Mocha Toffee Dessert

I got this recipe from my mother over 45 years ago and have no idea where she got it from.

serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 1- 3 or 3 1/4 ounce package regular vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 2/3 cup of evaporated milk
  • 2 chocolate covered English toffee bars (5/8 ounces each) coarsely crushed
  • whipped cream
Method:

1. In medium saucepan, combine pudding mix and coffee powder.
Gradually stir in 1 3/4 cups milk till mixture is blended.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
3. Remove from heat and cover surface of pudding with waxed paper or plastic wrap, cool and chill.
4. In small saucepan combine chocolate pieces and evaporated milk. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture boils and chocolate is melted. Cool and chill.
4. Remove paper from pudding mixture.
5. Spoon the pudding mixture equally into 4 parfait glasses.
6. Sprinkle crushed candy onto top of layer.
7. Top with a good portion of chocolate sauce and top with more crushed candy.
8. Finish off with whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed candy.

If you use taller and narrower glasses you can make more layers before you top it off with whipped cream.

I found the smaller containers to work better as this is a very rich dessert.
Instead of crushing two candy bars I found these packaged toffee bits that worked real well.

Poblano Boats

These Poblano halves are filled with a mixture of Blue Cheese, diced apples, and walnuts. The heat of the Poblano pepper adds a nice kick to these crunchy boats of goodness. Serve as a salad or an appetizer. You can increase the recipe if you’d like to serve more than two people. You can also leave the Poblano whole, cutting a slit in it when you remove the seed instead of cutting the pepper in half, then stuffing it with the filling.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 1 Poblano Pepper, roasting over open flame, peeled and seeded, some instructions to follow
  • 1 cup finely chopped diced apples
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup mixed salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Methods for roasting peppers:

  1. If you have a gas stove top you can turn one burner to medium and hold the pepper over the open flame with tongs, turning until all sides are blackened and blistered, make sure your oven fan is on.
  2. After roasting the pepper place in brown paper bag and seal the bag to keep the steam inside the bag.
  3. When it cools put disposable gloves on and take the pepper out of the bag.
  4. The peel should come off easily at this point, you can use paper towels to rub the skin off.
  5. After peeling it, cut a slit down one side and using your gloved hands remove all the seeds.
  6. At this point place on a paper towel and refrigerate the pepper till you are ready to stuff it.
  7. Another method is to roast the peppers under the broiler of your oven for 5 minutes.
  8. You can also use your outdoor grill to roast the peppers.
  9. Whichever method you use, don’t forget step 2.

Method for the filling:

  1. Place the apples in a ceramic bowl and lightly coat them with the lemon juice.
  2. Combine the cheese and walnuts with the apples and toss.
  3. Cut the chilled pepper in half and place on top of a platter of salad greens.
  4. Fill each half of the pepper with the mixture of apples, walnuts and cheese.
  5. Whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar well and drizzle generously over the filled peppers.
  6. Serve immediately.

Tip: If you want to make more of these to serve 4-8 people you could roast 4 peppers ahead of time and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to serve these as an appetizer or salad. Just double the filling portion of the recipe.

Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

First you’ll want to cook the mushroom sauce and then you will saute the Polenta cakes assemble and serve.

Mushroom Sauce:

Mushroom Sauce:

  • 2 shallots sliced thinly
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 Cup dry white wine
  • 6 ounces cream
  • 1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese (optional)
  • 2 fresh sprigs of thyme to yield 1-2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • Polenta
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish.

Mushroom Sauce:

  1. Melt the butter over a medium low heat in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Add the sliced shallots and saute for 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir all of the ingredients together and cook until the mushrooms have softened and darkened in colour.
  6. Turn the heat up on the stove and pour in the white wine.
  7. Stir the ingredients and cook until the wine has reduced by two-thirds.
  8. Turn the heat down and stir in the cream and heat through. If you are using the Gorgonzola cheese stir it in now and heat through.
  9. Stir in the thyme.

Polenta:

Cut the Polenta into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Heat pan with Olive oil and saute Polenta over medium heat for approx. 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and crisp on the surface.

To serve pour a little mushroom sauce on a serving plate. Arrange 2 slices of Polenta on the sauce and then pour more sauce over and sprinkle fresh chopped parsley to garnish.

Other ways to serve Polenta: With a zesty spaghetti sauce of your choice. I’ve also seen it served fried in small cubes and used in place of croutons on a salad.

Polenta is available in grocery stores in the states. I purchased this chub of Polenta at Trader Joe’s. In reading up about Polenta you can make your own using cornmeal. If you are interested in doing that just google “How to Make Polenta”. I just bought the chub that has been prepared already.

Later this week I’ll share about our Easter Weekend that includes JJ’s 3rd birthday party.

Open House in April

We had a very busy weekend and full to the brim Sunday.

