Monday, 31 December 2012

Double Feature

Sometimes flattery gets you everywhere, and flattery won this round of the guessing game for Lesley this month. Lesley guessed my fruitcakes would cost a whopping $74 to make and while she guessed a tremendously high amount, I appreciated her kind words and I realized that if I had used a different brand of brandy, my fruitcake would have cost more to make. Maybe not quite $74, but still...

For Lesley I have two holiday appetizers, an easy Asian meatball dipping sauce and a holiday bruschetta. I think they're both unique and pretty special, just like Lesley. Here are the recipes!

Holiday Bruschetta and Easy Asian Meatball Dipping Sauce

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Confetti Sprouts

I think that my Christmas brussel sprout dish is so reminiscent of confetti that it could be served on New Year's Eve. It's just that pretty with little strips of sprouts fluttering all over your plate, just waiting to be gobbled up. 

I loved the lightness brought on by slicing my sprouts thinly, I think it was a great change in pace for one of my favourite veggies. But Luke actually preferred having a big chunk of brussel sprout to stick his fork in, he missed the brussel sprout texture and flavour. For these reasons I think that this dish could be especially good to serve to non-brussel sprout lovers, plus there's bacon in them. Who doesn't like bacon?

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Will the Real Turkey Please Rise?

Not all meals go smoothly. But while this year's Christmas dinner didn't turn out exactly as I planned, it did turn out completely delicious. Out of all my tried and true recipes I planned on making for Christmas dinner, only two ended up on the plates - simple mashed potatoes and my Apple Carrot and Parsley Dressing. All the rest of my recipes were new!

I know that you might be turkey-ed out now, but incase anyone out there plans for their next turkey as early as I do, here is the recipe that made my Christmas turkey the juiciest, crispiest, best Christmas turkey I have ever made.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

God Bless Us, Everyone

Merry Christmas everyone!

Instead of sharing a new recipe today, I'm sharing what my holiday dinner with you. These are tried and true recipes I've shared with you before, with the exception of one, and now you get a taste of what my holiday meal is going to be like. 

I hope all of yours taste as good as mine hopefully will!

Crispy Potatoes for Luke and simple mashed potatoes for me

And what's new? A Roasted Beet Salad with hazelnuts and cambozola cheese. I know this will be a great salad to make all winter and I'll share it with you soon!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Play With Your Food

It's Christmas Eve and I'm baking gingerbread cookies to hang on my Christmas tree this morning, but this year Santa might be getting something a little different to eat as he fills my stocking. This year I made Eggnog Fudge and it was as easy to make as it is delicious.

Let me start off by saying that I've never made fudge before and that I was a little apprehensive of making it with white chocolate, but this fudge is like no other fudge. It has marshmallows in it and set almost immediately.

Then, because it's Christmas Eve and everyone always feels a little childlike on Christmas Eve, I decided to get crafty and play with my food. I turned my Eggnog Fudge into snowmen! Read on for the recipe.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Gifts for Friends

I am a huge fan of gifting homemade goodies to friends year after year. I love that someone will be enjoying something I made and I feel like my gift is special because you could never buy exactly what I made at a store.

This year I have been busy making peanut brittle to share and I made it extra special by dipping it into chocolate and sprinkling red and green decorating sugar or sea salt on each piece. I hope my friends like my treats as much as I liked making them for them, but if not, it's always the thought that counts!

And if your friends or little ones have a nut allergy, Life Made Delicious has lots of great giftable treat ideas too. Their Top 10 Cookie Exchange / Homemade Gift includes Holiday Cake Bon Bons, and Russian Tea Cakes that I'll be trying soon!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Boiled Green Tomatoes

Maybe boiled green tomatoes doesn't sound as appealed as their fried cousins, but they certainly taste good in this Christmasy Green Tomato Chutney! 

You may or may not know that it's a tradition in my family to enjoy a succulent tourtiere every Christmas Eve and I love to serve mine with a chutney. This year's chutney is a little extra special because it's made with green tomatoes and ruby red dried cranberries. 

