Saturday in Bev's kitchen - Gadgets

For today's post I thought I'd talk about a few lesser known gadgets that I use in my kitchen.
You may be familiar with these and use them as often as I do but for those who don't, here are 
three things I love to use.
This first gadget is a wooden tool with two different sized knobs, one on each end.
Any guesses?


It is a tart pastry shaping tool. Form your pastry into 1 1/2 inch balls (for the smaller tart cups) and push the small end of the tool down on to the pastry ball until a tart shell forms around it.
It's as simple as that. No rolling out and fiddling with small pastry rounds. 
For the lovely cheese and parsley pastry in the photo, check out the Red Pepper Jelly appetizer tart recipe on page 25 of our "Celebrations" cookbook.


Here's an antique cookie jar full of one of my most used tools.
These can be bought by the bagful at Ikea or at some kitchen stores.


They are bag clips and do a terrific job of sealing in freshness.  I use them for chips, nuts, bags of frozen vegetables as well as for anything I make and store in a bag for the freezer.


 My final gadget is something I found in Denmark on one of our business trips there.
They came in several shapes but these are the two I chose.


The are silicone trivets. I use them at the table under hot serving dishes as well as under pans that I take hot out of the oven.  The nice thing about these trivets is that they can go in the dishwasher. I think they are pretty classy looking and very useful.



Have you got some less than common gadgets that you use often?

Flashback Friday ~ Macadamia Nut Cookies


Flashback Friday brings us back to a recipe that I pulled out a few weeks ago. My little boys asked to bake their favorite chocolate chip cookies. So I pulled out my 'my no fail recipe' on my Ipad from MGCC and noticed the recipe needed up dating. They were surprised to see their photos from when they were younger. These cookies are a must for any school lunches, or a ski day in winter.

 Ingredients
  •  1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  •  1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (substitute milk chocolate)
  • 1 cup Macadamia nuts or you can substitute almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts.

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °
  2. Cream butter with eggs and sugar
  3. Add the salt, and baking soda.  Mix well
  4. Add oatmeal, chips and nuts. Stir well.
  5. Add remaining flour.  
  6. Scoop cookies on pan.  ( I use a small ice-cream scoop)
  7. Do not flatten them. 
  8. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes.
  9. When they come out of the oven, let the pan drop (6 inches) on the counter top or a flat surface. This is called the slapping method, which allows them to flatten naturally.  


Get those little guys to help you. (Photo: 2008)
 Give them assistance with a motor and you'll be surprised about productivity.
There you are, a fresh platter of cookies with coffee or milk.



Meatloaf - Individual Size



It was common in years gone by for people to host another family around their table for a noon meal Sunday after church, often the big meal of day. My parents practiced Sunday hospitality and us children would especially enjoy when the guests were a family who had kids for us to play with in the afternoon. In our earlier years of marriage we too made this a fairly regular practice and it was always such a great time. So, we've decided to re adopt this 'old fashioned' idea once again in our home. We've already started this and here is the last meal I had cooking in the oven while we went to church. With a bit of pre planning and prep you can be seating at the table soon after arriving home from church.

Meat loaf is an old time favourite. Simple ingredients that can be made into one large loaf, or into these cute little individual loaves. 
**see note below for tips on baking**

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 small onion grated fine
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
Sauce:
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  1. In a large bowl stir together all ingredients except for the ground beef.
  2. Add ground beef and mix well. I use my hands to mix it. 
  3. Form meat mixture into 8 or 9 equal oval shaped meatloaves. Place in a 9x13 size glass pan. 
  4. Stir together sauce. With the back of a spoon make a slight indent in the tops of each loaf. Top each loaf with sauce.
  5. Bake in 350º oven for 40 minutes if baking individual loaves, or for 60 minutes if making in one large loaf. Bake uncovered. 
BAKING TIP:
**If you want to be well prepared and to have them ready after being out of the house for a few hours, make these a day or two ahead and freeze them in the baking pan (see photo below) with the sauce. When you are ready to leave the house cover the pan with foil and place in oven pre heated to 275º.  They can bake for 2 hours this way. When you come home, remove foil and turn heat up to 325º for the 10-15 minutes. (this step may not be necessary but it helps to brown them up a bit more. The meat loaves will still be nicely coated with sauce and there will be some liquid from the meat in the pan....discard this when ready to serve)**

**If you are at home when baking these, follow step 5 in instructions.**


Frozen, ready to cover with foil and go in 275º oven. The house smells so good when you walk in.


