Beef Stew and Rosemary Dumpling

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I know I should be talking to you about Christmas, or this incredible stew right here, but instead I thought I would share with you one of my guilty pleasures.

Beef Stew With Dumblings

If you know me, you know I have bad taste in TV, especially when it comes to reality TV. I have been known to watch Laguna Beach, and the ever popular spin off, the hills, and can’t forget The City. I even got addicted to Deadliest Catch, which is so random.

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Before I confess my most recent reality addiction, let me just clarify I have never watch (a full episode) of Jersey Shores.  Ok here it is…..

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I’m totally into the Kardashians. Yup that’s right, I am caught up with the Kardashians. I think I have seen every show, including the spin off shows: Kourtney and Kim Take New York, Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Khloe and Lamar and of course the most recent show Kourtney & Khloe Take the Hamptons.  I can’t explain why I like it. It’s like watching a train wreck, and posh and pretty train wreck.  Sometimes I feel like we are friends. Me, Kim, Khloe and even Kortney.

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Ok enough about my bad TV watching habits. I will make it up to you by sharing with you this delicious stew with rosemary dumplings. This meal is a favorite in our house, and it freezes really well.

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Sorry for over sharing. Eat Stew!

Beef Stew with Dumplings

[Adapted from Janet and Greta’s Eat, Shrink and Be Merry]

2 Cups of Low Sodium Beef Broth
2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
2 Teaspoon of Sugar
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
2 Pounds of Stewing Beef Cubes, 1-2 Inch Pieces
2 Tablespoons of Flour
2 Teaspoon of Olive Oil
1 ½ Cups of Chopped Onions
1 Cup of Chopped Celery
2 Cups of Chopped Carrots
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
2 Teaspoons of Herbs de Provence
½ Cup of Light Sour Cream
2 Tablespoon of Cornstarch
1 ½ Cup Bisquick
1/3 Cup of Milk
1 Teaspoon of Dried Rosmary

In a small/medium bowl add beef broth, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir a couple times. Set aside.

Trim off the fat from the beef cubes.   Place in plastic bag or bowl and coat with flour.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the flour coated beef cubes, and cook until browned on the outside. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the herbs de province, and cook for one more minute. Add the beef broth mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 30 to 60 minutes, or until the carrots are sort.

After 45 minutes, mix the sour cream and cornstarch, mix into the stew.

In a small-medium bowl, mix bisquick and rosemary. Pour in milk, and fluff with a fork. Roll the bisquick into tablespoon size ball, and drop them into the stew. Cover, and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dumplings are double in size.

Enjoy!

FruitCcake Shortbread

I CANNOT STOP BAKING.

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At this point I’m not even sure I’m doing this for Christmas, or using Christmas as an excuse to bake this much.

Fruitcake Shortcake Cookies

So far I have made, chocolate gingerbread,   Almond toffee rounds, cherry ice box cookies, cream cheese orange pistachio cookies, cranberry white chocolate oat cookies, linzar cookies, Mocha Chocolate dipped shortbread, 2 fruitcakes, and these babies! I still have graham cracker toffee bark and chocolate espresso brownie cookies to go.

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But lets talk about these. My all-time favorite , nostalgic Christmas cookie, hands down, has to be shortbread. I have never meet a shortbread I didn’t like. Of course I love my mom’s, she always made then this and crispy, with cherries. They taste even better fresh out of the freezer.

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I have in recent years developed an insane liking for fruitcake as well… weird… I know. SO when I came across these cookies, I thought there could be nothing better. Fruitcake shortbread…. AMA..ZING.

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Even if you think fruit cake is for little old ladies (I’m so a little ol lady, between the fruitcake and knitting, I’m one pair of comfy white sneakers away from becoming an honorary senior) You wil love these… it helps that they are full of butter and dipped in a sugary glaze.

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Please add these to your insane Christmas baking list… what’s that, you don’t have one… make em anyways… worth it. The little ol lady (or man) inside will thank you.

Fruitcake Shortbread

[Adapted from Canadian Living December 2013]

For the cookies

1 Cup of Unsalted Butter, Softened
¾ Cup of Powdered Sugar
½ Teaspoon of Vanilla
2 Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Diced Glazed Fruit

For the glaze

¾ Cup of Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Dark Rum, (or Water)
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

In a larger bowl, cream together butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Add flour ½ cup at a time, until combined. Kneed in the fruit. If you find the dough is a little too soft, place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Split the dough in half. Working one at a time, place each piece on to a sheet of plastic wrap. Form the dough into a square. Place another piece of plastic wrap on top of the square.   Using your hands press down and form a 7 inch x 7 inch square. Make sure the square is nice and even (I totally cut off the excess) . Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease cookie sheet with butter or non-stick spray. I use a silicon baking matt, you should too.

Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a cutting board. Cut off the edges so it’s a perfect square. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Turn the dough and cut into 7 equal pieces.

Place on the prepared cookie sheet, and bake for 22 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

Prepare the glaze. Mix the ¾ cups of powdered sugar with the rum and vanilla.   Using a pastry brush, brush on the glaze. Allow to cool completely.

Parsnip Apple Soup

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I have been knee deep in cookies lately. I feel like it’s the only thing coming out of my kitchen. This is exactly how it happens every year. I don’t really feel like making anything else. If it’s not some sort of Christmas baking, I just don’t feel like making it. Besides baking, there is so much prepping to do for Christmas.

Parsnip Apple Soup

But a girl cannot live off of Christmas cookies and fruit cake alone. I have tried, trust me.

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What I like to do is live out of my freezer. I find cooking for 3, sometimes leaves me with left overs.   Often times I’ll end up cooking a meal just for me. Mr.PBandO is not always up for trying out my experiments. Needless to say I usually have a fully stocked freezer, and at Christmas time its the perfect time to dig into it.

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This soup is one of those recipes that the Mr. wasn’t quite interested in. Really, just no sense of adventure. It left me with a few leftovers as a result. I like to freeze soup in freezer bags, saves on space.

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It warms up beautifully, just pop it out of the freezer and into a pot.   When I made it originally I whipped up that fried leek garnish, it was a really nice crunchy addition, and it fancied it up a bit.

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This is the season of shopping, baking, wrapping, and decorating, who has time for dinner.   Whip up this soup and pop it in the freezer, for those nights you want something warm and quick.

Parsnip Apple Soup

[Adapted from http://www.canadianliving.com/food/creamy_parsnip_celery_and_apple_soup.php]

2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Leek, Sliced (I used the whole thing)
¼ Teaspoon each of Ground Ginger and Salt
1 Pound Bag of Parsnips, Sliced and Peeled
3 Celery, Chopped
1 Apple, Cored, Peeled and Chopped
3 Cups of Chicken Broth
3 Cups of Water
¼ Cup of Whipping Cream (35%)
2 Teaspoons each of Mustard, and Apple Cider Vinegar

For the Garnish

Vegetable Oil, enough to reach 1 inch of a small pot
1 Leek, Sliced Lengthwise

 

In a deep pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the leeks, ginger and salt. Cook until the leeks are softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the parsnips, celery and the apple. Cook, stiring for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low, and allow to simmer for 20 -30 minutes, or until the parsnips become tender. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

Working in batches, blend in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot, stir in cream, mustard and vinegar.

For the garnish:

Heat enough vegetable oil to cover 1 inch of a small pot. Drop small batches of sliced leeks, until brown, not black. My first try, I totally burned them. I just lowered the heat and tried again. It wont take to long, may 30 – 60 seconds. Place them on a paper towel so some of the oil can absorb into the paper towel. Place the leeks on top of the soup when serving.

 

 

 

Monthly Things

Monthly Things: Nov Edition

I’m changing things up around here, well not so much, instead of a list of top ten things, I thought I would just tell you about things that have happened, things I’m watching, reading, and loving, just not in a formal list format.

monkeys

So to start off the month, I was in Calgary spending time with these monkeys. Love my nephews. I also got to taste some wonderful eats ala my sister, she’s also a super foodie! We even had a cheese plate for dinner one night, I felt all fancy and stuff.

cheese

I have put a serious dent in my Christmas shopping, actually, I’m done!! Don’t hate. I did this last year and it felt wonderful to be one of those annoying early bird people. Being that its December 1st, I’m also decking my halls, and finishing my table setting… this is the basic idea.

christmas cookies

Oh and the baking….. I have managed to whip up 3 batches of cookies and I even perfected panettoni.   For some reason I can’t seem to mess up bread lately. Last week I made some authentic French bread, and it was epic. I had a little help from this new web side run by chef John. Check it out, he even has a tutorial on de-boning a turkey.

I feel like I can actually enjoy the upcoming Christmas season, now that my shopping, baking and decorating is almost finished. I know, I’m so annoyingly prepared.

Here are some links I have enjoyed: Shopping for someone weird and don’t want to spend a lot of money this year? check this: 15 Incredibly weird things you can buy on amazon for under $15. When you’re done shopping for your weird friends and family, serve them one of these awesome Stuffing recipes at Christmas…Cranberry and Walnut Stuffing, or Pumpkin Cheddar Stuffing.   If your feeling crafty this year, head over to Half Baked Harvest, and she’ll show you how to turn a pine cone into a fancy oraniments, sparkles and all. Don’t forget to head over to Bev’s side for a good laugh in her new series, Friday Flotsom, she’s so funny. (http://bevcooks.com/2014/11/friday-flotsam-plus-a-flash-giveaway/)

That’s all for now. Have a relaxing December.

Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

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I love heading south of the boarder. You Americans have the best culinary treats. I’m often found drooling over American food blogs, Facebook pages and Instagram photos of gingerbread M&M’s, cherry filled dark chocolate chips, birthday cake flavored everything, and of course cheese in a can.

oatmeal cinnamon chip cookies I’m not even joking about that last one. I’m pretty healthy and do my best to keep only fresh ingredients in the house, but put a can of cheese in front of me and seriously, I will devour it in minutes. I think I once heard it was one ingredient away from being plastic. oatmeal cinnamon chip cookies-2Friends who know I have a blog and unwavering fetish for treats only found across the border, often bring things back for me to try.   I usually LOVE everything I get, except this one time, someone brought me cinnamon chips. No not potato chips covered cinnamon, but I might have jumped all over that.

oatmeal cinnamon chip cookies-3They are like chocolate chips, but cinnamon flavored. I didn’t really know what to do with them. They kind of just sat in my cupboard. I was stumped. oatmeal cinnamon chip cookies-6So I googled it. There are some weird and wonderful suggestions out there, but nothing was peaking my interest.   Then I flipped the bag over. There is was, Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies. Seriously! The back of the bag.

oatmeal cinnamon chip cookies-4I added a few raisins to change it up. Next time you’re not sure what to make with an ingredient, flip the bag, or the box, or whatever type of package it’s in, you’d be surprised what you find.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

1 Cup of Butter, Softened
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup of Sugar
2 Eggs
1 ½ Teaspoon Vanilla
1 ½ Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
2 ½ Cups of Quick Cooking Oats
1 Cup of Cinnamon Chips
¾ Cups of Raisins

In a medium bowl, whisk flour and baking soda, set aside.

In a stand-mixer using a paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. About 2 minutes. You can also use a plain old bowl and spoon and cream the butter and sugars by hand.

Add eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, until incorporated. Add vanilla. Now add the flour, I did this is 3 parts.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in the rolled oats and then the cinnamon chips and raisins, until combined.

Place cookie dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours. It helps the butter to harden. If you don’t chill the dough, your cookies could come out flat.

Pre-Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

On a cookies sheet with a silicon baking matt, or parchment paper, drop cookie dough in 2 tablespoon size balls. Bake for 10 -12 minutes. If you are using parchment, check them after 10 minutes. I find cookies take shorter to bake on parchment, but the silicon has a consistently perfect effect each time.

Cherry Icebox Cookies

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Tis’ the season! OMG someone slap me!

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I am so not a November Christmas person, if it were up to me nothing Christmas related would be allowed until December first.   On the other hand I do love getting all my Christmas shopping, baking and planning done in November.

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It’s kind of a catch 22. I hate any mention of Christmas until December 1st , yet I love getting all the holiday stuff out of the way before then.   I know I know… I’m a walking contradiction.

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I’m kind of a Scrooge until December 1st, then watch out… I literally explode with Christmas. The decorations go up… the lights are light, the presents are wrapped, the dogs get dressed up in their traditional Santa and elf costumes (you know you want me to post those) I even can be seen on the highway singing along to my local Christmas station.

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It’s actually a little annoying. Its like I save up Christmas all year long and then I unleash her… MRS. Freakin’ Christmas!

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I think my favorite thing about Christmas is the gifts.. nay I’m kidding. First Christmas goodies, then gifts… kidding…. Sort of.

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I made these little beauties a couple of weeks ago just to test out the Christmas baking waters. I only used red cherries, as to not seem so Christmas crazy… I didn’t fool anyone. I think I like these because you can freeze them up to 3 weeks, and then pull them out, and bake!   Super easy.

Cherry Icebox Cookies

2 2/3 Cups of Flour
½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
1 Cup of Butter, Softened
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
¾ Cup of Chopped Red and Green Candied Cherries

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, until fluffy. I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat in the egg and vanilla, until mixed.

By hand, slowly add the flour, I did it in three batches. Gently fold in the cherries.

Divide dough into three pieces.   Place each piece on a large plastic wrap, and shape into a log about 8 inches long and 1 inch high. Wrap the plastic wrap tightly around the logs, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

When ready to bake, remove from the fridge or freezer (let stand for 2o minutes if in the freezer). Slice dough into ½ inch thick rounds, and place on a baking sheet lines with parchment paper.

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. I find the browner they are the better they taste. Let cool on a wire rack.

 

 

 

 

 

Cheddar Cheese and Chive Scones

I am a horrible traveler!

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We’ll I’m a horrible Return traveler. You see I’m fine on the way there, whether it’s driving, taking a bus, a train or flying. It doesn’t really matter how long or short the trip is. It doesn’t even matter how good or bad the trip was.

Chedder Chive Scones

I recently took a trip out to Calgary to visit my sister , her husband and my 2 beautiful nephews. I had a wonderful week. I got to spend time with my very smart, well behaved and handsome 4 year old nephew. I also go to meet my new 3 month old nephew; you’d be surprised how heavy 13 lbs is after 40 minutes. And of course my beautiful and talented sister.   I love food, but she has an incredible passion for food that surly surpasses mine. I was treated to some amazing meals. Did I mention she has the patients of a saint?   A 4 year old and a 3month old.. need I say more.

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So obviously I had an amazing time, aaaaand then I had to make my way home. I’m not sure if the trip was as horrible as I thought it was or if it was just that I hate the travel home. There’s always either a crying baby, or jerk in front of you that reclines his seat all the way back decreasing the already tiny bit of leg room you have, and even after you ask him to move his chair up, he completely ignores you. Then you try and watch a movie, but the screen is in the head rest, in front of you and its practically in your lap now…… so you sit in your seat, uncomfortably shifting around in the smallest space possible and your seat buddy is fast asleep and it takes like forever to wake them so you can go pee. Oh and did I mention the dirty look she gave me.

