Bread for the Journey


Early this summer the house where I lived from my birth until marriage was taken apart from the rafters to the foundation to make way for a new house.  I was invited to come and walk through once last time and then after the work of the excavator was finished,  I walked among the ruins searching for bits of nostalgic items that I might save. 

In the cellar I found a dozen glass canning lids that were layered in years of dirt and broken shards of jars. I gathered them as though they were a rare archeological fossil and took them home to soak in hot soapy water before I scrubbed through the hard clay to reveal the treasures linking me to my childhood.

Several weeks later my brother Ken came over and held out this bowl to me.  It was cracked nearly through in several places and covered with crazing.  "I found this in the cellar and I thought you should have it"... he said.   Like the glass canning lids the bowl had been caked with dried mud and clay and  he had uncovered his own memories of our Mom using that bowl as he cleaned it.  

The bowl was before my time.   I remembered Mom having a set of Pyrex bowls in the primary colors but had never seen this bowl.  For more than sixty years, that bowl has laid in the cellar that was not ever used again after the flood of 1948.  It was put there in a time when things were not easily discarded to the garbage.  I wonder at her reasoning for saving it from total destruction. 

 I imagine, it once held cookie dough and pie pastry and most likely some of my Mom's tears.  She will have prayed while she worked in her kitchen preparing meals for her hungry family.  The bowl is now safely sitting in a place of honor, reminding me of the one who washed it most often.  The value of the bowl is not significant to others, but only to me and yet I wouldn't trade it for a rare piece of fine china. 


I was reading in 2 Timothy this week and was struck by verse 21 and 22.  I read it in a few different translations to understand how I could apply God's word to my new/old bowl. 

If I want to be a willing vessel to serve and bless others, it is important that  my heart is right before the Lord so that I can be used by him.  I can look like I have it all together on the outside and no one would know the selfish, disobedient places in my life but when I confess those before God and live in obedience to his word, he can use me to be a blessing in service to others. 

 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 ESV Translation
 In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.  

2 Timothy 2:20-21  The Message Translation



ReiRei or Ruehrei - Gluten Free or Not

(just a note on the spelling of this dish ..  ReiRei is the closest to how I have always said it -- the correct spelling would be Ruehrei - German for "stir egg" - the 'e' indicating that the 'u' has an 'umlaut') 

ReiRei is a comfort food that goes back to my own childhood.  It is quick, easy and nutritious and I remember my Mom and my Grandmother making it often

I liked to eat it at my Grandmother's house because she would serve it to me with a little smirk saying, "I know at home you aren't allowed to eat it with sugar but at my house you can eat it with sugar!"
Of course I loved it with sugar and it just proved that things are always better at Grandma's house !!

Skipping down a couple of generation to my own grandgirls,  ReiRei very quickly became the dish of choice whenever my grandgirls would come over.
"Nanna, can you make ReiRei?"  was their repetitive request and I ,of course, was happy to make it for them .. and yes, they were allowed to eat it with sugar at my house!

I thought ReiRei was so easy to make every one knew how to make it... but sometimes the seemingly simple things are not so simple if you have never seen them done.
My girls would say to me, "Nanna, I don't want to hurt Grandma's feelings but you need to teach her how to make ReiRei."

So, in case someone else has never made it ,  here are the step by step instructions.
It really is a quick one dish meal that kids love.  ( I still like it too)  
And my grandgirls are happy that they can now have it gluten-free !

ReiRei 

  • 1/2 cup reg wheat flour OR gluten -free flour mix (my favourite mix - equal amounts of brown rice flour/millet flour/white bean flour/white corn flour/tapioca starch)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (if using gluten free flour) 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 
  • 1 tbsp butter 
1.  Whisk eggs and milk, add the flour and whisk until smooth (do not use blender - too much mixing makes the Rei Rei 'stick together'.) 



2. Melt butter in hot skillet.  Then pour batter into skillet. (I love my cast iron) 


3. When batter begins to cook on the bottom and turn brown, turn the bottom over to the top and let the top liquid settle on the bottom.  Turn again when it turns brown.  Watch carefully - it doesn't take very long to cook.