Back in the end of 2021 we invited several folk from our church to come over for a Happy New Year get together on January 3rd of 2022. We had to cancel that event because of snow and icy conditions with a promise to reschedule when our front area would be safe for walking without anyone breaking a hip on the ice! Well that day finally arrived and we rescheduled the event for April 3rd!

Twenty Five folk from our church stopped by after church for food and fellowship. It was a houseful with all possible seats filled in three different rooms. The food was enjoyed and I forgot to take one photo of the spread! We had pulled pork sliders, coleslaw (Kathy’s recipe without mayo that you should try, delicious), Vinegret (Russian Beet Salad), baked beans, and Applesauce Spice cupcakes for dessert. Some folk went back through the buffet line for thirds so we knew the food tasted just fine.

Everyone left by 3pm and then our kids and grands came over for leftovers at 5:30. We prayed that our food would be enough to feed all and it did with lots to spare. Thank you Lord.

Not expected at all but fun to receive these hostess/host gifts from some of the folk who came.

From sweet Diana, my trusty helper in the church kitchen.

From Gene and Marilyn, a newer couple who moved to Colville from Southern California.

Soup cozies for Dear and me.

From Gordon and Christine long time residents of Colville who host our Monday evening Bible Study.

A good day with a promise kept.

Happy first full week in April everyone!

Beef and Chorizo Chili

 This is a thick chili with 3 kinds of beans and jalapeno that is sure to warm you up!
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 12 oz. ground chorizo
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced petite tomatoes (14-16 oz.)
  • 1 can drained and rinsed black beans (14-16 oz.)
  • 1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans (14-16 oz.)
  • 1 can drained pinto beans (14-16 oz.)
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, chopped or 1/2  of a 4oz. can of chopped jalapeno
  • 1 can corn (approx. 15 oz.)
  • Fresh  diced tomatoes and grated cheese for serving
  1. Heat oil in large heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes.
  3. Add bell pepper and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add beef and chorizo and season well.
  5. Cook till meat is no longer pink.
  6. Add the tomatoes, 3 kinds of beans, jalapeno, and corn.
  7. Bring to a boil and simmer for up to an hour. If you like thinner chili you can add some broth to the pot.
  8. Serve topped with fresh tomatoes, grated cheese, sour cream, avocado or your favorite toppings. We always love to have corn bread with our chili.

This recipe will probably serve 8-10 people.

It is still that time of year where a nice warm bowl of soup or chili hits the spot! Chili is such a simple meal and we enjoy it in many forms. Many times it’s a matter of just mixing together what we have in the fridge and cupboard.

Eggs a la Goldenrod

Eggs a la Goldenrod

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of white pepper (you can substitute black pepper if you’d like)
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • A tablespoon or more of prepared mustard according to taste (We enjoyed the country mustard with horseradish added)
  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 4 slices of toasted bread cut into triangles

Method:

  1. Peel the hard boiled eggs and separate the yolk from the white.
  2. Slice the egg whites into bite size portions.
  3. Press the yolks through a sieve and set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat.
  5. Add the flour and blend well.
  6. Add the salt and the pepper.
  7. After about 4 minutes of cooking over low heat add the 2 cups of milk and turn up the heat to medium.
  8. Stir constantly until the milk begins to thicken.
  9. Whisk in the mustard.
  10. Add the chives and the eggs whites and heat through.
  11. Toast the bread and cut each piece into 4 triangles or whatever shape you’d like.
  12. Place bread on a plate and scoop a good portion of the prepared white sauce mixture over the bread. Garnish with the egg yolk that was pressed through a sieve.

Note:  I think this recipe would work well with some cooked crumbled sausage or bacon added to the white sauce.
This recipe will make at least 4 generous servings.

Creamy Pear Bake

Our internet is acting weird right now so I’ll have to postpone posting some great photos from our family weekend. We are having a wonderful time and enjoying so many great photos from Auntie Lolo. In the meantime here’s a recipe to enjoy. Happy President’s Day Weekend here in the USA and Happy Family Day in Canada!

This is a simple recipe with a nice creamy result. If you really enjoy creamy, you can serve it with ice cream or whip cream, too.

Creamy Pear Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups cored and sliced fresh pears ( I did not peel mine but you could if you prefer)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare a medium sized baking dish.
  3. Mix sugar, flour and salt.
  4. Gently toss and incorporate this mixture with the pears.
  5. Mix the sour cream and extracts together.
  6. Add this mixture to the pears and gently toss till incorporated.
  7. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  8. Mix the topping ingredients till crumbly.
  9. Dot the top of the pear mixture with the topping.
  10. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the topping is browned and mixture is bubbling.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream Pie

This is a make ahead dessert that will finish off any meal well. It’s rich and creamy with a nice crunch. Quick and easy to prepare but it needs a good three hours to set well before serving.
~
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 lightly baked 9-inch pie shell
  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 cup Butter Pecan Ice Cream, softened
  • 1 package (6-serving) instant pudding-vanilla flavor
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine brown sugar, butter and nuts in saucepan and heat until the butter is melted.
  3. Pour this mixture into the lightly baked pie shell and bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes, cool.
  4. Blend milk and ice cream in a medium sized bowl thoroughly.
  5. Add the pudding mix to the blended ice cream and milk.
  6. Beat slowly at lowest speed of electric mixer until blended for one minute.
  7. Pour immediately into prepared and cooled pie shell.
  8. Chill in refrigerator until set, approx. 3 hours.
  9. Garnish with whipped cream and additional nuts, if desired.
  10. Serves 4-8 depending on appetite or sweet tooth.

