Monday, October 31, 2016

Honey Raisin Bran Muffins


This is a recipe from the Kellogg's page and the reason I chose to do this recipe is because it's easy and I don't keep bran in my cupboard. We enjoy this cereal and usually have a box of it in the cupboard. All the rest of the ingredients are always in my pantry. There are a few other scratch recipes for bran muffins on our blog if you prefer using your own bran. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups Kellogg's Raisin Bran® cereal
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free milk, I used 2%.
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
 Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Set aside.
3. In large mixing bowl, combine Kellog's Raisin Bran cereal, milk and honey. Let stand 3 minutes or until cereal softens.
4. Add egg and oil. Beat well.
5. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined.
6. Portion batter evenly into twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray, or use muffin paper liners.
7. Bake at 400° F for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Serves 6-12

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bread for the Journey


Psalm 113:3 NIV "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised."

It's a new day! Things look the darkest at night but when dawn breaks and the sun rises we are filled with new hope and an opportunity for a fresh start to another day.
This is the perfect time of peace and quiet to commune with God. No matter what time of day let's take the time to praise our Lord and worship Him.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Kathy's Kitchen Revovation




This year Scot and I have gone through many changes.

With much thought, we put our home of 14 years up for sale.  We found a lovely little spot in a gated community, much smaller than our existing one, and also in need of some TLC. Once we made the decision there was no turning back. We began to make plans and the first day we got the key I picked up the sledge hammer and put the first blow through the wall. Renovations had begun. I'm going to give you a peek into what our summer and fall have looked like.

Outside our kitchen and living room windows, we overlook a small man-made lake with fountains, a gazebo, and gardens. It's beautiful and peaceful.



The wall I'm smashing is behind the cabinets on the right. This was the kitchen when we took possession of the house.
Notice the blue carpet on the deck? It's now been removed as well, and in the spring we will start on the outside.



Another look into the original kitchen.



The cabinets were all in good shape and could have been refaced or just painted but with taking out a wall, all these cabinets have now found a new home in the garage.



Scot and his friends Ron and John began the work of pulling out all the cabinets which now are hanging in the garage. Scot's dad was a wonderful support and help. He pulled many staples from underlay in the bedrooms of the house.



It was mid-June and renovations were well under way. We love open concept living so the wall between the kitchen and living room had to come down.



Our new home is just across the little lake from mom and dad. They treated us to many a wonderful supper while we were renovating. We can't begin to thank mom and dad for all their kindness.



While we were still in our old home I would bake treats to bring to the workers and we began to make memories on the deck....that still was adorned with flower pots filled with plastic flowers...planted with love I'm sure.



July 15 we took the final walk through our home filled with many wonderful memories that we have taken with us. During this season I was also caring for my dear dad who was in his last days. On this particular day, I was thankful that I had been organized.

The need to be with my dad was much more important than the move and Scot was very supportive to have the movers come and he gave direction without me there. This was the last photo I took of our last home and came home that evening to a new to us home. We had no kitchen, but we had a roof, a bed set up and a clean bathroom. We were thankful amid the mess of renovations.



I came 'home' to a kitchen with a sink! The old sink from the laundry room that was also getting a makeover. I bleached that old sink and it was more than many people have. I was thankful for running water.

The sunshine ceiling and other kitchen lighting came out and we put in LED pot lights.
Scot had to grind off a few layers of flooring in the kitchen and the guys put in a new sub floor. We chose vinyl planking throughout the main living area. A great choice!



The guys worked hard and trades came and went. Throughout the rest of the house I was pulling off a whole lot of wall paper and it was fun when people would just show up and help. We also spent a lot of time running around and choosing the flooring, paint, cabinetry and all things for the renovation. Cabinets were ordered but with it being a busy season we would have to wait, and so this is what our kitchen looked liked for a while.




It was summer so we BBQ'd many nights. Inside we had a toaster oven, toaster, microwave, and coffee maker.

