Friday, February 28, 2014

Chili Sauce and Apricot Meatballs


I make these meatballs in short order by using a spring loaded ice cream scoop.  I resist the temptation to perfect each meatball by rolling it once I have scooped out the meat.  Once these meatballs bake and are covered in sauce, there is no worry that the meatball is not perfectly shaped and your family will know you made them yourself!

Meatball ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 pounds  / 1 kg lean ground beef
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Sauce ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups apricot jam
  •  1 bottle chili sauce 455 ml or about 2 cups  (minus  3 tablespoons for the meatball ingredients) 
  • 1 cup water
  1. Combine the first set of ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Place ground beef and bread crumbs in a large bowl and pour blended ingredients over top and then use hands to mix thoroughly.
  3. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Use a medium sized spring loaded ice cream scoop to make meatballs.  If you want to make appetizer sized meatballs make them smaller, about one inch.  Place in rows on the cookie sheet and bake at 375 F for about 20 minutes.  
  5. Pour chili sauce, apricot jam and water into blender and process until smooth.
  6. Place meatballs in a large casserole dish and pour apricot chili sauce over top and bake at 325 for 1 hour.
  7. Serve over rice.
Hint.. use water to rinse out the chili sauce bottle

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Raspberry Cream Parfait


February is known as the 'love month'.  In keeping with that theme...here is a tasty little parfait that we enjoyed at a luncheon earlier this month.  Served up in wee Mason jars or mini-parfait glasses...it is the perfect 'afterthought' to a lovely meal.

Chocolate Crumb Base:
  • 1 cup oreo baking crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
Cream Filling:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 oz. / 125 ml cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

  Raspberry Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  Method:
  1. Prepare raspberry sauce.  Combine raspberries, sugar and three tablespoons of water. Blend cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons water until smooth; stir into berry mixture. Cook until mixture thickens and boils, stirring regularly. (Can be done in the microwave).  Add lemon juice. Set aside to cool.
  2. To prepare the base, combine cookie crumbs and butter.  
  3. Pack crumbs into the bottom of 10 parfait glasses (or 10 x 125 ml. mason jars).
  4. For cream filling...combine whipping cream, sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff.  In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese and icing sugar; beat until smooth.  Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and whip to combine well.
  5. Carefully add cream layer to the parfait glasses. * 
  6. Spoon cooled raspberry sauce over whipped cream layer.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Just before serving, garnish with additional whipped cream, fresh raspberries and chocolate garnish or sprig of mint.
 Serves 10.

*Tip. Put whipped cream mixture into a Ziploc bag, seal and snip corner. Squeeze into serving dishes without making a mess.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Salmon Salad with Pan Fried Potatoes



This is a quick meal idea that I enjoy - maybe more so because I grew up with it. Think of it as a healthy version of Fish and Chips.

Ingredients:
  • 1 small to medium head Chinese cabbage
  • 1 can drained canned salmon or chunk tuna
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • 4 - 6 peeled and finely chopped potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp butter for browning
  • salt and pepper
Method:
  1. Brown potatoes in butter, over medium heat, stirring as needed until done. About 20 - 30 minutes. Season to taste.
  2. Wash and chop Chinese cabbage. Add drained fish (complete with bones if using salmon - it dissolves into the salad and is rich in nutrients.)
  3. Mix dressing (mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper) and stir into salad.
  4. Pass the ketchup.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Flapper Pie Gluten Free



Flapper Pie has long been a favourite dessert of ours since I was a young bride , 49 years ago !
Now that I bake gluten-free I had not made it for some time, but recently my husband expressed a craving for this pie and was quite happy with my gluten free version.


