mix the flours together thoroughly with the other dry ingredients
    2. Cut in the cold butter
    3. Whisk together the egg, milk and sour cream
    4. Stir the liquids gently and quickly into the dry mixture
    5. Drop by tbsp onto greased cookie sheet
    6. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes

    Enjoy warm from oven - or cold.


    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Layered Gelatin Salad

    A festive salad to serve at Christmas. This layered gelatin salad takes a bit of time to make but it will wow your family!

    Ingredients:
    • 1 small package cherry gelatin
    • 1 small package lemon gelatin
    • 1 small package orange gelatin
    • 1 small package lime gelatin
    • 4 cups boiling water, divided
    • 2 1/2 cups cold water, divided
    • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 cups sour cream
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
    1. Dissolve cherry gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir till gelatin is dissolved.
    2. Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2" pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate till set, not firm.
    3. In a small saucepan sprinkle unflavored gelatin into 1/2 cup of water, let sit for 1 minute.
    4. Stir in the milk and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until gelatin and sugar are dissolved.
    5. Remove from heat, whisk in sour cream and vanilla until mixture is smooth and creamy.
    6. Spoon 1 2/3 cup of this creamy gelatin over layer of the cherry gelatin that has set.
    7. Chill until set but not firm.
    8. Prepare the remaining gelatins as you did the cherry gelatin, alternating the layers of gelatin with the creamy gelatin mixture, allowing each one to set before adding the next layer.
    9. Refrigerate for 7 to 8 hours.
    10. Cut into small squares to serve.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Unbaked Cherry Cheese Cake

    Just last week Anneliese shared a post on Last Times! I think most of us could hardly read that post without a dry eye. Today I am sharing a recipe post, which I remember fondly when Helen, our MIL said that she would no longer be able to make her cherry cheese cake. I remembered this as our 'last' time, enjoying her specialty cake, and am still savoring those last bites.
    So I visited with her this past month, and asked her permission to use her recipe, her pans and tools. She was more than delighted that I would consider keeping this Christmas recipe alive in our family. So I followed her recipe, as she described with full details each step, and realized that I could continue serving Helen's most delightful cheese cake. The beauty of this recipe is that you can make this in advance, a few days before your event. With a bit of optimism, we have been able to revive her recipe for our next Christmas gathering.
    • 1 1/3 cup graham wafer crumbs
    • 1/2 cup butter (melted).
    • 250 grams cream cheese (room temperature)
    • 1 cup icing sugar
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped hazel nuts
    • 1 cup whipping cream ( to be whipped)
    • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla instant pudding powder
    • 540 ml (19oz.) cherry pie filling
      1. Combine graham wafer crumbs and melted butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9" spring form pan.
      2. Chill for 30 minutes
      3. Combine cheese and icing sugar. Mix until blended and fluffy. Spread over graham wafer crumbs.
      4. Sprinkle with hazelnuts
      5. Beat whipping cream, icing sugar, vanilla, and then mix in pudding powder.
      6. Spread over nuts.
      7. Cover pan with saran wrap and chill several hours.
      8. Spread cherry pie filling evenly over all.
      9. Cover again and chill several hours or overnight.
      Now you know why some of Helen's tools hold a high price. This orange lifter is called a Kuchenretter, made in Germany, which is a must in every kitchen. It lifts the cake with ease as it slides onto your platter.


        I can guarantee you that there will never be a Last piece!

        Tuesday, December 20, 2011

        White Chocolate Apricot Biscotti

        Biscotti became rather popular in the local coffee shops a number of years ago and I still love this "Italian dunking cookie" with a good cup of coffee. If you prefer plain biscotti ( the way I got the recipe years ago) omit the orange juice and the last four ingredients, adding 1 cup ground almonds.
        Ingredients:
        • 3 eggs
        • 1 cup sugar
        • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
        • 3 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
        • 1 tsp almond extract
        • 3 1/2 cups flour
        • 2 tsp baking powder
        • 1/2 tsp salt
        • 1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted almonds
        • 1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
        • 3 squares Baker's white chocolate, chopped
        • 3 squares Baker's white chocolate melted for drizzle (optional)
        Method:
        1. Mix first three ingredients with mixer, adding in the orange and almond extract.
        2. Add combined flour, baking powder and salt, then the chocolate, nuts and apricots.
        3. Stir until well mixed. Mixture will be sticky.
        4. Spoon in two rows, side by side, on greased and floured cookie sheet.
        5. With floured hands, shape into logs.
        6. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
        7. Cool 5 - 10 minutes, then cut into diagonal slices.
        8. Separate the slices and spread them out, cut side down, on cookie sheet/sheets.
        9. Bake at 275 F for another 30 minutes, or until just slightly toasted underneath. Flip sides, in between, if desired.
        10. Drizzle (or dip one end) with melted chocolate and allow to harden before storing.
        11. Store in cookie jar or plastic bag in a dry, cool place. These keep a long time.
        Posted by Picasa

