Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Non-Chocolate Brownies - Gluten Free




Is there such a thing?  Brownies without chocolate?  Not in my book - BUT my Dad does not like chocolate so I made these butterscotch brownies for him - and made them gluten-free because I could! (inspired by a recipe in Company's Coming 'Squares') 

Base

  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 lg egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/2 cup Julie's Flour Mix (or your own favorite all purpose mix) 
  • 1/4 brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts - walnuts or pecans 
  1. Melt butter and mix in the the brown sugar, add egg and vanilla and hand-beat until smooth
  2. Blend dry ingredients and stir into butter/sugar mixture, stirring briskly until batter is smooth.
  3. Scrape into a 9x9 inch cake pan  -  bottom lined with parchment paper 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes 
Icing 
  • 3 tbsp butter 
  • 3 tbsp whipping cream 
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar 
  1. Mix butter/cream/brown sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil - then simmer from 2 minutes
  2. Remove from heat and add the icing sugar -- if too thick add a tiny amount of milk, just enough so it is easily spread over the still warm squares. 
  3. Let cool before cutting. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Pecan Crusted Salmon


Are you looking for a simple yet special dish? This is our favorite salmon recipe and so quick and easy to prepare.  (I buy the frozen salmon fillets in bulk and keep on hand.) The directions are for two, but easily multiplied to serve more.
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 2 salmon fillets (6 oz. each)
  • lemon wedges
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F 
  2. Mix together the mustard, butter, and honey. 
  3. In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.
  4. Season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  5. Brush with mustard-honey mixture. Cover the top of each fillet with bread crumb mixture.
  6. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until salmon just flakes when tested with a fork. 
  7. Serve with lemon wedges.
  *Serves two.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bread for the Journey


From Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, King Arthur, on his deathbed voices to his friend some profound thoughts on prayer;

” Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.”

I thought this passage was a good one paired with this quote…
 
I Timothy 2:1-8 (ESV)
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions,that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. I desire then that in every place that men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;”

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Gold Leaf Wedding Cake


On the last day of 2016 I made a wedding cake for a dear girl who I have known since she was in elementary school.  Months earlier, Rachel chose a Gold Leaf wedding cake and I began searching on Pinterest, Amazon, and Youtube for ideas and supplies.  


Two days before the wedding I baked three 8 inch cakes and two (6X3) inch cakes.

Boxed White Cake Mix (made much better)
  • buttermilk instead of water
  • an extra egg  (4)
  • melted butter instead of oil
  • a heaping teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
  • sugar for sprinkling on top of the cake before baking
  1. I used three boxes in total and had an extra cake that I didn't use for this cake.  Mix up the cake as per instructions on the box.  
  2. Spray pans well with cooking spray and then line bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. 
  3.  Sprinkle enough sugar over the top of the cake to give it a thin layer before baking.  This will help the cakes from rising too much and it also helps to keep the top level.   

When the cakes have cooled enough to handle, wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze overnight or until you are ready to decorate.

  • Edible 23 K Gold Leaf 
  • bubble straws
  • a scraper that is at least as tall as your cake is
  • floral tape
  • flowers and greenery
  • turntable
  • cardboard cake rounds covered with foil 



Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 1 pound butter, room temperature
  • 2 pounds / 1 kg powdered or icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste  
  • 1 - 2  tablespoons of cream or baileys Irish Cream Liqueur
  1. Beat butter in a stand mixer until it is fluffy, and cream colored.  (about 5 minutes)
  2. Gradually add in the bag of icing sugar and vanilla bean paste and continue to beat about 5 minutes.  You will not really need any liquid but can add in liqueur or heavy cream.
  3. Keep covering the buttercream with plastic wrap while you work as it will begin to crust when exposed to air.



To assemble the cake, put a bit of buttercream under the cardboard or plate to help it stick to the turntable.  Place a smear of buttercream on the foil covered round and place the first cake layer on top.  Don't worry about making the cakes perfectly flat on top.  The space between the edges allows for more buttercream, giving the illusion of thick layer. 

Repeat with all the layers of the base size and then apply buttercream to the top and sides.

Using a straight edge, scrape and turn the cake adding more buttercream and scraping it off until you are happy with how smooth you have it.

Measure bubble tea straws the exact height of the cake, cut them and press down into the cake as shown above to provide stability for the next layers. Make sure that where you insert the straws will be underneath the next layers. 

