Dutch Apple Tart (Appeltaart)

1 Cup butter, softened

1 Cup sugar, I use 3/4 white sugar and 1/4 lightly packed brown sugar

2 Cups All Purpose flour

1 egg at room temperature

1 package Dr. Oetker’s Vanilla Sugar

1 tsp baking powder

6-8 apples, peeled, cored and grated

1/4-1/2 Cup seedless raisins

Ground Cinnamon

You will note this recipe looks a lot like my last post on Butter Cake, (Boterkoek), but there is a difference. This one adds in a little baking powder!

Sift together the sugar, flour vanilla and baking powder loosely with a fork. Make a well in the centre and crack in the egg, then fold flour mixture into the egg. When loosely mixed, drop in the butter a bit at a time and knead gently until mixed together. Roll as you would normal pastry. Soak raisins in warm water for 10 minutes to soften. Grate the apples into a pile, add the raisins and stir together with a touch of brown sugar and some flour to evenly coat the fruit. Add some ground cinnamon to this according to personal taste.

Roll out half to two-thirds pastry and place into bottom of glass pie dish. Add the apple mixture. Shake some more cinnamon onto the filling if desired. Roll out one-third to half of pastry that is left and cut into strips 1/4″ wide and make a lattice topping for your top pie crust. Lay strips across pie in one direction, turn pie 90 degrees and lay the rest of the strips across the top.

Bake in 325-350 oven, keeping an eye on it. You are looking for a golden crust. My oven takes about 50-55 minutes for this.

Enjoy!

In my last post I wrote about the Lord Jesus Christ and His family. I wrote about the fact He is both man and God. He is fully man and fully God. As I write this, Christmas Day is six days away. At this time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The angels proclaimed His first advent to a group of shepherds that night. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:11 NKJV). This was the best news the world had ever heard and remains the best news ever to this day. We all need a Saviour. We all sin and we all need forgiveness. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23). We give gifts to our loved ones at Christmas because God gave His greatest gift to us when He sent His only begotten Son, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 6:23. We can all have forgiveness and it is so simple. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Ask Him to forgive you for all of your mistakes, past, present and future, and invite Him to be Lord of your life. He bore all the punishment for sin on the cross and He loves you so much! Gratefully accept His gift of eternal life today.

 

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Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek)

1 Cup butter, softened

1 Cup sugar, I use 1/4 packed brown sugar and 3/4 white sugar

2 Cups All-Purpose flour

1 egg at room temperature

1 package vanilla sugar powder (I use Dr. Oetker’s which come as a 3-pack)

Pinch of salt

Using my stand mixer with its dough hook, I combine the sugars and the butter until smooth. Add the egg and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the vanilla powder and the salt and mix again. Add the flour and mix until a smooth dough forms. Divide the dough into two balls and press into greased (I use cooking spray) round, cake pan. You should get about 1/2 to 1 inch of height in each pan.

Bake in a 325-350 degree oven for about 35 minutes. You are looking for an even, golden top.

Let cool for 10 minutes then carefully remove from pans. Cool completely. Slice into eighths, pizza slice style. Store in the refrigerator.

My sister considered this a secret family recipe, but I have found it in my two Dutch cookbooks. So here it is! Enjoy!

This is one of my favourite desserts at Christmas time probably because this is when my grandmother would always make it. She would make it occasionally at other times of the year, but it seemed to be a special treat at Christmas. As we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, reminders of family traditions make me smile. His family was special too. His mother was a virgin and His birth had been predicted over 600 years before by the prophet Isaiah. “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel,” Isaiah 7:14 NKJV. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,” Isaiah 9:6. The prophet Micah accurately predicted where Jesus would be born, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me, The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting,” Micah 5:2. His human father was thought to be Joseph, (Luke 3:23), who married Mary despite her being with Child, Luke 2:4-5. As Luke tells us, the angel Gabriel came  to Mary with a message, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God,” Luke 1:35. You see, Jesus Christ is fully human and fully God. He is the Son of God. Christmas is about Him. Jesus is the reason for the season!

