Friday, September 30, 2016

Flashback Friday - Persian Salad Dressing

The original recipe posted can be found here. This recipe is perfect for salads we serve with our Persian influenced meals that include lamb and rice. As I posted in the original recipe my parents lived many of their formative years in Persia after escaping out of Russia in 1932. They lived in Iran (Persia) near Tehran from 1932-1947. This is a perfect dressing for salads that include tomatoes and cucumbers.

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 C. Olive Oil
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 clove garlic pressed or minced

Method:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together until incorporated.
  2. Serve over salad greens with tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.   
This makes enough dressing for a large salad that serves 8-12 people.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Green Beans with Shallots and Proscuitto




Green Beans are often dismissed as too bland, too overcooked, and too boring a vegetable.
However, done right, they are crisp, full of flavour and delicious.
They also lend themselves to added flavours that enhance and delight.
My husband was never a fan of green beans, having had to pick them as a child and 
from having been served bland, canned green beans too often in his travels.
When served like this, he asks for seconds!

I'll not give any quantities as this will depend on how many you are serving and the ratio you prefer. of prosciutto and shallots to beans
  • Green Beans - snip the stem end of each bean and leave whole or cut into 2 inch lengths
  • Several slices of prosciutto or lean bacon,
  • 1 tablespoon butter (this adds another layer of flavour)
  • 1 shallot finely diced (you can use a sweet onion if you don't have shallots)
  • Fresh, chopped basil (optional)
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved with a potato peeler.

**The key to perfect green beans is cooking them only until crisp/tender and still bright green.**
  1. Place the beans in a pot with an inch of  barely simmering, lightly salted water. Cover and let them steam for a few minutes, checking often to make sure they are not overdone.  This doesn't take long.
  2. Drain the water and plunge the beans into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.
  3. Fry the prosciutto  or diced bacon in a frying pan until crisp.  Remove to paper towel. Keep some of the fat in the pan.
  4. Add the  butter and chopped shallots  to the pan and saute until tender.
  5. Add the green beans, cover and cook until they are hot.
  6. Place beans in serving bowl and top with crumbled prosciutto or bacon and shaved Parmesan and serve immediately

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Baked Spaghetti




This is a good old-fashioned one-dish dinner, easy to prepare in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to bake.  It can also be frozen unbaked and partially thawed overnight in the refrigerator before baking.  If I am not cooking for a crowd, I split this recipe into two smaller 9" pans...one to serve and one for the freezer.  Baked spaghetti is a favorite of young and old alike!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 cups prepared pasta sauce (use your favorite bottled variety or prepare your own)
  • 2 cups creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone. Drain and rinse. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook until meat is browned. (Use a potato masher to break up the lumps of meat while sautéing.) Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté another minute. Stir in the pasta sauce.
  3. Spray 9" x 13" deep-dish casserole with cooking spray.
  4. Cover bottom with a layer of meat sauce (about half).
  5. Spread cottage cheese over sauce.
  6. Add the pasta and spread evenly in pan.
  7. Spoon remaining sauce over entire dish.
  8. Sprinkle surface with Parmesan cheese and top with mozzarella
  9. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. 
  10. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted  and bubbly. 



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Applesauce Bundt Cake

Our daughter in law cans her own fruit and I had some jars of applesauce from her that I wanted to use in a cake. This recipe that I found on the Food Network site uses 2 cups of applesauce and fit the bill nicely. I omitted some of the ingredients in the original recipe. It was served on a weekend when all of our kids were together at our home and everyone gave it a thumbs up!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened.
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream butter in large bowl.
  3. Add sugar and continue creaming.
  4. Add one egg at a time and continue beating.
  5. Add the vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  6. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  7. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the applesauce to the creamed ingredients.
  8. Fold in the walnuts.
  9. Pour evenly into a greased and floured bundt pan. 
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  11. Cool in pan and then invert onto cake plate.
  12. Dust with powdered sugar when completely cooled. 
  13. Serves 10 or more.
 


