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Pork Chops with Apples and Cranberries

As the month of December approaches, I get out my calendar and start thinking about entertaining.  
Harv and I love inviting friends to dinner during this season. 
Once the house is decorated, all I have to do is set the table and decide what to cook.
Here's one of the recipes I plan on serving.
 It was inspired by a dish we were served this fall at a lovely Vancouver Island B& B.
I made it for my husband recently and he agreed it was "fit for company!".

For the marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons Hoisin paste*
  • 2 tablespoons Rice Wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white wine or apple juice**
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh or frozen ginger

  • 4 boneless pork chops (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large apple
  • reserved marinade
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • water and more apple juice as needed
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

* Hoisin paste is thicker than Hoisin sauce. Both can be found in the Asian section of the supermarket. I'm sure the sauce would work equally well.
**I've used an apple flavoured dessert wine in place of the apple juice but either is good.
  1. In a glass pint jar or gravy shaker combine first seven ingredients and shake well until well blended.
  2. Place pork chops in a zippered plastic bag and pour marinade in over them.
  3. Remove as much air as you can, seal bag and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  4. Remove chops from marinade, dividing the marinade into two bowls.
  5. Grill pork on BBQ or pellet grill until done, basting with half of the marinade. Reserve the other half for the sauce.
  6. Meanwhile, core apple and slice it into 6 rings.
  7. In a medium frying pan, melt butter  over medium heat and saute apple rings until lightly browned on both sides. They should be just starting to soften. Do not overcook.
  8. Pour reserved marinade over apples, add cranberries and simmer until reduced by half.
  9. Remove apple rings to a bowl and cover to keep warm
  10. Mix cornstarch and more apple juice and add to mixture in pan, stirring well until thickened..  Add more water or apple juice if needed. 
  11. Taste sauce and add more brown sugar or hoisin if needed.
  12. Return apples to pan and keep warm on low heat until chops are ready.
  13. Plate chops on a serving platter or individual plates, topping each chop with an apple ring,  cranberries and a spoonful of the sauce.
  14. Serve and enjoy!
Serves 4

Cranberry Orange Wreath

Here is a lovely addition to your holiday table, adapted from a recipe for a Cranberry Almond Wreath in an old  Robin Hood recipe Christmas recipe book.  I have made several different versions over the years and switched it up to use my favorite refrigerator roll dough.  Preparing the dough the previous day simplifies the process. This year I have omitted the almonds and added orange zest.  


  • 2 cups very warm water
  • 1/4 cup potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons yeast (instant, fast rising) 
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed 
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 cups icing sugar 
  • 4 T orange juice
  • zest 1 large orange
  1. Stir together the water, potato flakes, sugar and salt.
  2. Add eggs and softened butter, then yeast mixed with 3 cups flour.
  3. Beat with mixer on high speed.
  4. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a knead-able dough is obtained ... knead well.
  5. Place in a greased, covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.
  6. Divide dough into two equal portions.
  7. On a floured or greased surface, roll each portion of dough into a 16 x 12 inch rectangle.
  8. Spread with butter.
  9. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cranberries and zest and spread half the mixture over buttered dough. (Use 1/2 of this filling for each wreath.)
  10. Roll up jelly roll-style, starting with a long edge. Pinch seam to seal. Transfer to a parchment lined  pizza pan or large cookie sheet, seam side down.  Shape into a ring, pinching ends together to seal.
  11. Using kitchen shears or serrated knife, start at outside edge and cut 2/3 of the way through the ring at 1" intervals. 
  12. Separate slices slightly and twist to show filling.
  13. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (at least one hour).
  14. Bake at 350° F / 190°C for 20 minutes or until golden.
  15. For glaze...mix icing sugar, orange juice and orange zest.  Spread over wreaths.
  16.  Garnish with additional chopped cranberries, if desired.
Yield: 2 wreaths
* For another version of the edible Christmas wreath, check out Anneliese's recipe for the Christmas Fruit and Nut Wreath featured in  our Celebrations cookbook.



Bread for the Journey

 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
    walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
    you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
    now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
    keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
    in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
    I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
    don’t ever walk off and leave me.
Psalm 119:1-8 The Message

How exactly do we stay on track and in the center of God's will, when there are so many distractions pulling us in every direction? 
I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  Isaiah 48:17 

Only God can help us to see the possibilities and potential that we have...and the path we should be taking. His words will give us strength when we are feeling down and keep us on the right track.

