Mac and Cheese


You just can't go wrong with Mac and Cheese. This recipe is filled with the creamy goodness of Smoked Gouda, sharp cheddar and Jarlsberg cheeses. Bacon, onions and jalapenos bring it up a notch too. 
Cast Iron is perfect for baking mac and cheese in. In the oven or on your grill. 
  • 3 cups macaroni
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 jalapeno pepper OR 1/2 green or red pepper, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups aged cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup smoked Gouda, grated
  • 1 cups Jarlsberg, grated
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 6 slices bacon, fried and crumbed
  1. Cook pasta as directions on package until al dente.
  2. In a large pan melt butter. Stir in flour and whisk until sooth.
  3. Add milk and spices, and mustard. Stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and is smooth.
  4. In separate fry pan, fry bacon and then in a little of the bacon grease saute vegetables until translucent. Add to thickened milk mixture.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheeses.
  6. Stir in feta and crumbled bacon.
  7. Pour hot cheese mixture over drained pasta. 
  8. Spray a 9x13 pan OR a large or two small cast iron pans with oil and add macaroni and cheese mixture. 
For topping:  (optional, if you don't want to add this topping just sprinkle with more cheese)
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  1. Melt butter and stir in cheese and bread crumbs. 
  2. Sprinkle mixture over mac and cheese.
  3. Bake mac and cheese in 400ºF oven for 30 minutes.
If you like it spicy garnish with a slices of jalapenos. 




Mexican Brunch Casserole


We are fans of Betty's farmer sausage quiche, so when I came across a recipe for a Mexican hashbrown casserole that was quite similar, I knew we would enjoy it. And we did! 
  • 3 cups frozen shredded hashbrowns
  • 4-6 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled or chopped
  • 1 cup corn, fesh, frozen or canned
  • 1 can (19 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Tex Mex cheese
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine hashbrowns, bacon, corn, beans, sweet pepper and onion and spread evenly in a 9x13-inch pan or two 9-inch pie plates.
  2. Spead shreded cheese on top.
  3. Whisk remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour evenly over potato mixture.
  4. Bake at 350° F uncovered for 55-60 minutes, or until knife inserted in centre comes clean.  (If using pie plates, reduce baking time to 30-40 minutes). 
  5. Serve with salsa.  
*This dish is easy to prepare in advance and refrigerate overnight before baking. 

Bread for the Journey


Our grandson was baptized  this past Sunday and the verses we gave to him form a prayer which I'd like to pray for you today.

Philippians 1: 3-6,9-12
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,
for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere
and without offense until the day of Christ,
being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ; to the glory and praise of God.
Amen


Flash Back Friday ~ Cream Puff Dessert



This cream puff dessert is quite a popular dessert. It serves a crowd and some will want to come back for seconds so you probably won't end up with any leftovers. My sister shared this recipe with me many years ago and I have shared it with many as well. It's like cream puffs but in a pan.

Base:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 eggs
  1. In a medium sized saucepan bring water and butter to a boil.
  2. Mix flour into the water and butter mixture and stir until the flour is stirred in and it forms a ball. Remove from heat.
  3. Add eggs, one at time and beat until smooth and satiny. This is a bit of a workout on the arm so if you have someone else in the house ask for a hand..or would that be an arm:) I use my electric hand held mixer.
  4. Spread on a large greased cookie sheet, one that has edges. My pan size is approx 13 inches x 17 inches.
  5. Bake at 425º for 15 to 20 minutes until golden in color.
  6. Once baked it will have a bumpy look..don't worry, that is how it should look. With your hand, very gently press those bumps down just a little. They will deflate on their own a little as well.
  7. Cool.
Filling and topping: 
  • 1 / 250 g (8 oz) package cream cheese
  • 1 box, 153 g (6 serving size) instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 3/4 cups whipping cream (whipped and sweetened..made a small change from the original recipe, instead of 1/3 cup icing sugar I used 3 tablespoons icing sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla)
  • Chocolate sauce for drizzling
  1. Beat softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  2. Prepare pudding as per box instructions.
  3. Whisk together pudding and cream cheese until smooth, spread on cooled base.
  4. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Drizzle chocolate sauce in lines up and down the length of the pan then the opposite way to give you that wavy look. Refrigerate till serving time.
  5. This is delicious as is but you can add bananas or other fresh fruit if you wish which would be added before the whipped cream.

Thai Chicken Curry


Our children introduced us to South Asian food when we visited them in Indonesia and we have come to enjoy the flavors that we have such easy access to here now. I love the exotic aroma that goes along with cooking this curry.

