Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bread for the Journey


It is that time of year when my music preference switches to Christmas carols. Silent Night, Holy Night is my favorite carol especially when sung in German. This calming and peaceful song ushers in the true meaning of Christmas..

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.

composed by Franz Xaver Gruber

Saturday, November 29, 2014

That Last Minute Gift!

It's that time of year where each one of us begins to think about Christmas.
Baking, parties, shopping, banquets, family gatherings...
There is such a flurry of business which is connected to Christmas.
Do you really want to stand in those long line-ups? 
Let us here, at MGCC, give you a few extra good suggestions.
Let us help you do your shopping.

Over the years we have had sponsors who donate to our book projects.
These are great business partners and we want to highlight each one.
Let them help you with your Christmas shopping list this year.
Take advantage of these wonderful ideas.

How many times are you scratching your head thinking...
What should I bring for an appie or what about meal planning?
Let Neufeld Farms create their best meal planning solutions. 
Get the party started with their great seasonal appetizers.
 Just pop them in the oven and away you go.

Do you need a special platter with mixed cheeses, pickles and crackers?
Or maybe you want a special antipasto platter....
Lepp Farm Market's can customize your platter with a presentation that will dazzle your guests.
On December 5-6, you can join in the fun at  'Christmas Market at the Farmer's Table'
 
A visit to Winks is an all day ladies event.
Take a drive out, and wander through this charming shop
filled with linens, home decor, jewelry and beautiful products for bath or baby.
Let Winks take away the stress of wrapping gifts.
Their staff is more than willing to add that extra touch to your gift.

Sometimes you need something for that special girlfriend.
Take her to a 'high tea' at Tracycakes.
You can order Christmas cupcakes and Christmas Drinks.
Enjoy an eggnog with a freshly baked biscuit.


Some of you who have just completed your house renovations...
and I'm sure you will want to add a few new touches to your home.
 Take a quick trip out to Grand Pappy's in Chilliwack.
You can count on them for all your household furnishings.
They are celebrating 'Black Friday' till November 30th.

Are some of you thinking about remodeling your kitchen?
Let Wesley Ellen Designs and Millwork give you the custom look
that you've always wanted.
They are artisans and will design and hand build custom framed cabinets.

What is the perfect family gift?
 Swings provide treasured life-time memories for many generations.
Rosedale Swing Company wants you to enjoy the freedom of swinging.
Let them engrave your favorite name or quote on the cedar seat.
It will add the extra touch needed.

There's no better gift than using wooden spoons.
Last year Whetstone Woodenware gifted the MGCC gals a wide variety of spoons and ladles.
No kitchen can be complete with out a set of wooden spoons.
These woodenware utensils have been used by cooks and bakers for years.
You can order these on line and have them shipped to your home.

So sit back and relax.  You don't need to brave the crowds of shoppers.
Have you completed your shopping and baking? 
What are some of your helpful hints for unwinding  at Christmas?


Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Bottom Cheesecakes


Don't click away . . . these are a lot easier than you think. For flashback Friday I'm re-posting this recipe (originally posted in November 2009), a favorite from my sister, Monika. These delicious little cheesecakes with a "baked in" cream cheese filling and decorated simply with some cherry pie filling create a melt in your mouth goodness - deserving a second look and try -  not just for Christmas but for an anytime great way to add to a buffet.

Ingredients:

Filling:
  • 1 - 8 oz pkg cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional
Cupcakes: (to make 48 mini muffins or 24 - 36 medium)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
topping:
  • 1 can cherry pie filling

Method:
  1. In small bowl, blend filling ingredients until smooth, with mixer. Set aside.
  2. In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. In large mixing bowl, beat egg, water, vinegar, oil and vanilla.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients, until smooth. Will be a tad runny. 
  5. Fill well greased mini muffin tins 3/4 to almost full (1/2 full if using medium size) . 
  6. Drop a 3/4  tsp of cheese filling in center of each mini cupcake. If using medium size cupcakes you can add a small tsp of cherry filling or some chocolate chips beside the cream cheese.
  7. Bake mini muffins at 350º F for 13 min ( medium size for 18 - 20 min). 
  8. Let cool in pans for 5 - 10 minutes before gently removing to wire rack. These freeze well.
  9. Serve with a dollop of cherry pie filling on top. 




Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bierocks / Runzas

Happy Thanksgiving to our own Ellen, and all our American friends. 
At Christmas we always make Meat Buns, but this year in addition I added Bierocks, or Runzas, another version of Fleisch Perishky. I used the dough recipe from Judy's meat buns and shaped the buns in a different way so I would know which buns were regular meat buns or which were Bierocks when I pulled them from the freezer. The filling is very simple made with beef, cabbage, cheese, onions and mustard that binds it all together. 



Filling:
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium head cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 cups (or more) of shredded old cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  1. Brown the ground beef with the onion. Season to taste. 
  2. Drain all the fat.
  3. Return the meat to the frying pan and add the cabbage. Cook another 15-20 minutes until cabbage is soft. 
  4. Remove from heat, add cheese and mustard, mix well and cool.
  5. Divide the dough into 4 parts, rolling each part into a circle and cut each circle in 8 parts for larger buns, or 5-6 parts cut into 8 pieces for smaller buns.
  6. Place a spoonful at the end and roll up like the picture or just make a small bun, flatten and fill. 
  7. Before baking I brushed the top with a beaten egg and a bit of water. 
  8. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 






Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Apple Pear Crisp

Warm fruit crisps are the perfect dessert for cool early winter nights. While I love baking pies, a crisp is a 'quick pie'.
  • 6 cups of a combination of peeled and chopped apples and pears
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp flour
  1. Wash, peel and chop fruit.
  2. Melt together butter and honey. Pour over fruit and stir to coat.
  3. Stir together cinnamon and flour. Stir into fruit until fruit is coated.
  4. Place this mixture into a well buttered pie plate.
Crumble Topping:
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  1. Stir together dry ingredients.
  2. Using a pastry blender cut in butter until the size of peas.
  3. Sprinkle over fruit mixture.
  4. Bake in 375º oven for 35-40 minutes, or until fruit is tender when poked and juices are bubbling, and crumble is golden crisp.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rice Rolls with Peanut Sauce / gluten free

I love these rolls. They are easy to make and can be served as an appetizer or as a side to a good bowl of asian soup.
The quantity depends totally on how many you want to make, just adjust the amounts of filling accordingly. I will give you the ingredient list I used. I made the entire package of rice rolls for a larger gathering but you certainly can make it in smaller amounts as well.

You need:

  • 1 package of rice roll wraps found on the shelf in the asian section of your grocery store.  They come in two sizes, but I prefer the large ones, it is easier to work with
  • bowl of water for dipping the rice wraps
Filling options:
  •  shredded chicken or cooked shrimp (optional)
  • cucumbers, julienned
  • carrots, julienned 
  • red peppers, julienned
  • Rice Vermicelli, cooked
  • green onion, cut diagonally in 1/4"-1/2" slices
  • bean sprouts
  • cilantro leaves or parsley


  1. Dip the dry rice wraps into water for a few seconds to soften
  2. Lay on a large plate.
  3. Fill with small amounts of filling.


      4. Tuck in two sides and roll the opposite sides together.



          5. Try to roll them tighter than in this picture. It holds together better.


Serve with the following dipping sauce.

