Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mock Apple Pie

 Have you ever baked a delicious apple pie without using apples? Well here is your chance..and you might just fool someone to think they are eating an apple pie. I did!

Ingredients for the filling:
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 30 buttery crackers, I used Ritz
  • 3/4  teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Combine water, sugar, cream of tartar and bring to boil. Add whole crackers, no need to stir. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell and sprinkle with lemon juice and cinnamon.
Topping:
  • 25 buttery crackers, finely crushed..one 225g box of crackers will do for the filling and topping, you will have some crackers leftover.
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  1. Combine first two topping ingredients, add melted butter and using your fingers or pastry blender mix until crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle over filling.
  3. Bake at 400º for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350º and bake for another 15 minutes.
  4. Serve warm, plain or with ice cream. You will think you are eating apple pie! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Unbaked Chocolate haystacks

My mom called these "Unbaked Cookies" and I'm sure most of you have
a similar recipe tucked away somewhere.
For those who've lost theirs or are interested in a slightly different version, here is mine.
They are easy to make so enlist the help of the little ones.
As you can see, they are a hit with my grandchildren.


  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    1. Cover a large baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Set aside.
    2. Mix oatmeal and coconut in a large bowl and set aside.
    3. Mix sugar and cocoa together in medium sized saucepan.
    4. Add milk and butter.
    5. Bring to a boil stirring constantly.
    6. When mixture has boiled, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
    7. Immediately pour over oatmeal and coconut and mix well .
    8. Working quickly, drop by teaspoonfuls on to prepared baking sheet.
    9. Refrigerate until firm and then place in cookie tins.
    10. Keep in a cool place. Makes about 2 -2 1/2 doz. cookies.

    Sunday, January 29, 2012

    Bread for the Journey

    John 15: 9-12
    The Living Bible

    How do you read your Bible?
    Reading the Bible is a very personal thing.
    We all have our own way of reading it, the version we prefer,
    and the time of day we sit back to read His word
    and listen to what God is saying.

    When I was a young Christian,
    there were times that the Bible just did not make any sense to me.
    I felt like it was written in a way that I just could not understand.
    Have you ever felt that?

    I would strongly encourage you to find a Bible
    with a text or translation that makes the most sense to you.
    It may be a modern day version like
    "The Message", "New International Version" ,
    or the poetry of the traditional version of the Old King James .
    Look here to find out what version is best for you to understand.
    Instead of just reading the Bible on line it is best
    to have a Bible you can hold in your hands to read,
    write notes, underline, mark it up so it becomes the road map of your life.

    My favorite version is the Bible
    that my parents gave to me when I was 14.
    "The Living Bible"
    It is true that any version of the Bible is the living word of God.
    A love letter to you,
    a guide to daily living
    a word of encouragement and hope.
    Don't be afraid to mark up the Bible and highlight
    the verses that are meaningful to you
    .

    When our children went into grade 7,
    they received a new student Bible.
    We had our family and friends mark up the pages and highlight verses,
    write in the side margins of why this verse was important to them.
    That way when they started to read the Bible for them selves,
    these verses would jump out at them and give a chance to read
    the words that are meaningful to the people in their life,
    and perhaps make it meaningful to them as well.
    It also encouraged them to mark up this sacred book
    and make it more personal for themselves.

    My prayer for you this morning is that you have a stirring with in you
    to read God's word, mark up the book and make it personal,
    so that you too would learn for yourself that

    God loves you with an undying love, which he proved giving us
    His son Jesus Christ.



    Proverbs 3: 5 & 6
    The Living Bible





    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Mennonite (?) Egg Rolls - Gluten Free

    I haven't had a Chinese egg roll in a very long time and hardly remember how they taste - I just remember that I liked them !
    I looked at some regular recipes and came up with my own gluten-free version.
    We enjoyed them this evening with Anneliese's 'Chicken Chow Mein' - substituting white rice noodles for the wheat ones .
    So here is my recipe -- a bit of work to prepare but I thought it worth it.

    Egg Roll Filling
    • 10 oz of Mennonite Farmer sausage crumbled (this is the Mennonite part- smile) or use ground pork
    • 1/2 cup of shredded cabbage
    • 1/2 cup of chopped carrots
    • 1/2 cup of chopped green pepper
    • 1/4 cup chopped onion
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
    • 2 tbsp gf soya sauce
    • 1 tbsp molasses
    • salt, pepper (as desired)
    • oil
    1. panfry the sausage or pork in a little oil .. until it is no longer pink
    2. add the vegetables and stirring... cook for several minutes
    3. mix the cornstarch, soya sauce and molasses and pour over the meat/veggie mixture
    4. cook for a couple more minutes
    5. remove from heat and cool
    Wrappers
    • 1/2 cup white corn flour
    • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
    • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
    • 1/2 cup potato starch
    • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 3/4 cup ice water
    1. mix dry ingredients together
    2. whisk egg into ice water
    3. pour liquids over flour mix and stir, then knead into a smooth ball
    4. cover dough with plastic wrap or in a ziplock bag and let it rest for 1/2 - 1 hour
    5. roll dough out fairly thin , and cut into 3 x 4 inch pieces.
    6. add filling making a ridge along the center of each dough piece and fold dough over to make a roll
    7. heat oil and deep fry the rolls until they are golden .
    8. Serve them hot with sweet and sour sauce
    Sweet and Sour Sauce
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 tbsp ketchup
    • 1 tbsp real lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup vinegar
    • 2 tbsp soya sauce
    • 2 tbsp cornstarch
    1. mix all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook until mixture bubbles and thickens.
    (I warmed these rolls in the microwave the next day and they were great! )

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    Baked Fanned Potatoes

     Baked potatoes can be served many ways, sometimes it's fun to do them up a little differently. I liked the way these looked, and they were so pretty on the plate.