To apply gold leaf randomly as I did, use the tissue paper that it comes in as a guide to where you want it placed, ripping off sections randomly.  If the buttercream is damp, the gold leaf will adhere to the cake.  The gold leaf is edible and really has no taste. 


To add flowers, create little bouquets, starting with a bit of greenery at the back, and then adding in a rose at the front.  Cut the stems to about 1 1/2 inches.  Wrap white floral tape around from the base to the tip, completely covering the stems.  Cut a piece of bubble tea straw a bit longer than the stems, insert the stems and press the straw down into the cake.  The last little bit of the straw you might have to use a scissor to press it down so it doesn't show.  Each flower has it's own little bouquet and straw. 



And when you know that fiddling with it anymore will just be one fiddle too much,
stop.    

The last step is to deliver it to the venue, place it on the cake plate, and finally, add a topper.








Friday, January 27, 2017

Flashback Friday / Easy Swiss Cordon Bleu Bake


I had not made this recipe since my mother's birthday in 2013.
Recently we had friends over for lunch on a weekend, and I decided that this dish was an easy no fuss recipe for me to make the day before and store in the refrigerator so all I had to do is turn the oven on about 45 minutes before they were to arrive.  I put on a pot of rice, cooked a side of Maple Glazed Carrots, the salad was ready in Fridge as was dessert. That left me the morning to relax and enjoy without feeling stressed.  According to some of the comments in the original recipe by people that tried the recipe say it is a hit with their families. I hope you give it a try and you and your family enjoy it too.

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cups half and half cream or milk
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, stir in flour to dissolve and cook a few minutes.
  2. Add both the cream, chicken broth and mustard.
  3. Cook until thickened. 
  4. Pour the sauce in a 9x13 pan.
Layer the following:
  • 6 pieces of boneless skinless chicken pieces, browned on each side in a skillet with a little oil.
  • 6 slices of thinly sliced ham
  • 6 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 1 package of stuffing prepared according to the directions on the box (I used a little less water)
Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350 oven.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cabbage Roll Soup


This soup is quick and easy to make and fills that winter craving for those cabbage rolls you have not had in ages. Same flavors, healthy and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 8 cups chicken or beef broth ( I use better than bouillon +water)
  • 8 cups chopped cabbage ( I use loose leaf - savoy)
  • 3/4 cups uncooked long grain rice 
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large bay leaf
Method:
  1. In large soup pot or dutch oven, brown meat. Drain any fat. 
  2. Add chopped onion and pepper. Cook until soft. Season
  3. Add tomato soup, tomato paste and broth
  4. Add chopped cabbage, rice, worcesterdhire sauce and bay leaf.
  5. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 - 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with sour cream. Serves 6 - 8
Note: If soup is too thick, add water or broth according to taste. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

White Chocolate and Apricot Cookies

I think cookies would win out in all our personal home bakeries as the most baked treat. There are so many great cookie recipes out there and many of them are often just a switch up of a few ingredients. That's what happened in my bakery this past week. I took a chocolate chip cookie recipe I sometimes use and added a wee bit of ground up coconut, chopped dried apricots and white chocolate chips. They'd sell out quickly if it was a real bakery, but at grandma's they are always free. 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut, ground fine in blender
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cups chopped dried apricots
  1. Cream together butter, eggs and brown sugar.
  2. Add vanilla, salt and baking soda. Beat well.
  3. Add flour and beat well.
  4. Grind up coconut till fine. Chopped dried apricots into small pieces. 
  5. Add coconut, apricots and white chocolate chips to batter and mix well.
  6. Spoon onto cookie sheets and bake in 350º oven for 10-12 minutes if making 24. If you make them smaller to yield 30 cookies or more bake 8-10 minutes. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pecan Pinwheel Cookies


These cookies started with a basic Butter Cookie Dough that could create a variety of cookies.

