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I recall both of my grandmas baking perishy. The dough for perishy is similar to pie dough, but somewhat a softer dough. I have used numerous dough recipes but this is one I found in my mom's recipe cards not long ago and I have decided it's my favourite. Very soft and flaky, hold together well and bakes up beautifully.

Ingredients for dough:
  • 5 6/8 cups flour, (I find that 6 cups is too much, so take away several tablespoons and you should have it right)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pound tenderflake lard (room temperature)
  •  2 cups sour cream
Ingredients for apple filling:
  • 4 cups finely peeled and chopped apples
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Measure dry ingredients into bowl.
  2. Work in shortening using a pasty blender until mixture is a fine crumble.
  3. Add sour cream and stir with a fork until you get a soft dough that comes together into a ball. If needed add another spoonful of sour cream.
  4. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead several times to bring dough together into a smooth ball.
  5. Divide dough in half and roll out on a floured board into a thin square. 
  6. Cut into 3" squares. Repeat with second half of dough.
  7. Peel and cut apples into small pieces.
  8. Add sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir well to combine.
  9. Place a small scoop of apple filling onto each square. Pull up the four corners and pinch to seal.
  10. Place on parchment lines baking sheets. 
  11. Bake at 375º for 15-17 minutes. 
These can be made and frozen unbaked. When ready to bake preheat oven to 375º, place on parchment lined pan and bake for 17-20 minutes. 
Yields: approximately 3-4 dozen.
Roll out, cut, fill and pinch.

 Ready to bake....or freeze.

Peanut Butter Cookies

 One can never have enough cookies in the house when one has grandchildren and adult children.  It's always a pleasure when they walk in the door and they smell the fresh aroma of their favorite cookie. My little grandson always looks at me with his big grin and says,  "Oma, I snitched a cookie!" as he digs his hand into the cookie tin. This is our favorite recipe and we've used it for years.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (peanuts, cashews)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, and egg.
  2. Blend in flour, nuts and dry ingredients.
  3. Cover and chill for couple of hours.
  4. Heat oven to 375.  Grease cookie sheets.
  5. Shape dough into 1 inch balls.
  6. Place three inches apart.
  7. Dip fork in flour and flatten in crisscross pattern.  
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
Serves 3 dozen cookies.

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels

What school child could resist a couple of these in their lunch bag?
Make up a batch and pop them into a freezer bag and - good bye lunch making blues.
Right now I'm making them for a birthday open house.
I know from experience that they will be the first to go on the buffet.

The Refrigerator Rolls dough is also great for crescent or cloverleaf rolls. 
Mix it before you go to bed and bake them fresh in the morning.
Credit for this recipe goes to 2 places - a neighbour of ours when I was a child 
and an old Pillsbury cookbook.

For the Refrigerator Rolls:
  • 2 cups warm milk or water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine softened
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • about 6 cups flour - can include 1 or 2 cups whole wheat flour
  1. Place 4 cups flour into bowl of stand mixer. Add sugar, salt, yeast and margarine.
  2. Beat eggs and add to bowl.
  3. Add milk or water (I often use half milk and half water) and let mix until dough is sticky. 
  4. Add remaining flour until dough forms a medium soft ball and then and leave mixer run or knead for about 5 minutes.
  5. Place in greased bowl. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
For the Ham Cheese Pinwheels:
  • about 12 ounces of sliced ham (not too thinly sliced)
  • Cheddar cheese 
  • milk to brush on pinwheels
  • poppy seed or sesame seed
Before taking dough out of the refrigerator in the morning, prepare ham and cheese.
I ask the deli for old fashioned ham sliced slightly thicker than usual. 
I cut the ham into 1 1/2 - 2 inch squares .
I also use old cheddar cheese sliced and cut into 1/2 - 1 inch squares.
You will need one square of sliced ham and 2 squares of cheese for each pinwheel.
  1. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and roll each portion into a square about 12-14 inches.
  2. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 12  3 inch squares. 
  3. From the corner of each square, make a 1 inch diagonal cut towards the centre. Do not cut right through the centre. See photos below.
  4. Place a square of cheddar cheese in the centre uncut portion of each square.
  5. Top each with a square of ham and then top the ham with another square of cheese.
  6. Pull the left point of each triangular cut section toward the middle forming a pinwheeel (like those the children carry in the wind). The trick is to use the same corner on each side of the square. 
  7. Secure the points in the centre with a toothpick.
  8. Place on parchment covered baking sheets and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
  9. Just before baking, brush each pinwheel with milk and sprinkle with either sesame seed or poppy seed.
  10. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until nicely browned.
  11. Remove to racks, take the toothpicks out and let cool. Some of the cheese will have oozed out and you can remove the cheese "puddles" before serving if you like.

