Gumdrop Oatmeal Cookies


Gumdrop cookies are a favorite of mine. I haven't baked them in years and suddenly had a yearning for them. They did not disappoint. A great addition to a cookie platter. It was difficult finding baking gums, one store was still waiting on their order, another didn't carry them but finally I found a store that had them. You can use gumdrops but they are larger and will need to be cut up into smaller pieces.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cups baking gums 
  • Extra baking gums (optional)
  1. Cream butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg, water, and vanilla. Mix well.
  2. Add dry ingredients and stir until blended. Stir in 3/4 cup baking gums.
  3. Roll into approx 1" balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly and place another baking gum on each cookie if you wish.
  4. Bake at 350º for 10 to 12 minutes just until edges start to look golden.
  5. Yield: 3 1/2 dozen

Ribs or Chops in BBQ Sauce


The picture quality is very poor but the the lip smacking sauce is awesome! I didn't have enough ribs at home so I added a few pork chops to make it stretch.

Serve it with Lemon Basil Carrots and rice and you have a great meal.

  • 3 lbs of back ribs or a combination of ribs and chops
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  1. Cover the ribs in a large pot with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. 
  2. Drain the ribs and place in a large roasting pan. 
  3. Sauté the onions in the butter or margarine until softened. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes. 
  4. Pour the sauce over the boiled ribs, bake in a 300 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours. 
  5. If you are adding pork chops to the ribs or making only pork chops. Brown the chops first and bake them for 45 minutes -1 hour at 350 for bone in chops, 30 minutes for boneless chops. 


Cocktail Sausage Wreath


Here is a very easy appetizer that kids can put together for you while you work on a different appetizer.  Show them how to do it once and you can tick one more thing off your to-do list. 
  • 1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (8 roll size)
  • 24 cocktail sausages 
  • 1 beaten egg
  • parsley and a bit of finely chopped red pepper for garnish
  • sriracha mayonnaise, mustard, and pickles 



Place the dough on the counter and pat together all the angled perforations. 


Cut the dough into 12 pieces.


Cut each of those pieces into a triangle. 


Roll each sausage into the dough, starting at the wide end.


Place the sausage rolls onto a greased pizza pan. 


Brush with beaten egg and place a few pieces of finely chopped red pepper on each piece.
Bake at 375 F about 20 minutes or until the sausage starts to sizzle.  


Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve with pickles, grainy mustard, and sriracha mayonnaise. 



Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread


A local bakery makes a wonderful fruit and nut yeast loaf, and this is my 'copykat' version. I adapted Anneliese's French bread recipe, adding dried cranberries, apricots, raisins, and walnuts. It turned out great.

  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour, all-purpose  (or substitute with part whole-wheat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup walnuts (or pecans), coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg + 2 teaspoons water, beaten
  1. Combine sugar, salt and water and oil in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix yeast with 1 cup of white flour and stir into liquids. 
  3. Continue adding flour, stirring at first then using your hands to incorporate the flour.
  4. Add fruit and nuts and work into the dough.
  5. Knead, adding a little more flour as necessary until dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Cover.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. (About 45 minutes.)
  7. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. divide in half.
  8. Shape each half into a 15" x 2-1/2" loaf with tapered ends. 
  9. Place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. (One large cookie sheet can hold two loaves.)
  10. Cut diagonal slits on top of loaf.
  11. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.  
  12. Beat egg with water; brush over dough. 
  13. Bake at 375° F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove loaves from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Bread for the Journey-Abide


 It was last year around this time that God impressed upon my heart a desire for the spiritual roots in my life to grow deeper and stronger. I prayed that I'd begin to read His Word with clearer understanding, gaining new insights.  I've found myself being challenged and strengthened. 

The invitation to "Abide in Me" struck me new this past week after reading part of a letter Hudson Taylor wrote to his sister.

