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.

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.

Mango Spinach Salad-6

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.

Mango Spinach Salad-7

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.

Mango Spinach Salad-5

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.

BlueBerry Crumb Bars-4

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!

BlueBerry Crumb Bars-6

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.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie-17

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

Key Lime Pie Bars-7

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?

Key Lime Pie Bars-2

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.

Key Lime Pie Bars-3

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!

Key Lime Pie Bars-5

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.

Key Lime Pie Bars-4

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

Key Lime Pie Bars-6

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.

Mini Chocolate Dipped Orange Biscotti-10

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.

Mini Chocolate Dipped Orange Biscotti-8

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.

Pizza Sauce-6

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.

Pizza Sauce-2

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.

Pizza Sauce-3
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.

Pizza Sauce-4
Homemade is better…am I right?

Pizza Sauce-6

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.

caramelized onion brussel sprouts bacon and goat cheese pizza-6

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!

caramelized onion brussel sprouts bacon and goat cheese pizza-5

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.

caramelized onion brussel sprouts bacon and goat cheese pizza-3

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.

caramelized onion brussel sprouts bacon and goat cheese pizza-2

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.

Garlic Whole Wheat Pizza Dough-7

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.

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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.

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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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Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Who wants to eat something healthy!

Chai Seed Pudding-11OK….. who thinks they should eat something healthy?  We all do,  right?  But lets face it, healthy doesn’t always equal yummy.

Chai Seed PuddingI visited a nutritionist a few years back… and she had me try a whole bunch of weird healthy foods.  Most of which didn’t stick.  She did give me a really good piece of advice… she said if you give something a month you’ll either incorporate it into your everyday, or you won’t.  Like I said, most of it didn’t stick… I did however get used to plain oatmeal.  I mean plain… taste like warm cardboard plain oatmeal.  But she was right, I ate some regular sugar added oatmeal recently and I felt like I swallowed a bowl of sugar.

Chai Seed Pudding-3I know we can get used to healthier things, but it’s not the instant satisfaction putting a yummy piece of cake in your mouth.

Chai Seed Pudding-5I will admit, on a rare occasion you can find something healthy that taste good.   This chai seed pudding is one of those occasions.

Chai Seed Pudding-6I was skeptical at first… what the heck is chia seed?, and how the heck is supposed turn into pudding?   Well my friends , not only is it the hair on top of your beloved 80’s sensation, CHIA PET, it’s also a super seed, full of all kinds of good stuff, like omega 3… and when you soak it… it explodes into pudding goodness.

Chai Seed Pudding-8And the toppings, well…. they are endless.  I was lucky enough to find a really fresh mango, and then I sprinkled chocolate shavings on top.. who doesn’t like chocolate.

Chai Seed Pudding-7Go ahead, be healthy, try this!  Trust me…. Although I did get used to eating warm cardboard.

Chai Seed Pudding-9P.S. My co-worker was the one who pointed out that I was eating chia pet hair…. thanks Sue.

[Adapted from http://www.domesticate-me.com/vanilla-chia-seed-pudding/%5D

2 Cups of Milk (I used 1 Cup of Coconut milk and 1 Cup of 1% Milk)
11/2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
½ Cup of Chai Seeds (I bought mine at the bulk store)

Whisk together milk, vanilla, maple syrup and salt. Stir in chai seeds.  Make sure all the seeds are emursed in the milk mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Leave in the fridge over night.  I took mine out every once and awhile I gave it a stir.

Put whatever topping you like.  Here are a few suggestions:

Mango and shaved chocolate

Fresh berries and a squeeze of lemon

Granola and dried cranberries

Maple syrup

Roasted Vegetable and Meatball Soup

I did something really Canadian this weekend!

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No, I didn’t build and igloo, or play hockey…. Although, it would be really funny to watch me do either of those. I went skating on the Rideau Canal.  For those of you who don’t live in Canada, it’s the 2nd longest man made skating rink, and for those of you who do live in Canada and don’t know… shame on you!

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I was recently inspired to get outside more in the winter by a local radio station.  They had this women on ranting about how us northerners have turned into a bunch of wimps.

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She went on to interview people on the street to find out what people like about winter, and only a few people had positive things to say.  I know, I know it’s hard to get out when you look at the temperature and see -100, but come one this is nothing new to us.

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When I was 10, it didn’t matter how cold it was, I was running out the door with my mom chasing behind me with my toque (that’s Canadian speck for hat), screaming at me to do up my Jacket.  Where is that enthusiasm!

