Mennonite Girls Can Cook

M is for the Mennonite Girls Can Cook! I am one of the ten girls who have a blog we collaborate on to post a recipe a day and a devotional on Sundays. That blog is called Mennonite Girls Can Cook. We also have two published cook books, Mennonite Girls Can Cook and Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations. Both of these books are available on Amazon.

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Anneliese, Judy, Lovella, Kathy, Bev, Betty, Ellen, Julie, Charlotte, and Marg.

Sometimes my meme buddies think that MGCC is my blog and all the recipes are mine because of my blogger comment link that will take you straight to MGCC.  If your blog has the (name/url) option to click on when I comment everything works great for memes because I can put in the url that will take you straight to my ABC Wednesday post, etc.  My personal blog is The Happy Wonderer, ellen b. but blogger/google has hijacked me and will send you straight to the MGCC blog if you click on my comment name when I don’t have another option in commenting. Does that make sense? Enough of that…back to the Mennonite Girls.

In 2010 all ten of us got together for the very first time to sign the contract for our first cookbook. Nine Canadians and one American, me. The nine Canadians hail from Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Winnipeg and Steinbach.

Here we are with our first cookbook in hand. It’s easy for me to get together with the girls from British Columbia and we cherish the few times all 10 of us can be together since Betty and Charlotte are over 2200 miles away from us. Along our cookbook journey we’ve had some fun book signings at farm markets, 10,000 Villages, bookstores and more…

Barnes and Noble in Bellingham and Ten Thousand Villages in Vancouver.

We’ve also done cooking demonstrations at the West Coast Women’s Show, Lepp Farm Market, Mennonite Relief Sales and on Global T.V.

In July of 2012 we signed a contract for our second book “Celebrations” which would be released in Spring of 2013.

Since this book was first published the cover has changed.

IMGP0322The West Coast girls traveled to Manitoba for book signings at several locations around Winnipeg and Steinbach so Charlotte and Betty were our hostesses for this great trip. I drove up to Abbotsford, B.C. to hop on a plane with the west coast girls for this trip to Winnipeg.

2014-03-26 paska class10I never dreamed blogging would bring this whole new world of Mennonites and Cookbooks into my life. This journey started with me contributing some recipes to the newly formed Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog that was inspired by a Paska Post on Lovella’s blog. Because the girls and I have family recipes that are very similar I was invited to be one of the contributors on the newly formed Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog even though I am not Mennonite. The ten of us remained faithful to the blog and soon a publisher came knocking at our door. Beyond publishing and blogging we have formed lifetime friendships with each other. The girls call me their adopted American cousin.

It’s not just the girls who enjoy our times together. Our husbands get to come along for the ride, too. We get together for events that have nothing to do with our cooking blog, too, but there is always good food to be eaten whenever we gather together!!

All this fun has not stopped yet because in August we will be published again with a smaller Devotional book with some recipes included.

I’m linking up to ABC Wednesday started by Mrs. Nesbitt and carried on by the masterful Roger and the ABC team. Thank you!

Bloggy Friends ~FFF

My favorite blessings from blogging have been my face to face meet ups with the individuals I’ve learned about from their personal blogs. The first blogger I met and who became my walking buddy while Dear and I lived in Camarillo is Willow from Willow’s Cottage. While our friendship continued we met up with Sara from Come Away With Me at The Getty Villa. Willow and Sara already knew each other. Besides the Getty Villa we met up again for some time at the Getty Museum before I moved back to Seattle.

On one of my trips across Los Angeles to visit my folks in 2009 Cori G! from Brambleberry Cottage (formerly Gingerbread and Co.) and I set up a meeting over coffee in Orange County, California. It was a delight to meet Cori. We were able to meet up again on one of my trips back to Southern California and have a meal and stroll through a antique market in the city of Orange.

On Dear and my road trip moving back to Seattle in 2010 we met up with Sandy from Reluctant Entertainer and her husband at the Winchester Inn in Southern Oregon. It was a delight.

