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Bread For the Journey

Easter Song
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
That we can be born again.
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
“Christ is risen from the dead.”
The angel up on the tombstone
Said “He is risen just as He said.
Quickly now,
Go tell His disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead!”
Joy to the world,
He is risen, alleluia,
He's risen, alleluia;
He's risen, alleluia!
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
That we can be born again.
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
“Christ is risen from the dead.”
The angel up on the tombstone
Said “He is risen just as He said.
Quickly now,
Go tell His disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead!”
Joy to the world,
He is risen, alleluia,
He's risen, alleluia;
He's risen, alleluia!
Words: Keith Green 

Matthew 28:6-7

English Standard Version (ESV)
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”

Christ is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed!
Happy Easter Everyone!

Saturday in Anneliese's Kitchen

At our house special occasions are a good reason to make sugar cookies.
So, while Natalie and I were each rolling out our doughs, I chose my cutters . . . a baby chick, a bunny and a tulip cutter. They looked like they would be easiest to decorate and . . . they had no long skinny necks that would easily break.
Noticing that I had left out the church. My not quite seven-year-old granddaughter chided me with,
"But Mimi! Easter is about Jesus, It's not just about fun things!"
So, even though my cookies are decorated and packed away . . .
some given away . . .
 her words are still ringing in my head.
Easter is about Jesus!

Good Friday 2013

On this Good Friday let us pause to remember God's great sacrifice in sending His only Son to die for our sins.  Because of His obedience to the Father, His willingness to take on the limitations of humanity and the sins of the world, we are assured of absolute forgiveness and glorious life after death.  We will rise with Him from the grave and live eternally.
The following hymn not only describes what Christ suffered but expresses so well my gratitude and love for Him.

 O sacred Head, now wounded, 
 with grief and shame weighed down, 
 now scornfully surrounded 
 with thorns, Thine only crown: 
 how pale Thou art with anguish, 
 with sore abuse and scorn! 
 How does that visage languish 
 which once was bright as morn! 

 What Thou, my Lord, has suffered 
 was all for sinners' gain; 
 mine, mine was the transgression, 
 but Thine the deadly pain. 
 Lo, here I fall, my Savior! 
 'Tis I deserve Thy place; 
 look on me with Thy favor, 
 vouchsafe to me Thy grace. 

 What language shall I borrow 
 to thank Thee, dearest Friend, 
 for this Thy dying sorrow, 
 Thy pity without end? 
 O make me Thine forever; 
 and should I fainting be, 
 Lord, let me never, never
 outlive my love for Thee. 
Text: Anonymous; translated by Paul Gerhardt and James W. Alexander
Music: Hans L. Hassler, 1564-1612; harmony by J.S. Bach, 1685-1750 

Ranch Salad Dressing

Here in the valley the weather has been so lovely. My chives are standing at least 8"tall...lush green and so fresh tasting. Dill and parsley will be added to my little herb garden. During the winter months I'm thankful I can buy fresh dill and parsley to add to my home made ranch dressing. If you don't have room in your yard don't let that stop you from planting herbs. This is the perfect time of year to find a good size container, fill with soil and plant some herbs. You'll enjoy their fresh addition to many dishes.
Ranch dressing is our grand children's favourite and this recipe is nice served over a spinach or green salad or used as a fresh vegetable dip.

  • 1/3 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash hot sauce
  • 1 tsp finely minced chives
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
  1. Measure all ingredients into the blender container. 
  2. Blend well for one minute.
  3. Pour into a jar with a lid. Store in refrigerator. 
This is a small recipe and can easily be doubled. I date my fresh dressings and only keep for up to one week.

Cinnamon Biscuit Roll

This was a favorite of mine to bake when I was a young teenage girl. I would bake up a number of these cinnamon biscuit rolls for our lunches for school the next day. My siblings loved it because that meant there would be a change from the usual bologna sandwiches. I remember packing my lunch kit full of rolls and then I would trade at school with goodies from my friends lunches. And I was picky, I didn't trade off a roll just for anything. In the end I ended up with a pretty good variety of items. I'm not sure why my Mom allowed me to pack just these rolls for a lunch although I think she enjoyed the stories of my trades when I came home from school. And mind you I wasn't allowed to bake these rolls just anytime I liked. Maybe it was on those days when there wasn't much else to pack. I'm sure I used more sugar and cinnamon now than I would have been allowed to back then.

