Pfeffernuesse ~ Flashback Friday



Years later, so many things have changed.  When I looked at my last post in 2009, I realized that I made this with my sister. It's obvious that it's Flashback Friday again. Now I'm starting all over and introducing this wonderful recipe to my dear little grandaughters who visit regularly.  And today, you get to see them in action.  It brings so much laughter and joy into our lives to watch these young ones pronounce PFEFFERNUSSE!

Step One:
  • 1 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons /15 grams Neunerlei Lebkuchen Gewurz (this is a gingerbread spice purchased at a Delicatessen) I ordered them from the Edelweiss Delicatessen in Calgary this year, as no one else carried them in our town. 
  1. Warm honey in microwave or stovetop and add sugar and spices.
  2. Cool mixture to room temperature.
Step Two:
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  1. Melt margarine and add sour cream.
  2. Now add to cooled honey mixture.
Step Three:
  • 6 cups flour (add up to 1/2 cup more if needed to make a heavy dough )
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  1. Sift together flour and baking soda and add the above honey mixture and mix well.
  2. I blend flour and soda into an electric mixing bowl.
  3. I usually use my kneading hook, as this dough is heavy. One time I broke my cookie beaters.
  4. Place in fridge overnight to cool. 
Step Four:
  1. To bake, grease cookie sheets
  2. Roll dough into rolls (snakes) and slice.(thickness of your index finger)
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 9 minutes. Just slightly browned.
  4. When baked, leave cookies on sheet 2 minutes, then remove from pan.
While Ivy, who will be four in February knows that first, we grease our hands, then follows my instructions to a tee, Joy on the other hand who will be two,  totally seizes every moment to enjoy laughter.  We've had lots of fun and I know we will be making several batches to give to the big cousins. I've enjoyed handing down some traditional recipes to the grandchildren.

Pfeffernuesse Gluten free


                                                                           photo by Sarah Poulin


This recipe was shared with me by Sarah Poulin .(Thank you, Sarah !!)  I followed her recipe exactly and really loved the cookies.. While I grew up with the traditionally 'hard' - like Biscotti -  Pfeffernuesse, I really like these soft ones better.
Try them, you'll love them !!
And they are good keepers, even though they are gluten-free.  (gluten is a preservative, hence gluten free baked products do not keep as well as baking with gluten grains)


Cookies:
  • 1 cup rice white flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch (or any kind of starch such as corn starch)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (or almond meal)
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lebkuchengewürz (I use  this recipe for making the spice; it's excellent!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (you can use black pepper; but you will get black specks in your cookies)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk (or milk of your preference, such as almond milk)
  • 2 eggs

Glaze:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons hot water


  1. In separate bowl, combine the flours, starches, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, lebkuchengewurz, and white pepper. Set aside. 
  2. In a pot, combine the brown sugar, honey, butter and milk - place on medium heat. Stir frequently until it's melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. 
  3. Stir dry ingredients into the liquid, mixing well. 
  4. Add eggs and stir until completely combined. The dough will be glossy and sticky. 
  5. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This is important because it will make the dough more firm and easier to handle, but will also absorb the flour further so that your final product is not gritty. 
  6. The next day, preheat your oven to 350 F.  Divide dough into 4 sections, forming each piece into a log about 3/4 inches thick.  Cut log into 3/4 inch slices. Roll each slice into a ball and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. With wet hand flatten each ball a little, they will puff back up when baking. 
  7. Place cookies in oven and bake for 11-15 minutes or until golden brown. If you prefer your cookies to be more moist, bake them a couple of minutes less. 
  8. To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar and hot water. Dip each fully cooled cookie into the glaze until they are completely covered, let some glaze drip off, and place on a wire rack, with something underneath to catch any drips. Wait until the glaze is fully hardened.  (Alternatively, you can simply coat the cookies with dry icing sugar) 


Gingerbread Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting


I got this recipe from my friend Karin. It is a delicious loaf that goes great with a cup of tea. The older I get the simpler I try to make the Christmas Season. I place more value in spending time with people I love than I do spending time in the kitchen trying to leave the stress and hustle and bustle behind me that can often come with this time of year. This loaf doesn't take much prep time leaving me more time for those who matter most to me.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans


Brussels sprouts, cranberries and pecans combine to make a tasty and colourful side-dish for the holiday feast. Add a drizzle of balsamic reduction to kick it up a notch. 