        Monday, December 19, 2011

        Dinner Fan Rolls


        My mom loved making these little fan rolls and lately I've been making them instead of Zwieback.
        They are simple and your company will ask you how you did it.
        It makes two dozen which is perfect for most dinner meals.
        Once baked, they freeze really well to serve just thaw and reheat briefly.

        • 2 cups warm water
        • 1 heaping tablespoon dry yeast (or use instant and add it to 2 cups of the flour instead)
        • 2 tablespoons honey
        • 1 egg
        • 1 teaspoon salt
        • 1/4 cup melted lard (you can use any fat you want. ..my mom always used lard. It makes for a moist roll)
        • 4 - 5 cups flour (you can substitute half whole wheat flour)
        • several tablespoons melted butter for spreading over dough
        1. Mix together the warm water and honey and add the yeast unless you are using instant which you will add later.  Let the yeast sit in the warm liquid about 5 minutes.
        2. Add in the egg, salt and melted lard and beat together well.
        3. Add 2 cups of flour and then another two cups of flour (this two cups would include the instant yeast).
        4. Add additional flour to make the dough manageable. Knead 8 - 10 minutes until smooth.
        5. If you use a kitchen machine, allow the dough to knead on slow until it comes away from the bowl.
        6. Cover the dough in a large bowl and allow to rise for an hour.
        7. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
        8. Spread melted butter over the dough and cut into 12 fairly even slices.
        9. Using half the slices, lay one slice over the other and repeat with the remaining dough so that you have two stacks of dough.
        10. Cut each stack into 12 pieces and lay them cut side up into greased muffin tins.
        11. Allow to rise until double and then bake in a 375 oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

        Sunday, December 18, 2011

        Bread for the Journey

        JOY

        Joy is a recurring theme and response to Jesus and what he has done for us. Look at the joy in these verses from the Bible. Take a moment to read through them.

        Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD.
        Zechariah 2:9-11
        When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
        Matthew 2:9-11
        You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
        Luke 1:13-15
        For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
        Luke 1:43-45
        And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
        Luke 2:9-11
        Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
        Luke 6:22-24
        At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
        Luke 10:20-22
        In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
        Luke 15:9-11
        These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
        John 15:10-12
        “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
        John 17:12-14
        And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
        Acts 13:51-52
        Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
        Romans 12:11-13
        Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
        Romans 15:12-14
        …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
        Hebrews 12:1-3
        and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
        1 Peter 1:7-9

        Remember this Christmas season when you see a star, man made or God made, pause to rejoice.
        When you see a babe think of our Savior and rejoice.
        When you see gifts beautifully wrapped think of the very best gift of all we have been given from God through Jesus and rejoice.

        REJOICE with the angels.
        REJOICE with the shepherds.
        REJOICE with Mary and Joseph.
        REJOICE and again I say REJOICE!

        Saturday, December 17, 2011

        Roasted Cornish Game Hens

        Thyme adds a wonderful flavour to these little hens.
        Savoury mushroom stuffing and fresh cranberry sauce
        compliment this holiday dinner party entree.

