Friday, June 30, 2017

Raspberry Cream Parfait ~ Flashback Friday

We are having a big celebration in Canada tomorrow, as we mark 150 years since confederation.  I'm bringing back a dessert idea that I shared here a few years ago, but this time with Canada Day twist.  Serving up desserts in wee mason jars makes them perfect for picnics and parties. 


The original recipe had a chocolate crumb crust, but I used the graham cracker crust this time.

Graham Wafer Base:

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
Cream Filling:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 oz. / 125 ml cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)
  Raspberry Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  Method:
  1. Prepare raspberry sauce.  Combine raspberries, sugar and three tablespoons of water. Blend cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons water until smooth; stir into berry mixture. Cook until mixture thickens and boils, stirring regularly. (Can be done in the microwave).  Add lemon juice. Set aside to cool.
  2. To prepare the base, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.  
  3. Pack crumbs into the bottom of 10 parfait glasses (or 10 x 125 ml. mason jars).
  4. For cream filling: Combine whipping cream, sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff.  In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese and icing sugar; beat until smooth.  Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and whip to combine well.
  5. Carefully add cream layer to the parfait glasses. * 
  6. Spoon cooled raspberry sauce over whipped cream layer.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Just before serving, garnish with additional whipped cream, fresh and fresh berries.
 Serves 10.

* Put whipped cream mixture into a Ziploc bag, seal and snip corner. Squeeze into serving dishes without making a mess.


Tip: By adding a few blueberries on top, we can also celebrate the July 4th. My sincere apologizes to our American friends for the wee American flag that was upside down on the photo with blueberries that appeared here earlier.  How did I not notice that when I took the picture?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Chocolate Pavlova Torte


Has berry season begun where you live?  
This beautiful and naturally gluten free dessert is the perfect way to showcase the beautiful local berries available during the summer months.


This recipe will serve 12 so if you want to make a small dessert, simply divide the recipe in half, and make your pavlovas smaller!

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150 grams / 5 ounces dark chocolate, melted in microwave
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 cups assorted berries
  • chocolate shavings (made with a vegetable peeler)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Trace 3 lunch sized plates with a pencil and then turn the paper over onto the cookie sheet.  (if you are making half a recipe, use a saucer)
  3. Beat egg whites until frothy, and then add in sugar and cocoa powder (using a sieve) slowly while you continue to beat until stiff peaks form.  
  4. Gently fold in vanilla,  and melted chocolate.
  5. Divide as evenly as possible between the prepared pans.  Smooth out meringue. 
  6. Put the pans in the oven and turn the oven OFF. Do not open up the oven. 
  7. Leave the meringues for at least 6 hours.  When the meringues are cool, they will easily come off the parchment paper.
  8. Whip the cream with the sugar.  Divide the whipped cream between the meringues. Sprinkle berries over each meringue, layer them and sprinkle the top of the torte with grated chocolate. 
  9. Let the torte set in the refrigerator overnight, allowing the meringues to soften.  If you do not let the pavlova sit overnight, the meringues will be crisp but it can still be eaten and is delicious either way. 


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mango Cucumber Salad with Mango Citrus Vinaigrette


The mangoes have been exceptionally sweet and juicy lately, and we have enjoyed this salad many times.  The dressing is not only great on salads but is also fantastic drizzled on grilled salmon or chicken. 

Salad:
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens 
  • 1 mango, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 or 2 mini cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/3 cup cashew pieces or sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese 
  1. In a salad bowl, combine greens, mango slices, red onion, cucumber and cashews or almonds.
  2. Pour dressing over salad and gently toss it all together.
  3. Serve.
*If plating the salads individually, place a few of the mango slices on top.

Serves 4.

Mango Citrus Vinaigrette:
  •  1 ripe mango
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Peel one mango, and remove pit. 
  2. Chop and  place in blender with remaining ingredients; puree until smooth. 
  3. Store in a small jar in refrigerator (for up to a week) and shake to blend before use.

Variation:
Line salad bowl or platter with mixed greens. Top with fresh fruits and berries of your choice, including cubed mango. Serve with mango citrus vinaigrette and candied walnuts or pecans as optional topping.