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction to drizzle over, optional *
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare rimmed baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  3. Toast pecan halves in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden; set aside.
  4. Trim brussels sprouts and cut in half. 
  5. In a medium bowl, toss brussels sprouts with olive oil.
  6. Spread on prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Roast for 20-30 minutes (until tender inside), stirring about halfway through cooking.
  8. Transfer roasted brussels sprouts to serving platter; sprinkle with cranberries and pecan halves.
  9. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  10. Serve immediately
*Use bottled balsamic reduction or make your own. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a boil, while stirring. Reduce heat; then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until quite thick, stirring occasionally.

Serves six.

 

 

Home Made Salami



Here is an idea for a home made Christmas gift.
For our Mennonite Girls Can Cook Christmas party this year, 
we were each asked to bring a "Gift From the Kitchen".
I'd made  homemade Salami many years ago and thought it might be fun to 
resurrect the recipe for this occasion.
I placed it in a bright red serving dish  lined with paper shred and
 added a few bright silver ornaments before wrapping it all up in cello gift basket wrap.
It was a hit and everyone wanted the recipe.  So here it is.
  • 5 pounds medium ground beef (I had trouble finding this so I used lean ground beef)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke (found in the condiment aisle)
  • 4 tablespoons Curing Salt (like Morton's Tender Quick or Windsor Quick Cure) It is a sugar based curing salt.
  • red pepper flakes to taste - if desired.
  1. In a large glass bowl, mix all ingredients well.
  2. Knead for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover glass bowl with plastic wrap and weigh down the meat mixture with a plate.
  4. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  5. The next day, remove from fridge and knead meat mixture for 5 minutes.
  6. Cover again and refrigerate for another 24 hours.
  7. Repeat on the third day.
  8. On the fourth day, knead mixture once more and then form into 7 rolls - about 3/4 pound each. I made the rolls about 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
  9. Place on a broiler pan and bake in preheated 200 degree F oven* for 4 1/2 - 5 hours. 
  10. TURN ROLLS EVERY HOUR. Salami will be quite red in colour when it is done.
  11. Remove from oven, let cool completely.
  12. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.
  13. You can freeze the salami.
*We smoked it on our wood pellet grill instead of putting it in the oven this time and it worked well.


Salami rolls ready for the oven.


Bread For The Journey ~ Peace


PEACE OR PACE

Today is the second Advent week meaning Peace.  I took a hike up one of our local mountains this past week, recognizing that I needed to pace myself.  As I was climbing I began to think about the fast-paced world that we live in especially during the Christmas season.  We have places to go, and things to do, after all, this is the season for spending and celebrating and eating and gifting. How often we are left leaving out the most important meaning of Christmas and so you are left with a choice,
 "Keep the pace or find the peace."  Two words which look the same but have different meanings.
Over this past year, there's been a  plaque on my mantle reminding me to reflect on knowing God.
"Be still and know that I am God." It's been almost a year that we lost our son in law tragically in an accident.  I only knew him for four short years, but during this short time, he inspired each one of us with his peacefulness and his giving heart.  I know that when I have given to others there's a real sense of peace that permeates my heart.
I'm not sure what you are all struggling with but we do know that we live in a very fragmented world filled with discord, confusion, loneliness, depression, anxiety, insecurity, and uncertainty. The demands of keeping the pace do not always allow us to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
What are some practical ways that you can navigate through this hectic holiday schedule and experience peace?

  • Let go of some of those unreal expectations.
  • Are there some things that you could say no to?
  • Are there things that you could let go of to create a more peaceful environment?

