Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bread for the Journey

John 13:34 
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, 
even as I have love you, that you also love one another."

I will be the first to admit that sometimes I don't feel very loving, especially if I have been hurt by someone. Jesus knows our human nature and knows that is usually how we feel after being hurt and feeling justified in those feelings. 
This is why He commands us to love one another, because it doesn't come naturally to us. Jesus knows His LOVE is the best buffer between hurt relationships if only we reach for His word to deal with our hurts and pain. God is not a God of "three strikes and you are out" kind of God. He has forgiven me endless times and keeps extending His mercy and love on me. My desire is to be more like Jesus. 

What would this world look like if we were able to extend that kind of love and mercy to the hurting world around us?! 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pavlova - Flash Back Friday

With all the fresh fruit available at fruit stands in our valley right now, I thought you might like to be reminded of this Pavlova
It not only highlights the fruits in season but is so delicious.
A truly beautiful dessert to place before your guests.
  • 3 egg whites at room temperature (I use large eggs)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (1st amount)
  • 2/3 cup sugar (2nd amount)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1  1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • fruit of your choice. Fresh berries are great, as are fresh or canned peaches, nectarines, pineapple, kiwi or a combination.
  1. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks begin to form.
  2. Add 1st amount of sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, beating very well between additions. I was told to check that the sugar had dissolved before adding the next amount. You can check by tasting a bit of the meringue to see if there are any grains of still sugar intact. This can take a long time so I don't always beat it that long.
  3. Beat in vanilla and vinegar.
  4. Mix cornstarch with the 2nd amount of sugar and continue to add sugar in small amounts beating well in between each addition until meringue is very thick and most of the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit a pizza pan. You can sprinkle the pan with a bit of water before putting the parchment down so it sticks to the pan. Alternately you can use foil which is lightly buttered.
  6. Pile the meringue on to the parchment in a circle about the size of a dinner plate. Using a spatula or spoon, push the meringue to the outside edges and indent the centre so it is lower than the sides.
  7. Place in centre of a 300 degree F oven and bake for 1 hour.
  8. After one hour, turn oven off. DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR until it is completely cold. (I usually bake my pavlova just before going to bed and leave it in the cold oven overnight.)
  9. Whip cream with icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
  10. Pile the whipped cream into the centre indentation of your pavlova. (You can do this a couple of hours ahead or right before serving.
  11. Top with cut up fruit or arrange fruit slices in a circular design. Do not put the fruit on until just before serving or the meringue will soften.
  12. Cut into wedges to serve.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Blueberry Sheet Pie

 It's mid August already, but I'm still taking advantage of all things summer. One summer treat is stopping by the local market each week and finding bins filled with fresh picked fruits and vegetables.
 Summer also brought company, and we had the rare treat of having my brother Wes and sister in law Kim from Kiev, along with local family over for Sunday lunch. Blueberries were just ready and so I decided that a Blueberry Sheet Pie would be our dessert. Using this dough recipe you can pretty much use any fruit you want. I've used apples, peaches and blackberries and they are all really wonderful! 

Have you noticed the new video clip here on the blog? You can find it on the upper right side bar. Hear Lovella share where all our book royalties go. Wes and Kim are working with Music Mission Kiev and there are a few photos in the video of the people they help. We are able to partner with them through our Celebrations Cookbook sales. 100% of the Royalties from that book go to help those less fortunate in the Ukraine. Listen to hear about our other project as well. Thank you for continuing to support our projects when you purchase one of our 3 cookbooks. 

This recipe is for a pan measuring 13"x18"