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Then you get off the plane, which always seems to take forever, like hello people, we landed and have been parked for 10 minutes. Even the walk to the baggage claim seems like its 10 football fields away.   I don’t know about you, but I love the thought of someone waiting to welcome me home. I have said as much to Mr.PBandO, and he knows personally how I hate my travel home. But it is much easier for him not to park, and just keep looping around until I get my bags and get outside.

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SO I start down the escalator and who do I see at the bottom… Mr. PB andO and my step daughter. Seriously just washed away the whole horrible trip home.  Love you guys!

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So thank you to my sister and her husband, for having my in their home and allowing me to share, good food, great company and two of the most beautiful kids I’ve ever seen.

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Thanks to you guys too, for reading the ramblings of a crazy person. Here is a twist of Jessica’s scones from her cookbook. These are awesome just like her book!

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Cheddar and Chive Scones

[Adapted from Jessica’s Seriously Delish cookbook; Strawberry Coffee Cake Scones]

2 Cups of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (or 2 Cups Plain)
1 ½ Teaspoons of Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
3 Tablespoons of Cold Mascarpone Cheese
2 Tablespoons of Cold, Unsalted Butter
1 Cup of Aged Cheddar
2 Tablespoons of Fresh Chopped Chives
1 Cup of *Buttermilk

 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut in the cold mascarpone cheese and cold butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender, until it resembles small pebbles.

Mix in the cheddar and chives.   Pour in the buttermilk, using a spoon at first, mix it until it starts to come together. Using your hands, covered in flour, form into a ball. It’s important not to kneed or mix the dough to much.  Place the ball on a floured surface and flatten into a circle about 1 inch thick. I used a ruler.

Using a floured knife, or floured pizza cutter, cut into 6-8 pieces. Separate them slightly (not touching) and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Optional; whisk and egg with a tablespoon of water, and brush the tops of the scones with it.

Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Check them after 10 minutes.

Serve warm with a bowl of soup, or on its own with butter. Or you could put an egg in the middle with bacon, and….. eat it any way you want.

*to make your own buttermilk, put 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a 1 cup measuring cup, and pour milk to fill the rest of the cup. Allow to sit for 10 minutes…. Tada you have buttermilk.

Monthly Top 10: October Edition

maggie halloween

Let’s start off with this picture. I dressed up my puppy Maggie as Dorothy from the wizard of OZ. Why have dogs if you can’t dress them up.

Canadian Thanksgiving: All of us up in Canada had our thanks giving beginning of October. I like that we have it early. I would feel so over whelmed if ours was so close to Christmas like our friends south of us.

I saw a really great movie this month: This is where I leave you. It’s basically about a family that comes together after a death in a family and all their family issues come to the surface. Tina Faye, Jason Batmen (love him) Jane Fonda, and it even has the guy that played Hannah’s boyfriend in Girls. Watch it, seriously.

During our thanks giving my Mom came for a visit. I’m originally from Toronto, so we don’t live that close to each other. I love catching up and we always go for afternoon tea. I really appreciate her now that I’m older and I’m a step mom.

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Road trip to Boston: I totally drove to Boston for Jessica’s book signing at the North Eastern University. We took the opportunity to do a little site seeing; Not only did I meet Jessica (she’s even more awesome in person) I also got to see her in action, She whipped up some great recipes from her book. I HEART HER!  p.s. I look awfull in this picture.

I love me my magazines. I am a hoarder of many things, but this one takes the cake. I have just added one more to my collection. RICARDO. He’s a French Canadian chef I have always loved. I have seen his French magazine in the stores, but my French sucks, and Mr. PBandO isn’t interested in translating an entire magazine. So when his English magazine came out, I immediately subscribed. Two issue’s in and I’m hooked.

Halloween in Calgary; I got the amazing opportunity to go trick or treating with my nephew this year. I headed out to Calgary last Thursday, to spend some time with my Sister and her family. I haven’t decided if I’m here for the family or the food? She is an amazing baker/chef. I’ll put together a post of the delicious things I ate here.  P.S.  Happy Birthday to my sister!  she just turned 30 this month.
TV Lately: I recently got sucked into Madame Secretary. It stars Tea Leoni as a CIA agent turned secretary of state. I’m really digging it. Did I just say that?

Always use parchment paperI will always have parchment in my house. Read about my meltdown here. I was trying to make a fruit cake, without parchment paper… fail. I got it right the second time.

I’m not usually someone to pass on videos, but I still can’t stop giggling, at this. These girls are swearing for a good cause.
I am a Christmas Cracker whore!

Butterscotch Apple Loaf

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Today’s post is being brought to you by the letter “P”, as in parchment paper . The word of the day is parchment paper. parchment paper, parchment paper, parchment paper. Did I mention parchment paper.

Butterscoth Apple Loaf

SO why am I yelling at you about parchment paper. Well maybe I’m not yelling, but I was yesterday.   I had meltdown number 2 and 3 yesterday. If you don’t remember check out last week’s post that chronicled meltdown 1. Maybe I need some time off, lucky for me I’m headed to Calgary to visit my Sister and he family… we’ll chat about that next week.

Butterscoth Apple Loaf-4

Back to the meltdown(s).   The first one started because I made another attempt at royal icing. It’s kind of like me and pie crust in the past… I’m just not getting it PERFECT. Now that I have made a few so so attempts at it, in my mind I should be whipping super awesome royal icing decorated cookies like a professional baker…… right? One day I’ll get over it and then I’ll finally get the hang of it…. in that order.

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Meltdown number 3 for this week, was completely my fault and reason I keep repeating Parchment paper. I have recently fallen in love with fruit cake. Love it, or hate it, it does represent Christmas, at least in my family. My mom and my Aunt would start Baking it in late October. As soon as it cooled from the oven, they would wrap it in cheese cloth, soak it in booze and place it in the closet until Christmas. Every once and a while re-soaking it with booze. I always wondered why no one was drunk from eating it.

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This year I decided I would take over the tradition. I went to my local bulk store and bought all the candied dried fruit I need, which included dates… that I had to cut up, by hand, and it took forever and my hand still hurts. I soaked all the fruit in bandy for 24 hours, whipped up the batter, and poured it into two loaf pans, NOT LINED WITH PARCHMENT PAPER.

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I did butter the pans, like the recipe said, but really people this is not my first rodeo. I use parchment paper for everything. Nothing sticks to it. So when I tried to remove the fruit cakes from the loaf pans, they stuck.  This is where the great fruit cake meltdown began. I think one of my dogs is still eating bits of fruit cake from under the fridge and the other one is still in hiding.

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So run out and buy yourself a whole bunch of Parchment paper, and line everything with it.  Don’t wait until you have a meltdown over stuck fruit cake.  REALLY! Thanks for reading my crazy, here is a loaf, and yes I used parchment paper. It’s yummy, make it!

Butterscotch Apple Loaf

[Adapted from Canadian Living Magazine October 2014]

Butterscotch Sauce

1/3 Cup of Butter
3/4 Cup of Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoon of 35% Whipping Cream

Loaf

1/2 Cup of Butte (1 Stick), Softened
1/3 Cup of Sugar
1/3 Cup of Brown Sugar
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3/4 Cup of Milk
1 ¾ Cup of Flour
1 ½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Cups of Peeled, Chopped Apple

For the butterscotch sauce:

In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, melt butter.   Mix in the brown sugar, until its dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in cream, let cool for 45 minutes.

For the loaf:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Butter and line a loaf pan with PARCHMENT paper.   You can let it hanger over the sides, or at least line the bottom of the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars until fluffy.   Add beaten eggs, and vanilla, mix until combined. Mix in milk.

Gradually add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.   I did it in 3 batches. Stir in apples and half the butterscotch.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Drop the remainder of the butterscotch in spoonful’s. Using a knife, swirl the butterscotch around the batter. I used half of what was left over.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes clean.

Pumpkin Banilla Muffins

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I just totally had a major meltdown. It was totally my fault, and I almost head Mr.PBandO, (who now wants to be called Mr.Chocolate) say “I told you so”. Which is usually my favorite line.

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I was downloading the pictures off my camera for this post, and about 6 others, when my computer froze on me.   So I impatiently waited for 3 minutes, which in my mind was like an hour. So I killed the camera copy process. Oh and did I mention I always set the copy to delete the photos after they get copied. And guess what happened, you guessed, I lost 459 photos!!!!!   Funny how I knew exactly how many photos were missing, but I didn’t think that maybe auto delete was a bad idea?

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That brings us to the melt down and an almost totally deserved “I told you so”. Once I noticed I could find my photos on my computer and they were no longer on my camera, this is where the melt down started. I started frantically started opening every folder I could find, repeating. “ how could this happen, how can they really be gone?” Then Mr.PBan… I mean Mr.Chocolate, said “ You set them to delete?” ,  which the then promptly turned around sensing that this was not the time to “ I told you so” me. He’s a smart guy. You see he’s always telling me to backup my blog stuff… like ALL THE TIME. Just like that episode where Carrie loses all her columns and everyone keeps asking her “you don’t backup?”

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Crisis averted in the end, somehow I accidentally changed the download folder… all my pictures were safe. After an appropriate amount of time, Mr.Chocolate says “ You know, if those pictures are so important, you should probably download them, check that they are safe, and then manually delete them.” Nicely said… I, on the other hand would have uttered “I told you so” Clearly he is the grown up … this time.

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Oh ya…….. make these, Jessica is a genius!

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Pumpkin Banilla Muffins

[Totally adapted from Jessica’s super awesome cookbook)

1 2/3 Cups of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (or plain old white flour)
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 Large Eggs, Room Temperature
2/3 Cups of Packed Brown Sugar
1 ½ Cups of Pumpkin Puree (Not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
2 Ripe Bananas, Mashed
1/3 Cup of Lite Coconut Milk
4 Tablespoons of Butter, (1/2 a Stick of Butter), Melted and Cooled
2 Tablespoons of Molasses
Paste from 2 Vanilla Beans (Split the Bean Down the Middle, and Scrape out the seeds)

Pre-Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray 12 muffin tin pan with non-stick spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt, set aside. In a small bowl, mix 2 eggs with the brown sugar until well blended, stir in the pumpkin puree and mashed banana, until full incorporated. Stir in the coconut milk, melted (and cooled) butter, molasses and vanilla bean paste.

Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Divide evenly into 12 muffin tins. You may have a little left over. I filled my muffin tins pretty much all the way.

Bake for 35 minutes.   Check they are done, with a tooth pick.

Cool, slather with butter and enjoy.

 

Goat Cheese and Tomato Galette – Gluten Free

Gluten Free Goat Cheese and Tomato GaletteI have made it no secret that pie crust was not my favorite thing to make, but over the years I have managed to master it. For me it was being afraid of using too much water and expecting perfection every time.

Gluten Free Goat Cheese and Tomato Galette-3

My crust was always to dry and crumbly, and the thought of patching a crust was unspeakable. I did finally get over this, and I added more water, and if I added to much I’d add a little flour. I’ll do this until the pastry becomes perfect, or something close to it.

Gluten Free Goat Cheese and Tomato Galette-4

Really it was just a matter of practice, and like most people I know, you’re not whipping up pies on a daily basis. So it took me a couple of years to gain the practice and knowledge to perfect my pie making skills.

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So when I started my gluten free challenge, or rather wheat free, on august, I really wanted to master a gluten free pie crust.  I tried a couple of different crusts, and found that the premix gluten free flours tasted like play-dough. It was a combo of several different gluten free flours that came out best.

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Give it a go and don’t be afraid to practice, you will master it eventually.

Gluten Free Goat Cheese and Tomato Galette-8

Goat Cheese and Tomato Galette – Gluten Free

[Gluten Free Pastry adapted from: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/11/gluten-free-pastry-crust.html%5D

Crust

1 ¼ Cups of Brown Rice Flour
½ Cup od Sweet Rice Flour
½ Cup of Tapioca Starch (flour)
1 Teaspoon of Xanthan Gum
1 Cup of Cold Butter, Cut into Small Pieces
6-8 Tablespoons of Cold Water

Filling

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, Cut into Rings
2 Medium Tomatoes, plus 6-8 Cherry Tomatoes (or 3 Large)
4 Ounces of Goat Cheese (Half a Log)
2 Teaspoon of Fresh Thyme, Chopped (or ½ Teaspoon of Dried Thyme)
1 Egg

In a medium bowl mix all the flours and the gum with a whisk. You can either continue in the bowl or if using a food processor, put the flour mixture into the food processor. Add the cold butter that has been cut into smaller pieces. Blend in the food processor or using a pastry blender mix until it resembles coarse sand.

Now add the cold water, starting with 4 tablespoons, and adding until the dough comes together. The dough should be slightly sticky, it should come together to form a ball.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to over water the dough, if it becomes to sticky, toss in some rice flour with a bit of tapioca starch.

Split into two pieces, flatten and form 2 discs. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

After an 2 hours, remove from fridge and set aside to soften a bit while you prepare the filling.  Pre-heat the oven to 400.

To prepare filling: Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over low medium heat. Add the onions, and cook until translucent.   Slice the tomatoes into thin slices

Sprinkle rice flour on a clean surface, and roll out dough on the shape of a circle. Place onions on the bottom, followed by the goat cheese, then sliced tomatoes, and sprinkle with the thyme.

Gently fold the edges of the pastry in to form the galette.

Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water, and brush the pastry with the egg mixture.   Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry browns.

 

Cran-Apple Streusel Breakfast Muffins

Cranapple Streusel Muffins-7I think I may have a problem! An addiction of sorts.

Cranapple Streusel Muffins

Let me start by saying I am not one of those people who collects endless amounts of collectables, and clothes and such. I’m quite the opposite really. I hate clutter! I’m the person that regularly donates a bag of clothes every season. My Motto is, if I haven’t used it in 1 year, toss it.

Cranapple Streusel Muffins-3

Mr. PBandO thinks I’m a clothes hoarder.  Last time I was shopping and found the most perfect sweater ever, he mumbled something about me having to many sweaters.  I didn’t understand that remark.  How does someone have to many sweaters, that’s like having to many shoes… IMPOSSIBLE.

Cranapple Streusel Muffins-4

Back to my problem… my magazine collection. I have somehow managed to let my collection grow to around 200 food magazines. I don’t know what it is about a food magazine, I’ll be standing in the grocery line and I’ll spot a cover with a delicious new recipe that claims to the best ever.  That might actually be my Achilles heel, the title “the best ever” .

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I think I’m afraid to throw out one of these magazines. I mean there might be the best ever pumpkin pie recipe, or the best ever brownie recipe.

Cranapple Streusel Muffins-8

I think I found this recipe in one of those recipe card inserts, you know the ones that fall out as you flip through the magazine.   Thank god I did, cause this is really the best ever cran-apple streusel muffin recipe ever.     Goes perfect with your morning cup of tea!

