Bread For the Journey


It is the last day of 2017.
For us this year has flown by.
God has shown His great mercy to each one.

For some, it's been a very difficult year.
Some of us have lost loved friends and family,
some have battled pain, there have been difficult challenges.

There have been happy times as well. 
New babies have been added to our families,
there have been weddings, family reunions,
and accomplishments to be celebrated.

The verses from Lamentations 3:22-26 come to mind 
as we say good bye to 2017 and welcome 2018.

Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, 
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; 
GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I hope in Him!"
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.

Happy New Year 
Thank you for your support in 2017.
We appreciate each one of you.

Lovella, Anneliese, Judy, Betty, Julie,
Charlotte, Kathy, Ellen, 
Marg, Bev




Flashback Friday ~ Baked Spread for Crackers


This is a quick and easy spread to put together. It's great served hot on a variety of crackers. Serve it at your next party. It can easily be doubled. I shared this recipe a few years ago here.
  • 1/2 cup finely grated raw carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely grated celery
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • couple dashes hot sauce..this can be omitted if you prefer
  1. Mix together and put it in a small greased ovenproof dish. I used a 700 ml sized casserole dish.
  2. Bake at 375º for approx 20 to 25 min or until it's bubbly and slightly browned.
  3. Spread on crackers and enjoy.
  4. Serves: 4 - 6

Creme Brulee



This is a dessert you can often find at fine dining restaurants. Maybe that's why people think it must be difficult to make. Fear not! There are very few ingredients, and it's very simple to make.
This could be your New Years Eve dessert.
(Read all instructions before you begin. There are a few steps you will want to have ready before you begin.)



Recipe for 8 4 ounce ramekins.
First step. Place ramekins on baking pan that will allow you to add boiling water to. You will bake the custard in a water bath. I lined mine with tin foil but you don't have to. A glass 9x13 pan works well for the baking pan.
OK, you are set.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 teaspoons sugar to use for caramelizing 
  1. Place egg yolks in a bowl. Add first amount of sugar and whisk together until the yolks are creamy. Set aside.
  2. Add cream to a small sauce pan. Heat over medium stirring constantly, until cream is steamy and very warm, but do not let it get to the boiling point. (this is important)
  3. Remove cream from heat and slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the cream into the egg yolk and sugar mixture making sure you are whisking the whole time. (this too is extremely important so you get no cooked yolk pieces)
  4. Add vanilla and mix well. 
  5. Pour the egg and sugar mixture into the pan of remaining cream and whisk well. 
  6. Have a glass bowl ready that is covered with cheesecloth. I secure the cheesecloth to the bowl with an elastic band so it doesn't slide into the custard when being poured through.
  7. Pour the warm custard through the cheesecloth to make sure your remaining custard is completely smooth and there are not lumps. (See photo below) This process will also remove some foam from the custard. It will sit on the top of the cheesecloth. Discard this. 
  8. Pour strained custard mixture into 6-8 ramekins that are sitting in a baking tray deep enough to hold the water bath you will add during baking.
  9. Place tray with filled ramekins into a 250º F oven. 
  10. Once tray is in oven carefully pour boiling water into the baking tray until the water is half way up the sides of the ramekins. Make sure you don't get any water in the custard. 
  11. Close the oven door and allow the custards to bake for 45 minutes. 
  12. Open door and carefully jiggle one or two of the little cups (be careful of the hot water). They should be set around the edges but jiggly (not runny) in the centre. You may have to bake them another 5-15 minutes. Always a wee bit different with every oven, but don't over bake, the jiggle in the centre is important. 
  13. Once baked carefully remove each ramekin to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  14. Cover tightly with wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours. (even a day or two is fine)
  15. One hour before serving remove from refrigerator. Remove wrap. If there is a little condensation on the tops gently dab with a paper towel. 
  16. Sprinkle tops with 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar (I like to use Turbino sugar for this but you can use regular white sugar). Gently tip and shake each little pot to get the sugar to coat the whole top of each one.
  17. Now it's time to torch the sugar. If you have a little kitchen torch use that to caramelize the sugar. If not, place all the little pots back onto a baking sheet. Turn oven on broil. Place tray with custards under broiler. DON'T WALK AWAY! Turn on the oven light and watch carefully. It will take very little time before the sugar begins to melt. It will go from this point to burnt very quickly so just stay with it. You do want it to JUST begin to look like it might burn. QUICKLY remove from oven. 
  18. Allow to cool for just a minute or two and then place back in refrigerator, uncovered, for about 1/2 hour. Or you can leave on counter.  I like the pudding to be cold so I do put it back in the refrigerator for that short time.
  19. Make coffee or tea, and by that time your little pots of Creme Brulee will be ready to serve. 