    You will need:
    • 2 Russet potatoes, I used large
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 3 teaspoons dried herbs of your choice, I used parsley
    • 2 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
    • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
    • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    Method:
    1. Scrub potatoes and dry on paper towel.
    2. Cut the potatoes into thin slices but don't cut all the way through. Lay a mixing spoon along side your potato, as you cut, the knife will stop at the spoon handle and will prevent from cutting all the way through the potato.
    3. Place potatoes in a greased baking dish and fan them by slightly pulling the slices apart with your fingers.
    4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with melted butter.
    5. Sprinkle your favorite herb on each potato.
    6. Bake at 425º for 50 minutes or until tender.
    7. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheeses and bacon and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and the cheese has melted.
    8. I used quite large potatoes so this served 4 good appetites. 

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Buttermilk Bran Muffins


    With the addition of cottage Cheese...these muffins have hidden protein tucked alongside fiber for healthy lunch box ideas.
    Since discovering buttermilk powder, I am always testing and tweaking old recipes to include buttermilk powder to replace liquid buttermilk. 
    This one is a keeper.

    • 1 1/3 cup boiling water
    • 1 1/2 cups all-bran cereal
    •  1 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup oatmeal
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda'
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup white sugar
    • 1/4 cup buttermilk powder
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 cup raisins or chopped dates
    • 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese
    • 1 egg
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    1. Preheat oven to 400.
    2. Line 1 - 12 cup muffin tin with large paper liners and spray the tin and liners with cooking spray.  They will not stick to the liners this way even when warm.
    3. Pour boiling water over the all-bran in a medium bowl.  Allow to sit while measuring the remaining ingredients.
    4. Put the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, buttermilk powder and walnuts and dates or raisins in a medium bowl and stir well.  If you use dates, use your fingers to break apart the chopped dates and rub with flour to keep separated.
    5. Stir together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. 
    6. Fold the bran-ceral mixture and dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.  You don't want to overstir...use a quick and gentle fold to keep the rising mixture from deflating.
    7. Use a large icecream scoop if possible to divide between the muffin cups.  They will be full.
    8. Bake 25 minutes.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Quick Black Forest Torte

    I first heard of this black forest cake 'short-cut' a few years back from my sister-in-law. She insisted it was moist and delicious...and so simple to prepare. When I needed a birthday cake in short order recently...this recipe came to mind. It went over well!


    Ingredients:

    • 4 cups mini-marshmallows
    • 1 chocolate cake mix
    • 1 can cherry pie filling
    • 1 large container of Cool Whip (or 2 cups whipping cream)

    Method:
    1. Pour four cups of mini-marshmallows into a greased 9x13 inch cake pan.
    2. Prepare chocolate cake mix according to directions on package. Pour over marshmallows.
    3. Spoon cherry pie filling evenly over cake.
    4. Bake at 350°F for about 50 minutes...or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
    5. Cool.
    6. Top with whipped topping. (If using whipping cream, whip 2 cups of cream with 3 Tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until almost ready to form peaks.)
    7. Serves 15.

    And don't forget...the cherry on top!

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Chicken Chow Mein

    This has been a family favorite at my mom's for many years. I call it a Mennonite version of Chinese food, because it really does not taste like any kind of Chinese take out, especially when she serves stewed cabbage with raisins and chicken fried steak alongside with it. All I can say is that everybody loves it!



    Ingredients:
    • 3 chicken breasts (halves)
    • oil for browning
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 3 cups cabbage, finely sliced
    • salt and pepper to taste*
    • 4 - 6 Tbsp light soy sauce (less if using regular)
    • 1 (397g) bag steam fried  or instant noodles
    Method:
    1. Chop chicken into bite size pieces and cook on medium to high heat, in a small amount of oil, in a large frying pan. Using salt and pepper shakers, sprinkle lightly to season.
    2. When chicken looks white on all sides, this should not take long, add onion, stirring until tender and then add cabbage. Salt cabbage lightly using salt shaker. Add more oil if it begins to stick to pan and keep stirring and cooking until chicken is partly browned and vegetables and juices caramelize to a golden color.
    3. Meanwhile cook noodles according to directions on package, until just done, then drain and rinse.
    4. Add ¾ cup water to meat, top with cooked noodles, do not stir, cover and allow to cook on low heat just to steam noodles.
    5. When noodles have heated through, add soy sauce according to taste and toss. Serves 6 - 8
    * if using flash-frozen, pre-salted chicken, it may not be necessary to add any extra salt.

