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.

  • 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

  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:)
  • 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.

  • 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
  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?

  • 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
  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.

  • 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)
  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)

  • 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
  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.


  • 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

  • 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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Creamy Asparagus

Over the past few years we have visited family in Germany during asparagus season.  Europe is known as the capital in the world for white asparagus.  As long as I can remember our neighbor always brought us fresh green asparagus from his garden. What is the difference? The green asparagus has a more veggie/grassy taste and sprouts through the dirt.  White asparagus is deprived of light, thus one must keep mounding dirt around the stalks. The white asparagus is milder and tender in flavor but also needs to be peeled and cooked a bit longer.  I was excited to find the white asparagus at our local market, but truly, it is double the price as the green asparagus.  So this year we thought it was time to try something new and we planted our first batch of white asparagus.

Creamy Asparagus
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup  grated Italiano cheeses
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed asparagus
  1. Brown bacon over high heat.  Set aside and drain on paper towels.
  2. Whisk together egg yolks, water and Italian cheeses.   
  3. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water (double boiler effect) and whisk constantly (7-9 minutes) until mixture is thick and creamy.  
  4. Add seasonings and keep the sauce warm.  
  5. Cook asparagus in water until tender.  Don't over-cook, keeping it nice and green.  Drain and pat dry.
  6. Then place the asparagus on a serving platter and garnish it with bacon, Parmesan cheese and sauce.  

Tip:  The easiest way to eliminate the woody stems is to break them off by bending them until they snap in two.  This is generally where the tender asparagus begins.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Veggie Nachos


I had some leftover roasted yams and was looking to make a quick lunch that has since become a favorite. It may surprise some, how nachos this healthy can be so delicious! 

  • 2 small yams, cubed small
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper and cumin, some good shakes of each
  • 1 - 2 cups canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, steam cooked
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
  • fresh cilantro or parsley and lime 
  1. Drizzle peeled and cubed yams with oil and season. Roast at 400 F until tender, about 30 - 40 minutes. Add black beans for last few minutes to heat.
  2. Remove from oven and stir in corn and salsa. (you can also roast corn along with yams, adding half way through)
  3. Top with freshly chopped avocado and fresh herbs. Squeeze some lime juice on top.
  4. Serve hot with multi grain tortilla chips or your favorite nacho chips.
Note: This is a dairy free option as posted. A lime yogurt drizzle would be good on these. ( 1 cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro and 1/4 teaspoon salt)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Cucumber Salad

This is a quick way to add a salad to any summer time meal. 
  • 1 long English cucumber, sliced thin
A mandolin works really well for this but you can also just use a sharp kitchen knife.

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped fine
  1. Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
  2. Pour over sliced cucumbers. Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Bread for the Journey

I drove down to Seattle a few weeks ago to spend time with my son and his family.
It's a three hour drive from our home and on the way down, I memorized Psalm 19.  
The Psalmist's description of  the glory of God and the value of  His word to us is something I want to resonate in my heart and soul and having the words "hidden in my heart" helps to do that.

Psalm 19
The Heavens declare the glory of God
The skies proclaim His handiwork
Day after day they pour out speech
Night after night they declare knowledge
There is no speech or language where they are not heard
Their speech pours forth in all the earth, their words to the ends of the earth
In the heavens, he pitches a tent for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion
or a champion rejoicing to run his race.
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other
There is nothing that is hidden from its heat.

The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart
The commands of the Lord are radiant, bringing light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever
The ordinances of the Lord are true, and altogether righteous
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold
They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb

By them your servant is warned and in keeping them is great reward
Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep me also from hidden faults, that they may not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Flash Back Friday ~ Cookie Sheet Cherry Platz

For Flashback Friday I decided to bring back this recipe that a friend shared with me a long time ago. It's still one of my favorites. Once I tasted it I knew it was a keeper. It is a large recipe, perfect to bring to family gatherings or potlucks.
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 can cherry pie filling (I used 1 1/2 cans..I like more filling but 1 can works fine too)
  1. Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and beat well. Add flavouring.
  2. Stir in flour and baking powder and mix well.
  3. Spread half of the batter into a greased 12 by 17" pan. (approx). Put pie filling over the base and using a spoon drop the other half of the batter over the filling. This dough is fairly thick so it doesn't really spread well over the top, if you drop it by spoonfuls you get a pretty effect with the cherry pie filling peeking through.
  4. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 min. Top should be slightly golden in color.
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice and enough hot water for drizzle consistency.
  1. Drizzle over warm platz.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rhubarb Apple Pie

The first harvest of the year on our farm is always rhubarb.  We think of rhubarb as a fruit but it is actually a vegetable perennial that produces celery like stalks in early spring. As long as I keep pulling rhubarb stalks, the plant keeps producing until late spring.  Whether it is in a pie, or Perishky, Platz or Wareneki, rhubarb is a favourite at our house. 

Rhubarb pairs well with apples and because apples need less sugar,  this rhubarb pie has less sugar than many rhubarb pies.  If you like your pie sweeter, go ahead and add up to another 1/3 cup sugar.

  • pastry for one 9-inch pie (recipe below)
  • 4 cups diced rhubarb stalks
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream, divided
  • sugar for sprinkling on the crust
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Roll out the first piece of pastry and line a 9-inch pie pan.
  3. Combine rhubarb, apples, sugar, and tapioca in a large bowl.  Spoon into crust.
  4. Roll out another piece of pastry and place on top of prepared filling. Trim excess pastry, and roll under and crimp.  Cut a round circle out of the center of the pie crust and slash the top crust.  
  5. Brush the top crust with whipping cream, and sprinkle with sugar. 
  6. Pour remaining cream onto the filling through the center round circle.
  7. Cover the edges of the pie with strips of foil or use a purchased pie shield as seen in the photo above.   If you have a pie drip catcher, place the pie on that, before baking.  I use one that is easily cleaned in the dishwasher and am happy to avoid spills in the oven. 
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 F and continue to bake until the center is bubbly, and crust is golden brown, about another 50 minutes.
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pound lard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • water

  1. Measure the flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl.
  2. Cut in the lard with a pastry blender until the mixture is like large oatmeal.
  3. Put the egg into a 1 cup measuring cup and beat it with a fork to break it up.
  4. Add the vinegar to the cup and then fill with water to the 1 cup line.
  5. Slowly stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture with a fork until just combined.
  6. Turn out onto a floured counter and shape it into a circle.
  7. Divide into four pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.  Use two pieces for a 9-inch pie and freeze the remaining pieces for another pie.