Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Amy's Dill Relish

Recently I posted a recipe for 1000 Island Relish. A comment was left by Valerie, requesting a dill relish version that was not so sweet. My daughter Amy prefers Dill relish over a sweet relish and I thought I would share her version for this recipe. It is very tasty, I hope you give it a try and enjoy it too. Picture credit goes to Amy. She used fresh dill instead of dill seed in her version of the recipe which I believe really enhanced the flavor. 

This recipe makes 6 or 7 1 cup jars. 
  • 9 pickling cucumbers or 3 lbs
  • 2-3 onions, (depending on how large the onions are)
  • 1/4 cup course pickling salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, (depending on how big the cloves are)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill, minced*
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Coarsely cut up cucumber and onion to fit into food processor. 
  2. In the food processor add first the amount of cukes that it will hold and pulse until finely chopped. 
  3. Continue with the remaining cukes and then onion with the garlic. 
  4. Sprinkle with the all the salt and let stand for 1 hour, stir well. 
  5. Drain  and rinse the mixture well. Repeat the process a couple of times. 
  6. Squeeze out excess moisture. 
  7. In a large pot add vinegar, sugar adding the celery seed and mustard seeds bringing it to a boil. Do not add fresh dill or turmeric at this time. 
  8. Add the cucumbers, onions and garlic. 
  9. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. 
  10. Dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of vinegar. Add to the cucumber and cook until thickened. This only takes a few minutes. 
  11. Take off the heat, Now add the turmeric and fresh dill. 
  12. Pour into sterilized jars. Seal with the lids and rings. Place into a water bath and boil for 10 minutes. 
* may use two teaspoons dill seed in place of fresh dill. For the cooking process add with the celery seed and mustard seeds and proceed with the recipe directions omitting the fresh dill at the end. 

Peach Jam Filled Biscuits

A simple shortcut for an easy breakfast treat or snack.  I used peach jam but any jam will do. Just make sure the jam is firm side or it will seep out at the edges. No problem if it does seep a little. If you like you can make your own biscuit dough from scratch. Check this blog for biscuit recipes.
Recipe adapted from Pillsbury.
  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits, dough for 10 biscuits
  • Peach jam
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. In a small bowl mix sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  2. Gently separate each biscuit halfway into 2 layers. Spoon 1 teaspoon jam into center of each biscuit. Pinch edges to seal.
  3. Brush each biscuit with melted butter and dip into sugar/cinnamon mixture. (If you have sugar/cinnamon mixture leftover use it on cinnamon toast)
  4. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, bake in a 400º oven for 12 to 14 minutes.
  5. Serve warm or cold.
  6. Yield: 10 jam filled biscuits

Quick Shake Fruit Cobbler

At a recent baby shower, my niece's mom-in-law brought a family favorite. The recipe she shared most likely comes from a Tupperware party, for reasons you can see. It literally is a quick shake in a gravy making container, using the lid for a measuring cup. Her recipe called for sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and she served it with a caramel sauce. Today I'm shaing it with sliced stone fruit, served plain with ice cream.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 quick shake seal of sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 1 quick shake seal of flour
  • 1 quick shake seal of milk
  • 1 quick shake flip lid seal of oil (1 tsp)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  1. Grease a pie plate and line with about 2 - 3 cups of sliced peaches, apricots and or nectarines. (canned peaches, drained, are good too)
  2. In quick shake place egg, sugar, flour, milk and oil. Shake until well mixed. 
  3. Open and add 2 tsp baking powder. Shake mixture about ten times and then pour over fruit. (It is important to just add the baking powder at the end like this. The first time I made this I added it with the flour in the beginning and the seal exploded with the shaking.) 
  4. Bake at 350 F for 30 - 40 minutes until nicely browned and crisp on top.
  5. Serve warm, with ice cream. I flip it upside down to serve. Makes 4 generous servings.
P. S.  The flip lid is the actual cup shaped lid while the seal is the tiny tunnel where the small, attached lid flips opens.
I have the old style (2 cup meas) shaker with the large top lid to measure with. If you have a new one with a flatter kind of lid, use a regular measuring cup.

