Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Corn, Avocado, Shrimp Salad


It's corn time in Chilliwack. That's our product and there's no better feeling
then to get up early and pick a few fresh cobs of corn.
I love watching the farmer till and prepare the soil in early spring.  Now it's harvest time.
Chilliwack Corn is always a favorite and here is one of my favorite recipes.
Are you looking for something lighter?  It's a perfect meal all in one,
with a tangy buttermilk dressing that isn't runny.
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ears of sweet corn (jubilee) cut off the cob
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled with tails off
  • 4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • buttermilk dressing
Method
  1. Husk corn and grill slowly on the BBQ on medium heat. Set aside. You can use any kind of corn, but jubilee beats them all.
  2. Cook prawns in boiling water until pink in color. Set aside.
  3. Fry the bacon till crisp. Set aside.
  4. Assemble your salad by making a bed of lettuce and adding your corn, bacon, shrimp and avocado on top. Toss lightly.
  5. Drizzle with your favorite buttermilk recipe.

Basil Buttermilk Dressing
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onions
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly chopped basil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
Whisk all ingredients until blended.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour before using.
I like this tangy dressing packed with herbs. Paprika gives it that smoky taste.

Tips:
  1. Grill or cook extra cobs when making corn on the cob...its can be used for salads later on in the week. I always butter the corn first prior to placing it on the BBQ using medium heat.
  2. Freshly cooked shrimp is my suggestion, rather than using frozen cooked shrimp.
  3. Drizzle lime juice over avocado to prevent from darkening.
  4. Greek yogurt combined with buttermilk, creates a  consistency for a butter milk dressing that's just perfect.  It's never too runny.  I've experimented with sour cream and mayonnaise and find it's always runny.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce


One of my favourite things about summer is the wealth of 
fresh locally grown tomatoes.
Here is a lovely fresh pasta side dish you can make for
 one of those warm summer evenings.
There is no cooking required for the sauce so you are 
out of the kitchen in no time.
Add some left over grilled salmon and you have a fresh tasting main dish.

  • 8 ounces / 250 g  linguinni or fuselli (small spirals)
  • 1 large Beefsteak tomato or several smaller ones  If you can get them, Heirloom tomatoes would be a good alternative to the Beefsteak (a variety of cherry tomatoes halved also works)
  • 8 ounces / 225 grams brie cheese*
  • 1/3 cup / 50 ml good quality olive oil
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon / 5 ml salt
  • 1 teaspoon / 15 ml freshly ground black pepper or to taste
  • 1 handful fresh basil, coarsely chopped or julienned
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives (if desired)
  1. Chop tomato and place in a large serving bowl.
  2. Cut up Brie cheese.  You can leave the rind on or discard it, if you prefer. Add to tomatoes in bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and  stir just to combine. Set aside to allow flavours to meld.
  4. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
  5. When pasta is cooked to your liking, drain it (do not rinse) and turn it out of the colander on to the sauce in the serving bowl.
  6. Toss until the cheese starts to melt, and serve immediately..
*I've also done this using 1 package of cream cheese, cubed, instead of the Brie.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Green Smoothies


Smoothies of all kinds are popular these days. I ordered a Green Smoothie from a restaurant that I really enjoyed, came home and tested a few ingredient combinations until I was happy with the taste.
It received a blog worthy pass in my test kitchen. Try it! I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how refreshing this healthy drink tastes.

Ingredients: (yields 2 cups)
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 large pear, peeled and cored
  • 1 very large handful fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 2/3 cup orange juice, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 4 ice cubes, optional
Method:
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bread for the Journey


Running the race..our granddaughter loves to run, it has become a part of her life. In running a race you need to train for it, any runner will tell you that you will need discipline and consistency and that you will have to work through the pain of sore muscles in order to run the race to the finish line.
As in the Christian life we need to be disciplined and consistent in training for the race of life. We need to read God's word, absorb it, and apply it to our lives so that we can run the race of life to the finish line. We will experience painful times but it is through these times that God provides the energy to overcome and in this process our faith will grow stronger. We will rejoice and enjoy our training in following God's teachings.
Fix your eyes on Jesus and keep running the race for Him.

Hebrews 12:11-13 NIV


11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[a] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.





Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday in Marg's Kitchen


 We've all probably seen these cutlery containers from Costco.
I used one all last summer serving our guests while we hosted many large events.
But then a few weeks ago....I was hosting an event, and I thought....
"This doesn't look bad, but how can I put some pizazz into my presentation?'
So when my company arrived, I was still fussing about cutlery and one of my guests said,
"Do you have an old vase?"
I looked through my pantry and there it was.
Thanks Corita, for inspiring me.

A very simple empty vase with a triangular base and a simple ribbon.
I knew where I could find more of these.
(Little Mountain Greenhouse)

I know have three of these vases and they are so practical and useful
They are stable and will not tip over.
How many times have I plumped the cutlery in a glass jar and it tips.

Check out your ribbon accessories and notice how you can change them for any occasion.
That's the beauty of this.


Now you can have fun decorating year round.

Strong, durable, and non-tip.
And I quite like the looks of them.
I'm ready for company indoors or outdoors.

Now let's take this one step farther.
Take out the cutlery and substitute your vases for small posies for your next dinner event.

There's so many interesting ways one can display these simple ideas.
I've enjoyed these simple little vases which have a way of
making everything look just perfect.
Go check out what's hiding in your closet or maybe let your friends snoop around.
You may have some hidden treasures.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lattice Work Pies

I could not remember the last time I tried doing lattice work on a pie, so I thought it was time to just try it. And it really is easier than it looks. I most recently tried it with a rhubarb pie and then a mixed berry pie, which I will give the recipes for, but the main idea here is to give a pictorial on how to assemble and create the top.
Roll our your favorite double pie crust as usual, fitting the first into the pie dish so that the edges come up quite high. I like to give the base a light egg wash before filling it with fruit. Adding some lemon zest to a berry pie enhances the flavor. I mix the dry ingredients and spoon them over the fruit, then just shake and tap the dish.
Roll our your second half the same size and cut strips.


Taking every other strip . . .


loosely lay them on the fruit  the same way, starting with the smallest  so that they fit the size of the pie. Leave the ends alone.


Beginning with the next smallest, lay it the opposite direction,
lifting every other strip you cross. Repeat with each strip following the size pattern
and alternate how you begin each row . . . whether the strip goes over or under.
 
Once you have the pie covered, fold the ends under the bottom crust and  flute the edges. Give it an egg wash and dust with coarse sugar if desired.
Rhubarb Pie
Ingredients:
  • 5 cups, slightly peeled, chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 1 egg
Method:
  1. Pour boiling water over rhubarb, allow to sit a few minutes and drain.
  2. Mix sugar and flour and then stir in the egg.
  3. Mix fruit with sugar filling and fill pie crust.
  4. Cover with second pie crust, lattice work or your favorite crumble mix.
  5. Bake at 375 F for 60 - 90 minutes, until filling bubbles through slits. (I like to freeze them raw, the longer baking time is for frozen pie)
Mixed Berry Pie
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 3 cups mix of raspberries, blackberries and/or pitted cherries
  • lemon zest
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca
Method:
  1. Do a light egg wash on bottom shell and fill with fruit. Add a sprinkle of lemon zest and cover with sugar/flour/tapioca  mixture.
  2. Cover with top, adding slits if not doing lattice work. Apply a light egg wash.
  3. Bake at 375 F for 60 - 75 minutes, until juices bubble through slits. Will take about 15 minutes longer with frozen pie.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Onion Ring Special


Over the years I have collected many recipes from friends and family...and whenever I prepare that particular dish I am always reminded of the one from whom it came.  Today's recipe is a prime example.  My Aunt Kay e-mailed this recipe to me one summer...thinking it might be something we would enjoy.  And we do!  Two years ago this month my aunt passed away.  I have many good memories of her...and this salad always brings her to mind. If you love the fresh produce of summer..then here is a side dish of multi-coloured bell peppers and onions that most easy to prepare ahead and have on hand in the fridge.  So...if you have a peck of peppers that need picking...here's a recipe for you!



  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced in rings (like Walla Walla)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced in rings
  • 1 green pepper, sliced in rings
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced in rings
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced in rings
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  1. Thinly slice all the vegetables and place in large salad bowl with a lid.  
  2. Combine sugar, salt, vinegar, water and oil in a saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  4. Pour over veggies.
  5. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours. 
  6. Serve as a salad or a meat condiment.
 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Home made Ice-cream (and yes of course its Gluten Free!)