4. Using egg turner (can use knife to help) chop and cut the 'pancake'  into small pieces,  stirring and cutting.



5. Keep stirring until the pieces are all nicely browned.


 Enjoy ! with or without sugar (depending on whose house you are at!)

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins - Gluten Free



These muffins are easy to mix up and delicious.
I use my own all-purpose flour mix, the recipe for which is included.
  • 1 3/4 cups My All-Purpose Flour 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 3 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 cup butter (cold grated) 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2/3 cup milk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 med apple, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cups chopped walnuts 
  • 2 tbsp sugar 
  1. Sift or mix together the dry ingredients 
  2. Stir in the grated butter 
  3. Remove 1/4 cup (for streusel crumbs) 
  4. Toss apple bits in the 1 tsp lemon juice 
  5. Add apples and nuts to dry mixture
  6. Whisk the egg and milk, add vanilla 
  7. Add liquids to dry ingredients and mix lightly
  8. Fill muffin tins - lined with paper cups or greased - about 3/4 full 
  9. Mix the extra 2 tbsp sugar into the 1/4 cup crumbs and sprinkle on top of the muffins 
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

My All-Purpose Flour Mix 
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup white bean flour 
  • 1 cup millet flour 
  • 1 cup potato starch 
  • 1 cup tapioca starch 
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch 
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour 
  • 6 tsp. egg replacer 
  • 4 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 3 tbsp potato flour 
Mix together thoroughly and store at room temp. or in fridge if it will not be used within a month. 

Renate's Zwieback


Making fresh home made buns is a novelty for me. You'd think that by now we have exhausted all our recipes. Today I will share with you my favorite 'go to recipe' for white buns. This recipe too, came from a good friend, Renate. It's a favorite for our family. I've never had success making Zwieback tops, so I've just shaped the dough into round buns.  The versatility of home made buns are many: add them to any meal, soup or salad or just add a jar of strawberry jam and peanut butter.

 A few of us will be making our favorite bun recipes as we serve the Kiev Symphony Orchestra in Chilliwack at the Alliance Church on September 9, at 7:00 pm. The KSOC  is under the leadership of Wes Janzen, former Professor of Music at TWU.

This past week we spent time preparing our cabbage rolls and apple pies at the Alliance Church.
Thank you Kathy (Kathy is the sister to Wes) for organizing our cooking day.  You can read all about it at Kathy's blog. We all feel that this is such a rich opportunity to serve the choir members, especially during the current unrest in Ukraine. We have just heard recently that the children from the Good Shepherd Shelter (our first royalty project) have been moved to Kiev where they are safer.  Please join us as we continue to pray for the safety of staff and children.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 9 -10 cups white flour
 Kitchen Machine Mixing Procedure
  1. Scald milk and add butter.
  2. Add water to scalded milk to become lukewarm.
  3. In mixing bowl add half of the flour, yeast, salt and sugar.
  4. Add the warm milk mixture to flour mixture and mix for five minutes on lowest setting.
  5. This process has activated the yeast.
  6. Add eggs, oil and remaining flour and continue kneading for 10 minutes  until dough becomes soft and is not sticky.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise until doubled in bulk.
  8. Form into buns and place on greased pans. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for another 45 minutes.
  9. Bake in 400° for 15 minutes.
Special Tip:  One of our readers gave a comment suggesting a new tip:   "When using instant yeast and mixing in the Bosch, that it is not necessary to do the first rising of the dough... after mixing, kneading in machine, shape & put buns directly onto pans, let rise, bake!"
I will definitely consider this time.  Thankful for any shortcut tips from our readers.

These buns also serve well as 'Sliders' 

Make ahead Maple Soy Pork Kabobs


I bought a box of Neufeld Farms  pork kabobs through a Youth fundraiser recently.
They were delicious and a great option for a quick, "freezer to grill" dinner.
They got me thinking about trying my own version.
So I gave it a try and was pleased with the results. Weeks later, on a busy day,  it was so nice to just pull the bag out of the freezer, thaw them and grill them for an easy supper.
Here's what I did.