God will show me the path of life. Psalm 16:11

When we don't know which is the right decision and aren't sure which choice will keep us on course, we need to spend some time with God.  He will show us.  And then it is our choice to stay on the path...or not.

Dear God, today I will choose to follow you.  I trust you completely and know that nothing can separate me from your love.  Lead me as I walk on the path of life.  In Jesus name, Amen.

A Few Tips on Herbs

 I've just a few pictures today of some handy ways to cut up your fresh herbs.
Here in the Lower Mainland of the Fraser Valley we usually have mild wet winters so some of our herbs will survive the winter.

Rosemary is very hardy. I've been able to use it fresh almost all winter.

Some Sage leaves may turn yellow and drop but now in November, there are still plenty of fresh leaves to snip.

Basil, on the other hand, wilts quickly when the cool damp weather hits so I buy it in bunches at our local produce market.  Although it doesn't work all the time, I find if I keep the fresh basil in a vase on the windowsill, it will sometimes take root and stay fresh for longer. I could even plant this now and have a lovely fresh plant all winter long.
One tip about Basil - do not store it in the fridge or allow the leaves to get damp.  They will turn colour and wilt quickly. Wrap it loosely in paper towel and store in an open plastic bag.

The best way to snip Rosemary is to strip the leaves off of the stem into a small cup.
Hold the stem of rosemary at the top and slide your fingers down the stem to release the needles into your cup.  Then simply take your kitchen scissors and point the tip into the bottom of the cup, snipping until the Rosemary is fine enough for your use.

You can use the cup and scissors method for other fresh herbs such as dill, parsley and cilantro.

For Chives, snip your chives into 4 or 5 inch lengths and then snip the whole bunch at once into the desired size.

To cut up fresh Basil. stack the leaves.
Cut lengthwise down the centre vein and stack again

Then slice the stacked leaves into a chiffonade.  If you want longer strands of basil,leave the leaves whole before slicing and if you want finer pieces, cut the leaves one more time lengthwise before slicing them crosswise.

Fresh herbs spark up any dish and are now readily available year round in most major grocery stores and produce markets so go ahead and enjoy them all year round.

Pomegranate Cranberry topped Crostinis

Jewel like pomegranate arils crown these pretty holiday appetizers.

For the Crostini:
  • 1 baguette
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil (or olive oil, I like the lightness of grape seed oil) 
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • fine black pepper
  • spreadable cream cheese, to use when assembling
  1. Cut baguette into 1/4" slices, cut on the diagonal
  2. Lightly brush one side of each slice with oil.
  3. Top with a light dusting of salt and pepper
  4. Bake in 350º oven for 10 minutes. Check and rotate pan. Bake another 5 minutes until crostini's are golden but not dark. They will be very crispy on both sides. 
  5. Remove to cooling rack.
Pomegranate Cranberry Topping:
  • 3 cups frozen cranberries 
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 2 tsp hot sauce, Sriracha or Sambal Oelek
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • zest of one small orange
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate arils
  1. Place all ingredients except for pomegranate arils in a blender or food processor. 
  2. Pulse your machine slowly until mixture is chopped but not pureed. You want some chunks of the fruit and also to be able to see little specks of the parsley throughout. 
  3. Stir in the pomegranate arils. 
  4. Allow this mixture to sit in the refrigerator for several hours. It will last well for a few days in the refrigerator. 
To assemble Bruschetta just before serving:
  1. Spread each crostini with spreadable cream cheese.
  2. Top with a spoonful of the topping.
  3. Sprinkle each with a few more arils.
  4. Garnish with grated orange rind.

Lemon Crinkles

Wishing all of our American friends 
a happy Thanksgiving Day!

If you like ginger snaps, or ginger crinkles as some like to call them, you will probably like this wonderful lemony twist.. This is a small recipe, quick to make and no decorating needed.

  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp lemon Jello crystals
  • 1 egg
  • fine zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
coating: (place separately into small bowls)
  • 1/4 cups sugar mixed with 1 Tbsp lemon Jello crystals
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar (confectioners)
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 1 large or 2 medium cookie sheets.
  2. In mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and lemon crystals until creamy.
  3. Stir lemon zest, vanilla and egg in well.
  4. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir into wet.
  5. Scoop dough out by teaspoon and roll into 1 inch balls. 
  6. Roll each cookie first in lemon sugar and then in icing sugar. 
  7. Place with a bit of spreading room on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 10 - 11 minutes or until soft and crackly, just barely starting to turn golden. If not sure, check the underneath. When out of the oven, slam cookie sheet down once (on heat resistant surface) to made them fall slightly. 
  9. Cool. Dust with more icing sugar if desired just before serving. Yield 24 - 30 medium size cookies. 
  10. Keep in covered container in cool place or freeze. 
Tip: Using light colored (aluminum) baking sheets helps to keep light colored cookies from burning. 
If using dark colored sheets, place foil under sheet on rack OR cook on rack placed higher than center of oven. 