        Ingredients: (serves 4)
        • 2 Cornish game hens, 
        • fresh thyme
        • salt
        • pepper
        • 1 tbsp butter
        Ingredients for stuffing:
        • 1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
        • 2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
        • 1 tbsp celery, finely chopped
        • 1/3 cup melted butter
        • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
        • 2-3 grinds fresh black pepper
        • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
        Ingredients for cranberry sauce:
        • 3/4 cup orange juice
        • 2/3 cups white sugar
        • 1 tsp orange zest
        • 1 350 bag fresh cranberries
        Method:
        1. Begin by making stuffing. Melt butter in a non stick fry pan. Add chopped vegetables and saute until onions are transparent. About 5 minutes. Add thyme and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs. Allow mixture to cool completely before stuffing hens.
        2. Wash and pat dry hens inside and out. Paper towel works well for this.
        3. Salt and pepper hens all around and place breast side up in a roasting pan.
        4. Scoop cooled stuffing into the cavity of each hen. Do not pack it in. If there is left over stuffing, place it into a greased piece of foil and bake along side. 
        5. Melt the 1 tbsp of butter and drizzle over each hen. Strip thyme stems of leaves and sprinkle 1/2 tbsp fresh leaves over each hen. The butter will help them to stick to the skin. Tie the two little drum  sticks together with kitchen twin to keep the hen from loosing it's shape and stuffing.
        6. Bake covered in 400º oven for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 30-40 minutes. To test  insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thigh of the hen, (not touching bone). It should read 180ºF. 
        Method for cranberry sauce: 
        1. In a small sauce pan stir together orange juice and sugar until sugar is mostly dissolved.
        2. Add washed fresh cranberries. Over medium heat bring to a slow boil. The berries will begin to make a popping sound as they get hot. Reduce heat and continue to cook for 15 minutes. 
        3. Stir in orange zest. Serve warm.
        To serve hens either plate the whole hen and allow guests to share at table, or remove stuffing, and using  kitchen shears cut hen in half down the breast bone and divide between plates. 

        Serving suggestions: garlic mashed potatoes topped with a gravy of mushrooms cream and sherry.
        To make this gravy saute sliced mushrooms in a tbsp of butter for about 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of cream and 2 tbsp cooking sherry. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until mixture begins to reduce and thicken. Spoon a small amount over each serving of potatoes. 
        For vegetables try sugar glazed squash and brussel sprouts, which are not only healthy and delicious but add beautiful colour to your plate. 
        Garnish plates with fresh parsley, fresh thyme and a few shreds of orange zest.


        Friday, December 16, 2011

        Chocolate Almond Roca Slice

        Many years ago, a friend showed up at a Christmas party bearing a tray of these thin and tasty treats.  She explained that she had no Christmas baking in her freezer...but this was one recipe she could whip up and bring on the spur of the moment. The almond roca squares were soon gone and she went home with an empty tray...but she left the recipe behind.  I have made these many a Christmas since...though I am sure they would be good at any time of the year! 


        • 1 package graham wafers
        • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
        • 1 cup butter (the real thing)
        • 1 cup brown sugar
        • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
        1. Line 11 x 17 inch bar pan with parchment paper.
        2. Lay graham wafers in bar pan, cutting crackers to fit snugly.
        3. Sprinkle with almonds and set aside.
        4. Put butter and brown sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a boil while stirring.
        5. Pour carefully over the almond/wafer base.
        6. Place in a 350° F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until bubbly all over.
        7. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips.
        8. Let sit for a minute to melt the chocolate. 
        9. Then run tines of a fork through the chips to spread.
        10. Cool to room temperature.
        11. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes to harden chocolate topping.
        12. Invert the pan onto a cutting board, and cut between wafers with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.  

        Enjoy!

        Thursday, December 15, 2011

        Pineapple Chiffon Pie


        This light and fruity pie can be made ahead and
        is the perfect dessert after a heavy holiday meal.
        It's also a great addition to a summer Barbeque.

