Sunday, October 20, 2013

A FOREVER FEAST, THE WONDER OF SERVING


A special week was coming up!  I was so excited!
I happily prepared for a visit from my daughter and family.
My son-in-law John is  GE prison ministry director for Western Canada
and some events were planned for this area.


Our plans involved serving and being channels of God's love.
Service is one of the reasons we are on this earth.
When we serve we reach out to meet the needs of others.


Service is an outward sign that we belong to God
and desire to do His will.
My family came and dug in  ..diligently tidied my yard and did 
the fall clean up... so appreciated!   


While I can't do the heavy lifting and digging that is easy for the
younger set, I can serve in the kitchen.
Two of the singing teams from Gospel Echoes
Prison ministry come for a dessert evening after their service at
the local prison.
We had a full house and a warm time of fellowship.


Pastor Glendon Bender and his wife Lorna have been serving
with the prison ministry for many years.
They are close friends and it was special to have them in my home.
Twenty four years to the day .. on a gorgeous October afternoon ..
Glendon officiated at the funeral service for my sister.


The theme for the prison services on Friday was 'New Beginnings'.
Spectacular in the night sky was the new moon.


The wonder of serving is
when we meet the needs of others,
forgetting about out own,
somehow in the process our needs are met.

Anyone wanting to be the greatest
must be the least ----
the servant of all.
Mark 9:35  LB

Serve the Lord with gladness ..
Psalm 100:2 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

LIGHT AND FLUFFY DINNER ROLLS


The day-after-Thanksgiving lunch .. turkey and cranberry sandwich.


I tried a new roll recipe for our Thanksgiving dinner ...
Light and fluffy as suggested in the name ... very much so!


Most times I bake a healthier version with less sugar and butter
and some whole wheat flour.
But for major holiday meals I like to bake white rolls
because that is what we always had at home.
Their 'whiteness' seems to be a bit more festive.


For the leftover turkey meat, there is a simple meal that I 
really enjoy and quite frankly, can't wait for the second-day fare. 


These disappeared so quickly at the Thanksgiving meal,
I made a second batch today .. just so we could have sandwiches.



LIGHT AND FLUFFY DINNER ROLLS

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

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

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. salt

In a small mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, egg and salt.
Beat together until well blended.

1 cup warm milk
4¼ to 4½ cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, butter mixture and milk.
Add 2 cups flour and beat until smooth.
Mix in enough remaining flour to form soft dough.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic.
Place into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to oil surface.
Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1¼ hours.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and divide into approximately
30 equal pieces depending on your preference of size and shape.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until
lightly browned.
Yield: about 30 sandwich or dinner rolls

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A FOREVER FEAST, COUNTDOWN SEVEN THANKS



A weekend of privilege .. Thanksgiving in Canada, 2013.
Of the many blessings of the past week, I chose to focus on seven.
These seven may be a single item but they encompass a windfall.


A Townsend's Solitaire graced the Toba Hawthorn on Monday.
So thankful it stayed long enough for me to fully enjoy the visit from
a bird usually observed in the mountains.
Representing its name, it was alone.


Tuesday was the perfect day to dig out the potatoes and onions.
I so loved being able to walk outside this summer to gather up carrots
and beans, beets and potatoes, cucumbers and onions ..
so close at hand for a fresh garden meal.


Wednesday's chores were a little harder.  
Choices .. what to keep and what to give away?
There is a time to store and a time to de-clutter.
I am thankful that I am able to let go .. even those things that
are meaningful and sentimental because of where they came from
and who made them.  I even released an old old doll that
I had given my girls.  It was hard .. but I have to remember
that it is just stuff.


Hi there!  Welcome to the free world.  You were hatched in Quebec,
transported to Alberta and raised for months in confinement here on the farm ..
 Now you have earned the right to roam and proudly march
through the yard. 
Thursday or any day .. keep returning! I love watching you
and I sincerely hope your signature tail grows long again.
A point of interest - the Ring-necked Pheasant was first introduced 
to Alberta from Eurasia in 1908


Friday was a benediction day .. I packed blankets, and baby clothes
intended to bless orphaned and needy children in poor countries.
I am so grateful for the hands that save and cup scraps of fabric and
fashion them into cozy and warm works of art.
Imagine the thanks on the receiving end of these beautiful wraps!


I always get excited at the sight of fresh pomegranates in the
grocery store.  The red covering around a thousand tiny surprises
inside takes my thoughts to the Creator.
On Saturday my little niece and I happily took two apart and
spent a fun time with the crisp and crunch and squirting juices.