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So when I realized I had nothing planned on Saturday, and everyone was busy, I dug out my skates, grabbed my IPOD and headed downtown. I actually went on my own.  Now before you start feeling sorry for me, Mr PBandO had to work all weekend and most of my friends were busy , with Valentine’s Day plans…. Ok you can feel a little sorry for me.

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So put on your toque, do up your jacket and go outside… it’s not that bad!  When you come back in, warm up with some yummy meatball soup.  It’s gotta bit of kick to it!

[Adapted from Janet and Greta]

Soup

8 Large Roma Tomatoes, Seeded and Chopped
2 Red Peppers, Chopped (I used 1 red and 1 yellow)
1 Red Onion, Chopped
1 Tablespoon of Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning (2 Tablespoons Each, Fresh Rosemary and Thyme)
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 Cups of Low Sodium Beef Broth
1 Cup of V8 Juice
2 Teaspoon of Basil (or ¼ Cup fresh Copped)
1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Each, Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes
Meat Balls

1/2  Pound of Lean Ground Beef
¼ Cup of Onions, Chopped
¼ Cup Bread Crumbs
2 Tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese
1 Egg
½ Teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
¼ Teaspoon of Salt and Pepper

Pre-Heat the oven to 450 Degrees.  Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.

After chopping up the tomatoes, red peppers and onions, place in a large bowl and mix in olive oil, Italian seasoning and garlic.  After it’s mixed up well, lay the veggies out flat on your prepared baking sheet.  Try not to overlap too much.

Place in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir the veggies around, and return to the oven, but turn the oven to broil.  Broil for 10 minutes, checking frequently.  After 10 minutes remove from oven and set aside.

In a medium bowl , mix all the meat ball ingredients together, until just combines.  Roll into little balls, about a heaping teaspoon.  Set on a baking sheet. Set aside.

Take the roasted vegetables and place in a blender and puree, you can add a bit of the beef broth to help that process along.

Transfer the pure to a big pot and add the rest of the beef broth, v8 juice, basil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Heat to a boil.

Drop all the meat balls into the soup, they will cook in the broth,  Keep on medium for about 10 minutes.

Your Done!

Chocolaty Chocolate Chip Muffins

What is it about the Olympics that captures the attention of every Man, Women and child.

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In the weeks leading up to the Olympics , all I could think about was NO more Hockey (NHL that is) for 2 whole weeks. Then, Mr PBandO started talking about the Olympics with great anticipation.  Really? I was totally ambivalent to the Olympics.  When ask if I was going to watch I was all “eh… probably not”.  You see, growing up, all I remember is my mom monopolizing the TV with all the skating competitions… boring!!  I was actually starting to miss the idea NHL hockey.

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Funny thing happened this weekend I watched an entire mogul skiing competition.  Like watched it… the whole thing… even offered up some of my own professionally commentary…. what?  I could be a professional judge; I judge things all the time in my daily life.

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I just stopped writing this post to ask what was happing with women’s luge…  luge?  What’s happening to me? I guess my whole point here is… Olympics, you have me hooked… GO TEAM CANADA!

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Oh ya… I made us chocolate muffins, because chocolate muffins and the Olympics go hand and hand.  That’s a thing right?

[Adapted From http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/04/dark-chocolate-blueberry-muffins/]

1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 ½ Teaspoons of Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon of Salt
2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
2/3 Cups of Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
¼ Cup of Melted Butter
1 Cup of 1% Milk
1 Cup of Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liner, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, Baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar,  1 egg (beaten), vanilla, melted butter, and milk.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mix until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, or a large spoon, divide batter amongst the 12 lined muffin cups.

Bake for 20 25 minutes, or until centers are set.  Use a tooth pick to test the doneness (is that a word?).

Allow to cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

Crispy Corn-Flake Chicken Fingers

This is one of the very first meals I ever cooked for Mr PBand O and my step-daughter.

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Cooking for her and her father used to really stress me out.   I have mentioned in the past how picky Mr PBandO can be, well there used to be two of them.

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I did go from cooking for a roommate who ate anything (except peas… weirdo),  to two very different picky eaters.  Ya that’s right, they didn’t even like the same stuff.

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On top of all this I’m a foodie, and I have stomach issues of my own.  I would plan meals weeks in advance, and I became the master of making two meals at once.  I know there are some of you out there that are like “get over it Tracy, I have 3 picky kids”  I know, I’m a big whiner.. I’m done complaining

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These days I’m very proud of them.  Both my step daughter and her father have since evolved, and will try pretty much anything.