How great seemed my mistake in wishing to get the sap, the fullness out of Him! The vine is not the root merely, but all-root, stem, branches, twigs. And Jesus is not that alone. He is oil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than we have ever dreamed, wished for or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! Can Christ be rich and I poor? Can your head be well fed while your body starves?

 The Word of God keeps us firmly planted and develops a strong root system in the believer's life, but what springs up from those roots is in constant need of His pruning, shaping, grafting and feeding. As we allow Him to care for us, His beauty and likeness and fruit are then produced in our lives. 

Our Father the Vine keeper, watches over us every moment. He waters, tends, protects, prunes and shapes us....so that we can bear fruit for Him. Join me by inviting Him daily to be your Vine keeper, giving His name all the glory as we flourish under His care. 

John 15:5
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 







Flashback Friday - Wonderful-any-time-muffins

I have been craving these muffins.  I hadn't made them in awhile and thought Flashback Friday was a good excuse to bring them to your remembrance as well.

I have posted  just my version of the recipe here with a flour change...  you can find the original post here .. 



  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or almond meal)
  • 1/3 cup ground sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups of Julie's Flour mix - or your own favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (if not in your mix) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 small or one med/large banana
  1. Blend well together almond flour, ground sunflower sees, ground flax seeds, brown rice flour, white corn flour, millet flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices , sugars
  2. In blender put ripe bananas, oil, milk and eggs, and mix until smooth.
  3. Pour liquid into mixer bowl and then add the dry ingredients ... Mix on low until well blended
  4. Add sweetened dried cranberries and grated carrots.
  5. Divide batter between 12 sprayed muffin cups
  6. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes until nicely browned.

French Toast Rollups for Thanksgiving Morning


Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. After the turkey is stuffed and in the oven this would be a nice breakfast to enjoy. This is a tasty way to serve french toast with sausages rolled up in each slice.

Ingredients:
  • 8 breakfast sausage links, fully cooked
  • 8 slices of white bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:
  1. Cut off the crusts from 8 slices of white bread.
  2. Beat together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract.
  3. Roll up each sausage link in a slice of bread.
  4. Dip the roll in the egg mixture.
  5. Fry beginning with seam side down in a greased skillet turning until the roll is golden brown.
  6. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with syrup. 
Serves: 2-4
Our family enjoys pancakes and french toast with sour cream and syrup. If you've never tried this combination you have missed out on a nice taste treat.

All the girls from Mennonite Girls Can Cook wish our friends in the U.S.A. a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Chinese Glazed Chicken Wings


Chicken Wings are always a good choice - as an appetizer or for dinner with a colourful vegetable
and some rice or noodles to soak up the delicious sauce.
Here's one my mom used to make with a couple of flavour additions from my kitchen.

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon or more grated ginger (see Ginger tip here)
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, wing tips removed and divided into wing and drummette
  • Salt and pepper (I like to use Montreal Steak Spice)


    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
    2. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
    3. Place wings tightly in glass rectangle dish season lightly with salt and pepper
    4. Pour sauce over wings.
    5. Bake, uncovered for 1 -  1 1/2 hours, basting wings several times and turning wings over half way through the baking time.
    6. Serve as an appetizer or over rice as a main dish.
    7. Thicken sauce if desired by mixing 1- 2 teaspoons cornstarch and a tablespoon of cold water  Add to the hot mixture in a small pot or microwave dish, stirring well. Bring sauce to a boil before serving.




    Salmon Cake Appetizers


    Salmon Cakes are a perfect little appetizer either on their own or in little slider buns with coleslaw and tartar sauce.
    You most likely will have everything you need right in your pantry and refrigerator and these take very little time to put together which is a plus when unexpected guests pop in around the holidays.