        For the crust:
        • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
        • 1/2 cup medium shred coconut
        • 3 tablespoons sugar
        • 1/3 cup melted butter
        For the filling:
        • 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple
        • water
        • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
        • 1/3 cup sugar (first amount)
        • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
        • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
        • 3 egg whites  (if you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system or will serve this to children, it is recommended that you use pasteurized egg whites)
        • 1/3 cup sugar (second amount)
        • 1/2 pint heavy cream
        • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
        • 1/2 - 1 cup toasted coconut
        For the Crust:
        1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.
        2. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9 inch pie plate.
        3. Refrigerate.
        For the Filling:
        1. Drain pineapple, reserving juice.
        2. Place juice in measuring cup and add water to make 1 1/4 cups liquid.
        3. Pour into medium sized saucepan.
        4. Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and let stand to soften for about 2 or 3 minutes.
        5. Add 1/3 cup sugar and stir over medium heat until gelatin is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil.
        6. Pour into a medium sized bowl and add pineapple, lemon zest and juice, stirring to blend.
        7. Refrigerate, stirring every 5 minutes or so until it begins to gel. The consistency should be similar to unbeaten egg whites.
        8. In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
        9. Add 1/3 cup sugar a little at a time, beating until stiff and glossy.
        10. Add beaten egg whites to pineapple mixture, folding until white streaks disappear.
        11. Refrigerate.
        12. In another bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form.
        13. Remove 1 cup whipped cream and set aside for topping.
        14. Add remaining whipped cream to pineapple/egg white mixture and continue folding until well mixed.
        15. Pile pineapple mixture into prepared crust.
        16. Add 1 tablespoon icing sugar to reserved 1 cup whipped cream, beat briefly.
        17. Place in a piping bag with a large tip and pipe a circle of rosettes around edge of pie.
        18. Pipe a few more in the center of the pie.
        19. Sprinkle toasted coconut in center of pie and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
        20. Serves 8.

        Wednesday, December 14, 2011

        Chocolate Topping..Homemade 'Magic Shell'

         This is a quick and simple homemade treat to serve over ice cream and a lovely gift to give from your kitchen!  I am already dreaming of all the different toppings I can make..maybe chocolate with jalepeno! I'll be back in summer with more ideas:)

        Ingredients:
        • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips..or you can chop up your favorite chocolate
        • 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
        • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla 
        Method:
        1. Melt chocolate chips and butter (or coconut oil) in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave another few seconds and stir again until chocolate chips are melted and mixture is smooth. You might need a few more seconds in the microwave but be careful it doesn't burn.
        2. Add vanilla and stir till well blended.
        3. Pour into a glass jar and cover with a lid, I used a jam jar, it's important to pour into a microwavable container.
        4. You do not need to refrigerate as it will keep a few weeks in the pantry.
        5. The next time you have a yearning for this delightful topping just reheat  in the microwave (remember to remove the lid) for a few seconds till it's liquid again.
        6. Spoon or drizzle over ice cream. It will form into a hard shell.
        7. Yield: approx 1 cup  

        Tuesday, December 13, 2011

        Russian Tea Cookies

        These cookies will melt in your mouth.

        Russian Tea Cookies

        1 C. butter
        1/2 C. powdered sugar (icing sugar)
        1 tsp. vanilla
        2-1/2 cups sifted flour
        1/4 tsp. salt
        3/4 cup nuts, finely chopped

        Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, flour, salt and nuts. Mix well. Form into small balls. Place on un-greased cookie sheet. If you want you can flatten them a bit. Bake at 400 F 12-15 minutes. While still warm roll in powdered sugar. After cool, roll again in powdered sugar. Yields approx. 4 dozen.

        Monday, December 12, 2011

        Beau Monde Bread Dip

        This is a really nice dip for a festive gathering. In our circle of friends it has become as popular as Spinach Dip.

        • 1 cup mayonnaise
        • 1 cup sour cream
        • 1 tablespoon Beau Monde Seasoning (found in bulk food stores)
        • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
        • 3 tablespoons minced dried onion
        • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
        • 1 or 2 can of flakes of chicken (optional), or 2 cups of leftover chicken, I always put it in.
        Combine all the ingredients together. Mix well, chill until serving. It is a good bread dip using french bread, pumpernickel, the choice is yours. It also works very well with chips and veggies (the best choice) as well.
        I made this for a progressive supper and doubled the recipe, and there was not a lick left. When I doubled the recipe it served 12, but would easily serve more. I think we may have over done it a wee bit :)




        Sunday, December 11, 2011

        Bread for the Journey


        Last Saturday morning I rushed around . ..
        watching the clock. . .
        timing out what had to be finished.

        I was looking for the details to be perfect. .
        special . . .
         it mattered to me.

        I had invited my beloved's mom... aunts  and his cousin over for lunch.
        They had requested that we get together so that I could sign a few books for them.
        Their suggestion was a local restaurant.
        I had agreed and then felt that a visit at home would be more conducive to conversation and relaxation.

        OH. .the weekend seemed so busy already.
        Did it matter if we met in a restaurant?
        It did.