Peace is more than sitting quietly around a warm fire after the kids are tucked in bed and the gifts are all wrapped. Grab some moments of stillness to refocus on God's special gift to mankind.  God offers us the kind of peace that flows from things being in harmony.  When our heart, soul, mind, and strength are in alignment, we will experience inner peace. God wants to lavish peace abundantly on all of us. Are you a peacemaker or a pacemaker? 

"Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  John 14:27

Flash Back Friday ~ Brandy Snaps



I first posted these brandy snaps a few years ago but I recently made them gluten-free.
Brandy snaps are such a quick dessert to make that even when company pops in, you can quickly put these together and let the company help you roll them around a wooden spoon handle or a cone.  
Fill them with whipped cream and you have a quick dessert.  

  The top photo is the brandy snaps made with all-purpose flour and then wrapped around a wooden spoon handle. 

These two photos are the brandy snaps made with almond flour and wrapped around stainless steel cones. 
 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons brandy or alternately 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or to make it gluten-free, use 1/4 cup almond flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Put the sugar, corn syrup and butter into a small saucepan and stir.
  4. Stir continuously over medium heat until bubbly.
  5. Beat in flour and flavorings until smooth.
  6. You will only make 6 cookies per cookie sheet. One teaspoon of batter per cookie.
  7. Watch the cookies closely because they will turn from caramel colored to dark brown very quickly. Aim to have them a nice caramel color, about 6 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven, wait a few seconds and then roll one at a time over a wooden spoon handle and then remove to cool on a rack.
  9. Repeat until they are all rolled. You will have to work quickly. If they become too hard, put them back in the oven for half a minute.
  10. Once cool, use a pastry bag with a thick tip to fill with sweetened whipped cream that has been stabilized with whipping cream stabilizer and chill until serving. Don't fill more than an hour before serving. Preferably, have the cream in the pastry bag ready to fill them and do that just before serving
  11. The remaining lacy shells or cookies keep well in an airtight container for several days.

Yet another Fleisch Perishky Recipe (Meat / Sauerkraut Buns)



This is my friend Frieda's recipe. The pastry is easy to work and less bready than others I have tried.  The filling is very moist and holds together well to fill the bun. I have tried every recipe of meat buns on our blog and all of them delicious. You can't go wrong no matter which recipe you use. Give this one a try as well, I know you can't stop eating just one. Get your husband and some friends to help, lots of fun that way!

Make ahead tip: The meat filling is easier to work with if it is cold, I usually prepare the meat a day or two in advance and refrigerate it. The dough can be made a day in advance as well and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days as well.

Yields about 75 Perishky

Pastry:
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast (you may use instant or quick rise yeast, adding it in directly with the flour without dissolving the yeast in the water. Add the water in with the egg and sour cream. )
  • 1  egg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter or hard margarine, melted and cooled a bit. 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour or as needed to make a soft dough. 
  1. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar  in the water for 10 minutes until it proofs. 
  2. In a large bowl add 4 cups flour, salt yeast mixture, egg, melted butter and sour cream. Stir until it is too difficult with a spoon. Turn the dough onto a floured board adding enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. 
  3. Place the dough in a large lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until double in size which is about an hour or so. 
Filling:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 large onions finely diced (I used 5 medium onions)
  • 1 cup of  mashed potatoes ( I used about 3 medium potatoes, or use left overs if you have it)
  • generous amount of salt and pepper to taste
  1. Peel and dice the potatoes add salt to taste and boil until soft. Drain and mash, with out adding milk or butter. 
  2. Brown the beef with the pork and onions in a very large pan. If you don't have a pan big enough divide the meat up and brown in batches. 
  3. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the mashed potatoes, combine well and allow the mixture to cool. I usually prepare the meat a day in advance and refrigerate it until I am ready to make the meat buns. 
  5. Divide the dough in 4. Roll out each piece to a 1/8" thick. Cut with 2 1/2 - 3 inch circles. 
  6. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the center. Pinch the dough around the filling to close. 
  7. Place the perishky seam side down on a parchment line baking pan. 
  8. Let rise a 1/2 hour and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
Sauerkraut Filling:
  • 4 cups of your favorite sauerkraut, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 lb bacon, diced and browned
  • 1 large or medium onion, minced
  1. Brown the diced bacon and drain the fat, and bacon removed to paper towel to drain. 
  2. In a bit of the bacon fat cook the onion until soft. Add the drained and rinsed sauerkraut to the softened onion. Brown until it is lightly browned. Add the diced bacon back in and cool mixture before making the perishky.
  3. Follow above directions for filling and baking. 
*We also did a batch with half whole wheat flour mixed with white. It also works well. I find with using whole wheat that less flour was needed.





