Saturday, July 30, 2011

Canning Cherries

I canned cherries last week, something I haven't done for a few years.
The cherries were so beautiful I had to grab my camera.

These light coloured cherries are called 'Queen Anne'. In Washington State they are known as 'Ranier'. At their best they are sweet and firm in texture. They are a favourite of mine.

I also canned some sweet cherries. I didn't find out what variety they were
but they were a rich, deep red colour and sweet to the taste.

We enjoy eating them out of the jar but I also love to make 'Plumamoos' with them, or 'Kirschenmoos" If you don't know this cold fruit soup, check the recipe out at our 'Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog. It's in the Mennonite foods category. It's always eaten with Ham at Easter and often served at 'Vaspa' (Sunday supper) with zwiebach and cold meat.
When the canning process is finished, I get such a feeling of satisfaction - a job well done, and my own canned cherries on the basement shelf. They'll be there for those gloomy winter days when I want a taste of summer.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quilts and St. Jacobs’ Market

As Kathy drove around the countryside, we saw some hand painted signs advertising ‘QUILTS, HOMEMADE CRFTS”

We followed the sign to a Mennonite farmyard where a 13 year old girl with thick braids was our hostess.

She took us to a basement room where a bed was laden with over 25 quilts, each neatly spread out over the one beneath it so that they could be folded back for display.  What amazing colours and handiwork.  The stiches were so small, the corners so well matched and the designs planned by an artistic eye.

As we chatted with her, we found out that her “Doddie” (grandmother) was the quilter.  When we asked if she was learning to quilt as well, she answered “Well… it’s not really my line.”She confessed to being much happier in the barn with the animals.

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I bought a lovely table runner and apple pot holder, although I would have loved to have taken home one of those beautiful quilts

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This will dress up  my Thanksgiving table with memories and colour.


When we left I snapped a picture of this little sweetheart – don’t you love those chunky little running shoes.

Her older brother and sister where swinging – it was a picture right out of the past.

The next morning, Charlotte and I spent some time at the St. Jacobs’ Farmers Market.

It was sensory overload all the way!

Check out these colourful and appetizing displays!

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I bought homemade summer sausage for Harv – no preservatives and chock full of flavour.

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This little guy caught my attention.


What do you suppose he is thinking as he exchanges gazes with the non-Mennonite boy?


We stopped on our way out at this delectable display and bought a chocolate dessert to share.

They truly were designer desserts – a feast for the eyes and a treat for the tastebuds.

What fun it would be to visit this market each week.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Waterloo, Mennonite Country

While In Waterloo, our hostess, Kathy took us for a drive one afternoon to see the surrounding countryside.

There are numerous groups of Old Mennonites who live in the area.  Some are readily identified by their conservative clothing, the horse and buggies they drive instead of cars and the lack of electricity in their homes.

This is the oldest church, or Meeting House in the area and in its adjacent cemetery, there are headstones that date from the 1700’s to the 1900’s.

The Mennonites in this area emigrated from Switzerland in the 1700’s  and settled alongside the 6 Nations Native Indians along the river.  They cleared the land, establishing large successful farms.

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This Meeting House has hitching posts instead of a parking lot.  It is located side by side with a Conference Mennonite Church who’s members’ cars fill its parking lot.

Kathy said that on Sunday mornings the horse and buggies alongside the cars make for an interesting contrast.

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The Mennonite Farms are all kept so neat and tidy and most have large, beautifully kept gardens with rows of flowers planted alongside the thriving vegetables.

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As we drove through the towns and past farms we felt we had gone back in time.

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We stopped at the Wallenstein General Store and did a bit of browsing.

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It was tempting to help myself to a handful of these gorgeous cherries but I resisted.

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The store shelves offered merchandise not available in our local stores.  Rows upon rows of shiny black shoes and boots with the toes all neatly pointing outwards, and a choice between blue and black suspenders.The fabrics on offer where cotton in plain colours or tiny flowered prints.  Blues and purples where the favoured colours.  There were also a few varieties of hats lined up on the shelves and I found  a straw one for my son. 

As families debated their purchases, and barefoot children studied the toys, I came upon something too cute to leave there.


These bonnets, smocked, beribboned and tucked were the perfect purchase for our tiny granddaughter.

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Stay tuned for one more post on this wonderful Ontario region.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Book Signing Trip to Waterloo

As many of you know, I’m one of the 10 “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” cookbook authors.  Charlotte was asked by Mennonite Media to represent us all at  the Canadian Mennonite Assembly in Waterloo at the beginning of July.

She invited any of us who could make it to go with her.  My high school friend, Ester lives in neighbouring Kitchener and I was delighted to be able to accompany Charlotte in representing our cookbook and to visit with my old friend at the same time.

The Assembly was held at the campus of the University of Waterloo and after visiting with Ester in her home on Sunday evening, she took me to the residence which became our home away from home for the week.


She works for the Eastern Conference of Mennonites and so we met several times over the course of the assembly.  What a treat that was for me.


We signed books at the Menno Media  book table several times between sessions for the first few days.

On Wednesday, Kathy, who runs the Mennonite Publishing Network warehouse took Charlotte and me on a tour of the warehouse.  It was quite something to see our cookbooks on the shelves.  She had recently had an order for 1000 books from  the “10 Thousand Villages “ warehouse and was excited to see our book selling so well.


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After leaving the warehouse, she drove us to Words Worth Bookstore in Waterloo where they were featuring our cookbooks in a unique window display.

We signed a few books there before leaving for an afternoon of sightseeing.  (more on that in a later post)


Our last official task was to sign books at the Ladies Luncheon on Friday.  Kathy was asked to say a few words about the “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” blog and cook book to the ladies. 

We sold all the books Kathy brought and were delighted at the positive response of everyone we met.  Later we heard that our cookbook is Menno Media’s highest selling book.

As our royalties are being donated to a children’s shelter in the Ukraine, we were delighted to hear how well it is selling.



It was a wonderful experience and I was so privileged to be able to share this with Charlotte.  A huge bonus was that Charlotte and I had lots of time to build on the friendship that our collaboration in the blog and cookbook had begun.

Thanks, Charlotte for inviting me to join you – I loved our time together and am so glad you are my friend.