Friday, January 31, 2014

Old-fashioned Crumb Cake ~ Cupcakes

Crumb cake was a coffee cake I grew up with...one that was baked often in my mother's kitchen.  Since there are always some who prefer the cake without raisins...I have taken to making cupcakes.  Fill half the muffin cups...then add raisins to the remaining batter and everybody is happy!



  •  2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup raisins 

Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Combine flour, sugar and butter in mixing bowl and mix until crumbly.
  4. Reserve 3/4 cup of crumbs for topping.
  5. Add baking soda, cloves and cinnamon to flour mixture and stir. 
  6. Combine buttermilk, egg and vanilla and stir.
  7. Add to dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  8. Stir in raisins.
  9. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and sprinkle reserved crumb mixture evenly over tops. 
  10. Bake about 25 minutes...or until toothpick inserted comes clean.
  11. Cool on wire rack.

*To make a cake, pour batter into a greased cake pan and top with reserved crumbs. Bake as above for about 40 minutes.
Yield: 12 large cupcakes or one 9-inch square cake.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Maple Scones


I wish you had a scratch and sniff screen. Oh the delight of these coming fresh out of the oven.  Put on the coffee, or a tall glass of cold milk, these a quick and easy to make for those last minute treats.

Dough:

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter or margarine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
Filling:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Glaze:
  • 1 cup Icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  1. Sift together the dry ingredients
  2. Cut in the butter or margarine.
  3. Add the milk beaten egg and extract.
  4. Make into a soft dough til it holds together,  kneading it about 10 times.
  5. Roll into a 9x18 inch rectangle. 
  6. Mix the brown sugar with the maple extract and cinnamon.
  7. Brush the dough with melted butter.
  8. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over entire surface evenly.
  9. Roll it up the long way.
  10. Cut into 16 equal pieces. Place in a 9x13 pan.
  11. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  12. Cool until the rolls are warm but not hot. Drizzle with glaze. 
  13. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cinnamon Friendship Bread


Remember those friendship bread starters that were shared with all your friends in the 70's? It got to be so bad that you would dread friends appearing at your door bearing a little bag of starter and you would think to yourself..oh no here we go again!! Although I must say I really did enjoy the taste of that wonderful bread. This reminds me of that bread except this one doesn't need a starter. Instead I would suggest you just give the loaves away instead of going through the long process, unless you like the idea of waiting 10 days for the starter to be ready. Your friends might just appreciate being gifted a loaf of the bread right in the tin with a bow if you wish, instead of a bag of starter..just sayin'.

Batter:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Sugar/Cinnamon topping:
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of nuts or raisins (optional)
  1. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg, and vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together flour and baking soda and add this dry mixture alternately with buttermilk to the creamed mixture until blended.
  3. In a small bowl mix together sugar and cinnamon and nuts or raisins if using.
  4. Divide half the batter into 3 tins (540 ml size). Make sure you have removed the paper from the tins, washed them well and that they are well greased.
  5. Fill each tin half full of the batter and sprinkle a tablespoon of the sugar/cinnamon mixture on top.
  6. Add the other half of the batter, dividing evenly in each tin and sprinkle the rest of the topping over each one. Swirl batter with a knife.
  7. Bake on lowest rack in the oven at 350º for 40 minutes, test with a toothpick for doneness.
  8. Now go ahead and enjoy..and share with a friend or two!



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Creamed Ham (Schmaundt Schinken)



The sun is shining out here...but I realize that parts of Canada and US are still feeling the effects of the Arctic blast.  Even though we are experiencing an early spring,  I still like to think of this time as winter and enjoy nesting for a while longer. This is one of those heritage recipe's from my aunt, Tanta Hanna who came from West Prussia.  I've read her 'Diary of Escape' over the past months and realized that this was another favorite recipe that the family enjoyed.  Take time to enjoy another winter comfort food. 

Creamed Ham (Schmaundt Schinken)
  • Pork Cottage Roll ( 600 grams)
  • 3 large onions
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 whole allspice
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cube beef bouillon
  • salt & pepper to taste.
Instructions
  1. Slice meat thinly 1/4 " and fry in hot skillet till seared and brown on both sides.
  2. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add 3 cups water to frying pan and quartered onions.
  4. Add spices and steam for 30 minutes. Cover with lid.
  5. Make gravy by adding 4 tbsp. flour  (mixed with a little cold water) to the 3 cups broth.
  6. Stir while this thickens.
  7. Add 1 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
  8. Add beef seasonings, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Cut the fried ham into bite size pieces and add them to the hot creamed sauce.