I am almost drooling at the thought of a piece of tourtiere smothered in chutney, so let's not waste anymore time. Read on for the recipe!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Delight or Fright?

Alright friends, I'm not going to ask you to guess what's in the foil wrapped package below because that's too easy. It's a little too obvious given the title of my post and the shape of my gift. The package contains a moist, dried fruit and nut filled fruitcake - completely drenched in brandy. 

So instead of what's in the package, I'm asking you to guess what making a loaf pan sized fruitcake would cost. I was certainly surprised by the cost, but since I know a few fruitcake fans and I love baking, I'd whip up a dozen more of them!

The person to who guesses closest to the dollar amount will get a New Year's treat named especially after them! Just include your guesses in the comments below or on my Facebook page and thanks for playing!

And don't be scared, there are no gross red and green cherries in this cake. It's just chock full of delicious-ness!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

What Came First, The Egg or the Nog?

I am not eggnog's biggest fan, but even the smell of eggnog makes me feel warm and Christmasy. My favourite eggnog recipe has got to be Eggnog Sponge because I love the way this easy to make cake separates into a creamy, eggy pudding on the bottom and a light, fluffy sponge on the top while it bakes. 
Also, the cake goes really well with a brandy laced whipped cream. But trying this comes with a warning - this Eggnog Sponge may make you really love eggnog!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Veggie Wreath

After the last twelve days of cookies I think I need a break from desserts. Wait, let me rephrase that. I will never need a break from desserts! 

After the last twelve days of baking cookies, I am glad my freezer is full of them, and now I need a break from baking desserts. I can now just pull out cookies and eat them to my heart's content. 

Today's post is still Christmasy, but it doesn't have even a speck of sugar in it. Instead it's full of red and green veggies and baked to look a bit like a wreath. Ready to make a new Christmas side dish favourite? Read on for the recipe! 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Twelfth Night

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

Eleven Peppermint Meringues, ten Yuletide Toffee Squares, nine Date Turnover Cookies, eight Werther's Caramel Peanut Butter Thumbprints, seven Swan Cream Puffs, six Orange Toffee Cookies, five Shortbread Wreaths, four Sesame Seed Shortbreads, three Snow Covered Chocolate Torte Cookies, two Turtle Cookies, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree Thumbprint!

And they're all stored in my freezer in a few big drums!

Ok, I know this is a bit of a cop out. What I wanted to share on the twelfth day of Christmas was my favourite recipe for Gingerbread Cookies again, I wanted to ice some drums on some of the gingerbread man cookies to create 12 drummers drumming. But I'm not quite ready to bake gingerbreads yet. I always bake them on Christmas Eve! So until Christmas Eve I'm going to leave you with a great photo of one of my favourite pups in the world, Olli!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Piped Happiness

I thought long and hard about what kind of cookie to make for the ninth day of Christmas and all that came to mind when I thought about eleven pipers piping was cookies decorated with beautiful piped icing. 

But Christmas should be about creating good memories, not painful memories and I hate piping icing onto cookies - it's just too much work! So I decided that piped icing cookies were definitely out. 

When I sent myself back to the drawing board I thought of a great recipe to share, piped meringues! And these meringues are as easy to make as they are delicious to eat too, so I know you'll want to try them. Read on for the recipe!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Lord's a Leaping

When you think of a lord, which country do you think of? I think of Scotland where there are tons of gorgeous old castles and lords living in them.

And when you think of Scotland, what food do you think of? I think of oatmeal, hearty and strong oatmeal. 

When you see the cookie that that the tenth day of Christmas has brought, along with ten lord's a leaping, you may think that I took a leap in the dark when I selected it. But I think that these cookie bars will more likely leap into your mouth. They aren't my mom and Luke's favourite Christmas treats for nothing. :)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sweet on Dates

I love dates. They provide a natural sweetness and stickiness to baking and who doesn't love something sweet?

