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.

Recipe Search

Hot Fudge Cake

 This quick and easy recipe shared by a friend has become a long time favorite by now ... always a crowd-pleaser. 

  • 1 chocolate cake mix
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 2 eggs
Mix above ingredients (don't add what the box says to add) and bake in 9 X 13 (or slightly larger) pan, about 30 min. Serve with ice cream and hot fudge sauce.

Fudge sauce:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa, sifted
  • 3/4 cup cream or evaporated milk
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
Cook in small pot (stirring) over medium heat until it boils. Boil 2 min. Add 1 tsp vanilla and butter. We like it served quite warm. Keep in fridge and reheat when needed.

New Vareneki Dough (Perogy)

I got this recipe from my friend Elsie who has been making perogies for generations.  She too got the recipe from her mother and her mother before that. As usual, the recipe said "add enough flour to make a soft dough". Her daughter Lorrie, who is also one of my dearest friends, took the time to measure each ingredient out to make it perfect so she can pass the recipe and tradition on to her children. Elsie says, the best recipes are the simplest recipes, and she was right! In our grandmother and great grand mother's era they didn't have the luxury of rich ingredients available to them at all times. These ingredients make a soft and elastic dough and I did not have one perogy open while boiling.  Follow the recipe exactly and you won't have any trouble. Thanks Lorrie for perfecting the ingredients amounts saving us all the trouble of figuring out what a soft dough means.
NOTE: This dough has no dairy in it, there for it has a bit more of a "chew" or "bite" to the texture when you eat the finished product. Using dairy like milk, cream or sour cream makes the dough more tender and has a softer bite to it. 
  • 8 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4  cups hot water
  • 3/4 cups oil
  1. In a large mixer with a dough hook attachment add 8 cups of flour to the mixing bowl. Can easily be done by hand if you don't have a mixer large enough to make dough. 
  2. Heat the water til it is almost too hot to touch or hot water from the tap. 
  3. Add the oil and the hot water to the flour, knead the dough for about 5 minutes in the mixer or ten minutes if you are doing it by hand. 
  4. Let the dough rest for at least an hour or more on the counter. 
  5. Divide into 4 balls to make the rolling of the dough easier to manage. Cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap to keep from getting a dry outer crust.
  6.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough thin, cut in circles or 3 inch squares. 
  7. Place the prepared perogies on parchment lined cookie sheets. Can be frozen at this stage if you desire. Once completely frozen place them into ziplocked bags. 
  8. To cook, have ready a large pot of boiling water. Place perogies into the water without crowding too much and boil for a few minutes. Once they float to the top boil another 3-5 minutes. If you are cooking them frozen, cook about 8-10 minutes.
  9. This amount makes about 15 dozen 3 1/4 in circles. 
For 1 recipe of dough, I used 2- 650 gm containers of dry cottage cheese (3 cups), mixed with 2 eggs, salt and pepper (optional) as desired. 

Tip - I use a round cutter to make cottage cheese, cut 3" squares for the potato and cheddar cheese filling and shape them into a triangle, and shape the squares into rectangles or squares for the fruit filling, so there is no guessing as to what they are filled with. Plus cutting them in squares means no rolling and re rolling.
For filling ideas check out Kathy's suggestions here.

Try to pinch them a little fancy for that special someone, or if you have four options of a variety of perogies. 

My Wareneki (Perogies) Gluten-free

I really missed Wareneki on the gluten-free diet and tried several recipes, but couldn't get them to work for me. I finally came up with my own recipe , combining and modifing the recipes I had.
Here is the one that I am happy with and my husband will also quite happily eat! That's important because I really don't care to make two meals. What I usually end up doing in that case is making his meal and I just eat 'whatever' !

Making this recipe today for lunch, I had to smile as I thought... "No one ever told our Mennonite grandmothers , who really knew how to cook, that 'Ach, das schmeckt aber gut!' (oh, but that tastes good!) translates to.. 'Oh my, what a lot of calories !!!' "
But we have found a way to have our Mennonite traditional dishes and still be healthy! Olive oil to the rescue!! smile


1/2 cup cream-style cottage cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp oil

1/2 cup brown (or white) rice flour
1/4 cup pototo flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. xanthun gum
1/2 tsp salt

(alternate flour mix that I like is 1/2 cup of white corn flour, 1/4 cup white bean flour,

1/4 cup of potato starch, 1/4 cup tapioca starch)

1. place first 4 ingredients into blender and mix until totally smooth
2. put dry ingredients in plastic bag and mix thoroughly
3. pour liquid ingredients into bowl and add the dry ingredients
mix thoroughly , turn out onto dusted counter and knead until smooth - redust as needed until dough is non-sticky. I like sweet rice flour for rolling gluten-free dough but you can also use tapioca flour (Because of the cottage cheese in the dough the dough has a bit of a different texture but it handles well.)
4. Roll dough out as thin as possible and cut out your circles using cookie cutter or tumbler.
5. add your prefered filling and pinch edges of wareneki firmly.

