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Bread For The Journey


I've been spending time recently remembering days gone by.   Between our new book where we share our family stories of coming out of Russia and the passing of a dear friend's father and the stories she has shared, my mind continues to remember things that I haven't thought about for a long time.

This week, I'm preparing a speech for my brother and sister in law who are going to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  I'm remembering how excited I was to finally have a sister and I'm also realizing how quickly the years have flown by. 

They have chosen to celebrate by renewing their vows before family and close friends.   The reason they are doing this is because they want to give honour for their happy marriage to the Lord who has brought them this far.

While I was reminiscing, I pulled out the candle lighter dresses I wore in 1966.  The white one was for my brother and sister in law's wedding and the apricot dress was for my cousin's wedding later in the same year. My mom was all about keeping things that matter.  For many years, these little dresses were not called upon to shine but now it was fun to pull them out of the cedar chest and try them on my sweet grandgirls. While they had fun running around the garden with the dresses on, I thought about the times I wore them and how they would be enjoyed fifty years later.  

On Friday, Ken and Mary's  children and grandchildren will hear and see and be witnesses to what God has done in the lives of one couple who have been faithful to one another and who have made God a priority in their marriage. 

Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
Psalm 103:2

Ginger Lime Marinade

With it being a civic holiday weekend in Canada today, many people are enjoying a long weekend.  I had to post a fabulous BBQ recipe from our recent trip to BC. My longtime childhood friend Irm Nickel made this fabulous meal for us while we were visiting them. I have to admit food made with love by someone else for you always tastes better. I made this steak last night for my husband and son and they really really enjoyed it. Definitely something that will be my go to recipe for steak marinade. Thanks Irm for sharing, and my family thanks you :)
I found this is enough marinade for 6- 6-8oz  top sirloin or sirloin strip steaks.
  • 1/4 cup soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • two large limes, zest and juice 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 4-6 cloves garlic minced
  1. Mix the above ingredients, and pour over steak that has been placed into a zip lock bag. 
  2. Remove any excess air and massage the marinade around the meat. 
  3. Refrigerate overnight. 
Prepare the grill by heating the clean grill on high with the lid closed for about 10 minutes. Place the steaks on the grill and grill on medium low heat until desired doneness. 

Bread For The Journey Book Launch Invitation

Last week we had our first look at our new book Bread for the Journey
The boxes were delivered to my farm gate and I used a great deal of self-control not to take a peek inside.

Among many of the things I've learned within the Mennonite Girls Can Cook group is that there is a special joy and blessing  in sharing our experiences as a group.

When we found out a few months ago that  Charlotte and her husband were planning on being in the Fraser Valley for a family reunion, Marg sent out an invitation for dinner in their back yard.  

The Lord worked out all the details in such a beautiful way that we all agreed that we couldn't have planned it any better.
Our author copies were there just in time to turn this evening into a book reveal party.

Betty and her husband were not able to be with us on that evening and they were missed.
We look forward to spending time with them later in the year when we all travel to see the  

When we opened up the box ...
we saw the back first.  

Everyone was gathered around as we shared the first glimpse of the cover.

This new book has earned its title
not only through our Sunday Devotional posts
but also by the stories passed down to us
about the journeys our parents undertook to leave their homes in Russia.

We've each shared at least one story of how our families left Russia to come to Canada and US, some having lost homes and precious family . . . left as orphans and widows.

We think you will be inspired by the courage of our forebearers, and the trust they had that God would have a purpose for them in a new land.

Bread for the Journey is a thirteen week devotional with a recipe and a family journey story for each week.

As with our two cookbooks, the royalties from this book will all be given to orphans and widows who face each day in need.

Our prayer is that they would see the love of Jesus extended through caring hands, one home and one heart at a time.

If you live in the Fraser Valley, we would love to see you at our book launch on August 3rd! 

Book Launch Invitation

1818 Clearbrook Rd, Abbotsford, BC V2T 5X4
August 3
Zwieback Making demonstration 

Book Launch Celebration,
Excerpts from the book
Coffee and Zwieback

Chicago's Best Steak Rub

I have no idea what makes this Chicago's best steak rub but I can vouch that it is good!  It is a recipe given to me by a friend many years ago...and is easy to mix up and have on hand during the grilling season.