Roasted Cranberry and Goat Cheese Flatbread


This easy to make flatbread appetizer would be a nice addition to your New Year's Eve festivities. I found this recipe in a grocery store flyer.

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chopped leeks
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt to taste
  • 2 flatbreads (14.1 ounces)
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • For topping: freshly chopped arugula, pomegranate arils, and honey

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix cranberries, maple syrup, leeks, thyme and salt in an 8 inch square baking dish.
  3. Roast, stirring every so often, until the mixture begins to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and stir until cranberries are broken down and the mixture is thick.
  5. Cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Divide the cranberry mixture and spread evenly over the flatbreads.
  7. Top each with goat cheese and pecans.
  8. Bake directly on oven rack for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is warmed and the flatbread is crispy.
  9. Remove from oven.
  10. Garnish each with freshly chopped arugula, pomegranate arils and a drizzle of honey.
  11. Cut into small wedges or strips and serve.
  12. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Serves: 8 generously as an appetizer

I used the Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads for this recipe. They come 2 in a package. 

Bread For The Journey ~ Love


John 3:16 KJV
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

On this last Sunday of Advent we light the 4th candle to remind us of God's love. He loved us so much that he gave us the greatest gift, his son Jesus!
What can we do to spread this wonderful love? The gift of ourselves to be used wherever He needs us to pass on a gift of love to others. This is the season to be mindful of the many that need this love that God offers.

My father in law sang the following song every Christmas that I can remember and it truly tells of God's great love for us.

  1. The love of God is greater far
    Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
    It goes beyond the highest star,
    And reaches to the lowest hell;
    The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
    God gave His Son to win;
    His erring child He reconciled,
    And pardoned from his sin.
    • Refrain:
      Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
      How measureless and strong!
      It shall forevermore endure—
      The saints’ and angels’ song.
  2. When hoary time shall pass away,
    And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
    When men who here refuse to pray,
    On rocks and hills and mountains call,
    God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
    All measureless and strong;
    Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.
  3. Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made,
    Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade;
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry;
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
    Though stretched from sky to sky.
  4. Author: Frederick M. Lehman
  5. Christmas blessings to all of you and your families from the girls at MGCC..Lovella, Anneliese, Betty, Bev, Charlotte, Ellen, Judy, Julie, Kathy, and Marg.

Yam Casserole - Flashback Friday


For this flashback I thought I'd add one last side dish for your turkey dinner! I use the orange fleshed sweet potatoes/yams for this recipe. In the oven the sugar, butter, salt and pepper turn into a savory sweet sauce that cooks the yams. The dish can be assembled ahead and it is not a bad idea to put it in the oven at least 1 1/2 hours before serving to make sure the yams end up soft and gooey. When the meal is ready to go, uncover the yams and return them to the oven with the marshmallows for 5 minutes. Set the timer. It looks heavenly when you take it out and the marshmallows are one big puff. In the photo they are deflated already. 

Ingredients:
  • 10 - 12 small yams, size of large potatoes 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cubed small
  • 1/2 – 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1 small bag miniature marshmallows
  1. Peel and slice yams into 1/2 inch discs. 
  2. Arrange half the yam slices in a glass baking dish.
  3. Mix sugar, salt and pepper, then sprinkle half of it on the yams.
  4. Dot with half the butter.
  5. Arrange remaining yams and top with the rest of the sugar and butter.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400° F for 30 min.
  7. Sprinkle with nuts, cover and continue baking another 45 minutes or until yams are soft.
  8. Five minutes before serving, remove foil, cover with mini marshmallows and bake uncovered until golden. Serves 12

Caramel Pecan Shortbread Bars


'Tis the season to indulge in holiday sweets.  Today I pulled out a recipe which was sent to me by my sister-in-law during the Christmas season many years ago, and has always been a hit!  How can you go wrong?  They are rather like having homemade turtles on a shortbread base.