I am not sure how dates got their name, but I do know that when I am invited out dancing by my Sweetheart it's called a date. And that's why the ninth day of Christmas is bringing nine ladies dancing and a few dozen Date Turnover Cookies!

These are not the type of cookie I would suggest making with kids because they're fiddly, but they're the perfect size for a kid to bite into at dessert.

Keep reading for the recipe!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Cream of the Crop

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Eight maids a milking and a prize from Werther's Original! 

Werther's recently had a great contest where everyone was asked to come up with an original recipe for Werther's Caramel Season. I love snacking on Werther's caramels but I haven't baked with them a lot, so I racked my brain for something delicious to enter. 

I finally decided to revamp one of my favourite cookie recipes to use Werther's Soft Caramels and I won! I thought that since these cookies involve whipping cream, it would only be fitting to share on the eighth day of Christmas :)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Bella Swan

To avoid any confusion, let me start by saying this - the seventh day of Christmas did not bring us a glittery vampire. The seventh day of Christmas brings us seven swans a swimming and some delightfully beautiful Swan Cream Puffs.

I did take a few liberties with my cookie of the day for the seventh day of Christmas as today's recipe isn't technically a cookie, but I think you will thank me for it. They're cute, yummy, and creative desserts.

I have seen similar desserts to my Swan Cream Puffs on the Internet for a while and I've been wanting to make them since the first day I saw them. But since they were intricate looking I expected them to be a lot of work and wanted to wait for a special occasion. And what better day to make Swan Cream Puffs than the for the seventh day of Christmas?

Keep reading to find out how I make my version of Swan Cream Puffs. They're pastry bag free and even have a candy topping like a Croquembouche! In fact, this recipe is very similar to my Croquembouche recipe. I just make the pastry balls larger, spoon them onto my tray instead of piping them, and serve them differently.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Golden Goose

A Golden Goose is something that will continue to make someone rich or successful for a long period of time. And a Golden Goose is what I always think of when I hear the the line about the sixth day of Christmas, six geese a-laying. I always think about six geese lining up and laying six beautiful golden eggs.

Anna Olson's cookie, Salted Orange Toffee Slices, are a Golden Goose of a cookie. They're perfect with tea, have golden flecks of orange zest and toffee throughout, and they're perfect for sharing - all points to keep someone happy, rich, and successful for a long period of time. 

I changed a few things from Anna's recipe, mostly because I couldn't get the perfect square shapes she called for, because I didn't like the sound of salt on the tops of my cookies, and because I am too impatient to wait two hours for my cookie dough to cool in the fridge. Keep reading for my version of the recipe. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Buttery Bites

Life can't get much better than when the fifth day of Christmas brings us five golden rings and at least five delicious golden shortbread wreath bites. I love using my cookie press and I love the memories using it brings me even more than than the treats I create with it. 

My Nana had a cookie press and I will always remember that tins of cookies she'd pull from the freezer during the holidays. Her tins were full of homemade cookies in all shapes and sizes, and she always made Shortbread Wreaths with her cookie press. 

Nana's wreaths were circled with light pink and green dots of icing, but when I tried to recreate her decorations, I fell a little short. I don't use a piping bag of icing very often and I don't have a very steady hand with one. So most of Shortbread Wreaths are dipped in semi-sweet chocolate instead. All I did was melt one cup of semi sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of shortening in my microwave and dipped away. 

I shared my Nana's cookie press Shortbread recipe last Christmas. For my Shortbread Wreaths, I just use a wreath attachment and savour the time I spend making my cookies. It's almost like baking with my Nana again. :)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Shortbread Season

Every year I make a few family-tradition Christmas cookie recipes, but I always like to try a few new recipes too. Today's recipe is one of the new cookies, but it's so delicious that it might find it's way onto my keep list for future holidays too!

