Friday, December 9, 2016

Bread Dip and Meditations!

Wrapping a few of my favourite things!

Slowly but surely I'm getting my Christmas shopping
and wrapping done.

I pretty much bought out the stock at MennoMedia in the Kitchener store.

Written by some of my favourite people - The Mennonite Girls Can Cook.
All the "royalties will be given to orphans and widows who face each day in need"

One of my favourite verses is on Week 11, Day 2
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11"

I can't wait to dig deep into this meditations book.
What a wonderful way to have a daily devotional with recipes as well!
Thank you Lovella, Anneliese, Kathy, Ellen, Marg, Bev, Betty, Judy, Charlotte and Betty
for inspiring me every day with your books and with your amazing daily blog posts!

I will be adding a small package of Bread Dip Spices:

1 Tbsp. Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary
1 Tbsp. Dried Basil
1 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. sea salt
Mix all the spices and store in an airtight container.
Place 1 tsp. of the mixture in a small bowel or platter and add
1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Add a squirt or two of fresh lemon juice and grated Parmesan Cheese - optional
Enjoy as a dip for your favourite crusty bread.

Till next time - how is your shopping and wrapping coming along?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Chihuly and Teasel

Have you ever heard of Chihuly's Glass Sculptures?
We went to see his exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto
and were blown away (no pun intended).

Such incredible talent and so thankful that we got to see it.

The first time we ever saw any of his work was in Las Vegas 
in the lobby at the Bellagio Hotel - we were amazed.

Then - we saw another piece recently in Nashville in the lobby of the beautiful
Gaylord Opryland Resort.

Here are some pictures from our visit to the R.O.M. yesterday.....

... a perfect way to spend an afternoon with dear friends!
Totally worth the drive to Toronto.

Thanks so much to our friends Karen and Ron,
who told us about this a few months ago.

Wouldn't it be fun to travel the world to discover all the Chihuly installations!!!?

Meanwhile back at the homestead I got busy today,
(inspired by Chihuly?)
(nice weather?)
to get my outside Christmas decorating done.

The teasel, dogwood, and greens were snipped and before I knew it,
the containers and window boxes were filled.

Now to start on the inside decor - what will inspire me for this?

Till next time .... don't miss an opportunity to be inspired.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Walnut (no walnuts) Cake

The Walnut (no walnuts) Cake

This is the cake that my mom so often made as a birthday cake!
Her children and grandchildren remember this cake well.
It was called Walnut Cake but she never used walnuts,
in fact, she often decorated the top with pecans!

I have her hand written recipe which says it came from "Mrs. D. Schwartz",
her sister-in-law - Dad's sister Esther!
I wonder sometimes if my cousins, Laura Ann, Irene, Florence, David, and Wayne
remember their mom making this cake and if so how it was different.
Did Aunt Esther actually use walnuts or raisins???
Did she put brown sugar icing on it like Mom did???

My daughter, Becky, turns 33 today - I simply can't believe it
and this is the cake she requested - eek!
I know that my sister Evelyn has mastered the recipe (with it's scant/no instructions)
but I will give it a try.
After all, it has been so long since I've been able to bake a cake for Becky
on the day of her actual birthday.
In the past years, her birthday was celebrated by telephone or FaceTime while she was living in Alberta!
Sometimes I would bake a cake anyhow for the farmer and I - 😏

I began bravely, after consulting with my sister, putting together the ingredients.
On one of the recipe cards she had written "mix in order and alternate milk and flour".

First I greased and floured the actual cake pan that she always used for this cake.

Somewhere I found a recipe for greasing cake pans that is used by professionals so I mixed up a batch, greased the pan and floured it.

Cake Pan Grease:
Equal parts vegetable oil, shortening, and flour.
Beat till well blended and store in fridge for up to 5 months. This stuff really works well.

The cake baked beautifully (much to my surprise) and came out of the pan perfectly.
I didn't know what temperature to bake it at or how long but used 350F and baked for approx. 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean.

Now the icing (the cake with the "brown" icing) as requested by my birthday girl....
I wonder if this is why they all loved this cake?

Mom's Brown Sugar Icing (as written by her)

1 Cup Brown Sugar - packed
½ Cup Sweet Cream
“Boil till it forms a soft ball in bottom of a glass of cold water.  Add vanilla and a nice (walnut size) piece of butter.  Take off heat and stir till cool and creamy.  Lots of luck, Sarah”

I believe a walnut size of butter is about 2 Tbsp. - I used a heaping 2 Tbsp.

This is the actual depression glass cake plate that Mom always used to serve her Walnut Cake!

With a little fiddling and much needed practice with the icing technique,
it's iced and ready to go.

Pecans - no walnuts in the house, and Mom's apron
Just maybe she never had walnuts around either and used pecans instead? Who knows?

I'll come back later and let you know how it tasted and whether the "Walnut Cake"
 made the grade....

I think it was a success ...

The cake was a tad too sweet - but not as sweet as this girl of ours!
Happy Birthday Becky!

Oh, and one more thing - exactly 5 years ago I posted my very first blog post - Wow!
Here is the link .... (for some reason the pictures did not show up except for one)? 

Till next time ......... Thanks Mom for being the wonderful mother you were and for making amazing memories for us all!!!! I miss you always.