Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sugar Cookies in Pumpkin Shapes


Today is an appropriate day to share the recipe for these pumpkin shaped cookies, I used to make them for our children so that when they came home from school there would be a 'pumpkin treat' for them. Then in later years I made them for the grandchildren. All of the children and g'children have grown up, but who can resist a pretty cookie decorated as an orange pumpkin!
This recipe can be used for different seasons, it's my favorite at Christmas using festive cookie cutters.
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Cream butter, and sugar, stir in vanilla.
  2. Add egg and beat until fluffy.
  3. Add dry ingredients and milk, stirring until well mixed.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour..you may chill the dough overnight.
  5. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with pumpkin shaped cookie cutter, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, you do not need to leave much space between the cookies, they do not spread.
  6. Bake in 400º oven for 8 minutes.
  7. Cool on rack and decorate with orange colored icing. I cut green colored baking gumdrops in half for the stems.
  8. Yields: 2 dozen



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Butterflied Roasted Chicken with Vegetables


This is a rustic meal with rough cut vegetables roasted in a pan that can go from your stove top to your oven. Butterflying the chicken gives you the option to cook the chicken breast down which results in breast meat that is not dried out while you wait on the dark meat to be cooked thoroughly.


Ingredients:
1 -3-4lb. whole chicken
4-5 white potatoes, quartered
4-5 carrots rough cut
1 large onion, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed, optional
Seasoned salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil and more Olive Oil to coat the vegetables.
1 Tablespoon butter
Salt and fresh ground pepper.

Method:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Rinse and pat the whole chicken dry.
Using good kitchen shears cut out the backbone of the chicken and set aside to make chicken stock or discard.
Flatten the whole chicken by pressing firmly on the breast bone. Remove any excess skin.
Prepare vegetables placing them in large bowl and season them with salt and pepper (to taste). Add the smashed garlic. Sprinkle the vegetables generously with olive oil and toss together to coat all the vegetables evenly. Set aside.
Heat oil and butter in large oven proof pan or dutch oven.
Season chicken well with seasoned salt of your choice. If you don't have seasoned salt season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Place chicken breast side down in heated pan to brown and crisp up the skin. Turn the chicken over carefully and brown the other side.
Remove the chicken to a plate or platter while you go on to the next step.
De-glaze the pan with a little chicken stock or white wine.
Add all the seasoned and oiled vegetables to the pan.
Place the chicken breast side down on top of the vegetables.
Place pan with vegetables and chicken on the center rack of preheated oven.
Roast for 60 minutes.
Turn chicken over and roast for 10 more minutes or until meat thermometer registers 165 degrees at the thickest part of the dark meat.



 Remove the chicken from the pan onto cutting board and cut the chicken into serving sizes. You can return the chicken to the roasting pan or onto a platter at this point adding the vegetables.


 Serve with your favorite additions or no additions. We chose some salad and sour dough bread.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reuben Meatloaf


I like reuben sandwiches so why not a reuben meatloaf? It's very tasty, I love the pairing of sauerkraut, ground beef, and swiss cheese in this recipe. If you wish, you can put a layer of corned beef slices on top of the sauerkraut which would add an authentic taste as in a reuben sandwich. Leftovers are great served cold for sandwiches.


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, I used lean
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cucumber relish
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Thousand Island Dressing
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup grated swiss cheese, divided
  • Aluminum foil
  1. In a bowl, mix together the first eight ingredients.
  2. Lay out a piece of aluminum foil, spray with cooking oil. Pat meat mixture onto the foil into a rectangular shape that will fit your  9" x  5" (approx) baking pan.
  3. Spread with thousand island dressing, top with sauerkraut, and half of the grated swiss cheese.
  4. Roll up jelly roll style, peeling away the foil as you roll. Seal the seam and ends.
  5. Place in a greased baking pan.
  6. Bake uncovered in a 375º oven for 50 to 55 minutes. When cooked, drain off any juices collected in pan.
  7. Sprinkle the other half of the swiss cheese over meatloaf, place back in oven, and bake a few more minutes until cheese is melted.
  8. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before slicing, using a sharp knife.
  9. Delicious served with mashed potatoes, creamed peas and a salad. 



