Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Ricotta Berry Toast


Are you ever bored of your breakfast choices? If you are you must try this! Delicious!! My granddaughter shared this recipe with me although I have slightly changed her version. You could use the same method with different kinds of bread.
Depending on how many you want to serve adjust recipe as needed.
  • 2 croissants
  • Olive oil
  • 6 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Fresh berries of your choice..I used strawberries, blueberries and mango
  • Honey for drizzling
  • Sea salt for sprinkling
  1. Cut croissants in half lengthwise and brush with olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle each half croissant with 1 teaspoon sugar.
  3. Place sugared side of croissants in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until golden in color and the sugar has caramelized. Remove and cool briefly.
  4. In a small bowl mix together ricotta, remaining 2 teaspoons sugar, and vanilla.
  5. Divide the mixture among the croissant halves spreading evenly.
  6. Pile on berries, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Serve immediately.
  7. Serves: 2 - 4

Macarons



A professional macaron maker I am not.
I love the light crispy dainty filled with buttercream but have found that I've had to try and try again to make a macaron that I'm satisfied to post.  These macarons are still not perfect and I'll continue to practice them because practice makes perfect. 

The recipe I am sharing today is without special flavourings but I can assure you I plan to get creative in my macaron making and will come back with some flavoured macarons in the future.

There are so many fantastic video tutorials and thorough explanations available.  Before you begin, it is well worth your time to read all the hints available on various websites.
I've used the ingredient amounts from  Beth's Foolproof Macaron.
Please go check her fantastic photos and instructions.
Her video tutorial will give you the confidence you need to try this very special treat.


While I was practicing, I found there are many willing samplers and photo opportunities.
There is never a shortage of those willing to come to a tea party.


I learned that adding the gel food coloring to the egg whites instead of the almond mixture since getting the color right takes time and easily results in over mixing the batter.  At first I tried to divide the batter so that I could make two colors. This was not a good idea as it resulted in an overmixed batter.


I also realized after trial and error that my farm fresh eggs needed to be aged slightly.
Several different sites suggested putting the egg whites into a bowl and microwaving them for 10 seconds.  Once I started to do this, my macarons turned the corner and I started having more success.


The easiest way I have found to fill the piping bag is to put the bag into a tall glass to fill.


I'm still having a hard time making my macarons perfectly uniform.
The best way to pipe them all the same size is to make a template by tracing  small circles on a piece of parchment paper with a fine black marker and then using that as a template to trace circles onto all your pieces of parchment.

Have you tried making macarons?
What are your best tips?
  • 2 cups pure icing/powdered sugar (make sure it doesn't have added cornstarch) 
  • 1 cup almond flour (120 grams) 
  • pinch salt
  • 3 egg whites  (this should work out to about 6 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • gel food coloring (optional)
  1. Prepare  parchment paper by tracing 1 inch circles as I described above. This will be your template.  You will need two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Don't pipe directly onto the template. 
  2. Prepare the almond mixture by placing the almond flour, salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar in a food processor and pulsing about 10 seconds.  Add the remaining icing sugar and sift.  Any bits of almond flour that remain need to be removed. If there is a fair bit of almond bits left I found the easiest way to keep the amount of almond measurement right was to measure the amount of bits left in the sieve and replace with the same amount of almond flour and sift and repeat until 1 cup of almond flour is used in the recipe.
  3. In a large clean bowl place egg whites, cream of tartar and the 1/4 cup sugar.  Beat until foamy and then add a tiny bit of gel food coloring and continue to beat and then adjust color.  The color will fade during the baking so unless you want a very soft colored macaron, make the batter vibrant.
  4. Beat until stiff peaks form.  The meringue should be very stiff.
  5. Fold the almond flour into the beaten egg whites until the mixture is like lava. It is good to test it in between by dropping a small spoonful on a plate. It should still mound slightly when first piped and then slowly flatten out.  If you overmix it will be too runny and the macarons will not have the feet that make them so pretty and if you undermix, the macarons will not have a smooth top.  I've had both of those scenarios happen and will be happy to sympathize with you.
  6. Transfer the macaron batter to a piping bag with a 1/2 inch tip. If you don't have a tip that size the bag can just be cut off to make a 1/2 inch hole which I find works fine. Pipe the batter and then tap the cookies sheet hard on the counter several times to release any air bubbles.
  7. Preheat the oven to 300. F.  There is no need to preheat the oven earlier since the macarons now need to sit for 30 minutes. The batter needs to dry on top so that the macarons will rise up from the bottom making the feet. It might still feel slightly tacky but it should not stick to your fingers before placing them in the oven.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.  
Once the macarons are cooled and paired up with their best matches, they can be filled with  buttercream of your choice.  I have always made my buttercream made with a custard base and found that this is just the right amount of buttercream for two recipes of macarons.  It can easily be divided in half if you are making only one recipe.  