I haven't been able to make my own ice-cream for some years since my ice-cream maker broke and I haven't been able to find another - at the right price, in stock at the right time of year !
But earlier this spring we were looking for a new toaster and I saw a whole shelf of ice-cream makers.  My eyes scanned the shelf until the one at the very end held my gaze !   It was regular priced at $79.00 but  marked down to $24.99 ... OK, that's a deal !!  right ?
So yes..  it found it's way home to my kitchen !

I love ice-cream !  And if I go into an ice-cream shop with 2 million flavours to choose from, what will I order ?   Of course  -  VANILLA !

So I appreciate a good vanilla ice-cream... it has to taste juuuussst right and have that perfectly smooth creamy texture that melts in your mouth! It also has to have the right shade of colour - not pastey white, not  sickly yellow.

My recipe meets the above stated standard. It can be just a starter for those of you who love any-flavour-but-vanilla.  

When the ice-cream is almost set in the ice-cream maker, add fresh berries, chocolate syrup, crushed candy bars or whatever will satisfy your  personal ice-cream flavour craving.

  Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (real or artificial, because its cooked it doesn't make too much difference) 
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  1. For the cooked custard place milk, sugar,  egg yolks and vanilla  in a heavy saucepan or the top of  a double boiler.   Bring to a soft boil and cook for a couple of minutes. 
  2. Chill in refrigerator until completely cold. 
  3. Remove from fridge and add 2 cups whipping cream , stir and pour into 'frozen'  ice-cream maker bowl. (make sure the bowl was in the freezer for at least 24 hours - I store mine in the freezer for handy stand-by ready) 
  4. Let the ice-cream maker process the ice-cream until ice-cream is firm -- different makers may vary on the firmness of the ice-cream.  If it is too soft just scrape into container and put in freezer until completely firm. 
  5. Serve as desired.   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Massaged Kale Salad


Our garden is providing us with an abundance of fresh Kale and I have begun to make this very simple salad that keeps well for at least two days in the refrigerator.
The secret to making a salad with kale is to massage it with the dressing.
Wash it first really well and dry it in a salad spinner and then break it into bite sized pieces and place it into your salad bowl.  I then put a little olive oil onto the palm of my hands and massage the kale for just a minute or so.  Massaging the kale helps to make the tough bitter leaf into sweet and tender leaves which are perfect for salad.

  • enough kale to fill your salad bowl, stems removed, washed and dried and broken into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • the juice of one orange
  • the juice of one lemon
  • a drizzle of liquid honey (to taste)
  • fresh cracked salt and pepper
  • sliced or minced red onion
  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks ( a mandolin works best) or sliced fresh strawberries
  • dried cranberries and toasted sliced almonds 
  1. Put the kale into a salad bowl and drizzle olive oil over the bite sized pieces to coat them and then massage with your hands for several minutes.
  2. Drizzle the citrus juices, honey and salt and pepper over the salad greens and toss to coat well and adjust the sweetness and the salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the red onion and the carrots and then refrigerate until serving.
  4. Just before serving, give the salad a good toss and top with the dried cranberries and toasted sliced almonds.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Crackers


These home made crackers are wonderful to serve with your favourite cheese spreads or dips, smoked salmon or pate. Break these crispy crackers up into random sized pieces and place in a basket to serve. Before baking I topped these with sesame seeds and Sabrosa, which is a seasoned sea salt. See other seasoning ideas below.

Ingredients: (yields 4 - 12" thin crispy crackers)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 egg, (for egg wash)
  • sesame seeds, for topping
  • sea salt, for topping
Method:
  1. Add flour and salt to a bowl. Stir to mix. 
  2. Add warm water to flour mixture. Stir until dough comes together into a soft dough.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead well, sprinkling with small amount of extra flour if needed until dough is smooth. Knead for 10 minutes.....this is an important step.
  4. Place kneaded dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp lint free towel. 
  5. Allow dough to rest on counter for 2 hours.
  6. Divide dough into four equal sized pieces. 
  7. Roll out each piece into a thin circle approximately 12" each. The shape will not be perfect, but that makes for an interesting shape.
  8. Pick up rounds and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. I baked two in the oven at a time.
  9. Break egg into a bowl and lightly beat. Brush tops of dough rounds with egg. Poke all over randomly with a fork.
  10. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sea salt. Don't over due the salt, just a light sprinkle will add a nice taste.
  11. Bake in 425º oven for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned and crisp. 
  12. Remove to a cooling rack. Once cooled, break apart and serve. 
Store crackers in an airtight container or zip lock bag. 