  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks, plus enough milk to measure 1 1/3 cups
  1. In a mixing bowl combine flour and salt.
  2. Using a pastry cutter (or I use a cheese grater) cut or grate cold butter into flour mixture until very fine.
  3. Divide egg yolks and whites. Place egg yolks into a measuring cup and add cold milk to measure 1 1/3 cups. (save whites for topping-see instructions below) Whisk together until yolks are broken up. Add this mixture to the flour and butter mixture.
  4. Stir with a fork to combine. 
  5. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured counter and knead until dough comes together into a nice smooth ball. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator while you prepare fruit.
  • 9 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch **if using frozen berries stir in 2 tablespoons cornstarch**
  • 1 scant cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed Cornflakes or Special K cereal
  1. Gently stir corn starch and sugar into the berries. Set aside.
Assembling Pie:
  1. Take dough out of refrigerator and divide in half.
  2. Roll first piece of dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is very thin and fits your pan size. ** A tip for pie dough is to roll the rolled out dough around your rolling pin. Place over your pan or pie plate and gently unroll the dough to fit your pan.**
  3. Sprinkle the bottom crust with the crushed cereal.
  4. Top with the prepared fruit.
  5. Roll out second piece of dough and using the same method, roll onto your rolling pin and unroll over the fruit. Don't worry if it tears a little or does not quite fit right to the edges. 
  6. If you have any dough hanging over the pan cut it off. You can even use it to 'patch' the top if need be. If you can you can now pinch the top crust to the bottom one, but if for some reason your crusts don't come together it's all fine. It will still bake up beautifully. Randomly prick the top crust with a fork.
  7. Now take the egg whites that you saved when making the dough. Beat until soft peaks form.
  8. Spread the beaten egg whites over the top crust using your hands or the back of a spoon. 
  9. Bake in 375º F oven for 35-45 minutes. The egg whites will turn a nice golden brown and become slightly crusty. This is what really takes this pie to another level. 
  10. As soon as the pie comes out of the oven drizzle it with a simple icing of approximately 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 3-4 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir these 3 ingredients together and just drizzle over hot pie.
This is best eaten on the day it's baked as you want the texture of the egg whites to remain crusty. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Carnitas Enchilada Casserole

This throw together casserole will work with a variety of leftover meat. We cooked a large portion of Carnitas (Pork Butt slow cooked with Mexican seasonings) and had lots of shredded pork leftover so we enjoyed this layered enchilada casserole.

  • 1 large can green enchilada sauce (approx. 28 ounces)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 can of pinto beans (approx. 12 ounces)
  • 4 cups leftover meat shredded or chopped
  • 3 cups of grated Mexican blend cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Pour a thin layer of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
  3. Layer 6 of the corn tortillas on top of the sauce.
  4. Distribute the meat over the tortillas.
  5. Distribute the pinto beans over the meat.
  6. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the meat and beans.
  7. Top this with 6 more corn tortillas and press down.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the tortillas.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cheese melts and mixture bubbles and is heated through. 
  10. Serve hot with a side of greens.
  11. Refrigerate any leftovers.

I had a package of the mini street taco size of corn tortillas so I used 8 of them on top instead of 6 regular sized ones. If your family really enjoys cheese you can top with more than 3 cups and put an extra layer of cheese on the first layer of tortillas before you add the meat. You can use grated Cheddar or Jack Cheese instead of the Mexican blend.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

We just love our sweet and spicy pickles with pulled pork sandwiches or any kind of sandwich for that matter.  These pickles take no time at all to put in a jar to cure for a few days.  
I store mine in a large pickle jar that I once got pickles in from a big box store but any kind of large jar with a lid will work.  If you don't have one jar big enough, divide ingredients between several quart sized jars. 

  • 7 - 8 cups thinly sliced cucumbers  (a mandolin works well)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced and quartered onions
  • 1 cup thinly sliced and quartered green peppers
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill heads (the umbrella looking part)
  1. Combine the cucumbers, onions, green peppers and salt in a large bowl and allow to sit for one hour.  Drain well.
  2. Put one dill head in the bottom of the jar and fill with cucumbers right to the top, packing down a bit to fit in as many as possible.  Add one more dill sprig to the top.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, and spices.  Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has melted.
  4. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, covering all the cucumbers.
  5. Put on the lid and refrigerate a few days to allow the cucumbers to cure before eating.
Once cured, the pickles stay well in the refrigerator a few weeks. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars

For anyone who loves the peanut butter and honey flavor combination, these bars are a quick snack, easy to make with kids. I had almost a full bag of Multi Grain Cheerios, getting slightly stale and was ready to throw them out, when I decided to use them for squares. Stuck together with yumminess they were good as new.