Bread for the Journey

Knowing God

 Let them boast in this alone: That they truly know me, and understand that I am the LORD of Justice and of righteousness whose love is steadfast, and that I love to be this way. -  Jeremiah 9:24 TLB

Today is our 45th wedding anniversary.
Do you think that in 45 years Harv and I might be able to say we know each other?
Why of course we do! After all we've had 45 years in which to learn about each other.
Based on our experiences together we know that we can trust and rely on each other. 

But if we were to be completely truthful, 
we'd have to admit that we do not know each other absolutely.
Just as we were when we got married, we are still two different people.
Gender, background, ideas, opinions, ways of doing things - we are not the same.
So it follows that occasionally we surprise each other.
I think I know how Harv will react to a given situation and suddenly, he shows another side!

How well do we know God
How well can we know God?
If we live day by day in His presence, if we diligently study to know Him,
He can be known by us.
Not completely, after all we are different than Him.
He is sinless, we are sinful
He is the Creator, we are His creation.
He is Divine, we are but human.

But He longs for us to know Him more intimately
 and daily gives us opportunities to know Him better.

For those who are His children, our experience with Him causes us to trust Him and rely on Him
even when we don't understand His plans.
For those who have not yet chosen to follow Him, who do not yet know Him:,
find out about this great God, study to find out Who He Is
and the more you get to know Him the more you will know that his love for you is steadfast and will never waver. He can be trusted and relied upon to never disappoint you or fail you.

Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know  Him, and He will respond to us as surely as the coming of dawn or the rain of early spring. - Hosea 6:3 TLB

Saturday in Ellen's Kitchen

 Good Saturday to all of you dear readers. I have a couple of tips that I've used recently that you might find helpful, too. In the photo above use a mixing bowl upside down to set your measuring cup on when adding liquid to a set line. With it elevated like this you can see better and measure more accurately.
I used this Fruit-Fresh product for the first time this summer when I had to prepare a large quantity of pears for freezing. They kept the pears from turning brown.
One more tip I saw but don't have a photo of is using the warmer on your coffee maker to melt chocolate. Just put the chocolate in a glass bowl and turn the warmer on and as it melts give it a stir. This is useful if you do not have a microwave oven.  
This isn't my kitchen but it's a room in our basement where I have shelving for my large quantity of dishes, serving pieces, platters, cake plates, trays, chargers, and Christmas dishes. This area supplements my kitchen. The dishes in my kitchen that we use everyday are plain white. The dishes down here in my basement are dishes I like to use for showers, celebrations, desserts, and holidays. Most of these dishes were acquired at thrift shops. On these shelves you'll find dishes in pinks, blues, greens, reds, transferware in blues, pinks, black, and brown. My parents dishes that us siblings gifted them for their 50th wedding anniversary, service for 24, came down to me when my mother downsized into their senior apartment. I suppose at this stage of my dish life you can't call me a minimalist. I do offer my dishes to friends and family whenever they might need them.

Thank you for stopping by today. Hope your weekend is going well.

Flash Back Friday - Corn Cheese Bake

Corn season is here so I'm sharing my corn cheese bake again for Flash Back Friday. You can use all green or all red sweet peppers if that is what you have. To make it look more appealing I like to use both. This time I used hot sauce instead of crushed red pepper and increased the sweet peppers from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.
  • 2 cups corn, cooked and drained
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup sweet green pepper, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup sweet red pepper, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 drops hot sauce, (optional) you can add more or less desired.
  • 1/2 cup (approximately 12) crackers, crushed (crushed cornflakes is an option)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together corn, milk, eggs, cheese, sweet peppers, salt and pepper. Pour into a greased baking dish. (6 1/2" x 6 1/2" x 2")
  2. Add melted butter to crushed crackers and stir until crumbly.
  3. Sprinkle cracker crumbles on top of corn mixture.
  4. Bake in a 350º oven for 40 minutes.
  5. Serve hot as a side dish.
  6. Serves: 4 to 6

Shrimp and Mango Wraps or Tacos

Spicy shrimp, sweet mango and crispy slaw. A simple and delicious light summer meal.