Cran-Apple Streusel Breakfast Muffins

[Adapted from http://www.robinhood.ca/Recipes/Occasions/Fall-Harvest/Apple-Cranberry-Crumble-Muffins]

Streusel Topping

¼ Cup of Brown Sugar
¼ Cup of Chopped Slivered Almonds
3 Tablespoons of Oats
1 Teaspoon of Cinnanmon
1 Tablespoons of Melted Butter

Muffins

1 ¼ Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Egg (room temperature)
1 ½ Cups of Light Greek Yogurt
1/3 Cup of Melted Butter
1 Cup of Diced Apples (I used Granny Smith)
½ Cup of Dried Cranberries

 

Streusel Topping

In a small bowl, add all the ingredients, and fluff with a fork until combined. Set aside.

Muffins

Pre Heat your oven to 315 degrees. Line a muffin tin (12) with paper liners, or spray with non-stick spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine Flours, brown sugar and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk egg, add yogurt and butter.   Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined. Fold in apples and cranberries. Top each muffin with some streusel.

Spoon muffin mixture into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Monthly Top Ten: September Edition

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1)   I had a birthday this month. I’m….. well, I’m a year older. One of the sweet things about being a late September baby (28th),  it’s a beautiful time of year.  We spent my birthday weekend up in a Quebec ski village, Mount Tremblant.  It’s nestled in a valley of mountains with tons of beautiful brightly colored trees. This is the view from my hotel, So pretty.  Thanks to my sweetie for organizing it.  Thanks to my favorite girl for the awesome sweater, she just gets me!

2)  New challenge, no eating after 7pm: Have you ever had a bad habit you just couldn’t kick! I used to smoke, so I defiantly know how that feels.  My recent habit to kick is eating after 7pm, more importantly, not eating within 3 hours of  bedtime.  I eat healthy all day long, drink lots of water, and  workout regularly, then at 7pm, it’s like I’m a whole different person.  I’m shoving my face, with cake, ice cream, cookies.  So for the month of sept I gave up eating after 7.  This allows body to repair and reap the benefits of my workouts and good eating all day, instead of trying to work off all that junk.

3)  Reading lately: or should I say re-reading.  I’ve been watching this new showtime series called Outlander.   it’s based on one of my all-time favorite book series of the same name.  They did an great job.  A few stormy details are different, but the characters are perfect!  Read these books and you’ll be booking a trip to Scotland in search of your own kilted highlander.

how sweet

4)  How Sweets book arrived!!!!! I AM SO EXCITED. I have to admit I was a little disappointed at first. I think I was expecting an explosion of sprinkles to appear when I opened it.  BUT OMG, when I got into the guts of the book, it was like I had picked up my new favorite novel.  Jessica is so funny and sweet.  She’s like old friend you can always have a good chat with.  Oh and I’m headed to her signing in Boston… road trip!

5)  Garden Updated: The Garden is gone. I closed it mid-September.  Probably more out of fear of being over taken by tomatoes, cucumbers and Jalapeno peppers.  It had to end!  I may not eat another tomato for a while.

kintted beard

6)  Someone needs to make me one of these! Check out the baby, top right!

7)  New sites I’m following: Faux Martha; She has some awesome tips, along with super yummy recipes, check her out!

8)  I mentioned in a post earlier in the month that Mr PBandO wasn’t too happy with one of my top ten points, well here it is:  He has never watched Pay it forward.  He thought some guy in the coffee drive through made it up…and get ready for this one….. He has never watched the original Star Wars movies… or rather he has, but only one and he can’t remember which one.  Seriously!

chip roulette9)  We have been playing chip roulette.  Do it!  It’s so much fun!

10)  New food discovery.  I just discovered, cause I live under rock, balsamic glaze. I like balsamic vinegar, but I didn’t want it drizzled all over my food, even if it was in a glaze form.  I WAS SO WRONG.  It is the most wonderful stuff since browned butter.  I put it on everything now!  You should too.

Pineapple Chicken with Coconut Rice

Pineapple Chicken-6

Pineapple!  I know, I know, I should be showing you pumpkin, squash and warm yummy soups.  I just can’t seem to let summer go.

Pineapple Chicken

I love love love Fall, and over the weekend I had to release my kung foo grip on the summer.  We headed up to the ski resort town, Mont Tremblant in Quebec , over the weekend.  Its nestled between the mountains and every tree is currently boasting bright fall colors.

Pineapple Chicken-4

Even though I’m admitting its fall and enjoying the cooler evenings and admiring all the bright colors, I still can’t let go, food wise.  At this rate I may be showing you fall comfort foods in February.

Pineapple Chicken-3

I promise my food will catch up the season, just give me a few more minutes.  Until then fire up your grill, go find a pineapple and enjoy this awesome summer inspired chicken.

Pineapple Chicken-5

Pineapple Chicken with Coconut Rice

[Adapted from http://bevcooks.com/2011/07/grilled-hawaiian-chicken-with-coconut-cilantro-rice/ ]

Chicken and Marinade
¾ Cup of Soya Sauce
¾ Cup of Water
¾ Cup of Coconut Milk
½ Cup of Pineapple, Cut into 1 Inch Pieces
3 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
3 Green Onions, Chopped
3 Teaspoons of Garlic
½ Teaspoon of Sesame Oil
6 Chicken Thighs
Rice
1 Cup of Rice
½ Cup of Coconut Milk
½ Cup of Pineapple Juice

Take the first ingredients and put them into a larger resalable bag. Place the check in the bag and toss. Place in the fridge overnight, or a minimum 2 hours.

When you’re ready heat up your grill to medium heat ( I used my charcoal grill, cause it’s awesome). While the grill heats up, turn on your rice maker and add all the rice ingredients. If you don’t have a rice maker… go get one…. Or boil the coconut milk and pineapple juice, turn the heat down, and add the rice, let site for 20 minutes.

Place the chicken onto the heated grill. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and server over the rice.

Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake

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This coffee cake! You guys, I’m not even kidding… BEST EVER COFFEE CAKE! I don’t even want to bore you with a story about myself, or my dogs, or even the ever exciting world of Mr.PBandO (tiny shout out, he’s not impressed with one of my top ten items.. stay tuned)

Best Ever Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake

No my friends, I simply want to ramble on about how absolutely amazing the coffee cake is. It all started with an over ripening basket of peaches, and a few almost turned blueberries ( I said almost). Mr.PBandO think I have questionable standards when it comes to due dates… that’s another story.

Best Ever Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake-2

I thought… Coffee Cake, I need to make some coffee cake. Coffee cake automatically makes me feel relaxed… I can picture myself lounging on my couch, sipping coffee or tea, eating a warm piece of coffee cake. This coffee cake fulfills that day dream.

Best Ever Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake-3

I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive when I started reading the steps to make the crumble topping, but it totally works, and I am so making all my crumble topping this way. As you can see above, if you mix it for the full 2-3 mins, it actually becomes like course sand.

Best Ever Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake-4And the batter is quite thick, so I found it handy to pull out my flat spatula and smooth it out. I love this spatula, it’s awesome for icing a cake, even if you think you’re not that great at it, this makes it look all professional. Buy it.

Best Ever Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake-7

Serious folks, look no further for that perfect coffee cake, its right here. Honest!

Best Ever Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake-11

[Adapted from http://www.browneyedbaker.com/blueberry-peach-coffee-cake/]

Crumble Topping

1/2 Cup of Flour
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Sugar
A Pinch of Salt
1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
¼ Cup of Unsalted Butter, Softened, Cut up into smaller pieces

Cake

1 ½ Cups of Flour
1 ½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder
10 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, Softened
2/3 Cup of Sugar
½ Teaspoon of Salt
1 ½ Teaspoons of Vanilla
2 Eggs
2 Cups of Blueberries
2 Cups of Peeled and Chopped Peaches

 

In a deep bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients until blended. Now the weird part.  Add the butter, with a hand mixer, mix on medium speed for 2 -3 minutes, or until it resembles coarse sand, set aside.

Pre-Heat the oven to 375, and place the rack on the lower shelf. Grease a 9 inch pan (square or round) and place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk flour and baking powder, set aside. In a stand mixer on medium, or a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and salt. Do this for at least 3 minutes. On low speed, add the vanilla and eggs, one by one, until blended. Slowly add the flour mixture.   Fold in the blueberries and peaches by hand.

Spoon out the batter into the prepared pan. The batter is very thick, you can smooth it out with a cake spatula, or the back of a spoon.   Remember that crumble you made. Take a handful and squeeze it util it comes together, then crumble it over the cake. BEST CRUMBLE EVER!!

Bake for 1 hour , or until a tooth pick comes clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Note** I find coffee cakes, like muffins, keep for 2 days, after that, they lose that awesome flavor and go soggy.  Especially if you keep it wrapped up tight in plastic wrap or an air tight container. I don’t ever put it in the fridge. I simply eat it all at once… or cover loosely with tin foil. The second you seal it, the crumble and the cake, get soggy. I did freeze 2 pieces of this, and warmed in the oven at 350 degrees, for 20 minutes, keeping a close eye that it didn’t burn.

Sweet Potato and Maybe Peanut Butter Soup

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Please do not click away. I’m not crazy I swear, well crazy is a relative term out here in food blogger world.

Sweet Potato Soup

But seriously this combo is actually awesome. I was skeptical at first too, But then I remembered I eat peanut butter and onion sandwiches aaaaand decided I had already crossed a line.

Sweet Potato Soup-2

I did used the word “maybe” in the title, so if this peanut butter in the soup thing is freaking you out, you can omit it. But trust me, you want give it a go.

Sweet Potato Soup-5

The first time I tried this combo, it wasn’t in a soup. I had already ventured down this road before. I was watching a cooking show, and this chef, added peanut butter to his sweet mashed potato.

Sweet Potato Soup-3

The first time I did it, I put waaaaay too much in. A little peanut butter goes a long way. That rule also applies when you put peanut butter on a burger with bacon and cheese… we’ll chat about that some other time.

Sweet Potato Soup (2)

Now that I have probably totally grossed you out, go and make some sweet potato soup, and put some peanut butter on it… do it, do it, do it, do it.

[Adapted from http://www.canadianliving.com/food/sweet_potato_soup.php]

2 Sweet Potatoes
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Teaspoon of Garlic, Minced
4 Cups of Low Sodium Chicken Broth (Or Vegetable Broth , or Full Sodium Chicken Broth)
½ Teaspoon each of Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Creamy Peanut Butter

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces. In a medium pot filled with water, add the cut up sweet potato, bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes until tender. I usually check with a fork. Drain the water and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until onions are tender. Add chicken broth and allow to heat.

In a blender, add sweet potato and chicken broth in 2 batches and puree until smooth.

Return pureed mixture to the medium pot. If it’s too thick, you can add a little water or chicken broth if you have any left. Add the peanut butter and heat the soup through.

Serve with a sprinkle of crushed up peanuts or sesame seeds, like I did, because I forgot to buy some.

Mixed Greens Salad with Creamy Mango Dressing (and Candied Pecans)

Well my friends, it’s that time of year, Summer is ending.  Technically we still have until Sept 21st for Fall to begin, but the signs are upon us.

Mango Spinach Salad-4

The mornings are darker, the pumpkin flavored everything is.…well everywhere, the Halloween decorations are in stores, and the golfers are panicking… that one is specifically directed at Mr. PBandO. Lately he always seems to be rushing off to the course to squeeze in a round, … or 2 or 3.

Mango Spinach Salad

I actually have this picture in my head of him and all the other golfers fleeing from their cars, rushing to the course, knocking over people, armed with drivers and golf carts….

Mango Spinach Salad-2

On to this salad.  There is actually a connection to the fleeting summer season and Mr. PBandO’s golf, other than him panicking over the end of the golf season.

Mango Spinach Salad-3

In an effort to spend time with my Tiger Woods… or is Tiger so 2 years ago? I have been playing a few rounds myself. They have a sort of date night at his club every Saturday night. You get to have a golf lesson (god do I need it) and then you get to play 9 holes, followed by dinner. It’s actually a nice way to spend an evening.

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Of course my favorite part is the dinner. They always have a special menu, and last time I was there they had THIS salad as a starter. It first caught my eye when I saw the word goat cheese. Goat cheese makes everything yummy. It turned out to be the BEST salad I ever had.

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A couple of days later I was still thinking and talking about it. So I re-created it. It turned out awesome, so awesome I barely got pictures. I actually had 3 bowls of salad made up for my photos and I may have eaten 2 of them while taking the pictures.

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I’m seriously contemplating licking the screen.

Mango Mixed Green Salad With Creamy Mango Dressing

1 Cup of Pecan Halves
2 Tablespoons of Butter
2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
2 Ripe Mango
4 Teaspoons of Sour Cream
3 Tablespoons of Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
¼ Teaspoon of Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Poppy Seeds
2-3 Cups of Mixed Greens
½ Cup of French’s Fried Onions
2- 3 Tablespoons of Goat Cheese

To prepare the candied pecans (this is for you Trina), in a small sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, until dissolved. Toss the pecan halves, until coated. Spread out on some parchment paper until dry.

To prepare the creamy mango dressing, cut up on ripe mango, I use the porcupine method, toss in a blender with the sour cream, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Once blended well, stir in the poppy seeds, set aside.

To assemble the salad, chop up the second mango into small (or large) pieces. Toss mixed greens, fried onions, goat cheese, mango, and candied pecans, drizzle as much dressing as you want.

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Hello blueberry season. Oh how I have missed you. Well not really, I’ve been eating blueberries all year round, except now they are in season and super yummy.

BlueBerry Crumb BarsSo what is a blueberry loving gal supposed to do with all these fresh blueberries? Oh ya, and she just came off a month long gluten free challenge, and apparently is now talking in the third person…. OK that was weird. Let’s face it, there is only one person who pulls off talking in the third person. You know, THE ROCK!!!

BlueBerry Crumb Bars-2I was super obsessed with wrestling when I was younger, and like most of us young wrestling fans, was totally devastated to learn it was fake. Thankfully I had zero attention span and it took me, like 5 minutes to get over it.
Looking back, how did I not know!!

BlueBerry Crumb Bars-3I digress; back to the blueberries, or rather what I did with said blueberries. I made these!!! I’m always at a loss for what to make with a big bowl of fresh blueberries, the possibilities are endless. So I went with a classic. Blueberry Crumb Bars.

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Just thinking about that buttery oatmeal crust topped with gooey blueberry filling and topped off with a crumbly oatmeal topping, MmmMmm!!!! I had to wait a whole 50 minutes for them to bake, and 10 more whole minutes for them to cool!

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TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!! Make these, like yesterday.

BlueBerry Crumb Bars-5

p.s. I apologize for the over use of the word like and “!” contained in this post.

Oatmeal Blueberry Crumb Bar

[Adapted from http://www.canadianliving.com/food/blueberry_oatmeal_squares.php%5D

2 ½ Cups of Regular Oats
1 ¼ Cup of Flour
1 Tablespoon of Grated Lemon
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
1 Cup of Cold Butter
Blueberry Filling
2 Cups of Fresh Blueberries
½ Cup of Sugar
¼ Cup of Lemon Juice
4 Teaspoons of Cornstarch
2 Tablespoons of Water

To prepare filling, boil blueberries, lemon juice and sugar in a medium pot until blueberries are broken down. Mix water and cornstarch in a small container, and pour into the blueberry mixture. Mix until combined. Pour into a container. Place plastic wrap on top, make sure the plastic wrap is touching the blueberries. This is so a film doesn’t form. Place in the fridge, until cool. About 2 hours.