Monday, September 26, 2016

Light Brown Bread - farmer style


This bread is easy, delicious and includes a healthy choice of grains. Mix it by hand, in a Kitchen Aid mixer or bread machine ( taking it out to rise once it's mixed). It is important to use fresh tasting ingredients, so be sure to store seldom used grain products in the fridge or freezer until needed.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups hot water (from tap)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat bran
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (approx) 
  • egg wash and sesame seeds, optional
Method:
  1. In large mixing bowl (stand mixer makes it easier but you can do by hand) mix ingredients in order given. Switch to hook attachment if you have, after stirring in the yeast. If not, stir with a strong wooden spoon and knead by hand for a minute or two to smooth out the dough. Oiled or floured hands make it easier.
  2. Cover bowl. Make sure there is enough room to double, or transfer dough to larger bowl before you cover and let rise about 1 hour.
  3. Prepare a large sheet by greasing or lining with parchment paper. Alternately you can just grease three loaf pans.
  4. Divide dough into three parts. Roll each out into a 10 inch oval or circle and roll up. Shape into loaf and cut slit along top. If using loaf pans, you can just knead and shape to fit into pan.
  5. Let rise about 45 minutes. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds or rolled oats. 
  6. Bake at 375 F for 30 - 35 mintues. Cool on wire rack. Slice and freeze for your favorite sandwiches or enjoy with a bowl of soup.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bread For the Journey


They Cannot be Counted 


My husband planted some sunflower seeds this spring and we are now enjoying the 'harvest'. 
Studying the sunflower is a very interesting lesson in mathematics. 
Nature has a fascinating numbering system that follows what is called Fibonacci numbers.
  Fibonacci is a sequence of numbers where each number
 is the sum of the two previous numbers  -  1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21 etc.   
This order is found in the leaf arrangement in plants, 
in the pattern of florets of a flower, 
the brats of a pine cone, 
or the scales of a pineapple,
 as well as in the spirals of the sunflower seeds.  
Our universe is founded on mathematics -  God counts and patterns 
all the details of His physical creation  
-  and we know He even counts the hair on our head and the stars in the sky.
 But did you know there is something that cannot be numbered
 and does not follow a pattern or 'order' ? 

God's thoughts toward us cannot be counted! 

Our hearts are warmed when we meet someone who greets us with a smile and the words ... 
"Oh, I was thinking about you!"
We so easily feel that God is far away and 'busy' with people and things
 that are more important than we are. 
And yet, God says  that we could never count His thoughts toward us ...
and they are so personal to each of us that they could never be put in any pattern or order. 

  Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works 
Which You have done; 
And Your thoughts toward us 
Cannot be recounted to You in order; 
If I would declare and speak of them, 
They are more than can be numbered. 
Psa_40:5 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Steak Bites


Weekends call for good appetizers to share with family and friends. These little steak bites seasoned and wrapped in bacon are sure to be a real hit.
  • 2-3 beef tenderloin steaks, enough to get 24, 1 1/2" steak cubes when cut up
  • 8 strips bacon
  • Montreal Steak spice, or any other spice you enjoy
  1. Cut steak into 1 1/2" cubes.
  2. Season well and set aside.
  3. Slightly fry bacon strips, leaving them still very 'soft'. 
  4. Cool bacon and cut each strip into three. 
  5. Wrap bacon around steak cubes and secure with toothpicks.
  6. Grill, turning until desired doneness. 
NOTE: We like our steak medium, so having the bacon partly cooked already allows for the bacon and the steak to be just perfect coming off the grill. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Salsa


This Friday I'm re-posting my salsa recipe which was first appeared here in September of 2008. 'Tis the season! I tripled this recipe earlier this week, and hopefully that keeps us supplied with salsa until next year.  This is a zippy salsa!  If you prefer yours a little milder, remove all the seeds and ribs from inside the jalapeno peppers.


Salsa
  • 10 cups tomatoes (peeled, chopped and drained)
  • 8 small jalapeno peppers chopped (remove seeds for less heat) 
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green peppers 
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/3 cups vinegar 
  • 1 can 12 oz. can tomato paste  (369 ml)
  • 1 tsp. cumin 
  • 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes 
  • 3 Tablespoons pickling salt 
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
*Optional : Stir in 1/3 cup cornstarch diluted in cold water and simmer for several minutes to thicken salsa before filling jars. I prefer it this way.
  1. Combine all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Ladle into jars; tighten lids and process for 20 minutes in hot water bath.
Yield: 7 pint jars


*This recipe also makes a wonderful, tasty fresh salsa.  I use Roma tomatoes for the fresh version, cut back a little on the jalapeno peppers and make a smaller batch...as spelled out below.