Ingredients:
  • 1-3/4 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons soft butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:
  1. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth but not fluffy.
  2. Beat in egg.
  3. Add flour and mix until incorporated, using hands if needed.
  4. Chill dough for one hour.
  5. On floured parchment, roll half the dough into a rough rectangle about 10 x 8 inches.
  6. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
  7. Slide rectangles on parchment to baking sheet.
  8. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile mix 3 tablespoons soft butter, 12 cup chopped pecans, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in small bowl.
  10. Spread half of this mixture over one of the rectangles of refrigerated dough and distribute well. 
  11. With long side facing you, use parchment paper to help you roll into log.
  12. Repeat for the second rectangle adding the rest of the filling.
  13. Chill until firm.
  14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  15. Cut logs into 1/4 inch slices.
  16. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  17. Bake until lightly browned, 12-17 minutes.
  18. Let cool on wire racks.
Makes 5-6 dozen cookies.


You can freeze one of the logs for future use if you don't need this many cookies at once. Just wrap them in parchment and put the log into a freezer safe zip loc bag until ready to bake.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Mexican Haystacks


This dish is rather like a taco salad served on a bed of rice. It is a bit of a twist on 'walking tacos', which are always a hit with the kids in my life.  It is also an easy meal to serve at a potluck...where guests each bring a different 'topping'.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning (or 1 package)
  • 1 cup salsa (medium or hot)
  • cooked rice
  • sweet pepper (green, yellow or red), chopped
  • lettuce, shredded
  • black olives, sliced (optional)
  • Guacamole or sliced avacado
  • cheese, shredded
  • corn chips or taco chips, crushed (optional topping)
  • sour cream
  • salsa

Directions:
  1. Brown beef with onion in skillet; drain.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning and salsa and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Place all the remaining ingredients in serving bowls on the buffet table and allow guests to assemble their own 'haystack'. Begin with a mound of rice, add meat sauce and then layer on optional toppings as desired.

 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bread for the Journey



Psalm 37:7 begins with " Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him" as well as Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God".

If you have our first two cookbooks you may have read that I have an auto-immune arthritis. Living with chronic pain has significantly changed the way I do life and He has given me the grace to accept that. Right now I am in another time where chronic pain is my constant companion with little relief. 

I find myself in a season of waiting. I have prayed and prayed, not only for renewed health, but for another burden that weighs heavily on my heart and it seems that God is silent. I don't know how or what to pray for anymore, all I can do is wait. The beauty in all this is that He has given me Peace in the stillness and the waiting. I know He hears my pleas and will carry me through this season with His promise that  He will not leave or abandon me. It clearly is not in my timing but I must learn to rest in God's perfect timing. 

Do you find yourself waiting for God to answer your prayers? 
Isaiah 40:31 says, 
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." 
Then let us live in the hope that the Lord gives us as stated in Romans 15:13, this is my prayer for us all.
"May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Amen

He cares and so do we. If you have a prayer request, leave your requests here anonymously if you choose not to leave your name and we will pray for you on your behalf. 


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Antiques in Judy's Kitchen

As I cleaned out my pantry and kitchen cupboards recently, I found a few old things that I'm just not ready to part with yet. In fact, I have kept them long enough that they are now collector items. And the thing is, I still use them!


These Pyrex nesting bowls and storage containers were wedding gifts in 1971, are still intact after all these years...and get used regularly. They get a little warm in the microwave, so I'm not sure they should go there. Vintage Pyrex sets are actually collector items...but mine wouldn't be in high demand, since they have been in and out of the dishwasher on a regular basis and are looking somewhat faded. They work for me.


My favorite little hand mixer was another wedding gift...a Hamilton Beach model that I love. It is still stored in the original box...which is looking very ratty! I use my Bosch machine for all the big jobs, but this little mixer still gets used.  I'm sure they don't make appliances to last that long anymore!


This Pyrex coffee perculator was my go-to coffee maker for many years.  Now it gets little use and would fetch a good price as a collectable...but it still makes a good cup of coffee when the power goes out!


My original electric kettle is also still alive and well...although I have replaced it with one that has an auto shut-off switch for everyday use.  I am still hanging on to the old kettle...since it is much better looking than my new one!

All that to say that old things have value.  I have to keep telling myself that these days...since I had another birthday this past week. It was a milestone birthday...one which confirms that I am a very old thing.

Do you have some favorite 'old things' in your kitchen. Tell us about them in the comments!


Friday, January 20, 2017

Flank Steak - Flashback Friday


For Flash Back Friday I'm featuring Flank Steak which Harv and I enjoy serving to company.
It is an inexpensive cut of meat which, when marinated, is fork tender.
I generally marinate the steak for at least 8 hours.