    • 2 cans wild sockeye salmon (about 2 cups)
    • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
    • 2 green onions, finely sliced
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dill weed, minced
    • 1 teaspoon parsley, minced
    • 1 lemon, cut and seeded for squeezing lemon juice over cakes when serving
    • green onions for garnish
    • slider buns (optional)
    • sriracha mayonnaise or tartar sauce (optional with the sliders)
    1. Drain salmon and remove skin and bones.  Break apart salmon and gently mash with a fork.
    2. Combine salmon, Old Bay seasoning, eggs, mayonnaise, panko crumbs, green onions, and green pepper and herbs in a medium bowl.
    3. Use a non-stick skillet if possible since the salmon cakes are fairly delicate.  Heat skillet over medium heat and brush with oil or butter. 
    4. Make patties about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.  Cook on one side a few minutes until browned underneath.  Carefully flip over and continue to cook until browned.
    5. Remove to an oven proof dish and place in an oven at 250 F, continuing to add salmon cakes as they are browned. 
    6. Once you are ready to serve,  garnish with lemons and chopped green onions or place patties in slider buns and top with a 1/2 teaspoon of sriracha mayonnaise. 

    Maple Glazed Snacks


    This is a delicious snack for game day..Grey Cup is coming up!
    These treats can be enjoyed anytime. My bowl of snacks disappeared real quick. You can change up the cereals and the nuts for what you prefer or have in the house. Use almond or maple flavoring instead of vanilla for a different flavor.
    Also a great gift idea from your kitchen..fill up festive little bags and hand them out to family, friends, co-workers, or anyone else you would like to bless.
    • 2 cups Honey Nut or original Cheerios 
    • 2 cups corn chex
    • 2 cups rice chex
    • 1 cup miniature pretzels
    • 2/3 cups pecan halves
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1. In a large bowl combine cereals, pretzels and pecans.
    2. In a small microwave safe bowl combine maple syrup, butter and vanilla.
    3. Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until butter is melted.
    4. Stir in vanilla and pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat.
    5. Spread in a large greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt.
    6. Bake at 250º for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.
    7. Remove from oven and cool.
    8. Store in a covered container.

    Bread For The Journey





    The Artist's Scalpel



    Several years ago, my husband and I were strolling along the shores of nearby Harrison Lake ,

    admiring the wares of the vendors who had set up temporary booths on the sand. 

    One artist and his work caught my attention, and I stopped.

    I learned that this French artist had been fascinated one day by slabs of slate stone,
     the jagged edges begging him to paint them into mountain scenes.

    He had numerous resulting pieces on display, but my eye immediately rested on one in particular. 
    It was as if he had sat in my family room and painted using the colours around him.

    I loved it! I stepped closer and instinctively reached out to touch it. 
    The artist had been watching me, and as I reached out, he cried, "Don't touch it!"
     Too late he added, "It's still wet!"

    To my dismay, I had already left my thumb smudge in the wet paint, and the picture perfection was ruined. 
    His face severe, the artist handed me a scalpel
    "Now you have to fix it," he said.

    I took the scalpel in my hand and looked at the painting. I knew I could not repair the damage I had done.

    Then the artist's face broke out in a smile, his eyes twinkled, and he said, "I'll fix it!"

    With a few deft strokes of his hand, the painting was as good as new!
     He joked, "A hundred years from now, when they scrape back the paint, they will find your fingerprint and accredit you as the artist!"

    Of course, I bought the beautiful slab of slate.
    ***
    How like the artist God is, and how quick we are to mess up what He has done. 
    In the Garden of Eden, God said, "Don't touch!" 
    But Adam and Eve touched and ruined perfection with their sin. 
    God gave them the old covenant and said, "Fix it!" 
    But of course, man in his own strength could not do it. 
    Then God smiled, took the old covenant, perfected it through Jesus, 
    and offered us  the new covenant!

    When we receive His offer, our personal imprint of sin is covered over.
     Eternity is ours at a price we can afford: our faith in the Artist's work.

    But God continues to cover our "imprints", does He not? 
    We fail, we stumble, we touch, and He is ready, forgiving scalpel in hand, to make it right again.

