Disney Sunday.


Its sunday.  Sunday is the day that CBC plays disney movies at dinner time.  When I was a kid, I used to watch CBC Disney every weekend.  They played everything from mickey mouse movies to Bambi to the princesses.  Now that I have kids who are at an age where they enjoy movies (and still enjoy our company too!) we watch it together.  Disney Sunday.  This week, the All Star game has cancelled it on tv, but we decided we were going to have a super special family Disney day and eat “princess food”, and wear pretty dresses, and my five year old said that “Daddy has to wear nice boy clothes”.   Princess food? Well, ofcourse, in a five year olds mind, Princess food is nothing other than cupcakes!  Last princess day they had your basic vanilla with store bought cake mix and store bought icing (thanks to a friend who brought it over. It actually turned out quite nice but nothing beats from scratch does it?).  So this week I decided to be more complex, and looked up spice cake recipes for basic ingredient lists and came across some ideas I thought would be great to put together in to one recipe.  Oranges? check.  Cinnamon? Check.  Clove? Check.   Orange clove spice cake with cinnamon vanilla icing? Yes please!

Orange Clove Cupcakes

  •  2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 capfuls vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • just over 1/2 cup orange juice

Vanilla Cinnamon Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Soften up the butter, and beat it with the mixer until its cream, then add the vanilla and cinnamon and briefly beat it again just until it is all incorporated.  Ice your cupcakes, and finished! yum!

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Daring Bakers – January 2012 – Scones!


With a new year comes a new spark and new motivation to cook! I can’t wait to get right back in to the swing of the Daring Chefs/Bakers! So excitedly I went as fast as my googlefingers could take me and have taken up the challenges already. This month? SCONES!

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens! The challenge scone (biscuit) recipe has been especially formulated by Audax Artifex after a large amount of research and experimentation. It is designed to help you master the techniques involved in making scones (biscuits) exactly the way you like them.

I found this note on the instructions to be very interesting. Who knew? Well Audax did, and now I do too!

Chemical raising agents – always use fresh raising agents, baking powder deteriorates within two months once the jar is opened, the recommended dose is about 2 teaspoons per cup of flour. Baking powder nowadays is double action – there is an initial release of gas once the dry and wet ingredients are combined and there is another release of gas from the high heat of the oven. If you are using acidic ingredients (such as buttermilk, soured milk, cream, honey, cheese, tomato sauce etc) then use an additional ¼ teaspoon of baking soda per cup of liquid to help neutralise the acid and make the final baked product raise correctly. Baking soda is four times stronger in raising power than baking powder. You can make you own single action baking powder by triple sifting together one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar store in an airtight container.

Well, enough talk, I chose to make the variation with cream.  I love cream.

Cream Scones

  • 1 cup  plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons  fresh baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
  • ½ cup Cream
  • optional 1 tablespoon cream, for glazing the tops of the scones

Preheat oven to very hot 475°F.  I was actually a little scared about doing this. My stove is very old, half the lights don’t work, and its never been taken to 475 before.  I wonder why canadian ovens are in fahrenheit.

A labour of love. Sift dry ingredients.. THREE times. Without a sifter? I must mean business.

grate your butter in with the sifted stuff and rub/cut it til it has the texture of beach sand*

*need an example of beach sand?

add the cream. All of it.

on a floured surface, flour the top of the scones too, and kneed them. Cut them with a biscuit cutter OR just slice them in triangles

Bake for 10 minutes at 475. Check them at 8 to make sure they're not burnt. Place on cooling rack.

Top appropriately. Mmmm Jammm. Serve them warm!

Kid approved!

