Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bread For The Journey

 
Fall has arrived and as this season approaches, I love harvesting the fresh fruits and vegetables from my garden.  I love watching the farmers with their heavy equipment, harvest up their last crops and fill their barns, bunkers and silos. I love watching the little ones crunching leaves under their feet.  Over the past weeks one word has crept into my mind,  'Bountiful'. The word bountiful means 'liberal in bestowing gifts and favors.' 'abundant'   This past week Canada was voted as one of the happiest countries in the world.  I feel  privileged that we can live in a country of plenty.  We may live in a happy country, but many of us know that there are many who go to bed at night with nothing. As I look through my pantry I am reminded that we have a bountiful supply put away for the winter.

Life can be very trying at times.  I know there are children who go to our public schools who are hungry every day.  There are those who's bodies have been wracked with pain.  There are those who have recently lost a loved one.  There are those who do not know where they will sleep tonight.  It's difficult to find something for which they can be thankful.
What's it like for you to experience your second year of unemployment, the decision to downsize or move because of economic stress?  Were you afraid to ask for help?  Were we too busy to offer help, or were we too insensitive?
Can we come alongside someone in the coming months and find something, no matter how small it is to help lighten their load?  Maybe it will help them pause and be thankful.
  
It was quite a touching experience to tour the house of Anne Frank last year in Amsterdam.  We all know the story of Anne Frank, who lived in hiding for over two years fearing discovery.  Even during her difficult times, she quoted,
 "I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy."

Proverbs 22: 9 states, "He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor."  (KJV)

Our thoughts for the Thanksgiving season should extend all year long.  Let's extend kindness to those we hold most dear and not neglect those that are in need right now in our own communities.
If you've been blessed with bounty, take that extra step and share it with someone else.  Whatever your position in life, kindness is the most effective and long lasting gift you can give.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Harvest Corn Chowder

Our area is known for growing some of the best tasting corn in the country.  It is readily available all summer and folks drive a great distance to get it fresh at the roadside markets.  Those little stands will soon be closing for the season...but in the meanwhile I continue to be a regular customer. As the days turn cooler, a hearty corn chowder may be just what you need on your menu.


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 pound smoked farmer sausage, chopped  (or four slices bacon, chopped and fried crisp)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3-4 cups fresh potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from the cob (or 4 cups frozen whole kernel corn)
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk (or use half milk and half cream)
  • 1/3 cup chopped  flat-leaf parsley
  1. Heat oil in heavy soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion, pepper and pieces of smoked sausage.  Cook until onion and pepper are soft.
  2. Add chicken broth, potatoes, corn, zucchini and thyme.  Simmer until potatoes are tender.
  3. Combine flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth. Blend in remaining milk.
  4. Add milk mixture to soup pot.
  5. Cook while stirring until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
  6. Add chopped parsley. Stir.
  7. Remove from heat and serve.

 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Peach Melba Dessert Bars

A custard topping makes these peach topped dessert bars somewhat out of the ordinary.
The recipe is made in an 11x14" pan (a cookie sheet with edges) so it is nice for a large group.
I've also halved the recipe to fit a 9"x13" pan.



  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small jar raspberry jelly
  • 1 large can peaches, drained and thinly sliced (fresh peaches work as well)
Topping
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Blend flour and sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl,
  2. Cut in margarine until crumbs are formed.
  3. Add beaten eggs.
  4. Press into the bottom of an 11"x14" baking pan.
  5. Carefully spread raspberry jelly over crust. This can be a bit tricky if the jelly is fairly stiff . You may want to warm the jelly a bit to make it easier to spread or drop jelly by small spoonfuls evenly all over the crust.
  6. Arrange peach slices in tight rows over jelly, pressing slightly.
  7. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven.
  9. Mix topping.
  10. Pour over partially baked crust and return to oven.
  11. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or custard is set and a knife inserted into custard comes out clean.
  12. Cool thoroughly. This should be stored in the refrigerator.
  13. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ginger Carrot Scones



I was introduced to these scones when my daughters prepared a Mother's Day brunch for me back in May. These scones don't need a thing on them . . . they are moist and full of flavor, almost like eating carrot cake.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp dry, ground ginger or 1 Tbsp fresh, grated*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Method:
  1. In mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, ginger and salt, then combined sugar and zest.
  2. With pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat egg with a fork, adding buttermilk and vanilla and stirring in grated carrots.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring with a fork. Gather, using a dusting of flour.
  5. Pat into circle on greased or parchment paper lined pizza pan or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  6. Cut into 8 wedges and pull apart slightly. (may have to flour hands)
  7. Bake at 425 F for about 18 minutes. Allow to cool.

