Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Fa la la la la, la la la la.......
tis the season

to bake!
Candied Fruit Log

For a few years now, I have not baked cookies for Christmas.
Cookies do take extra effort and I have been baking fabulous desserts when invited instead.

This year I was in the mood to bake the cookies that I learned to make with my Sicilian neighbor, who bless her,
has passed on.
She was a wonderful baker.

This is where tradition begins,
 recipes pass from generation to generation.
She knew I loved to cook and bake so, when she made this big batch of cookies, any help would be grateful~
She would make them during the day and when my girlfriend (her daughter) and I would come home from school we would help her ice the cookies.

Of course we would sample as we helped too ;D...
Contrary to most Biscotti,
these are not baked twice and are softer in the center.

Here's what you'll need:

Candied Fruit Log

6 lg eggs
1/2 cup milk
I used dairy free
1/2 lb Crisco vegetable shortening, melted, cooled
6 1/2 cup flour
1 grated orange and lemon
2 1/4 cup sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1 cup each chopped nuts and candied fruit

Mix dry ingredients together.
Stir in fruits and nuts.

Whisk eggs, milk, sugar & Crisco

Pour liquids into dry ingredients.
Mix by hand to form a firm dough.
Knead gently on a lightly floured surface.
Divide into 6 pieces.
Roll each piece into logs*

Place 2 or 3 logs onto your baking sheet.
Roll out to the length of your baking sheet. This will determine the size of the roll.
Line with parchment or silpat.
Bake 20-25 min until lightly golden.

2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp lemon or orange extract
3-6 tbsp. milk or lemon/orange juice

Mix until you like the consistency.
You may like it thick or thinner.
Allow to dry then slice the roll.

You can ice each roll, dry, wrap and store
slice, ice individually, dry, then store.
Either way, place over a rack lined baking sheet.

Store tightly wrapped or layered with wax paper in a large plastic freezer proof container for
up to 3 months.

Enjoy with love!

Monday, 2 November 2015

BBQ Cider Beef Ribs

We are now in the full swing of Fall weather~
Patio furniture is stored, leaves raked and
the home is winterized.
I love to use the oven especially for slow roasting beef, not only does it warm up the kitchen but the wonderful aromas waft throughout the home making everyone feel comfy cosy inside, against the chilly backdrop in the evening.
These fall off the bone BBQ Beef Ribs have a bit of a tart bite using Canadian Apple Cider Vinegar.
 The glaze will give these fall of the bone ribs a mouthwatering shine!

Here's what you'll need:
3-4lbs of beef ribs
1 cup BBQ sauce
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 bay leaves
1 tsp each oregano, steak spice, salt
 vegetable oil

In an oiled skillet, brown all of the ribs on both sides and place into a casserole dish.

Sprinkle with spices, herbs and seasonings.

Pour the BBQ sauce and vinegar over the ribs.

Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 300F for 
2 hrs.
Remove foil after 2 hrs and continue roasting for 1/2-1hr basting with juices in between.
*Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for 4-6hrs
with lid slightly ajar 
Enjoy with love!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Onion Rosemary
Cranberry Sauce

I've been making cranberry sauce for years now for the Holidays and every year I add new flavours.
It's so easy and affordable. It makes double the amount you purchase at the grocery store.
Just look at the glorious fuchsia colour,
but the taste it what's important here.
This year I decided to add apples, rosemary and onion.
The flavours go great with any poultry, especially  Turkey.
Why buy canned Cranberry Sauce
when you can make it in 10min and
  serve it for Thanksgiving?
This gourmet Onion Rosemary Cranberry sauce will impress your friends and family and it's not overly sweet like the bought varieties.
Cranberries have a huge amount of pectin so they take minutes to thicken when cooked and cooled.
Here's what you'll need:
1 bag of washed cranberries
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 apples, peel on, cored and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. EVOO
zest of 1 orange
Add oil to a medium sized pot.
Toss in onions and cook until softened an medium high heat for 5 min., stirring.
Add the cranberries, apples, water and sugar.
Stir to mix.
Bring to a boil and cook for 5 min.
Add the rosemary and continue cooking for another 5 min.
Drop in rosemary, orange zest and stir.
When the mixture thickens and the berries pop.
Ladle it hot into a sterilized jar, large enough to hold the mixture. Place tightly sealed lid on.
When cooled refrigerate.
*Can be stored up to 1 month refrigerated.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Chunky Monkey Bundt Cake
Reese's Fudge Center

 I was so lucky to be one of the bloggers to sample the new Reese's Peanut Butter spread!
Everyone's favourite Reese's Pieces candy is now available in an incredibly delicious spread!
All I can say to that is
"What took them so long"
It truly is delicious.
My son and I dug into it as soon as it arrived in the mail and we were both impressed.
I was trying to think of what to make with it that would showcase it's great taste. Spreading it onto bread or fruit which are both equally delish is what most would do to enjoy this new product.
I really wanted to see what I could do with its consistency and how its flavour would hold up to baking. It took me a week of brain storming with the family;
a) what combinations of flavours would go with my favourite candy and showcase this great spread

b) should I wait until I have guests to create something?
c) do I make it simple of flashy?
Then a rare occurrence happened in my house...there were leftover bananas....
They actually were black and everyone wanted
to throw them out!