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free oat flakes 
  • 1/2 cup crushed nuts - almonds, walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/3 cup melted butter 
  1.  Mix together into crumbs.  Press into a pie plate and bake for 18 minutes @ 350 degrees.                       Note- optional -  keep out 1/4 cup of crumbs to toast separately and then crumble over the meringue. 
  2. Using a vanilla cooked pudding mix prepare as per box instructions or go for scratch with Kathy's recipe.  If using a  mix that doesn't call for egg yolks  add  two  yolks, saving the egg whites for the meringue.
  3. When pudding is thickened pour into baked crumb base. 
  4. Whip egg whites sweetened with a tbsp of sugar and 1/4 tsp  cream of tartar, beating until stiff but not dry. 
  5. Pile beaten egg whites on top of pudding , scatter crumbs over top (if using)  and place in oven with broil element on .... watch closely  and remove when egg whites are golden brown .  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sponsor Appreciation Whetstone Woodenware and Rosedale Swing Company

 We are excited to introduce you to Whetstone Woodenware. John is our first sponsor south of the boarder. John shared with us his story of how his wife Debbie asked him to make her a wooden spoon. He diligently met her challenge and by 1984 he realized his dream of a full time wood working business designing and constructing custom wood products. John was encouraged by an enthusiastic response from those who purchased his products made from high quality kiln dried hard maple. The hard maple tree is grown and milled in the USA; their main sources located only 10 miles from his shop.
John and Debbie gifted each of us girls from MGCC with a number of his wooden products to use in our kitchens. Marg's personal favourite is his line of spatulas. She uses them everyday. Browse through his website where you will find a photo and description of each of their products. 

Why purchase these natural wooden utensils? They will not melt, burn, or scratch any non-stick surfaces. Most people love the feel and grip of a wooden utensil over a metal utensil. Wooden ware utensils have been used by cooks and bakers for hundreds of years, and after using our personal gifts we are sold on his products!

Today after 30 years John has a full production line in their Silver Lake, Indiana facility with over 37,000 pieces. 
Whetstone Woodware products make a really nice gift. 

Thank you John and Debbie for your generous support through your ongoing donations to our Greenhouse project in the Ukraine. 

*****************************************

Rosedale Swing Company


Our second sponsor today is the Rosedale Swing Company, located in the beautiful Fraser Valley.

Enjoy reading their story.

As I sat alone in our wooden chair beneath our massive Maple tree one sultry Sunday afternoon in early August 2011, memories flooded back of the old tree swing that used to hang from the huge moss covered branch above my head. I recalled the many sweet memories spent on the old swing my father built  back in '73. The scent of fresh-cut hay and ripening corn, carried on a soft, afternoon breeze perfumed the air as I reminisced. My siblings, friends, and I had grown up on that country swing and in time our children used the same swing until the ropes were worn and the swing deteriorated. Remnants of the ropes still hang in fragments from those limbs. That frayed rope triggered a lightning bolt of inspiration: I could give this gift of swing memories to our precious grandchildren. And why stop there? We could build swings for people anywhere on this planet to experience the same pleasures generations before them enjoyed. With the support and partnership of our children we launched into our family built cottage business that same week. We never looked back but continue to swing our products forward to a new generation of swing enthusiasts.
Within a few days, we began gathering information necessary to build a safe, durable, classic traditional swing. We built a workshop and so began our mission. Rosedale Swing Company was born. Our responsibility to the environment had to be top priority. We knew our first choice for wood must be the strong, durable and beautiful West Coast Cedar. Our next mission was not to use any bi-product in our ropes or wood finishes – only natural, renewable, sustainable products would be used.

 One summers Marg and I (Kathy) were invited by Myka to come out to their place for a visit and tour of their shop. Myka literally 'showed us the ropes' and the shop where they cut and assemble their custom made swings. Quality, professionalism and friendly service is what you are sure to find at the Rosedale Swing Company. After our tour and learning some interesting things about swings we enjoyed sitting around her kitchen island together, and before we left she gifted us each a Rosedale Swing Company toto bag and cedar sachet.




Personalized engraving makes each swing so special., and they ship around the world.

If you are looking for a very unique gift or something special for yourself you may have found it.

Thank you for your ongoing sponsorship with MGCC. Your generous giving is going to help those who are in need.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bread for the Journey


Some time ago a very dear friend sent this card to me, I have it beside my computer and read it often. Thank you Lovella for this inspiring verse from Proverbs.

This verse speaks to me of being generous. Generosity brings out the very best in us. It warms our soul to give or receive a gift, whether it is a wrapped gift, a gift of time, or words of encouragement. We all are refreshed when others think of us and bless us with a generous and kind heart.
We can be generous in many ways and it can be as simple as a call to someone lonely, bringing a meal to a busy household, or sending a card..there are so many little ways we can do our part of refreshing. Our generosity should be motivated by a sincere desire to help others.
Jesus was generous beyond anything we could ever imagine, he took the punishment for our sins! He wants to bless us with His very best, and His gift of forgiveness for us is truly very generous.
Ask God to refresh and replenish your soul, so you in turn can do the same for others.