Serve with boiled potatoes, green beans and dill pickles. Enjoy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Banana Cranberry Muffins


Keep a bag of cranberries in your freezer so you can make these muffins any time of year.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat bran
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw first)
For the topping:
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add pecans and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat egg.
  4. Add banana and buttermilk and beat until smooth
  5. Add melted butter and chopped cranberries and stir to mix.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir only until mixed.
  7. Place in muffin pans, filling cups to about 2/3 full.
  8. Sprinkle each muffing with topping.
  9. Bake at 375º for about 20 minutes or until tooth pick inserted into centre of muffin comes out clean.
  10. Immediately loosen from muffin pans and remove to a rack to cool.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bread for the Journey

I have been affected greatly over the years by the faithful example my parents set in their daily reading of the bible. At some point in their lives they chose to make it part of their daily routine. I'm sure there were times they found themselves distracted just as I often am. A number of years ago I asked my dad what the key was to his faithful quiet time with the Lord. "Without it I'd be lost, it's my life", he said.

If you're like me there are times when it's difficult to stay focused during your devotions. Well meaning, I pull out my bible, pen, notebook, and sit in my quiet place, and my intention is much like Psalm 119:15 I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. And then, like a slow infection, distractions creep in drawing my attention away from The One I came to spend time with.

We've all seen it and most likely been 'infected' personally by it. Two people make a plan to get together for coffee to spend time with each other and ones cell phone rings. You might be left sitting there listening to your friend having a conversation or texting with another person. What about in church? With the bible on many of our iPhones, more and more people are using that instead of bringing their actual bibles to church. I'm certainly not against that, and have it on mine too, but the problem is with the distractions that come along with it. I've noticed it a number of times in church. Someone is using their iPhone to follow along with the scripture reading and they get a text. Instantly distracted, they read it, and within a split second their focus has changed from God's word to someone else. It's easy for 'life' to distract us from the Giver of Life.

I've been challenging myself to be more aware of the distractions I've been allowing to creep in. Things that pull me away from my focused time with God. He desires my undivided attention. It's in these times when I make God my sole priority that I've found the deeper riches in my relationship with Him.


Psalm 119:9-12
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray away from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Day in Ruth's Kitchen!

Today I'm making a tribute to another hard working Mennonite lady, Ruth Janz.
 We were in Calgary on the weekend of December 12-14 at the 
'Celebration of Life' for Kurt Janz,
a beloved husband, father, uncle, brother, Opa and friend to many.
The Janz home has always been filled with guests and family.
You could arrive on their doorstep unexpectedly and you felt welcomed.
 When you walked into their home you would always be greeted with this verse.
 "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
 This has been their motto and their lives have totally modelled this text.


 After the service, family was invited for coffee and lunch.
I was immediately given a job.
But first Ruth, insisted that I put on a 'Kleider Schutze"
It's like an over sized apron dress, which buttons up the front,
so that you don't get your 'good clothes' dirty.
My first assignment was to prepare the seeds of a pomegranate.
Oops!  They had high expectations of me.
I sheepishly let them know that I was not familiar with this fruit.


They were more than eager to  walk me through this simple procedure.
I'll share a simple technique that they taught me.
Pomegranates are known for high health benefits.
They are a red fruit with a tough outside layer. 
They are very high in antioxidants and
offer protection against heart disease and cancer.
Seeding a pomegranate may seem like a lot of work for just a piece of fruit.
First, when choosing a pomegranate, look for a very shiny one.
If they are not shiny, they may not be presentable.
I learned that lesson myself.
Cut the crowns off.
Score the fruit in quarters from stem to crown.
Immerse the scored fruit in a bowl of cold water.
Break sections apart with your fingers separating the seeds from the membrane.
Discards skin and membrane.  Drain the seeds and dry on paper towels.


Meanwhile Margaret, Ruth's daughter was preparing the salad.
She told me that when she goes to work,
she first gathers up her colleagues and checks the MGCC blog.
I always enjoy working in someone else's  kitchen.
Women, young and old love conversations and what better place to visit than around food.