 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars


I saw a similar recipe on the internet by Taste of Home which looked good and decided to try something similar using my own version by following my Rhubarb Dream Bar recipe and topping it with my Blueberry Cheesecake recipe. I had tried a couple of times, once making it with a gluten free flour mix and I wasn't overly satisfied with the results, likely the wrong choice of baking mix, but when I made it with regular flour the result was better in my opinion and several people asked for the recipe.

Crust:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup butter
Filling:
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 2 cups sugar (less is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix the flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter to make coarse crumbs with a pastry blender or with you hands. Press into a 9x13 in baking pan. 
  2. Bake @ 350 for 15 minutes.
  3. Combine eggs, sugar, cream,  flour, salt and mix well until there are no lumps. Fold in rhubarb.
  4. Pour into baked crust and bake @ 350 for 50-60 minutes or until filling is set and edges start to turn brown.
Cheesecake Topping:
  • 2- 8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is best)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large tub of cool whip (I used an equal amounts of real whipped cream which is equal to about 4 cups whipped)
  1. With a hand mixer beat cream cheese with sugar.
  2. Add lemon juice and vanilla.
  3. Fold in whipped cream until smooth.
  4. Pour over the cooled rhubarb bar.
  5. Set in fridge for over night to set.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Plain Crumb Platz


On a recent trip I was making my choices at a breakfast buffet when I saw a crumb cake that I had to try. It reminded me of a plain crumb Platz that my mom used to make with bun dough. This makes for a slightly sweet bread type of crumb coffee cake, just wonderful with a cup of coffee.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk
  •  6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant quick rise yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
crumb topping
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 6 tablespoons butter room temp (or half cream and half butter) 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
Method:
  1. Heat milk in a saucepan. Add butter and allow to melt. Remove from heat. Add cold water to cool liquid to a warm temperature.
  2. In mixing bowl, mix sugar, yeast and salt. Add liquids. Stir in 2 cups of flour, using wooden spoon, mix to a shaggy dough and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Continue stirring in flour and knead lightly until you can shape a smooth ball with oiled or floured hands.
  4. Cover bowl and let rise until double.
  5. Grease a 9 x 12 inch pan.  For ease of lifting onto a serving plate, you can line the pan with parchment paper. Spread dough evenly into pan, pressing out any potential bubbles.
  6. Whisk egg with a fork and brush over the base.
  7. With pastry blender, blend butter (and cream, if using) into combined sugar and flour. Squeeze by the handful (to make crumbs) and drop onto cake. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.
  8. Bake at 375° F for 25 - 30 minutes, until golden. Check part way through baking and pop any bubbles with a toothpick. Allow to cool before serving. ( I like to lift it out of the pan onto a wire rack, like I would if I baked a loaf of bread)
Tip: you can double the recipe and add some small buns or Zwieback.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bread for the Journey

 

Those of us who are privileged to call Canada home, will be celebrating the 150th birthday of our country this week.  Canada was once officially known as the Dominion of Canada, based on the verse found in Psalm 72:8.  The leaders of that day acknowledged that God had dominion over this great nation 'from sea to sea'  and that motto still appears on our national coat of arms.  Sadly, the reality is that many Canadians today no longer believe in a sovereign God.  But we are all free to worship where we choose and how we choose, and for that I am thankful. We are also free to pray for our country and our leaders, and today I would encourage those of us who are Christ-followers to do just that.

I have had the opportunity to visit each of our ten provinces over the years.  Today I am sharing ten scriptures that we can use as we pray for our country along with a photo taken in each province...'from sea to shining sea'. Though the photos are 'all-Canadian', the scriptures are promises to God's people of every nation. Let's join together and pray for our country.  There is power in prayer!