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So if you have some picky eaters in your house, give these a try, clearly I’m the only one in the universe that has ever had to deal with picky eaters and I am the expert

[Adapted from Crazy Plates Cook Book]

2 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts
¾ Cup of Whole Wheat Flour
2 Teaspoons of Italian Herbs mix ( I use Club House)
1 Teaspoon of Garlic Salt
½ Teaspoon Each of Salt and Pepper
3-4 Cups of Corn Flakes
2Tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup of Buttermilk

Pre- Heat oven 400 degrees

Spray a cookies sheet with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

Cut chicken into strips, and pat down with a paper towel, set aside.

Take out 3 bowls, I use pie plates or bigger than cereal bowls.  In one bowl, stir flour , Italian seasoning, garlic salt, pepper and salt.

To crush the cornflakes, place them in a Ziploc bag, try and take out all the air.   Roll over the cornflakes with a rolling pit, until they are pretty crushed.  You should have about 1 ½ to 2 Cups. Mix the crushed cornflakes and Parmesan cheese in another bowl.

In the last bowl pour in the buttermilk.

This part gets messy. I find if I use one hand for the dry ingredients and one hand for the wet ingredients, its less messy. Working one at a time, coat the chicken in flour, dip in buttermilk, shake off the excess.  Roll in the crushed cornflakes.  Place on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Check after 35 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

Enjoy!!

Monthly Top 10 – January Edition

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  1. I have a new obsession with leopard print.  I’m not really sure where it came from, but I can’t get enough.  Aren’t these cute.  I never wear slippers, I am making an exception.
  2. The Looney Spoons Cook book by Janet and Greta Podleski!  Back to a classic.  When I first starting cooking, I was about 21.  One of my first cooking experiences was a pot roast. I was so proud of myself, I invited some friends over, everyone gobbled it up and no one had a bad word to say, until one of my friends told me exactly what he thought.  “It’s too dry” he said.  At first I was insulted, but I took it as a challenge.  Looney Spoons to the rescue. These 2 gals totally redeemed me. All the food is low fat and easy to make.  So  if you haven’t picked one of their books up I highly recommend it.   It helps that they are from Ottawa too.
  3. Let’s have a little chat about Downton Abby.  I know I have professed my love for the show before, I bring it up now, because I almost missed the North American premier.  As if!!!  A friend mentioned it on New Year’s eve.  I’ve been so wrapped up in Dr Who, I almost missed it.   Poor Edith, she can never seem to catch a break, and Mary, I was so upset for her at the end of season 3.  As usual, she is bouncing back with a hand full of suitors.  I swear I’m a little 80 year old British women.
  4. Pasty Affair (http://www.pastryaffair.com/).  I found and fell in love with this blog while I was out of town for work.  I had some down time and stumbled onto it.  It’s really rare these days for me to find a new blog I like.  As soon as I saw her pictures I was in love!  This blog has all the good stuff, like brownies, and cakes, and of course pastry.  Check it out.
  5. Meyer Lemons and Key Limes.  Last year before I started my blog, I kept seeing Meyer lemons everywhere.  So I started to search for them in my grocery stores, only to realize it was the end of the season.   I did end up finding them, and my very first blog post featured these yummy Meyer Lemon cookies.  Lesson learned, I found them early, and Made this yummy coffee cake.
  6. I love to cook… obviously..  but I have a confession to make. You know how a good quality sharp knife is every cooks best friend?  Well….I’m the kid in the corner with those scissors that won’t even cut paper.  You know what I mean.  All my knives are somewhat dull and for my own good.  But, I am determined to graduate to a good quality SHARP knife.  Before I start running with real scissors,  I’m thinking I’m gonna take a knife course.  At least that way, when I cut off my fingers , It will be a clean cut.
  7.  Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag.  Hooked on this show!  The premise of the show is, These 22 ladies chooses a cookbook, and select 5 recipes from it, and try and execute them as written.   The also try out cooking tools as they go.  They prepare all this food for a chef to judge them on it.  At the end of the show They give it a buy or pass.  Check it out.
  8. Perfect Bacon Bowl… That’s all I have to say about that! http://www.perfectbacon.caphoto(1)
  9. New Magazine Subscription!  Another reason I’m secretly a little old lady.  I love getting mail.  I mean snail mail.  Especially in the form of magazines.  I have tried to read them online.. I just can’t do it.  Yup, I’m killing tree’s one magazine at a time.
  10. I’ll finish things off by saying… its freaking cold here.  Mother nature better cut it out, my dogs need to get out, they are driving me NUTS!