Biscuit  dough: (or use your favorite recipe for biscuits)
  • 2  1/4 cups flour plus extra for rolling out dough.
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut in cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • Milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Cut in 1/2 cup butter cubes until crumbly.
  3. Crack 2 eggs in an 8 ounce measuring cup and fill cup with milk.
  4. Whisk until combined and stir into dry mixture just until combined.
  5. Form into a ball and roll out to approx 16" x 18" size, using only extra flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick to the counter.
  6. Spread melted butter on dough.
  7. Mix together brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the dough. 
  8. Roll up as for cinnamon buns, sealing edges and ends.
  9. Place roll on a parchment lined cookie sheet, the parchment is great for clean up in case your seal doesn't hold well. 
  10. Bake in a 400º oven for 20 minutes until golden in color.
  11. Cool and cut in slices.

 Here is a lunch kit packed with cinnamon biscuit rolls.  This one belongs to my husband. I wish I still had mine.

Does anybody still have their old lunch kits?

Bread for the Journey

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the lord. 
Hosanna in the highest!
Palm Sunday for the Christian today is a day of great celebration and a day of great sadness all at the same time. On this day Jesus entered Jerusalem with thousands of people crowded in the streets rejoicing and hailing Him King. Within a week, he would be dead. How could this be? The very people that were singing Hosanna, were going to be shouting Crucify Him! Two thousand years ago, the people didn't have the benefit of knowing what we know today. They didn't know that there would be a resurrection! They didn't know of Easter. We have the hope today of the resurrection, but also the knowledge that we are the reason for His crucifixion. He paid the price, for you and I. I pray that as you enter Holy Week, it is done with the assurance and knowledge that God loves us so much that his Son died for us that we may have eternal life with him. 

Mark 11:1-10 (NLT)
Jesus' Triumphant Entry

As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 

"Go into that village over there, " he told them. "As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, "What are you doing?" just say, "The Lord needs it and will return it soon." The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. As they we untying it, some bystanders demanded, "what are you doing, untying that colt?" They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they we permitted to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields.  Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, "Praise God! Blessing on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessing on the coming of Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in the highest heaven!"

Saturday at Marg's Kitchen

Marg loves to start Saturday with a 'sleep in'

 Next on my agenda is a freshly brewed cup of coffee, preferably in bed.
Most Saturdays for me are very unstructured.
A bit of baking or tidying up and a time to catch up with family.
Many times it's a phone call or a quick text.
"Coffee on?"

It was a while back when my kids told me to start texting.
I have also learned that they only respond by text if it's of priority to them.
Do you know how to get your kids to respond quickly?
This morning I text them and inquired if anyone was game for fresh cinnamon buns.
You can see by the collage that they all responded within 4 minutes.

So I quickly whipped up a batch of Gooey Cinnamon Buns (MGCC pg.128)
I had made the dough the evening before which gave me a head start. (MGCC pg.116)

Coffee and fresh baking have always brought friends and family together.
My Saturday's have come along way from my early growing up years.
We too had a very structured Saturday which meant washing, cleaning, and baking.
Yes, I too had to lay out the newspapers and polish the shoes.
And the cows had to be curried and groomed for Sunday.

But there's an interesting twist to this story:
I remember one special day, Saturday, March 18, 1963, when I was 11 years old.
I had completed all my duties and even had my bath.
Do you know what it's like to share one bathroom with 9 people?
My hair was even squeaky clean.
The cows were milked early.  The chores were completed. 
 I was ready to father had planned a special outing.
He was the youth leader at that time in Clearbrook Mennonite Brethern Church.
And he was taking us to watch some of his youth play basketball in the provincial champion game.
We drove all the way to the UBC War Memorial Gymnasium.

It was one of my earliest highlights that I can remember,
watching MEI win the provincial championship game of 1963.
Little did I know that my future husband was also attending the same event.
And to this day, many Saturday evenings are still prioritized for basketball.
Last weekend, once again we saw a former classmate,  bring his team to the
provincial championship. It was also a weekend of celebrating with the champions of 1963!
Yes, I too had my bath again and made sure my hair was squeaky clean.
But I don't think I really cared if the chickens were fed or not.