Peanut Fudge


Recently my kids gifted me with a fun little package of fudge they purchased on their trip and it piqued my interest to go back to some of my old recipes that I'd not made in a long time. This peanut fudge is super easy to make. The original recipe calls for ground peanuts, but I decided to try it with regular peanut butter. Let's just say I'll have to hide it from view before I eat too much.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Method:
  1. Prepare large loaf pan (about 9 x 4 inch) by lining with wax or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized heavy pot or saucepan, bring sugar and cream to boil, stirring. 
  3. Simmer on low heat for about 6 minutes, watching to be sure it does not come up too high in the pot, but still simmering. (if you use a thermometer, it should reach 237° F) 
  4. Add peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until it thickens, about 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Spread into prepared pan. Allow to cool. Lift out of pan and cut into one inch pieces. Yield: 36

Make-ahead Christmas Casserole



We may be familiar with shepherd's pie made from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner leftovers.  But this is a bit of a different spin on the classic favorite...a casserole that includes stuffing, turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes and is prepared in advance to makes it easy to serve a turkey dinner to the masses.  I got the recipe from a friend who has prepared this dish to serve a crowd of over 100 at a community Christmas dinner for several years.  I served it for a family Christmas dinner for 40 people that I hosted at another location last year, doing four times the recipe shown below.  It is easy to transport and reheat and with all the prep done in advance, it frees up time and kitchen space on the day of the event. We served this casserole buffet-style, along with cranberry sauce, several cooked veggies, a green salad and dinner rolls. It was enjoyed by all and I will be making it again.

  • 2 boxes stuffing mix (or homemade stuffing from 5 cups bread cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning 
  • 5 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces*
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 cup roasted turkey drippings
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (or 5 1/2 cups mashed potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, divided
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese (herb and garlic flavour)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Mix stuffing mix as per box directions, but with an additional 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning added to liquids. Spread in greased 9x13 pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, chicken soup, drippings and 1/4 cup sour cream.  Spoon over stuffing mixture.
  3. Boil potatoes in a Dutch oven or large pot until tender. Drain potatoes. Mash in a large bowl, beating in the cream cheese, pepper, salt and remaining sour cream. (Add 1/4 cup milk if the mixture seems too thick.) Spread over turkey mixture. 
  4. Sprinkle with cheese. 
  5.  Bake uncovered at 350°F for about 45 minutes (or until thermometer inserted in center reaches 160°).  
Serves: 8-10

 *Turkey can be cooked and carved well in advance. Be sure to save drippings for the sauce.



Peanut Chews


This is a square you will want to add to your Christmas tray. They taste similar to an Eatmore bar. Thank you to niece Cheryl for this recipe. It's been in my Christmas collection for years.
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups salted peanuts
  1. Pour honey into a microwave safe bowl and add chocolate chips. Place in microwave and stir occasionally until chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth and hot.
  2. Add peanut butter and stir until well blended. Stir in peanuts.
  3. Pour into parchment lined pan, approx 11" x 13" size.
  4. Allow to cool on counter then place in fridge until hardened.
  5. Cut into desired size pieces and store in a covered container in a cool place. I place sheets of waxed paper between layers of bars.

Bread For The Journey ~ First Advent


Today we celebrate First Advent. 