        What I realized is that the rushing around to make a home special is not wrong when it is a gift of honoring guests.  There are lots of moments where I can relax and reflect on what the Saviour coming to earth as a baby means to me. . .
        but it is okay to have times of rushing around too in preparations.
        I silently thanked the Lord for the opportunity to have these special ladies in our home.  I felt they  deserved to feel that an effort had been made on their behalf.
        Instead of feeling stressed and frustrated . .
        I felt peaceful . .  knowing that it mattered.  My motives were honest and God was okay with my rushing and hurrying.

        They came.
        We shared a simple meal together.
        We looked at photos together.
        We talked about family and those we missed.

        As they left . ..
        I knew that it had mattered and already looked forward to having them over again.
        What good is a warm and comfortable bungalow if I don't open our door? 
        My desire was not to impress . ..
        but rather to bless.
        In the rush of it all . .
        God prepared my heart.

        I was reading in 2 Corinthians 9 this week and the last four verses struck me in a new way.
        I leave you with the last verse.
        "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift."
        2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV

        Saturday, December 10, 2011

        brandy snaps


        The first time I made Brandy Snaps was purely by accident since I added the wrong amount of flour and my cookies spread like wild fire on the pan and turned into delicate pieces of flat lace. I wasn't sure if I should serve them or dump them. . .but when I tasted them I thought they were delicious and quite pretty on a plate. That was nearly 30 years ago and have since discovered there was a name for my mistake. These little lacy cookies can be left flat or made into these pretty little cases that hold a perfect bite of whipped cream.

        • 2 tablespoons sugar
        • 2 tablespoons white corn syrup
        • 1/4 cup butter
        • 2 teaspoons brandy or alternately 1 teaspoon vanilla
        • 1/4 cup flour
        1. Preheat oven to 350.
        2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
        3. Put the sugar, corn syrup and butter into a small saucepan and stir.
        4. Stirring to avoid the sugar from burning. .heat over medium heat until it is bubbling.
        5. Beat in flour and flavorings until smooth.
        6. You will only make 6 cookies per cookie sheet. One teaspoon of batter per cookie.
        7. Watch the cookies closely. ..they will turn from caramel colored to dark brown very quickly. Aim to have them a nice caramel color.. ..about 6 minutes.
        8. Remove the pan from the oven. .wait a few seconds and then roll one at a time over a wooden spoon handle. . .and then remove to cool on a rack.
        9. Repeat until they are all rolled. You will have to work quickly. If they become too hard . .put them back in the oven for half a minute.
        10. Once cool. ..use a pastry bag with a thick tip to fill with sweetened whipped cream that has been stablized with wipping cream stablilzer. .and chill until serving. Don't fill more than an hour before serving. Preferably, have the cream in the pastry bag ready to fill them and do that just before serving
        11. The remaining lacy shells or cookies keep well in a airtight container for several days.

        Friday, December 9, 2011

        Buttermilk Pancake Mix


        This is an idea for that "ten dollar gift for the gift game" or perfect to bring along if you will be an overnight guest during Christmas holidays.
        I found these Batter Dispensers at our local Hom*Sens* store.
        At under ten dollars it gave me a bit of wiggle room to become a bit creative.
        I mixed up some of my homemade buttermilk pancake mix .. .
        put enough for two breakfasts in a ziploc bag and included the recipe.



        Buttermilk Pancake Mix
        • 8 cups of flour (use part whole wheat if you like)
        • 1/2 cup white sugar
        • 5 teaspoons baking Soda
        • 8 teasoons Baking Powder
        • 2 teaspoons Salt
        • 1 cup of Dry Buttermilk Powder (readily available online if you can't find it in Canada)
        1. Mix all together and store in a sealed bag or container in a cool place.
        Buttermilk Pancakes
        • 1 1/2 cup dry Buttermilk Pancake Mix
        • 1 egg
        • 2 tablespoons oil (I am currently using grape seed oil which is wonderful)
        • 1 cup of water
        1. Measure the dry Buttermilk Pancake Mix into a 4 cup measuring cup with a spout.
        2. Add the egg, oil and about 3/4 cup of water. Add enough water to make the right consistency.
        3. Pour into your batter dispenser and create your pancake masterpieces in a greased skillet over medium heat.