Gluten Free Dipping Sauce-

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar or lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons gluten free soya sauce (in Canada VH brand)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey 
  • 1 teaspoon asian garlic chili paste called sriracha (1/2 teaspoon chili flakes work fine if you don't have sriracha)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons water or lite coconut milk
Peanut Dipping Sauce 2, NOT gluten free :
From the Thai Pizza posted earlier
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (regular is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha (asian garlic chili sauce) or chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons water



Monday, November 24, 2014

Hot Pumpkin Soup Appetizer



This recipe caught my eye in the October issue of Style at Home. I'm sharing my version (with a tweak on the spices and apples added) in lieu of American Thanksgiving this week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups broth (or 4 - 5 tsp better than bouillon and 4 - 5 cups water)
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 apples. grated
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened condensed milk or half and half cream
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper 
  • water or more broth according to taste and texture
Method:
  1. Over medium heat, in large pot, cook onion until soft. Add garlic and stir for a minute.
  2. Stir in the flour and some of the broth to create a paste, then gradually stir in the rest of the broth, making sure it remains smooth, until it bubbles.
  3. Add spices, pumpkin, grated apples and cream. Bring to boil, add soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. If it's very thick, add one more cup of water or broth.
  4. Allow to simmer, stirring when needed, for 30 - 45 minutes to meld flavors.
  5. Serve as appetizer in ramekins. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and roasted pumpkin seeds.  Yields 20 - 24 1/2 cup servings. Can be made a couple of days ahead. Makes a nice lunch served with scones.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bread for the Journey



I've been re-reading Sarah Young's Jesus Calling this year and continually 
been reminded how important thanksgiving is in our daily life. 
We celebrate Thanksgiving with good food and give thanks for the many blessings, 
but how much do we give thanks in our daily lives? 
In this little book I've been reminded that when we thank God for good things, 
we affirm that He is God, the giver.

Many times, however, the path ahead is unknown or threatening 
and we are still asked to give thanks. 
When we give thanks to God in adversity, we affirm our trust in Him 
and these circumstances become opportunities  for growth. 
The more extreme our hardship, the more opportunity to see God's power.
I have known this and experienced this, but had to be reminded again.
In fact, I found a certain hardship almost impossible to pray for
because I was way more angry than thankful until
God reminded me that He can make a heart willing to will and to do for His pleasure.
And I asked for that because that promise gave me hope.

Are you finding your situation or the path ahead too threatening?
Know that God will be there each step of the way.
We will know His presence as we read His word
wherein we receive guidance, comfort, strength and the promise
that He is able to do more than we can even ask or imagine.
As we thank Him for these things, our faith is renewed.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Few Great Gadgets from Judy's Kitchen...

It's Saturday...a good day to share a few kitchen tips and tricks.

There's nothing sweet about opening the container of brown sugar and finding a rock-hard mass that requires a pick to break it apart.  Some years ago, I was told to put a slice of apple in the container of brown sugar to keep it soft.  That works...but after awhile the brown sugar tastes a little like apples.  Earlier this year, while snooping around in a kitchen shop in Barkerville, B.C. I found a little 'brown sugar disc'...guaranteed to keep sugar soft! 


I have been testing it for some time now...and it does the job well!  No more hard lumps of sugar on our porridge.   Simply soak the clay disc for 15 minutes and pat dry.  Add to the brown sugar, which is best stored in a sealed container. Mine can be found in a yellow Tupperware container from ages past!  Enjoy soft, lump-free brown sugar for months!

Something else that I quite like are the silicone lids that I picked up at the 'street fair' in Palm Springs last year. Since then I have seen them at kitchen shops in various shapes and sizes....and also found some that are stretchy and made to fit over everything from a juice glass to a half a watermelon.


Also called 'splatter guards'...they are perfect for topping your bowl before it goes in the microwave.  No more covering of dishes with plastic wrap and burning one's fingers when trying to remove it.  They seal on all smooth rims and create airtight seals for reheating and storing in the fridge. My set has five sizes...which nest for easy storage.  I recommend them! 

If you have a favorite kitchen gadget that you would like to tell us about...or a kitchen tip or trick to share...today is a good day for that.  Leave us a comment with your tip.  If you do...you will have entered your name in the draw for a brown sugar disc.   I will publish the winner's name right here at the end of this post on Monday, November 24th.

