Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cauliflower & Cheese Cakes

We have a new favorite vegetable side dish over here...cheesy cauliflower cakes.  They are delicious, nutritious...and come with a bit of heat.  Try them.  I think you'll like them!

  • 1 medium-sized head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Cut cauliflower into florets and cook  until tender (8-10 minutes).
  2. Drain.  Mash cauliflower while warm.  
  3. Cool slightly; then stir in cheese, eggs, bread crumbs and seasonings.
  4. Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  5. Form the cauliflower mixture into patties (about 3 inches in diameter).
  6. Cook until set and golden in colour...about 2 minutes per side. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Chicken and Bean Tortilla Stacker


This is a tasty quick dinner that uses leftover chicken and can be made to serve 6 or increase ingredients easily to make multiple stackers for a larger group.
  • 6 large whole wheat tortilla shells per stack
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 can red kidney or black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 2 cans diced green chili's
  • 5 cups chopped  cooked chicken  (rotisserie chickens work great for this)
  • salsa
  • 1 package mexican blend cheese
  1. Combine sour cream and taco seasoning and divide and spread between all but the tortilla shell that will be the topper.
  2. Divide chicken, kidney beans, green chili's evenly over all but the top shell.
  3. Spoon salsa onto the top as you would salsa on tacos.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese as you would over tacos.
  5. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and layer the prepared shells one on top of another finishing with the bare shell. Sprinkle cheese on that shell and secure the stack with 3-4 wooden skewers to keep it from sliding.
  6. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  If the top starts to brown too much, lay a piece of foil loosely over the top.
Serve with additional salsa, sour cream and a crisp green salad....and enjoy!







Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bread For The Journey

The phone rings....a quiet voice at the other end.
 I can tell, someone needs help.

An email arrives in my inbox.
"Daughter is in induced coma...pray."

A young wife and mother passes away all to early.
The husband says,
"This is not how I would of written the last chapter."

A text arrives....with words that an elderly mother, grandmother,
great grandmother has passed away. 

A friend shares the news that her young daughter has breast cancer.

News is received that another young son needs a heart pacemaker.

The media informs us that the Boston Marathon leaves athletes in despair after a senseless tragedy.
The nations is left mourning and the country is praying.

I attended a funeral recently of an elderly lady who lived with emotional abuse.
She went to her sisters home in the wee hours....
And all they could do was fall on their knees and comfort her with prayer.

How many curve balls can be thrown at us?
Do we sometimes have one ball too many?
Sometimes it's overwhelming...
Sometimes we question God.
"Is this pain my punishment?

Often it is years later that we realize how the struggles of life
taught us something that we could not have otherwise learned.

Ephesians 3:16-20

"And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts,
living within you as you trust him.  May your roots go down deep into 
the soil of god's marvelous love....." TLB

I just finished spending a few days with some life time friends.
One of my most cherished moments was when one of the members,
said that we needed to sit down and pray together.
It was taking the time to feel God's presence right there in our room.

Paul encourages all of us in Ephesians to come together as a family,
and recognize God's source of power and love and to
encourage us to continue staying in close contact with each other

We live in a broken world, but their is nothing more rewarding
than to go out as Christ's church and share his love and mercy with others.

"Prayer is not the means of bringing our will to pass but the
means by which He brings our will into line to gladly receive His will."





Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday in Kathy's Kitchen



Several years ago some competition began to happen in my kitchen.

We were in need of a new BBQ and after some research we decided to purchase a Big Green Egg, which is a ceramic kamado style cooker. Shortly after purchasing one we decided to purchase a small Big Green Egg that we could use at home and take camping and on day trips.
The Big Green Egg has amazing heat retention. Temperature control is easy to regulate and we have found that food is moister and more flavourful when cooked on the egg. It uses lump charcoal fuel which burns clean and adds a delicate wood flavour to food.

