Butter Pecan Ice Cream Pie

My sister Vera was born on Leap Year Day and since it's Leap Year Day I'm posting something sweet to enjoy for a celebration. This is a make ahead dessert that will finish off any meal well. It's rich and creamy with a nice crunch. Quick and easy to prepare but it needs a good three hours to set well before serving.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 lightly baked 9-inch pie shell
  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 cup Butter Pecan Ice Cream, softened
  • 1 package (6-serving) instant pudding-vanilla flavor

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine brown sugar, butter and nuts in saucepan and heat until the butter is melted.
  3. Pour this mixture into the lightly baked pie shell and bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes, cool.
  4. Blend milk and ice cream in a medium sized bowl thoroughly.
  5. Add the pudding mix to the blended ice cream and milk.
  6. Beat slowly at lowest speed of electric mixer until blended for one minute.
  7. Pour immediately into prepared and cooled pie shell.
  8. Chill in refrigerator until set, approx. 3 hours.
  9. Garnish with whipped cream and additional nuts, if desired.
  10. Serves 4-8 depending on appetite or sweet tooth.

Bread for the Journey


I have a large, picture window beside my computer desk that overlooks a wooded area.  
I watch happy little creatures busily running to and fro - 
finding food, hiding food or just chasing one another for the fun of it. 
They never fail to put a happy smile on my face.  

My husband's help was asked for recently, to try to find out why
 some of the lights in their house no longer worked. 
Flipping the breaker wasn't the solution. 
It was discovered that the problem was that squirrels 
had found a way to get into the attic 
and made themselves at home,
  building a nest in the corner and chewing through electrical cords,
effectively cutting the power needed to turn on some of the lights in the house. 

I realized that, cute and harmless though the squirrels in my backyard look, 
if they get into the wrong place they can cause a lot of trouble. 

It made me think about how many things we encounter along our daily paths 
are seemingly harmless, and we even look upon them with pleasure,
but if we give them the wrong place in our lives
 - in our priorities or our affections -
letting them distract us from things that are more important, 
they can cause a lot of problems,
causing the Light that is in us to grow dim or it no longer shines, because
 our 'power connection' has been severed.  
We lose credibility or effectiveness in our witness,
or relationships are harmed, 
or bad attitudes become a habit.  
But our God is a wonderful 'electrician'
 - He sent the Light into the world,
 to bring light into our darkness. 
If we are walking in darkness, if we have wandered from the Light,
or let something chew through the cords of our Source connection.,  
God's forgiveness and grace 'turns the light back on'!
We need only call on Him. He is available 24/7
and He makes house  heart calls.

  For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. 
Psalm  18:28 
 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, 
who has shone in our hearts to give the light 
of the knowledge of the glory of God
 in the face of Jesus Christ. 
2 Corinthians 4:6

Creamy Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake


The last time I featured a pasta recipe, I was contacted by a representative of Barilla pasta to see if I would be interested in receiving a few boxes of their pasta 'to help with my upcoming cooking endeavours'.   But of course!  Last week a pasta delivery arrived on my doorstep. So today I am sharing my first 'endeavour' with the Barilla pasta.  It's a quick and easy pasta dish using ready made soup from the grocery store deli.  It has many possibilities...but we rather liked this one!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin slices
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. / 500 g pasta (rigatoni, bow-tie or penne), cooked according to package directions
  • 2 1/2 cups / 625 ml Tuscan Tomato Basil Soup*
  • 2 cups baby spinach 
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Season  chicken with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook, stirring constantly, until opaque throughout, about 4 minutes. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix together chicken, pasta, soup, spinach and red pepper.
  4. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese.
  6. Bake about 25 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese begins to brown.
*Or use 2 1/2 cups of your favorite tomato soup

 Serves 6.

Key Lime Pie

I was on a Caribbean cruise some years ago...and those of you who have cruised before know that the food is amazing! There were far too many options and no way I could sample everything. But I did the next best thing and came home with the Royal Caribbean International Cookbook called 'Savor'. One of my favorite recipes in the book is the one for key lime pie. It's really very simple...and even more so if you use a ready-made pie crust. This recipe was first posted seven years ago and today seemed like a good day to bring it back. 