Ingredients:

  • 11/2 cups brown jasmine or long-grain rice
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs 
  • a few good shakes of salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, halved and sliced (2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lemon grass paste
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste 
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 1 handful cilantro, finely chopped 
  • a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (according to personal taste)
  • green onion, chopped (for garnish)
Method:
  1. Put rice on to cook, according to package directions, before starting the curry.
  2. Finely chop chicken and cook in a large heated skillet until golden brown, flipping as needed. (I use a deep Tfal skillet and do not need oil for browning chicken.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, chop onion, bell pepper and zucchini.
  4. Remove chicken to separate plate.
  5. Add oil to pan and onions, stirring until soft. Add pepper and zucchini, cooking until onion is golden brown.
  6. Add garlic, ginger and lemon grass, stirring for about a minute, until fragrant. 
  7. Add the chicken back in, then the curry paste, stirring to combine.
  8. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another few minutes, adding cilantro and red pepper flakes  just before serving.
  9. Serve over rice and garnish with green onion. Serves 4
Notes: You can adapt this recipe to what you have or prefer. I like the lemon grass paste (found in a tube with the fresh herbs) but you can use fresh lemon grass or flavor with a tablespoon of rice vinegar or lime juice. Omit flavors you don't care for; add other vegetables. I'm happy with a mild curry paste, found in a jar, in the Asian section of the grocery store.
This recipe is a combination and adaptation of Coconut Chicken Thai Curry from tastes so lovely and Thai Curry with Vegetables - Cookie and Kate

Rice Pea Salad



Recently we hosted the monthly pot luck dinner in our clubhouse.  We have amazing cooks in our complex and the buffet spread is always more than delicious! We  - only half-joking - call it our favourite restaurant.
At our event this month there was a rice and pea salad that was very tasty, and is naturally gluten free.
Most graciously, Pat, agreed to share her recipe and gave me permission to post it here!


Salad
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked and cooled rice 
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced celery 
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion 
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained 
  • 1/2 cup red pepper (or green ) 
Dressing 
  • 1/2 cup oil 
  • 3 teaspoons vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder 
  • 2 teaspoon celery salt 
  • 2 tablespoons Soy sauce (note - if making gluten-free make sure your soy sauce is gluten-free)
  1. Mix together salad ingredients and set aside 
  2. Mix dressing ingredients in pot and bring to a boil to dissolve
  3. Stir dressing into salad mix 
  4. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. 
Note - this salad improves the longer it sits and will keep for several days. 

Pulled Duck Sliders

Recently I was asked if I would help put on a BBQ demo using duck breast. I am always up for a new challenge when it comes to cooking but grilling on the Big Green Egg is typically where my husband comes in, but not this time. Once I got the grill going I set a big pot of boneless skinless duck breasts covered in water onto the grill. Closed the lid of the pot and the grill and walked away until almost 3 hours later. There is no seasoning in this at all. I was surprised too and more surprised at how tasty they were.
(yields approximately 4 dozen sliders)
  • 12-14 boneless skin ON duck breasts
  • water to cover the meat in pot
  • slider buns
  • BBQ sauce (I used Apple Butter BBQ sauce)
  1. Place duck breast, skin side up into a large cast or heavy pot. Layering them is fine.
  2. Cover with water until they are all submerged. Cover with heavy pot lid.
  3. Place on a grill heated to 200º (or you can do this in the oven) 
  4. Close lid of grill and allow meat to simmer in water for 3 hours. 
  5. At about 2 1/2 hours using a tongs try to pull skin off one breast. If it comes off very easily it's done. If not simmer 1/2 hour more. It should be done. 
  6. Carefully remove pot from grill and remove meat from water. The water will have quite a bit of fat on the top. Set this all to the side and allow to cool a bit.
  7. Using shredding claws or two large forks, shred the meat.
  8. Add a few ladles of the broth (stirring it to get the juice and some of the fat) over the shredded meat to just moisten it a little. Don't over do it but it really makes it. 
  9. Slice slider buns, fill with shredded meat and top with your favourite BBQ sauce. 
I liked the look of this big cast pot, but lifting the lid was not an appealing sight, but I had to trust that this recipe was going to turn out. Sometimes you just have to trust. 

At about 3 hours I lifted the lid and tested the skin. I was told if the skin easily pulls away from the meat it's done....oh...and save the juices...that don't look very nice but trust me...you need a few ladle's of it once the duck is pulled apart. It keeps it moist and adds great flavour. This meat will freeze well once shredded as well.

These plates of duck sliders disappeared with great reviews. 

Mom's Rhubarb Crisp



I have posted this in honor of my Mom.  I just found this handwritten recipe and made this for a recent celebration of a baptism and engagement party.  I knew that serving this dessert on her china set that she gave to my sister would be just the perfect way to say that she lives in all our hearts.  Family and friends were thrilled to have just a little piece of their Grandmother's blessing in their lives.

