Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Apricot Cream Cheese Coffeecake


I got this recipe from my friend  Eileen. Coffee cake is a simple recipe to go perfectly for most any occasion. Anything from a simple coffee date with friends or dessert after dinner.

Cake Base:

  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or hard margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 - 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup apricot jam
Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar, also known as powdered or confectioners sugar
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • whipped cream
  1. Grease and flour a 10 inch springform pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine all the cake ingredients, and mix on low to medium speed until the ingredients come together scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally for about 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Spread the batter on the bottom of the pan and up the sides about 2 inches. 
  4. Combine all the filling ingredients except the jam mix thoroughly until you have a smooth mixture. 
  5. Spread over the cake base. Top with the apricot jam. 
  6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown. 
  7. Cool the cake for about 30 minutes. 
  8. Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a smooth glaze.
  9. Drizzle over baked coffee cake. 
  10. Serve warm or room temperature topped with freshly whipped cream.
  11. Enjoy.  



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Coconut Lime Biscotti



What's not to love about this biscotti? Crunchy and citrusy. If you want to make them any more special than they already are you could dip one end of each biscotti in melted chocolate. I dipped half in melted white chocolate and left the other half plain. They pair well with a cup of coffee or tea!
Package up a few for gifts to bless, or share with a friend coming for coffee.
Recipe adapted from Healthy Cooking.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Extra zest to sprinkle on top of the dipped biscotti if you are dipping them.
  1. In a medium sized bowl beat sugar and oil until blended.
  2. Beat in eggs, lime juice, vanilla, and coconut extract.
  3. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, gradually add to sugar mixture. and mix well. Dough will be sticky.
  4. Stir in coconut and lime zest.
  5. Divide dough in half. With lightly floured hands shape each half into a 12" x 2" rectangle on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350º for 20 - 25 minutes, until set.
  7. Allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board and cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 3/4" slices.
  8. Place cut side down on parchment lined baking sheets.
  9. Bake 6 minutes on each side until golden in color.
  10. Remove to rack to cool.
  11. Once cool you can dip in melted white chocolate and sprinkle with a little lime zest or if you wish leave them plain.
  12. Store in an airtight container.
  13. Yield: 2 dozen biscotti

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rice and Meatball Soup



Soup in the winter months is one of my favorite 'go to' comfort foods.  My mom used to always make this soup and after chatting to my sister, I think we have the right recipe.  And for some reason, we've had real winter since the beginning of December.  That is unusal for us living on the coast.
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 medium sliced onion
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 dried red cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt 
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley used for garnish
Meatball Mixture
  • 1 pound ground lean beaf
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the rice in advance.
  2. Prepare soup broth adding ingredients as listed.
  3. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Prepare meat mixture and form small meatballs.
  5. Drop them into the broth.
  6. Continue boiling for 15 more minutes and then allow to simmer.
  7. Just prior to serving add parsley as garnish

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bread For the Journey



"The Son reflects God's own glory and everything about Him represents God exactly."
Hebrews 1:3

"We can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. 
And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him 
and reflect His glory even more."
2 Corinthians 3:18

These two verses stood out of several I was reading on the theme of the glory of the Lord.

I got to thinking about mirrors.
- The way a mirror reflects my image and that of the room I am in.
- That although it is not an exact image but a "turned around" one, 
it does give me a good idea of my appearance and that of my surroundings.
- The way it only reflects a portion of what is really there.
- That it reflects light.

The Bible uses the idea of a mirror to show us how we can be the representation of God's glory to those who don't know Him.  The world doesn't know God.  They have no idea of the reality of His glory or what that means to them.  By being a mirror and reflecting God's glory we can show them Who He is.
We can only represent as much of God as we know.  So it is important to acquaint ourselves with our Saviour, studying to be like Him. Paul assures us that if we do that, the Spirit will make us more and more like Him.
We are unlike Christ who is the exact representation of God and but we can give the world a good idea of who He really is by our demeanor, our behaviour and our love for one another.

  As Christians, we have been given the ability and responsibility to reflect God's glory.

In Genesis and in Acts we read how Moses and Steven each had a close encounter with God.  As a result, their faces shone - reflecting the fact that they had been in God's presence.

An old Gentleman friend who went to be with the Lord many years ago, told me to walk through life with what he called, an "Open Face" - one that reflects the light of Jesus. 

By spending time in God's Word and walking daily with Christ, I can reflect God's light and share His glory with the world.



Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday in the Kitchen

Julie in Her Kitchen

There is lots that I would have done differently if I had had a say when my current home was built - but I didn't, so I had to take it 'as is'.  I was delighted, however, that the most important room for me - the kitchen - did have almost all of the things that I look for, and what it didn't have my handy husband was able to build for me.
Would I love new appliances or  granite counter tops?  Sure! But those are not inexpensive and I am content in my kitchen - happy to spend time in it, which I do!

On my list of 'must haves'  in a kitchen are ...
I like the kitchen to be a 'room' in itself, which mine is ...
It must have lots of cupboards,
a window over the sink,
a working island



I also love an 'eat-in' kitchen ...
with lots of  windows,
the view must be of trees and wildlife ...
Which I have as the photo below shows.


I also love a kitchen to have lots of interest ... detail ... a room that I like to 'look at'.
Here is what I see from the entry arch before  I enter my kitchen ...
and yes ... my fridge door is my 'display wall' !! Sorry!
.

Below is a closer view of the corner ... it was an empty space when we moved in. A space not big enough for a sitting area but too big to leave bare - so my husband added a pantry section to the cupboards beside the fridge and then built in the corner desk/cupboard shelves unit. A better view of it in the photo below. Second photo shows my decor accents in the high space above my cupboards.





There is a German word that describes something I enjoy doing in my kitchen and because this is a MENNONITE girls' blog, I will share the word with you ... maybe you are familiar with it. The word is Schmengen.  There is no English word to translate its meaning, so if I was to describe what the word 'schmengen' means I would say  it is to sneak tempting morsels that might spoil your appetite. Taking that extra chocolate from the candy bowl, licking the beaters, sampling the cookie dough ... or tasting one (or two!) cookies as they come out of the oven, even though you aren't at all hungry, would all come under that word 'schmengen' ...  For those of you familiar with the word, would you agree?

My kitchen may not be a kitchen you would like.
Do you have a 'must have' list for your ideal kitchen?
What is your favorite feature of your kitchen?
 or
What is the one thing you would change in your kitchen  - if money was no object?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flash Back Friday ~ Glazed Yeast Donuts


A plate full of delicious glazed yeast donuts should cheer anybody up on a cold winter day. To work off the calories go shovel snow, that is if you live in snowy Manitoba!
These donuts are a family favorite. They are messy to eat but once you sink your teeth into one of these you won't mind the mess.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 8 - 8 1/4 cups flour
  1. Scald milk, stir in butter, sugar, salt, and lukewarm water. Whisk till butter is melted and sugar dissolved.
  2. Whisk eggs till foamy and add to the warm milk mixture.
  3. Add 4 cups flour, yeast, and mix well.
  4. Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time as needed and knead until dough is smooth, just a few minutes will do it. It will still be slightly sticky. 
  5. Place in a covered greased bowl in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk approx 25 to 30 minutes. Punch down.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 balls. 
  7. Roll out each ball to 1/4" to 3/8" thick on a floured surface, using just enough flour so dough doesn't stick to the surface. 
  8.  Using a round donut cutter, cut shapes and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil, leaving space between each donut for rising. I don't re-roll the scraps, instead just let them rise along with the 'donut holes' and fry them like the donuts. (The fried donut 'scraps' are often grabbed first!)
  9. Cover with a tea towel and allow donuts to rise 25 minutes.
  10.  Deep fry raised donuts in a a pot of hot oil on medium high heat (375º) till donuts are golden on one side, flip over and fry till golden or done, approx 1 minute on each side. Cut into the first one to check for timing on doneness. I like using my wok for deep frying.
  11. Glaze while warm and serve.
Sticky Syrupy Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Boil first 3 ingredients for 4 to 5 minutes, till glaze looks syrupy.
  2. Whisk in vanilla.
  3. Dip warm donuts in glaze and enjoy!
I only glaze as much as I want to serve, as they are best eaten fresh.
The leftover glaze and unglazed donuts freeze well.
Reheat frozen donuts in 350º oven, checking after a few minutes to make sure they are thawed then dip in reheated glaze. 
Sorry I didn't count them but you should get a couple dozen.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Porridge Pancakes