During the week I did what my Mom always did the week before the first advent.
 She would create a simple centerpiece with greenery from our yard which she poked into wet oasis foam, a few sparkly pine cones and one candle for each week of Advent.

It was very simple but for us, it was the beginning of Christmas.


On the first day of December, our family would sit in the living room which in itself was special.  Normally, we did not use the living room as we use family rooms today.
It was always ready in case company showed up unexpectedly. 

She would light the first candle and we would sing carols together with one of us playing the piano. 

She would always have a Japanese orange for each of us and a few candies which we would enjoy before bedtime. 

We continued to sing carols together and enjoy a few treats every evening until Christmas. 



I've added a new tradition for our family.

Since the grandkids have been toddlers, I've given them an advent calendar every year to help them to reflect on Christ's birth and the expectation of Christ coming to earth again. 


I add an Advent verse and a chocolate to the little toy in the box.


This year, I invited them to come over to help me stuff their boxes and I found them reading their verses as they put them in order.

If you would like to do this for your family you can find the link I use, for the verses here. 


I wonder which traditions our littles will take with them when they have their own children.

The main thing is that we take time during what can be a very busy time of year to quiet our hearts each day to ponder that Christ came to earth for us. 

My beloved and I don't sing carols around the the advent wreath by ourselves but there are many ways to prepare our hearts.   I've signed up to receive John Piper's daily readings leading up to Christmas day.
If you are interested to also follow along the link to that invitation is here. 

How do you prepare your heart for Christmas in your home?
I'd love to know what your family does.  

May you be blessed and experience the joy of the Saviour during the Advent season.


 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6




Nuts and Bolts with Bugles - Flashback Friday


It's that time of year again when many of us are making all kinds of treats and sweets. A few years ago I posted this recipe, and I think it's worth sharing again. 

  • 6 cups Shreddies
  • 6 cups Cheerios
  • 10 cups Rice or Corn Chex
  • 6 cups pretzels
  • 6 cups Bugles
  • 6 cups peanuts, optional
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons Seasoning salt
  1. Measure all cereal, pretzels, bugles and peanuts into a large bow. Stir to combine.
  2. Melt butter and stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Drizzle melted butter/seasoning mix over cereal mixture a little at a time stirring between to make sure the butter mixture is well distributed.
  4. Place mixture on large baking sheets or in large roaster and bake at 250º F for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. 
  5. Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container or in zip lock bags. 
** these keep well in the freezer if tightly sealed***

Gumdrop Oatmeal Cookies


Gumdrop cookies are a favorite of mine. I haven't baked them in years and suddenly had a yearning for them. They did not disappoint. A great addition to a cookie platter. It was difficult finding baking gums, one store was still waiting on their order, another didn't carry them but finally I found a store that had them. You can use gumdrops but they are larger and will need to be cut up into smaller pieces.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cups baking gums 
  • Extra baking gums (optional)
  1. Cream butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg, water, and vanilla. Mix well.
  2. Add dry ingredients and stir until blended. Stir in 3/4 cup baking gums.
  3. Roll into approx 1" balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly and place another baking gum on each cookie if you wish.
  4. Bake at 350º for 10 to 12 minutes just until edges start to look golden.
  5. Yield: 3 1/2 dozen

Ribs or Chops in BBQ Sauce


The picture quality is very poor but the the lip smacking sauce is awesome! I didn't have enough ribs at home so I added a few pork chops to make it stretch.

Serve it with Lemon Basil Carrots and rice and you have a great meal.

  • 3 lbs of back ribs or a combination of ribs and chops
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  1. Cover the ribs in a large pot with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. 
  2. Drain the ribs and place in a large roasting pan. 
  3. Sauté the onions in the butter or margarine until softened. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes. 
  4. Pour the sauce over the boiled ribs, bake in a 300 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours. 
  5. If you are adding pork chops to the ribs or making only pork chops. Brown the chops first and bake them for 45 minutes -1 hour at 350 for bone in chops, 30 minutes for boneless chops. 


