Sunday, April 29, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, TANGIBLE LOVE


What a creative monument to welcome a new someone to love!
There's reason to celebrate ... I will build a pillar .. four stories high!


Every space covered with exciting items to see ...
several cycling's needed to spot them all.


Grandma K did an impressive work to greet
her first grandson.
Grandmothers do that and brush it off as a little thing ..
that's all because of love.


How do parents convey their deep affections for their precious daughter?
Mommy  finds an irresistible creation to express her love and appreciation!
Daddy hangs the streamers and mans the grill.


Auntie pitches in to help make these playful party animals!


How fun to make a personality .. no two alike.
Can't wait to see the smiles on the children's faces!


Time, time, time .... patience ... creativity ... planning ..
 designing ... neat lettering  .. lots of affirmation .. made very special
by two young friends who love the little girl.
Family and friends gather to share in the joy and the fun.


People were also bringing babies to Jesus
to have him touch them.
When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.
But Jesus called the children to him and said,
"Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive
the kingdom of God like a little child
will never enter it."
Luke 18:15 - 16  NIV

Thursday, April 26, 2012

BANANA NUT CAKE


Some food writers will claim that a dessert is to die for but
I will simply say that this cake is scrumptious.
I would travel within a two hundred mile radius to eat at a
restaurant if all the food were as good as this.
Is it possible to feel like a traitor to an older tried and true recipe
that has been in the family for years?
Since I made this snacking cake from a banana loaf recipe, I can't
decide which of the two cake recipes are better.
Maybe they are both equally good.  I'll let my tasters decide.


The cake is wonderfully moist and flavorful and so easy to make.
Once the ingredients are prepared, it takes only a few minutes
to whip up the batter.


Beat the wet ingredients in one bowl; mix in the dry ingredients,
stir in the nuts and it's done.


I tried a new caramel frosting that pairs well with the flavors
in a banana cake although it is a bit fuss to make.


BANANA NUT CAKE

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Stir dry ingredients together; set aside.

2 eggs
1¼ cups mashed bananas (2 large)
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup + 1 tbsp. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, bananas, oil, buttermilk and vanilla
together thoroughly.  Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Stir in nuts.  Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 30 to 33 minutes or until
wooden pick in center comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack.  Frost with caramel icing.

CARAMEL ICING

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. white corn syrup (optional)
½ cup powdered sugar

Stir cream, sugar and syrup together in a heavy saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
Boil until mixture reaches soft ball stage. (234° or a drop in cold
water will form a soft ball)  Remove from heat and cool.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar until spreading consistency.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST BLOG


It was one year ago today that I posted my first blog.
The recipe was 'Frosted Lemon Tea Loaf'.
After the initial trepidation and stress at getting started, blogging
seemed a perfect fit for this time in my life.
   It is a wonderful pastime and I'm always learning
more about food and taking better pictures.
Where have I been the last three days?
Truth be told, I planned on blogging on Monday and Tuesday but
the items I made on those two days did not come up to my
standard.  That was a disappointment but not a loss
because I know what I'll do different next time.
I planned on having a celebration blog today with some
mouth-watering food item but that didn't happen either.
Some days I just fall back on those old faithful recipes that
I know are good but have already hit the blog.
Keep checking ... there will be more.
Thanks to all of you who have left comments and shared
your thoughts about the blog.
I love hearing from my readers!




Sunday, April 22, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, WELCOME SPRING


'A meadowlark's song is like a stream of music being poured from
a pitcher.  The Western Meadowlark's trademark tune is the voice of
Alberta's grasslands, ringing from fence posts ... across the flat landscape
of Spring' .... from the authors of 'Birds of Alberta'... I could
not say it any better.
I was delighted that he sat long enough for me to hear and to
catch him on camera.


When I was a very small child, there was a tree growing just outside
our house and close to a window.  I remember a short swing tied to a low
branch as well as a perfect place under the boughs to dig in the dirt.
I loved that tree and never more so than several consecutive Springs
when I pressed my face against the window to watch my family of robins.
From the beginning of the building project to the baby blue eggs, to the nesting,
to the hatching and feeding, to the leaving .... I was there.
Year after year, in the exact same location ... the pair built their nest.
I watched for them ... and they came ... and they settled in ...until one Spring
... the tree was taken down.
Many more Springs came ... but they were not the same without my
tree and without my robins.
My love for robins which began so long ago ... lives on.
Their cheery song ... is like a song of praise.

"Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!
Say to God," How awesome are your deeds!
All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing praise to your name."
Psalm 66: 1, 2, 4



Saturday, April 21, 2012

LEMON WALNUT SQUARES


A slice of spring ... a slice of tangy lemon ....


This small grater makes the finest lemon zest ...


I love the walnuts in the crust ... and I make good use of
my new tool to aid the packing process.  There was something new
in this recipe ...  building up the crust around the edges of the pan ...
it worked so well for these lemon squares .. no lemon filling stuck to the side.


If you lived in the US where you could buy free range eggs, the color
of the filling would be decidedly more yellow .. but here in
Canada, the egg yolks are a soft yellow.
The sweetener is white corn syrup ... proved to be just right.


Pour the filling onto the pre-baked crust.


When cool, gently peel away the parchment paper ...
and slice.


Dust with powdered sugar ... enjoy!

LEMON WALNUT SQUARES

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup walnut halves
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup cold butter or margarine, cut into pieces

Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
Combine flour and walnuts in food processor; pulse until walnuts are
finely ground.  Add powdered sugar, lemon zest and salt; pulse until
mixed.  Add cold butter and pulse until the mixture is a crumbly texture.
Pour crumbs into pan and pack down, pushing the crumbs slightly up
the edges of pan, about ¼ inch.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 15 minutes.

2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup white corn syrup
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
½ tsp. baking powder

Whisk eggs and corn syrup until smooth.  Stir lemon juice and cornstarch
together; mix in zest and baking powder.  Whisk into the egg mixture
and pour over the baked crust.
Bake until set, about 20 minutes.  Center will be a little wobbly.
Cool to room temperature, remove from pan, slice and dust
with powdered sugar.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freezing: excellent.
Yield: 16 squares ..  approx.two-inch

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MINI NEW YORK CHEESECAKES


 I adore these dainty decadent treats!
Let me list the why's .... they are lovely as well as delicious ...
easy to make ...  an ideal individual portion of sweet goodness ...
adaptable to many occasions ... a perfect do-ahead dessert ..


Graham cracker crumbs packed into muffin papers is the first step.


This small inexpensive wooden tool is perfect for packing crumbs
into a crust not only for this recipe but for any recipe where you
use a crumb mixture to form a base.  The ends are different sizes
to accommodate regular as well as mini muffin papers.


As with any cheesecake, the cream cheese and sugar
is beaten until smooth and free of lumps.


The slightly beaten eggs are incorporated, one at a time, with a whisk or
spatula just until blended.


If you have an ice cream scoop, it works perfectly to divide
the filling evenly among 12 cups.


The centers should be slightly wobbly when removing from the oven.


If you need to transport the cheesecakes, a cupcake holder
is a great container to keep them from sliding around.


A swirl of whipped cream and some chocolate filigree sets
the stage for the occasion I chose to celebrate.
Use your imagination to adapt them to any party theme.



MINI NEW YORK CHEESECAKES

Line 12 muffin cups with large muffin papers

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. melted butter or margarine

Combine crumbs, sugar and butter.  Place a heaping tablespoon
into each muffin paper; press onto bottom.  Cover and refrigerate.

2 pkg. (8oz.) cream cheese at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup sour cream at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
2 large eggs

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
Add sour cream, vanilla and salt and beat until mixed.
Add slightly beaten eggs, one at a time, with a whisk or spatula
just until blended.
Divide filling evenly among 12 muffin cups.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 17 to 20 minutes or until firm
but centers will be slightly wobbly.
Place on a wire rack to cool.  Cover with plastic wrap and
refrigerate a few hours or overnight.
To serve - gently peel off paper liners.
Serve with whipped cream, strawberry or raspberry sauce,
fresh berries or drizzle with melted chocolate.
Can be covered and stored in refrigerator for several days.
Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PANINI CHICKEN SANDWICH


This is my version of a simple panini sandwich that is made with
an ordinary nonstick skillet rather than a special appliance.
Instead of a recipe, I will show how I make this yummy grilled
chicken, mushroom and cheese sandwich.