Be God's vessel of blessing today!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ham and Pineapple Swirl Buns


Are you wondering what to pack in your lunch boxes for next week?
  Ham and Pineapple and Cheese Swirls can be made and frozen and packed into lunches.  By the time lunchtime comes, the buns are thawed and ready to eat.
I've used a small recipe of Anneliese's easy french bread dough but you can use any refrigerated dough in a tube if you are in a pinch.


Dough
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cups hot tap water
  • 2 cups flour, white - can be half whole wheat or multigrain *
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  1. Put sugar, oil, salt and hot water in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Add 1 cup of the flour mixed with the yeast, then the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Add flour until dough comes away from side of bowl or easily holds together in a ball shape and is not too sticky if you handle it with floured hands. Cover bowl with wax paper and tea towel.
  3. Let rise until double, about 1/2 hour.
  4. Roll dough into a long rectangle about 8 inches wide.
Filling
  •  sliced ham
  •  crushed pineapple,  drain well and press juice out of pineapple
  •  shredded mozzarella or cheddar mozzarella blend cheese
  1. Layer the ham, pineapple and cheese  over the dough, leaving an inch around each edge.
  2. Roll up starting with long edge and cut into even 1 1/2 inch pieces. 
  3. Pinch underside of dough together to keep cheese from melting out.  The top of the bun will open up more and that is fine.
  4. Place on a parchment paper lined pan and cover for 45 minutes.
  5. Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Serve with warmed marinara sauce.



Friday, February 21, 2014

Mango Cheesecake

A baked cheese cake topped with a mango mousse is sure to please your pallet with it's fresh flavor and creamy smooth texture. The coconut crust and fresh mango and kiwi on top add a tropical element. Serve slices of cheesecake over a puddle of mango sauce. 

Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cup graham crumbs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
Filling:
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup mango puree
Mousse:
  • 1 cup mango juice
  • 1 package gelatin
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
Mango Sauce:
  • 1 cup mango juice
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp white sugar

  1. To make crust, place crumbs, coconut and sugar in a 10"spring form pan. Pour melted butter over and mix with a fork pressing into bottom of pan to form a crust. 
  2. Bake in 350º F oven for 7 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Reduce heat to 225º F.
  3. To make filling, beat together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. About 5 minutes. Add one egg at a time and only beat until each egg is incorporated. Do not over beat. Immediately add remaining filling ingredients, and beat just until incorporated.
  4. Pour filling over crust and bake in 325º F oven for 60 minutes. 
  5. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool in pan. Cover and place in refrigerator. (this can now be eaten alone or frozen. OR, you can continue by making the mousse and mango sauce)
  6. For the mousse, put 1/4 cup of the mango juice in a small sauce pan and sprinkle gelatin over. Let sit for 5 minutes and then cook over low heat until gelatin has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in remaining juice. Chill to cool and set. 
  7. Beat cream with vanilla and sugar. Fold into cooled mango mixture.
  8. Spoon mousse mixture over cooled baked cheesecake and smooth.
  9. Cover and place in refrigerator for up to 4 days. 
  10. To make the Mango sauce, stir together juice, cornstarch and sugar. Heat in a small pot on top of stove or microwave bowl. Stir often until mixture bubbles and begins to thicken. Cover and refrigerate until cool. Puddle onto plates when ready to serve and top with a slice of cheesecake.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lemon Chia Muffins with Lemon Butter


Lemon and chia..a great combo for a delightful muffin. Just the word lemon already told me it would be a good muffin. These muffins taste wonderful just plain but the lemon butter puts them over the top!

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  3 tablespoons chia seeds
  1. Using a mixer cream butter and sugar till light. Add eggs and mix well.
  2. Stir in vanilla and juice and zest of the lemon until blended.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together and fold into creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, just until blended.
  4. Spoon into a greased 12 cup muffin tin.
  5. Bake at 375º for 20 to 25 minutes. Check with toothpick for doneness.
  6. Cool 5 minutes then remove muffins from pan.
  7. Serve plain or with Lemon Butter. 
Lemon Butter:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Mix until well blended.
  • Sprinkle extra lemon zest on top.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bruschetta Ricotta Cheese Spread

We enjoy Bruschetta which is a simple Italian appetizer consisting of grilled bread lightly brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic. From here the varieties are abundant. We enjoy this prepared bread topped with a simple tomato and fresh basil mix or with an added dimension of this ricotta spread.