Rhubarb Crisp
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Stir dry ingredients into medium size bowl to make crumbs 
  2. Put one half of the crumb mixture in the cake pan and press down.
Fruit Mixture
  • 4 cups rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Heat oven to 350°
  2. Mix rhubarb, sugar, salt and lemon juice together and spread over crumb mixture.
  3. Top with the rest of the crumbs and bake 35-45 minutes.  
And barely a crumb was left.  Thanks, Mom for sharing life with all of us.

Bread for the Journey ~ Mother's Day


Proverbs 31: 28 NIV  "Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also and he praises her."

Today is the day we set aside to celebrate our mothers. One of the descriptions from the dictionary says a mother is someone who "brings up a child with care and affection". For me it was also important to teach them about Jesus and how very much he loves them and to be willing to follow the plan that he has for each one.
Mothers love to receive flowers and the first ones we usually receive from our little ones are a handful of dandelions. They are given and received proudly and displayed in a small vase for their short lifespan:) My son was very proud to give me these flowers in the photo and I of course display them proudly. Giving flowers or doing something special reminds mothers that they are loved and cared for. Mothers don't always feel deserving of praise because we give with love for our family without expecting anything in return.

I'm feeling a little nostalgic today. l want to share some of my memories of my Mom in no particular order:
-coming home from school she would always have a snack ready for us,  freshly baked zwieback with jam, cookies or cinnamon rolls.
-I was asked to pick a pail of Saskatoon berries, promising she would bake a pie if I did. Even though it was sunny and hot the promise of a pie kept me picking until the pail was filled.
-she loved to laugh and was most happy when her children and grandchildren would come by for a visit. She especially loved babies and would babysit when given the chance.
-she was adventuresome. Even when she was in her 80's she went for snowmobile and quad rides. My sister reminded me of the wonderful time we shared with Mom at my sister's cabin, we stayed for the night and had such a good time.
-both my sister and I remember the clothes she sewed for our dolls. She was a farmer's wife doing many chores outside as well as inside, I wonder how she found the time to sew doll clothes.
-I remember her coming to our house weekly for me to put her hair in rollers. Rollers and pin curls:)
-she loved bowling and bowled in a league. On her birthday she asked me to bring a cake to the bowling alley so everyone could share in her celebration. The motto 'the more the merrier' truly described my Mom.
-she loved going to hockey games especially when her grandsons were playing. She really got into it and cheered loudly. Once when she thought the referee hadn't made the right calls she went to talk to him after the game letting him know she wasn't happy..all in fun!
- when I went to see her in the hospital during her last few weeks before she went to be with the Lord I asked her to sing 'Gott is die Liebe' (God is Love) with me, and with a little giggle she said what will the nurses say. Oh I said they will love it and so we sang. It's the last song I sang with her here on earth.

I have so many more memories but of course too many to share here.
I am so blessed that I had a loving and caring mother. If you still have your mother give her an extra hug today, let her know you love her!
I miss you Mom. It would be wonderful to spend this day with you.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers from the ten of us at MGCC,
Lovella, Anneliese, Betty, Bev, Charlotte, Ellen, Judy, Julie, Kathy, Marg

Fruit Explosion Muffins



For this Flashback Friday, with Mother's Day coming up, I had to think of these muffins posted in 2009. The perfect little breakfast in bed idea. 

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup coconut mixed with rind/zest of one orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (very full) cup buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups fruit (frozen blueberries, cranberries, blackberries and/or raspberries)
  • sugar for sprinkling
Method:
  1. Prepare 12 regular sized muffin tins by spraying well or using parchment paper liners. (with low fat in the recipe they may stick to the paper if using regular paper liners.) ** 
  2. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. 
  3. Mix coconut and orange zest and add to flour mixture.
  4. In mixing bowl, whisk /beat eat eggs well. Stir in buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla. 
  5. Add dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
  6. Stir fruit in carefully, so that the dough does not turn purple.
  7. Fill muffin tins. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
  8. Bake at 375° F for 25 - 30 minutes. Test with toothpick.

* If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can use 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1/2 cup milk.
** For the photo I greased the wells and lined them with 4 inch squares of parchment paper, held in place with drinking glasses while preparing the batter. It was a bit more time consuming  to drop the batter in, but turned out pretty.