*If using fresh ginger, mix it in with the grated carrots

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

We will soon be celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving. Will pumpkin cheesecake be on your dessert menu? Dark chocolate pomegranate seeds sit on top of little swirls of butterscotch whipped cream.

Ingredients for crust:
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup crushed ginger snaps
  • 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
Method:
  1. Melt butter. 
  2. Stir together crumbs and brown sugar.
  3. Pour melted butter over crumb mixture and stir well.
  4. Press into bottom of lightly greased 10" spring form pan. Set aside.

Ingredients for filling:
  • 3 -8 ounce packages regular cream cheese, room temperature (not light)
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pure pumpkin (not ready to use pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
Method:
  1. Using an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar and beat well.
  2. Crack eggs into a smaller bowl and whisk until pale yellow and frothy. 
  3. Add eggs to cream cheese mixture and beat for 2 minutes.
  4. Using the same bowl as you used for the eggs stir together pumpkin and spices.
  5. Add pumpkin mixture to cream cheese mixture and beat on low until just incorporated.
  6. Whip cream until soft peaks form. 
  7. Gentle fold whipped cream into pumpkin cream cheese mixture. 
  8. Pour mixture over crust.
  9. Wrap one large sheet of foil around bottom and sides of pan. Press against sides.
  10. Place wrapped pan in a baking dish and fill with hot water halfway up the sides of the pan.
  11. Bake in oven that is preheated to 325º. For convection oven heat to 300º.
  12. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Cake will still be jiggly in the centre but will set as it cools.
  13. Cool at room temperature. Remove foil and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill and allow to completely set.
  14. Remove the ring of the spring form pan, and place onto cake plate.
Butterscotch whipped cream:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant butterscotch pudding powder
  1. Whip cream until very soft peaks begin to form. 
  2. Add vanilla and pudding powder. Beat until thick.
  3. Decorate and serve. 
Note: After baking you can keep in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Cover loosely. Add cream when ready to serve.
Any left over cheesecake freezes well. For best results allow to thaw in refrigerator. 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fruit Crumble Dessert - Gluten-free

One of our favourite desserts is fruit crumble.
Of course I make it gluten free but I've heard no complaints on this recipe.
It is always served warm with ice-cream at our house ...  but it is good cold with whipped cream too.
  • 4 cups chopped fruit  -   apples,  plums, apricots, peaches, rhubarb   - whatever is fresh in season or in your freezer! 
  • 2 tbsp instant tapioca  
  • 2 tbsp sugar if fruit is tart 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 rounded tbsp. white corn flour (or brown rice flour)  
  • 1 rounded tbsp potato starch 
  • millet flour to fill 1/2 cup 
  • 1/2 cup gf oat flakes 
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1 envelope of vanilla sugar 
  1. Sprinkle tapioca on bottom of large pie plate  
  2. Spread prepared fruit and sprinkle with sugar if desired 
  3. In 1/2 cup  put white corn flour and potato starch and then fill measuring cup with millet flour
  4. Mix sugar,  flour, oat flakes and vanilla sugar in bowl 
  5. Cut in the butter evenly into dry ingredients 
  6. Pour crumbs over the fruit 
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.   

Monday, September 24, 2012

Church Meatballs / Meatballs in a Tomato Mushroom Sauce


Today is our wedding anniversary. We got married back in 1983 and it was still common for the ladies of the church to prepare the wedding meal. Our wedding meal consisted of fried chicken, church meatballs, mashed potatoes, coleslaw corn and for dessert....Black Forest cake brownies and platz. We also had over 300 people at our wedding.  Today that would not be as easy if you are paying a caterer at a costly price.
These meat balls were a standard fare for any church type of banquet. Wedding, Thanksgiving, Fundraisers, you name it, these meatballs were on the table. Now it seems that these homemade wedding meals are a thing of the past. Just for fun  I will give you the recipe version that feeds 300, and the pared down version to feed a family. I hope you try it and enjoy it. They are great to take along to potlucks and family gatherings. They can prepared days in advance and even frozen. The longer they sit in the sauce the better they are.

