Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps

Do you love the Ginger Molasses Cookie at Starbucks?? Me too!! I promise you this recipe tastes (in my opinion) pretty much exactly like the Starbucks one.

These gingersnap cookies are soft and chewy and moist just like the starbucks ones, they're just a little smaller. But hey... if you want you could make yourself a giant ginger molasses cookie with this recipe if you wanted to.

1 1/2 cups butter (softened)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar (for rolling cookies in)

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the egg one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the molasses.

In a seperate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Gradually add this to the creamed mixture (in about 3 or 4 additions). Mix well.

Refridgerate the dough for about 1 hour or until it's firmer and easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Roll into 1 inch balls and then roll in sugar. Place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned.

Cool on baking sheet for about 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.



Ooey-Gooey Turtle Bars

I made these little babies for our annual Christmas party this year and I've had a few requests for the recipe.

They are absolutely delicious... chocolately, caramely, nutty goodness!!

I got this recipe off the Pillsbury website a couple years back and it's become one of my favorite squares.

When you make these, it's a good idea to let them sit overnight before you cut them into squares. I had made them ahead of time last year and they cut perfectly, I made them the day of our party this year and they didn't cut and hold their form as well as they had after sitting overnight.

1 roll Pillsbury sugar cookie dough
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
3 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 jar of caramel ice cream topping
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Press the cookie dough evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9" x 13" pan.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups of the pecans over top of the dough and lightly press them into the dough. Set aside.

In a medium sized saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat, stir in the brown sugar, caramel topping and graham cracker crumbs. Bring this to a boil stirring contstantly. Pour over the crust in the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining cup of chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups of pecans.

Bake 25 - 32 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown and pecans are lightly toasted.

Cool these completely before covering with plastic wrap, then let the squares set overnight, especially if you're planning on cutting them into little squares for a platter or something. (It cuts better if it's left to set overnight).



Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

These tasty little treats are a cookie that my Mom has been making for years, they're super sweet and delicious.. just the right amount of cherry flavor to go perfectly with the chocolate.

I like to eat them while they're still warm so that the chocolate is nice and gooey!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp milk
1 jar of maraschino cherries (reserve 1/4 cup of cherry juice)
1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl combine the flour and cocoa and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter until softened. Add in teh sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda, mix until well combined. Add in the egg and vanilla, mix together then slowly add in the flour/cocoa mixture.

In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, combine the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips until melted. Stir in 1/4 cup of the reserved cherry juice and mix until completely smooth.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Press a cherry into the center of each cookie and bake for about 9-10 minutes.

Let cookies sit for about a minute after pulling them out of the oven and then cover each cookie with a spoonful of the melted chocolate mixture. Let sit on cookie sheet for another minute or so, then move to a wire rack to cool.



Sunday, 4 December 2011

Peanut Butter Blossoms with Caramel Kisses

So it's that time of year again... my absolute favorite time of the year.. Christmas!!!!! I am loving the snow, the lights, the decorations, Christmas music, and the cheerful atmosphere. I love every single thing about Christmas and I look forward to it all year.

One of my other favorite things about Christmas is of course Christmas baking!! One of my fave recipes are these peanut butter blossom cookies, I've been making them for years and they're absolutely delish!! You can use any type of Hershey's kiss that you like, but I always like to use caramel kisses.. adds a little extra something when you bite into them!

The dough for these can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge over night, I usually do that. And once they're baked they freeze well too if you want to make them ahead of time. I tend to make all my baking a few weeks in advance and then freeze it until our annual Christmas party.

1 cup butter (or margarine)
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup white granulated sugar (for coating)
Approx. 55 Caramel Hersey's Kisses

In a large bowl cream the butter, add in the peanut butter and sugars and beat until fluffly (approx. 2 mins). Add in the egg and vanilla and combine well, then add in the milk and mix until it's completely creamed into the mixture.

In a seperate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add it to the peanut butter in a couple off additions until well combined.

Cover the dough and chill in the fridge for an hour or so (or you can make ahead of time and put it in the fridge overnight to save time).

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and coat in the white granulated sugar and place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8 - 10 mins or until lightly browned. Immediately after removing them from the oven press one Hersey's Kiss to the center of each cookie.

Let cool completely.