I love shortbread cookies, but these aren't just any shortbread. Yes, the cookies have the standard shortbread blend of flour, butter, and sugar. But, they're so much more than that; there's also a ton of sesame seeds in them! And the sesame seeds made me think they were perfect for sharing on the fourth day of Christmas, the day that brings four calling birds :)

You'll be surprised at how easy these cookies come together and at how unique they taste. I think they're great with tea, but they'd also be great served along side a cheese plate because they aren't too sweet. 

Read on for the recipe! 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Snow Covered Treat

Today is the third day of my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies and the third day of Christmas brings three French Hens. French Hens is a tough concept to work with when coming up with a cookie to bake, so I  used a little creativity and looked at only the word French to come up with today's treat. 

I bet you think I came up with a French pastry or a macaron, but actually the snowy French Alps came to mind and I am sharing a Snow Covered Chocolate Torte Cookie today. 

These cookies are really decadent, but surprisingly easy to make. And for my gluten free friends, they don't even contain any flour. 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Turtle Loves

Christmas always brings more chocolates than I can eat. But I'd complain about that! Especially when the chocolates come in Turtles form! 

This year, at my house, the second day of Christmas is bringing us nothing less than one of the world's best chocolates transformed into one of the world's best cookies! These cookies incorporate the very best of Turtles candies. There's a chocolatey cookie as the base, then it's rolled in small pieces of pecans, baked until perfect, a small spoon of caramel is poured in the centre, and finally melted chocolate is drizzled over top. Could life taste any better? 

Thank you to the second day of Christmas that brings us two turtle doves and many more than two Turtle Cookies!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

12 Days of Christmas (Cookies!)

You all know how much I love Christmas, so I am going to try and get everyone of you in the Christmas mood by sharing a cookie recipe every day for the next 12 days.

My hopes are that you see at least one you like and get out your mixing bowls and measuring spoons to bake away. I know that's what coming up with these recipes has done to me!

Today's recipe is one I've shared before, but it's the one that made me come up with the idea to share a cookie a day for the next 12 days, so it's only fitting that we revisit the cookie today. Plus, the recipe is for the first day of Christmas, they're Partridge in a Pear Tree Cookies!

Does anyone have a type of cookie that they're raring to try? I'd love to help you out and share tips and tricks so you can bake up a batch to share with your friends and family. Just let me know what kind of cookie you're interested in and I will do my best to help you out!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Simply Delicious

Did you know that Thai curry paste is very different from Indian curry paste? Indian curry paste is made from mainly spices and Thai curry paste is made from many more fresh ingredients like shallots, chilies, and lemon grass. And chicken stock is only used in Indian curries, never in Thai curries; coconut milk is used in Thai curries instead. 

Most Thai curry recipes are traditionally made with raw chicken, but I like to use leftover turkey just as much. The flavour is equally as delicious and the recipe is made even easier with leftover turkey. 

I also like to switch the common side of rice with couscous for a more unique take on a traditional curry meal. I think couscous adds a new texture to the meal that is very unexpected, almost as unexpected as how easy and delicious the actual curry tastes.  

Read on for the recipe. And hungry people be comforted, this dish takes only 30 minutes to make!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Winter Warm Up

I know it's technically still fall, but I am excited about the upcoming holidays. And since I am getting my Christmas tree this weekend, I think it's ok to call the season winter. 

To me winter means frozen cold and, in true winter fashion, I had a brain freeze and discovered something about my slow cooker that I did not like. My brain freeze involved not defrosting my chicken all the way through before I put it into my slow cooker. My discovery was that my slow cooker does not cook ingredients in the middle of the slow cooker as quickly as it cooks ingredients at the edge of my slow cooker. 

Now I will only make this recipe with leftover chicken or turkey. The sauce is delicious and I won't ever feel nervous about eating meat from the middle of slow cooker!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Lattice All Eat Leftovers!

I truly believe that some of my best dinners are made from leftovers, particularly turkey leftovers. And tonight's dinner is no exception. In fact, it may be one of my best leftover dinners ever!