* * * * *

Thanks to all of you who shared your favorite gadgets and kitchen tips.  There are several that I plan to check out soon!  And the winner is....Elsemieke Wishart. Please leave your contact info in the comment section, and I will get your brown sugar disc out to you shortly!

 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Flashback Friday ~ Tante Suzie's Pork and Beans


       Tanta Suzie, Feb. 25th 1912 - Jan.25, 1990          Ron Doerksen, her son carefully studies the pot.

Flashback Friday brings us back to April 7, 2010 when I posted Tanta Suzie's bean recipe.
This past summer we had the joy of bringing back an old family tradition and with the help of many cousins we recreated a contemporary version of the 'Schmidt Reunion.' 
The original bean pot was found and we resurrected Tanta Suzie's bean recipe once again.  

Here's a little story about this bean pot, which I remember as a small little girl. Every summer the annual Schmidt gathering would meet at Berthusen Park, just across the line, close to Lynden, WA. I looked forward to this annual reunion and it became one of my summer highlights. I always remembered this bean pot with it's rich smoked flavors.  I was excited when my mother gave me a replica of this pot as a gift in my early years.
 "The trick was," Tante Suzie said, "they need to be baked in a bean pot." She has since passed on to eternity, but the memory has never faded. It was such a privilege to relive the family reunion and listen to the stories from long ago and appreciate the heritage that they have shared with many generations.  After several phone calls you now have the corrected version of the original bean recipe.  I always double this recipe. 

Bean Recipe
  • 1 pound navy beans (2 cups)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. soda
  1. Soak beans over night.  Drain and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Add fresh water and 1 tsp. soda and simmer for an hour. Drain and rinse thoroughly
  3. Add the beans to the pot or you can also use a slow cooker.
Add
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon or salt pork
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 C. tomato juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • farmer sausage (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 275°
  2. Disperse the meat evenly throughout the whole pot.
  3. Combine syrup, molasses sugar mustard, onion and dry ingredients into a bowl, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Pour mixture over beans and stir well.
  5. Cover with 2 Cups tomato juice.
  6. Bake slowly with cover on for 5-6 hours stirring hourly.
  7. If you feel the beans are drying out add more tomato juice.
  8. Add sliced farmer sausage half way through the cooking. (optional)
Long and slow baking is the secret to good baked beans.
It might look like extra work, but the taste is worth it. 
The legacy lives on...


But wait...Tanta Suzie's son, Ron also has created his own version.  I love it just as much and when he gave me his recipe, it was a bit of this and a carton of this and a pinch of this with no exact amounts.
This is my version of Ron's recipe.

Ron's Recipe
  • 4 cups navy beans
  • 1 cup 'fancy' molasses
  • 1 tbsp. black strap molasses
  • 3 tbsp dried mustard
  • 1 medium sized shallot (onion)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 cups tomato juice
  • 1 lean pork hock
  1. Prepare beans using the same method above.
  2. Remove all meat off the pork hock dicing it finely.   It's important to remove all the gristle from the meat.  This takes some time, but it creates  that smokey flavor.
  3. Combine molasses, mustard, onions, brown sugar, tomato juice and mix well.
  4. Add the pork to the beans and cover with sauce mixture.
  5. This recipe tends to be a bit more soupier than thick. 
  6. Cook in a slow cooker at low for 9 hours.
Ron truly calls this his 'labor of love' when he serves up this dish for his family and guests.
The legacy lives on!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chocolate-Cornflakes-Nut Nuggets (candy) Reg. or Gluten Free



Christmas is coming, when all candy is calorie free because we are celebrating and what is Christmas without candy?   My daughter asked me to come up with a chocolate nugget recipe and this one  is easy to make and is really good.
These would make a sweet little addition to a  gift basket or  packaged as a  hostess gift or just a treat
 to serve to your own family or guests.