In July of 2010 Dear and I met the Scrabble Queen from Scrabblequeen Knits for breakfast while we were in the Sacramento area for a funeral. She gifted me with some wonderful loose tea from England!

On our sister trip to Victoria, B.C. to celebrate my 60th birthday my sisters and I were treated to wonderful time with the lovely Pondside from Life Between the Ponds.

Oh dear me…I forgot another major bloggy meet-up. Jill from Jill’s World of Research, Reaction and Millinery came to visit in my home and we attended the Lavender festival together in July of 2011. Maybe it was the home part that made me think it was a family visit instead of a bloggy visit.

We had a great day seeing beautiful lavender fields, eagles, and eaglets and a baby seagull. Sorry for the oversight dear Jill!

IMGP0168At a book signing in Winnepeg/Manitoba I was able to meet Millie from Wreathmaker. What a fun surprise to see her and her hubby at McNally Robinson bookstore.

SeaJack #4 001Just this year on Katie and my roadtrip from Seattle to North Carolina we arranged a meeting over lunch in Kansas City, Missouri with Pam from Abiding With Love. We had a wonderful meal paid for by Pam’s husband and great conversation with Pam and her daughter.

What a blessing it has been to get to know these ladies and enjoy their thoughts and adventures and beautiful tables, tea settings, recipes, decorating, devotionals, book recommendations, etc. etc.

Judy correctly pointed out that there is another group of women that I met through blogging that have changed my life forever. This next photo is from the first time I met five of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook! This meeting was in the Spring of 2010. All ten of us would meet when we got together in British Columbia to sign the contract for our first book in the summer of 2010. These girls are a big part of my life now and they are more like family so that’s probably why I forgot that initially it was because of blogging that we came together!

 

These are my favorites for Susanne’s Friday’s Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story. It would be fun to meet Susanne some day!

Ditt enn Daut…

This and that from the rest of our time in Manitoba…and of course food is involved. These events are not in any particular order.

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This was the Retreat Center that we stayed in during our time in Manitoba. Our last morning there we took our coffee out on the wrap around porch.

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Betty is keeping an eye on me as I trek through the tall grass and weeds over to the church next door to take a stroll through their cemetery.  She was hoping I wouldn’t end up with ticks on my legs. Yikes!

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Here I go…

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When I got back from my trek I found most of the girls having their coffee on the porch while we waited to enjoy our breakfast. Or maybe this was after breakfast. Anyhoo I won’t say out loud on my blog what I said to make them laugh.

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One thing for sure is that we did not go hungry on any day or for any meal!

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We were able to make a quick stop at Betty’s home and have a little tour to see where she cooks. While we were there a storm blew through and Lovella was excited to get out into it. The reason she’s toting that hanging plant is a whole other story.

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While in Betty’s community we stopped at Main Bread & Butter Co. so some of the girls could buy some famous Bothwell Squeaky Cheese. We were excited to see our book for sale on one of their displays.

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Now we are all the way back to the beginning of our time in Manitoba and our first night at the Women Refreshed at the Well Retreat Center. We pretty much started with good food and ended with good food. After all…it was a cookbook signing tour.

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This was Charlotte’s Cake that she made for our dessert on our first evening.

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I’ll leave you with this great Bible Verse that Joy had on one of the walls in her Retreat Center. We are grateful to God for all he has done in each of our lives and the great times that we enjoy together.

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It’s been good to have a large chunk of this week without any plans or appointments. The next thing on the calendar is a bridal shower on Saturday for my nephew’s future bride. Those of us up here in the PNW are happy to be able to attend a family shower without having to fly. We will be flying to the wedding in August that will be in the Santa Barbara area.

I’m experimenting with a new way to make ribs in the oven and if the recipe turns out well I’ll be sharing it on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook website on the 4th of July. Time will tell since I’m cooking it low and slow…

At the Villages

During our short time in Winnipeg and Steinbach we had book signings in 3 different Ten Thousand Villages. Each one of the stores served food that the staff prepared from our cookbook. If you aren’t familiar with Ten Thousand Villages here is a short description of who they are.

TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES

A Fair Trade Retailer We create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.

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You might want to have something to eat before you scroll through this post. Just thought I’d give you fair warning..

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At two of the stores we ended up right next to the jewelery. I ended up coming home with 4 pieces of jewelery. That was good marketing for sure.

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Have you shopped in a Ten Thousand Villages store? This was the store in Steinbach. Our last 2 signings of our days in Manitoba were at 2 different Ten Thousand Villages in Winnipeg.

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This time we were right across from the jewelery instead of sitting in front of the jewelery. At this store we met many people who had connections to some of our own girls. This was TTV Henderson.

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Judy was able to meet up with family for breakfast who dropped her off for our signing.

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This little guy was my favorite fan for sure. He was so interested in getting one of our books and being able to enjoy some of the recipes. He never left our table even when his sister next to him found toys to play with in the store. He was more interested in making sure he got a book from us.IMGP0327-001

He watched each of us intently to make sure we signed the book just right. It was so much fun to talk to him.

Our next signing would be at the larger Ten Thousand Villages in Winnipeg but before we headed there we were invited to lunch at Margaret’s home who is Charlotte’s cousin. She was working at the store the whole time we were signing and left just minutes before we did but still had a wonderful table and food ready for us at her home nearby.

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We had a wonderful time at Margaret’s table, thank you so much! This was the first time that I had Obst Moos (a cold fruit soup) and it was delicious. Margaret said she followed Charlotte’s recipe in our first cookbook. From here we went to our last signing in Winnipeg (TTV Plaza Dr.) where more dishes from our cookbook were served.

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Genevieve made my Dear’s Tomato Rice Soup and it was delicious. I wish I would have thought to take a photo of sweet Genevieve next to the soup. By this time my head was spinning from all the fun! I still have a couple more adventures to document from the Mennonite Girls trip to Manitoba.

In the meantime my Dear is back from France and we spent a nice Father’s Day at church and brunch and then enjoying some relaxation as each of our kids called to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. We’ll celebrate next weekend with our kids who are near. On Saturday to help the hours go by before Dear came home my sister Lana and I went on a Secret Garden Tour in a neighboring city. We had a great time and I’ll be sharing about that soon, too. Hope you had a nice weekend. Spring is coming to an end. What are your plans for the last week of Spring?

A Prairie Favorite…

…McNally Robinson Bookstore!

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I was so impressed with this store and all they have to offer.

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The store had our spot all ready for us and the staff was ready to take care of anything we needed during our 2 hour signing.IMGP0163

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This was our first signing in Winnipeg and we were so happy to meet so many wonderful people. It was fun to be seated by the Canadian Biography section of the bookstore.

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What fun to meet the Wreathmaker, Millie and her husband. I’ve visited Millie’s blog so it was great to meet her in person.

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This is the young man, John Toews, who took such good care of us while we signed books at the store!

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We had a little competition with the evening book talk on 300 Years of Beer. I got a kick out of our book sharing the feature case with the Beer book.

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The big thrill of the evening is when we realized that Prairie Ink Restaurant located in the bookstore was serving 3 dishes from our cookbook for the evening that we were there! Lovella’s Maple Glazed Salmon and Prawns, Charlotte’s Vegetarian Black Bean Taco Salad, and Kathy’s Chicken sliders with Pineapple Salsa!

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They gave us a taste of the pineapple salsa. Delicious!

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They served Charlotte’s Vegetarian Black Bean Taco Salad in a tortilla bowl.

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When we were done with our signings we sat down in the restaurant to have dinner. I ordered Kathy’s Chicken Sliders with Pineapple Salsa.

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Oh my I was so excited I took a bite before I took a photo but Kathy was right next to me and she was staging her slider so nicely I took a photo of her’s!

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A huge thank you to McNally Robinson and Prairie Ink Restaurant for giving a special welcome to our book and our recipes!

My Dear is coming home on Saturday and I’m excited. We are postponing Father’s Day celebrations to let him recuperate from his international travel. What are your plans for the weekend and Father’s Day?