Here's a prep suggestion if you want to have almost everything ready to go when you get home. Boil and mash potatoes in the morning or the day before. I like to add milk and some herbed cream cheese to them. Place hot mashed potatoes in a crock pot on warm. They will be fluffy and hot when you get home.
Cut up vegetables and have in pot ready to cook and pre make a cheese sauce if required that only needs to be reheated. Salad ready in fridge.
Don't forget dessert. On Sundays you'll most likely be served pie around my table! 

Garlic Cheese Buns



French bread dough is one of my favorite doughs to work with and is so versatile for almost anything. It is easy to make, and easy to work with. I use it for pizza, Swiss Cordon Bleu bread, Italian wedge bread that can easily be made into bread sticks as well, or these easy garlic cheese buns.  Anneliese's French Bread recipe is the same as mine, and she gives you more great ideas on how to use this fabulous dough. If you are new to yeast baking, may I suggest to begin by trying this recipe. I have taught this to many women over the years and is virtually fail proof.

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or whatever oil you use and have on hand
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 41/2 - 5 cups of flour
  • 2 tablespoons quick rise yeast*
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine half the flour with salt, sugar and yeast. 
  2. Add the water and oil.
  3. Keep adding flour until all the flour is incorporated into the dough and forms a ball. 
  4. Turn out the dough onto a floured board or counter top and knead for several minutes until you have a soft dough that is not longer sticky. 
  5. Cover the dough on the counter with a large enough bowl and let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes. 
  6. Form into small balls, about 3 dozen.
  7. Top each ball with a cube of cheese. It can be cheddar, old or medium, that gives the best flavor, or mozza. Use what you have on hand. 
  8. Pinch the dough around the cube of cheese to seal. 
  9. Allow to rise on greased baking pans for another half an hour.
  10. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. 
  11. Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter mixed with desired amount of garlic powder or garlic salt. 
  12. For three dozen buns I used about 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. 
* If I double this recipe I don't double the yeast. I find 2 Tablespoons of yeast adequate enough.


Mexican Lasagna

Here is a Tex-Mex version of lasagna that is sure to please.  Rather than noodles and pasta sauce...simply layer tortillas and salsa and change up the cheese.  Bake it and serve it right in a cast iron skillet.  Great for potlucks and family gatherings.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa (medium or hot)
  • 1-14 oz / 398 ml can re-fried beans
  • 1-12 oz / 341 ml can corn (or 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (Cheddar and Monterey Jack)
  • 6-8 flour tortillas  (ten inch)
  1. Place ground beef in a deep skillet. 
  2. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. 
  3. Drain, then season with taco seasoning and add water. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add salsa, refried beans and corn; heat through.
  5. Place about 1/3 cup of meat mixture in the bottom of a round baking dish...quiche pan, cast iron skillet, or round casserole dish.
  6. Place 1 tortilla at bottom of dish.
  7. Add a layer of meat mixture (about 2/3 cup); sprinkle with a layer of cheese.
  8. Continue alternating tortilla, meat mixture and cheese...ending with a thin layer of meat mixture.
  9. Cover and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
  10. Top with a layer of cheese.
  11. Bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  
  12. Let stand several minutes before serving. 
Garnish with olives, guacamole, tomatoes, shredded lettuce and sour cream...as desired. 

Yield: 8 servings.



Chocolate Banana Bread



The original recipe for this lovely bread comes from a Kraft Canada flyer. I improvised with what I had available, switching out a few items and adding baking powder and vanilla. It's a win - win situation with chocolate and banana. I love the density and moistness of this loaf!

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1  1/2  cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp baking cocoa
Method:
  1. Beat egg, mayonnaise and mashed bananas in bowl, using a whisk, until well blended. Add vanilla.
  2. In separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. then stir into wet ingredients.
  3. Spoon half  (or slightly over half) of the batter into prepared 8x4 inch loaf pan.
  4. Sift cocoa into the batter left in the bowl, stir and drop by spoonfuls onto white batter.
  5. Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, before removing to wire rack. 
Idea: Cut into thick slices (10), wrap and freeze for individual snacks to go with "someone's" drink at the drive through. 

Bread For The Journey

Snow is so scarce in our area. In the past few days we've been experiencing a 'pineapple express' weather pattern.  I love nothing more than taking a trip out to the mountains to enjoy the beauty of the fresh snow capped mountains, crisp and white, covering the landscape making it a magical land full of wonder and undiscovered mysteries. Did you know that every snowflake begins with a piece of dust? Just a few weeks ago, we had a light dusting and I'm always reminded of the lyrics of the song:  "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus"  
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Two other references about snow come from Isaiah 1:18  and Psalm 51:7

"Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow..." 

"Purify me from my sins and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow."