  • 3/4 cup liquid honey or corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups Cheerios (regular or what you have)
  • butter for a slight greasing of pan
  1. In a large pot, over low-medium heat, bring honey and sugar to a boil. 
  2. Add peanut butter and butter, stirring until smooth and bubbly. 
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the Cheerios. 
  4. Press into prepared 9x9 or 9x13 inch pan. 
  5. Cut into squares as soon as they are cooled off but still slightly soft. Yields 16-20 pieces
Note: Although you can use any kind of cereal, less sweet (such as regular or multi grain. is better. When I used Honey Nut Cheerios I thought they were too sweet. Also, using liquid honey and/or a tad less sugar may not firm them up as well as corn syrup, but they taste just as good.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bread for The Journey

          Psalm 131
My heart is not proud, O LORD,

 my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
  or things too wonderful for me.

   But I have stilled and quieted myself,
     like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
    both now and forevermore.

I memorized this Psalm recently and find it has much wisdom to apply to my life.
It tells me that pride and arrogance are not attributes that God values.
It reminds me that I can trust God's omniscience
 and that I don't need to have all the answers.
Then it gives me the wonderful image of a child who completely trusts his mother to love and protect him 
and it urges me to emulate him.
The last line is a loving command which I've personalized. 
 Oh Bev, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore. 

May God quiet your soul from what troubles it today and may you put your hope in Him.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Flash Back Friday ~ Chocolate Cake

For Flash Back Friday I've chosen to bring back this chocolate cake. It was a favorite in my growing up years and it was baked most every Saturday. Once my youngest brother was old enough to bake he would whip up this cake in short order and it was always delicious! My older brothers would deem the cake a success if they could squeeze it in their hands into a dense bar shape!
It is a simple recipe and so moist and delicious. I have changed it up a wee bit from the old recipe.


  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • Buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Melt butter and stir in cocoa till blended. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. Break egg into a 1 cup measuring cup and fill up with buttermilk.
  4. Pour egg mixture and cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended.
  5. Pour into a greased 8" pan and bake in 350º F oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with whipped cream. Add a few berries and chocolate shavings and you have a most wonderful dessert.
Update: Here is a 'blooper version'. The cake pan slipped out of my hands while I was taking it out of the oven and bounced back into the oven thankfully right side up. And a good thing I was planning to make a trifle anyway.

And this what you can make with a cake mishap..trifle!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Blueberry Cobbler

We have a blueberry bush and I like to use the blueberries in some baking. This cobbler was a good addition to my blueberry recipes. You could also use frozen berries.

Blueberry Cobbler
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and distribute evenly in your 8 inch square baking pan.
  3. Arrange the blueberries on top of the melted butter spreading evenly over bottom of pan.
  4. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of the salt with 1/4 cup of the sugar and sprinkle evenly over the blueberries.
  5. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter.
  6. Add some of the milk to temper the melted butter and then add the rest of the milk and egg to the butter and beat well.
  7. Mix the flour, baking powder, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  8. Stir in the milk and egg mixture and beat until smooth.
  9. Drop the dough by spoonfuls evenly over the blueberries in the pan and spread carefully and evenly.
  10. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Let cool slightly then serve with ice cream or whipped cream. 
You can serve this cake side up or berry side up.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Corn on the Cob Supreme

We have fresh Chilliwack corn available on every corner at this time of the year, and it is so good!  Over the years I have shared several different ways of preparing corn-on-the-cob...including 'cooler corn for a crowd' and microwaved corn-on-the-cob for one or two. Today I am posting a recipe for butter boiled corn...resulting in juicy, tender and sweet corn that is delicious!  As the cobs are lifted from the pot, the butter coats the kernels and there is no need to add more butter.
 Milk and Butter Boiled Corn-on-the-Cob
  • 6-8 ears corn, husks and silk removed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Add water to a large pot (about half-full or enough to cover cobs) and bring to a boil. 
  2. Add milk and butter. 
  3. Add corn and reduce heat.
  4. Simmer corn for about 6 minutes. 
  5. Remove cobs with tongs; season and serve. 
 * For 2-3 cobs, use a smaller pot and half the amount  of milk and butter. 

'Tis the season for corn.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Keeping weekend entertaining a casual affair takes the pressure off.

 Charcuterie is a French term meaning "cooked meat". You may be more familiar with an Antipasto platter which is an Italian term for an appetizer consisting of grilled veggies, cheeses, meats, served on a large platter rather than on a board.