Pre-Heat Oven to 350 Degrees

In a large bowl, mix oats, flour, lemon rind, and salt. Cut butter into small pieces. Blend into oat mixture with 2 knifes or a pastry blender, until it resembles crumbs.

Line an 8 X 8 pan with parchment paper. Press half the oat mixture into the pan. Pour blueberries on top of oats. Sprinkle the other half of the oats on top of the blueberries. Gently press the oats down.

Bake in the oven for 50 Minutes.

Monthly Top Ten: August Edition

 

Peaches1. Fruit obsession continues this month, with peaches and blueberries. I super enjoyed the peaches this year. They were all juicy and full of flavor. The blueberries, OMG, I love me some blueberries! I managed to save a few of each fruit long enough to bake some treats. I’ll be posting a blueberry treat tomorrow.

2. We took a little trip. We are in the middle of planning a big trip to Hawaii next year, so we wanted to keep this year low key. Mr.PBandO suggested we head to Toronto to visit my family. I was all in! My sister just bought her first home, and I was excited for her and wanted to check it out. We also decided to throw in a trip to Canada’s Wonderland, I rambled on about it in my last post. Mr PBandO even managed to squeeze in a round or two of golf.

3. Reading lately: Or lack thereof. All I have been able to consume are food magazines. Please someone suggest a good summer read before I become illiterate!

tomatos

4. Garden Updated: We are being taken over by cucumbers and tomatoes. Especially Tomatoes. I’ talking 3-4 cucumbers a day, and like a zillion tomatoes.

DRwho returns

5. Latest TV obsession: I have to tell you about two shows that have me sitting in front of my TV, remote in hand, waiting for them to come on. First, the return of DR. Who! This is the twelfth doctor. I didn’t have high hopes for this doctor, for a couple of reasons. One, he is much older than the last three doctors, and two I love, love, love Matt Smith ( the eleventh doctor). I’m was actually quite impressed. This is going to be an awesome season. The second show I have to talk about is …. Wait, it deserves its own point, see below

6. The Outlander, the series. If you have never read the book series Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, you have to. Right now, I’ll wait…… ok I can’t wait for you, I’m just too excited about this series.  I usually hate when someone goes and trashes up my favorite novel by making it into a movie, or TV series. This was so not the case for this series. I know there has only been on episode aired so far… but the characters are perfect, the narration is spot on, and the backdrop is perfect. I’ll check in with you next month and let you know if I’m still hooked.

7.Knitting: Every year I have these huge ambitions that I’m going to knit everyone a homemade gift. The only issue is I decide this in October. Not really enough time to whip up 20 scarfs, hats, mitts, or socks. So this year the little old lady in me started two projects in august; a scarf and a pair of socks. Only problem is, at the rate I’m knitting, there may only be 2 people getting home made gifts.

tomatoe galette

8. Wheat free Challenge: I made it! One whole month without Wheat. Now where’s my Pizza! I’m not even kidding. I tried a few gluten free pizza crusts, ad I have discovered, there is nothing like a wheat packed, glutinous pizza crust. I did however manage to make a few yummy wheat-free/gluten–free treats, like this lovely tomato galette. As I mentioned above, we are being taken over by tomato’s, and I had to do something.

9. New Sites: I have found a whole bunch of new sites this month. Here are just a few: Dolly and Oatmeal, holly and flora, Food Loves Writing, and the Minimalist Baker. I seriously could go on. My blog favorites list is HUGE.

Maggie

10. I’ll leave you with a pic of my favorite little beggar.

 

Sausage and Veggie Bake – Gluten Free

I’m done with my one month wheat free challenge. I actually finished on Saturday. I noticed a few things along my journey.   I didn’t find it all that bad and we even went out to eat and we traveled out of town.

Sausage and Veggie Bake - Gluten Free-6

I was impressed in the amount of restaurants that cater to the gluten free. I always seemed to have at least 3 choices, and I’m not even talking salad. We even went to my favorite cupcake shop and Mr. PBandO asked if they had a gluten free option, and they did. I think I liked the gluten free cupcake more.

Sausage and Veggie Bake - Gluten Free

I also did a lot of gluten free baking myself.   At first I couldn’t understand why so many gluten free bakers seem to use a mixture of 2 to 4 different types of flour. I mean, they sell a gluten free mix at the grocery store. And then I used the premixed gluten free flour… it sucked.   Everything I made came out feeling and tasting like play-dough. And I gave that up in grade one.

Sausage and Veggie Bake - Gluten Free-2

So, I dragged myself to the bulk barn and stocked up on white rice flour, brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, spelt flour, kumit flour, gluten free oats, almond flour (which is just ground up almonds) and I bought 2 different kinds of gluten replacements, xanthan gum and guar gum (use these with caution, they have 2-3 times the thickening power of cornstarch.

Sausage and Veggie Bake - Gluten Free-3

It was worth it, even if I have a few extra ingredients, and wrapped my head around the fact that my baked goods would taste a little different.  Funny thing, on Sunday, even though my challenge was over, I found myself gluten free baking. I have so many recipes I still want to try.

Sausage and Veggie Bake - Gluten Free-5

The one surprising thing I noticed was that I already ate a whole bunch of gluten free meals, like my steak and peppers over rice, shepherd’s pie, and this little gem of a recipe. This quickly became a staple in our house. It’s so quick and easy.

Sausage and Veggie Bake - Gluten Free-4

Final verdict: I don’t think I’ll give up wheat/gluten anytime soon. I love pizza way too much. I didn’t find a suitable replacement for that warm soft doughy crust that belongs in pizza. If I ever want to put pizza toppings on a big cracker, I will find a gluten free pizza dough recipe. Other than that, I think gluten free will make an appearance on my plate on a regular basis.

Sausage and Veggie Bake - Gluten Free-7

Sausage and Veggie Bake

[Adapted from http://www.handletheheat.com/sausage-potato-bake/]

4-6 Sausages –Look for Gluten Free (I Used both Hot and Mild)
2 Red Peppers, (or your Choice of Color) Cut into 1-2 inch Pieces
1 Large Onion, Cut into 1-2 Inch Pieces
1 Cup of Chopped Carrots
6-8 Brussels Sprouts, Chopped up into Chunky Pieces
6-8 Small Red or Yellow New Potatoes, Cut into 1 inch Pieces (or 4 Medium Russets)
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
¼ Cup of Chicken Broth (or Water)
2 Teaspoons of Rosemary (or 1 Tablespoon of Fresh)
2 Teaspoons of Smoked Paprika
¼ Teaspoon of Cumin and Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Pre-Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil, and spray it with a non-stick spray.

Toss everything into a plastic bag with a seal on it, and shake well. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the potatoes can be pierced easily.

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Poppy (or Chai) Seed Muffins – Gluten Free

We are heading to Canada’s Wonderland!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - Gluten Free-4

For those of you who don’t know what this place is, it has the second largest number of rollercoasters in the world. Next to Six Flags Magic Mountain, in Valencia, California, USA. They have 2 more coasters, and to be fair, they have been open for 10 years longer.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - Gluten Free

I grew up in this place. I spent every summer, and practically every weekend, there from age 13 to 17. Me and my bestie would get up super early, get all dressed up, cause there were cute boys along with all those roller coasters. We would grab the wonder bus (don’t laugh, that’s what it was called) and we would arrive there at 9am and spend all day and head home at 9pm.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - Gluten Free-2

Although I am looking forward to heading back to my old stomping ground, I won’t be doing too many rides. Sadly I have reached that pivotal age where you get all old and nauseous on the rides.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - Gluten Free-3

Oh well, I can live vicariously threw my step-daughter and my younger sister. I’ll just sit in the shade and eat funnel cake.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - Gluten Free-6

In the middle of this little trip, I am still doing my wheat free thang. I thought the month would be over before we headed out, but we pushed the vacation up a week. If I thought it was a challenge before…..I’ll just have to make a double batch of these and bring them along.   That’s the only thing I have found really challenging, is food on go is tough. All the fast food places serve food on a bun or wrapped on some other bread product.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - Gluten Free-5

So while my companions snack on burgers and taco’s I can dig in to these light and fluffy muffins. I have found that gluten free can sometimes mean crumbly and tasteless. Not these babies! For more yummy gluten free recipes, head over to London Bakes, she really knows how to rock the gluten free baked goods.

Lemon Poppy (or Chai) Seed Muffins – Gluten Free

[Adapted from http://londonbakes.com/2014/03/lemon-almond-and-chia-seed-muffins.html%5D

2/3 Cup Plus 1 ½ Tablespoons of Brown Rice Flour
½ Cup, Scant of Ground Almonds
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Cup Plus 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1 Lemon Zested
1 Egg
½ Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
¼ Cup of Olive Oil
¼ Cup of Sour Cream
1 Tablespoons of Poppy Seeds (or chai seeds if you’ve got em)

Handful of Slivered Almonds, or sugar for Decorating

Pre-Heat the oven to 325 degrees, and line a 6 of the cups in a muffin tin with paper liners, or grease with butter.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl mix the sugar and lemon zest together. Whisk the egg into the lemon sugar along with the vanilla extract. Stir in the olive oil and sour cream, until combined.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, top with Almonds or sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool and pack in a bag to bring to Canada’s Wonderland… oh wait, that’s me.

 

 

 

Cherry Clafoutis – Gluten Free

Cherry Clafoutis 7

I have a list of 40 or so food blogs I regularly troll… I know… only 40.

Cherry Clafoutis-2

I do have a special elite blog list that is especially reserved for those food blogs that I love looking at, but never really think of making the recipes. I think it’s because I figure there is no way my version will ever come close to the master piece that they have created.

Cherry Clafoutis-3

I’m a little intimidated by these blogs….. it’s kind of like going to New York and walking by the Prada store, and looking in through the window, then looking down at what your wearing, and knowing you are so not dressed well enough to walk in.

Cherry Clafoutis-4

Since I am wheat free this month, I’ve had to avoid some of my regular food blogs, and go searching for gluten free options. In doing so, I have found myself hitting a lot of these beautiful food blogs. I have walked in to Prada in my ripped jeans and no one told me to get out.

Cherry Clafoutis-5

I guess what I’m saying is, these beautiful food blogs have some pretty interesting recipes.

Cherry Clafoutis-6

Not only are they beautifully photographed, but they’re not that complicated to make. Take this Cherry Clafoutis, from Elizabeth’s beautiful food blog Local Milk. Not only does she make it look stunning in her photos, it was super simple to make.  Mine even looked pretty.

Cherry Clafoutis-7

So, lesson learned. Don’t judge a blog by its pictures, pretty blogs need love too.

Cherry Clafoutis

[adapted from http://localmilkblog.com/2014/07/gluten-free-cherry-clafoutis.html]

½ Cup of Sugar
16 Ounces of Cherries, Pitted and cut in half (About 2 Cups )
3 Eggs
1 ¼ Cups of Buttermilk (don’t have any, make your own HERE)
1/3 Cup of Ground Almonds
2 Tablespoons of Brown Rice Flour
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
Pinch of Salt
Powdered Sugar, to make it look pretty

Pre-Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter up a 9 inch pie plate and set aside.

Pit all your cherries and cut them in half. You don’t have to cut them, but then the pieces are to big. Cover the bottom of the pie plate with the cherries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add the ground almonds, brown rice flour, vanilla and salt, mix until blended.

Pour mixture over the cherries.

Bake for 50 minutes or until the center is set.

When it’s finished, it will resemble a flan kind of cake. Sprinkle powdered sugar, slice and serve warm. I heard that the French pour a little cream on theirs… that’s only if you want to be all fancy.

 

Sweet Potato Skillet Breakfast Hash – Gluten Free

Breakfast Hash-7

Day 10: Wheat Free.I’m not doing that bad. As I rambled on to you last week, I decided to go 1 month wheat free. I just couldn’t bring myself to fully commit that last couple of steps, and go full gluten free.

Breakfast Hash

There were a few things on the list that I just couldn’t give up… ketchup being one of them. Although most ketchup’s are considered gluten free, I didn’t want to risk finding out that my favorite ketchup wasn’t. So we are Wheat free this month instead.

Breakfast Hash-2

I wouldn’t say I’m a ketchup addict or anything, but I do enjoy trashing up some perfectly good meals with ketchup… with a lot of ketchup.

Breakfast Hash-3Some of my favorite meals to drown in ketchup are Kraft dinner, of course. I’ve also been known dip a few quesadillas in the stuff. I have even assaulted a few burgers and hot dogs, with excessive amounts of the tomato liquid gold, ok maybe I’m a little addicted.

Breakfast Hash-5

I think my favorite all time meal to trash up is breakfast. Be it eggs, sausages, bacon, and especially breakfast potatoes. That’s why when I was blog stalking Jessica, I found this breakfast skillet hash, and I knew my ketchup obsession had found a new home.

Breakfast Hash-6

It’s also wheat free, and gluten free, as long as you leave the ketchup out… but who wants to do that?

Sweet Potato Skillet Breakfast Hash – for 2

[Adapted from http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/10/brussels-sprouts-breakfast-hash-for-dinner/]

1 Sweet Potato
4-5 Slices of Bacon
4 -5 Asparagus
1 Small Onion
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
5-6 Brussel Sprouts
½ Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper
¼ Teaspoon of Cumin
1 Egg

Chop up the brussel sprouts, asparagus, onion and sweet potato. I cut my sweet potato into 1 inchunks.

Heat a large oven proof skillet over medium heat Cook bacon until crispy, remove bacon, place on a paper towel. Drain off most off the fat.

Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil into the pan. Throw in the sweet potatoes and cook until soft, this took me 10 minutes.

Now through in the onions, garlic, asparagus and brussel sprouts. Allow to cook until onions are soft, about 2-13 minutes.

 

Now add all the smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, continue to cook for 1 minute, stiring. Reduce the heat to medium low.

Heat a smalled pan, and add 2 teaspoons of butter, and fry up your egg, just the way you like it. I usually like mine, scrambles, but, sunny side up, is so much prettier.

Serve egg over hash, and trash it up with ketchup…. Or wait, is that just me?

 

Monthly Top Ten: July

Deck

1. The deck is FINALLY done!!!! It looks AMAZING! Although at this point I don’t think either of us will ever paint or stain again. On that note, if you need me, I’ll be relaxing in the pool admiring our handy work.

Pool

2. Reading lately: Or lack thereof. All I have been able to consume are food magazines. Please someone suggest a good summer read before I become illiterate!

3. Started receiving thought catalog emails: This one describes me to a “T” http://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2014/07/18-struggles-of-having-an-outgoing-personality-but-actually-being-shy-and-introverted/

garden-july

4. Garden Updated: I don’t even know what to say. From humble beginnings, my garden has exploded. I can’t keep up. I will defiantly be planning it out better next year. We can barely keep up with the daily cucumber harvest; we’re talking 3 a day. For some reason I can never see them, I go out and nothing, 5 minutes later Mr.PBandO goes out and he comes back in with 5. It must be all those golf balls he has to find in the bush…. Jokes!

cherries

5. My fruit obsession continues. I’ve moved on to cherries and watermelon. I can’t wait for Peach season!

6. Latest TV obsession: Who do you think you are? I’m not actually asking you who do you think YOU are, it’s actually a show. It’s where celebrities find out about their ancestors.   I love this show. We have spoken before about my horrible taste in TV shows.