The snow covers everything and it reminds me of how much God loves us and yet how much more, that he paid a high price for our sins to be washed away.
Snow makes everything pure and clean, and hides the dark patches of soil and dirt. Even when the snow gets dirty, another snowfall makes it clean and white again. The old dirt cannot be seen.   
Just as snow covers everything in sight, God's grace covers our sin, not only our sin, but it also erases our sin.

Could it possibly be that you are discouraged because of something you have done? Come back to God and and allow him to wash away your sin and make You as 'white as snow.'  God can also create something beautiful out of us when we ask for forgiveness and allow God to cleanse us and when God forgives us, he removes every trace of impurity.

Yorkshire Pudding Gluten Free



It is a good thing to remind ourselves how the expression of our appreciation toward someone is such an encouraging thing.
You -  our readers -  often make our day with your comments and kind words. Without you our blog would have no purpose!

One of you made my day recently,
June, who has to eat gluten-free, decided to mix up my Julie's Flour Blend and has enjoyed using it.
 She took the time to  send me an e-mail and  shared one of her successes with me. In response to my request, she kindly gave her consent for me to post her recipe and photo for others to enjoy!
So thank you, June for your Yorkshire Puddings recipe and your willingness to share it with us!

Saturday in the kitchen when I was growing up was always with Sunday dinner and company in mind. Someone I was reminiscing with about our childhood Saturdays said how roast beef was always served at her house every Sunday dinner,  and of course Yorkshire Puddings are perfect with roast beef.

Here is June's recipe --  I have tried/tested  it and found it to be five star !

Yorkshire Puddings (gluten-free) 
  • Three large eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup Julie's flour blend (no need to sift)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
  1. Put all these ingredients in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Do not overbeat because they will not rise as high.
  2.  Heavily butter six muffin cups or custard cups and divide batter between them.
  3.  Bake in a 375°F oven for 60 minutes until puffed and very well browned. Don't open the oven to peek!
  4. Spoon on some gravy and enjoy! Mine rose to 4 inches high! 
NOTE - The Yorkshire Pudding may be re-crisped in a 375°F oven for five minutes or a toaster oven for two minutes.

Whole Wheat Bread ~ Flashback Friday



I first posted this recipe for my everyday whole wheat bread back in 2010.  The recipe that came to me from my mom in law Pauline has been a staple in our house since we've been married.  I've adjusted the salt amount and measured the flour once more and am satisfied that you will find this a great everyday bread. It freezes well and makes fantastic toast.   
  • 4 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  1. In a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons yeast to the lukewarm water and honey and allow to rest 10 minutes.
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour
  • about 4 cups white flour or enough to make a smooth elastic dough
  1. Add the oil and salt to the yeast mixture, stir well.
  2. Add the flour one cup at a time stirring until you can't stir it anymore.
  3. Knead in the remaining flour until you have a smooth elastic dough.
  4. Put into a large bowl, cover and let double in bulk. . .about an hour.
  5. Divide into 4 loaves, roll in whole wheat if desired for an artisan effect and put into greased loaf pans.
  6. Let rise until double and bake in a 375 F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 4 loaves



Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake

I love having dinner with our friends. We each take turns hosting and rotate between us what we bring so the cooking doesn't all fall onto the person that hosts. That  makes it a relaxing and enjoyable evening for all. My friend Irmi brought this delicious dessert and shared the recipe with us. A meal and good friends, I can't think of a more enjoyable way to spend an evening. If you are intimidated to host a dinner party because you don't have enough time to do it all, call your friends, let everyone bring something, sit back, relax and enjoy the evening.


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups graham wafer crumbs (Chocolate Oreo crumbs are good too)
  • 1//2 cup butter, melted
  • 1- 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons + 31/2 cups cold milk, divided
  • 2 cups whipped cream or cool whip
  • 3 cups of strawberries, sliced (Fresh or frozen that has been drained well)
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed dry
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 2 boxes of Dr. Oetker's Strawberry Mousse
  • 2 skor toffee chocolate bars, crushed
Directions:
  1. Mix the graham wafer crumbs with the melted butter. 
  2. Press the crumbs firmly into a 9x13 pan.
  3. Refrigerate until the filling is made. 
  4. Combine the cream cheese, sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, and vanilla with a mixer. Beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Fold in 1 cup of  whipped cream, and combine well. 
  6. Pour over the crumbs and spread to fill the pan.
  7. Top the cream cheese layer with strawberries, bananas, pineapple.
  8. Mix the the strawberry mousse with the remaining milk according to package directions. 
  9. Spread over the fruit.
  10. Top with remaining whipped cream and crushed chocolate bars. 
  11. Chill the dessert for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Applesauce Spice Muffins

These muffins are not overly sweet. I sprinkled some sugar crystals on the top of these for the photograph but left the rest plain.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups applesauce (I used unsweetened)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs one at a time incorporating well and mix in vanilla.
  4. Stir in the applesauce.
  5. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
  6. Stir into creamed mixture.
  7. Fold walnuts in.
  8. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full. 
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Yield: About 30 small muffins.