For 300-
  • Meatballs made from 30 lbs of ground beef (use your favorite recipe for meatballs)
  • 19 tins of golden mushroom soup (10 oz size)
  • 10 tins of tomato soup (10 oz size)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) each of ketchup and BBQ sauce
  • 1 litre (4 cups) of half and half cream 
Family size recipe

  • 3 lbs of ground beef
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup of dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Shape into little meat balls.
  3. Place onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with a lightly greased sheet of foil for easy clean up.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or til brown.
Sauce
  • 2 cans of C*mpbells Golden Mushroom Soup* (10 oz can)
  • 1 can of Tomato Soup (10 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup of cream of evaporated milk or cream
  1. Combine above ingredients and pour over prepared meatballs.
  2. May be put in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours, or bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  3. Serve with mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and veggies. For dessert a light tasting dessert like Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Icing.
* Sometimes it is difficult to find Golden Mushroom Soup. In place of that Cream of Mushroom with 1 teaspoon of beef bouillon or onion soup mix added per can is a good substitute.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bread for the Journey

The Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus have just completed the Canadian part of their North American tour, and are now on tour in the United States.

God has given them a wonderful opportunity to declare His glory through music.


The concerts all begin with Kim Janzen singing 'Jesus We Crown You With Praise.'
Lives have been touched through the words of this song, and through the other music sung and stories shared of God's faithfulness and love. As you read through the lyrics of the song below may you also be brought to a point of worship in your heart and crown Him with praise.



Jesus We Crown You With Praise


(words by Lanny Wolfe)

Verse 1
The first time You came they crowned You with thorns
As on an old rugged cross You were raised
But the next time You come, it won't be as before
For this time we'll crown You with praise.

Chorus
Jesus we crown You with praise
Jesus we crown You with praise
We love and adore You
Bow down before You
Jesus we crown You with praise

Verse 2
Alpha and Omega
Mighty God, The great I Am
Emmanuel, the Ancient of Days
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Calvary's sacrificial Lamb
We love you and crown You with praise
********



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Pie


For those who love cream pies, this one is a winner with a silky smooth texture, a chocolate cookie crust and just enough peanut butter flavour to please everyone.
You could also make these in individual serving dishes.
Because this filling requires constant stirring, you will want to use a whisk that will get into the corners of the pan.

For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  1. Place cookie crumbs and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Pour melted butter over crumbs and mix with a fork until evenly moistened.
  3. Press into 9 inch pie plate.
  4. Refrigerate until filling is ready.

For the filling:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3  egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Whipped cream, peanuts and chocolate pieces for garnish.
  1. Place egg  yolks in a small bowl, whisk lightly and set aside. 
  2. Place sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt in a large saucepan.
  3. Add milk and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils.                 Please note that this milk mixture scorches very quickly so you will want to keep stirring as it heats or you will notice little brown bits coming up from the bottom of the pan. Be sure to get into the corners of your pan as you stir. 
  4. Continue stirring and boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of the hot mixture to the egg yolks, stirring as you add it.  Continue adding the hot mixture 1 tablespoon at a time and stirring until egg yolk mixture is warm.
  7. Add egg yolk mixture to the remaining milk mixture, stirring as you add it until the two are completely blended.
  8. Replace pot on medium low heat and continue to stir constantly as it cooks for 1 minute more.
  9. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and butter, stirring until well blended.
  10. Pour into prepared crust and refrigerate until chilled.
  11. When pie filling is cold, top with whipped cream and garnish with peanuts and chocolate.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Banana Whole Grain Waffles

Every labor day weekend my extended family has been having a waffle brunch for as many years as I can remember.  We used to all camp that weekend and on the day we were going to go home we would gather one more time and share a meal together. The men would cook waffles on flip style waffle irons on propane cook stoves, (it used to be over the camp fire) and the women made vanilla sauce and fruit sauce to go over the waffles.  My parents are in their late 70's now and continue to host this tradition in their back yard for as long as they are able.  It is a nice tradition to end the summer taking the opportunity to hear how everyone's summer was and a chance to connect before going back to school and work.
I created this recipe due to allergies and lifestyle choices, but it is so good that we can all enjoy it.......I may never make plain waffles again.
This recipe is dairy and egg free, but you would never know it.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons liquid honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk or soy milk
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed bananas *
  1. Combine all the dry ingredients.
  2. Combine the mashed bananas, milk, vanilla and oil.
  3. Add all the dry ingredients into the wet and combine until moistened, due not over beat.
  4. *I used frozen bananas and the moisture content is higher than fresh ones.  If you use fresh bananas you may have to add a little more milk.
  5. Preheat the waffle iron.  I find I need to spray mine a bit with a vegetable oil to keep from sticking from time to time.
  6. Bake the waffles according to your waffle maker, and serve with Custard Sauce, yogurt and fresh fruit. 
  7. If you have left over waffles they freeze well and can be reheated in a toaster or oven for a few minutes.
Custard Sauce (Gluten Free, Egg free and Dairy free)
  • 5 cups of unsweetened Almond milk
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup honey (or sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine the cornstarch with about 1 cup of milk
  2. Heat the remaining milk until almost boiling point.
  3. Add the honey, cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil stirring constantly until thickened. 
  4. Add the coconut oil, vanilla extract remove from heat.
  5. Serve over waffles with fresh fruit.
This recipe yielded about 12 8" waffles.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Square Cookies - Gluten Free


