Sunday, April 6, 2014

Crunchy Chewy Ginger Cookies

This is a new cookie recipe that I tried out at Christmas and it's become a favourite ever since.  As per usual, I changed it a bit.  I can't help trying to make it better so I've added the changes for you.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
 1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup of shortening (I use Crisco)
1/4 softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
one egg
1/3 cup of stem ginger, finely chopped
1 cup of turbinado (or raw) sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In stand mixer, cream shortening, butter and white and brown sugars til fluffy.   Add in the egg (I always remove the yucky white strands from the yolk) and the molasses and the stem ginger. Mix well.

Now I like to mix all the dry ingredients (except the turbinado sugar) in a large measuring cup or a batter bowl.  Gently mix these into the wet ingredients.

Roll batter into one inch balls and roll them in the turbinado sugar.  Bake for 10 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet....12 cookies to a sheet.  Should make about 48 cookies.  You can freeze batter if you don't want to bake all at once.  I just put it into a zip bag and let it thaw before rolling into balls and baking.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Oatmeal Bars with Icing


1 3/4cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup molasses
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp milk

350 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.

In a Kitchenaid mixer, beat shortening and sugar together. Beat in eggs, the molasses and vanilla.  Then mix in dry ingredients.

 Then mix in oats, raisins and pecans.  Cut batter into four.  Form each into a log, two length-wise on each cookie sheet.  Bake for 19 - 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes and cut into 1 inch bars.  After the bars are completely cool, stir icing sugar and milk together and drizzle over bars.

Coffee Toffee Cookies


2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
1 Tbsp hot water
2/3 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup toffee chips (I used Skor)

350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment.

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together.  I do this in my large measuring cup so I don't have an extra bowl to wash.  In a large bowl, whisk espresso powder and hot water together and then add butter and sugar and vanilla.  Stir well to mix and if mixture is still hot, mix in eggs a few drops at a time so you won't get scrambled eggs.

Add dry mixture to wet and mix as little as possible to incorporate.  Fold in chips.

This will make 24 cookies and they spread out so only 6 per sheet, 2 Tbsp per cookie.
Bake 16 minutes, let cool and then bake remaining dough.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mustard Beans


16 cups of yellow beans, washed and cut into pieces (I used 10 cups)
3 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of dry mustard
1/2 cup of flour
3 cups white vinegar
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 Tbsp turmeric

So it won't be lumpy, whisk the dry mustard and flour together.  Add one cup of vinegar at a time and whisk until there aren't any lumps.  Boil the beans just until they are tender and then drain.  I then put them in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Pour your mustard and flour mixture into a large pot.  Add the sugar and spices and cook until boiling.  At the same time, I am sterilizing my bottles.  If you need directions, check my blog for chili sauce post.

  Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens like caramel.

Dump your beans in.

Gently stir to mix beans in sauce.

Spoon into your sterilized jars.

The recipe says it makes 7 pints but I didn't have enough beans for 16 cups.  I had about 10 cups but I made the full sauce recipe and I used it all.  I would advise you to use 10 cups.  I used 5 and 1/2 small jam jars and 2 pints jars.  I then did a 10 minute water bath (except the part jar which went right into the fridge).


Monday, June 17, 2013

Blueberry and Peach Clafoutis

I can't believe I haven't already posted on this dessert.  It is definitely in my top ten.  Over the years, I've tried many different recipes for clafoutis and this one is a variation of Julia Child's.  I think I like it the best.


1 1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
pinch salt
1/2 cup flour

4 peaches
approx a cup of blueberries
1/3 cup white sugar
icing sugar

This is such an easy recipe...exactly the kind I like.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your deep dish pie plate (I use an oil baking spray).  In a blender, mix the first 6 ingredients until very smooth.  You can strain the batter if you haven't removed the white stringy bits from the eggs or if you have any lumps.  Pour a thin layer onto the bottom of your pie plate and place in the oven to set.  Peel and section your peaches.  I used frozen blueberries but I usually use fresh ones.  Take out the pie plate and arrange your fruit.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of sugar.  

Pour in the rest of the batter and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden and puffed up.

Let it cool and then sprinkle with icing sugar.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Wild Blueberry Sauce

Wow, it's sure been a long time since I posted here.  I have been eating but not very well.  I also haven't been trying out new recipes or bothering to photograph anything.  That better change as we get into swimsuit season ;)...

Tonight I made Pork Tenderloin with Wild Blueberry Sauce...


pork tenderloin
dried thyme
salt and pepper
1 tsp oil
1/4 cup red wine

Blueberry Sauce

1/2 cup red wine
1 cup wild blueberries (I used frozen)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rub pork tenderloin with salt, pepper and dried thyme.  Heat oil in an oven proof pan and brown tenderloin.  Deglaze pan with red wine and roast in oven for 30 minutes. Let meat rest while you make the sauce.

Turn heat up to med-high.  Add red wine, blueberries, sugar and lemon zest and bring to a boil.  Mix cornstarch with a little cold water and stir into hot pan.  As soon as sauce thickens, spoon over slices of pork and serve.  I roasted fingerling potatoes, garlic and carrots in the oven while the pork was cooking to make a simple supper.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I was using up an over ripe banana today...


1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about 1 large)
1/2 cup buttermilk (you can substitute sour cream)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf pan with non-stick spray.

Beat butter and sugar together until creamed.

Beat in eggs, banana and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips.  Fold in flour, baking soda and salt.