While I continued to cook and bake in the kitchen I realized that my husband was beginning to show interest in cooking on the Egg, and soon there I found that I was not the only one looking up recipes and creating recipes of my own. Let's just say the 'competition' has been very impressive and enjoyed.
Our grand kids have always enjoyed pulling up the kitchen stool to help me, but with grandpa's new cooker, rain or shine they are quite happy to help him cook too.
Even in the winter our small Green Egg comes along with us. After a long hike or  morning of snow shoeing he fires it up and we make anything from a hot sandwich, hot dogs and burgers. I love that he is always a good sport and we enjoy these adventures together.
The small Egg also comes along when we go RV'ing. I stir up the dough, he heats the pot and gets the Egg up to temperature. In goes the dough and out comes fresh bread. This was no knead multi grain. We also bake cinnamon buns. We enjoy when ther campers stop by our site to see what's cooking and we are able to invite them for a slice of fresh bread and home made jam.
I'd never made lobster in the kitchen, but we had often BBQ'd steaks on our old BBQ. We've treated ourselves to steak and lobster done on the Egg....fantastic! He even made twice baked potatoes.  I'd say I'm a tad spoiled.
Then he pulls out the stops and makes appetizers. Bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with chorizo and cream cheese. Teryaki chicken and water chestnut skewers. For my addition to this meal I needed some freshly roasted garlic, so I put a whole clove of garlic with olive oil and fresh rosemary in my ceramic garlic roaster and placed it on the grill. Why heat up the inside oven.
Spicy shrimp cooked on a cedar plank and cherry tomatoes filled with feta and fresh basil.

When the family comes over there's nothing like a feast of hot wings. ....
....or racks of ribs that he allows to cook for hours. They literally fall off the bone.
I'm glad that the kids still like to peak into my inside oven to see what I'm cooking for them.


And then one day I came home and looked out my kitchen window. Now what?
The answer...."I'm cold smoking bacon". In our second fridge I had noticed about a week early several large pieces of meat. When I asked about it he just smiled and said, "you'll see".
These pork belly's from the butcher had been curing in the fridge, were then cold smoked, thinly sliced and vacuumed sealed. It's fantastic!
And to serve a crowd he's seasoned a pork butt with his special recipe rub and it cooks for up to 16 hours. The aroma gets better and better. Internal temperature is key when cooking on the Egg. Pulled pork, tender and juicy.
I love kitchen gadgets and I have found that he's acquired quite a selection of gadgets for cooking on the Egg.
You've never tasted such juicy drumsticks!



I welcome the competition in my kitchen....wouldn't you!






Friday, April 26, 2013

Cherry Berry Squares - Gluten Free



I have a question ,  If sweet is bad why is 'sweet' sooooo   sweet?  
This is my husband's favorite square with an explosion of flavor that makes people ask .. "What's in here?"
This square is sweet but not too sweet with a light crumb base and optional icing.


BASE

  • 1/2  cup millet flour 
  • 1/4 cup white bean (or chick pea) flour 
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour 
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch/flour 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup melted butter 
  1. Mix dry ingredients for the base. 
  2. Melt butter and using pastry blender mix melted butter into dry ingredients until evenly crumbled. 
  3. Press crumbs into a 9x9" baking pan 
  4. Bake for 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove from oven. (no need to cool)  
FILLING 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1 slightly rounded tbsp sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 3/4 cup maraschino cherries cut in halves or quarters (tip - I cut them on folded paper towelling to make sure they are well drained) 
  • 3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries -- cherry flavored 
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts 
  1. Beat eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder  and vanilla together until smooth and light. 
  2. Stir in fruit and nuts. 
  3. Pour over crumb base and return to oven for another 25 minutes. 
OPTIONAL ICING 
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 2 tbsp milk or cream 
  •  1/2 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 cup icing sugar 
  1. Put sugar, butter and milk in sauce pan. 
  2. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 45 seconds. 
  3. Add icing sugar and stir until perfectly smooth. 
  4. Spread over warm squares and smooth top.   Because filling tends to have a crumbly top spread with care -  using the back of a plastic spoon heated in boiling water helps to smooth the icing. 
  5. Drizzle melted chocolate over icing if desired.   (I had some left over white chocolate  wafers from making my granddaughter cake pops and I added some dark chocolate to them -- hence the light colour of the drizzled chocolate in the photo squares.)
Note:  These squares are also nice without the icing ... just dust with icing sugar before serving.  
You may also personalize the fruit/nuts in the filling -   choose from candied fruit, raisins, coconut, dried berries  etc. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chicken and Pesto Quesadillas


Picking up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store is a great way to have a simple meal with a salad but with just two of us at home we have plenty of leftovers and this simple dish  can be served for supper, lunch or even appetizer bringing in southwest flavours.
This is more of an idea than a recipe and you will probably have ideas of ingredients that you can share with the rest of us to add to this quick to prepare recipe.
You will need about 1cup diced chicken per serving.  If you want to make enough Quesadillas to serve your family for dinner, simply purchase a rotisserie chicken and debone and chop it up just prior to putting these together.