TIP- always freeze your wareniki before cooking - keeps a better seal on edges
Drop frozen wareniki into boiling salted water with a tbsp of oil added... Boil for about 5 minutes. Drain and brown in butter in frying pan -- then serve with cream gravy and fried onions.
We love them with Mennonite Farmer Sausage

Variation On The Theme (Wareneki noodles)

I also like (actually prefer) to use the dough in the following way.

Roll out your dough as thin as possible , then roll it up and cut the roll off. The bigger the roll you roll the longer your noodles will be

Then slice the roll the width you want your noodles to be.. I find between a 1/4 to an 1/8 " works well.
The noodles uncurl easily
Boil them for several mintues in salted water, then drain well in collander.
Transfer to frying pan and brown noodles in olive oil and butter.

fry onions (1/2 onion) in butter until crispy , then add 1 cup milk and thickener- I really like the new product Thicken-Thin ....but you can use cornstarch or sweet rice flour
Add 1/2 cup dry cottage cheese and heat through.
Spoon onto golden noodles

PS. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave.

Plum Sauce / Cream Sauce (Schmaundt Fat)

This recipe was shared with me by my friend Renee who got the recipe from her dear mother by love Elizabeth Strempler. This is a wonderful sauce to pour over the cottage cheese perogies and cream sauce (Schmaundt Fat), it raises perogies to a whole new level. Thank you Renee for sharing this recipe and your family tradition. It was a lot of fun enjoying a meal after making so many perogies together. It is way more fun making time consuming recipes like vareniki with friends.

Plum sauce -
  • 8 cups prune plums
  • 2 cups damson plums OR
  • a combination of your favorite plums to equal 10 cups
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup minute tapioca
  1. Cut up the plums in bite size pieces. 
  2. Combine the sugar and tapioca and sprinkle over the plums and let sit for 20 minutes. 
  3. Bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Cool the sauce and freeze in desired portion sizes. 
  5. To serve, thaw sauce and heat gently til warm. 
  6. Pour over vareniki and cream sauce. 

Schmaundt Fat (Cream Gravy)

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt to taste
  1. On medium heat, melt the butter in a saucepan or frying pan.
  2. Add the flour and stir together with a whisk cooking until a the flour begins to change color.
  3. Pour in the cream and milk and cook until bubbly, stirring frequently with the whisk to prevent lumps. 
  4. Add salt to taste. 
  5. When the sauce is smooth and thickened it is ready to serve, it takes about 3 minutes.  
  6. If you desire to use all cream or all milk that is just fine. 

Bread For the Journey

The New Testament does not paint a rosy picture for the Christian life on this Earth. Instead it assures us that if we follow Christ we will face trials and persecutions. Because we are identified with Christ we will receive much of the same bad treatment and rejection He received.

II Timothy 3:12 ~  Indeed, all who desire to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
I Peter 4:12 ~ Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
James 1:2-4 ~ Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The trials are inevitable. How will I react?  How should I behave in the midst of these trials? Will I choose joy trusting in Almighty God and His plans and purposes? I hope so. I want to experience steadfastness. I want to rejoice and be glad when Christ’s glory is revealed. I choose to trust that God will teach me in and during my trials to react and behave in a way that lets steadfastness have its full effect bringing me homeward towards perfection and completeness, lacking nothing. I don’t want a crown of roses now, I want a crown of life so when I get to heaven I can cast it at Jesus’ feet…


Wareneki, Varenyky or Perogies.
It really doesn't matter what you call them, they are wonderful.
I grew up with cottage cheese filled Wareneki, along with a sour cream and butter gravy.
My husband's Mom is Ukrainian and the filling for her recipe is
sauerkraut, hamburger and potato.
They served them with heated cream or sour cream.

-1 cup sour cream
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-2 cups flour
-1 egg white, slightly beaten (save the yolk for the filling)
Mix ingredients into a smooth dough, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
This recipe makes enough for one of the following fillings, but can easily be doubled.

Sauerkraut , Hamburger and Potato Filling:
-1 large potato, boiled, mashed and cooled
-1/2 lb hamburger, browned, seasoned with salt and pepper. Drain any drippings and cool meat.
-1 cup sauerkraut, drained well
Mix above 3 ingredients together.

