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Category Archives: Recipes

When Storms Like The Sea Billows Roll

I have a lot of roles. So do you, I’m sure. Let’s list a few. For me, there’s wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt. There are a bunch of work titles. There are friendship roles that I fill. There are different things I do in my church community. And the list goes on.

Then there are the roles within roles. Let’s look at “mom”. Under that heading, I am menu-planner, grocery-shopper, cook, dishwasher, laundress, chauffeur, teacher, disciplinarian, drill sergeant, time-keeper, seamstress, personal shopper, hair stylist, cleaning lady…

I could break it down even further. I make fantastic bread. I can do amazing braids. I am the best at digging out slivers. And ain’t nobody organize a carpool like this mama!15713335_10154671530175351_137902662_n

But all of those roles aren’t applicable all the time. Nobody cares that I can make fantastic bread, unless of course, one of my cherubs offers to bring homemade bread to a school function – which is, to date, I think…never.

But should the need arise, I am the mom for the job!

Allow me to draw a comparison now to all the names and roles of God. Have you ever read a list of His names and attributes and kind of glossed over? Sure, some of them are relatable all the time, but others just seem like nice, random ideas.

Until a need arises.

This Christmas was all about “Emmanuel” for me. As I briefly outlined in my previous post, we’ve been dealing with an attack on our home. Now that the court process is finished and there’s no more “alleged” attached to the perpetrator, I am free to say that it was our son. (You may have figured that out, since I categorized the post under “adoption”. Was that cheeky of me?)

With all the questions about security and what attacks might still be coming, “Emmanuel, God With Us” has been more meaningful to me than ever before. I have always known that He is with me, and I have always had an appreciation for what that name meant to the Jews of the day. But over the past few weeks, the meditation of my heart has been “God with us.” GOD with us. God WITH us. God with US.

Another God-role that has brought me much peace during this time is the concept of Jesus as mediator and God as judge. Let me fill you in on more of the story.

There were numerous charges against our son, accumulated over the course of several weeks. Because our justice system isn’t perfect, we ran into a bit of a snafu with Victim Services. (Yes, I know what snafu means, Mom, but that’s exactly what I mean to say.) The two most serious charges against our son were dropped. That means, as far as all the records are concerned, Mischief Over $5000 and Unlawful Entry never happened – even though we’re still living in a cold, dark, drafty, boarded-up house.

I confess, I had a full day of feeling very bitter and angry towards our Victim Services representative and the prosecutor. They were supposed to speak for us, represent us, advocate for us. And they hung us out to dry. My heart screamed, “Isn’t there anyone who is FOR US?”

And the answer came immediately. “I AM.”

The picture of Jesus Christ as advocate was brilliantly clear in my mind. Again, there has always been a knowledge of Him advocating on my behalf, presenting me as pure and faultless because of His sacrifice, to God the Father and ultimate judge. That picture pertains to my own sin being washed away. But this new picture, with the issue being someone else’s sin against me, showed me so clearly that He is still advocating on my behalf. And I can fully trust the dichotomy of mercy and justice in the hands of our Judge.

These human advocates screwed up (from my perspective) and this human judge acted on incomplete information. But my Jesus advocate doesn’t say, “Meh. Oh well,” about overlooked paperwork. And my Almighty God judge knows all the details anyway.

Our house is still cold and dark and I can’t do anything about that. Our son is free to live his life as if none of this happened, and I can’t do anything about that either. What I can do is intentionally focus my heart and mind on the character of God – on His presence with me through all of it and His capability as advocate and judge.

And I can also make myself some fantastic bread.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Adoption, God, Personal Growth, Recipes

 

Eggnog from the Realms of Glory

Yesterday was a momentous day for three reasons:

1. We put up our Christmas tree before December AND my husband, Mr. Anti-Fest, didn’t have a tantrum. This is a big deal. You don’t even know.
2. For the first time ever in our parenting careers, one of our children had a “special friend” hang out with our family, in our home, with our craziness, and our putting up of the Christmas tree. A date, people. A suitor. A person who has asked our permission to pursue a relationship with our baby! Oy. This is the beginning of the end.
3. Eggnog perfection. Oh my dear readers, I bring you good tidings of great joy!

I have a confession for you: I don’t really mind the taste of store-bought eggnog. What I mind is the price! It is insane and ridiculous and completely unreasonable to me. Honestly, if the wise men had brought four precious gifts to Baby Jesus, we would now be singing carols about gold, frankincense, myrrh and eggnog.