We like to support and acknowledge our blog sponsors when we can. Lepp Farm Market was the first place I stopped as I knew they would have a great selection of meats and cheeses as well as fresh produce, specialty food selections and breads. I left with a basket full of deliciousness.

Charcuterie is typically served on a large wooden cutting board or a slate or marble slab. To start, choose a selection of cooked and cured meats, sausages and pate'. To this add an assortment of soft and hard cheeses, olives, antipasto spreads, fruits, crackers and breads. Tucking in a few fresh herb sprigs adds to the visual element of a Charcuterie. Amounts depend on how many you will be serving.

To serve, add some small skewers or tooth picks to the board. Small butter knives or little sugar spoons are the perfect size utensils. I used small pottery dishes and other little dishes to hold some of the food, but small mason jars would work well.

Here's a list of what I added to my Charcuterie board.
  • Boursin cheese
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Camembert cheese
  • Speck wrapped pickled asparagus (Speck is a cured meat sliced paper thin much like prosciutto but it has a deeper taste from the spiced cure that is used in the process) 
  • Antipasto
  • Onion Rhubarb jam
  • Olives
  • Garlic sausage
  • Pepperoni sticks
  • Hot pepperoni
  • Beef jerky
  • Herb crusted dry salami
  • Bread sticks
  • Grain and seed crackers
  • Grainy mustard
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Olive and Feta Focaccia bread (using this bread recipe, shape into a round and change toppings to olives and feta, or change to your liking)
  • Baguette
Other suggestions: pickles, cheese filled celery sticks, melon balls, pickled onions, apple slices, cheese ball, smoked salmon, dates, nuts

Monday, August 7, 2017

Blueberry Cream Pie

I brought this pie to our friend's cabin on the weekend.
It's light and fluffy and, oh so full of blueberry goodness.
I made it using fresh local blueberries but I'm sure it would be good using frozen blueberries as well.

For the blueberry topping:
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup cold water, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar or more if you like it sweeter
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
For the crust:
  • 2 cups graham wafer crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
For the Cream Filling:
  • 1/1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  1. Make the blueberry topping first, then the crust and lastly the cream filling.
  2. Mix blueberries, 1/2 cup cold water, sugar and lemon juice in a pot over medium heat.
  3. Cook until mixture boils.
  4. Mix together the cornstarch, remaining 1/4 cup water and lemon juice in a small bowl until blended.
  5. Add slowly to blueberry mixture, stirring until mixture boils and is no longer cloudy.
  6. Set aside and cool completely.
  7. For the crust, Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  8. Press crumbs on bottom and up sides of a 10 inch pie plate.
  9. Refrigerate until filling is made.
  10. For the filling, whip cream until stiff.
  11. In another bowl, blend cream cheese and sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until smooth
  12. Add sour cream and beat again.
  13. Fold cream cheese mixture into whipped  cream until incorporated.
  14. Pile filling into graham crust and smooth top.
  15. When the blueberry topping is cold, carefully spoon evenly over filling.
  16. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bread For The Journey

"A Water Bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and one-half pots of water to his master's house.
The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the Water Bearer one day by the stream: "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."
"Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"
"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.
The Water Bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion, he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again, it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house." (author unknown)

2 Corinthians 4:6,7(NIV)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
I have a copy of this story pinned on my bulletin board in my office. It is a good reminder that we are cracked, broken and flawed but God can use us just the way we are. We need to allow God's light to shine through these flaws to be able to help and encourage others.
God takes our brokenness and makes us useful for his Glory.

How can we use our flaws and brokenness to help others this week? 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Plum Cake

With all the beautiful stone fruit coming to our fruit stands right now I decided to post a plum cake I posted here. After making it this time, I decided on a few tweaks, because it just seemed a bit on the sweet side for me with the crumb topping and the drizzle. The drizzle is quite optional, but it does look nice. Instead of plums, you can use apricots or sliced peaches.  