And lastly, number seven .. sometimes meaning completion.
From far away Ontario, I had a guest for a short visit.
I love the interactions with people who take me back to a time and place
of long ago.  Even with the passing of many years, it is fun
to reconnect and resurrect a chapter in our memory archive.

With thanksgiving, I sing your praise O God!
Help me to be ever more thankful.

As for every man ....
to receive his heritage and
rejoice in his labor --
this is the gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 5:19



Thursday, October 10, 2013

2013 PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES



Today I made one of my favorite Fall treats  ..pumpkin whoopie pies.
I first blogged these back in 2011 and decided to repost since
some of my recent followers may not have seen it. 
These gems are simply too good to miss out on!



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES


As the Canadian Thanksgiving approaches, I have been anxious to try
this recipe for whoopie pies.  Today was the day and I had so much
fun putting these together.  It was much easier than I expected and
they are oh, so delicious.


All you will need is a whisk to mix all the ingredients ... how easy is that?


The batter is similar to cake batter, very fluffy but kept it's shape as
I dipped it out.  I would recommend using a small
ice cream scoop with a release mechanism  if you have one. 


The cookies baked into a firm mound but stayed very tender.


I have two sizes of scoops so I made some dainty mini pies for the
smaller appetites. 



PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES
with Cream Cheese Filling

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves

In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients and spices; set aside.

1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well
combined.  Add pumpkin puree and mix well.  Add egg and vanilla;
continue to whisk until smooth and well mixed.
Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk
until combined.
Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop dough
onto parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 15 minutes or until a wooden
pick inserted into the center of cookie comes out clean.
Let cool before transferring to rack.

¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and
vanilla; beat just until smooth.

To assemble the whoopie pies, spread a large dollop of filling on the flat
side of half of the cookies.  Sandwich with remaining cookies,
pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the
edge of the cookies.
You can also use a pastry bag to pipe the filling onto the cookies.
Transfer cookies to a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap
and refrigerate.  Enjoy!
Yield: 12 large whoopie pies









Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DAD'S COOKIES


A very nice cookie recipe that will pair well with additions
not in the original recipe. 
I added raspberry flavored chocolate chips
for a whole new taste to this old old standard.
The recipe is from a Mennonite cookbook that has been in my 
collection for decades.
It is unique in that it doesn't have an index.
That means you have to know it well to find what you're
looking for unless you note pages for favorites in the back.
Here is the recipe with expanded instructions.


DAD'S COOKIES

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until fluffy.
Add eggs and beat well.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

Blend dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture, mix well.

2 cups quick-cooking oats (or large flake oats)
1 cup flaked coconuts
½ cup milk chocolate chips, optional

Stir in oats and coconuts.
Form into balls and place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Flatten slightly with a fork or glass.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or
until lightly browned.
Yield: approx. 3 dozen cookies








Sunday, October 6, 2013

A FOREVER FEAST, PRAYER, the ANNE SHIRLEY WAY


As I looked around this morning I thought .. with some envy ..
of the flaming red, bronze and yellow leaves that are coloring the
  eastern part of the country.
Here it seemed a little drab.


Lest I stay in that frame of mind, God sent me out tonight.
I rushed  for the tallest peak at the first sight of dazzling gold.
But to get there I nearly ran over these two.
They paused long enough to see what I was up to.

Up .. up .. on to the hill I drove.
Decades ago in a little one-room schoolhouse,
I became acquainted with Anne Shirley through the
pen of L.M. Montgomery.
Tonight I remember Anne as I have many times before. 


Anne knelt at Marilla's knee and looked up gravely.
"Why must people kneel down to pray?   If I really wanted to pray I'll tell
you what I'd do.  I'd go out into a green field all alone or into the deep, deep woods,
and I'd look up into the sky --up--up--up--into that lovely blue sky that
looks as if there was no end to its blueness.
And then I'd just feel a prayer."


God's cathedral  .. in the stillness as the sun slowly sinks 
out of sight over the edge of the world.


Our infinite, eternal and unchangeable God needs no stained glass .. 


He needs no photo shop ...


Him and I alone on the hill ...
 the glory .. the vastness, the beauty .. words cannot describe.


I feel the need to praise.
I feel the need to give thanks.