I have another confession for you: I really like eggnog. A lot. But I’m not willing to sell my children to finance my fancy. (At least not during this season of mandatory goodwill and cheer.) So I set about to find the perfect eggnog recipe.

Over the past couple of years, I have tried just about every variation out there.
The cooked version. It is so much work, and it turns unacceptably gloppy if you overcook it by a quarter of a second. The instructions always say something inconceivably unhelpful like, “Remove from heat immediately before it comes to a boil.” Why don’t I just “turn left at the second last intersection” while I’m at it?
The whipped egg whites version. Again with the so much work. Plus extra dishes. And then if you don’t drink it right away, it all separates and just…meh.
The fancy ingredients. Really, sweetened condensed milk in eggnog is a pretty fantastic creation. But I don’t always have a can on hand, and it’s kind of expensive. Not a bad idea, just not perfect.

So without further ado, I shall share with you the recipe that IS perfect. And easy. And made with ingredients that you already have.

4 large eggs
1/3 to ½ cup sugar, depending how sweet you like it
Nutmeg to taste (try ½ tsp, then add more later if you like)
2 cups milk
½ cup cream (or if you want it a bit thicker, add more cream and reduce the milk accordingly)

Get all the ingredients out and measured. Put the eggs in a blender and beat well. (15 seconds in a Vitamix on about speed 5, or up to a minute in a standard blender that isn’t going to start cooking the eggs). While the blender is still running, slowly pour in the sugar and nutmeg. Then the milk. Then the cream. Let it run for a few more seconds.

That’s it! If you have any willpower (I’ve heard of this strange thing. Can I get it on Amazon?), you can pour it into a jug and chill it for a couple of hours. Or if you’re me, you can drink it right from the blender container. Or if you’re a normal person somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, pour it into 4 glasses and serve with another dash of nutmeg. And then immediately make another batch.

Obviously this is the child-safe version. You can very easily stir some rum (spiced, light, dark, whatever) and/or brandy into the adults’ servings.

There you have it, folks! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Recipes

 

Pinning and Spelling

I don’t really do Pinterest. I have an account, and I have pinned a whopping total of nine things. I even have one random follower. But I have not joined the craze. It’s just too much to keep up with. I have Facebook and I have my two blogs and that’s enough for now. I don’t need to spew more of my precious time into Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or any of the other new social network vacuums. I’m not against them; I acknowledge their potential usefulness. But right now, those are tools I don’t need. Maybe someday I’ll join the club.

In the meantime, here I am with my one-year-old Pinterest account, 9 pins and 1 follower. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Philadelphia Canada (of cream cheese fame) congratulating me on my Pinterest popularity. Huh? Almost at the same time, I got a message from a friend saying that she happened upon my cheesecake recipe pinned by Tori Spelling. Huh? Yeah, that’s right. Tori Spelling. The Tori Spelling. The famous Tori Spelling.

My friend sent me a screen capture to prove it. And then I did my own little Pinterest search. After a bewildering wander through all the things that other people have pinned about Tori Spelling, I did eventually stumble upon the things pinned by Tori Spelling. And lo and behold, there was my cheesecake! My cheesecake!

ImageI entered this delectable dish of deliciousness in this year’s Philly Canada Cheesecake of the Year contest. I didn’t win. But that’s okay. I can now hold my head high because Tori Spelling is going to have me on her show to teach the world how to make cheesecake. (Okay, she hasn’t actually called me about that yet, but why wouldn’t she want to have me on her show?!?!)

Here’s the exciting bit for you. Because I love you and I don’t want you to have to wait with bated breath until my Hollywood debut, I’ll go ahead and share the recipe with you here and now: Peanut Butter French Silk Cheesecake.

And if that doesn’t turn your crank, feel free to check out my entry for last year’s Cheesecake of the Year: Pure Bliss Cheesecake. I didn’t win that one either, but then they used my recipe to promote this year’s contest. Hmmm.

2014 will be my year, baby. Unless I’m too busy to come up with a new recipe because we’re hanging out with Tori and Dean all the time.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Recipes

 

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Oh my, oh my… This Pie

You are going to hate me for this. Really. And you are going to love me for this. Reeeeeeeeallly. Brace yourself.

