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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Have you ever made your own Strudel Pastry? It was fun sharing recipes at a recent reunion.  Today I'm sharing with you a new favorite. And the beauty of this is that it's simple and quick to make and the results are delicious. Use any kind of fruits and you have fresh strudel.

Strudel Dough
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1.  Grate butter into flour and use a pastry blender to mix ingredients together.
  2. Then add your sour cream and form a ball.
  3. Divide the ball into two halves and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out one ball into a rectangular shape 12x9 (thinking in thirds)
  5. The dough should be thin enough and yet pliable enough to fold over.
  6. Fill with fruit mixture.
  7. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
  8. Leave it cool on the parchment paper prior to transferring to a serving plate.
  9. This dough is enough for 2 strudels. You can store the other ball in the fridge until needed.
Fruit Options
  • sliced apricots, peaches, apples or any fruit in season
  • blackberries are my can mix and add and adjust your sugar mixture.
Sugar Mixture/Thickening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Only use about 3/4 cup of this mixture for one strudel.
TIP use a 1/4 cup more flour or cornstarch when using berries.
  1. Prepare the fruit first and you can leave the peel on when using transparent apples.
  2. Prepare Sugar mixture in a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle  1/4 cup sugar mixture over the center of dough.
  4. Top with fruit and add 1/2 cup sugar mixture along the strip/top of fruit.
  5. Fold dough over half of the fruit mixture and then fold the other half.
  6. Seal pastry edges by simply dabbing your fingers with water.
  7. Store extra sugar mixture in container.
I have used Anneliese's sugar mixture  which is also featured in our first book Mennonite Girls Can Cook, page 174.   Sometimes I double this mixture and keep it on hand so that whenever I want to make a quick strudel or perishky it's always ready to go.

 Icing (optional)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond flavor.
  1. Mix ingredients together to make a smooth consistency.
  2. Drizzle over strudel when cool and add a few toasted slivered almonds. 

You can garnish it with some icing and almonds or you can leave it as is.
Once again, the beauty of this dough is that you can use any fresh fruit that you have at your local market. I made one strudel with apples and one with apricots. Mix the flavors with fresh blackberries.

You always know that when the last piece is taken, it must have been really good.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

More than 80% of Canada's raspberries are grown right here in the Fraser Valley. And since it is the season, there are a lot of raspberry recipes happening around here these days.   Here is a moist raspberry coffee cake that we enjoyed yesterday.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 oz./250 ml cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter a 10" spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. With a pastry blender or electric mixer, combine flour, sugar and cool butter until well blended and mixture resembles a fine streusel.  Measure out 1 cup of crumbs and set aside.
  3. To remaining streusel mix, add baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix.
  4. Add sour cream, egg and vanilla and beat only until the batter is smooth. 
  5. Spread the batter onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan.
  6. Using a clean mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar.  Add egg and orange zest and beat until light  and fluffy.
  7. Next, spread the cream cheese filling over the cake batter.
  8. Scatter the fresh raspberries over the filling.
  9. Top with reserved cup of streusel.
  10. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the streusel is golden and toothpick inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.
  11. Place on a rack to cool.  Remove ring and slide cake onto a dessert plate.
  12. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. 

Peach Upside Down Cake

I used individual ramekins to bake these upside down cakes in.
Every one gets a perfect amount of peaches and the crust on the bottom remains a bit crispy. It is the perfect warm summer night dessert.
When they came out of the oven. . I flipped them over a dessert dishes and the serving was done.

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups peeled, and chopped peaches
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  1. Spray 6 - 8 ounce ramekins with cooking spray and set on a cookie sheet
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup butter and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer several minutes until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Using a gravy ladle, divide the sugar butter mixture between the ramekins, divide the chopped peaches between them and set aside.
  4. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  5. In a medium sized bowl, beat the 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar until creamed and then add the eggs and the vanilla, and beat until combined.
  6. Add all the dry ingredients at one time and pour the buttermilk over all and beat until combined.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly over the peaches.
  8. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean ..about 35 minutes.
  9. Use two thinner potholders, turn serving dishes over the hot ramekins and flip them over together to release the upside down cakes.
  10. Serve warm with ice cream.

