Thursday, July 31, 2014

Apple (or Blueberry) Pancake


 This has been a favourite weekend breakfast of ours since our children were in elementary school.
It is baked in the oven so there is no need to stand and flip pancakes while everyone else is eating. 
You could call it an "Upside Down Pancake"
 It looks amazing and is so tasty with the caramelized apples.  
Cut into wedges, it will serve 6-8 people depending on the size of your pan.

Note: This past weekend I tried this with blueberries and it was terrific.  I melted the butter and brown sugar together in the cast iron skillet and then sprinkled fresh blueberries on top before adding the pancake batter and baking.   I'm sure frozen berries would work just as well.


  1. Peel, core and slice 4 medium sized apples.
  2. Using a cast iron or oven friendly frying pan, melt 1/4 cup butter.
  3. Saute' apples, stirring frequently until they begin to soften and brown a little.
  4. Stir in 1/3 cup brown sugar stirring until it melts.  Set aside.
  5. Prepare your favourite pancake batter, from scratch or using pancake mix.(* I used 2 cups pancake mix for my 10" skillet)
  6. Pour over apples in pan and place in prepared oven.
  7. Bake for 15-30- minutes at 350º depending on the size and depth of your pan. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick or cake tester in the middle.  If it comes out dry, it is done.
  8. Remove from oven and place serving plate upside down over the pan.
  9. Using oven gloves, quickly and carefully flip pancake over on to the plate.
  10. If any apples remain in the pan, replace them on the pancake.
  11. Cut into wedges and serve. You can serve it with a drizzle of maple syrup but it really isn't needed.     (I served the blueberry pancake with lightly sweetened whipped cream.)
  12. Serves 6-8







Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beets with Herbs & Butter


 It's the end of July which tells you that most of my produce is ready in my garden.
This week we have been enjoying beets.
You either love them or hate dislike them.
Here are some scrumptious ways to eat fresh and colorful beets.
Raw ~ Slice them up and serve them with a sprinkle of chile and lemon.
Soups ~ Make a traditional Ukrainian Borscht. 
Roasted ~ This is my all time favorite.  They are tender and juicy.
In a Salad ~ Today beets are making a statement in many salads. 
Pickled ~ Pickled beets have been around forever. Enjoy the tangy vinegar taste.
Desserts ~ yes, you can even enjoy a velvety beet cake.
 A quick trip to the garden:
  • Hand pick the smallest ones.  They are tender.
  • Wash them, cut down the foliage leaving a stem of three inches.
  • Boil them for 30-40 minutes.
  • Drain the water and slip off the skins with your hands.
  • If you prefer to keep your hands clean, you can also use a paper towel.
  • Add fresh herbs as they complement their natural sweetness.
  • Add a touch of butter, salt and pepper with a quick squeeze of lemon.
  • Beets keep for quite awhile in the fridge if you remove the greens.
What's your favorite recipe for beets?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Huevos Rancheros, Gluten Free

My niece and her husband were visiting us and I needed to come up with a Gluten Free breakfast that we all could enjoy together. This recipe made with Gluten Free Ranchero Sauce is a good option to keep in your file.
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 onion, chopped.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped.
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil.
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch, gluten free.
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder.
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce, gluten free.
  • 1 cup water.
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin.
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
  • salt to taste
  •  
  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • 1 large can whole pinto beans, drained and smashed. (approx. 26 oz can)
  • 2 cups grated cheese, 3 cheese Mexican blend or other cheese of your choice.
  • 10-12 whole raw eggs.
  • cilantro to garnish


 

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Saute the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno in 2 tablespoons of oil until onion is translucent. 
  2. When slightly cooled transfer these ingredients to a blender along with the 8oz. of tomato sauce and blend until smooth then set aside.
  3. In same frying pan heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the corn starch and chili powder and whisk in well.
  5. Add the tomato sauce blended veggie mixture and whisk in well.
  6. Add 1 cup of water and continue to whisk.
  7. Add the cumin, garlic powder, and brown sugar and whisk till blended.
  8. Add salt to taste.
  9. Reduce heat and cook until thickened.
  10. Drain and smash the pinto beans.
  11. In prepared casserole dish start layering the ingredients starting with a little sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  12. Cover the sauce with a layer of corn tortillas.
  13. Cover the tortillas with a layer of smashed beans.
  14. Cover the beans with a layer of sauce.
  15. Cover the sauce with a layer of tortillas.
  16. Cover the tortillas with a layer of cheese. 
  17. Crack and add a whole raw egg to the top of each tortilla.
  18. Sprinkle with a little more cheese.
  19. Bake in 350 degree oven until the egg white is set and the yolk is still runny. Approx. 20 minutes.
  20. Remove and sprinkle with cilantro.