Now, sprinkle these 'gems' on your favorite salad and you'll surprise your guests.

Cakes were always an important part of any occasion in Ruth's kitchen.
Prince Regenten Torte
Frankfurter Kranz
Unbaked cheese cake
Chocolate mousse cake
Notice the cake on the upper left.  It has an insertion around the middle.
I learned early that this piece of cake was for the 'highly honored birthday guest.'
Even though we were not celebrating a birthday,
I noticed how all these special efforts were put in place to commemorate a "Celebration of Life"

There are many inspirational chefs and bakers in this world today.
But I'm most fond of these Mennonite women, sister in laws to Ruth.
They have cooked and baked for their families unselfishly
offering nothing more than love, support, and hospitality.
Erika Janz, Ruth Janz, Frieda Bartel
Even through this time of loss, as difficult as it was,
you have sent blessings forward to many of us
and once again, modeled nothing more than hospitality and love.
I would love to come to your kitchen again and bake the Prince Regent Torte.
~~~~
For those of you who read my last post,
 The coats have found their rightful owners.
Thank you Mary Dyck, (administrative assistant at Bethany Chapel, Calgary) 
for solving the mystery of the coats. Facebook alerted her attention to the title.
Mary will be receiving a copy of the Celebrations book. 
She was quite excited to know that she would receive her own copy.
She purchased many copies as Christmas gifts, but did not own one herself.




Friday, January 24, 2014

Rice Pudding


Rice Pudding, as simple as it is, can still be made a number of different ways. My mom called it "Rice with Milk" and basically cooked rice in milk. We sprinkled some sugar on it and it was good. I started making my version of rice pudding by using left over cooked rice and mixing it with a light vanilla custard.

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups cooked (non sticky) rice (cook 1 cup in 2 cups water with 3/4 tsp salt)
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Method:
  1. In a saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups milk on medium heat.
  2. In the meantime (in a small bowl) mix flour, sugar and 1/4 c milk, blend egg yolks in well, then add vanilla and the final 1/4 cup milk.
  3. When milk in pot shows tiny bubbles on the edge, pour in egg mixture, stirring all the time,  vigorously once it begins to thicken, until it is smooth and bubbly.
  4. Stir in cooked rice and pour into serving dishes. Serve warm or cold with a cinnamon/sugar mix, raspberry sauce or plain.

PS Make it gluten free by substituting the four Tbsp flour with three Tbsp cornstarch.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Large Biscuit Mix




This homemade version of Bisquick will yield about 5 smaller batches of biscuits, pancakes, coffeecakes, cobblers, pizza rolls or cinnamon rolls. There are so many options! Once you have the mix ready, store it in a cool place for a quick dessert or addition to a meal. You can use this mix in recipes calling for Bisquick. The original recipe (even larger) comes from the MCC Plaza Kitchen where my mom used to make biscuits on a regular basis.

Ingredients:
  • 12 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp cream of tartar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shortening
In a large bowl ( I use the largest Tupperware bowl) mix shortening into dry ingredients, using a pastry cutter. Store in a sealed container, in a cool place for up to 3 months. Does not need refrigeration, but I believe the dough may be easier to work with when mix has been refrigerated.

Quick Plain Biscuits (2 ways)
  • 3 cups dry mix
  • 1 egg beaten with a fork and enough milk or buttermilk to make 1 cup liquid
OR
  • 3 cups mix
  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
Method:
  1. Stir liquids into dry ingredients, using a fork, until all crumbs have been absorbed by the liquid. It may seem dry at first, but keep stirring and it will come together.
  2. Remove to floured surface and gently shape to smooth out into a 5x8 inch rectangle, using your hands. Do not over knead as it will make them tough. Better to have them look rustic.
  3. Cut into 8 pieces. Bake at 400 F for 12-15 minutes on ungreased baking sheet.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Butterhorns Gluten Free



Someone asked about gluten free Butterhorns on Lovella's recipe.  I agree they look sooo good !
I will never be totally satisfied with gf breads of any kind -- it is impossible to get the soft, stretchy chew of a good glutened 'bread'.  
But I am starting to not expect it and focus on trying  to produce a product that is good on its own, coming close to what is made in regular wheat kitchens.

This recipe for Butterhorns turned out quite nice -   They are best eaten shortly after coming out of the oven , or same day, but they freeze very well and can be taken from freezer, zapped in the microwave and served as good as fresh.


  •  1/4 cup warm water 
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar 
  • 1 tsp unflavoured gelatin 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 2 eggs 
  • cottage cheese (to make 1 cup) 
  • 1/4 cup melted butter 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 tbsp sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/2 cup white bean flour 