Ricotta Cheese Spread
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 1 clove roasted garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons chives chopped
  • 1 or more tablespoons of grated Parmesan
Method:
  1. Mix all of these ingredients and store in refrigerator until ready to use. 
  2. When your bread and tomato topping is ready arrange on plate and serve.

Tomato Topping:
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes chopped with liquid drained
  • 1 clove minced roasted garlic
  • chopped fresh basil (amount to taste)
  • Small amount of olive oil to just coat ingredients and salt and pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Mix together and serve fresh on toasted or grilled slices of bread spread with olive oil and garlic.
  2.  Spread the toasted bread with the ricotta mixture and top with tomato/basil mix and enjoy.

 Spread the toasted bread with the ricotta mixture and top with tomato/basil mix and enjoy. You can also offer an olive tapenade to your serving platter which will go well with the ricotta spread.

Here's the link to Kathy's method of roasting garlic.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Biscuit Mix Waffles and Pancakes


My first attempt at trying a homemade biscuit mix for waffles and pancakes was surprisingly quick, easy and tasty. I'll share what I did, but you are welcome to be creative and mix in your own variations.

Oat Waffles with Banana Caramel Sauce (makes 4 deep dish Belgian waffles)

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups biscuit mix
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Banana Caramel Sauce (recipe taken from Judy's Warm Caramel Bananas
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 bananas, sliced thinly
Method:
  1. Preheat waffle iron. Spray iron lightly unless it is conditioned to not need repeat greasing.
  2. Stir together biscuit mix and quick oats.
  3. Stir in buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Let sit for a minute or two.
  4. Pour with ladle or measuring scoop onto centre of waffle iron, leaving room on the edges to spread. Do not peek until done signal. Keep warm on oven rack at 175 F
Sauce:
  1. Melt butter in small saucepan. Add sugar and stir until melted.
  2. On low heat, stir in the sour cream and cook one minute.
  3. Stir in sliced bananas and serve warm.


GRIDDLE CAKES


Ingredients: (makes 12 thick style pancakes)
  • 2 1/2 cups biscuit mix
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Method:

  1. Heat griddle between low and medium setting.
  2. Stir buttermilk, eggs and vanilla into mix until blended. Let sit for a minute or two.
  3. Pour by 1/4 cup size onto heated griddle.
  4. Cook until tiny bubbles appear on top and edges are dry. Check underneath for browning to be sure they do not brown too quickly, especially if you like them thick style. For a thinner pancake, add 1/4 cup more milk or buttermilk.
  5. Gently flip over to cook other side. Only flip once.
  6. Serve with syrup, freshly sliced strawberries, canned peaches, cooked berries or steamed apples.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sponsors ~ Tracycakes & Wesley Ellen Kitchens.


Today we are excited to share the story of Tracycakes.
Have you had your cupcake today?



"Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved to cook and bake for her family and friends. The little girl grew into a young woman, got married, and had three lovely children of her own. She still loved to cook and bake for her little family and their friends. Years passed and her family had grown. So the woman began to dream. She dreamt of cupcakes and homemade goodness. She dreamt of offering a beautiful place in which people could connect with their families and friends—a place where, through warm smiles and delicious food, she could make a difference in peoples’ lives. And she dreamt that those people would then go out and pass those warm smiles on."

In 2006 Tracy Dueck took one big step and opened up her first bakery cafe and called it Tracycakes, where you can purchase buns and breads, sweets and treats, and gluten free products.  Now with two locations—and the help of her two lovely daughters and a dedicated Tracycakes team—she continues to offer a soft place to land, where guests are greeted with a warm welcome and a delicious meal or signature treat.

If' you've never been to Tracycakes it's that perfect little place where you can bring your special friends. Just walk in...order yourself a cupcake and savor the smells of fresh coffee and baking just like your mom.  Better yet, take the time to connect with someone special at one of  Tracycakes locations. 