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

I am not going to be late to the party this year. Last year around this time I kept seeing all these yummy recipes with this odd little citrus fruit called a Meyer lemon.

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You know what I did? I waited until March to go looking for them.  I had never actually heard of a Meyer lemon before and figured I’d be able to find them anywhere, anytime.  I was obviously living under a rock, right?

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Of course when I went to look for Meyer lemons, it was like trying to find fresh figs in Ottawa in September.  Now I know that little beauties are easiest to find, in January and early February.

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Anyway , back to last year, in March… I did end up finding them, at heafty cost, and they become the star ingredient in my very first post.

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As I was saying in the beginning, I’m not late to the party this year.  This year I give you this awesome Meyer lemon coffee cake. This combines 2 of my favorite things… Meyer lemons and coffee cake.  Who doesn’t like coffee cake?!  It always makes me think of a lazy Sunday afternoon, curling up on the couch on a cold winter day with a hot cup of coffee and a piece of cake.  Because apparently I live in a coffee commercial.

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Enjoy!

[Adapted From http://www.amandajanebrown.com/2013/03/meyer-lemon-coffee-cake.html]

Cake

2 Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon of Salt
1/3 Cup of Butter, Softened
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Egg, Beaten
1 Tablespoon of Meyer Lemon Zest
½ Cup of Meyer Lemon Juice
½ Cup of Buttermilk

Crumble

1/3 Cup of Sugar
½ Cup of Flour
1 Tablespoon of Meyer Lemon Zest
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
1 Tablespoon of Meyer Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoon of Butter, Melted

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a spring form pan with parchment paper, and grease the sides with butter, set aside.

For the crumble topping;  in a medium bowl,  whisk sugar, flour, lemon zest, and salt with a fork.  Pour in the Meyer lemon juice and melted butter, fluff with a fork until crumbly looking, set aside.

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

In a large bowl,  beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of Meyer lemon zest,  Meyer lemon juice, and buttermilk, mix until combined.  Slowly add the flour mixture, until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared spring form pan.  Sprinkle crumble over top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Bites

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What’s with me and breakfast lately?  I fell like all I show is breakfast.  I will say this, the good thing about breakfast is you can have it any time.  Snack, brunch, lunch, dinner, and even in the morning.

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I go through these stages where all I want to do is get up on Sunday and prepare these huge brunches, filled with crepes, sausage, Bacon, eggs, and some sort of delicious pastry.  Then I realize, I’m entirely to lazy for that.

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And Mr. PBandO just end up going to our neighborhood greasy spoon.  I loooove greasy spoons, don’t’ you?   It brings me back to my younger days, rolling out of bed at around noon, and heading out for a greasy breakfast.  But I digress.

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Once and a while, I actually do get off the couch and makes some pancakes, cinnamon buns, and these awesome little all in one breakfast treats. These are so easy to make.  I feel bad posting it as a recipe, it’s THAT easy.  But I had to share!

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Maybe next week I’ll post something other than breakfast….. probably not though!  YAY breakfast!

[Adapted from http://www.marthastewart.com/330179/bacon-egg-and-toast-cups]

2 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread
2 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
2 Slices of Bacon
2 Eggs
Salt and Pepper

Pre-Heat Oven to 375 Degrees. Spray a muffin tin with no-stick spray.

Cook bacon, drain fat and set aside.

Lay out your bread on a cutting board.  Using a rolling pin, flatten out the bread, to about ¼ inch.  Cut into a 4 to 5 inch circles.  I used a soup bowl for the size.

Melt butter in microwave for about 20 seconds or until melted.

Gently press the bread into prepared muffin tin.  Brush with melted butter.  Lay bacon in the bottom of the bread. Crack an egg into each bread cup.  Sprinkle salt and pepper.

Put in the oven for 30-30 minutes, or until the egg is set.

You could totally add cheese between the bacon and the egg.

Light and Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes

I’m in love….. with pancakes.

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Not just any pancakes, these light and fluffy ricotta pancakes.   It’s kind of funny, because I don’t even like pancakes… much less love them.  They always seemed to … doughy… to thick …to tasteless  (except for my sister’s pancakes, hers rock!).

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I have tried to make pancakes before, but they never turned out.  So when I saw these on one of my favorite show ‘In the Kitchen with Stefano’ I thought, I’ll give it one more try.

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It may have been the title he gave them, Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes.  If you want me to make something, or even buy something, just put a couple of buzz words in front o fit, and I’m in…. ya I was that kid growing up.