  • whole wheat tortilla shells
  • purchased basil pesto
  • diced cold chicken
  • dried cranberries
  • mexican blend cheese
  1. Lay half of the shells on the counter and spread a teaspoon of pesto to cover the tortilla shell.
  2. Divide chicken over shells and then sprinkle with dried cranberries and top with shredded cheese.
  3. Heat a non stick fry pan over medium heat and take one assembled quesadilla and carefully place it in the pan.  Press down lightly and flip over with a egg lifter once the bottom has browned.  Once both sides have browned, transfer to a cookie sheet and keep warm in the oven, adding in each quesadilla until all of them are finished and ready to serve.



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spicy Corn Dip


A delicious spicy corn dip to enjoy with tortilla chips. We also liked it as a side on the menu.

  • 2 cups corn, cooked
  • 1/2 cup sweet peppers chopped, I used green and red
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup cheese, grated..I used cheddar and mozzarella
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Extra grated cheese for sprinkling on top
  1. Melt butter in a skillet and saute chopped peppers over medium heat just until they start to soften, approx 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in corn, salt, pepper, cayenne, mayo and cheese.
  3. Pour mixture into a greased pan. I used a loaf pan, or you can use a pie plate.
  4. Sprinkle with extra cheese.
  5. Bake at 350º for 20 to 25 minutes, it needs to be hot and bubbly. 
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.
*Omit cayenne pepper if you don't like it spicy. 



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Maple Glazed Carrots





If you want kids to eat their veggies, these are a sure fire hit. 
  • 4 cups carrots, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill, or 1 teaspoon of freeze dried dill
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  1. Put the carrots in a pot with about 1/2" of water. Simmer the carrots until tender crisp and all the water is evaporated. 
  2. Stir in  the butter, maple syrup and dill.
  3. Continue simmering until the sauce thickens stirring constantly. This only takes a few minutes and can burn easily if you don't watch it. 
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Tip - If you don't have Maple Syrup substitute with brown sugar.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Salmon and Avocado Linguine

Salmon and pasta are the perfect duo!  Add fresh dill, lemon, tomatoes and avocado and enjoy a delicious one-bowl pasta dish.  It's a favorite over here.

 
  • 1 - 350 g package fresh linguine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 1/2 cups salmon pieces (baked, grilled, or smoked)
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 avocado, roughly chopped
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender. Drain.
  2. Add olive oil and stir to coat.
  3. Return to pan.
  4. Add cream, Parmesan, dill and salmon pieces to pasta.
  5. Cook, tossing gently, over low heat for several minutes or until heated through. 
  6. Remove from heat. 
  7. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. 
  8. Place linguine in large serving bowl.
  9. Place avocado pieces and cherry tomatoes on top.*
  10. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and additional dill (optional).

*The avocado pieces and tomatoes can be added along with salmon in step four, but they tend to get mushy as they are stirred.  We prefer to add them to the completed pasta dish.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bread for the Journey

Like a River Glorious is God's Perfect Peace
1. Like a river glorious
Is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious
In its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth
Fuller ev'ry day,
Perfect, yet it groweth
Deeper all the way.

2. Hidden in the hollow
Of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow,
Never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry,
Not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry
Touch the spirit there.

3. Ev'ry joy or trial
Falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial
By the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully
All for us to do
They who trust Him wholly
Find Him wholly true.

Chorus:
Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday in Ellen's Kitchen

Here are two gadgets that I've enjoyed using in my Kitchen in the past year. Many of you are probably using these already but maybe some of you will benefit from my tips in using these gadgets...


I've been in the habit of using this type of scoop (which comes in different sizes) to dip into cookie dough and release onto the cookie sheet. Your cookies will be uniform and will bake evenly.


I've had this next tool in my kitchen drawer for a long time but really haven't put it to use until we were planning our new cookbook.

