Banana Blueberry Bread

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

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

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

Bread for the Journey

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

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


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


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


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


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


photo thanks to Jen Giesbrecht

Blueberry Dressing



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

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


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

Apple Cabbage Slaw with Balsamic Dressing


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

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

Viennese Coffee Cake - Gluten Free


(re name change - see comments)



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

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

Arugula Corn Salad


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

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

We also enjoy it with a drizzle of balsamic reduction

Lemon Butter Basted Grilled Salmon


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

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




Bread For The Journey


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

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

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

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

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

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

Mexican Layer Dip


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

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


Italian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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

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

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

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

Cinnamon Twists





A friend gave me this recipe a long time ago and I'd forgotten all about it until recently.
I found the recipe in my old binder and made these for our church picnic a few weeks ago.
They are crunchy and reminiscent of Mexican Churros but they are baked rather than deep fried. 
They were so good I'll be making them again soon.
They are the very best right out of the oven but were enjoyed the next day as well.
It's a big recipe so you could halve it if you like.



  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 cups  cold butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup water
Sugar mixture:
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut together cold butter and flour as you would for pastry.
  3. Mix in salt, yeast and sugar.
  4. Add liquids and mix well.
  5. Refrigerate dough 4-6 hours or overnight. (it will rise, but not very much)
  6. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl..
  7. Divide dough into 8 sections. 
  8. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar/cinnamon mixture on counter or pastry sheet. (I used a silicone pastry sheet)
  9. Roll each section out into a long rectangle approximately 14 inches by 6 inches using the sugar/cinnamon instead of flour..
  10. Cut into 1 1/2 inch by 6 inch strips.
  11. Be sure both sides of dough are sprinkled well with the sugar/cinnamon.
  12. Twist each strip before placing on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  13. The twists do not have to rise on the pan but form all the dough and place all the twists on the pans before beginning to bake them.
  14. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes.  I like them a bit on the crisp side so I baked them until they began to brown nicely.
  15. Makes about 90 twists.

Tip: 
If serving the following day.  Pile all twists on a cookie sheet and place in a cold oven overnight.  That way they will not absorb any moisture and will still be crisp in the morning.

Peach Almond Coffee Cake


This coffee cake is delicious plain or take it up a notch by adding whipped cream and more toasted almonds and it is fit for a queen! Serve it as a dessert or for brunch, either way you will please the taste buds!
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cans each 398 ml/ canned peach slices 
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced and toasted
  1. In a medium sized bowl beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar on medium high speed until light and creamy.
  2. Add eggs, extracts, and sour cream and mix until well blended and the batter is smooth.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients except the cinnamon and mix just until combined.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Spread 1/2 of the batter in a greased 10" round springform pan. You can use a square pan.
  6. Top with half off the peaches and sprinkle half of the sugar cinnamon mixture over the peaches.
  7. Spread remaining batter over the peaches and arrange the remaining peaches in a nice pattern and sprinkle with the remaining sugar cinnamon mixture.
  8. Sprinkle almonds over top.
  9. Bake in a 350º oven for 1 to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check cake for doneness at 55 minutes. (my oven took the full 1 hour and 15 minutes)
  10. Serves: 10 generous slices

Apple Sauce



I've been able to watch my girls feed their little ones applesauce this past winter.  My mom always made it during the summer months with fresh transparent apples.  It was my job to go and pick up the fallen apples every morning and evening.  It was not my favorite job.  So today I decided to show you the method my mother used for making apple sauce.  Do any of you remember this food mill?
Applesauce is a side dish that's so easy to make and gives flavor to any pork meal.

Ingredients

  • 12 large apples
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  1. Cut and core apples
  2. Place apples into a heavy enamel pot adding 2 cups of water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Place a bowl under the food mill and fill with cooked apples.
  5. Now begin cranking the handle back and forth till all the pulp has been sieved through the mill.
  6. When completed, your pot will have remaining cores and peels. 
  7. Add sugar to taste and pour the sauce into freezer containers and store in a freezer. 
  My mother gave me this food mill in my early years of marriage.  I am so happy that I kept it as it tells many stories of days gone by. Do any of you still use one like this?