    Posted by Picasa

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Please Help !!!

    Mystery Solved !! I knew our 'smart' readers could do it ! Thank you soooo much !!! You are all wonderful !
    Here is the response from the company's Germany office... Hi! I am the Customer Service Rep at WMF Americas that was contacted about this piece. Our Germany office found it in an old US catalog (2002). It is actually a citrus reamer - used for extracting juices from lemons, limes, etc. This particular piece was discontinued several years ago. check out our website! www.wmfamericas.com
    and
    'thetroikatable' found a picture of it on line dispelling all doubt !

    ***At the end of the day ..... Thank you one and all for your interest and your comments.
    Thorstenveblen, I'm sorry you were bored with my 'fun' post but you are certainly entitled to your opinion... Maybe you just had a bad day ... but I did have to smile at Miss Manners who so politely reminded you to mind yours !
    Thank you, Ashley, I agree -- It MUST be a kitchamajig - and shall henceforth be referred to as such ! smile
    I agree that Foley Fork seems to be the more reasonable answer but it does not seem to follow the normal design of handle ... it is fat and awkward to hold.... here is a photo of it held in a hand.
    Sarah C , I appreciated you e-mailing the company .. what an interesting response! I'm very curious to see if there is a response from the Germany office.

    I thought Esther's idea of a pastry/decorating tool was interesting and I am going to try that.

    Tracy, I'm sorry but my husband forgot where he bought it ... we tried to retrace his 'journey' a couple of days after he brought it home but we could not find another in any of the places he remembered being --- so I'm afraid I can't help you!

    All of your suggestions and ideas were helpful and I enjoyed reading them all ! Thank you so much for making my day !!
    *************************************************************************************

    I just finished reading a book where the author remembers a conversation
    she had in a Middle East home.
    The women gathered there were eagerly offering advice to a young bride.
    One older woman said... "Ohh.. absolutely necessary is for you to have a Motkhenna."
    The author, not familiar with that Arabic word asked what a Motkhenna was.
    The older woman looked her askance!
    "You do not know what a Motkhenna is ?"
    and getting one from the kitchen she explained ....
    "A Motkhenna is important in the kitchen. You can grind wheat or corn for cakes and bread. And you can grind vegetables and tomatoes for sauces. It is 'daruri' (essential) for every wife's kitchen!"
    Smiling politely, the author agreeed to make sure she looked for one next time she was shopping.
    How could she describe her high-powered food processor to a woman who thought her ill-equipped without a stone grinding slab in her kitchen?
    ****
    We recognize that almost as important as as a well stocked pantry, are the appliances and utensils that make our kitchen user friendly.
    Some time ago ... my pastry blender broke and I noted a request for another on the shopping list I handed my husband.
    Thinking that there must be a pastry blender better than the one I'd broken, he came home with a strange utensil that I had no idea what it was.
    No one I have asked has had any idea either !
    Now .. I love a good handy kitchen utensil ... but what do you do with a perfect good utensil for which you have no use ??

    So, I have pictured my utensil in the above photo .. and throw out a challenge!
    Can anyone solve this mystery for me ? PLEASE?
    Surely someone out there must know what it is for !!

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Bread for the Journey


    In the past week or two I've been going through boxes in our crawl space.
    We've lived in the same house for almost 36 years and things have accumulated down there.
    It was time to review, reduce and recycle.

    As I was rooting through the boxes, I came across a number of Bibles:
    our first Bibles, presented to us by our parents when we were still very young,
    his parents' family Bible, his mom's Living Bible,
    a German Bible published in the early 1900's plus several more.
    Seeing all these Bibles reminded me of the importance of this Book in my walk with God.

    The next morning in Church, the speaker told a story that challenged me.

    A missionary shared Jesus with a man who was a Shaman in his home village in Laos.
    The Shaman prayed to receive Christ but the missionary had to leave that same day.
    So he asked the missionary - "What do I do now?"
    The missionary asked him if he could read. Hearing a "yes", he gave him a Bible.
    "Start reading in John", he said, "and do it."
    He did, and 2 years later when the missionary met this man again,
    he had led 800 people in his village to Christ.

    That is the Christian walk in a nutshell:
    Pick up God's Word.
    Read it and Do it!

    Do not merely listen to the Word... Do what it says.
    James 1:22

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    White Chili


    This is a tasty chili that will feed a crowd. Plan ahead because you need to soak the beans.