You can vary the layers but finish with the tortillas and eggs on top. We had lactose intolerant guests for this meal also so I made a small pan of the Huevos Rancheros without any cheese layers at all and they were tasty and appreciated. If preferred you can omit the first layer of tortillas having just one layer on top of the casserole.


We also served our Huevos with some bacon. The Gluten free ranchero sauce can be used in other Mexican dishes, too, like enchiladas.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower



This has become one of our favourite ways to eat cauliflower.
  1. Remove outer green leaves from the cauliflower.
  2. Wash and pat dry.
  3. Cut thick slices right through the core, trying to keep the pieces intact.
  4. Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet or in a vegetable basket to be used on the grill.
  5. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle with finely grated parmesan cheese.
  7. Grill or bake in oven at 400º until cauliflower is tender but still on the crisp side.
  8. Serve. 


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bread For The Journey


Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 5:3

I am reading through the Psalms this month, and have noticed that the writer of this book (David) is a man after God's own heart. A man that cries out to God, prays to God, praises Him, sees great miracles that God does in spite of all David's sinful short comings and trials that he is going through. David is so devoted to spending time with God, that he begins his day with listening for the voice of God and waits expectantly to hear from Him. That is what I want for myself, not to just pray and hope for the best, but to wait expectantly for God to work things out in my life, regardless of how flawed my sinful nature is. I have been redeemed and forgiven.

Are you going through a challenge in your life? Then take some time in the morning, bring your requests to Him and join me in waiting expectantly. I want that to become second nature in my life to seek Him first thing in the morning every day, no matter what is happening in my life.
That is a great way to start the beginning of every new day, don't you agree?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Eating Under the Trees



Although we have a perfectly good patio, 
I romanticize the idea of  putting the table under the large maple tree.


 Sometimes it is fun to just move things around a bit.
If you have a tree in your yard, try it.


Whether you use the space for a large gathering . . .


to enjoy some quiet time in the shade . . .


or a packed picnic in the park.
Summer is time to enjoy the outdoors.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chilled Raspberry Soup

We recently took and Alaskan Cruise and I really enjoyed the Chilled Raspberry Soup. There were a few culinary classes offered during our cruise and I couldn't resist taking them in. I asked the chef if I could share this recipe and she said "of course...many people take this one home to share". 
It's a perfect hot summer's day soup to serve before the main course. 
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries, (or frozen and thawed) 
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup ginger ale
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp triple sec (or 2 tbsp orange juice if you want a non alcoholic choice) 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Reserve 6 raspberries for garnish. 
  2. Use a blender or food processor to puree raspberries until smooth. 
  3. Over a non reactive bowl strain pureed fruit through a cheese cloth or fine sieve to remove seeds. Discard seeds.
  4.  Whisk together remaining ingredients, and add in the pureed and sieved raspberries.
  5. Pour soup into a glass jar or bowl. Cover well and refrigerate until very cold.
  6. I like to place individual serving bowls in the refrigerator for about and hour before serving soup. Add chilled soup to chilled bowls. Garnish with remaining raspberries and serve immediately. 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pineapple Chicken Rice - Gluten Free


This is one of my favourite comfort foods.
While my husband will still ask "What's for dessert?" , I need no dessert with this meal.

Before I give you  the recipe I'd like to share how I cook my rice -  I love it...  no mess, no fuss, perfect rice every time.   I like Uncle Ben's Brown rice , or converted rice .. my favourite is sprouted brown rice which is the most nutritious.