Chicken Broccoli and Cheese Pockets


When I spotted this recipe for quick and simple chicken broccoli cheese pockets...I knew it would be a hit over here. What a perfect way to use leftover chicken (or turkey) and have a simple supper on the table in next to no time!  I'm sure it would be even better with dough made from scratch and fresh steamed veggies with cheese sauce...but today's post is about speed and convenience.

  • 1-250 gr package Green Giant frozen chopped broccoli with cheese sauce 
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken breast 
  • 1 can (318 gr /12 oz) Pillsbury Grands Big & Flaky crescent dinner rolls
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water 
  1. Cook broccoli and cheese according to package directions.  
  2. Stir in chopped chicken.
  3. Unroll the Pillsbury dough and cut down the center.  Press diagonal perforations in dough and cut each remaining piece in half to yield four rectangles. 
  4. Place 1/2 cup of broccoli-chicken mixture on on half of each rectangle of dough.  
  5. Top with about 2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese.
  6. Fold other half of dough rectangle over filling. 
  7. With fork, seal edges. 
  8. Gently transfer hand pies to parchment lined cookie sheet.
  9. Beat egg with water until foamy. Brush tops of hand pies with egg wash.
  10. Bake at 375°F about 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
 Yield: Four large pockets.
 

Serve with a green salad & enjoy!

Pineapple Sandwich Buns


These sandwich buns are delicious for ham and cheese sandwiches. They are fluffy and moist and the pineapple pairs well with the ham and cheese. I used cheddar cheese but Swiss cheese would be really good too.
*Today we are celebrating one of our mgcc girls birthday. Happy Birthday Judy!  Here's wishing you a wonderful day, full of fun times with family and friends. Hugs and blessings dear friend. I will bring pineapple buns with ham and cheese to the celebration..what are the rest of you bringing?

  • 1/3 cup milk, warm
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup crushed pineapple, not drained
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey dijon mustard
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups flour
  1. Stir together milk, butter, oil, pineapple, and sugar in a bowl. 
  2. Whisk in salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and well beaten eggs.
  3. Add 3 cups of flour and yeast,  Knead dough until smooth, adding more flour as needed. Dough should be slightly sticky.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
  5. Punch down, form buns, and place in a well greased 9" by 13" pan.
  6. Let rise again until almost doubled in bulk.
  7. Brush buns with an egg wash. (whisk an egg and 2 tablespoons water)
  8. Bake in 350º oven for 25 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
  9. Brush tops with melted butter if desired. 
  10. Yield: 12 buns

Bread For The Journey




This is the year!

I've never yet succeeded in completely reading through the Bible in a year. 
It's not that I haven't started. I have good intentions but then give up when the names in the genealogies become too hard to pronounce.  The plan changes from reading through the Bible in a year to reading a daily devotional that gives me something I can use for the day ahead.  

I want to read God's word.  The Bible is clear that his word is powerful and just as applicable today as it was when it was written.

I have a new tool to use in my determination to go through the Bible in one Year.
I realized that there are so many helps available with the technology we have today.
I downloaded the YouVersion Bible App.   I have it on my phone and on my computer.
I set up a free account and then checked out the Reading Plans available and found the Bible in One Year.   

It notifies me everyday to remember to read my Bible.  
When I'm in the kitchen I can set it to read aloud to me.  I can read it when I'm waiting in the doctors office, or waiting in the car to pick up children from school.   Since it is easily divided into sections each day, I can read for awhile and it will remember where I left off and carry on to the next section.


We all need God's word in our life to encourage us, to teach us, to give us hope and to help us learn what God's will is.
 Do you have a system that works well for you?   Share it with us and let's encourage each other to spend time in God's word.


Won't you join me in making Bible reading a priority for 2015?
If you start the plan today, you will finish reading through the Bible on January 18, 2016.
Today is a good day to start!

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

Luke 8:15

For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between the soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

 Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)

Saturday in Bev's Kitchen - Vaspa (Vesper)






While I was growing up we had Vaspa (low German) or Vesper (high German) for at least one evening meal each weekend.
Our mom would bake fresh zwiebach most Saturdays and they would be the star attraction at either Saturday or Sunday's evening meal (Vaspa).
If it was just our family around the table, the zwiebach were served with sliced cheese and various home made jams and jellies.