My dear dad passed away during this time and my sister and her husband stayed with us in the midst of our renovations. They were good sports and we had such a wonderful time in our make shift kitchen. Our kids and grand kids from out of town also came and stayed across the lake from us at mom and dad's. It was fun to have them join us for muffins on the deck morning after the memorial service. Memories being made.



I had packed all our utensils, kitchen gadgets and kitchen linen in large rubber maids. It kept everything neat and tidy, clean and accessible.



Family times still needed to happen so we set up little make shift baking stations as needed. Here's 'B' helping me roll our Rollkuchen.



And....a camping trip with these two grand boys and their parents was a wonderful get a way. I never appreciated our RV kitchen so much, with running water and an oven and dishes in their right place. Having just lost my dad being with our kids and grand kids was just the medicine we needed. Family love and support...treasured.



Soon after we got home the call came that the cabinets were ready for install. This meant my laundry tub sink had to come out.....so how long would I be without water in the kitchen?
First...the lowers and the island were installed.

Wall colour: Benjamin Moore, Edge Comb Grey
Trim: Benjamin Moore, Cloud White
Cabinets: Benjamin Moore Cloud White



The kitchen really began to take shape when the upper cabinets were hung.



The appliances arrived. Until this point we were using the original fridge that had been moved into the garage and also had a small bar fridge under the covered deck right outside the kitchen door.



The counter tops were still on order so my clever hubby mounted some temporary plywood counter tops to a few sections and on the island. Worked like a charm!

Now we had counter tops...but was without running water in the kitchen for a few weeks. We filled little plastic tubs with water from the bathrooms and washed our dishes on the island.



We wanted to celebrate Scot's mom and dad's anniversary so we invited a few family friends and I bought pretty plastic square plates (so we would not have so many dishes to wash by hand) and Scot got his Big Green Eggs going and grilled us up a feast of steak and lobster and twice stuffed baked potatoes.

We were making more memories in our new home.



The appliances began to get moved into place. The stove was kept covered to make sure it was not damaged.

Under cabinet flush mount LED lights were installed.
(We went with all Whirlpool Appliances in the kitchen.)



And then the quartz counter tops arrived. Oh, how they shone and oh how I smiled!
I had a sink, and a faucet, and was now waiting for the plumber to return to hook everything up.

Counter top: Matrix Grey Quartzform



The Friday before Canadian Thanksgiving the back splash was being installed.
We had 12 around the table for Thanksgiving dinner.

Back splash: Ames 5x7 Centro Pearl Gloss



Welcome to my new happy place.


It's here in this sweet little home on a little lake we are making new memories to add to the old.

I look forward to filling the house with wonderful smells from the kitchen. The joy of family and friends to gather round the island and the big table just around the corner from the kitchen.
In spring flower planters will be hung and summer blooms will peek in through the corner windows.

The deck which is a wonderful covered extension to the kitchen will get 'dressed up' in spring too.

We've downsized from 2800 sq ft to 1700 sq ft.

It's cozy and we have not looked back.
Before we moved I decluttered and got rid of a lot of things from my kitchen. To my amazement, I have not missed one thing. I still have plenty of room for more than I need. When the old cabinets were moved to the garage I claimed the floor to ceiling pantry cabinet as my pantry for canned goods and large items.

(Kitchen complete, except for the window treatments that are being installed as I complete this post)


Friday, October 28, 2016

Alvina's Cinnamon Twists


For this Flashback I want to remind you of these sweet little twists I first sampled in Alvina's kitchen many years ago. Alvina is my cousin by marriage and lives about 1500 miles from us, but the visits we’ve had as families have been the best! Besides being an excellent cook and home-maker, Alvina has a wonderful warm personality and the best laugh!. I love reminders of our times together and when I make these I wish that the distance between our houses would not be so far.




More recently, this recipe came up when MGCC were invited to do a cooking class in Shipshewana, IN, and we demonstrated this simple biscuit pastry to be used plain, with a savory or a sweet filling.