Potato Cheese and Onion filling:
-2 potatoes boiled, mashed and cooled
-1/4 cup sauteed onion, cooled
-1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Mix above three ingredients together.

Cottage Cheese Filling:
-2 cups dry curd cottage cheese (if you can't find dry, place regular cottage cheese in a fine strainer and allow moisture to drain)
-1 egg yolk, left over from the dough
-1 tsp salt
-dash pepper
Combine ingredients together well.

1. While dough is chilling make the fillings. (you can double the dough to make several kinds)
2. Take one recipe of dough and on a lightly floured counter roll it out very thin into a large rectangle.
3. Using an ice cream scoop place balls of filling along one end of dough as illustrated above.
4. Fold dough over filling as illustrated above. Using a small round cutter (or small glass) cut out Wareneki, as illustrated below.
The dough is very easy to work with and not sticky. If you find that the edges aren't sealed just pinch as needed.
5. Place the Wareneki on parchment lined cookie sheets. Keep in fridge until ready to boil, or freeze on the cookie sheets. Once they are frozen bag them for later use.

Bring a large pot of water with 1 tbsp butter to a boil. Drop fresh or frozen Wareneki into the boiling water and boil 5 minutes if fresh, or 10 minutes if frozen. Wareneki will float when they are done. Drain.

-1/4 cup butter, melted
-1 cup sour cream
In a small sauce pan melt butter, and then stir in sour cream. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper lightly to taste.

Serving suggestions:
-sour cream
-heated whipping cream
-sauteed onions
-fried crumbled bacon
-farmer sausage or fried ham slices
-sauteed red cabbage


I have the recipe here for filling with cottage cheese. In german we call this Glums Wareneki.
My mom also made wareneki with Italian plums and rhubarb.

We eat the cottage cheese wareneki first with some sauce and salt and pepper. .
and then end the meal with some of the fruit wareneki. . .with sauce and a sprinkle of sugar.

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 4 egg whites. . .beaten until soft peaks form
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • about. . 2 1/2 cups of flour
  1. Whip the egg whites in a large grease free bowl, add the whipping cream and the baking powder and the salt.
  2. Add the flour a bit at a time. 
  3. Continue to add a bit of flour at a time until you have a soft dough but stiff enough to roll out.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour while you make the filling.
Cottage Cheese Filling

  • 500 grams. . .or about 2 cups of dry cottage cheese
  • the egg yolks from the eggs above
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix together with a pastry blender or put it all in the food processor and mix until the cottage cheese is finely ground. 
  2. Roll the dough out on a slightly floured counter. Add a bit more flour if it is sticky.
  3. You can either start at the top of you dough about 2 inches down and place a teaspoon of filling every three inches leaving room between, then fold the dough down and use a glass to cut out half moons and pinch them shut. 
  4. Or, just use a glass and cut out rounds and then use a small teaspoon and put a bit of filling on your dough and then fold in half and pinch shut Try not to get filling in the area you are pinching shut. 
  5. Put them on a floured parchment papered cookie sheet and keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to boil them or freeze them on a cookie sheet to use another day.
Plum Wareneki

Slice the plums in half and then depending on how large you are making them, slice them in half again and put them into the dough and pinch shut.

I don't bother to flour them unless I use frozen plums they are a bit trickier to stuff and I find a little flour keeps them less leaky.
  1. To cook Warenki, put a large pot of water on to boil, add a teaspoon of salt.
  2. Gently put the wareneki in the boiling water and bring it back to the boiling point. Boil only a few minutes. Once the wareneki are floating they are done.
  3. Drain in a colander  and serve (a little melted butter helps to keep them from sticking)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Simmer for a few minutes and serve over Warenki. 

I also saute some caramelized onion with the cottage cheese Wareneki.

Lime Tea time for Spring!

Spring is just around the corner in spite of all the snow. I thought these citrus flavored cookies were just the thing to welcome spring. The citrus flavor of the glaze is a wonderful topping for these cookies.
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  1. In a medium sized bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light.
  2. Beat in egg, lime zest, lime juice, and buttermilk.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir into the creamed mixture.
  4. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on parchment lined pans.
  5. Bake in a 350º oven for 9 minutes or just until the edges are golden in color.
  6. Glaze cookies while warm.
  7. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  8. Yield: 32 cookies
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  1. Mix well, spread on cookies and sprinkle bits of lime zest on top.
Lime juice and zest used for this recipe is from one medium sized lime.