  • 6 tbsp. butter 
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/3 cup cream + 1 tbsp milk 
  • 1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed cornflakes (use gluten-free cornflakes to make nuggets GF) 
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds 
  1. Mix cocoa powder and sugar 
  2. Melt butter in saucepan on med. heat, add cream and stir in cocoa and sugar and vanilla. 
  3. Stirring constantly, careful not to burn, bring to a boil and cook until candy thermometer reads 250 degrees. 
  4. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips, stirring until melted. 
  5. Stir in crushed cornflakes and almonds. 
  6. Line a pan 11"x 7" with parchment paper. 
  7. Scrape mixture into pan and pat down with the back of a spoon. 
  8. Chill in fridge for a couple of hours until set and hardened. 
  9. Lift out of pan and cut into 1" squares.  
  10. Keeps well -  keep in fridge if wanting to keep for an extended period of time. 
NOTE-  if a lighter chocolate is desired, reduce cocoa powder to 1/4 cup and use milk chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Fruit and Nut Cake with Caramelized Pineapple





Fruitcake is our favorite small bite treat with a cup of coffee during the Christmas season.  Be sure that you use ingredients that are fresh.  Nuts and dried fruits that are even a bit stale will taint the fruitcake and will ruin all the work.   Fruitcake lovers will all enjoy this delicious Christmas treat.
Fruitcake improves in flavour and texture over time, so make it now to enjoy at Christmas.
  • 1 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup whole walnut halves
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup / 225 grams glace cut mixed peel
  • 1 cup / 225 grams glace fruit cake mix
  • 2 cups 500 grams glace whole cherries
  • 1 cup finely chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup apricot brandy
  1. Stir together all the fruit and nuts in a large glass bowl.  Stir in brandy and cover with lid or tightly with plastic wrap.  Stir occasionally and leave at room temperature until the next day.
Caramelized Pineapple
  • 1 14 ounce / 398 ml can crushed pineapple with the juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup apricot brandy
  1. Combine pineapple, juice and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir  occasionally to prevent scorching and simmer to reduce liquids, 30 - 40 minutes.  Once the liquid has mostly evaporated and the pineapple has started to caramelize, remove from heat, add jam and brandy.  Refrigerate overnight in sealed container. 
Fruitcake Batter
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 7 eggs (should measure 1 1/2 cups)
  1. Prepare 2 - 3 loaf pans by cutting brown paper bags to fit first lengthwise and then across the width, allowing the paper to come just over the edge of the pan.  Grease paper well. Alternately, for gift giving, use disposable paper bakeware.  
  2. Preheat oven to 275 F. 
  3. Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix 1 cup of the flour mixture with the fruit and nuts and set aside. 
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter, then gradually add sugar and eggs with mixer. Add remaining flour mixture and beat to combine. 
  5. Use a large wooden spoon to stir in fruit and nut mixture along with the pineapple mixture. Stir well to combine.
  6. Divide into loaf pans and bake.  Baking times will vary depending on size of the pan. You can bake the fruitcake in small individual loaves or square pans.  Whatever you decide to use, check every 30 minutes to start if you use small pans.  The loaves will feel firm in the center when done. Test with a toothpick once you think the top feels firm.  Regular bread pan loaf pans will be up to 3 1/2 hours. Check several times to make sure the top of the cakes are not getting too brown.  If that happens, cover loosely with foil.   The bakeware shown in the photo held 3 cups of batter, measured 1 1/4 inch X 6 inch diameter and took just over an hour to bake. 
  7.  Remove from oven, remove from pan, allow to cool for half an hour and then carefully remove brown paper.  Brush with additional apricot brandy before storing. Leave cakes in the disposable bakeware pans for easy gift giving.   Seal well in plastic bags and store in the refrigerator for several months or freeze.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Caramelized Leek and Bacon Dip



Here's another hot dip to add to your collection as the holidays approach.
You'll enjoy the extra layer of flavour that caramelizing the leeks adds.