Vanilla

7. Homemade vanilla: Before I started blogging, I loved baking, but I didn’t appreciate all the little things that made baked goods better. Things like using the best possible ingredients. This includes using pure vanilla extract. Let’s face it, its darn expensive! I was visiting Katrina’s site, and she had made some from scratch. I just had to jump on the bandwagon. Post to come, but in the meantime, visit Katrina to get the low down.

8. My sister had her baby!!! This is baby number 2 for her. They named him Jack. I love that name. Congrats guys, can’t wait to come and visit!!

9. Wheat free: I was originally going around people I was going gluten free, until I started researching it, and I was surprised to find there are a lot of food products that have gluten. Did you know ketchup had gluten, and most sausages? Wheat free is a little more manageable foe me. I wrote more about it in Tuesday’s post.

Lily

10. I’ll leave you with this really great photo our Lily. It’s so hard to get a good shot of her, due to the fact that she’s all black, even her eyes.

Wheat-Free Waffles with Whip Cream and Mangos

I have decided to go wheat free for the next month.

Wheat-Free Waffles with Whipped Cream and Mango-5

At first I was telling everyone I was going gluten free, but very quickly I realized it wasn’t gluten I was avoiding, it was wheat. Which is almost the same thing for me, because most of the products I consume that have gluten, have wheat

Wheat-Free Waffles with Whipped Cream and Mango

I have attempted this before, but only a week at a time. And both times, I felt like I was just holding my breath until the week was over. I wasn’t committing to it, enjoying it, if you will.

Wheat-Free Waffles with Whipped Cream and Mango-2

I want to attempt this for 2 reasons. Number 1: I love bread, and pizza, and grilled cheese and cookies, and cake…. You get the picture. I also love a lot of other foods, but have managed to maintain a good balance. I even gave up cheese and pork for years(bacon included, I know, I don’t even want to talk about it). When it comes to wheat products, I feel like I can’t even think of giving it up. So what do I do, I give it up. Think of it as the ultimate challenge for me. It might even be harder than quitting smoking!

Wheat-Free Waffles with Whipped Cream and Mango7Reason number 2: I have had my fair share of stomach problems over the years. I was diagnosed with IBS, which to me means, “ we don’t really know what you have, but we recognize there is something wrong. “ When my stomach does act up, it’s NOT FUN. I once had stomach cramps for 6 weeks. I basically lived off a handful of strawberries, spinach and boiled chicken. YUK. So even though I seem to be doing well lately, I still have a lot of bloating and the odd cramps. I have heard people with IBS benefit from a wheat free diet. So maybe it will work for me.

Wheat-Free Waffles with Whipped Cream and Mango-4

Hopefully I last the month. I just started 2 days ago, and I already miss pie, and garlic bread, and crackers… you get the picture….. again!

Wheat-Free Waffles with Whipped Cream and Mango-6

Instead I will suck it up and eat some spelt waffles. These are fantastic and even better with fruit and whip cream. 2 days down, 26 to go!

Spelt Waffles

[Adapted from http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/06/17/healthy-waffles-recipe/%5D

½ Cup Spelt Flour (this has gluten)
Pinch of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
2 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon of Milk
½ Cup of Un-Sweetened Applesauce
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream (35% or higher)
1 Tablespoon of Powdered Sugar
2 Ripe Mango (or your fav fruit)

Heat up your waffle iron.

In a large bowl, whisk together spelt flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon, set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix maple syrup, milk, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

When the waffle iron is ready, spray with a non-stick spray, scoop half of the waffle mix into the waffle iron. Cook according to your waffle manufacturer’s instructions.

While the waffles are cooking, whip up some heavy cream with the powdered sugar, until you see soft peaks. Cut up a couple of mango’s, using the method I showed the first couple of pictures.   I googled it.

Server waffles with whipped cream and cut mango.

 

 

Watermelon Citrus-Ade with Frozen Kiwi Balls

I was visiting my good friend Purdy’s site, and she had posted this wonderful lemonade, or should I say citrus-aid. First thing to note, I was particularly thirsty that day and lemonade is my go to drink, after water.

Watermelon Citrus-Ade with Frozen Kiwi Balls1

Instead of plain ole lemonade, (no offence to lemonade) she had decided to add other citrus fruit. Along with lemons she squeezed in a couple of grapefruits and some limes. Totally original, just like Purdy.

Watermelon Citrus-Ade with Frozen Kiwi Balls3

She also always encourages you to mix up her recipes, and make them your own. I love that.

Watermelon Citrus-Ade with Frozen Kiwi Balls4

So I did.   I started with her amazing citrus-aid and then added my own flair. I might have over done it with the fancy frozen kiwi balls, until I tasted it. It just belongs. Trust me.

Watermelon Citrus-Ade with Frozen Kiwi Balls5

So here you have it. Watemelon Citrus-aid with frozen kiwi balls. I hope I did you proud Purdy with my own twist on your new classic.

Watermelon Citrus-Ade with Frozen Kiwi Balls6

p.s. if anyone can come up with a better name than frozen kiwi balls, please let me know.

Watermelon Citrus-Ade with Frozen Kiwi Balls8

Watermelon Citrus-Ade with Frozen Kiwi Balls

[adapted from http://butterbasilandbreadcrumbs.com/2014/06/24/citrus-ade/]

3 Kiwi
1 Teaspoon of Sugar
2 Lemons
2 Pink Grape Fruit
2 Limes
3 Cups of Water
¼ Sugar
6 Cups of Watermelon, Cut up.

In a blender or food processor, puree kiwi and sugar, until smoth. Place in a freezer safe container with a lid and freeze for 1 to 2 hours.

Squeeze all 3 citrus fruits, into a large bowl. I ran mine through a strainer, cause I don’t like pulp. Add 3 cups of water and ¼ of sugar, stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Place the watermelon into a blender, and puree until smooth. Pass through a fine strainer, into the large bowl with the citrus mix.

To server, stir the watermelon citrus-ade and pour into the glasses with ice.

After 1-2 hours, take out the frozen kiwi, and using a melon baller, scoop out a ball of kiwi and place in the glass of watermelon citus-ade, and server with a lemon slice.

 

Blueberry Streusel Muffin Ice Cream

So you know how last week after reading my post, you immediately ran to your kitchen and made those delicious blueberry streusel muffins?? Right? Right?

Blueberry Strusel Muffin Ice Cream-3

And you know how you totally scarfed down 6-7 of them in a 3 day period…. Ok 2 days if you were me.

Blueberry Strusel Muffin-10

Aaaand you know how you have 4-5 sitting in the freezer, left over? Well, you can totally pull them out and thaw them, cause we’re making ice cream with them.

Blueberry Strusel Muffin Ice Cream

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t get around to making those muffins, we can still be invisible friends, it just means you have some catching up to do.  In the eating and baking department, I’ll wait …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Blueberry Strusel Muffin Ice Cream-6

Done?  Great!  Now we can all make ice cream together.

Blueberry Strusel Muffin Ice Cream-4

When I first saw this recipe on Jessica’s site, I was like… WHAAAT?!  How do you put muffins into ice cream?  Easy, you put muffins in ice cream.  It just goes in, and then you have muffin ice cream.  It’s that easy, and it tastes AWESOME!

Blueberry Strusel Muffin Ice Cream-7

So totally make this, and eat a muffin while you wait.

Blueberry Streusel Muffin Ice Cream

[Adapted from http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/05/blueberry-muffin-ice-cream/%5D

4-5 Blueberry Streusel Muffins, crumbled
2 Cups of Whole Milk
1 ½ Teaspoons of Corn Starch
4 Ounces of Cream Cheese, Softened
½ Teaspoon each of Salt, and Cinnamon
1 ¼ Cups of Cream
2/3 Cups of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
2 Tablespoons of Corn Syrup

 

In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of milk and cornstarch, set aside. In a large bowl whisk the soften cream cheese with salt and cinnamon.

In a large sauce pan, heat the rest of the milk, all the cream, sugar, vanilla, and corn syrup.  Do this on medium heat, until its boiling, but not boiling over.  Basically as soon as it stats to boil, turn down the heat, just a bit.  It should be rolling.  Do this for about 3-4 minutes. Keep stirring it, so it doesn’t stick and burn.

After 3-4 minutes, remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch/milk mixture… slowly.  Put back on the heat and bring it back to a boil again.  Stir it with a spatula, until it starts to thicken and stick to the spatula.  It took me 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Pour the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese, do this slowly so all the cheese is incorporated. Pour mixture into a large Ziploc bag and place into a bowl full of cold water and ice cubes. Leave until completely cooled. About 45 minutes.

Pour the cooled mixture into your ice cream maker and following the manufacturer’s instructions.

When there is about 5 minutes left, add the crumbled muffins. I was able to stuff 5 in.

Freeze for at least 4 hours.

As a side note, I always find that homemade ice cream gets really hard, like hagen daz hard. I found leaving it in the fridge for 1 hour allows you to scoop it easily.

 

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I am sooooo tired.   Like so tired I’m having a hard time staying awake to type this. Every part of my body hurts. Especially my hands, so you can imagine how hard it is to stay awake and type this post with my aching hands. I do it cause I love ya!

Blueberry Strusel Muffin-11

On top of being really tired and having sore hands, I manage to slice open my knee this morning on a rusty nail. Ya, I know it’s really hard being me right now.

Blueberry Strusel Muffin-9

So why and I soooo tired with sore hands and how in the heck did I almost kill myself on a rusty nail? We put the first coat of stain on the deck this weekend, which took like a hundred years. There was bending and kneeling and stretching, and I’m pretty sure I’m developing carpel tunnel syndrome. I’m not the least bit dramatic…. right?   As far as the rusty nail in the knee goes, that’s just me being clumsy.

Blueberry Strusel Muffin-7

You should have seen the dramatic scene this morning. Well at least it was dramatic in my head. I was letting the dogs out for their morning business, and all of the sudden one of my dogs broke loose from my kung foo grip, so I spun around, and as I did, I felt this searing pain on my knee. When I looked down, all I saw was blood, and immediately (like a 2 year old) started to panic and cry.

Blueberry Strusel Muffin

My thought process went something like this, 1) OMG that’s going to leave a scar 2) This better not affect my running, I just got back on track, and 3) crap, when was my last tetanus shot. Clearly my priories are in order.

Blueberry Strusel Muffin-5

I had a long rough weekend/Monday morning, so if you excuse me I think I need a muffin. You can join me if you had a rough weekend/Monday, or if you just feel like having a muffin.

Blueberry Strusel Muffin-3

This is now my go to muffin recipe. My only issue with muffins, is that the next day, they are all soggy. So I did a little experiment, and I left them on a plate with a paper towel over them, and they didn’t get all soggy.

Blueberry Strusel Muffin-2Let’s face it, a muffin has a 2-3 day life span, and then you gotta freeze them.   Another tip, for when you take them out of the freezer, you can brush a little milk on top and bake for 10 min at 350 degrees, they taste like they did the first time you baked them.

Streusel Topping

¼ Cup of Brown Sugar
¼ Cup of Slivered Almonds
3 Tablespoons of Rolled Oats
1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil

Muffins

2 Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Browned Sugar
¾ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon of Salt
1 Egg
1 Cup of Buttermilk
¼ Cup of Butter, Melted
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
½ Teaspoon of Lemon Zest
1 ½ Cups of Blueberry, Fresh

Streusel Topping

In a small bowl mix together the first 4 ingredients. Pour the melted butter over , and fluff with a fork, until blended. Set aside.

Muffins

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt together, set aside. In a smaller bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk, butter, vanilla and lemon zest. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, until its blended. Fold in the blueberries.

Scoop into prepared muffin tins, I used an ice cream scoop.

Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over the muffins. Bake for 25 minutes.

Monthly Top Ten: June Edition

1 )  Happy Father’s Day! I hope all you fathers enjoyed your day! Miss you Dad! We made a cute little treat for Mr.PBandO.

golf-cupcake

2) New blog I’m following: Food 52. I know, I know. What took me so long?

3) Pool’s Open! Thank god! We have been waiting until all the sanding was finished. Favorite thing about having a pool? Jumping in after my run! POOL

4) Running: I don’t talk much about my running on the blog, mainly because it was really sucking for the past year. I’ve had a form of runner’s knee, and I have been struggling to get my time back up. Well, after 3 specialists, I seem to be on the mend. I’m not signing up for a marathon, but it’s nice to be getting past it.

5) Golf: Last month I told you about Mr. PBandO’s hole in one, well, he’s convinced me to get back in the game.   Every Saturday is date night at his club. You get to bring your wife for a lesson, 9 holes of golf and dinner. I still have my clubs, so why not. Plus the more golf I play the more outfits I get.

6) Stain! Stain and more stain. Seriously folks, we are still staining. I’m not even kidding, not even a little bit. It better be worth it, or I’m moving.

7) Garden Update.   I have only had to replace one plant, and I am so over this, “water it every day” crap. I’m still like a little kid when I see something new appear. Like this Radish!!!

radish

8) Latest TV obsession: There is nothing on TV, so I’m watching the new season of keeping up with the Kardashian’s. Please don’t judge me. I also kind of sort of loved the Hills too. Ok now you can judge me.

9) I’m a pretty healthy when it comes to food. I usually have to force myself to eat my veggies and fruit, but for some reason I can’t get enough fruit lately. I have 4 mangos, 3 kiwis, 1 pineapple, 4 apples, a giant bowl of blueberries, and some strawberries in my fridge right now, and that’s only because we finished up half a watermelon this afternoon.

MANGO

10) This little guy has been hanging out at our pool and making a lot of noise!
frog

 

Turkey-Beef Burgers

Stain! I have stain in my hair;  I have stain on my legs, under my finger nails… I probably have stains in places I don’t even know.

Chicken-Beef Burger-4

Our entire existence has been, work, run, stain… repeat.  It really feels like the never ending project.  Don’t feel too bad for me. Mr.PBandO has been sanding all the pieces of the deck that I’ve been staining.  Funny thing happens when you sand for a long time, when you stop, your hands still feel like their vibrating.  I would rather have a sore wrist, staining, then feel like I’m vibrating.

Chicken-Beef Burger

The only thing we stop for, and not all the time, has been for dinners.  Especially BBQ dinners on our new charcoal BBQ.   I love this thing. You have to buy one.  Everything that comes off it tastes like heaven, and if you’re like me, and grew up camping, it transports you back to your childhood.

Chicken-Beef Burger-2

I’m not a burger person, per se, but I am when they come off this BBQ.  We had some friends over last night, to help sand, and we made burgers and through together a quick salad ( I had fries) and got some sanding done.