But what caught my eye at the game became quite astonishing.
In front of me sat a young fan, cheering on her team.
She was beating her wooden spoon to the tune on a bread pan.
I immediately thought that she must be Mennonite!
Mennonites can not only cook, but they can also cheer.

So put on a fresh pot of coffee and call someone up...
I don't think they will refuse.

Tomato Soup, Whistler Style

Several years ago my sister, my cousin and I spent a weekend in beautiful Whistler BC.
  We had lunch in a small sandwich place in the Village and enjoyed this soup. 
 Here is my version of it.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup finely sliced cabbage
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 can tomato soup undiluted
  • 1 can water
  • 1 can milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • freshly ground pepper
  • sour cream for garnish (opt.)
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan and add onion and celery.
  2. Saute' for a few minutes and then add cabbage and garlic.
  3. Continue to cook and stir for another 5-8 minutes until cabbage is wilted but still has some crunch left.
  4. Place vegetables into a pot and add remaining ingredients.
  5. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the flavours come together, another 5-10 minutes.

Homemade Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Sauce

In the photo --  gluten-free brownie , Charlotte's Chocolate Black Bean  or my Coconut Flour Brownies -- served with vanilla ice-cream and Caramel Sauce.    

I know these sauces  are easily bought but I like to make my own and find the flavour superior to the commercial brands.  Isn't home made always better ?

Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • 3 tbsp water 
  • 6 tbsp butter 
  • 3/4  cup whipping cream 
  1. Put sugar and water into a small sauce pan and place on medium heat, stirring constantly. The sugar will melt, then crystallize then melt again.  When it melts the second time, watch it carefully -- still stirring until it turns a lovely caramel colour. Be careful not to let it get too dark or it will be bitter. 
  2. Add the butter,  stirring until it melts. 
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly,  then add the cream stirring until smooth. 
  4. The sauce will thicken as it cools.   It can be warmed in microwave  before serving if desired.  
  5. Store in fridge. 
 Chocolate Sauce 
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa 
  • 3/4 cup white sugar 
  • 1/4 cup white corn syrup 
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla  
  1. Melt butter in sauce pan. 
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa , stirring until completely smooth. 
  3. Add the sugar,  corn syrup and milk 
  4. Return to the element and cook until mixture comes to a boil. 
  5. Remove from heat and add vanilla. 
  6. Sauce will thicken as it cools.  
  7. Store in the fridge.  
NOTE:  These Sauces keep well in the fridge --  mine usually get used before I worry about them but a couple of weeks to a month should be fine! 

Whole Wheat and Flaxseed Rolls

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for a sandwich and saw some interest in the hearty rolls. I decided to take on the challenge of duplicating the rolls I had purchased at a bakery and here is my very simple, almost fat free, version.
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups hot tap water (not scalding hot)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed (can grind with coffee grinder)
  • 2 cups multigrain flour - if you can't get multigrain (made by Robin Hood) then do a mixture of 1 cup unbleached white, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup rye or whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup flaxseed)
  • whole flaxseed, sesame seeds, rolled oats for dusting
  1. In a mixing bowl (or in bowl of stand mixer that has a hook attachment) mix all ingredients in order given, up to and including the yeast.
  2. If using a stand mixer, switch to hook attachment and continue to add dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time until dough can be shaped into a ball, using greased or floured hands. If not using a mixer, stir with spoon and knead in last of flour by hand, a little at a time.
  3. Make sure there is enough room in the bowl for dough to double in size. Cover with tea towel and plastic bag (just laid on top to help create humidity) Rise about 45 minutes
  4. Divide in half. Sprinkle rolling surface with a mix of rolled oats, sesame seeds, flaxseed and a light dusting of flour. Roll each half out to about 7" x 18". Beginning at long end, fold rolled out dough twice, so that you have three layers in the roll. Stretch it a tad if you want to.
5.  Cut roll into into six or seven pieces. Lay rolls on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
      Repeat with other half of dough. Cut a small indentation on top, using serrated knife.Cover with   
      tea towel and plastic. Let rise 30 - 45 minutes.
6.   Brush with cream and dust with grains of choice. Bake at 400 F for 15 - 18 minutes.