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, 
and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, 
then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV

 
 Tofino, British Columbia

For kingship belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.
Psalm 22:28 ESV

 
The Rocky Mts., Alberta

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

 
Yorkton, Saskatchewan

Righteousness exalts a nation,
    but sin is a reproach to any people. 
Proverbs 14:34 ESV

 
Brookdale, Manitoba

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV

Ottawa, Ontario

 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding.
Daniel 2:21 ESV 

Quebec City, Quebec

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, 
but against the rulers, against the authorities, 
against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, 
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 ESV

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick
 
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, 
it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
Matthew 18:19

 
Fort Amherst ~ St. John's, Newfoundland

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.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, 
a people for his own possession, 
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness 
into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9 ESV


Confederation Bridge, Prince Edward Island

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10 ESV


Friday, June 23, 2017

Flashback Friday- Chicken Stew


Chicken Stew is a nice comfort meal served with fresh crusty bread. I first posted this recipe in July of 2008. You can find the original post here.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 carrot peeled, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14-1/2 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 chicken breasts with ribs (about 1-1/2 pounds total)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Method:
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy 5-1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. 
  3. Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  5. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme. 
  6. Add the chicken breasts; press to submerge.
  7. Bring the cooking liquid to simmer. 
  8. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over, stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes.
  9. Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes. 
  10. Discard the bay leaf. 
  11. Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until the liquid has reduced into stew consistency, about 10 minutes.
  12. Discard the skin and bones from the chicken. 
  13. Shred or cut the chicken into bite size pieces. 
  14. Return the chicken meat to the stew. 
  15. Bring the stew just to a simmer. 
  16. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  17. Serve with bread.
  18. Serves 4-6

Here are some variations you can consider: Double the recipe. Use a whole chicken instead of just breasts. Let the dark meat cook longer than the breasts. Use chopped tomatoes with jalapeno and chopped tomatoes with sweet onions and garlic for extra flavor and spice. Use a different type of bean instead of kidney beans. This time around I used garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed. If you don't have fresh basil use a teaspoon of dried. If your family enjoys mushrooms add some fresh mushrooms, too. This recipe can be simplified by using shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken that has been baked already.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Strawberry and Peppers Salad / Salsa


It is fresh local grown strawberry season here. I got this recipe a few years ago from my friend Susi and we have enjoyed it ever since! Try putting it on BBQ burger, or alongside grilled chicken and steak; it is delicious! You can leave everything coarse like the above image, or finely chop like the picture below to serve as a tasty salsa with tortilla chips. It is good either way.

  • 1/2 of a medium red onion,  thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced and seeded
  • 1/2 each of a yellow and orange or red pepper (I used a green pepper too), sliced into thin strips or finely diced
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • add pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups of sliced or diced strawberries
  • cilantro or parsley optional
Combine all the ingredients and serve as a salad or salsa. 


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rhubarb Cake


In rhubarb season this year, I bought ten pounds of rhubarb from a lady who grows and sells it from her farm. It was fresh picked just for me and it wasn't long after it was pulled from the plants that it was washed, in my oven or in the freezer.
One of my aunts shared a tip with me about freezing rhubarb. She said instead of freezing it pre-chopped, it preserved much better left in full stock with part-ends on. So I tried it that way this year - one immediate advantage is that it saved me a lot of chopping time!!

My husband's mother was known as a good baker and she made a rhubarb cake that my husband loves ... He doesn't like rhubarb pie ๐Ÿ˜ž, which is my favorite pie ... but he does like this rhubarb cake. Especially since his Mom has been gone many years.

Above is a photo of my mother-in-law's handwritten recipe ...  and the translation below.
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 cup sour cream 
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 2 cups rhubarb (or amount as desired) 
  1. Beat eggs well, add sugar and beat until well mixed.
  2. By hand stir in sour cream.
  3. Blend dry ingredients and stir into egg/sour cream mixture until smooth. 
  4. Pour into 9"x14" baking pan and smooth top with spoon. 
  5. Sprinkle chopped rhubarb over top of batter. 
  6. Follow instructions for crumb topping. 
  7. Bake for 35- 40 minutes in 350 degree F oven. 

crumb topping 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1 package vanilla sugar
  1. Mix sugar and flour.
  2. Rub butter into sugar/flour until evenly crumbed.
  3. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.
  4. Sprinkle contents of vanilla sugar package over the top of crumbs. (This really MAKES the crumb topping!) 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas

A few of us have been participating in an ESL cooking class at our local church. 