Bread for the Journey

Last week one day we took advantage of the beautiful weather and took our bikes into Vancouver.

While we were there I noticed how safe we felt and how other people observing basic rules of bicycle lanes and pedestrian traffic made everyone's leisure time enjoyable.  There were police on ATV's checking out the beach but they didn't seem to have any concerns either.   

At one stop, we were offered free bike valet, keeping our bikes safe while we walked around the market. They began to offer this service because thieves had been stripping down everything off of locked bikes since they couldn't steal bikes themselves.

I thought to myself... such fools!  



It reminded me of the summer series we have been enjoying at church and all the good bits of advice that Proverbs offers.  There is plenty of things said about fools and lots of words on probable outcomes for those that heed wisdom.  We are learning about embracing wisdom. 
"The book of Proverbs shows that the Bible cares about both eternal matters that deal with Heaven and Hell, and temporal matters that we engage with everyday.  In a world where there are voices screaming at us from every angle about what is good, true and beautiful, Proverbs provides the still small voice of Lady Wisdom to teach us what is generally (but not always) true, so that those who are willing to listen can live the good life here and now."  (Northview Community Church website)

If you are looking for some great food for thought as you enjoy your leisure time this summer, check out my church's summer series called Wise Up.  

My son, pay attention to what I say. Remember my commands.  Listen to wisdom, and do your best to understand.  Ask for good judgment. Cry out for understanding. Look for wisdom like silver. Search for it like hidden treasure. If you do this, you will understand what it means to respect the Lord, and you will come to know God. 


Enjoy your leisure time!


California Salad


I first posted this salad back in 2009. This one is worth mentioning here on the blog again. As you can see there are very few ingredients in this salad, but the dressing is what really makes this salad so tasty. 

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, broken into bite size pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)
  • 2 cups corn chips, add to salad right after tossing with dressing
  1. Tear romaine into bit size pieces.
  2. Chop tomatoes and slice green onions and toss them into the romaine. 
  3. Add cheese and olives if desired.
  4. Add corn chips after tossing salad with dressing. Serve immediately so the chips stay crisp.
The dressing for this salad looks almost curdled once blended together and the oil separates as it sits. Give it a good stir just before pouring it over the salad ingredients.




  • DRESSING
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 clove crushed garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1. Place all dressing ingredients into a blender or small food processor and blend until dressing is creamy with no lumps. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Keeps well in the refrigerator for several days. The lemon juice helps the avocado to not discolour, but I usually toss the avocado stone into the dressing in the refrigerator as that helps it not to brown as well. 
    2. Place prepared vegetables in a large bowl. When ready to serve, toss with dressing and corn chips. Toss gently. 

    Mango Slushy




    This refreshing drink of fruit and ice is a great afternoon treat on a hot summer day.  While on vacation in Mexico awhile back, we enjoyed mango slushies in the shade of a palm tree on the beach every day.  On the beach or at home...this hits the spot!

    • 1 mango, peeled and sliced (or 1 cup frozen mango chunks)
    • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice (1/2 lime, juiced)
    • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
    • 2 cups ice cubes


    1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend for 1 minute or until smooth
    2. Pour into glasses and serve.

    Yield: 2 slushies


    Feel free to use other fruits...like fresh berries or peaches.  Experiment with your favorites!