Today's recipe is my new version of a turkey pot pie, but the presentation is a little fancier with a lattice braided puff pastry topper. All you need to do is throw together leftover bites of turkey, leftover veggies, leftover gravy, and heat it before topping your meal with a piece of pastry. Yum!

Read on to find out my recipe. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Cuts the Mustard

Usually this idiom appears in negative contexts, but today I am sharing a positively awesome potato recipe that definitely cuts the mustard. They're similar to Luke's favourite Crispy Potatoes, but I think they're even better. 

This recipe is one that I've tweaked to work for me. My grandfather told my mom that he makes the dish by putting raw sauced potatoes directly in the oven, but that takes a long time to cook and I wanted a quicker recipe. My mom told me she boils her potatoes before saucing them and putting them in the oven, but I couldn't stomach washing an extra pot. 

I decided to pre-cook my potatoes whole in my microwave, chop them, sauce them, and bake them. I think it's the best way for the dish to work for me. Read on for my recipe.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Spiced Up Thanksgiving

Earlier this week I said I would be sharing new side dishes that would be great choices for my American friends' holiday this week, but I had to include one new main dish too. After just one bite of this pork tenderloin dish, I knew I had discovered a winner and I knew that it could be a perfect main dish to use instead of a turkey for a holiday meal. 

I saw a version of this recipe in a magazine and thought that my dinner could never look as pretty, but I wanted to try to make it anyway. As I prepared the meal I was shocked at how easily everything came together and how much it resembled what I had looked at in the magazine. 

If I can make it look this good, you can too. Read on for my version of the recipe.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Big Cheese

Before a few days ago, I hadn't eaten a cheesy cauliflower dish in such a long time. It had been so long that I thought I wouldn't even like it. I thought that cheesy cauliflower was a way to get kids to eat their veggies and adults would always prefer steamed or an Oven Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower instead.

I was wrong. And I don't know why I am surprised, I love cheese. 

Today's recipe is not a pour-microwaved-cheese-whiz-on-it kind of recipe, it does take a little more work, but the taste is leaps and bounds better than it's red necked cousin. Read on if you like what you see below.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Give Thanks

I am a proud Canadian, but I love turkey so I am happy to celebrate the upcoming American holiday as well as my own. And since I the holiday is about giving thanks, why not? 

For the next few days I'll be sharing a few new side dishes that I think could be perfect accompaniments to a turkey, a ham, or really any cozy home-cooked meal. And maybe you will think of them the next time you're wondering how to switch up your veggies. 

Today's post is about spiffing up a misunderstood veggie. I love Brussel sprouts and I like to think that this recipe may change the mind of some of sprout's less than biggest fans too - it's that good!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Homemade Heluva Good

I love a good dip to dunk veggies and chips into, but I don't love having to buy a full fat dip at the grocery store. I know that it tastes good, but I don't know what's in it and if it's bad for me. 

So what I've done is to make my version of a low fat Caramelized Onion Dip. It's got real veggies in it, not powdered soup, and it's full of healthy Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It's proven to be a winner in my house, I hope it will be a winner in yours too. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sliced and Diced

I don't usually sliced up a meal into bite sized pieces before I serve it to friends or family, but sometimes I think sliced food looks beautiful. Today's post is one of those rare occasions. 

I think this chicken looks great sliced into thin pieces and served with a salad on the side, but presentation is not all I slice this chicken for. I also slice it for practicality. The chicken inside the breading can absorb some of the salad dressing so that the breading doesn't go super soggy before I can get the plate to the table. 

And I'll give you a tip that I realized after I made my meal, if you want your plate to look even more picturesque and you're using frozen chicken (I did), make sure your chicken is fully defrosted before you bread it (I didn't). If you don't let your chicken fully defrost, while the chicken cooks, extra liquid will cook out, making the breading not stick as well. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lest We Forget

Today we remember all the brave men and women who have fought for our country and given us the freedom we are thankful for today; thank you to all the veterans and fallen soldiers.