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I don’t think it’s the ricotta cheese in these that make them so light and fluffy and delicious… it thinks it the whipped egg whites

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So pull up a chair and have some breakfast, for dinner, lunch, snack, or if your feeling adventurace…. have them for breakfast.  And eat at least a stack of 8… that way I wont feel bad for polishing off a stack of six.  In my defense, they were small……ish.

Ricotta Pancakes

[Adapted from http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-fluffy-ricotta-pancakes-48085 ]

¾ Cup of Flour
½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 ½ Teaspoon of Sugar
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
1 Cup of Ricotta Cheese
½ Teaspoon of Vanilla
¾ Cup of Milk
3 Eggs

Separate eggs into 2 bowls.  Make sure the whites are in a bowl big enough to whip them.  Whip the egg whites until they have stiff white peaks.  Set aside.

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

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, vanilla and milk, until blended, add the egg yolks.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until mixed well.  It will appear lumpy.

Fold the egg whites into the batter, gently.

Heat a skillet and add 2 teaspoons of butter, or just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet once melted.

Drop approximately 1/3 of a cup of batter into the heated skillet, flatten out with the bottom of the measuring cup.  Cook until the side show small bubbles, flip, cook for 3 minutes on the other side.

Server with fresh fruit and icing sugar.

Totally Worth It, Spinach Salad

Ok, I give in!  Everyone seems to be posting all this healthy junk.  I guess I should too.

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Truthfully I usually hate salad.   Ya I said it!   I don’t hate all salad.  Your gonna laugh at me when I tell you the real reason I hate salad.  It’s a lot of work.  It has always seemed silly to me to put in that much work for a salad.  If someone else , makes it, I’ll probably eat it.

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So when the year started, and I kept seeing all of these healthy salads, I thought, fine, I’ll find one I deem worth all the work.

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This is what I settled on this.

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I believe we have a winner.  I actually think this one is worth the work.  At the end of all that chopping, I sat down and actually enjoyed this salad.

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Now I wont lie, I would have enjoyed it a lot better if someone else had do all the work.  Maybe you can come over and make me another one.

[Adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Eat ,Shrink and Be Merry]

1 Can of Mandarins, With Syrup
3 -4 Cups of Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
2 Cups of Mushrooms
4 Slices of Bacon
1/2 Cup of Red Onions, Sliced Thinly
1 Teaspoon of Garlic, Minced
3 Tablespoons of White Vinegar
2 Tablespoons each of Honey Mustard, and Maple Syrup
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt and Pepper

Drain the syrup out of the mandarins, and set aside both.  (You need about a ½ cup of syrup)

In a large salad bowl, put the spinach, mandarins and sliced mushrooms.

Hard boil the eggs.  Place the eggs in a medium pot.  Cover the eggs so that there is 1 inch or water above the eggs. Place on a burner over medium to high heat. Bring to a boil.  Allow to boil to 2 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat.   Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Remove the eggs from the water, using a slotted spoon.  Allow to cool completely before remove the shells.

In a medium pan, fry up the bacon over medium heat until crispy.  I like to cut my bacon in half, it makes it easier to fit it in the pan.  Once crispy, place on a paper towel, and pat dry.  Chop up and sprinkle over spinach

Leaving the fat in the pan, cook the garlic, red onions, and reserved mandarin syrup.  Cook until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes.  Add the vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper, cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the shells from the egg. I usually tap the egg lightly on my counter top, until all the shells is cracked.  Gently remove the shell.

Cut the egg into slices.  Mine got a little sloppy, I have yet to purchase one of those egg slicers.  Its ok, it all goes in your tummy.  Add the eggs to the salad.

Pour the warm dressing over the salad, and mix gently.

Enjoy, I know I did.

December Monthly Top Ten

Month 2 of monthly things.  Kinda enjoying this….

1. Christmas!  I know it’s over I wanted to say I hope all your Christmas eve’s and mornings were full of family, gifts and of course food!

tree

2. List of holiday treats I made.  OMG I was a baking ninja this holiday.  I made:

Chocolate Toffee Cups
Toffee Bit Bars
Browned Buttered Cardamom Cookies
Ginger bread M&M cookies
Sugar Cookies with Royal icing
Ginger Bread Oreo and M&M Blondies
Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies

3. Dr. Who; I have been in love for a while now, it’s right up there with my Downton Abby obsession.  I’m actually watching the tenth doctor as I type this.