If company was present Mom would add some sort of cold meat - either cold Cutletten or Kotletten, sliced baked ham or farmer sausage and always, several kinds of pickles.
Sometimes she would make a Jello salad and/or a potato salad as well.

Dessert always consisted of a variety of Platz, bars and cookies.
 Mary Emma Showalter, writes in the "Mennonite Community Cookbook" that no good Mennonite hostess considered a meal for company to be complete unless there were
 "7 sweets and 7 sours" on the table served in pretty dishes.

  
My husband remembers his youth group gathering on Sunday nights at one home for Vaspa, and then moving on to the next home and to the next until the supply of zwiebach was exhausted.

 Vaspa  is still served in our homes now although I don't think as often as in years past.



Recently I served Vaspa as we celebrated my husband's birthday with our care group. 
There were no complaints!
The zwiebach were devoured and there wasn't a speck of Jello left!
At the end of the meal when everyone was finished their meal, the host or hostess would bless their guests at the end of the meal by saying
"Gesegnete Mahlzeit"
Literally translated it means "Blessed Mealtime" but for us as children it meant
"You can leave the table now!"

If you haven't served "Vaspa" before, try it sometime.
It is a simple meal that is easily prepared ahead of time.
Vaspa includes the following:

Buns (Zwiebach are the traditional choice!)
 (you can pick up fresh soft buns at your local supermarket or bakery
 if you'd rather not bake your own.)
butter and various kinds of jam or jelly
sliced cheeses
cold meat
(ham, farmer sausage and Cutletten would be the traditional choice)
Jello salad
raw vegetables and dip
pickles

Platz (traditional)
cake, cookies or bars

coffee and tea
 and, in days past, "Prips" or Postum"
Does anyone remember that?

Enjoy!

Flashback Friday Apricot Cheese Coffee Cake (yeast dough)



It's Friday already! I looked back over the years of recipes I've posted here and thought I'd 'flashback' to a recipe post I did in 2009. I had originally baked this for a coffee time with some girl friends where we were celebrating some birthdays...Bev's being one of them.

This was originally a bread machine recipe, but I've made the yeast dough in the bread machine and also using the traditional method of mixing and kneading the dough by hand. Both have the same outcome....but using the bread machine allows you the luxury of the machine doing all the work of kneading and a warm place for the dough to have it's first rise.
Dough:
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tbsp fast rising yeast (instant) if mixing by hand, OR if making the dough in the bread machine used 1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Filling:

  • 4 oz spreadable (soft) cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam (or substitute with your favourite kind of jam)
  • 1 egg, beaten, to brush over the whole yeast bread before baking

  1. If using a bread machine to mix dough, add all the dough ingredients in order given to bread machine. Select dough cycle. Once complete (approx 2 hours) remove dough, cover and let rest on lightly floured counter for 10 minutes. If using the tradition hand knead method, stir together warm milk, egg and melted butter. In a larger bowl stir together dry ingredients and zest, using instant yeast (rather than the bread machine yeast). Stir in milk mixture and then knead to a soft but not sticky dough. Cover with a cotton towel and set in a warm place to rise for approximately 1 hour. Once risen punch down lightly. 
  2. Using a 9 1/2 inch spring form pan remove the ring and spray base and ring with a non stick spray. On a lightly floured surface roll dough into a 15 inch circle. Lift dough and slide the base of the spring form pan under, centering it under the rolled out circle of dough. 
  3. Mix together the cream cheese and flour and spread onto the dough covering the area that is sitting on the base of the pan. Spread the jam on top of the cheese mixture.
  4. Using a sharp knife make cuts 1 inch apart around dough stopping when you get to the edge of the pan base where the filling mixture starts. Twist pairs of dough strips together. Bring up to centre over the filling. Secure the greased outer ring of the spring form pan to the pan bottom. 
  5. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place (I use my oven with the light on) for 45 minutes. After rise, just before baking, brush top of cake with beaten egg. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes. (or convection oven at 360º for 33-40 minutes) Cover with foil after 20 minutes if becoming too brown. Allow to rest in pan for 10 minutes so the filling sets and then remove to cooling rack. To ice and serve slide off base of spring form pan onto cake plate. Drizzle generously with the following icing once cake is warm or completely cooled. 
Icing
  • 3 tbsp cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. Beat together until smooth and runs thick but evenly from a spoon. Drape icing over cake. 