Monday, October 28, 2013

Raspberry Yogurt Muffins

I'm glad I took this summer to once again pick and freeze berries and other fruits to add use in baking throughout the fall and winter months. For this batch of muffins I chose to use raspberries, but you can  substitute with rhubarb, blackberries or even peaches. I typically use plain yogourt in these muffins, but also have used the yogourt that is the same flavour as the fruit that I've added.
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup yogourt, plain or the flavour of your fruit choice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup finely crushed Shreddies cereal (if Shreddies are not available substitute with 1 cup natural bran)
  • 1 1/4 cup fruit, frozen or fresh. When using a tart fruit I sprinkle the fruit with 2 tbsp of white sugar before folding into batter.
  1. Stir together quick oats and yogourt and allow to sit for a few minutes.
  2. Add oil, brown sugar and egg and beat well.
  3. Mix together the remaining dry ingredients and just mix until blended.
  4. Fold in the fruit.
  5. Grease muffin tin and divide between the 12 muffin cups.
  6. Bake at 400º for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bread for the Journey

I’ve been reading off and on a devotional by John Piper called Taste and See -Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life - 140 Meditations. I’m sharing part of Meditation 50 (How Can Elsie Run? How to Run and Box when You are over 80) I’ve highlighted in bold green parts that really spoke to me…

…”Are running and boxing only for the fit and hardy?
The answer is that we all must run, whether old or young, whether sick or healthy. And this is possible for the sick and senile because the race is run with the heart, not the legs, and the fight is fought with the heart, not the fists. It is a race and a fight not against other athletes, but against unbelief. It is possible for the aged and weak to win this fight because the fight is a fight against lost hope, not against lost health.
Here’s the biblical evidence for this. In 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul says to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession” The fight is a “fight of faith.” It is not a fight to get out of bed, but to rest in God.

It is not a fight to keep all the powers of youth, but to trust in the power of God. The race is run against temptations that would make us doubt God’s goodness. It is a fight to stay satisfied in God through broken hips and lost sight and failed memory. The race can and may be run flat on your back. In fact, it may be run and fought better by the paralyzed than by the able and seemingly self-sufficient.

…Finishing the race means not giving up the hope of the gospel. It is a race against hopelessness, not against flawlessness.

When we cheer on the diseased or aging runners who run their final laps in hospital beds, what we are really saying is, “Do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35) The finish line is crossed in the end, not by a burst of human energy, but by collapsing into the arms of God. And let us not forget: In the Christian race, we do not finish alone. We finish together. It is part of the rules. “Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13)”

My mother finished her race and "collapsed into the arms of God at the age of 89 on September 13th, 2013. This happened to be her and my pop's 70th wedding anniversary. Her family came around her in her last days and she did not finish her race alone. I wanted to share this short excerpt from my mom's eulogy that my youngest brother gave at my mom's funeral services on the 27th of September.

"Thank you for coming today to help us honor and celebrate the life of our Mother,
Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Aunt and friend, to support her Husband, our Pop –
but most of all to thank the Lord for a life redeemed and well lived and to be reminded
that eternal life means that there is more life to come after we die, a life characterized
by the resurrection life and body of Jesus Christ. God has not abandoned Mom, but He
promises because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that she will be made like Him,
forever experiencing the fullness of life that is called eternal life and is available to all of
us through faith in Christ. Our Mom is in the hands of God and there is no better place
for her to be.

 Until we see her again, we mourn our great loss but celebrate her GREAT gain. As
Proverbs 31:31 says “Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her
praise at the city gates.”

 I hope this will encourage someone out there who is having a hard time running. Keep the faith. Keep looking ahead to the Hope we have in Christ. Keep acknowledging God’s goodness to you every day. Blessings on you…

Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's a Piece of Cake!

I thought I'd use this Saturday post to share some simple cake decorating tips with you.

Birthdays are a special time for kids...
and they love nothing better than having a unique cake to mark the occasion.
And guess what?
They are easy to make...
using standard cakes cut into various shapes...
frosted and decorated.
One does not need to be skilled cake decorator...
or have fancy pans!

With a little inspiration...
anyone can turn out a fun edible centerpiece for that next birthday celebration!

I have a book called Cakes for Kids by Matthew Mead...
which is a great guidebook.
But for the most part...
one can google any theme these days...
and find ideas for a cake to go with it. 


My five-year-old granddaughter requested a treasure chest cake for her birthday...
a few weeks ago.