Crust:
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • 1 cup flour
Filling:
  • 30 vanilla caramels, wrappers removed  (1 small package Kraft caramels 269 gr) 
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Topping:
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (either milk chocolate or semi-sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • sea salt (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. Prepare 9-inch square pan by lining with parchment paper. (Form a sling with the parchment to allow for easy removal of the bars later, by having paper overhang the pan on two sides.)
  3. For shortbread base, combine sugar, butter and cream.  Beat until well blended. Gradually add flour until incorporated. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until firm to touch.
  4. In a glass bowl, add caramels and whipping cream and heat for 1 minute in the microwave oven. Remove and stir. Return to microwave oven for 30 seconds at 50% power. Repeat process until caramel and cream mixture is completely smooth. Pour in pecans and stir to coat. Spoon on top of shortbread and spread evenly.
  5. Combine chocolate chips, butter and cream in small bowl and heat in microwave on medium-high for 1 minute. Repeat heating at 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Drizzle over bars.
  6. While cooling, sprinkle with coarse sea salt (optional). 
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  8. Remove from pan to cutting board and slice into bars.
  Yield: 24 bars


Is it not special to have handwritten recipes on the original cards from decades ago? Wishing you all wonderful memories and moments as you prepare for Christmas this year.

Caramelized Bacon Jam Tarts



This delectable appetizer is on my hit list for this Christmas Season.  The mixture of bacon and caramelized onions will be the perfect appetizer for any occasion.  Make the jam first and store it in your fridge and it's ready to serve up anytime over the holiday season. And if it's too late for Christmas, try for New Years.

Bacon Jam Tarts
  • 1 pound bacon chopped fine.
  • 2 medium white onions sliced thin
  • 1 full head garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1 cup brewed black coffee
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Puff Pastry
  • 1 package puff pastry defrosted
  • egg wash 
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup cheese of your choice (feta, asiago, gorgonzola, blue cheese)
Instructions
  1. Add bacon pieces to a large frying pan and cook on medium heat until almost crisp, browned and cooked, but not too crisp.  Remove cooked bacon and set aside on paper towels to drain. Drain bacon fat reserving 2 tablespoons set aside to brown onions.
  2. Stir in onions to the fat and cook on medium heat, followed by adding the garlic.  Stir occasionally until this mixture is softened and slightly browned (5-7 minutes)
  3. Add coffee, brown sugar, maples syrup, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and the bacon.  Increase the heat slowly bringing to a boil.  Once it's reached the boiling heat, reduce to slow simmer and cook uncovered for up to 60-75 minutes.  The mixture should be syrupy and have a jam-like texture.
  4. Let jam cool and store in small jelly jars and refrigerate. (up to 3 weeks)
Puff Pastry
  1. Roll out your block of pastry into 8 squares and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. With your fingers, roll the corners and edges of each square and crimp with a fork or as a second option, form into 8 tart shells using a round cookie cutter.  
  2. Brush edges with egg wash.  ( 1 yolk with 2 tablespoons water)
  3. Add two tablespoons bacon jam on to the pastry.
  4. Add your favorite cheese which brings out the tanginess flavors and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  5. You can now cover and freeze these until you need them.  They freeze beautifully. 
  6.  Or bake and serve them immediately at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Bake until puffed and golden brown.
I prefer to make my jam ahead of time and store it in the fridge in small jars.  Then, when I'm ready to serve this, make sure to have your puff pastry thawed and then you can begin to roll your dough into your tart shells.  This topping can also be used on bruschetta, cheese, and crackers, or canapes. It works wonderfully and guaranteed there will not be leftovers.
I'm sure that you have guessed my table theme for this Christmas.  White birch logs with fresh cedar boughs.  I'm hoping that all of you are pacing yourselves these last few days.  Peace to all of you. 

Serves up to 8 people ( based on 1 each) 

Festive Refrigerator Cookies


Here is another refrigerator cookie to add to your collection.
I make these at Christmas and if you cut the cherries into a little larger pieces, these cookie slices will add some colour to your Christmas cookie tray.
The nuts you use will change up the flavour. I'm not sure which I like better, using the almonds or using the pecans.  They are both great!