Oven Baked Strata

What is strata, you ask?  Essentially it is a savory bread pudding. I will share with you the base for this recipe and a build your own strata topping ideas. With this basic recipe you can use an endless amount of options with the add ins and what cheeses you want to use. A great make ahead dish, that can be made the night before and popped into the oven in the morning to serve at brunch or make earlier on in the day to serve for supper. This amount makes a 9x13 in pan. Serves 8.



Start with-

  • 8 cups of cubed soft bread, any kind. White, french, whole wheat, multigrain, all work well. Use what you have on hand. 
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • few drops of tabasco sauce according to your preference 

Add in a combination of any of the following choices. I will group them together with what I think is a good combination. 
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped leftover chicken
  • 1-2 cups leftover steamed broccoli
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese
or
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped (or green onion)
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, what ever color you have on hand
  • 1 package of bacon, pre cooked, browned sausage bits or ham, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups old cheddar cheese
or
  • 1 cup pepperoni, chopped or pre cooked Italian sausage
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • onion and peppers
  • 1 sliced or diced tomato (seeded) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of each, basil and oregano
  • 1 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
or a tex mex version
  • 1/2 cup of frozen corn, rinsed under hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups of precooked ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning
  • onions and peppers, green or black olives
  • a few jalapenos tossed in if you like it spicy
  • 1-1/2 cups tex mex cheese
or a completely vegetarian options use cooked spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, garlic or zucchini. Be creative, the possibilities are endless and if you like the ingredients, you will like the final outcome. 

  1. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Add the 1/2 of cubed bread.
  3. Add 1/2 of what ever add ons you are using
  4. Add the remaining bread cubes and the remaining toppings. 
  5. Mix together the eggs, milk, mustard and tabasco sauce if using.
  6. Pour over bread. 
  7. Top with your choice of cheese. 
  8. Let it sit covered in the refrigerator over night or at least a couple of hours so the bread soaks up all the milk and egg. 
  9. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Banana Buttermilk Bran Muffins

Banana muffins are a classic...and seem to be everyone's favorite.  Mixing up a batch of banana muffins is also a great way to use those overripe bananas sitting on your counter.  The bran adds a bit of a nutty flavour and is a healthier option.  The raisins are easily changed up to chocolate chips or blueberries. 
 

  • 1 cup hot buttermilk
  • 1 cup All-bran cereal
  • 1 cup pureed bananas (about  3 bananas)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup raisins (or mini chocolate chips or blueberries)

  1. Prepare muffin pan by spraying with oil and line with paper or parchment liners.
  2. Heat buttermilk in microwave until hot  (about  1 1/2 minutes). *
  3. Stir in the All-bran cereal and set aside for a few minutes.
  4. Puree bananas.
  5. Combine bran mixture and pureed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Stir in brown sugar.
  7. Add eggs, vanilla and oil and blend well.
  8. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Add to banana mixture and stir gently to make a soft batter.
  9. Fold in raisins or chocolate chips.
  10. Divide batter equally into 12 large muffin cups.
  11. Bake at 375 ° F for 22-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Yield: 12 large muffins.

*The buttermilk will separate as it is heated...and that's fine.

 




Jalapeno Pepper Potato Soup


We enjoyed this spicy potato soup yesterday for our lunch.
Paired with some crusty bread, it makes a satisfying main course soup.
The vegetable broth, made from scratch, has lots of flavour with simple ingredients that I always have available.

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, minced  (cut back on this if you prefer a milder flavour)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 medium potatoes, small diced
  • 5 cups water
  • 5  whole cloves 
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt  (taste to season)
  • chopped green onions
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, fried
  • shredded cheese
  1. Chop vegetables and place in a large saucepan, cover with water.  Bring to boil.
  2. Put spices in a spice cup or tie in cheesecloth and add to pot.  
  3. Simmer covered,  about 30 minutes until vegetables are soft and broth is fragrant.  Remove spices.
  4. Mash well or process with a hand held blender.  Do not puree until smooth. Leave a bit of texture.  You can pulse the liquid using a regular blender but take care when processing hot liquids.  
  5. Season with salt and stir in cream.
  6. Ladle into bowls and garnish with bacon bits, cheese and green onions.