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Sweet Chili Chicken with Wontons

Not long ago I ordered an appetizer at Earl's restaurant that I really enjoyed and knew I could come home and make it.
Here's my version of  the tender chicken pieces and crunchy wontons covered in a Sweet Thai chili sauce. Perfect as an appetizer or simple supper served with a side of rice and broccoli cole slaw.

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 wonton wrappers, cut into 1/2" strips
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Sweet Thai chili dipping sauce ( I used a brand called VH from Safeway)
  • 2 tablespoons thin slices green onions
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  1. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
  2. Place oil in non stick skillet. Turn to medium hot heat and add chicken. 
  3. Stir fry chicken in oil until light golden brown and no pink remains and is fully cooked. This will not take long. Once done remove from heat as you complete the following steps.
  4. While chicken is cooking, pour vegetable oil into a pot to a 2" depth. Place over heat and once hot deep fry 8-10 wonton strips at a time. They will only take about 15-20 seconds to crisp up. With a strainer spoon remove to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Deep fry remaining wonton strips until they are all done.
  5. Heat Sweet Thai chili sauce in a small sauce pan or microwave. 
  6. Once chicken and wontons are done, place together in a large bowl. Pour hot sauce over and gently stir to coat.
  7. Turn out onto a serving platter and garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Coconut Curry Ginger Squash Soup

I took the flavors that we enjoy as a family and combined them in this hearty, nutritious and  filling soup. Using Vegetable Broth instead of Chicken broth makes this a vegetarian meal. I used squash that I had gotten from my friends garden in fall. The squash kept well for months in a cool closet. We prefer this soup with a bit of kick, so I added the hot sauce, or chili flakes, topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
  • 2 squash, it doesn't matter what kind
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoon of red curry paste or curry powder
  • 2 apples with the skin on, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive, or coconut oil (I used coconut)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14 ounce can of lite coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Sambal or Sriracha Chili paste optional
  1. Cut the squash in half. Take out the seeds. Place on a parchment lined baking pan for easy clean up, cut side down and bake in a 350 oven until the skin is dark in color and the inside is soft about 60 minutes. (Check intermittently, the cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash.)
  2. In the meantime while the squash is roasting, saute the onion, carrot, celery garlic until softened in 1 tablespoon of oil. 
  3. Add the broth, the curry and the apple and cook 45 minutes.
  4. When the squash has cooled, the peel comes off easily. Add the soften squash to the soup and continue to cook another 40 minutes.
  5. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or blender. Return to heat.
  6. Add the coconut milk and season to taste.
  7. We like things a bit spicy around here, some more than others, so I pass the chili paste at the table and each can add the amount they want to their bowl if they choose.

Bread For the Journey

In the past several months we have walked through
tough times with several of our close friends.
My first inclination on hearing difficult news is to ask "Why Lord?"  
"Why does [this friend] have to go through this terrible situation?"  
"[These friends] have trusted you all along and yet still they face one hard thing after another. Why Lord?"  
"Why do [these friends] have to go through this loss, this crisis?"

At a friend's daughter's funeral recently the pastor reminded us that the question is 
not "Why?" but "Who?"  
"Who can we call on in times of trouble?" 
"Who loves us more than we can imagine?"
 "Who knows where we are right now and what we are feeling?"  
"Who is walking with us all along the way?"

The answer to all of these questions is "GOD!" 
He alone can be trusted, He alone is in control. 
Without Him there are no answers to the hard questions; 
no reasons for difficult times and worst of all, 
no hope.

In my devotions over the past few weeks, the theme of HOPE reappeared time and again.

Romans 15:4
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures might have hope.(NIV)

Hebrew 6:19
We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, both firm and secure.(NIV)

Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.(NIV)

In difficult times we, as believers in God, have this hope through Christ's sacrifice and 
HOPE, as an anchor of the soul, is both sure and steadfast.(NKJV)

Saturday in Lovella's Kitchen

This really should be called Friday in Lovella's kitchen because I took these photos yesterday.
Are you all testing out the lemons and oranges at your favorite market to find the juiciest and the least seeded ones?
Every year I look for the ones that I like best and then buy enough to get me through the Easter season.