Delicious Skirt Steak

We find ourselves eating a lot of beef, but not huge portions anymore. Skirt steak is an economical cut and can be quite delicious when marinated for a few hours.

One package of skirt steak

For the marinade:

1/2 lemon juice (Realemon or fresh squeezed)

3 tbsp liquid honey

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning

4 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Mix well and place in freezer bag. Add meat, close bag tightly, and lay it down and let marinate for 3-4 hours, turning the bag once or twice.

Cook the steak in a hot frying pan, turning every 3-4 minutes, for 10-12 minutes or so. Let the meat stand for 4 minutes on a plate after cooking. Remember to slice it against the grain! Enjoy this delicious steak with rice, or mashed potatoes and a salad.

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“But He [Jesus] said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:32-34 NKJV

The King James Version uses the word “meat,” instead of “food” as used here in the NKJV. Jesus always knew why He had come to earth. Fully God and fully man, He came to rescue us. We were lost and separated from God forever because of our sin. Jesus came to do the will of His Father; to provide salvation for those who would personally believe Him. He died on the cross, and He rose from the grave three days later. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, John 14:6, and the only way to heaven. He offers salvation as a free gift. We cannot earn it, and once we have believed Him and accepted the gift, we cannot lose our salvation. Praise Him for His great love and grace today!

Easy Beef Pot Pie

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2 Tenderflake Pie Crusts, or any brand you prefer (this saves time). Leave them out to thaw about 15-20 minutes before using. 1-1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef Salt and pepper to taste 1/4 Cup each of frozen peas and frozen corn 1 carrot, peeled and diced 2 tbsp potato starch, or corn starch 2-3 tbsp liquid beef bouillon Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large frying pan, brown the ground beef until all pink disappears. Add salt and pepper. Stir in frozen peas and corn and the fresh carrot.  a one-cup glass measure, add the potato starch and 1/4 Cup of cold water. Stir to mix starch thoroughly with the water. Add to the beef in the pan. Stir to blend. Add more water if the mixture thickens too quickly and goes stodgy. Mound the beef mixture into one of the pie crusts. Smooth the top of the mixture with a spatula. Using your fingers, wet the edge of the pie crust all the way around. Place the other pie crust over it, upside down, giving the tinfoil pie plate it is in a good whack to let the crust fall over your pie. Use a fork to press the edges down, all the way around, to seal the pie. Use the fork to also flute the top of the pie in three or four spots to allow steam to escape. Bake the pie for 45 minutes or until crust is a nice and golden brown. Serve with a garden salad.   Pot pie is probably one of the most well known “comfort foods.” It sure is nice to eat on a cool day. This reminds me of 2 Corinthians 1:3 which says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,” (NKJV). No matter what you are going through today, He knows all about it and He is waiting to comfort you. Reach out to Him in prayer and feel His everlasting arms surround you with His love and grace. Oh, your troubles won’t instantly disappear, but you will know for certain you are not alone. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV.

It is a little “Chili” out there

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And so it is February 2nd! I believe we are half way through winter. This one has been doozy. Record cold snaps, a terrible ice storm and so much snow. We may have to open up the garage and shovel some in there! Here is a recipe for Chili to warm you up on those cold, cold days.

2-454g packages of ground sirloin or extra lean ground beef

2 cans maple brown beans

1 can red kidney beans (optional)

1 large can crushed tomatoes

4 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2″ lardons

ground cumin, chili powder, smoky paprika, salt and pepper

In a large 5-7 qt pot, saute chopped onion in Extra Virgin Olive Oil until translucent. Add bacon lardons and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is just beginning to brown/crisp. Add 1-2 tsp of each spice, according to taste, add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black or white pepper. Stir well.

Meanwhile, in a large fry pan, brown the ground meat breaking up any large chunks. Cook until no pink remains.