Fresh Salsa
  • 5 cups chopped Roma tomatoes (un-peeled)
  • 2 small jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 1 cups chopped sweet onion
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • chopped fresh cilantro (according to preference)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar 
  • 1 can 6 oz. can tomato paste (156 ml. cans)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin 
  • 1/2 Tablespoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 Tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Place chopped veggies in a large bowl.  
  2. Mix vinegar, tomato paste, herbs and seasonings and add to chopped vegetables. 
  3. Stir to combine.  
  4. Keeps well in the refrigerator for a week. 
 




Thursday, September 22, 2016

No Nuts Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gluten free


My granddaughter recently discovered she is intolerant of nuts.  I love nuts and have always used them freely in baking - both the nuts and ground into flour.
She has also moved from home, closer to her university and of course that calls for 'care packages.'
I sent these cookies last week-end with her sister and her report back was... "She loved your cookies, Nanna, and couldn't stop eating them."
They keep for several days on the counter and also freeze well.

Here is the recipe ...

  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1 cup No-Nuts Golden Peabutter (or other brand of no-nuts butter) 
  • 2/3 cup white sugar 
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar 
  • 2 lg. eggs 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla 
  • 3 cups gluten-free oat flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 cup large dark chocolate chips 
  1. In mixer bowl combine butters and sugars and beat until light and creamy
  2. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well 
  3. Mix in oats and baking soda
  4. Stir in chocolate chips 
  5. Drop by teaspoon,  on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Do not overbake. 



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Blueberry Upside Down Cake


Here's one more blueberry dessert for your files!
We live in the eastern Fraser Valley in British Columbia and are surrounded by cornfields and more recently Blueberry farms.  Driving around the corner, I can pick up fresh blueberries anytime 
during the 3 months of summer.
Blueberries freeze well so I have a number of ice cream buckets full  in my freezer ready to use.
Here I've used my Buttermilk Cake recipe which I've copied out for you
but I'm sure you could do this with a cake mix or even  your favourite coffee cake base.

 For the blueberries:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • enough fresh or frozen (do not thaw) blueberries to cover the bottom of your 9 inch cake pan.
  • Zest from one lemon
for the cake:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
    1. Mix melted butter and sugar in the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch cake pan.
    2. Cover with blueberries and sprinkle lemon zest over the top.
    3. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.
    4. In another bowl, beat egg then add buttermilk and vanilla and stir until smooth.
    5. Stir melted butter into buttermilk mixture.
    6. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and beat with a spoon until almost smooth.
    7. Pour over blueberries.
    8. Bake at 325º F for about 30 minutes or until top is browned and toothpick inserted in centre comes out dry.
    9. Remove from oven, place cake plate over pan and carefully invert.
    10. Replace any blueberries that may have remained in the pan.
    11. Cool and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
    12. Makes 6-8 servings










Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Apple Sticks


These apple sticks are a nice treat for fall when the apples are plentiful. Use your favorite apple and cheddar cheese. Make sure you have caramel sauce/ice cream topping available to dip the 'sticks'.
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup apples, grated
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Caramel sauce/ice cream topping
  1. Whisk together the first 4 ingredients.
  2. Cut in butter and stir in cheese.
  3. Stir in apples and milk.
  4. Knead just enough to form into a ball. 
  5. Using a dusting of flour on counter roll out dough to 1/4" thickness.
  6. Cut into finger lengths approx 1" wide.
  7. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. ( I fried 4 sticks at a time, this takes approx  2 minutes)
  8. Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. 
  9. Mix together 2 tablepoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon on a plate. Roll each apple stick in the mixture coating each side.
  10. Serve warm caramel sauce in individual little bowls for each person for dipping.
  11. Yield: 15 apple sticks (in case someone is counting not all the apple sticks made it to the serving tray for photos:)




Monday, September 19, 2016

Pear and Almond Tart

I saw this recipe on the King Arthur Flour site and used fresh pears instead of canned pears because our pear tree had yielded so many pears that seemed to ripen all at once. I did use King Arthur Flour in this tart. I also used almond meal instead of almond flour or finely ground almonds.