Pork and Apple Empanadas


I love empanadas.  Thats about it with that, I just love them.  I had my first empanada at a Playschool celebration with my eldest daughter, it was a potluck.  I brought zucchini bread, one mother brought a perfectly Elmo decorated two tier homemade cake,  only later I found out she was a professional baker.  Lots of ethnic food there from the various cultures that came everyday to expose their children to a school type day. Finally, a tray of tiny meat and potato empanadas.  They were absolutely delicious!   I got the urge to make them again when I was doing my Pierogi challenge, and made a pork and apple filling.  Though it was good in the pierogi, I thought it would be killer in an empanada.  Why I have yet to make them? Well honestly… I don’t know!   I’ve had a lot go on in the last few years, between moving twice, broken ankles, and the children I haven’t done a lot of things.  Today I was motivated.  Today I worked out for an hour, I cleaned, and I made empanadas.  Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Empanada Dough

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2  cup all purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup cold salted butter, cut in to cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup ice cold water
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

I know that doesn’t sound like your basic traditional empanada dough, but I vowed to be healthier this year.  So I bought the whole wheat flour. I admit, I bleeped it this time. I used all whole wheat flour and it did NOT come out tasting very good, dough wise.  Mixed on the inside with the pork it tasted better, but I also didn’t roll it out as thin as I should have.  I think splitting the quantity with regular all purpose flour would have made it MUCH better. I used salted butter because, well, it was on sale for $1.00.  Because it is salted, I omitted all salt from the recipe.  I used 2 eggs, because I found it wasn’t binding as well with the whole wheat flour.  Balsamic vinegar?  I’m out of regular. Its raining, i’m not going to the store now!

Pork and Apple Filling

  • 1 lbs spicy italian sausage
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped finely

I'm ready! Cut your butter in to cubes and throw in your flour. Cut it up like normal pastry cutting.

Egg, Water, Vinegar, Whisk!

combine, knead, ball and fridge for MINIMUM 1 hour. This is when I had to add the extra egg because my goof didn't bind right.

Start your filling. Sweat the onions/garlic, cook the pork through, add apples and maple syrup and cook for a bit

Let it cook down a bit for the apples to get soft and soak up the maple. I let it cool in a strainer so all the fat and liquid could drain completely

Divide the dough to roll out easier, roll it out THIN! don't make it too thick like I did!!, I used a bowl to cut my circle, and add some filling. Not too much or it won't seal

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, flip, another 5-10 minutes til it gets nice and brown. Like whole wheat toast. Ahhh I'm so new to this whole grains thing.

You will mostly likely have leftover empanada filling.  Do whatever you want with it! I just ate it with a spoon.

 

So all in all, I didn’t do very well at this.  I know my mistakes though, and I have done it properly before.  Whole wheat flour threw me off my game, but i’ll be prepared next time.

Gingerbread Zucchini Scones


I love biscuits.  Sadly, and I know this will sound odd, but I have never had a scone.  I knew they were in the range of a biscuit but I always thought they were a little fancy.  I also don’t drink a lot of tea, which apparently, scones are synonymous to.   A challenge sparked me recently though, a scone challenge, and I thought it was the perfect excuse to finally make try fresh baked scones.   As we can all agree, fresh baked always tastes better.

So I completed my challenge, results to come at a later post, and then I decided after tasting my first fresh baked scone that I can be super creative with this!  So I adapted a zucchini bread recipe I make frequently to be a scone, called my baking buddy over,  and the results were wonderful.

Gingerbread Zucchini Scones

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 grated zucchini
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup frozen, grated butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat your oven to 475, hot hot hot!

Triple sift your ingredients, minus the brown sugar. when done, add brown sugar.

cut frozen grated butter in to the dry ingredients, mix in all wet afterwards.

turn out dough on to a floured surface. With well floured hands knead it a bit, adding the raisins and zucchini

bake for 10 minutes at 475. Check on it a few times, at that heat its easy to burn the bottoms. Like I did! haha

Eat! Trust me, she likes them. Shes just mad I won't stop taking pictures of her.

Redressing Old Staples


So what do you do when you’re on a time constraint with dinner? Your husband is going to be home late, and you don’t have time to go to the store. You have hungry kids to feed and nothing fresh in the fridge.  So open the pantry.  You see the boxes of kraft dinner, hamburger helper, alphagetti’s… Boring!  But you have no choice. So what did I do in this situation? I brought out the no name hamburger helper from walmart and decided to redress it.  Make it more flavourful and delicious.  Amp’d it up, as the kids would say! So here’s something you could think of next time your old pantry staples are staring you in the face.  Its just as fast, and atleast twice as good.