I needed taste testers and found a few close by.

Almond Torte - Reg and Gluten free

 I made this cake for our Valentine's potluck at our clubhouse and received lots of complements and requests for the recipe !   
I used raspberry jelly but you could use  strawberry, apricot or peach jelly or cherry pie pie filling. 


  • 4 eggs 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 tsp almond extract 
  • 2 tbsp flour ( for gluten free 2 tbsp featherlight rice flour + sm pinch of xanthan gum) 
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 cup flaked or blanched whole almonds 

1. Put eggs and sugar in blender and whir until mixed. 
2. Add all other ingredients and process for 2 minutes. 
3. Line two round cake pans with parchment paper and divide batter between the two pans. 
4. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Let cool then remove from pans , remove parchment paper before assembling layers. 

note -- I made the recipe twice and used three layers for my cake - you can use as many or few layers as you wish.  -  use the extra batter for cup cakes and decorate as desired. 

 Filling ... 

  •  2 cups whipping cream 
  •  1/4 cup berry sugar 
  •  3 tsp instant vanilla pudding 
  •  one room temp. brick of cream cheese 
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar 

  1. Whip  cream, sugar and vanilla pudding until stiff then set aside .... 
  2. Beat cream cheese and icing sugar , then gradually stir in the whipped cream. 
Raspberry drizzle      

  • 1 1/2 cups  fresh or frozen raspberries, heat to boiling, sieve out the seeds,  leaving 1 cup juice. 
  • add 1 cup sugar and 2 tsp certo crystals, bring to a boil and boil for one minute. 
  • chill before using 

  1. Put layers together with whipped cream/ cream cheese, drizzling raspberry over top
  2. Cover sides and bottom with whipped mixture again drizzling the raspberry jelly generously  on top and sides, swirling with a knife.  
  3. Sprinkle toasted almonds on top of cake if desired.  


This recipe is known by a few names... monkey bread or pull aparts but my favorite name for them is pluckets. This would be a perfect addition to a brunch, wouldn't it be fun to let your guests 'pluck at them'?
I'm sure this recipe can be found in many cook books. This one I found in the Christian Home Cook Book (I made slight changes). You could use any sweet yeast dough or even plain old bun dough although I really prefer the light texture of this dough.
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, approximately
  1. Scald milk. Add butter, sugar, salt, and I added the 1/4 cup lukewarm water here as well (I use instant yeast so I don't need the water to proof the yeast) to the milk and allow to cool to lukewarm. 
  2. Add well beaten eggs and mix well.
  3. Now add the yeast and just enough flour to make a very stiff batter. It will be sticky.
  4. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, punch down and let rise again.
Meanwhile prepare the sugar/cinnamon mixture:
  • 3/4 cup sugar, white or brown
  • 3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts I used pecans
  • 1/4 cup butter
  1. Mix first three ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Melt 1/4 cup butter and set aside. 
  3. Once dough has risen the second time punch down and pluck walnut sized pieces of dough and roll into balls, making sure your hands are greased with butter. Dip the balls of dough in melted butter and then roll in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. At the end I had a bit of the dipping mixture and melted butter leftover so I just put that over the top of the pluckets.
  4. Pile loosely in an ungreased angel food pan and let rise again for 30 minutes.
  5. Bake in a 350º oven for 35 minutes, then immediately flip pan upside down on a plate. Wait a few moments and the pan will be easy to remove.
  6. Serve warm.

Lemon Buns

At Easter my mom baked both Paska and these Lemon Buns. These are one of my most favourite yeast breads. The dough is twisted into figure eights and a teaspoon of lemon curd is placed in each little dip the twist makes before they rise and are baked.  Once baked they are finished off with a drizzle of icing. 