Potato Salad

This past weekend we, like many others, headed down to the lake for a celebration and I was asked to bring the potato salad. This recipe is a "wanna-be" Oma Janzen's potato salad that she has never written down the exact measurements for. What makes this one different from other good potato salads is that it has no mustard, no sweet taste, but rather a little "sour-ish" flavor. If you like pickles, you'll probably like this salad. Now, to decide how many potatoes to cook, I usually count 1 small -medium potato per person. But if it's a potluck with many salads, then half a potato per person should be enough.

  • 6 medium sized red potatoes
  • 3 - 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion, green onion or chives
  • 3 pickles
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (according to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Cook potatoes with a little salt until just done (approx 25 min). Easy to peel while still warm. (I like to keep some with the peel on for color) Boil eggs about 8 - 10 minutes. Allow potatoes and eggs to cool completely. Cube potatoes and eggs (use egg slicer for eggs), and slice pickles.
  2. Mix dressing ingredients and pour on potatoes mix, stirring gently to mix.
Mix the dressing according to taste. Add less or more vinegar and pickle juice, depending on how sour you like it. You can also make the salad more dry with less dressing or juicy with more dressing. Refrigerate before serving. Decorate with sprinkled paprika and parsley.

Lazy Napolean Torte

I had this dessert at my aunt's house many years ago, and was thrilled to know that it was made with unsalted soda crackers, I have also tasted this with social tea biscuits. I couldn't say if I prefer the tea biscuits over the soda crackers, they are both good. It is a very quick and super easy dessert to make and the bonus is it taste like Napoleon Torte with out the effort of making all the thin wafers by hand if you don't have time. When you are making dessert for a crowd it can easily be doubled and tripled. A single recipe makes a 9x9 pan. If you do not have any Dr. Oetker's custard where you live, I suppose any custard could work. I should of paid careful attention to how many soda crackers were used, but if you have a box, just layer til your done.
I think about 1 1/2 to 2 packages should do.
  • unsalted soda crackers
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package of Dr. Oetker's Vanilla Pudding
  1. Beat eggs with a wooden spoon, add the sugar mixed with the pudding mix and beat again.
  2. Stir in the milk and cook over medium heat til the pudding thickens. It can also be done in the microwave.
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
  4. Put a bit of pudding on the bottom of a 9x9 pan.
  5. Now begin layering the crackers with the pudding using enough pudding to cover the crackers. It should give you about 6 or 7 layers.
  6. Top the last layer off with some whipped cream or whipped topping.
  7. Let sit in the refrigerator over night or several hours so the pudding soaks through the crackers and softens them.

Apricot Jam

This jar of sunshine contains no packaged pectin of any kind. Cooked with more fruit than sugar, gives this jam a fresh taste of apricots. It is simple to make, you just need a bit of time.

  • 12 cups of finely chopped apricots (save the pits)
  • 8 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice (the lemon juice prevents the fruit from browning and just enhances the flavor of the fruit).
  1. Combine the chopped apricots, sugar, lemon juice and let sit in the pot for 1 hour.
  2. Add a handful of pits to the pot. Don't ask why, it is just one of those things you don't question, it is just always done that way:) At least that is what I was told, Oma did it that way, mom does it that way, so I do it that that a good enough reason, I sure hope so. Actually I think it adds to the natural flavor.  (I am told it is a natural pectin).

3. When the fruit comes to a boil it fill develop a foam on top. Skim of the foam and put it into a bowl. Do not discard until cool, because it has a beautiful syrup under it and can be used on pancakes.

4. Once the mixture is boiling and the foam has been skimmed off, boil on medium low for about 40 minutes or so, stirring often with a wooden flat bottom spoon to get into the corners of the pot.

5. Pour into sterilized jars with a wide mouth funnel, leaving about an inch or more of head room. I always freeze my jam instead of sealing them so you need to leave more room at the top of the jar for that.
Serve on fresh scones, toast or homemade buns. I love apricot jam, it just reminds me of home.

Raspberry Cake

I love Flashback's fun to see how things have changed over the years and we get to post yet another tried and true recipe.  This will be one of those that is seasonal and you will want to try it this month while we have the fresh raspberries. This cake is sure to give you the royal raves as you whip it up and share it with a large scoop of ice cream.

