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Cookie Monster Cupcakes

Posted on May 16, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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Celebration Cupcakes

Weddings, graduations and birthdays mark a significant and joyous time in people’s lives calling for celebration.  Invitations are sent, venues are rented, balloons are blown up, food is prepared and cakes are iced.

Throughout the Old Testament and continuing on today, Jewish believers celebrate significant times of God’s provision and protection with feasts and festivals.  The three main annual festivals are: Passover (celebrating God’s deliverance through the exodus), Pentecost (a thanksgiving festival occurring fifty days after Passover.) and Tabernacles or Booths (celebrating provision through the final harvest ingathering).  God wanted the Israelites to celebrate, and He wants us to celebrate His provision and protection today as well.

Celebrate God’s provision and protection in your life with classic strawberry shortcake cupcakes, cute cookie monster cupcakes or brilliant billiard ball cupcakes. 

Crazy Chocolate Cupcakes

This no-fail, moist cake recipe was given to me by my mom, Kathy.

Combine the dry Ingredients in a bowl:

3 cups (390 g) of flour

1 1/2 cup (300 g) of sugar

6 tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoons of salt

2 teaspoons of baking soda

Put three indentions in the dry mixture.  Fill the indentions with:

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1/2 cup (140 ml) of vegetable oil/sunflower oil

2 tablespoons of vinegar

  1. Then pour 2 1/4 cup (500 ml) water over all three holes containing the wet ingredients.
  2. Mix with a fork, but don’t beat.  Place the mixture into 24 cupcake cases.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 Celsius) for about 15-20 minutes.

Tip: To make Cookie Monster cupcakes, whisk together buttercream icing with a few drops of blue dye.  Pipe the icing through with a serrated tip makes ridges top on the cupcakes.  Melt milk/dark chocolate and dot marshmallows to make the eyes.  Add ½ of a chocolate chip biscuit for the mouth.

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Romanian Cheesesticks (Saratele)

Posted on May 12, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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As my husband is from Romania, I enjoy finding new Romanian recipes written out in English on the internet.  Otherwise, I would probably have a few catastrophes with my husband translating cooking terminology.  I will never forget the experience I had in Romania getting my hair dyed a different color with my husband translating.  It’s safe to say, I will never do that again!  These Cheese Sticks are from Jo Cooks blog.  If you are looking for other good Romanian recipes, check out her website!

Romanian Cheese Sticks (Saratele)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup(250 g) ricotta cheese
  • Just under 1 cup (200 g) plain yogurt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Just under 1 cup – 7/8 cup (200 g) butter or margarine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 25 g fresh yeast or 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 cups (500 g) all purpose flour
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • caraway seeds, optional
  • 1 egg for brushing

Instructions:

In a large bowl mix the yeast, yogurt, ricotta cheese, melted butter or margarine, salt and the egg yolk together. Now add the flour and mix well, by hand or with a mixer.

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Cover the dough and place in fridge over night or for 3-4 hours in the day.

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 Flour your work surface and roll out the dough. You can cut them in any shapes you want, but traditionally they are cut into long sticks. Make sure the dough is about 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm thick. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle parmesan cheese and caraway seeds on each stick.  I chose just to add parmesan cheese this time.

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Bake for about 20 min at 375 degrees or until golden brown.

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Enjoy the Cheese Sticks, because they disappear quick!

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Entertaining VS. Hospitality

Posted on May 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

“Tonight I will be entertaining several families from my children’s school.”  What’s the difference between Entertaining and Hospitality?  Many people often use these two words interchangeably.  Although, they have two different meanings.

Entertaining

Hospitality

Impresses people Makes people feel welcome and wanted
Demands perfection Flexible, leaves room for openness, honesty & errors
A taskmaster that enslaves A freedom that liberates
“I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating, my gourmet cooking.” “This home is not mine.  It is truly a gift from my Master.  I am his servant, and I use it as he desires.”
Puts things before people

“As soon as the house is clean, that room is painted and we get a new couch they can come over”

Puts people before things

“We have holes in our couch, that room isn’t finished, but invite them over anyways because I want to bless them and to spend quality time with them.”