Add cooked meat to pot with onions, bacon and spices. Add 2 cans of brown beans, kidney beans if using, and the can of crushed tomatoes. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste, especially the chili powder. Add more if you like your chili spicy! Add  the chopped, fresh tomatoes. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Serve with crusty bread or warm garlic bread*. Optional: Top each serving of chili with some freshly grated cheddar cheese and/or some chopped, fresh cilantro.

*Easy Garlic Bread

1 baguette cut horizontally, then into serving pieces

1/4 cup of softened butter

1/2 tsp dried parsley

2-3 fresh, minced cloves of garlic

Combine butter, parsley and garlic to form a paste. Spread onto slices of baguette. Broil for 2 minutes or so, keeping an eye on it. Top with grated mozzarella for a cheesy bread.

Psalm 148:7-8 Praise the LORD from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; (NKJV)

These verses remind me that the Lord is in charge of the weather. As there is not a thing I can do about it, I am glad He is in control. This same control is over every aspect of my life. He is sovereign over all and I trust Him.

Romaine Salad with Lemon & Herb Dressing

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This crispy, crunchy, flavorful salad with its tangy lemon and herb dressing will get your taste buds moving!

One head of Romaine Lettuce, washed and chopped into bite size pieces

8-10 Sun dried tomatoes, sliced into small strips

A large handful of snow peas, washed and with tips cut off

1/2 of a fennel bulb, washed and sliced thin

2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces

3-4 sliced cremini mushrooms

For the dressing: 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 4 sliced thin, green onions, a pinch of pepper and some sea salt to taste, and one small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped. Mix well and set aside.

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Just before serving, add dressing and toss lightly so all ingredients are hit with the dressing.

 

Psalm 71:8                                                                                                              Let my mouth be filled with Your praise                                                                 And with Your glory all the day.  NKJV

 

Soup for a Cold

The dreaded fall cold arrived the other day and it is not even fall! I made this quick soup to help us get over the symptoms.

1 900 ml reduced sodium chicken broth

1/2 package thin rice noodles

hot red chilies, chopped and deseeded according to how much heat you want*

handful of green beans, washed and trimmed and cut into pieces

1/2 sweet onion

salt, pepper, dried tarragon leaves, dried cilantro leaves

Put rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water until noodles are soft, about 8 minutes. In large pot, place 1 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp veg oil and chopped sweet onion. Cook the onion until translucent. Sprinkle with a heaping tablespoon of dried tarragon leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste and either a good 1-2″ squirt of Gourmet Garden Chili Pepper paste or 1-2 red chilies chopped. (*The more seeds you leave in, the hotter the flavor from the chili. Deseed to reduce the heat. Be careful not to touch your lips or eyes while deseeding and chopping the chilies and wash your hands when you are done. ) Add the green beans with ends trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces. Stir together well. Pour in the carton of chicken broth and simmer 10 minutes or so. When there is about 2 minutes left, drain the rice noodles and add them to the pot. Stir in the dried cilantro leaves and serve with crackers of your choice.

As an added bonus, we had some of this soup left over so I put it in the fridge. The rice noodles soaked up the broth so I put it in a frying pan, added lime juice, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce and a bit more chili paste. I let this heat through and served it with grilled chicken and fresh cilantro for supper!

Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD, His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the latter rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth. Hosea 6:3 NKJV. I love this verse! I love the idea of pursuing the knowledge of the LORD. It is an action on our part and involves diligently searching the Scriptures to get to know Him better. 2 Timothy 2:15! If you are feeling rather parched by life lately, pursue Him. Jesus Christ offers us living water, John 4:10, 13-14.

 

Artichoke Heart Salad

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Here is a quick, easy salad for those warm summer nights!

1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drain but reserve 1/4 cup of marinade

lemongrass paste

1-2 tomatoes

fresh basil leaves

salt

extra virgin olive oil

lemon juice

oyster sauce

sweet chili sauce

fresh cilantro

Cut the artichoke hearts into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the 1/4 cup of marinade from the jar. Put chopped tomato, hand-torn basil leaves, (3 or 4), 1/4-1/2 tsp of salt, the extra virgin olive oil, 1/2-1 tbsp lemon juice, a dash or two of the oyster sauce, a dash or three of the sweet chili sauce, and 1/2-1 tbsp lemongrass paste into bowl with artichoke hearts. Stir. Let sit for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add fresh cilantro, stir and serve.