If you haven't started making Paska yet,
this coming week is as good a time as any to get thinking about it.
We are so excited to be doing a Easter meal at Lepp Farm Market again this year.
This is the third year we are not only demonstrating how to make Paska but also demonstrating Creamy Homemade Scalloped Potatoes, Plumi Moos, serving up fresh dressing Coleslaw and also Lepp Farm Market Ham which all of us just think is the best.

The class is filling up quickly so if you want to come do call them today to reserve your spot.
Here is the link to the class information.

Here are a few photos of the beautiful produce and us getting ready...
from our past classes.

As always...the proceeds from the class will help equip the kitchen at  Matthew's House.
Call a friend and invite her to join you...
and we'll see you there! 

Once your Paska is in the bowl rising...
you have time to tidy your space and pull out a few Easter decorations.

Thank you dear ones for popping by my bungalow  this Saturday.
Before you go...

Meyer Lemon Loaf

The Meyer lemon (named after Frank Meyer in 1908) originated in China...and is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. It is rounder and more orange than the typical lemon and somewhat sweeter.  It has become very popular in recent years after being featured by the likes of Martha Stewart.  Though it was previously mostly a backyard is now being grown commercially on a wide scale in California.  I'm working my way through a basket of Meyer lemons over here...and enjoying them every which way.  Here's a moist and yummy lemon loaf.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • zest of 3 Meyer lemons
  • 1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice *
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Grease two loaf pans (abvout 4 x 8 inches each).
  2. Cream butter and sugar with mixer until until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  5. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, lemon juice and zest.
  6. With mixer on low, add flour mixture and liquids alternately in three additions.
  7. Beat just until smooth.
  8. Divide batter equally between the two loaf pans, spreading to smooth the top. 
  9. Bake for 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Cool for about 15 minutes, before removing from pan.
  11. Allow cake to cool completely on a rack before glazing.
*Zest the lemons before extracting juice.
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  1. Stir icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  Glaze should be pourable but not too thin.
  2. Set rack with loaves over parchment paper and pour glaze over cakes, allowing it to run down the sides.

Shrimp Dip with Pesto

This is a simple but tasty dip that can be made up in a few minutes.
  • 1 8 ounce / 250 g package Cream Cheese at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon / 15 ml mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml prepared Pesto
  • 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml small cooked bay shrimp
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • about 1/2 pound / 250 g grated cheese -Your choice of Mozzarella, Jack or Swiss  
  • Chopped green onions or parsley
  1. Beat cream cheese with mayonnaise until smooth.
  2. Spread cream cheese in an even layer to the edges of a serving platter.
  3. Spoon Pesto over cream cheese, leaving an inch of the cream cheese as a pretty border,
  4. Distribute shrimp over pesto.
  5. Top with a layer of chopped tomato.
  6. Sprinkle grated cheese over tomato and top with chopped green onions or parsley.
  7. Cover and refrigerate until serving. 
  8. Serve with crackers.

Pineapple Casserole

This may seem an unlikely casserole, but it does pair well with ham and would make a nice hot side dish for your Easter dinner. It tastes like a pineapple crisp so you can enjoy it as a dessert too. Either way it's a winner.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons lemon gelatin powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (540 ml / 19 oz) can pineapple tidbits, reserve 1/2 cup juice
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 52 Ritz crackers, finely crushed
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice
  1. Drain pineapple tidbits and set aside, reserving 1/2 cup juice for the topping. (you can use the remaining juice to use as part of the water)
  2. In saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin powder till well combined, add water (I had 1/2 cup of remaining juice so I used that with 1/2 cup water) and mix until smooth.
  3. Place over medium high heat and bring to a boil, whisking continuously until mixture thickens, remove from heat.
  4. Stir in drained pineapple tidbits, set aside to cool.
  5. For the topping, mix crushed Ritz crackers, 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice, and melted butter until crumbly. The crumbles will be quite moist.
  6. Add grated cheese to the pineapple mixture and pour into a 8" x 8" greased pan.
  7. Spread topping over pineapple mixture.
  8. Bake in a 350º oven for 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
  9. Serve warm as a side dish with your Easter ham or as a dessert.