I used it to score the English cucumber for our cucumber sandwiches. I like the visual effect that it has and the added interest it gives to the cucumber bite!


Saturday in my kitchen is never the same one week from the next. I know a lot of you grew up with some great discipline on your Saturdays with clean up and getting ready for Sunday. My house wasn't that organized or disciplined growing up and so I didn't initiate any strong Saturday schedules with my family either. Our kids also played a lot of organized sports growing up and Saturdays sometimes meant rushing from one field to the next catching all the soccer, baseball, or basketball games.
We still made being in Sunday services a priority every week no matter what was happening on Saturday.

Hope you all have a good weekend!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pear Puff Pancake

  
This is a great weekend breakfast treat. Put it together in 10 minutes and take your shower while it's in the oven.  It may just be better than eating out. This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9X13 oven-proof dish.
Ingredients:
  • 2 pears, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted and divided
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray 8 inch round or square ceramic dish with cooking spray.
  2. In  saucepan, cook pears with 1 Tbsp of the butter for about 5 minutes, while you prepare the batter.
  3. In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Set aside.
  4. Beat the rest of the butter (2 Tbsp) with eggs, milk and vanilla, using a whisk.
  5. Add liquids to combined dry ingredients, stirring well with whisk. (Will be slightly lumpy.)
  6. Pour into prepared dish. Spoon cooked pears evenly over the batter.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and golden. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Dust with icing sugar and serve with maple syrup.  Serves 3-4

     

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Baked Churros


Churros are usually deep fried..I wanted churros but not the deep frying so I baked them instead. The dough is like a cream puff dough. If you want the original churro, all you have to do is deep fry them!
Churros are usually ridged due to having been piped from a pastry bag with a star shaped nozzle. I only had a plain nozzle and it didn't change the taste one bit:)
They are delicious dipped in chocolate sauce. For a fun dessert, place a few churros dusted with icing sugar on a plate and a small bowl of chocolate sauce for each person.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a medium saucepan combine butter, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat and add flour, stir till well combined, it will form into a ball. 
  3. Using a hand held mixer, beat in eggs, one at a time until mixture is smooth. You can do this by hand but you need to stir vigorously after each egg addition. 
  4. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Spoon dough into a pastry bag with a star shaped nozzle or a plain round one is fine too.
  6. Pipe approx 4" lengths of dough, at least 2" apart, on a parchment lined cooky sheet.
  7. Bake in 400º oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Yields: 2 dozen
Chocolate sauce:
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cream, I used 10%
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Mix chocolate, cream, and corn syrup in a bowl. Place bowl over a small saucepan (on medium heat) which has just a small amount of water simmering in it. Make sure your bowl doesn't touch the water.
  2. Stir until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, remove from heat and add vanilla.



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chinese Barbequed Pork



Katie Lippert is the winner of Monday's contest.  
Congratulations, Katie and thank you for sharing our post on Twitter and Facebook. Please leave your mailing information on our blog under the "Contact Us" tab 
and we will send you a copy of our "Celebrations" cookbook.


I've been wanting to make Wor Won Ton Soup for quite some time.  
However first I needed to find a good Chinese BBQ pork recipe.
 I did some research on line, comparing different recipes and noting their ingredients.  
Then I went to work and mixed and tasted until I came up with the following recipe. 

I served The Chinese BBQ Pork to my husband for dinner one night,
 intending to use the leftovers for the Won Ton soup. 
 However..... 
my husband loved it so much that when he found the leftovers in the fridge the next day, he gleefully gobbled it up for his lunch...completely forgetting my plans for it
.
Well, it was very good and I will make it again. When I do I'll be putting a large note on the leftovers so I can eventually post the Wor Won Ton Soup recipe!



For the Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
  •  grated fresh ginger to suit your taste (I freeze my ginger and grate it frozen)
  • 2-3 drops red food colouring (if desired)
1 large pork Tenderloin (approximately 1 lb.)

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Place pork tenderloin in a zippered plastic bagand pour marinade over pork.
  3. Seal bag, squeezing out as much air as you can before zipping it shut.
  4. Marinate for 3-5 hours.
  5. Remove pork from bag, reserving marinade.
  6. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and brush with marinade.
  7. Roast in a 425º F oven for 30 minutes, brushing every so often with more marinade.
  8. Roast until meat thermometer measures 160º F.
  9. Let rest while you bring the remaining marinade to a boil.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes, thickening with cornstarch and cold water if desired.
  10. Slice tenderloin into thin slices and serve with sauce.