"My walking partner phoned this morning and said she needed a day to catch up. Fair Enough!
I totally agreed and while we were quickly talking about our activities, I told her I needed a quick fix for coffee. "Do I run to town or make something?" She responded, "Do you have raspberries?"
"I sure do." Thanks, Laurie for this suggestion."  (July 2008)
We enjoy this recipe every year during berry season.

Raspberry Cake
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cups fresh raspberries
  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Cream your margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and add to creamed mixture.
  4. Mix with hand mixer until texture is light and fluffy.
  5. Add milk and vanilla, beating well after each addition. (enough milk so it is spreadable)
  6. Spread cake batter into greased 9x13 greased pan.
  7. Add about 4 cups of fresh raspberries on top of the cake.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes
  1.  1 1/2 cup icing sugar
  2. 1 tsp vanilla
  3. 3 tbsp cream or milk.
  4. Mix ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over cake.
  5. Add a scoop of ice cream and you are ready to go! 
 Little did I know 8 years later, that  I would have a little princess helping me pick these berries.  Thank you Ivy!

No Shrink Fool Proof Pie Crust

It's finally here.  I found the secret to creating a perfect crust.  Back a few weeks, we went to Lepp's Farms to demonstrate pie-making.  I think that I learned more than most of the quests that evening.  So many of the MGCC ladies shared practical hints that totally made sense.   Over the past years, I've been very frustrated at not attaining a perfect pie crust that would not shrink.  I had actually given up until I did a google search and found this wonderful method.  I was ecstatic, as I shared this news with my walking partners the next morning and yet,  they smiled.  Seemingly,  they seemed to know about this method. Then why didn't any of these ladies ever share their secret?
So later that evening while we were sharing tips about pie making, Judy came to me and said,  "I used that method today to make sure my crust would not fail, only I used teaspoons as weights."  You need to run over and sample Judy's fresh Raspberry Pie.
Meanwhile, I did some more research and noticed that Lovella also had her own 'No Shrink Fool Proof Pie Crust' method.  Lovella uses aluminum foil.  Check out her favorite Dorothy's Pie Crust recipe and you will see her method.  Anyways, as you all know, there are so many different ways to make or cook pies, but it's always fun when you can find something new that is foolproof.

Marg's Method:
  • Place a piece of parchment paper the size of the pie plate inside the pie shell, 
  • Scatter pie weights, or spoons, or beans or split peas, over the parchment paper. (in other words, a weight  that will not burn in 5 minutes).  This helps the shell to retain its shape.  
  • The shell should be baked at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the fluted edge is a golden brown.
  • The weights and parchment should be removed after 5 minutes of baking, and then continue to bake the remainder of time or until golden brown. 
  • One word of caution, don't spill the beans/peas when you try to lift out the parchment paper.
 Lovella's Method:
  • Heat your oven to 400. Roll your dough out to fit a 9-inch pie plate.
  • Ease it in without stretching, and to bake it empty,  just line with aluminum foil pressing it against the edges,  and bake it for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake until brown. Cool.

Hopefully, this will be helpful for some of you and don't forget to share these tips with your friends.

Rollkuchen Meatpockets

I remember the years when I was a teenager, we lived close to the church and my parents would often invite company home for lunch. My mom usually had a pot of soup ready and quickly made Rollkuchen to go along with the soup. It was pretty much the same, Sunday after Sunday, but she never stressed and everyone loved the meal. This recipe yields about 24 meatpockets or regular Rollkuchen ... you may want to double it. 

  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ c milk
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups flour - could be more
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 generous teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 - 4 cups oil for frying
  • 1 - 2 cups left over sloppy joe sauce or chili

  1. In a small bowl, mix eggs with fork and then mix in the rest of the wet ingredients.
  2. In another larger bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder, make a well and add the wet ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon, adding in the dry, until all ingredients are mixed well.
  3. Dust with flour and knead slightly jsut to gather and smooth. Add flour as needed so it is not sticky. (Can be wrapped and refrigerated at this time to roll and fry later.) Roll out quite thin on floured board or counter. 
  4. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling about one to one and half inches apart in a row, along one end.
  5. Fold dough over top of filling and press with a cup (dipped in flour) to form a perogie like crescent. No need to pinch. Lay on floured cookie sheet until all done before proceeding to fry. (If making regular Rollkuchen, simply cut into two inch strips and cut five inch lengths.  Cut a slit and flip one end through it to make a bow tie)
  6. Heat oil – test with a little dough to make sure it fries quickly, or throw in a few kernels of popcorn. Oil is ready when they pop. The trick to not have deep fried food soak up too much oil is to fry quickly in very hot fat. A cast iron works great. Use 2 forks or tongs and have a paper towel lined pan ready.