    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness! 
    I John 1:9 (NKJV)

    One day when we are standing at heaven's door and are asked why we should be allowed in, 
    we will be able to say,
     "Because the imprint of my sin is covered by the redemptive work of the great Artist!"

     Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 
    Romans 4:7 (NKJV)

    Prayer: "Dear Father, we thank You for Your willing heart to take scalpel in hand 
    and restore us to wholeness when we sin. 
    May we be quick to run to You in repentance before our hearts have time to harden. 
    Amen."

    Green Bean Casserole ~ Flashback Friday


    Green bean casserole is a favorite on our holiday table and I'm bringing back a recipe I originally posted here in December of 2008.  Most bean casseroles use a mushroom soup sauce; we prefer this variation with a basic white sauce.  Fresh green beans are definitely the best but not always available. Water chestnuts and french fried onions add a little crunch.

    • 3 (14.5 oz/398ml) cans green beans, drained or 1.5 pounds fresh green beans which have been trimmed, cut and blanched for about 3 minutes
    • 1 can sliced mushrooms
    • 1 can water chestnuts, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • ¼ cup finely chopped onions
    • 1 teaspoon salt dash of pepper
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 can French-fried onions
    1. Melt butter in saucepan.
    2. Stir in flour and cook over medium heat about 1 minute.
    3. Add milk and cook until thickened, while whisking.
    4. Stir in salt, sugar, pepper, onions, and sour cream; heat through. 
    5. Add green beans, mushrooms and water chestnuts; stir to coat.
    6. Transfer to casserole dish. (Can be made the previous day and refrigerated at this point.)
    7. Spread cheese over top and sprinkle with french-fried onions.
    8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
    *If the casserole has been refrigerated, allow about 30 minutes more cooking time.


    It seems I came up with a new variation when I made this dish for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Without thinking, I added the grated cheese into the white sauce, rather than sprinkling it on top.  Either way, it is great!


    Quick Beans And Wieners Soup


    We own our own business and our shop is only a few hundred feet from our home.
    So going home for lunch is an everyday occurrence.
    For me that means coming up with something to serve for lunch each day.
    I'm not much for planning meals ahead so lunch especially, is planned on the fly.
    Here is a soup I came up with last week, using what I had on hand.
    Harv enjoyed it so I thought maybe you would as well.
    • 1/2 red pepper, diced
    • 1/2 green pepper, diced
    • 1 large stock celery, diced
    • 1 medium onion diced
    • 1- 2 tablespoons oil
    • 3 wieners, cut into coins
    • 1 284 ml tin condensed tomato soup
    • 1 1/2  tomato soup tins water 
    • 1 398 ml tin deep browned beans (pork and beans)
    • 1 114 ml tin mild diced green chilies
    • 1 cup corn kernels - canned or frozen
    • 1 teaspoon basil
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
    • chili powder or hot sauce to taste (optional)
    1. Saute peppers, celery and onion in oil until soft
    2. Place in soup pot.
    3. Add wieners to fry pan (add a little more oil if needed) and fry until lightly browned.
    4. Place in soup pot and add remaining ingredients.
    5. Heat and stir until it comes to a simmer.  
    6. Simmer 5-19 minutes to blend flavours, stirring several times to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
    7. Makes 4-6 servings.



    Pumpkin Shaped Rolls


    These French Bread rolls added some fun to our Canadian Thanksgiving table, so I thought I'd share them for our American readers today.