Crust Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (or almond flour or finely ground almonds)

Filling Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup almond meal (or almond flour or finely ground almonds)
  • 5-6 pear halves, I used fresh but you can use canned well drained pear halves or poached pear halves
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon coarse white sparkling sugar, optional

Cream Sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour 
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Crust:
  1. Beat together the sugar, butter, salt, and flavorings.
  2. Add the flours, stirring to make crumbs that cling together when squeezed.
  3. Press the crumb into the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan with removable bottom; prick it all over with a fork.
  4. Chill this crust in the freezer for 15 minutes, then bake it until it's just beginning to brown on the edges, 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven.
Filling:
  1. Beat together the butter, salt, sugar, flour, and almond extract.
  2. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the almond flour, stirring just to combine.
  3. Assembling the Tart:
  4. Spread the filling in the bottom of the crust.
  5. Place the pears, fresh or well drained canned pear halves on top of the filling, pressing them down gently so the edges are covered.
  6. Brush the pears with melted butter and sprinkle with the white sparkling sugar, if desired.
  7. Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.
  8. Cool slightly before serving.
Cream Sauce: optional
  1. Melt butter in small heavy bottom saucepan.
  2. Stir in flour and cook on medium for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  3. Blend in the sugar.
  4. Add all the Heavy Cream at once and blend in.
  5. Stir in the extract.
  6. Cook stirring constantly till it thickens and just comes to a boil.
  7. Top the slices of tart with the cream just before serving. 

Serves 6-8 generously. I used a 10 inch tart pan.



Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bread for the Journey

 

Seasons
 
Autumn is in the air. The evenings are cooler...the days are much shorter...and fall colours are here. It really is a beautiful time of the year.  But it is also a reminder that time moves on...and things change.

It seemed we went from one funeral to the next this summer.  Three of our close friends lost fathers this summer.  Another friend passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  A wonderful woman who had been 'adopted' into my husband's family when she came to Canada as a refugee after the war, went on to her heavenly home a few weeks ago. It has been a time for farewells and for adjusting to a new way of life for those family members left behind.  Seasons come and go...leaves wither and fade...but one thing that will never change is the  love of God.  I love the lyrics to a song I have been listening to this week...all about the love of Jesus that sustains us when the seasons change and chapters end.  
The autumn season is upon is.  There is turmoil in the world...both at home and abroad. We don't really know what this season will hold.  But we know who holds the season!  His love remains.
 
"For the mountains may depart
    and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
    and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,"
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  
Isaiah 54:10 ESV

 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Potatoes Romanoff


Another great make ahead recipe from my friend Irm. A delicious side dish perfect for a special occasion or family meal. This is my version of her recipe.


  • 5 lbs of potatoes, Yukon gold is recommended but I used White potatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups sour cream (may use low fat)
  • a bit of milk to thin out if necessary
  • 11/2 cup of grated  aged cheddar, divided 
  1. In a large pot add the peeled and cubed potatoes and cook in salted water until soft enough to mash. 
  2. Add the butter and sour cream and a little milk to make your potatoes smooth and creamy as you mash them.
  3. Mix in 1 cup of grated cheese and black pepper. 
  4. Transfer to a greased casserole dish large enough to hold the potatoes. 
  5. Top with remaining cheese. 
  6. Refrigerate overnight. Bake covered at 350 for 25 minutes. 
  7. Uncover and cook another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
  8. May top with a sprinkling of paprika and bit of chopped green onion on top for serving.
Very good served with BBQ steak or chicken

Friday, September 16, 2016

Flashback Friday - Chocolate Zucchini Cake / Muffins



As usual there is more than enough zucchini to go around. Lately I have put zucchini in everything from Lasagna, stews, chili, pasta sauce, or served it sauteed in this recipe. Type in the word zucchini in the recipe search button to the right of the screen underneath the image of our cookbooks to get more great recipes and ideas to use up your zucchini.
Today I want to re-post a personal family favorite, Chocolate Zucchini Cake that I made into cupcakes this time. It is moist and chocolatey with a hint of spice. Serve it warm with ice cream or make it into muffins to send along for lunches.