Ingredients:

Your favorite biscuit or scone pastry. I use:
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
  • 6 Tbsp butter, room temp.
  • 1 c buttermilk or milk
filling and icing:
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 c icing (confectioner's) sugar

Method:
 
  1. In medium sized bowl, mix dry ingredients, then cut in butter with pastry blender. 
  2. Add buttermilk, stirring with fork until dough holds together. Shape into a ball.
  3. Pat into a rectangular shape on lightly floured surface and roll out to a 6 x 24 inch strip.
  4. Spread with melted butter, then with sugar/cinnamon/flour (mixed)
  5. Starting from long side, fold over twice, so that you have a 2 inch strip that has 3 layers.
  6. Cut into 3/4 inch slices and twist each slice so that it looks like the figure 8. (right hand twists away from you and left hand toward you)
  7. Place on greased and floured (or parchment paper lined) cookie sheet.
  8. Bake at 400F until golden. About 12 - 14 minutes. Yield: approx. 30 mini twists
Icing:

Fill a 1 c measuring cup 3/4 full of icing sugar. Stir while adding a little water at a time, until it has an easy spreading consistency. Drizzle or brush over warm twists. (If you did not use
parchment paper, remove twists from sheet with lifter before sugar, that has run out, hardens.)


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hasselback Baked Apples


Hasselback apples are a fun twist of the classic apple crisp dish.  They are rather like apple pie without the crust! Firm and somewhat tart apples work best...varieties like Honeycrisp or Ambrosia.

  • 2 large crisp apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • oatmeal crumble topping (recipe below)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
  2. Starting at the outer edge, make thin slices at 1/8"-1/4" intervals cutting most (but not all) of the way through each apple half.
  3. Place apple halves, cut side down, in an 8-inch square pan sprayed with cooking oil.
  4. Combine butter, sugar and cinnamon and brush evenly over each apple piece.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and spoon oatmeal crumble mixture over apples halves, carefully fanning open apple slices. 
  8. Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  9. Turn broiler to high and broil for one or two minutes.
  10. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of your favorite caramel sauce.
Crumble Topping:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
Mix brown sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter and use a pastry blender or hands to mix until crumbly.

*When making a fruit crisp, I always do a large batch of 'crumble topping' and keep it on hand in the freezer. Those frozen crumbs come in handy when making Hasselback apples.


 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Caramelized New Potatoes


I know new potatoes are usually a springtime treat.
 But lately, I've found small potatoes available almost year round.
 This is a quick way to gussie-up those little gems and turn them into something fabulous.

  • New potatoes - as many as you need for your guests - I usually count on 3 or 4 per person depending on the size.
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Cook potatoes  in a couple of inches of salted water until barely tender.
  2. Drain water and return pan to heat.
  3. Add butter to pan and melt, tossing potatoes to coat well.
  4. Turn heat to medium and sprinkle with sugar.
  5. Continue to cook, tossing the potatoes in the pan every few minutes until the sugar melts and begins to form a golden brown crust on them.
  6. Serve with chopped fresh parsley if desired.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls ~ No Knead and Dairy Free





Would you like a no knead recipe for fluffy and soft delicious pumpkin cinnamon rolls? Then this is the recipe for you..I adapted this recipe from Coleen's Recipes. Thank you Coleen! I have made the original recipe and this adapted one and they both turned out wonderful. I love that this dough with pumpkin is such a beautiful orange color.