Tracey's blog truly reflects who she is.  She also has a flair for writing and sharing her thoughts as to what is most important in her life, her family.
We at MGCC place want to thank you Tracy for sponsoring World Vision, another organization which feeds the hungry people around the world.  So remember next time, stop in and say hello and make this world a better place by  ordering yourself, one cupcake at a time.



simply beautiful kitchens 

It's a pleasure to acknowledge another one of our sponsors today, Ron and Marilyn Isaac of Wesley Ellen design and millwork. Wesley Ellen's website is like opening a beautiful magazine. Take some time to browse through their site and read how Ron and Marilyn's Mennonite roots helped to instill in them a passion for beautiful craftsmanship. They know how to create authentic traditional beauty whether it be in quilt making,  furniture and cabinet making or traditional timber framing.

 When you visit their showroom  you will be visiting part of their story; a timber-framed home they built twenty years ago using authentic traditional mortice and tenon joinery; the cabinetry is traditional face-framed with inset doors; and here and there throughout the home you will see one of Marilyn's handmade quilts.  Do you still need more ideas?  Check out their Pinterest Page
They have truly chosen to work with their clients to create wonderful spaces for their families, friends and themselves.


"If you found this site because you saw a blue ’52 Chevy pick-up with a Simply Beautiful Kitchens sign on it, then you’ve seen me. I carry a display in the pickup box and in good weather I take it to appointments in the big city." (Ron)
Ron and Marilyn truly practice "old fashioned" professionalism believing in "old fashioned" quality.


We want to thank you for your ongoing support to Matthew's House in Abbotsford BC, helping to make this dream a reality and blessing for families in need of respite care for their children.
Thank you Ron and Marilyn for partnering with us through your generous giving.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bread for the Journey


A few times lately I've been reminded how God is a God who sees.
Not in the way I pictured Him when I was a little girl 
- when the thought kind of bothered me and I covered up the window -
but, instead, no matter what I've done,
he sees me as one dearly loved.
We read the story of Hagar being mistreated and fleeing into the desert
where an angel speaks to her and, for the first time, she calls out to God saying
“You are the God who sees me.”
The woman judged for "wasting perfume' on her Lord was honored by Him
because he saw her heart, when man saw her sin.
The woman who gave her last penny was noted by Him as giving everything,
when others snickered.
The woman at the well was offered water that would satisfy for life
even as she realized He knew everything about her search
in all the wrong places.
The good news is that God sees and knows how we are made.
Yet He loves us and calls us . . .
"with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fighting and fears within, without . . .
Just as I am, thou wilt receive . . .
O lamb of God I come."



Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday in Norma's Kitchen..making perogies.


My sister Norma and I often talked about making perogies/varenechi together and after they had their kitchen reno done she suggested we make them in her kitchen and enjoy a meal together with our husbands. We came happily with camera in hand. Norma mixed and rolled and I pinched perogies. Jack watched over the boiling process and John made sure all was done right..oh and he took photos when I was busy.

Norma's Cottage Cheese Perogies..we use the same recipe.
  • 1 cup whipping cream or you can use half and half, I think the whipping cream makes the dough more tender.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 egg whites (save yolks for the cottage cheese filling)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups flour (plus extra you need for rolling the dough)
  1. Beat together cream, milk, and egg whites.
  2. Add salt and flour, 3 cups of flour at first, then add the rest as needed,  knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  3. Divide dough into 3 parts.
  4. Spread a little flour on the counter and roll out each part of the dough to approx 1/8" thickness.
  5. Cut circles with a 3" biscuit cutter, spoon a tablespoon of filling into the center of the circle, fold over the dough and pinch the edges to seal. I do it this way..my sister has her own method:) 
  6. Place on cookie sheets sprayed with oil.
  7. Bring water to a boil in a large pot, place approx a dozen perogies at a time in the boiling water.
  8. Boil for 10 minutes.
  9. When done scoop perogies out of the pot with a slotted spoon and brush with butter to prevent perogies from sticking together.
  10. Serve with cream gravy, warm Saskatoon sauce, and farmer sausage. Coleslaw is a very good side dish as well.
  11. Yields: 35 perogies.
Cottage Cheese Filling:
  • 2 containers of dry cottage cheese
  • 2 egg yolks and 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  1. Mix all together until well blended. I do this by hand. Because that's how Mom always did it:) You can use a spoon if you so desire.
Cream Gravy:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and whisk till mixture is smooth.
  2. Add the cream slowly stirring constantly until thickened.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Saskatoon Sauce:
  • 2 cups Saskatoon berries or you can use blueberries. We like Saskatoons best for this sauce.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat,  bring berries and water to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  4. Add to berries and stir constantly until mixture is clear and thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