    Ingredients:
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 cups hot tap water
    • 4 - 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour, white - can use half whole wheat or multigrain *
    • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
    • 1 egg white, beaten ( for egg wash)
    • short cinnamon stick or pretzel pieces for stems (to be inserted after baking)
    1. Put sugar, oil, salt and hot water in a mixing bowl. You can also use a mixer that has a dough hook attachment or your bread machine.  
    2. Add 1 cup of the flour mixed with the yeast, then the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Add flour until dough comes away from side of bowl or easily holds together in a ball shape and is not too sticky if you handle it with floured hands. Cover bowl with a dinner plate or tea towel and plastic bag.
    3. Let rise until double, about 1/2 hour. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
    4. With greased hands, take a handful at a time and, using thumb and forefinger, pinch off balls, the size of a small orange. 
    5. With a sharp serrated knife, gently score each bun using an arched flex, so as not to flatten bun. Dip end of wooden spoon in flour and poke a hole in the center of each bun. Cover lightly with tea towel and plastic bag.
    6. Let rise about 30 - 45 minutes. Re-poke the holes and brush with egg wash.
    7. Bake in pre-heated oven at 400°F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until golden.
    8. Insert stems while still hot and allow buns to cool on wire rack. Yields 20 - 24 rolls
    * Flour purchased in the USA may need a tsp of vital wheat gluten added to the flour



    Spicy Chicken Rollups



    These roll-ups would be a good dish for game day or an appetizer for any party. Choose the level of spice in your wing sauce to adjust the heat. I saw this recipe in my grocery store flyer.

    Ingredients:
    • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
    • 1 packet (1 ounce) ranch dressing seasoning mix
    • 1/2 cup wing sauce like Frank's Wing Sauce
    • 1-1/2 cups shredded roasted chicken
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican mix cheese
    • 1 cup chopped green onions
    • 6 - 10 inch flour tortillas
    • Ranch dressing for dipping

    Method:
    1. In large bowl mix together the cream cheese and ranch dressing until well-combined.
    2. Mix in the wing sauce.
    3. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the chicken, cheese and green onions.
    4. Spread mixture evenly across each tortilla.
    5. Roll and refrigerate for 3 hours.
    6. Slice and serve with a bowl of ranch dressing for dipping.
    7. Refrigerate any leftovers.
    Yield: Up to 60 roll-ups

    Divide recipe in half for a smaller group.
    Confession: When I made this recipe I forgot to add the cheese. Oops! We had very hot wing sauce on hand and the roll-ups were very spicy. I'd recommend medium or mild to please a larger crowd.


    Chocolate Covered Raisin and Seed Cookies


    Last Monday I posted this and I had to chuckle at the comments to my statement about looking for something to go with your Monday morning coffee. Well, here it is. These jumbo oatmeal type cookies are sure to please on this Monday morning. Step the raisin goodness up a notch by using chocolate covered raisins. If you are a nut lover, add nuts of your choice. I happened to have a bag of seeds and dried cranberry mix in the cupboard that I used instead of nuts, and they added a great flavour and texture.

    Yields: 12 large cookies. Freeze well. 
    • 1/2  cup butter, room temperature
    • 2/3 cups light brown sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
    • 3/4 cup chocolate covered raisins
    • 1/2 cup nuts or seeds, or a combination of both 
    1. Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla.
    2. Mix together dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture.
    3. Add raisins and nuts/seeds. Stir to combine.
    4. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mounds of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. 
    5. Bake in 350 F for 10-12 minutes or until the outside of the cookie is looking baked and have a nice colour but the middle is still barely soft to the touch. Remove from pans immediately after baking. 


    Bread for the Journey



    Peace on Earth

    On this Remembrance Day weekend, we think of the sacrifice made by so many for the freedom that we enjoy in our county.  I am reminded as well of the sacrifice that Jesus paid so that we might have peace. There is only One who can bring peace into our troubled lives.  Jesus said:

     Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
    Not as the world gives do I give to you.
    Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
    John 14:27 ESV

    For there to be peace among the nations, in our county, in our communities and in our families, it has to start in the hearts of individuals.  It has to start with me.  And you.  Will we allow the King of Peace, Jesus Christ, to reign in our hearts?


    Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

     


    Flash back Friday / Bavarian Pot Roast


    I posted this recipe originally in 2009 here. This is an easy recipe to make and stick it in the oven or slow cooker and forget about it, especially using a less expensive cut of meat.
    The flavors are like Rouladen with out all the fuss. My family was happy to see the roast at the dinner table again. I hope your family enjoys it too.
    In this photo the meat is sliced up, placed over a platter of noodles, topped with crispy bacon to make serving easier at the dinner table. 
    • 3 pounds of a roast, trimmed well so there is little fat
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 4 carrots cut according to your liking, sliced or in sticks
    • 2 onions diced
    • 2 celery stalks, sliced (I didn't have any)
    • 3/4-1 cup chopped dill pickles
    • 1 cup beef broth
    • 1/3 cup German Style Mustard ( I used Dijon)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • coarse black pepper to taste
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves ( I used only a pinch)
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 2 tablespoons water
    1. Trim fat from roast. Brown in large Dutch oven, in hot oil. Cover with vegetables and pickles. 
    2. In a small bowl, combine broth, mustard, pepper, cloves and bay leaves. Pour over meat. 
    3. Bake in a 325 F oven for 4 hours or in a slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours/high for 4-5 hours. Remove meat from cooker and place on plate to keep warm.
    4. Gravy: Transfer veggies to another bowl. Put cooking liquid in a sauce pan or leave it in the dutch oven. Skim fat. Remove bay leaves. Stir flour and 2 tablespoons water or broth together. Stir in to pan and cook till thickened and the raw taste of the flour is gone, about 2 minutes or so.
    5. Serve sliced meat, surrounded by veggies, over Spaetzle or noodles. Garnish with crisp bacon if desired. I omitted that and served it over whole wheat yolk free noodles.

    Zucchini Crisps


    This summer I was running the race to pick zucchinis when they were still "garden small".  Now that the garden is cleaned up, I'm continuing to purchase beautiful green zucchinis to make this easy and economical appetizer.  Preparation time is about 10 minutes and baking time is just under 30 minutes. 
    • 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese style) breadcrumbs
    • 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
    • purchased marinara sauce, heated
    1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
    2. Combine panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.
    3. Add oil and stir to combine. 
    4. Dip each side of the zucchini in the crumb mixture,  and place rounds in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  
    5. Use the remaining crumb mixture to pat about 1/4 teaspoon on top of each slice.
    6. Bake until the crumb topping is browned about 20 - 25 minutes.  The zucchini itself will stay soft but the crumbs will be crunchy. 
    7. Serve hot with warmed marinara sauce as an appetizer. 
    Yields about 35 pieces

    Pumpkin Dump Cake


    I love everything pumpkin and our blog has lots of tasty pumpkin treats to try out. This recipe comes from our youngest daughter, it is simple, easily and quickly put together and oh so yummy. It is nice to have these ingredients on hand in your pantry so you can easily make a dessert anytime. Our family all enjoyed it and I am sure your family will too.

    • 1 30 ounce (887ml) can of real pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
    • 1 16 ounce (473 ml) can of evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 cup white sugar (I would recommend less sugar by a 1/4 - 1/2 cup)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 package yellow cake mix
    • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup butter
    1. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, milk, sugar, spices, and eggs. Mix well.
    2. Pour the mixture into a well greased 9x13 inch baking pan. 
    3. Combine the cake mix, nuts and butter into a streusel and sprinkle over top of the pumpkin batter. 
    4. Bake for 1 hour at 350 F and serve warm with lots of whipped cream! 