  • 1 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans or almonds 
  • 1/2 cup each, red glace cherries and green glace cherries, quartered
  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add vanilla, salt and flour, mixing well.
  3. Add nuts and cherries and knead dough to distribute them evenly.
  4. Form into 2 rolls and wrap each tightly in waxed paper.
  5. Chill rolls overnight
  6. Slice and bake at 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes.  Do not over brown them.

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake


This smooth and creamy peppermint bark cheesecake is easy to put together if you purchase ready-made peppermint bark.  The peppermint bark that Costco sells is perfect for this recipe. If you make your own, go ahead and use it instead.
  • 10 ounces / 250 grams or about a 9X9 inch piece of peppermint bark that is made of white chocolate, dark chocolate, peppermint extract and crushed candy canes
Chocolate Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups oreo baking crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  1. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to extend outside the pan.  This will make the transfer from the pan to the plate easier. Spray the pan including the sides with cooking spray. Double wrap the entire pan in heavy foil. 
  2. Combine the crumbs and melted butter and press crumbs onto the bottom of the pan.  Refrigerate while you make the filling.
Cheesecake Batter
  • 4 250 gram/8 ounce packages cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 ounces prepared peppermint bark (leave enough for garnishing the top of the cheesecake)
Garnish
  • 2 cups heavy cream whipped and sweetened with a few tablespoons sugar and a teaspoon vanilla
  • broken pieces of peppermint bark
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place a large roasting pan on the middle rack and add hot water and allow it to continue to heat while you prepare the batter.
  2. In the large bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in flour, salt, vanilla and peppermint extracts.
  3. Add the sour cream and then the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined.  Beating the batter hard at this point will cause your cake to rise too much and crack.
  4. Stir in peppermint bark and pour the batter into the prepared crust.
  5. Place pan in the prepared roaster with the water which by now should be steaming.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F and bake until the center of the cake is set but still jiggly.  The top of the cake will have lost its glossy appearance.  Baking time will be about an hour and 20 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes. 
  7. Remove the pan from the roaster and set it on a cooling rack. 
  8. Gently run a knife around the edge to loosen from the pan.
  9. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating.  Once the cheesecake has chilled completely, transfer to a serving plate.   
  10. Top the cheesecake with 2 cups of heavy cream that has been whipped and sweetened.
  11. Garnish with additional peppermint bark. 
  12. Refrigerate
Serves 16





Bread for the Journey

But the angel said to them,
 "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."
Luke 2: 10,11

On this Third Advent we think about how God prepared the scene for the announcement of his plan. In The Jesus Storybook Bible we read it this way, 

" Everything was ready. The moment God had been waiting for was here at last! 
God was coming to help His people, just as he promised in the beginning."

Knowing a little bit of the joy of giving and how it feels to have everything ready, I cannot  help but feel that wonderful sense of anticipation. God was preparing to give His greatest gift to the world! As we remember the message of JOY that the angels pronounced, what is important is that this message is for all people. For all races, rich and poor, kings and beggars, adults and children. A Savior was born for you and for me.

The joy that God prepared for us, is the joy of receiving His salvation. This joy is not dependent on our circumstances. It is born in our hearts when we accept it.

This Christmas, may we open and receive the gift of joy. A Savior has been born for us! He is Christ, the Lord.

♡♡♡

Pfeffernuesse ~ Flashback Friday



Years later, so many things have changed.  When I looked at my last post in 2009, I realized that I made this with my sister. It's obvious that it's Flashback Friday again. Now I'm starting all over and introducing this wonderful recipe to my dear little grandaughters who visit regularly.  And today, you get to see them in action.  It brings so much laughter and joy into our lives to watch these young ones pronounce PFEFFERNUSSE!

Step One:
  • 1 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons /15 grams Neunerlei Lebkuchen Gewurz (this is a gingerbread spice purchased at a Delicatessen) I ordered them from the Edelweiss Delicatessen in Calgary this year, as no one else carried them in our town. 
  1. Warm honey in microwave or stovetop and add sugar and spices.
  2. Cool mixture to room temperature.
Step Two:
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  1. Melt margarine and add sour cream.
  2. Now add to cooled honey mixture.
Step Three:
  • 6 cups flour (add up to 1/2 cup more if needed to make a heavy dough )
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  1. Sift together flour and baking soda and add the above honey mixture and mix well.
  2. I blend flour and soda into an electric mixing bowl.
  3. I usually use my kneading hook, as this dough is heavy. One time I broke my cookie beaters.
  4. Place in fridge overnight to cool. 
Step Four:
  1. To bake, grease cookie sheets
  2. Roll dough into rolls (snakes) and slice.(thickness of your index finger)
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 9 minutes. Just slightly browned.
  4. When baked, leave cookies on sheet 2 minutes, then remove from pan.
While Ivy, who will be four in February knows that first, we grease our hands, then follows my instructions to a tee, Joy on the other hand who will be two,  totally seizes every moment to enjoy laughter.  We've had lots of fun and I know we will be making several batches to give to the big cousins. I've enjoyed handing down some traditional recipes to the grandchildren.