  • 1 cup rice 
  • 3 cups water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tsp butter 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. Put all ingredients into a microwave proof bowl or baking dish (with lid - can use plate)
  2. Place in microwave and set cook time for 25 minutes..  (microwaves vary so you might have to adjust for your microwave or the type of rice you prefer) 
Pineapple Chicken Rice 
  • 2 or 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 tin pineapple tidbits 
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1 tsp thyme 
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce (make sure its gluten free)  
  • 1/2 onion 
  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • dash of pepper 
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch 
  • pineapple juice 
  1. Season chicken breast and cook as desired -  I like to do them in the pressure cooker - it takes 20 minutes and they are melt in your mouth tender. 
  2. Put finely chopped onion and butter/oil into sauce pan and cook until onion is tender.  
  3. Mix sugar, nutmeg, thyme, salt, pepper and cornstarch. 
  4. Drain pineapple tidbits, saving juice - add more pineapple juice  to make 2 cups 
  5. Add soya sauce
  6. Stir juice/soya sauce into dry ingredients and mix until smooth 
  7. Add to onions and cook , stirring until smooth and thickened. 
  8. Add pineapple tidbits 
  9. Add chicken cut up into bite size pieces. 
  10. Cook a minute or two to make sure it is all heated through.
  11. Serve over rice..... Enjoy ! 
NOTE -  sugars and spices can be adjusted to personal taste. 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bumbleberry Jam


We quite enjoy throwing several kinds of berries together to make a pie or a crisp.  Why not combine a few varieties of berries to make bumbleberry jam?  I used blackberries, blueberries and raspberries...equal amounts of each...and we quite enjoyed the combo.
  • 6 cups berries, crushed with a potato masher or pulsed in the food processor or blender
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 box Certo Light pectin crystals  (If you prefer a runnier jam, use only half the package of pectin.)
  • 1 teaspoon butter, optional  (prevents jam from foaming)
  1. Place crushed berries and water in a large pot.  (Add water to berries when processing in blender.)
  2. Combine pectin crystals with 1/4 cup of the measured sugar.  Add to prepared fruit.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring with a long wooden spoon.
  4. Add remaining sugar and 1 teaspoon butter.
  5. Return to a hard boil; boil while stirring for one minute.
  6. Remove from  heat.  Stir for several minutes to prevent fruit from floating.
  7. Pour into warm sterilized jars* to 1/4" from top.
  8. Cover with lids and screw rings on tightly.
*Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse well. Sterilize jars, lids and rings by placing in a large baking pan and placing in oven at 225ºF for 10 minutes. Keep warm until filling time.  By using warm jars and hot lids, the jam jars will seal without processing in a hot water bath. (According to the Kraft Certo guidelines.)  Cooked jams and jellies can be stored on the shelf unopened for 6 to 8 months.



Triple berry preserves on a thick slice of fresh bread is a delightful combo!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grilled Zucchini Boats


With fresh zucchini and summer squash  featured at local farmers' markets, this is a nice way to serve it.

  • 1/2-1 zucchini per person (use the smaller ones)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil mixed with 1 clove minced garlic and 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • halved grape tomatoes
  • basil - fresh, if you have it, or dried
  • Salt and pepper
  • parmesan and mozzarella cheeses
  1. Cut each zucchini/summer squash in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut out center, carefully scooping out seeded part with a spoon. Be careful to keep bottoms intact.
  3. Brush cut sides of zucchini with oil/garlic mixture.
  4. Line up halved grape tomatoes in each zucchini half.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped basil, and pepper
  6. Mix grated mozzarella and parmesan cheeses together and sprinkle over tomatoes.
  7. Grill over medium heat until zucchini is tender and cheese is melted.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cherry Loaf


Years ago I found this recipe in the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes. I baked this pretty pink loaf for special occasions. Over time I have slightly changed up this recipe from the original.

  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 cups flour, divided
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Drain cherries, chop and put in a small bowl. Chop walnuts and add to the cherries. Stir in 1/2 cup of the flour to coat the cherries and walnuts. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the rest of the dry ingredients and set aside. 
  3. In a medium sized bowl whisk egg, sugar, butter, and almond extract together.
  4. Gently stir in the dry ingredients alternately with cherry juice and milk.
  5. Pour into a greased 9" by 5" loaf pan.
  6. Bake in 350º oven for 1 hour.
  7. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning loaf out on cooling rack.
  8. Let cool completely and slice. Serve plain or with butter and fresh cheese.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bread for the Journey


