Friday, May 31, 2013

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

Who knew...that avocado and pesto paired up so nicely with eggs?  We do now.  It's a great combination!
 

  • 6 eggs, hard boiled and diced
  • 1/4 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
  • baby spinach leaves
  • tomato slices
  • 4 sandwich rolls (ciabatta, kaiser, or submarine rolls)
Combine eggs, dressing, pesto and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
Stir in avocado pieces gently.
Serve egg salad on sandwich rolls together with spinach leaves and tomato slices.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I tasted these cookie not long ago at a friends place and asked for the recipe. One can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes to choose from. You can substitute Reece's peanut butter chips for the chocolate chips or use half and half.

Ingredients:
  • 3 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Method:
  1. Stir together first 4 ingredients and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars until very creamy. Add eggs and continue to beat until well blended. Add vanilla and mix well.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until all dry ingredients are blended into butter mixture.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets and bake in 350º oven.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove and allow to sit on cookie sheets for 1 minute, then remove to cooling rack. 


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sweet and Savoury Rhubarb Sauce



I'm running a  race with my Rhubarb Patch.
It seems to be winning but I'm busy in the kitchen trying to keep up.
This Rhubarb sauce is a great way to use up Rhubarb and is a great barbecue sauce for  grilled steaks or chicken.  If you don't have time now to use up all your rhubarb, chop it and use it in this sauce later.

  • 8 cup chopped red stalked rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 small can tomato paste 
  1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, combine all the ingredients.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Simmer several hours over low heat or until thickened.  
  2. Cool and spoon into jars or freezer bags.  Keep refrigerated or freeze.
Ways to use the Sweet and Savoury Sauce

Brush over any meat on the grill.

Sweet and Savoury Rhubarb Chicken.
Mix 2 parts Rhubarb sauce with 1 part chicken broth.  Pour over chicken pieces or wings in a dutch oven.
Roast at 325 F uncovered for 2 hours or until juices run clear and sauce has glazed the chicken. 

Sweet and Savoury Rhubarb Meatballs...  Pour sauce over Anneliese's Appetizer Meatballs and bake according to her instruction..omitting the Apricot Glaze.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Homemade Yogurt




Homemade yogurt is easy to make, and so much cheaper than the commercial varieties.
Here is how I make it.

  • 4 cups whole milk 
  • 2 tbsp commercial yogurt (Greek is good) 
  • candy thermometer 
  • double boiler 
  1. Pour 4 cups of milk into the top of a double boiler and place over the bottom pot that has a couple of inches of boiling water in it --  the top of the double should not touch the water, but keep the water boiling.  
  2. Cook, stirring every few minutes and check the temp. of the milk.  You want to bring it to just below the boiling point , do NOT let it boil.   Take it to about 200F or 90C.  It takes about 20-30 minutes to get it there. A layer of foamy bubbles will form over the top as it cooks.  
  3. Remove from heat, skimming off any top 'skin'  and let cool to lukewarm  100F or 37C  Hint - if you don't want a skin to form over the milk as it cools,  place plastic wrap over the top of the milk - yes, touching it. 
  4. Stir in the 2 tbsp commercial yogurt -- make sure you are using one with a  live active bacteria.(after you make your first batch, you can save a couple of tbsp for your next batch.  It is easiest to mix some of the lukewarm milk into the 2 tbsp prepared yogurt and then stir if back into the rest of the milk.  
  5. Now cover the bowl with a clean cloth and set it in a warm place.  I find putting it into my oven with the oven light left on is perfect.    
  6. Leave it there for about 10-12 hours -  overnight is nice when you don't use your oven!  You can leave it up to 24 hours if you wish.  The longer you leave it the stronger the flavour will be.  
  7. It will set up very nicely with a smooth, creamy  texture. 
  8. After it is thick you can stir in flavouring if you wish  --  Stirred Yogurt is a little thinner -- so the choice is yours.   Leave it thicker and add fruit or granola when you serve it or add flavoring before you refrigerate.   
  9. If you want to make Stirred Yogurt remember to first take out the 2 tbsp. for your next batch.
My husband and I like our yogurt flavored --  our favourite is the following . 
  • juice and grated rind of 1 lemon 
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons honey (or to taste)   
  1. Mix together and stir into set yogurt before refrigerating. 
  2. The gentle lemon flavour adds a tang that is lovely with fresh strawberries ! 