Pfeffernuesse Gluten free


                                                                           photo by Sarah Poulin


This recipe was shared with me by Sarah Poulin .(Thank you, Sarah !!)  I followed her recipe exactly and really loved the cookies.. While I grew up with the traditionally 'hard' - like Biscotti -  Pfeffernuesse, I really like these soft ones better.
Try them, you'll love them !!
And they are good keepers, even though they are gluten-free.  (gluten is a preservative, hence gluten free baked products do not keep as well as baking with gluten grains)


Cookies:
  • 1 cup rice white flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch (or any kind of starch such as corn starch)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (or almond meal)
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lebkuchengewürz (I use  this recipe for making the spice; it's excellent!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (you can use black pepper; but you will get black specks in your cookies)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk (or milk of your preference, such as almond milk)
  • 2 eggs

Glaze:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons hot water


  1. In separate bowl, combine the flours, starches, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, lebkuchengewurz, and white pepper. Set aside. 
  2. In a pot, combine the brown sugar, honey, butter and milk - place on medium heat. Stir frequently until it's melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. 
  3. Stir dry ingredients into the liquid, mixing well. 
  4. Add eggs and stir until completely combined. The dough will be glossy and sticky. 
  5. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This is important because it will make the dough more firm and easier to handle, but will also absorb the flour further so that your final product is not gritty. 
  6. The next day, preheat your oven to 350 F.  Divide dough into 4 sections, forming each piece into a log about 3/4 inches thick.  Cut log into 3/4 inch slices. Roll each slice into a ball and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. With wet hand flatten each ball a little, they will puff back up when baking. 
  7. Place cookies in oven and bake for 11-15 minutes or until golden brown. If you prefer your cookies to be more moist, bake them a couple of minutes less. 
  8. To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar and hot water. Dip each fully cooled cookie into the glaze until they are completely covered, let some glaze drip off, and place on a wire rack, with something underneath to catch any drips. Wait until the glaze is fully hardened.  (Alternatively, you can simply coat the cookies with dry icing sugar) 


Gingerbread Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting


I got this recipe from my friend Karin. It is a delicious loaf that goes great with a cup of tea. The older I get the simpler I try to make the Christmas Season. I place more value in spending time with people I love than I do spending time in the kitchen trying to leave the stress and hustle and bustle behind me that can often come with this time of year. This loaf doesn't take much prep time leaving me more time for those who matter most to me.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans


Brussels sprouts, cranberries and pecans combine to make a tasty and colourful side-dish for the holiday feast. Add a drizzle of balsamic reduction to kick it up a notch. 

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction to drizzle over, optional *
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare rimmed baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  3. Toast pecan halves in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden; set aside.
  4. Trim brussels sprouts and cut in half. 
  5. In a medium bowl, toss brussels sprouts with olive oil.
  6. Spread on prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Roast for 20-30 minutes (until tender inside), stirring about halfway through cooking.
  8. Transfer roasted brussels sprouts to serving platter; sprinkle with cranberries and pecan halves.
  9. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  10. Serve immediately
*Use bottled balsamic reduction or make your own. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a boil, while stirring. Reduce heat; then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until quite thick, stirring occasionally.

Serves six.