Entertaining looks for payment – the words “My isn’t she a remarkable hostess” a return dinner invitation, a job advancement for self or spouse, esteem in the eyes of friends and neighbors.  Hospitality does everything with no thought of reward but takes pleasure in the joy of giving, doing, loving, serving. 

The information in the graph was gathered material from Karen Mains’s book Open Heart, Open Home.

 No one likes washing the dishes.   Luke 14:12 – 14 says “He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

 

In Luke 14:12–14, Jesus challenged the conventional understanding of hospitality which assumed reciprocity and focused on family and friends. Rather than inviting those who could repay hospitality, he said, hosts should invite the poor and needy, who are unable to do so.  WHEN WE ARE HOSPITABLE, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME MORE LIKE JESUS THROUGH WASHING DISHES, BUYING THE GROCERIES, SPENDING TIME COOKING)

 

Which do you do more?To what degree has my understanding of
hospitality been shaped by cultural norms rather than biblical norms?

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Curried Roasted Carrots

Posted on April 19, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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This recipe is from Once Upon a Chef.  An excellent cooking blog with tons of tasty recipes!  This is a staple recipe in my house.  I have made them over… yes, these curried roasted carrots are THAT GOOD!  I don’t use the recipe anymore, since I have made them so many times.  Enjoy.  I know you will!

Curried Roasted Carrots

Servings: Serves 4–6

Cook Time: 25 – 30 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (900 grams) medium carrots, sliced into thirds on the diagonal
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Set oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Toss carrots with olive oil, curry powder and salt directly on baking sheet until evenly coated. Roast, stirring with a rubber spatula a few times to prevent sticking and burning, until tender, 25-30 minutes. Toss roasted carrots with honey directly on baking sheet. Taste and add more salt, pepper or honey if desired.
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Cajun Chicken

Posted on April 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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Cajun Chicken Skewers

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts, diced or 24 chicken wings

20 grams (4 tsp) blackened Cajun seasoning

Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon

20 ml (4tsp) olive oil

Preparation

  1. Place the chicken in a bowl.  Add the oil and lemon juice and mix until the chicken is well coated.
  2. Add the spices, lemon zest and season lightly with salt and mix until all of the chicken has a light dusting.  Increase the amount of Cajun spices if necessary.
  3. Marinate for 3-4 hours.  Soak skewers in water for 15 minutes (if using chicken breast).
  4. Place chicken on skewers.  Grill until thoroughly cooked.
  5. Serve with garlic mayonnaise, salsa and salad.
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Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts

Posted on March 30, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

I love the Canadian Living website’s simple, fresh and delicious recipes.  This Lemon Meringue Tart recipe was in their weekly food meal plan in preparation for Easter.  I decided to make them to see how they would turn out.  Everyone who tried the tarts loved them! Not to mention they are adorable with my easter bunnies & chicks!   I didn’t have a mini tart pan, so I simply made the tarts in an average size muffin pan.

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Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts

  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Total time: 1-1/2 hours
  • Portion size: 24 tarts

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1-1/3 cups (325 mL) all-purpose flour
  • Lemon Filling:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks 1/2 cup granulate
  • ½ cup (125 mL) granulated (Caster) sugar
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 5 tbsp (75 mL) lemon juice
  • Meringue:
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) pasteurized egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar

Preparation

Lemon filling: In large heatproof bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.

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Set over saucepan of simmering water; cook, stirring constantly, until space remains after spoon is drawn through, 6 to 8 minutes.

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Strain through fine sieve into bowl (I definitely skipped this part, but if you are patient, go for it!). Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat butter with sugar until smooth and fluffy; beat in vanilla and salt. Stir in flour.

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Roll by scant 1 tbsp into 24 balls, discarding any remaining dough; press onto bottoms and up sides of mini muffin cups. Prick all over with fork; refrigerate for 1 hour.