Key Lime Pie
  • 1 cup (250 ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice*
  • 1 (9 inch or 23 cm) pie shell, pre-baked
Garnish:
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whipping cream
  • lime zest
  • freshly cut lime slices
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Place condensed milk in mixing bowl, and beat at low speed, adding egg yolks one at a time.
  3. Add lime juice, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Place mixture in pre-baked pie shell.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let cool and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  7. Whip cream...sweeten to taste.
  8. Top pie with whipped cream and lime zest.
  9. Serve on chilled plates.
  10. Garnish with lime slices.
  11. Serves 10.
*If you are not able to find key limes at your local market, other limes work just fine (as long as they are juicy).  Do not used bottled lime juice!

Culinary Notes: (printed next to the key lime pie recipe in my cookbook.)
It is a well known fact that the Key lime is indigenous to Florida and the "key" ingredient for the state's popular Key lime pie. Forced to substitute condensed milk for fresh--which was scarce before the arrival of the railroad in 1912--cooks discovered that the chemical intervention between the condensed milk and the Key lime actually "cooked" the pie without baking it. (excerpt from cookbook)

Several years ago...we took a road trip along the Gulf Coast which ended in the Florida Keys.  We met locals who told us of eating places that we 'must try'!  One of those was Kermit's Key Lime Shoppe...specializing in all things key lime! 


It never took a whole lot of persuading on Kermit's part to have us sample the key lime pie.  It was good...and if you ever find yourself in Key West, you should check it out.  But why not just make up a key lime pie in your own kitchen and enjoy the taste of Florida in your own home?
Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Stuffing



I've made this stuffing twice now, serving it instead of potatoes, once with a turkey roast and once with Lemon Anise Grilled Chicken
The fresh sage nicely compliments the flavours of the butternut squash, bacon and leeks 

  • ciabatta or rustic bread cut into 1" cubes to equal 6-8 cups
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and seasoned pepper (Like Montreal Steak spice)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 6 slices thick bacon, diced, fried and drained
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large leek, cleaned and diced (white and pale green part only)
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • seasoned pepper 
  • salt
  1. Place bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400º F. and line a baking pan with parchment paper.*
  3. Toss butternut squash cubes with oil, salt and pepper and garlic (if using)
  4. Spread squash out on parchment lined pan and roast for about 30-35 minutes or until just fork tender. Do not over bake or it will get mushy. 
  5. When squash is done, reduce oven temperature to 350º.
  6. Fry bacon, drain and set aside.*
  7. Melt butter in same pan, add leeks, celery and chopped sage and saute over medium low heat until vegetables are tender but not browned.
  8. Add baked squash, bacon, leek mixture, dried cranberries to bread in bowl and toss lightly
  9. Add chicken broth, salt and seasoned pepper to taste and mix well until the bread is evenly moist.
  10. Place in a 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350º  for 35 minutes. I covered the dish loosely with foil for the first 15 minutes and then removed it for the last 20 minutes.
  11. Serves 6-8. Enjoy!
* Steps 2-6 can be done a day or two ahead if desired.  Store squash and bacon in fridge until needed.

Italian Sausage Rolls


Did you know you can buy Puff Pastry frozen, thaw it and then make quick appetizers which you can  freeze  before baking?  It works wonderfully and we have been enjoying these little zippy Sausage Rolls since before Christmas.  I keep the Sausage Rolls frozen in long rolls, in a freezer bag and cut off sections to bake for a quick appetizer or light lunch!