4. My First Luxe Box;  Last month I mentioned that Michelle turned me on to loose buttons luxe box.  It’s a box of beauty samples that come right to your door.  I love getting mail, it’s the old lady in me!  This is what I got:

Awesome Black tights, that I thought were for my 12 year old step daughter, turns out they stretch and they are really comfortable.  I also got some shampoo and conditioner, it was great, smelt really good.  Some nail polish I will never use, because when I put on sparkle nail polish, I need a chisel to take it off.  Super plumping mascara.  Valentino perfume, it made me smell like my Grandma, I’ll put that away for when I’m like 80.  The best thing I got was this awesome lip balm.  It’s called staintastic and its made by The Balm.  It gives your lips and cheeks a little hit of color.

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5. The Great Food Blogger Cookies Swap. The swap was awesome, and no one poisoned me (It was a secret fear of mine)  I know it sounds silly, but, I am silly.  I received some great cookies from some great food bloggers.  You can read about it here on my post.

6. Table Settings; This year I wanted to do something a little different with my Christmas table  setting.  Mr PB andO says I change it every year.  He is crazy, This will be my 3rd year hosting it at my house, and the first year to switch it up: Take a look, what do you think.

photo

7. Current food blog crush.  I love Ashley’s site.  I always check in with her a couple of times a month,  but when I saw these bread sticks for Halloween, I became a regular. I also picked up this great whole wheat pizza crust recipe .  Now I would never stray too far from Jessica, but Ashely is defiantly my number 2 right now.

8. Stewart McLean’s Christmas concert;  This is totally a Canadian thing.  Every year my old room-mate and I go to see this concert.  It’s hosted by the great Stewart McLean.  He host a radio show on our beloved CBC radio up her in Canada.  The first time I heard Stewart was on my drive home to Toronto one Christmas.  He was reading one of his famous Dave and Morley stories.  It’s a fictionally family from Toronto that gets into some peculiar situations.  Each year he tours Canada and puts on a Christmas concert.  Its chalk full of local musical talent, some really great musicians and some awesome story telling. It has become one of my favorite traditions.

9. The Yule log Channel.  I know this sounds weird, but growing up I didn’t have a fireplace.  So when a local station would broadcast a fire place burning on Christmas morning, it became a tradition.  This year I found a channel that not only shows you a cozy burning fire place, but it also played Christmas music, double score!!!!

10.Couldn’t let Christmas go by without dressing up the dogs.  This year we gave Lily a break.  Doesn’t Maggie make a great reindeer.

Reindeer Maggies

Mini Gruyere Spinach Leek and Bacon Tarts

Here we are again.  New Year’s Eve!

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This year’s plans are very different from last year.  This year we are have a semi-quiet evening.  We are heading out to dinner with some good friends.

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Last year we were almost in New York.  It’s one of those bucket list things.  I tell you, I would never do it again.   2 things were wrong with that trip.  Number one, I’m too old to be standing around outside waiting for a countdown, New York or not.   Number 2, we were not informed.  We totally didn’t do any research.

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I did get a hotel near the square, but no one told us we had to line up at like 6 am to get anywhere near the centre of the action.

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We spent an hour standing in a crowd of people, 4 blocks away, in a barricaded area.  We finally gave up at 10 pm and went back to the hotel, until 11pm.  Then we made our way down to central park, took a buggy ride, chatted up a cop and waited for the countdown and fireworks.

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It wasn’t a complete loss, the next day, everything was open.  We had a good look around, ate a coal oven pizza, tried to go and see ground zero, (you need tickets!) and headed home.  It gave us a nice glimpse of the city and how to plan better next time.  Maybe in the spring time.

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If I was , say hosting a party this year, I would defiantly server these.  I made them for a poker game Mr. PBandO had, and they were awesome.

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On a side note; Its starting to feel like this blog is more about me blabbing on about life and ending with a recipe.  Sorry about that.  More food talk in the future!

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Pate Brisee

[Adapted from http://www.marthastewart.com/948287/pate-brisee]

2 ½ Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Cup of Cold Butter, Cut into Small Pieces
½ Cup of Ice Water

Filling

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

2-4 Slices of Bacon
4 Leeks, Chopped
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Mustard
½ Teaspoon Each, Salt, Pepper and Thyme
1 Package of Spinach, Thawed and Drained of Water
1 Cup Of Gruyere Cheese, Shredded

For the pate brisee;  Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour, until it resembles coarse crumbs, (you may have some bigger pieces, that’s ok.)  Pour the ice water into the flour, butter mixtures.  Using your hands, mix until you can form two balls of dough.  Flatten the dough into two disks.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling;  In a medium pan, cook bacon until crispy.   Place bacon on paper towel, and set aside.  In the same pan, cook, onions and leeks until tender.  Add balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and thyme.   Add thawed and dried spinach.  Set Aside.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray.