Sunday, 6 November 2011

Pumpkin Pie

One of my very favorite desserts in the world is pumpkin pie, I could literally eat it every single day. I love the sweet yet spicy taste, the creamy texture..the all around deliciousness of this dessert.

I had always just bought my pumpkin pies, but this year I took a crack at making it myself and it turned out awesome, I don't think I'll ever buy it again. This pie turned out absolutely delish and it was super easy to make. I doubled up the recipe below and made two, because 1 pumpkin pie is simply not enough in this household.

1 (9") unbaked pie crust
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can light sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Whisk together the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and spices in a large bowl until well blended.

Pour into the uncooked pie crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 F. and continue baking for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted an inch away from the crust comes out clean.

Cool completely and store leftovers in the fridge.



Friday, 21 October 2011

Chicken Souvlaki Dinner

Opa is one of my favorite places to eat.. love their tzatziki sauce (which you can buy at Sobeys for those of you who are interested) their calamari, their chicken pita wrap, the chicken skewers.. yum!

So I decided to make my own chicken souvlaki. It turned out great, I think I'll be making this a lot more in the future.

2 large chicken breasts
2 lemons
2 palmfuls of  greek seasong (you can use more or less)
pinch of salt
Olive oil
2 pitas
seasoning salt
1/2 cup tzatziki sauce
I recommend marinating the chicken a day in advance.

Cut your chicken into good sized chunks (enough for 4 skewers). Put them into a large zip lock bag (the freezer kind). Cut the lemons in half and squeeze into the zip lock bag taking care to prevent the seeds from dropping into the bag. Add in the greek seasoning, a little bit of salt and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Seal the bag and sort of move the chicken around in the bag using your hands (from the outside of course! lol). Let this sit in the fridge overnight to marinate.

When you're ready to make your skewers, pull your bag of chicken chunks out and begin to slide them evenly onto wooden sheesh kebob skewers. Heat up your pan over medium-high heat (or a George Forman grill if you have it - that's what I used). Once the pan is hot add your chicken skewers and let cook evenly on each side (about 4 or 5 mins per side).

While your chicken's cooking you can make your pita. Warm up a pan over medium-high heat and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over your pitas. Once the pan is heated toss in your pitas (oiled side down) and let warm for about 1 - 2 minutes on that side, drizzle the un-oiled side with olive oil, flip and season with seasoning salt. Let other side warm for about 1 - 2 minutes. Take out and cut into 4 quarters.

Serve alongside your choice of salad (greek, cesar, etc.) along with tzatziki and you're all set!



Pumpkin Maple Fudge

I know, I know.. again with the pumpkin. But I can't help it!! This is a pumpkin fudge recipe, it turned out to be really tasty, but I recommend letting it sit for a day or two in the fridge before you eat it. I tried it after only a day and it was still really gooey - sort of like taffy, but on the second day it firmed up a lot and was easier to cut and serve.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups butter (cut into small pieces)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
2 cups white chocolate chips
4 cups mini marshmallows
3 tbps maple syrup

Very lightly grease a 9" square baking pan and set aside.

In a large saucepan whisk together the sugars, butter, evaporated milk, pumpkin and spices.

Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Continue boiling for 10 to 12 minutes or until a candy thermometer registeres 235 degrees F (the soft ball stage).

Stir in the white chocolate chips, then the marshmallows and maple syrup. Stir until melted and immediately pour into the prepared pan.

Let cool on the counter or move directly into the fridge. Refridgerate overnight or 1 day before serving.



Saturday, 8 October 2011

Super Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Again with the pumpkin (I know, I know.. I just love it so much!). I tried some store bought pumpkin chocolate chip cookies last year and they were really good, so I figured I'd give them a try myself.

They turned out great, nice and soft and almost cakey.. they were delicious.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 corn syrup
1 large egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add in the corn syrup and egg, beat together, then mix in the pumpkin puree.

In another bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add the dry mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Once combined, add in milk and mix that in well.

And now the most important part... add in those yummy chocolate chips and mix them in so they're distributed all throughout your delicious pumpkin dough.

Drop rounded (I did very large rounded) teaspoons of dough onto your cookie sheet (about an inch or two apart).

Bake for 11 minutes. Once they're done, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.