Monday, May 27, 2013

Apple Dumplings and Breakfast Television

 
Recently, when Lovella and I were in Toronto, Ellen and Paola from Graf-Martin Communications, publicist for our cookbook, took us out to a Mennonite restaurant in Elmira. I so much enjoyed the apple dumplings they served, that Ellen offered to get me her mom's recipe - similar, but made with a cinnamon spice sauce, instead of caramel.  I pretty much followed the recipe but decided to add frozen, chopped rhubbarb, which I had on hand, to the sauce. Either way, I will be making them again!
So this recipe is credit to, Theresa Graf and she is from Nanaimo. She was a home economics teacher for years and was famous for her cooking after having over 55 teenagers live in her home over the years. She says they are best served warm but still good the next day. I agree.
 
Syrup Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 drops red food coloring ( and / or 1 cup chopped rhubarb)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
Pastry and Filling Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup cold butter
  • 2/3 - 1 cup milk
  • 3 apples, halved and cored
  • extra sugar and cinnamon, optional
Method:
  1. Boil syrup ingredients (except for butter) until sugar dissolves. (Continue boiling about 10 minutes if adding rhubarb and then put the syrup through a strainer.) Stir in butter and let cool.
  2. In medium bowl, mix dry ingredients and then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter OR grate it in, using a coarse cheese grater and mix lightly.
  3. Stir in the milk, using a fork, until dry ingredients are absorbed. Knead gently just until you can shape it.
  4. Shape into a rectangle and roll out on lightly floured surface to about 12 X 18 inches. Cut into six squares, 6 X 6 inches.
  5. On each square place 1/2 apple. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Fold opposite sides over top, press the ends together, then fold the other sides over and press tops together to make a package.
  7. Place, sides touching, in an appropriate sized baking dish (no greasing required) and pour the syrup over.
  8. Bake at 375 F for 40 - 45 minutes.
  9. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or enjoy the next day with a dollop of whipped cream. Tastes like an apple strudel.


Kathy and Lovella will be in Vancouver this morning at Breakfast TV cooking up a recipe from Celebrations.
Find the link here and watch at 8:20 AM Pacific Time or check back later in the day to see the segment on their website.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bread For the Journey

Skagit River Bridge collapse
                                                                                                                                             (Komo News)

There are many things that separate us - distance, broken relationships, language and  misunderstanding.  Oceans and mountains and rivers are physical barriers that often separate us from those we love and they need to be crossed, scaled and bridged if we are to come together

Our oldest son and his family live in Seattle and we had made plans to meet them for a day's outing on Saturday.
Then on Thursday night my son phoned to tell me that the bridge over the Skagit River in Washington state had collapsed leaving a gap in the I-5 highway.(thankfully there were no serious injures) 
The I-5 is the main thoroughfare going north and south on the US west coast and there are 70,000 vehicles that cross that bridge each day. There are other routes that cross this river but they involve driving miles around and travelers, commuters and truckers must now endure long line ups on these detour routes as they try to make their way north and south.

The trip to Seattle on the I-5 normally takes a couple of hours but now there is a river that physically separates us and because we are unwilling to spend our day in traffic lineups our plans to meet our children on the weekend have had to be changed.

Earlier in the week I'd chosen a passage from Romans to write about and find now that this news item illustrates perfectly the separation we often feel from others and even from God.

However Paul assures us in  Romans 8: 35, 38-39 that there is NOTHING that can separate us from the Love of God through Christ. Christ is the bridge that crosses the gap between God and man.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
When we have trouble or calamity, when we are hunted down or destroyed, is it because He doesn't love us anymore? And if we are hungry, or penniless, or in danger, or threatened with death, has God deserted us?

NO,.....for I am convinced that nothing can separate us from His love.  Death can't, and life can't. The angels won't, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God's love away.  Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are - high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean- nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died for us. (the Living Bible Version)

We will not always "feel" God's presence and will sometimes wonder if He has left us on our own but be assured, NOTHING can separate us from God's love. 


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Glazed Yeast Donuts


Who doesn't like a yeast donut with a sticky yummy glaze?
A family favorite..our children and grandchildren love them! They were also popular with a friend and her children many years ago. When I knew they were coming for an afternoon visit I would often make these donuts. I remember us all sitting around the table munching away on donuts with a couple of wet wash cloths on the table for face and hand wiping. I think I need to plan another donut day this summer and invite them all down again!