Chicken-Beef Burger-3

So the next time you spend months sanding and re-staining your deck (or is that just us?), be sure to BBQ up some burgers, with cheese, and bacon, and… you get the picture

Turkey-Beef Burgers

½ lbs of Ground Turkey
½ lbs of Ground Beef
1/3 Cup of Finely Chopped Green Onions
1 Cup of Crushed Saltine Crackers
1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons of BBQ Sauce
1 Egg

Fire up your grill.  Whether its gas, or charcoal.  Although, I highly recommend you getting a charcoal BBQ.

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients.  I do this by hand.  Don’t over mix it.

Shape mixture into 4 big patties, about 3/4 inches thick. Using your knuckle, make a small circle indent in the top of the patty.  This will allow the fat to pool in the indent, instead of in the BBQ. This is what shrinks and dries out your burgers.

Place them in the fridge for 30 mins. Because there is turkey in them, the patties can be kind of mushy.  When you take them out of the fridge, brush the burgers with olive oil.

Place the burgers on the grill.  Cook for 6 minutes a side.  If you are adding cheese and or toasting buns, do this the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Beef Empanadas

Guess what I made us for dinner!

Empanadas-10

I feel all I show you is pie! Why not? Pie is the best! It’s so diverse. It’s like pizza or grilled cheese; You can put anything in it.

Empanadas-1

This is why I love empanadas. Not only is it pie for dinner, but it freezes like a dream. I’ll whip up a batch of these on the weekend, eat a couple, and then freeze the rest. I can throw these babies into the oven and poof, and dinner is ready and awesome.

Empanadas-2

The thing you need to know about me and dinner is, no matter how tired I am, I would rather spend 2 hours in the kitchen, than eat some crappy out of the box dinner. No offense to kraft dinner, it has its place.

Empanadas-4

That’s why I love these, I don’t have to spend 2 hours in the kitchen and I don’t have to eat a boxed meal. Win Win!!!.

Empanadas-5
So take some time and make a few of these, and you will never be forced to eat kraft dinner again, unless it is a kraft dinner kinda night, cause that happens.

Empanadas-11

Beef Empanadas

Dough

4 Cups of Flour
2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons of Salt
½ Cup of Cold Butter
1 Cup of Cold Water
1 Egg

Filling

1lbs of Ground Beef
1 Medium Onion
1 Jalapeno Pepper
½ Teaspoon of Chili Powder
1 28 ounces Can of Diced Tomato
½ Teaspoon of Salt and Pepper
½ Cup of Parsley

For the dough:
In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Using 2 knifes, or a pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the flour, until it resembles small crumbs. Pour 1 cup of cold water into the flour mixture, mix with a fork, until it comes together. Form 2 discs, and wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour. ** note: if the dough seems a little wet, add some more flour.

For the filling:
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, add the onions and pepper halfway through. When the ground beef is no longer pink, add the chili powder and cook for 1 more minute. Add the can of diced tomatoes, salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in parsley.

To assemble:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the pastry dough from the fridge. Working with one disk at a time, cut into 4 pieces, and roll each piece into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough. You can form the circle using a bowl about 5-6 inches around. Place the filling on one half of the circle. Brush water along all the edges. Fold in half, using a fork to press down the edges. At this point you can freeze them, and follow the same baking instructions as below.
Whip up the egg and add a little bit of water. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg, avoid the edges. Repeat with the other disc of dough.
Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

 

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Pies

It’s no secret that me and pie crust haven’t been friends over the years. I know I’ve mentioned it before. But with a quick lesson from my father in law, we are now best buds.

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Which is a good thing, because I L.O.V.E pie.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie-7

I love the flaky crust and the sweet fruity filling, or savory filling, or just about anything filling.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie-11

I can remember the first time I tasted the sweet and tart mixture of strawberry and rhubarb. It was with my dad, on one of our many family camping adventures.. We had stopped in a small town, and found a cute little diner. You know the ones with fresh pie for sale.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie-13

We all had a chance to pick a treat.  While my brothers and sisters order doughnuts and ice cream, I watched my dad’s eyes get big with delight as he looked over the pie selection.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie-15

When he selected strawberry rhubarb pie, I decided to join him.  Big thanks to my dad. I have been hooked ever since.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie-16

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Pies

Filling

1 ½ Cups of Strawberries, Quartered and Hulled
2/3 Cups of Rhubarb, Cut into 1 Inch Pieces
1/3 Cup of Sugar
4 Teaspoons of Cornstarch

Crust

2 ½ Cups of Flour
½ Teaspoon of Salt
½ Cup of Cold Butter, Cut Into Cubes
½ Cup of Cold Lard, Cut Into Cubes
¼ Cup of Cold Water
3 Tablespoon of Sour Cream
1 Egg
2 Tablespoon Course Sugar

For the Filling

In a medium bowl, add all of the filling ingredients. Set aside.

For the Crust

In a large bowl, whisk flour and salt. Using a pastry blender (or 2 forks) cut the butter and the lard into the flour, until it looks like small crumbs. Mix the sour cream and water together. Using a fork mix the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture, until it comes together. Using your hands, form a ball. Split into 2, and form into discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each discs, one at a time. About 3mm thick. Using a bowl, that’s about 5-6 inches round, cut dough into circles. You should end up with 6 per disc.

Spoon out about a tablespoon of the filling into each circle. Brush edges with water and fold circle in half. Crimp the edge with a fork.

Mix the egg with a tablespoon of water, brush onto of each pie, leaving the edges dry. Sprinkle sugar on top.

Bake for 30 mins.

Apple Mint Green Iced Tea

So…too make up for making you read my monthly ramblings, have a drink on me! Well you’ll have to make it yourself, seeing as we are only internet friends. I would totally make this for you if you were here.

Apple Mint Green Iced Tea-2

All I seem to drink is water. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s good for me, but a girl needs some flavor in her life.  And since I’m alcohol free, now now, let’s not jump to conclusions, I’m not pregnant, and I am not a recovering alcoholic. No, my affliction is much worse… I’m allergic… ya seriously!

Apple Mint Green Iced Tea

It’s actually quite awful, I have a couple of sips, and I’m sneezing like someone has locked me in a room of ragweed. There are a couple of benefits, I’m the permanent designated driver, I don’t have to worry about the extra calories, and at least I didn’t have this problem when I was in college. I mean is there anything worse than being the sober one at the party!!

Apple Mint Green Iced Tea-5

Let’s be honest I hate driving, and I just replace the extra calories with cake, and I’m still the sober one at the party, It’s just not college.  But have no fear, instead of wallowing in self-pity as margarita season approaches, I have found a few awesome alcohol free drinks, like this one.

Apple Mint Green Iced Tea-4

This is so refreshing on a hot day, by the pool. Now if I could only get a pool boy willing to make these drinks for me.   Oh and you can totally put some alcohol in it, for those of you who I’ll be driving around!

Apple Mint Green Iced Tea

[Adapted from Betty Crocker]

6 Bags of Green Mint Tea (I used Tetley)
4 Cups of Boiling Water
2 Cups of Apple Juice
Fresh Mint for Garnish

 

In a heat proof pitcher, pour the 4 cups of boiling water over the mint green tea and allow too steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and allow the tea to cool.

Stir in the apple juice and chill before serving Garnish with mint.

Monthly Top Ten: May Edition

Sorry I’m late guys!  I’ll post a recipe on Thursday this week!

1.Happy Mother’s Day. I received these beautiful flowers from my super awesome step-daughter. Love You!!

Mothers day flowers

2. Tulip Festival: Yup it’s a festival about tulips. Ok, there is more to the story. The story goes that in 1945, the Dutch royal family sent over 100,000 tulip bulbs as a thank you for us Canadians taking in Princess Juliana and her daughters during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, during World War 2. Now there are over 1 million tulips, here in the capital city, and we throw a festival about it. The tulips are quite impressive.

3. New blog I’m following; lapetitecasserole. Margherita, is originally from Florence, Italy. She moved to Canada for love, as she puts it. Regardless of where she is from or where she lives now, she has some pretty interesting and fabulous foods on her site. Check her out!

4. Garage sales: Am I the last blogger on the planet to discover this untapped goldmine for blogging accessories? When I say accessories, I mean mismatched dishes, cutlery, jars, bowls etc… All sorts of treasures. Check out this set of baking dishes I found, circa 1920. It’s still in the original box with a recipe book. I can’t wait to try them out.

Garage Sale

5. Hole-in-one: Yup, Mr. PBandO joined a golf club and two days later, he gets a hole-in-one. I know a little bit about golf, so it’s a big deal. Most golfers go their whole lives and never get one. Way to go!

6. Stain! what a pain: Sorry, that was my sad attempt at a pun. We are currently re-staining our 3 year old deck and fence. All our stain peeled off after the first winter. This task involves sanding down the entire deck, and fence, and applying 2 coats of new stain. If it peels off again, I’M MOVING!

7. Gardening: Finally, after 4 years, I have a vegetable garden! We always had something else to do. But this year, even with all the staining going on, Mr. PBandO took the time to build me the prettiest planters. I’m so excited to see things grow! Ya I know, I’m 5 years old!

Garden

8. Latest TV obsession: I hate to admit this, but, it’s still Supernatural. If you missed it last month, I started to re-watch the entire series. I’m almost done. Summer TV is so boring! Maybe I should start reading instead.

9. CN tower Edge Walk: My crazy step-daughter and her father did this for her birthday. Guess whose bright idea it was? Mine! I can’t even look at the pictures without feeling dizzy. They had fun, so it was worth it.

Edge Walk

10. Hello from my puppies

Puppyies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I got nothing interesting to say this week.

Bestest Chocolate Chip Cookies-9

Well, what I mean is, I’ve been sitting in from of my keyboard typing and then promptly deleting it.

Bestest Chocolate Chip Cookies-3

It makes me think of when you run into an old friend and they ask you: “What’s new?”, and you’re all “not much”.   Which is entirely not true, there is always something new going on in your life.  Really, it’s not that you can’t think of anything that’s new, it’s just you can’t think of anything interesting enough to say that’s new.  That’s kind of where I am right now.  There are a ton of things happening here in my little world, except I can’t think of anything interesting enough to share.

Bestest Chocolate Chip Cookies-10

I could tell you that we are in the middle of stripping all the stain off our deck (because it peeled off after the winter) and it’s a huge overwhelming task, that some days makes us want to cry…  or I could tell you I’m finally getting my vegetable garden…  so much for nice nails…  Or perhaps you would like to hear that other than stripping, staining and picking out the perfect tomato plant, all I do is stay inside and re-watch episodes of supernatural?  See …  nothing interesting.

Bestest Chocolate Chip Cookies-6

Because I’m such a boring old lady, I have made you cookies.  Not just any cookies.  These are Kelly’s secret ingredient cookies.  They are the perfect combo of chewy and crispy.

Bestest Chocolate Chip Cookies-8

Pour yourself a glass of milk, or a cup of tea, or a cup of Joe and grab a couple of cookies, because this really is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe you’ll ever need.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

[Adapted by http://www.justataste.com/2013/09/secret-ingredient-best-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe/]

2 ¼ Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Salt
¾ Cup of Softened Butter
¼ Cup of Softened Cream Cheese
½ Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 ½ Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 Cups of Chocolate Chips

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet (http://www.amazon.ca/DeMarle-Silpat-4-Inch-Nonstick-Silicone/dp/B0001RT42C), or parchment paper (not wax paper).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a large bowl beat butter and cream cheese, until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes ( I used my stand mixer).  Add both sugars, and continue mixing until it’s also light and fluffy, about 2 more minutes.

While mixing, add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time.  Slowly add the flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, until combined.

Manually stir in chocolate chips.

Now stick it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  This is one of the most important steps.  By this time the butter is all loosy goosy (that’s a technical term), and it needs time to firm up again.  If you don’t allow for this to happen, you cookies can be flat and crispy.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and scoop out 1/3 cup of dough at a time, and roll it into little balls.  Place on the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 11-15 minutes.  Little tip; I usually do a practice bake, I bake only 2 cookies for my first batch.  This allows me to properly determine the baking time.  I baked mine for 12 minutes.

You’ll notice the cookies look puffy when you take them out, they will settle and look perfect, like commercial perfect.

 

Overnight CrockPot Apple Cinnamon Oats

First off, I would like to apologize for making you oatmeal, in spring.  But…. OMG! This is so worth it.  Have you ever woken up to the smell of apples and cinnamon?  It’s almost as awesome as waking up to the smell of bacon. Almost.

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal-6

I had been meaning to make this forever.  I had a few recipes book marked, but hadn’t gotten around to it.  Until I saw a co-worker of mine struggling to make oatmeal at work, then I noticed why.  She was trying to cook steel cut oats in the microwave.

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I quickly put her out of her misery and told her that it would take more than a few minutes in a microwave to cook kind of oatmeal.  I suggested that maybe she should try one of the overnight oatmeal recipes I had been meaning to make.

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal-3

I sent her a few recipes, and asked her to let me know how it worked out.  It’s really a win/win.  She gets to make yummy oatmeal, and I have someone to test out recipes.

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal-9

She returned on the next Monday and told me it worked out awesome.  She specifically told me about the delicious smell she woke up to.  That’s all I needed to hear.  The very next weekend I cooked up my own batch… seriously, best… wake-up…EVER!!! Well, aside from someone cooking you bacon.  Obviously.

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal-8

Overnight Crock-Pot Apple Cinnamon Oats

[Adapted from http://www.theroastedroot.net/apple-cinnamon-crock-pot-steel-cut-oatmeal/%5D

1 Cup of Steel Cut Oats
4 Cups of Water
4 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Apple, Skin Removed and Cut Up
½ Cup of Raisins
2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
Pecans, Brown Sugar and Milk for Serving.

Dig out your crock-pot, and grease it up good. I’m serious, use butter, cooking spray, whatever you have, but use lots of it.  I coated mine pretty good, and some oatmeal still stuck, no big deal.

Throw all the ingredients, except for pecans and milk, into your crock pot.  Turn it to the lowest setting, and go to bed.

I had mine set to 10 hours, and I woke up at the 8 hour mark, and it was done.  It all depends on your crock pot.

Scoop out a nice big bowl and sprinkle pecans and brown sugar over the oatmeal.  Add some milk. Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter or Chocolate

Say that ten times fast.  Did you try it?  Because I did as I was typing this… ya, I’m such a child.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter or Chocolate Frosting-7

Don’t these look fabulous?  I don’t usually toot my own horn, but I have been struggling with frosting cupcakes for years.  Ok so I only tried twice before these,  but I’m pretty sure it happened over the past couple of years.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter or Chocolate Frosting

At first, I didn’t have the right tools, so I went out and bought a piping bag, the correct size of Wilton tip, an open star 1M for these, and a pastry bag stand. Then I watched a whole bunch of how to video’s.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter or Chocolate Frosting-2

Still my cupcakes look like a very frustrated 5 your old had gotten a hold of them.  My frosting was a soft and floppy mess.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter or Chocolate Frosting-3

The key here people was the soft and floppy frosting and how to get it thicker.  Add more powdered sugar… duh.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter or Chocolate Frosting-5

All of a sudden the frosting mystery disappeared, it was so easy.  It’s just like pastry dough, as soon as you get the correct consistency, your set!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter or Chocolate Frosting-6

So, If you want perfectly frosted cupcakes that look like this, avoid all the mistakes I made.  Buy the right tools, trust me.  The tips are at Michael’s or any craft store, you can get reusable bags at a bulk food store, and you don’t need the pastry bag stand, you can use a tall glass.  Definitely watch a few ‘how to’ videos for some tips on how to get it right. And make sure your frosting is thick.