Topping suggestions:
-garlic powder
-course black pepper
-finely chopped fresh dill or dried dill weed
-red pepper flakes
-poppy seeds
-grated Parmesan 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bread for the Journey

In a recent Precepts Bible Study I became more aware of how, from the very beginning in Genesis, God provided forgiveness for sins. The Bible says that after Adam and Eve sinned, God made garments of skin to clothe them. Their shame was covered by the death of a perfect lamb, pointing to  Jesus, who would  one day die for the sins of the world. In due time, God gave His Son because He desires for us to have a choice . . . a way out from  the wages of our sinful nature. I was reminded of the chorus of an old song by Point of Grace:
There's a bridge to cross the great divide
A way was made to reach the other side
The mercy of the Father cost His son His life
His love is deep, His love is wide
There's a cross to bridge the great divide
I love the beautiful interchanging of words. The bridge to a relationship with God is the cross. The cross is the bridge to forgiveness and peace. No matter who we are or what we have done, God loves us. The bridge is made available to all who will cross. I got on it on a summer evening, when I was almost eleven years old. It changed my life.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday in Betty's Kitchen

I want to show you some of my 'old things' for this Saturday in my kitchen. I  actually use some of my old things and don't just have them on display. Each item brings back memories of long ago.


Top left corner..the blue enamel coffee pot used to belong to my grandmother. I remember her making coffee on the old wood cook stove. I still use the kettle to boil water.The strainer was a wedding gift and although it is a bit chipped I still like to use it. The cookie tin belonged to my husband's mother and she always had cookies in it, stored in the freezer. I loved to see her opening up this tin knowing we would be treated to delicious cookies. Every once in awhile I fill it up to store cookies in my freezer. The syrup tin is also from long ago when we used to purchase syrup in these tins. Oh it was so good to dip freshly baked buns in a saucer of syrup.
Top right corner..a cookie recipe page from my husband's Mom..I like the splattered and tattered look. Many of the recipes handed down did not have proper instructions but most of the time I can figure them out.
Bottom left corner..I received this tea set as a gift from my Mom and Dad when I was just a little girl. I spent hours having little tea parties with my dolls. Before I had any grandchildren I had already earmarked this for my first born granddaughter, as it turns out I only had one!
Bottom right corner..the tall pitcher with the bird belonged to my great grandmother, the smaller pitcher from my Dad's side of the family and the butter dish was a gift from my mother long ago. The embroidered spread was made by my Mom and I use that as a cover over my mixer when whipping cream.



These aprons are handed down from my mom and grandmother. The one with the little yellow flowers was my Mom's and was worn when serving at different functions. The red floral was sewn by mom and I remember her wearing it often as she cooked and baked. The green checkered apron was sewn by my grandmother, was used by both my grandmother and mom, and now it hangs in my kitchen and yes I do use it as well. It has yellowed with age but that only makes it more precious.




I had to mention chocolate cake as an 'old thing', it was a favorite in my growing up years and it was baked most every Saturday. Once my youngest brother was old enough to bake he would whip up this cake on short order and it was always delicious! My older brothers would deem the cake a success if they could squeeze it in their hands into a bar shape!

It is a simple recipe and so moist and delicious. I have changed it up a wee bit from the old recipe.

Ingredients:



  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • Buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Melt butter and stir in cocoa till blended. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. Break egg into a 1 cup measuring cup and fill up with buttermilk.
  4. Pour egg mixture and cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended.
  5. Pour into a greased 8" pan and bake in 350º oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with whipped cream. Add a few berries and chocolate shavings and you have a most wonderful dessert.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pork Tenderloin Roll with Cream Sauce

Here we are in the middle of BBQ season and if you're like me you like to try something new on the grill. My husband and I decided to try and replicate a rolled pork tenderloin recipe and we like how it has turned out. The sun dried cream sauce was something I added the last time we made it and it really finishes the meat off nicely.
There are several tips I can give you that work well for us when grilling this recipe. Grill over indirect heat. It's important to check the internal temperature of the meat by using a meat thermometer. Remember as well that it's a good idea to allow your cooked meat to rest for about 5-10 minutes once it comes off the grill before cutting. During this time the meat juices will set, but also the meat will still cook a little more during this resting period.


Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 4 tablespoons herb and garlic spreadable cream cheese
  • fresh spinach, enough to put a thin layer over cream cheese
  • 4 large slices provolone cheese, or enough to cover meat
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto 
  • 6 thin slices Genoa salami (hot or regular)
  • 1 large garlic cloves, sliced very thing
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, use a slotted spoon to take out of the oil
  • 2 long green onions
  • kitchen twine
Ingredients for cream sauce:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, again, use a slotted spoon to take out of the oil
Method for sauce:
  1. Heat oil over medium heat and add garlic. Saute for one minute.
  2. Add cream and sun dried tomatoes.
  3. Allow to come to a slow boil and then turn down to simmer and thicken. This will take about 10 minutes on simmer.
  4. Keep warm and then heat to hot to serve over meat.
Meat cut open to add filling.
Method:
  1. Cut pork tenderloin open as if you were unrolling a jelly roll. The meat will again be rolled up like a jelly roll once the filling are on.
  2. Spread with cream cheese.
  3. Top with fresh spinach.
  4. Lay cheese on top of the spinach, making sure you have enough cheese to cover the whole area of meat.
  5. Lay prosciutto and Genoa salami over cheese.
  6. Place thinly sliced garlic over the meat.
  7. Top with sun dried tomatoes
  8. Top with sliced green onions.
  9. Cut a long piece of kitchen twine. It's good to have a pair of extra hands to roll up the meat in jelly roll fashion.  Once rolled, wrap the twine tightly around meat, starting at one end and wrapping every 1" to hold it all together. Secure end. 
  10. Place meat onto grill that is pre heated to 350º. Remembering to place it over indirect heat. 
  11. Every 10 minutes turn the meat to insure even cooking. We have found that the best and safest way to check for doneness it to use a thermometer. The internal temperature should be at 145º F. This will take approximately 40 minutes on the grill. I have not cooked this recipe in the oven but you easily could. Bake it in a 350º oven, uncovered for 40 minutes and then again check the temperature. I would also turn the meat. 
  12. Once meat is done, remove to a cutting board and lightly tent with foil. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. 
  13. Slice and serve with sauce.



Finished roll being sliced. 
Ready to serve.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Carrot Mango Slaw


My friend Betti brought this salad to a friend's cabin recently. 
 I enjoyed it so much I asked her if I could share the recipe with all of you.
She graciously agreed so here it is.


On a personal note: It's my oldest son's birthday today.
Happy Birthday Tim! (You'll like this salad Tim!)

  • 3 large carrots (about 1 lb.)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Coarsely grate carrots into a large bowl.
  2. Peel and finely chop mango and add to carrots with the green onion, raisins, peanuts and cilantro or parsley.
  3. Mix gently.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime zest and juice, honey and salt and pepper
  5. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly, until dressing emulsifies.
  6. Pour dressing over carrot mixture, toss gently and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Watermelon Cake






Since summer is  watermelon season, I wanted to share this watermelon cake that my sister, Grace, made for our Dad's 90th birthday!
Not only does it look stunning but it is a light, healthy alternative  dessert for a summer bbq or celebration.

According to my sister here are the simple instructions.

1. Cut a watermelon in half, then cut each half into serving sized slices. Cut away the rind.
2. Using one half of the watermelon for each 'cake', set the slices back up together on a serving plate.
3. Whip the 'cream' of coconut milk until stiff, sweeten with honey.  (you could also use whipped cream with stabilizer or a tsp of instant vanilla pudding - sweetened as desired.)
4. Decorate with toasted almonds, or toasted coconut and fresh fruit, as shown.
5. Refrigerate until serving !

Have you entered the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Contest?  Click on the link here to get the full details.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Easy Bake Chicken



This is quick and simple recipe with little effort and lots of flavor. Enjoyed by all who were around the table.

