Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Herbed Pizza Dough

We enjoy pizza and once you find a dough that works well for you you won't ever go back to pre made pizza dough. It's so simple to make and adding a few extra spices or herbs to the dough makes it extra tasty. This is also great dough to make a flat bread and top it lightly with oil and a few fresh toppings. When hot out of the oven dip in balsamic and a good olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 cup white flour, plus a little for kneading if needed
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dry Greek seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  1. Place warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and allow to stand for 8-10 minutes.
  2. While yeast is proofing, add all other ingredients except olive oil to a large bowl. 
  3. Once yeast has proofed stir down and pour over dry ingredients.
  4. Add 2 tbsp of the olive oil.
  5. Using a fork stir until the dough comes together. 
  6. At this point add another tbsp of the olive oil and using your hands knead dough. Add a little more flour if needed to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead about 5 minutes.
  7. Lightly grease bowl, place dough ball back into bowl and cover. Let stand out of draft for 35-40 minutes.
  8. Roll out dough and fit onto pizza pan.
Now you are ready to top the pizza crust with your favourite toppings. There are a lot of great pizza recipes here on our blog and if you have our Celebrations book Lovella and I also have some great topping ideas as well as several other dough recipes to try out. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

24 Hour Fruit Salad


A girlfriend, a former Miss Abbotsford,  shared this recipe with me many years ago, and it has remained one of my favorite salads. Can be made ahead and keeps well in the fridge.

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp sugar 
  • 4 tbsp vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • 1 cup cream - whipped 
  • 2 cups crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups mandarin orange segments
  • 2 cups cherries (or fruit cocktail mix) 
  • 2 cups marshmallows (miniature) 
  1. Beat eggs, vinegar and sugar  - cook on med. heat, stirring until mixture thickens. - be careful not to overcook. 
  2. Remove from heat and add butter.  Let cool. 
  3. Mix drained fruit and marshmallows. 
  4. Fold whipped cream into cooled dressing and then fold in mixed fruit. 
  5. Chill in fridge for several hours before serving.
NOTE: You can vary the fruit according to preference - if you want to add bananas, add them just before serving, otherwise they will turn brown and mushy. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bread For The Journey


In our most recent travels along the coast of California, I saw fields with artichoke heads bobbing to and fro. Finally I had the opportunity to taste a grilled artichoke. It was delicious ... though it took awhile to eat.  As I slowly peeled off the layers with my teeth, I realized that the tender fragile leaves required much effort to remove before you eventually found a tender heart.

Artichokes really don't look pretty from the outside.  They are prickly and take some time to prepare. They have very thick, rugged layers of leaves and look like they belong to the 'thistle family.'

Many of us live with layers of fear or discouragement. Each layer or leaf can represent a situation in our life.  Our heart's condition is shaped by our thoughts and attitudes.  I reflected on this analogy for a long time as I gazed out at the fields.

This past week it was more beautifully expressed as I held my frightened grandchild.  She saw a rough-looking man who spoke with a harsh voice.  She was frightened.  I looked down and saw her eyes tear up, as I felt her fingers grasp my hand tighter and tighter. I asked her if she wanted to be cuddled, and I picked her up feeling her heart pulse beating against my chest and hearing her quiet sobs. Within a few moments she was consoled and ready to move forward again.  I knew that this man's outward appearance looked rough, but that inside he has the most tender heart of all.   I was getting to the heart of the matter as she sobbed and told me about her fears.

Even in our adult years, we need to be cuddled and consoled. Most of us have met people with a harsh exterior, which can be frightening.  But when you've spent time with them, getting to know them, you find out that they have tender hearts just like all of us.  Sometimes we don't know about the difficult conditions that shaped them and by spending time with them, we begin to have a better understanding.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of life.  Proverbs. 4:23

It doesn't say someone else will protect your heart ... not your pastor, or a friend. YOU need to guard your heart.  Guarding our hearts is a full-time job. People hurt us and disappoint us and we have wounds deep inside that need to be dealt with. God can bring us peace and happiness in the middle of the lousiest circumstance, including the turmoil that's evident in the world today.

Let's ask God to remove the layers so that we can be who He created us to be.  Let's allow God to get to the matter of our hearts, by praying and meditating day and night on His words.  (Joshua 1:8)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Thanks to our Sponsors

There are so many ways to give and so many people in need. We have a wonderful group of sponsors here on our blog who have partnered with us in giving to one of our projects, or to one they have chosen on their own.