1 -Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter or Chocolate Frosting (2)

Before you know it, you’ll be frosting cupcakes like a rock star!

[Recipes Adapted from http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/03/09/banana-cupcakes-chocolate-peanut-butter-frosting/%5D

Cupcakes

2 Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1/2 Cup of Softened Unsalted Butter
½ Cup of Brown Sugar
¾ Cup of White Sugar
3 Eggs (Always use large eggs, unless otherwise stated)
3 Ripe Bananas, Mashed up (if you don’t have ripe bananas, throw them in the freezer overnight, it will instantly ripen them)
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
½ Cup of Buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, click here to see how to make it)
1 Cup of Mini Chocolate Chips (or regular size)

Peanut Butter Frosting

¾ Cup of Peanut Butter (creamy is best)
4 Tablespoons of Soften Unsalted Butter
¾ Cup of Powdered Sugar (I used 1 ¼ cups so add more if you need it)
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream

Chocolate Frosting

1 ¾ Cup of Powdered Sugar (again, add more if you need it)
¼ Cup of Cocoa Powder
½ Cup of Softened Unsalted Butter
2 Teaspoons of Heavy Cream
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

For the Cupcakes

Pre-Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin tins with paper liners, set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk Flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Beat together, the butter and both sugars, until light and fluffy (I used my stand mixer with the paddle). Now add the eggs one at a time, blending one before you add the next. Stir in the bananas and vanilla, until well combined.
Slowly add the dry ingredients, you should do this in stages. Mix in the buttermilk until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Distribute the batter between 18 muffin tins. The muffin tins should be ¾ full. Bake for 15 – 18 mins.
Allow the cupcakes to cook completely before frosting.

For the Peanut Butter Frosting

Beat together peanut butter and butter, until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, until well combined. Add the vanilla and cream, and beat for about 2 minutes. Remember, add more sugar if it’s too thin.

For the Chocolate Frosting

Sift the cocoa powder into the powdered sugar. Beat the butter, until creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar/ cocoa powder, until well combined. Mix in the cream and vanilla, for about 2 minutes.

I’m not going to tell you how to frost these, I highly suggest you find a good video on youtube, there are tons of really good ones!

 

 

Sweet Potato and Maybe Peanut Butter Soup

Sweet Potato Soup-4

Please do not click away. I’m not crazy I swear! Well crazy is a relative term, out here in food blogger world, am I right folks???

Sweet Potato Soup

But seriously this combo is actually awesome. I was skeptical at first too, But then I remembered I ate a peanut butter and onion sandwich aaaaand decided I had already crossed a line.

Sweet Potato Soup-2
I did used the word “maybe”, so if this peanut butter in the soup thing is freaking you out, you can omit it. But trust me, you want give it a go.

Sweet Potato Soup-3
The first time I tried this combo, it wasn’t actually in a soup. I had already ventured down this road before. I was watching a cooking show, and this chef, added peanut butter to his sweet mashed potato.

Sweet Potato Soup-5
The first time I did it, I put way too much in. A little peanut butter goes a long way. That rule also applies when you put peanut butter on a burger with bacon and cheese… we’ll chat about that later.

Sweet Potato Soup (2)

 

Now that I have probably totally grossed you out, go and make some sweet potato soup, and put some peanut butter on it… or not, your choice.
[Adapted from http://www.canadianliving.com/food/sweet_potato_soup.php%5D

2 Sweet Potatoes
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Teaspoon of Garlic, Minced
4 Cups of Low Sodium Chicken Broth (Or Vegetable Broth , or Full Sodium Chicken Broth)
½ Teaspoon each of Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Creamy Peanut Butter

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces. In a medium pot filled with water, add the cut up sweet potato, bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes until tender. I usually check with a fork. Drain the water and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until onions are tender. Add chicken broth and allow to heat.

In a blender, add sweet potato and chicken broth in 2 batches and puree until smooth.
Return pureed mixture to the medium pot. If it’s too thick, you can add a little water, or chicken broth if you have any left. Add the peanut butter and heat the soup through.

Serve with a sprinkle of crushed up peanuts or sesame seeds, like I did, cause I forgot to buy peanuts.

Monthly Top Ten; April Edition

bunny

1. Happy Late Easter; I found this little fella at Walmart. He’s soooooo cute.

2. New Social media icons; I finally put them up, take a look, right up there, a little to the right.  There you go, now you can stalk me.

3. New BBQ; I went to clean off my BBQ for the season, only to find that a family of mice had made a cozy home \under my burners. When Mr.PBandO went to clean it out (cause I wasn’t going there), he found that, under the grill it was all rusted out. That totally bummed me out…. but, it gave me the perfect opportunity to go out and buy a charcoal BBQ. I have been wanting one of these for a while. Although it takes a million years to heat up and a lot of work to keep it clean,,, the flavor that comes out of it…. Run , don’t walk .. to go get one.

4. TV Obsession; Warehouse 13, that’s right,  I have the worst taste in TV, and proud of it. While most of you are drooling over the season finale of The Walking Dead, or crying over the loss of Breaking Bad, I’m over here getting excited about the last season of Warehouse 13. What the heck is Warehouse 13, you say… my point exactly!

5. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs; I have to give a shout out to a fellow food blogger. I have been following Purdy for over a year, and I am super impressed to watch her site grow along with her great photos and unique recipes. She is also is one of the kindest ladies.  She always leaves the nicest comments on my blog (even if I do ramble on, and on, and on) . Meeting new food bloggers and being supportive of one another, has been the true reward in my food blog journey.

Tulips

6. Tulips; I know spring is here when my local grocery store starts selling tulips. Tulips are a big deal here in the capital of Canada, we have an entire festival dedicated to it. But that’s next month.. we can chat about it then.

7. Laura Calder; if you’re looking for a new cookbook, check out one of Laura’s many cookbooks. She is a Canadian chef that spent quite a bit of time over in Paris. She used to have a show on the food network. I love her fresh take on French food. She makes it really easy to whip up a classic French meal.

cupcake

8. I finally learned how to frost cupcakes like a Rock Star!!! For years, this concept boggled my mind, I had the right tools, I had watched a hundred videos… still my cupcakes looked something a 5 year old would whip up (no offense to all the five year olds out there). Super psyched… it’s the little victories…:)

9. One last TV obsession; I have started to re-watch the entire Supernatural series. Sam and Dean, that’s all I have to say about that.

10. And last but definitely not least, Jessica’s cookbook is available for pre-order. She is the first food blog I ever read, and truly the inspiration for my blog. Not only are her recipes and photo’s AMAZING, she is one of the few bloggers out there that is really down to earth. I consider us internet friends.. that’s not weird is it? I haven’t been this excited for a pre-order book since Harry Potter! Can’t wait.

Mandarin Olive Oil Cake

The best recipes are the ones I end up trying because I’m bored, or I don’t want an ingredient to go bad.

Mandarin Olive Oil Cake-7

On a recent rainy Sunday afternoon, I was both. I had nothing to do and I had a handful of mandarins. What’s a girl to do? Make cake, or course!

Mandarin Olive Oil Cake-2

I remembered a particular recipe I had recently seen, mainly because the idea of making a cake with olive oil instead of butter was intriguing…. Almost healthier… right… except for the cup of sugar and all that yummy glaze. That doesn’t count.. right?

Mandarin Olive Oil Cake-5

This has to be one of the moistest, easy, and surprisingly yummy cakes, I have ever made.

Mandarin Olive Oil Cake-9

I brought this in to work and it lasted… oh about 5 minutes. Seriously, it’s that good.

Mandarin Olive Oil Cake-10

If you’re bored right now, and it’s raining, and you love cake and happen to have some mandarins on hand, YOU should make this cake…. Ok it doesn’t have to be raining, and you don’t have to be bored… but you really need to make this cake.

[Adapted from RealSimple magazine March 2014]
Cake
1 ½ Cups of Flour
½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon of Salt
½ Cup of Olive Oil
¾ Cup of Milk
2 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
1 Tablespoon of Mandarin Zest
4 Tablespoons of Mandarin Juice
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Eggs
Glaze
2 Tablespoons of Mandarin Juice
1 ¼ Cups of Powdered Sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9X5 loaf pan with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

In another medium bowl mix together olive oil, milk, melted butter, vanilla, mandarin zest, and 4 tablespoons’ of mandarin juice.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs with sugar, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then ½ the milk mixture, keep alternating, ending with the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the glaze
Combine, powdered sugar and the last 2 tablespoons of mandarin juice, until combined. You may have to add a teaspoon of water, to get it to the right consistency.

When the cake has completely cooled, pour glaze ALL over the cake.

 

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Scones

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Scones-12

I love me some coffee. The taste of course, but also the idea of having coffee stirs up the nostalgic notion of getting together with friends and catching up, or waking up early before everyone else and having a quit moment sipping on my coffee.

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Scones-4
You know what I love just as much if not more than my coffee, the yummy goodies that go with it.

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Scones-5

I cannot go to Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, of any coffee house , without grabbing a little something sweet to go with my coffee.

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Scones-7

I swear sometimes I’ brew up a cup of coffee, just because I need something to drink with my cookie, Danish, or yummy, fresh out of the oven scones.

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Scones-8Like these heavenly lemony, cranberry goodness. A friend of mine ask me if I could whip her up a batch of lemon cranberry scones… with lemon glaze… of course…. So being the good friend I am… I obliged. And of course I had to taste test one… or two… ok I ended up making another batch for her.

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Scones-11

[Adapted from http://www.pastryaffair.com/blog/lemon-cranberry-scones.html%5D
1 ½ Cups of Flour
½ Cup of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
2 Tablespoons of Meyer Lemon Zest (About 5 Meyer Lemons)
½ Cup of Cold Butter
½ Cup of Cream
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
¾ Cup of Dried Cranberries
Glaze:
1 Cup of Powdered Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons of Meyer Lemon Juice

Pre- Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set Aside.

Using a pastry blender, or 2 forks, mix Meyer lemon zest and cold butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles small grains. Stir in cranberries. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk, cream, vanilla and egg. Pour cream mixture into flour mixture, and stir until it comes together. I used a wooden spoon and then floured my hands to finish the job off. DO NOT OVER MIX.

Place dough on a floured surface and shape into a flat circle, it should be 1 inch thick. Cut into 6-8 triangles.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Whisk one egg white with 2 tablespoons of milk and brush over top scones.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until slightly brown. Allow to cool for 20 minutes, before drenching in lemon glaze.

For the glaze; in a small bowl , whisk together powdered sugar and Meyer lemon juice. You may need both tablespoons of lemon juice, it should be quite runny. Pour over cooled scones. Grab a cup of joe and relax!

 

Key Lime Pie Bars

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Can someone please tell me I’m not the only one with dogs who watch TV and incisively bark anytime , anything resembling appears on the screen?

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I mean I have seen dogs watch TVs quietly,… or even completely ignore it… please tell me I’m not the only one, and that you have some advice for me.

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I think I may need Caesar or something, I mean they bark at EVERYTHING… it’s not just the TV, it’s the doorbell, it’s the people walking by, it’s the birds flying by the window, it’s the grass blowing in the wind, its … its everything!

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I love my dogs, but it’s gotten to the point where we are competing to see who’s the loudest, they bark and I yell… clearly it’s not working.

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So if you have any advice or Mr. Milan’s phone number… let me know.

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In the meantime, I’ll be over here eating these yummy key lime squares…. Aaaaaaand that was my worst segue EVER.

[Adapted from http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/key-lime-pie-bars/%5D
Crust
1 ½ Cup of Crushed Graham Crackers
2 Tablespoons of Sugar
5 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
Filling
3 Egg Yolks
2 Teaspoons of Key Lime Zest
2/3 Cup of Key Lime Juice
1 Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 OZ)
Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, or spray an 8×8 pan. If you use a glass pan, make sure you grease it up good, or it will stick.
In a medium bowl, combine graham crackers, sugar and melted butter, and press into the bottom of the pan, bake for 8-10 minutes, cool completely.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs on high until very thick, add the lime zest, lime juice and condensed milk, until thick, Pour into the pan with the cooled graham cracker crust. Spread evenly. Bake for 10 minutes.
Cool completely and place in the fridge until cold and set, overnight is preferred.. but 3-4 hours should do it if you can’t wait.

 

Mini Chocolate Dipped Orange Biscotti

Folks, I have re-discovered music.

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Growing up it was such a huge part of everything I did. You know what I mean, standing in the mirror belting out your favorite melody dancing all over your room. Or crying your heart out over that boy who “was the one”.

Mini Chocolate Dipped Orange Biscotti-2

I mean I still listen to music, but its mostly on the car, or while I’m running/working out. But that music is usually per-selected. I’m talking about re-discovering that music, that music that makes you want to dance around the room until your legs hurt and your out of breath.

Mini Chocolate Dipped Orange Biscotti-4I have recently adapted this to my cooking rituals. That’s right, I’m that neighbor you see shaking her thang like no one is watching. God I hope for their sake, they are no watching. I actually make up extra work in the kitchen after baking or cooking so that I can listen to the music longer…… let me tell you , my kitchen has never been cleaner.

Mini Chocolate Dipped Orange Biscotti-7My musical addiction at the moment is this app called Sognza, and I’ addicted to the 90’s dance party! from Bel Biv Devoe to Janet Jackson, all the way to color me bad… ya I went there.

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Weather its 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or whatever music, get off your but, through on your favorite music and bake something… heck bake these… they are definitely bootie shaking worthy

Mini Chocolate Dipped Orange Biscotti
[Adapted by http://www.marthastewart.com/1047286/biscotti-bites%5D
1 ¼ Cups of Flour
1 ¼ Cups of Cornmeal
½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder and Salt
¾ Cup of Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Eggs
1 ½ Cups of Sweetened Coconut
2 Tablespoons of Tangerine Zest (or Orange)
11 Ounces of Chopped Semi-sweet Chocolate, separated 5 ounces and 6 ounces

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a stand mixer, mix butter on high until smooth. Add sugar, beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Slowly add flour, until well combined. Remove from stand mixer. Stir in coconut, tangerine zest and 5 ounces of chopped chocolate.

Using a rounded teaspoon, scoop out onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool on a wire rack.

When the cookies are completely cooled, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. Melt the rest of the 6 ounces of chocolate in a double broiler.

Dip the bottom of the cookies in the melted chocolate and place them on the parchment lined cookie sheets.
Place in the fridge, until the chocolate is completely cooled.

 

Pizza Sauce

Hi there friends! I just want to give you a quick recipe, since I rambled on, on Tuesday with my monthly top ten.

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I usually post a recipe on Tuesday’s, but I also post my monthly top ten on the first day of the month, so you kinda got gypped (I totally had to look up the spelling for gypped) out of a recipe.