Bake in 375ºF (190ºC) oven until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack. Fill each shell with rounded 1 tsp of the filling.
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Meringue:
In bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually beat in sugar until stiff glossy peaks form, about 8 minutes.

Using pastry bag fitted with plain tip, pipe meringue in concentric circles on each tart, ensuring meringue touches pastry and covers filling.

Broil until meringue is golden, 30 to 60 seconds.

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To remove from pan, loosen edges with tip of knife or simply pop them out if you used cupcake holders! (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)

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John 11:25-26 says “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  Jesus is Risen!

HAPPY EASTER!

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Creative Ideas

Posted on March 15, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

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Paper Pinwheels are all over pinterest!  They are definitely in style, and actually easy to make!  Visit this tutorial to make your own fabulous pinwheels!

I absolutely love this blog post!  It gives you the 10 essentials items that you should have to host parties!  White plates, solid colored table cloths, vases and frames are the few “must haves” for a great foundation for decorating.

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And with Easter around the corner, don’t forget to make an adorable “Easter Treat Basket

I have definitely found a goldmind of souces at the website 52 Mantels. One cute ideas is her Ice cream party

52mantels.com ice cream birthday party [1]

Don’t forget to get the free printables on her website for your own parties!

cupcake toppers ice cream party[1]

Just how cute is that?!?!   And this is only 1 of her ideas, she has loads more!!!!

Enjoy these crafty ideas to spruce up your next get-together to show the people you care about them and are welcoming them with love!

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Party Bar Ideas

Posted on March 15, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

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This week I celebrated my birthday with an ice cream PARTY BAR.  Party Bars (also known as food stations) are an instant way to add festivity & fun to any meal or party.  Party bars provide an excellent excuse to mingle and a talking point for guests. They also guide you with a theme to decorate with, like my French Crepe’s party bar that I did for my Hospitality class two weeks ago.

Hummus Bar Source

Chili Bar Source

Trail Mix/Camping Party Bar

Pasta Party Bar

The options are endless with party bars.  A few of my favorite bar ideas are:

Smores, Cookies, Yogurt, Nachos, candy and cupcake party bars.

Here’s a great idea: Cupcake Fondue – Perfect for kids and kids at heart!

Cupcake Fondue You will need:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup liquid (orange juice, fruit juice, milk, or water)
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup Miniature-size cupcakes in the flavor of your choice, cooled and unfrosted Assorted sprinkles, chopped nuts, and other toppings
  1. Make a batch of mini cupcakes or make a pound cake and cut it into cubes.
  2. Make the fondue by whisking together powdered sugar, orange juice, and corn syrup.  Adjust the consistency with a drop of liquid or a dash more powdered sugar until you get have a smooth, thick glaze.  Amanda used orange juice for the liquid portion to give it a citrus flavor and cheese-like yellow fondue color.  You could also use grape juice for a pastel purple, or milk/water and add your own coloring.
  3. Pour the frosting into the fondue pot.  Add tons to toppings and enjoy!

For a more detailed recipe & the source for this ideas, visit Amanda’s website:

Cupcake Fondue

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Popcorn Shrimp with a Honey Mustard Sauce

Posted on February 25, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

As a child, popcorn shrimp was the “safe” option at the local Seafood Restaurant during summer vacations with my best friend’s family.  Now, I have grown to love the wonderful variety of seafood, but as a kid creepy crawly things weren’t very appetizing to my 11 year old pallet.

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In the UK, the word “prawn” is more common on menus than “shrimp” while it’s the opposite in the States.  If you’re a curious monkey like George, you can look further into the details.  But just be sure to make this scrumptious recipe I just ate,  errr,  I mean made in my kitchen…

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Ingredients:

  • flour, eggs & breadcrumbs
  • parsley
  • prawns or shrimp, cooked and peeled
  • oil to fry with

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Set up 3 bowls with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.  I am not giving measurements, because it really depends on how many yummy popcorn shrimp you want to make.  I made a really small batch, so I put about 1/2 cup of flour, 1 egg, and 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (mixed with chopped parsley).  Season the flour and breadcrumbs with salt & pepper.  I also added a pinch of hot chili powder to the breadcrumbs which gave the shrimp a spicy kick!  Dip the shrimp into the flour first.