This Enchilada recipe is one that was taught by one of the other leaders and I enjoyed it so much that it is one that I also now make at home.   You can purchase red enchilada sauce if you wish but I think you will find that making your own sauce is less expensive and delicious.  

Red Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and the onion and fry for several minutes until tender crisp.
  3. Add the seasonings, tomato sauce, and salsa and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in water, bring to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the enchilada mixture. 
Enchilada Mixture
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 8 flour tortillas
  1. In a large fry pan, heat oil and add in onion, frying a few minutes until tender crisp.  Add spinach and stir until it starts to wilt. 
  2. Add in cooked rice, black beans and taco seasoning. Stir. 
  3. Add in one cup of cheddar cheese, and stir until cheese is melted.
  4. Lay tortillas out on the counter, divide enchilada mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla and roll up.
  5. Pour enough red sauce into a  9 X 13 pan to cover the bottom. 
  6. Arrange filled tortillas in the baking dish and pour remaining sauce over the top.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 F. for about 30 minutes or until bubbling in the middle.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with salsa and sour cream. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fruity Rice and Chicken Salad


This salad serves quite nicely as a summer time meal. You can change fruits to your preference. I'm thinking mango or pineapple would be good.

Caramelized Almonds:
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Stir together almonds and sugar in a skillet. Place over medium heat stirring constantly until sugar melts and the almonds start to turn golden. Watch carefully as they will burn quickly. 
  2. Remove from skillet onto a plate and set aside to cool.
Salad Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup cooked rice, either brown or white 
  • 3/4 cup celery, diced
  • 3/4 cup green or red grapes 
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 small (284 ml/10 oz) can of mandarin oranges
  1. Combine chicken, rice, celery, grapes, blueberries, and mandarin oranges.
  2. Add dressing to the chicken combination and toss well.
  3. Refrigerate salad at least 1 hour before serving. Just before serving stir in the caramelized almonds.
  4. Serves: 2 to 4 depending on appetites:)
Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • To a small jar with a screw top, add dressing ingredients, shake well and pour over salad.
  • Dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
* Sometimes I use flavor infused oil or vinegar. It's a nice change.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bread for the Journey

My ninety four year old father lives with my oldest sister's family and my niece snapped this photo of her dzeda, our pop, praying on his knees before laying down to sleep. He does this every night and he prays out loud, in Russian. Since my niece hears these prayers most every night she wanted to capture the moment on film. I'm glad she did.

In trying to decide what to share on this Father's Day the thought came to me to share Jesus' instruction to us on how we ought to pray.

Matthew 6:6-13 (ESV)

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
(For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.)
This last sentence is not included in the ESV but is in the KJV and probably the ending we have all learned. 

If you are stuck in your prayer life and wonder where to start try starting with this prayer. We have a heavenly Father who loves us and who hears us when we acknowledge Him as our Father and cry out to Him for mercy and help.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Flash back Friday / Banana Split Cake


I posted it first way back in 2008, so I thought it was time to revive this recipe once again. This is a simple cake with just a hint of banana marbled with chocolate, topped with vanilla ice cream, in a luscious strawberry sauce. The cake freezes well and is nice to have on hand for visitors that drop by on short notice. 

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 banana mashed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup instant cocoa mix ( I used a 1/4 cup chocolate syrup)
  1. Grease a bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In mixing bowl beat butter on medium speed about 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating 1 minute after each addition.
  4. In a small bowl stir together mashed banana, sour cream and milk.
  5. Add dry ingredients and banana mixture alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined.
  6. Into 1 cup of the batter, fold in cocoa mix or syrup, stir gently.
  7. Add batter to cake pan and pour chocolate batter over plain batter. Swirl.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 - 70 minutes, or until cake test is done. Cool 5 minutes in the pan. Gently remove and serve with the following strawberry sauce and ice cream. 