Peach Cobbler

My summer addiction for the last couple years has been white flesh peaches. I don't like normal peaches, but I LOVE white flesh peaches. The skin texture's a bit different, the flesh is much sweeter and they're SO much juicer. They're just fantastic!

Anyways, I remember as a kid my mom had made peach cobbler a few times and I just loved it. So what to do with all the extra white flesh peaches I had?? Peach cobbler of course!!

We took it over to a friends Suzy and Carl's for dinner and Carl actually uttered the words "This is something else" and according to Suzy he has mentioned it again a few times since! It was just as good as I remembered when my Mom made it, but even better because it was with white flesh peaches. And nice thing is, it's super easy to make!

Serve it up warm with ice cream = deeeelish!!

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
6 to 8 peaches
1/4 cup brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 F and grease 9 x 13 inch pan.

Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix well.

Add in the dry ingredients and blend together (don't over mix).

Slice up the peaches, put the pieces into a bowl and sprinkle brown sugar and a little bit of flour (about a tbsp of flour - this prevents the peaches from sinking too much) overtop of them. mix up until peaches are coated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and then drop the peach mixture over the batter evenly (DO NOT mix peaches into the batter, just let them sit on top).

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes (or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).



Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Pumpkin Banana Bread

It's that time of year.... the time of year when my pantry is overflowing with pumpkin!!! Mmm mmm mmm, my favorite thing about fall is pumpkin flavored goodies and I wanted to make a pumpkin banana bread. I didn't know what the combo would be like, but I figured I'd try it!

So I just took my regular banana bread recipe, and I switched out half the mashed banana for pumpkin puree and I added a bit of pumpkin spice and voila!! Delicious, heavenly pumpkin banana bread!

This recipe makes 2 loaves.

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup butter
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Mix dry ingredients into one bowl and sift together.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, banana and pumpkin and combine well.

Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture over a few additions and combine well. Once everything is all mixed up nicely, you can add in the chocolate chips if you'd like to add them.

Pour into your loaf pans and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.



Saturday, 24 September 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I was at my best friends house for dinner a couple weeks back and she made some chicken enchiladas that were to die for!! I hadn't had an enchilada in so long and I had forgotten how much I loved them.

She gave me her recipe for them, so I used that - plus (I did as we all do) I added a little bit of my own flavor to it and winged it a bit, and they turned out awesome! I think this will probably end up being a regular meal for us for a while. So a big thank you to my bestie Cassandra for giving me her recipe and the inspiration and guidelines for this great dish!

This recipe makes 8 servings

2 chicken breasts (boiled and shredded)
8 medium sized whole wheat tortillas
1/2 a sweet onion (diced)
1 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper for seasoning
1/2 pkg of old el paso taco seasoning
1 cup rice
2/3 cup of light cream cheese
1/2 cup refried black beans
1 can of corn niblets
2 cups shredded tex mex cheese
3 sliced green onion (cut off majority of green part)
2 cans enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Start by boiling your chicken on high for about 20 minutes. When it is cooked through, take it out and shred it using 2 forks. While you're shredded the chicken, heat a bit of oil in a large skillet and add the onion. Once chicken is shredded, add it in with the onion.

Start your rice on it's own and also begin heating your enchilada sauce over medium-low heat (add a tsp of the taco seasoning into the enchilada sauce).

Add in the garlic, salt & pepper and taco seasoning into the chicken/onion mixture. Cook for a couple minutes on its own. Add in the cream cheese and refried black beans then mix well into the chicken mixture until the cheese is melted and gooey.

Drain your canned corn niblets and then add them and your rice into the chicken mixture and again mix well.

One at a time add about a tbsp of enchilada sauce to each tortilla and then fill each tortilla with a generous amount of the chicken mixture and about a tbsp of shredded cheese and roll it up (be prepared to get your hands messy) taking care to make sure all the fillings are tucked in well. Then lay the filled tortillas in your casseroll dish side by side nice and tight.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce overtop of the tortillas in your casseroll dish and then add the remaning shredded cheese overtop. Bake in the oven uncovered for about 15 minutes, and once it reaches 15 minutes, put it on broil for about 2 minutes (watching to make sure it only reaches the point where the cheese bubbles a bit).

Top with sliced green onion and serve with your favorite toppings (We like guacamole and sour cream).



Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Super Moist Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

I always forget how much I love autum. There's always that sadness at the end of summer, but as the fall creeps in I always look forward to the beautiful colors, the cool days when you need to wrap up in a cozy sweater, curling up on the couch with my honey and of course the delicious smells of fall foods... like pumpkin... mmmmm. Glorious pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scones, pumpkin pies.. and my new guilty pleasure.. pumpkin spice cake!!

This cake was incredible! It tasted like pumpkin pie, but a cake! So delicious and moist and addicting. I made it Friday night and it was polished off by Sunday night (sad thing is, it was just me and the hubby who enjoyed that whoooole cake ourselves!).

I hope ya'll like it and that it puts you in the mood for autum just as much as it did for me!

For Cake
3/4 cup unsalted, softened butter (plus extra for greasing the pan)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin pie filling (not pure pumpkin, I think the pumpkin pie filling is a bit sweeter)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tbsp icing sugar (to dust greased pan)

For Icing
2 8 oz. pkgs cream cheese (at room temp.)
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. maple extract (more if you want a stronger taste)
3 cups icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease your bundt pan and dust with icing sugar and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl mix together pumpkin pie filling, buttermilk and vanilla.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl at medium-high speed until fluffy (about 4 mins). Add eggs and beat for 1 more minute. Reduce the speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Pour the batter into your bundt pan and smooth it across the top. Bake for about an hour (check after 50 mins) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a rack for about a half hour, then place serving plate on top of pan opening and flip again, let it cool for a little while longer until you're able to remove the pan.

While the cake is cooling you can make your icing by creaming together the cream cheese and butter, add the maple extract and then icing sugar. Mix on medium-high until nice and smooth, pour over your cake and serve!



Saturday, 3 September 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Balls

Sooo turns out I've still been a very bad blogger.. even after my last post/promise. But what can I say? It's been an insanely busy summer and I've barely had time to bake let alone do any posts! With fall and winter approaching I'll be housebound and a little busier in the kitchen.

My hubby's birthday was last weekend and I made a lot of delish treats (chocolate peanut butter cake balls, butterfinger cheesecake tarts and chocolate chip cookie cups filled with macadamia nuts and white chocolate ganache) that I intended to make it onto the blog.. but in the excitement of the weekend (and of actually eating the treats) I completely spaced out on taking any pictures of them!!! :(

These cake balls were amazing.. super moist and delicious and since the outside is just chocolate, I have used a picture of a previous set of cake balls that I made that were also chocolate on the outside. Even though these aren't the exact same cakeballs, they look the same on the outside (except the pic is of semi-sweet chocolate and this post has milk chocolate). Next time I make these I PROMISE to take pictures!

1 box of chocolate cake mix (I used swiss chocolate) or your fave choc. cake recipe.
2 cups peanut butter
2 cups icing sugar
6 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
Approx. 1/4 cup of milk
About 2 - 3 cups of chocolate chips

Bake the cake as directed on box and let cool completely.

While the cake is cooling make your chocolate icing by mixing the peanut butter and butter together. Once mixed, slowly add the icing sugar in, then the vanilla. The icing will be kind of crumbly, not smooth, this is when you add the milk... slowly add the milk until you reach a really smooth creamy consistency (you may need a bit more than a 1/4 cup).

Once the cake is cooled completely, crumble it into a bowl and add the peanut butter icing to it. You'll have to get in there with your bare hands and mix it together until the cake is completely moist and saturated with icing.

Put the mixture into the fridge for a couple hours to chill and harden up a bit so it's easier to roll into balls. When ready, line 2 baking sheets with wax paper and roll the cake into 1.5 inch balls and place it on the wax paper. Once they're all laid out, put them in the freezer for about a half hour to harden.

Melt the chocolate chips (1 cup at a time as needed) in a microwaveable bowl for about two minutes- checking on them after 1 minute and stirring to make sure it doesn't burn.

Drop the cake balls into the chocolate mixture one at a time with a spoon and coat completely,  then put them back onto the wax lined baking sheet to cool again.

Once they're all coated, pop them back into the fridge for about an hour to harden the chocolate. Keep stored in the fridge afterwards as well.



Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sea Salted Caramels

Hey Everyone!