  • 1/2 cup of hard margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of sour milk (1 teaspoon of lemon juice of vinegar at the bottom of the measuring cup and fill with milk, let stand a few minutes)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
  • chocolate chips for sprinkling on top of the cake before baking
  1. combine margarine, oil with the sugar and vanilla, beat well.
  2. Add eggs one at a time beating well with each addition.
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients together, adding into the wet mixture alternately with the milk.
  4. Stir in the zucchini.
  5. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle the top with desired amount of chocolate chips. 
  7. Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes of cake test is done. 
If you are baking cupcakes bake them in a greased muffin tin, for 25-30 minutes at 350.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Beef Dip Sandwich



Unlike me, a beef dip is what my husband likes to order from a menu when he is looking for a sandwich. Recently his sandwich must have looked better than usual and I asked for a bite. It was so good, I had to open it up and peek in to replicate it at home. It's a keeper for us!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs roast beef (eye of round, top or bottom round, sirloin or tri tip)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cooking spray
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water, approx (adjust according to flavor of roast juices when done) 
  • mayonnaise
  • grainy mustard
  • French's french fried onions (warm to crisp slightly)
  • mayo and mustard
  •  4 - 6 crusty rolls or baguette (we like ciabatta)
Method:
  1. Two hours before serving, rub roast with salt and and place in sprayed roasting pan. Bake uncovered at 400 F for 30 minutes. At the same time, place thinly sliced peppers, drizzled with olive oil in a small open pan (such as bread pan) to roast along side the beef. 
  2. Remove both from oven. Reduce temp to 275 F. 
  3. Set peppers aside if done (cooked and starting to get some black tips) If not, return to oven for as long as needed. 
  4. Place halves of garlic and bay leaf, on top or beside roast. Cover with lid or foil and return to oven. Cook for another 30 - 45 minutes, until meat thermometer checks out at 145 F for medium done . . . a tad of pinkness. Remove roast from juices. Set aside and cover with foil.
  5. To juices in pan add water according to taste. If it needs flavor, add some beef bouillon, but the natural juices should be fine. 
  6. Slice roast beef as thinly as possible, across the grain, for best texture.
  7. To assemble spread rolls lightly with mayo and mustard. Top with slices of beef, roasted pepper and crisped french fried onions. Dip in hot roast juices divided into small ramekins. Serves 4

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pizza Dip


It is football season! This pizza dip is a great snack to serve on those game nights. If you want to make it meatless you can use mushrooms instead of pepperoni. Use your favorite chips, breads or crackers for dipping. Tortilla corn chips are my favorite for this dip.
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce..I like to use either hot and spicy pizza sauce or spicy red pepper spaghetti sauce. Use your favorite.
  • 1/3 cup green peppers, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pepperoni, chopped
  1. Beat cream cheese, sour cream and mayo until smooth and creamy. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
  2. Spread into a 9" pie pan.
  3. Cover with pizza sauce, peppers and the rest of the (1/2 cup) mozzarella cheese.
  4. Top with chopped pepperoni and bake at 350º for 20 minutes until bubbly and slightly golden.
  5. Serve hot with tortilla chips, toasted baguette slices or crackers.
  6. Serves: 6


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Apples and Everything Muffins - Big Batch




Who doesn't love Apples?
Bushels and boxes full of fresh apples are now appearing at farmer's markets and shops. 
Here is a recipe that utilizes this favourite fruit.
These muffins have lots of apples in them plus almost everything else.
They are moist, delicious and freeze well.
The recipe makes approximately 36 medium sized muffins.
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup natural bran (not cereal)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 4 cups shredded peeled apples
  • 1 cup shredded peeled carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 cups raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/1/2 cups oil
  • 1/4 cup fancy molasses
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Lightly grease muffin tins and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350º.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  4. Add shredded apple, carrots, pecans, raisins, and coconut and toss together with dry ingredients.
  5. In another bowl, mix oil, molasses, milk, beaten eggs and vanilla.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix lightly until evenly moistened.  Do not over mix.
  7. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
  8. Bake at 350º for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in muffins come out clean.
  9. Immediately loosen muffins from edge of cups and tilt each muffin in it's cup. This keeps them from getting soggy in the pan.
  10. Remove muffins to a rack.  
  11. Serve warm or let cool completely and freeze.