Cocktail Sausage Wreath


Here is a very easy appetizer that kids can put together for you while you work on a different appetizer.  Show them how to do it once and you can tick one more thing off your to-do list. 
  • 1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (8 roll size)
  • 24 cocktail sausages 
  • 1 beaten egg
  • parsley and a bit of finely chopped red pepper for garnish
  • sriracha mayonnaise, mustard, and pickles 



Place the dough on the counter and pat together all the angled perforations. 


Cut the dough into 12 pieces.


Cut each of those pieces into a triangle. 


Roll each sausage into the dough, starting at the wide end.


Place the sausage rolls onto a greased pizza pan. 
 

Brush with beaten egg and place a few pieces of finely chopped red pepper on each piece.
Bake at 475F about 20 minutes or until the sausage starts to sizzle.  


Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve with pickles, grainy mustard, and sriracha mayonnaise. 



Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread


A local bakery makes a wonderful fruit and nut yeast loaf, and this is my 'copykat' version. I adapted Anneliese's French bread recipe, adding dried cranberries, apricots, raisins, and walnuts. It turned out great.

  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour, all-purpose  (or substitute with part whole-wheat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup walnuts (or pecans), coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg + 2 teaspoons water, beaten
  1. Combine sugar, salt and water and oil in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix yeast with 1 cup of white flour and stir into liquids. 
  3. Continue adding flour, stirring at first then using your hands to incorporate the flour.
  4. Add fruit and nuts and work into the dough.
  5. Knead, adding a little more flour as necessary until dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Cover.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. (About 45 minutes.)
  7. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. divide in half.
  8. Shape each half into a 15" x 2-1/2" loaf with tapered ends. 
  9. Place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. (One large cookie sheet can hold two loaves.)
  10. Cut diagonal slits on top of loaf.
  11. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.  
  12. Beat egg with water; brush over dough. 
  13. Bake at 375° F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove loaves from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Bread for the Journey-Abide


 It was last year around this time that God impressed upon my heart a desire for the spiritual roots in my life to grow deeper and stronger. I prayed that I'd begin to read His Word with clearer understanding, gaining new insights.  I've found myself being challenged and strengthened. 

The invitation to "Abide in Me" struck me new this past week after reading part of a letter Hudson Taylor wrote to his sister.

How great seemed my mistake in wishing to get the sap, the fullness out of Him! The vine is not the root merely, but all-root, stem, branches, twigs. And Jesus is not that alone. He is oil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than we have ever dreamed, wished for or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your head be well fed while your body starves?

 The Word of God keeps us firmly planted and develops a strong root system in the believer's life, but what springs up from those roots is in constant need of His pruning, shaping, grafting and feeding. As we allow Him to care for us, His beauty and likeness and fruit are then produced in our lives. 

Our Father the Vine keeper, watches over us every moment. He waters, tends, protects, prunes and shapes us....so that we can bear fruit for Him. Join me by inviting Him daily to be your Vine keeper, giving His name all the glory as we flourish under His care. 

John 15:5
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 







Flashback Friday - Wonderful-any-time-muffins

I have been craving these muffins.  I hadn't made them in awhile and thought Flashback Friday was a good excuse to bring them to your remembrance as well.

I have posted  just my version of the recipe here with a flour change...  you can find the original post here .. 



  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or almond meal)
  • 1/3 cup ground sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups of Julie's Flour mix - or your own favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (if not in your mix) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 small or one med/large banana
  1. Blend well together almond flour, ground sunflower sees, ground flax seeds, brown rice flour, white corn flour, millet flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices , sugars
  2. In blender put ripe bananas, oil, milk and eggs, and mix until smooth.
  3. Pour liquid into mixer bowl and then add the dry ingredients ... Mix on low until well blended
  4. Add sweetened dried cranberries and grated carrots.
  5. Divide batter between 12 sprayed muffin cups
  6. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes until nicely browned.

French Toast Rollups for Thanksgiving Morning


Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. After the turkey is stuffed and in the oven this would be a nice breakfast to enjoy. This is a tasty way to serve french toast with sausages rolled up in each slice.