German Flammenkuchen (pizza)


While visiting Germany with friends a few years ago we were fortunate to take part in a village festival where they served this caramelized onion and bacon pizza  
served hot from a wood fired oven. I'd been told it was made with quark but
didn't have any at the time so I used a combination of cream cheese and sour cream.
 Recently my German friend Karin served it to us and she told me she uses sour cream and eggs.
I'll give you both options to try.  Either way it is delicious.
This pizza works well on the BBQ.  Karin has an authentic wood fired oven which she uses to bake them in however we used our wood pellet grill and the results were almost as good.  I used a perforated pizza pan which helped to achieve that crispy crust.
The amounts given make 2 large pizzas

  • 1 recipe pizza dough
    • 3-4 cups flour
    • 1 1/4 cups warm water
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon yeast
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large onions peeled and sliced from root to stem
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 - 1 pound bacon, or Schinkenspeck (Proscuitto) cut up and pre-fried
  • Karin's topping:
    • 2 cups sour cream
    • 2 beaten eggs
    • dash each of salt and nutmeg
    • pepper
    • OR
  • Bev's topping:
    • 1 250 miligram/ 8 ounce  package cream cheese
    • 3/4 cup sour cream
    • dash each, salt and nutmeg.
  1. For the pizza dough, combine 2 cups flour with remaining dough ingredients and mix well.
  2. Continue adding flour, stirring and kneading until dough is elastic and easily handled.
  3. Let rise until doubled.
  4. Preheat oven or grill to 450º.
  5. Meanwhile, caramelize onions by cooking in oil and butter over medium heat until golden brown.
  6. Divide dough in half and roll each out fairly thin and place on pizza pans. (Or wrap half of dough and freeze for later)
  7. Mix topping ingredients and spread evenly over dough.
  8. Sprinkle generously and evenly with caramelized onions and diced bacon.
  9. Bake in oven or on grill (450ºF) for 10 minutes or until crust is crisp.
  10. Slice and serve.
I

Bread for the Journey



Several years ago we hiked through some rock canyons and the lyrics from the hymn He Hideth My Soul in the Cleft of the Rock ran through my mind. We walked through some narrow 'clefts in the rock'. The closeness of the rock walls added protection, a shelter from the elements. There was a strength in the walls of rock that opened giving us a narrow path to follow.
The words Fanny Crosby penned in this hymn speak of the nearness of the Lord, His protection, His goodness, His deep love. A wonderful Saviour who takes our burdens, in our weakness giving us His strength, day by day. He goes before us in all His glory and one day we will meet our Wonderful Saviour face to face.

Do you know this Wonderful Saviour? I pray that if you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus  that today you will invite this Wonderful Saviour to be the Lord of your life. He loves you and desires for all to come to Him. 

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
He taketh my burden away;
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.

When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
I'll shout with the millions on high.

Saturday in Anneliese's Kitchen - Five Meatball Meals



When I was in Saskatoon last year, I had the opportunity to do a cooking class with a Mom's Group that my daughter-in-law attends. They were interested in one pot kind of meals and ideas on freezer meals, so I shared with them how I've made a batch of meatballs and divided it to make quick meals in the future.
I'll share a basic recipe I got from Lovella, way back, when we were just young moms. I've made a couple of small changes and doubled it to yield about 125 meatballs, which I would then divide into five small bags to freeze. It's about one hour of work that saves a lot of time later, when in a rush to get dinner on. 

Basic Meatballs:
  • 3 pounds fresh lean ground beef
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 cup milk or water
  • 2 teaspoons fine dried onion flakes
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
Mix well by hand. If you find it quite dry, you can add a bit more milk or water. Shape into 1 inch meatballs. Bake on foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheets for 20 minutes at 400 F. Cool and freeze in small bags. (20 - 25 per bag/ meal)

Meatball Soup




Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups finely chopped vegetable combination of celery, carrots, sweet pepper and/or zucchini
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 cups chicken or beef broth (or 4 tsp better-than-bouillon and water)
  • 20 - 25 cooked meatballs (1 bag)
  • 1 cup raw macaroni
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute onion and vegetables until soft. Add garlic, tomatoes, sauce and spices.
  2. Add broth and meatballs. Simmer half hour.
  3. Cook macaroni separately, rinse and add to soup. Add 1 - 2 cups water if too thick. You can give it a Mexican twist by adding taco seasonings and beans or a chili twist by using chili style canned tomatoes. Instead of using pasta you can add 1/2 cup barley to the simmering time and cook until done.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs




Ingredients:
  • 1 small can pineapple tidbits
  • 1 cup liquid - fill measuring cup with pineapple juice and add water to make 1 cup.
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 20 - 25 cooked meatballs
  1. Combine all ingredients, except for the pineapple bits, in a container with a lid and shake until smooth.
  2. Place meatballs and pineapple tidbits in a casserole. 
  3. Pour liquid mixture over top and bake, covered, for 40 minutes at 350 F. Serve over rice.