Amp’d up Hamburger Helper

  • 1 box “Beef Pasta” hamburger helper
  • 1 lbs spicy pork sausage
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup cream (I ran out of milk! Bad me.)
  • handful of peas

So decase the sausage, chop up the sausage, do whatever you prefer so long as it can appear “ground” thru cooking.  I usually decase them in to the pan and then seperate it with my trusty spatula.

My kids hate spicy food, my husband and I love it.  My husband bought spicy sausage, and I already knew instantly they wouldn’t take well to it.  So I used my normal trick of the trade, sweeten it.  While cooking out the pork, when it looks browned i put in a tablespoon of maple syrup and mix it all in and let it simmer for a couple minutes to get that nice sweet flavour coming through.  Once thats finished, you throw in the box contents (pasta and sauce mix), water, cream/milk.  I can’t believe I ran out of milk! Bad mommy. Just bad.

Just let that simmer for awhile.  When its starting to look more saucy than soupy put in a handful of peas, or mushrooms. Any veggies you like.  I dont like overcooking my vegetables, I love the crunch from the peppers or the tang of the onions.   Let it cook a while longer to defrost your peas.  Yes my peas are frozen, oh well!

Eat! Spicy, mapley, pork-y.. Cuz lets face it, ground beef is just plain boring!

Stuffed Sole Fillets


Before I begin, I have to start with both a disclaimer AND apology in one.  If you’re expecting to see real crab meat and fresh sole fillets you’re out of luck!  I’m on a super severe budget this week.  With my husbands company being taken over, and the week he was forced to take off work at christmas I had to use what I had. I do wish it could have all been real and fresh, so apologies! Nonetheless I expect it to be a delicious substitute for the destitute!

Stuffed Sole Fillets

  • 1 cup chopped imitation crab
  • 1 stalk of celery diced
  • 1 green onion diced
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 clove garlic *
  • 1/4 of a red onion diced
  • 1/4 + 1 tbsp Miracle Whip
  • Squirt of lemon juice
  • dash of paprika
  • salt/pepper to taste

* I only used 1 clove because I have 2 in the salad we’re serving with the fish.

picture time?

Dice Celery

Add Green onion

Garlic it up

time to drown my eyes in onion tears

Miracle Whip

Just throw in the crab, paprika, lemon and seasoning and mix mix mix

put some salad on the fish fillet. Not too much or you'll have trouble rolling it up

Roll them up and bake at 350 for atleast 20 minutes

Squeeze some lemon on afterwords if thats what you like.  Its what I like! Enjoy

Carswell Caesar Salad Dressing!


Picture This.  I’m at my friends house, we decide to have dinner and some drinks and watch some stupid television.  Pizza, easy, then for salad, she pulls out a tupperware container with what appears and smells like caesar salad dressing.

Now I’m well aware, Ceasar salad dressing is in fact, quite simple.  I’d also like to point out though that I have not updated this site in over a year, so you know what they say.  Stretch before you start the marathon.  So I got her dressing recipe.  It was quite surprising to me as it was a much lighter concotion than what i was used to store bought, and it tasted just as sharp and flavourful!

Carswell Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup parmasan cheese
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon moustard
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • pepper to taste

So this is basic instruction.  Just mix everything together.  Now at first, if you taste it right away, it may taste a little strong of whatever ingredient just so happened to be on the spoon when you pulled it out.  The key, is to seal it and fridge it so all the flavours can mingle together and infuse within the sour cream.

Sounds fancy no? Well it just took you 3 minutes to put together.  You’re welcome! haha

And with that, crutons and lettuce and maybe bacon…. Just a little bacon won’t hurt you (per meal).

So while thats done, some may be wondering why I used the analogy of a marathon.  Well, Tonight will be crab salad stuffed sole fillets to go with that salad.