    Orange French Toast


    This is a nice treat for that morning when you have a bit more time to make breakfast. It's a little different from your usual french toast as it uses orange juice instead of milk. This serves two but this recipe can easily be increased to serve more. Serve with crispy bacon or sausages.
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest 
    • 4 slices thickly sliced french bread
    1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and pour evenly into a 10 1/2" x 8 1/2" baking pan. I used a glass pan.
    2. Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over melted butter in pan.
    3. Whisk together eggs, orange juice, and orange zest.
    4. Dip bread slices in egg mixture and place in pan. If you have egg mixture leftover drizzle over the bread slices.
    5. Bake in a 375º for 25 minutes.
    6. Remove from oven and flip over bread slices onto a serving plate. Ready to serve.
    7. Serves: 2  

    Cherry Cream Cheese Tart


    Last week we picked cherries here on the farm.  There is something so satisfying about a harvest and even more so when you have invested in pruning and watering.  
     

    I made this delicious cherry tart for my Mom in law's birthday.  It's a perfect size for a family of twelve, like us!  You can just as easily bake this in a tart pan or pie plates as long as you divide the ingredients in proper proportion into your baking pans. 

    • pastry for a 9-inch pie 
    • 500 ml or 2 cups cream cheese (light or regular)
    • 1/2 cup icing sugar
    • 6 cups pitted cherries, cut in half  (keep enough whole cherries for garnish)
    • 1 cup cold water
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 small package cherry jello
    • 2 cups whipping cream
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
    2. Roll out pastry to fit a 10 X 14 inch pan. (approximately)
    3. Press pastry firmly into sides and corners, prick with a fork and place foil onto pastry, pressing firmly.
    4. Bake about 15 minutes and then remove and bake a few more minutes until evenly browned.
    5. Cool while making the filling.
    6. Beat together cream cheese and icing sugar and spread evenly over baked and cooled pie crust. Chill while making cherry filling.
    7. Stir together cornstarch, sugar, and cold water in a microwave-safe safe bowl or in a small pot.  Heat until bubbling and then add gelatin.  Stir to combine.  Allow to cool to room temperature. 
    8. Add cherries and arrange filling over cream cheese layer.
    9. Beat whipping cream with sugar and vanilla.  Filling a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe a large rosette for each serving of dessert!




    Blueberry Oat Bars



    It's summer time and today I'm happy to share with you a blueberry bar that can't be resisted.  I tasted this last year at Berry Bounty Farms which is a family owned and operated berry stand, just a few kilometers down the road on Chilliwack Central.  They also love to use our MGCC recipes.
    This is one stop you can't miss.  Check it out and you will be greeted by a friendly smile, a fresh glass of raspberry juice and a sample of baked goodies.

    Blueberry Oat Bars
    • 4 cups fresh blueberries
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 5 teaspoons corn starch
    • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 tsp almond flavor
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 cups rolled oats
    • 2 teaspoon baking powder
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
    3. Bring blueberries and orange juice to a boil in a sauce pan.
    4. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.  
    5. Whisk in cornstarch and boil, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute.
    6. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate or cool up to 30 minutes.
    7. Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth and fluffy. 
    8. Add almond extract.
    9. Mix in flour, baking powder and oats until mixture is crumbly.  
    10. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture for topping.
    11. Pat remaining crumb mixture into cake pan.
    12. Spread cooled blueberry topping evenly over crust.
    13. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.
    14. Bake 30-40 minutes until lightly browned.  

    Bread for the Journey



    I need reminders and daily encouragement.

    This is one of the plaques we have up in our home that I've read almost daily for many years.

    How quickly our thoughts can turn to things of this world, the business of the day, the troubles we face. Even the pleasures of life that are meant to be enjoyed can take precedence in our thoughts and can haze or even blind us from focusing and seeing God's TRUTH. God's HONESTY. God's JUST WAYS. God's PURENESS. God's LOVING KINDNESS.

    What happens when we take time to focus on Him and turn our thoughts and hearts towards Him? I know from my own experience that the following verse is what takes place.

    And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
    Phil. 4:7

    These verses are for when life hurts, and for when things are going well. It's important for us to remember that the Lord wants us to continually be renewed in our hearts and minds. Filling our thought life with God's word. We can't even begin to understand the peace God gives, but His ways are far higher than ours, and His promises are true. He is a Faithful Father. All His ways are good. 

