Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CHRISTMAS 2012


I have sorely missed connecting with my blogger friends
during this Christmas season. It was not by choice but rather
the result of a nasty vicious flu bug that attacked my body
and upset normal plans for sharing more food blogs.


But rather than dwell on the negatives, I was grateful to be
in my own comfortable home with all I needed to
help me on the road to recovery. Everything that I had planned to
do was put on hold. 
I slept and rested, listened to Christmas music and meditated
on the gift that God sent to earth.


Christmas day was very cold ... I felt weak so I gave up the idea of
of going to my family's Christmas dinner. But as the day wore on,
my mind kept taking me to the preparations and the tasty
food that would be served.  
The pull was too strong to resist!  I had to go and I am
very happy that I did.  It was my first real meal in days
and it was so good!
Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas celebration!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ORIENTAL MEATBALLS


These meatballs are a perfect little something to serve
on your appetizer table.  They can be made ahead and
frozen until needed. 

ORIENTAL MEATBALLS

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large egg
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup fine bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except beef; stir together.
Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
Shape into 1 inch meatballs. Place on parchment lined
baking sheet.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

½ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup pineapple juice
2 tbsp. prepared mustard
2 tbsp. white vinegar
½ cup ketchup
1 tsp. soy sauce
¼ tsp. garlic powder

Stir brown sugar and cornstarch together in saucepan.
Add remaining ingredients. Heat and stir mixture until it
boils and thickens.  Pour over meatballs to serve or serve
separately for dipping.
Yield: about 36 meatballs






Sunday, December 16, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, SHATTERED DREAMS



Our hearts go out to the parents of those precious children
whose lives were senselessly snuffed out this week in
Connecticut.  We can only imagine the grief and suffering that will
mar their lives and shatter their dreams of a future
that included their innocent loved ones.
It is a cruel blow of a magnitude beyond reason.
They will never forget Christmas season.


The sadness and loss on this earth is real and heart-wrenching.
In heaven there is joy as God and his angels receive them home.

.. 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'.
Luke 18:16 NIV

We pray for comfort and healing.

'God is always working to make His children aware of a dream
that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream,
a new dream that when realized will release a new song,
sung with tears,
till God wipes them away and we sing with nothing
but joy in our hearts.'
Larry Crabb

Saturday, December 15, 2012

ALFREDO CHICKEN CUPS


A perfect edible for the holidays!
These chicken cups may be a bit fussy to make because the
dough and filling are made from scratch.  They could be made with
frozen puff pastry and jarred Alfredo sauce but I love the
homemade flavor of these little pies.
Pop them into the freezer for later use.
Add a leafy salad. and enjoy!


I used to put the dough into the muffin cups and then add the filling.
I found the dough would shrink down and I would have to re-form it
into a cup with sides.
My new method works much better because the
dough and filling keep their shape as they are placed into the
muffin cup as a pair.


I experimented with adding mozzarella cheese to some of
the cups before baking.  It enhanced the flavor and I
liked the golden color of the cheese.


ALFREDO CHICKEN CUPS

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

In  a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in water.

1 cup warm milk
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, milk, oil, sugar, salt
and 2 cups flour.  Beat together until well mixed.
Add remaining flour and knead until smooth.
Place in a greased bowl, turn to grease top.
Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

1 cup grated carrots
½ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup water

Cook carrots and celery in water until soft; drain and set aside.

¼ cup butter
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. flour
1½ cups half and half
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. parsley flakes
¼ tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet.  Add onion and garlic,
cook until softened, stirring occasionally.
Stir in flour until smooth.  Gradually add half and half and cook
until mixture is hot. and thickened.  Stir in mayonnaise, chicken, cheese, parsley,
thyme, salt and pepper.  Stir in carrots and celery.

Spray 24 muffin cups with cooking spray.
Roll out half of dough; cut into rounds with 4-inch cookie cutter.
Place a mound of chicken mixture on center of each circle.
A small cookie scoop works well for this step.
Carefully lift dough and place into prepared muffin cups.
Continue with remaining dough and chicken mixture,
reusing scraps of dough as needed. Divide any remaining
chicken mixture into cups.

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

If desired top each chicken cup with a sprinkle of cheese.
Tops will be nicely browned after baking.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until
golden brown. 
Yield: 24 chicken cups











Wednesday, December 12, 2012

CINNAMON APPLESAUCE ORNAMENTS


I love to post pretty items that were crafted by someone else
and in this instance it is a heart ornament that was
made by my niece Raylee.


When she first explained to me that the ingredients
were cinnamon and applesauce, I was surprised
they could be combined into a dough that would roll out.


I love the color as well as the lovely scent!


While they look good enough to eat ... please don't!