 I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. 
I will carry you along and be your Saviour. 
Isaiah 46:4 TLB
~~~~~
I was privileged this past week to spend a brief holiday on Mayne Island with my sister and our Dad who is 91 now, and has been blessed with a long and healthy life.

It was the end of a beautiful day when he and I caught the ferry and we watched the sun go down on our way over to the Island. Janet was there to meet us and 
we watched the stars come out one by one before going to bed.
 The next day the three of us had a leisurely breakfast on the deck and sat and talked for much of the morning as we watched the hummingbirds, the butterflies and bees among the flowers.
 We went to Bennett Bay, sat by the ocean and waded in the water, marveling at the intricacy and beauty of sea shells, the graceful gliding of the herons and the blueness of the sky. 
After dinner we wandered through the Japanese Gardens and watched the seals and otters at play as the sun set on Dinner Bay.



Over and over again, Dad expressed his gratefulness to God.
...For the wonder of God's creation, 
...For leading his parents to emigrate from the Ukraine and move to Canada 
when he was 3 years old.
...For being blessed to live in such beautiful and peaceful place.
...For his family, his friends, his home and his health.
...For salvation and the assurance of eternal life.
He remembers how God led in good times and difficult times and
he lives in humble gratefulness for God's faithfulness to him.
He never hesitates to share his love for God with his children, his grandchildren and 
now, his great grandchildren who love to visit their "Opa".

As I grow older, my prayer is that I too live with a grateful heart, proclaiming
 God's faithfulness to my children and grandchildren. 
O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
    and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
    your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Psalm 71:17-18NLT





Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Fun with Waffle Cones

Summer calls for keeping things simple and fun. No oven needs to heat up your house when you're looking for a treat to feed young and old. Waffle cones make a fun eatable container for a whole host of things. I'll share a few of our favourites. What would you fill a cone with? Cones can be purchased at the grocery store, and I also have an ice cream store near us who sell fresh waffle cones. These are bigger and really nice for filling. You may also have your own waffle cone maker...better yet!



 To make smores: fill small cones with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips or caramel chocolate bits. Serve cold or warmed up on the BBQ, oven or open fire. I use a metal stand to keep them upright. You may have to become creative.

 Suggestion for filling larger size cones:
-trail mix
-kettle corn, caramel corn 
-fresh fruit
-frozen cheese cake, for these I make a frozen cheesecake mixture and make a smaller pan of the cheesecake and use the remaining mixture to fill the cones and then place in freezer, standing upright, covered. These are nice to have on hand for a quick dessert. Top with whipped cream and a cherry.
I use a plastic Popsicle stand as the holder...works well. 




Friday, July 18, 2014

Sour Cream Raisin Pie


I like raisin pie but often find them a little too sweet. So if you feel the same then this is the pie for you. I like the creamy and tart flavor that sour cream adds to this pie.

  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pastry for 8" pie, double crust, unbaked
  1. Combine raisins, water, and sour cream in saucepan, bring to boil and cook for 4 minutes until raisins are plump.
  2. Whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon. Stir this into the raisins, continue to cook and keep stirring until thick.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Cool slightly.
  4. Pour into an 8" unbaked pie shell. Cover with top crust and cut slits to vent.
  5. Bake in 425º oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden in color.
  6. Cool, serve with vanilla ice cream. Delicious.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Citrus Pound Cake / Gluten Free, Dairy Free


My oldest daughter has developed numerous food sensitivities, so when it comes to dessert at family gatherings, she is the one I ask to make it. She served it with whipped coconut cream for herself and the others enjoyed it with a scoop or two of ice cream. This cake is not very sweet and I have no idea if it freezes well since it was devoured the day it was made.

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • zest of one orange (wash the orange well before zesting)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup fresh berries (she used sliced strawberries)
  1. Combine almond meal, coconut, coconut flour and baking powder in a bowl whisking dry ingredients with whisk to remove any clumps. 
  2. In a separate bowl beat eggs until froth, add zest, vanilla, melted coconut oil, both juices and maple syrup. Whisk together well. 
  3. Pour in the liquid mixture into the dry. Stir and fold together well, until all is combined well and there is no more dry spots, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure there isn't.
  4. Pour all the batter into a greased 10" spring form pan with the bottom being lined with parchment paper. 
  5. Insert the berries in a pretty pattern. 
  6. Bake @ 350 in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. 
  7. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and lots of extra berries on the side. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Greek Pizza with Italian Sausage