  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter 

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ c flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk or buttermilk
  • about 8 Italian plums, quartered or cut in half

  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

  1. In small bowl, stir together sugar, flour and cinnamon for topping. With pastry blender cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. I use a wooden spoon.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time and vanilla. 
  4. Stir in combined dry ingredients alternately with milk. 
  5. Spread batter into greased and floured 9 - 10 inch spring-form pan. 
  6. Arrange plums, cut side up, on top of batter.
  7. Sprinkle evenly with topping.
  8. Bake at 350°F. about 50 min, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  9.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove rim of pan. 
  10. Mix glaze and drizzle over cake. Serves 8 - 10 
(If you line the greased pan with parchment paper, you can slide the cake onto a serving plate. Otherwise just leave the cake on the plate of the baking pan and place that on a serving plate once it’s cooled.)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Macaroni Coleslaw

I made this macaroni coleslaw for a potluck and the bowl came home empty! It is delicious and refreshing for these warm summer days. You can prepare all the ingredients the day before you want to serve it. Then mix coleslaw ingredients with dressing 1/2 hour before serving.

Coleslaw Ingredients:
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni, measured when dry
  • 1/2 cup sweet orange bell may use red, yellow or green if that's what you have on hand
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, cut in half then sliced
  • 3/4 cup peas, cooked
  • 8 oz of mixed coleslaw..I purchased coleslaw in a package and weighed what I needed.

  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice.

  1. Cook the macaroni as per package instructions, drain and rinse with cold water and pour into a large bowl.
  2. To the macaroni add cut up pepper, celery, cucumber. peas, and coleslaw. 
  3. Prepare dressing. Put all the ingredients in a jar and shake it up well or whisk it together in a small bowl.
  4. Pour dressing over coleslaw mixture and mix together until well combined. Refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before serving.
  5. Serves: approx 6 to 8 depending what else you are serving with it.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rustic Blueberry Muffins

 Muffins are a quick bread like product which can vary with many different ingredients.  I like making muffins and scones, especially in the summertime as there are so many fresh fruits available and what a delightful way to start or finish off your breakfast or a perfect snack for mid day.   I have really enjoyed the tips that Lovella shared about making bran muffins and keeping the edges crispy.

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups oat bran
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries or dates
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F
  2. Grease muffin tins
  3. Add buttermilk to oat bran and let stand.
  4. Beat oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla together.
  5. Add buttermilk mixture to liquids and stir well. 
  6. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  7. Stir in blueberries gently.  
  8. Spoon batter into prepared muffins tins.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until they pass the toothpick test.
Buttermilk Substitute:  
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Let sit for a few minutes.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Luncheon Party Sandwich Loaf

Who remembers the Party Sandwich Loaf? It was popular in the 1970's. Several years ago my mother in law hosted a luncheon in my honour and invited all the girls from MGCC to come. She's a lady who enjoys hosting people in their home, and making things lovely. 
On that summer day we arrived to a table beautifully set with her crystal and china, and roses gathered and arranged from dad's rose gardens. It was an occasion that gave us all an excuse to dress up and be treated to a real old fashioned ladies' luncheon.
The menu included jello salads, fruit, and this beautifully assembled and presented Luncheon Party Sandwich Loaf. When cut, the inside of the loaf revealed thin layers of bread with 3 different fillings between each layer. We took our seats by our place cards and savoured every bite while enjoying conversation and friendship around the table.