  • 1 package of dry Italian Dressing seasoning mix. 
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 3 pounds of boneless chicken breast or thighs (about 16 pieces of boneless thighs or 8 pieces of chicken breast.
  1. Combine the dry dressing and brown sugar.
  2. Dip the chicken into the dry seasoning and place on foil lined and greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning mixture.
  3. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.
  4. The chicken makes its own sauce that you can drizzle over rice. I served this with basmati rice and tossed salad. 
Are you ready to win a Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations book?  Check the link here to get the full details.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Smartie Cookie Pizza

It is simply a giant cookie...also called a cookie pizza or a cookie-cake.  It's a fun dessert for all ages...is easy to transport to a party or picnic or to give as a gift.  Write a message on it with icing and serve it for any occasion.  We took one to a picnic at the lake awhile back...and it doubled as a birthday cake for our granddaughter. Have fun with it!  



Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • Smarties or M and M's to decorate
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  2. Line a 14-inch round pizza pan with a circle of parchment.
  3. Cream butter and sugar with mixer until smooth. 
  4. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. 
  5. Add flour, baking soda and salt together. Mix until smooth.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Put the dough into the pizza pan and press it into a circle...leaving a generous 1 inch gap around the rim.
  8. Press smarties into the top...as desired.
  9. Bake on center rack for 20 minutes or until cookie is golden and set.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bread For The Journey



A few summers ago we took a drive down to Bryce Canyon which is a national park
nestled in south western Utah.
I am awed by the beauty of this park, how the process of erosion forms an array of
fantastic shapes of pinnacles and pillars.
One can see how tiny drops of water have built beautiful monuments and pinnacles.
I can totally identify with John Muir, that nature is a great teacher.
For me there is no greater joy than to be out in nature and feel God.
Nature reveals the mind of God.

"In every walk of nature, one receives far more than he seeks." John Muir

Let's take a walk into our own lives.
Each one of us goes through a similar erosion process inside.
Just as a single thought finds its way in our mind, it leaves sediment that sinks deep down
into our soul forming our own pillars ~ pillars of character.
There are times when we all face problems and want to walk away from them.
Sometimes we may be buffeted by stress and
pressed by challenges that come at us from the outside.
 Sometimes we can collapse under external pressure.
There are times when we let immoral and selfish thoughts fill our minds.
They become eroding pillars of evil.

When we fill our minds with truth and love, we form strong and beautiful pillars in our souls.
When we pursue God, we reflect His character in our lives.
Just as Bryce Canyon was developed over thousands of years,
so our true character is also in  a 'continuous process' being shaped and formed
to become more God-like!
This shows the real resurrection power of Christ strengthening us moment by moment.

What kind of pillars are you erecting in your life?

"The inward man is being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16


Saturday, July 13, 2013

How to cut up a Sweet Pepper


Maybe I'm the last to find out this easy way to cut up a pepper.
I've never thought much about how I do it . . . cut it in half and go for it . . .
but when I tried this suggestion, I liked it.



The chef told us to take a pepper and look at it as a square.
Having established the best square side,
cut around the core on all four sides, then the bottom ...
and you have the core in one piece to throw out.
I thought this is all fine and dandy if you buy nice square peppers, 


but then I saw that this works with a triangular pepper as well.
Simply cut around the core
three times, and you still have the centre in one piece.
The sides slice up nicely without a lot of curve to deal with.




And, if you cannot figure out heads or tails in this,
and do not see a square or a triangle,
simply cut through the middle, avoiding the imaginary centre,
split it open to reveal the pod of seeds and remove it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Guacamole