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So I thought, why not take the opportunity to post a staple, yet simple recipe. This Homemade pizza sauce.I am obsessed with pizza, and like many of you out there, I have come to the conclusion, homemade is better. Its so much more flexible. You can choose to put whatever you want on it, at home, and no one will judge you… except maybe your family.

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I used to use store bought pizza sauce on my homemade pizza… it just didn’t sit well with me. Why pay for something I can make at home for cheaper and it just taste better. It’s so simple to It also freezes well. I usually freeze them on portion sizes, which makes for a quick thawing.

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Homemade is better…am I right?

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Homemade Pizza Sauce

[Adapted from http://traceysculinaryadventures.com/2013/02/homemade-pizza-rolls.html%5D

1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Diced
2 Teaspoons of Minced Garlic
3 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
1 Teaspoon of Italian Seasoning (I use Club House)
1 14ounce Can of Diced Tomatoes

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add diced onions, garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook until onions are soft and translucent.

Stir in tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute. Add diced canned tomatoes with juice. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pour into a blender and puree.

TIP: Yay pizza sauce. I like to store mine in ziploc snack bags and freeze them. I put about a 1/3 of a cup in each bag. They take 5 minutes to thaw in warm water, then you simply cut the corner and squeeze out onto a pizza crust.

 

Monthly Top Ten; March Edition

1. Blah blah blah blah… so over winter… here’s a new spring wreath instead

Spring Wrath

2. blogiversary; Yup its been one year since I took the plunge into the blogging world. It was a long time coming, and I was hesitant to start, until I read an interview with Kelly Senyei from Just a Taste. She was asked, what her advice to a new someone wanting to start a food blog. Was. She simply said; Just do it. Don’t wait until everything is perfect, because it will never be the right time, you will learn as you go. Thanks Kelly, great advice. Check out my first post!

3. Skiing; We finally got out there. I actually like skiing, but it’s the “get up and go” I don’t have for it. It’s one of those thing, you know you’re going to enjoy it once your there, it’s getting the motivation to go that’s the problem. I spent the entire time snowplowing (we call it pizzaing, cause your ski’s look like a piece of pizza) down the hill. I know I am a grandma skier, and I don’t care.

4. Lately I have not been obsessed with any TV. All my British shows are on hiatus  Please send me any suggestions you may have. But here is a list of a few regular programs that I follow:
Comedy:
2 Broke Girls
The Goldbergs: Love the smother
Trophy Wife
Drama:
Elementary
Supernatural: Sam and Dean forever
Suits
Grimm

5. New Blog; The Bojon Gourmet. I can’t take credit for finding this blog. Katrina over at Warm Vanilla Sugar, listed this in her January Things. Thanks Katrina. Check out the “about” section, It tells you where the name came from; Genius!

6. Old blog; Well not old, she has been on my radar for over a year. Her pictures are phenomenal and her recipes are genius. I may have mentioned her before CHECK HER OUT http://jillianleiboff.blogspot.ca/

7. This tea cup says it all. I was told that every time I buy a new mug I have to get rid of an existing one… it’s getting harder and harder to choose which ones stay and which ones go.

teacup

8. What I’m Reading; I finally finished the Dead Sleep, by Greg Ilse. So me and a friend went on a book store date. It’s where you buy some coffee and browse the book store. I always seem to find something when I go with Heather. I found a series of books based on one of my favorite Canadian detective show… Murdoch Mysteries. It’s a Canadian crime drama set in the late 1800’s in Toronto. IN LOVE.

9. Gluten Free; I am not going gluten free. I looove bread way too much, But I have given it a try in the past and I have a few friends that are gluten free. It really bugs me that there doesn’t seem to be, In my opinion, any good gluten free pizza crusts. Maybe I expectations are too high? Every time I try a new gluten free pizza crust they always seem a little too crispy… like I’m putting pizza toppings on a giant cracker. Help!

10. Someone had a birthday this month! Love you babe!

birthday cake-march

Apple Pantry Bread

I must be in spring cleaning kinda of mood lately.

Apple Pantry Bread-9I mean last week I was all…” here is a pizza with everything from my fridge on it.”  And this week I’m making you a bread with everything from my pantry in it.

Apple Pantry Bread-2The real inspiration for this bread is my attempt at being a little more healthy. It just got a little out of control when I went looking for the coconut, and I was all “ I can add this, and I can add that”

Apple Pantry Bread-4In the end it turned out quit nice. I loved it so much, I didn’t even share it.

Apple Pantry Bread-5No I didn’t eat it all in one day… thought about it… Then it occurred to me that, that would defeat the purpose of it being healthy.

Apple Pantry Bread-7So I cut it up and froze it. So every time I wanted a slice (which was every night until it was gone) I would pull out a slice, heat it for 45 secs in the microwave and sprinkle a little powdered sugar and top with fresh blueberries. Perfect!

Apple Pantry Bread-10Go ahead and clean out your pantry and shove everything into this bread.
Apple Pantry Bread
¾ Cups each of All Purpose and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour ( or 1 ½ Cups of All Purpose Flour)
1 Cup of Quick Oats ( Not Instant)
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Teaspoons each of Baking Powder and Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Nutmeg
1/3 Cup of Shredded Coconut and Chopped Walnuts
½ Cup of 2% Evaporated Milk
2 Large Eggs
1/3 Cup of Unsweetened Applesauce
2 Tablespoons of Canola Oil
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
2 Apples, Grated (About 2 Cups)
1 Large Carrot Grated ( About ½ Cup)
½ Cup of Blueberries

Pre-Heat you r oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk flours, rolled oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Stir in the coconut and walnuts.
In a medium bowl, whisk the evaporated milk and eggs together. Mix in applesauce, canola oil, vanilla, apples, and carrots.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until combined. Fold in blueberries.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean from the centre.
Place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, remove bread from pan and cool completely on cooling rack.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and blueberries to serve

 

Caramelized Onion Brussel Sprouts Bacon and Goat Cheese Pizza

This pizza you guys… This pizza is to make up for last weeks plain old boring , but necessary pizza dough.

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Actually it wasn’t really all that boring… it was full of yummy garlic and it was a little healthy to, with the whole wheat and all.  Now you have something to put on your new garlic whole wheat pizza dough…THIS!

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I have a little bit of an issue, well kind of a addiction of pizza… I may have mentioned it before and will probably mention it again.  I love me some pizza.  I mean the possibilities are endless, you can put anything on it,… yes I mean anything.

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Its sort of like my grilled cheese addiction.. yet another food you can put anything in.  Maybe I should make a grilled cheese pizza… does that make sense?… is it even possible?… my mind is wandering.. sorry.

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Back to this pizza.  its sort of all my favorite things smashed on top of a pizza. I may have been cleaning out the fridge too.

But come on, whats not to love about all this stuff. Shredded brussel sprouts… good, caramelized onions.. good, bacon … good, goat cheese…good oh and I think there is a handful of mozzarella too.

caramelized onion brussel sprouts bacon and goat cheese pizza

You don’t have to follow this pizza recipe, you can put whatever you want on yours.. prehaps its the end of the week and you need to clean out your fridge.

caramelized onion brussel sprouts bacon and goat cheese pizza-8

Let me know how yours turns out!

Caramelized Onion Brussel Sprouts Bacon and Goat Cheese Pizza

2 Tablespoons of Hummus
2 Tablespoons of Pizza Sauce
1/2 Cup of Mozzarella
5 Brussel Sprouts, Shredded
4 Slices of Bacon
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Large Onion, Sliced into Rings
Goat Cheese

Pre-Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the super awesome whole wheat pizza dough from last week, or your favorite (pick mine!).  Roll it out and place it on a pan, that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  I used a pizza stone.  I find its easier to roll out the dough onto parchment paper and slide it on the heated stone.

Heat a small-medium pan over medium heat,and cook bacon to desired crispness. **Note:don’t leave and try and fold your laundry, your bacon will burn

Heat a medium pan, over low-medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add onion, and sprinkle in sugar.  Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes. Set aside. ** Note: The idea is to slowly brown them.  Usually this process can take up to 45 minutes… but we speed it up here with the sugar.  If the onions seem to be burning and getting hard, turn the heat down.

Spread 2 tablespoons of hummus and pizza sauce.  Sprinkle the mozzarella all over (you can add more if you want).  Spread the onions and bacon.  Dot the goat cheese all over the pizza.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly.   If your using a pizza stone, leave it in for 5 extra minutes.

Whole Wheat Garlic Pizza Dough

Let’s talk TV…. I love me some TV…more to the point… I love me some 30 minute comedy TV.

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I am from generation TV.  My love affair started at a very young age with the classic 30 minute (22 without commercials) comedy.   80’s shows like Saved by The bell, Alf, Punky Brewster, Who’s the Boss, Growing Pains, the Cosby Show, heading into the 90’s, Fresh Prince, Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier, 30 rock from the sun…. I could literally type for 10 pages with the list of shows I watched growing up.

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Which brings me to my point, yes I have a point to all this yammering.  Where are all the good 30 minute comedy shows gone?  All we seem to watch these days are 60 minute dramas.  Don’t get me wrong, I could not live without my Downton Abby, Sherlock, or Supernatural, but I’m craving the simplicity of the 80/90’s comedy.

Garlic Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I’m here to tell you , I have found a few hidden gems, and you must watch them with me… you will once again laugh out loud and not feel confined to your couch for 60 minutes.

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Here we go… Episodes… Matt Leblanc playing Matt Leblanc, with an edgy joey persona… LAUGH OUT LOUD funny….2 broke girls… a kind of obvious, bad one liner funny, worth a watch.  Oh and how about Trophy wife… 3rd hot wife, dealing with past wives and their children… I always hesitate to watch this, then it sucks me in.

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I have saved the Best for last… The Goldbergs… I’m in heaven with this show… its all about this family growing up in the 80’s.  Remember when you got excited when your mom bought the super long telephone cord, so you could leave the room to have a private conversations… that’s in this show.  Oh and they did a Goonies episode… nuff said.

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If you have any gems you’re watching, please share  I have a few more slots open for watching.

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Oh ya, make this super awesome garlic whole wheat pizza dough, Its adapted from Ashley’s, and I even added the best tip for making it rise fast from Kelly…These Gals are geniuses…. It’s my go to crust.  It make 2 medium size crusts, I always freeze one for later.
P.S.  I promise not to bore you with a million dough pictures next week.   Maybe I’ll make some pizza with this dough.. YAY!

Whole Wheat Garlic Dough

[Adapted From http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2012/05/07/wheat-pizza-dough/]

1 1/4 Cup of Hot Water
1 Pack of Quick Rise Active Yeast
2 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
3 Cups of Flour
1 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour
1 ½ Teaspoon of Garlic Salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk both the flours and garlic salt.  You can also just add to a regular bowl if you don’t have a stand mixer.

Run the water until its warm, measure out the warm water and pour into a medium bowl.  Add the olive oil.  Sprinkle the yeast over top the warm water.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl with the flour.  If using a stand mixer, mix with the paddle until combined, it usually takes a couple turns.  Then replace the paddle with the dough hook, and let it run on low for 5 minutes.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, pour yeast mixture into the bowl with flour, and mix with a spoon until it comes together, then you use your hands to knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes.

Once the dough has been kneaded for 5 minutes, spray a large bowl with non-stick spray and place the dough in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap.

Start up your dryer and let it run for 3-5 minutes.  Stop the dryer and place the bowl with the dough into the dryer and let it sit for 15 -20 minutes.  It should double in size.  If not warm up the dryer again and place the bowl back in.

Once the dough has doubles in size, punch down.  Separate into 2 balls.  I usually use one and freeze the other.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

I realize that I’m just barely squeezing this in.

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Many of you are dreaming of spring, and thinking up meals and treats to get you in the mood for the upcoming warmer weather.

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So was I….. until I saw this!  I mean I’ve had red velvet cake before,  but red velvet hot chocolate!  What!  It took a lot of restraint not to lick my computer screen when I first saw this.

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I love the idea of red velvet.  It’s all fancy and decadent.  I know, it’s just chocolate with LOTS of red food coloring.  Someone already ruined the illusion for me.  Just like wrestling, I was perfectly content thinking it was real,  .. opps…. Are there still some of you out there that still think its real…. sorry.

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Even though I know the truth, I still feel all important drinking this.  Like somehow, I’m special.

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Don’t worry, you  can feel special too, come inside out of the cold and warm up with this, and dream of the upcoming spring season.

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Just a side note, I totally devoured this after I took the photos, like I had red /chocolate whip cream all over my face devour.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

[Adapted from http://www.heathersfrenchpress.com/2014/01/red-velvet-hot-cocoa.html%5D

Whipped Cream

1/2 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

Hot Chocolate

1 Cup up Milk
1/2 cup of Chopped Dark Chocolate
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 Teaspoons of Red Food Coloring

For the whipped cream; Whip heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer, until you have sift peaks.  Set aside

Heat milk in a small pot, until warm, but not boiling.  Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the chopped chocolate and vanilla.  Stir until all the chocolate is melted. Stir in the red food coloring.

Monthly Top Ten; February Edition

heart cookies1. Valentine’s day; what did you do?  I spent it home alone…. don’t feel too bad for me.  We don’t really take it seriously in our house.  The Mr. had to work and so did I.  I used the holiday (I use that term loosely) as an excuse to bake.

2. Skating on the Canal; I went skating on the Rideau Canal up here in Ottawa Canada. Super Canadian thing to do.   It’s the 2nd longest out door rink in North America(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rideau_Canal#Skateway), and it’s in my backyard.  Important note, if you skate 4 km down the canal, you have to skate 4kms to get back to your car.  I was tired!

3. Sherlock; and my obsession with British television continues.  I was super bummed when I finished Downton Abby and realized there was no new Dr. Who until fall.  Then a fellow british obsessed TV watcher turned me on to Sherlock… In love!!! New favorite show

4. Things We Make(http://thingswemake.wordpress.com/);  I stumbled on to this blog through my wordpress reader.  The photo’s are amazing and everything they make is right up my alley. Check em out

5. What am I Reading;  Dead Sleep by Greg Iles .  It’s a great thriller.  I read another book of his a couple years back called The Quit Game … That was also an excellent book, hence my reading another one of his books.

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6. 10,000 Pillows;  That’s how many pillows we have on our bed now.  So glad I don’t make the bed in the morning!

7. Blah Blah Olympics; I tried to be all indifferent about you… but you sucked me in.  I even watched an entire curling match.

photo

8.  Soggy Salad;  This is usually the state of my salad, the day after I open the bag.   It really upsets me, mainly because I don’t like salad and I have been making an effort to eat it.  Then a friend told me about these containers that another friend uses.  These awesome produce saver from  Rubermaid.   It really works.  I put green onions (famous for wilting in a couple of days) and 4 days later… FRESH.  Thanks Trina and Anne

9. My Sister is having another boy!! I think she should name him Tracy!  I was able to convince my dad to squeeze it into the middle of her name, I’m sure I can convince her to name her new baby boy Tracy too… right?!

10. I heard the other day that we have had the coldest winter in 20 years up here in Ottawa….. But we managed to get outside a couple of times…. Thank god!

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