Glazed Yeast Donuts

Who doesn't like a yeast donut with a sticky yummy glaze?
A family favorite, our children and grandchildren love them. They were also popular with a friend and her children many years ago. When I knew they were coming for an afternoon visit I would often make these donuts. I remember us all sitting around the table munching away on donuts with a couple of wet wash cloths on the table for face and hand wiping. I think I need to plan another donut day this summer and invite them all down again.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water, lukewarm
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 8 - 8 1/4 cups flour
  1. Scald milk, stir in butter, sugar, salt, and lukewarm water. Whisk till butter is melted and sugar dissolved.
  2. Whisk eggs till foamy and add to the warm milk mixture.
  3. Add 4 cups flour, yeast, and mix well.
  4. Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time and knead until dough is smooth, it will still be slightly sticky.
  5. Place in a covered bowl in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 balls. Roll out each ball to 1/4" to 3/8" thick on a floured surface, using just enough flour so dough doesn't stick to the surface. I don't re-roll the scraps, instead just let them rise along with the 'donut holes' and fry them like the donuts. (The fried donut 'scraps' are often grabbed first)
  7. Using a donut cutter, cut donuts and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil, leaving space between each donut for rising. Let rise until almost doubled in bulk, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Deep fry in hot oil on medium high heat (375º) till donuts are golden on one side, flip over and fry till golden or done. Cut into the first one to give you the timing for when they are done or poking a toothpick into the donut and it comes out clean it's done.
  9. Glaze while warm.
Sticky Syrupy Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Boil first 3 ingredients for 4 to 5 minutes, till glaze is syrupy.
  2. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Dip warm donuts in glaze and enjoy.
I only glaze as much as I want to serve, as they are best eaten fresh.
The leftover glaze and unglazed donuts freeze well.
Reheat frozen donuts in oven and glaze with reheated glaze.

Flash Back Friday ~ Summer Borscht

Summer Borscht is a soup made with Sorrel as it's main flavour.   Fresh sorrel will instantly lose it's beautiful bright green as soon as it hits the hot broth but don't let that put you off from trying this soup.  It is truly delicious.  If Sorrel is not available where you live, you can also use Beet leaves.

Sorrel is one of the first herbs ready to pick from the garden in spring along with chives.

Summer Borscht 
  • 1 smoked ham bone or ham hock
  • 4 cups  slivered sorrel leaves or beet leaves 
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup of chopped dill
  • 4 - 6 potatoes, cubed
  • 8 cups of water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • hard boiled eggs
  1. Put the water and the ham in a large pot and bring to boil.
  2. Simmer for a few hours. Remove the bone.
  3. Add the vegetables and cook until tender.
  4. Add the meat back into the pot.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Before serving, take a bowl of soup out of the pot, and slowly add the sour cream, then add it all back to the pot or let everyone put their own sour cream into their bowls.
  7. Chop up hard boiled eggs into soup. 

Hamburger Relish

It's summertime!  If you haven't already been grilling burgers, you will be very soon. This burger relish is a bit savoury and a bit sweet.  It is perfect on burgers but try it on other grilled meats as well.   I wanted to get this burger relish out to you early because it needs a few weeks for the flavours to blend before you get it onto your burgers.  I make my own hot dog and hamburger relish and once you try it, you will want to always keep a few jars ready too.  