Dough:
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Filling: (in a small bowl mix together first 3 ingredients)
  • 3/4 brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped ~ optional
  • 1/4 cup lactose free margarine, make sure it doesn't contain milk products
  1. In a medium sized microsafe bowl heat coconut milk, pumpkin puree, oil, and sugar just until warm not hot.
  2. Remove and stir in yeast. 
  3. Stir 4 cups of flour into the liquid mixture until well mixed. Dough will be sticky.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour.
  5. In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Once dough has risen for an hour, stir down and add the final flour mixture, mixing until well blended. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
  7. Roll out on well floured surface to approx 20" x 14".
  8. Spread rolled out dough with lactose free margarine, then spoon brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with pecans if using.
  9. Roll up tightly jelly roll style and pinch the seam closed.
  10. Cut into 14 even slices and place in well greased 9" x 13" pans.
  11. Cover and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.
  12. Bake in 375º oven for 20 minutes or until golden in color.
  13. Drizzle with glaze while still warm.
  14. Yield: 14 rolls
Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk.
  1. Whisk together until smooth.

Monday, October 24, 2016

BBQ Bean and Sausage Soup





Now that we're in the midst of the Fall Season, 
I gravitate to making soup for lunches.
This one is simple - made in less than an hour.
Barbeque Sauce adds a smokey zip to the beans and sausage.

  • 1/2  large sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2  red or yellow pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 - 8" length smoked farmer sausage (or ham sausage) diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 1 teaspoon "Beef Better than Bouillon" or 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup Barbeque Sauce
  • a few dashes hot pepper sauce if desired
  • 2 cups frozen corn or 1 large can corn, drained.

  1. place diced vegetables in a frying pan with olive oil and saute until tender.
  2. Add diced farmer sausage and bay leaves and continue to cook until farmer sausage begins to brown.
  3. Place sausage and sauteed vegetables in a dutch oven and add remaining ingredients except corn.
  4. Simmer soup on low for about 1/2 hour, stirring frequently.
  5. Add corn and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with Cheddar cheese or sour cream if desired.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bread for the Journey




Many of us memorized Psalm 119:105 a long time ago . . .
be it in Sunday School or at Pioneer Girls . . .
or maybe it was given to us at a significant time, such as our baptism.

Recently I had to think on what this verse means to me right now
at this time in life . . . why is it important to me?
I mulled about how I can find verses to help me when I'm fearful, 
need comfort or encouragement.
I thought about how God's word tells us where it all began, 
it tells us that we are not here by chance, that we are valued.
It tells us about those who chose to trust in God and those who did not.
It tells us how God provided salvation for us and
of the hope we have in Him.

But, my thoughts kept going and I realized why this verse has significance.
God's word is timeless.
What that means is that in this world, where things keep changing,
God's word stays the same.
His word is a light that exposes truth,
giving us a rock to stand on - an anchor for our soul.

In times when it's difficult to distinguish right from wrong
may God's word be a light for our path.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Apple Sauce Cookies

A few days ago I took my granddaughter, Ivy on a small field trip to our friends home to share the experience of picking apples from the ground and tree, just like I did when I was a small girl.  The fallen apples were always perfect for pies, cookies, apple crisp, apple sauce, Perishky or even drying.
There was never a wasted apple.  Every fall, my father would drive the family sedan to Osoyoos to pick up a load of apples.   We first had to eat the McIntosh and Spartans, which lasted till Christmas. After Christmas we could eat the red and yellow delicious apples as they preserved longer. Today I love the Honey Crisp apples and I'm thankful I don't have to wait for any seasonal times.


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dices apples

Instructions.
  1. Peel the apples and dice.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and egg in a bowl
  3. Add flour and dry spices to mixture
  4. Add liquid, apples and raisins and mix well.
  5. Drop dough onto parchment paper
  6. Bake in oven at 400 degrees° for 12 minutes.
  7. Cool on parchment paper for a few minutes and transfer to cookie racks

Tip from Ivy:  "Oma, don't forget the baking soda.  Mummy forgot to put the baking soda in the cookies and they did not grow...."