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water, lukewarm
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 8 - 8 1/4 cups flour
  1. Scald milk, stir in butter, sugar, salt, and lukewarm water. Whisk till butter is melted and sugar dissolved.
  2. Whisk eggs till foamy and add to the warm milk mixture.
  3. Add 4 cups flour, yeast, and mix well.
  4. Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time and knead until dough is smooth, it will still be slightly sticky.
  5. Place in a covered bowl in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 balls. Roll out each ball to 1/4 to 3/8" thick on a floured surface, using just enough flour so dough doesn't stick to the surface. I don't re-roll the scraps, instead just let them rise along with the 'donut holes' and fry them like the donuts. (The fried donut 'scraps' are often grabbed first!)
  7. Using a donut cutter, cut donuts and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil, leaving space between each donut for rising. Let rise until almost doubled in bulk, approx 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Deep fry in hot oil on medium high heat (375º) till donuts are golden on one side, flip over and fry till golden or done. Cut into the first one to give you the timing for doneness.
  9. Glaze while warm.
Sticky Syrupy Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Boil first 3 ingredients for 4 to 5 minutes, till glaze is syrupy.
  2. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Dip warm donuts in glaze and enjoy!
I only glaze as much as I want to serve, as they are best eaten fresh!
The leftover glaze and unglazed donuts freeze well.
Reheat frozen donuts in the oven and glaze with reheated glaze.





Friday, May 24, 2013

Baked Pork and Bean Casserole

Here's a recipe using the humble can of pork and beans, adding a few simple ingredients and baking it all together into a tasty baked bean casserole.
Ingredients: (serves 8-10 as a side dish)
  • 10 slices bacon, fried and crumbles
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely dices
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, finely dices
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 - 15oz cans pork and beans, with sauce
Method:
  1. Fry bacon until lightly crisp. Remove from pan and chop into small pieces. Place in a large casserole dish. Discard 1/2 the fat in the pan.
  2. In the remaining bacon fat saute onions and red pepper until they just begin to brown. Remove from the heat and add to the casserole with bacon.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the casserole except the beans. Stir well.
  4. Add beans to the casserole and stir to mix well.
  5. Bake uncovered in 350º oven for 45 minutes. Stir mixture half way through baking. Serve hot.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts


My cousin brought these tasty little tarts for dessert the other night when we were invited to a potluck dinner. I asked her for the recipe to share them with you all. She told me she got the recipe from Canadian Living Magazine. They are so pretty and taste so good! Thanks Rose for sharing the recipe with all of us.


A shortbread crust makes easy work of these pretty little tarts. Simply roll the dough into balls to press into mini muffin cups -- no finicky pastry to roll and cut. Plus, the buttery crust pairs wonderfully with the citrusy zing of the filling.

Shells:
  •  2/3 cup (150 mL) unsalted butter, softened
  •  1/2 cup (125 mL) icing sugar
  •  1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
  •  1 pinch salt
  •  1-1/3 cups (325 mL) all-purpose flour
Lemon Filling:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) grated lemon zest
  • 5 tbsp (75 mL) lemon juice
Meringue:
  •  1/3 cup (75 mL) pasteurized egg whites
  •  1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
  1. Lemon filling: In large heatproof bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. 
  2. Set over saucepan of simmering water; cook, stirring constantly, until space remains after spoon is drawn through, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3.  Strain through fine sieve into bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. 
  4. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat butter with sugar until smooth and fluffy; beat in vanilla and salt. Stir in flour. Roll by scant 1 tbsp into 24 balls, discarding any remaining dough; press onto bottoms and up sides of mini muffin cups. Prick all over with fork; refrigerate for 1 hour. 
  5. Bake in 375ºF (190ºC) oven until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6.  Let cool in pan on rack. 
  7. Fill each shell with rounded 1 tsp of the filling. 
  8. Meringue: In bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually beat in sugar until stiff glossy peaks form, about 8 minutes. 
  9. Using pastry bag fitted with plain tip, pipe meringue in concentric circles on each tart, ensuring meringue touches pastry and covers filling. 
  10. Broil until meringue is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. To remove from pan, loosen edges with tip of knife. 
  11. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)

Source : Canadian Living Magazine: April 2013

If you would like the recipe for the Lemon shortbread tarts with the fruit on them, you can find them on page 88 in our new cook book Mennonite Girls Can Cook, Celebrations.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Roasted Brussel Sprouts


This serves a a great side dish to almost any meal. I like to pick the smallest ones, but be sure to make enough! One of the comments from my kids was that this is the best way to make brussel sprouts!

Ingredients:
  • 5 - 6 cups brussel sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pepper
Method:
  1. Wash and trim ends of brussel sprouts slightly
  2. Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper
  3. Bake in ceramic baking dish at 350 F for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Banana Split Dessert

Banana Split Slice was a favorite dessert of ours decades ago.  The original recipe had a layer which was heavy on butter and included raw eggs.  I've switched it up a little and it now has a cream cheese layer.  The maraschino cherry on top has been replaced by strawberries.  Those who sampled my updated version of the old favorite gave it a thumbs up. 