The way I thank people, congratulate loved ones, and celebrate memories is with food. I put thought and work into cooking and baking to demonstrate my feelings and hope that everything is understood. I'll keep today's post short and sweet by sharing a Lemon Poppy Seed Bread today.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Cold Snap

All veggies have a peak season and one of the best things about the colder weather upon us is that this season’s peak veggies are some of the cream of the crop. Hardy veggies like winter squashes, carrots, beets, cabbage, and kale all thrive at this time of year and many varieties of these veggies actually taste sweeter and improve in texture when cold flashes hit. 

While roasting these veggies as a side dish is very common in many households, it can be hard to come up with new ways to cook with this season’s harvest. But, by incorporating cold weather’s harvest into casseroles, soups, and other main dishes, the sky’s the limit on the number of dishes you can whip up in a snap.

Try my Chicken and Squash Tagine, my prize winning Tuscan Veggie and Pesto Chicken Lasagna, my mom's Candy Cane Beet Slaw, my Minestrone Soup, or today's recipe - Roasted Veggie Medley with Parsley Sauced Fish. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Marv-elous Snack

The other day I shared a picture of a lemon cucumber and told everyone that the first person who could correctly name the veggie would get an appetizer created for them by me. 

The veggie was named pretty quick and my sister Mary was the first person to guess correctly. Mary told me that her favourite veggie was kale, so that's what will be in the dish that I am making just for her. 

Mary, or Marv as I like to call her, is a busy student; she's studying for two undergraduate degrees at the same time. So I wanted to make her an appetizer that didn't take much work, but would still taste great. 

One of Marv's degrees is involved with slugs and bugs, and while I wouldn't subject you to a chocolate covered snail, I think you'll find similarity between the shape of these appetizers and a snail. 

Ready for a taste? Keep reading. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sweet and Spicy

Sweet and spicy flavours always seem to pair together really well and though I like to think I have a good memory, I am usually surprised at the success of dishes that are both sweet and spicy. 

Today's post is all about a great rub for salmon that you can whip up in a flash. I think the salmon pairs really well with a risotto, but you could serve it with whatever you like. 

I also think that serving a piece of salmon on top of a pile of risotto looks very restaurant worthy. Luke disagrees because he doesn't like to have to move his fish off his side dish to cut it. 

What do you prefer? Piled high in the sky presentation or side by side presentation? 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Turn Back the Clock

Sometimes it takes a little extra time to see where we could use a little extra help...

The hour that we were given today when we turned back the clocks has helped me to see that some of my blog post photos are not very clear and could use a little help. So I've decided to go through some of my old posts and choose a few photos to update.

The first one is for a post in May 2011, Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs, I think my new photo is a little better than the last, but now I also know how hard it is to photograph spaghetti squash.

What will you be doing with your extra hour today? Whipping up a new dish, relaxing, or getting a head start on your holiday shopping? I want to do all three!

Friday, 2 November 2012

What Is This?

A few weeks ago I was at the Farmer's Market and I discovered a new vegetable. It wasn't a scientific discovery or anything like that, it was just a veggie for sale that I've never tried before. And since I've tried a lot of veggies, that's a pretty tall order.

Do you know what it is? Think hard now because the first person to tell me the correct answer wins an appetizer named after them!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Really Batty Pie

I tricked you didn't I? I bet you thought that yesterday's post was a rip off. I mean, it's night before Halloween and I made a Spring Vegetable Soup? What's Halloween-y about that?

Well that was the trick and now for the treat. Today's post is going to make you smile like a kid heading out to trick or treat. It's one of my favourite Halloween meal traditions and something that I am going to continue to make for my family for years to come.

Heres a hint: It's something that kids love and it's something that's as much fun to make as it is to eat. Why it's pizza of course!