    While we are here on earth we will never be free of this world's cares. The world is constantly looking for peace in all the wrong places, but God's peace is available for all. It is secure  and will carry you through, protect you, giving you courage and strength. That's His promise to each of us. 

    May we refuse to allow the ever changing circumstances of life to determine our level of peace, but rather that we would rely on the unchanging character of God, making Him our focus and refuge. 

    Have a wonderful Sunday!






    Rollkuchen Gluten Free


    For Flash Back Friday, I want to remind you to enjoy Rollkuchen and raboos (watermelon) on our lovely summer days. I first posted a recipe 8 years ago that you can find here, but I have tweeked the recipe since - the updated one is the recipe found below.

    We grew up with watermelon and Rollkuchen  automatically served together and so to be able to continue to enjoy watermelon, finding a good recipe for gluten free Rollkuchen was a must! The latest tweeks resulted in me gaining the ultimate compliment from my husband when, after a few bites, he said ..."Are you sure you didn't use the wrong flour?" (wrong flour, aka wheat)

    While watermelons are about 92% water they also have good levels of B6 and C, lots of Ivopene, antioxidants, amino acids and potassium. PLUS since they have only 40 calories per cup, it makes Rollkuchen a guilt free addition!!
    • 1/3 cup milk 
    • 1 egg 
    • 2 well-rounded tablespoons of sour cream 
    • 3/4 cup of Julie's Flour mix + 2 tablespoons 
    • 1/4 cup white rice flour 
    • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour 
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
    • 1 teaspoon salt 
    • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
    1. Thoroughly blend all dry ingredients.
    2. Put egg, sour cream and milk in mixer bowl and blend.
    3. Add dry ingredients and beat for a couple minutes until dough is fluffy and smooth.
    4. Turn out onto lightly dusted counter surface (sweet rice flour) and work just enough sweet rice flour into dough until it is manageable. 
    5. Roll out quite thin on a dusted surface, using as little sweet rice flour as possible to keep dough from sticking as you handle it. 
    6. Cut into strips of desired length - I find 1 - 1 1/4 inches a good width and about 4 inches long. 
    7. Deep fry in about 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan, until golden brown - turn to brown both sides. The oil needs to be hot, but not so hot that you find they are browning too quickly. Slip each strip into the oil and tickle the tops with a fork to encourage them to 'puff'. 
    8. They are good warm or cold - with watermelon, of course, but are also good with soup, or with jam or syrup, as we as kids enjoyed the left overs.   

    Slow Cooker Italian Potatoes


    This is an easy way to take care of a savory side dish with grilled meat. These potatoes pair especially well with grilled pork tenderloin.

    Ingredients:
    • 3 pounds mini potatoes (serves 6 - 8)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 shallots thinly sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • pepper
    • 1/4 cup half and half or cream (optional)
    Method:
    1. Wash and slice mini potatoes into halves or thirds. Place in slow cooker.
    2. Add oil, shallot, garlic and spices. Stir.
    3. Begin with high heat for one hour, then turn down to cook for 2 - 3 hours, until soft.
    4. About 1 hour before serving, stir in cream if desired. 
    5. Serve with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley or chives.

    Crispy Crunch Bars


    These bars were popular with our children when they were in high school.
    Anyone who loves peanut butter and chocolate will enjoy them. 


  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal (I used Rice Krispies)
  • 4 cups corn flakes
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter - smooth or crunchy
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter

    1. Place rice cereal and corn flakes in a large bowl
    2. Line an 11 by 15 inch pan with waxed or parchment paper and set aside.
    3. Melt butter with brown sugar, peanut butter and syrup.
    4. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly as it will burn easily.
    5. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
    6. Pour over cereals and mix well.
    7. Spread in prepared pan  pressing down firmly with a spoon or place waxed paper over mixture and press with your hand.  If you don't press it firmly enough, it will crumble when you cut it later.
    8. Melt chocolate chips with butter over medium low heat, stirring until all the chips are melted.
    9. Spread evenly over cereal bars.
    10. Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour or so and then cut through the chocolate layer only, marking it into fairly small pieces.  That way the chocolate will not break into uneven pieces when it has set and you cut the bars later.  
    11. Refrigerate until chocolate is set. 
    12. Cut into small pieces (following the scoring you did in the chocolate.
    13. Store bars in refrigerator in a covered container between layers of waxed paper.


