In BC the church secretaries within MCBC have an annual "Secretaries' Retreat". Yup... and I have the privilege to partake because I am an "alumni". :-) It's generally organized by the MCBC Office Administrator or, as we like to call her - the "Boss Secretary". For several years we went for an overnighter to Camp Squeah - Sunday to Monday, however, the last 2 years, for convenience & proximity sake, we have used the MCC Deertrail Guesthouse. We gather for dinner, visiting, sharing and laughing and some do stay overnight. Obviously, not all of the secretaries/alumni can attend but for those that come out, it is a lot of fun. Dinner is a potluck and this year I was asked to bring some dessert. Below are the two things I brought along. Enjoy!
Rhubarb Square or Muffins
Received this recipe from my Sister-in-Law and we have enjoyed it ever since.
cups all-purpose flour
tsps. baking powder
tsp. baking soda
cup vegetable oil
tsps. grated orange peel
cup orange juice (I do half orange and half lemon or whatever combination you
happen to have handy)
cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, finely chopped
oven to 350⁰ F if making muffins.
a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda.
a medium bowl, beat egg. Stir in oil, orange peel and juice. Add to flour all
at once and stir just until moist. Stir in the rhubarb. Lightly grease muffin tins
and fill cups three-quarters full.
for 25 to 39 minutes.
decided to make a square out of the above recipe and then added the streusels
of top of the batter. Baking this in a 9x13 inch Pyrex. I lowered the oven heat to 350⁰ F.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
cup vegetable oil (butter can also be used and to make the streusels a bit
crunchier you can add 1 or 2 tbsp of whipping cream)
1. Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top and clean out the with a paring knife, if necessary (some of them are hollow already. Prep all the strawberries and set aside.)
2. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, Cool Whip, sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add mix to a pipping bag or Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off. Fill the strawberries with the cream-cheese mixture. (The recipe is slightly different on Pinterest but I prefer it with the Cool Whip added - makes the cream-cheese a bit softer and the cheese flavour is milder.)
3. Once strawberries are filled, sprinkle or dip the tops with Graham Wafer crumbs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.
Have been meaning to post a bit about the BC Inspirational Day for a while now but other things took priority here on this blog, like the promoting of the 60th Anniversary Celebration of Mennonite Women Canada and the introduction of the "Fruit of the Month" series we have just started.
But now that that has been done, I think I have a small window here to quickly let you know that I have a full report on the MCBC Women's Ministry blog and you can read all about it HERE and you can also see more pictures there!
Hope you'll like it and please do leave a comment so we know that you paid BC a visit! Thanks a bunch!
Scrapbook from the "Card Project" for the 2009 Mennonite World Conference.
Naomi Unger writes: This recipe from my files is in the handwriting of a school
child. I remember my sister instructing her son, years ago, to copy it out for
me after I complimented her for her very tasty meal.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup shortening
2 T sugar
pinch of salt
Mix like pastry and pat into 9"x 9" or 9"x13" pan. (Using the smaller pan will give you a thicker square.) Bake at 350ºF for 20-25
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cream
2 T flour
2 1/4 cups diced rhubarb
Heat in saucepan until warm. Beat 3 egg yolks, add to
mixture and cook until thick.
Spread over the baked crust.
3 egg whites
Beat egg whites until stiff, slowly adding 5 T sugar and
1/4 tsp cream of tartar.
Spread over the filling.
Bake at 400ºF until lightly browned.
Note from Liz: I used a 10" glass pie plate and 3 cups of rhubarb and increased flour to 3 T. I also did not have cream on hand so used 1/3 cup milk and 1 T margarine. It turned out great, but was very sweet. Next time I will only use 1 cup of sugar and there definitely will be a next time. Thanks for the recipe, Naomi!
While looking over the statistics of our blog I noticed that the most popular postings have been the ones that our "4 Grandmas 4 U" contributed. Unfortunately they are no longer able to do this. I have been wondering if we could do a seasonal experiment with fruit recipes. I have polled the executive and they are willing to submit some recipes. We would also welcome input and/or comments from any of you. This is not in any way intended to compete with the Mennonite Girls Can Cook whom we endorse and affirm but simply an effort to share our favourite recipes with those who visit our blog. I have a couple of rhubarb recipes almost ready to post so check back in a few days! Each month we will feature a different fruit. We'll start off with rhubarb and perhaps also include a few strawberry recipes.
WHAT ARE YOU READING?
by Naomi Unger I recently read the novel, The Cry of the Dove by Fadia Faqir (published in 2007 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc.). Salma, a Bedouin Arab Muslim teenager, gets pregnant before marriage. She escapes being killed to restore her family's honour by going to prison and eventually fleeing to England. There, Salma, now called Sally, is free yet she is still bound by fear, depression and loneliness.
Faqir presents moment of hope, beauty, love and even humour in the midst of all the pain and sadness in Sally/Salma's life. These dark times include imagining that her brother has followed her to England to kill her, her broken-hearted longing for the child she gave birth to but never held, as well as feeling rootless and facing repeated racist attacks.
Don't let the author's style of flitting between the present and the past in a single paragraph put you off. I thought it was a powerful way of showing Sally's distress over her current immigrant situation and agonizing over her infant daughter, Layla, who was taken away from her at birth. In such circumstances, it would be hard for us to stay focused, too.
As you read the story, notice the women in Sally's life. Especially in a patriarchal society, it is the women who give each other the strength to carry on. Even in England, there are women who help Sally. Sally's desire to support her daughter grows stronger and is finally irresistible, as Layla gets older. I was challenged to consider how we can be sisters, mothers and true friends to the hurting women in our communities.
In the story, racism - both personal and structural - goes in all directions. It's not just an issue in Europe; Canadians must deal with this as well. Are we Christ-like in our treatment of refugees and immigrants, of anyone who is different from us? Will we welcome people with their cultural and religious differences into our lives and open ourselves to be enriched by them?
In Faqir's story, the double standard of morality (that women are killed for adultery, but not the men) is exposed. Faqir's work is advocating for vulnerable women and putting an end to 'honour killings'. How tragic if Muslim paradise (sitting in a cloud of perfume drinking milk and honey) is the only free and safe place for oppressed women.
For an eye-opening companion book, I recommend that you read A Thousand and One Egyptian Nights, An american Christian's Life Among the Muslims by Jennifer Drago published by Herald Press. The Drago family lived side by side with Muslims during their MCC assignment in Egypt (2003-2006). Jennifer shares her discoveries and insights in this inspiring book.