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro OR parsley
  • 2 tbsp green onions, cut into small pieces
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Mix together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

  • 25-30 shelled shrimp
  • olive oil
  • Cajun spice
  • 2 mango's cut into spears
  • 3 cups ready made or your own slaw mix 
  • 1/2 red or orange pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, optional 
  • wraps or taco shells
  1. Rinse shrimp. Drain well. Pour a little olive oil over to just coat shrimp. 
  2. Sprinkle with Cajun spice. Let sit in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
  3. Cut up mango.
  4. Place slaw mix, cut up pepper and cilantro in a bowl. Toss.
  5. Cook shrimp in a fry pan either on your grill or stove top. Cook until pink and cooked through. About 3-4 minutes.
  6. If using wraps lay on grill to warm just until you see grill marks. OR, warm in oven.
  7. Fill wraps with filling and top with sauce. 

Coconut Cream Bars

If you love coconut as much as I do you will want to make these delicious bars. A perfect dessert to serve family or company. We have coconut lovers in our family so this will disappear fast.
Adapted from All Recipes.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour and icing sugar.
  2. Using a pastry blender cut in the butter until you have coarse crumbs.
  3. Press into a 9" x 9" square pan.
  4. Bake in a 350º oven for 20 minutes until slightly golden in color. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool while making the filling.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add coconut milk, eggs and whisk until well blended.
  2. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and add flaked coconut and extracts. 
  4. Pour over crust. Allow to cool to lukewarm, then place in refrigerator and chill for a couple of hours until firm.
  5. Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
  6. Serves: 9 generous pieces.

Bruschetta on Naan Bread

We've been enjoying this appetizer all summer long.  It was a favourite of ours from a local restaurant until they removed it from their menu.  It was worth trying to recreate!  You can make this recipe smaller or larger to suit your occasion.  Just keep the ratio of the ingredients.

  • purchased naan bread (sizes vary)
  • purchased basil pesto
  • 1 cup finely diced sweet white onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced tomato
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • a handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (if fresh leaves are not available I find freeze-dried available in the produce section to be a good substitute)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • purchased reduced Balsamic Glaze  
  1. Arrange naan bread on pizza pans. Regular cookie sheets will work but it is better if air can get underneath the bread to help it crisp in the oven. Toast on one side under broiler. 
  2. Spread pesto over each piece of bread.  
  3. Combine remaining ingredients except Balsamic Vinegar glaze.   Spoon topping over pesto.
  4. Bake in 350 F oven until parmesan melts and bread is heated through. 
  5. Drizzle Balsamic Glaze over the Bruschetta and cut into serving pieces. 
  6. Serve immediately. 
This Bruschetta filling works equally as well on slices of toasted Baguette.   

Bread for the Journey

Whenever I am outside in God`s nature I see his marvelous hand in the beauty surrounding us. The following hymn touched a chord in my heart, of quiet rest near to the heart of God.
Where are you finding that quiet rest?

Near to the Heart of God

  1. There is a place of quiet rest,
    Near to the heart of God;
    A place where sin cannot molest,
    Near to the heart of God.
    • Refrain:
      O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
      Sent from the heart of God;
      Hold us, who wait before Thee,
      Near to the heart of God.
  2. There is a place of comfort sweet,
    Near to the heart of God;
    A place where we our Savior meet,
    Near to the heart of God.
  3. There is a place of full release,
    Near to the heart of God;
    A place where all is joy and peace,
    Near to the heart of God.
  4. Cleland B. McAfee

Saturday's Kitchen Tip ~ Fresh Tomato Sauce with Your Grater

'Tis the season...for juicy, ripe tomatoes.  Nothing beats the flavour of vine-ripened tomatoes at this time of year.  And here is a way to add that flavour to your favorite pasta dish without much effort.
All you need is a large holed grater and a few large, juicy tomatoes.   No need to peel, slice or dice.  Place the grater in a large bowl,  cut the tomatoes in half and then slide them back and forth over the grater (cut side down) until most of the pulp is in the bowl.  Ease up the pressure at the end and continue grating until only the tomato skin is left.  (Be sure to keep your fingers up and away from the grater!)
Once that is done, add a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and some chopped fresh basil.  That is the basic fresh tomato sauce, though you can add other ingredients if you prefer (such as minced garlic, fresh oregano or a dash of cayenne pepper.)

Add to cooked pasta and enjoy the sweet taste of fresh tomato sauce.

Note: My granddaughter who kindly grated tomatoes for me so I could take a photo, was invited to stay for dinner!