I've changed the original recipe somewhat.  It's one of those recipes that gets tweaked each time I make it.  So here is my latest version.  Still the same result, just a twist on the flavour.
This recipe makes enough marinade for 2 good sized flank steaks, enough to feed 10 people and still have some for a sandwich the next day.
You can halve the ingredients if you are doing only one steak.

  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce (I often use the low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons Montreal Steak Spice or other seasoned pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1 6 inch stalk fresh rosemary (strip leaves from stalk and chop fine)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (more if you love garlic)
  • 2 flank steaks
  1. Place all ingredients, except steak, in a jar or gravy mixer.
  2. Shake well until all ingredients are well blended.
  3. Place flank steaks in a large zippered plastic bag.
  4. Pour marinade over, remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal.
  5. Let sit in fridge for at least 8 hours.
  6. Remove from fridge and allow to warm up on the counter for an hour or two before cooking.
  7. Heat grill and remove steak from marinade.  You can reserve some of the marinade and brush the steak as it is cooking.  
  8. Grill to desired doneness - we like ours medium rare - about 140º F.
  9. Remove from grill, tent, and let sit for 15 minutes or so.  If you cut into it without allowing it to rest, you will lose the juice from the meat.
  10. Cut steak into 1/4" thick slices, slicing diagonally across the grain at a 45º angle.
  11. Serve with sauteed onions and button mushrooms.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Seafood Pasta Bake

 Large pasta shells filled with cheeses, shrimp and crab, baked in a creamed spinach sauce. Sauteed jumbo garlic shrimp add a touch of elegance. 
(serves 5-6)
  • 12 large shell shaped pasta shells
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped crab meat
  • 1/4 cup chopped cooked shrimp
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook pasta shells as directed on box. Drain and cool.
  2. Mix together remaining ingredients.
  3. Once shells have cooled fill shells with mixture. Place on a pan, cover and keep in refrigerator while you make the sauce.
Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup sweet red pepper, diced fine
  • 1 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Melt butter in pan. Add onion and red pepper and saute until vegetables are beginning to soften but do not brown.
  2. Add garlic and continue to saute for one minute.
  3. In a jar shake together the cream, broth and flour until smooth. Add to sauteed mixture and bring to a light boil. Add spices. Mixture will thicken slightly but should still be fairly runny. Add a little milk if it's too thick, you want to be able to pour it. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour half the sauce into a bowl and set aside. Add spinach to the pan with the remaining sauce. As spinach gets hot it will wilt down. This will take a minute or two. 
  5. To assemble, pour the creamed spinach into the bottom of a low casserole dish. Place filled pasta shells right into the hot mixture, open side up. Pour remaining hot sauce over shells. 
  6. Generously sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 
  7. Bake uncovered in 350º oven for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and really hot. You want to make sure the filling in the shells gets really hot. 
  8. Remove from oven and top with prawns.
Garlic Jumbo Prawns:
  • 8-12 jumbo prawns, peeled, tails on or off (I like them on for the look) 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  1. In a large fry pan melt butter and add garlic and prawns. Cook over medium hot heat until prawns are cooked. They will cook in about 3-4 minutes. 
  2. Top hot pasta dish with prawns and serve immediately. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Apricot Cream Cheese Coffeecake


I got this recipe from my friend  Eileen. Coffee cake is a simple recipe to go perfectly for most any occasion. Anything from a simple coffee date with friends or dessert after dinner.

Cake Base:

  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or hard margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 - 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup apricot jam
Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar, also known as powdered or confectioners sugar
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • whipped cream
  1. Grease and flour a 10 inch springform pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine all the cake ingredients, and mix on low to medium speed until the ingredients come together scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally for about 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Spread the batter on the bottom of the pan and up the sides about 2 inches. 
  4. Combine all the filling ingredients except the jam mix thoroughly until you have a smooth mixture. 
  5. Spread over the cake base. Top with the apricot jam. 
  6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown. 
  7. Cool the cake for about 30 minutes. 
  8. Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a smooth glaze.
  9. Drizzle over baked coffee cake. 
  10. Serve warm or room temperature topped with freshly whipped cream.
  11. Enjoy.  