This happened on the weekend:Image

My husband has declared this to be the best pie ever. And he is not prone to melodramatically overemphasizing his emotional reactions (like some other people I happen to know). He felt that it would be a disservice – nay, a tragedy – nay, a crime of universal proportions if I didn’t share this with the world immediately.

Okay, his words were more along the lines of, “This is the best pie ever. Who can we sell this recipe to? We would make millions.” I guess I’m just more of a humanitarian than he is because I am giving it to you.

It all started when I had to make a super-fantastic birthday dessert for my son. And I hadn’t really planned ahead of time or grocery-shopped with a specific recipe in mind. Remember how I suck at all that menu-planning/grocery-shopping stuff? I must have ditched class the day they taught those skills at the College of Housewifery.

Anyway, I needed to make something great and I needed to do it with ingredients I already had. I was thinking along the lines of chocolate peanut butter pie, but every recipe I found called for cream cheese and/or whipping cream. I had neither.

So I decided to start with my favourite French silk pie recipe and boost it up a notch. Here’s what I ended up with.

Anita’s Life-Altering Peanut Butter French Silk Pie

1 large pie shell, baked (homemade, of course. Please.)

 

1 cup icing sugar

½ cup smooth peanut butter

3 TBSP butter, softened

 

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 large eggs

 

Cream together icing sugar, peanut butter and first measure of butter. Spread carefully to form a layer in the baked and cooled pie shell.

In a clean bowl, cream together second measure of butter, granulated sugar and vanilla. Melt chocolate chips and beat into butter mixture with electric beaters. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium for 5 minutes after each addition, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Spread over peanut butter layer in pie shell. Chill for 5 hours or more.

And then, for the perfect finishing touch, I ran out and picked up some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to crumble on top. So after all that, I ended up at the grocery store anyway. Go figure.

Now, please send me a dollar for every “When Harry Met Sally” moment this pie induces for you. (See, Honey? We’ll still make our millions.)

Image

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Recipes

 

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Mmm…Cheesecake!

Are you afraid of cheesecake? You needn’t be. You can do this.  And I’m here to walk you through it – just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Here’s the deal. Cheesecake can be divided into two categories: baked and unbaked. Let me be clear. Unbaked is by far inferior in every possible way and it should not be called by the same name as the scrumptiousness that is a baked cheesecake. If you try to argue with me, I will turn a deaf ear. If you send me your favourite unbaked cheesecake recipe, I will not read it, much less make it. If you make me an unbaked cheesecake, I will begrudgingly taste it, but please don’t take it personally when I tell you it’s still unworthy of the name.

The recipe that I’m about to share with you is the best for several reasons.

  1. It only requires two blocks of cream cheese (as opposed to the three or four that other recipes call for, making it much easier on the grocery budget)
  2. It has an extra layer that you add near the end of the baking time, thereby covering any cracks that sometimes appear when the cheesecake is a bit overbaked. No one will ever know!
  3. It has been tried and tested at various altitudes (remember our cheesecake making party, my dear Addis Ababa friends?) and with all kinds of cream cheese (regular, light, organic etc.) and it’s always delectable.

Are you ready?  Here’s what you need:

Crust:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (also works nicely with Oreo crumbs)

3 TBSP sugar

3 TBSP butter or margarine, melted

Filling:

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese

½ cup white sugar

1 TBSP lemon juice

½ tsp vanilla

2 eggs, separated

Topping:

1 cup sour cream

2 TBSP white sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Combine first three ingredients and press evenly onto bottom of a springform pan (8.5”, 9” or 9.5”). Bake at 325 degrees for ten minutes. There’s the crust. Easy.

Meanwhile, combine cream cheese, ½ cup of sugar, lemon juice and vanilla and mix at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In separate bowl, beat egg whites (with clean beaters!) until stiff. Fold into cream cheese mixture and mix well. Pour over baked crust.

Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.  That wasn’t so hard now, was it?

Mix the remaining three ingredients and spread evenly on top of cheesecake. Bake an additional ten minutes. And ta-da!

After you take the cheesecake out of the oven, you should run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it from the side of the pan. Allow it to cool to room temperature and then chill. Yeah, that’s right. It’s done. You can chill!

Garnish with any combination of fresh berries, coulis, chocolate or caramel sauce, chocolate shavings or filigrees, and whipped cream.

Enjoy! And don’t ask me about freezing leftovers. I wouldn’t know.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Recipes

 

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