 

 

Home Made Salami



Here is an idea for a home made Christmas gift.
For our Mennonite Girls Can Cook Christmas party this year, 
we were each asked to bring a "Gift From the Kitchen".
I'd made  homemade Salami many years ago and thought it might be fun to 
resurrect the recipe for this occasion.
I placed it in a bright red serving dish  lined with paper shred and
 added a few bright silver ornaments before wrapping it all up in cello gift basket wrap.
It was a hit and everyone wanted the recipe.  So here it is.
  • 5 pounds medium ground beef (I had trouble finding this so I used lean ground beef)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke (found in the condiment aisle)
  • 4 tablespoons Curing Salt (like Morton's Tender Quick or Windsor Quick Cure) It is a sugar based curing salt.
  • red pepper flakes to taste - if desired.
  1. In a large glass bowl, mix all ingredients well.
  2. Knead for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover glass bowl with plastic wrap and weigh down the meat mixture with a plate.
  4. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  5. The next day, remove from fridge and knead meat mixture for 5 minutes.
  6. Cover again and refrigerate for another 24 hours.
  7. Repeat on the third day.
  8. On the fourth day, knead mixture once more and then form into 7 rolls - about 3/4 pound each. I made the rolls about 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
  9. Place on a broiler pan and bake in preheated 200 degree F oven* for 4 1/2 - 5 hours. 
  10. TURN ROLLS EVERY HOUR. Salami will be quite red in colour when it is done.
  11. Remove from oven, let cool completely.
  12. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.
  13. You can freeze the salami.
*We smoked it on our wood pellet grill instead of putting it in the oven this time and it worked well.


Salami rolls ready for the oven.


Bread For The Journey ~ Peace


PEACE OR PACE

Today is the second Advent week meaning Peace.  I took a hike up one of our local mountains this past week, recognizing that I needed to pace myself.  As I was climbing I began to think about the fast-paced world that we live in especially during the Christmas season.  We have places to go, and things to do, after all, this is the season for spending and celebrating and eating and gifting. How often we are left leaving out the most important meaning of Christmas and so you are left with a choice,
 "Keep the pace or find the peace."  Two words which look the same but have different meanings.
Over this past year, there's been a  plaque on my mantle reminding me to reflect on knowing God.
"Be still and know that I am God." It's been almost a year that we lost our son in law tragically in an accident.  I only knew him for four short years, but during this short time, he inspired each one of us with his peacefulness and his giving heart.  I know that when I have given to others there's a real sense of peace that permeates my heart.
I'm not sure what you are all struggling with but we do know that we live in a very fragmented world filled with discord, confusion, loneliness, depression, anxiety, insecurity, and uncertainty. The demands of keeping the pace do not always allow us to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
What are some practical ways that you can navigate through this hectic holiday schedule and experience peace?

  • Let go of some of those unreal expectations.
  • Are there some things that you could say no to?
  • Are there things that you could let go of to create a more peaceful environment?

Peace is more than sitting quietly around a warm fire after the kids are tucked in bed and the gifts are all wrapped. Grab some moments of stillness to refocus on God's special gift to mankind.  God offers us the kind of peace that flows from things being in harmony.  When our heart, soul, mind, and strength are in alignment, we will experience inner peace. God wants to lavish peace abundantly on all of us. Are you a peacemaker or a pacemaker? 

"Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  John 14:27

Flash Back Friday ~ Brandy Snaps



I first posted these brandy snaps a few years ago but I recently made them gluten-free.
Brandy snaps are such a quick dessert to make that even when company pops in, you can quickly put these together and let the company help you roll them around a wooden spoon handle or a cone.  
Fill them with whipped cream and you have a quick dessert.  

  The top photo is the brandy snaps made with all-purpose flour and then wrapped around a wooden spoon handle. 

These two photos are the brandy snaps made with almond flour and wrapped around stainless steel cones. 
 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons brandy or alternately 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or to make it gluten-free, use 1/4 cup almond flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Put the sugar, corn syrup and butter into a small saucepan and stir.
  4. Stir continuously over medium heat until bubbly.
  5. Beat in flour and flavorings until smooth.
  6. You will only make 6 cookies per cookie sheet. One teaspoon of batter per cookie.
  7. Watch the cookies closely because they will turn from caramel colored to dark brown very quickly. Aim to have them a nice caramel color, about 6 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven, wait a few seconds and then roll one at a time over a wooden spoon handle and then remove to cool on a rack.
  9. Repeat until they are all rolled. You will have to work quickly. If they become too hard, put them back in the oven for half a minute.
  10. Once cool, use a pastry bag with a thick tip to fill with sweetened whipped cream that has been stabilized with whipping cream stabilizer and chill until serving. Don't fill more than an hour before serving. Preferably, have the cream in the pastry bag ready to fill them and do that just before serving
  11. The remaining lacy shells or cookies keep well in an airtight container for several days.