Rainbow Pasta Salad

This Friday I'm going back to a pasta salad I posted six years ago. It is still as good today as it was then and just may be a salad you will want to try before salads and barbeques come to an end. The picture above is one I took more recently when I used a Greek dressing and added feta.

  • 3 – 4 cups vegetable pasta
  • 2 chopped tomatoes or 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped 
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  1. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Do not over-cook. Cool. 
  2. Mix dressing ingredients and then mix with pasta and vegetables.
  3. Refrigerate and serve cold. Serves 8-10

Crispy Parmesan Potatoes

    If you need a side dish to go with your grilled meat or your sandwich plate...look no further!   Quick and easy to prepare...these tasty potato nuggets have an amazing crunchy cheese crust. 
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup finely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending how zippy you like things)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs baby potatoes, halved
  • sour cream or yogurt dip (we like ranch dressing)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Pour olive oil into 9x13 baking dish and evenly coat entire bottom.
  3. In a separate dish, combine grated cheese, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, oregano, and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over bottom of pan.
  5. Arrange potatoes in a single layer (cut side down) on top of cheese mixture.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cheese is browned and potatoes are soft when pierced with fork. 
  7. Remove from oven and allow potatoes to rest in pan for 5 minutes. Carefully remove potatoes from the pan using a small spatula.
  8. Arrange on serving platter cheese side up. Serve with sour cream or yogurt dip.
* Don't throw out the leftovers!  They are great re-heated in a non-stick skillet the next day!


Cucumber Salad

This is one of my favorite salads in summer when the cucumbers are fresh from the garden. My Mom used to mix a cucumber salad with vinegar, salt, and onions but I prefer them this way.
Another favorite way I like to eat them is to cut the cucumber in half, sprinkle salt on one half of the cucumber and then rub the two halves together. A nice snack indeed.
  • 4 - 7" cucumbers
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  1. Peel cucumbers and cut in 1/8 to 1/4" slices. If using fresh cucumbers you can leave the peel on if so desired.
  2. Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper, and dill.
  3. Pour over cucumbers and mix.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
  5. Serves: 5 to 6

Smash Burgers

I know...there is always something a bit different coming off our Big Green Egg grill. This time it's the Smash Burgers. Really just a big meat ball that is grilled on a 500º flat cast iron griddle and then smashed down hard with a cast iron press. Have all the fixings ready because the burgers will come off the grill in short order. Due to the high heat and thinness the meat will almost take on a caramelized crust, but does not taste the least bit burnt. One of my new favourites!
(yields 4 burgers, but easily can make 5 of of a pound of burger)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  1. Mix ingredients together and divide into 4 meat balls. 
  2. Place in refrigerator. 
  3. Cut up and place following fixings out so you are ready to serve up your burgers hot when they come off the grill. Literally, they will be cooked in about 3-4 minutes. 
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices cheese of your choice
  • lettuce
  • tomato 
  • onions, raw or sauteed
  • pickles
  • condiments
Place flat cast iron on grill. Heat grill with cast to 500ºF.
Place meatballs onto cast iron and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds.

Using a heat resistant glove take your cast iron press and SMASH the meatballs into a thin burger patty.
Close the lid of your grill and allow burger to cook for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.

Lift lid. Fat in burger will rise to top and the bottom will be caramelized. If you want you can sprinkle the uncooked side of the patty with a seasoning of your choice. We have used different BBQ seasonings or just seasoning salt or salt and pepper. No BBQ sauce on these burgers. You could serve some on the side along with your condiments.

Flip and grill another minute or two at the most.
Come and get 'em! 