  • 1 450 gram / 1 pound  package puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator
  • dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces / 227 gram Hot Italian Sausages
  • 8 ounces / 227 gram Sweet Italian Sausages
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup Panko (japanese style) bread crumbs
  1. Roll out puff pastry to approximately 30 X 4 inches.
  2. Spread lightly with dijon mustard
  3. Break up sausage in a large bowl.  
  4. Add remaining ingredients and combine with hands.
  5. Fill a pastry bag with sausage mixture and cut a 2 inch hole at the tip. Squeeze sausage mixture down the center of the pastry.  Bring long edges of pastry together and pinch together.  Repeat with all the pastry dough and sausage mixture. 
  6. Cut into 6 pieces and arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Freeze until firm, wrap well in plastic wrap and store in freezer in containers or plastic bags.
  8. To bake, preheat oven to 425.  
  9. Slice each roll into 1 or  2 inch pieces (depending on whether you want them for an appetizer or a lunch tray). Arrange, still frozen on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.   When the Sausage Rolls are lightly browned and the fat from the sausage has baked out, they are ready.  

Crab and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti



I found this recipe in a healthy cooking magazine. I changed it up a wee bit. If you like the flavors of pasta, crab and cheeses combined, this recipe is for you.
  • 6 manicotti shells, cooked
  • 2 cans (120 g size each) of crabmeat, drained
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Parsley, fresh or dried, used for garnish
Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
  1. In a saucepan, melt butter, stir in flour until smooth, add milk and pepper, cook and stir until thickened. 
  2. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together crabmeat, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, lemon pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Fill cooked manicotti shells with this mixture.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cup of sauce in an 8" x 8" greased pan and top with stuffed manicotti.
  6. Pour remaining sauce over top and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Baked French Toast Extravaganza



This year we were invited to join our family for a night in the Manning Park Cabins, a favorite for all of us, seeing it was my birthday.  I was not to bring any food...but on the other hand, could I bring their  favorite chicken noodle soup and I quickly volunteered to bring my french toast recipe. Isn't that just what we do on ski vacations?  We made sure the right foods came along and that everyone had a wonderful time.

Baked French Toast
  • 1 loaf Italian Style Bread (16 oz)  1 inch thick
  •  8 large eggs
  •  2 cups whip cream
  • 1 cup milk
  •   2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  Dash salt
  • Maple syrup

Instructions
  1. Lay bread into buttered 9x13 pan.
  2.  Arrange bread in 2 rows overlapping the slices.
  3. Mix eggs until frothy, add whip cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4.  Beat with rotary beater until well blended.
  5. Pour mixture over bread slices making sure it’s covered evenly.
  6.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  7. It may feel like a lot of liquid for this bake, but it really fluffs up and gives that extra texture. 
  8. Next day; preheat oven to 350 degrees
  9. Prepare caramel sauce (below) and pour over bread mixture prior to baking.
  10. Cook for 50 minutes.


Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2  cup butter 
  •  1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecan )
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Instructions
  1.  Melt butter in the sauce pan.
  2.  Add sugar and spices and ingredients to butter mixture and blend well.
  3.  Pour over french toast prior to baking.
  4. Sprinkle nuts on top.
  5. Add any of your favorite sauces or fresh fruits with a dollop of whipping cream.

Boys can be so honest...my grandson said, "I'm not really a French toast person, but this is the best I've ever had."  The smile tells you everything. And don't forget the bacon!

Bread For The Journey


Fear not, for I am with you; 
be not dismayed, for I am your God; 
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  
Isaiah 41:10 ESV

With all that is happening in the world around us these days, it seems we have reason to fear.  And then there are those things that show up unexpectedly in our lives...and shake us to the core. We worry.  We fret. We fear. And we find ourselves crippled, overwhelmed and unable to accomplish the things that need to be done. I've been there.  But God gives us hope in His word.  Did you know that there are many messages in the Bible that tell us to "Fear not"?  Every single day of the year I can read a message from God assuring me that God is for me...He is with me...I do not need to be afraid.  I can have His peace 24 hours of every day!

Is there something you are afraid of today?  God can be trusted to bring you safely through it...whatever it may be!

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act. 
 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.
 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
    Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 
 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
Psalm 37: 5-9 ESV


Fear not tomorrow, God is already there.  ~Ruth Bell Graham 

 

Tea Party Inspiration?


I have granddaughters (and grandsons) who get pretty excited about a tea party.
It can be as simple as getting out the plastic play set and serving
tiny cookies and fruit . . .


or stepping it up on occasion to make it extra special.