Strawberry Sauce:

  • 4 cups strawberries
  • 1 cup liquid, from the frozen berries and added water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Thaw berries if frozen and drain, saving liquid. In a saucepan add water to drained liquid to equal one cup liquid. 
  2. In a saucepan, mix liquid and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Mix cornstarch with a little water and add, cooking until mixture runs clear and thickened. Add berries and lemon juice. Cool. 
  3. When cake and sauce are cooled, top with ice cream and sauce and voila ... dessert. Serves 12.





Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pulled Pork Poutine


Salads and veggies make it to our plates almost daily, but there are times we just want to eat pure comfort food. Poutine really hits the spot! Crispy fries, BBQ pulled pork, cheese curds. You might ask how much of each ingredient. That's up to you! How many are you serving? How much do you want to eat? Poutine is like making nachos, you just make enough!

  • French Fries, enough for as many people are eating
  • BBQ pulled pork (here's one recipe)
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Cheese Curds
  1. Lay fries on baking sheet and bake according to instructions on package. Make sure you bake them long enough to be crispy. You don't want soggy fries. 
  2. While fries are baking, heat BBQ Pulled Pork.
  3. When fries are done either transfer to a meat platter (oven proof) or leave on baking sheet.
  4. Top fries with layers of pulled pork, grated cheese and cheese curds. Creating a pile of cheese meaty goodness.
  5. Put assembled poutine back into a 400ยบ F oven until cheese melts. Watch it, as you just want the cheese to become soft and warm. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Quick Naan Pizza Options

The idea of using naan bread as a pizza base is not new but I thought it would be fun to share a few favorites. I like to have a package of purchased naan bread on hand for a quick meal solution, but if you like, you can make your own. My first and usual go to has been a simple ham and cheese pizza, that all the little ones are happy with. Today I'm adding a few more "adult options". If the recipes are too large, any of these recipes can be frozen after assembling.  They are wonderful to have in the freezer, ready to pop into the oven.

Caprese Pizza on Naan


This Caprese option is one of my favorites. If you have never used fresh mozzarella on pizza, why not try it? You will wonder why you waited this long. With a meatless option you can justify the cost.

Ingredients:
  • 4 hand stretched naans
  • 3 - 4 teaspoons garlic / basil infused oil or regular olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 cup / 250 grams fresh mozzarella
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • balsamic reduction glaze, purchased in a squeeze bottle or homemade
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Method:
  1. Brush naan bread with oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
  2. Slice mozzarella cheese and cut into smaller pieces. 
  3. Spread cheese about an inch apart on naan. Fill spaces with tomatoes, halved.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  5. Bake at 400° F for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  6. Top with fresh basil and serve or pop back into the oven for a few minutes.
  7. Serve with extra balsamic reduction and red pepper flakes. Serves 3 - 4
Southwestern Chicken on Naan


For the Mexican food lover! Beans, corn, chicken, cheese and avocado . . . what's not to like?

Ingredients:
  • 4 hand stretched naans
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 3 tablespoons salsa
  • sprinkle of chopped fresh or freeze dried cilantro (optional)
  • cumin
  • red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups roasted chicken, thinly sliced (shredded)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup black (canned/cooked) beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
fresh topping:
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
Method:
  1. Spread naan flatbreads out on lined cookie sheet or pizza pan.
  2. Stir together mayonnaise, sambal oelek and salsa, Spread lightly on naan.
  3. Sprinkle with herbs and seasoning to personal preference
  4. Spread with thinly sliced chicken, corn and beans
  5. Top with cheese.
  6. Bake at 400° F for 10 minutes or until bubbly and toasty.
  7. Serve with fresh avocado and tomato topping.

Dried Cherries and Caramelized Onions on Naan



This is most likely not your kid friendly kind of pizza but such a delicious twist with sweet and sour flavors. I love this as a meatless meal or cut into smaller pieces as an appetizer to share with friends.