Sometimes failure is the path to something good !
I was trying out a new cookie recipe I developed and found that they did not hold their shape in the oven, but the flavour/texture was so good that I didn't want to mess with changing ingredients.
So I spread the cookie batter on a cookie sheet , baked it and let it cool slightly, then using my pizza cutter cut the pan into squares.
They have a great flavour, slightly chewy.

Square Cookies 
  • 1 cup butter softened 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 tsp. butterscotch flavouring 
  • 1 tsp soda 
  •  2 tsp hot water 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup oat flour (gluten-free) 
  • 1/2 cup almond flour 
  • 1/4 cup white bean flour 
  • 3/4 cup millet flour 
  • 1/4 cup potato starch 
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips 
  1. In mixer, beat butter with sugars , then add the eggs and flavourings 
  2. Dissolve soda in the hot water and add to the liquids 
  3. Mix dry ingredients well and add all at once to liquids and mix until smooth ... stir in chips. 
  4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (important) and spread dough evenly in pan . 
  5. Bake at 350 degrees...  for about 20 minutes.  The cookies will puff up, then settle back down as they turn brown and firm up.  
  6. Remove from oven .. let sit for a couple of minutes, then cut into squares with pizza wheel. Let cool completely.  
  7. Eat and enjoy .. or sneak them into the freezer!  (They are great keepers for several days and do freeze well ) 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quinoa Salad

This hearty salad has a nice flavor and is naturally gluten free. You can add or delete ingredients to suit your own taste buds, too.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup chicken stock

1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped fresh mango
1/2 to 1 cup garbanzo beans drained and rinsed (Chickpeas)
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped green onions
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan combine quinoa with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once it boils reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool completely. You can set it in the refrigerator to speed the cooling.

While the quinoa is cooling prepare the rest of the ingredients. I left the amounts of beans and green onion to your discretion. We enjoy green onion so I added the full 1/2 cup. Mix together all these ingredients with the cooled quinoa and enjoy as a side dish or a meal. You can easily make this a vegetarian dish by cooking the quinoa with water or vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Oh my these pie bites are delicious! No forks needed, just pop them into your mouth! Bite sized treats that are a nice addition to a plate of desserts.
You can use any cream pie filling, they are all delicious! This is also a great way to use up pie scraps when baking pies.

Ingredients:
  • Your favorite pie dough..or use one of the recipes on this blog.
  • Pumpkin pie filling
  • Whipped cream
  1. Mix pie dough, roll out as for pie.
  2. Using a small round cookie cutter, (I used a 1 3/4" cookie cutter) cut as many bites as you will need.
  3. Prick each bite with a fork.
  4. Bake at 450º for 8 minutes or until golden in color.
  5. Cool, then pipe or spoon on filling. If piping, you can use a plastic baggie, fill halfway with filling, cut a small hole in one corner of the baggie and squeeze out the filling onto the baked pie crust round.
  6. Use the same method for whipped cream, pipe or spoon on top of the pumpkin.
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cooked Pumpkin Pie Filling:
  • 2 cups pumpkin, cooked
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. In a saucepan, whisk together all ingredients.
  2. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly.
  3. Cool filling in fridge until ready to use.
  4. Yields: 2 cups
  5. You will need 1 cup filling for 30 pie bites.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Potato, Kale, Farmer Sausage Soup

 

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 link farmer sausage, chopped fine
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 dried chili pepper
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp better than bouillon or 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 2 - 3 cups sliced baby potatoes, skin on
  • 1 sweet potato/yam or 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch kale (6 cups), chopped
  • extra crushed chiles, if needed and extra water if too thick
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup cream
Method:
  1. In a large pot, cook onion and farmer sausage until onion is soft.
  2. Add water and spices (chili pepper and peppercorns tied in cheesecloth) and bring to boil
  3. Add potatoes and sweet potato or carrots. Cook for 20 minutes
  4. Add kale and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Taste for flavor and add more chili if more zip is needed.
  5. Turn off heat and stir in cream. Serve with fresh bread, scones or bread sticks. When re-heating do not bring to boil with the cream in it.
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bread For The Journey


It was cherry season and at our bible study group night we were served a bowl of fresh cherries.  
Rick, our friend and host, shared an interesting insight that he  had regarding cherries. 
He told how he used to examine them and set aside any cherry that was not 'perfect' and unblemished. 
Then one day he discovered that the ones that had a scar or blemish were sweeter than 
those that were without a flaw.  
He commented how he hoped that ,
though he himself was scared by sin and failure, 
 God would still find some sweetness in him as well. 