1000 Island Relish

Soon it will be relish season. I love homemade relish so much, who needs the hot dog, just give me the relish and I am a happy camper. 
This relish brings back sweet memories of canning with my friend Marie when our children were little. When I had my youngest child in August I missed canning season all together. Marie knew that a mom of a new born had no time to can and that it would be the furthest from my mind. That year, she and another friend Frieda, gifted me with an awesome gift. They did all their canning and gifted our family with salsa, tomato sauce, beets, cukes, relish and jam. I couldn't have asked for a better gift, or better friends. 
As my youngest was a busy toddler, I ventured to make relish on my own again. BIG MISTAKE!
I forgot to drain the salt brine with all the hustle and bustle of kids running in and out of the kitchen, the phone ringing, and my dear neighbor popping in for coffee like we often did with one another. I didn't notice this mistake until I went to open my first jar of relish that I was so excited for........oh was I disappointed. 
So the moral of the story is.....DRAIN and RINSE! 
  • 8 large cucumbers, peeled, cut in half and seeded (not english cucumbers unless you grow them yourself)
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 12 large onions
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 8 cups vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 3/4 cup flour (use 1/2 cup cornstarch to make it gluten free)
  • 6 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  1. Grate the cucumber. 
  2. Seperately put the remaining vegetables in a food process and process until the vegetables are fine dice but not mushy. Be careful and don't over process. First the cauliflower, remove, do the onions in several batches, remove, etc, you get the idea. Or do it by hand if you don't have a processor. 
  3. Cover with salt and leave for a minimum 4 hours or overnight. DRAIN AND RINSE WELL!
  4. In a large pot, mix the sugar with either the flour OR the cornstarch and mix well to avoid any clumping. Slowly add the vinegar stirring until it is well combined. Add the spices and bring to a full boil. Add the well drained vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Stirring often so it doesn't stick and burn at the bottom. 
  6. Ladle into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace
  7. Wipe the rim clean, very important or you won't get a good seal. Cover with sterilized lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 
  8. Excellent for hot dogs or hamburgers. 

Bread for the Journey

Today I'd like to share an old hymn written by Katharina von Schlegel in 1752. Maybe like me, you grew up singing these words in church, but just never really grasped the wonderful truths expressed. It became real to me more recently when one of my kids send me a link to a beautiful recording by Kari Jobe. Listening to it time and again, one day I was hit with these encouraging words, 

Be still, my soul; the waves and wind still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

 I think of the disciples trying everything they could to keep from sinking, when finally they called on Jesus . . . the Lord of the wind and the storm . . . and I want to do (and see) the same.

Be Still, My Soul

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul; your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; your God will undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul; the waves and wind still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
Be still, my soul; though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then you will better know his love, his heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrows and your fears.

Be still, my soul; your Jesus can repay
From his own fullness all he takes away.
Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Dear Lord Jesus, I pray that we will remember who you are and that you are right there with us (in our boat) at all times. Help us to know your peace even in the storm, knowing that at your voice the storm will stop.

Saturday in Anneliese's Kitchen - the fridge freezer

Do you like the idea of snooping through someone's fridge or freezer just to see?
Well, today I've cleaned up the freezer section of my fridge 
to let you see what is important for me to keep close and handy.
We have found a side by side to be a good fit for our kitchen space.
It's been nine years now and I like how the baskets work well for organizing.
especially smaller items.

On the top shelf I keep an assortment of herbs.
When possible, I prefer using fresh as opposed to dried herbs.
so having them on hand in the freezer makes it just as easy
and another thing not to have to think about when doing my weekly shopping.

Parsley is one of the first herbs I ever froze and it keeps very well.
I wash it, let it air dry and then chop it up fine.

I've used ginger more often since I've had it in the freezer.
It's so easy to grate as much as you need and put the root back in the freezer.

You will see here I have parsley, jalapenos, basil. thyme, rosemary and dill.
The one I probably replace most often is basil, which keeps the least amount of time.
(to use, chop quickly while frozen - easiest when in that frozen/brittle state)
Freezing herbs will change their color, but the flavor is still there
and once cooked, you will not know the difference.
If I am using basil in a salad (as opposed to a tomato sauce)
I prefer to use fresh/not frozen, for its nice green color.

Obviously this is not a herb, but having some cooked bacon on hand is also
very convenient to quickly put into a sandwich, salad or cream soup.

On my next shelf I keep a container of mixed frozen berries
and a container of fruit crisp crumbs for the easiest, quickest dessert around.
( for two people, place two cups of fruit in a small pie plate,
cover with a few handfulls of crumbs and bake 20-30 mintues.
Serve hot with ice cream.)

I replenish the container with frozen fruit from my big freezer
and make up a new batch of crumbs when this one is empty.
I also like to have an assortment of nuts, such as pecans and almonds on hand.

The next shelf is my bread box.  Bread for toasting and
any started bags of buns or pizza buns from my big freezer, land up in here,
Right now, there is a box of eggo waffles and a bag of 
frozen unbaked croissants underneath the bread.