For the Bread: (the recipe and amounts shown will be for one Party Loaf)
  • 1 unsliced white sandwich loaf
  • 1 unsliced brown sandwich loaf
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  1. Place loaves in freezer until almost firm.
  2. Take out of freezer. Using an electric knife or sharp bread knife carefully cut away all crusts from each loaf. 
  3. Now cut each loaf horizontally into 4 equal slices. (For this particular loaf she used 3 slices of the white and two of the brown. Extra bread can be used for other fancy finger sandwiches, or make 2 sandwich loaves using 2 slices of brown and 2 of white, instead of the 5 layers used here.)
  4. Lay one white slice of bread on tray you will be using to build and serve your loaf on. Consider how you want the finished loaf to be presented. You will not be able to move the assembled loaf, so if you want to place cut up vegetables around the loaf allow for a larger platter or tray.
  5. Lightly butter top side of the first slice of bread. 
  6. Spread the first filling (see recipes for fillings below) of ham over bread. 
  7. Lightly butter one of the brown slices of bread and lay over the ham mixture, butter side up.
  8. Spread the second filling of egg salad over bread.
  9. Lightly butter another slice of white bread and place over egg filling, butter side up.
  10. Spread the third filling of chicken salad over the bread.
  11. Lightly butter another slice of brown bread and lay over the chicken salad, butter side up.
  12. Spread the fourth filling of cream cheese and pineapple over the bread.
  13. Lay the final un buttered slice of white bread over the cream cheese and pineapple filling. 
  14. Your inside of your loaf is now complete. Gently press the loaf, and using a knife make sure all filling is nicely 'tucked' in between the layers of bread. You may have to smooth it out a little. You want a nice flat edge on every side before you frost the loaf. (Cream cheese frosting recipe below)
First Filling - Ham
  • 1 can canned ham, or 1 cup deli honey ham, sliced thin and chopped fine
  • 2 sweet pickles, chopped, or 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  1. Mix all ingredients together. 
Second Filling - Egg Salad
  • 3 large eggs, hard boiled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise ( a little more if mixture is dry, but you don't want it too moist as you don't want runny fillings)
  1. Mash eggs and add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Third Filling - Chicken Salad 
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken breast (a pre cooked chicken from the deli is really flavourful for this mixture. Just take one of the breasts off the chicken, and use the rest for other dishes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon very finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped black olives, optional
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise, again just enough to moisten
  1. Finely chop chicken breast. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Fourth Filling - Cream Cheese with Pineapple
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple tidbits (not crushed) drained well if using canned
  1. Beat together cream cheese and sugar. Fold in pineapple tidbits.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup half and half (which is light cream)
  1. Beat together until mixture is smooth. 
Frosting the Loaf and Adding the Herb Garnish
  1. Spread the Cream Cheese frosting over the entire loaf, making sure it's 'sealed' on all sides. 
  2. Sprinkle with fresh herbs of your choice. Do not use dried herbs. Parsley and Dill are good choices. 
  3. Set in refrigerator for ONLY 30 MINUTES to allow the Cream Cheese to set. Take out and cover loaf tightly. Place back in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. 
  4. When ready to serve, garnish with a little more herbs, olives, cut up vegetables. 
  5. To serve, use a very sharp bread knife or electric knife. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Banana Blueberry Bread

The blueberries on our bush are ripening up a little at a time. I decided to add some of the first berries off the bush in our favorite banana bread recipe.

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup soft butter
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, cut up
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In medium bowl, sift together the flour baking powder and salt, set aside.
  3. Using a blender chop the walnuts and add them to the flour mixture.
  4. Put the sugar, butter, egg, bananas and milk in the same blender container that you chopped the walnuts in.
  5. Blend on medium for 15 seconds or so stopping the motor to push the bananas down if needed.
  6. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix for a few strokes then fold in the blueberries and mix carefully till well moistened.
  7. Pour batter into greased loaf pan, 9x5x3.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
  9. Cool on rack.
  10. Serve warm with butter or cream cheese.
Yield: 1 loaf

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bread for the Journey

And whatever you do, whether in word of deed, 
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through him. 
Colossians 3:17

My daughter, hearing me tell of my joy in putting together a particular photo album, commented that it seemed to her this was my way of giving thanks to God. Although I had not thought of it in that way, it did ring true in my heart and I have come to see how we've been given certain interests, not only for our own pleasure, but as a way to see God's ways in our life and a means to show our gratitude to Him.

This past week I was in line at the grocery store when the elderly man ahead of me did not have enough cash to pay for his groceries. He was just telling the cashier to take something off, when the lady behind me handed a ten dollar bill over to help him out. I stood there, thinking to myself, "Now this lady is giving thanks for what she has, by sharing it." Isn't that how we should live?

So whether you decide on a random act of kindness, set a beautiful table, crochet a blanket, bless someone with a song, fix a flat tire, write a thank you card or celebrate a milestone  ... life has endless opportunities for each of us that are more meaningful when we see our own particular service as a way of acknowledging what God has given us.

And what about when things don't go as planned?  How do we give thanks in all things?  Maybe our ultimate show of gratitude is in trusting God that He has a better plan. When others see an unwavering faith, that too is a way of giving thanks because we recognize God's power and wisdom in His perfect timing.