        Thursday, December 8, 2011

        Appetizer Kabobs





        This is more of an idea than a recipe.
        It's a colourful and fun way to serve up a variety of tastes and textures.
        The kabobs can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator
        until you are ready to serve them

        Method:
        Use 3 or 4 inch long toothpicks or skewers or, if you like, find some fancy Cocktail picks and use them. The thinner the skewer, the easier it is to thread mushrooms and hard cheeses which tend to crumble if the skewer is too thick.
        Another tip is to anchor the ends with something like a cherry tomato or grape that will keep everything else in it's place.

        For each kabob, choose 3 or 4 of the following; keeping in mind flavours that will enhance each other:
        • prosciutto wrapped melon balls
        • grape tomatoes
        • cold cuts such as Italian salami, prosciutto, roast beef or chicken. Fold each slice into quarters or weave on the skewer so that they don't tear and fall off
        • cheese cubes - soft cheeses such as havarti, German butter cheese, mozzarella or bococcini work best
        • cooked shrimp or prawns
        • red, green or yellow pepper pieces
        • red onion or green onion
        • mushroom pieces - either raw or very briefly wilted
        • fruit - grapes, pear, apple, orange or pineapple
        • hard boiled egg quarters
        • dill pickles or pickled vegetables
        • marinated artichokes
        • canned baby corn
        • meatballs
        • cubed cooked chicken
        • fresh basil leaves
        • zucchini or cucumber pieces
        These are just a few suggestions - use your imagination and be creative with the flavour combinations.

        A few combinations that work well together are:
        • Prawns with cucumber, cream cheese cube and cherry tomato
        • Cherry tomato with basil leaf and bococcini (fresh Mozzarella balls)
        • Havarti with Italian salami, red pepper and artichoke
        • ham with mozzarella, grape and pineapple
        • Chicken with orange and cucumber and butter cheese
        • deli sliced roast beef with herbed cream cheese ball, tomato and dill pickle
        Place kabobs on platter or long tray and drizzle sparingly with a vinagrette salad dressing or a flavoured olive oil (purchased or make your own by adding a tsp. of lemon juice and some garlic or dill weed to the oil). Refrigerate until serving time.

        Wednesday, December 7, 2011

        Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

        Here's a dip that works perfectly during the holiday season...a cranberry salsa paired with cream cheese and served on crackers.


        Ingredients:

        • 1 cups sugar
        • 1/4 cup juice (juice of 1 orange)
        • 3/4 cup water
        • 3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
        • 2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
        • 2 Tablespoons orange zest
        • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
        • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
        • 2-8 oz. (250 gram) pkgs.cream cheese, softened
          Method:
          1. Combine sugar, orange juice and water in saucepan and bring to a boil.
          2. Add cranberries, jalapenos, orange zest, ginger and cilantro.
          3. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 8 minutes or until cranberries burst.
          4. Cool to room temperature and then chill until ready to serve.
          5. Spread a layer of cream cheese on serving platter...and top with cranberry salsa.
          6. Sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro.
          7. Serve with a platter of crackers.
          Cranberry salsa can be prepared well ahead and stored in the fridge.


          Tuesday, December 6, 2011

          Schoene Kuchen/ Butter Cookies with Damson Plum Jam

          I must say that these cookies of all of my mom's cookies are still my personal favorite. A soft buttery cookie filled with her homemade Damson Plum Jam. This summer I asked my mom to teach me how to make the jam just so these cookies would always be in the family. There is nothing out of the ordinary special about them, just simple and good that comes with good memories of my mom making them. Perhaps it is all the love that goes into her cookies that makes Christmas special for us.
          • 1 cup butter
          • 1 cup sugar
          • 2 eggs
          • 2 cups flour
          • 2 teaspoons baking powder
          1. Cream the butter and sugar together really well for a couple of minutes until it is light and fluffy in color.
          2. Add eggs in one at a time and beat well.
          3. Sift together the flour and baking powder, gently stirring that in to the butter mixture.
          4. Chill over night. Dough is very soft to work with it needs to be in the fridge overnight or several hours.
          5. Form into little 1 inch balls and make a dent using you finger.
          6. Fill with Damson Plum Jam or your personal favorite.
          7. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
          8. Let cool on cookie sheet for a minute before you remove it to the cooling rack.