2 fresh pork tenderloin (NOT previously frozen)
Depending on the size of your tenderloin and the number of pieces on each kabob, this should make 6-8 kabobs.

For the Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (tip for grating ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar or shaker and mix well.
  2. Pour over pork in ziplock bags and remove as much air as you can before sealing.
  3. Of course, you can use this marinade for pork tenderloin or chops as well.  Just marinate the meat for about 2-3 hours before grilling.
Here's a few pictures to show how I put the kabobs together.:


The wooden skewers I had on hand were too long so I snipped them to length with my pruning shears. 
(My 'problem solver' husband's suggestion)

Using fresh (not frozen) pork tenderloin, cut the meat into 1 1/2 inch chunks and thread 5 or 6 pieces on each skewer.
Do not crowd them.


  1. Make the marinade and set aside.
  2. Place enough skewers for a meal into a ziplock bag. (Fold a piece of parchment paper several times and put it into the bottom of the bag and then tuck the sharp tips of the skewers into the fold so that they do not puncture the bags).
  3. Divide marinade between the bags.
  4. Zip bags shut, being sure to squeeze out as much air as possible.
  5. Label the bags and date them and freeze.
  6. The day you want to serve them, thaw in the fridge.
  7. Grill over medium high heat for about 15-20 minutes, basting frequently with remaining marinade. Use a steak knife to cut into a chunk of pork to test for doneness.
  8. Serve with rice.



Spicy Dark Chocolate Cookies

These cookies with surprising ingredients are very tasty and have a nice after kick of spice to them. Enjoy them with a cold glass of milk or a cup of coffee. My sister Lana made them this past weekend and shared them and the recipe with me.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 oz. of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together either on the stove top in a heatproof bowl over simmering water (whisking until glossy and smooth) or in the microwave in 25-second increments (whisking after each 25 seconds). Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat together the brown and white sugar, eggs and vanilla extract on low speed until mixed well. Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne.

Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated well.
Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Scoop 12 equal rounds of the cookie dough for each cookie sheet making 24 cookies in total (approx.1-1/2 tablespoons each)
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes.
Cookies should still be a little puffy and soft.
Immediately slide the full sheet of parchment paper with the cookies onto a cooling rack.
Cool and enjoy with a cold glass of milk.
Note: If you enjoy sweeter cookies you can increase the brown sugar to a cup.




Chocolate Zucchini Muffins


Chocolate Zucchini Muffins will always remind me of my mom who seemingly has baked these non-stop for her grandchildren for many years. It occurred to me recently that maybe I should get the recipe from her. These muffins freeze well and are easy to put into a lunch for a treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips (she uses mini size)
Method:
  1. Beat butter and sugar, adding in the eggs.
  2. Stir in oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
  3. Add combined dry ingredients. If cocoa does not incorporate nicely into flour, sift dry ingredients before adding to wet.
  4. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350 F, 20 minutes for medium size. Makes about 24 medium size or 18 large size. These are great done as mini muffins, bake less time, until toothpick test comes clean.

Bread for the Journey

God loves you.
 I don't know what your journey is, but I know that God's love reaches to the weariest, the loneliest, the concerned, the wounded, the one in despair, the broken hearted, the fearful one.

Psalm 33:22 
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.

Cinnamon Swirl Pear Bread


There is a story behind this moist and delicious pear bread.   More than three decades ago, I was gifted a loaf by a dear lady named Frieda.  After a long day of work, I recall how nice it was to have the fresh pear bread to enjoy with the family in the evening.  Frieda told me it was a recipe from a cookbook put out by a group of local women.  I had the cookbook at home, and made a mental note to bake the pear bread in my kitchen sometime. Time flew by and several years ago I finally got around to baking the pear bread...and I brought Frieda a loaf.  Not so long ago, I brought her another loaf…along with a bouquet of tulips.  She was diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago and did not expect to see the flowers of spring the following year. Since then, two years have come and gone.  Frieda has enjoyed the tulips and now she is smelling the roses!  And tomorrow she will be celebrating her 90th birthday. She's still looking terrific and feeling quite well.  Her only explanation is that God still has a purpose for her on planet earth!  It seemed a good day to share this recipe.  Feel free to leave your birthday greetings to Frieda in the comment section.  I happen to know Frieda reads this blog!