The bottom shelf ends up mostly with started bags of frozen vegetables and hash browns.
Cubed cooked chicken, a bag of meatballs and a few fish fillets
are hidden underneath for a quick meal or addition to something. 
(I keep pretty well all meat in my big freezer.)
Deep underneath I have some baking ingredients such as wheat bran and  flaxseed.

In the door, there is quick access to orange juice. 
A must have in our home.

Decaf coffee for guests. Our regular coffee is used up too quick to bother freezing.
(In case you are wondering,
in the jar is some fruity balsamic sauce for grilled pork.)

And breadcrumbs. I keep them frozen.
That is about the gist of it.
I'd love to keep ice cream in here as it's something we get out a lot
but the pail is sort of on the big side.

This post has made me consider what makes the big freezer and what makes the little one.
Although it varies at times, mostly I like the quick access to items I just need a bit of,
before returning the rest to the freezer.

Flashback Friday ~ Ukrainian Borscht

Is there any better treat than taking a walk to the garden and hauling in all your fresh vegetables to make Ukrainian Borscht.  When I was a young child, I can remember vividly, walking home from school, stepping into a kitchen filled with the aroma of dill. Right now it's August and it's feeling somewhat cool outside and it's time to bring back one of our traditional Borscht recipes.  Borscht was always served with a loaf of fresh bread or buns.  A few weeks ago I walked into Lovella's kitchen unexpectedly and she was about to serve her family soup and buns, just like my Mom did, in a big pot on the table and a pan of fresh buns.

Ukrainian Borscht
  • 2 pounds soup bone with meat.
  • 8 cups soup stock 
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 cups beets
  • 2 cups carrots diced.
  • 2 cups cabbage shredded
  • 2 cups potatoes diced
  • 1 large onion, cut fine.
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • A fresh handful of dill
  1. Cover soup bones with water and simmer for several hours until meat is tender.
  2. Add seasonings.
  3. Remove the bone and shred the meat and add it to the broth.
  4. Clean, wash, prepare and cut vegetables and add to broth.
  5. Cook till vegetables are tender.
  6. Add tomato juice
  7. Serve with sour cream and add fresh dill.
And we loved nothing more than dipping our bread into our soup.  But that was only allowed when we did not have company.  Were you allowed to do that?

Mango Jicama Slaw

This slaw is a fresh alternative to traditional coleslaw for a barbecue. You can use a store bought dressing or mix up Anneliese's dressing. Anneliese also has a tutorial on how to cut a mango at that link. 

  • 1/2 Small Jicama, peeled and julienned
  • 2 Mangoes, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 small cabbage julienned
  • 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions/scallions sliced thin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Store bought mango dressing or Anneliese's dressing

  1. Mix all fresh ingredients together.
  2. Add enough dressing to coat.
Serves 6
 You can double or triple this recipe for a large crowd using up a whole Jicama, whole head of cabbage, adding more mangoes and increasing the dressing. An easy tip is to use equal parts Jicama, Mango and Cabbage.
If you don't want to bother with whole mangoes you can buy peeled and pitted mangoes at your grocery store. I bought mine at Costco.

Frozen Margarita Cream Pie

I'm sharing a favourite frozen pie with you that is easy to make and can be tucked into your freezer for a hot summer day!  I like to make a crunchy granola crust but you can rather use a graham cracker crust.

  • 1 1/2 cups granola  (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
Margarita Cream Filling
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups (500 ml) soft cream cheese
  • 6-ounce can frozen margarita concentrate, partially thawed
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2  tablespoons Cointreau (orange liqueur) optional
  • Zest of one lime, zested
  1. Combine granola, coconut and melted butter in a food processor and pulse until crumbs form.
  2. Press crumbs into a 9 inch springform pan or a deep dish pie plate. (with a pie plate you might have enough filling left to make a couple of individual servings in ramekins.)
  3. In a medium bowl, whip cream until stiff.  Set aside 1 cup of whipped cream and place in a pastry bag fitted with a star attachment to decorate the top of the pie. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, condensed milk and margarita concentrate. Beat together until smooth.  
  5. Slowly beat in whipped cream.
  6. Pour filling into the prepared crust. 
  7. Pipe whipped cream around the edge of the pie. 
  8. Sprinkle with lime zest, sparkling sugar if desired.
  9. Freeze until firm, and then cover well with plastic wrap until ready to serve. 
Yields 8 servings

Shrimp and Pineapple Stirfry

Shrimp and green beans are complimented
 by the bright flavour of fresh pineapple 
 in this summer stir fry.