Serve this pizza right off the grill as an appetizer or a main meal along with a salad. Italian sausage blended with tomatoes, feta, basil and a drizzle of Greek Salad dressing will have you dreaming of the Mediterranean.

Ingredients:
  • 4 hand stretched naan breads (or homemade pizza crust)
  • 1 pkg Italian sausage (basil, mild or hot)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled or chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp freshly chopped or freeze dried basil (approx)
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (approx)
  • 4 Tbsp Greek salad dressing ( I used Renee's Mediterranean Greek)
Method:
  1. To prepare pizza for cooking on the grill, place naan bread on pizza stone or on doubled up extra strong aluminum foil lined with parchment paper. You can also bake it on a cookie sheet in the oven.
  2. Remove the sausage from it casing and cook on medium heat, breaking it apart and stirring until it resembles cooked hamburger meat.  Add chopped onion and mushrooms, stirring and cooking until soft. One package (4 sausages) will make more than needed. Use for double recipe or freeze extra cooked sausage for another use or time.
  3. Spread cooked sausage, onion, mushroom mixture on naan. Add green pepper if using. You can also use chopped kalamata olives according to taste. 
  4. Top with chopped tomatoes, feta, basil.
  5. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan and then the mozzarella cheese.
  6. Just before placing on the grill, drizzle with dressing. 
  7. Cook with lid closed (checking) until cheese is melted. (about 10 - 15 minutes)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Macarons



A professional macaron maker I am not.
I love the light crispy dainty filled with buttercream but have found that I've had to try and try again to make a macaron that I'm satisfied to post.  These macarons are still not perfect and I'll continue to practice them because practice makes perfect. 

The recipe I am sharing today is without special flavourings but I can assure you I plan to get creative in my macaron making and will come back with some flavoured macarons in the future.

There are so many fantastic video tutorials and thorough explanations available.  Before you begin, it is well worth your time to read all the hints available on various websites.
I've used the ingredient amounts from  Beth's Foolproof Macaron.
Please go check her fantastic photos and instructions.
Her video tutorial will give you the confidence you need to try this very special treat.


While I was practicing, I found there are many willing samplers and photo opportunities.
There is never a shortage of those willing to come to a tea party.


I learned that adding the gel food coloring to the egg whites instead of the almond mixture since getting the color right takes time and easily results in over mixing the batter.  At first I tried to divide the batter so that I could make two colors. This was not a good idea as it resulted in an overmixed batter.


I also realized after trial and error that my farm fresh eggs needed to be aged slightly.
Several different sites suggested putting the egg whites into a bowl and microwaving them for 10 seconds.  Once I started to do this, my macarons turned the corner and I started having more success.


The easiest way I have found to fill the piping bag is to put the bag into a tall glass to fill.


I'm still having a hard time making my macarons perfectly uniform.
The best way to pipe them all the same size is to make a template by tracing  small circles on a piece of parchment paper with a fine black marker and then using that as a template to trace circles onto all your pieces of parchment.

Have you tried making macarons?
What are your best tips?
  • 2 cups pure icing/powdered sugar (make sure it doesn't have added cornstarch) 
  • 1 cup almond flour (120 grams) 
  • pinch salt
  • 3 egg whites  (this should work out to about 6 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • gel food coloring (optional)
  1. Prepare  parchment paper by tracing 1 inch circles as I described above. This will be your template.  You will need two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Don't pipe directly onto the template. 
  2. Prepare the almond mixture by placing the almond flour, salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar in a food processor and pulsing about 10 seconds.  Add the remaining icing sugar and sift.  Any bits of almond flour that remain need to be removed. If there is a fair bit of almond bits left I found the easiest way to keep the amount of almond measurement right was to measure the amount of bits left in the sieve and replace with the same amount of almond flour and sift and repeat until 1 cup of almond flour is used in the recipe.
  3. In a large clean bowl place egg whites, cream of tartar and the 1/4 cup sugar.  Beat until foamy and then add a tiny bit of gel food coloring and continue to beat and then adjust color.  The color will fade during the baking so unless you want a very soft colored macaron, make the batter vibrant.
  4. Beat until stiff peaks form.  The meringue should be very stiff.
  5. Fold the almond flour into the beaten egg whites until the mixture is like lava. It is good to test it in between by dropping a small spoonful on a plate. It should still mound slightly when first piped and then slowly flatten out.  If you overmix it will be too runny and the macarons will not have the feet that make them so pretty and if you undermix, the macarons will not have a smooth top.  I've had both of those scenarios happen and will be happy to sympathize with you.
  6. Transfer the macaron batter to a piping bag with a 1/2 inch tip. If you don't have a tip that size the bag can just be cut off to make a 1/2 inch hole which I find works fine. Pipe the batter and then tap the cookies sheet hard on the counter several times to release any air bubbles.