This tea party might looks fancy, but it was quite simple really.
I went to the Dollar bins at Michael's and
got a few things, such as the pink canning jars . . .
and filled them with tulips . . .


added some candles and doilies  
and threw about some glittery stones.


Of course you can't forget the sugar and cream for the tea,


(Adding colored sugar sprinkles adds fun to a light colored tea)


And there is always something special about tiny scones and jam . . .


ham sandwiches and cucumbers,


and cookies on a tiered plate.
(aka - Christmas baking from the freezer)


Strips of ribbon with glittery flower stickers attached
hung from the light fixture above the table.
Of course, totally optional but fun!!
Is there a tea party in your future?

Chicken Quesadillas


For Flashback Friday I'm re-visiting my chicken quesadillas and giving them a new twist. This is a great quick meal when you have a few key ingredients on hand.

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-7oz. can of chopped green chiles
  • 1-4oz. can of chopped jalapenos (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 oz. bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Chopped Roma tomatoes (optional)
  • Chopped Avocado (optional)
  • Chopped Cilantro (optional)
  • Salsa of your choice
  • Sour cream

Method:
Saute onion in heated vegetable oil until translucent.
Add the ground chicken, chiles, and seasonings.
Cook until chicken is no longer pink.
Prepare 2 large pans by sprinkling shredded cheese on the bottom over medium heat (1)


Add tortillas of your choice on top of the melting cheese. (2)
With a spatula turner shift the tortilla a little in the pan making sure the cheese is sticking to the bottom of the tortilla.
When the tortilla moves easily add a small layer of cheese on top of only one of the tortillas and then the cooked chicken mixture and other ingredients you desire to the same tortilla in the pan. (3)
Now add cheese as the final layer. Flip the 2nd tortilla over in the second pan to warm it a little. (4)
Now place that tortilla on top of the tortilla with the all the ingredients. (5)
Slide the tortilla onto a cutting board or plate and slice into serving sized pieces with a knife or pizza cutter.(6)
Top with some avocado, sour cream and salsa and enjoy.
We had a Southwest salad to go along side, too.


The melted cheese in the pan that adheres to the tortillas gives the tortillas a nice crispy layer of goodness.

Gluten Free Banana Walnut Muffins


This is my friend Irene's recipe. She baked these moist and delicious muffins for us one evening with tea. They were so tasty I asked for the recipe as I am looking for more recipes that a gluten free without the need for a large variety of gluten free flours. This recipes uses coconut flour.


  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
  1. In a large mixing bowl with beaters mix mashed bananas, eggs, almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla until well blended. 
  2. Add the coconut flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
  3. Combine the dry ingredients with a spatula. Divide the batter evenly in 12 lined baking pans about 2/3 full. 
  4. Sprinkle with additional chopped walnuts if desired. 
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Store in a resealable bag in the refrigerator. 

Apple Roses Cheesecake - Gluten Free


These roses are popular on Pinterest, and I found them intriguing and beautiful - so I decided to try them myself.
 I made the above dessert twice this Valentine's week-end - once for a potluck and once for my kids.
I don't think these roses need be limited to Valentine's Day. Any special occasion would welcome them - Mother's Day, bridal showers, birthdays.
Though the roses are not difficult to make, they are a bit time consuming -  however, the comments I got more than compensated me for my effort.

Since there are numerous sites giving step by step instructions, I'll just offer some tips that may be helpful if you haven't done these before.

1. Cut the apple in half, cutting away the core and ends, then with cut side down , slice the half-apple as thin as possible -- That first slice that is all peel is great to roll up as a deep color center for the rose, or bud,  after the pulp is easily scraped away (after microwaving)

2. Slices are microwaved in liquid (1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, juice of 1/2 lemon)  until they are just at the soft  stage - doesn't take long - I did one apple at a time, in my microwave took 2 1/2 minutes) You just want to 'limp' the slices, not cook completely.  Drain them on toweling after they are microwaved, and allow to cool slightly before forming your rose petals.

3. When creating your roses, roll up the center, then add petals , placing the middle of each apple slice to cover the ends of the previous slice, wrap and then finger roll the red top edge of the slice over to resemble a rose petal. Make the roses different sizes and make some buds.