Guacamole is something we eat a lot of in our home. It's made with fresh and healthy ingredients and comes together quickly. I don't know how many of you watched Lovella and I on Breakfast Television on May 27. Riaz the show host helped me stir together a bowl of Judy's River Walk guacamole, a recipe from our Celebrations cook book. Every guacamole recipe has a little taste twist. Judy's recipe tastes so citrus fresh with the orange and lime. This recipes unique ingredient is the addition of pickled banana peppers and a wee bit of the juice, giving it a little extra bite. This recipe came from my sister Rhoda's daughter in law Ingrid.
Ingredients: 
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pickled banana peppers, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp pickle juice from the jar of banana peppers
  • juice from one fresh lime
  • 1 tsp course salt
Method:
  1. Cut avocado in half and remove the stone. (save stone) Score each half section of avocado and scoop the flesh into a glass mixing bowl. (do not use metal as it will react with the lime juice leaving a metal taste) Using a small masher or fork, mash avocados, leaving them slightly chunky.
  2. Cut onion, red pepper and banana peppers into small pieces. (for this recipe I like to cut those small)
  3. Add banana pepper juice, freshly squeezed lime juice and salt.
  4. Stir everything together well.
  5. If you make your guacamole earlier in the day, to keep guacamole from turning brown in colour put the stone back into the mixture. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Guacamole is best served fresh the same day it's made. 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jalapeño Burgers


We are hurrying to use  up all our Jalapeños from last years garden.  We had a bumper crop and froze them solid in zipper bags for the winter.  I find the easiest way to mince a jalapeño is to take it out frozen solid and use a very sharp paring knife, slicing it very thin.  When it is frozen it will be so easy to slice that it will be as though you almost used a razor blade and shaved it while it is still frozen.  I first slice it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and slice from tip to stem while holding the bit of stem.   These burgers are not hot but have a great flavour and so simple and quick.  Use thin buns to enjoy the flavour of the meat.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 small or one large frozen jalapeño, shaved and minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1.   Fry the onion and jalapeño over medium heat just until wilted.  Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine beef, jalapeño, onion, egg and salt and form into 4 flat patties.  It is easiest to do this by forming into even balls and then flattening them on parchment paper.
  3. Grill over hot coals until the center is no longer pink.  Serve on a thin bun with fried onions, lettuce and your favorite condiments.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pecan Pie Muffins


I bake a lot of muffins and these did not disappoint! I have baked them a number of times and each time I exclaim "oh my they are so delicious". They don't round up like a regular muffin, staying rather flat but don't let that stop you, they are worth making!
I have three sizes of muffin tins, mini, semi-mini, and large. I used the semi-mini size and ended up with one dozen. If you want more just double or triple the recipe. They freeze well.


  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, a pinch will do
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped..set aside 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together melted butter, egg, and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and blend just till moistened.
  3. Generously spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
  4. Take the 1/4 cup chopped pecans that were set aside and sprinkle them evenly into the muffin pan.
  5. Spoon batter over the pecans.
  6. Bake in a 425º oven for 12 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Check after 10 minutes.
  7. Cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack and remove from pan. To remove the muffins you might need to run a knife around the edges.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Antipasto Platter


Recently I was asked to bring an appetizer to a baby shower.
Being in the middle of kitchen renovations, I was looking for something
I could make in the limited space of my camper kitchen.
This Antipasto platter was a good solution.
It would also be a great make-ahead starter for a summer barbeque.
You can come up with your own additions or substitutions but here is what I used on this platter.

  • 1 jar pickled asparagus
  • 1 package mini sweet peppers (can be found at Costco and most large supermarkets)
  • 1 package herbed soft cheese (like Boursin)
  • Several varieties of dry salami - I used Wine salami and Bagged salami
  • Fontina  or other Italian cheese cut into 1"x1"x 3" sticks
  • canteloupe melon balls
  • sliced proscuitto (Italian smoked  ham)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • several varieties of olives from the deli
  • Small balls of Bocconcini ( fresh mozzarella)
  • Fresh herbs made into a mini bouquet and lettuce for garnish
  1. Roll  a slice of salami around each pickled asparagus spear
  2. Halve and remove seeds from mini peppers Leaving the stem if possible.
  3. Stuff each pepper half with herbed soft cheese
  4. Wrap each melon ball in a slice of proscuitto and secure with a toothpick
  5. Arrange all items on a large serving platter and garnish.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving

Monday, July 8, 2013

Instant Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

This is so simple, it can hardly be called a recipe.  It is rather like 'cheater ice-cream' and really hits the spot on a hot day.  All you need is frozen berries and Greek yogurt.  Simple and delicious!


  • 2 cups / 500 grams Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 2-4 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  1. Put yogurt into food processor (or good quality blender).
  2. Add frozen berries and sugar.
  3. Blitz until blended.
  4. Serve immediately. 
Serves 4.