Monday, September 12, 2016

Shrimp Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Blue cheese is a delicious dressing to this shrimp salad. If you are not a blue cheese lover check out our other salad dressings under our recipe index or use your favourite dressing. I've not put amounts for the salad as it's simple to add more or less depending on number of people being served. Make it a meal or serve as a side salad. If your family does not eat shrimp, substitute with grilled chicken.

Salad:
  • fresh spinach
  • fresh mushrooms
  • cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • green onions
  • avocado
  • hard boiled eggs
  • bacon, fried and crumbled
  • fresh shrimp
  1. Lay fresh spinach on a large platter and layer other ingredients to make a platter style salad. 
Dressing: 
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire  sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbed 
  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Stir well to combine.
  2. Let dressing sit in refrigerator for at least 4 hours to allow flavours to combine. 


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bread for the Journey


GOTW-practice035

Have you ever done a study of  “one anothers” in the Bible? I recommend this easy study to any of you to do at home or in a study group. Grab your concordances and search and find all the ways we are suppose to behave in our community. I’m including one great passage from Colossians that covers a few and suggestions for what to look for. Enjoy!

Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Here are some helpful descriptions of some of these virtues; (taken from The Reformation Bible, ESV, R.C. Sproul – general Editor)

Kindness: Readiness to do good, even when it may be undeserved (Rom 2:4; Titus 3:4).
Compassion: An emotional, caring relationship with those whose lives are hurt and broken (Matt. 9:36; 14:14; Rom. 12:1).
Humility: A posture of lowliness and servanthood (Mark 10;45; Phil. 2:1-11).
Meekness: Or, “gentleness” in offering help, a non-coercive approach to encouraging change in others’ lives (Matt. 11:29; 2 Cor. 10:1; Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:25).
Patience: Willingness to take the long view in face of human frailty (Rom. 2:4; 1 Tim. 1:16).

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the “one anothers” to look for; love one another, serve one another, accept one another, forgive one another, comfort one another, encourage one another, care for one another.

My challenge to you in researching these and more is to find the two one anothers in the New Testament (maybe there are more than two) that are in the negative (the do not’s to one another).

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Saturday in the Kitchen with Charlotte


Over the years in my adult life I have been to many many Tupperware parties. I bought two of these containers for my flour. One for the All purpose flour and one for my whole wheat flour. The sales person guaranteed me that a 10kg bag fits into the bin. NEVER did it all fit in for me. UNTIL.....my youngest daughter was given a Tupperware Shower this spring. Those of us seasoned cooks could recommend what we found useful and what we didn't. The sales person told her that an entire bag fit into the container. I asked if that was so....how do you do it because I never was able to achieve it. Here is the secret! 

Place you empty container over an opened bag. 



Flip over the container so the bottom bag is now on top.


Make several slits into the bottom of the bag with a knife. 


Slowly lift up the bag.


Voila, it works!
Doing it this way doesn't allow the flour 
to aerate and the entire bag fits 
into the container. 


Close it up and put it away. It is as 
simple as that. Why I had not figured
this out on my own is beyond me
but I now know and so do you! 
How do you store your flour?


Friday, September 9, 2016

Flash Back Friday-Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars

This is a favorite with all of our kids. The original post for this dessert is found here.
If you have never tried making this simple treat you should remedy that and give it a try.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Karo light corn syrup
  • 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:
  1. Bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil and take off heat.
  2. Add peanut butter and blend well.
  3. Add Rice Krispies and mix till the krispies are coated well.
  4. Put this mixture in a well greased 9 x 12 pan pressing evenly into pan to edges.
  5. Put butterscotch and semi-sweet chips in microwavable container and cook at 3-30 second intervals mixing well after each interval, mixing until smooth. 
  6. If you don't have a microwave you can use the double boiler method to melt the chips.
  7. Top the Rice Krispie mix with the melted and blended chips and spread evenly. 
  8. Cool and enjoy.
  9. Serves at least 12. 