  • 12 Tablespoons lemon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons oregano, dried
  • 2 Tablespoons basil, dried
  • 4 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •  2 teaspoons sugar
  1. Mix all ingredients and store in a tightly covered jar. 
*If you prefer a more homogeneous blend, process in a food processor or coffee grinder.
Directions for grilling steak:
  1. Brush steak with olive oil.  
  2. Rub about 1 tablespoon of spice mix onto each steak.
  3. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes before grilling.

*Note...there is no salt in the mix and you won't miss it!


Poppy Seed Chicken Bake

Another easy and satisfying chicken dish. A great way to use up leftover chicken. Serve over rice or noodles, add a salad and your meal is ready.
If you bake it in a foil pan you can bring it to someone for dinner and they don't have to bother bringing back the pan. I brought dinner to our son's house and they loved it.
  • 4 cups of chicken, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can (284 ml / 10 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3 teaspoons honey Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup Gouda cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups of buttery round crackers, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  1. Place chopped chicken in the bottom of a greased 9" x 13" baking dish.
  2. In a medium sized bowl stir together sour cream, condensed cream of chicken soup, honey Dijon mustard and pour over chicken, covering evenly.
  3. Sprinkle grated Gouda cheese on top.
  4. In another bowl mix together crushed crackers, poppy seeds, and melted butter. Sprinkle over cheese layer.
  5. Bake in a 350º oven for 30 minutes or until the top is browned and you see the sauce is bubbly.
  6. Serves: 6 to 8

Sticky Bran Muffins

My favorite bran muffins are made at a local bakery shop that I used to pop in at when my sister-in-law worked there. This past spring I had a craving for them when I saw the same large, sticky muffins at a bakery bar in California. I thought it was time to figure out how to duplicate them and found out that adding a sticky sauce to my regular buttermilk bran muffins would work. While these did not turn out with the large overhang muffin top, they were still so good, I won't go back to plain.


  • 1 cup (loosely filled) chopped dates or raisins
  • 1/2 cup boiling water 
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup All Bran Cereal (such as Kellogs)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
sticky syrup:
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 
  2. In a small bowl combine chopped dates or raisins with boiling water and soda. Set aside.
  3. In a second small bowl, combine buttermilk with All Bran and set aside.
  4. In mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs and oil until smooth. 
  5. Stir in date mixture and All Bran mixture (from steps 2 and 3) then stir in the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, wheat bran, baking powder and salt) 
  6. In saucepan melt butter along with the rest of the sauce ingredients, stirring until sugar is melted. Divide into 12 regular muffin pans, about 1 Tbsp per pan. Spray tops of pans.
  7. Divide muffin mix by large spoonfuls into syrup.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks. Yield: 12 regular sized muffins
Tip: to clean sticky pans, stick them in a larger oven proof container and fill pans with water. Sprinkle with soda and return to hot oven for about 15 minutes. The mess will easily wash off. 

Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse

We are in the warm days of summer here in the Fraser Valley!  Do you have company coming? Enjoy a  deliciously rich chilled, naturally gluten free dessert that can be made a day ahead to enjoy on a warm summer evening.

  •  1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 16 ounces / 1 500 ml tub light spreadable cream cheese
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder  (optional)
  • 1 14 ounce / 300 ml can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 envelope whipped cream stabilizer (if you are garnishing more than an hour ahead of time)
  1. Sprinkle gelatin over the water in a small saucepan.  Let stand one minute to soften before warming to dissolve over low heat.   Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate over low heat or in microwave. Add coffee powder and cool to room temperature.
  3. Beat together cream cheese,  chocolate and sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
  4. Stir in gelatin and then whipped cream.  Stir until smooth.
  5. Pour into 6 individual glasses.  Chill 3 hours or until firm.
  6. Beat together whipping cream with sugar, vanilla, and stabilizer.
  7. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and swirl whipped cream over mousse to garnish.
  8. Chill until serving. 