Remove the pastry from the fridge, one at a time.  Roll-out the pastry, and using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut into 4inch squares. (I used the Mr. ‘s Tape measure)

Place each pastry square into muffin tin.  Fill each pastry cup with 2 tablespoons of onion/spinach mixture, and top with cheese.  Fold in all four sides, pressing gently in the centre.

Mix egg with 1 tablespoon of water.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the tarts with the egg wash.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, server warm.

Apple Dutch Pancake For Christmas Morning

Tree is up, presents are wrapped, dinner is planned, and family is on their way.  We are all ready for Christmas!

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I’m writing this waiting for my family to arrive.  All of a sudden all I want to do is curl up in my bed and sleep through it.  I’m not a Scrooge, I swear, I’m actually the opposite.  I always get this way, just before the festivities begin.

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When you’re a kid all you have to do is get excited.  Someone else takes care of all the behind the scenes Christmas magic.  My step-daughter asked me the other day, if you get less excited for Christmas as an adult.  I had to be honest, we kind of do.

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I think it’s all the planning and baking and decorating and wrapping and cleaning… shall I go on.  It’s not that we aren’t excited; we just sometimes forget what it’s all about.  For me, the best time is after Christmas dinner on Christmas day.   Every one is full and happy, all the presents are opened and being enjoyed and I look around, and realize, that I had a big part to play in how happy and content everyone is on Christmas.  And that’s what I do it all for.

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It’s now my turn to help in making the magic happen behind the scenes.  That’s what makes me excited, or rather, Happy at Christmas.   There’s my doorbell, let the festivities begin.

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Oh ya, before I go, I made you this, maybe you can make it on Christmas morning?  I ate the whole thing, I’m not even kidding.

Apple Dutch Pancake

3 Tablespoons of Margarine or Butter
3 Apples, Peeled and Sliced Thin (Any Kind of Apple)
1/3 Cup of Brown Sugar
½ Teaspoon of Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of Sugar
½ Cup of Milk
½ Cup of Flour

Melt 1 tablespoon of margarine in a cast iron skillet. Add apples and brown sugar and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside

In a medium bowl mix cinnamon, sugar, milk and flour.  Stir until well blended.

Pour over the apples, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the center is done.

If your cast iron skillet is really well seasoned (mine is not) you should be able to shake it and flip it onto a plate.  Or you can take a spatula and cut little slices out directly from the skillet.   I put maple syrup on mine.

Acorn Squash Bisque

Today in the midst of all this cold weather, we need something warm! It’s at least -125.  I’m not being dramatic at all… I think my eyeballs froze shut for a moment when I first walked outside.

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There is really only one way to warm up in this ridiculous weather, so I bring to you this yummy, warm and comforting acorn squash bisque.  Bisque is really just a fancy word for soup.

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I feel like I have neglected this poor little squash for way to long.  I often pass it in the grocery store while I’m searching for its more popular cousin, the butternut squash.  I love butternut squash… I mean I could eat it every day.  But the acorn squash I have more than once turned my nose up at.  It’s really not fair.

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Finally the other day as I browsing the different squashes, a little acorn squash called out to me, “pick me, buy me, I’m yummy too”  yes, vegetables talk to me in the grocery store.. .(in my head)

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So I picked up that little acorn squash and I made us this bisque!

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Don’t be like me, and neglect the other squashes of the world, you might find a new taste that blows your mind, like this acorn squash did to me.

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Acorn Squash Bisque

[Adapted from http://www.marthastewart.com/336548/acorn-squash-bisque]

2 Acorn Squash (Sometimes they are called Pepper Squash)
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Small Onion, Diced
1 Teaspoon each of Salt and Pepper
1 ½ Teaspoon of Ground Sage
¾ Cup of Chicken or Vegetable Broth
½ Cup of Cream

Pre-Heat your oven to 450 degrees

Cut both acorn squash in half.  Place cut side down on a greased baking sheet.  Cover completly with tin foil.  Bake for 30 Minutes.

Spoon out the flesh from the squash and place in small bowl. Set aside.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add diced onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are tender, about  4 minutes.  Add sage, salt and pepper, cook for 1 more minute.  Set aside.

Take out your blender and add the squash, onions, and chicken broth, blend until pureed. Pour back into skillet and add cream.  Stir and heat through.