  • 1 medium sized leek, white and light green part only
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2  of a 250 gram package Cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 ounces Gruyere cheese, divided (about 3/4 cup grated)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, divided
  1. Slice leek lengthwise while holding it together.Turn and slice again. Cut leek crosswise so you have small squares of leek - about 2 cups.
  2. Over medium heat, melt butter, add oil and leeks and cook slowly for about 15 minutes or longer. Add the minced garlic during the last 5 minutes of cooking. The leeks should be golden in colour and caramelized.  Remove from pan and set aside..
  3. Chop bacon into small strips and fry until crisp. Drain on paper towel.
  4. Using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.  
  5. Add mayonnaise and sour cream and blend well.
  6. Stir in leeks, 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese,1 tablespoon chives and bacon - reserving 1 tablespoon bacon for topping.
  7. Turn mixture into a pottery or other oven proof dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese.
  8. Bake in at 425º oven for about 20 minutes or until brown and bubbly.
  9. Top with remaining chopped chives and reserved bacon and serve hot with sliced baguette or Anneliese's French Bread

Monday, November 17, 2014

Raisin and Nut Filled Cookies


Cookies are one of my favorite baked treats. These raisin and nut filled cookies are perfect to add to your cookie tray for serving guests or for gifting at Christmas.  They are good plain or you can dust them with icing sugar.

Filling:
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  1. In a small saucepan, combine raisins, sugar, and flour. Add boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened. 
  2. Remove from heat, add vanilla, lemon zest and chopped walnuts. Set aside and cool completely.
Cookies:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Stir in egg, vanilla, and lemon juice.
  3. Add cream alternately with the combined dry ingredients until dough is well blended.
  4. Roll dough out fairly thin, approx 1/8".
  5. Cut with a 2" cookie cutter 
  6. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of a cookie, place another cookie on top and press around the edges lightly to seal.
  7. Bake in 350º oven for 10 minutes or just until lightly golden.
  8. Cool on rack.
  9. Yields: approx 2 dozen filled cookies.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bread For The Journey

My Heart, Christ's Home


This week I've been reviewing an older book entitled, My Heart, Christ's Home, by Robert Munger
It's an illustrated story about Jesus walking individually with us through our home. (heart) He journeys  through each room, of your house giving recommendations as how you could make some subtle changes. When I read the section about the Hall Closet, something grabbed my attention.

This last month I was a guest in a home and I remember how she used to always have her pantry neat and tidy.  I asked if I could have a quick peak....and she opened the doors.  These photos give you an idea of how neat and orderly her pantry is kept.  She then delighted to tell me how she has used her mother's doilies as pantry liners. She prefers to do a quick inventory monthly which helps her avoid stress over messy closets. I'm not so sure that I would be ready to invite my guests to see my closets and pantries.  I know that I like to go through my closets thoroughly about once a year, while taking out the rubbish, washing them down and cleaning them up. 

But in this story Jesus pointed out that he knew there was something rotting in the closet.  It was time that these things had to be cleaned out.  I think I would of been rather embarrassed at this point and yet Jesus kindly helped this person recognize that he would give the strength and support needed to help clean out the putrid smell.  Jesus said, "Please give me the key." Reluctantly, the key was passed to Jesus and He removed the putrefying stuff and threw it away.  Then He cleansed the closet, painted it, fixed it all up in a moment's time.  Immediately a fresh fragrant breeze swept through the entire house. The whole atmosphere changed.  No matter what sin big or small or what pain there might be in our past, Jesus is ready to forgive, to heal and to make whole when we give him the key.

I can often identify with this heart cleansing system.  It feels like you just finished dealing with one issue and then another room is dusty all over again.  So the key is to ask God to manage our house by making God the owner and master of the house while we become the servants.  

I think the reality of this illustration is that we become like a working pantry, always needing to be aware of God clearing our minds of unworthy thoughts, keeping our minds busy with learning worthwhile thoughts.  By coming before God daily, we can be inspired by good and uplifting thoughts.  When we find ourselves with that putrid smell, we know that the act of repentance is just like soap;  it can wash away our sin and sometimes we need the strong detergent of discipline to get the stains out of the 'ground-in dirt'  but they will come out.