    Ingredients:
    1 pound Great Northern white beans, rinsed and picked over
    2 pounds chicken breasts (2 large half breasts are about 2 pounds)
    1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
    2 cups onions, chopped
    4 medium garlic cloves, minced
    2 – 4oz. cans chopped mild green chiles
    2 tbsp. chili powder
    1-1/2 tsp. each of  cumin, and dried oregano leaves
    1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    1/4 tsp. cayenne
    salt and pepper to taste
    8 cups chicken stock
    3 cups Monterey Jack cheese shredded and divided
    sour cream
    salsa
    fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

    * Place beans in a large, heavy pot. Add enough cold water to cover by at least 3 inches. Cover and soak overnight.
    *Spread a little butter on the skin of each half breast of chicken and season it. Place on shallow pan and roast in 375 degree oven till cooked through. Let cool. Remove skin and bones and cut chicken into cubes.
    * Drain beans into large colander. Heat oil in same pot. Add onions and saute over medium-low heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and cayenne. Saute 2 minutes. Add beans and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 hours. Add additional water or broth if necessary. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. When you are ready to finish the chili cover and bring to a simmer before continuing.) Add chicken and 1 cup of cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Ladle chili into bowls. Serve with remaining cheese, sour cream, salsa and cilantro leaves to sprinkle on top.
    Of course it’s up to you which of these additional ingredients you add to your chili.
    We also like to serve this with some warm cornbread.
    Serves twelve to fourteen…

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Ground Chocolate and Oat Cookies

    Cookies are always a good lunch box or afternoon coffee break treat. The grated chocolate bar and ground rolled oats in these cookies make them slightly different than regular chocolate chip cookies. The peanut butter is really good in these cookies, but can easily be replaced with soy butter or by replacing the 1/3 cup peanut butter with another 1/3 cup butter.

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup butter, room temperature
    • 1/3 cup peanut butter (see description above for substitutes)
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cups rolled oats, ground in blender
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 regular size grated milk or dark chocolate bar, I used a Hershey bar

    Method:
    1. Cream together butter, peanut butter, sugars and eggs. Grind oats and add along with flour, vanilla, salt and baking soda. Mix well. Grate in chocolate bar and mix until just incorporated. 
    2. Drop onto lightly greased or parchment lines cookie sheets. Bake at 350º for 12 minutes. 
    3. Remove to cooling rack immediately. 

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Italian Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup


    This is one of our favorite restaurant soups.
    Once I developed a recipe we loved...my beloved said. ..."well there is another thing that we don't need to go out to eat." Almost anything you can find in a restaurant can be duplicated and often it ends up being tastier than the original. 
    If you like spicy food...give this one a try.
    If you want to tone down the heat of the soup..simply use mild Italian Sausage.
    Another option is to add the crisp fried bacon to the crumbled fried sausage.
    Either way...we like it.

    Makes 4-6 servings.
    • 1 lb / 450 grams bulk Hot Italian Sausage (remove casings if bulk is not available)
    • 1 large onion
    • 3 large cloves garlic
    • 1 pound  small yellow potatoes  (they will keep their shape in the soup)
    • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • 1 red bell pepper
    • 1 bunch kale to make 5 cups
    • 1 cup evaporated milk
    • Italian cheese for topping (optional)
    • 4 slices crumbled crisp fried bacon (optional)
    1.  Add the Hot Italian Sausage to a large pot over medium heat and scramble fry until browned. Use a stiff egg lifter to chop it apart to form small crumbles.
    2. Remove from heat and put the sausage and bacon into a colander over a bowl. Allow to drain well and then discard the fat.
    3. Chop the onion and mince the garlic and fry in the same pot which has a bit of drippings from the  sausage over medium heat until the onion is translucent.
    4. Add the sausage  back to the pot.
    5. Scrub the potatoes and slice them with the skin on. Add the potatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
    6. Slice the pepper into small pieces and break the kale into bite sized pieces. Add to the soup and simmer 10 minutes.
    7. Add the evaporated milk and heat through.
    8. Garnish with Italian Cheese, crumbled crisp bacon and serve with crusty bread.

    Guess what?  One of our own is celebrating a milestone birthday today!  Happy Birthday Judy.
    Why don't you go over to Judy's Front Porch blog and wish her a wonderful day.    I've already been there and she doesn't appear to be home...so better still write a note and she'll find it when she returns!

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Bread Pudding with Warm Vanilla Sauce

    On new years day I make new years cookies, which us Mennonites call portzelky.
    I'm always happy when there are some left over portzelky for making bread pudding. Thick sliced day or two old raisin bread works well in this recipe, and since it's not deep fried like portzelky, the bread would be a healthier choice. This is most definitely a comfort food and not to be eaten after a big meal.

    Ingredients:
    • 4 cups portzelky or raisin bread, cubed
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1/3 cup butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs, well beaten
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    Method:
    1. Cube bread and place in a well greased souffle or deep dish casserole dish.
    2. In microwave or on the stove top heat milk and butter together just until butter melts.
    3. Stir in sugar.
    4. Beat eggs and add to milk mixture. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over bread cubes.
    5. Bake in pre-heated 370º oven for 30 minutes. Lower heat to 350º and bake another 20-30 minutes.  During the last 20-30 minutes you may want to loosely lay a piece of foil over the top if it is getting too dark.
    6. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. This helps the pudding to set.
    Warm Vanilla Sauce
    • 1/2 cup cream
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp white sugar
    • 1 tbsp vanilla
    • pinch salt
    In a small sauce pan stir together first 3 ingredients. Set over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture bubbles and sugars are dissolved. The sauce will thicken in about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and a pinch of salt. 
    Serve warm over warm bread pudding. Ice cream is a nice choice for a topping as well.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Skillet Steak Dinner

    Steak tenders smothered with tomatoes, peppers, onions and mushrooms...and served on a bed of noodles. That's my idea of a perfect winter comfort meal. I made noodles for the first time recently....just like my mother-in-law used to. I decided to make a skillet steak to go with the noodles...just like my mother-in-law used to as well. Good meals make for good memories!