    Rhubarb Onion Jam


    Humble rhubarb and onion are a surprisingly delicious combination of flavours. The addition of thyme is really nice but can be omitted. Once cooled, serve a little dollop of this jam on a cracker, or try it served warm with pork tenderloin.
    (Yields 1 1/2 cups cooked jam)

    • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
    • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme
    1. Chop rhubarb and slice onions.
    2. Add olive oil to a non stick pan. Once hot add the onions.
    3. Cook until the onions begin to get soft. Turn down heat and continue to saute until golden brown. About 5-8 minutes.
    4. Add chopped rhubarb and water. Allow to cook down until the mixture is soft. About 5 minutes.
    5. Add balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook over low for another 5-8 minutes, until your jam is cooked down but still has some chunks. Remove sprig of thyme. 
    6. Allow to cool or serve warm. Keeps well in refrigerator for about 5-7 days. 

    Breakfast Skillet


    This hearty and spicy dish can be baked in the oven or on your outdoor grill.

    Makes one 8"cast iron skillet, serves 2-3
    • 3 russet potatoes, washed and cubed
    • 3-4  medium sized tomatoes, diced
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers flakes
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 2 Hot Italian sausages, chopped
    • 1/3 cup onion, diced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 3-4 eggs
    • 1/3 cup feta cheese
    1. Wash and cube potatoes. Boil until just tender. Drain and set aside.
    2. In a skillet, melt butter and add diced tomatoes and water. Cook until tomatoes begin to get soft. Add in spices. Pour hot cooked tomatoes into the pot with the cooked potatoes.
    3. Place skillet back over heat source and add vegetable oil. Add chopped Hot Italian sausage pieces, onions and garlic. Saute until sausage gets brown and is cooked through. 
    4. Add potato and tomato mixture to sausage mixture and allow to cook for about 15 minutes until mixture is hot and bubbly.
    5. Dig a little well in the mixture for each egg and crack eggs into well. They will cook in the hot bubbly mixture. When eggs are half way cooked to your liking, top with crumbled feta cheese.


    A great camping breakfast. 

    Bread For The Journey


    My husband snapped the above photo of a baby crow crying impatiently for his mother
     to hurry with the food she was bringing him. 
    Though he was crying - it was his very cry that brought the food 
    - what mother's beak could resist that mouth? 

     I smiled looking at the photo..... and I wondered...

    Do we sometimes go without because we do not 'cry' for it ?  
    The baby crow did not cry because he had no 'faith' - 
    oh no, he never doubted 
     that his mouth would be filled.. 

    Too often we cry out to God as a last resort when we have exhausted all other options. 
    Yet, maybe God wants us to be like the baby crow, 
    crying out for what we need.
    Impatient - yet knowing our cry will be answered.

    Here the promise of our heavenly Father.....
    "... Ask and it will be given you ..." 
    Luke 11:9
    "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it ... "
    Psalm 81:10b

    Canada Day 2017



    You have not seen Saturday posts for awhile...
    but it is a very special Saturday here in Canada.
    We could not leave the page blank!

    We at MGGC all love this country.
    Nine of us are grateful to God that we can call it 'our home'...
    and the other one (Ellen) comes to visit often.

    Today I am re-posting last Sunday's 'bread for the journey' devotional...
    a call to prayer for our country.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4fZ3GFNbnc

    But first...

    This Far by Faith is a video tribute to Canada's 150th birthday...
    commissioned by Crossroads Ministry...
    and shared here with their permission.


    Those of us who are privileged to call Canada home, are celebrating the 150th birthday of our country today.  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