Well, this is exactly how ripe bananas should look like to get the most flavor in a banana cake.
Completely blackened skin and mushy inside.
Even too mushy for a smoothie.
This lends a lovely speckled colour to the cake.
   now I had....
  Bananas, peanuts, chocolate
need I say more?
You don't Monkey around tee hee...with this combo...
I really wanted to see if I could create a fudgy soft tunnel with Reese's Peanut butter chocolate spread and have it sink exactly where I wanted it to go.
Never have I attempted this.
The cake batter has to be fairly thick for this to happen and the fudge ring cannot be too dense or it will sink to the bottom.
I was prepared to test this recipe more than once
for quality assurance purposes of course!
As is turns out...it was quite perfect on my 1st try

This center is fudgy, moist and my family and guests were quite pleased with the sweetness, texture and most of all the
In fact comments were: the banana doesn't take over the chocolate peanut butter taste.
But, before I got to see where the tunnel was I needed to make a ganache and I really was not familiar with this product and the only ganache I ever made was with real chocolate and cream.
Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread mixed perfectly with the canned coconut milk I
had on hand.
I doubled the recipe to cover this large cake
 and it's a shiny spectacular effect.
It stays where you pour it and remains soft.

Chunky Monkey with Reese's Fudge Center
Here's what you'll need:
3 over ripe bananas
1 cup oil
4 lg eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cup yogourt
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts
1 cup Reese's Chocolate PB Spread
1 orange zested
4 tbsp. flour
1 lg egg
Blend bananas, eggs, oil and sugar together.

 Stir the yogourt and baking soda together.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl.
Alternating with the yogourt mixture while blending on low speed.
Fold in the peanuts when all is mixed;
pour and scrape the cake mixture into an oiled and floured or sprayed bundt pan.

Using the same bowl,

Add the fudge ingredients and blend.
Pour into the center of the cake mold.
Bake in a preheated 350F for 80 min or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.
Rest for 10 min.
 Unmold onto a rack and completely cool.
This can be done 1 day in advance.
Pouring the Ganache when needed.
Reese's Ganache
Reese's Ganache
1 cup Reese's Chocolate PB Spread
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
Whisk the ingredients together and pour over cake.
Leave aside 1/4 cup for extra drizzling.

 Enjoy with Love!

The post is sponsored by Hershey’s Canada and I have been compensated monetarily and with product.


Saturday, 19 September 2015

GF Apple Spice Oatmeal Bar

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice...
That is what these moist on the inside and crispy on the outside bars are made of!
For me, Autumn is best described as getting ready to harvest produce and fruit.
After my cool walks in the morning,
admiring the fall foliage,
I have loads of canning and organizing to prepare
 to do!
This week we preserved 5 Bushels of tomatoes!
My whole family helped!

The previous week my daughter and I
cooked 3 bushels of organic apples!

a few jars of Grape Jam from my garden!
Could this be the source of my fatigue??
I do take lots of time to rest in between these
 so...here I am 1 year later entering the
Crosby's Molasses contest
which I took 2nd place last year!
I saved a basket of these organic apples because,
 I knew, I wanted to make a moist, very nutritious
high in protein bar that reminds me of the tastes of
I tweaked my GF Oatmeal cookie recipe

Having accidentally discovered that by adding
molasses, it made this cookie spread because GF sweets don't rise like the goodies using flour
I decided to add my apples and more molasses to spread for the desired consistency I needed, 
creating a luscious bar.
My first attempt, I chopped the apples larger and the bar didn't hold well.
Because it is Gluten Free it is more crumbly.
Also the over all consensus was that it was too sweet.
So this is my 2nd attempt and these are really quite amazing. High in protein and it even hides chia seeds; natures Omega 3 and fiber giant.
It is full of wholesome ingredients.
Rest assured, that the kids coming home from school, who are needing a snack will have
loads of nutrition in this bar.
It is so nutritious you could eat it for breakfast!
I left the apple peel on as it lends colour, fiber and has a certain rustic homemade feel.
Which I love.
I don't like the mechanical look of manufactured protein bars.
Don't these look amazing?

GF Apple Spice Oatmeal Bars
Here's what you'll need:
2 lg eggs
2 cups oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Crosby's Molasses
1 orange zested
1 tbsp. each pure vanilla & cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 cups GF large oatflakes
1 1/2cup flaked coconut
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 cups cored, finely diced Mac's or Ida Red apples
1/3 cup each skor bits, roasted peanuts, chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins
*1/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped*
1 cup quinoa flour
2 cups light buckwheat flour
In a stand mixer bowl add, the 1st 7 ingredients.
Mix together well on low speed.
Add the oatmeal and coconut flakes mix well.
Continuing on low speed, begin to add the baking powder, soda, seeds, apples, trail mix ingredients, then the flours.
Mix only until no white flour shows.
You can even use a spatula to finish the mixing.
Drop onto a silpat/parchment lined 16" x 12"
baking sheet.
Spread to the edges/sides with your hands.
Remove any apple pieces from the edges and tuck further in as they will not allow for finished 
sharp cutting.
Bake in a preheated 350F for 30min
or until an inserted skewer comes out dry.