    Toffee Nut Refrigerator Cookies


    I love refrigerator cookies. You can find many recipes with endless flavour combinations.
     What I like is that you can mix them one day, store the shaped dough in the refrigerator 
    and slice and bake them the next day.
    I recently made this version and I'll make it again.
    The toffee bits in them seemed to mellow and
     make the cookie even more flavourful several days later.
    • 1 cup soft butter
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup toffee bits (I used the packaged Skor bits)
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
    1. Cream butter. 
    2. Add sugars, beating well until light.
    3. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
    4. Add flour, salt and toffee bits, mixing just until blended together.
    5. Divide dough in half.
    6. Form each half firmly into a log about 2 inches in diameter.
    7. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup chopped pecans evenly on a 12x12 inch piece of waxed paper and roll cookie log until the outside surface is covered in pecans. Repeat with second log.
    8. Roll up each log in the waxed paper, twisting the ends to secure.
    9. Refrigerate logs for 3 or 4 hours, or  overnight.  They should be very firm.
    10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
    11. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
    12. Unwrap cookie logs and cut into slices - I made my slices about 5/8 inch thick.
    13. Place on cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  I check the bottom of one cookie to be sure it is also browned before removing from the oven.
    14. Store tightly covered in a cool place or freeze until needed.



    Mexican Smash Potatoes


    It's Monday morning and you might have come looking for something to go with your coffee, but I'm thinking back to our Friday night casual eats. Mexican Smash Potatoes hit the spot for easy comfort food. Think of potato skins meets nachos for next weekend.
    Recipe to feed two, but if you have more people just add more potatoes and toppings.
    • 7 small potatoes
    • 1/2 pound ground beef, fried
    • salt
    • pepper
    • taco seasoning
    • cumin
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1 large Roma tomato, diced small
    • 1 green onion, diced fine
    • 1/2 fresh jalapeno, diced fine
    • 1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
    • sour cream
    • salsa
    1. Boil potatoes until fork tender. Do not allow to get mushy.
    2. Drain and place potatoes on a baking sheet or in a cast iron fry pan that has been sprayed with none stick spray.
    3. While the potatoes are still hot smash them with a potato masher. (see photo below)
    4. Drizzle potatoes with melted butter and lightly season with salt, pepper, taco seasoning and cumin. ** you can let them sit at this point till you are ready to bake and assemble**
    5. Place oven rack in middle of oven and turn oven to broil. Broil seasoned potatoes until they get a nice crust on them but are not dark. 
    6. Remove from oven. Top with fried and seasoned (use any of the seasonings suggested in the ingredients to your liking) ground beef, tomatoes, onions and jalapenos. Top with cheese.
    7. Once again place under the broiler until the cheese is nicely melted and bubbly. 
    8. Serve with sour cream and salsa. 

    Bread for the Journey

    More and more it seems the world around me is choosing to come against the truth of God's Word. Some of these voices, strong and bold, can confuse me and sometimes because of the labels they attach to anyone who does not have their strong point of view I am silenced. What should I do?

    I need to go back each day to the one who is the truth. I need to open the Word of God and with the help of the Holy Spirit read it and hide it in my heart. I need to test the very words that are coming from pulpits and be like the Bereans who searched the scriptures to make sure they were being taught what was true. I need to listen to teaching that is Biblically sound. I need to know that there are popular false teachers in my circles. I need to be a disciple of Jesus, following him closely.

    I need to meditate on passages like Psalm 19: 7-14,

    The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
    The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
    The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
    The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
    The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
    The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
    10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
    Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
    11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
    In keeping them there is great reward.
    12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
    13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
    Let them not rule over me;
    Then I will be blameless,
    And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
    14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    Be acceptable in Your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

    I'll leave you with these verses from the book of Jude.
    A Call to Persevere
    17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
    Doxology24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.


    White Chili ~Flash Back Friday


    This is a tasty chili that will feed a crowd. Plan ahead because you need to soak the beans overnight. I first posted this recipe in early 2012 and you can find the original post here. This recipe originates from the Junior League of Seattle.