Ingredients for the bun dough
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 10 - 12 cups flour
  • 2 cups milk, scalded
  • 1 cup lard ( I use Tender flake brand)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups warm water
Lemon Curd: ( make this while the bun dough is rising)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 egg yolks, well beaten
  • juice of 1 lemon and enough water to make 6 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
Method for lemon curd:
  1. In a small saucepan, mix sugar,salt and cornstarch.
  2. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and water. Stirring constantly cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and is slightly bubbly.
  3. Beat egg yolks well. Slowly pour a small amount of the hot mixture over the yolks, whisking immediately so the eggs don't begin to cook. Pour this combined mixture back into the sauce pan with the remaining hot lemon mixture and cook a few more minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap until ready to spoon onto buns.
Method for the bun dough:
  1. In a large bowl stir together dry instant yeast and 2 cups flour.
  2. Scald milk and add lard. Stir until lard is completely melted. ( I cut lard into small pieces so they melt faster)
  3. Stir sugar and salt into hot milk mixture.
  4. Beat eggs well and add the warm water.  Pour hot milk mixture into eggs stirring well.
  5. Add all the liquid to the yeast and flour mixture. Stir well. Then incorporate at least 6-7 cups of flour to make a soft sticky dough. Using the remaining several cups of flour continue adding as you knead until your dough is smooth, but still very soft. Do not over knead this dough. Over kneading will cause these buns to loose their nice soft texture.
  6. Cover and place in a warm draft free area to rise until double in bulk. Approximately 45 minutes. 
  7.  Punch down dough. Pinch off small pieces of dough and form a circle and then twist into a figure  eight. Place bun onto parchment lined baking sheets leaving room between for  them to rise.
  8. Drop a teaspoon of lemon curd into the centre of each end of the eight. Allow buns to rise another 45 minutes.
  9. Bake in 375º oven for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove to cooking rack
  10. Once completely cooled drizzle with an icing made by stirring together 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and a few drops of warm water at a time until you have a thin but not watery icing. If it gets too thin add a bit more icing sugar. 

Bread for the Journey - Saviour Like a Shepherd lead us.

Saviour, like a shepherd lead us,
Much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us,
For our use Thy folds prepare:
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

We are Thine; do Thou befriend us,
Be the Guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us,
Seek us when we go astray:
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Hear, O hear us when we pray;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Hear, O hear us when we pray.

Thou hast promised to receive us,
Poor and sinful tho' we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us,
Grace to cleanse, and pow'r to free:
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Early let us turn to Thee;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Early let us turn to Thee.

Early let us seek Thy favor;
Early let us do Thy will;
Blessed Lord and only Saviour,
With Thy love our bosoms fill:
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Thou hast loved us, love us still;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Thou hast loved us, love us still.

Oatmeal Date Sandwich Cookies

This date cookie recipe is one of my Mom's and it is my absolute favorite. I noticed the other day that my container is nearly empty.  I keep them in the freezer and eat them while they are still slightly frozen.  You can't store them on the counter, they will get very soft and mushy. These are easy because they are just a roll in your palm cookie.

Oatmeal Date Sandwich Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coconut
  1. Cream together the butter and sugars.
  2. Add the eggs and combine well.
  3. Add all the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator an hour.  (make the date filling while the dough  chills)
  5. Roll into small balls and flatten with a glass by about half the thickness.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Date Filling
  1. Buy a 1 pound package of dates. .the kind that is a rectangular block.  They will be found by the raisins in the grocery store.
  2. Chop them up and put them in a small saucepan.
  3. Add  1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir occasionally and simmer until the consistency of thick jam.
  5. Let cool.
To sandwich the cookies put a small spoonful of date filling on the underside of one cookie and sandwich with the underside of another cookie.  Freeze in a container.

Overnight Layered Salad

This is a familiar salad to many but perhaps there are some new cooks out there who haven't made this. The ingredients can vary according to your taste and what vegetables you have on hand but this version is pretty classic. The nice thing about it is that you can make it the night before and it willbe an attractive addition to your meal.

For the Salad: 

  • iceberg lettuce (can include some romaine or spinach for colour)
  • finely sliced red cabbage
  • chopped celery
  • chopped red or yellow pepper (or both)
  • Chopped green onions
  • 4-5 hard boiled eggs
  • thawed petite peas
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced and fried until crisp and drained
    1. Find your prettiest wide glass bowl. (Some have made this in a 9 x 13 inch pan so that the dressing is better distributed among the servings. However I like the way you can see the layers in a bowl.)
    2. Place a layer of torn iceberg lettuce in the bottom of the bowl. 
    3. Add a layer of finely sliced red cabbage, a layer of chopped celery followed by a layer of chopped peppers.
    4. Sprinkle peppers with chopped green onion, peas and diced cooked bacon.
    5. Add a layer of coarsely chopped hard boiled eggs (use two)
    6. Note: For a pretty effect, you can stand some egg slices up around the inside edge of the bowl about halfway through the second layer.
    7. Repeat layers.
    8. Carefully spread dressing (recipe follows) over salad. It should cover the salad completely. (If needed, add a bit more mayonnaise.)
    9. Top with shredded Cheddar Cheese or Swiss Cheese and garnish with any or several of the following: sliced eggs, green onion or red peppers 
    10. Cover salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
    For the Dressing:
    • 1-1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup Ranch dressing or 1-2 teaspoons of dry Ranch Dip Mix
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon. vinegar
    • 1/2 cup sour cream if desired.
    1. Mix all ingredients until well blended.