Chicken, Bacon, Leek Pizza

 Adding leeks to this gourmet pizza was inspired by a caramelized-leek pizza I saw in Country Living recently. For the crust you can use any ready made  purchased shells. You can make your own, using the French Bread recipe or take 1 - 2 cups of a bun dough and pat it into a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Let rise 30 min and bake until just done.
  • 2 lightly baked pizza shells
  • 1/3 cup Caesar dressing
  • 1-2 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 12 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 leek, washed, cut lengthwise and sliced
  • 10 -12 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese (mozzarella, asiago, provolone, Parmesan)
  • 1 tsp hot chili flakes
  1. Lightly spread pizza shells with dressing and cooked chicken pieces.
  2. In large saute pan, cook bacon until almost crisp. Drain all but about 1 Tbsp of bacon drippings. Add bacon to pizza.
  3. To pan, add leeks and cook while slicing mushrooms, then add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until leeks are wilted, but still bright green in color, about 10 minutes.
  4. Divide between prepared pizza shells, cover with cheese and sprinkle with chili flakes.
  5. You can freeze one if you only want to bake one. Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
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The Final Oatmeal Cookie

"Gather a bouquet of nice things each day!"  - Wonderful advice that would surely include a perfect oatmeal cookie shared with someone you love!
Oatmeal cookies have always been my favourite cookie and although I have made and posted other gf oatmeal cookie recipes they were never quite good enough for me to stop trying to tweek a better recipe version.
This Final Oatmeal Cookie will satisfy that for me!   This cookie from mixing to eating has none of the undesirable characteristics that  a gluten free cookie can have.
While the recipe is a fairly large one,  extra cookies can be frozen or freeze some of the dough for future 'warm out of the oven'  cookies that leave a kitchen mess-free!

Final Oatmeal Cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter - room temperature 
  • 1/4 cup shortening 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 white sugar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla 
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 1 (4 serving size)  box of instant vanilla pudding 
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup millet flour 
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 3 1/2 cups gf oat flakes 
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnut pieces
  • OR  instead of the cranberries/walnuts , add your own variations -  raisins, chocolate chips. 
  1. Whip butter and sugar , then add eggs and vanilla and beat. 
  2. Add the instant vanilla pudding and the milk and  beat until perfectly smooth. 
  3. Add the blended dry ingredients all at once , mixing well. 
  4. Stir in the oat flakes and the cranberries and nuts.    
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet (greased or lined with parchment paper)  - flatten slightly with fork. 
  6. Bake for 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 
  7. Try to eat just one ! 

Bread for the Journey

Life is short.
We have had a number of funerals in our church family in the last while. You often hear the words, 'life is so short', with loved ones wondering why they didn't do more for the one who passed on, maybe more phone calls, visits, sending flowers or sharing a meal together. We can't keep beating ourselves up because of it, often knowing we did as much as we could. It is a good reminder though that we can do more of those things for those still with us. So go ahead, make that phone call, visit your loved ones or plan a meal to share together. You will never regret it.
My Dad often said "give flowers to the living, don't wait till they are gone" meaning not just in the giving of flowers but showing you care by spending time with those you care about.
God cares for us and we need to share that caring with others.

Philippians 2: 1-4
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but also to the interests of others.

Saturday in Betty's Kitchen

My daughters came to spend Saturday with me. What a special treat. I don't have a routine for Saturdays so am ready to have different things happen. We decided we would bake buns and while the dough was rising we chatted and laughed, just enjoyed being together.

When the dough had risen Alison punched it down. She remembered that I had let her do this when she was little. And you can tell she enjoyed doing it again. I would also give them each a ball of dough and they could form a small pan of their own buns which sometimes took the shape of little teddy bears. We laughed about that as sometimes the dough took on a grayish look when they were done. She talked about the memories of the smell of fresh baking wafting throughout the house and of eating the buns hot from the oven with butter melting into them. Another memory, that I let the buns rise in the sunshine by the  living room window and that they had to be careful as they ran around in there so they wouldn't knock them over. 

When baking buns for my family many years ago I would always bake a pan of sugar buns as a special treat on baking day. My Mom used to do the same when I was a little girl, although she did not add cinnamon to the sugar. I continued the tradition for my children and my grandchildren. It still is a favorite and they are best hot from the oven.
Sometimes I made fry bread, taking pieces of dough, flattening them out and deep frying them. Very good with Roger's syrup. They can also be shaken up in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon which I found out much later that they are quite popular and known as beaver tails.