I know I've been a very bad blogger, and it's been like 3 weeks since my last post, but this summer has been super hectic and it seems I have less time to blog. But trust me, this winter I'll be stuffing my face every weekend and there will be more to post! Summer is just so busy since we're always on the go and tend to go away on the weekends.

But I promise this post is a good one, these are super delish and are very addicting! Who knew salt and caramel could go together so well!

This recipe was adapted from Annie's Eats.

3 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp salted butter (cut into pieces)
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt

Line the bottom of a 9 x 9 baking pan with wax paper, and grease with cooking spray or butter. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the cream, butter, vanilla extract, and just a teensy-tiny pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil without actually stirring, just gently swirling the pan occasionally until it reaches a light golden caramel color.

Strap your candy thermometer onto the side of your saucepan, then slowly stir the cream mixture into the caramel mixture - be careful because it will begin to bubble up, so you need to pour this slowly while stirring.

Continue simmering the mixture, stirring occasionally until your candy thermometer reaches 248 F.

Immediately remove it from the heat and pour into your prepared pan. After about 15 minutes, sprinkle the sea salt overtop. Then let it cool for about 30 minutes until it's completely set and cooled.

Cut into small pieces (a greased up pizza cutter works great). You can wrap these in wax paper or put them into mini cupcake papers.

I would store these babies in the fridge the next time I make them because they flattened out a bit when I left them out on the counter overnight. Keeping them in the fridge, should help them keep their thickness and prevent them from flattening out.



Thursday, 14 July 2011

Macaroni Salad

A couple weeks ago I threw this salad together for our friends daughters bday BBQ. I kinda used my mom's mac salad as a guideline, but did my own style dressing. It turned out great!

This is a great macaroni salad for BBQs or for a nice simple side dish in the summer time.

The trick with preventing the sauce from soaking into the noodles is to run cold water over the noodles and then coat them in oil.

1 1/2 to 2 cups of elbow macaroni noodles
3 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup light mayo
1/3 cup light sour cream
handfull of fresh dill (diced)
2 green onions (diced)
2 cloves garlic (grated)
1/2 tsp horseradish (optional)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (cut into small squares)
1/2 cup honey ham (cut into small squares)
1/3 cup cherry tomatoes (cut into halves)

Start by boiling your macaroni until it's cooked. Once it's done, run it under cold water in your strainer for a couple minutes. Pour into a large stainless steel bowl and add the 3 tbsp of olive oil. Mix the macaroni well until all the noodles are coated in oil. Set aside while you make your sauce.

Mix together the mayo and sour cream, add in the dill and green onion, grate the garlic into it with a fine grater (you don't want to bite down on chunks of garlic!). Add in the pinch of salt and the horseradish and mix all of these ingredients well.

Add the dressing to the noodles and mix together until all the noodles are coated. Once they are well coated, add in the cheese, ham and tomatoes and mix those in as well.

Store in the fridge until you're ready to serve.



Saturday, 9 July 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

I really like lemon meringue pie and have always wanted to make it, so I thought I'd take a crack at making it at home recently and it was really good!

To prevent the meringue from "weeping" you add cornstarch into the egg whites along with the sugar while you're making your meringue and be sure to add the meringue onto the top of the pie as soon as the filling is done so it's still super hot! It will cook the bottom of the meringue a little bit and that also helps prevent weeping.

Do not store this in the fridge before serving unless you absolutely have to.

Pie Filling
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 to 1/3 cup lemon juice + the zest (approx. 2 large lemon's zested and squeezed)
2 tbsp butter
4 egg yolks (beaten)
1 9" pie crust (either your fave homemade receipe or store bought)

5 egg whites
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tbsp corn starch

Make and bake your pie crust and let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Make your meringue first so it's ready to go lonto the pie as soon as the lemon filling is poured into the crust.

In a large bowl, whip your egg whites on high until foamy, add in the sugar and the cornstarch gradually and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside until the filling is ready.

Start by making your lemon filling. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook this over medium-high heat stirring frequently until it comes to a boil. Then stir in the butter. Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and beat, then slowly add in a 1/2 cup of the hot lemon mixture from the saucepan and mix well. Once that's done, whisk the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan as well. Continue to cook stirring constantly until thick. When it's done, immediately pour it into the cooled pie crust.