    Black Forest Birthday Cake

    I may as well just get it over with first thing and tell you that this is made from a cake mix! Some of you will not want to keep reading, but others may be somewhat relieved. This cake started out in our family as a “Black Forest Want-To-Be” with rum flavoring etc. When our kids were little they did not care for that flavor and also did not care for the cherries. This is when recipes change and so this one (with strawberries) has become a favorite birthday cake in our family. Sometimes it ends up in a trifle and sometimes the recipe gets doubled and made in a larger spring form pan or sheet. It is best to make it the day ahead and cover it with a cake cover. It keeps for days in the fridge. I am including very detailed pictures and instructions, so this is for anyone who has never even attempted decorating a cake. Enjoy!

    • 1 box Devil’s Food/Chocolate cake mix
    • 1 package Jello instant chocolate fudge pudding
    • 1 can cherry pie filling or 2 pints fresh sliced strawberries
    • 1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream, sweeten to taste
    • 1 square Baker's Semi Sweet chocolate (or your preference
    Mix cake mix according to pkg instructions, then pour into a greased and floured 8 1/2 inch spring form pan. ( a spring form pan makes the process easier, because the spring adjustment on the side opens and makes for easy cake removal.) Bake at 350° F, about 50 - 60 min. Test with toothpick. Let sit for 10 min. Remove from pan and cool completely.

    1. Whip cream until stiff (but not lumpy), adding ½ - 1 Tbsp sugar. Set aside in fridge.
    2. Mix pudding according to pkg. instructions. ( I use a Tupperware gravy mixer to shake it up) Set aside.
    3. Make chocolate shavings with chocolate , using a potato peeler. Set aside.
    4. Trim off rounded top on cake and let kids or hubby enjoy it. Turn cake upside down and transfer to a flat serving plate. Slice through twice, horizontally, using a sharp serrated knife, so that you have three layers. Carefully lift off top 2 layers.
    5. Cover first layer with prepared chocolate pudding. (there will be some left over) Add second layer of cake. Cover with cherries or strawberries (for strawbery filling spread a thin layer of whipped cream, top with sliced berries and fill spaces with more whipped cream.). Add third layer of cake.
    6. Spread whipping cream all along sides and top of cake. ( I add about 2 Tbsp of the pudding or instant chocolate drink mix to the whipped cream when I use strawberries.) Use the serrated knife to level off top.
    7. At this point you might need to give the left over whipped cream another whirl with the beater. Fill a decorating tube (the little plastic ones are fine too) and, using the large star tip, decorate the edge and around bottom if you want. This is where my cakes always change looks. With a small cake like this you can keep it quite simple, but you can also take a tumbler and make circular indentations, then follow the patterns with star tips.
    8. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Decorate with maraschino cherries or strawberries cut in half. It looks nice to leave the stems on the cherries or the strawberries.

    Valentine Crepes for Two

    If you have milk and eggs on hand, it's not too late to mix up batch of crepes for breakfast, brunch or dessert. For the filling in these crepes I mixed cream cheese and whipped cream (you could use either one on its own), topped with cherry jam. Any red jam of fruit compote made with plums, rhubarb or strawberries is great!

    (for 6 large crepes)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup robin hood multigrain flour (or white)
    • 1 Tbps butter for cooking
    (for filling)
    • 1/4 cup cream cheese
    • 1/4 cup whipping cream
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • cherry jam, strawberry rhubarb jam or fruit compote
    • icing sugar for dusting
    1. Beat eggs, milk, flour, salt and flour, using electric hand mixer, until smooth. Set aside.
    2. Heat non-stick pan between low and medium. Spread thinly with a dab of butter.
    3. Lifting the pan, pour about 1/3 cup of batter into top part of pan, tilting and rotating until pan is coated. 
    4. Place on heat and cook until set. Flip over and cook other side. Repeat, spreading butter for every other crepe.
    5. For two people, stack 2 or 3 crepes on each plate. 
    6. Beat cream cheese and whipped cream separately, then beat together and add vanilla. Spread about 2 - 4 Tbsp of cream cheese mixture on one half side of top crepe. Top generously with jam or compote. Fold the other half over the filling, then fold once or twice again. Dust with icing sugar. To eat, roll bottom crepe along with top crepe and enjoy!

    Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

    This is one of my favorite pancakes. If you like lemon, ricotta cheese and blueberries you will love these fluffy pancakes. It doesn't take long to whip them up and if you have a griddle you can cook them all at once.