Cinnamon Swirl Pear Bread 
  • 3 cups chopped peeled ripe pears (3-4 pears)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 9 - 10 cups flour
  • 3 Tablespoons instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  1. Combine pears, water and 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Drain pears, reserving syrup. Add cold water as necessary to reserved syrup to measure 1 1/2 cups; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beaten eggs, butter, honey, salt, almond extract and lukewarm pears and reserved juice. 
  3. Stir instant yeast into four cups flour and add to other ingredients.  Beat well.
  4.  Continue adding flour to form a soft dough.
  5. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. 
  6.  Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
  7. Punch dough down; divide into three pieces.  Roll each portion into a 16-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle each surface with 1/3 of the cinnamon mixture to within 1/2 in. of edges.
  8. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seams to seal. 
  9. Place, seam side down, in three greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, (about one hour).
  10. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with foil. Bake 20 minutes longer or until bread tests done. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool.  
Yield: 3 loaves   
 
I have one more note of interest about the origin of this recipe.  It was submitted to the original cookbook by Bev Klassen.  Who knew that one day Bev and I would both be contributors to Mennonite Girls Can Cook...and that I would be the one to share it over here?  It is a small world after all!
 

Taco Pie

This is a recipe I had not made for a very long time. A quick and easy supper idea that can everyone enjoy, perfect for that on the go family.


You can use the basic recipe of biscuit mix, eggs and milk but change up the meat, cheese and seasoning to suit your families personal taste. If you enjoy the taco flavors you will enjoy this too. 
  • 1 lb of  lean ground beef
  • 1 chopped  onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of homemade Taco Seasoning or one package of low sodium store bought.
  • 1 small can of green chilies, drained
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of prepared biscuit mix 
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • olives of your choice (optional)
  • salsa  and sour cream
  1. Brown the ground beef with the onion and peppers on medium high heat.
  2. Drain excess fat.
  3. Add the seasoning and green chilies.
  4. Place the meat  mixture in  a greased 9" or 10" pie plate
  5. Mix together the eggs and milk, stir in the biscuit mix.
  6. Pour over beef. 
  7. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. 
  8. Top with the cheese and olives if using, bake another 5-10 minutes. Test the center of the pie with a knife and if it comes out clean it is ready.
  9. Let rest for a few minutes before cutting into it.
  10. Serve with salsa, sour cream and a salad.

Color your cupcakes (White Buttercream Frosting)


Last weekend we celebrated two of our grands birthdays.


The theme was to create color.

Here is an idea that the kids loved and can easily be created when you use either a cake mix or your favorite white cake.




  I'm going to share the frosting recipe here.  I've used this frosting for years to decorate squares and cakes and it's delicious and creamy. It is not too sweet and mimics true buttercream beautifully.
This frosting that will stay moist so that the artist can easily decorate their little cakes.  I used a flower shape tip to create the curly ribbon effect.

  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • dash salt
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine the flour, salt and about 1/2 cup milk in a saucepan and whisk it until there are no more flour lumps.  Whisk in the remaining milk .  Bring to a boil over medium heat and then simmer for several minutes so that all the flour is cooked.
  2. Remove from heat and place plastic wrap on the surface cool until room temperature.  Be sure it has no hint of warmth left since it will make a greasy texture to the frosting once you add the butter.
  3. Use a stand mixer if possible or a hand mixer, beat together room temperature butter and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cooled flour and milk mixture and vanilla.  Beat the frosting until light and fluffy, resembling whipped cream. 
  4. The frosting can be kept at room temperature for several hours or made ahead and refrigerated.  Before frosting your cakes, allow to come to room temperature and beat briefly to make smooth again.  
  5. This frosting is best served at room temperature. 
Julie has offered instructions to make this frosting GLUTEN FREE.  Substitute the flour for a flour mix of 1 part sweet rice flour and 3 parts cornstarch - you might have to adjust the 7 tbsp. of flour (probably need a little less)  

Makes enough to generously frost 3 dozen cupcakes.