Crust:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Filling:
  • 12 oz. / 375 g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream 
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 19-20 oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained*
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  •  1 box instant vanilla pudding, 4 serving size
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Hershey's chocolate sauce
  • chopped peanuts
  • strawberries
  1. Combine butter, graham wafer crumbs and sugar.  Press into a 9" x 13" pan.  Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.
  2. Whip cream until thick.  Sprinkle with sugar and add vanilla.   Continue to beat until peaks form. Set aside.
  3. Cream together cream cheese and icing sugar.  Mix in half of the whipped cream.  Spread mixture over graham cracker crust.
  4. Spread crushed pineapple over cream cheese layer.  
  5. Arrange banana slices evenly over the pineapple.
  6. Combine pudding mix with milk and mix until blended and beginning to thicken.  Spread over banana layer.
  7. Spread remaining whipped cream over the top.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 
  9. Before serving, drizzle with chocolate sauce, sprinkle on peanuts and  top with sliced strawberries.
* Reserve the pineapple juice and soak the banana slices in it before adding to the dessert to prevent browning.

Serves 15.

Gluten-free version: Use a gluten-free crumb base (such as this) or use the recipe as given substituting 1 1/2 cups crushed almonds for the graham cracker crumbs or buy the commercial gluten free graham wafer crumbs.







Monday, May 20, 2013

Orange Roasted Turkey Breast





While grocery shopping a few days ago I saw a turkey breast roast.  I'm not sure I'd actually seen one before although I have heard of them.  I brought one home and went looking for ideas on how to roast it.  I'd never brined anything before so I checked on line for instructions and then put together my own seasonings for the roast.
  t was very good, nice and moist and I'll make it again. You will need to leave the turkey in the brine overnight so plan ahead. Here is what I did -
  • 1  3 pound turkey breast roast.  (Look for a turkey breast roast - it is rolled together with an elastic mesh holding it together which remains around the roast while you cook it.)
For the brine
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 cup coarse or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice

  • 8 - 10 cups ice
  1. Using a large soup pot, bring brine ingredients (except ice) to a boil, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved.
  2. Let brine cool to room temperature.
  3. Add turkey roast and ice, weight down the roast if needed to keep it covered in the brine..
  4. Cover pot and place in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Just before roasting drain roast, rinse well and blot dry with a paper towel.  Discard brine.
Seasoning for the roast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs - I used rosemary, lemon thyme and a bit of sage
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (like Montreal steak spice)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth
  1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
  2. Place all seasoning ingredients in a bowl, mixing until blended.
  3. Place roast in a roasting pan and pour seasoning mixture over it, making sure the herbs and mustard grains coat the top of the roast.
  4. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes
  5. Baste with liquid from the pan.
  6. Continue roasting, basting every 20 minutes or so until meat thermometer reads 150º.  It will take approximately 50 - 80 minutes, depending on the size of your roast. Add more wine or orange juice if needed.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
  8. Make a sauce from the pan juices, adding some liquid if needed (water and orange juice or wine).  Thicken with flour and cold water mixed together.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside the roast.. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bread for the Journey


Joy Joy Joy
With Joy my heart is ringing
Joy Joy Joy
His love to me is known
My sins are all forgiven
I'm on my way to heaven
My heart is bubbling over with His 
Joy Joy Joy

I love this children's song..and so does my son, he never outgrew it and we sing it often.  It speaks of the joy we can have in God. I pray that my heart will always bubble over with His joy.
Our joy does not depend on circumstances, it is a deep and abiding presence in Him. This joy only comes when we focus on Him. Joy is a fruit of the spirit. It must be nurtured to grow. May we hunger and thirst for God's presence. He is the only one who can truly fill us with joy.

Nehemiah 8: 10 (NIV) "..the joy of the Lord is our strength".

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

In April I visited the Skagit Valley Tulip festival and after I walked through the beautiful tulip fields I stopped at a fresh road stand market in the valley on my way back home. They had fresh rhubarb from their fields available so I decided to buy some to take home. I ended up making a Rhubarb Coffee Cake.


I'll admit that I had never used rhubarb in my kitchen before but was pleased with the lovely color and result.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Filling:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups fresh washed and chopped rhubarb
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

Optional: 
You can add 1 cup fresh blueberries and 1 cup fresh strawberries or 2 cups fresh strawberries and then cut down on the rhubarb to 2 cups.

Cake:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used powdered buttermilk mix)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup cold butter

For the filling:
  1. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a sauce pot and add in the rhubarb. 
  2. Cook over medium heat until the sugar and cornstarch dissolves with the liquid that is extracted from cooking the rhubarb. 
  3. Cook for at least 2 minutes. This helps the cornstarch break down. 
  4. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan by lightly greasing it.