Chocolate Raspberry Torte


This cake is so simple and easy to put together. A delicious cake to serve for Mother's Day or for a birthday. Doesn't it look elegant and delicious?
You can simplify this even more by using a cake mix but if you must use your favorite chocolate cake recipe, just make sure you have 2 round 8 inch pans of cake.
It is our daughter's birthday today. Happy Birthday Alison!!
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix, baked in two 8 " round pans
  • 1  250 gram / 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • Extra icing sugar for dusting
  • 1- 2 cups fresh raspberries (more or less, exact amount not necessary)
  • Mint leaves, optional but they do add a pretty look
  1. Bake cake as directed on cake mix box. Allow to cool.
  2. Split each cake in half horizontally.
  3. Mix together cream cheese, icing sugar, and raspberry jam until well blended and creamy.
  4. Divide the mixture into 3 equal amounts.
  5. Place one layer of cake on bottom of plate and spread 1/3 of cream cheese mixture over top. Repeat layering and finish off with a cake layer.
  6. Dust with icing sugar and pile on raspberries. Garnish with mint leaves.
  7. Yield: 16 servings

Lemon Syrup and Candied Lemon Slices


Making Candied Lemon Slices for dessert garnish is so easy and beautiful.
You can use them as a garnish for lemon pound cake, or lemon cake, or lemon meringue pie.  The side benefit is that you will be left with a delicious lemon syrup that can be used to drizzle over scones or cakes or in iced tea.  

  • 2 lemons very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • coarse sugar for sprinkling
  1. Bring sugar and water to a simmer in a large skillet until sugar dissolves.  Add lemon slices and simmer very lightly until the rind is very tender and begins to be translucent about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from skillet to wax or parchment paper and allow to dry for a few hours at room temperature.  The lemons are then ready to refrigerate up to several days.  They will remain sticky. 
  3. Pour the hot syrup into a small canning jar.  Refrigerate.  I keep mine for a week or two. 

Prime Rib grilled on the Big Green Egg Grill



Prime Rib is a real treat. I have not posted a Big Green Egg grill recipe for a long time, but this one is just too good not to share. There is no juice to make a gravy so I bought my favourite beef peppercorn package of gravy and there was not disappointment. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables and you have a meal fit for a king. I served this at my father in laws 91st birthday. 
  • 4 pound prime rib roast
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • course ground pepper
  • garlic salt
  1. Place thawed roast on a plate in the fridge 3 days before serving. Do not cover it. You want to 'dry' it out.
  2. 3-4 hours before grilling roast, rub with olive oil.
  3. Generously spice the roast on all sides. 
  4. Heat the grill to 260ºF. Grill roast indirect for 20 minutes per pound until your internal temperature reaches 115ºF.
  5. Remove from grill. Heat grill to 600ºF and then sear the roast, rolling it every 2 minutes. You don't want the meat to get past 125ºF when tested with a meat probe. 
  6. Remove to a rack and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. 
  7. Carve and serve immediately. 
When grilling on a Big Green Egg use the plate setter for indirect grilling. 

Allow roast to rest so the juices stay in the meat. 
Carve thick slices. An electric knife works
great or a very sharp carving knife.

Fresh Fruit Salad with Citrus Honey Dressing



Here's a salad that is refreshing, simple and perfect for the patio season!  The honey and citrus dressing really makes the fruit pop. You can add or subtract fruits to your taste.

10 cups of fresh fruit (as follows, or your choice)
  • pineapple, cored and cut into small pieces
  • orange segments
  • strawberries, cut up
  • red grapes, halved
  • fresh blueberries
  • kiwi, cut in bite size pieces
  • shredded coconut, optional
  1. Place cut fruit in large bowl and refrigerate.
  2. Add citrus honey dressing (below) just before serving and toss.
  3. Sprinkle with coconut, if desired.
 Citrus Honey Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4  cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  1. Place ingredients in small jar and shake to combine.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use. 


How can you go wrong with a fresh fruit salad?

Enjoy!

 

Bread for the Journey


May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, 
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14


As I was thinking about what to write for this bread for the journey, I felt convicted of the little time I have spent in God's word and I thought about how important it is to be filled up in order to have something to give. 

It goes alongside the importance of filling my mind with what will edify and help me to be an encouragement to those around me. If I'm consumed with myself, if I worry all the time or envy others - what's in my heart will come out in my words. However, when I remember God's grace, forgiveness and faithfulness to me, my words can be a like a healing salve to others. 

When my thoughts are pleasing to God, my words will be edifying to others as well.  My prayer is that, just as we picture the devastation that a winter storm brought about, we can be those who help bring new life to the scene by giving words of hope and encouragement. 

Flashback Friday ~ Barcelona Salad


We have really enjoyed some wonderful Mediterranean dishes while traveling in Europe.  I never tire of this simple mixture of tomatoes and avocados, blended with herbs and cheeses.  You can also make skewers from the same selection and use them as appetizers.  This is also known as a Caprese Salad.
One of the things I have noticed with Flashback Fridays is how we have changed our presentation styles from almost 10 years ago.  This time I've mixed it up and created a small Roma tomato as a single salad dish with the same results.  It's fun to be creative with food.