Chocolate Cupcakes

This moist Chocolate Cupcake recipe is a great one to make with kids because it can be mixed by hand and teaches some great basic baking skills.

These junior bakers had great fun measuring and stirring the ingredients. 

Use Cupcake liners to fill muffin tins.

The easiest way to get the batter into the cupcake liners is by using a large spring loaded ice cream scoop.  This batter is firm enough to make this easy.  

Another skill that is so easy and great for kids to learn is this simple way to decorate cupcakes using a Wilton 1M tip. 

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

  • 1 cup salted butter, cut into cubes 
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream (not low fat)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 ℉.  Put the oven rack in the center of the oven. Prepare two muffin tins with 24 large cupcake liners.
  2. Put the butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder into a bowl and heat in the microwave, stirring often until all the ingredients are melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla and sugar until it is well combined.   Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat well with a whisk.  
  5. Add the flour and sour cream with a wooden spoon, stirring until the batter is mixed.  Use a spatula to scrape sides.  
  6. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.  Bake 18 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick tested in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. 
  7. Let cupcakes cool before frosting.  
Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 cup butter, cut into cubes and softened at room temperature
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, cubed and melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered/icing sugar
  •  a bit of cream if necessary to make a smooth frosting
  1. Combine softened butter and cooled melted chocolate with a beater on medium speed.
  2. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  I do not add additional liquid but if yours is a bit stiff, add a bit of cream to make a consistency that is easy to pipe or spread.
  3. Put a Wilton 1M tip into a 12-inch disposable piping bag.  Add half of the frosting at a time and pipe circles onto the cupcake starting from the edge and working to the center of the cupcake. 
Cupcakes are best kept at room temperature in a covered container or frozen.  

Potato Apple Pancakes

By combining an apple and a potato gives this pancake recipe a different twist from the usual. A tasty side for any main dish. Extra delicious when served with a dollop of sour cream or applesauce.
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large apple, I used Gala 
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil.
  1. Grate potato and apple, squeeze dry in a clean tea towel and place in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Stir in flour and seasonings.
  3. Add oil to a non stick large skillet and drop spoonfuls of mixture into skillet.
  4. Spread out the mixture to flatten the cakes.
  5. On medium heat fry pancakes 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to serving dish. Serve hot.
  6. Yield: 6 pancakes

Almond Beans and Caramelized Shallots

It's American Thanksgiving weekend and we feel more than honored to be invited to my daughter's in-law family in California to join them for this special occasion.  Here's a recipe that takes an extra few minutes to caramelize the shallots but it's worth the effort. A perfect addition to that festive holiday meal.
Do you know the difference between shallots and onions?  Let's find out.

  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds toasted 
  • 1/4 fresh cut parsley
  1. Blanch beans for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Drain and transfer to cold ice water to stop the cooking process.
  3. When cooled, set aside and drain.  You can prepare these in the morning and refrigerate them. 

Caramelized Shallots 
  1. Saute' butter and olive oil in large frying pan.
  2. Add the onion/shallots, garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir on medium heat (6 min) till the onions begin to brown, then reduce the heat and continue stirring another 6 minutes till they become caramelized.
  4. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  1. In the same pan warm, using medium heat add 1 tsp olive oil.
  2. Add the green beans and season with salt and pepper until they are heated through.
  3. Add half of the shallots and almonds and stir to combine up to 3-4 minutes
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and add remaining caramelized mixture and serve immediately. 
  5. Sprinkle a few twigs of parsley on top.

Whats the difference between onions and shallots?

I've always wondered what the difference was. I have always had red and yellow onions in my kitchen, but never shallots.  Shallots have a sweet and mild flavor and  are less pungent in smell. They are generally smaller with more fine layers than onions and can be used well especially in dishes where they are eaten raw. Shallots are generally chopped finer. If the recipes calls for shallots you can swap in onions any time.  Generally one small onion equals 3 small shallots.  Often the smaller size proves more convenient if you are cooking smaller recipes.  Shallots are also very tasty when caramelized. 