Air Buns

I love homemade bread and buns, and baking buns is very therapeutic for me.
I usually add  half whole wheat flour, but this time at the request of my kids, I didn't.
This recipe makes a very light and airy bun. So good.
  • 4 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp. quick rise yeast
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tbsp.vinegar
  • 2 tsp.salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar ( I use 1/4 cup)
  • 10 cups flour/ a little more if needed
  1. Start with about 6 cups flour, add the yeast salt and sugar and stir together.
  2. Add the warm water, oil and vinegar.
  3. Stir together with a wooden spoon adding more flour till it is hard to stir.
  4. Add remaining flour a bit at a time till you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough that is no longer very sticky when kneading.
  5. Knead for a few minutes by hand on a floured surface.
  6. Let rest in greased and covered bowl in a warm place for about 40 minutes. I use my oven with the light on.
  7. Make into buns by either pinching off a piece of dough the size of an egg. Shape into a ball.
  8. Place it onto a 11 x 15 inch baking sheet about three buns across and 4 buns down. About an inch apart from each other. 
  9. Let rise for another 40 minutes.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Watch your oven, temperatures vary.
  11. Share and enjoy!!!!!

Schaubel Zup (Green Bean Soup)

My mom made a soup like this when I was growing up, but it wasn't one of my favorites. Recently I decided to revisit this green bean soup and found that it’s actually better than I remember. The broth, with a little sweet cream in it, reminds me of the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden. How much better can it get? Here is the recipe – a combination of ideas of how my Mom made it and a recipe in the Mennonite Treasury.

  • 1 lb smoked ham hock
  • ½ dried red hot pepper
  • 10 black pepper kernels
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 - 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 6 cups chopped (frozen or fresh) green beans
  • summer savory
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken or beef) if needed, for extra flavor

  1. Cover ham bone with about 8 cups water in large pot. Tie spices into cheesecloth and add to pot. 
  2. Bring to boil, take off scum, and simmer about 1 hour. 
  3. Take out ham bone. Add vegetables and cook another hour. 
  4.  While vegetables are cooking and after ham has cooled somewhat, remove ham from bone, chop into bite size pieces and return to pot. 
  5. About ½ hour before it’s done, add a handful of summer savory, tied together for easy removal. If you can’t get summer savory, use a tiny sprinkle of thyme. Adjust flavors with bouillon if needed.
  6.  Add ½ cup sweet cream or sour cream, before serving. Enjoy a trip down memory lane.
To make this soup with farmer sausage, simply cook  peeled and chopped sausage along with vegetables for an hour. You can also pre-cook the onion, then add water, sausage and vegetables. Use bouillon cube and summer savory for flavor.

Chokecherry Syrup

As a young girl I remember my mother making syrup once the chokecherries were ripe. We called it 'supsil'. I didn't always enjoy picking the berries but oh my I did love the syrup. My favorite way of eating this is to dip fresh zwiebach in the syrup. A bit messy but so worth it. It is also wonderful on pancakes.
This syrup makes great gifts.
  • 4 cups chokecherry juice
  • 3 cups sugar
  1. Place whatever amount of chokecherries you have in a pot, cover just barely with water, bring to boil and simmer till the berries are soft.
  2. Mash berries, potato masher works well.
  3. Strain berries in a large sieve pressing down to get pulp with the juice.
  4. Whatever amount of juice you end up with, adjust sugar accordingly.  1 cup less sugar than juice is the ratio.
  5. Bring strained juice to boil, add sugar, bring back to boil and boil for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Pour into sterilized jars or into pretty decorative bottles. Keep refrigerated.
  7. Yield: 4 1/2 cups syrup

Peach and Red Pepper Jelly

Let the last of summer's bounty continue to come home from your local markets, or from your gardens. We don't have a garden but we do have one planter that we always plant with peppers of all kinds. It always amazes me at the crop it gives. I still had some peaches from the pies I made not long ago and with so many peppers thought a bit of peach and red pepper jelly would be nice to have in the pantry. It was a bit of an experiment with measurements, and the end result was not a thick jelly, but I really liked the consistency. A little more like a thick pourable sauce rather than jelly. It will be perfect as an appetizer over cream cheese served with crackers or poured over chicken breasts for a sweet peppery glaze.