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour 
  • 1/2 cup millet flour 
  • 1/2 cup potato starch 
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • sweet rice flour for handling/rolling dough
  1. Mix sugar gelatin and yeast -- add warm water , stir and let proof (about 10 minutes) 
  2. Put 2 eggs in a cup and add cottage cheese to make 1 cup 
  3. In mixer blend liquids including melted butter 
  4. Blend together the dry ingredients 
  5. Add dry ingredients to liquids and beat on high for a minute or two until dough is smooth and stretchy looking. 
  6. Turn dough out on counter or pastry mat dusted with sweet rice flour. Knead lightly using only enough sweet rice flour to make dough easy to handle. 
  7. Either roll out  or pinch off pieces to roll into a rope and then twist into bun circles.   You can check  out  step by step procedure photos on Lovella's recipe here .  --  This  gluten-free dough does handle quite well even though it won't have the 'stretch' of wheat dough.
  8. If you wish to fill the centres with lemon butter before baking you can find Anneliese's  recipe here.. 
  9. Place on parchment lined pan and let rise. 
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until browned. 
  11. Drizzle with icing when removed from oven and sprinkle tops with toasted almond flakes if desired. 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fruit Salad



This recipe uses canned fruit,  perfect way to use up your summer preserves in the midst of a cold winter.  With addition of a few fresh fruits available in winter you have yourself a nice salad so good that your guests with want to lick the bowl clean. This makes a lot, so it is perfect for bringing to a church potluck, or gathering with friends. I like serving it at brunch.

  • 1-18 ounce / 540 ml canned mandarins
  • 1-28 ounce / 796 ml canned pears, diced
  • 1-28 ounce / 796 ml canned peaches, diced
  • 1-14 ounce / 398 ml canned pineapples, diced
  • 3 fresh kiwi, diced
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1-6 serving size of cook and serve vanilla pudding
  • 1/3 cup of minute tapioca*
  1. Drain and reserve all the juice, you should have about 4 cups.
  2. Combine the dry vanilla pudding mix with the minute tapioca in a medium sauce pan.
  3. Add the fruit juice, (you may add water to make 4 cups if needed.)
  4. Cook the pudding over medium low heat until the pudding comes to a boil. Stirring often or the pudding WILL burn, (I have proof). If that happens, don't panic, don't stir, just pour the pudding into a clean pan and carry on.
  5. Let the pudding cool to room temperature. Add the fruit and chill. Right before serving, add the sliced bananas to prevent them from darkening.
*If you don't want to use tapioca pudding just use 2 packages of the cooked vanilla pudding mix.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pita Bread


I know this pita bread is not as pretty as the ones from the store but they were delicious anyway so does it really matter? Once I pulled them out of the oven, I split them and filled them with a delicious spicy egg salad for our lunch.

  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups of flour
  1. Stir together water, sugar, salt, yeast and add 2 cups of the flour. 
  2. Add the rest of the flour as needed and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  3. Divide dough into 6 or 8 pieces, (depending on the size you want) roll each piece into a ball and on a lightly floured surface flatten with a rolling pin,  approx 1/4 inch thick. Try to keep them rolled as evenly as possible.
  4. Let them rest on the floured surface for 25 minutes till they are slightly puffed.
  5. With a spatula, flip the disks of dough upside down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake in 425º oven for 12 minutes or until golden in color.
  7. Extras can be stored in the freezer for a few weeks.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bread for the Journey

              Image 1
                                                                         source 

While I am not personally an admirer of the above painting, I do understand its value.
In 2004 this painting's winning bid was an exorbitant  $104.1 MILLION dollars!
What is it that makes someone willing to pay a fortune for it?
Its beauty? Its colours? The subject?
No, what gives it its value is the artist - the creator of the painting - the famous Picasso.

So much of what we hold dear or valuable has to do with  who made it.
Something of the one who creates is captured in the thing created  and because looking at it, holding it, touching it gives us an emotional connection with the creator whom we admire,  we are willing to sacrifice
a great deal to 'own' it.

Romans 1:20 speaks of God's creation as an expression of His attributes or character.
It says..... "For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that (He) made."

Does the awesome power and beauty of God's creation not move us, yes inspire us 
to think thoughts of God?
How often my heart has been lifted up to God in praise or worship as I have  gazed at the beauty of a sunset, walked along a soul-calming  forest path , stood in awe of the ocean's crashing waves, watched a hummingbird at my feeder, admired the intricate detail of a flower.  