Top with the meringue immediately after your pour your pie filling. This will cook the bottom of the meringue a little bit and will help prevent weeping. Make sure you spread the meringue out completely and make a seal between the pie crust and meringue.

Bake in the oven for about 10 - 12 minutes until the tips of the meringue are golden brown and toasty.



Monday, 4 July 2011


I love baklava a lot.. my Mom used to buy big trays of it from Byblos Bakery here in Calgary when I was younger and I've always really enjoyed it. I decided to try and make it myself this past weekend for our girls game night and it turned out awesome!! I was told they looked very authentic and that they were just as good as my friends Mother's who happens to be lebanese, so that was a great compliment!

It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, it was just time consuming. Especially since I couldn't find shelled pistachios so I had to do that myself.. so word to the wise, if you can find them shelled do that instead!

I did both a square baklava and a rolled Baklava so I'll post recipes for both below.

Square Baklava

1 package of phyllo pastry
1/2 stick of butter (melted)
1 to 1 1/2 cups pistachios (crushed in blender or food processor)
1/2 cup walnuts (crushed in blender or food processor)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 F, butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and set aside.

Cut the sheets in half to fit the pan, then set 6 sheets of pastry aside (be sure when you're handling the phyllo pastries you keep them covered with a damp cloth (damp - not wet) so they don't dry out.

Start by layering 2 sheets of phyllo pastry on the bottom of the baking pan brushing butter over them until you've reached 8 sheets.

Sprinkle 3 tbsps of pistachio and 1 tbsp pistachio over the first layer and then top with 2 more sheets of pastry, butter those 2 sheets and top again with nuts, continue doing this 2 sheets at a time until you're done.

Layer the remaining 6 sheets that you set aside earlier on top, brushing them with butter every 2 sheets until you're done (make sure you butter the top layer as well).

Cut these into squares before putting it into the oven to bake.

Once they're cut into squares, put them in the oven and bake for about 55 to 60 minutes, until golden brown.

While the baklava is baking, when it's about 30 mins away from being done make the syrup by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Once it reaches a boil, add in the 1/2 a cup of honey and tsp of vanilla and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the baklava is ready, pull it out of the oven and immediately spoon the syrup mixture over the baklava evenly. Top each square with a little bit of pistachio if desired.

Set the baklava aside and let it cool (and soak up the syrup) for about a 1/2 an hour to an hour. Remove from pan and serve in cupcake liners.

Now time for the rolled baklava!!

Rolled Baklava

3/4 package of phyllo pastry
1/2 stick of butter (melted)
1 to 1 1/2 cups pistachios (crushed in blender or food processor)
1/2 cup walnuts (crushed in blender or food processor)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F., grease a rectangular baking sheet and set aside.

Take 2 sheets of phyllo pastry and lay flat, brush with butter and top with 3 tbsp pistachios and 1 tbsp of walnuts. Take chopsticks (or whatever long instrument you have - sheesh-kabob sticks would work too - I used chopsticks and found they worked great) and lay them at the edge of the pastry where you're going to begin rolling them and fold the dough over the chopsticks.

Use them to roll the dough over and over tightly until done. Then scrunch the dough pushing from each end until it looks like an accordian and slide the chopsticks out. Place in the baking sheet.

Continue doing this until baking sheet is full. Then brush a layer of butter overtop of the completed baklava before putting it in the oven (this will help it brown up nicely). Cut them in half to double up the amount of rolls.

Bake in the oven at 350 F. for about 25 to 30 minutes.

While the baklava is baking make your syrup by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Once it reaches a boil, add in the 1/2 a cup of honey and tsp of vanilla and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the baklava is ready, pull it out of the oven and immediately spoon the syrup mixture over the baklava evenly.

Set the baklava aside and let it cool (and soak up the syrup) for about a 1/2 an hour to an hour. Remove from pan and serve in cupcake liners.



Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Peach Bellini Iced Tea

I wanted to have a nice refreshing beverage for the lovely ladies in my book club... I was trying to think of my fave bevies.. and I love, love, LOVE Joey's peach bellini's.. so I decided to do up an iced tea with the same idea.

Turned out pretty good.. you might want to add a bit of sugar into yours (I didn't) to sweeten it up a bit, but it's really tasty even without.