Refreshed…

What a difference a good 8 hours of sleep makes. Monday was such a contrast to Sunday in body and mind. While we were in Winnipeg and Steinbach we were able to stay at Women Refreshed at the Well. The retreat center is the vision of the owner Joy who lives up to her name.

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Oh here I am getting ahead of myself. I’m showing you the inside common living space before I even show you the front door but it’s hard to take a photo of the front door when you are toting in your luggage to get settled in…

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It was a very welcoming door and the view as the door opened was just as welcoming.

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We entered and met the owner Joy and were shown our rooms. Four of the rooms were decorated for each of the seasons.

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My room was Spring which I enjoyed.

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Marg was assigned to Summer and it suited her well.

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Bev had the Autumn room and again I think it was just right for her.

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Judy embraced her Winter room and even modeled her winter halo for us!

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Lovella was assigned the Restore room with the ensuite. I think it was perfect for her.

I’m sad to say I did not take a photo of the Chapel where our Betty slept next door to me.

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You can see into Betty’s room on this shot upstairs at the end of the hall through the door with what looks like blue walls..

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We had some great prairie views from the windows at the retreat.

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Kathy and Marg relaxed quickly and then kept us all giggling for different reasons throughout our time in the Prairies.

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We were all thankful to Joy and the refreshment we were able to enjoy at her retreat center. I’ll be sharing more in another post about the wonderful food we were served, too.

I’ve been paying close attention to the Air Traffic Control strikes that are scheduled in France. Dear is traveling there as we speak and we are waiting to see if his flight might be cancelled into Marseille. Update: Dear is in Marseille. Many other conference participants were delayed in getting to the meeting so sessions this morning had to be cancelled. Maybe with his extra time he’ll be able to take some photos of the area. Time will tell.

In the meantime I’m working on emptying out some cabinets as we are getting ready for new floors to go in this old house and we have to move cabinets out of the spaces where the floors will be going in…

What’s going on in your neck of the woods as we approach Father’s Day weekend?

Traveling With Girls…

What a fun way to travel. We had a very girly time everywhere we went. Once in a while a great guy would pop in either cooking for us, organizing something for us, taking photos for us, or getting his book signed by us. We know there are lots of guys out there that love to cook and do it well!

I’ve never flown in Canada before and I enjoyed the laid back security and fun flight attendants on Westjet.

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We are approaching summer fast and furious but there still is a lot of snow capped mountains in the Cascade Mountain Range. I was happy to get a glimpse of the Mighty Columbia River that flows close to where our son lives in Eastern Washington. He might have even been fishing in that river the day I flew by…

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I found out real quick that for Canadians Tim Horton’s is the place to stop for a coffee and snack. We girls really made a statement early on in our traveling as 4 out of the 6 of us ended up at the wrong gate in Calgary. When we finally realized it was boarding time and nothing was happening we found out our plane had boarded everyone but the 4 of us at a different gate and we high tailed it hoping they wouldn’t leave us behind! Oye! The gate agents said “you must be the Mennonite Girls Can Cook” didn’t you hear our pages for you? We laughed and said we hadn’t heard anything on the loud speakers in the wing we were sitting in. Onward and upward we went…

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After we arrived in Winnipeg Betty, her daughter Alison, and Charlotte met us to take us to our first stop. We arrived at Charlotte’s home for a wonderful meal. Charlotte’s husband Tony made us his special Campers’ Stew from page 145 in our new cookbook. Delicious! We enjoyed all the lilacs that were in bloom in Winnipeg and Steinbach and we also saw lots of rhubarb plants. This one is Charlotte’s. From lunch we would head off to our lodgings for our nights in Manitoba. I’ll share about that soon.

Today Dear is at the airport waiting for the first leg of his flight to Marseille. I hope he’s at the right gate. He just called to say that they have been alerted about an impending strike at all French airports. Double oye! Now he’ll be checking at the airport in Chicago and London to see if he should continue on or book a flight right back home. Shhhh…don’t tell but I’m really hoping he has to turn around and come home…