My Dad didn't care for the regular cream gravy so Mom would make his favorite kind and when she made it we all wanted some of it as a topping on the cream gravy. It sure tastes wonderful but it does add extra calories! I don't make it but my sister does and they call it Grandpa's gravy at their house.

Grandpa's Gravy:
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  1. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it curdles and turns golden in color.

I love handwritten recipes. Don't you?

Friday, February 14, 2014

No Bake Chocolate Pudding Cheesecake


Happy Valentines Day

The creamy layers in this dessert sit on top of a chocolate crumb crust. Whipped cream, paper thin chocolate chard's and a fresh strawberry add a special finishing touch.

Crust:

  • 3/4 cup chocolate crumbs
  • 1/4 cup graham crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  1. Stir together crumbs. Add melted butter.
  2. Press mixture into a 10" spring form pan.
  3. Bake in 350º oven for 7 minutes. Cool.
Cream Cheese Layer:
  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups whipped cream, or cool whip
  1. Beat cream cheese till light and fluffy. 
  2. Add sugar and vanilla and beat well. 
  3. Fold in whipped cream or cool whip.
  4. Spread mixture over cooled crust. 
  5. Place in refrigerator. 
Chocolate Pudding Layer:
  • 1 large box chocolate pudding and and pie filling (box calls for 3 cups milk)
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  1. Cook pudding according to directions on box. 
  2. Cover with wax paper and cool until luke warm. (the wax paper keeps the pudding from forming a 'crust' on top.
  3. Beat cream cheese into luke warm pudding until well blended.
  4. Spread over cream cheese layer.
  5. Place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Whipping Cream: ( I like to only put this layer on no more than 1 hour before serving so the cream is really fresh tasting)
  • 2 cups whip cream
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp instant vanilla pudding (this stabilizes the cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Add all ingredients into a cold bowl.
  2. Beat until cream is whipped and soft peaks form. 
  3. Spread whipped cream over chocolate layer. 
Optional: Fill a piping bag with extra whipped cream to decorate the top. Decorate with chocolate and strawberries. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Since I am not really the biggest chocolate fan...I often reach for sweets that are pale in colour...and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are hard to resist. Macadamia nuts are sometimes hard to find in the grocery store...but I have friends who bring them back from their Hawaiian vacation.  That makes the cookies all the more special!  Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day...I've added a variation below with a splash of red just for the occasion.


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate (about 8 ounces, coarsely chopped) *
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped roasted macadamia nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, stirring until blended.
  6. Add white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts.
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoon two inches apart on prepared cookie sheet...or use a cookie scoop. 
  8. Flatten slightly with dampened hands.
  9. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edge. 
  10. Remove from oven and let cool for several minutes.
  11. Move to wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen large cookies
*White chocolate chips can be used instead, though the chunks are much preferred over here.

Valentine Version: 
 

Add 1 cup of dried cranberries along with the white chocolate chunks and the macadamia nuts.

* If you have a special occasion to celebrate...they bake up fabulously for a cookiegram! Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9" round cake pan or pie plate...and form an 8-inch cookie with about one cup of cookie batter, spreading evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes...or until golden. Cool. Write your message with melted chocolate or decorator icing. I used a 'writing tip' on a Ziploc bag...and then there's no mess to clean up.



Speaking of special occasions...it happens to be Marg's birthday today.  Feel free to make her day...and leave her a birthday wish in the comments today. 

 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Beef Tenderloin Steak with Marsala Mushroom Sauce


Beef Tenderloin is a very tender steak that deserves to be served to someone very special.
When our children were little we usually stayed in on Valentines Day and even now when babysitters are not needed we still enjoy lighting the candles and setting the table for two. Beef tenderloin steaks are typically cut about an inch thick.   
The sauce will generously be enough for 6 - 8 steaks but the recipe can easily be made smaller for a dinner for two.  