    Ingredients:
    • 1 pound Great Northern white beans, rinsed and picked over
    • 2 pounds chicken breasts (2 large half breasts are about 2 pounds)
    • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
    • 2 cups onions, chopped
    • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 – 4 ounce cans chopped mild green chiles
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons each of  cumin, and dried oregano leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 8 cups chicken stock
    • 3 cups Monterey Jack cheese shredded and divided
    • sour cream
    • salsa
    • fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
    Method:
    1. Place beans in a large, heavy pot. Add enough cold water to cover by at least 3 inches. 
    2. Cover and soak overnight.
    3. Spread a little butter on the skin of each half breast of chicken and season it. 
    4. Place on shallow pan and roast in 375 degree oven till cooked through, 45-60 minutes. 
    5. Let cool. 
    6. Remove skin and bones and cut chicken into cubes.
    7. Drain beans into large colander. 
    8. Heat oil in same pot. 
    9. Add onions and saute over medium-low heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. 
    10. Stir in garlic, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and cayenne. 
    11. Saute 2 minutes. 
    12. Add beans and stock. 
    13. Bring to a boil. 
    14. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 hours. 
    15. Add additional water or broth if necessary (Can be prepared 1 day ahead). 
    16. When you are ready to finish the chili cover and bring to a simmer before continuing 
    17. Add chicken and 1 cup of cheese. 
    18. Stir until cheese melts. 
    19. Ladle chili into bowls. 
    20. Serve with remaining cheese, sour cream, salsa and cilantro leaves to sprinkle on top.

    Of course it’s up to you which of these additional ingredients you add to your chili.
    We also like to serve this with some warm cornbread.
    Serves twelve to fourteen…

    Pan-fried Pears in Caramel Sauce



    We enjoy warm caramelized bananas so I decided to try cooking up pears using much the same method.  They were delicious served up this way. 'Tis the season for pears.  Enjoy!

    Ingredients:

    • 3 pears, peeled and sliced
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • granola or nuts to sprinkle over (optional)
    • vanilla ice-cream

    Directions:
    1. Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Saute pears for several minutes, turning over with tongs or lifter during the process.  Remove pears gently from pan once they are of desired doneness. 
    2. Add sugar to butter in pan and cook until melted, while stirring. Reduce heat to low. 
    3. Gradually stir in sour cream; cook 1 minute stirring occasionally.
    4. Add pear pieces to caramel sauce and cook just until pears are heated through.
    5. Spoon pears and caramel sauce into four dessert dishes.
    6. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. 
    7. Drizzle with additional sauce and sprinkle with granola or chopped nuts of your choice.
     

    Creamy Potato Kale Soup


    What do you do with a leftover ham bone after the ham dinner? Add to that a bag of fresh garden kale a friend brought over; I decided to make soup. Although we have several options on soups with potatoes and kale, I thought this one would have a slightly different twist, reminiscent of our Green Bean Soup.

    Ingredients:
    • ham bone with some ham left on (or 1 lb mini smoked ham hock)
    • 8 cups water
    • 1 onion, chopped fine
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 red chili pepper, dried
    • 10 whole black peppers
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    •  4 golden potatoes, quartered and sliced thin
    • 4 carrots, sliced thin
    • 4 cups kale, stem removed, chopped fine
    • 2 teaspoons better-than-bouillon or bouillon cube
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup cream
    • chili flakes, optional
    • cheese, grated, optional
    Method:
    1. Put ham bone in a soup pot and cover with water to cook.
    2. Add onion, garlic and spices (tied in a cheese cloth or put in spice infuser) and bring to boil.
    3. While it cooks, chop the vegetables. I kept skins on because they were thin.
    4. Add potatoes and carrots to broth and simmer another 1/2 hour, until tender. 
    5. Remove ham bone. Taste soup. Add bouillon flavor if needed. 
    6. Chop kale and add to soup along with any shaved off ham pieces. Simmer 15 minutes.
    7. Shake up flour and milk in a small jar and add to soup, stirring until it bubbles. 
    8. Add cream just before serving. Serve with extra chili flakes and grated cheese. Serves 8