This family sized recipe makes about 16 hearty, oat filled pancakes named for their moist porridge texture within a pancake. We love them with cinnamon steamed apples on the side. This recipe works best if mixed the night before and refrigerated to cook in the morning, or mix during the day to cook for supper.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (quick cooking) rolled oats
  • 3 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk and 1 cup yogurt)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tbps sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Steamed apples
  • 2 Gala apples, unpeeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Method:
  1. Combine oats and buttermilk. Stir in oil and beaten eggs. 
  2. Add combined dry ingredients. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours.
  3. Cook on non-stick griddle between low and med heat. Adjust heat setting so that the pancakes do not brown too quickly. Cook first side for about 2-3 minutes, until tiny bubbles appear on top. Flip and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. * 
  4. In the meantime, in medium pot, cook apple slices in butter until tender. A few minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and keep hot on low heat. 
* tips: a square (stove top) griddle/and a scratch proof flipper is a great investment for cooking pancakes/hot cakes. Keep cooked pancakes warm on an oven proof serving plate in 200 F oven. Serve with butter, maple syrup and cinnamon apples.
Left over pancakes can be stored in sealed bag (refrigerator or freezer) and toasted.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gingerbread


Warm moist gingerbread on a cold winter's night is a comfort dessert.  Add a spoonful of applesauce which pairs perfectly with the gingerbread flavour.  This recipe is my Mom-in-law Pauline's go to for gingerbread, and she got it from the original Five Roses Flour cookbook. 
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • two teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. 
  2. Stir together the first three ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine shortening and brown sugar until creamy.
  4. Add in molasses, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  5. Stir baking soda into boiling water and then add this to the shortening and molasses mixture. 
  6. Stir in the flour mixture and then add in the eggs, mixing well.
  7. Pour mixture into a greased 9 X 13 pan and bake for 50 - 60 minutes. 
  8. Serve warm with applesauce and whipped cream. 



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oatmeal Snickerdoodles



Oatmeal raisin cookies are a favorite over here...or a version of them that uses granola. But not everyone is fond of raisins and so I came up with an oatmeal snickerdoodle cookie (very much like Ellen's snickerdoodle recipe but with the addition of oatmeal). The oatmeal makes it a healthy choice, right? :)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups large flake oatmeal (old fashioned oats)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream butter sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down sides of bowl. Then add eggs and beat well.
  4. Add vanilla and beat again to incorporate.
  5. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Add dry ingredients into butter mixture and mix well.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop or rounded teaspoon, form cookies and place on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Allow space for spreading. Press down slightly with the palm of your hand.
  8. Combine cinnamon and sugar for topping and sprinkle generously over the top of each cookie. 
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool for several minutes before removing from pan to cool completely on wire rack.
Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

French Onion Soup

We enjoyed French Onion Soup at a restaurant recently and decided to try it at home changing out a recipe to serve two. We had two oven worthy crocks to use for this recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 stick butter, 2 ounces
  • 3 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1/8 cup dry vermouth or dry sherry
  • 2-1/2 cups beef stock
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 slices gruyere plus 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere
  • 4-8 slices baguette or french bread buttered and toasted

Method:
  1. Melt the butter in a medium heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions stirring to coat with the butter.
  3. Season the onions with salt and pepper.
  4. After onions are seasoned and all are sizzling lower the heat.
  5. Continue cooking till translucent and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
  6. Add flour and cook for at least 2 minutes.
  7. Add the dry vermouth or sherry and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  8. Add the beef stock and low simmer for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Preheat broiler.
  10. Add thyme sprigs tied together for easy removal.
  11. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  12. Taste and season as needed remembering the cheese will add some saltiness to the final product.
  13. Remove the herbs.
  14. Ladle into the crocks.
  15. Put two slices of cheese on the top of each crock of soup.
  16. Top the cheese with the toasted baguettes/bread to fit.
  17. Load the shredded Gruyere on top of the bread.
  18. Place the crocks on a baking sheet and place under broiler until cheese bubbles and browns.
  19. Serve with the extra toasted baguettes/bread.

 You can easily double this recipe to serve 4.




Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bread for the Journey


 'Be grateful' is my motto for 2017. So many times we grumble about this and that and forget the many blessings that we do have and that we should be grateful for. As for the blue jay in this photo I would say he looks grateful for the peanuts.
My granddaughter gave me a Gratitude Journal for Christmas and asked me to write down 3 gratitudes a day and to do that for at least 1 month. She will be doing the same. I'm glad she encouraged me, I had often thought about doing it. Keeping track of gratitudes daily results in being more grateful. 
It's something I encourage us all to do. Don't you think there would be a lot less grumbling?

Psalm 100 NIV
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
     Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!
 Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!
 For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday in Kathy's Kitchen



These are the measuring cups you'll find in my kitchen. When we moved I donated a few of the ones that were doubles or that I rarely used. My gifts to new brides, my own daughters included has been the large pyrex cup...and it comes with a lid.

For measuring dry ingredients, it's best to have a level cup measuring cup to give you accuracy in measurement. Mine are just simple white plastic ones I've had for 39 years. They were a shower gift.
I also use metal ones. I have the others to that set in my larger containers for quick measure of flour, oats, sugar etc.