Today I want to start by welcoming our newest blog sponsors, Abundant Family Acre Farm.

Several weeks ago I took a drive out to the country, just down the road from where we raised our daughters. I was welcomed by owners Andy and Cara and we re acquainted ourselves. I remembered them as my Sunday School students over 30 years ago, and I also have fond memories of their parents and grandparents from those early church years.

After a little tour of their farm and a fun and interesting visit, Cara sent Andy to pull me a few fresh stalks of rhubarb while she gave me some fresh Pac Choi and Broccoli Raab. Those two vegetables were new to me, so Cara suggested a wonderful recipe for Broccoli Raab Pasta which you can also find on their blog under 'Eat".

Andy and Cara have chosen to donate to Cyrus Centre in Abbotsford, BC.
Thank you!

We also want to highlight each of our other sponsors today.

Neufeld Farms is located in Abbotsford BC. They as a family have been farming for over 40 years. Strawberry season is well on it's way here in the Fraser Valley. Stop by their Berry Barn to buy your strawberries this year. You'll love their friendly staff, and check out all the other wonderful things in the store.
Thank you for continuing to donate through MCC to help those in need.

Lepp Farm Market is a family-run year-round farm market in the Fraser Valley of BC. Shopping at their market you will find many BC gourmet foods as well as locally grown farm to table products. The Farmer's Table is now open so plan to stay for lunch. I have eaten there and the food and service are excellent. Also check out their upcoming cooking classes. You won't be disappointed.
Thank you for continuing to donate to the local needs in your community.

Winks Home Garden and Gifts is a lovely little shop in Chilliwack BC where they make all things beautiful. Winks has become a destination shop for the locals but the staff often hear from customers who are passing through that it's a must stop along the way. Winks has a bridal and baby gift registry, and their special touch is complimentary gift wrapping all year round.
Thank you for continuing to donate to the local Food Bank. Winks and her husband Dave also have a heart for the people of Romania and through our MGCC book sales they donate all proceeds from sales to projects in Romania. Stop by the store today to hear about their latest project in Romania.

Grand Pappy's in Chilliwack BC is a really fun place to shop. They have fantastic staff who are knowledgeable and able to help you with your home furnishings, appliances and more.
Thank you Brandi and Matt for choosing to donate to Ruth and Naomi's House in Chilliwack.

Tracey Cakes is the place to go if you are looking for a sweet little place for coffee and a cupcake, a bowl of soup and a sandwich, or high tea. Check out their web site for their locations.
Thank you for donating to World Vision.

Cobb's Bread  in Abbotsford is owned and operated by Willy and June Isaac. Walking into their store you will be greeted not only by the wonderful aroma of fresh baked breads but also by their friendly staff.
Thank you for joining us in donating to our Wash Program in Kenya. We know that fresh drinking water is key to good health.

We hope that if you our readers live near these businesses you will stop by and show them your support. Tell them the girls from MGCC sent you!

Again, thank you to each of our sponsors who give so generously to those in need.






Friday, May 27, 2016

Flash Back Friday ~ Strawberry Chiffon Roll



 I first posted this Strawberry Chiffon Roll recipe  in 2012 for the beginning of Strawberry season.  This year strawberries are earlier than ever before in the Fraser Valley.  Neufeld Farms and Lepp Farm Market have their juicy farm fresh berries ready for us to enjoy.  


  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour (or take away 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour out of the cup of flour and replace with 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 125 ml / ½ cup strawberry lime daiquiri mix  frozen concentrate
  • 2 cups fresh diced strawberries*
  • 2 cups / 500 ml heavy cream for filling cake roll
  • ½ cup  sugar
  • 1 packet Dr. Oetker whipping cream stabilizer or a teaspoon instant vanilla pudding or dream whip