If God is the creator of  such majestic beauty in nature, can He not be trusted to also create beauty in us?  Can we not trust Him with our heart?  our life?
I came across a web site this week that inspired this post. You can see the collection of amazing photos of God's creation here.  

   O LORD, how manifold are Your works! 
In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions—
         Psa 104:24 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Southwest Turkey (or chicken) Soup

Warm up a cold winter day with a bowl of steaming soup chocked full of healthy and satisfying ingredients...with a little kick of spice. I used homemade turkey stock for the base, and left over turkey. 
You can easily change up and use chicken or even a vegetable stock, adding a few more veggies and beans and omit the meat altogether. That's the beauty of many soups....use a recipe for a guide and make it your own by adding what you have on hand. Freezes well in large glass mason jars or freezer containers. Leave a little room in jars for expansion if freezing.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups turkey stock, or alternative of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 113g (14oz) green chilies
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 540 ml (19 oz)can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cooked rice, brown or white
  • 2 cups turkey, chopped fine, or use chicken or extra vegetables in place of turkey
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning powder
  • 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place oil in a large soup pot and heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add stock and water to pot. Stir in tomato soup. Bring to a slow boil.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Stir and turn down to a medium/low.
  4. Cook soup for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Adding salt and pepper as needed. If you want it spicier, add more seasoning powder.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cheddar Salsa Biscuit Rolls


Here is a simple brunch, lunch or appetizer idea...using your own favorite biscuit dough...or mine.   Serve with additional salsa...or dill pickles. 

Biscuit Recipe:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
 Toppings:
  • 2/3 cup hot salsa
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar.
  2. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender to form a mixture of coarse crumbs.
  3. Whisk together buttermilk and egg.
  4. Add to crumbs, and mix gently to form a soft dough.  
  5. Turn onto flour surface, and knead gently about ten times. 
  6. Gently roll into a rectangle...about 10" x 16".
  7. Spread with salsa and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  8. Roll up from the long side, and pinch edge of dough to seal.
  9. Cut into 16 equal slices.
  10. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake at 400°F until golden (12-14 minutes).
Yield: 16


These biscuits are best fresh from the oven...but can be frozen and re-heated later. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Apple Tart

Our son has apples trees on his property and he prepared apples by coring, peeling, and slicing them then preserving them with his Food Saver and freezing them. I decided to use his apples for our Apple Tart that we enjoyed on Christmas day. Today just happens to be this son's birthday.

Crust:
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup quick oatmeal
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed lightly
3/4 cup unsalted butter-cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk

6-7 fresh apples
juice from half a lemon
2 tablespoons sugar

Cut the apples lengthwise into quarters, core the apple, and slice into smaller sections, about 8 slices per apple.You'll need 6-7 apples for this recipe. After the apples are sliced put them into a bowl and add the lemon juice and sugar and toss lightly. This will allow them to juice slightly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, oatmeal, walnuts, and sugar, butter and egg yolk in bowl. Mix ingredients until they are a crumb size. You can use a mixer.

Pour the mixture into a 10 inch tart pan and press to an even layer coming up the sides of the pan, also.



Arrange the apple slices starting on the outside edge going around in a circle and then start the center circle with the remaining apple slices. Save the apple juice left in the bowl to brush the apples when the tart is fully cooked and out of the oven. This will add a nice sheen to the tart. If you don't have enough juice for this step add a little water and sugar to the apple juice you have and cook it on the stove top till it thickens slightly.

Bake the tart for 35-40 minutes or until it's lightly browned. Remove from oven, cool slightly and enjoy warm or after it has cooled completely. It would be nice with a dollop of whip cream or a la mode.

Note: I reserved a tablespoon of the crumb crust to add on top of the apples in the center of the pan before baking the tart. That is an optional step.
 I also had extra crumb crust and apples so I made a small crumble, too.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Beef Stew with Wine