    • 1/2 cup white flour
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
    • 3 eggs, divided
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, to sprinkle on top of the pancakes
    1. Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
    2. In a small bowl whisk together dry ingredients.
    3. In a medium size bowl combine the ricotta, egg yolks, milk, and vanilla. The ricotta I used was quite dry but if your brand happens to be on the runny side, just make sure to drain the liquid.
    4. Add dry ingredients to the ricotta mixture, mixing gently just until combined.
    5. Whisk in approximately a cup of the egg whites to fluff up the dough, then fold in the rest of the egg whites just until combined.
    6. Heat griddle to medium high, brushing surface with a little butter. Using a ladle scoop the batter on the griddle. Using the back of the ladle push the dough outwards a bit on each pancake, so you don't end up with too thick a pancake.
    7. Cook pancakes approximately 4 minutes, then flip over and cook until golden brown, approximately another 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of your pancakes.
    8. Serve with lemon sauce, blueberries, a dollop of ricotta cheese, and dust with icing sugar and a little lemon zest. Decorate your pancakes as you wish. I couldn't resist having a little fun with them.
    9. Yield: 8 to 10 pancakes. 
    Lemon Sauce: you can make this ahead of time and reheat just before serving.
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
    • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    1. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan.
    2. Stir in boiling water and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened.
    3. Stir in lemon zest, juice, and butter.
    4. Serve warm.
    5. Yield: 2 cups

    Lemon Layer Cake with Raspberry Curd

    Since I happen to love raspberries and have them in the freezer at all times, I am always on the lookout for yummy new raspberry recipes.

    I found this one on-line a few years ago; I believe it had originally been featured in Bon Appetit magazine. Since my son and son-in-law both have a birthday on July 9th, at the height of raspberry season, I have baked this cake for their birthday on occasion. I would normally make it with four layers but after seeing how someone baked a fourteen layer cake for Valentine's Day, I decided to try this recipe as an eight layer cake in honour of Lovella's jubilee (since 50 layers seemed a bit of a stretch!).

    Here's the other can't really pay a whole lot of attention to how much butter and cream goes into this cake. Once in awhile, you just have to forget about calories and enjoy a slice of rich goodness!

    Lemon Layer Cake
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 3/4 cup whole milk
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
    • 2 cups cake flour
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
    1. Preheat oven to 350' F. Spray two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; spray again.
    2. Whisk eggs, yolks, milk, lemon juice, and lemon peel in medium bowl to blend. 
    3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl to blend. 
    4. Whisk oil and butter into flour mixture. 
    5. Add egg mixture and whisk until smooth. 
    6. Divide batter between prepared pans. 
    7. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. 
    8. Cool cakes on racks 10 minutes. 
    9. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks. Cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap with plastic. Let stand at room temperature.)

    • 2 6-ounce baskets fresh raspberries
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt

    • 3 cups chilled whipping cream
    1. Stir 1 basket raspberries, 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, lemon juice, butter, and salt in medium saucepan over medium heat until thickened and beginning to bubble at edges, about 5 minutes. 
    2. Strain raspberry curd into medium bowl, pressing on solids in strainer. 
    3. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. (I processed my berries in the blender before cooking and never strained them after.)
    4. Whip cream and 1/2 cup sugar until peaks form. Fold 1 1/2 cups whipped cream into raspberry curd. Reserve remaining whipped cream.
    5. Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side down, on platter. Spread 1/3 of raspberry filling over. Repeat with 2 more cake layers and filling. Top with remaining cake layer.
    6. Spread all but 1 cup plain whipped cream over top and sides of cake. Place remaining whipped cream in pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe design around bottom edge of cake. Arrange remaining berries atop cake. Chill until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and keep refrigerated.)

    * * * * * *

    So that was the recipe as originally given...and here is my variation for this time around:

    I mixed the batter as specified...and divided it equally among eight 9-inch cake pans with parchment liners (sprayed with Pam).

    I spread the batter to cover bottom evenly...and baked at 350' F for about 12 minutes. Since I have a convection was easy to bake many at one time. However, even with a conventional oven you can bake three at a time...and be all done in just over half an hour. Allow the cakes to cool before removing from pan. If you aren't using them right away...leave parchment in between layers...stack and wrap.

    I cooked a double batch of raspberry curd, since I thought I would be needing more for the additional layers. I also added a little more whipped cream...

    ...and had far more filling than I could use. (If the raspberry curd seems a little too thin, add about a tablespoon of vanilla instant pudding powder and blend, before folding in the whipped cream.)