Curious, I did a google search when I got home and found that Rick was right.  Cherries with a scar are indeed sweeter.  One cause of the cherry blemish is that the  cherry rubs against a branch as it is forming and ripening.
What a beautiful spiritual analogy is portrayed here.
All of us can point to personal  scars or imperfections -  we are flawed by rubbing against the unavoidable but painful or difficult circumstances of life.
In response, it is easy to  put up walls, thicker skin, self-defence reflexes. What we concentrate on is the 'scar' and do not stop to think that it is the challenges of life that build character, that give us strength , that cause us to become the best that God intended we should be. The 'scars' are simply the evidence that indeed we have been tried and tested.  The question is ,... are we sweeter for it ?
Scripture tells us that we can only comfort with the comfort that we ourselves have experience in our time of need or suffering.  It is our own difficulties that teach us the wisdom we need to minister to others in sweetness of love and compassion.

".... God of all comfort, 
who comforts us in all our tribulation, 
that we may be able to comfort those  
who are in any trouble 
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted 
by God."
 II Cor. 1:3b,4

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Maid Rite Burgers

If you are from Iowa, you will know exactly what 'maid rites' are!  They are a loose meat sandwich, made famous almost a century ago by Fred Angell, who opened a chain of restaurants in Iowa called Maid-Rite.  They were the first restaurants to have car-hops and drive-in service in the USA...and their trademark sandwich was what put them on the map.  86 years later, the company is still going strong!  On a recent trip to Iowa, we were served maid-rite sandwiches at my brother's home for lunch.  He told us the story behind the burger...and my sister-in-law shared her recipe.  So today I am sharing a copykat version of the original Midwest icon...served with corn-on-the-cob in true Iowa style.  They are not quite a burger...not really a sloppy-jo...but simply seasoned ground beef on a warm bun.  And apparently they are always served with dill pickles...and a spoon, just to be sure you get every last bit of meat.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  1. Saute ground beef and onions until meat is crumbled and evenly browned. (Use a potato masher to stir while cooking.)
  2. Drain juices.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until most of the juice is gone.
  4. Serve on warm buns, with mustard and pickles.
Tasty and tender!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Fresh Potato and Green Bean Chicken Casserole

Are you curious to know what we eat when we haven't made a plan for dinner?  This time of year it is so simple to walk out to the garden and pick a few fresh vegetables.  
That is what I did one day last week. Granted it is not the prettiest dish to serve but the flavours are wonderful.  You can substitute the chicken for some sausage or bacon or eliminate the meat all togehter.  I had one poached chicken breast to use up from making chicken noodle soup.
The potatoes are ready to dig up and my green beans and onions and cucmbers and peppers are ripe and we can hardly keep up to them.  This is the casserole I put together...using the fresh herbs I am growing as well.  This recipe serves four so double it for a family meal. 
  • 1 diced large poached or grilled chicken breast, sausage or bacon
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 medium fresh potatoes, scrubbed with skin on
  • 4 cups cut green beans
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. fresh summer savoury or 1 tablespoon dried
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  1. Heat the butter in a heavy enamelled cast iron pot or casserole dish. If you are using a  casserole dish add the melted butter.  I have not tested this in a casserole dish. Heavy enamelled cast iron pots always work so well.  They allow food to develop a caramel edging on the potatoes without burning.
  2. Slice the onion and potatoes and place in the bottom of the pot, add the diced chicken, and the green beans on top of that.  I could not live without my mandoline...do you all use one too?
  3. Pour the cream over it all and sprinkle the summer savoury on top.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for 2 hours. Remove lid and allow the cheese to brown in the last 30 minutes.  Serve with fresh veggies.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Applesauce Muffins


This year we had a great apple yield on our one apple tree. We made a big pot of applesauce and now I have to come up recipes that use applesauce. This applesauce muffin recipe was a good addition.
Today is September 13th which happens to be my parents 69th wedding anniversary. I'm thanking God for his faithfulness to them all these years! Happy Anniversary Mom and Pop!