4. I formed all the roses and set them up on doubled toweling to drain off the excess moisture. Because of the sugar in the water they were microwaved in,  the petals stick together nicely.

5. I used a green apple in an attempt to add leaves - but I wish the color stayed more vibrant - I'm wondering if green food color in the cooking water would intensify the green peel.

6. I made a fruit glaze to drizzle over the apples once placed on the dessert to make them shiny.

7. Use the reddest apples you can find  - I used Red Prince apples, they worked wonderfully well.

8.  I placed the roses randomly over the top - but then found that cutting the dessert was not easily done without ruining the roses -- so I think next time I might arrange the roses in such a way that when the dessert is cut into pieces there would be a rose arrangement on each piece.

9. These roses keep amazingly well ... I thought they would have to be done the same day served - but after a few days in the fridge they are still perfectly fine!

10. For an 8" x 10" pan I needed 4 medium apples for the roses. (the photo shown above was made in a larger pan for our pot luck , 9" x 12" and for that I needed 6 apples and made 1 1/2 times the recipe for the base and the filling)

Note- I haven't tried it but I see no reason the apple slices could not be 'softened' in simmering water/sugar solution on the stove top, if you prefer not to use the microwave. It may even work better since the temperature would be uniform.

While you could put these roses on your own choice of a variety of desserts,  the following is the dessert shown in the photo.

Apple Roses Cheesecake 

The base is a hazelnut crumb base
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut flour 
  • 1/2 cup gluten free  flour - I used Julie's Mix 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  1. Mix together dry ingredients then work in the butter until well mixed. Press evenly into a baking pan -  8"x10"
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 
The filling is the easiest baked cream cheese filling I have ever made and seems fool-proof - no cracks , sets well and is delicious. 
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz) 
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 2 cups sour cream 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. Beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth 
  2. Add sour cream and flavorings. Blend well. 
  3. Pour over pre-baked base. 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes 
  5. Cool 
Fruit Glaze 
  • 1/3 cup fruit juice (I used the juice from a can of peaches)  
  • 2 rounded tablespoons of sugar 
  • juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • 1 tsp cornstarch 
  1. Cook juice, sugar and cornstarch until it thickens - if too thick add a little water
  2. Add lemon juice
When cheesecake is cool, arrange the roses over the top, pressing only slightly into the filling. Drizzle glaze sparingly over the top of the roses. Chill for at least two hours before serving.
Can be made a day ahead. 



Lemon Tarts


These  little lemon tarts are perfect for a tea tray.  The easy filling is baked right into the tart shell and they freeze beautifully.


You can buy little unbaked tart shells or you can use your own pastry. There are several different options for pastry here. I baked these little tarts in mini muffin pans.  The perfect size cookie cutter for the pastry is  3 1/16 in / 78 mm.

  • 24 unbaked tart shells
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • juice from 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350. F
  2. Place all the filling ingredients into a blender jar.  Pulse a few times to combine.
  3. Divide the filling between the unbaked tart shells.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes or until crust has browned around the edges and the filling has set. 
  5. Refrigerate until serving time.
Whipped Cream Topping
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 package whipping cream stabilizer or 1 tablespoon vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (omit if using pudding powder)
  1. Whip cream together with stabilizer until soft peaks form.  Add sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. 
  2. Pipe the whipped cream onto each tart.  Garnish with a bit of lemon zest.
  3. Serve chilled.