Take a peek at Bev's muffin  apple recipe.  This recipe is so delicious and makes a big batch.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Flashback Friday ~ Chicken Rice Casserole

Sunday dinner was always special in our home.  My mom had two children later in life and I remember how she stayed home while my father took my siblings to church.  It was always a treat for me to come home and have a table set with her china and sit down to a hearty meal.  I so much appreciate how she cared for us in so many ways.  I wish I could now invite her to my home and bless her.  Today's recipe is a flashback of one of my mom's favorite Sunday recipes.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 4 uncooked chicken breasts
  • 1 cream of chicken soup (10oz)
  • 1 cream of mushroom soup (10oz)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pkg onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Measure rice into bottom of medium size casserole/dish or 9x6 glassware.
  3. Cut breasts into serving-size pieces slicking through at an angle so that they are not more than 3/4-inch thick.
  4. Lay chicken pieces over the uncooked rice
  5. In a small bowl mix soups together and spread this mixture over the chicken.
  6. Add two cups of water.
  7. Sprinkle onion soup mix on top
  8. Add roasted almonds on top for garnish
  9. Cover with lid and bake for two hours

Remember you can make this yourself Sunday morning, put it in the oven and come home to a wonderful aroma like Mom's been in the kitchen and surprise everyone.  Enjoy!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pizza Pretzels





I've started to enlist the help of Mom to come help me make treats for the littles lunches.  
These pizza pretzels are not a pretzel in the true sense that they are boiled first but they have the pretzel shape and they are a real hit. 
Dough
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • about 1 1/4 cup white flour additional flour to make a soft dough
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup soft or melted butter 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 slightly beaten large eggs
  1. Place dry ingredients in a large bowl or in the bowl of your mixer.  Stir to combine.
  2. Heat the milk up until it is hot to touch.  Add water, butter and eggs.  Whisk together. 
  3. Add to the dry ingredients in the bowl.  Stir to combine and then knead, adding flour as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic.  
  4. Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for about 45 minutes or until double.   You can put the dough in the refrigerator overnight.  Allow to come to come to room temperature before shaping into buns. 
Pizza Toppings
  • pizza sauce
  • cheddar mozzarella  blend shredded cheese (about 2 pounds)
  • dry pizza sliced pepperoni * 
  1. Divide dough in half and roll into a large rectangle.  Cut into long strips and then roll with your hands to round them off. The strip should be about 18  inches long.
  2. Fold in half and twist it about half way down and then form into pretzel shape as shown in photo below.
  3. Let rise on greased pans or pans lined with parchment paper until doubled in bulk.  Spread with pizza sauce and sprinkle with cheese and put a few pieces of pepperoni on each pretzel.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 and bake until the cheese has melted and the buns are golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool and then freeze in bags.  
*I buy Grimm's and it comes in a 175 gram package.  Any sliced pepperoni will work just fine. 








Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Apple Pie Scones



I recently stopped by a local bakery and picked up a few scones.  One was an 'Apple Pie Scone' and we rather liked it.  I converted one of my scone recipes to something similar and will give it the same name. 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped apple (tart apples such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith are best)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Glaze:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup icing sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Cut in the butter, using a pastry blender...or grate with a coarse grater and combine with fingertips. 
  4. In separate bowl, add brown sugar and cinnamon to diced apple and stir to coat.  Add to dry ingredients and stir to distribute apple pieces throughout.
  5. Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.
  6. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients. 
  7. Drop by large spoonfuls (ice-cream scoop) onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake until golden...15 to 18 minutes.
  9. While still warm, drizzle with glaze.  (Heat butter and milk together in microwave for 30 seconds on high. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and stir until sugar is melted. Stir in icing sugar a little at a time until smooth and desired thickness.)
 Yield: 1 dozen large scones.

Tip: Scones are best enjoyed fresh from the oven.  They do freeze well, however.  Just thaw, heat and serve.