Salad Ingredients
  • Avocados
  • Lettuce greens
  • Roma tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • Boccocine, medallions or mini-mini (fresh soft cheese)
  • Fresh Basil
  • short skewer sticks
Mediterranean Salad Dressing
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons liquid honey 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk thoroughly to combine.
  2. I often use my small immersion blender to mix this dressing.
  3. Arrange your salad bowls or skewers with lettuce adding basil, avocados, tomatoes, and bocconcini. 
  4. Pour dressing over your ingredients.
  5. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

Lemon Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting






A cake-like bar with a fresh lemon taste.  Just right for spring!

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  •  1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • slivered almonds, toasted
  1. Grease and flour 9x13 inch pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. Beat egg whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form.
  3. Gradually beat in icing sugar and continue to beat until stiff.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar until well blended.
  6. Add egg yolks and continue to beat until light.
  7. Add lemon juice and zest, mixing well.
  8. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until blended.
  9. Gently fold in beaten egg whites, until completely incorporated.
  10. Spread in prepared pan.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and dry.
  12. When completely cool, icing with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with chopped almonds.
  13. These bars freeze well.

Spinach Salad with Crisp Hot Capicola



This spinach salad can be served as an appetizer course or as a main dish. If you are running out of time and need to take a shortcut, purchased Ranch dressing with some added Buttermilk makes a perfect pourable dressing for the salad.

  • 8 cups washed baby spinach
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms  
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 8 - 10 thin slices hot capicola 
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and add mushrooms.  Stir-fry until the mushrooms have released the moisture and they have begun to caramelize on both sides.  Set aside to cool.
  2. In the same skillet, stir-fry the Hot Capicola.   Remove from skillet to paper towel.  It will crisp up as it cools.  Break into pieces.
  3. Arrange the spinach, mushrooms, eggs and the Hot Capicola on a platter.  Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and serve with dressing on the side. 
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • a dash Tabasco sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Whisk the ingredients together or blend together in a blender.  Pour into a small jug for serving and chill until serving time.  


Lemon Rolls



I found a number of recipes using lemon cake mix for these rolls. This one was adapted from the kraft website. They were delicious! They were moist and tender and had the most wonderful lemon flavor. Lemon is one of my favorites so how could I go wrong?? I had a few leftover after giving most away and made french toast..amazing!

Dough:
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast (fast rising)
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups flour
Filling:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 package lemon flavor instant pudding
Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  1. In mixer with dough hook combine cake mix, salt, yeast and flour. 
  2. Add warm water and vanilla and mix well, kneading until ingredients are combined. If the dough is sticky lightly oil your hands and form dough into a ball. 
  3. Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled, approx 1 hour.
  4. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface roll half of the dough into a 9" x 13" size.
  5. Brush with half of the butter.
  6. In a small bowl combine white sugar, zest from the lemon and the lemon flavored instant pudding until well combined.
  7. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over buttered dough. Roll up dough lengthwise. Slice dough into 12 pieces. Place in one of the greased 9" x 13" pans. Repeat with remaining dough for the second pan.
  8. Cover pans and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.
  9. Bake in a 350º for for 25 minutes or until golden in color.
  10. Remove from oven and immediately spread rolls with frosting. Optional: sprinkle with lemon zest. These rolls are best fresh but freeze well and a quick warm up in the microwave will result in a 'just out of the oven' freshly baked roll.
  11. Yield: 24 rolls 

Brewed Ice Tea Concentrate



The snow is finally gone and soon we will be sitting around the fireside and enjoying wiener roasts and picnics. This is a delicious economical homemade brewed ice tea were you control the amount of sugar and type of sweeteners you want to use. This amount makes lots for a crowd and the recipe can be cut in half. 

  • 16 cups water
  • 8 cups sugar (I used less)
  • 20 bags of black tea
  • Fresh lemons
  1. Bring 16 cups water to a boil.
  2. Add the sugar and simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the tea bags and steep for 15 minutes. 
  4. Strain the tea bags but do not squeeze out the excess liquid as it can make the tea taste bitter.
  5. Makes 4 - 2 liter jars or 8 - 2 cup pints.
  6. In a large pitcher with ice pour in 2 cups of concentrate and add 7-8 cups of water. 
  7. Add 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice. (Optional).
  8.  Keep about 2 weeks refrigerated.

Bread For The Journey

All to Us!