Squash Ribbon Salad






Butternut squash has been on the menu often at our house this winter. 
So when I saw a salad on the "Proud Italian Cook" using Butternut squash ribbons I took note.
Marie's salad looks wonderful and I'd recommend trying it sometime but I didn't have all the ingredients she used so I made up my own version.  
The credit for the idea of Squash ribbons goes to her.
Here is how I made my salad.
for the Salad:
  • 1 medium sized Butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and seasoned pepper
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 4 cups romaine, torn into bite sized pieces.
  • 1-2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage (I used green cabbage but red cabbage would be lovely)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit flavoured white balsamic vinegar or regular white balsamic
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil 
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Cut the neck from the butternut squash, reserving the rest for another use.
  3. Peel the squash using a potato peeler.
  4. After the skin is all peeled away and discarded, continue peeling the squash into long ribbons, turning the squash as you peel off each ribbon.
  5. In a bowl, toss squash ribbons with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  6. Place on parchment lined baking pan, spreading the ribbons out so they are not in a clump.
  7. Roast in  400º oven for about 8-10 minutes.  You want the squash cooked and a bit brown on the edges but not burnt.  Watch closely.
  8. Remove from oven and set aside.  This can be done a day or two ahead of time. (Store in refrigerator until needed.)
  9. Heat pine nuts over medium heat, stirring constantly until nuts begin to brown. Remove from pan and let cool.
  10. Place remaining salad ingredients in a salad bowl.
  11. Add cooled squash and pine nuts.
  12. Mix oil and balsamic vinegar until well blended.
  13. Pour over salad, toss and serve.
  14. Serves 4-6



Bread For the Journey


This year Valentines Day falls on a Sunday and the day for our Bread for the Journey. I wanted to share truth from God's Word to spur us on to consider again what it means to love as followers of Jesus.

The greatest act of love that the Father gave to us was sending His son to earth to live among us and to ultimately forfeit his life on the cross to save us. When we receive this great gift we can love as God loves.


Happy Valentines Day dear readers! May the love of God fill your heart today and overflow to others!

Heart Shaped Bacon /Saturday in the Kitchen with Charlotte

This is more if an idea than a recipe. With Valentines around the corner, it is an easy way to make something feel a bit more festive. 
Cut the bacon slices in half and shape into a heart. Bake at 400 until desired crispness is achieved. I like mine really crispy and some don't as the second photo shows. 
Serve a nice meal to those whom you love be it friends or family. Enjoy celebrating LOVE it is a universal language and we can't live without it. 
Try the bacon with Anneliese's Waffles as shown in the picture. Dig in and enjoy. 



Corn and Cheese Biscuits

What goes better with a big pot of chili, soup or stew than a BIG batch of light fluffy biscuits that are buttery and flaky. I hope you try this variation that our family enjoys very much. I have no idea where I got this recipe as I have been making these about 25 years.....probably a magazine since at that time no one in my world made biscuits.


  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups grated old cheddar cheese (the stronger the cheese the more flavour in the biscuit), you may use a combination of Jalapeno or other strong flavoured cheeses, mix it up a bit.
  • 1-14 oz. can creamed corn
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. milk to brush on top

  1. Combine all dry ingredients. 
  2. Cut in butter, stir in cheese, corn and eggs.
  3. Knead 10-12 times.
  4. Roll out to 1" thick on a lightly floured counter.
  5. Cut into desired shape.
  6. Brush tops with milk.
  7. Bake @ 400 for 20 minutes or until golden brown (each oven varies, so keep a close eye on them.)
  8. These are very quick and easy to mix up and fresh hot out of the oven is always best!
Check out any of our delicious soup recipes
One of my favorites is  Red Pepper Cauliflower Soup

Chocolate Waffles with Cherry Berry topping




Because waffles are one of those foods you can have any time of day, why not for dessert? This is an easy way to serve a delicious Black Forest type dessert. Make the waffles ahead, if you like, and toast them up on the oven rack for a few minutes just before serving.

Ingredients for 6-8 small waffles
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Cherry Berry Topping:
  • 1 can light n' fruity cherry pie filling
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries

Whipped Topping:
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • almond extract or vanilla to taste


Method:
  1. In mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  2. Add wet in order given and mix with hand mixer until thoroughly mixed. Maybe a minute, then let sit while the waffle iron heats.
  3. Scoop about 2 serving spoons of batter into center of iron, about 3 inches in diameter (as a round waffle) allowing space on the sides to make a smaller waffle. If using a square waffle iron, just fill as usual and separate sections when done.
  4. Cook until done. Remove gently (will be soft) onto wire rack. If too soft to remove, let sit in open iron for a minute. Keep warm in 175 F oven to crisp slightly or re-heat just before serving,  if making ahead.
  5. Mix cherry pie filling and strawberries
  6. Beat whipping cream until stiff, In separate bowl beat cream cheese and sugar, then combine with whipped cream. Add flavor according to taste.  
  7. Serve each waffle with a nice serving of fruit and cream.  Drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired.