  • 2 cups finely chopped red peppers
  • 2 habenero peppers, chopped fine (use gloves when handling these hot peppers)
  • 2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • juice from 1 fresh lime
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 box Certo
  1. Wash jars and and new sealer lids and then sterilize with boiling water. 
  2. Chop peppers and peaches and place in a large pot.
  3. Add vinegar, sugar and lime juice. Stir together.
  4. Cook over medium high heat for 15 minutes turning down if need be but make sure it continues to boil. Stay with it and stir often.
  5. Add box of Certo and boil for 3 minutes, stirring the whole time.
  6. Pour into hot clean jars and seal with hot dry lids. The lids will pop as the jelly cools and lids seal. Check to make sure all lids have snapped down. Store in a cool dark area. If lids did not seal, store in refrigerator. 

Peach Pie

We have been enjoying a lot of peaches around here lately.  When it came time to make peach pie, I came here to the blog to find a recipe.  There were all kinds of variations...from a slab pies to frozen pie filling...but not a basic peach pie.  So here it is, just as simple as could be.

  • Pastry for a 2 crust 9 inch pie (use your favorite recipe or purchase ready-made pastry.)
  • 4 cups peaches,  peeled and  sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Minute Tapioca
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 °F.
  2. Roll pastry to line 9-10 inch pie plate. Roll out top crust and set aside.
  3. Mix peaches, sugar, tapioca and lemon juice. Pour into prepared pie shell.
  4. Dampen edges.
  5. Top with second crust.
  6. Trim and crimp edge to seal.
  7. Pierce top crust with fork to vent.
  8. Sprinkle top crust with sugar (optional).
  9. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue to bake for another 40 minutes...or until filling is bubbling.

Allow to cool...then slice and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. And that is one of the delights of the season!

Orange Peach Jam

Combine this jam, slightly runny and rich in citrus flavor, with cream cheese on a bagel OR with a barbecue sauce to use as a glaze on baked meatballs. I have given quite exact numbers when it comes to the fruit, but it does depend on size of fruit.

Ingredients for one batch:
(the goal is approximately 7 cups raw fruit blended before adding sugar, equaling 8 cups cooked, for one batch. I recommend doubling the amounts and cooking two batches)
  • 9 ripe peaches
  • 3 seedless oranges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons Certo Light or 1 pkg regular pectin

  1. Wash jars and lids. Place clean jars in 225° F oven to keep hot. Place lids in small pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and turn off element, covering pot to keep lids hot.
  2. Peel peaches, quartering them to remove pit. In blender, blend only for a few seconds until barely smooth. Can have a few tiny chunks. Pour into large bowl. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Peel oranges with potato peeler. Remove pith (white part) and discard. Blend orange segments with the orange rind until thick and smooth, for about 1 minute.
  4. Combine blended oranges and peaches. Measure out 7 cups (or at least 6) to pour into large stainless steel pot.
  5. Measure 1/4 cup of the sugar, blend with pectin and stir into fruit. Stirring constantly with wooden spoon, bring to boil on high heat.
  6. Add 4 1/4 cups sugar all at once and continue stirring until it comes to a full boil once more.
  7. The whole top layer should be bubbling before setting the timer. Boil for 3 minutes, while stirring and making sure it cooks hard the whole time. If it splatters quite a bit, turn down the heat just a tad.
  8. Using a canning funnel, ladle hot jam into jars and cover with lids to seal. Repeat process if cooking more batches.
  9. Cool sealed jars at room temp before storing. Jam thickens as it cools.
I prefer storing jam in the fridge or freezer, so that it keeps fresh tasting, but you do not have to if it is sealed. You can tell if it's sealed if the center of the lid is slightly inverted rather than rounded. Do not push it in by hand.

Rustic Blueberry Muffins

 Muffins are a quick bread like product which can vary with many different ingredients.  I like making muffins and scones, especially in the summertime as there are so many fresh fruits available and what a delightful way to start or finish off your breakfast or a perfect snack for mid day.   I have really enjoyed the tips that Lovella shared about making bran muffins and keeping the edges crispy.