Fresh Blueberry Custard Pie


This recipe can be adapted to other berries or fruit with a tweak on the glaze. For this glaze I did not see the need to add color, so I used lemon juice to flavor, but if you like some color, you can use 2 Tbsp of jello crystals to the glaze, according to fruit of choice.

Ingredients:
  • 1 baked pie shell
  • custard
  • glaze
  • 4 cups of blueberries and some extra for garnish
  • 1 cup whipping cream
Custard
  • 1 1/4 cup milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla powder or 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. In small pot, heat 1 cup milk until you see tiny bubbles on the side.
  2. In the meantime, in small bowl, mix dry ingredients, stirring in 2 Tbsp of milk to make a paste, stir in  the yolk and the last 2 Tbsp of milk.
  3. Stir into hot milk in pot and keep stirring until smooth and bubbly.
  4. Pour into baked pie shell and allow to set.
Glaze and Filling of Pie
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  1. Mix ingredients in small pot, bring to boil while stirring and cook about two minutes, until it looks clear. (if adding flavored gelatin crystals for color, add it at the end of cooking and stir well)
  2. Stir slightly cooled glaze into fruit and spread into pie shell, over the custard.
  3. Beat whipping cream until peaks form when you lift the beaters. Spread onto fruit, lifting the spoon, to from peaks or use a decorator tip on a bag. I kept the whipped cream away from the edge and decorated it with fresh berries. Allow at least an hour in the fridge to set before serving.

Oatmeal Muffins

These muffins are easy to make and they aren't overly sweet. Enjoy them any time of the day.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 well beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine the oats with the milk and let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  4. Combine the beaten egg, oil, sugar and oatmeal mixture.
  5. Add all at once to the sifted dry ingredients stirring just to moisten.
  6. Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full. I used muffin cup liners.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
Yield: 12 muffins.

Lentil and Vegetable Salad

Colourful, flavourful and healthy! 
On a recent trip through Kelowna we stopped for lunch at my husband's cousin and his wife's place. They served us this salad and I had her send me the recipe....it's been served a few times since then around our table. A great addition to a BBQ. 

Herbed Lemon Dressing:
  • juice of one fresh lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp each dried oregano, basil and parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well. Refrigerator while you make salad. 
Salad:
  • 1/2 cup uncooked, dry brown lentils
  • 1/4 cup uncooked, EITHER brown rice OR orzo
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped peppers. I like to use a mixture of red, yellow and orange to give colour.
  • 1/2 cucumber, peel left on, diced fine
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 small green or yellow zucchini, peel on, diced fine
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill 
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  1. Cook lentils as directed on package, but make sure they do not get overly soft. You want them to hold a slight firmness, but still cooked through. If all the water has not been absorbed once done drain well.
  2. Cook rice or orzo along with salt and oil as directed on package until soft. 
  3. Mix together cooked lentils and rice (or orzo), cover and refrigerate until cool.
  4. Chop up all vegetables and mix together.
  5. Add cooled lentil mixture to vegetable mixture, stir to combine.
  6. Pour dressing over salad, place in serving bowl and top with olives and feta. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Bread for the Journey



I have always enjoyed knitting.  
I have memories of me as a little girl  sitting on a small chair beside my mother, 
being so proud that I was knitting 'just like her'. 
I was knitting a project recently and I made a mistake that forced me to unravel my work 
to below the mistake so I could then continue knitting my project. 

My thoughts fell into rhythm with the click of the needles.   
I thought about the difference between knitting and sewing 
and 
the difference between man's forgiveness and God's forgiveness. 

Having been a seamstress/alterationist for many years I think I have seen just about every kind of damage that can be done to a garment either during construction or after.  
 I have patched, camouflaged, twisted and turned to repair the damage, to restore the garment
as close to 'good as new' as I could - but  even at best,  the garment had been patched.  
 So often man's forgiveness is like that, isn't it ?   
We forgive one another - but we only  'patch it up'.
We remember and know exactly where the patch is.  