Betty Crocker had a treasure chest cake on-line.
That was my guide and I made changes as I went along.
I used a chocolate cake mix...
baked it in a 9 x 13 inch pan...
and cut it up as Betty suggested.
I added a cardboard base (covered with foil) under the 'lid'...
thinking that would make it easier to remove for cutting.
I used a chocolate butter cream frosting...
but I'm sure frosting from the can would work just as well.
The straps on the treasure chest are strips of fruit roll-ups.
Candy necklaces and foil wrapped candies work great.
Gold foil-covered chocolate coins are a must!

Maggie loved her cake!
My oldest two grands (twin girls) had the same cake for their fifth birthday...
almost seven years ago.

Another grand was obsessed with ducks...


...so she got a ducky cake for her 2nd birthday not long ago.
Fun...and simple!

 

The ladybug cake was baked in a Pyrex bowl...
the head in a custard cup.
The spots are wee Oreo cookies.
I checked out google images and copied what I liked.


A frog cake for a second birthday.
Very easy...
using two layers and two cupcakes.


One year the birthday girl wanted a princess cake.
I used mini bundt pans for the skirt...
and inserted a wee princess in the center of each cake.
The grandgirlies each had a small princess cake...
the two grandsons each had a frog cupcake.
 

The monkey is for the guests to enjoy...
the banana is for the birthday boy!


The dinosaur cake was made for my grandson Micah's first birthday...



My other grandson had a Lego cake for his sixth birthday...
easily created by cutting a 9 x 13 inch cake into blocks...
and using large marshmallows (cut in half crosswise) for the 'knobs'.



The princess castle cake was for my twin grand daughters' birthday many years ago...
a copykat version of one I found on-line.

 

A bundt cake with a doll tucked in the center...
was a simple solution for a strawberry shortcake themed party.
And that was for a girl who has an allergy to strawberries!

 

Raggedy Ann was made following a photo I saw on-line.
The head was baked in a 1 1/2 quart Pyrex casserole...
the body is a round cake layer cut in half .
Pull-apart red licorice twist work great for Ann's hair.

 

The Teddy Bear cake was a cake baked in four baking pans...
a 1 1/2 quart casserole for the head, 
a large custard dish for the nose, 
and two small custard dishes for the ears.
The bow tie is made of fruit leather.


The inspiration for the Blues Clues cake came from here...
and was simply a 9 x 13 inch cake cut in the shape of a dog's head.
The blue sparkles put on the finishing touch.


The Hello Kitty was made following directions given here...
also cut from a 9 x 13 inch cake.

Those are a few of the 'cut-up' cakes that my grands have enjoyed these past years.

None of them required any training in cake decorating...
or any specialty pans.

If you want vibrant coloured frosting...
be sure to use gel colours...
available with cake decor supplies anywhere.

To eliminate cake crumbs in your icing as you decorate...
cover the entire cake with a skim coat of icing and chill until firm...
maybe 30 minutes.

Baby Carriage Cake ~ with instructions


Use your imagination...
and have some fun making the cake for your next celebration!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Apple Butter Bars

 
These bars caught my eye while looking through a recipe book because I happened to have a jar of apple butter in the fridge. I changed the amounts to suit how much apple butter I had, used large flake oats, added an egg and was pleasantly surprised by these! The apple butter gives them a nice tartness - I would also recommend any thick preserve you have available. I know there would be those in my family who would love this recipe with guava jam.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar (half brown/half white)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups large flake quick oats
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup melted, cooled butter
  • 1 cup apple butter
Method:
  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate little bowl, whisk egg and add butter
  3. Stir egg and butter into dry ingredients. Set aside about 1/3.
  4. Press 2/3 into greased 9X9 pan and then spread with apple butter
  5. Top with left over 1/3 squeezing with hands to make crumbs. Press crumb mix down just slightly.
  6. Bake at 350 F for about 35 - 40 minutes, until golden brown.
  7.  
     
     
 
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dijon Roasted Potatoes


Dijon mustard is an ingredient that I use a lot in cooking. Adding it to soups, sauces, salad dressing, why not roasted potatoes.