This recipe is originally from my cousin Doris, but I have modified a bit with the ingredients I had on hand. The wine adds a depth of flavor that is worth getting a bottle for just for this recipe. A good winter stew to add warmth to a cold winter night, it makes the house smell so warm and welcoming coming in out of the cold.
  • 1/2 pound of bacon, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 pounds of beef cut in 2" pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut in chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh parsley, 4 sprigs, chopped
  • 1 pound of brown mushroom, cut in 4 quarters, optional
  1. Brown the bacon, remove from pan and drain well.
  2. Season the beef with salt and pepper, dredge in the cornstarch.
  3. Brown the meat in small batches in the same pan the bacon was browned in but in Olive oil.
  4. Remove the beef when browned on all sides.
  5. Saute the onions until soft. Return the beef and bacon.
  6. Add the wine and beef broth, thyme, garlic and bay leaf.
  7. Simmer on a low heat for 3-4 hours.
  8. Add the carrots and mushrooms. Simmer another 1/2 hour.
  9. Serve over mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with more fresh parsley. 
  10. Serve with a fresh salad and a crusty bun.
This can also be made in the slow cooker or baked in a 325 degree oven. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Corn Chowder from Leftovers



What do you do with small amounts of leftovers? As insignificant as they may seem, they can save time and become part of a delicious second meal. The challenge may just be on finding the right combination to do so.

Corn Chowder is a simple soup that can be ready in a few minutes. I have an old recipe that calls for a can of potato soup mixed with equal amount of milk, a can of creamed corn, a can of canned salmon and a cup of grated cheese, but this version can easily be adapted with leftovers you may find in your fridge:
  • 1 cup of leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1 can of potato soup and equal amount of milk
  • 1 cup or so of cooked corn
  • 1 serving or two of leftover BBQ'd salmon ( I had baked it in the oven) OR leftover farmer sausage, cubed OR 2 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Method:
  1. Mash the cold mashed potatoes with a fork, blending in the potato soup
  2. Add the milk, corn, salmon (separated into small chunks), farmer sausage or bacon and cheese
  3. Heat and serve.

 
Toast some bagels and lunch is ready. Completely different from the salmon dinner we had earlier.
With leftover salmon you can also make these yummy salmon melts or just mix it up with some mayo to make cold sandwiches. Maybe it's a good idea to cook salmon for some planned leftover meals.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mushroom Baked Pork Chops



Pork Chops baked slowly in a mushroom sauce is a comfort meal for me.
Use the sauce over pasta, rice or mashed potatoes and enjoy this wintertime favourite.
You can use boneless chops if you want but the flavour with the bone in chops makes this dish better yet.


  • 4 centre cut bone in pork chops
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cups sliced mushroom
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  • 3/4 can milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  1. Heat a large fry pan over medium high heat.  Add oil and heat for a half minute.  Sear pork chops on both sides and set aside on a plate while you caramelize the onions and mushrooms.
  2. Add butter to pan as well as the onion and mushrooms.  Turn heat to medium and stir occasionally until the onions and mushrooms have a golden colour.
  3. Add the soup, milk and thyme.
  4. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray, add pork chops and cover with sauce.
  5. Bake at 325 for one hour.  



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bread for the Journey





Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; 
on You I wait all the day. 
 Psalm 25:5

Those were the words of King David as he faced the challenges of life. His desire was to follow God's direction throughout the day. 

We are all familiar with London's famous clock...often called the 'Big Ben'.  We may even have the chimes on clocks in our home...or as door chimes.  But did you know that the melody comes from a composition by Handel, and is found in the fifth bar of 'I Know that My Redeemer Liveth'?  The chimes are ringing out this beautiful prayer...

All through this hour,
Lord, be my guide;
And by Thy power,
No foot shall slide. 

What a great reminder of our continual need for God's guidance.  Just like King David, our lives are filled with challenges.  Just like King David, we have a Guide.  May God be our first thought in the morning...and our focus throughout the day. Let's let Him lead us through 2014!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Saturday in Kathy's Kitchen

A clean oven with sparkling clean racks makes me happy. My oven is self cleaning, but the racks still need to come out before setting the cleaning cycle to be cleaned by hand. 
I've tried a few different methods of cleaning my oven racks. I find that the kitchen sink is just not big enough and I don't like that water splashes everywhere. Sometimes I've taken them outside, placed them on news paper and sprayed them with commercial cleaner and then given them a good rinse, wash, rinse and dry. These methods work but I've found a way that's worth passing on. 