Bread for the Journey

Last year when getting ready to head to Vancouver Island for our vacation my friend brought me over this loaf of bread. She knew that I had been in need of some encouragement and she gave me this bread as a reminder to spend time in the Word where God would refresh my soul.

The 10 of us ladies here at Mennonite Girls Can Cook have in the recent months been focusing our thoughts on Jesus who is our Bread of Life (John 6:48).

There are times where our own personal journeys are a wonderful adventure, but the reality is that each of our journeys take us to places where we are in a dry and weary land or a place where we find ourselves asking God "where are You?"

2016 for our family began with the realization that our son in law's concussion from a sports accident  in November was more serious than they had thought. It's not been an easy journey for this young family but over the months they have found strength through Jesus as they have walked this road trusting in Him.

This year has also been one where we have been prayer supporters and encouragers for family and friends walking along very slippery slopes. We and others have reached out to them and they have hung onto God's hand ... at times feeling like they would loose their grip along the journey. God has and is always faithful.

My dad has struggled with a very weak heart and is now on the last steps of his earthly journey. He has been journeying for 87 years. He recognized his personal need for Jesus in his teens. His journey took on new meaning and purpose and he's walked with God since. Of course he's been on rocky roads, roads of sorrow, high plateaus, through dry land and fertile green pastures. God has been faithful to His promise to always be by our dad's side. Helping, forgiving, comforting, encouraging, shepherding, guiding, strengthening, loving.

Jesus has been our strength in these times. He's given us hope. Without hope we would be lost.
We've had some really great times along our journey ... even during the difficult parts. It's there we have learnt to lean on the Lord. To help each other. To take help from others. We've learnt how to pray more effectively. We've learnt to thank and even praise in the hard times, knowing that God inhabits the praises of His people.

The Word of God is nourishment for our daily lives. As we journey with the Lord He continues to refresh and strengthen us. I pray that you are journeying with the Lord. If not, I invite you to stop and invite Him into your life today. I know from experience that your journey will be complete with Him by your side. I promise you there will be valleys and mountain tops, but He promises that He will always be by your side.

John 6:48 "I am the bread of life".

Saturday in Marg's Kitchen

I've always enjoyed hosting larger parties. Ten years ago when we remodeled our home, I inquired about building a patio covering for our back yard, for those times when it was cold and rainy, when we expected hot weather.  Finally we decided, forget the renovations, which would mean more expense, cleaning and maintenance in the long run.
Simple solution:  "Let's order tents for minimal costs and have a real party."

While I was in Europe visiting family this past May, word came out that Char, one of our cooks would be coming to BC. Immediately, I knew I was all in ..."let's make a party." In the background I heard Judy say that she would help!  I can tell you know ... I don't mind hosting, but it's sure fun to work with someone who has endless ideas.

Start an Event Outline.

Set a Date:  It didn't take long after a bit of chatter back and forth that we all settled on Monday, July 18th. Two months gave us plenty of time to plan, after all it's just an old fashioned BBQ.
Location: Bartel's back yard, rain or shine.
Time:  6:00 pm 
Purpose:  We love to get together, cook, eat each other's food and spend time connecting
Guests:  Mennonite Girls Can Cook with their spouses

It's way more fun to host and work together.  Invite a friend for a pre-post party planning time.

Find a theme, colors, country or formal.  Check out Pinterest for ideas. Once your theme has been decided upon, check to see what supplies you have in your home, in order to save yourself an extravagant cost.  Between both of us we could supply tables, and chairs, vases, flowers, and all sorts of things from tablecloths to burlap runners. We started texting back and forth chatting about the decor ideas we had in our own homes.
The menu had been discussed a few weeks earlier, as we decided to choose the 'signature dishes' posted in our forth coming book.   
One thing I'd like to emphasize is to make sure you let God orchestrate his own plan at the same time and be ready for the unexpected things he can do in an extra ordinary way.
We decided on favors, something homemade, something with wheat, to fit our theme which continued to develop as we thought about our new book, 'Bread for the Journey'. Our lists became longer and longer.