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Line an 11  X 15 inch or  38.7 X 26.1 X 1.91 cm jelly roll pan with parchment paper with two sides hanging over edge.
  3. Wash a metal or glass bowl to be sure it is perfectly clean.  Add the egg whites and cream of tartar.
  4. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy.  Add the first part sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Put the egg yolks and oil and strawberry concentrate in a medium bowl and whisk together.
  6. In a large bowl sift the flour, the second part of the sugar, the baking soda and salt together.
  7. Add the strawberry mixture and combine to make a smooth batter.
  8. Fold the egg whites gently into the strawberry batter until just combined.
  9. Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
  10. While the strawberry chiffon roll is baking, barely dampen a clean tea towel with water and lay onto the counter.
  11. When the cake tests done with a toothpick, remove the cake and put the tea towel on top of the pan and flip them together onto the counter.
  12. Remove the pan and then roll the cake and the tea towel together from the short end.
  13. Place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.
  14. Whip the cream and sugar together until stiff.
  15. Fold in the diced strawberries*
  16. Unroll the strawberry roll, carefully removing the tea towel, spread with whipped cream and roll back up.
  17. Gently sift confectioners/icing sugar over top and garnish with remaining whipped cream and strawberries.
  18. Chill until ready to serve or freeze the roll (without fresh strawberries) on a cookie sheet and then wrap in plastic wrap for up to a week.  Slice while still partially frozen.


*The fresh strawberries in the roll are best if the roll is served the same day and the roll is not frozen. If you want to make the roll a day ahead or freeze it...simply serve the strawberries on the side.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Strawberry Cream Cheese Clouds


After enjoying a similar dessert at a friend's place on several occasions, I 'borrowed' the recipe from her and decided that strawberry season was a good time to give it a try.  The frozen 'clouds' are ready in the freezer anytime you might need a special dessert...and would be good with other fruit toppings as well.

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 quarts fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped with 1 Tbps. sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (for topping)

  1. Beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. 
  2. Gradually add the cream, beating until thickened.
  3. Spoon mixture into 10 mounds on a parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet. With the back of a spoon, shape into 3 inch 'nest-like' circles.
  4. Freeze for at least two hours or overnight.
  5. To serve, fill with strawberries and top with whipped cream. 
 
Yield: 10 servings.
 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Whole Wheat Cloverleaf Refrigerator Rolls


I love these light and tender rolls. Great little buns to serve with a meal or for faspa. Fun to break apart to slather on butter or jam. These buns are great shaped into dinner size or for hamburgers. Since this is a dough you can refrigerate you don't need to bake it all at once. It's a time saver to mix the dough a day before you need the rolls. Just place in the fridge, take the dough out a couple of hours before you need them, shape into rolls, let rise and bake just before company arrives so they are welcomed by the fresh aroma of baking!
Years ago I cut this recipe out of a magazine. It is a keeper.
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • Butter for brushing on rolls
  1. Pour water in a mixing bowl, whisk in oil, egg, sugar, and salt.
  2. Stir in white flour and yeast, continue stirring until combined. 
  3. Now knead in whole wheat flour one cup at a time and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic approx 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover.
  4. Let rise in warm place until doubled or if not baking them right away, cover and refrigerate overnight. (You can keep this dough in the fridge a couple of days before using)
  5. Shape into small balls and place 3 in each greased muffin cup. Cover and let rise for an hour or until doubled. (Rising time approx 2 hours for refrigerated dough.)
  6. Bake in 400º oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown in color.
  7. Brush with butter as soon as they come out of the oven. 
  8. Yield: 30 rolls

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Curried Broccoli Salad

It's the curry flavoured dressing that gives this old time broccoli salad a new twist. My mom in law brought this salad to share with us along side a turkey dinner. "Pass that salad again please", was heard often throughout that meal together, and now it's become the most requested salad.
Yields 6-8 servings.

Dressing:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (regular or apple cider)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients together well and place in refrigerator until salad ingredients are ready.
Salad Ingredients:
  • 5-6 cups broccoli florets
  • 6 strips bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup golden raisins and/or 1 1/2 cup seedless purple grapes
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Wash and cut broccoli into small florets.
  2. Fry bacon, drain and crumble. Cool before adding to salad.
  3. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour dressing over salad, cover well and place in refrigerator. It's best to allow to marinade for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
NOTE: Once you have your broccoli cut up you can add or omit any of the other ingredients. The addition of small cut up cauliflower is a nice addition to this salad as well.  Sometimes I make it simply with the broccoli, onion and raisins and it's still so tasty. Last in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Queen Elizabeth Cake

Victoria Day is a Federal Canadian holiday celebrated in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. The date is also simultaneously that on which the current reigning sovereign's official birthday is recognized.

Caroline Davies from The Guardian wrote an article in recognition of Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday this year. Included is a priceless photo by Annie Leibovitz/Getty depicting the Queen with her great-grandchildren and youngest grandchildren. If you check it out you may see what made me smile!