  • 4 small cucumbers, diced to make three cups ( I use mini cucumbers which I don't peel) 
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (divided)
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 15 cloves
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups diced grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  1. Combine the chopped cucumbers, onion, peppers, and celery in a large glass bowl. 
  2. Sprinkle with salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and stir.
  3. Cover with 2 cups cold water. Press down vegetables and add a bit more water if necessary to cover.  
  4. Let sit overnight.
  5. In the morning, pour vegetables into a colander and allow to drain for 10 minutes.
  6. Prepare jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinse and drain.  Sterilize them by boiling them in water for 10 minutes.  Keep in hot water until you are ready to fill them.  
  7. Bring the drained vegetables and cider vinegar to a simmer in a  large stainless steel or enamel pot.
  8. Tie cloves into a piece of cheesecloth and add to pot along with the cinnamon stick, mustard seeds and diced tomatoes.
  9. Simmer 30 minutes.
  10. Add sugar and tomato paste and continue to simmer and stir until the relish reduces, about another 20 minutes.
  11. Ladle the relish into 5 - 250 ml canning jars. Leave 1/2 inch space at the top.  Wipe the rims clean and cover with lids that have been boiled for 10 minutes. 
  12. Process jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. 
  13. Allow the relish to develop the flavours for 2 weeks before using.  Refrigerate after opening. 

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars

 Happy 4th of July to all our U.S.A. Readers! I'm sharing this old time favorite recipe that has been circulating for years and that many of you might be familiar with. This is a picnic, potluck and barbecue favorite!

  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup 
  • 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup Butterscotch Chips
  • 1 cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  1. Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup Karo light syrup just to a boil mixing well. 
  2. Take off heat and add 1 cup peanut butter and mix till smooth.
  3. Add 6 cups Rice Krispies and mix till all the Krispies are coated well.
  4. Put this mixture into a well greased 9×12 pan and press down evenly into the pan. 
  5. Empty chips into microwaveable bowl and microwave at 3-30 second intervals, mixing well after each 30 seconds. 
  6. Mix together till smooth. 
  7. You can use the double boiler method to melt your chips if you prefer. 
  8. Pour entire mixture on top of the pressed down Rice Krispies and spread to cover.
  9. Cool, cut and enjoy.

Camping Fare

Summer is upon us...and many of you are likely off camping this weekend.  I am out in the Canadian Rockies, enjoying the scenery, the company and the food...of course!  What's a camping trip without good food?  There's nothing like combining food and fire and cooking up some great campfire treats.  I'm going to share with you a few of our family favorites...things we like to cook over the fire with the grands.

Everyone loves s'mores.   But not everyone knows that s'mores are made so much simpler with the use of  buttery biscuits topped with the perfect layer of melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate. I usually use Petit Écolier biscuits...but recently have been using Celebration brand.

Roast your marshmallow to perfection.  Sandwich it between two cookies...and enjoy a classic campfire dessert with a bit of a twist.  When I purchased a a package of the cookies and marshmallows this week, the cashier asked if I was planning to put the two together.  I explained how they made great s'mores.  She thought that was the most brilliant idea and was going home to give this method a try!  So, in case you have never made s'mores this way I thought I'd pass along the tip.

Banana boats are always a hit...for all ages.

Stuff a banana (skin on) with toppings of your choice (things like peanut butter, chocolate chips, and marshmallows)...wrap in heavy foil and roast over an open fire.  After about five minutes...un-wrap and enjoy the ooey-gooey goodness right out of the boat.  Ice-cream and chopped nuts are always a nice addition!  For detailed will have to check out the recipe in the Celebrations cookbook on page 133.

Another camping favorite  is the 'bush pie'. A bush pie is basically bread stuffed with a filling of your choice...and then cooked inside a cast-iron bush pie maker (available at any sporting goods store).

We used pizza toppings inside our bush pies and cooked them two at a time inside a double bush-pie-maker.  Our grands love them!  We have also tried the dessert version...which is filled with any pie filling or Nutella and bananas.

For breakfast...or anytime...try cinnamon snakes.

Cover the wiener sticks with tinfoil...then wrap long strips of dough around the foiled end (we used refrigerated Pillsbury crescent dough) and roast them over the open fire until golden. Brush the cooked 'snake' with butter and roll in a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  So good!

And here is a favorite camping lunch that doesn't even need a fire!  Walking Tacos are always a treat. Purchase the single-serving size nacho chips...slit the bag...and make up your nacho plate right in the bag. Again...complete instructions can be found on page 135 of the Celebrations cookbook.
And those are the Saturday tips for this week...a few campfire food ideas while the season is upon us.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Canning Cherries

Every summer my Mom would can many quarts of cherries.  We had canned fruit for dessert a few times each week during the winter months so that meant she needed to have many jars of cherries, peaches, pears, apricots and plums. Cherries were always a favourite and especially if she remembered to put the jar in the refrigerator to chill.   We eat fresh cherries like there is no tomorrow but I do like to can a few small jars.  Canned cherries are a necessary ingredient for Plumi Moos. 