Ingredients:
  • 8 breakfast sausage links, fully cooked
  • 8 slices of white bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:
  1. Cut off the crusts from 8 slices of white bread.
  2. Beat together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract.
  3. Roll up each sausage link in a slice of bread.
  4. Dip the roll in the egg mixture.
  5. Fry beginning with seam side down in a greased skillet turning until the roll is golden brown.
  6. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with syrup. 
Serves: 2-4
Our family enjoys pancakes and french toast with sour cream and syrup. If you've never tried this combination you have missed out on a nice taste treat.

All the girls from Mennonite Girls Can Cook wish our friends in the U.S.A. a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Chinese Glazed Chicken Wings


Chicken Wings are always a good choice - as an appetizer or for dinner with a colourful vegetable
and some rice or noodles to soak up the delicious sauce.
Here's one my mom used to make with a couple of flavour additions from my kitchen.

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon or more grated ginger (see Ginger tip here)
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, wing tips removed and divided into wing and drummette
  • Salt and pepper (I like to use Montreal Steak Spice)


    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
    2. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
    3. Place wings tightly in glass rectangle dish season lightly with salt and pepper
    4. Pour sauce over wings.
    5. Bake, uncovered for 1 -  1 1/2 hours, basting wings several times and turning wings over half way through the baking time.
    6. Serve as an appetizer or over rice as a main dish.
    7. Thicken sauce if desired by mixing 1- 2 teaspoons cornstarch and a tablespoon of cold water  Add to the hot mixture in a small pot or microwave dish, stirring well. Bring sauce to a boil before serving.




    Salmon Cake Appetizers


    Salmon Cakes are a perfect little appetizer either on their own or in little slider buns with coleslaw and tartar sauce.
    You most likely will have everything you need right in your pantry and refrigerator and these take very little time to put together which is a plus when unexpected guests pop in around the holidays.



    • 2 cans wild sockeye salmon (about 2 cups)
    • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
    • 2 green onions, finely sliced
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dill weed, minced
    • 1 teaspoon parsley, minced
    • 1 lemon, cut and seeded for squeezing lemon juice over cakes when serving
    • green onions for garnish
    • slider buns (optional)
    • sriracha mayonnaise or tartar sauce (optional with the sliders)
    1. Drain salmon and remove skin and bones.  Break apart salmon and gently mash with a fork.
    2. Combine salmon, Old Bay seasoning, eggs, mayonnaise, panko crumbs, green onions, and green pepper and herbs in a medium bowl.
    3. Use a non-stick skillet if possible since the salmon cakes are fairly delicate.  Heat skillet over medium heat and brush with oil or butter. 
    4. Make patties about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.  Cook on one side a few minutes until browned underneath.  Carefully flip over and continue to cook until browned.
    5. Remove to an oven proof dish and place in an oven at 250 F, continuing to add salmon cakes as they are browned. 
    6. Once you are ready to serve,  garnish with lemons and chopped green onions or place patties in slider buns and top with a 1/2 teaspoon of sriracha mayonnaise. 

    Maple Glazed Snacks


    This is a delicious snack for game day..Grey Cup is coming up!
    These treats can be enjoyed anytime. My bowl of snacks disappeared real quick. You can change up the cereals and the nuts for what you prefer or have in the house. Use almond or maple flavoring instead of vanilla for a different flavor.
    Also a great gift idea from your kitchen..fill up festive little bags and hand them out to family, friends, co-workers, or anyone else you would like to bless.
    • 2 cups Honey Nut or original Cheerios 
    • 2 cups corn chex
    • 2 cups rice chex
    • 1 cup miniature pretzels
    • 2/3 cups pecan halves
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1. In a large bowl combine cereals, pretzels and pecans.
    2. In a small microwave safe bowl combine maple syrup, butter and vanilla.
    3. Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until butter is melted.
    4. Stir in vanilla and pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat.
    5. Spread in a large greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt.
    6. Bake at 250º for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.
    7. Remove from oven and cool.
    8. Store in a covered container.