Here's an environmentally and almost scrub free way to give you sparkling clean oven racks.

Lay an old large bath towel in the bottom of your bathtub. Lay the racks on top of the towel. Fill the bathtub with the hottest water you can. While tub is filling add 1 cup powdered laundry detergent to the water. Fill tub until racks are completely covered. Leave racks to soak over night or 6-8 hours. Once racks have soaked take a light non abrasive scouring pad and gently rub the racks. You may only need to use a cloth. The soil will have loosened during soaking and will wipe off easily. Rinse well, dry and place back into cleaned oven. 

Now go clean your bathtub. A small amount of powdered laundry soap a soft cloth and a little elbow grease will leave you with a squeaky clean tub.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mexican Chicken in the Slow Cooker


This slow cooker meal is simple to prepare. Throw your ingredients in the slow cooker, you will need at least a 3 quart size,  and your meal cooks while you are doing other things. I love meals like this, especially in winter when it just spells comfort and simplicity! This chicken is delicious with tostadoes, tortilla chips or wrapped up in tortilla shells. Leftovers..if you have any..freeze welI.
We had a Mexican themed pot luck at church, it was the perfect gluten free dish to bring to this event.
  • 8 chicken breasts
  • 1 540 ml / 19 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 540 ml / 19 oz can white kidney beans, drained
  • 2 3/4 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon taco powder
  1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Pour beans over the chicken.
  3. Mix together salsa, chili powder, and taco powder and pour over the beans.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours or until the chicken is done.
  5. Remove the chicken and shred with a fork.
  6. Put shredded chicken back in the slow cooker and mix in with the beans.
  7. Cook 1 more hour on low.
  8. Serve with pickles and your favorite tortilla chips, shells or tostadoes.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Creamed Corn

This Creamed Corn Recipe has been around in our family since the 70's. It originally came from a restaurant in Southern California. It makes a great side dish for Prime Rib or steak.

  • 32 ounce package of frozen corn
  • 8 ounces whipping cream
  • 8 ounces milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 teaspoons sugar
------------------
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 pinch of White Pepper

  1. Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile blend the flour, butter, and white pepper together.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the simmering corn and stir and watch carefully as the mixture thickens.
  4. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Golden Danish Kuchen


This recipe comes from an old Pillsbury cookbook.  
It has a moist crumb and crunchy topping.
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • grated peel from one orange
  • 1 cup buttermilk or soured milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 egg
Topping:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  1. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add raisins and orange peel and stir to coat.
  4. In another bowl, mix buttermilk, oil and egg, whisking to blend
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add liquid, stirring until smooth.
  6. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  7. Combine topping ingredients, rubbing butter in until crumbly.
  8. Sprinkle over cake batter in pan.
  9. Bake in a 375ºF oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake.
  10. Serve warm or cold, plain or with whipped cream or ice cream.
  11. To make it special, you can add a drizzle of prepared caramel sauce.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Loaf



My favourite part of this banana bread is the top.
I strategically break off pieces to make sure I have a bit of topping with every bite.
Walnuts, bananas and chocolate were meant to be together and this moist banana bread is a perfect cold winter treat.
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas, about 3 large
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (divided 1 and 1/4)
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped walnuts,  (make sure they taste fresh and divide 3/4 and 1/2 )
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a large loaf pan.
  2. Combine flour, soda and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients  and brown sugar in a medium bowl and stir until well combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir just until dry ingredients are moist and then add the larger amounts of chocolate chips and walnuts and stir to combine.
  5. Pour into loaf pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and walnuts on top.
  6. Bake 50 - 55 minutes.  A toothpick should come clean out of the center.
  7. Cool on rack.  Wrap well and refrigerate.  It slices easier chilled.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken Black Bean Stew