  • 1/2 a fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 - 2 cups fresh  or frozen green beans cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger (see tip for grating fresh ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • seasoned pepper to taste
  • (optional )- red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups medium sized cooked shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons cold water
  • Chopped cashew nuts or sesame seed if desired.

    1. Prepare pineapple.  Cut off top. Place pineapple upright on a cutting board and using a large knife, cut the skin off using downward strokes, removing as many eyes as possible. If the eyes are deep into the flesh of the pineapple, you can cut long v shaped grooves around the outside to remove the eyes, 
    2. Cut the skinned pineapple in half and wrap one half in plastic wrap or foil to store in the fridge for later use.
    3. Cut the remaining half into two pieces lengthwise and cut out and discard the core.
    4. Cut the pineapple lengthwise and then crosswise into bite-sized chunks.
    5. Place in a bowl and set aside.
    6. Heat vegetable oil in wok or deep frying pan and add onions and green beans, stir frying until onions begin to look translucent.
    7. Ad grated ginger, soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey and rice wine vinegar.
    8. Add pineapple, cover and cook for a few minutes - until green beans are tender but still bright green.
    9. Add shrimp, pepper and red pepper flakes if desired.
    10. Add cornstarch and stir until shrimp is just heated through and sauce is thickened
    11. If desired, sprinkle with nuts or sesame seed and serve over rice.
    Serves 2-4 people.

    Bread for the Journey

    "The Family is one of Nature's Masterpieces"

    Rest and Refocus

    It's August and summertime is half over.  I need to truly confess that summer energizes me and the extra daylight allows me to plan at times.   I'm the type of person who needs to force myself to relax and not always be task orientated.  So I have one month left...can I intentionally take some quiet time for walks, hikes, and bike rides, and face 'empty' hours without being driven by guilt? Do I have permission to decline invites and graciously say 'No'?  I think that most of us have realized that if we don't 'plan for quiet time' it will be easily absorbed into everyone else's schedules.

    Did Jesus take time to rest from his busy ministry?  I love how Jesus explains his need to find rest and refocus.  In Mark 6:30-32 we have the account where Jesus had to get away from the crowds for a while and rest.  Jesus and the disciples were so busy they did not even have time to eat.  They jumped in a boat and looked for a desolate place.

    The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32  And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.

    Have you ever noticed how when you are on a mission, it's easy to take your eyes off Jesus and begin to focus on your task?  I think that Jesus really wanted to teach his disciples to focus and shift their attention from activity to relationships.

    It never ceases to amaze me how fast time goes.  This next week we plan to drive to a desolate place with the family and jump into a boat and go fishing.
    These are some of the things that I want to remember about summertime:

    fingerprints on windows and door
    baby books and blankets
    early morning baby cries
    swinging high into the sky
    flips flops at the front entrance
    scraped knees
     sprinklers and bathing suits
    marshmallows and campfires
    backyard BBQ's
    spiders and bats
    climbing trees
    rollkuchen and watermelon
    shorts and t-shirts
    rompers and diapers
    berries squishing between the toes
    ice cream dripping off their chins
    splashing in puddles

    How do you wish to refocus?

    Blue Cornmeal Blueberry Muffins

    Recently I was gifted a bag of blue cornmeal. I often bake up corn bread or yellow cornmeal muffins but had never baked with blue cornmeal before. I found a recipe that looked good and changed it up by adding orange juice and zest. Blue cornmeal is not as gritty as yellow cornmeal and has a subtle flavour all it's own. 
    (yields 12 large muffins)
    • 1 cup blue cornmeal
    • 1 cup white flour
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • juice from 1 orange
    • zest from one orange
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
    1. Stir together dry ingredients.
    2. Melt butter. While it's cooling beat together rest wet ingredients.
    3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine.
    4. Fold in fresh or frozen blueberries.
    5. Fill greased or paper lined muffin tins and fill to 3/4 full.
    6. Bake in 400º oven for 25 minutes.
    7. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove to cooling rack.