Ingredients:
  • 4 hand stretched naans
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce ( hickory flavor, if you have)
  • 1 tablespoon butter for cooking onions
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup / 250 grams fresh mozzarella
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped sage
  • 2 - 4 cups arugula
  • balsamic reduction glaze (optional)
Method:
  1. Spread naans out on lined cookie sheet or pizza pan. 
  2. Mix mayonnaise and barbecue sauce and spread lightly on breads.
  3. Cook sliced onion between low and medium heat, stirring as needed, to a golden color. Add vinegar near the end as juices disappear and continue cooking for a few minutes.
  4. Divide among the four naans. 
  5. Sprinkle with dried cherries.
  6. Slice and cut cheese into small pieces, then spread out liberally among the cherries.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped sage. Bake at 400° F for 10 - 15 minutes, until cheese has melted.
  8. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic reduction glaze (optional) and a handful of arugula. 

Ham and Cheese on Naan (previously posted)


 Ingredients:
  • 4 hand stretched naans
  • 1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce
  • 12 thin slices smoked sandwich or turkey ham, coarsely chopped
  • 1 colored pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 cups mozzarella and Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
Method:
  1. Spread bread lightly with your favorite tomato sauce. I usually have a started jar of spaghetti sauce in the fridge.
  2. Top with chopped ham, red or yellow pepper (if using) and cheese
  3. Sprinkle with dried herbs (freeze dried if you have)
  4. Bake at 400° F for about 10 minutes until cheese bubbles

For more options type "pizza on naan" into the search button

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pineapple Jam


I don't like to cook jams in big batches unless for gifts, of course. For just the two of us I like to cook a small amount so it stays fresh and doesn't need to sit in the fridge for a long time. This is also a great gift idea...a jar of jam with fresh biscuits or a loaf of bread; it should bring smiles!
This recipe for pineapple jam has only 2 ingredients; that is as simple as it gets! It is delicious on biscuits or toast and I'm sure it would be tasty as a topping for pancakes or cake!
  • 1 can (398 ml/14 oz) crushed pineapple (packed in pineapple juice)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  1. In a medium sized cooking pot over medium high heat, bring pineapple with the juice and sugar to a boil. Turn heat down to medium; cook and stir until jam thickens. 
  2. This does not take long; it was done in 7 minutes. 
  3. Pour into a jar, screw lid on jar and allow to cool down.
  4. Store in refrigerator.
  5. Yield: 1 1/4 cups jam.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hurry Scurry Cake


Today's recipe is a 'blast from the past', originating in an old cookbook of my mother's.  It was the cake of my childhood, and still my go-to white cake today. I was considering giving it a new name, but I decided to leave it with its amusing, archaic and somewhat catchy title. This very basic white cake is perfect for topping with ice-cream and fresh fruit in the summertime. Since the local strawberries are in their prime right now, I have been serving up strawberries on hurry scurry cake this past week. This basic cake batter is also great for making upside-down cake, and I will add that variation below.
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Cream butter and sugar. 
  2. Add egg and beat.
  3. Combine dry ingredients; add alternately with milk and vanilla. Blend well.
  4. Turn into a greased 8 inch square pan and bake at 350° F for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool. 
  6. Serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and fresh fruit topping.
Fresh Strawberry Topping:
Wash and slice strawberries. Place about 1/4 of the strawberries into the blender, adding sugar to taste. Combine the sliced strawberries and the pureed strawberry mixture and spoon over the cake.

Yield: 9 servings


Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2-1/4 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 recipe 'hurry scurry cake' batter

  1. Combine brown sugar and butter. Spread in a greased 9-in. round baking pan. Add the chopped rhubarb. Set aside.
  2. Prepare cake batter. Gently spoon over rhubarb. 
  3. Bake at 350° for about 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. 
  4. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. 
  5. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice-cream if desired.  
  6. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bread for the Journey


Philippians 4:13, I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (NIV)

As women I think we can all relate to having times in our life that we feel "less than" or "inadequate".
As a child, I so very much wanted to be good "at something", anything. I wasn't really smart. I worked hard in school to get average marks. I wasn't athletic, I wasn't particularly musical. Who was I?  What was I here for? These feelings of inadequacy went with me throughout my early life and on occasion, still sneak up on me today. As a young woman in my late 20's, I felt a strong pull to be involved in a ministry serving women facing a crisis pregnancy. Again the question popped into my mind, what do I have to offer? I don't have a particular skill or talent; I never experienced such a crisis personally. How could I relate? How could I serve in this ministry when I don't have a higher education or expertise? What do I have to offer? Yet this urgency, this calling I felt wouldn't quiet in my spirit. I remembered the words to a song....