    Ingredients:

    • 2 lbs. sirloin steak
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 1 can diced tomatoes (19 oz. / 540 ml)
    • 1 can mushroom soup (14 oz. / 398 ml)
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons molasses * (optional)
    • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 sweet pepper (green, red or yellow) julienned
    • 1 can sliced mushrooms (14 oz. / 398 ml)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

    Method:
    1. Cut steak into serving size pieces.
    2. Combine flour, salt and pepper.
    3. Dredge steak in flour...and pound each piece.
    4. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat.
    5. Brown meat well on all sides.
    6. Add diced tomatoes.
    7. Cover tightly and simmer for 1 hour.
    8. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to mix well.
    9. Cover tightly and simmer 30 minutes longer.
    10. Serve on a bed of noodles or rice.
    * I'm sure the molasses could be left out, but it adds a nice flavour.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Apple Pear Salad


    I got this salad idea from my friend Verna.
    The dressing is especially good although I've reduced the sugar a bit for less sweetness.
    The picture was taken in the summertime when I'd substituted a nectarine for the pear.

    Salad:
    • 1 head romaine lettuce
    • 1 unpeeled apple, (Gala or Fuji)
    • 1 unpeeled pear - use your favourite variety
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cashews
    • 1 cup swiss cheese, or use 1/2 cup swiss and 1/2 cup cheddar
    Dressing:
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
    1. Make dressing: Combine all ingredients in a salad dressing shaker or in a blender.
    2. Mix well and set aside.
    3. Wash Romaine lettuce and tear into bite sized pieces
    4. Core and cut apple and pear into small pieces
    5. Place salad ingredients into a large salad bowl, keeping back 2 tablespoons each of the shredded cheese and cashews.
    6. Shake dressings once more and drizzle over salad.
    7. Garnish with reserved cheese and cashews and serve immediately.
    Serves 8



    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Bread for the Journey


    This is not a recipe I am sharing today..the photo does fit into my story though.

    "What would you do if Jesus came to spend some time with you?"  I heard this song playing on the radio today, a song from long ago, it caught my attention..'what would I do?'
    -would I serve him a delicious meal plated up beautifully like the photo above?
    -would I place my opened Bible on the coffee table to a favorite passage and  honestly say I had been reading His book faithfully and doing what it teaches?
    -would I re-arrange my shedule and take time to sit and listen to Him?
    Of course I would want to do all this and more, to give Him my best. I would also want Him to know that I would strive to be more attentive to the needs of others, reaching out a helping hand when needed.
    This is my prayer then, that I will be obedient to do God's will. To live my life in such a way that I would not be ashamed to 'have Jesus come to spend some time with me.'

    Matthew 25: 40
    ..... 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Cheesey Scalloped Carrots

    This is such a good casserole to bring to a potluck dinner. It is an excellent vegetable side dish that rounds up all the other dishes at a potluck together nicely.

    I just have to share this recipe that I got from my friend Sandi. It was a big hit at our Bible Study Potluck Dinner. (Today is Sandi's birthday, help me wish her a Happy Birthday!)

    • 8 cups of sliced carrots
    • 1/4 cup of butter or margarine
    • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup of flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
    • 2 teaspoon prepared mustard
    • 2 cups of milk
    • 2 cups of grated low fat sharp cheddar cheese
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup of crushed garlic croutons or equal amount of bread crumbs
    • 2 tablespoons melted margarine
    1. Cook carrots in salted boiling water until tender.
    2. Drain.
    3. Melt a 1/4 cup of butter in a separate sauce pan.
    4. Add onion and cook until clear and soft.
    5. Mix in the flour, salt, pepper, and celery salt
    6. Stir in mustard and milk until it boils and thickens.
    7. In a 9x13 inch pan, layer half of the carrots, half of the grated cheese, and another layer of carrots and grated cheese.
    8. Pour over all of the sauce.
    9. Top with bread crumbs and melted butter, adding garlic to taste, or use crushed croutons.
    10. Bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes until browned and heated through.
    11. Serves 8-10

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Brunch Pie

    A hearty breakfast, a luncheon or dinner dish . . . you choose. Add fruit or a salad and call it done.