  7. Preheat the oven to 300. F.  There is no need to preheat the oven earlier since the macarons now need to sit for 30 minutes. The batter needs to dry on top so that the macarons will rise up from the bottom making the feet. It might still feel slightly tacky but it should not stick to your fingers before placing them in the oven.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.  
Once the macarons are cooled and paired up with their best matches, they can be filled with  buttercream of your choice.  I have always made my buttercream made with a custard base and found that this is just the right amount of buttercream for two recipes of macarons.  It can easily be divided in half if you are making only one recipe.  

  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavouring
  1. Use a whisk to mix the milk and flour in a microwave safe bowl.  Once no flour lumps remain, microwave several minutes or until a thick paste forms.  Stir well and seal the top with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature. It is important that it has completely cooled or the butter will begin to melt.  
  2. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until the sugar has lost its grainy feeling.  Slowly add the cooled custard and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flavouring.
  3. The buttercream can be made ahead and chilled.  Allow to come to room temperature before filling macarons.
Macarons can be made ahead and frozen or kept in the refrigerator for several days.  



Monday, July 14, 2014

Lemon Anise Grilled Chicken



Anise seed is one of my favourite seasonings for chicken.  
In our home it's mandatory in homemade Chicken noodle soup and
 roast chicken is just not the same without it.
I had taken a few chicken thighs out for supper the other day and decided to add lemon
to the anise seed for a new flavour twist on the barbecue. 
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone in
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavoured pepper (like Montreal steak spice)
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  1. Wash chicken thighs and blot dry with paper towel.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients.
  3. Brush on all sides of chicken.
  4. Place over medium heat on barbecue.  Grill until meat is cooked through.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bread for the Journey





  1. Romans 8:38-39(ESV)

    For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

This was one of my father in law's favorite hymns. He loved to sing, he sang in a men's quartet and this hymn was often sung by them.  He had children not living for the Lord and I think this hymn brought him comfort in the hope that one day all his children would be walking with the Lord.

  1. "The love of God is greater far
    Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
    It goes beyond the highest star,
    And reaches to the lowest hell;
    The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
    God gave His Son to win;
    His erring child He reconciled,
    And pardoned from his sin.
    • Refrain:
      Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
      How measureless and strong!
      It shall forevermore endure—
      The saints’ and angels’ song.
  2. When hoary time shall pass away,
    And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
    When men who here refuse to pray,
    On rocks and hills and mountains call,
    God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
    All measureless and strong;
    Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.
  3. Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made,
    Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade;
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry;
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
    Though stretched from sky to sky."
  4. by Frederick M. Lehman

Saturday, July 12, 2014

How to Cube a Watermelon




Who knew there could be so many ways to cut up a watermelon?  We figured out early on that we each had our own method...and both us of thought that ours was the better way.  But that was all about serving slices on a platter...with the rind on.

Today I am going to share a few tips for cutting a whole watermelon into bite-sized pieces.


Place washed watermelon on a cutting board and lop off both ends.


Stand the watermelon up on one of the flat ends.  With a large knife, follow the curve of the watermelon and cut the rind off one slice at a time. 


 Be sure to remove all the white rind...since it is not at all sweet.


Cut the watermelon in half horizontally.  Working with one half at a time...slice vertically as if you are slicing a loaf of bread.  (If your watermelon has black seeds...this would be when you remove the seeds...one slice at a time.)  Rotate your half-watermelon and slice vertically in the opposite direction.



Lay pieces on their side and complete the process by cutting into bite-sized chunks.  It works well!

Cubed watermelon should be stored in a covered container in the fridge...and will keep for about 5 days.  It makes the best summertime snack!

And did you know that watermelon cubes make great ice-cubes? That makes perfect sense...since watermelon is over 90% water.  Instead of watering down your drinks with regular ice...try watermelon ice-cubes.


Places the cubes onto a parchment lined tray.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze the watermelon cubes until completely frozen (several hours).  Place the frozen cubes into a resealable plastic bag for easier storage.  Add to your next cold glass of water or punch to enjoy on the patio!