I love the words in the Living Bible, "And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him.  May your roots go down deep in the soil of God's marvelous love." Ephesians 3:17

May you be encouraged this week as you clean your closets that you can never be lost to God's love.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Deli Style Trail Mix


While visiting Pike Street Market in Seattle I spotted an interesting mix of meat and cheeses at one of the deli counters. We bought a small bag to snack on and it was so tasty. To serve, place the mix in a large bowl with  small tongs or spoon. Along side fill mini bowls with small crackers and pretzels and everyone can add some Trail Mix to their bowls. Paper cupcake liners would make perfect individual serving cups. This mix would make a great game night savoury snack....the guys especially love it. 
(Amounts will depend on how many you are serving.)
  • one or two kinds of your favourite pepperoni sticks, cut into 1/2"pieces
  • beef jerky, cut into small chunks
  • 2 hard cheeses, cut into small cubes, I used cheddar and a pepper jack
  1. Cut up meats and cheeses. Place in bowl and mix. 
  2. Store in a paper lunch bag in the refrigerator. This will keep it from sweating and sticking together. It will last in a paper bag for at least 4-5 days. If you store it in a plastic bag or sealed container it will only last 2-3 days as it will not remain as dry. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Perishky (Pie by the yard)



Today for Flashback Friday  I wanted to share my Mom's recipe once more for Perishky. 
I have baked Perishky in our freezer ready to pull up and warm up for a quick dessert.
Simply open the foil a bit and warm in a 350 F oven for 20 - 25  minutes. It will taste as fresh as first baked.

Perishky is traditionally shaped into little square pockets but my grandma always made them into long pies to get the job done quickly.  The result is less crust and more fruit.


Being rather free form, it is the perfect kind of pie for novice pie makers to try since it all tastes good and a bit of juice running out the center just adds to the flavouring of the pastry.
A pastry mat and parchment paper help to make this job easier. 

  • 5  1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup lard
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs beaten with enough evaporated milk to make 1  1/2 cups total liquid
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup minute tapioca
  • Fruit of your choice.  Our family favorites are Italian Plums, Apples, Rhubarb
  1. Cut the lard and butter into the flour with a pastry blender.
  2. Add the salt and the baking powder with a fork.
  3. Add the liquid into the flour and stir with a fork until mostly combined.
  4. Turn onto a floured counter and bring together with several kneads into a large disc.
  5. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for several hours.
  6. Roll out the dough  as you would pie on a pastry mat or well floured surface. .and make sure you keep the dough from sticking underneath by adding a bit more flour and to the top as well. 
  7. Combine the sugar, flour and tapioca for sprinkling over the plums.
  8. Cut long 6 - 8  inch wide strips.  Place halved pitted plums or chopped fruit down the center and sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
  9. Bring the long sides together. .overlapping as best you can.   Bring the ends up and overlap on top.
  10. Bake in a 375 F oven until golden brown and the juices clear.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pigs in a Blanket




This  cottage cheese pastry is one I have used in the past for sweet rolls...specifically Orange Glazed Cheese Pastries.  But I discovered it is also a great pastry for savory appetizers.  Wee sausage rolls make a yummy appetizer served with a mustard dipping sauce, pickles and cheese. 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, cold
  • 1 cup creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 package (500 grams / 1 pound)  cocktail sausages
  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Using a large-holed grater, grate the butter and stir into flour mixture.
  3. Add creamed cottage cheese (I like to process the cottage cheese slightly in the blender to get rid of lumps first).
  4. Mix until smooth. 
  5. Wrap in plastic and chill for several hours.
  6. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and shape into disks.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll each disk into a fairly thin circle, about 1/8-inch thick. 
  8. Cut each circle into 8 wedges, pizza style. Using a pizza wheel works great for this. 
  9. Place one wee cocktail sausage on the wide edge of each wedge, and roll up pastry around the sausage.
  10. Place the pointy side down on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or well greased. 
  11. Bake at 375° for about 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack.
Yield: 48 rolls

*These can also be frozen and re-heated before serving.