I posted this back in 2016 on the MGCC Blog and wanted to include it on my own.

You can choose a different flavor of ice cream for this recipe.

Land That We Love Tour ~ October 7th

We start on our home stretch on our Land That We Love Tour.

After two and a half great days with our brother’s family we left Dallas on Thursday October 7th at O’dark’thirty heading north to Oklahoma and Kansas. I posted a short post on that day here. We got a few gallons of gas at Central Truck Stop in Oklahoma City at $3.199 per gallon. Later that day we filled up our tank at the Costco in Wichita, Kansas for $2.729 per gallon.

After our gas and shopping stop at the Costco in Wichita Kansas we continued North and noticed the sign on the highway about the Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum in Goessel, Kansas. We took the exit and enjoyed our time on these backroads checking out the church and museum.

Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church

Here’s a link to the museum for more information. It is a well thought out museum with a great collection of history and historical artifacts and other objects that tell stories of the Mennonite people in Kansas.

When we walked into the museum we noticed the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Cookbook. Woohoo!

Schroeder Barn

One room schoolhouse

Goessel State Bank

It was quite warm on this day and we were parched after walking around the museum out buildings.

Back on the road we made our way to McPherson, Kansas where we stayed at Fairfield Inn and Suites. We used our accumulated points to stay here for free. We ate at La Fiesta Restaurant and ate well for less than we had at any other Mexican restaurant.

McPherson has developed into one of the most industrialized small communities in the nation. Centered in one of the largest wheat producing areas of the United States, McPherson is also ranked among the top agricultural centers of Kansas.

On this Thursday we traveled 416 miles for approximately six and a quarter hours not counting our shopping and time at the museum.

 

Hodgepodge History

Time to go back to the beginning of Hodgepodge with Jo From This Side of the Pond.

1. How did you name your blog and do you now wish you had thought about it maybe another five minutes before hitting publish? Would you change your blog title if it were not a huge pain in the derriere? 

When my brother told me he was going to start a blog for me I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle the technology. He convinced me everything would be ok. We then started brain storming about what I should name it. We came up with a few fun names but the way I came up with my keeper is…

a. I’m generally a very happy person.

b. I’m also someone who wonders about a lot of things and have a deep need to know.

So as we were discussing point a and b my husband came up with The Happy Wonderer.

As far as the purpose of my blog I chose “to Honor and Encourage”. I’m an encourager to people around me and I wanted that reflected in the relationships I’d develop on my blog. It is very important to me to Honor Jesus Christ my King.  I want my words and posts to be things that will encourage people and be something that won’t reflect poorly on my King. My blog was born on March 3, 2007.

I would not change my blog name.

My blog header has changed over the years. The photo at the top of this post was my header for awhile. It was taken at a photo shoot for our 2nd Mennonite Girls Can Cook cookbook, Celebrations, that was published in 2013.

2. What bill do you least like to pay? 

Our Tax Bill.

3. What is your favorite word? Okay okay, calm down. How about one of your favorite words? 

Favorite word, Hope. I also like sweet, redeemed and cheers!

4. Is the glass half full or half empty? Elaborate. 

Half full and I’ll refer you back to my blog name for the elaboration.

5. Were you here for that very first Hodgepodge post? If so, were your answers then similar to what they are today? Tell us what was happening in your life in November of 2010? 

I’m a bit surprised that I didn’t join in to the Hodgepodge until August of 2016. I put a link to my first post in the random thought section.  I was a big ABC Wednesday participant from the early days of my blog.

Our lives were very busy in November of 2010:

Our daughter was engaged at the end of September and we started wedding dress shopping and making wedding plans that overlapped into November.

Our son came home from a 6 month training in Arizona and was establishing his new digs with his new job in Northeastern Washington.

We had an early Thanksgiving celebration before our son moved to Eastern Washington.

My brother Tim and Letty flew up for Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving day we had our meal with 40 others at a friends home.

On Black Friday we had our annual tea day with my sister, sister-in-law, and daughter-in-law and shopping at Goodwill and Country Village. Laura took this photo.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I believe this was my first Hodgepodge post.

https://happywonderer.com/2016/08/08/summer-olympics-hodgepodge/

Thank you Jo for all the years and all the questions!