Method for Cake and Topping:
  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together in bowl.
  2. Cut in the butter.
  3. Beat eggs, buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl and add to the the other ingredients until moistened.
  4. Put 2/3 of this batter into prepared pan.
  5. Spread the filling on top of this layer.
  6. Add the remaining batter on top spreading it as evenly as you can. Don't worry if you can't cover it all. Also the batter will be sticky to deal. You can grease your fingers with a little butter to help spread the batter.
  7. In a small bowl combine the dry topping ingredients.
  8. Cut in the butter until crumbly.
  9. Spread the topping over the top of the last layer of batter as evenly as possible. 
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean and top begins to become golden brown. Ovens vary, so check after 45 minutes and don't worry if it takes longer than 50 minutes.







Friday, May 17, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Pineapple

Summer is coming and you may want a new appetizer for your first BBQ of the season. I have to give my husband credit for this recipe. Some of our readers know by know that he loves to BBQ and while on holidays in April he filled our shopping carts with a few ingredients and surprised me with these tasty appetizers. 

Ingredients: (I'd suggest 3-4 per person)
  • 1 fresh pineapple
  • uncooked large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 piece bacon per number of shrimp
  • raspberry chipotle sauce (available in specialty shops and some grocery stores)
  • toothpicks
Ingredients for shrimp marinade: (this would be enough to marinade approximately 12 shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or a bit more if you like heat)

Method:
  1. Cut rind off pineapple. Cut down centre making two halves. Cut out core and discard. Slice pineapple into 1/2" slices. Cut each slice into 2-3 chunks. Set aside.
  2. Pre cook bacon until half cooked.
  3. Clean and rinse shrimp. 
  4. Stir cayenne into olive oil and add clean shrimp. Cover and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least one hour. 
  5. Once bacon is half cooked and cool enough to handle, lay half a strip of bacon down and lay a piece of pineapple and one marinaded shrimp on top. Wrap bacon around shrimp and pineapple and secure with tooth picks. 
  6. Place wrapped bundles onto preheated grill at 350º. A little BBQ tip here. Make sure your grill is raised a wee bit and you cook over indirect heat so they don't burn and cook slowly. Slower cooking is better. 
  7. During the last 5-10 minutes glaze with the raspberry chipotle sauce.
  8. They are done once the bacon is cooked. This should take a total of about 30-45 minutes. This may seem like a long time, but you will have to adjust according to your BBQ and how hot it gets. We cook over a Big Green Egg ceramic cooker so it's very easy to regulate the heat and food does not dry out. These will turn out really nice on any BBQ.....just watch 'em. 
  9. Serve hot off the grill. You may want to have extra sauce on the side for dipping.
NOTE: I found Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce in a  specialty shop, but if you can't find it you could easily just use some raspberry jam and add a bit of chipotle sauce to it until you get the flavour you like. I tried this and pureed it in my mini food processor. It was quite tasty. Apricot jam mixed with some red pepper jelly makes a nice sauce as well. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Japanese Chicken Salad


The sun is promising to shine for the May Day long weekend just around the corner, so you may be needing some extra salads on hand.  This salad is chocked full of nutritious ingredients.  It can be made ahead of time and it's big enough to take to any potluck. It's an all time favorite in our home and promises you a crisp texture with a crunchy bite.

Ingredients
  • 6 cups chopped chinese cabbage
  • 6 cups chopped bok choy
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 package oriental noodles
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds.
Salad Dressing
  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • 3 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2-4 tablespoons soya sauce 
  • Seasoning from noodle mix. 

Method
  1. In a large bowl toss first five ingredients.  You can prepare this ahead of time.
  2. Combine  dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Just prior to serving, add toasted nuts and noodles. (this avoids soggy noodles)
  4. Pour dressing over salad and mix well. 
Tip:  I usually roast large amounts of almonds and sesame seeds so that they are always available.
 I roast them at 350 degrees for up to 10 minutes stirring frequently so they do not burn. Bag them and put them in the freezer or refrigerator.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