Heart Shaped Eggs




You have maybe seen this cute egg idea to brighten someone's Valentine's Day lunch on Pinterest.  
There are quite a few different websites offering instructions so I just checked a few out and gave it a try.



It worked well enough to share how I did it and what I would do differently next time. 

You will need an empty milk carton, washed, ends cut off and then cut to a depth slightly lower than a depth of an egg.  From one egg carton you will end up with two V shaped pieces of cardboard.   You will need round chopsticks or pieces of dowelling and a few elastic bands.
One milk carton cut in half will make 4 eggs. 


  1. Hard boil the eggs.  Peel them. 
  2. While still warm, place the eggs in the inside the V shape of the milk carton.
  3. Wrap rubber bands around each end.  If the top of the egg isn't showing over the top, the egg carton will need to be cut down a bit more.  The dowelling needs to be able to press into the egg as shown.  If the egg is not warm, the egg will begin to split under the pressure.  There needs to be enough pressure from the dowelling to make a dent in the yolk, but even if you are not that successful, the egg white shape will still be cute!
  4. Slide the dowelling through the elastic band on one side, go over the eggs and then tuck it into the elastic on the other end. 
  5. Refrigerate until chilled.
  6. Slice the egg through the center and see your heart shaped egg. 


Cinnamon Crisps


It's been years since I baked these cinnamon crisps. I had forgotten about them until recently when I came across the recipe. They are crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Make sure you have time to enjoy one or maybe two of these when they come out of the oven..you will not be sorry. Delicious with a cup of coffee!

Dough:
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  1. In small saucepan, heat milk, sugar, shortening, and salt just till shortening melts. Whisk in beaten egg.
  2. Mix 3 cups flour and yeast, and together with the liquid ingredients, beat on low speed of mixer for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl, adding 1/4 cup remaining flour as needed. Beat 3 minutes at high speed.
  3. Place in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Divide dough in half. Roll out each portion to 12" x 12". Spread with Cinnamon Filling and roll up jelly roll style, pinching edge to seal. Cut each roll in 12 equal pieces. Place 6 on  parchment lined cookie sheet and using rolling pin, flatten each to 1/8". Repeat with the rest. Let rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Cover cinnamon rolls on cookie sheet with waxed paper and flatten once again with rolling pin to about 1/4". Brush each roll with butter and sprinkle Cinnamon Topping over the top. Cover again with waxed paper (I re-used waxed paper) and roll flat. (1/8")  Bake immediately in a 400º oven for 12 minutes. They taste best hot from the oven. 
  6. Yield: 24
Cinnamon Filling:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  1. Mix sugars and melted butter together until crumbly.
Cinnamon Topping:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl.


Egg Flower Soup

Today is Lunar/Chinese New Year. We had a Super Bowl Chinese New Year Party at our house on Sunday and it was high time I made this simple soup that many Chinese Restaurants serve. Several recipes were very similar online so I really don't know who to credit this recipe to. Our local restaurants call this soup Egg Flower Soup and another name is Egg Drop Soup.

Ingredients:
4 cups prepared chicken broth
2 Tablespoons chicken stock reserved from the 4 cups
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 green onions chopped
Salt and white pepper to taste

Make a slurry of the 2 Tablespoons broth and 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, set aside.
Pour the remaining broth into a medium sized pot.
Add the soy sauce and grated ginger to the broth.
Bring the broth to a boil.
Add the slurry slowly and stir to incorporate it all until the broth thickens for at least 2 minutes.
While the broth is boiling and the slurry thickens the broth add the beaten eggs slowly in a stream while stirring the broth in one direction.
Keep stirring and adding the egg as it becomes feathery in the broth.
After the beaten eggs are added turn off the heat.
Taste and see if you need added salt or white pepper.
Add the chopped green onions and serve.
Serves 4 people.

Happy New Year!