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Coconut Lime Biscotti



What's not to love about this biscotti? Crunchy and citrusy. If you want to make them any more special than they already are you could dip one end of each biscotti in melted chocolate. I dipped half in melted white chocolate and left the other half plain. They pair well with a cup of coffee or tea!
Package up a few for gifts to bless, or share with a friend coming for coffee.
Recipe adapted from Healthy Cooking.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Extra zest to sprinkle on top of the dipped biscotti if you are dipping them.
  1. In a medium sized bowl beat sugar and oil until blended.
  2. Beat in eggs, lime juice, vanilla, and coconut extract.
  3. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, gradually add to sugar mixture. and mix well. Dough will be sticky.
  4. Stir in coconut and lime zest.
  5. Divide dough in half. With lightly floured hands shape each half into a 12" x 2" rectangle on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350º for 20 - 25 minutes, until set.
  7. Allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board and cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 3/4" slices.
  8. Place cut side down on parchment lined baking sheets.
  9. Bake 6 minutes on each side until golden in color.
  10. Remove to rack to cool.
  11. Once cool you can dip in melted white chocolate and sprinkle with a little lime zest or if you wish leave them plain.
  12. Store in an airtight container.
  13. Yield: 2 dozen biscotti

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rice and Meatball Soup



Soup in the winter months is one of my favorite 'go to' comfort foods.  My mom used to always make this soup and after chatting to my sister, I think we have the right recipe.  And for some reason, we've had real winter since the beginning of December.  That is unusal for us living on the coast.
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 medium sliced onion
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 dried red cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt 
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley used for garnish
Meatball Mixture
  • 1 pound ground lean beaf
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the rice in advance.
  2. Prepare soup broth adding ingredients as listed.
  3. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Prepare meat mixture and form small meatballs.
  5. Drop them into the broth.
  6. Continue boiling for 15 more minutes and then allow to simmer.
  7. Just prior to serving add parsley as garnish

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bread For the Journey



"The Son reflects God's own glory and everything about Him represents God exactly."
Hebrews 1:3

"We can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. 
And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him 
and reflect His glory even more."
2 Corinthians 3:18

These two verses stood out of several I was reading on the theme of the glory of the Lord.

I got to thinking about mirrors.
- The way a mirror reflects my image and that of the room I am in.
- That although it is not an exact image but a "turned around" one, 
it does give me a good idea of my appearance and that of my surroundings.
- The way it only reflects a portion of what is really there.
- That it reflects light.

The Bible uses the idea of a mirror to show us how we can be the representation of God's glory to those who don't know Him.  The world doesn't know God.  They have no idea of the reality of His glory or what that means to them.  By being a mirror and reflecting God's glory we can show them Who He is.
We can only represent as much of God as we know.  So it is important to acquaint ourselves with our Saviour, studying to be like Him. Paul assures us that if we do that, the Spirit will make us more and more like Him.
We are unlike Christ who is the exact representation of God and but we can give the world a good idea of who He really is by our demeanor, our behaviour and our love for one another.

  As Christians, we have been given the ability and responsibility to reflect God's glory.

In Genesis and in Acts we read how Moses and Steven each had a close encounter with God.  As a result, their faces shone - reflecting the fact that they had been in God's presence.

An old Gentleman friend who went to be with the Lord many years ago, told me to walk through life with what he called, an "Open Face" - one that reflects the light of Jesus. 

By spending time in God's Word and walking daily with Christ, I can reflect God's light and share His glory with the world.



Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday in the Kitchen

Julie in Her Kitchen

There is lots that I would have done differently if I had had a say when my current home was built - but I didn't, so I had to take it 'as is'.  I was delighted, however, that the most important room for me - the kitchen - did have almost all of the things that I look for, and what it didn't have my handy husband was able to build for me.
Would I love new appliances or  granite counter tops?  Sure! But those are not inexpensive and I am content in my kitchen - happy to spend time in it, which I do!

On my list of 'must haves'  in a kitchen are ...
I like the kitchen to be a 'room' in itself, which mine is ...
It must have lots of cupboards,
a window over the sink,
a working island



I also love an 'eat-in' kitchen ...
with lots of  windows,
the view must be of trees and wildlife ...
Which I have as the photo below shows.


I also love a kitchen to have lots of interest ... detail ... a room that I like to 'look at'.
Here is what I see from the entry arch before  I enter my kitchen ...
and yes ... my fridge door is my 'display wall' !! Sorry!
.