English Muffins


These english muffins are a great breakfast food, delicious toasted and spread with jam, or use to make an egg mcmuffin..tasty either way!
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat
  • 4 1/4 cups white flour, I use unbleached
  • Cornmeal
  1. Heat milk, water, butter and honey till butter is melted and the mixture is warm.
  2. Add salt, yeast, whole wheat flour and 2 cups of white flour.
  3. Mix until combined.
  4. Add the rest of the flour, 1 cup at a time, using as much as needed and knead approx 3 to 5 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky.
  5. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes, while you prepare the baking sheets.
  6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough approx 1/2" thick.
  8. Using a 2" round biscuit cutter, cut circles and gently place 10 on each pan, not touching each other. Sprinkle each muffin with cornmeal. I used up the leftover scraps of dough to make a loaf of bread.
  9. Let rise until doubled in bulk.
  10. Heat griddle to 300º, lightly spray with oil and place muffins gently on the griddle. You can use a cast iron frying pan on the stove on medium low to low heat.
  11. Cook each side for 15 minutes or until done. Check for doneness by splitting a muffin apart with a fork. I baked the loaf in the oven at 375º for 30 minutes.
  12. Yields: 20 english muffins and 1 loaf of bread.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tropical Blueberry Smoothie


Smoothies are both nutritious and fun to make for young and old(er) alike.
When the grands come to visit I love that I can give them something that feels like a treat while it pumps them full of antioxidants and vitamins.  
I pour them each a glassful and then pour whatever is left into my own glass to give me a bit of extra energy for the rest of the day.  
The varieties are endless...
what is your favorite smoothie flavour?

  • liquid of your choice  (milk, juice, almond milk or greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 pineapple spear
  • 2 large strawberries
  • 1 small banana 
  • 4  ice cubes 
  • a bit of agave syrup (just a tiny bit if necessary to sweeten)
  1. Add 1/2 cup liquid to your blender jar first and then the fruit through the hole in the lid while it is running.  
  2. Add ice cubes last and then a bit of extra liquid to make the right consistency.
  3. Blend until creamy smooth and enjoy!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Feta Crusted Salmon



We had such a wonderful trip for the book launch in early May. One of the best things for me was that for 8 days that my husband and I were on vacation I didn't have to cook and we graced the table of many a fine cook. My long time childhood friend Irmgard from Abbotsford made this delectable meal for us that included,  Salmon served with Rice Pilaf, Roasted Asparagus, Veggies and dip and Ice Cream with a Orange/Lemon Rhubarb Sauce. The meal was heavenly. Today I am going to share the recipe for the Salmon. Something I think everyone who likes the flavors of salmon with feta will surely enjoy. Thank you Irm for your friendship, your wonderful hospitality, and of course sharing this recipe.
  • 1 (2 pound) salmon fillet
  • ½ cup – or more – crumbled feta cheese (definitely more)
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. light cream cheese spread 
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. dried minced onion 
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup panko or regular bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and lightly oil or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together everything except the crumbs.
  3. Lay salmon on foil and spread feta mixture evenly over salmon. Sprinkle with crumbs.
  4. Bake until it flakes easily with a fork, 35 – 45 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
Tip: If you have a much larger salmon fillet, double or triple this recipe. Don't be shy with the measure of the feta and put in lots, as that is the feature flavor of the topping.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bread for the Journey



Honor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Exodus 20:12

As a young girl, I recall Mother's Day being celebrated at church with a message honoring moms and a special program by the kids with songs and poems. What stands out in my memory are the flowers people wore to remember their mom. If you had a mom still living you wore a red or pink carnation, while those whose mom had passed away wore a white carnation. I always felt sad for those who wore white.

A German song that I also remember from my childhood is one that comes to mind when I think of the privilege of still having a mom. The lyrics do not translate as poetic as they sound in German, but simply put, they bid you, if you still have a mom, to thank God for her and bring her the most beautiful bouquet today.

On this day, we all have one thing in common . . . we all have a mother and we all have memories associated with that. Maybe today is the day to take that bouquet for whatever reason is in your heart. It may be to give thanks or to say I love you. It may be a visit to the graveyard or it may be to seek forgiveness or to forgive. 

Thank the Lord today for the one who gave you the gift of life.

Wishing a blessed Mother's Day to all mothers!
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saturday in Marg's Kitchen


It's Mother's Day weekend.
And what better way than to honor my own beloved Mother.
My Mother, loved her kitchen, her husband, family,
and her Northern Reflections Wardrobe.
I loved it when she came over to help me bake...
We had fun...we had laughter, we had a mess.
Can we ever honor our Mother's enough when we think about the
daily gifts of time and energy?
There is only one way to make a return and that is to turn our attention
to loving and nurturing the next generation, our children, and our grandchildren.
She's been gone now for 13 years, and I still cherish the memories.


I will never forget the time my mom came home from town with brand new cookie sheets.
They were shiny, no rust, easy to clean, and a little bit more costly.
She treasured them and gave strict instructions to her daughters how to care for them.
Well, here I am in the same situation....my pans are rusty,
things are constantly sticking...and I am needing to scrape the buns off the pans.
Something needs to change because it frustrates me.
Yes, I agree, there is parchment paper...and it works like a charm.
Even a bit of oil and grease works, sometimes.