The sugar buns have risen and are ready to bake. The tea towel belonged to my mother. I treasure these things from another generation.

Here is Brenda taking the first pan of buns from the oven. She is enjoying the wonderful aroma of fresh buns. She remembers that she could hardly wait to have buns hot from the oven with butter and Roger's syrup. As a little girl she had always wondered why the buns I formed were so much smoother than hers, she just couldn't get them looking as smooth, later on she realized that probably her little hands just couldn't form them properly. Another thing she remembered was that the dough had to make a 'peep' sound when done kneading. When I was first married the first few batches of buns just didn't turn out very well and a friend of mine told me what she did and one of the things she told me was that the dough had to make 'peep sounds' when it was finished kneading. (squeak sounds from the air bubbles that form in the dough while kneading, thank you Frieda)
This Saturday we enjoyed the buns hot from the oven with a bowl of summer borsht that had been simmering on the stove.
We had a very fun day together, thank you to my dear daughters.
Now you want to bake buns too right?  Here is my recipe for Einback / White Buns.
We are planning more Saturdays together in the kitchen.

Roasted Chicken with Raisin Bubbat

This is an old fashioned Mennonite method of stuffing a hen . . . no onions, no celery or sage.  The stuffing is similar to a raisin bread,  a little of the sweet and savory blend.

  •  3 - 4 lb roasting chicken
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • Laurie's seasoning
Stuffing (Bubbat)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped prunes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
Side dish (optional)
  • potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • carrots, peeled and cut into one inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 apples, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup chopped dried fruit of choice (raisins, prunes, apricots)
  1. Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Spray roaster (black speckled enameled works well) with cooking oil and place chicken in roaster. Season.
  3. Mix dry ingredients for stuffing. Add mixed liquids and dried fruit.
  4. Spoon into cavity of chicken as much as possible, include the area by the thighs, by going under the skin. You can tie the legs together with kitchen twine. If there is any stuffing left, put it into a small baking dish and bake alongside of roaster for the final 30 - 45 minutes.
  5. Bake chicken at 350 F for 1/2 hour uncovered. Cover with lid and continue baking for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check in between to see if any liquid needs to be added. (maybe 1/2 cup water or chicken stock)
  6. In a small saucepan, cook apples in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Add orange juice concentrate and dried fruit. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook a few minutes, until juices are gone. Stir into prepared potatoes and carrots, before adding to the roaster to bake alongside of the chicken for the final hour.
  7. Remove chicken and vegetables to platter. Place roaster on stove top to make a quick gravy.(in a small jar or gravy shaker, mix up 1 - 2 Tbsp flour with 1 cup water and add to drippings, stirring over medium heat until it cooks.)
  8. To serve, it is easiest to serve family style by putting it on the table as is. OR, if you like, you can take it apart, slice the breast pieces, remove the Bubbat and slice it too.

Whole Wheat Date Bars

I generally have a brick of chopped dates in my pantry and don't mind having a date bar tucked in the refrigerator to go with a cup of tea in the afternoon.   Date bars store well and can be wrapped individually and frozen for lunches.
Using whole wheat flour and large flake oatmeal makes this homemade oldie but goodie a healthy choice.

  • 375 gram package or up to 1 pound dates, chopped  (about 3 cups cut up)
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Combine chopped dates and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring often.  Simmer gently until thickened, about 10 - 15 minutes.  Alternately, put the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
  2. Add lemon juice, stir well and set aside.
Base and Topping Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup large flake oatmeal
  1. Prepare a  7 X 11 inch or 9 inch square pan by spraying with cooking spray or lining with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Cream butter and sugars together well.  
  3. Add flour and baking soda and stir to combine.  Add the oatmeal and use your hands to blend the ingredients.
  4. Pat 2/3 of the mixture into the pan.  Press firmly.  Spread the date filling evenly over the base and sprinkle with remaining crumbs.  Spread evenly and pat gently .
  5. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until lightly browned.   Cool and cut into bars or squares.
  6. Keep covered in the refrigerator or freeze.