I have always enjoyed setting my table a few days in advance when hosting celebration events. It makes it look special and as the family pops by they know that I'm thinking of all the details to make it special. Planning in advance allows for those unexpected visits, like the grand kids dropping by unexpectedly.  Don't look at them as an interruption, but enjoy some activities with them and tell then what you are doing.  

What are things that you can do to prepare a few days in advance?

 Collect and count your cutlery.

Decide on your plates and napkins.

 Gather your coffee cups in a tray.
Clean your coffee pots.

 Plan for your favorite serving platters which help present your food,

Gather your linens.

Gather your floral bouquets

Use some old vintage canning jars.

Wrap your favors.
Judy had baked small loaves of bread and wrapped them individually.

Assemble your decor and play with it.

 Prep your food as much as you can in advance.

The final Day, Monday, July 18th, 2016!
Check everything once more on your list.
Enjoy this day ... do a quick clean, a few clean hand towels and tea towels.
We clean before and we clean after right?
The sun shone brightly from a clear blue sky, only for a few hours.
At the end of the day it was evident that we needed a tent.
Thank you Tent Guys for your wonderful prompt, friendly service.

It was so much fun decorating the table and making the seating plan.
Four Costco tables with costco chairs.  Simple and Easy.

But remember what I said about allowing God to be a part of this event?

Last week  (just one week before the party)
there was a real buzz of excitement, as Lovella announced
that a pallet of books had arrived in their shop.
She even asked us if she could peek.  You know the answer.
The excitement grew as we started coordinating our theme
as a 'book launching event'.

Little did we know that when our wheat was planted last fall that it would be
the perfect setting for our backdrop photo shoots with our books in hand.

And little did any of us know that our author copies would arrive just in time for our event.
The day was so perfect as we sat around the fire pit sharing our journeys.

More news will unfold over the next week.
I can only give you a peek of our cover.

Bread For The Journey!

This book is interspersed with devotionals that share our dramatic family stories and tantalizing
recipes, which invite us to extend our tables and share God's blessing with others.

That was a fun weekend in my kitchen.
I hope you can find some planning tips that make it easy for you?
What are some of your favorite planning tips?

Cottage Cheese Rolls - Gluten Free

These cottage cheese rolls are a favorite, be it family or friends - including all wheat-lovers. 
So I decided to bring them back for this FLASH BACK FRIDAY. 
I'll leave the original post here - except to note that now I use one cup of Julie's Flour Mix instead of the individual flours listed in the original recipe.  The dough handles so well. In the photo above I made the rolls without the added grated cheese as shown in the original recipe, which is the way I make them most often. 
The rolls are great with soup, or delicious as a snack with cheese or jam. 

I'll repeat the recipe here with my new flour preference ... 
  • 1 cup Julie's Flour mix 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/2 tsp salt  
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1 egg 
  • creamed cottage cheese (to make 3/4 cup) 
  • extra sweet rice flour for handling dough
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in bowl. 
  2. Using pastry blender, cut in butter 
  3. Put egg in measuring cup and fill with cottage cheese to make 3/4 cup -- whisk together. 
  4. Add egg/cheese mix to flour and stir until a ball forms - knead until smooth using a little more sweet rice flour if needed.   Dough should still be a little sticky. I don't usually need any extra sweet rice flour.  
  5. Cover dough and chill for several hours  - at least two , its better over night.  
  6. Divide dough into parts as per desired use.   
  7.  For the cheese rolls -  one fist sized dough will roll into a 9-10" circle (dough is not more than 1/4 " thick)   Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese before cutting with pizza cutter into 12 slices. Roll up each slice starting with wide end rolling to the tip. 
  8. For the sausage rolls , roll dough (1/4" thick)  into a rectangle and wrap sausage pieces in a 'blanket'. placing seam side down.   I used Winkler Farmer Sausage that was wonderful.   
  9. For the schnetki  click on the link (above)  to the original wheat schnetki recipe and follow the same instructions to make them.  
  10. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown.