  • 4 cups of cubed potatoes, I prefer to leave the peel on my potatoes but this time the potatoes where not the freshest so I peeled them
  • 2 heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard (grainy mustard tastes nice too) depending on how much mustard flavor you like. 
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix the oil, mustard in a large bowl.
  2. Add the cubed potatoes stirring them to make sure the oil covers them well.
  3. Salt and Pepper to your personal taste.
  4. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes, on a lightly greased shallow pan in a single layer, turning them once half way through the cooking time to ensure a nice brown color.
The flavor of the mustard is very mellow and gives the roasted plain potato a nice taste.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lazy Linguine for Two

One-dish pasta recipes having been making the rounds on pinterest recently. Most serve four to six...and since there are just two of us for most meals...I decided to try a pared down version recently.  My husband is wondering when I will be serving it again! How much simpler can it get...than throwing everything into one pot and having it on the table a short while later?


  • 6 oz. linguine (half of 12 oz / 375 gr package)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small onion, julienned (cut in strips lengthwise)
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for  serving
  1. Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil in a skillet or stock pot.
  2. Add water or broth and olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle with pepper flakes and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes (stirring frequently)...or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring to distribute juices evenly.
  7. Dish into two pasta bowls.
  8. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired.
  9. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.
 * Double or triple the recipe to serve four or six.



Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

French Toast Sticks

Like so many other foods it's all in how you slice and serve up french toast that adds something new to an old family favourite. The secret to any good french toast is day or two old thick sliced bread. I like using either french bread or Texas Toast bread which is a thick pre sliced loaf of bread found in the bakery department of many super markets. Once these are crisped up to perfection you can pick them up and dip in your favourite syrups or use a fork and knife. These just might be a fun lunch box alternative for the kids. Cold french toast with a little container of syrup, honey or jam may be just the thing that puts a smile on their little faces.

  • 4-6 thick slices of bread, cut into approximately 1" strips
  • butter to lightly grease grill
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • syrup of your choice
  1. Slice bread.
  2. In a large jar shack together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Turn grill or non stick pan to medium heat and add just enough butter to very lightly coat bottom.
  4. Pour egg mixture into a pie plate.
  5. Dip each bread stick into the egg mixture and place on hot griddle or pan, turning as they brown until all 4 sides are nice and golden, as they firm up.
  6. Serve immediately with your favourite syrup.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Savoury Cheese and Herb Muffins


Do any of you  remember the old Five Roses Cookbook?  
It was put out by the Five Roses Flour Company of Canada and was, 
I think, one of the first cookbooks I owned.  
As you can see the back cover is torn and the front cover has disappeared completely. 
 It was a good basic cookbook and one of the recipes I used to make often was Cheese Muffins.
I've tweaked the recipe to include saute'ed onions and herbs and buttermilk.
They are a good accompaniment to a casserole or soup supper.


  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon oil or butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  1. Saute' onion in a little butter or oil just until tender.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Chop fresh herbs and shred cheese and set aside.
  3. Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add cheese and herbs and toss with flour mixture.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter and eggs.
  6. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add liquids.
  7. Mix lightly only until all ingredients are combined.  The batter will be somewhat stiffer than most muffin batters.
  8. Fill lightly greased muffin cups 2/3 full.
  9. Bake at 400º F for 15-20 minutes.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bread for the Journey


Psalm 118:24
This is the day that the Lord has made,
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

 I originally had something else planned for today's devotional, but over the last few weeks, and the many conversations I had with people I discovered that we are all waiting for something to be different in their life so that it is possible to enjoy life more, myself included.These are some of the things I have heard.......
"If only I had someone special to share my life with, then I would be......"
"If only I had that job I wanted, then I would be....."
"If only money weren't so tight, then I would be......"
"If only I had a bigger house, then I would be....."
"If only I could loose that last 15 lbs, then I would be......"
"If only I didn't live with this chronic pain, then I would be....."
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Psalm 118:24 is recited or sung so often, do we even really think about what we are saying when we say this verse, or is it so well known that we take what it says for granted? 
When I have read this verse before, what resonated with me was the part that says "We will rejoice and be glad in it. But most recently the two words that jump out at me is "This is".
I suffer from Chronic pain due to an auto-immune Arthritis. I often wish I was pain free and able to enjoy doing the things that I once did with my family and friends. Yes, I get discouraged at times, even though I know that pain is a part of life. But what I also know is that the Lord will turn every tear I have ever cried into joy.  He knows everything about me and will He will use my pain for a greater purpose that He has planned for me.

Are you waiting for something in your life to change and be better before you can say, I am "content" in my present circumstances and that Jesus is enough for me. I can't boast that I am yet, but I know that I have a desire to be and striving towards that. So....Come on, will you join me, what are you waiting for anyway?
THIS IS the day, TODAY.....I will rejoice and be glad in it, pain or no pain.