But with knitting, a mistake does not damage the garment, it never needs a patch or repair.  
The offending stitches are simply undone and the knitting continued. 
No one could ever know that a mistake had been made because the garment is perfect. 
That is what God's forgiveness is like.   
When we come to Him with our 'messes' , our sin and ask Him to forgive us,
He doesn't put a patch over it.
He unravels the mistake, picks up the stitches of our life and resumes knitting 
as though the mistake had never been made.  

Aren't you thankful God is a 'knitter' not a 'sewer' ? 

   "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins 
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 
1 John 1:9
   "As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." 
  Psalm 103:12

Blueberry Mango Verrines


I was reading through the Fine Cooking Magazine recently and came across an article on Verrines.
Apparently Verrine is a French word that means "glasses" or  "jars".
The idea of a verrine is to layer different flavours and textures in a glass.
My version uses a velvety mango flavoured custard, fluffy whipped cream, crunchy granola
 and fresh, juicy fruit.

For the Custard:

  • 1 package of vanilla pudding (the kind you cook - NOT instant)
  • Substitute one can (1 cup) of mango nectar (I bought this at Costco) for 1 cup of the milk.

  1. Cook according to package directions and let cool.  
  2. I surround the custard bowl with ice and cold water to cool it faster. Just be careful you don't get any of the water into the custard!
Or: Make a custard from scratch:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (you can substitute 1 cup mango nectar for 1 cup of the milk)
  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt.
  2. Stir in milk and mango juice (if using) until combined.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a boil
  4. Cook for 2 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, combine slightly beaten egg yolks with a little of the hot mixture 
  6. Stir warmed egg yolk mixture back into the remaining hot custard.  
  7. Cook 1 minute longer.
  8. Stir in butter and vanilla, blending well.
  9. Cool, stirring occasionally.
To assemble:

  • prepared pudding
  • 1 pint whipping cream, whipped with 2 tablespoons icing sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • crunchy granola, purchased or homemade (I used Quaker Harvest Crunch)
  • 2 mangoes diced (same size as the blueberries)
  • 1-2 cups fresh blueberries

  1. Find your prettiest glasses. or use parfait or wine glasses. 
  2. Spoon mango custard into each glass using about 1/2 - 3/4 cup for each serving.
  3. (The second time I made this I placed a layer of mango and blueberries between the pudding and the cream which really looks pretty.  However I failed to take a picture)
  4. Cover with a layer of whipped cream.
  5. Sprinkle granola over cream
  6. Add several spoons full of mango and blueberries.
  7. Top with a little more cream and a sprinkle of granola.
  8. Refrigerate until serving.

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Bowls


We serve up our salads in tortilla bowls, why not desserts?  Cinnamon sugar tortilla bowls make a great dish for those summer desserts. What could be better than an ice-cream sundae served in a crispy bowl...one that is meant to be eaten?  They are simple to prepare and can be made ahead. 

  • 6 - 6" flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. Spray 6 large oven-safe ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Soften the tortillas by microwaving for about 10 seconds.
  4. Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with melted butter and coat with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  5. Place each tortilla in a ramekin, gently folding as needed and pressing to flatten the bottom.
  6. Bake on middle rack of oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp.
  7. Remove shells from ramekins after several minutes and cool on a rack.


Fill with a scoop of ice-cream and your desired toppings.  Or fill with pudding, fruit and whipped cream...or even fruit salad.   And don't forget to eat the bowl!

 

Carrot Muffins

Muffins are a staple in our home. They freeze well to tuck into lunches or pack along for a picnic or camping trip. We enjoy a variety of flavors and these do not disappoint.



  • 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 cup spelt & 1/2 cup kamut)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup oil (I used 1/2 cup)
  • 4 beaten eggs
  1. Combine the first 9 ingredients coating the raisins and carrots well with the flour mixture.
  2. In a separate bowl  combine all the wet ingredients.
  3. Mix well but do not over mix.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes (I did 18). 