Steamed or fried noodles and stir fried vegetables complete the meal.
Save the leftovers for Wor Won Ton Soup or a yummy lunch! 

I apologize for the less than perfect photos.
We are nearing the end of our Kitchen renovations and I am still cooking in my camper.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jalapeno Pizza


 For those of you who like an intense flavour medley, this one is for you. Jalapenos don't have to be hot. Removing the seeds and white membrane takes away the heat leaving you with a nice mild pepper.

Ingredients:
  • pizza dough, enough for one thin crust pizza
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup softened cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 3 strips bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 3 pieces prosciutto fried and crumbled
  • 6 thin slices hot Genoa salami
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers, as many as you like to taste
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
Method:
  1. Take your home made or store bought pizza dough and press it out onto a greased or parchment lined pizza pan, making a thin crust.
  2. Lightly brush top of crust with olive oil.
  3. Stir together cream cheese and goat cheese. Spread over pizza crust.
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and then the first amount of (1/4 cup) pepper jack cheese.
  5. Once bacon and prosciutto are fried, drain on paper towel and crumble. 
  6. Cut salami rounds into very thin strips. Place on pizza.
  7. Slice jalapenos very thin. If you like it hot leave in the seeds. If you don't want the heat, core the pepper removing the white part and all the seeds. Top pizza with as many peppers as you like to taste.
  8. Place cooked bacon and prosciutto on pizza.
  9. Top pizza with the remaining (1 cup) pepper jack cheese.
  10. Bake in oven preheated to 450º, or bake on BBQ until underside is golden and crispy and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown slightly. (approximately 18-20 minutes)


Before baking. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Basil Cheese Biscuits and Book Giveaway


When I posted the Whistler Style Tomato soup a week or two ago, I had a number of requests for the recipe of the biscuit  pictured with it.  It is just a fancied up version of biscuits but for those who asked, here it is:


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup milk

  • Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (if desired)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese or 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  1. Place flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cut in butter.
  3. Make a well and add milk.
  4. Mix lightly with a fork until dough begins to form.
  5. Knead lightly no more than 12 times.
  6. Roll out to a rectangle approximately 14 inches by 7 inches.
  7. Spread soft butter and mayonnaise over dough, leaving 1/2 inch along the long edge farthest from you.
  8. Sprinkle with Basil and garlic powder and cover with Parmesan or grated Cheddar
  9. Roll up (from the edge closest to you) like you would for cinnamon buns, pinching the long edge closed.
  10. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and place on cookie sheet, placing biscuits quite close together.
  11. Bake at 425º F for 12- 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  12. Remove from pan and serve hot.


Note: The biscuit in the top picture is made with Parmesan cheese and the photos below show the Cheddar cheese version.



We are celebrating today because we had the most wonderful surprise in that our book was delivered early. We are offering you a chance to win a copy of our Celebrations book.
If you haven't had a chance yet to take a peek inside the book...Amazon is offering you a chance to see inside here.

Contest rules 
  1. Share this post on at least one of the following ... Facebook, Twitter, or on your own blog.   If you are not able to share on any of those options, share it with your family and friends!
  2. Leave a comment here on this post and in your comment, tell us how you shared.
  3. Contest closes tonight April 15 at midnight.
  4. We'll draw one random winner and announce that winner on Wednesday April 17!  


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bread For The Journey


**
I have always loved Spring. 
It is a season of fresh life and promises kept!  
I remember, even as a child, I watched for the trilliums in the forest in our back acres, 
that bloomed as one of the first signs of spring. 
The crocuses in my garden ignore traces of snow to give evidence that spring is coming! 
From my study window I watch the changing of the seasons.
With a smile of relief I see my wild bunny has survived the winter. 
I see my lilac tree that looked so dead for months, 
bursting forth its leaves and fragrant blossoms. 

Millennia ago God promised that season would follow season , 
a promise we find in Gen. 8:27 
"While the earth remains, 
Seedtime and harvest, 
and cold and heat, 
and winter and summer, 
and day and night 
shall not cease!"  