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups oat bran
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries or dates
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F
  2. Grease muffin tins
  3. Add buttermilk to oat bran and let stand.
  4. Beat oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla together.
  5. Add buttermilk mixture to liquids and stir well. 
  6. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  7. Stir in blueberries gently.  
  8. Spoon batter into prepared muffins tins.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until they pass the toothpick test.
Buttermilk Substitute:  
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Let sit for a few minutes.

Apples and Everything Muffins - Big Batch

Who doesn't love Apples?
Bushels and boxes full of fresh apples are now appearing at farmer's markets and shops. 
Here is a recipe that utilizes this favourite fruit.
These muffins have lots of apples in them plus almost everything else.
They are moist, delicious and freeze well.
The recipe makes approximately 36 medium sized muffins.
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup natural bran (not cereal)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 4 cups shredded peeled apples
  • 1 cup shredded peeled carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 cups raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/1/2 cups oil
  • 1/4 cup fancy molasses
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Lightly grease muffin tins and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  4. Add shredded apple, carrots, pecans, raisins, and coconut and toss together with dry ingredients.
  5. In another bowl, mix oil, molasses, milk, beaten eggs and vanilla.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix lightly until evenly moistened.  Do not over mix.
  7. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in muffins come out clean.
  9. Immediately loosen muffins from edge of cups and tilt each muffin in it's cup. This keeps them from getting soggy in the pan.
  10. Remove muffins to a rack.  
  11. Serve warm or let cool completely and freeze.


20 years ago our youngest daughter sang in the
Pacific Mennonite Children's Choir.
She brought this recipe home after having it at one of the other choir members homes.
Her note on the hand written recipe said,
She was right.
Here I have used blackberries, but you could also use,
blueberries, plums, apricots or peaches.
Ingredients - for cake
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Crisco shortening
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • fruit to cover cake, fresh or frozen
Ingredients - for topping

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Beat together eggs and sugar until creamy. Add Crisco and beat well.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and beat just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Dump batter into a small greased cookie sheet. Top generously with fresh or frozen fruit.
  4. To make crumble topping, stir together flour and sugar. Cut in butter until it becomes small crumbly pieces. Sprinkle with vanilla and toss with hands, then immediately sprinkle over fruit.
  5. Bake in 350º oven for 25-30 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.

Empanadas / Pastelle

My husband was born in Paraguay and it almost seems that every street corner sells Empanadas. Even though the ones made in Canada are tasty, I will be the first to admit that the ones from Paraguay are outta this world! Maybe they taste better there because we are immersed in the culture and flavors of the land. The native Paraguayan people are such friendly people, and we were welcomed with such gracious hospitality. No matter how poor some of them are, what they have is yours and we were made to feel very welcomed. We haven't been there since 1986 but would love to take our family there someday. In the meantime my family gets to enjoy these. They don't get these very often but when I do make them they are devoured in no time at all. I make enough for the family to enjoy one day and a few extra to pack for lunches the next day. Depending on how big you want them will determine how many a recipe makes. I made a double batch yielding in 32 the size of my hand. The following recipe is one recipe. 

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 3/4 cup melted lard or shortening.
  1. In a bowl combine the flour, salt with the hot milk and lard.
  2. Mix until well combined. Knead the dough just until all the flour is absorbed about 8- 10 times and holds together well. You do NOT want to overwork the dough.
  3. Divide the dough into 16 balls. 
  4. On a lightly floured surface roll into circles. 
  5. Fill with the filling and seal.
*If you want to make more than one recipe I have found it is best to make the recipe one batch at time. 

Filling: I make the filling the day before so it has a chance to cool completely.

  • 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 green or red pepper (optional) I didn't have any this time
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin 
  • salt, pepper, pepper flakes to taste. 
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Brown the ground beef with the onions and garlic in a bit of oil, then add the seasonings to taste. 
  2. Cool the mixture before adding the cooked eggs and parsley. 
  3. Fill and seal the empanadas. 
  4. Heat the 3 inches of oil in a pot or deep skillet on medium high heat. 
  5. Add empanadas a few at a time. You do not want to crowd the pan, turning only once until you reach a golden brown color. 
  6. Drain on paper towels. 
  7. Cool for several minutes before serving as they are very hot. Serve with hot sauce on the side. 
*Tip, If you find you have extra dough, fill the remaining empanadas with grated mozzarella to make cheese empanadas. Very good!