Note - I ran out of A-P flour and substituted 1 C pastry flour and 1/2 C wholewheat flour

Bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in the top comes out clean.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Veggie Delight Croissant

This is one of my favourite summer sandwiches even though it is February.  You really need cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts but you can use other veggies - like tomato, cucumber, spinach, sweet onion.

Tonight I baked up some fresh croissants (I buy mine at Almost Perfect.  They need at least 8 hours to thaw and rise.)

Then I slathered on cream cheese, thinly sliced cucumber and tomato and topped it all with sprouts.

Yum yum.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Weight Loss 2012

I haven't posted in a while but I have still been cooking.  The pressures of the Christmas season have gotten in the way but I promise I will start posting again.  I need to start cooking healthy food again.  There was too much fat food indulgence this Christmas.  I started last year trying to get healthier by planning menus and it worked.  I hate to admit it but I started the year weighing 236 lbs and then I went on to LOSE 37 lbs.  Still feels good to say that.  I'm really happy with what I've accomplished this year but this is only the beginning.  I have a goal to lose 50 more lbs.  Wish me luck!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Oatmeal Crispies

I am going to share my Grandma's recipe for oatmeal crispies.  This was a favourite childhood cookie for our whole family.  They have been shared with a lot of friends who enjoy eating them, maybe they'd like to make them as well and you might too!

For Christmas, I fancied it up a bit by adding a cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of Skor bits and omitted the nuts.

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Cream the shortening and sugars.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Combine the dry ingredients and then stir into the wet ingredients.  Fold in the chocolate and toffee (or the nuts).
Form into one inch balls and press onto parchment lined cookie sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Makes 5 dozen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Puff Pastry Pinwheels

This is a no-fuss appetizer for Christmas parties.  Only 4 ingredients - store-bought sheets of puff pastry, slices of deli ham, grated cheddar cheese and a fancy mustard.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Unroll a thawed sheet of puff pastry, and slice it in half.

Spread a nice mustard, thinly on top.  I used a grainy mustard flavoured with whiskey, but use your favourite.

Lay 3 or 4 slices of ham on each section and spread a handful of grated cheese, mostly along the middle.

Roll up the pastry, make sure when you get to the end, that you tuck the filling in and press pastry to pastry so it will seal.  Then slice into about one inch pieces and bake on parchment paper for about 20 minutes until lightly browned.  In Canada, you can buy sheets of puff pastry from President's Choice.  They come rolled in parchment and I just use those sheets to bake them on.

The roll can be made up a day ahead and wrapped up in the fridge to be baked just before your guests arrive.  They are tasty - just out of the oven or even when they are room temperature.  Enjoy.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Caprese Pasta Salad

In the interest of not wasting food, I rifled through the fridge tonight to come up with a light fresh pasta salad for dinner.  I went out to Red Lobster for lunch today with my Mom and my cousin, Dot so we wanted something lighter for dinner.  I had some girlfriends over for an Italian feast last Friday.  We had Antipasti, Caesar Salad, Lasagna, Fettucine Alfredo and Brownies for dessert.  There was some leftover bocconcini and grape tomatoes in fridge so I built my pasta salad around these.

I cooked some pasta - drained and cooled it.  Then I made the dressing, 2 Tbsp of mayo, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 tsp of dried basil, salt and pepper.  If I had fresh basil, instead I would have used a Tbsp or two cut in a chiffonade.

Add the past and stir to coat.  Then stir in mozzarella and tomatoes and serve.  It's a nice side dish or light supper.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Easy Peasy Homemade Jam

 In the interest of saving money as well as having delicious jam for family and friends, make your own.  If you have never done this before and you are intimidated, don't be!  It is easy peasy!

Gear you will need...
2 large pots (a large dutch oven for jam and a larger one for sterilizing jars)
(Hint - if you don't have a canning pot, check second hand stores or sites like Kijiji)
Canning jars
a large mouth funnel
soup ladle
wooden spoon
potato masher
2 bags of frozen fruit
6 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
liquid Certo
I made the jam pictured above for $9 (not including the cost of the "gear" as you will use it over and over.  You will only need to buy new lids for the jars each time).
Start with a couple of bags of frozen fruit.  I always to get these on sale.  These are mixed berries but I've used raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, peach, etc.  Put your clean jars into the canning pot.  Make sure the water covers them and set them on high to bring to a boil.
Pour the berries into the other pot.  Mash them (the front of the pot has been done and the back is still whole berries).  Add lemon juice and sugar.  Turn on high and stir to melt the sugar into the berries.
Bring the jam to boil and boil hard for a couple of minutes.

Take off the heat and pour in envelope of Certo.  Stir gently for at least 5 minutes.  This is an important step.  It helps the fruit from floating to the top of your jars and I find that I rarely have any "scum" on top to skim off.  If you are left with any foamy bits, make sure you skim them off with a spoon.
Now you are ready to bottle.  Your jars need to have boiled for at least 15 minutes.  I boil my tongs, ladle, funnel and rings for at least 5 minutes.  The lids with their rubber rings only need about 3 minutes to activate the seal.
Remove the jars with the tongs, place the funnel in each jar with the tongs, ladle jam into each jar (leave about 1/4 inch of space), set the lid on each jar with the tongs and twist on the rings until tight.  Basically you are doing everything with sterilized tongs until you twist the ring on.  You need to have everything clean so your jam doesn't spoil.  With the funnel, you will avoid getting jam on the edges of your jars.  If you do, use a clean dishcloth with very hot water to wipe off the edges.  After a few minutes, you will hear the jars start to "pop".  Once they are cool, see if the rings might need tightened again.  See - easy peasy and cheap!  Now make your own...