Peach Cream Cheese Pie


Peach season means peach pie of any kind. I like them all! The cream cheese layer in this pie gives it a nice tart flavor.  This pie doesn't take long to make especially if you use a store bought crust:)
You will need a total of 8 medium sized peaches for this recipe.

  • 1/2 cup peaches, pureed (you will need 2 medium sized peaches for this)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (juice of large lemon)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (half of an 8 oz block)
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 8" baked pie shell..make your own or buy a ready made crust.
  1. In blender puree two peaches that have been peeled, pitted and cut up. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan whisk together sugar and cornstarch till well blended. Add puree, water, and lemon juice. 
  3. Bring to boil and cook till thickened. Once it boils it will thicken quickly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Beat together cream cheese, icing sugar, and vanilla until creamy.
  5. Spread on baked and cooled pie shell.
  6. Fold peaches into cooled sauce and spoon over layer of cream cheese mixture.
  7. Refrigerate until thickened. Serve plain or with whipped cream.
  8. Serves 8 to 10.



Kale and Quinoa Salad




We have kale growing in our garden again this year and we are enjoying it in this quinoa salad.
It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days and makes a great lunch.
The amounts of this salad can be easily adjusted so go ahead and make a larger batch of quinoa and adjust your kale, vegetables and dressing accordingly.
The quinoa will triple in volume when it is cooked.


  • 1 cup quinoa 
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • a small bunch of kale to make 4 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 cup finely diced red cabbage
  • drizzle olive oil
  • juice of one orange
  • juice of one lemon
  • liquid honey to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve.  Drain well and add to a small saucepan.  Stir over medium heat a minute to dry it.  Add water and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.  
  2. Add dried cranberries to the pot and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Remove the stem, from the kale and  chop it about the same size as the cranberries. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and massage it with your hands for a minute to break down the tough leaves.
  4.  Chop the onion, making the dice the same size and then dice the red cabbage the same size.
  5. Add the orange juice and lemon juice to the bowl with the vegetables.  Stir well and drizzle in honey according to your taste.
  6. Add the quinoa, cranberries, salt and pepper according to taste,  then chill until ready to serve.

Angel Food Cake



Angel food cake is an old stand by. My dad was over for supper not long ago when I served this cake and he said "it tastes just like mom's". I served it with strawberries and whipped cream just as she used to, and I had to agree, it was a taste I remembered well. Follow the tip to making your own cake flour. It may be an old tip some of you have used for years and a new tip for others. 

TIP: To begin, if you don't have cake flour make your own by measuring one cup of all purpose flour and removing 2 tablespoons. Now add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to the flour making 1 cup. Sift this mixture at least 5-6 times. Now you have the one cup of cake flour you need for this recipe.

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 12 egg whites, room temperature. This is very important
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar (yes again) 
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. If you are making your own cake flour make sure you sift it 5-6 times.
  2. Now add the first amount of sugar to the flour and sift another several times. Set aside.
  3. Separate room temperature egg whites from yolks. It is very important that your bowl for the whites is completely dry and clean and that not a speck of the yolk gets into the whites. (save egg yolks for other recipes)
  4. In a large bowl ( I use my kitchen aid mixer) beat egg whites. Add cream of tarter, salt and second amount of sugar. Beat well adding extracts as mixture begins to thicken. Beat until stiff high peaks form. 
  5. Using lowest speed add sifted flour/sugar mixture to egg whites and just allow the dry mixture to incorporate with the egg whites. Stop machine and using a spatula gently scrape from bottom of bowl to make sure all flour is getting mixed in. If you are not using a machine, fold in the flour/ sugar mixture. Either way, be gentle with this step and also don't over mix.
  6. Pour batter into ungreased tube pan. Run a knife all the way around through the middle to get rid of any trapped bubbles in the batter.
  7. Bake in 375ยบ oven for 30-35 minutes.
  8. Turn a small mug upside down and turn cake upside down in pan onto mug to cool. Once completely cooled run knife around outside of pan and remove cake to plate. 
  9. Ready to serve or wrap well and freeze for several weeks.