But as it's a Halloween tradition, it's not just any pizza. It's Pumpkin Pizza! And I've kicked it up a notch for you this year too. Read on to find out all my tricks.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Spring Fling

When the weather's grey and dreary outside I love to enjoy a hot bowl of soup with toast on my sofa. It makes me feel cozy and I also get the added benefit of watching tv with dinner, something I don't always do!

Since the weather in Victoria BC has been exceptionally grey lately I knew not just any bowl of soup would do. It didn't long to come up with what would be a good fit because all I could think of was Spring and Spring made me want a Spring Vegetable Chicken Soup. Not only is this soup full of fresh spring-y veggies, but it's also a lovely spring green colour.

Deep down inside I know it's fall and my fling with spring will be short lived, but I think each bite pushes those thoughts further from my mind. I hope it works for you too!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Spooky Snack

Ok so maybe this brownie isn't spooky, but it is festive! I have shared my recipe for Chocolate and Banana Brownies before and now I've repurposed the recipe to fit the theme of Halloween.

Just whip up a batch of my Chocolate and Banana Brownies, but instead of using a cup of chocolate chips, use two boxes of Halloween themed Smarties or Reece's Pieces. I prefer the peanut buttery goodness of Reece's Pieces, but I have had trouble finding them recently. Luckily, there's nothing wrong with using Smarties!!

So what do you think? Will you be trying my Halloween edition of Chocolate and Banana Brownies?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pumpkin Eater

It's weird to think of pumpkin carving as anything other than an activity to make children smile, but pumpkin carving has existed for many, many years and it's origin many not be what you think it is.

Pumpkin carving started as a way to honour deceased loved ones and ward off evil spirits as people hollowed out beets, turnips, and gourds to create lanterns. But since pumpkins are bigger than turnips and other veggies, they eventually became the chosen vessel for the lanterns. 

I prefer to eat pumpkins, rather than carve them, but I still like to have a little fun. I think this meal lets me have my jack-o-lantern and eat it too. What do you think?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Scamper to the Table

I can never remember what Shrimp Scampi is. Whenever I hear those words I get a picture of a squirrel stuffing his mouth full of food for the winter and scampering around the yard to bury everything. And I know that's not what Shrimp Scampi is.

After spending a few minutes researching what Shrimp Scampi is, I realized it's a difficult meal to define. Scampi are actually small lobsters, or langoustines, so calling Shrimp Scampi by this name is actually just calling it Shrimp Big Shrimp. And that really doesn't define anything.

A little more research showed me that traditional recipes include shrimp sauteed with butter and garlic, maybe with some lemon juice and parsley on top. And the dish is usually served with pasta or rice.

My version is inspired by a healthy cooking recipe and includes artichokes and butternut squash instead of pasta or rice. It makes the dish lower in calories and carbohydrates, but is packs a lot of flavour.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mini Pie in the Sky

I'll be the first to admit that recently I may be using pumpkin seeds a little too often in my pumpkin desserts, but they are just so perfect that I can't help it!

Pumpkin seeds add crunch, decoration, and flavour to desserts. Plus, everyone knows as soon as they see them that the dessert hidden beneath the pumpkin seeds has to be pumpkin. 

Today's post is an easy to make pumpkin cookie decorated with (not so surprisingly) pumpkin seeds. I think they taste just like a pumpkin pie and now, since there's much less work, I'll get to enjoy one of my favourite flavours much more often!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fall Flavours

I just got Anna Olson's new cookbook, Best of Baking, and I am loving going through it. There are so many great recipes and tips in it and I'm learning a lot about baking. 

Even though Anna is a much better baker than I am, I still think that I have some great ideas that she didn't think of. One of them was to top her Pumpkin Muffins with Pumpkin Seeds before baking them. It adds a pretty decoration and a lovely texture to the muffins that otherwise wouldn't have been there. 