The steaks can be cooked on the grill to your preference and the sauce can be made separately and served over the steaks.

  • 6 - 8 one inch thick beef tenderloin steaks (sirloin steaks are good too) 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound large button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup dry marsala wine
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Slice steaks in half to make 1/2 inch thick medallions. 
  2. Heat a large fry pan over medium high heat.  Add butter and olive oil.
  3. Season steaks with salt and pepper and sear on both sides until brown.  Remove from pan and place in a  large casserole dish.
  4. Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic and stir over medium heat until the mushrooms begin to cook down after releasing their liquid.  This will take about 15 minutes.
  5. Add flour and stir to create a thick paste.
  6. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, stir to release all the bits from the pan.
  7. Add beef broth and parsley leaves, taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning and add the heavy cream.
  8. Pour sauce over the steaks and bake uncovered at 350 F for 45 - 60 minutes to reduce sauce and blend flavours.
Serve sauce and steak over mashed potatoes.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Oatmeal Walnut Cookies


It is so nice to have grown children who bake when they feel like something sweet. This version of Chocolate Chip Cookies have a touch of cinnamon and walnuts, they were delicious.

  • 1 cup butter or hard margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups quick  cooking oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Beat together butter, both kinds of sugar until creamy and smooth. 
  2. Beat in the eggs one at a time mixing well after each one. 
  3. Add vanilla.
  4. Combine all the flour, baking soda and salt and stir into the butter mixture until blended. 
  5. Stir in the oats, walnuts and chocolate chips.
  6. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto baking sheet. Bake at 325º for 10-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving them to cooling rack. 



Monday, February 10, 2014

Sponsor Appreciation - Winks Home Garden Gifts and Grand Pappy's


Winks Home Garden and Gifts is a beautiful store located in Chilliwack BC.


Wendy (Winks) and Dave Murray are the owners of Winks. They have a heart for local and overseas missions, especially Romania where they have gone many times. When our first cookbook came out they were one of the first to ask if they could sell our book at Winks, and they personally committed to giving 100% of their profits from sales to helping those in need. They hosted an open house book signing in 2011 when our first cookbook launched.
Spring of 2013 our second cookbook 'Celebrations'  launched, and Winks once again hosted a most lovely garden party style book signing in the stores courtyard. Winks and her staff pulled out all the stops to decorate the courtyard in purples, lavender and greens. Table cloths and hanging baskets, pots overflowing with spring blooms, pretty cupcakes, a violinist. Customers came and we thoroughly enjoyed our time of being pampered guests. 

At Winks, you will always receive a warm welcome.
Walking in the door you will find soft fragrances, quiet music, and a place where you can relax and browse or shop to your hearts content.
Winks carries Sophie Conran tableware, home decor, linens, wall art, candles, soaps, jewellery, napkins, cards, inspirational books, and both of our cookbooks.
Winks has a bridal registry where each bride is given a personal appointment.
The baby loft at Winks is filled with sweet things for the special little one.
Complimentary gift wrapping is one of Winks signature touches.

Thank you Winks and Dave for your ongoing support to MGCC through your generous giving to help so many in need.


make it beautiful....


****************************************************
Grand Pappy's Furniture


Grand Pappy's is another one of our sponsors who gives back to their community. Jim and Bev Grant moved from the prairies in 1977 in search for warmer climate. Their 'pioneering spirit' led them to the south, while their parents stayed in the north. They both had good careers, cut decided they wanted to become self-employed and own their own business. In 1977 they purchased Grand Pappy's which is a local retail store carrying appliances, furniture, carpets, and home decor that provides that extra personal touch. In 2006, their daughter, Brandy decided to take over her parents' business. Brandy and Matt come to us with an entrepreneurial spirit, and have a strong respect for their parents and grandparents, who laid down a 'strong roots' foundation. Matt and Brandy have a heart to share their book profits with our local community, Ruth and Naomi's, where they help serve and meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our local community.
Brandy recounts how when she was a small girl, her parents brought her to work every day. She slept and played in a playpen. In her toddler years, her parents gave her and her sister, rags and she remembers dusting the legs of chairs and tables. Later, in her teen years she was given the responsibility of sales and merchandising. 