 When measuring liquid it's best to use a clear and marked measuring cup so that you can set it on the counter and get an accurate measure.

My go to all purpose cup is the large 8 cup pyrex. It's dishwasher and microwave safe. This large measuring cup is great for making sauces, and also as a mixing bowl. I have 3 of these large cups, but this particular one is my favourite as it has a rubber ring around the bottom so it grips the counter.

I have a 1 and 2 cup pyrex as well. The 2 cup has a lid that is great to use in the microwave to save all the splatters, and also to cover food and store in refrigerator.

The tall one at the front of the photo is also dishwasher and microwave safe. I use this the most to heat up milk when baking bread.

Then there is my favourite mini measuring cup. If you don't have one of these, I recommend you put it on your list. I make a lot of home made dressings and marinades and often those recipes call for 1/4 cup or less of wet and dry ingredients. The measurements on this cup are in tbsp, ounces, ml, and cups. I can pretty much use this one little cup when measuring out the many little amounts of ingredients to go into those recipes...and only have one thing to wash at the end. Start by measuring your dry ingredients...usually spices and then your liquids, usually oils and vinegars.

January is a great time to do some inventory and cleaning of the kitchen. It's like a gift to yourself to declutter and wipe out all your drawers and cupboards. Wipe out your fridge and clean your oven and microwave.  And....don't forget to put out clean kitchen linen.
Happy Saturday!







Friday, January 6, 2017

Butterflies



For this Flashback Friday I want to remind you of these cinnamon rolls posted in 2009 - the name referring to the way the roll stands up and spreads out like it has wings. It's a small recipe (yields 24 - 30) and really doesn't take long to do because you skip the first rising. This is another recipe passed down from my mom. 

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c hot water
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  • ½ cup butter, melted or very soft
  • 2 Tbsp instant yeast

Filling: (Blend with pastry blender)
  • 1 1/4 c brown sugar,
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon,
  • 3 Tbsp butter (room temp) for blending/cutting into filling
  •  3- 5 Tbsp melted butter for spreading on rolled out dough


Method:




  1. In large bowl of stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar well. Add buttermilk, salt and water.
  2. Mix 2 c of the flour with baking powder and yeast, then stir into liquid mixture.
  3. Add butter, mixing well, and the rest of the flour, kneading until dough is smooth. Cover. You do not need to let it rise at this point. (I let it rest while I prepare the filling.)
  4. Divide dough in half. Sprinkle rolling surface with flour. 
  5. Shape and pat dough into a rectangular shape before rolling each half into a 10" x 20" rectangle, dusting with flour when needed. 
  6. Spread with melted butter, then brown sugar mixture.
  7. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting on long side. Slice into 1 1/2 inch slices. While slice is “standing up”, indent it almost all the way through with a pencil (dipped in flour) or spatula as though you’re slicing it in half again . . . this makes the sides pop up like wings.
  8. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. If you don’t use parchment paper, grease the pans and remove rolls as soon as you take them out of the oven, before sugar hardens.
  9. Cover loosely with tea towel and plastic. Rise 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Some buns will kind of lose their shape while rising and I sometimes (gently) re-indent them. Bake at 350 F, 15 minutes or until golden.
  10. Drizzle with a thin icing. ( approx 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 2 Tbsp. softened butter and milk - until desired spreading consistency) I like to use a teaspoon or butter knife and just kind of ‘scatter’ the icing. These rolls freeze well in sealed container. Reheat to serve warm.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ham and Cheese Buns




























Soup and sandwiches seem to be a common meal for us these coooold winter days.  I used the base recipe for these buns from this recipe. This is a refridgerator dough recipe and if I use the entire recipe it makes about 20-24 depending on how large you make them. Any (bun) dough recipe works well for these.

These freeze well and are nice to have on hand.

  • 4 - 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg or 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 2 cups very warm water
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • mustard of your choice, I used Dijon
  • ham slices
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups grated cheese, your choice, I used sharp cheddar cheese. 
  1. In a bowl combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Blend well.
  2. Add warm water, butter and eggs.
  3. Blend at a low speed til well mixed, continue beating for two minutes.
  4. Stir in remaining flour by hand until you have a stiff dough.
  5. Cover dough with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours up to 4 days.
  6. Take half the dough and roll into a large rectangle. (approx 10" x 14 ")
  7. Spread the dough with your favorite mustard, top with slices of ham, and grated sharp chedder cheese or whatever cheese you have on hand. 
  8. Roll up into a log and cut into 12 rolls.
  9. Place into a prepared 9x13 pan. 
  10. Cover and rise for one hour.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven @ 375 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Watch your oven since every oven temperature is different.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Crock Pot Potato Soup

This easy Crock Pot Potato Soup is inspired by a Paula Deen recipe that was shared on bj's Sweet Nothings blog. I changed it up with some fresh ingredients and we really enjoyed it.