Applesauce Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, beaten
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1-1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup milk

Topping:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup quick cooking oats, dry
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the topping ingredients in a medium bowl and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the ingredients until it's to a crumb consistency.

Combine all the muffin ingredients and stir until moistened.

Lightly grease muffin pan cups or use paper muffin cup liners in the muffin pan. Fill cups 3/4 full and sprinkle generously with crumb topping.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Makes 12-16 small muffins. You can also make large muffins and your yield will probably be about 8 large muffins or more.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Perishky



I recall both of my grandmas baking perishy. The dough for perishy is similar to pie dough, but somewhat a softer dough. I have used numerous dough recipes but this is one I found in my mom's recipe cards not long ago and I have decided it's my favourite. Very soft and flaky, hold together well and bakes up beautifully.

Ingredients for dough:
  • 5 6/8 cups cups flour, (I find that 6 cups is too much, so take away several tablespoons and you should have it right)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pound tenderflake lard (room temperature)
  •  2 cups sour cream
Ingredients for apple filling:
  • 4 cups finely peeled and chopped apples
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
Method:
  1. Measure dry ingredients into bowl.
  2. Work in shortening using a pasty blender until mixture is a fine crumble.
  3. Add sour cream and stir with a fork until you get a soft dough that comes together into a ball. If needed add another spoonful of sour cream.
  4. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead several times to bring dough together into a smooth ball.
  5. Divide dough in half and roll out on a floured board into a thin square. 
  6. Cut into 3" squares. Repeat with second half of dough.
  7. Peel and cut apples into small pieces.
  8. Add sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir well to combine.
  9. Place a small scoop of apple filling onto each square. Pull up the four corners and pinch to seal.
  10. Place on parchment lines baking sheets. 
  11. Bake at 375º for 15-17 minutes. 
These can be made and frozen unbaked. When ready to bake preheat oven to 375º, place on parchment lined pan and bake for 17-20 minutes. 
Yields: approximately 3 dozen
Roll out, cut, fill and pinch.

 Ready to bake....or freeze.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sweet Potato Oven Fries with Maple Bacon dip


Sweet potatoes* are a favourite at our house. I am not fond of the usual chipotle dip that restaurants serve alongside the fries so when I tasted this unusual dip, I took note and decided to make it at home.

These fries are oven baked so they may not be crispy like the ones the restaurants serve but the flavour is amazing and the dip just makes them better. 


Ingredients for the Maple Bacon Dip: (Dip for 8 people)
  • 1  250 g. package cream cheese at room temperature 
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-2 drops liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup prefried and finely crumbled bacon
Method for the Dip:
  1. Beat cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add mayonnaise and mix well.
  3. Beat in maple syrup and liquid smoke. (be sparing with the liquid smoke as it tends to intensify as the dip sits)
  4. Stir in crumbled bacon and refrigerate until serving.

Ingredients for the fries:

  • Several large sweet potatoes (I use the long orange fleshed ones)
  • olive oil - 1-2 tablespoons, depending on how many sweet potatoes you use.
  • Kosher salt

Method for the fries:
  1. Set oven to 425º F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2" slices.
  4. Stack slices and cut into 1/2" sticks.
  5.  In a large bowl, toss with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the fries.
  6. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.
  7. Lay sweet potato fries evenly on pan, leaving space between them
  8. Bake for 15 minutes at 425º.
  9. Using a large metal spatula, carefully turn the fries over and bake another 5-10 minutes.  They should get a bit brown on the ends.
  10. Remove to serving dish and serve with Maple Bacon Dip.
* Sweet Potatoes come in 2 colours - the lighter ones have a yellow flesh and are a bit drier and less sweet tasting than the darker ones with the orange flesh.
Although we often use  the words 'sweet potato' and 'yam' interchangeably, according to Google, true yams are another vegetable altogether and not even in the same family as sweet potatoes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bavarian Pretzels



Our son came home from Germany very enthusiastic about Bavarian Pretzels.  Together we came up with this recipe and did not disappoint his memory of what it tasted like.  We served it with a good quality sweet grainy mustard and German Sausage, like Thuringer.
  • 1 Tablespoon quick rise yeast
  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil (or real butter)
Baking Soda Bath
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
(Be careful not to let the pretzels sit in the baking soda bath for more 10-20 seconds or so because the longer they are in the water the darker they are when they bake.)
  1. Mix 4 cups of flour with the dry yeast, brown sugar and salt.
  2. Add the warm water and oil.
  3. Continue to add flour until you have a nice soft workable dough.
  4. It is best to keep working the dough by kneading it rather than adding more flour.  Adding to much flour just makes the dough tougher rather than soft and elastic.  Be patient, it takes about 8-10 minutes or so.
  5. Let the dough rest about 20-30 minutes.
  6. If you do not have time to make the pretzels right away the dough can be kept in the fridge over night if need be.
  7. Divide the dough into 18 balls and roll each ball into a strip about 18" long like this.