Yet another Fleisch Perishky Recipe (Meat / Sauerkraut Buns)



This is my friend Frieda's recipe. The pastry is easy to work and less bready than others I have tried.  The filling is very moist and holds together well to fill the bun. I have tried every recipe of meat buns on our blog and all of them delicious. You can't go wrong no matter which recipe you use. Give this one a try as well, I know you can't stop eating just one. Get your husband and some friends to help, lots of fun that way!

Make ahead tip: The meat filling is easier to work with if it is cold, I usually prepare the meat a day or two in advance and refrigerate it. The dough can be made a day in advance as well and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days as well.

Yields about 75 Perishky

Pastry:
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast (you may use instant or quick rise yeast, adding it in directly with the flour without dissolving the yeast in the water. Add the water in with the egg and sour cream. )
  • 1  egg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter or hard margarine, melted and cooled a bit. 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour or as needed to make a soft dough. 
  1. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar  in the water for 10 minutes until it proofs. 
  2. In a large bowl add 4 cups flour, salt yeast mixture, egg, melted butter and sour cream. Stir until it is too difficult with a spoon. Turn the dough onto a floured board adding enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. 
  3. Place the dough in a large lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until double in size which is about an hour or so. 
Filling:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 large onions finely diced (I used 5 medium onions)
  • 1 cup of  mashed potatoes ( I used about 3 medium potatoes, or use left overs if you have it)
  • generous amount of salt and pepper to taste
  1. Peel and dice the potatoes add salt to taste and boil until soft. Drain and mash, with out adding milk or butter. 
  2. Brown the beef with the pork and onions in a very large pan. If you don't have a pan big enough divide the meat up and brown in batches. 
  3. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the mashed potatoes, combine well and allow the mixture to cool. I usually prepare the meat a day in advance and refrigerate it until I am ready to make the meat buns. 
  5. Divide the dough in 4. Roll out each piece to a 1/8" thick. Cut with 2 1/2 - 3 inch circles. 
  6. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the center. Pinch the dough around the filling to close. 
  7. Place the perishky seam side down on a parchment line baking pan. 
  8. Let rise a 1/2 hour and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
Sauerkraut Filling:
  • 4 cups of your favorite sauerkraut, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 lb bacon, diced and browned
  • 1 large or medium onion, minced
  1. Brown the diced bacon and drain the fat, and bacon removed to paper towel to drain. 
  2. In a bit of the bacon fat cook the onion until soft. Add the drained and rinsed sauerkraut to the softened onion. Brown until it is lightly browned. Add the diced bacon back in and cool mixture before making the perishky.
  3. Follow above directions for filling and baking. 
*We also did a batch with half whole wheat flour mixed with white. It also works well. I find with using whole wheat that less flour was needed.





Peanut Fudge


Recently my kids gifted me with a fun little package of fudge they purchased on their trip and it piqued my interest to go back to some of my old recipes that I'd not made in a long time. This peanut fudge is super easy to make. The original recipe calls for ground peanuts, but I decided to try it with regular peanut butter. Let's just say I'll have to hide it from view before I eat too much.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Method:
  1. Prepare large loaf pan (about 9 x 4 inch) by lining with wax or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized heavy pot or saucepan, bring sugar and cream to boil, stirring. 
  3. Simmer on low heat for about 6 minutes, watching to be sure it does not come up too high in the pot, but still simmering. (if you use a thermometer, it should reach 237° F) 
  4. Add peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until it thickens, about 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Spread into prepared pan. Allow to cool. Lift out of pan and cut into one inch pieces. Yield: 36

Make-ahead Christmas Casserole



We may be familiar with shepherd's pie made from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner leftovers.  But this is a bit of a different spin on the classic favorite...a casserole that includes stuffing, turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes and is prepared in advance to makes it easy to serve a turkey dinner to the masses.  I got the recipe from a friend who has prepared this dish to serve a crowd of over 100 at a community Christmas dinner for several years.  I served it for a family Christmas dinner for 40 people that I hosted at another location last year, doing four times the recipe shown below.  It is easy to transport and reheat and with all the prep done in advance, it frees up time and kitchen space on the day of the event. We served this casserole buffet-style, along with cranberry sauce, several cooked veggies, a green salad and dinner rolls. It was enjoyed by all and I will be making it again.