So on this day I had to think of an old recipe handed down to me by my mom.  I'm not sure why the cake is named after the Queen, but my guess is that it is very  much like a traditional English pudding cake, super moist and delicious. I hope you try it.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dates, chopped fine and 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
topping
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • 5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut or mix of coconut and thin slivered almonds
Method:
  1. In saucepan, bring dates and water to boil and continue simmering for about 3- 5 minutes until soft. Turn off heat and add baking soda, stirring to mash well. (it will bubble) Add vanilla, Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare 8 - 9 inch round or square pan by greasing and lining with wax or parchment paper. A spring form pan is ideal but not necessary.
  3. Cream butter, sugar and egg.
  4. Add dates and then stir in the dry ingredients, mixing on low if using mixer. 
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile melt and warm butter and cream, adding sugar, coconut and nuts. Stir until well blended and set aside.
  7. When cake is done, gently spread with topping and return to oven to broil setting for about 2 minutes. Watch it so it does not burn. It should bubble and turn a nice golden color.
  8. Let cool. Loosen edges with knife. If not using a spring-form pan, remove by placing a piece of wax paper over the top along with a flat plate. Flip upside down and then right side up again onto serving plate. 


Happy 90th Birthday to our gracious Queen!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bread For The Journey



I've always thought that the perfect tea towel to dry dishes is well worn, freshly pressed and made of fine linen.  I thought that until this year when I was given this unique, one of a kind, hand-embroidered, treasure for Mother's Day. 

 My darling grands didn't make this happen on their own.  Their creative Mom who has a desire to teach and use every opportunity to build within her children appreciation, helped them to brainstorm what it is their Grammie and Omi do for them that makes them feel loved.  

For my tea towel, they thought and then each came up with something that I bake that they love. Can you figure out what those three baked items are?  After drawing out their ideas, the drawing was transferred onto a good flour sack tea towel and then their little hands helped to stitch and create a treasure.  

The tea towel is draped over my oven door handle and it looks like it is ready to use but truthfully, I feel it is worth too much to risk ruining.  I want to save it and maybe even put in a treasure frame where it stays clean and is protected against rips and stains. 

The problem with this theory is that the children will question why I am not using the gift that they created just for me.  They wanted to give me something that I could use in my everyday routine that would be useful.  

It bears considering then whether the good gifts that Christ gave us when we came to faith in him are being put to good use to help others or are we saving those gifts for when it suits us, when we have more time, more energy or when we feel like our gift will be properly appreciated.  

I'll use that treasure of a tea towel on my best crystal because their gift deserves to be appreciated and put to good use! When I use it I'll be reminded to consider how to use the gift that Christ gave me. 

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cinnamon Knots


I love anything with cinnamon and these knots didn't disappoint. Warm from the oven they are a delicious treat with a cup of coffee. If you desire you can use your favorite sweet yeast dough for these knots. At the end if there is any sugar/cinnamon mixture left over you can save it for cinnamon toast.
This recipe is from an old Taste of Home magazine..I made a few changes.
I love the many various ways of using cinnamon bun dough. What do you make with your sweet yeast dough?
  • Dough:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups of flour
  • Topping: 
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  1. Scald milk, whisk in 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, and salt. Add the eggs slowly whisking the whole time.
  2. Add yeast and 4 cups of flour, mixing thoroughly. Continue adding flour as needed and knead for 5 minutes until the dough feels soft, smooth, and elastic. It's okay if the dough is slightly sticky, it's better for the dough to be slightly sticky than using too much flour.
  3. Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, approx 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Divide dough into 3 even portions, Shape each portion into 12 balls. Work with one portion at a time.
  5. Roll each ball into an 8" rope. Combine sugar and cinnamon from the Topping ingredients.
  6. Dip each rope into the melted butter, then coat with sugar/cinnamon mixture and tie into a knot, tuck and pinch ends under and place on parchment lined pans. Repeat with remaining dough.
  7. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  8. Bake in 375º oven for 12 minutes.
  9. Cool slightly then drizzle with icing glaze or serve plain. Either way they are delicous.
  10. Yield: 3 dozen knots

Friday, May 20, 2016

Baked Bean Casserole - Flashback Friday

It was back in 2008 that I first posted this simple recipe for baked beans. Other than frying the bacon this casserole is simply just a stir together and bake recipe. This is a great recipe for a family supper or to take along to a pot luck side dish.
Try dividing this mixture between individual french onion soup bowls or other oven proof individual baking dishes (cast iron mini pans work well), bake, top with some cheese and serve with crusty bread.
  • 2-15 oz. cans kidney beans, not drained
  • 2-15 oz. cans lima beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1-15 0z. cans pork 'n beans
  • 1/2 pound bacon, fried till slightly crispy
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  1. Open cans of beans and add to a large casserole dish.
  2. Fry bacon, remove and saute red pepper and onion in bacon drippings.
  3. Crumble bacon and add bacon and sauteed peppers and onion to beans. Stir to mix.
Sauce:
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  1. Stir together and pour over bean mixture. Stir to combine.
  2. Bake in 300º oven for 2 hours.
**Just before serving you can top with cheese and put back into the oven until melted and bubbly.