This past fall, we had the privilege of working with an Alpha Class in our church.
I knew what was involved from previous experiences.
A solid commitment of time:
teaching, cooking food, setting up, taking down and cleaning up for twelve weeks.
Now, looking back it was so worthwhile, as we saw the baptism candidates share their testimonies.
We shared life with a man who had just recently lost his wife.  He was searching for answers.
We shared life with a young teen who is fearing the loss of her father plagued with cancer,
waiting for a miracle.
 We shared life with a young woman and mother who had been living with addictions,
committing her life to God.
We shared life with a teen boy living with cerebral palsy, sharing his heart's passion.
For those of us who have lived the Christian faith all our life, we must commit to: 
Believing Christ!
Living Christ!
Sharing Christ!
Our prayer is that all of you will be able to understand who Jesus is and the 
claims he has to give you a Hope for the future.

Together, let's worship Jesus this morning and sing "All to Us."
If you believe this, go out, live it and share it......

Rhubarb Bar ~ Flash Back Friday



The last time I posted this Rhubarb Bar in 2010 these little girls were not even born.  Now they are well on their way to making it on their own.  This recipe is also in our first cookbook Mennonite Girls Can Cook available here and also on Amazon.    This is our family spring favorite recipe.



Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening  (or use all butter)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • milk to make 2/3 cup
Filling
  • 7 cups finely chopped rhubarb
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup minute tapioca
  • 2 egg whites
Icing
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
Method
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt, cut in the butter and shortening until the crumbs are the size of oatmeal. You can use your food processor for this too. Pulse, don't run at full speed.
  2. Put the egg yolks in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 2/3 cup.
  3. Slowly add to the flour mixture and pulse with the food processor until it begins to come together or mix in with your fork.
  4. Turn the pastry onto the counter and knead it into a ball, just until it comes together.
  5. Wrap in a plastic wrap, shaping it into a flat rectangular disk.
  6. Refrigerate.
  7. Chop rhubarb into about 1/2 inch square pieces.
  8. Add the sugar and tapioca and set aside.
  9. Take the dough from the refrigerator and divide in half.
  10. Roll each piece out thin enough for a 10 X 15" pan or use the same amount of dough for a 9 X 13" pan plus a 5 X 7" pan.
  11. This dough is rolled very thin. Use a bench scraper to carefully lift the dough.
  12. Don't be afraid to add a bit of flour if you need to.
  13. Once you have the rhubarb covering the first piece of dough, cover with the second piece of dough.. . and crimp the edges together.
  14. Whip the egg whites until they just begin to stiffen.
  15. Use your hands to spread the egg whites over the pastry.
  16. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes. . or until golden brown.
  17. While the bar is still warm, combine icing ingredients and drizzle over top.

Refrigerator Potato Rolls



This has been our family's favorite dinner roll over the years...known as 'grammy buns' these days.  I posted this recipe on my personal blog many years ago and it is also featured in our first cookbook, but today I am sharing it here.The original recipe called for mashed potatoes and active dry yeast; I prefer to use instant mashed potato flakes and instant yeast. The dough can be refrigerated for up to three days...the perfect solution for having fresh rolls without much fuss when guests arrive.  I often divide the dough in two, using half for crescent rolls and half for cinnamon buns (instructions below).

Refrigerator Potato Rolls
  • 2 cups very warm water
  • 1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 6 - 6 1/2 cups flour
  1. Stir together the water, potato flakes and sugar. 
  2. Add eggs, softened butter, and yeast mixed with 3 cups flour. 
  3. Beat with mixer on high speed. 
  4. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until dough can be easily handled. Knead well. 
  5. Place in a greased, covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight. 
  6. Divide dough into four equal portions, and roll each piece into a circle on a buttered surface.  
  7. Cut each circle into 8 wedges; roll each wedge to form a crescent.
  8. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, at least one hour.  
  9. Bake at 375°F for 12 -15 minutes.
 Yield: 32 dinner rolls


Cinnamon Bun Variation:
  1. To make cinnamon buns, divide the dough into two portions. 
  2. Roll each into a large rectangle and spread liberally with softened butter. 
  3. Spread each rectangle with 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup raisins (optional).
  4. Roll as for jelly roll, starting at long edge. 
  5. Seal edges and slice into 1 1/4 inch slices and place on greased pans. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. 
  7. Remove from pans while warm and frost.

Seriously Good Oatmeal Cookies (gluten free)


My oldest daughter made these and the certainly live up to the name of the cookies, they are seriously good and I would not have guessed that they are gluten free. She got the recipe from Aunt Peggy.