 

A couple of great thoughts to energize your day:

Psalm 18:19 “He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.” And Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (NKJV) He delights in you and He loves you! Walk with Him!

 

 

What to do with Leftover Steak

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Leftover Steak

Do you ever wonder what to do with leftover steak? The other night we had some leftover flank steak that had been grilled on the BBQ. I wanted to do something different so here is what I came up with!

Steak and Noodle Dish

3-4 green onions, chopped

extra virgin olive oil

butter

leftover grilled flank steak cut into thin slices

2-3 fresh tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup of passata (cooked tomatoes)

zest of 1 lemon

1 package of rice noodles

1-2 tbsp chili powder

lime juice

salt and pepper

chopped fresh cilantro

sliced avocado (optional)

Soak rice noodles in boiling water according to package directions, (10 minutes or so). In a large pan, heat EVOO and butter. Add green onions and saute for a few minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and the 1/2 cup of passata. Simmer for 4 minutes, then add 1-2 tbsp of chili powder and the zest of 1 lemon. Add drained, softened rice noodles to the pan along with the leftover steak. Add 1-2 tbsp of lime juice. Stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with fresh cilantro and avocado. Enjoy!

These verses have been on my mind lately:

“But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. ”   Psalm 71:14-16

Stick to Your Ribs

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Don’t you just love a good rack of ribs? All that tender, juicy meat just falling off of the bones and those lovely, gooey fingers while you eat? However, it seems that a portion of ribs is often the most expensive menu item. Here is an easy way to make them at home with a minimum of fuss and mess. I suggest you buy pork back ribs as these are often meatier than side ribs.

Tender Pork Back Ribs

1-2 racks of pork back ribs, depending on number of people eating

Homemade Rib Rub

Baking Sheet

Tin foil

Homemade BBQ sauce

I used to boil the ribs for over an hour then put them into the oven for a while with the sauce on them. But that meant I had a huge pot to wash as well as the sheet they baked on. Too many dishes to wash! So with this method, they cook slowly in the oven and come out really tender. Tin foil on the sheet makes clean up a breeze. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Layer at least 3 sheets of tin foil on baking sheet making sure you overlap the edges. Sometimes the cooking liquid from the ribs will drift under the tin foil which makes a sticky sheet to clean but at least it doesn’t take too long.

For the homemade rib rub, use any combination of spices you have on hand. Some of my favorite mixtures include: ground cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, Old Bay Seasoning, ground ginger, paprika, ground onion powder, ground garlic powder, ground coriander, dry mustard and chipotle powder if you like the heat. I am not including amounts because I throw in whatever amounts I want and make a big batch to put in a spice jar for another time. However, if you are making this just for the ribs, anywhere from 1-2 tbsp each will work just fine. Adjust amounts to your own personal taste.

Remove ribs from package and dry off with a paper towel. Spray the foil lined sheet with cooking spray. This also makes clean up easier and helps ensure the ribs come off the tray more easily. Place the ribs on the tin foil lined baking sheet. Rub the ribs all over with the rib rub. Place in the 300 degree F oven and let cook slowly for two, to two and a half hours.

Homemade BBQ Sauce: Add any combination of the spices from rib rub, or the leftover rub itself to 2 cups of ketchup, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice. Stir to combine well.

After two, to two and a half hours of cooking in the slow oven, coat ribs with homemade sauce. Reserve extra sauce for serving. Let cook in oven for 15-20 minutes more.

Serve with rice and a salad.

Any discussion of ribs reminds me of Genesis 2:21-21. “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man,”(NKJV). God did this because, “…for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him,” (V 20). I am so glad I am “fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well, (Psalm 139:14b)!