Spring to me is evidence of the goodness of God's promises. 
No matter how 'dead' the winters of our life seasons are, 
spring will come 
and bring life where we saw only death, 
bring fragrance and colour 
where we felt only the oppression of sorrow and darkness,
and faced  questions that had no answers.  
No matter how hopeless we feel,
no matter how long the winter endures, 
spring will come. 
God promised. 

Though today you may cry with the Psalmist, 
"Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore?" 
may you also shout with him the answer ...
"NO, Spring is coming!"
"You are the God who does wonders! You have declared your strength among the peoples ,
You have with Your arm redeemed Your people. You led your people like a flock."
(Psalm 77:8,14,15,20)


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday's tips from Judy's kitchen...

Though many do not have the time or space to grow a garden these days...we all have the time and space to grow a few herbs.  I have a small raised-bed herb garden which requires next to no attention...and yields a lot of edible greens with wonderful flavours and aromas.The mint is in a 'cage' (pot) on the patio since it would wreak havoc in the herb garden...but is wonderful to have on hand for garnishes.



And most of the year...I have a few pots of herbs sitting on the windowsill in the kitchen.  It is so nice to have fresh basil, parsley, dill and chives at arms length.

As I was making up a tomato basil pizza (page 106 in the first cookbook) the other day...and using fresh basil form the windowsill...I thought I would just pass along a few kitchen tips I employed in the making of that one recipe.



  1. Here's a tip I learned from Lovella at our pizza-making class in February.  Lay out a piece of parchment paper.  Brush on a little olive oil.  Place your pizza dough on top.  Brush a little more olive oil on top.  Cover with a second piece of parchment.  Now use your hands (rather than a rolling pin) to work that pizza dough into the desired shape.  The parchment lifts off nicely...and the dough is easily moved to the pan.  Voila.
  2. Chopping up herbs can be time consuming.  I recently got a pair of herb scissors...which do a fabulous job in next-to-no-time.  They looked rather gimmicky to me...but they work well!
  3. We like to use grape or cherry tomatoes on the basil tomato pizza...and again it takes a while to cut 3 dozen wee tomatoes in half  one at a time.  Did you know that you can lay about a dozen between two plastic lids and then cut through the center of them all with one swoop of the knife?  It works great!  Even my four-year-old granddaughter can safely slice tomatoes with this method. 

That's it for my tips for today.  But maybe you have a herb secret to share with us today...on the comment form.  And if you do...



...you will have entered your name in the draw for a pair of herb scissors I would like to pass along.   I will publish the winner's name right here at the end of this post on Monday, April 15th.

ETA: And the winner of the pair of herb scissors is Dora the Quilter.  Dora, if you would send me your mailing address, I will send the scissors your way.  Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Black Beans and Rice


Earlier this year I attended a New Orleans Style cooking class with Chef Dez. I really enjoyed the Louisiana Red Beans and Rice dish he cooked for us. Back at home, I planned to make it just as he did, but when I found out that I did not have all of the exact ingredients, I made do with a similar dish that I'm sharing today, with the credit going to his original recipe. Chef Dez has been a gracious host to us at the West coast Women's Show and most recently written an endorsement for our Celebrations cookbook.
Ingredients:
  • 500 g / 1 lb  Italian sausage (mild or hot)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 yellow or red (or combination of) bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • leaves stripped from 6 - 8 sprigs of thyme,
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (parboiled) long grain rice
  • 4 tsp Better than Bouillon or 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 3 1/2 cups boiling water to dissolve bouillon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Method:
  1. Squeeze sausages from casings into a large heavy pot. On medium heat, break up meat with spatula while cooking until it resembles browned ground beef, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are soft, stirring as needed.
  3. Add the rice and stir to coat just until rice is covered with the fat juices.
  4. Add the prepared chicken broth and bay leaf.
  5. Simmer, covered and without stirring, on low for 20 - 25 minutes, until liquid is gone. Stir in the black beans and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

This will serve 6 -8 depending on side dishes. I served it with a Caribbean chicken ( Neufeld Farms ) done on the grill and broccoli slaw. The dish is great on it's own with raw veggies and a sour cream or yogurt based dip, especially if using the spicy sausage.
A note about the Better-than-Bouillon: I prefer this cost saving option to purchasing cans or boxes, and appreciate the fact that it has natural ingredients and less sodium than the cubes.
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