Below is a closer view of the corner ... it was an empty space when we moved in. A space not big enough for a sitting area but too big to leave bare - so my husband added a pantry section to the cupboards beside the fridge and then built in the corner desk/cupboard shelves unit. A better view of it in the photo below. Second photo shows my decor accents in the high space above my cupboards.





There is a German word that describes something I enjoy doing in my kitchen and because this is a MENNONITE girls' blog, I will share the word with you ... maybe you are familiar with it. The word is Schmengen.  There is no English word to translate its meaning, so if I was to describe what the word 'schmengen' means I would say  it is to sneak tempting morsels that might spoil your appetite. Taking that extra chocolate from the candy bowl, licking the beaters, sampling the cookie dough ... or tasting one (or two!) cookies as they come out of the oven, even though you aren't at all hungry, would all come under that word 'schmengen' ...  For those of you familiar with the word, would you agree?

My kitchen may not be a kitchen you would like.
Do you have a 'must have' list for your ideal kitchen?
What is your favorite feature of your kitchen?
 or
What is the one thing you would change in your kitchen  - if money was no object?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flash Back Friday ~ Glazed Yeast Donuts


A plate full of delicious glazed yeast donuts should cheer anybody up on a cold winter day. To work off the calories go shovel snow, that is if you live in snowy Manitoba!
These donuts are a family favorite. They are messy to eat but once you sink your teeth into one of these you won't mind the mess.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 8 - 8 1/4 cups flour
  1. Scald milk, stir in butter, sugar, salt, and lukewarm water. Whisk till butter is melted and sugar dissolved.
  2. Whisk eggs till foamy and add to the warm milk mixture.
  3. Add 4 cups flour, yeast, and mix well.
  4. Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time as needed and knead until dough is smooth, just a few minutes will do it. It will still be slightly sticky. 
  5. Place in a covered greased bowl in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk approx 25 to 30 minutes. Punch down.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 balls. 
  7. Roll out each ball to 1/4" to 3/8" thick on a floured surface, using just enough flour so dough doesn't stick to the surface. 
  8.  Using a round donut cutter, cut shapes and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil, leaving space between each donut for rising. I don't re-roll the scraps, instead just let them rise along with the 'donut holes' and fry them like the donuts. (The fried donut 'scraps' are often grabbed first!)
  9. Cover with a tea towel and allow donuts to rise 25 minutes.
  10.  Deep fry raised donuts in a a pot of hot oil on medium high heat (375º) till donuts are golden on one side, flip over and fry till golden or done, approx 1 minute on each side. Cut into the first one to check for timing on doneness. I like using my wok for deep frying.
  11. Glaze while warm and serve.
Sticky Syrupy Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Boil first 3 ingredients for 4 to 5 minutes, till glaze looks syrupy.
  2. Whisk in vanilla.
  3. Dip warm donuts in glaze and enjoy!
I only glaze as much as I want to serve, as they are best eaten fresh.
The leftover glaze and unglazed donuts freeze well.
Reheat frozen donuts in 350º oven, checking after a few minutes to make sure they are thawed then dip in reheated glaze. 
Sorry I didn't count them but you should get a couple dozen.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Porridge Pancakes


This family sized recipe makes about 16 hearty, oat filled pancakes named for their moist porridge texture within a pancake. We love them with cinnamon steamed apples on the side. This recipe works best if mixed the night before and refrigerated to cook in the morning, or mix during the day to cook for supper.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (quick cooking) rolled oats
  • 3 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk and 1 cup yogurt)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tbps sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Steamed apples
  • 2 Gala apples, unpeeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Method:
  1. Combine oats and buttermilk. Stir in oil and beaten eggs. 
  2. Add combined dry ingredients. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours.
  3. Cook on non-stick griddle between low and med heat. Adjust heat setting so that the pancakes do not brown too quickly. Cook first side for about 2-3 minutes, until tiny bubbles appear on top. Flip and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. * 
  4. In the meantime, in medium pot, cook apple slices in butter until tender. A few minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and keep hot on low heat. 
* tips: a square (stove top) griddle/and a scratch proof flipper is a great investment for cooking pancakes/hot cakes. Keep cooked pancakes warm on an oven proof serving plate in 200 F oven. Serve with butter, maple syrup and cinnamon apples.
Left over pancakes can be stored in sealed bag (refrigerator or freezer) and toasted.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gingerbread