Let's talk turkey!

Those of us who live in Canada celebrated Thanksgiving last month, but many of you live south of the border and are busy making plans for a Thanksgiving feast next week.  Let me pass along a few things that were part of our turkey dinner this year that may be of interest to you.

My grands all love raw veggies!  They much prefer them to cooked veggies and aren't all that fond of salads.  So a veggie platter with a slight resemblance to a turkey found its way to our table along with the hot vegetables.

Cooking the stuffing in a crockpot allows the unstuffed turkey to cook much quicker. It is also easy to double the recipe to serve a crowd.

Pinterest is a wonderful source of ideas.  It is where I found these cute editable and printable placecards by Bloom Design. Simply open the file in Adobe, click in each box to delete name and replace with your guest's name. Print on white or 'kraft' coloured card stock. Fold around a flat napkin or form a traditional napkin ring.  Simple to make...and a lovely touch on any Thanksgiving table!

And those are the Saturday tips or today!

FLashback Friday / Party Pizza Buns

The Pizza Bun filling is so handy to have in the freezer so you are ready for those quick and easy lunches or entertaining if you need a snack for an evening of games night. My mom has been making this recipe since I was a young child, so this recipe has certainly stood the test of time and she still makes it every Christmas Eve. I hope you try it and enjoy it too. This time I used cooked Farmer Sausag, grated pepperoni stick and bacon moistened with tomatoe sauce instead of soup. I served it on Ciabatta buns instead of my favorite Air Buns along side a tossed salad dressed in a Honey Dijon Vinegrette my daughters favorite dressing.

  • 1 lb of browned and drained ground beef or Farmer Sausage or finely diced Pepperoni
  • 1 lb bacon chopped, browned and drained well
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 green or red pepper diced
  • mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 10 oz can of Tomato Soup or Sauce
  • generously add to taste-garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, pepper
  • 1 lb grated mozzarella cheese*
  1. Slice buns in half, I used whole wheat.
  2. Spread desired amount of filling on bun.
  3. Broil until cheese melts and the edges brown a little.

Gluten Free Garlic Mini loaves

Two Saturdays ago, it was my granddaughter's birthday and following our family tradition, dinner was at my house !
I served a family favorite, lasagna along with garlic bread and salad. My daughter brought a lovely dessert - cherry cheesecake drizzled with white chocolate.

The garlic bread was a new recipe for me, I was happy that everyone enjoyed it, even the non-Celiac men in my family. .

The following recipe makes 8 mini-loaves.
This bread is quick to make, delicious served warm with garlic butter.

  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1 tbsp reg. yeast 
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • 2 cups julie's mix flour 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum 
  • Parmesan cheese (for topping) 
  • 8 tsp of butter (in pan)
  1. Heat milk, add sugar and yeast and let proof for 10 minutes
  2. Melt butter and add crushed garlic cloves.  
  3. In mixer bowl, blend egg, butter/garlic, honey and yeast mixture. 
  4. Blend dry ingredients. 
  5. Add dry ingredients to liquid, mix and then beat on high for about 4 minutes. 
  6. Add 1 tsp of butter in each of the 8 loaf cups. (spray pan or lightly grease, before adding butter) 
  7. Divide dough between the 8 loaves (about 1/2 full) 
  8. Smooth tops with wet fingers. 
  9. Sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese over the tops. 
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1/2 hour. 
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. 
  12. Let sit in pan for a few minutes, remove and serve warm with garlic butter. 
(loaves can also be enjoyed cool, or reheated) 

Chicken Mini Turnovers

These chicken mini turnovers are a great appetizer to serve for Grey Cup game or for that matter any occasion. Dip these warm turnovers in a sweet chili sauce and you will go back for seconds, guaranteed.
Adapted from Taste of Home.