Over the past years, I have found what I call the 'Mercedes' of all bake ware.
I am slowly investing in new pieces and requesting them as gifts.
Generally, I've had to carefully pry the muffins out of the pan,
hoping not to squish them or have them falling apart.
Not anymore.
And what I love most....is that the muffins are crusty all around, not just the tops.

My granola slides off with ease...notice how clean the pan is.
They are all evenly baked all around.
I love my new pans.

You might be thinking that you need some new pans.
You can quickly order some just in time for Mother's Day!
Make it simple for your family...order your own.
They are USA PAN, non stick coating, fluted surface for even baking
and highly recommended for industrial bake ware.
 You may want to check this out and can order items on Amazon.

Using quality products makes my Saturday in the kitchen pleasurable.

Wishing you all a celebrative Mother's Day weekend.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hazelnut Cake

 
 
This cake may just look like you have gone the extra mile for someone. In actuality, the only extra mile may just be finding ground hazelnuts. Almost gluten free, low fat and low sugar, a slice of this is too good to pass up.
 
Ingredients for cake:
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups ground hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp almond extract
 
Method:
  1. Grease 2 - 8 inch round or square cake pans. Line with wax paper cut to size of bottom and grease again.
  2. Mix flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Using hand mixer, blend eggs and sugar well until pale yellow in color.
  4. Add ground hazelnuts and almond extract. Beating well, then stir in flour and baking powder.
  5. Pour into prepared pans and bake until cake tests done, about 30 minutes at 350 F.
  6. Invert onto cooling rack, peel off wax paper and allow to cool.
  7. Fill with whipped cream frosting, cover sides and top and decorate with toasted nuts as desired.
 
Frosting:
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • optional choices of flavoring in whipped cream - (1) hazelnut spread to taste (2) caramel flavored sweetened condensed milk, to taste  (3) 2 Tbsp of instant chocolate pudding mix OR instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup toasted, sliced almonds or chopped hazelnuts
Beat whipping cream until stiff, adding a Tbsp of sugar or any of the optional flavorings. A small amount of instant vanilla pudding mix helps stabilize the cream for piping it. I added an extra layer of hazelnut spread in the cake as seen on the photo. Photo below was taken when cake was partially frozen.

 
 
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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders

We had chicken dinner on Sunday.  It looked nothing like the Sunday chicken dinner that I grew up with...with no stuffing, no mashed potatoes and no gravy. But there were delicious strips of lean chicken breast...moist and tender on the inside with a crunchy topping.  And while they were baking...I baked a pan of potato strips alongside.  In twenty minutes time, we had a healthy plate of chicken strips and oven fries in the comfort of our own home.  That is fast food at it's finest!


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (chicken breast strips)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Mix buttermilk, crushed peppers and garlic salt together in a shallow dish (like a pie plate) and add chicken tenders...turning pieces to coat.  Cover and set aside to marinade for one hour or overnight.
  2. Combine panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, cayenne and pepper.  
  3. Drain chicken tenders and roll in the bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat on all sides.
  4. Bake on a rack (cooling rack) that has been placed on a baking sheet at 450°F for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Serve immediately alongside oven baked fries, fresh veggies and dips of your choice. (Ranch and honey mustard pictured above).

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Chocolate Pie

 There's always a chocolate lover in every crowd. I brought this pie to a family gathering and I was asked for the recipe for this pie from several people so thought I'd add it to the recipes here on the blog.
Just in time for Mother's Day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 single baked pie crust
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped into pieces
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract ( I like to use clear vanilla so that the cream is really white)
  • chocolate bar or square of chocolate for garnishing

Method:
  1. Bake crust and have it cooled before you begin the filling.
  2. In a large microwavable glass bowl stir together first amount of sugar, cornstarch and coffee granules. 
  3. Add milk and well beaten eggs. Whisk together well until smooth.
  4. Stir in chocolate pieces.
  5. Place in microwave and cook filling in 3 minute intervals stirring well between each. Do this until mixture is bubbling and thickening. It will take approximately 10 minutes.
  6. Once completely cooked add butter and vanilla. Stir well. 
  7. Lay a piece of wax paper over pudding pressing it gently against the top of the hot chocolate pudding. This will prevent a 'skin' from forming over the top as it cools. Place in refrigerator.
  8. Using a hand mixer beat together room temperature cream cheese and last amount of sugar until smooth. 
  9. Once pudding has sat in refrigerator for 1/2 hour take out and beat in cream cheese mixture until well incorporated. Pudding will still be fairly hot. 
  10. Pour mixture immediately into baked pie shell. Once again place a piece of waxed paper over top, lightly pressing to almost seal the top. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or over night. 
  11. When ready to serve whip cream with the 2 tbsp of powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread whipped cream over pie and garnish with shaved chocolate.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teriyaki Glazed Skillet Chicken

This is a simple tasty chicken dish made in the skillet. I was inspired to try it after seeing Bev's tip on storing fresh ginger.