May I learn to allow daily small things to be opportunities to show a grateful heart ... in word and deed.

photo thanks to Jen Giesbrecht

Friday, July 28, 2017

Blueberry Dressing

We all love some fresh ideas around salads.  Here is a blueberry vinaigrette that I posted back a few years ago.  Chef Dez is one of my inspirational chefs that I follow.  I remember going to a cooking show years ago and this is how he threw this dressing together. It has become one of my favorites through out the summer months.
I'm sure we have all enjoyed fresh blueberries in our salads, but what about in the dressing? Once again, take a salad bowl,  prepare your ingredients and pour the dressing over.

Blueberry Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place all the ingredients, except for the olive oil, in a food processor. Puree on high speed until thoroughly combined.  I used my hand blender. 
  2. Add the olive oil slowly while the processor is still running. Makes approximately 1.5 cups of dressing.

Add to your favorite salad that uses fresh fruits.
  • a bowl full of romaine salad mix
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries or use any other fresh fruit
Toss ingredients into a medium size bowl and add the blueberry dressing.  It's wonderful.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Apple Cabbage Slaw with Balsamic Dressing

Here is a delicious slaw made without refined sugar!  
Instead of sugar, I've used a flavoured balsamic vinegar.
It's delicious. Try it and see if you even miss the sugar.
You can cut or shred the ingredients according to your preference - coarse or fine
but try to keep all the ingredients roughly the same size.

  • 1/2 a medium head of cabbage
  • 1 large apple
  • 1/2 a zucchini (halve it and discard the seedy core)
  • 1 stalk celery sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon pear/cranberry or apple flavoured balsamic vinegar
  • dash of salt
  1. Cut up cabbage, apple and zucchini according to your preference.  This time I cut the cabbage into a more coarse shred.  Usually, I cut up the cabbage into a finer slaw.
  2. Mix mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar and salt, adding balsamic  by the teaspoon if it is not sweet enough.  Add more mayonnaise if you prefer a creamier slaw.
I made this recipe again just recently and used fresh nectarines and blueberries instead of the craisins. I also shredded the apple instead of finely chopping it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Viennese Coffee Cake - Gluten Free

(re name change - see comments)

Would you make a cherry pie without cherries?
Oatmeal cookies without oatmeal?
Rice pudding without rice?
Potato salad without potatoes?
Of course not ....
so ... then why do we make coffee cake without coffee?

Funny story ...
We attended my husband's cousin's funeral/memorial this summer. At the reception, her son sat down at our table to chat a bit and of course the conversation centered on his mother. Turning to me, he said he had a story I needed to share on our Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog.
His mother, Katie, came to Canada as a refugee in 1947, and got a job working as a house maid for a Canadian family. One day the lady of the house asked Katie to bake a coffee cake and waved a hand toward  the coffee pot, saying she could use that.  Lacking somewhat in confidence, and never having made a coffee cake before, Katie dumped in the dry ground coffee instead of the left-over brewed coffee. Seeing the cake speckled with dark flecks, the lady soon realized what had happened but she very graciously simply excused Katie by kindly saying, "It's all right, no one will know the difference. It will still taste good!"
We all chuckled but  I realized that while I have made many 'coffee cakes', I didn't remember ever actually having used coffee as an ingredient in my recipes.
When we got home I did a bit of a search and found an old Kraft recipe that did list brewed coffee as an ingredient.
I adapted/adjusted the recipe to be gluten free and was very happy with the results.
The cake has a very fine texture and excellent flavour.
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup strong freshly brewed coffee 
  • 1 1/2 cups Julie's Flour Mix  
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour 
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  1.  In your stand mixer, whip butter with sugar until white and fluffy - takes a few minutes. 
  2. Add eggs separately and beat well after each addition.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together. 
  4. Add dry ingredients and coffee beating until well mixed and smooth.
  5. Scrape into a parchment lined loaf pan or in a small tube cake pan. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour, or until done.
  7. Serve plain, dust with icing sugar, or dress it up with whipped cream and fruit. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Arugula Corn Salad

This is a quick and delicious fresh salad to fix for lunch or to accompany dinner. This recipe serves two as a pretty plated salad.  Double the recipe to serve family style.

  • 4 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (if not using fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  1. Cook corn for a few minutes, drain in colander and rinse with cold water.
  2. Add all salad ingredients to salad bowl.
  3. Shake dressing ingredients in a small container with a lid. Add to salad and mix just before serving. 