Bread for the Journey



 

And I am sure of this, 
that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6 ESV

It seems that every time I walk through the garden, I inadvertently damage a spider's intricate work of art.  And here is what I have observed...the spider immediately begins the work of repairing it.  There is no giving up and packing it in!

Storms will come our way throughout life.  At times it is hard to continue the journey.  But God has promised to complete the work He has begun in my life and in your life. 


No matter how tattered and torn the tangled web of  our lives may be...He can see us through to the end!

 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, 
for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, 
which God has promised to those who love him. 
 ~ James 1:12 ESV

Microwave Corn-on-the-Cob

Fresh Chilliwack corn-on-the-cob is at its prime right now...and we are enjoying it often.  Last year I shared a tip for cooking corn-on-the-cob for the masses in a picnic cooler.  It's perfect for that backyard BBQ when the whole gang is coming.

But what if there are just two of you?  Or even one?  Here is the best way to cook and husk a few cobs of corn!  Pick out fresh cobs, fully ripe with the husks and silk intact.  Then place them in the microwave and cook on high  for 3-4 minutes per cob (4 minutes for a large cob).  Remove from the microwave oven with an oven mitt or a hot pad.  Then comes the magic part!


1. Place corn cob on cutting board, holding with the hot pad on silky end.
2. Cut about 1" off bottom end of cob.
3. Squeeze from the top and the cob will slip out the bottom. Ta-da!
4. Yield: 1 perfectly cooked and silk-free cob of corn!

Smother in butter and season as you like.  Enjoy!

Brie and Avocado Sandwich

This is a different way to enjoy Brie and a fresh sandwich idea. The combination of flavors was very nice.

Ingredients:
Good fresh multi grain bread, sliced.
1 avocado, peeled and sliced.
1 small round of Brie sliced
Cranberry sauce
Lettuce greens
Thinly sliced red onion (optional)
Aioli or Mayonnaise (optional)

Spread the bread with about a tablespoon of Aioli or Mayonnaise (if desired), add lettuce greens, top with avocado, then add the slices of brie, spread cranberry sauce on the brie to your taste, add onion slices if desired, top with second slice of bread and enjoy. One avocado and a small round of brie makes up to 3 sandwiches.

Blueberry Lemon Loaf


This bread will have you thinking of coffee time, but not only that.  Serve it warm with ice cream for dessert or leave it out for breakfast. It's not very sweet, yet filled with lots of lemon and blueberry flavor. Switch it up with orange rind, if you like.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • rind (grated) from one large lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (I use 7% fat)
  • 1/4 cups oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups blueberries. (fresh or frozen)
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease or line with parchment paper, one 5x9 inch loaf pan.
  2. Mix dry ingredients along with rind. 
  3. In separate small bowl, mix wet ingredients and add to dry along with blueberries.
  4. Stir until just combined and spread into loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 60 - 70 minutes, until cake tests done with pick. Leave in pan for 10 minutes before removing.
  6. If desired, drizzle with a mix of 3/4 cup icing (confectioners) sugar and juice of about 1/2 lemon. 


Grilled Romaine Salad


The Romaine lettuce in our garden has thrived this year and we have really enjoyed grilling it when our coals are still hot from preparing the main course.

It takes only minutes and we wait until after we have had appetizers when we have guests before toasting the cut side of the romaine.

  • 1/2 small head Romaine per person.  If the heads of Romaine are very large, cut each half  in half  again to split between two people after grilling.
  • olive oil
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • fresh lemon juice
  • lemon zest
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Cut Romaine in half and drizzle olive oil on the cut side.
  2. Put the cut side down over hot coals on the barbecue and grill just until the edge leaves begin to char.  The inside will remain crisp.
  3. Drizzle with Balsamic Glaze.  This is a reduced balsamic vinegar which you can make yourself by reducing balsamic vinegar or you can buy it.  I find mine at local farm markets.
  4. Squeeze lemon juice over each half and finish with lemon zest and grated parmesan.