Immediately run a sharp knife around the edges.

 Score into even rows.
Then cut through.


 Cut crosswise evenly. Makes 24 lg. bars.
They are hard to resist eating right away while hot, they will crumble...but that's ok eat away!
Allow to completely cool before lifting out.
They will become more moist the next day.
Wrap and freeze individually for lunches.

*Toast Almonds: While the oven is preheating, place unroasted whole almonds in an oven proof dish. Toast for 10-15min. cool,  then chop.*

 Enjoy with love!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Mini Chicken Shawarma
Waffle Sandwiches

For many of us, fall signifies
getting back into a routine...
A school routine that is...
Just mentioning the phrase
 "Back to School"  
to my 
husband last week, instantly made my stomach
My kids are in University! 
The memory of the craziness of getting 3 kids back to school are still with me years after ~lol~ 
the clothes, books, binders, pens, paper, knapsacks, crayons,
shoes: indoor and outdoor..sheesh the list goes on... 
At the top of this list of course is lunches.
Coming up with 5 days of lunches for 3 kids was and still is daunting...who wants this, who eats that
a n d
all on a budget.
Of course, now that they are older, I could let them make their own...and they do....
or...let them buy it...but,
generally nutrition goes out the door

I thought I would develop an easy go to recipe that takes minutes to put together for younger kids.
It's fun and nutritious and will get their afternoon off to a great start!
I've tucked all kinds of goodness into these
MINI Shawarma's
 but, grown ups can easily make this in larger quantities or larger sizes and 
brown bag it too!
You can even make this recipe larger for appetizers at your next get together.
You'll need:
 3-4 whole wheat mini Pita's
4-5 strips of fully cooked chicken
(this can be leftovers or bought cooked chicken)
2-3 tbsp hummus
2-3 tbsp Tzatziki
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
strips of lettuce
celery sticks
Slather the Pita's with hummus and Tzatziki.
Stuff each pita with chicken, lettuce and tomatoes.
Waffle Stacks
4 mini whole wheat organic waffles
2 pats of cream cheese, your fave
2 raspberries
drizzle of honey
Toast the waffles. 
Place a pat of cheese on 2 of the waffles.
Top each with raspberries and a drizzle of honey.
Sandwich the tops onto the stacks and 
pierce with a toothpick.

Enjoy with love!


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Steak Boscaiola

Steak Boscaiola
With the cooler weather on it's way and the leaves already starting to change to fiery hues of Autumn...
I still want our fun festivities to continue~
My family tends to wane towards warm, heavier meals instead of the light fresh meals of summer.
I love using Canadian mushrooms in many of my dishes.
They are hearty, high in minerals, fiber, water and are full of delicious flavor without the
This hearty appy is so simple, easy and oh...
so flavourful~
Boscaiola: from the forest
It can be made in minutes and uses some
store bought items that gives the cook less workload when having a party.
After all, it's no fun if you are in the kitchen prepping and everyone is
having fun!
This Mushroom-Centric recipe will be entered in the
Appetizer Spotlight contest at the FBC
Steak Boscaiola
Here's what you'll need:
1 lb of stir fry strip sirloin steak(cut into strips)
or slice your own steak...it's easy
1/4 cup Marsala wine or any sweet wine
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp red pepper chili flakes
sea salt & black pepper to taste
 4 asparagus stalks, washed, ends snapped off & cut into 1/3's
12 small cremini or button mushrooms, washed
1 tsp thyme
12" x 12" tomato focaccia pizza(or your fave flavor)
2-4 tbsp. EVOO
bamboo skewers for presentation
1 tub kale or spinach dip
In a food safe bowl combine the first 5 ingredients.
Toss to coat well with your hands.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hrs. or overnight if you have the time.
Bring to room temp. 1 hr. before cooking.
In a large preheated skillet sauté whole mushrooms, thyme  
and asparagus in 1 tbsp. EVOO.
Season with salt & pepper, on med. high heat for 1-2 minutes,
just until slightly caramelized.
Set aside in a bowl.  They will continue to cook as they cool.
In the same skillet, without wiping clean, add 2 tbsp. EVOO,
with tongs lift the meat from the marinade and place each steak slice flat side down into the pan.
Sear on high, just until browned on both sides.
Do not over crowd the pan. Work in batches. 
Allow the slices to rest off the heat.
Cut in half or thirds, depending on length.
* Do not over cook steak, it will toughen.
Cut focaccia into 3" squares. Place on platter decoratively.
Spread approx. 1 tbsp dip on each square. Set aside.

Skewer an asparagus piece then one end of the steak, leaving the long end hanging. Pierce a mushroom then wrap the steak around piercing the other side of the strip.
If there is extra cut the hanging steak and continue until all pieces are skewered.
Leave some space on the bottom of the skewer and pierce through the focaccia.
Enjoy with Love!