  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavouring
  1. Use a whisk to mix the milk and flour in a microwave safe bowl.  Once no flour lumps remain, microwave several minutes or until a thick paste forms.  Stir well and seal the top with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature. It is important that it has completely cooled or the butter will begin to melt.  
  2. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until the sugar has lost its grainy feeling.  Slowly add the cooled custard and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flavouring.
  3. The buttercream can be made ahead and chilled.  Allow to come to room temperature before filling macarons.
Macarons can be made ahead and frozen or kept in the refrigerator for several days.  



Macarons with Rhubarb Strawberry Filling


I love to make macarons for the sheer pleasure of their delicate feminine appearance.  During peony season I have pink tucked everywhere and it even filters into what I do in the kitchen.  
If you are terrified of making macarons there are so many good youtube videos and thorough instructions available online.  I'm going to give you my few hints that work well for me.

First of all, I would not attempt to make macarons without a kitchen scale. A kitchen scale is not expensive and I also use it weighing Paska loaves to French Bread loaves for even baking.
You will just need to zero out your scale after you put a small bowl on it and then you can pour in your almond flour until you have 100 grams and then use another small bowl, zero out the weight and weigh out your powdered/icing sugar.  

I do not weigh my eggs.  I use eggs fresh from our farm and haven't found that I need to age them ahead of time.

You can use any filling you prefer, I love using heavy cream that has been whipped and very slightly sweetened. I use a whipping cream stabilizer so that the cream stays firm.  You can use a bit of instant pudding to have the same result.  

I make my recipe small so that I am only baking one pan.  That way, if I want to make different colours, I am not trying to divide the batch up to add food colouring.  

You can use a macaron pan but I use a heavy cookie sheet with no sides.  I used a sharpie pen to draw 42 little circles onto the pan. I put a sheet of parchment paper over top and then pipe my macaron batter evenly using the template I can see through the parchment.  After you have made macarons for a while, the size will become second nature but at first, it is helpful to follow a shape to make them even in size.

The last piece of advice I have is that if at first, you don't succeed, try it again.  Mine didn't turn out the first time and I've had some less than photo-worthy macarons through the years but I enjoyed the challenge of making macarons that are as beautiful as they are delicious. 