Thursday, May 19, 2016

Small Batch Fudge

Since I had a portion of Sweetened Condensed Milk left over from another recipe I did some research on how I could use it and a small batch of Chocolate Walnut Fudge is what I came up with.

4 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Line a small casserole/pan (approx. 4"x8") with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan.
Mix the milk, chips, butter and salt in a microwave safe bowl.
Heat on high 30 seconds at a time stirring after each interval until the mixture is blended well.
Stir in the walnuts.
Pour into prepared pan.
Refrigerate until set, 1 hour or so.
Remove fudge from pan and cut into small pieces.
Store in an air tight container.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lime Cottage Cheese Salad


This salad has to be tasted before one realizes it is one of those unexpectedly delightful flavor mixes. Who would think of mixing cottage cheese with lime jello?
My sister-in-law, a good forty-some years ago served this salad when we were at her house.
To be polite, I took a small spoonful - but to my surprise I LOVED it !  Of course I asked her for the recipe and it has, over the years, continued to be my favorite jello salad.


  • 2 pkgs -  3 oz. lime jello 
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup cream - whipped 
  • 1/2 cup salad dressing - Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip 
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped fine 
  • 12 oz. or 1 1/2 cups of creamed cottage cheese 
  1. Dissolve jello in hot water and let partially set, then whip jello 
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients and let set in fridge. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spicy Chipotle Chicken Pizza


One of my favorite pizzas over the years has been the Chipotle Chicken Pizza at California Pizza Kitchen. Whenever we get down there, I try to get my spicy Mexican fix. This here is my copycat version today. It does not cost a flight and it's pretty good too!

So today I want to make you hungry for this pizza and try the thing that drives me crazy, which is when bloggers use umpteen photos to show the process.















Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza crust (I used Lovella's Refrigerator Pizza Dough http://www.mennonitegirlscancook.ca/2015/10/shrimp-and-pesto-pizza.html) It makes 4 thin crust pizzas
  • Chipotle mayonnaise spread (or a blend of mayo and sambal oelek chili paste)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups ( 150 g) Monterrey Jack cheese, grated and divided
  • 1 cup shredded BBQ'd Rotisserie chicken (I use meat from chicken thighs/legs)
  • 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil for pan roasting corn
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 4 Tbsp salsa
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 - 3 jalapenos, sliced
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Prepare pizza crust and par bake for about 5 - 7 minutes.
  3. In heavy saute pan, melt butter combined with olive oil and cook corn, stirring until starting to brown. Remove from pan.
  4. In same pan, cook shallot until soft.
  5. In small bowl, mix corn, beans, salsa, cilantro and cumin.
  6. Spread pizza crust with Chipotle sauce/mayonnaise. 
  7. Layer with half the cheese, chicken and most of the corn/bean/salsa mix (reserving a few spoonfuls for topping once pizza is baked).  
  8. Sprinkle with shallot, jalapenos and left over cheese.
  9. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until crust is browned to your liking.
  10. Top with reserved corn/black bean salsa before serving.
Tip: you might like a thin lime/ yogurt sauce for dipping to cool down the heat.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Teriyaki Noodle Salad


This great meal style noodle salad can be prepped a day in advance, cooking the noodles and marinating the chicken so that it is quick to put together just before serving.  
  • 1 small box  Spaghetti noodles,  broken into pieces and cooked according to the instructions on the box (to make gluten free, buy Catelli gluten free spaghetti)
  • 2 large chicken breasts, grilled and sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts 
Dressing
  • 3/4 cup thick Teriyaki sauce (to make gluten free buy gluten free teriyaki sauce)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup salad oil (such as avocado, or canola, or olive)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine salad ingredients in a shaker container. 
  2. Pour 1/2 cup sauce over noodles and refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup dressing over chicken pieces and marinate for at least a few hours or overnight.
  4. On a large platter, layer Romaine Lettuce, marinated noodles, matchstick carrots, marinated chicken, mango and then top with pine nuts. 
  5. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad or pass the dressing with the salad.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bread for the Journey

Psalm 118:24
This is the day the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Recently I read the following thoughts written by Max Lucado.