          Monday, December 5, 2011

          Butter Tarts

          Before Christmas I love sitting down with my mom's book of 
          hand written recipes to decide which ones I'll be making.
          Every year without fail I make these butter tarts.
          Each pretty pastry shell is filled with golden raisins
          and topped with brown sugar buttery goodness.

          Ingredients for filling:
          • 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
          • 1 cup brown sugar
          • 1 egg
          • 1/2 tsp salt
          • 1 tsp vanilla
          • 1 cup golden raisins, plumped
          Method:
          1. Beat very soft butter, brown sugar and egg together until creamy.
          2. Add salt and vanilla.
          3. Pour boiling water over raisins. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Drain well.
          4. Do not add to filling. Once you have the pastry shells made, place raisins into each shell. This will keep them uniform.
          Pastry: this is Lovella's favorite pastry recipe that came from our friend Dorothy, but you can use your favourite pastry recipe. 
          • 5 cups flour
          • 4 tbsp brown sugar
          • 2 tsp salt
          • 1 tsp baking powder
          • 1 pound lard
          • 1 egg
          • 1 tbsp white vinegar
          • water
          Method for Pastry:
          1. Measure flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large bowl.
          2. Cut in cold lard until you lard is broken up into pea sized pieces.
          3. In a glass measuring cup beat 1 egg well. Add vinegar and then enough cold water to make 1 cup.
          4. Pour water mixture over flour mixture and stir, incorporating all the dry ingredients. Use your hands to pull the dough together into a ball. 
          5. Sprinkle some flour on your counter or pastry mat. Roll out 1/3 of the dough fairly thin. Using a cup or fluted cookie cutter, but out rounds and place into lightly greased tart tins.
          6. To ensure that each tart gets the approximately the same amount of raisins, I spoon the raisins into the bottom of each unbaked shell. (About 5-8 raisins, depending on the size of your shells.
          7. Pour the butter tart filling over each raisin filled shell.
          8. Bake at 375º for 18-20 minutes. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack.
          This filling recipe makes 2 dozen tarts. I often double or triple the recipe as they freeze well for several months. You will have left over pastry. Shape into discs or line a pie plate or two. Wrap well and freeze.

          Sunday, December 4, 2011

          Bread for the Journey ~ Advent



          December is the month that brings all the outward preparations,
          and all that we have to do to prepare for Christmas.
          Twenty four days of frantic shopping, baking, school parties,
          Christmas concerts and packages to mail.
          December invites exhaustion.

          But let's quiet our hearts for a bit to an inward preparation.
          Let's stop and listen, close our eyes and mind to that quiet place.
          I too, become so quickly caught up in the busyness of the season.
          We have traditionally observed the advent wreath and the lighting of the candles.
          We would gather together on a Sunday evening for a simple meal,
          consisting of some Christmas specialties, with some scripture and prayer.
           One candle is lit each week representing
          Hope, Love, Joy, Peace
          Things have changed as they have all become adults and have their own  lives.
          But still, we gather together with those that are close by and share this special evening.

          What does Advent mean to you?

          Light a candle and say a prayer for a friend,
          Do you have friends dealing with health issues?
          Read a quiet meditation for yourself.
          Play your favorite Christmas music.
          Call someone who needs that word of encouragement from you.
          Is this an opportunity to restore a relationship?
          Bake a few cookies for those single mom's and dad's.
          Give to a cause you believe in.
          A meal for the homeless?
          Coffee with some neighbors?
          Drop a few coins in the Red Kettles as you hear the bells ringing.
          Give a passionate smile and helping hand to the elderly.
           ~~~
          Dear Lord in this season of business and anticipation, 
          renew my sense of wonder and excitement.
          Help me to slow down enough to open my eyes.
          Fill my heart with gratitude for each day, each month, each year of life.
          I pray that a spirit of gratitude will fill my heart as I fill my home with 
          sights and sounds of Christmas.
          May my home, and my family as well as my spirit continue to magnify YOU,
          not just during this season, but all through our lives. Amen

          Saturday, December 3, 2011

          Pie in a Jar

          For a long time I have wanted to make these pies. Thought it would be a fun way to serve pie for my next dinner dessert. These little pies are also perfect to give as gifts especially now at Christmas. Once they are baked and cooled down you can close them with the lids and add a ribbon if given as gifts. Or you can freeze the extra and have them ready when a pie craving hits.
          This is not so much a recipe as an idea of a fun way to serve dessert or give as a gift from your kitchen! You can use this idea for apple crisp or graham wafer crumbs layered with pudding and whipped cream. Or make savoury pies..so many ways to use these jars other than jam.