  • 1/4 cup Margarine
  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoon White sugar
  • 1egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup White rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons Millet flour or oat flour
  • 3 tablespoons Almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons Potato starch
  • 2-3 tablespoons Flax seed (opt.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg (especially good with raisins)
  • 1 1/2 cup Only oats quick oats (gluten free)
  • 3/4 cup Chocolate Chips or raisins
  • 1/4-1/3 cup  unsweetened Coconut


  1. Beat margarine and coconut oil, egg and vanilla.  
  2. Mix together all dry and stir in or mix in on low speed with mixer.  
  3. Stir in raisins or chocolate chips.  
  4. Bake at 350 11 minutes  
  5. Makes 2 dozen really delicious cookies.  
  6. Recipe can easily be doubled.

Italian Baked Frittata

A good morning to you all...giving you a quick 'Tuesday Tulip Tip'  I love tulips but hesitate to buy them because they always droop within a day or two.  So a good friend gave me this tip. Take a small paring knife and just slit the stem about 1/4 inch below the flower and make a small notch about a 1/8th of an inch.I bought fresh tulips from Costco and made an experiment.  I notched each tulip except for one. Can you obviously tell the difference?  Hoping you can enjoy some fresh tulips as our valley has begun its annual tulip festival. Take a sneak preview of whats to come your way in the next few days.     


This is a perfect dish to serve for a Sunday brunch.  It feeds a small crowd and is filled with spicy Italian sausage and fresh asparagus combined with a mixture of Italian cheeses. It's best at room temperature.  This pairs nicely with a Ceasar salad or Lovella's freshly cut up Papaya Salad.

Italian Bake Frittata
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage (loose)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons roughly chopped rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 1 package of Italian cheeses (320grams or 3 1/2 cups)
  • 10 eggs
Step one:
  1. Heat oven to 350 °
  2. Cook or blanch asparagus for one minute, bring water to a rolling boil,  then remove and rinse with cold water and drain. Squeeze moisture from the asparagus and set aside.
  3. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook Italian sausage (remove casings from links first) stirring until it resembles well-browned and crumbled.  (6-8 minutes)
  4. Remove the sausage and set aside.
Step two: 
  1. Heat olive oil in frying pan and add onion stirring until it is lightly browned.  
  2. Add garlic and rosemary and cook for one more minute.
  3. Turn heat off and stir in chopped asparagus and sausage.
  4. Let mixture cool in pan.
Step Three:
  1. Spoon dabs of ricotta cheese over greens mixture.
  2. Sprinkle with Italian cheeses.
  3. Combine eggs in a bowl and season them.  Mix well.
  4. Pour seasoned eggs over the mixture, tilting the pan to distribute them evenly.
  5. Bake for 30 -35 minutes until top is golden and eggs are no longer runny at the center.  
  6. Use a skewer or paring knife to check if it is cooked inside. 
  7. Blot any access oil on paper towels and let it cool for 15 minutes.
  8. Then cut into wedges and serve. 
  9. This tastes best at room temperature. 





Quick and Easy Chocolate Flan Cake


Looking for a quick and beautiful dessert? This is a take off of the chocolate Bodentorte-wanna-be- Black Forest. I use a cake mix, because it's light and makes for just the right flavor combinations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Devil's Food Chocolate Cake Mix ( will make 2 cakes or cupcakes on the side)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 can cherry pie filling
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup whipping cream 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Method:
  1. Grease a flan cake pan well, making sure all the creases get covered. Dust with flour and tap to cover lightly. 
  2. Mix cake according to package directions. Spread about half of the batter into pan, to just below the rim. Use the leftover batter for cupcakes.
  3. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes, until toothpick tests done.
  4. Let sit in pan for about 10 minutes. Loosen edges with butter knife or pull back from edge with clean fingers if some help is needed. Cover with a cake plate and flip. It patches easily if you don't totally succeed. Allow to cool. 
  5. Mix cherry pie filling and strawberries. Spread onto cake.
  6. Beat whipping cream with sugar until you can lift beaters to form peaks. 
  7. Spread onto cake. Keeps well for next day. 
Alternately, with the extra batter, stir in the other half of the cherry pie filling and bake in a square pan. Freeze to have on hand to serve with ice cream and hot fudge sauce.

Bread for the Journey





We recently spent some time with our children and grandchildren in Hawaii celebrating our 40th anniversary.  What a celebration it was.  Our time spent together brought us so much joy.  


Our hearts desire for our children and grandchildren is that they will know the faithfulness of God.  
We rejoice in God's glorious goodness and we want to be faithful to express that in ways that draw them towards a personal relationship with Christ. 

Every morning we pray for our dear little ones.  As grandparents, we believe we have a responsibility to pray for them but we see it as a privilege.  

Not sure how to pray for the children in your life?  

