Sunday, August 24, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST, SUMMER MARKET


Rain and shine, work and play .. this past week was one of mixed
blessings and new memories made.
Monday was a whirl of activity .. many hands helping prepare fresh corn
for the freezer.  Thanks to my daughter and granddaughters the load
was much lighter than it would have been otherwise.
The remainder of the week was cool and wet with much rain and
very little sunshine.
With the very hot weather we experienced since the beginning of July,
 the moisture was welcome but I look forward to more heat in the coming days.


 Wednesday is the outdoor farmer's market in downtown Lethbridge with
local vendors and also from the Okanagan valley in BC.
We were happy to share the occasion with a couple from Indiana with whom
we have shared a friendship for almost 5 decades.


The fruit was some of the most beautiful that I have ever seen.


I am glad to see these girls enjoying a leisurely walk through the market today.
On Friday they will be very busy getting ready for the Saturday 
market in the Exhibition pavilion.


The rain held off for the market time.  Picking 
up a grouping of vegetables to serve family and guests 
 made it so easy to prepare the evening meal.


I am so appreciative for the bounty of vegetables to choose from.
Clean and neatly packaged ... ready to use.


For those folks who have no space for a garden, the option to buy
from a huge selection of locally grown produce is the perfect solution.


And to feed the soul .. there are the flowers ...


I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your mane,
O Most High.
Psalm 9:1, 2


Friday, August 15, 2014

BLUEBERRY RHUBARB STREUSEL BARS


I had something else in mind to blog today but I could not ignore 
the rhubarb plant that continues to flourish with tender young stalks.
  Since I prefer using rhubarb in it's fresh state I tend to use it a lot in desserts
for as long as it will produce.  Here it is paired with
blueberries (or in my case, saskatoon berries) in a delicious confection.


It looks rather similar to the blueberry pie bars I posted a
few days ago but it really has it's own special taste.
A shortbread-like crust with a wonderfully moist rhubarb and blueberry filling,
topped with crisp streusel is easy to eat!
Try it with vanilla ice cream .. yum!!


BLUEBERRY RHUBARB STREUSEL BARS

½ cup butter melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt

Stir melted butter, vanilla and sugars together until blended.
Add flour and salt and stir together with a fork until crumbly.
Reserve 3/4 cup; set aside.  Pat remaining crumbs into a 
parchment-lined 9 x 9 -inch baking pan.

2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp. water
2 tsp. lemon juice
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. water
1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, water and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; cook and stir until rhubarb is tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
Combine cornstarch with 2 tbsp. water, stirring until smooth.
Gradually stir into rhubarb mixture.  Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Add blueberries and stir to mix.  Spread over prepared crust.
Sprinkle reserved crumbs evenly over top.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until 
streusel is golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack; cut into bars.
Yield: 16 bars






Sunday, August 10, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST, GIFTS THAT KEEP GIVING


From the time I placed the bulb into the ground in May, I eagerly watched 
for the first sight of tiny shoots of green in anticipation of 
lovely foliage and magnificent bloom.
I was not disappointed!


It involved weeding, watering and mulching but that is part of the
process of care a gardener does with pleasure.
My daughter gave the packages of bulbs to me on Mother's day and
I think of her every time I look at the showy plants.
She knows knows me well having been raised
with flowers galore and especially dahlias.


I purchased a number of flowers this season that are perennials like these
daisies that will keep on giving year after year.
They give of themselves .. they give of their beauty .. and charm.
They bless me asking for a little water in return.


How I love the gift of pansies!


.. dainty and fragile....


... brushed with exquisite lines of harmonizing colors....


..there can never be too many pansies ...


In my quiet corner of the earth, I am not unmindful of the turmoil
that is churning over so much of the world.
As I read about terror and strife, unrest and fear, I cannot help but feel that
my life is blessed beyond measure.
Outside in my peaceful garden where beauty reigns, many times this summer
I have been overwhelmed and burdened.
The contrast of my life to women throughout the world who are hurting and
in many cases fleeing with their children to who knows where, is stark.
If it were not for Jesus, I would despair for the future.

When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none, 
and their tongue faileth for thirst,
I the Lord will hear them,
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
Isaiah 41:17



Friday, August 8, 2014

BLUEBERRY BRAN MUFFINS


To my way of thinking there can never be too many bran muffin recipes in my collection.
  Especially when they are all very delicious and it is hard to pick one
to make.  I found and tweaked this recipe that is quickly becoming my 
favorite summer one.  Besides the exceptional taste, I love the addition 
of  blueberries and the ease of preparation without an overnight step in the fridge. 


I used 14 large muffin papers for the muffins in this picture.
It will make 12 if using jumbo papers.


Give these a try .. they will not disappoint!

BLUEBERRY BRAN MUFFINS

1½ cups all bran cereal (not flakes)
½ cup boiling water
¼ cup vegetable or coconut oil
2 tbsp. molasses

Pour boiling water over bran cereal and stir to mix.
Stir in oil and molasses; set aside.