 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chicken Cutlets in Cream Sauce


This is a simple "what to do with a few partially frozen chicken breasts" for a wholesome family dinner.

Ingredients:
  • 2 - 3 chicken breasts (best if partially frozen still)
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme for seasoning
  • small amount of oil for browning
  • 1/2 cup broth or white wine for deglazing
  • 1 cup light or heavy cream
Method:
  1. Slice chicken breasts into thin slices and tenderize slightly with a meat hammer.( They do not need to be frozen but it will be easier to slice them.)
  2. Season and brown both sides. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add broth or preferred deglazing liquid to pan, stirring to incorporate browned bits, cook for a few minutes, before adding the cream and cutlets back into the pan. Simmer 15 - 20 minutes
  4. If sauce is too runny, shake up a Tbps of flour with milk or cream and add to thicken.
  5. Serve with re-fried Spaetzle or noodles and a salad.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pie Pastry Gluten Free

In Canada we call today 
Remembrance Day 
and it is a day to remember with thankfulness the freedom we enjoy
May we never take it for granted!  



I have used the same gf pie pastry recipe for years and it is good but since I have been reworking my recipes to use my Julie's Flour Blend I came up with this pastry recipe.  The dough  handles very well and the pastry is light, flaky with good flavour.
My photos show a cherry pie  and I  also used the same pastry for Judy's quiche-tarts ... very good !

So here is an alternate pastry recipe if you want/need one!
  • 11/2 cups Julie's Flour Mix 
  • 1/2 cup potato starch 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • !/2 cup tenderflake lard 
  • 1 egg + ice water to make 1/2 cup 
  • 1 tsp vinegar 
  • sweet rice flour for rolling
1. Mix dry ingredients together, then cut in lard and butter 
2. Blend egg and ice-water and vinegar 
3. Add liquid to dry ingredients and toss lightly until ball forms. 
4. Knead lightly on counter dusted with sweet rice flour. 
5. Roll out as required. 





Monday, November 10, 2014

Asian Lettuce Salad

Is salad season over?  It's never over in our house. I tasted this incredible salad at my sister in law's as I helped her prepare for her son's rehearsal dinner.  As I assembled it, I realized that this had the Asian  flavors my family would love.  I served it on Thanksgiving day and it was finished off right to the last drop. This is one of those recipes that can be prepared ahead of time. 

Ingredients:
  • 3 heads of romaine lettuce hearts
  • 1 pgk Mr. Noodle (chicken flavor)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds 
  • fresh herbs (dill, mint, basil)
Method:
  1. Cut romaine heads in half vertically and  slice horizontally through the lettuce head.
  2. Melt butter in skillet.
  3. Crunch noodles and add the noodles with spices to the skillet.
  4. Stir in nuts and seeds.
  5. Stir fry slowly at low heat, till the ingredients turn golden brown.
  6. Transfer to container and refrigerate till needed.
  7. Crumble nut mixture on top of lettuce bed, add fresh herbs and drizzle dressing prior to serving.
Dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp. soya sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. grape seed oil
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
 Mix ingredients in container and pour over salad just prior to serving.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bread for the Journey


  I gave thanks to God for something special on each day of October.
To make it intentional, I posted what I was thankful for each day on my blog and counted my many blessings throughout  the month.

I'm sharing some of those pictures with you here today to encourage you to give thanks in all things.
I have much to be thankful for and I praise God for his goodness in every circumstance.

My prayer is that you see God's goodness around you in the little things easily taken for granted. 

You are my God, 
and I will give thanks to you;
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 118:28,29  ESV


































Wishing you a blessed Sunday!