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pear Crumble

We have a pear tree on our property that produced lots of pears this year and this is one of the recipes that I made to use some of the pears up.
 This is a simple to make recipe with the preparing of the pears taking the most time in the process.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups quick oats
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (may be omitted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups pears, peeled, cored and chopped (this was about 13 pears)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  3. Mix together first 6 ingredients to make the crumble portion.
  4. Sprinkle the chopped pears evenly with the mixture of white sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Press half of the crumble mixture onto the bottom of the pan all the way to the edges.
  6. Top the crumble with all the prepared pears evenly.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining half of crumble mixture over the pears evenly. You can press down lightly.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
  9. Serve warm or cooled with ice cream or whip cream or just as it is.


You can cut this recipe in half and bake it in a 8 or 9 inch square pan.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wild Rice Blend Soup


Cooler days are here..soup's on! I love to have soup on hand at this time of year. We really enjoyed it..it was a nice change from the usual soups that I cook.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (optional:)
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2/3 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice blend, uncooked..I used a blend of wild and brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups 10% cream or you can use whole milk
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in your soup pot.
  2. Stir in onion (if using), celery, and carrots, and green pepper, saute a few minutes until tender crisp.
  3. Add mushrooms, corn, flour, and stir until well combined.
  4. Add chicken broth, bring to boil, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in chicken, rice, all the seasonings, and cream.
  6. Simmer until done, stirring occasionally..approx 2 hours.






Thursday, October 17, 2013

Country Fried Pork Steaks

Any kind of country fried steak or Schnitzel, be it beef, pork or chicken is a favorite for the one I cook for most.
For this recipe I purchase fast fry pork cutlets and tenderize them with a meat mallet until they are quite thin. You can also use rouladen cut beef or thinly slice some chicken breasts and tenderize them.
Ingredients:
  • 6 - 8 slices of fast fry boneless pork cutlets or as many you wish to make
  • salt, pepper, seasoning salt and garlic powder
  • 2 - 3 eggs
  • 1 -2 cups fine bread crumbs
  • oil for browning
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp flour
Method:
  1. Trim fat on meat. Tenderize and season lightly on both sides.
  2. Prepare a shallow bowl of whisked eggs as well as a plate with bread crumbs for dipping
  3. Pour about 2 -3 tablespoons of oil into a large non-stick or stainless steel frying pan, set on medium heat.
  4. Dip each slice into egg, then coat with crumbs and place into heated frying pan.
  5. Fill pan, but do not crowd. Brown both sides, repeating with added oil if needed. Keep warm on ovenproof plate covered, on low heat or serve immediately if not making gravy.
  6. To make gravy, add sliced mushrooms to pan drippings, stirring for a few minutes.
  7. Stir in cream. Shake up flour with a small amount of cream or water and add to thicken.Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Baked Spaghetti Squash


Spaghetti squash is easy to cook and fun to serve. It's a healthy choice that can be served in place of pasta along with a spaghetti and meat sauce. We enjoy it as simple meal or side dish by sauteing a little garlic and red onion in butter, adding a diced Roma tomato, fresh basil and a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan.

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • 2 tsp Italian spice
  • scant 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, minced
  • 2 Roma tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped fine
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Wash squash and cut in half length wise. 
  2. Scoop out seeds and discard.
  3. Brush inside of squash with olive oil and sprinkle each side with 1 tsp Italian spice.
  4. Grease a baking sheet with a small amount of olive oil and lay squash cut side down onto baking sheet.
  5. Bake in 400º oven for 40-45 minutes or until soft when poked with a sharp knife.
  6. In a small pan melt butter (but do not brown). Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent.
  7. Remove from heat and add chopped tomatos and basil. Add a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  8. Place baked spaghetti squash onto a serving tray and using a fork pull at the edges creating the spaghetti strands.
  9. You can scoop it into a serving bowl or use it's natural bowl. 
  10. Divide butter tomato sauce between each side.
  11. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 8-10 minutes to melt cheese. 
Baked squash before shredding.

Pulling with a fork to create the strands of spaghetti.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cranberry Chocolate Oatmeal Bars


I found this recipe in an old Kraft "What's Cooking" magazine.  It's not only good but good for you!