1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup apple sauce

Beat egg and sugar together until blended.
Add buttermilk, applesauce and bran mixture; mix all together.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1½  tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup blueberries tossed with 1 tbsp. of measured flour

Blend flour, soda and salt; stir into bran mixture.
Stir in blueberries. See note*
Spoon batter into 14 greased or lined muffin cups filling 3/4 full.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in
center comes out clean.
Yield: 14 large muffins or 12 jumbo


* Note: for even distribution of berries,
 spoon 2 tbsp. batter into muffin cups, add 3 - 4 blueberries in each cup and
spoon more batter over top.




Sunday, August 3, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST, JODIE AND I


My granddaughter came to spend a memorable week with me enjoying some
beautiful sunny days on the farm.


During the heat of the day we went right to work in the kitchen.
I loved that she came with all sorts of ideas of what she wanted to make.


It just so happened that a birthday was coming up so she browsed cupcake
sites on line and decided on one she wanted to copy.


Do grandmothers have more time than mothers?
I don't remember having fun like this with my little girls.


I am not easily surprised .. but I was this time ... totally!
Didn't suspect a thing when she told me to nap as long as I wanted!
Planned from home, she came with napkins, place cards and a favor.
When I woke I was ushered out to the deck where the table was beautifully set.
It was so pretty with green leaves as a backdrop but the heat forced us inside.


The snacks were prepared along with a cold beverage.


Lovely china and a surprise tea for Grami ... how special is that!


Unawares to me she had brought all the fixings to make this 
darling sunflower cupcake for the sweet treat.
I felt so loved and pampered!  
Thank you so much, you dear girl!


Another day Jodie mixed up the batter for a 6-inch cake we wanted to
serve at a tea for friends. 


We decided the filling would be whipped cream and raspberry glaze 
because we didn't want it to be too sweet.


I crumb coated the cake with the whipped cream and she did the rest.


For added goodness, we served additional fruit on the side.


Jodie had one request of Grami ... she wanted a raspberry cream pie.
Instead of making a whole pie, I made shortbread tart shells and a small amount 
of raspberry filling, vanilla pudding and whipped cream.
A delicious combination!


So grateful for this time together with someone I love dearly!

I heard the following song  this morning and was struck by 
 our Father's love!


Lord I come to You 
Let my heart be changed, renewed 
Flowing from the grace 
That I have found in You 
And Lord I have come to know 
The weaknesses I see in me 
Will be stripped away 
By the power of Your love 

Hold me close 
Let Your love surround me 
Bring me near 
Draw me to Your side 
And as I wait 
I will rise up like the eagle 
And I will soar with You 
Your Spirit leads me on 
In the power of Your love 

Lord unveil my eyes 
Let me see You face to face 
The knowledge of Your love 
As You live in me 
And Lord renew my mind 
As Your will unfolds in my life 
In living every day 
By the power of Your love 

.... Don Moen

Friday, August 1, 2014

BLUEBERRY PIE BARS


I have tried numerous recipes that begin with a shortbread crust, 
spread with a berry-custard type filling and topped with streusel.  When this one came 
to my attention I thought it would be just like my others.
Since my niece sent it, I really wanted to try it .... I did .. and wow are they good!
Not too sweet and not too rich,
this juicy morsel is the perfect pairing of berries and crumb ....
  ...  bordering on perfection. 


You may think this picture is totally out of sync with my recipe but it is here
intentionally to show you the storm that cleaned out the neighboring
Saskatoon berry patch. I have come to count on this site for my stash of berries
that are a staple in the freezer for winter desserts.  But not one berry was left after
the hail targeted this specific location.


I tried to resign myself to being without my favorite berries for the
coming year.  Surprise! A good friend of mine called to tell me that I was 
being gifted with native berries picked in the wild.  I was ecstatic!
When they were delivered I was even more excited because I did not
remember that they grew so big out in the hills.
Saskatoon berries in my freezer ... it makes me glad.


The original recipe calls for blueberries which would be equally delicious
but here I am using Saskatoon berries.


This recipe goes together very quickly ... stir crumb ingredients together with fork.


Whisk the custard ingredients together until smooth.


Pour over the crumb crust in the parchment-lined pan.


Next come the berries ... after taking this picture I evened them out a bit more.


Top with crumbs and pop into the oven.


When cool, lift out of pan with edges of parchment.  Peel parchment
away from the sides.  Cut into bars or squares (in Canada).
Invite friends in for a sampling with ice cream.  I did that on this
hot afternoon ... they loved it!




BLUEBERRY PIE BARS

½ cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt

Stir together butter and sugars.  Add flour and salt; stir with fork until crumbly.
Set aside 3/4 cup crumble.  Pat remaining crumbs into a parchment-lined
9 x 9 - inch, baking pan.

1 large egg
½ cup + 2 tbsp. plain or Greek yogurt
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. almond extract

Whisk egg, yogurt, sugar, flour and flavorings together until very smooth.
Pour evenly over prepared crust.

1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 cups blueberries or Saskatoon berries
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Combine sugar and cornstarch.  Toss with berries and lemon juice.
Arrange evenly over custard filling.
Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until streusel topping
is lightly browned.  Cool and cut into bars.
Can be served warm or chilled.
Yield: 16 bars, about 2 inches square