    Bread For The Journey





    The Artist's Scalpel



    Several years ago, my husband and I were strolling along the shores of nearby Harrison Lake ,

    admiring the wares of the vendors who had set up temporary booths on the sand. 

    One artist and his work caught my attention, and I stopped.

    I learned that this French artist had been fascinated one day by slabs of slate stone,
     the jagged edges begging him to paint them into mountain scenes.

    He had numerous resulting pieces on display, but my eye immediately rested on one in particular. 
    It was as if he had sat in my family room and painted using the colours around him.

    I loved it! I stepped closer and instinctively reached out to touch it. 
    The artist had been watching me, and as I reached out, he cried, "Don't touch it!"
     Too late he added, "It's still wet!"

    To my dismay, I had already left my thumb smudge in the wet paint, and the picture perfection was ruined. 
    His face severe, the artist handed me a scalpel
    "Now you have to fix it," he said.

    I took the scalpel in my hand and looked at the painting. I knew I could not repair the damage I had done.

    Then the artist's face broke out in a smile, his eyes twinkled, and he said, "I'll fix it!"

    With a few deft strokes of his hand, the painting was as good as new!
     He joked, "A hundred years from now, when they scrape back the paint, they will find your fingerprint and accredit you as the artist!"

    Of course, I bought the beautiful slab of slate.
    ***
    How like the artist God is, and how quick we are to mess up what He has done. 
    In the Garden of Eden, God said, "Don't touch!" 
    But Adam and Eve touched and ruined perfection with their sin. 
    God gave them the old covenant and said, "Fix it!" 
    But of course, man in his own strength could not do it. 
    Then God smiled, took the old covenant, perfected it through Jesus, 
    and offered us  the new covenant!

    When we receive His offer, our personal imprint of sin is covered over.
     Eternity is ours at a price we can afford: our faith in the Artist's work.

    But God continues to cover our "imprints", does He not? 
    We fail, we stumble, we touch, and He is ready, forgiving scalpel in hand, to make it right again.

    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness! 
    I John 1:9 (NKJV)

    One day when we are standing at heaven's door and are asked why we should be allowed in, 
    we will be able to say,
     "Because the imprint of my sin is covered by the redemptive work of the great Artist!"

     Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 
    Romans 4:7 (NKJV)

    Prayer: "Dear Father, we thank You for Your willing heart to take scalpel in hand 
    and restore us to wholeness when we sin. 
    May we be quick to run to You in repentance before our hearts have time to harden. 
    Amen."

    Green Bean Casserole ~ Flashback Friday


    Green bean casserole is a favorite on our holiday table and I'm bringing back a recipe I originally posted here in December of 2008.  Most bean casseroles use a mushroom soup sauce; we prefer this variation with a basic white sauce.  Fresh green beans are definitely the best but not always available. Water chestnuts and french fried onions add a little crunch.

    • 3 (14.5 oz/398ml) cans green beans, drained or 1.5 pounds fresh green beans which have been trimmed, cut and blanched for about 3 minutes
    • 1 can sliced mushrooms
    • 1 can water chestnuts, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • ¼ cup finely chopped onions
    • 1 teaspoon salt dash of pepper
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 can French-fried onions
    1. Melt butter in saucepan.
    2. Stir in flour and cook over medium heat about 1 minute.
    3. Add milk and cook until thickened, while whisking.
    4. Stir in salt, sugar, pepper, onions, and sour cream; heat through. 
    5. Add green beans, mushrooms and water chestnuts; stir to coat.
    6. Transfer to casserole dish. (Can be made the previous day and refrigerated at this point.)
    7. Spread cheese over top and sprinkle with french-fried onions.
    8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
    *If the casserole has been refrigerated, allow about 30 minutes more cooking time.


    It seems I came up with a new variation when I made this dish for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Without thinking, I added the grated cheese into the white sauce, rather than sprinkling it on top.  Either way, it is great!