We also enjoy it with a drizzle of balsamic reduction

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lemon Butter Basted Grilled Salmon

I almost always have individual serving portions of wild salmon in my freezer. They are especially handy to tuck into the RV freezer and a quick meal because the salmon thaws quite quickly and takes only minutes on the grill. 

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • few dashes salt
  • 2 - 4 salmon pieces
  • thin lemon slices
  1. Cream together butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and salt in a small bowl.  
  2. Spread evenly over salmon pieces and top with thin lemon slices.
  3. Grill with the lid down, skin side down until salmon is cooked in the center.  

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Bread For The Journey

Come to me and I will give you rest, all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke.  Wear my yoke for it fits perfectly and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.  Matthew 11:28-30

I remember as a little child looking so forward to Sunday's.  My mother often had a nice meal prepared for us children and we were always allowed to invite friends to our home.   The chores had been completed on Saturday and much of the food had been prepared earlier.  Sunday was a day of rest and we were finally allowed to play.

This month our pastor has talked about resting in Jesus.   And somehow it really triggered a lot of things that I've been thinking about. He asked us if we had heard about the new illness called "Hurried Sickness" which meant rushing anxiously in an overwhelming state.  He moved on to say that our busyness is the major distraction that keeps us from finding real rest in what Jesus considered soul rest which means to trust in God fully worthy of our faith.

The iPhone was invented 10 years ago and how our world has changed.   Are you addicted to your smartphone?  You check it in the bathroom, you check it at meal times, you check it at the movies, you check it in church, you check it when you are having dinner with friends. There's a constant compulsion to check it.  Statistics show that 75% of the people use up an entire day of the week just checking their phones.  I was appalled at those statistics. I have found myself often frantically looking for my phone and have been heard repeatedly stating these words, "I wish I had a tether around my phone."

This week I had coffee with two individual friends who both own their own businesses.  One was frantically on her cell phone half the time, while the other gal had her cell phone in her purse.
I realize that we feel that we can manage our busy schedules much better with all these high tech products.  But really, are we managing better or are we experiencing emotional exhaustion?
Let's find a 'digital sweet spot' on your phone, meaning that you will take a measure of your own phone habits.  If you are watching two hours of Facebook or Instagram, try to reduce your time to one hour. How about setting up some free-zone times, like maybe two hours during dinner time or when visiting with guests.

The words of Jesus above are such a comfort.  Soul rest is not circumstantial but is rooted in faith and confidence knowing that we are held safe in the arms of Jesus.  I love how he offers us gentleness and humility. He knows each one of us and our demands on life. Find yourself a spot of tranquility where you can experience soul rest and let's be tethered to Jesus Christ rather than listening constantly to the siren sounds of a cell phone.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mexican Layer Dip

I first posted this recipe in 2010.  I've been making this appetizer which is perfect to take along to a pot luck for so many years, that I would almost consider it a vintage recipe.
You can use purchased salsa and guacamole to put it together quickly or you can use some of the larger recipes of my favourite fresh salsa and guacamole which I am linking in the ingredient list.

  • 1 - 250 gram / 8 ounce light or regular cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups guacamole
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 small can black sliced olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1  1/2 cups finely shredded cheese
  1. Mix together softened cream cheese with sour cream and taco seasoning.
  2. Layer the cream cheese mixture into a 9 X 13 pan and then the remaining ingredients as listed.
  3. Refrigerate until serving time and serve with tortilla chips.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Italian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This is a light meal that you can wrap up in your favorite type of lettuce. It's packed with lots of flavor. It would make a nice appetizer when served on smaller bite sized greens like endive.

  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onions (white or red or a combination of both)
  • 1/4 cup each of red and green bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon minced, fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lettuce leaves, for serving

  1. In a large bowl, mix together chicken, celery, onions and peppers.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, chicken stock and Italian seasoning.
  3. Pour mixture over chicken and vegetables, mixing until well-combined.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Refrigerate, allowing flavors to meld, for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Spoon mixture into lettuce leaves and serve.
  7. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  8. Serves 6-8.

If you want a different flavor you could add Cajun seasoning instead of Italian and have a little kick or if your family likes heat add some diced jalapeno to the mix. You could use a rotisserie chicken as a shortcut, too.