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 squares dark chocolate, chopped (I used the 70% dark chocolate baking squares) or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Grease 9"x13" pan. (or line with parchment paper) Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, add orange juice to cranberries and cook on high in microwave for 30 seconds. Let cool about 10 minutes.
  4. Beat margarine and brown sugar in mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.
  6. Combine all dry ingredients in another bowl.
  7. Add dry ingredients to batter, mixing well.
  8. Add cranberries and orange juice, chocolate and pecans.  Stir to combine.
  9. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
  10. Bake 18-20 minutes or until set.
  11. Cool completely before cutting.
  12. These will freeze well.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hasselback Baked Greek Potatoes


Here is another idea for putting potatoes on your buffet or family style dinner table.
You could slice your potatoes by hand but there is nothing quicker than a mandoline to make these potatoes an easy and attractive dish.  I've used one of these quick slicers ever since I first found one at our Pacific National Exhibition and can't imagine my kitchen without this gadget.

Be sure to use a fresh lemon and fresh garlic in this dish for the best flavour outcome.
You can easily double this recipe using two pans or one larger roaster for larger gatherings.

  • 5 medium Yellow Fleshed or White Potatoes  (you may need one more to fit your pan)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 cloves fresh pressed garlic
  • 3 cups hot water
  1. Scrub potatoes and allow to dry. Using a mandolin, thinly slice potatoes crosswise and then stacking them in their original shape, cut them in half lengthwise.
  2. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray and place the potatoes skin side up as shown in the picture, filling the pan as tightly as possible.
  3. Add hot water to pan and then sprinkle with remaining ingredients, as evenly as possible.
  4. Cover tightly with foil for the first 45 minutes and then uncover and continue to bake.
  5. Bake at 375 for 1 1/2 hours.  Potatoes should be evenly browned and fork tender with the water mostly absorbed and cooked away.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Getting to the heart of Thankfulness

                                                                                                   Thanks to my son, Tim Klassen for the  photos.

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I've been pondering the different levels of thankfulness.
There seem to be layers that we would do well to examine as we get to the heart of thankfulness.
There is spontaneous thankfulness - "Thank you so much! I'm overwhelmed!"
 The kind of thankfulness that spills over without prior thought; 
 like when you are given an unexpected gift, or when you have narrowly escaped injury or
when the beauty of fall leaves takes your breath away.
Then the heart breathes a word of thanks almost involuntarily.
In these instances it behooves us to remember to Whom our thanks should be directed.
There is qualified or begrudging thankfulness -"Yes, I'm  thankful, BUT....
If I had more...., If I didn't have to deal with....., If my circumstances were different..... 
then I could really be thankful."
A heart that is not thankful with little, will find it no easier to be thankful with plenty.
When we exercise a grateful heart, we will find reasons  for which to be thankful ranging from
 the small and mundane to the great and awesome.
There is also guilt-ridden thankfulness -"
I should be thankful because I don't deserve what I have ...
because I escaped something someone else didn't...."
This can be seen as arrogance that God didn't know what He was doing when He gifted you.
Of  taking on guilt instead of choosing genuine gratefulness.
We see an example of  insincere thankfulness  in Luke 18:9-14
In this story, the Pharisee thanked God that he was not like "this tax collector" and then proceeded to list the reasons why he was more worthy of God's attention.
An unselfish Thankfulness is evidenced when we see God at work in the lives of others and thank Him for what He is doing in and for them.
1 Thessalonians 1:2 "We give thanks to God always for you all.. remembering
without ceasing your work of faith....." 
 True heartfelt thankfulness can find a reason to be grateful in all circumstances.
It is an exercise in humility, an acknowledgment that although we do not deserve the blessings bestowed upon us, they are a gift from a loving God.  Not because of anything we did but because of who God is.
it is cultivating a deliberate thankfulness with God's help,
 choosing to find things to be grateful for and giving unqualified praise rather than taking the gift for granted and choosing to ignore the giver.
Finally, the true test of a thankful heart comes when we are thankful during anxious times and despite trials that come our way.
1 Thessalonians 5: 18: " In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.." and\
 Philippians 4: 6: "Be anxious for nothing but in everything  by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God...".
God honours our requests when they are accompanied with thanksgiving and
 He highly values our sincere thanks.
On this Thanksgiving Sunday may you reap the endless rewards of a thankful heart
.