Every day is a gift from God. That may be hard to believe when it seems your life is going up in flames. But just as a forest uses fire to replenish itself and give birth to new life, God uses the burning embers of our days to grow new and deeper hope and faith.

Blessings to you on this Lord's Day.
                         

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday in Ellen's Kitchen

 
For Saturday in my kitchen I want to share a few of my favorite things. This large oval dutch oven from Le Creuset is at the top of my list and must haves. It's what I use for many meals in my kitchen.

Good knives are at the top of my list, too. We love our bread at my home so a good serrated knife is a must and a good quality chefs knife for chopping and dicing and slicing.
We enjoy our morning cup of coffee. The Bunn is our favorite for the speed and quality of delivery. We tried the Keurig for a year before we admitted we missed our Bunn! 
A quiet dishwasher is a must for this old house. Our kitchen, dining room, and family room are all in very close proximity so to have a quiet dishwasher is a gift!
One very large sink is another great addition to a kitchen. I can wash any large item in this sink. Cookie sheets, large cast iron dutch ovens, large pots and pans, and turkey roasters fit in this sink.

These are the favorite things I would not want to live without. How about you? What are your must haves?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Chocolate Biscotti gluten free


For this Flash Back Friday I pulled up a recipe I posted a few years ago here. 
I altered a couple of the ingredients in my recipe.  I changed the flour and used less xanthan gum. Otherwise I left the recipe and method as it was.
My granddaughter, who loves Biscotti, declared the changes an improvement ... and I found the dough was easier to handle.    For your convenience I'll rewrite the recipe with the changes here.
  • 2 cups Julie's Flour Mix 
  • 1/2 cup almond flour 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla 
  1. Beat softened butter and sugar together until fluffy. 
  2. Add the eggs and beat until light.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth. 
  4. Form into a ball and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight. 
  5. Shape dough into 2 or 3 logs. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. 
  7. Let cool ... cut into fingers or slices and bake for another 20 minutes until dry. 
  8. Let cool until thoroughly dry,  then dip tips  into melted chocolate if desired, or use my granddaughter's favorite accompaniment, on the side - Nutella.  Or eat them plain, dunked into coffee.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Greek Chicken Wrap


Several years ago, a friend shared her simple tip for marinating chicken...and that was using the Greek dressing which she always had in her fridge.  Since then I have often done just that, and though 'longer is always better' when it comes to marinating, even a 30 minute soaking in the dressing gives the chicken great flavour. Today's recipe features a Greek-style chicken kebob sandwich.
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Greek dressing (your favorite)
  • 6-8 wooden skewers 
  • 4 naan bread
  • 1/2 cup tzatziki sauce
  • lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  1. Cube chicken breasts into about 1" pieces.  Place in bowl and pour Greek dressing over, stirring to coat all the pieces.  Cover bowl and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for several hours.
  2. Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 1 hour.
  3. Thread cubed chicken onto skewers.  Grill on medium-hot for about 10 minutes, turning once. 
  4. Grill naan bread for about 30 seconds per side, just to heat through.
  5. Brush naan bread with tzatziki sauce.
  6. Add lettuce, , tomato, cucumber and red onion as desired.  
  7. Slide chicken cubes from skewer and onto naan bread.
  8. Roll into a sandwich and wrap in parchment to serve.


Why not serve the hot-off-the-grill chicken kebobs on a bed of rice with a Greek salad for dinner tonight.  Grill a few extra  kebobs for tomorrow's sandwiches!




Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pina Colada Dessert



This is a great little dessert that you can prepare in the morning and serve it without any fuss.
It's easy, light and fluffy.  It adds the perfect touch to any meal, especially now that the warmer weather has advanced upon us.