  • 100 grams almond flour (ground almonds)  about 1 cup
  • 100 grams icing/powdered sugar
  • 2 medium egg whites
  • 2 grinds sea salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • a drop or two of liquid food colouring of your choice
  1. Preheat oven to 3oo F (not convection)
  2. Run the almond flour and icing sugar through a sieve into a large bowl. Stir it together to make sure it is well blended.  Discard any bits of almond that didn't fall through the sieve.  Estimate the amount you have discarded and add that amount of ground almonds into the sieve to make up for the amount you are discarding. 
  3. In another very clean glass bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the two egg whites until foamy.  Add the food colouring. Slowly begin to add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites are thick and glossy.  Whipped egg whites should not move when the bowl is tipped. 
  4. Transfer the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the whites into the almond mixture.  Fold the two together just until the batter falls from the spatula in a wide ribbon.  
  5. Spoon the batter into a piping bag that has a 1/4 inch circle opening. 
  6. After you have piped out all your macarons (this recipe will make 42 circles) give the pan a few good taps on the counter to help settle the batter and to release any air bubbles under the surface.
  7. Let the macarons sit until they are no longer tacky and feel dry to the touch. This could take about 30 minutes.  If the macarons have a little tip on them, gently press it down.  
  8. Bake the macarons 8 minutes, open the oven to release the steam, shut the oven again and bake another 8 minutes or until the macarons feel firm.  
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before trying to move them or trying to fill them. 
  10. Fill with your favourite buttercream or the filling below
Rhubarb Compote with Strawberry Cream  Filling
  • 2 cups  chopped red rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minute tapioca
  1. Combine rhubarb, sugar and tapioca and allow to sit 15 minutes.
  2. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven until the rhubarb has become tender and the tapioca has thickened the sauce. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Strawberry Cream
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry gelatin/jello
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package Dr Oetkers Whip Cream stabilizer or 1 tablespoon instant vanilla pudding
  1. Dissolve gelatin and boiling water in a custard cup (or similar sized bowl). Stir until all the gelatin has dissolved.  Allow gelatin to cool to room temperature before adding to the whipping cream.
  2. Beat heavy cream and sugar and stabilizer/instant pudding in a medium bowl.  As the cream starts to thicken, add the room temperature gelatin and beat until the cream has thickened.
  3. Put the Strawberry Cream into a piping bag with a star tip.
To Assemble
  1. Match the macarons into teams of two. Keep the best macarons for the top)
  2. Put a dab of Rhubarb Compote in the middle of half of the macarons and pipe the strawberry cream over top.
  3. Put the matching macaron top over the filling and gently press together.  Refrigerate up to 24 hours or freeze.  They freeze beautifully.  
Macarons filled with buttercream (icing sugar and butter) will keep well in the refrigerator for several days.  





Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas


I recently discovered this quick and easy method for preparing chicken fajitas.  The seasoned chicken and veggies are roasted in one pan in the oven.  While they are cooking, there is time to prepare the guacamole and other fixin's.

  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1 pound), thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium onion,  halved and then cut in slices
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • fajita seasoning (recipe below) or 2 tablespoons of packaged taco seasoning mix
  • 6 - 8" tortillas 
  • Avocado, salsa, sour cream, cheese for toppings.

Fajita Seasoning:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder  
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper  

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
  3. Combine seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Distribute the veggies and chicken pieces evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Toss to coat.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.  
  6. Stir and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and veggies are tender.
  7. Serve hot from the oven on warm tortillas with optional toppings, as desired.


Chocolate Cream Sandwich Cookies


Our guest baker today is Teddy, whom I love baking with at least as much as I did with her daddy!


She will be demonstrating homemade sandwich cookies, using a non-stick sandwich cookie pan and the recipe that came with it - with slight adaptations.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups flour, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
filling:
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Lightly spray pan cavities with pan spray.
  2. In a small /medium bowl, sift flour and cocoa. Stir to blend.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat egg and sugar well, gradually adding the oil to blend well. Add salt and vanilla
  4. Add flour and cocoa mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. 
  5. Shape into a log and cut into four strips lengthwise. Cut each strip into 12 even pieces.
  6. Press pieces into pan cavities. If your pan fits 12, so you will need to do this four times to yield 24 sandwich cookies. (refrigerate unsued portion)
  7. Bake for 9 - 11 minutes, until cookies look dry. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely.
  8. For filling, beat shortening, icing sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until smooth. 
  9. Place into icing tube or bag (or zip lock bag with a small hole ) using no tip or a plain large tip to drop just a dollop of icing on the no design side of half of  the cookies. Top with other half of the cookies, design side up. 
  10. Store, covered loosely, or with lid ajar so they remain crisp. Yields 24 sandwich cookies


If you plan to purchase a pan, I would suggest the 24 cavity size.

Bread for the Journey




To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 (Good News Bible)

It takes courage to live our life by faith and not by sight, choosing to let go of control and place our hope into the Lord's hands rather than in our own.
Our journey here on earth is uncertain and we can't see what is around the next corner which may give us a real mix of emotion including anything from excitment to fear.

Faith in something we can not see challenges us to trust God to be true to His Word and promises. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.