    Ingredients:
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • 2 cups frozen hash browns
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1/4 tsp celery salt
    • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
    • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
    • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
    • 1 cup shredded cheese
    • 1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
    • 6 eggs
    • 3/4 cup milk
    Method:
    1. In frying pan, melt butter and cook hash browns about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and celery salt.
    2. Spread into greased pie plate and top with mushrooms, red pepper, onion, cheese and bacon.
    3. Whisk together eggs and milk and pour on top.
    4. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
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    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Squash and Leek Casserole


    I saw a recipe for a squash casserole just before Christmas that I thought I'd like to try.
    However, by the time the casserole made it into the oven it was completely different than the recipe that had caught my interest.
    I've made my version twice now but the second time I roasted the squash instead of boiling it which added even more flavour.
    Everyone enjoyed it at the New Year's Poltluck we attended
    so I'm sharing the recipe with all of you.
    • 1 large butternut squash
    • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 carrots coarsely grated
    • 2-3 large leeks (1 1/2 cups thinly sliced)
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
    Sauce*
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • 1 1/2 cups milk or light cream
    • 1 envelope chicken boullion
    • 1/4 cup white wine
    • salt to taste
    • generous sprinkle of seasoned pepper ( like Montreal steak spice)
    • sage - 1/4 teaspoon dry or a small handful juliened fresh sage
    Topping:
    • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup crushed cracker crumbs (I used Vinta crackers)
    • 1/4 cup melted butter
    • 1/4 tsp. dry sage
    1. Cut off top and bottom end of squash.
    2. Using a potato peeler, peel squash.
    3. Cut squash in half, scoop out and discard seeds and stringy bits with a spoon.
    4. Cut squash into 1 inch cubes.
    5. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper
    6. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, turn squash onto pan and roast for 15 minutes at 400 º oven or until squash is just barely fork tender. Do not over bake as the squash will be too soft otherwise.
    7. Cook grated carrots until barely tender and drain.
    8. Prepare leeks. Cut each leek lengthwise (not all the way through) and hold under running water to wash out any sand.
    9. Place leeks on cutting board and cut into halves. Slice thinly into 1/2 circles.Discard dark green ends.
    10. Wash sage and cut into thin julienne pieces.
    11. In a frying pan, heat butter and oil and add sliced leeks and about 1/3 cup fresh sage.
    12. Saute' at medium high heat until tender and just starting to brown, stirring frequently.
    13. Meanwhile, start sauce.
    14. Melt butter in microwavable bowl and add flour. Mix well.
    15. Add milk, a little at a time, stirring well with a whisk.
    16. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes at a time, whisking well after each interval.
    17. When sauce is thick, add boullion, sage and white wine, whisking well.
    18. Season with salt and seasoned pepper to taste.
    19. Place squash, carrots and leeks into a glass or ceramic 9x13" pan and pour sauce over. Gently fold ingredients together until mixed.
    20. For topping, mix crumbs and butter with seasonings and sprinkle over squash.
    21. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until casserole bubbles.
    22. Serves 8.
    * The original recipe called for cream of chicken soup and sour cream as the sauce so you can use that if you are short of time.


    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Lemon Pull-Apart

     These lemon pull aparts are easy to make and are a satisfying snack for that afternoon coffee break or a great addition to your brunch menu. You use a biscuit dough for this recipe and it doesn't take very long to put together.
    Ingredients for the biscuits:
    • 2 cups flour
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
    • 2 eggs
    • Buttermilk 
    1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
    2. Using a pastry blender cut butter into the dry ingredients.
    3. Crack eggs into a cup, add enough buttermilk to fill up 1 cup. Lightly mix eggs and buttermilk with a fork.
    4. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients.
    5. Mix only until flour is incorporated, handle as little as possible to make light biscuits. The dough will be sticky and in order to roll into balls you might need to add a wee bit of flour. The dough should still be slightly sticky.
    6. Take pieces of dough and roll into 17 balls.
    7. Roll each ball into following mixture: 
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, I used pecans
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
    1. Combine ingredients and roll the balls of dough in this mixture.
    2. Place in a greased 9" round pie pan.
    3. Bake at 400º for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
    4. Invert immediately on a plate.
    5. Cool slightly and drizzle with glaze:
    Glaze:
    1 cup icing sugar
    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Green Beans and Carrots

    Here's a quick vegetable idea I got from my sister's daughter in law Ingrid.
    Summer Savoury is the secret to the wonderful flavour of this simple side dish.
    Adjust the amounts of vegetables to number of guests you are serving.
    One thing to remember when cooking any vegetables is to not over cook them.
    Ingredients:
    • carrots, cut into sticks
    • fresh green beans
    • 1-2 sprigs fresh or dried Summer Savoury
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    Method:
    1. Cut carrots into sticks and place in a pot with water and 1/2 tsp salt
    2. Place fresh green beans in another pot along with the Summer Savoury. Add water to cover about 1/2 the beans.
    3. Bring both pots to a boil. Carrots are good boiled till done, but you want to steam the beans until they are fork tender. You do not want either of the veggies over cooked and mushy.
    4. While the veggies are cooking in a small fry pan saute onions in the butter.
    5. Drain veggies well and remove Summer Savoury. Toss veggies together with the sauteed onions. Serve immediately.

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Creamy Cheesecake

     This cheesecake has a surprise in the crust and a subtle almond flavor that makes it different than a basic cheesecake. It is creamy just like it's title says.

    Creamy Cheesecake:
    Crust:
    2 Cups finely ground graham crackers
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 Cup walnuts (chopped)
    1/2 Cup butter, melted
    Filling:
    2 (8 ounce) blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    1-16oz. & 1-8oz. carton of sour cream

    Crumb Crust: In a mixing bowl, combine crust ingredients together with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick spray. Firmly press the mixture over the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the pan, use your fingers or the smooth bottom of a glass. Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.