Pina Colada Cheesecake
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 14 oz can crushed pineapple (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp. rum extract
  • 1 cup whip cream
  • 1/4 toasted coconut
Graham Wafer Crust
  • 1 1/3 cup graham wafer crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter melted.
  1. Combine graham wafer crumbs and melted butter.
  2. Press onto the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.  
  3. Chill for 30 minutes.
Instructions.
  1. Grease spring form with butter and prepare wafer crust.
  2. Soften gelatin in water.  Stir over low heat till dissolved.
  3. Combine cream cheese, and sugar mixing on medium speed with electric mixer till well blended and fluffy.
  4. Drain pineapple, reserving liquid to measure 3/4 cup.
  5. Add rum extract to reserved liquid.
  6. Gradually add gelatin and combined rum juice to creamed cheese mixture mixing until blended.
  7. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes stirring in between.  It should thicken, but not set.
  8. Whip the cream and fold drained pineapple (1 cup) into mixture.
  9. Now fold whip cream mixture together with cream cheese mixture.
  10. Pour over wafer crust and chill until firm.
  11. Sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Peanut Butter Cookie Pizza


It is our daughter Alison's birthday today! I got this recipe from her and am sharing it here on her special day. This is enough cookie dough for two pizza pans. I only made one and used the other half of dough to make 2 dozen regular sized cookies.

Cookie Dough:
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Cream together shortening, butter, and sugars until very creamy.
  2. Mix in eggs.
  3. Add combined dry ingredients and stir until blended.
  4. Pat 1/2 of the dough into a 13" pizza pan.
  5. Bake at 350º for 12 minutes. Allow to cool.
Toppings for 1 pizza pan:
  • 250 gr / 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 - 4 serving size package of instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons skor bits
  1. Once cookie crust is cooled, spread with softened cream cheese.
  2. Whisk together chocolate pudding and milk, allow pudding to set before spreading over cream cheese layer.
  3. Whip cream with icing sugar and vanilla until firm peaks form and carefully spread over chocolate layer.
  4. Sprinkle skor bits over top and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Serves: 12 to 16, depending how generous you want your pieces to be. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Pear Avocado Salad with Maple Vinaigrette



This salad brings together the flavours and textures of crisp Anjou pears,
buttery smooth avocados and sweet crunchy pecans,
enhanced by a maple vinaigrette dressing.

  • 1 cup pecans left whole or halved
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • approximately 8 cups salad greens - I used spinach and romaine lettuce
  • 2 fresh pears, cored and chopped - I used Anjou pears
  • 1 medium sized avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup finely sliced red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Place pecans and sugar, salt and pepper together in a heavy frying pan, over medium heat, 
  2. Stir constantly, watching closely until sugar is completely melted and coats the pecans.  
  3. Turn pecans out onto waxed paper and let cool.
  4. Combine all salad ingredients in large salad bowl except pecans and toss together lightly
  5. Sprinkle with pecans just before serving.
  6. Serve with Maple Vinaigrette on the side. Or you can toss the salad with the dressing and top with the pecans just before serving.
For the Maple Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (can use Cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup olive oil


  1. Whisk together in a bowl, the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and maple syrup.
  2. Gradually whisk in olive oil mixing well until emulsified.
  3. Pour into a pitcher or cruet and serve alongside salad. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bread For The Journey


Mother's Day - Honoring a mother's love

I do not believe there is a stronger, more unconditional love than a mother's heart.
I saw a touching 'you tube' video  that so clearly depicts this. 
An orangutan mother gives no thought to the fact 
the objects of her love are going to grow up to be her arch enemies. 
 All she knows is that she loves.  

A mother's love is the first love we experience - and if it is lacking, the result is life-long trauma. 
I am blessed to still have both my parents at 92 and 93
 - in good health, living independently of any outside help. 

How easy it is to take a mother's love for granted when she has just always been there! 
My mother's  life was built around her children, nothing ever took precedence.  
She spent her days working -cleaning, gardening, cooking, sewing - whatever she could do
to make her home a secure and safe place for her family.
When her children were grown, she continued to be ever available
 to babysit her grandchildren, and is now a great grandmother. 

One of my fondest memories of my mother is the day I came home from school
 to find a new outfit lying on my bed.  
I had been begging for a long time to have an ''all the rage in teen fashion'' jumper
 that was fitted with a mermaid flare at the bottom.
I knew Mom had sacrificed something else to scrape together the money
to order this garment from the Sears catalog.
 It was, to me, an expression of her love that lasted much longer
 than the jumper that was soon out of style. 

I know that most often we are told to think of God in terms of 'Father-love',
 yet God, to emphasize the depth of His love, 
says that even a mother's love cannot compare to the love that He has for His children.

"Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? 
Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you!"  
Isaiah 49:15

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Roast Beef and Fried Egg Sandwich

Saturdays my mom often made a breakfast style meal for supper, along with a cup of tea. I learned how to make this Sandwich in Grade 8 Home Economics class. Do they still have those classes in school today? I was so impressed that I learned something new and it was something I could actually make for my family, I made it that very weekend. A great way to use up leftover roast beef.
I will give you the list of ingredients, and you make your sandwich according to how many you are feeding. For one sandwich you need  the following -

  • toasted bread or bun of your choice
  • mayonnaise
  • your favorite mustard
  • 1 small onion, caramelized (thinly sliced and fried slowly on low heat in a bit of butter or oil until you have a deep brown color)
  • 1 fried egg
  • leftover roast beef or store bought sliced cooked roast beef that you can purchase at the deli counter
  • cheese
Voila, with some pickles on the side that is all you need. Enjoy.



Friday, May 6, 2016

Rhubarb Sauce ~ Flashback Friday

 
It's Flashback Friday, and I'm bringing back a recipe that I posted here four years ago.  With fresh rhubarb readily available at this time of the year, why not make a simple sauce that is great warm or cold and can be used as an ice-cream topping or as a side-dish for chicken or pork?

  • 1.5 pounds rhubarb ~ about 5 cups chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cherry flavored gelatin.
  1. Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces
  2. Place in saucepan, together with sugar and water.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes or until rhubarb is soft.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in cherry flavored gelatin.
  6. Serve warm or cold. 
 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Creamy Cubano Soup

This is a simple to make creamy soup version of the popular Cubano Sandwich that is typically made with roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, dill pickle, and mustard. The homemade crunchy croutons for the top of the soup stand in for the bread in the sandwich. This is a soup with a Latin flair for Cinco de Mayo. A Latin stand in for a Mexican celebration.

Ingredients:
1 sub roll or other rolls you have on hand cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Tablespoon oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon mustard
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
1-1/2 cups half and half
1/4 lb. Swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded
1-1/2 cups fully cooked diced ham
Salt and Pepper for seasoning, to taste
2 dill pickles, minced

Heat a pan (cast iron if you have one) over medium-high heat. In a mixing bowl, combine bread cubes with the oil, toss to coat. Spread in single layer in the pan and toast, turning often, until the croutons are crisp and blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the mustard and flour, and whisk well to combine. Add the stock and half and half, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and add the cheeses, whisking until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in the ham and continue cooking until the ham is warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I found that no extra seasoning was needed since the cheese and ham are salty to begin with. Ladle into serving bowls, top with a spoonful of minced pickles and a handful of the reserved croutons. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves 4 generously.

Note: My photo of the bowl of soup is not topped with the diced pickles because I forgot them. Photo fail but the soup was delicious.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Salmon in Puff Pastry


I've discovered the ease of taking a favorite dish and wrapping it in puff pastry, be it a nice steak or salmon. The presentation is fun and beautiful for those times you just want to do something a little special. For this recipe I took my favorite salmon topping and then topped that with blanched asparagus.

Ingredients:
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped fine 
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped fine
  • sundried tomatoes (packed in oil) drained and chopped fine (about 1/3 cup, chopped)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 (2-3 lb) skinless salmon fillet
  • 1 lb asparagus 
  • 1 tsp salt, boiling water and ice water for blanching
  • 1 pkg puff pastry (frozen)
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • sesame seeds (optional)

Method:
  1. Combine garlic, parsley, basil, sundried tomatoes, salt, and olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large pot with a few inches of water and bring to boil with about a tsp of salt. Break off ends of asparagus, where they break naturally- about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom. Place in boiling water. Bring water to boil again and remove asparagus to ice water.
  3. Roll out both pieces of puff pastry so that overlapped and combined they are a little longer than the filet and wide enough to wrap over the top, overlapping. (about 20 x 15 inches) You can overlap to combine the two pieces part way through rolling or at the end. Brush with beaten egg.
  4. Place salmon fillet in the center, along the length of the pastry.
  5. Cover with sundried tomato topping, then lay the cooled asparagus on top lengthwise.
  6. Cut strips along the sides of the puff pastry - about 3 inches long. 
  7. Beginning on one side bring up a strip, pulling tight, then pull up a strip from the other side to criss-cross over the fish and overlap. Repeat to make a braided look. Pull up ends and tuck in. It's okay to have some natural steam vents. 
  8. Brush with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Carefully place on parchment paper lined baking pan. Can be refrigerated at this point until 40 minutes before serving.
  9. Bake at 400 F for about 30 - 40 minutes, until crust is golden and fish is at 145 F. Serves 6 - 8