Boil the Pretzels in 3 cups water mixed with 3 tablespoons Baking Soda.
Make sure that the entire pretzel is immersed in the water for 10-20 seconds.




Remove from Water bath.  Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.  (Optional).  Try Parmesan cheese and garlic salt instead or create your own topping favorites.
 Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18 minutes or until golden brown.


This is an example the difference it makes when you boil the pretzels.  The one on the left is boiled, then baked, it has a chewier texture than the one on the right which is just baked.  There is a difference in both color and texture.  We prefer them much better boiled and then baked.  It is totally worth the extra step!

It tastes great with the following Honey Mustard Sauce:
Equal parts Mayonnaise and Dijon Mustard to half a part honey.  It all depends on how much sauce you need, for example-

  • 1/2 Cup Mayo
  • 1/2  cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup of liquid honey
  • You can add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a bit of bite if you like, we like :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bread for The Journey

Act like me. 
That's what Paul said in Philippians 3:17
 
 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine...
and learn from those who follow our example. NLT

How many of us can say that with Paul?

We influence others...
for the good or for the bad.

You are writing a gospel,
a chapter each day,
by deeds that you do,
by words that you say.
~Paul Gilbert 

People are reading what I write.
That's a scary thought at times.


Little people are watching how I live...
what I do and say.

My prayer is that my lifesong is true to my Saviour...
and that I could live a life that sets a godly example...
as Paul did.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Grilled Chicken and Apple on Ciabatta

 
A couple of times now, I've had a sandwich at Earl's Restaurant that I just had to try a similar version of at  home. The one that inspired me is filled with grilled chicken, melted brie, spinach, fig jam and roasted apples . . . just in case you'd like to try it that way.
 
For the bread, you can purchase a ciabatta loaf or make your own if you think about it the night before.  I used Lovella's no knead bread recipe as a base. Instead of shaping it into a ball and placing it in a heavy pot, I dumped the risen dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, stretched it out to the length of the sheet and shaped it (using flour) into a flat loaf.  I let it rise (covered) for two hours and baked it at 425 F for about 30 minutes.
 

Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf of ciabatta bread
  • mayonnaise for spreading
  • 2 grilled chicken breasts (grilled fresh or leftover from day before dinner), sliced
  • 1 round 125g Danish Camembert Cheese, sliced
  • cherry jam or cranberry jelly
  • 1 thinly sliced apple grilled or cooked in 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • sweet pea shoots (or any favorite greens)
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Slice loaf horizontally, then divide into four servings.
  3. Spread every slice with mayonnaise
  4. On bottom halves, place sliced chicken and cheese. Place those in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  5. In the meantime, cook apple slices in 1/2 tbsp butter for about 5  minutes.
  6. Top melted cheese with jam/jelly, apple slices and sweet pea shoots.
  7. Finish off with top slice. Serve with a large green salad and call it dinner. A little messy but so delicious!
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Blackberry Jam

The blackberries are still plentiful here in the Fraser Valley. Several weeks ago I posted a recipe for blackberry syrup. Go check it out! It's really delicious!
I thought some of you may want to know how to make blackberry jam....that is almost like jelly.
Once the jars were filled I quickly made up a recipe of our favourite biscuits, and topped them with butter and jam.
Ingredients:
  • 5 cups prepared blackberries (you will need approximately 7-8 cups of whole berries)
  • 1 box Certo pectin drystals
  • 7 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Method:
  1. Wash berries and drain in colindar.
  2. Place berries in a sieve and smash until only the pulp and seeds remain in the sieve and juice is caught in a bowl beneath. Discard the pulp.
  3. In a large pot stir together the 5 cups of juice from the berries and Certo.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  5. Immediately add all the sugar. Stay with jam at all times and stir constantly.
  6. Continue to stir and bring mixture back up to a full boil. Be careful as hot jam will boil up and over very quickly if you are not careful. Boil for 1 full minute.
  7. Remove from heat and let sit for 3 minutes. Skim off any foam that gathers at the top, and stir well. 
  8. Add lemon juice and stir well.
  9. Fill hot sterilized jars and seal tightly with new sealer lids.
Note: To sterilize jars- pour boiling water into clean jars and over new lids. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Pour out water and have jars hot and ready for when jam is cooked. Place lids in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Dry off lids and have them hot to insure that the jars will seal. 
Smashing the berries.