6 cups of iced tea (I just used the Nestea instant powder - but you can use real tea if you'd prefer)
4 cups peach juice
1 peach

In a large pitcher, mix up your iced tea, add the peach juice and stir together.

Cut up the peach into about 6 slices and add into the pitcher along with ice.

And there you have a nice refreshing summer beverage!



Monday, 27 June 2011

Super Easy S'mores

These are the easiest (and most delicious) s'mores ever!! My Mom used to make it all the time when I was younger, it was one of my fave after school snacks, and it's definitely a great little dessert to bring camping.

This recipe is adapted from the Golden Grahams recipe on the back of the box.... yes, you heard me right. But trust me.. you'll love it!

10 cups golden grahams cereal
10 cups mini marshmallows
2/3 cup butter
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Measure the cereal into a large bowl and set aside. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside as well.

In a large pot melt the butter, 8 cups of the mini marshmallows and the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring frequently until it's completely melted and smooth.

Pour the mixture over the cereal in the bowl and quckly toss and mix until the cereal is completely coated and gooey, then stir in the remaining 2 cups of marshmallows.

Press the mixture into the 9x13 pan, using the back of a greased spoon. Put it in the fridge to cool for about 10 minutes until they are firm enough to cut into bars. Or if you are planning on eating them right out of the pan a slice at a time, then you can let them cool on the counter and cut pieces as needed (be sure to cover tightly with plastic wrap once they're cooled).

You can pop these into the mic for a few seconds if you want to get them all gooey again.



Monday, 20 June 2011

Cookie Dough Truffles

Who doesn't love ooey gooey cookie dough?! I love it in ice cream, I love licking the spoon when I make cookies.. and I love, love, love these cookie dough truffles!

Nice soft cookie dough covered in milk chocolate.. to.die.for. I promise. I got this recipe off of the "Recipe Girl" blog.

The pictures didn't turn out great, but don't worry - I'll be making these again soon and I'll be sure to update the photo then.

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups (approx.) of milk chocolate dipping wafers or bark (melted)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar, mix well and then add the vanilla. Beat in the flour one cup at a time until it's incorporated and you no longer see chunks of brown sugar (if you see any, just squish them with your finger). Beat in the sweetened condensed milk and mix until well combined, stir in the chocolate chips.

Refridgerate the dough until firm (about an hour - maybe more if you want it to be really firm which makes it easier for dipping). Once the dough is hardened up a bit and is ready to go, line a cookie sheet with wax paper, and roll the dough into 1 inch balls (you can make them a bit bigger if you want to - I do! But they are pretty rich and sweet, so for most people a little ball is good). Drop them onto the cookie sheet and pop them in the fridge again until you're ready to dip them.

Melt the chocolate wafers/bark in a microwave safe bowl for 40 seconds at a time stirring in between until completely smooth and melted.

Use a spoon and roll the balls around in the chocolate until well coated, scoop out with the spoon, shake off the extra chocolate as well as you can and then drop back onto the cookie sheet to firm up.

Refridgerate until ready to serve.



Thursday, 16 June 2011

Smoothie Dessert

Since I tend to eat a lot healthier during the week, when I'm running low on WW points at the end of the day, I'll sometimes have a smoothie for my "treat". It's nice and sweet and extremely filling! And best of all, this is only about 1 or 2 WW points. And it only takes about 5 minutes to make!

You can use any type of fruit or low fat Yoplait Source yogurt, it's up to you, but this concoction I've listed below is great.

You can either make it a bit thicker or you can blend it longer to make it thinner and easier to suck up a straw.. I like to eat some of it with a spoon, and suck some of it up with a straw.. haha!

1 small banana (sliced)
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup Yoplait Source Exotik Collection - Pineapple-Coconut-Banana yogurt
2 tbsp splenda

Put the fruit into a long tall tupperware or something similar, top with ice and yogurt (make sure to pour the yogurt on top).

Using an immersion hand blender, start to slowly pulse the mixture not forcing the blender (you don't want to damage it) but blending it longer and longer as the mixture begins to break down and blend easier. Once it starts to get smooth, add the splenda and continue to blend well.

Blend the mixture until it's to your desired thickness, pour it into your serving dish or cup and top with a frozen strawberry.