  • 2 boxes stuffing mix (or homemade stuffing from 5 cups bread cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning 
  • 5 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces*
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 cup roasted turkey drippings
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (or 5 1/2 cups mashed potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, divided
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese (herb and garlic flavour)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Mix stuffing mix as per box directions, but with an additional 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning added to liquids. Spread in greased 9x13 pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, chicken soup, drippings and 1/4 cup sour cream.  Spoon over stuffing mixture.
  3. Boil potatoes in a Dutch oven or large pot until tender. Drain potatoes. Mash in a large bowl, beating in the cream cheese, pepper, salt and remaining sour cream. (Add 1/4 cup milk if the mixture seems too thick.) Spread over turkey mixture. 
  4. Sprinkle with cheese. 
  5.  Bake uncovered at 350°F for about 45 minutes (or until thermometer inserted in center reaches 160°).  
Serves: 8-10

 *Turkey can be cooked and carved well in advance. Be sure to save drippings for the sauce.



Peanut Chews


This is a square you will want to add to your Christmas tray. They taste similar to an Eatmore bar. Thank you to niece Cheryl for this recipe. It's been in my Christmas collection for years.
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups salted peanuts
  1. Pour honey into a microwave safe bowl and add chocolate chips. Place in microwave and stir occasionally until chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth and hot.
  2. Add peanut butter and stir until well blended. Stir in peanuts.
  3. Pour into parchment lined pan, approx 11" x 13" size.
  4. Allow to cool on counter then place in fridge until hardened.
  5. Cut into desired size pieces and store in a covered container in a cool place. I place sheets of waxed paper between layers of bars.

Bread For The Journey ~ First Advent


Today we celebrate First Advent. 

During the week I did what my Mom always did the week before the first advent.
 She would create a simple centerpiece with greenery from our yard which she poked into wet oasis foam, a few sparkly pine cones and one candle for each week of Advent.

It was very simple but for us, it was the beginning of Christmas.


On the first day of December, our family would sit in the living room which in itself was special.  Normally, we did not use the living room as we use family rooms today.
It was always ready in case company showed up unexpectedly. 

She would light the first candle and we would sing carols together with one of us playing the piano. 

She would always have a Japanese orange for each of us and a few candies which we would enjoy before bedtime. 

We continued to sing carols together and enjoy a few treats every evening until Christmas. 



I've added a new tradition for our family.

Since the grandkids have been toddlers, I've given them an advent calendar every year to help them to reflect on Christ's birth and the expectation of Christ coming to earth again. 


I add an Advent verse and a chocolate to the little toy in the box.


This year, I invited them to come over to help me stuff their boxes and I found them reading their verses as they put them in order.

If you would like to do this for your family you can find the link I use, for the verses here. 


I wonder which traditions our littles will take with them when they have their own children.

The main thing is that we take time during what can be a very busy time of year to quiet our hearts each day to ponder that Christ came to earth for us. 

My beloved and I don't sing carols around the the advent wreath by ourselves but there are many ways to prepare our hearts.   I've signed up to receive John Piper's daily readings leading up to Christmas day.
If you are interested to also follow along the link to that invitation is here. 

How do you prepare your heart for Christmas in your home?
I'd love to know what your family does.  

May you be blessed and experience the joy of the Saviour during the Advent season.


 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6




Nuts and Bolts with Bugles - Flashback Friday


It's that time of year again when many of us are making all kinds of treats and sweets. A few years ago I posted this recipe, and I think it's worth sharing again. 

  • 6 cups Shreddies
  • 6 cups Cheerios
  • 10 cups Rice or Corn Chex
  • 6 cups pretzels
  • 6 cups Bugles
  • 6 cups peanuts, optional
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons Seasoning salt
  1. Measure all cereal, pretzels, bugles and peanuts into a large bow. Stir to combine.
  2. Melt butter and stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Drizzle melted butter/seasoning mix over cereal mixture a little at a time stirring between to make sure the butter mixture is well distributed.
  4. Place mixture on large baking sheets or in large roaster and bake at 250º F for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. 
  5. Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container or in zip lock bags. 
** these keep well in the freezer if tightly sealed***