Separating the juice from the seeds and pulp.

Bring it to a hard boil stirring constantly.

Skim off any foam that collects.

Enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

 There is no shortage of zucchini at this time of year...and here's a great way to serve it.  Stuff with onion, garlic, herbs, cheese and bread crumbs...add tomato slices and grill to perfection!


  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1-2  tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh basil or oregano, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Italiano cheese (combination of Parmesan and mozzarella)
  • 8 grape or cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
  1. Trim the ends from the zucchini and halve them lengthwise. 
  2. Shave a small piece from the bottom side of each piece so that they sit flat.
  3. With a spoon, scoop out a channel from the middle of each zucchini.
  4. Lay the four 'boats' on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper..
  5. Saute onion for several minutes in olive oil.  Remove from heat.
  6. Combine onion mixture, garlic, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, fresh herbs and cheese.
  7. Fill zucchini boats. 
  8. Top with tomato slices.
  9. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350°F for 30 minutes...or until the shells are tender.  (Or grill on medium heat in a closed BBQ for about 15 minutes.) 



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Peach Loaf

We canned peaches last weekend and it was the perfect time to bake a peach loaf as well. I love the blended flavors of peaches, coconut and almond. This loaf is moist and delicious, a perfect coffee break treat!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups peaches, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut
Method:
  1. Peel and chop peaches, stir in lemon juice and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil and flavorings.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients just until combined. The batter will be thick.
  5. Fold in the peaches, pecans and coconut.
  6. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350º for 1 hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes before turning out on a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pepper Jelly Appetizer

This is a very simple and very tasty appetizer that is good to share at any get-together.

1 tub of whipped cream cheese. You can use the brick of cream cheese if you prefer. The whipped variety seemed easier to scoop with the crackers.
1/2 cup any variety of red chile pepper spread or jelly.

Arrange on a nice serving plate and watch it disappear.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal


Is it really time to go back to school?  Parents  everywhere will be scrambling tomorrow morning to get backpacks packed, lunches packed, hair combed while trying to give their children a decent meal before they rush out the door.  You can lessen the misery and chaos by thinking ahead just a bit.
I've been trying various ways of making steel cut oatmeal.
Steel Cut Oats take much longer to cook than even large flake oatmeal and if you enjoy your oatmeal made with milk as we do, care and patience and lots of stirring is necessary to avoid a scorched pot.
Everyone likes their oatmeal a bit different.  Some prefer it still with a bit of chew and others prefer it with a creamy texture.  How do you like yours?  With milk, water, soy milk? Almond Milk?
or...gasp...Instant? 
Regardless of how you enjoy your oatmeal, there is no debate about the goodness and health benefits of beginning your day with a full grain breakfast.




Photo taken right after adding hot milk to the oatmeal and chia seeds in the jar.
30 mintues later the lid has popped to seal and I've given it another good shake.
There are various popular methods for overnight steel cut oats using a slow cooker and for large families that may be the way to go but with just the two of us I wanted to be able to have a formula for just enough for several days without using up valuable refrigerator space with minimal fuss and mess.
If you want to use a different liquid such as water or almond milk, it should be just fine using this recipe.
  • 1 cup Steel Cut Oatmeal  (click here if you want to know what the health benefits of steel cut oats are)
  • 2 tablespoons Chia seeds or Anita's breakfast Boost  (click here if you are wondering what the health benefits of Chia seeds are)
  • 2 teaspoons butter  (optional)
  • 3 cups low fat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Bring 3 cup milk (or water or liquid of your choice) just to a boil.  I do this in my microwave but you can certainly do it on your stove top if you watch it carefully not to scorch.
  2. Put the Oatmeal and Chia seeds and salt butter into a canning jar and add the hot milk.  You may need to experiment a bit on the size of jar you want to use.  If you want to double the recipe just use additional jars and multiply and then divide the recipe.
  3. Screw the lid on tight and give it a shake. (use a tea towel...it will be hot) Walk by every few minutes and give it another shake and after an hour, refrigerate it until the morning.  My lid always seals and so I make enough jars to last a week at a time.
  4. To serve, bring to a boil for one minute on the  stove top or else press the oatmeal setting on your microwave in  individual bowls or the entire jar..minus the lid. If you like a softer oatmeal boil for a few minutes.  
  5. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup, a bit of additional milk to your consistency preference  and fresh fruit...oh blueberries are perfect on top.  How do you top your oatmeal. I'd love some feedback on this recipe.