          What you need:
          • Your favorite pastry dough
          • Canned cherries or any other fruit pie filling..I chose cherries because they look festive and because I really like them:)
          • Wide mouth jam jars
          What you do:
          1. Roll out your pastry like you would for pie. Cut out circles that fit your jars. Push the dough circles into your jars pressing the dough to the bottom and sides to form the crust. If you don't want to cut out the circles, just push pieces of dough into the jar covering the bottom and sides.
          2. Spoon your filling into the dough lined jars.
          3. Using the screw-on ring for the jar, cut a circle of dough and place on top of the filling, pushing down the edges a bit to form the top crust.
          4. Cut a vent on top crust, I used a little tree shaped cookie cutter.
          5. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle a little coarse sugar over top.
          6. Place jars on a cookie sheet and bake at 350º for 40 to 45 minutes.
          7. Remove from oven, let cool.
          8. Serve in jars with a scoop of ice cream or run a knife around the edges and slide pie out to serve on a plate.  

          Friday, December 2, 2011

          Mushroom Turnovers


          Anytime you are willing to do this much work, it has to be something very tasty . . . and these will not disappoint. This cream cheese pastry rolls out easily. I like that you can make the pockets ahead, freeze them unbaked and pop them in the oven when needed. These have been a family favorite on Christmas Eve for many years.

          Ingredients:

          250 g / 8 oz cream cheese, softened
          1/3 cup butter
          1 cup flour

          Filling:

          2 Tbsp butter
          1 medium onion, minced
          ½ lb fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
          ½ tsp salt
          pinch thyme
          2 Tbsp flour
          ¼ cup sour cream
          1 egg, lightly beaten

          Method:

          1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
          2. Add flour, mixing until smooth. Cover and chill.
          3. Sauté onion and mushrooms. Cook until tender.
          4. Stir in salt, thyme, flour and sour cream. Cook until thickened. Cool.
          5. Divide dough in half. Roll out each half very thin (1/8 ") and cut rounds with 2 1/2 - 3 inch cookie cutter.
          6. Drop 1 tsp filling on each circle. Brush edges with egg.
          7. Fold dough over filling. Press edges together with a fork and brush tops with egg.
          8. Prick with fork.
          9. Freeze unbaked. Bake on parchment paper lined baking sheet at 425 F for 12 - 15 min. or until golden. Makes 3 - 3 1/2 dozen.

          Thursday, December 1, 2011

          Syrup Platz (Cake)


          This is an old family recipe - a favourite of my mother-in-law. I remember her making it often from the time I first sat at her table in 1963.
          She always called it Syrup Platz, although I don't really know why since it is more a cake than a 'Platz'.

          I found her hand written recipe (in German, of course) tucked into her Mennonite Treasury Cookbook. It is stained and yellowed and so typical of how her generation preserved recipes.
          On the side she has noted a couple of forgotten ingredients... salt - no amount given, cloves - a little.
          The bake time and oven temperature are written across the top. No method instructions.

          I know today our recipes are so neatly electronically saved, but I wonder if in future years our descendants will have the same emotional connection to them that I have when I hold my mother-in-law's recipe in my hand.

          Syrup Platz Cake
          • 1 cup brown sugar
          • 1 cup syrup (always made with Roger's Golden Syrup - only available in Canada - but corn syrup would work as well)
          • 2 eggs
          • 1/2 cup oil
          • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
          • 3 cups flour
          • 1 tsp baking soda
          • 1 tsp baking powder
          • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
          • 1/4 tsp cloves
          • 1/4 tsp salt
          1. Beat eggs with brown sugar
          2. Add syrup, oil, buttermilk beating until smooth
          3. Add blended dry ingredients and hand mix until smooth
          4. Turn into a 9x13" baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top springs back. (do not over bake as it tends to turn too brown on the bottom)
          5. Wonderful with a dollop of whipped cream or ice-cream - serve warm or cold.
          6. Freezes well.