It's the time of year when salads are put on hold...while soups and stews take their place.  This recipe came from my niece who lives in Australia several years ago...and has been changed up a little over the years.  It became Turkey Black Bean Stew last week, as we used up the last of our Christmas turkey in this recipe. Top with grated cheese, a dollop of sour cream and avocado pieces according to preference. It's a favorite at our place! 

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4" cubes (or 3 - 4 cups cooked chicken, bite-sized pieces*)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon. olive oil
  • 1 or 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup red or orange bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 19 oz. / 540 ml can corn
  • 2 x 14 oz. / 398 ml. canned diced tomatoes
  • 19 oz / 540 ml. can black beans, drained
  • 4 oz. can chopped chilies, drained
  • 1 tsp. each salt, oregano, basil
  • 1/16 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. In a large heavy pot, saute chicken, onion and garlic in oil until onion is soft. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. 
  3. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered for about 30 minutes.
*If using cooked chicken pieces, add with other ingredients once the onion and garlic are sauteed.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bread for the Journey


 Romans 12: 1-2

English Standard Version (ESV)

A Living Sacrifice

 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I am challenging myself this year to re-memorize these 2 verses and then to meditate on them when my mind wanders to fretting, worry, self-pity, revenge. Also instead of letting my mind roam to thoughts that aren't productive or dwell on fantasies, I want to come back to truth and I know these verses will help.

For my Bible reading this year I want to read Five Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs a day. By the end of the year I will have read through the Psalms and Proverbs twelve times. I won't be beating myself over the head if I miss the mark but I am looking forward to what I can learn this year from this concentrated reading. One of our pastors suggested this and shared that he got the idea from Billy Graham. 

Have you chosen a verse or verses to meditate on in 2014?
Please share in the comments.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Make Ahead Meals with Shredded Pork


It's a new year and for many of us some cold winter days are still ahead of us. I thought it would be helpful to share some make ahead meal ideas with just one slow cooked meal. Take a day to cook a 4 -5 lb pork shoulder roast in the slow cooker, shred and divide into 1 1/2 - 2 cup Ziploc containers to make a quick meal any time later this month. You can use your favorite recipe or try this one here. I ended up with about 9 - 10 cups of dry shredded pork and froze the sauce separately. In the recipes below, amounts are approximate, so use as desired for the number you are cooking for. These recipes serve 4 - 5.
 
 
Meal Number One - Quick Chili
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet or green pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, salt to taste*
  • 1 can chili style diced tomatoes
  • 1 can chili style beans
  • 2 cups shredded pork
*increase spices if not using chili style tomatoes and beans (not sure if they are available everywhere)
Cook onion and pepper until soft in small amount of oil. Add garlic, spices, tomatoes, beans, and pork. Bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes. Serve with cornbread. We like our chili on rice with a salad on the side.

 

 
Meal Number Two - Stuffed Yams
  • 2 cups leftover shredded pork chili OR 1 1/2 cup shredded pork and a can of no meat chili
  • 1 can corn or 1 cup frozen corn
  • grated cheese
  • chives
Wash yams. Spread with olive oil, poke once with fork and bake 45 minutes or until done.
Heat chili, shredded pork and corn. Serve over split yams with cheese and chives.
 
 

 
Meal Number Three - Pork and Mango Quesadilla
  • 4 large tortillas
  • 1 cup apple chutney
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded pork
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced thin
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Spread two tortillas with chutney and pork. Lay thin slices of mango on top, cover with cheese and  top layer tortilla. Heat in large non stick pan over medium heat until brown underneath. Carefully flip over to do the other side and cook until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges with Pizza cutter.
 

 
Meal Number Four - Pulled Pork Soup
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 can crushed or chunky tomatoes
  • 1 can Romano or white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded pork
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or 3 tsp better-than-bouillon and 4 cups water)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
 
Cook onion, pepper, celery and garlic in small amount of oil. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes.
 



Meal Number Five - Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  • 2 cups shredded pork (approx)
  • 2 cups sauce (liquids set aside when pork was cooked)
Heat and serve on buns with coleslaw on the side. 
  
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