CINNAMON APPLESAUCE ORNAMENTS

heart-shape cookie cutter
red ribbon

1½ cups ground cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
2 tbsp. ground cloves

Mix 1 cup cinnamon and 1cup applesauce in a large mixing bowl.
Stir until thoroughly combined.  Add cloves and remaining cinnamon
and continue to incorporate until mixture is the
consistency of play dough.
If it is too dry, add 1 - 2 tablespoons applesauce; if it is too
wet, add more cinnamon.
Lightly dust surface with cinnamon; roll out to ¼ inch thickness.
Cut with heart shape cookie cutter.
Place close together on parchment lined baking sheet.
Ornaments will not rise.
 Carefully make a hole in each heart with a skewer.
Bake in 200 degree oven for one hour; set aside until
 completely hard and dry.
Tie with a red ribbon.  Enjoy!


Monday, December 10, 2012

PEAR AND POMEGRANATE SALAD


Pears and pomegranates ... sweet and crunchy ...
and so pretty in a festive salad!
It takes just minutes to have it ready to serve.



PEAR AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

2 Bartlett pears
1 tbsp. lemon juice
6 cups torn lettuce
(I used a mix of field greens and herbs)
¼ cup pomegranate seeds

Core and thinly slice pears; toss with lemon juice
Divide among 4 plates, arranging in overlapping circles.
(Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.)

VINAIGRETTE

¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp. pomegranate juice
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. liquid honey
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

In a small saucepan, whisk all ingredients together;
bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer , whisking until
thickness of syrup, about 2 minutes.
Drizzle about 1 tbsp. over pears on each plate.
In a large bowl, toss lettuces with remaining vinaigrette to coat;
mound attractively on pears.
Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Yield: 4 servings








Sunday, December 9, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, A WEDDING


It was a cold and snowy day in Montana for the wedding of my friends'
daughter. Inside, the sanctuary was warm with the glow of Christmas.
Soft lights shone on the young couple embracing their love
as they spoke vows of commitment to each other.


Family and friends gathered from all over and as far
away as Florida to join in the festivities.
The couple chose a winter theme to create a setting of celebration.
The table coverings were black and white with silver accents.
Japanese lanterns and strings of lights lit the reception hall.


A delicious home cooked meal was prepared
by friends in the spacious kitchen.
I hope to feature some of the recipes on a later blog.


When the brides' mother asked if I would consider making the
cheesecake dessert, I was excited.  I knew it would be lots of fun!


Initially, I had some misgivings because the wedding was a
three hour drive from my home in Alberta and would include
a border crossing into the US.


I can't say that I didn't lie awake some nights wondering how
it would all come together.
My main focus of prayer was the weather.
The bride was praying for snow and I was praying that a
blizzard was not in the forecast.
Both of our prayers were answered ... she got her snow on the
wedding day ... and I had perfect driving conditions the day before.!


My good friend Ruth Ann and I each made half of the cheesecakes
in our own kitchens.  Then we got together at my house where we had a
delightful morning adding the decorations.
I could not have done it without her help and support! 


The border crossing was special!  After threatening to confiscate all
the cheesecakes in the boxes, the customs official smiled and told
Ruth Ann and I that he was kidding ...
and waved us on through!
The bride from Montana and the groom from Georgia met and learned to
know each other at Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute in PA.
Their paths crossed over the next couple of years.
One day Aaron called Sarah's dad for permission to ask his little girl
for her hand in marriage.
The proposal happened in India where Sarah was nearing the end
of a four month missions trip.
These were words penned on the wedding invitation ..

When God writes a love story
He writes the best kind of love story.
Chapter by chapter, page by page, moment by moment.
We stand in absolute wonder
as He intricately details each event
and delights in us as we grow in love for each other.
.......

..the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23  NIV

I was blessed to be a part of this event!









Tuesday, December 4, 2012

CHEESE BALL


My daughter Karen created this cheese ball recipe and we
have enjoyed it thoroughly over the years.
It is a fine blend of texture and taste.
Instead of snacking crackers, I decided to serve Welsh Cakes.
Not everyone enjoyed the sweetness of glazed mixed fruit
in the cakes in combination with cheese ball.
I quite liked it.


Arrange your favorite assortment of crackers around the
cheese ball.  This amount represents only half of the recipe.

CHEESE BALL

1 pkg. (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cheese spread, such as cheese whiz
1 tbsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ onion salt
½ tsp. seasoned salt

In a small mixing bowl or food processor, combine cheeses, mixing well.
Add remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap; spoon cheese mixture into bowl.
Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or until firm.
Unmold cheese ball and roll in chopped nuts if desired.
Place on serving plate; serve with assorted crackers.
Variation: add 1 pkg. (3oz.) finely diced chipped beef to cheese ball.
Yield: about 3 cups spread



Monday, December 3, 2012

SNICKER COOKIES


I love the recipes my girls hand to me with the notation that
these cookies are really good.
I made them and passed them around and got the same response
... 'these cookies are really good and I don't even like peanut butter!'