Warm moist gingerbread on a cold winter's night is a comfort dessert.  Add a spoonful of applesauce which pairs perfectly with the gingerbread flavour.  This recipe is my Mom-in-law Pauline's go to for gingerbread, and she got it from the original Five Roses Flour cookbook. 
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • two teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. 
  2. Stir together the first three ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine shortening and brown sugar until creamy.
  4. Add in molasses, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  5. Stir baking soda into boiling water and then add this to the shortening and molasses mixture. 
  6. Stir in the flour mixture and then add in the eggs, mixing well.
  7. Pour mixture into a greased 9 X 13 pan and bake for 50 - 60 minutes. 
  8. Serve warm with applesauce and whipped cream. 



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oatmeal Snickerdoodles



Oatmeal raisin cookies are a favorite over here...or a version of them that uses granola. But not everyone is fond of raisins and so I came up with an oatmeal snickerdoodle cookie (very much like Ellen's snickerdoodle recipe but with the addition of oatmeal). The oatmeal makes it a healthy choice, right? :)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups large flake oatmeal (old fashioned oats)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream butter sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down sides of bowl. Then add eggs and beat well.
  4. Add vanilla and beat again to incorporate.
  5. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Add dry ingredients into butter mixture and mix well.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop or rounded teaspoon, form cookies and place on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Allow space for spreading. Press down slightly with the palm of your hand.
  8. Combine cinnamon and sugar for topping and sprinkle generously over the top of each cookie. 
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool for several minutes before removing from pan to cool completely on wire rack.
Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

French Onion Soup

We enjoyed French Onion Soup at a restaurant recently and decided to try it at home changing out a recipe to serve two. We had two oven worthy crocks to use for this recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 stick butter, 2 ounces
  • 3 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1/8 cup dry vermouth or dry sherry
  • 2-1/2 cups beef stock
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 slices gruyere plus 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere
  • 4-8 slices baguette or french bread buttered and toasted

Method:
  1. Melt the butter in a medium heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions stirring to coat with the butter.
  3. Season the onions with salt and pepper.
  4. After onions are seasoned and all are sizzling lower the heat.
  5. Continue cooking till translucent and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
  6. Add flour and cook for at least 2 minutes.
  7. Add the dry vermouth or sherry and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  8. Add the beef stock and low simmer for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Preheat broiler.
  10. Add thyme sprigs tied together for easy removal.
  11. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  12. Taste and season as needed remembering the cheese will add some saltiness to the final product.
  13. Remove the herbs.
  14. Ladle into the crocks.
  15. Put two slices of cheese on the top of each crock of soup.
  16. Top the cheese with the toasted baguettes/bread to fit.
  17. Load the shredded Gruyere on top of the bread.
  18. Place the crocks on a baking sheet and place under broiler until cheese bubbles and browns.
  19. Serve with the extra toasted baguettes/bread.

 You can easily double this recipe to serve 4.




Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bread for the Journey


 'Be grateful' is my motto for 2017. So many times we grumble about this and that and forget the many blessings that we do have and that we should be grateful for. As for the blue jay in this photo I would say he looks grateful for the peanuts.
My granddaughter gave me a Gratitude Journal for Christmas and asked me to write down 3 gratitudes a day and to do that for at least 1 month. She will be doing the same. I'm glad she encouraged me, I had often thought about doing it. Keeping track of gratitudes daily results in being more grateful. 
It's something I encourage us all to do. Don't you think there would be a lot less grumbling?

Psalm 100 NIV
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
     Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!
 Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!
 For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday in Kathy's Kitchen



These are the measuring cups you'll find in my kitchen. When we moved I donated a few of the ones that were doubles or that I rarely used. My gifts to new brides, my own daughters included has been the large pyrex cup...and it comes with a lid.

For measuring dry ingredients, it's best to have a level cup measuring cup to give you accuracy in measurement. Mine are just simple white plastic ones I've had for 39 years. They were a shower gift.
I also use metal ones. I have the others to that set in my larger containers for quick measure of flour, oats, sugar etc.

 When measuring liquid it's best to use a clear and marked measuring cup so that you can set it on the counter and get an accurate measure.

My go to all purpose cup is the large 8 cup pyrex. It's dishwasher and microwave safe. This large measuring cup is great for making sauces, and also as a mixing bowl. I have 3 of these large cups, but this particular one is my favourite as it has a rubber ring around the bottom so it grips the counter.