Today when you walk into their store you will feel the warmth of her energetic personality. Grand Pappy's is there to serve the customer. She wants to listen to the story of her client's lives. their goal is to understand the customer, envision their lifestyle and see how they can best utilize their space with the decor best suited for their lifestyle.
Forget the matchy-match look. Decorating a room with different furniture styles, colors and patterns is fashionable, fresh and trendy, but it can also be hard to pull off. Brandy would be more than happy to share her expert tricks with you for mixing antique, modern and traditional design so that your space looks considered, rather than chaotic. 
We really want to thank Grand Pappy's for supporting our cause. We were more than delighted when they hosted us for a book signing with when our first cookbook launched. None of us will forget the time when Betty (not wearing her apron) unexpectedly walked into Grand Pappy's for this signing. She is one of 'us girls' from Winnipeg, She and her husband were coming to BC for the book launch and she spotted Grand Pappy's from the freeway. Hoping we were still there, she and John pulled off the freeways and found us. 
If you're driving through Chilliwack Grand Pappy's is easy to find. Check out this family business and tell them we sent you!

Thank you Matt and Brandy for supporting Mennonite Girls Can Cook and generously giving to those in need. We appreciate you!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bread For The Journey



Living Room Scene 1964

plastic curtains
plastic covered windows to keep out the stiff north east winter winds
floral linoleum surrounded by faux wood linoleum
homemade play at home clothes 
poinsettia past the best before date
a footstool made out of large juice cans and covered with fabric
long winter evenings
knitting lessons 


All these things are visible to anyone seeing this photo from my childhood
but there is so much more my heart remembers.
I try to remember it the way it was.
I have been thinking lately on how much my Mom influenced who I have become...
how my faith grew from childhood.

When I was little, it was my Mom who I spent the most time with and though I often remember her being bone weary gave me the impression that I was worthwhile.
Her hands were always busy with cooking and mending and she though she didn't have much time to read, she read the one book that she loved most. She had her Bible and she listened to her favourite radio Bible programs each weekday morning that encouraged her.


In the best of times and the worst of times her faith in God remained and I saw it lived out from my childhood to my own years of mothering young children.
I value that she protected me by having boundaries for me before I had sense to have my own.
She loved my Dad ... well.
She always kissed me goodnight. 


I reflect on my memories of my Mom today because though she has gone to be with Jesus 19 years ago... today would have been her birthday.  
Her life impacted me in the ways...
that matter most.


1 Peter 3:4
 ...let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 


Saturday, February 8, 2014

DIY Parchment Paper Muffin Liners

The parchment wrapped muffins sitting pretty on the bakery shelves always appealed to me.
But at home, I mostly stuck to the paper liners...
because that was what I had on hand.

Recently I have been making my own parchment paper muffin cups.
Easy, peasy!


Step One:  Find a 'glass' that fits perfectly into your muffin pan.  
(In my case, the best fit was a plastic glass cup.)


Step Two: Cut the required number of squares of parchment paper...6 inches square.



Step Three: Lay the parchment square on top of the upside-down cup.
Slide your hand down the cup, pleating the paper as you go.
 

Step Four: Place liners in muffin pan.

 

Step Five: Fill liners with your favorite muffin batter...
and pop into the oven.

Tip: To fill the liners without making a mess...
put your batter into a Ziploc bag.
Snip off one corner and squeeze batter out.

Step Six: Bake as usual.



Some 20 minutes later...
the muffins are baked and easily removed from the pan.

Just in case you were wondering what kind of muffins these are...
I'll share the recipe here as well...
to save you doing a search.

They are the same apple muffins that I shared on this blog some six years ago.
We still like them. :)



Apple Muffins
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2cups coarsely grated apple
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Beat eggs.
  2. Stir in milk, oil and grated apples.
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients, just until flour is moistened.  Do not over-mix.
  4. Fill parchment muffin cups 2/3 full.
  5. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes...or until golden.
  6. Remove from pan and cool on rack. 
  7. Yield...12 muffins
*Optional Crunch Topping...Sprinkle muffins with a mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup chopped nuts and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.


The beauty of using parchment liners is that they can double as a 'plate' while eating your fresh-from-the-oven muffin.  And the muffin will never stick to the liner. 

Enjoy!