At a certain holiday time in October, snicker bites are available
for purchase.  I couldn't locate any in November so I bought
 snack size packages and cut them into smaller pieces.
I tried this size on the picture but decided to half them again.


Gather a walnut size amount of dough and flatten on the
palm of your hand and place a snicker bite in the center.


Wrap the dough around the snicker making sure it is totally enclosed.


Another method is to form a ball, make an indention with your
thumb, place the snicker into the center and close it up.


I had a small amount of dough left over after I had used all the snicker bites.
Since I didn't want to make plain cookies I made an indention
in each center of the balls I rolled.  After they were baked
I topped them with a pecan and drizzled chocolate over top.
These cookies are excellent for freezing.

SNICKER COOKIES

2 to 3 packages SNICKERS, snack size
Cut each portion into 8 pieces, set aside.

½ cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup creamy peanut butter

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars together.
Add egg and vanilla and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
Add peanut butter and beat until smooth.

3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Blend flour soda and salt.  Add to creamed mixture until combined.
Wrap 1 tablespoon dough around each mini snicker piece.
Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
Drizzle with melted chocolate.
Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, TRANSITION


The pictures I have chosen for this post do not reflect the subject
I am pondering.  They have no connection as a grouping except that they
picture a changing scene which is what transition is all about.


Today at the Griner Church in Middlebury, Indianna, 
a deeply moving service ushered in a transition of
responsibility as the baton was passed from one to another.
 The mantle of senior pastor was released from John Yoder and
entrusted to the associate pastor Robert Riegsecker.
The 'Call' to serve at another ministry came to John from God.
The 'Call' to serve in another capacity came to Robert from God as well.
God alone orchestrated the transition.


Changes happen constantly.
I look out my window to scenes that differ from day to day.
Changes bring emotions.
Some make us happy and excited .. others leave us feeling sad.
Changes leave us struggling.
We question and ponder and sometimes we flounder.
When God commands a change, we must surrender to ultimately find peace.


'Change means a dazzling expectation for the people of God',
was the encouragement from Floyd Helmuth, of  Kalona, Iowa.
 His hope for the congregation was prophetic..
'a brilliant, bright future for God's redeemed children'.
Lael Barkman from Harlan, Indiana vested the charge, as
in his words, 'heaven comes down and does a supernatural work'.
God has called John, my son by love ... my daughter Karen
and my three granddaughters to serve in ministry in
the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan area.
Many changes, many emotions, many tears, many questions.
A worship song I heard sung at the Griner Church comes to mind.

All IS WELL

He lowers us to raise us
So we can sing His praises
Whatever is His way, all is well

He makes us rich and poor
That we might trust Him more
Whatever is His way, all is well

All my changes come from Him
He who never changes
I'm held firm in the grasp of the Rock of all the ages
All is well with my soul
He is God in control
I know not all His plans
But I know I'm in His hands

He clothes us now then strips us
Yet with His Word equips us
Whatever is His way all is well
And though our seasons change
We still exalt His name
Whatever is His way all is well.

Johnny Parks and Claire Hamilton/ Integrity worship





Saturday, December 1, 2012

MUSHROOM BITES


I have been rushing about this week trying to work on my
list of things that HAD to get done.  This coming week my friend
and I are baking cheesecakes for a wedding so I will be busy
 getting organized.
I made time to bake some tiny appetizers that are easy and delicious
especially if you enjoy mushrooms.
The filling can be made ahead and frozen which means you can
make a fresh appetizer on short notice.


The base for the cups is a small piece of bread in a tiny muffin pan.
I used homemade honey wheat bread and also bread that was
store-bought.  Can you guess which ones were more tasty?


I took them to a gathering and these bite-sized edibles
disappeared very quickly.

MUSHROOM BITES

3 tbsp. butter or hard margarine
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1 egg
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground oregano

Saute` mushrooms and onion in butter until soft.
Stir in next seven ingredients.  Set aside.

12 slices white or brown bread
butter for spreading
3 yellow cheese slices

Trim crust off bread slices.  Roll each slice lightly with a rolling pin
to flatten.  Butter slices and cut each into 4 squares.
Press, buttered side up, into tiny muffin tins.
Fill with mushroom mixture using about 1½ tsp. for each one.
Cut yellow cheese slice into 16 small squares.
Place 1 square on top of each cup.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Yield: about 4 dozen tiny appetizers.