    Filling: In a large bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute just until smooth and free of any lumps. Gradually add the sugar & salt and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and the beaters during process. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla & almond extract. Blend in the sourcream. The batter should be well mixed but not overbeaten. (Overbeating incorporates too much air and will cause the cake to puff when baking, then fall and crack when cooling). Pour filling into crust-lined pan and smooth with a spatula.


    Water Bath: If you choose to use the water bath method of baking you have a better chance of having a crack free cheesecake. Set the pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides. This will prevent water from seaping into the springform pan. Carefully set the cake pan in a larger roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

    Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle, it will firm up after chilling. Be careful not to overbake! Do not insert toothpick or anything in cake’s center, this will cause a crack. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Chill in refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours to set up. Remove from springform pan and transfer to cake plate. Cut and serve.

    This cheesecake does not need a topping but if you want to add color you can add a topping. Blueberry, Raspberry, or Strawberry would be nice. You can use the canned prepared pie fillings or make your own.
    Enjoy
    Note: Ovens vary, if this temp. and time doesn’t work for you try 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Bread for the Journey



     
    One of the simple things in life that I keep giving thanks for is a private, hot shower. Maybe I’ve read too many books about hostages or inmates who don’t have this convenience, not to mention the children I saw floating on shacks along the banks of the muddy rivers in Indonesia. I don’t know about you, but it makes me appreciate something I would not want to live without. There is nothing like soap and clean, warm water after working up a sweat or getting chilled while walking in the rain . . . and the wonderful feeling of being clean again.

    There is another kind of feeling clean that is even better.  I can hardly live with myself when I know I’ve grieved the heart of God.  What I mean by that is that sin strains relationships and keeps us from experiencing peace.
    So, on a spiritual level, I need cleansing and refreshing.

     In Psalm 51:7, 10 it says,
     “. . . wash me and I will be whiter than snow. . . Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

    And in Psalm 32:1
    “Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight.”

    Being forgiven by God and those we have wronged is the best kind of feeling clean. Sometimes I wonder why it takes me so long to humble myself to ask forgiveness, when there is nothing quite as wonderful as a restored relationship.
    Let us not drag along our sack of unforgiven sins into the New Year, but rather leave them at the cross and allow the blood of Jesus to wash us white as snow.
    This is the way to a truly Happy New Year.
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    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Turkey Chow Mein


    Chow Mein is a great way to use up leftover meat and well worth keeping a few staple items in your pantry. This recipe is quick to put together and can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd. You can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes and that includes chopping vegetables.

    • 6 oz /170 gram package steam fried noodles boiled according to package instructions
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 1 medium onion sliced
    • 1 cup celery sliced
    • 2 cups sliced cabbage (use bagged coleslaw mix to save a bit of time)
    • 1 red bell pepper julienned
    • 2 medium carrots julienned
    • 1 cup snap peas sliced
    • 1 can mushroom soup
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 -3 cups leftover julienned turkey or chicken or pork
    • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
    1. Boil the water for the noodles while you slice and prepare your vegetables. Once the water is boiling, salt it and cook the noodles and drain and set aside in a colander.
    2. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion first. Allow to fry for a minute or two and then add all the vegetables except for the snap peas and green onions.
    3. Stir fry until the vegetables are tender.
    4. Add the mushroom soup and soy sauce and meat and heat through.
    5. Add the snap peas and noodles and bring to a simmer.
    6. Garnish with green onions and serve.
    Serves 4

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Crispy Jumble Cookies

    Now that the Christmas baking has disappeared...it might be time for some extraordinary ordinary cookies!  My grandson loves to bake cookies when he comes to visit...and they all must include chocolate chips.  Here's an old favorite that I pulled out of the archives...one that my children would remember from their lunch boxes of years gone by.


    Ingredients:
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups Rice Krispies or Special K cereal
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional 

     Method:
    1. Beat butter and sugar together until well blended.
    2. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
    3. Combine flour, soda and salt.  
    4. Add to creamed sugar mixture and mix until combined.
    5. Stir in rice cereal and chocolate chips (and nuts). 
    6. Drop by tablespoon onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
    7. Bake at 350° F for  10-12 minutes...or until lightly browned.
    8. Allow to cool for several minutes, and then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.  Or better still...eat them warm!
    9. Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Turkey Quesadilla's with Cranberry Sauce

    What should I make with these leftovers?
    I'm sure we all have some in the refrigerator that were not eaten during Christmas.
    Soups, casseroles and sandwiches are all good choices for using them up. 
    A tortilla shell filled with turkey, chopped up veggies, and cheese makes a quick and satisfying lunch.
    Treat your taste buds to a bit of savoury and sweet by topping this quesadilla with cranberry sauce.