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Baked drumsticks are a simple and economical supper meal.
  • 12 drumsticks
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dry basil
  • 1 cup cream
  1. Place drumsticks in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan.
  2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dry basil, making sure to sprinkle on all sides.
  3. Bake in 350º oven for 30 minutes uncovered.
  4. Heat cream slightly and pour over meat. 
  5. Continue to roast another 45 minutes. Cover if meat is getting to dark. 
Serving suggestion: I like to make rice with these drumsticks. After the meat is baked, remove from the pan and add your cooked rice to the drippings with the cream, letting the juices infuse the rice with the basil flavoured drippings. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pumpkin Seed, Cranberry Rolls


These rolls or baguettes were inspired by a sandwich I've had at Milestones. I used my regular French bread recipe, using multi grain flour, adding pumpkin seeds and cranberries. Slice these crispy rolls to freeze and make a quick cheese or chicken sandwich to go. You can also serve it warm with brie cheese, crispy bacon and roasted chicken slices.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 5 cups Robin Hood multigrain flour, or 2 1/2 cups whole wheat and 2 1/2 cups white
  • 2 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • extra seeds and flour for rolling out
Method:
  1. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer - if you have) mix sugar, salt, oil and hot water.
  2. Add  2 1/2 cups flour. Stir in yeast and mix until well blended, then add the cranberries and seeds.
  3. Switch attachment to dough hook - if using stand mixer - or use a strong wooden spoon to continue stirring in the rest of the flour until you can shape it into a ball.  Flour is approximate, so use a little less or a little more, just until it can barely hold its shape. A little kneading is required if doing so by hand. Keep hands oiled or floured to make it easier. 
  4. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. 
  5. Prepare 1 extra large or two medium sized sheets by greasing or lining with parchment paper.
  6. Divide dough into four parts. 
  7. Sprinkle rolling surface with more seeds and multigrain flour.
  8. Roll each part into about a 10 x 5 inch shape and roll up from long side. Cut into 3 five inch rolls and pinch ends a bit, if you like. Cut slit into top.
  9. Let rise on sheets about 30 - 45 minutes. Bake at 400 F about 18 - 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Yields 12 rolls
I like to use the multigrain flour as it gives the rolls more rise, but if you are not able to get it
feel free to improvise. (white, whole wheat, oats and flax seed . . .)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Butterscotch Brownies


These bars are a 'flash from the past'...a recipe that was baked often in my childhood home.  Since my dad was not all that fond of chocolate, our brownies were more often than not 'blonde'!  Moist and delicious...they make a great lunch-box treat.
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Combine brown sugar and melted butter in mixing bowl and stir smooth. Cool slightly.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and chopped nuts.  
  4. Spread batter evenly in greased 9"x13" pan.
  5. Bake in pre-heated 325° oven for 25-30 minutes or until set.
  6. Cool before cutting into bars.
  7. Sprinkle with icing sugar (powdered sugar) before serving.




Monday, September 5, 2016

Easy Leftover Roast Beef Stroganoff


It's a great idea to make enough Roast Beef for leftovers and this is one of my favourite ways to make a whole new meal.  

  • 3-4 cups slivered leftover roast beef
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion
  • about 15 large button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef or mushroom broth
  • 1/3 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh or freeze dried chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • a few dashes cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • wide or medium hot buttered noodles
  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion and mushrooms in oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until veggies begin to caramelize.
  2. Add flour and stir to combine for a minute and then add mushroom or beef broth and red wine, stirring to create a sauce.  
  3. Add seasonings and simmer a few minutes to blend flavours.
  4. Add sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat through.
  5.  Add a bit more broth if necessary to thin the sauce and bring to a simmer. 
  6. Serve over hot buttered noodles. 


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bread for the Journey

Life can seem so out of focus at times. We hardly recognize where we are and how we got there. Sometimes it is even difficult to recognize ourselves in the messiness of life and the direction our life is going, with all the obstacles in the way.  I think we all experience life like this at times and it hurts. We just go through the motions without realizing the full journey. We end up where we are without acknowledging where we came from or how we got there. What then? Do we just allow ourselves to keep journeying on with out direction or focus until everything is such a blur we can't see a way out anymore?

Truthfully, there are no quick fix solutions, nor do I want to trivialize the pain that comes with this being in this space. What I do know is that we are not on this journey alone. Sometimes the answers are right in front of our eyes but we can't see it.


Proverbs 4:25 says
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.