    I spread a generous amount on each layer...
    ...and continued building my tower cake until I reached the top. Several hours before serving, I frosted the top and sides with whipping cream, piped on a little trim around the bottom and added a few fresh raspberries on top for the finishing touch.  (Product of the USA, according to the package. Where do they grow raspberries in March?)

    Slice and serve to your favorite people. And don't worry too much about doing it at the last minute, since we are still thoroughly enjoying the cake several days later.

    Bread for the Journey

    With Valentine's Day just around the corner...
    you may have been searching for some way to bless those special people in your life.  
    Chocolates and flowers seem to be the gift of choice.  
    But have you ever thought of giving the gift of words?

    Write a letter to those you love....
    and tell them what they mean to you.
    Pen all those things that you rarely say...
    but that should be said.
    Put your message in a card...
    or give it as a 'message in a bottle'.
    That gift will mean more to them than something you have purchased.

    Our heavenly Father has also given us a gift of words...
    a love letter.

    Read it.
    Soak it up.
     It goes like this...
    My Child,

    You may not know me,
    but I know everything about you.

    Psalm 139:1

    I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
    Psalm 139:2

    I am familiar with all your ways.
    Psalm 139:3

    Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
    Matthew 10:29-31

    For you were made in my image.
    Genesis 1:27

    In me you live and move and have your being.
    Acts 17:28

    For you are my offspring.
    Acts 17:28

    I knew you even before you were conceived.
    Jeremiah 1:4-5 

    I chose you when I planned creation.
    Ephesians 1:11-12

    You were not a mistake,
    for all your days are written in my book.

    Psalm 139:15-16

    I determined the exact time of your birth
    and where you would live.

    Acts 17:26

    You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Psalm 139:14 

    I knit you together in your mother's womb.
    Psalm 139:13

    And brought you forth on the day you were born.
    Psalm 71:6

    I have been misrepresented
    by those who don't know me.

    John 8:41-44

    I am not distant and angry,
    but am the complete expression of love.

    1 John 4:16

    And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
    1 John 3:1

    Simply because you are my child
    and I am your Father.

    1 John 3:1

    I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
    Matthew 7:11

    For I am the perfect father.
    Matthew 5:48

    Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
    James 1:17

    For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
    Matthew 6:31-33

    My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
    Jeremiah 29:11

    Because I love you with an everlasting love.
    Jeremiah 31:3

    My thoughts toward you are countless
    as the sand on the seashore.

    Psalms 139:17-18

    And I rejoice over you with singing.
    Zephaniah 3:17

    I will never stop doing good to you.
    Jeremiah 32:40 

    For you are my treasured possession.
    Exodus 19:5

    I desire to establish you
    with all my heart and all my soul.

    Jeremiah 32:41

    And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
    Jeremiah 33:3 

    If you seek me with all your heart,
    you will find me.

    Deuteronomy 4:29 

    Delight in me and I will give you
    the desires of your heart.

    Psalm 37:4

    For it is I who gave you those desires.
    Philippians 2:13

    I am able to do more for you
    than you could possibly imagine.

    Ephesians 3:20

    For I am your greatest encourager.
    2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    I am also the Father who comforts you
    in all your troubles.

    2 Corinthians 1:3-4

    When you are brokenhearted,
    I am close to you.

    Psalm 34:18

    As a shepherd carries a lamb,
    I have carried you close to my heart.

    Isaiah 40:11

    One day I will wipe away
    every tear from your eyes.

    Revelation 21:3-4

    And I'll take away all the pain
    you have suffered on this earth.

    Revelation 21:3-4

    I am your Father, and I love you
    even as I love my son, Jesus.

    John 17:23

    For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
    John 17:26

    He is the exact representation of my being.
    Hebrews 1:3

    He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
    not against you.

    Romans 8:31

    And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

    Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

    His death was the ultimate expression
    of my love for you.

    1 John 4:10

    I gave up everything I loved
    that I might gain your love.

    Romans 8:31-32

    If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
    you receive me.

    1 John 2:23

    And nothing will ever separate you
    from my love again.

    Romans 8:38-39

    Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
    heaven has ever seen.

    Luke 15:7

    I have always been Father,
    and will always be Father.

    Ephesians 3:14-15

    My question is…
    Will you be my child?

    John 1:12-13

    I am waiting for you.
    Luke 15:11-32

    Love, Your Dad
    Almighty God

    Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications

    May you experience His love today.
    Anneliese, Betty, Bev, Charlotte, Ellen, Judy, Julie, Kathy, Lovella, Marg