I have a 1 and 2 cup pyrex as well. The 2 cup has a lid that is great to use in the microwave to save all the splatters, and also to cover food and store in refrigerator.

The tall one at the front of the photo is also dishwasher and microwave safe. I use this the most to heat up milk when baking bread.

Then there is my favourite mini measuring cup. If you don't have one of these, I recommend you put it on your list. I make a lot of home made dressings and marinades and often those recipes call for 1/4 cup or less of wet and dry ingredients. The measurements on this cup are in tbsp, ounces, ml, and cups. I can pretty much use this one little cup when measuring out the many little amounts of ingredients to go into those recipes...and only have one thing to wash at the end. Start by measuring your dry ingredients...usually spices and then your liquids, usually oils and vinegars.

January is a great time to do some inventory and cleaning of the kitchen. It's like a gift to yourself to declutter and wipe out all your drawers and cupboards. Wipe out your fridge and clean your oven and microwave.  And....don't forget to put out clean kitchen linen.
Happy Saturday!







Friday, January 6, 2017

Butterflies



For this Flashback Friday I want to remind you of these cinnamon rolls posted in 2009 - the name referring to the way the roll stands up and spreads out like it has wings. It's a small recipe (yields 24 - 30) and really doesn't take long to do because you skip the first rising. This is another recipe passed down from my mom. 

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c hot water
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  • ½ cup butter, melted or very soft
  • 2 Tbsp instant yeast

Filling: (Blend with pastry blender)
  • 1 1/4 c brown sugar,
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon,
  • 3 Tbsp butter (room temp) for blending/cutting into filling
  •  3- 5 Tbsp melted butter for spreading on rolled out dough


Method:




  1. In large bowl of stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar well. Add buttermilk, salt and water.
  2. Mix 2 c of the flour with baking powder and yeast, then stir into liquid mixture.
  3. Add butter, mixing well, and the rest of the flour, kneading until dough is smooth. Cover. You do not need to let it rise at this point. (I let it rest while I prepare the filling.)
  4. Divide dough in half. Sprinkle rolling surface with flour. 
  5. Shape and pat dough into a rectangular shape before rolling each half into a 10" x 20" rectangle, dusting with flour when needed. 
  6. Spread with melted butter, then brown sugar mixture.
  7. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting on long side. Slice into 1 1/2 inch slices. While slice is “standing up”, indent it almost all the way through with a pencil (dipped in flour) or spatula as though you’re slicing it in half again . . . this makes the sides pop up like wings.
  8. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. If you don’t use parchment paper, grease the pans and remove rolls as soon as you take them out of the oven, before sugar hardens.
  9. Cover loosely with tea towel and plastic. Rise 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Some buns will kind of lose their shape while rising and I sometimes (gently) re-indent them. Bake at 350 F, 15 minutes or until golden.
  10. Drizzle with a thin icing. ( approx 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 2 Tbsp. softened butter and milk - until desired spreading consistency) I like to use a teaspoon or butter knife and just kind of ‘scatter’ the icing. These rolls freeze well in sealed container. Reheat to serve warm.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ham and Cheese Buns




























Soup and sandwiches seem to be a common meal for us these coooold winter days.  I used the base recipe for these buns from this recipe. This is a refridgerator dough recipe and if I use the entire recipe it makes about 20-24 depending on how large you make them. Any (bun) dough recipe works well for these.

These freeze well and are nice to have on hand.

  • 4 - 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg or 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 2 cups very warm water
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • mustard of your choice, I used Dijon
  • ham slices
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups grated cheese, your choice, I used sharp cheddar cheese. 
  1. In a bowl combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Blend well.
  2. Add warm water, butter and eggs.
  3. Blend at a low speed til well mixed, continue beating for two minutes.
  4. Stir in remaining flour by hand until you have a stiff dough.
  5. Cover dough with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours up to 4 days.
  6. Take half the dough and roll into a large rectangle. (approx 10" x 14 ")
  7. Spread the dough with your favorite mustard, top with slices of ham, and grated sharp chedder cheese or whatever cheese you have on hand. 
  8. Roll up into a log and cut into 12 rolls.
  9. Place into a prepared 9x13 pan. 
  10. Cover and rise for one hour.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven @ 375 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Watch your oven since every oven temperature is different.