Enjoy!
 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Russian Beet Salad (Vinegrette) Винегрет

                                   

Although the Russian name for this salad is Vinegrette it shouldn't be confused with the salad dressings called Vinaigrette. This was a traditional salad that we enjoyed growing up. It could be our version of potato salad. I'm sharing an easier version using canned beets but you can also cook and julienne your own beets. The photo is my sister Lana's.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans (15oz.) julienne beets (partly drained)
  • 2 cans (15oz.) kidney beans (drained well)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup sauerkraut (drained and squeezed)
  • 3 boiled potatoes
  • 3 large kosher dill pickles, diced
  • 1/4 onion, grated
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pickle juice from the jarred dill pickles

Method:
  1. Dice potatoes while warm then salt and coat with oil and chill.
  2. Once the potatoes are chilled add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine, add enough pickle juice to taste.
  3. Chill until ready to serve.
  4. Serves 8-16  

Our family prefers using the Clausen Dill Pickles found in the refrigerator section. You will find some versions of this Russian salad using carrots and not kidney beans. This is the version our family has always enjoyed.




Monday, October 17, 2016

Snickerdoodles

These cookies take me back to my growing up years. My sister Rhoda came home from school one day with a new recipe from her Home Economics cooking class. Snickerdoodles soon became a house hold favourite.
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Sugar coating:
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy.
  2. Add all dry ingredients and beat until incorporated.
  3. Stir together sugar coating in a small bowl.
  4. Roll cookies into 1 1/2" balls and then roll in the sugar coating covering all sides.
  5. Bake at 375º for 8 minutes. Do not over bake.
  6. Allow to cool on pan for 1-2 minutes before removing to cooling rake. 
These cookies freeze well. 
Yields approximately 2 1/2 dozen.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bread for the Journey



In everything give thanks; 
for this is God's will for you in  Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

When one looks at the state of the world today, we see injustice, political unrest, civil war, starvation,
social tragedies, natural disasters, financial calamity, the war on Syria. 
How are we to give thanks in all these situations? 
Does this mean that we are supposed to be thankful for the evil in this world?
I've come to realize that when life isn't working out as we had expected, we can still give God thanks for being present with us during the difficult times.  I have often experienced in my own life that God has often used my struggles to draw me closer to him.

Over the past few months I have been reading immigration stories of those who fled from Ukraine to Canada in the early 1920's.  When I stop and observe their challenges, I wonder...is it really any different today? 
Many of them experienced starvation, financial loss, war and bloodshed, loss of jobs, sickness, death,  rape, separation and anxiety.  They lost everything that they had and came as 'refugees' to Canada to start a new life. In these stories I have observed a common thread of hymns, prayers, scriptures and thankfulness which accompanied our forefathers fleeing from the Ukraine.
Many times I wondered why they didn't give up.  Day by day, step by step, they thanked God for yet another good night's rest. Phrases like "tears of joy and gratitude to God that he had spared the horse and in grace had answered my prayers,"  "The Lord blessed us" are woven throughout their stories.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to cook a meal for the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with Wes and Kim Janzen conducting the choir on their 2016 Canada ~ Ukraine Friendship Tour. You can read about their incredible story of passion and ministry for the Ukraine people.
We not only heard beautiful music, but we also heard stories of suffering and trauma. We heard first hand how the royalties from our Mennonite Girls Can Cook Books have made a significant impact on the lives of widows and orphans.  It was pointed out that there are over 1.5 million IDP's (internally displaced people) in the Ukraine. Choir members are also feeling the impact...some of them only had one pair of shoes, one skirt, for travelling over the past month.  Most of us would have major issues.


Once again I have been reminded to pour out my heart to God for thanks and to continue thanking him for the on-going ministry of the Music Mission Ukraine Canada in offering support to the people who have fled their homes often only with clothes on their backs.  This sounds just like the stories that I have been reading about and it's still so true in today's world. Has anything really changed?

Let's be inspired and motivated by these stories and live out our faith in these days of difficulty and uncertainty.   We too, can leave a legacy of thanksgiving to God and help the next generation to know that God will provide. We want to continue thanking God that we can trust him and know that nothing happens outside of  his plan of history for our lives, just like he promised our forefathers.


Get a jump start on your Christmas shopping, purchase a book and know that you are making a difference.