  • pray that they will have a healthy fear of things that could cause them harm or distract them from the truths of God's word
  • pray for their parents that they will have wisdom in raising them
  • pray that we will be faithful to model the gospel  
  • pray that they will be motivated in their school work and be thankful that they can go to school
  • pray that they will be kind to other kids and kids will be kind to them as well
  • pray that they can be brave and be courageous
  • pray that God will reveal himself to them, opening their eyes to believe that Jesus loves them and died for their sins and has forgiven them
  • pray that they will know that God is faithful on their good days and their bad days
  • pray that their body and mind remain strong and sound and that they would use them to honor the Lord
  • pray that they will learn that God is sovereign in their lives
  • pray that they would be obedient to God's word
  • pray that they would choose to serve him all the days of their lives

Our time away with our family was an investment in physical rest, relationship building and also in taking opportunities to talk about what God is doing in their lives and in ours.

What a celebration it was! 
Thank you, Lord!


Flapper Pie - Flashback Friday


Flapper Pie is simply a cooked vanilla custard in a graham crust and topped with meringue. It's best eaten fresh the day it's made. I find that using a good quality pure vanilla makes a big difference in the taste of this pie.
 Yields one deep dish pie.
Crust:
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/8 cup white sugar
  1. Melt butter and stir in crumbs and sugar. Press mixture into a pie plate and bake in 350ºF oven for 8-10 minutes. 
Filling:
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 eggs yolks (save whites for meringue)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 heaping tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Put all ingredients except vanilla into a large microwaveable bowel and beat well. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Give mixture a good whisk and microwave several more minutes until mixture is bubbly ban begins to thicken and there is no chalky taste from the cornstarch. 
  2. Add vanilla and butter and stir until combined. 
  3. Pour into pie crust.
Meringue:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  1. Beat egg whites together with cream of tarter until soft peaks from.
  2. Add sugar and beat until whites are stiff.
  3. Pile on top of hot filling and spread right to the edges.
  4. Bake in 400ºF over for 6-8 minutes until golden. 
  5. Remove to cooling rack. Serve warm or cooled. Best served on the same day so that the filling remains creamy. 


Rustic Biscuit Bagels




You don't need yeast for these bagels, I can hardly believe it! Great texture, soft and slightly chewy. and a little rustic looking! They are wonderful toasted and served with jam or cream cheese or for sandwiches. This is a small recipe, can easily be doubled.
Thank you to my dear friend Marlene for the recipe.
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup non fat greek yogurt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sesame seeds, and poppy seeds.
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add yogurt with a fork until well combined.
  3. Dump dough on to a lightly floured counter top, knead a few times until it comes together.
  4. Divide dough into 4 balls. Flatten each ball into 1/2" thickness. Poke a hole in the centre of the flattened ball and stretch into shape of a bagel.
  5. Place bagels on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or both.
  7. Bake in a 350 oven for 20 - 25 minutes until golden in color. 
  8. Yield: 4 bagels

Potato Salad with Dill




There must be millions of Potato Salad recipes! 
I'm sure that everyone thinks theirs is the best.
If you search the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Blog, you'll have several very good ones
 to choose from. 
Today I'm adding my recipe to the offerings 
 I love the flavour the celery salt and the fresh Dill add to the salad. 
They are additions that just might suit your taste.

Please note: I've not been precise in my measurements as you may want to adjust the seasoning to your taste.  Add the lesser amount first and then taste it before adding more.

  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled (My rule of thumb is one potato and one egg per person)
  • 1 large stalk celery diced
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1- 2 teaspoons prepared mustard (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste (I usually add a few sprinkles of Montreal Steak Spice)
  • half and half cream if needed
  • 2-3 tablespoons pickle juice (from either sweet pickles or dills)
  • chopped green onion
  1. Boil potatoes with their skins on just until a knife inserted into one of the potatoes goes in easily.  Do  not overcook. Drain and cool overnight in the fridge.
  2. Peel potatoes by scraping with a knife. Dice potatoes into a large bowl.
  3. Dice hard boiled eggs into the bowl with the potatoes and then cut through the potatoes and eggs with your knife to further dice them.
  4. Add chopped celery.
  5. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, celery salt, dill and salt and pepper.  Add pickle juice and stir well.
  6. Add a tablespoon or so of cream and more pickle juice to make the dressing the consistency you prefer.
  7. Add 1/2 of dressing and green onions to the potatoes and eggs and mix until evenly coated. Add more dressing until it looks right to you.  (Some like a creamier salad, some a more dry salad) 
  8. Serves 8 -10
Add dressing and mix salad no more than an hour before serving as the potatoes seem to absorb the dressing if mixed too far ahead. Be sure to refrigerate mixed salad until serving and return leftovers to the fridge promptly after the meal.