I made a couple of other small changes to Anna's recipe, just to use what I had on hand, but adding the pumpkin seeds was the definitely the best change I made! I don't know if Anna would like my addition to her muffins, but I sure think she would. Do you? 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Cold Nights = Warm Dinner

In Morocco, a stew that's cooked low and slow is called a tagine. Tagines are easy to make, use inexpensive cuts of meat, and make your whole house smell fantastic. I love them. 

However, a traditional tagine is cooked in a pot of the same name and I don't have a tagine. They're big earthenware pots with a lid that's curved up like a chimney to help cook the stew. I think my tagine would be better if it was cooked in the correct pot, but I really don't have room to store a pot that I'll use so infrequently. 

Luckily, this recipe is so easy to make that using any kind of covered oven safe pot with a lid will do. I bet even covering a baking dish with tin foil would do the trick. 

Read on for the recipe. I know you love it. 

Friday, 19 October 2012


Some holidays are all about fun and smiling and Halloween is definitely one of them for me. Halloween is for dressing up silly, overindulging on junk food, and having a great time.

To make the holiday extra special, I try and make meals really creative. Sometimes they're on the creepy side, sometimes they're orange and black, and sometimes they're just cute. I'll let you decide what today's post falls into yourself.

Today I am sharing a recipe from Life Made Delicious, Crescent Mummy Dogs. I didn't have any cheese slices on hand, so my version is slightly different, but both version are easy to make and taste delicious!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Creepy Crawly Dessert

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time for me to start celebrating Halloween. To me this means creating lots of creepy and cute Halloween themed snacks. 

Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing some of favourite, and also newly discovered, Halloween or pumpkin and squash treats. Get ready to trick or treat. 

My first treat is a delicious Pumpkin and Chocolate Swirl Cake with a White Chocolate Glaze. It would be beautiful served on it's own, but I decided to top each piece with a gummy spider. I think it adds a little extra fun into the holiday!

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Sweet Smell of Maple Bacon

The sweet smell of something other than turkey leftovers is fantastic a week after Thanksgiving, at least in my house where buying a turkey that weighs more than you can lift is a factor in choosing just the right one. 

And since I think that the sweet smell of maple bacon is always fantastic, I think you can guess how I'm feeling right about now. 

I do love peameal bacon, especially the peameal bacon sandwiches from the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, but I truly believe that maple bacon is a little more Canadian than its cornmeal rolled counterpart. 

Even if you don't agree with me, I think I might be able to persuade you in thinking that maple bacon is great and you need to try this Maple Bacon Macaroni. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Weekend Project

I have wanted to learn to make Char Siu Bau or BBQ Pork Buns for quite some time, but knowing that there were a lot of steps to the recipe and knowing I could buy them in the freezer section of my Asian market deterred me.

But since I've thought about making them for about five years, I figured it was finally time. And now having made them, I've figured out that they weren't so hard after all. 
And I've accomplished something I put my mind to! Maybe more than just accomplished it too, because they tasted spot on!
Find out my weekend project below, I used an article from the February 2011 issue of Fine Cooking to help me along the way. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Dessert into Dinner

Every year I have to get a little more creative to find ways to make my leftover turkey taste great and this year I've come up with a winner that's going to find it's way into my oven for years to come. 

I always make turkey pies, but I wasn't feeling like eating too much pastry after all the pumpkin pie I inhaled recently, so I decided to pull out a recipe for cobbler I used a few months ago. At first I thought that I was crazy thinking I could make a turkey pie with my sweet dessert topping. But then I thought about adding cheese to cobbler topping and of course I wouldn't use the sugary glaze, so why wouldn't it work? 

This dinner was a huge success! And it's is nothing like a dessert in way other than being delicious!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Pie in the Sky

I love to pile food high upon plates. I think it shows off all the little details of the dish and makes everything look beautiful. 

I especially love when I can show off details of a dish that look like they took ages to prepare, but they really took only mere moments of work. Today's recipe is one of those beautiful details with minimal work. 

I served a delicious pumpkin seed brittle on top of my traditional pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and I excited to tell you that there are only two little ingredients in it. Plus it's really easy to make!