Just ordinary people
God uses ordinary people
He chooses people just like me and you
Who are willing to do as He commands

God uses people that will give Him all
No matter how small your all may seem to you
Because little becomes much
As you place it in the Masters hand
 (Lyrics by Mom Winans)
 
I prayed a simple prayer that if this truly was a calling I felt, that God would honor my desire to serve Him and give me the courage to say yes. It was saying that yes that opened my world to so many things in my life I never have thought possible. I use this prayer every time a possibility of service or an opportunity comes up, even when I was asked to join Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

My point in sharing this with you is that God uses ordinary people like you and me, who offer small and humble gifts and He turns them into something for His greater purpose.  Not so that we may shine, but that He shines through the work He does in and through us.  Are you ready to say yes?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Savoury Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables - Flash Back Friday



This roast's appeal comes from the delicious, full flavoured gravy. 
It's always a family pleaser at our home.
  • 1 3-4 pound pot roast
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary crushed or one spring fresh rosemary, snipped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 cups fresh button mushrooms or large mushrooms halved
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water (second amount)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (second amount)
  1. In Dutch oven, on top of stove, brown meat slowly on all sides in hot oil. 
  2. Remove from heat. Drain off fat and sprinkle roast with a little salt.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over roast. Return to heat.
  4. Cover tightly and simmer 1 3/4 -2 hours or until meat is tender.
  5. Add mushrooms halfway through the cooking time.
  6. Prepare vegetables (instructions below)
  7. Transfer meat and mushrooms to serving platter, loosely cover with foil and let stand while you make the gravy.
  8. Skim off excess fat and heat pan juices to a slow simmer, scraping down all the brown bits with a spatula.
  9. Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon brown sugar until blended.
  10. Pour slowly (a little at a time) into pan juices, stirring constantly, adding only as much as needed to make a nice smooth gravy. Bring to a slow boil.
  11. Remove from heat.
  12. Arrange sliced roast and roasted vegetables on a large platter and garnish as desired.
  13. Drizzle with some of the gravy; serve the rest alongside.
Roasted Vegetables
  • Potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered
  • Carrots, peeled and cut into pieces about the size of the potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • freshly ground pepper, or seasoned pepper
  1. About 1/2 hour before the meat is done, heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Cover a large baking pan with parchment paper, if desired.
  3. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, salt, garlic and pepper.
  4. Toss vegetables in oil mixture and spread out on prepared pan.
  5. Roast in prepared oven for 15- 20 minutes or until vegetables are browned and tender.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake


This coffee cake is light and fluffy. I decreased the sugar from the original recipe by half a cup and still think it is sweet enough. You can use cubed fresh pears in this recipe instead of blueberries. You can also use pecans instead of walnuts in the topping. This would be nice for brunch along side a savory dish.

Ingredients:

Topping:
  • 1-1/2 cups walnuts or pecans
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut in smaller pieces

Cake:
  • 2-3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk, whole or 2%
  • 1-1/2 cups blueberries 

For Topping:
  1. Blend first four ingredients in food processor until nuts are coarsely chopped.
  2. Add butter; using pulse to blend until coarse crumbs form.

For Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 13x9x2 baking pan by greasing and dusting with flour, shaking off excess.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and soda in medium bowl.
  4. Using electric mixer beat butter in large bowl till fluffy.
  5. Gradually add both sugars and beat until blended.
  6. Beat in eggs, one at a time incorporating after each egg.
  7. Add lemon zest and vanilla.
  8. Blend sour cream and milk in small bowl.
  9. Beat in this mixture alternating with dry ingredients in 3 additions each.
  10. Spread half of the cake batter into prepared pan.
  11. Sprinkle half the topping over the batter.
  12. Cover this mixture with the blueberries evenly.
  13. Spread remaining batter over this layer.
  14. Sprinkle with the other half of the topping.
  15. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
  16. Cool and serve.
  17. Yield: 12 servings