  • 1/4 cup celery (it calls for onions but we prefer celery)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 3/4 cups cooked chicken, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1 package (250 gram) cream cheese, cubed
  1. In a large skillet saute celery in butter until tender.
  2. Add chicken, broth, seasonings, and cream cheese stirring until cream cheese is melted. 
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 4 or 5 tablespoons cold water.
  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour and seasonings.
  2. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Gradually add water a tablespoon at a time tossing mixture with a fork until a ball forms. 
  4. On a floured surface roll pastry to 1/16 inch thickness. Cut circles with a 3" round cutter. Re-roll scraps and cut more circles until the pastry is used up.
  5. Mound a heaping teaspoon of chicken filling on half of each circle. Moisten edges with water, fold pastry over filling and press edges with a fork to seal. Prick tops with fork.
  6. Bake in a 375º oven for 20 minutes. They should be golden in color.
  7. Yield: 20.  They freeze well. 
*Note: I had topping mixture left over, it's very tasty spread on a bun with a sprinkle of cheese and broiled in oven until bubbly and toasty.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

My family has a favorite easy Spice Cake that I've made over the years and I decided to switch it up a bit for pumpkin season. Instead of using applesauce that the original recipe called for I used 100% pure canned pumpkin and pumpkin spice instead of nutmeg.

Pumpkin Spice Cake


  • 1 pkg. yellow cake mix
  • 1 pkg. 4 serving size Jello instant vanilla pudding (3.4oz.)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin filling (not sweetened)
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1/4 C. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl of electric mixer and blend then beat at medium for 4 minutes. 
  3. Pour into well greased and floured 10 inch tube or fluted tube pan or angel food pan. 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. 
  6. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove and cool on rack. 
  7. When the cake has cooled and before serving give it a dusting of powdered sugar. 
  8. It's good by itself or served with vanilla ice cream.

Greek Feta Dip

There's always room in my recipe box for one more party dip! This Greek Feta dip is loaded with flavour. It literally whips up in minutes and disappears just about as fast. Thanks for sharing this recipe with me Rhoda....and thank Kate for sharing it with you. 
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Greek Feta salad dressing (any brand works, I like Kraft)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise 
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp milk
  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl and whip together with electric mixer.
  2. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow the flavours to combine.
  3. Simply serve in bowl as is or spread on a platter and top with chopped tomatoes, olives and red onion for a more festive presentation. 

Bread for the Journey

I know in the one in whom I trust and I am sure that He is able 
to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.
2 Timothy 1:12 (NLT)

In recent days, we have wittnessed an Election across the border, remembered soldiers that have fought for peace and freedom through Rememberance Day, and the news reminds us of the horrific challenges people face daily around the world. We also have our own personal struggles through broken relationships and health concerns, or finacial difficulties and stress we face that burden our spirit. It is enough to set our hearts and minds into a tizzy if we allow it. Many years ago the devotional by Roy Lessin came into my inbox linked below and I have found this prayer to be helpful in releasing my cares to the only one who can do anything about what I have no control over. May you too experience the peace of Christ that passes all understanding.

by Roy Lessin

Heavenly Father, I release to You the burdens that I have been carrying, burdens that You never intended for me to carry. 
I cast all my cares upon You - all my worries, all my fears. 
Father calm my restless spirit, quiet my anxious heart, still my troubling thoughts with the assurance that You are in control.
I let go of my grip upon the things I have been hanging onto, with opened hands I come to You. 
I thank You for Your promise to sustain me, preserve me, and guard all that I have entrusted to Your keeping. 
Protect my heart and mind with Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Father, may your will be done in my life in Your time, and in Your way. 

Saturday in Ellen's Kitchen

Today in Ellen's kitchen we are having some fun with confectioners sugar. Some call it icing sugar and some call it powdered sugar. Here in my kitchen we call it powdered sugar. One of our favorite gadgets to use powdered sugar with is this old Tupperware Jifi-Sift. You need to be careful filling it but once you have it's a breeze to use.
Do you have one of these in your kitchen?
If you don't have a Jifi-Sift you can use something similar to the handled strainer above to gently powder anything.

Next week I will share the recipe to make this Pumpkin Spice Cake which is perfect to serve sprinkled with powdered sugar. This is one of my favorite vintage milk glass cake plates that was passed down to us from Greg's mother.  

Here in my kitchen we are also starting to thing about Thanksgiving which is on November 24th in the United States. I know our Canadian neighbors have already celebrated in October. 

Feeling thankful here in my house and kitchen. Hope you have a list of thankfuls. Feel free to share one or two thankfuls in the comments.