    Ingredients: feeds 2-3
    • 4 tortilla shells
    • 2 cups chopped left over turkey
    • 2 cups Monterrey jack cheese, grated
    • 2 tbsp diced chilies 
    • 4 tbsp your favourite salsa
    • red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, chopped fine to make a total of 1 cup
    • butter
    Method:
    1. Chop up meat and veggies. Grate cheese.
    2. Lightly spread one side of 2 of the tortilla shells with butter. Lay butter side down on grill.
    3. Top each tortilla with cheese, saving half the cheese. 
    4. Stir together the salsa, chilies, meat and veggies. Divide between the two tortillas over the cheese.
    5. Top each with the remaining cheese.
    6. Butter one side of the two remaining shells and place butter side up on top of the mixture.
    7. Turn grill to medium heat. Grilling a little bit lower will ensure the ingredients inside the quesadilla get really hot while browning the outside evenly to a nice crispy exterior.
    8. To serve top with cranberry sauce for a sweet finish, or sour cream and salsa for a bit more spice.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Nutty Fruit-Filled Muffins


    On a recent trip down the baking aisle I noticed some parchment paper cups. I had never seen them before. I just want to say that these take the guesswork out of muffin baking. Cupcakes are a no brainer . . . you use paper cups. But muffins are always a guess. I like the way they look without the paper, but I don't want to chance having to pry them out of the pan. For this reason parchment paper cups are great to use for butter tarts and muffins that can leave behind a sugary or fruity mess. The following recipe comes from my friend, Karin, shared during the days when we would get together for coffee and play dates with our kids.

    Ingredients:
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted (or oil)
    • jam filling
    Streusel
    • 1/4 cups nuts
    • 3 Tbsp flour
    • 3 Tbsp sugar
    • 3 Tbsp butter, room temp
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

    Method:
    1. Prepare muffin tins and pre-heat oven to 400 F.
    2. Combine streusel ingredients, using a pastry blender to make a crumb mixture. Chill.
    3. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
    4. In a separate small bowl, combine eggs, milk and melted butter, then stir into dry ingredients.
    5. Fill each muffin tin with about a tablespoon of batter, making a small indentation.
    6. Place a teaspoon of jam on each center and cover with the rest of the batter.
    7. Sprinkle with crumb mixture.
    8. Bake for 20 - 25 min.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Apple and Cabbage Cole Slaw


    This is a quick and easy salad to put together and tasty enough for everyday or serving company. A bag of Cole Slaw mix is the secret.
    • 1 bag of Cole Slaw mix
    • 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion
    • 1/2 cup of plumped raisins (soaked in hot water and drained)
    • 1 large apple chopped with the peel left on
    • 1/2 cup of toasted slivered almonds
    • 3/4 cup of light mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup of sugar
    • 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar
    1. Combine the Cole Slaw mix with the onion, apples and raisins.
    2. Combine the Mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar.
    3. Pour over Cole Slaw mixture, and sprinkle with almonds.


    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Cranberry Orange Bars with Almonds

        cranberry almond bars 2

    The orange and cranberry add a fresh twist

    to this variation of Butter Tart Bars.

    Base:

    • · 2 cups flour
    • · 1 cup butter
    • · 1 cup granulated sugar

    Topping:

    • · 1-2 cups Dried cranberries, slightly chopped
    • · 4 eggs
    • · 2 cups brown sugar
    • · ¼ cup flour
    • · 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • · 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • · 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • · zest from one orange
    • · ¾- 1 cup whole, unblanched almonds, coarsely chopped
    1. For the base, cut butter into flour and sugar until crumbly.
    2. Press into 15 x10 inch pan.
    3. Bake for 15 minutes at 350º.
    4. Remove from oven and sprinkle chopped cranberries over crust.
    5. For Topping, place all ingredients except almonds in a bowl.
    6. Beat with a spoon until well blended.
    7. Pour over base and sprinkle with chopped almonds.
    8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350º.
    9. Let cool for 10 minutes and then cut while still warm with a knife or bench scraper dipped in hot water.

    These bars freeze very well.

    Cranberry almond bars

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Bread for the Journey


    When I slice a loaf of bread I am always struck by the fact that once sliced a loaf of bread can never be whole again .
    I feel some sense of contrition that my deliberate action
    has irretrievably changed something whole and beautiful!
    And yet the popular saying ... "Greatest thing since sliced bread!"
    makes the sliced loaf of bread a standard
    by which all other inventions measure their value!
    Why ?
    Because until the loaf of bread is 'sliced' it is useless...
    It is only when it is broken into 'pieces' that it can fulfil the original purpose of the loaf...
    to feed and nourish those who partake of it.
    ***
    For all of us as we look back over the past year,
    it is sliced into memories of seasons, experiences and events-
    These slices have affected us, emotionally, physically, and mentally-
    some filled us with joy , some with sorrow or despair.
    We have God's promise that if we trust Him He will
    work the slices of 2011 together for our good ...
    growing us in wisdom and strength and faith.

    The year before us
    2012
    is a whole loaf ..... it has not yet been sliced
    We know not how the knife of time,
    will slice the 'loaf' of this new year,
    but God already knows
    and we can safely put our trust in Him
    that He will provide all that we will need !
    *******
    "Blessed be the Lord, who DAILY loads us with benefits!"
    Psalm 68:19
    ******
    We, the girls of MGCC,
    wish you a very Happy New Year ...
    May all your 2012 'slices' be loaded with the sweetness of God's love!