Enjoy!

Browned Buttered and Cardamom Sugar Cookies

That’s right people, it is cookie time…. I mean Christmas time. Which in my mind is cookie time. It’s really the only time of year I can justify baking a dozen or so different kinds of cookies, otherwise I would probably just look like a crazy cookie lady and weigh about 50 lbs heavier.

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Lucky for me, at Christmas time, I have a lot of people in my life that love cookies as much as I do, so I don’t eat them all myself….even though I kinda want to.

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This is why when I heard about the great food blogger cookie swap, I didn’t even hesitate, I just clicked YES.

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I did give a brief explanation of what this was all about in my new monthly top ten.  It’s my number 2.  Basically you bake a bunch of cookies and mail them out to fellow food bloggers and you receive a bunch of cookies…… Umm cookies mailed directly to my house… yes PLEASE.

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I received cookies Not Crocker , Gastronomical Sovereignty and Sweet Twist of Fate , and can I just tell you, I’m in a bit of a cookie coma.

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These are the ones I made. I really like sugar cookies and I am a bit obsessed with browned butter at the moment… so voila,,, browned butter and cardamom sugar cookies, with some trashed up Christmas sprinkles.

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I hope everyone gets to enjoy some Christmas cookies this season!

[Adapted from Better Homes and Garden Christmas Cookie 2010]

1 Cup of Unsalted Butter
1 ½ Cup of Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Each of Cardamom and Cinnamon
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
2 ¾ Cups of Flour
¼ Cup of Course Sugar (or regular)
½ Teaspoon of Cardamom

Melt butter in a small pot.  Stirring frequently, until brown and oh so yummy.  It takes about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.  Place in the fridge, covered for about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together sugar and browned butter.  Make sure you use every last bit of the browned butter, especially the browned bits.

Once combined, stir in eggs, and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt.

Add the flour, about a half a cup , at a time, until all the flour is mixed in.  I shaped mine into a ball.  Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease cookie sheet with butter or non-stick spray.  I use a silicon baking matt.  LOVE IT!

Place the ¼ cup of course sugar and cardamom, into a small bowl.

Remove from the fridge.  Roll cookie dough into 1 inch balls, and roll around in the sugar.  I had trouble getting the sugar to stick, so I wet my hands with cold water.  Place on the prepared cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.  Bake for 12 minutes.

Allow to cool on a cooling rack…and ENJOY!

For more recipes, http://www.peanutbutterandonion.wordpress.com

Peanut Butter Crispy Truffles

Truffles… ya sure, no problem, I’ll whip up a batch of those, not a big deal, right……. Wrong!

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I’ve been seeing all kinds of truffles all over the blogging community, and growing up, my aunts homemade truffles were my favorite things to eat at Christmas.

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I mentioned these truffles to Mr. PBandO, and he was so excited, he even offered to help make them.  I did end up on my own with this one, let me tell you, I could have used to help.

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The balls themselves were relatively easy to make, (and yes I realize what I just typed, and then I giggled a little), it was dipping said balls in the chocolate that was a huge pain! (still giggling… what am I 5 years old)

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After about 30 minutes of total failure, I gave in and googled “How to coat truffles in chocolate”.  I found this.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7Fmt9fDdRQ.

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I want to say in the end these were worth it….but the only way I would utter those words is if someone else made them.  They were really good, you just need to have some experience… and not think you’re a hot shot, super star baker and expect to get it the first time…. Tracy

Peanut Butter Crispy Truffles

[Adapted from http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/12/crispy-chocolate-peanut-butter-cookie-dough-truffles/ ]

2 Cups of Peanut Butter
2 ½ Cups of Powdered Sugar
6 Tablespoon of Soft Butter
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
1 Cup of Crispy Rice Cereal
3 Cups of Really Good Quality Chocolate

In a large bowl, mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla together, until blended well. Stir in rice crisp cereal , ½ a cup at a time, until it’s all combined.

Roll into 1 inch balls, I used a tablespoon.  Place them on a baking tray, and put into the freezer for 1 hour.

While they are setting in the freezer, melt the chocolate in a double broiler.

Remove the balls from the freezer.  Put a piece of parchment paper on another baking sheet.  Place a ball on a fork, spoon the chocolate over top.  Using a knife, knock the handle of the fork gently to smooth out the chocolate. (us the video).  Place the ball on the parchment.

I did these 3 at a time, it got really messy, but I got into a rhythm over time.  Place all the chocolate coated balls into the fridge, until the chocolate dries.

Now go get someone else make them!

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