Purse Cake ~ Simple White Cake

We celebrated my youngest granddaughter's fifth birthday last week, and I came up with a simple birthday cake that suited her just fine! She had pointed out a pink purse that she really liked several weeks ago...and so it became part of her birthday gift.  A 'pink purse cake' seemed the appropriate choice and was easy to put together.
Purse Cake
  • 1 9-inch round cake layer (Simple White Cake recipe posted below or use your favorite)
  • 1 recipe buttercream frosting (recipe below)
  • food coloured for icing
  • red licorice straws (for handles and purse opening)
  • 4 ring-shaped fruit flavoured gummies (for handle grommets)
  • white jelly beans for purse clasp
  1. Using a serrated knife, cut cake layer in half crosswise, making two half-circles. Use a small amount of the white frosting to sandwich the two half-circles together. Place cake, cut sides down, on a serving platter.
  2. Tint the remaining white frosting with food coloring. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Then frost cake generously, either swirling with an offset spatula or piping frosting onto purse using a star tip . 
  3. Place licorice pieces down center of cake where the two half-circles meet.
  4. Place white jelly beans in center of cake to form clasp. 
  5. For purse handles, place two jelly ring candies on each licorice twist. Insert handles into top of cake. 
Simple White Cake
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9" inch round pan...or line with parchment.
  2. In mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. 
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4.  Add vanilla. 
  5.  Combine flour and baking powder; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk and mix until better is smooth.
  6. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.  (Until toothpick inserted in center come out clean.)

 Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups icing sugar (more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  1. In mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until fluffy. 
  2. Add salt and vanilla; beat. 
  3. Gradually add the icing sugar alternately with the cream, beating well.  Add a little more icing sugar if needed to reach a spreading consistency. Makes about 3 cups.

Blueberry Pineapple Cobbler

It's blueberry season and one of my favourite desserts using these sweet little berries in cobbler. I've added fresh pineapple to this recipe and I think it brings this simple dessert up a notch.

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  1. Stir above ingredients together in a 9" square pan or pie plate. 
  2. Microwave for 3-4 minutes to just begin to warm.
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  1. Stir together dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in butter until small pea size pieces.
  3. Stir in buttermilk.
  4. Top fruit mixture with topping. 
  5. Bake in 425º oven for 20-25 minutes. Poke topping with a tooth pick to make sure cobbler topping baked through.

Pepper Salad

My inspiration for this salad came from my cousin Sylvia who brought a similar salad to our cousin get together.  It's colourful, crisp and refreshing.  Just right for a summer barbeque.
I've used a Greek style dressing but you could use a favourite bottled or homemade vinaigrette.

  • 3 or 4 sweet bell peppers - I used 1 green,1  red, 1 yellow and and 1 orange 
  • 1 small can drained, sliced black olives (you could substitute whole pitted or unpitted olives)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut peppers into lengthwise slices, discarding membranes and seeds.
  2. Place peppers in a clear glass bowl and add drained black olives and crumbled feta.
  3. Place dressing ingredients into a jar or salad dressing shaker and blend, shaking well.
  4. Pour dressing over pepper salad and toss.  
  5. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Ginger Snaps

Love these...I think you might too.
  • 3/4 cup butter 
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • extra sugar for rolling unbaked cookies in before baking
  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg and molasses and beat well.
  3. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Roll into 1 1/2" balls.
  5. Roll balls in extra sugar, coating with sugar all the way around.
  6. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 350º for 13 minutes. 
  8. Allow to cool one minute on pan before removing to cooling rack. They will take on more of a crackle top this way and get slightly crispy. 
Yields 2 1/2 dozen large cookies. 
**You can make the balls smaller to get more cookies, but then adjust the baking time down to 10 minutes.**

Bread For The Journey

my photo taken in Hawaii

My Self-Talk

Either God is God,
Or I am.

Either God is all-knowing and wise,
Or I am.

Either I trust God to guide me,
Or I choose my own way.

Either I walk in God’s light,
Or I walk in my own darkness.

Either God’s promises are true,
Or I trust in my own uncertain hopes.

Either God has a good plan and purpose for my life,
Or I try to define my own.

Either I trust my cares and concerns to God’s keeping,
Or I carry my own worries and burdens.