This is a cheesy onion roll from my last blog, sliced in half
and buttered on both sides.


Place roll buttered side down, on a nonstick skillet and cook
until lightly browned.


Flip over in the same skillet.


Top one half with slices of mozzarella cheese. 
Layer a grilled chicken breast and sauteed mushrooms
on the other side.  Close sandwich.


Continue to heat sandwich for several minutes until the sandwich
is heated through and crust is crisp.


Turn sandwich over and brown and crisp the other side.
Delicious mix ... all melted together!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, the HUMAN EYE


I saved this article several years ago for no reason other
 than the intrigue that comes with the wonders of the human eye.
Some of the facts I learned from this paper are:
*Eyes are the second most complex organ in your body.
*Eyes have more than 2 million working parts.
*Eyes use about 65% of all pathways to the brain.
*Under the right conditions, the eye can see the light of
a candle at a distance of 14 miles.
*The retina uses special cells called rods and cones to process light.
A retina has about 120 million rods and about 6 million cones.


This article has now taken on personal significance.
My eyesight has always been precious to me and distinctly more so now
that it has diminished somewhat even if only temporarily.
Today is day 11 from the day I had surgery to repair a macular hole.
Until now I had never heard of the term so this was an
all new experience for me.  The surgery went very well according to
the Doctor and the rest was 'up to me', he said.
Crucial to the success of the procedure was for me to keep my head
down for 5 days, minimum. 
It was a challenge and at times an ordeal but I tried to comply
with diligence.  We will not know the outcome for several months.
If anyone is interested you can look up this site:
'Angel Vision Clinic' .. macular hole.
I am so grateful to family and friends who drove me to appointments
in Calgary ... who volunteered their time to stay with me ... who
cared and gave of themselves so willingly.
I am also very thankful for a Doctor who has been gifted by God
 with profound intelligence that he is using to help humanity.
He worked with confidence and precision on a delicate organ
that has the hand of God imprinted all over it.
I heard him talk with his assistant about common things
with the kind of nonchalance that I would use to flip a pancake.


This white manna fell from the skies overnight .. I couldn't resist an imprint.
Lord, I thank you for my eyes!


It is marvelous to look up once again!!

I lift up my eyes to you,
to you whose throne is in heaven.
Psalm 123:1

Saturday, April 14, 2012

CHEESY ONION SANDWICH BUNS


Today I needed a recipe for a dozen large sandwich buns with
lots of flavor and this is what I came up with.
Cheese and caramelized onions are mixed into this light wheat roll dough.
They will go well with a garden salad or bowl of soup or
be used as hamburger buns.  Fill a bun with cold cuts, lettuce
and tomato; add a good spread and enjoy a sub or a 'bunwich'.


Shredded cheese and caramelized onion is mixed into the dough.


The dough is kneaded and ready for rising.


One recipe makes 12 large buns.  If you want smaller rolls
you can certainly divide the dough into smaller pieces and
use two baking sheets or pans.


After shaping and a short rising period, flatten the dough with the
palm of your hand to make a sandwich bun.


CHEESY ONION SANDWICH BUNS

2 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced

In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; stir in onion and garlic.
  Cook uncovered 10 minutes, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes.  Set aside.

1 pkg. dry yeast (1 tbsp.)
½ cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.

3/4 cup warm milk
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
½ cup whole wheat flour
2½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, milk, butter, egg, sugar
and salt.  Add whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour; beat until
smooth.  Mix in onions, cheese and enough remaining flour to form soft
dough.  Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth
and elastic.  Place into a lightly oiled bowl; turning once to oil surface.
Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Divide dough into 12 equal pieces; form each piece into a smooth ball.
Place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Flatten firmly with the palm of your hand 10 minutes after forming.
Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 15 to 16 minutes or
until lightly browned.
Yield: 12 large sandwich buns




Wednesday, April 4, 2012

EASTER BLESSINGS


Today, I want to wish my readers a joyous and meaningful Easter
celebration as I will not be posting for a few days.
I am especially mindful of the resurrection which is the cornerstone
of the Christian faith.
Without the resurrection, there would be no Christianity.
Through the resurrection, Christ demonstrated that He is
utterly unique. 
He has the power not only to lay down his life, but to take it up again.

'I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live,
even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me
will never die'.
John 11:25