God sees clearly the path before us and sees what we can not see. At times I struggle fully grasping that truth for myself even if my life experience has proven to me that indeed God is faithful. My desire is to keep strengthening my trust in Him and to encourage those that I journey with to do the same.

Prayer; Lord help us to keep our eyes fixed on you Jesus and not on the road in front of us heavily laden with fog straining our eyes to see rhat only you can see, but to trust that you will lead us as we walk in obedience to your Word and making our faith stronger with each step, trusting that you will never fail us or forsake us. In your precious name I pray. Amen. 




Potato Tomato Bake - Flashback Friday



Looking for a different potato recipe?  For Flash Back Friday I'm hoping you'll try
 this Potato Tomato Bake It is simply made and so delicious.
My favourite kind of comfort food.
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup grated Gruyre or Swiss Cheese
  • salt, pepper, basil
  1. Cut onion in half and slice lengthwise from stem.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a frying pan and saute onions over medium heat until soft and caramelized.
  3. Spread the caramelized onions in a layer in the bottom of a buttered glass flan dish, or 9" cake pan.
  4. Thinly slice potatoes and tomatoes.
  5. On top of onions, lay potatoes and tomatoes closely together in an overlapping circular pattern, alternating 2 or 3 thin slices of potato with 1 slice of tomato, seasoning lightly with salt, pepper and basil as you go around. Continue overlapping until bottom of dish is covered.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in 350 F degree oven for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender and top is browned.
  7. Cut into wedges to serve and enjoy!


                                                                                                       

Chocolate Marshmallow Squares , Gluten free




These are delicious squares and I almost didn't get a photo! I grabbed the last piece before it too disappeared! If you don't need them gluten free, just substitute the base with your own regular recipe.

BASE
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup Julie's flour or gluten free flour mix of your choice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 
MARSHMALLOW LAYER 
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows 
CHOCOLATE TOP LAYER 
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter 
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup gluten free rice crispy cereal 
  1. Crumble all ingredients for base into fine crumbs and press into a 9x9 inch pan. 
  2. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. 
  3. Remove from oven, scatter marshmallows over the top and return to oven for 3 more minutes. Remove from oven. 
  4. In a saucepan stir together peanut butter, chocolate chips and sugar, then place on medium/low element and stir until  melted. and smooth. 
  5. Add the 1 cup cereal , stir and pour over the marshmallows. 
  6. Let sit in fridge until set before cutting into squares...  ( I served a gooey helping to my husband just after I made them, with ice-cream,  and he thought it was the best dessert ever!) 

Tuna Melt over Biscuits


When I think back to Mom, who's been gone for 18 years, I think of how she was so frugal as she raised a family of seven children.  She would be milking the cows and washing up the dairy and come in and serve up a quick nutritious meal.  One of our favorite meals was a simple creamed tuna served on a hot buttered biscuit. Strawberry jam came out for dessert.   This recipe is found in the Mennonite Treasury.

Creamed Tuna

  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 / 184 g  (7oz) tin tuna (drained and flaked)
  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pimento
  1. Bake up your favorite Biscuit recipe.  
  2. Blend ingredients from the recipe above into a saucepan and heat slowly. 
  3. You can also substitute 1 cup chicken for this recipe.
~~~~~~



Just recently we updated our kitchen.  We replaced the old wooden oak cabinets for the white shaker door style.  It was always my dream to have a white kitchen since we were first married.  But what I like the most in my new kitchen is my farmhouse sink.  That was a must for me. Our cabinet maker suggested it to me because I'm short and so is she.  She spoke from experience and I'm so happy that we made this choice.  And why would I suggest this kind of sink?

  • It sits on top of the kitchen cabinet base.
  • You can stand directly in front of the basin with no countertop or cabinets in between.
  • It serves as my mixing and kneading area.  
  • The sink is generally a lot deeper and wider.
  • It is very useful for washing large pots and pans.
  • It's an undermount sink and easy to wipe the counters while the water runs straight into the kitchen sink.
  • And I  like the rustic character that enhances my country-style kitchen.

 "The Kitchen is still the Heart of the Home"



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.