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Then eggs (which are lightly whisked with a fork) and then breadcrumbs. While you are dipping the shrimp in each bowl, add more ingredients as you need them.

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Heat the oil in a frying pan on a higher heat.  Add the shrimp (separating them as you put them in),  and flip when they are golden.

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Place the shrimp on kitchen paper towel to take away some oil.  Serve the shrimp with this amazing homemade honey mustard dip.

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HONEY MUSTARD DIP

Great with chicken and popcorn shrimp!!!

  •  6 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (or mayo, but the yogurt is much healthier and tastes better!)
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  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon honey

Whisk all of the ingredients together.  Serve with fresh chopped parsley on top.  This dip will serve 4-5 people.

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Lots of Love

Posted on February 21, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

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Since last week was Valentine’s Day I still have hearts on my mind.  I can show love to the people I cook for more than just one day a year!!!   Whether you are making a giant heart crouton to go with Coq au vin or baby hearts for “little soldier” appetizers…. you can demonstrate your love in little ways to show how much you care for the people you nourish physically with yummy food, emotionally with good conversation, and spiritually through demonstrating the love of Christ!  Jesus LOVED eating meals with people… look all throughout the Bible and you will see many references to food, tables, feasts and meals!

Matthew 9:10-13 “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”   Jesus loves sinners – that’s good news for everyone on earth!!!

You know the program on TV “Come Dine with Me” – that’s what Jesus wants to do with us… He wants to come dine with us!!!!  You know why?  I think it’s because we eat all throughout the day… He wants to spend time with us all throughout the day.  Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

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You simply need these heart shapes….

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and some bread and butter.  Place the butter in a pan on high heat.  While the butter is melting, cut out heart shapes in the bread.  Place them in the pan and fry until they are toasted on one side, then flip!  Watch out, these little guys taste soooo good on their own… you might end up with less croutons than you think!

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Here are my little soldier appetizers:

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I put these amazing ingredients through a toothpick: toasted bread, sundried tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.  You can add any ingredients that you like on your little soldiers. Tomatoes, cucumbers, bacon, sausage, basil, cheese (feta, mozzarella, cheddar).  The options are endless!!!

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Recipe for the French “Coq au vin”

4 portions

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups button onions (about 100 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, cut in half (about 100 grams)
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 4 diced shallots (If you don’t have shallots, you could use 1/3 cup of onion – 40 g)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) red wine
  • 1 3/4 cup (400 ml) beef stock
  • salt & pepper
  • butter
  1. Melt the butter in a sauté  pan.
  2. Season the chicken with salt & pepper and sauté until cooked.
  3. Remove from the pan and place in a baking dish.
  4. Add the shallots and bacon in the pan and fry until bacon cooked through and the shallots are translucent.  Add the wine and beef stock and cook on high heat allowing the liquid to reduce (to be thickened and for more flavor!  If it doesn’t thicken up too much, you could add a teaspoon of corn flour which was mixed with a bit of water).  Add salt and pepper to the sauce.
  5. Place the bacon & sauce mixture in the baking dish around the chicken.    IMG_1543
  6. Add a little bit of butter to the frying pan and sauté the button onions and mushrooms for a pretty color 🙂 for about 1 minute on a high heat.  Add them to the baking pan.
  7. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350° F or 180° C. IMG_1544
  8. While the chicken is baking, make mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, rice, etc as well as the pretty heart crouton to garnish!  Put a stick through it and place on top of the cooked chicken.   IMG_1549heart[1]

Enjoy with 3 people you want to bless & nourish physically with yummy food, emotionally with good conversation, and spiritually through demonstrating the love of Christ!

Lots of love, Lindsey

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