Either I live in God’s rest,
Or I choose my own distress.
May I always remember, my best doesn’t even reach to God’s worst,
And His best far outreaches what I can think or imagine!
The choice is mine.

Will I trust Him?
by julie klassen

Easy Fajita Quesadillas

Here's an easy Saturday lunch idea for you using leftovers.  When there is not enough Fajita filling to serve the family again, make up a loaded Quesadilla using  Fajita filling!
Serve it for an appetizer or lunch for two.  
It's delicious.   It's hardly a recipe but sometimes all you need is an idea. 

  • leftover refried beans, warmed slightly in the microwave
  • leftover fajita filling, warmed slightly in the microwave (a combination of steak or chicken, peppers, jalapenos and onions)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (Monterey jack or cheddar)
  • 2 large tortilla shells
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  1.  Heat a large fry pan on medium heat.  Place one tortilla shell on the pan,  arrange fajita mixture over top, cover with second tortilla. 
  2. Heat until the underside is lightly browned. Flip over and heat until the cheese has melted.
  3. Cut into 8 pieces and serve with salsa and guacamole. 

Greek Pasta Salad ~ Crowd Size

I originally posted this recipe in the summer of 2010 using sea shell pasta.  Today's version features three-cheese tortellini and added sweet peppers.  It is also a larger recipe...a perfect salad for that potluck picnic coming up.  We enjoyed it at a potluck picnic for twelve recently and then served the leftovers at a backyard BBQ the following day.
  • 2 pound/ 750 gr 3-cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped (or 4 mini cuc's)
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped sweet pepper (red or yellow)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • black olives, (optional)
  1. In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain. Rinse under cold running water and drain well. Allow pasta to cool.
  2. Combine pesto and sour cream in small bowl.
  3. Place pasta in large salad bowl, together with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cheese, pine nuts and olives.
  4. Add dressing and toss to coat.
  5. Refrigerate until serving.
Serves 12


Orange Chicken for Two

This recipe was inspired by a dish I would most often choose from a Chinese Menu and adapted from 30-Minute Skinny Orange Chicken.

  •  2 bonelesss chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup flour (or cornstarch for GF)
  • 1 egg
  • salt to taste
  • oil for browning
  • orange zest/rind from 1 orange
  • juice from 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar 
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sambal Oelek chili paste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water
  • green onion and or sesame seeds for garnish
  1. Prepare a plate with flour and a small bowl with whisked egg.
  2. Cube chicken into small bite size pieces. Sprinkle lightly with salt and dredge (by handfuls) through flour and then the egg. Spread out in single layer in heated, oiled fry pan.
  3. Brown one side and then the other, on medium heat, flipping a spatula full at a time.
  4. While chicken is cooking, mix the rest of the ingredients for the orange sauce, shaking up the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water, before adding. (leave out garnish)
  5. Remove browned chicken from pan. In same pan, add orange sauce, stir and cook until thickened, about a minute. Add in more water according to thickness and taste, then the chicken.
  6. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. Serve over 1/2 cup brown rice cooked, and sprinkle with green onion and or sesame seeds. 

Citrus Chicken Chopped Salad

Here's a refreshing main dish salad for a hot summer day.
It's been cool and rainy here in the Fraser Valley so far but when the sun shines again
this simple salad will be on the menu.
As with most chopped salads you can change the ingredient and dressing combinations
according what you have in your fridge.

For the salad:
  • one small head romaine or leafy lettuce
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts or a deli roasted chicken cut into chunks
  • 2 avocados cubed
  • 1-2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 large English cucumber chopped or 2 mini cucumbers slices
  • 2 large navel oranges, peeled and cut into segments
For the dressing*:
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I used a grapefruit flavoured balsamic but you can substitute white wine vinegar for the balsamic)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons. honey or to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Layer a large platter with torn lettuce.
  2. Peel and cube avocados, sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
  3. Chop Cucumbers.
  4. Arrange rows of vegetables, oranges, dried cranberries and chicken as shown above.
  5. Mix dressing in a shaker or bottle with a tightly fitting lid and shake until blended.
  6. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.
*A bottled golden Italian dressing or Mom's Salad Dressing would also be good on this salad.