Mom never pitted the cherries before canning and I never do either.  You can go ahead and pit them but it is not necessary.  You can remove the pits as you eat them as though they were fresh.  Since cherries are already sweet we prefer ours canned with a very light syrup.  Cherries are acidic and are safely canned using a hot water process.  

Tools needed
  • a water bath canner with a rack  (I use a universal canning rack with one of my own very large pots)
  • pint jars with seals and rings
  • a canning funnel
  • jar lifter
  • measuring cup
  • pot to make syrup
  • 12 pounds of sweet cherries make about 9-500 ml/pint jars
  • 9 cups of water
  • 2 cups sugar
  1. Run the jars through the dishwasher.  Keep the jars in the closed dishwasher to stay warm until you are ready to fill.
  2. Prepare canner by filling with water and bringing to a boil.
  3. Make syrup by bringing water and sugar to a boil and then simmer until you are ready to fill jars.
  4. Wash the cherries, remove stems and poke with a sterilized pin on the opposite side of the stem to keep the cherries from bursting. You do not need to do this if you pit your cherries.
  5. Using a canning funnel, Pour 1/2 cup syrup into jar, fill  with cherries and add more syrup to cover cherries.  Leave a 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar.
  6. Wipe rim, center lid on top and then put on ring and screw tight. 
  7. Using the jar lifter, lower the jars into boiling water or lower the rack if it has handles.  The jars should be covered by at least an inch of water.  Once the water comes to a boil again, process in boiling water for 15 minutes. 
  8. Remove jars using the jar lifter or lift the rack if it has handles.  Place on a tea towel to cool.  Listen for the jars to pop, which means they have sealed.  Refrigerate any jars that do not seal.   Sealed lids will look inverted but avoid the temptation to press the lid and help it along. 

Canada Day Cake (Flashback)

Our new Canadian Flag is ready to hang and tomorrow we will celebrate Canada's 145th Birthday, joining fellow Canadians with  celebrations all across Canada.

If you are invited to celebrate and need a large cake recipe and an easy way to decorate in our red and white Canadian flag colors...
here is a cake which includes how to stretch your cake mix to fit an 11 X 14 rectangular pan.
Not only does this fill a pan properly, it gives the cake a moist crumb and homemade flavour.
  • 2 - 517 gram / 18 oz. white cake mixes
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 egg whites (reserve yolks for custard)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  1. Prepare an 11 X 14 X 2 inch cake pan by lining two long sides and the bottom with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 325. F.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients into a large mixer bowl and wisk together.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients and beat together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean in the center.
  5. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes and then turn it out onto fresh parchment paper.  Gently remove the parchment paper from the bottom and slice in half horizontally to make a two layer cake.  This can be a bit tricky but don't worry if the top layer cracks a bit when you lift will be covered by whipped cream at the end.
Custard Filling
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Blend the dry ingredients together in a medium sized microwave safe bowl, or a medium saucepan. 
  2. Add the milk and stir with a wisk and heat until almost boiling.
  3. Pour a little bit of hot milk into the egg yolks and stir to temper the yolks.  Add a bit more milk until you have added a total of about a cup of milk.
  4. Pour the egg mixture back into the milk mixture and continue to heat until thickened and just beginning to simmer.
  5. Remove from heat and add vanilla and stir well. 
  6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Cake Assembly
  1. Pour the Custard Filling onto the bottom layer of the cake which has been placed on a large tray.
  2. Allow to set for 15 minutes before adding the top layer.
  3. Put the top layer of cake on the pudding layer and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Beat 3 cups of heavy whipping cream together with 1/2 cup sugar and either 3 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding  or 3 packets of Dr. Oetkers Whip it to stabilize the cream.  It is important that something be added to stabilize the cream for decorating.
  5. Spread the whipped cream over the top and the sides.  (about 1/4 inch thick).
  6. Put the remaining whipped cream into a pastry bag and decorate the edge and the swirl a bit onto each piece.  I find it easier to cut the pieces first and then put the swirl of cream exactly in the middle.  Decorate each piece with half a fresh ripe summer strawberry. 
  7. Chill until serving.  Makes 30 pieces.