Meatball Enchiladas


Ingredients:
  • 20 - 25 meatballs
  • 1 can green chili pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, divided (purchased or homemade * see below)
  • 8 - 10 tortillas
  • 2 - 3 cups Mexican blend cheese, divided
  1. Mix meatballs (cut in half) with chili peppers and 1 cup enchilada sauce.
  2. Divide amongst tortillas. Roll up and place in a baking dish.
  3. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
  4. Bake 30 minutes at 350 F. (I cover with foil) Serve with Spanish rice and raw veggies and dip. 

Enchilada Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp Mexican spices, 1/2 tsp coriander or chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Melt butter, blending in the flour and then the broth (using whisk)
  2. Add tomato sauce and spices, stirring until bubbly
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and 1 cup cheese

Meatballs and Mushroom Sauce 



Ingredients:
  • 20 - 25 meatballs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • dash of thyme
  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter, saute onions, mushrooms and garlic until tender, stirring often.
  2. Add mushroom soup, mixed with milk. Bring to boil. Stir in the sour cream and meatballs.
  3. Simmer 10 - 15 minutes, adding thyme near the end. Serve over rice or pasta.

Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce



(This sauce is the recipe from Lovella that came with the meatball recipe, slightly altered over time . . had no idea it would become a post (what is that?) one day.)

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablspoons oil
  • 1 small green or sweet pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried sweet basil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water and bouillon)
  • 20 - 25 cooked meatballs
  1. Saute onion and pepper, adding garlic once onion and pepper is soft.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, spices and the rest of the ingredients, including meatballs.
  3. Simmer 15 - 20 minutes.
Make a larger recipe by adding a can of Italian Tomato sauce, 1 cup extra broth and more meatballs. Mix leftover sauce with spaghetti and reheat for another meal. Our family likes it stirred and reheated. Add a large salad and garlic bread to stretch the meal.

Cranberry Cookies - Gluten-free!


For Flashback Friday I decided to bring back my Cranberry cookies.  I make them for Christmas but with the lovely red filling they are pretty at any time of the year and we have Valentine's Day coming up in less than a month.
I have adapted this recipe  to use my
  'Julie's Flour Blend' and I think it makes them even better !
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tsp almond flavouring 
  • 1/2 lemon - grated zest and juice
  • 2 rounded tbsp of sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cup Julie's Flour blend
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum 
  • sweet rice flour - for handling/rolling dough
  1. Cream together shortening and butter, add sugar and beat until fluffy and add one egg and beat well for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add sour cream, lemon juice and finely grated rind.
  3. In zip-lock bag combine remaining dry ingredients and shake until well blended.
  4. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.
  5. Mix well and turn out onto sweet rice floured surface.
  6. Knead in sweet rice flour until cookie dough is no longer sticky.
  7. Roll out to less than 1/4" but more than 1/8" thick. (I divided the dough into three pieces to make rolling easier)
  8. Using cookie cutter or tumbler cut into circles.
  9. On one circle place cranberry filling and then cover with second circle of dough, pinching edges and turning under.
  10. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets
  11. Bake at 375' for about 18 minutes or until edges turn golden . 
  12. When cookies are cool, frost with almond icing and dip tops into angel shredded coconut or as I did, into untoasted crushed almond flakes.
Cranberry Filling
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/8" water
Boil water with sugar , add cranberries and stir over medium heat until cranberries pop and mixture thickens. Cool .

Almond Icing
  • 1 tablespoon butter,
  • 1/4 cup of water (or milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond flavoring
Add icing sugar until desired consistency is achieved


(original recipe first posted on 11/10/08) inspired by Betty's Christmas Cranberry Cookies.

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. almond flavoring
  • 1 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch or flour (the same thing)
  • 1/2 cup potato starch (NOT flour)
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and grated rind

Vegetable Meal in a Crock Pot


It's been a week of leftovers and dreaming up new ways to serve them! Not complaining here at all, we love leftovers at our house. And when you get tired of reheating them use the last for soup. I had chopped up way too many vegetables for roasting at Christmas. To use up the excess, I decided to make a meatless dish. A nice change to omit meat and enjoy a good dose of vegetables.
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cut in chunks
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut in chunks..or use regular potatoes
  • 2/3 cup peas, frozen
  • 2/3 cup corn, frozen
  • 1 large carrot, cut in chunks
  • 1 sweet green pepper, cut in chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups pasta sauce
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Spray the inside of your crock pot generously with cooking spray.
  2. Add vegetables in order given to the crockpot.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour pasta sauce over the top.
  4. Top with cheese and cover.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours or until done.
  6. Serve with a salad or serve over spaghetti and a salad.
  7. Yields: 4-6 generous servings.