This scripture says it so plainly. Look straight ahead, gaze directly before you. We have a tendency to look back or far up ahead and to the sides where we are easily distracted. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Let us not become distracted by the past that can't be changed, or look  into the future for it is uncertain, no one knows what life holds next. What we are able to do is focus on the here and now and try to gain our perspective back one tiny step at a time with the help of Jesus. I would really encourage you to read the entire chapter of Proverbs 4, it offers a lot of wisdom.

Lord, Thank you for giving our life meaning and hope with instructions that seem so simple that we often don't recognize it when we read your word. Open the eyes of our heart that we may see only what will help us to put our focus and hope in you. Lord may the reader here this morning leave feeling encouraged with a renewed sense of hope and promise for their life. Our hope lies in you Lord and only you. Amen.


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Saturday Morning in Marg's Kitchen


It's Saturday morning and my kitchen is one busy, active place. You've seen some beautiful organized kitchen posts in the past months, but  this morning my kitchen is filled with men and it's a bit chaotic, as I try to assign each person to 'one duty'.   One is frying the bacon, others are picking berries, while Opa  is busy preparing the crepes at the oven.  Yes, I prefer orderliness, but today it does not matter. Everyone is having a good time and while they are all busy, this Oma has the bun dough rising and the vanilla pudding is cooking in the microwave.  Meanwhile, I hear commotion of a loose tooth and it all happens.  But we're all having a great time.  A breakfast of crepes is a favorite kick-off meal for the beginning of the school year. 

School is about to start for the Canadian children in the next week.   I'm going to take you back two years ago to highlight Anneliese's  beautiful post on making lunches.  I hope you find this helpful. I've added a few extra snack ideas for after school or for any time when those youngsters are needing a quick snack as you shuffle them to their activities.  I like pizza buns as they are easy to assemble and buns are always in my freezer.  I'm sharing two quick and easy recipes. 


Meatless Pizza Buns
  • 3 cups shredded cheeses, mozzarella and cheddar
  • 1 can tomato sauce 
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tin sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped olives
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  1. Turn oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix these ingredients together and spread on buns.
  3. Bake 5 minutes at 400 degrees, then broil for 4 minutes.
  4. This pizza mix lasts up to three weeks when refrigerated.


Meat Lovers Pizza Buns
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 1/2 pound farmer sausage or ham 
  • 1 stick pepperoni
  • 1 medium onion chopped fine
  • 1 green pepper chopped fine
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups shredded cheese mixture (cheddar/mozzerella)
  1. Slice bacon into small pieces and fry it in a large skillet. 
  2. Drain off fat.
  3. Add onions, green pepper, farmer sausage/ham until onions are soft. Keep stirring.
  4. Add spaghetti sauce, pepperoni and seasonings.
  5. Cool mixture
  6. Stir in cheese and mix well.
  7. Spread on open-faced buns and broil until bubbly and cheese is melted.
  8. You can freeze this mixture and use it when needed.


Two hungry boys enjoying a a quick nutritious snack.
Is your kitchen chaotic sometimes?  Let me know.


Friday, September 2, 2016

Hired Hand Macaroni Casserole

For Flash Back Friday, I'm bringing back a favourite casserole.
Harv's Mom always made it for supper when Dad hired a local man to help him.
For the full story you can go back and read my original post.
I made it recently for my brother in law and it brought back warm memories.





  • 3 cups macaroni
  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 213 ml tin tomato sauce
  • 1 234 ml tin tomato soup - undiluted
  • 1/2 cup ketchup or bottled chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups (or more) grated cheese - cheddar and/or mozzarella
  1. Cook macaroni in salted boiling water. drain.
  2. While macaroni is cooking,brown hamburger in a fry pan, draining excess fat and place in large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside
  3. Add onions and peppers to the pan and sautè until wilted. add to hamburger in bowl.
  4. Add cooked macaroni, soup, sauce and ketchup, basil and oregano and mix well with hamburger and vegetables.
  5. Spoon into large casserole dish or two smaller ones.
  6. Top with grated cheese (be generous)
  7. Bake at 350º for 1/2 and hour or until casserole bubbles.
  8. Serve with a green salad.
Note: If you like, you can make this in 2 casseroles, eat one now and freeze the other for a night when you don't have time to cook.