Ingredients:
  • 10 golden or new potatoes, diced, 4-5 cups
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cans chicken broth or 29 oz. of homemade broth or stock
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 10-1/2 oz.
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 block softened cream cheese, 8 ounces, cut into 8 pieces
  • cooked bacon for topping
  • shredded cheese for topping

Method:
  1. Spray crock pot with cooking spray.
  2. Add diced potatoes, onion, broth, soup, celery and pepper and mix well.
  3. Set crock pot on low and cook for 5-6 hours.
  4. After 5-1/2  hours add the softened cream cheese stirring to blend.
  5. Heat for another 1/2 hour. 
  6. Serve topped with cooked chopped bacon and shredded cheese if desired.

Serves 6-8 


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Grilled Halibut with Creamy Dill Sauce



We were treated to this Halibut recipe at my brother and sister in law's a few months ago.  It was so delicious, that I asked for his recipe. 
  •   6 halibut fillets, 6 ounces each
  • salad or olive oil to brush on fillets
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped fine
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 packed tablespoon finely chopped dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges
  1. Soak cedar planks in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill to 400 F.
  3. Brush halibut fillets with oil on all sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the halibut fillets on the cedar plank and place on grill.
  5. Melt butter in a small fry pan, add all the remaining ingredients except for the salt and pepper. 
  6. Simmer on low heat until thickened.
  7. Remove fillets from grill when they have cooked through and flake with a fork. 
  8. Spoon sauce over fillets and give each fillet a wedge of lemon slice to be squeezed at the table.  

Monday, January 2, 2017

Asparagus with Red Peppers and Shallots



When deciding what to serve family or friends, I like to plan colour into my meal.
Vegetables are the best way to do that.
For a dinner over the Christmas season, I chose to serve asparagus because of it's bright green colour.
Adding red peppers made it bright and seasonal, not to mention, very tasty.
A simple side dish with only a few ingredients,

  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 large shallot (can substitute onions if desired)
  • 2-4 pats of Butter, divided
  • 2 bunches fresh asparagus
  1. Cut red pepper in half  removing and discarding the seeds and white membranes.
  2. Cut pepper into wedges and then cut across each wedge at an angle to give you 1 1/2" long ribbons.
  3. Skin the shallot and cut it in half and then cut across each half to make 1/2 round slices about the same length as the peppers.
  4. Place 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a fry pan over medium heat and stir fry peppers and shallots until tender. Set aside.
  5. Snap ends off the asparagus spears and steam in a small amount of boiling water until just crisp tender. Do not overcook. Drain and add a pat of butter to the pan.
  6. Immediately place asparagus lengthwise on a platter and top with peppers and shallots, arranging them across the middle of the asparagus as pictured above. 
  7. Serve immediately.
Note: You can blanche the asparagus and cook the peppers and shallots earlier in the day,
Just before serving, place butter in a fry pan and gently reheat the asparagus. briefly reheat the peppers and shallots and serve as described above.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bread for the Journey



Even when there is nothing different about this day
there is something about the beginning of a new year
that causes us to contemplate the future
 and wonder how we can make the days of the year count.
I think it is all of our desire to live in such a way
so as not to look back one day and feel like we wasted our time -
but we may need a redefinition of what that means.

When I think back to the year that was, I'm reminded of 
Psalm 138:8 
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.

There is something about this promise that I wanted to grab hold of
and it spurred me on to read more about God's purpose.
Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

These verses had me asking what my life would look like
 if I daily sought to find even one small purpose?

Looking back now, I can't say that it changed my life
but I believe it helped change my attitude.
When I felt like I did not accomplish what I had planned -
when there was nothing to check off on my to-do list -
I looked for what God may have allowed to happen to change things
and realized that my obedience was what mattered.
When I looked for God's purpose
I was uplifted by the smallest things.

As we look ahead to 2017 
let's be encouraged to know that God,
 because of His love for us, has a plan for our good.
With this in mind we can look for 
His specific purpose for us, be it big or small.
Sometimes it will be easy;
sometimes it will seem impossible.
But we can trust that His purpose will be the 
blessing we ultimately long for.


May the days of the year ahead  find you discovering His purposes for you
and guide you in the way of peace and joy.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Philippians 2:13