Teriyaki-Lemon Glazed Chicken

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, microplaned
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts thin cut

  1. In large skillet combine lemon juice, soy sauce, white and brown sugar, water, garlic and ginger.
  2. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. 2-4 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and cook 15 to 20 minutes or till thoroughly cooked turning after 10 minutes.
  4. Optional: Remove chicken and cook down glaze till it thickens somewhat and drizzle over the chicken before serving.
Serve with rice and vegetables of your choice.
Serves 4


If you purchase whole chicken breasts instead of thin cut just halve the breasts lengthwise to make them thinner.


Monday, May 6, 2013

More Celebrations Events...



It was our Celebrations Book Launch weekend...
and Friday night was just the beginning.

Our hearts our full...
we have much to celebrate and be thankful for!

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
Psalm 95:2


On Saturday we met at the lovely Winks gift shop...
where they make everything beautiful.


Winks has been a wonderful supporter of Mennonite Girls Can Cook from the start...
and hosted us for a book signing in their lovely courtyard.
How special to have violin music out in the garden...
a surprise gift for us all by Anneliese's daughter.


We signed books for hours...
and chatted with old friends and new friends.

When we were done at Winks...
we weren't really done.

We carried on to our next venue...
the beautiful Sweet Dreams B and B
where we were being hosted for dinner.

But there would be no dinner until all the boxes of books were signed.

By the end...
our signatures were barely recognizable! 


While we were hard at work...
the guys sat outside and visited.
And waited.
It seems they are used to waiting for their meal...
while the photographs are being taken for the blog or the cookbook.
They are our most supportive backstage team...
and we are very appreciative of them!

One more thing before dinner...


...a Celebrations book launch group shot.
For the record!


We sang Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow...
and enjoyed an amazing meal together with our Menno Media friends.
It was a real celebration event!

Sunday dawned bright and clear...
and very warm.
We spent the morning together in worship...
something we have not had the opportunity to do before.



For lunch we made our way to Lepp Farm Market...
where Charlotte Lepp was busy preparing tables especially for us.
We enjoyed a fabulous breakfast buffet...
before our scheduled book signing there. 
Once again it so nice to meet all the folk who came out to purchase books...
or just to have their copies signed.

We so appreciate the support of our families.
From our grandchildren to our father's...
they came to show their support.
Marg's father-in-law is 101 and came to have us sign his book.
How special is that?
Bev's dad is 90.
(Both are pictured with us above...upper left.) 

There are many stories to share that can't be told here today...
but you might want to check out some of our personal blogs in the next few days.
We laughed...
we cried...
we prayed...
we sang...
we celebrated.


And at the end of our time together...
we gathered at Lovella and Terry's for faspa (a traditional light Sunday afternoon meal).

Fitting...
and delicious.

It was a great weekend from start to finish...
and we are so thankful to all of you...
those who have supported us in so many different ways.
Thank-you to those who have already purchased the new Celebrations cookbook...
and are helping us raise funds to provide clean drinking water for children in Africa.
Let our hearts overflow with thankfulness . . .
Colossians 2:7

* * * * *
Celebrations Cookbook Give-away Winners:
Two of you (our blog readers) who left comments last week have won a copy of the cookbook...
and will be receiving it in the mailbox one day soon.
Thank-you to all who participated!

The winners are ~
Friday / May 3 Tamara Klassen who says 'I share this website on Facebook and with Everyone!!! I talk to. I check out your recipes every morning and have tried many of them. They are fabulous! I am so excited that you have another book out and I can't wait to try those recipes too! Have fun with your book signings and keep writing those amazing posts!!! '
 
Saturday / May 4: Grannie Annie who is 'from Grand Lake of the Cherokees in Oklahoma. I am an avid supporter of your blog. I plan to share this on Facebook and the sidebar of my blog. It would be a thrill to win one of your cookbooks.'
Please leave  your mailing address on the contact page of this blog...
and we will get your cookbook in the mail.
* * * * *

And one more thing.
Lovella and Anneliese are leaving early this morning for Toronto.
A cookbook tour!


They will be on CTV's Canada AM tomorrow (Tuesday) morning...
5:45 PST or 8:45 EST.
Check your local listings...
and watch them live or set your recorders.

Tomorrow?
Look for a recipe on the blog...
as usual!