'HALLELUJAH!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give Him glory!'
Rev. 19: 6 - 7  NIV

Friday, October 4, 2013

SPINACH TORTELLINI SOUP


A nice hot bowl of soup on a cool evening can also warm the soul.
Vegetables and tortellini in a tasty chicken broth served with 
fresh bread is on the menu.


You most certainly don't have to make these fussy little bites.
Pick up a package at the store ..  but I opted to go the fun way.


Here is the small round of dough and about ½ cup chicken filling.
This will go a long way, trust me.


My recipe says the yield is 24 tortellini.
I rolled the dough out extremely thin, cut with a 2-inch
cutter and tediously placed a tiny amount of filling in the center.


Pick up the circle and moisten the edge with water.


Fold in half and press edges .. tightly .. to seal.


Moisten ends with a touch of water and pull the ends together to
form a circular shape. 
Keep doing this about 40 times and you will be nearing the end.


You will be so happy that you are finally finished and you will
probably wish you had just gone to the store.
On the other hand, you will have a real sense of accomplishment.
And besides, they have this delicious home-grown taste that is not 
factory made.
I love the free-range egg yolk color from the chickens pecking around 
the yard. You need to try this at least once .. its fun!



SPINACH TORTELLINI SOUP

1 cup thinly sliced carrots
½ cup diced celery
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 cups chicken broth

In a Dutch oven, combine vegetables and broth.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

2 pkg. (9 oz. each) refrigerated cheese tortellini
or a tortellini of your choice.
( I made 40 tiny chicken and cheese tortellini)
3 cups fresh spinach, torn

Add tortellini; bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for an additional
15 minutes or until tortellini tests done.
Add spinach and cook just until spinach begins to wilt.
Serve with fresh rolls or bread.
Yield: 5 to 6 servings


CHICKEN TORTELLINI

3/4 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. parsley flakes
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
dash of garlic powder
1 tbsp. chicken broth or water

In a small mixing bowl, add enough chicken broth to chicken, cheese and
seasonings to hold together.  Refrigerate.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
¼ tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, eggs and salt.  Mix together to form
a stiff dough.  If necessary use a few drops of water to
bring dough together. Knead until smooth; cover with a bowl
and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

Divide dough in half.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until
very thin.  Cut into 2-inch circles.  Place about ½ tsp. filling on
each circle; moisten half of circle edge with water.
Fold in half and press edges to seal.  Pull ends together to
form a circular shape; seal ends using a touch of water.
Place on lightly floured baking sheet, covering with plastic
to keep from drying out as you continue making tortellini.
Use immediately in a recipe or freeze for later use.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

PUMPKIN PIE CUPCAKES




Wow, doesn't this look good!!
It is that and then some!


My first impression when I saw these posted on a friend's timeline
was to imagine that these were time consuming.
How else could a pumpkin pie cupcake be made without
 a fussy thin crust?   Crust-less and still keeping it's shape?
Impossible, I thought. 
I was wrong ... these are very easy .. delicious and addicting!


A little bit of flour in the batter turns into a firm crust-like outer
layer.  The center maintains that custard pumpkin pie texture.


First off I was daunted by these huge muffin papers which is all
I had guaranteed to be non-stick.
Since I couldn't wait, I gave them a try anyway.


I was so involved with this simple recipe that I forgot to take
pictures of the steps.  Here they are already out of the oven looking
appealingly wrinkled in the over-size wrapping.
The papers worked out just fine.  Couldn't wait for them to cool
enough to taste.


Cooled, garnished and ready to eat!
A fork is nice, but really, they can be picked up, held with fingers
and enjoyed.
So glad for a new Thanksgiving idea!


PUMPKIN PIE CUPCAKES

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ baking soda
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt

In a bowl, stir together dry ingredients; set aside.

2 large eggs
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can (14 oz. or 398 ml.) pumpkin puree
(about 1½ cups)
3/4 cup half-and-half

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs until beaten.
Add sugars and vanilla; whisking until smooth.
Whisk in pumpkin and half-and-half.
Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
Divide batter evenly between 12 paper-lined muffin cups.
Bake in preheated 350 oven for 20 minutes.
Remove to wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream.

NOTE:  I added 2 tablespoons fine graham cracker crumbs to the flour mixture.
I also baked the cupcakes for 25 minutes.
I tried this recipe both ways and found the added graham crumbs and additional
time in the oven gave more substance to the outer crust and neither did they
sink in the middle.  The flavor was not compromised but the center
may have been slightly less custardy.