Lemon Pepper Salmon - Flash Back Friday

My husband has had the opportunity to go fishing up in Haida Gwai (Queen Charlotte Islands) in Northern BC for several years running.
He brings back lots of salmon and even some Halibut on occasion.
For Flash Back Friday I'm bringing back a recipe from 2008 that we still enjoy.
Salmon fillets come in all sizes so I've not included any amounts but rather just the ingredients and how to prepare the fish.
  • mayonnaise - enough to spread over the entire top surface of the filleted salmon
  • lemon pepper - be fairly generous (check the photo if you're not sure)
  • freeze dried or fresh dill, finely chopped
  • lemon zest if desired
  1. Prepare a pan for the oven or BBQ grill: Cover pan with parchment paper or foil.  If using foil, lightly grease it.
  2. Place salmon skin side down.
  3. Spread mayonnaise over the top of the fish, right to the edges.
  4. Sprinkle with Lemon Pepper, dill and lemon zest.
  5. Bake or grill fish until done.  This may take 15- 25 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.  Test it with a fork - if it begins to flake, it is done.  Do not overcook salmon or it will be dry.
  6. When transferring to a serving plate, try to leave the skin on the pan.
Serving suggestion -  Serve with Caramelized New Potatoes and grilled or roasted peppers and zucchini.

Creamy Vegetable Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Kale

When it comes to pasta and sauces, the choices can be as varied as times that you cook it, because there may never be two times you make it exactly the same. An exact recipe is not really required, but sometimes it's good to be inspired by just one aspect of a recipe.  Maybe this will fit your craving today. You can use any pasta of course, but I decided to try the Smart Veggie Spaghettini by Catelli.


  • 2 - 3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 - 3  Tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (divided)
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • Smart Veggie Spaghettini (half a 340 g box)
  • 4 - 5 cups baby kale (if you can't get soft leaves, use spinach) 
  • grated Parmesan and fresh basil, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 
  2. Cut tomatoes in half,  Put in roasting pan or in cast iron pan. Drizzle with 11/2 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning. Mix to coat and roast for about 20 minutes.
  3. Heat pot with salted water to cook pasta.
  4. In the meantime, cook onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil, until golden. Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring.
  5. Sprinkle with flour and stir, adding milk a little at a time, continuing to stir until slightly thickened. 
  6. Add tomato paste and remaining seasonings (Italian, S/P, red pepper flakes) and simmer on low.
  7. Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until done ( 5 minutes) then add baby kale and bring to boil.
  8. Drain. Stir in sauce and roasted tomatoes. Serves 3 - 4
  9. To serve, add a few shakes of grated Parmesan and fresh basil

Caesar Salad

Last weekend, Mennonite Girls Can Cook did a cooking class at Bev's house.  We auctioned off a class at our local MCC sale and Ron Ratzlaff bought it.  He invited guys from his Bible Study and we had a great time together.   

 They learned how to make Coconut Prawns,  Caesar Salad, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Anise Chicken, Meatloaf, Basil Glazed Carrots, and Warm Caramel Bananas for dessert.  

This Caesar Salad recipe is so quick and so delicious.  I use an immersion blender to whip it all together.  If you don't have an immersion blender, put all the ingredients into a blender and then slowly drizzle in oil as the blender is running.  

The recipe was given to me by my friend Jeanette who has made this for many years.  My son told me to get the recipe ASAP because it was the best Caesar Salad he had ever had.  Once I tasted it, I had to agree! 

Caesar Salad 

  • 1 large fresh room temperature egg *
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 anchovies (finely chopped) anchovies are usually found in a can in the dairy department
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Fresh parmesan cheese for putting the salad together
  • Croutons
  • lemon

  1. Ensure that all ingredients are at room temperature. The ingredients will not emulsify if they are not at room temperature.
  2. Place all remaining ingredients in a mason jar in order listed.
  3. Using a hand held immersion blender, start at the bottom of the jar and turn on high for 10 seconds or until the ingredients begin to turn creamy.   Continue to blend until the dressing is thick and creamy.
  4. To put the salad together, chop Romaine lettuce into bite sized pieces.  Mix in a small amount of dressing and toss together and then add in more dressing to coat lettuce as desired.  Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, croutons and a squeeze of fresh lemon.  

* Check the link here for information on cooking with raw eggs. When properly handled, raw and lightly cooked Canada Grade ‘A’ eggs are not a concern for healthy individuals. There is, however, a high-risk segment of the population that should avoid eating eggs that are not thoroughly cooked. This includes: people who are suffering from a disease or whose immune system is compromised, very young children, the elderly and pregnant women.


Slice a baguette into thin slices on a diagonal. Spread with butter mixed with crushed garlic, parmesan cheese and a bit of parsley.   Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 F oven until lightly browned.  Flip the croutons over and toast on the other side.  Set aside to cool before adding to the salad.