Things have gotten pretty busy in our lives lately and blogging has certainly taken a back seat. Well, not just blogging- cooking, eating properly and not buying fast food have all been suffering lately. Luckily with a little forethought and planning, real food can actually emerge from my kitchen.
This is where my Crock Pot comes in to save the evening. A few minutes of prep in the morning and we had a great dish to serve to friends in the evening which is beyond helpful when you find yourself working especially long hours and weekends included.
We love eating nachos in our house so I had quite a bit of peppers and bean and corn left over and wanted to find a new way to use them. I came up with this chicken dip to make in the Crock Pot and it’s the easiest thing to throw together, ignore for a few hours and come back to a delicious dish. You can use your favourite veggies and dress it up anyway you want. It would be great to add jalepenos if you prefer things spicy, or different beans if you want to bulk up the fibre.
I find it worth investing in a Crock Pot that comes with a timer setting and various temperature levels. I often found myself over cooking chicken when I had to leave it for an 8 hour work day. With these additional features, I was able to set the temperature and have perfectly cooked chicken when I got back home.
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Some may claim that a squash soup like this is a fall food, but I refute that claim! This soup is any-time food! It is delicious and warm and perfect for a meal during any season.
The best thing about this soup is its versatility – if you want it really creamy, up the amount of cream cheese. If you want it to be lower calorie and/or dairy-free, skip the cream cheese altogether. Don’t like nutmeg or any of the other herbs or spices? Don’t include them. You can really add and subtract as much as you want, and as long as you keep the butternut squash it should be just fine.
Between Torie and I we’ve made this recipe at least 7 times since Thanksgiving and we change it up every time. Make it today!
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Please note: This post has been sponsored by Foodsaver Brand Vacuum Saving System
I can’t stop eating. Everything all the time. Too many brownies. So many cupcakes. I keep telling myself I will stop in January but there is so much food everywhere and it needs to be consumed or else it will go to waste. However, this year I have a secret weapon to combat all of the ‘problematic food’ and make future Torie very happy.
Hello future Torie, would you like gingerbread men later in January without them going bad? Yes, yes I would!
This is where my new Foodsaver Vacuum Saving System comes in to help tackle all of the left over Christmas baking that didn’t get eaten over the holidays. I’m using it to store and freeze left over goodies and in a few weeks, when my will-power retreats again, I will have Christmas baking to enjoy into the new year.
I was worried about crushing all the soft cookies by sucking the air out, but the Foodsaver features a button to manually seal the bag once enough air has been removed, but before all the gingerbread men are crushed to death. They’ve been in the freezer for a couple of days now and are frost free and they take up much less space than trying to stack them in a container. Overall, I’m happy to be using the system and look forward to future cookies.
For more information on the line of Foodsaver products you can check out their website at www.foodsavercanada.com
So it’s the holidays, and it’s busy, and we’re all a bit tired, but also full of sugar, which makes for a weird combination of agitated zombies..oh wait? No? You’re good? Well good for you. I almost fell off a chair yesterday because I forgot to eat lunch, but remembered to eat candy. We can’t all have our stuff together every day. Anyways, for those of you who have most of you’re stuff together but not quite everything, I provide you an easy, impressive and delicious recipe that is only half cheating. It includes a box brownie mix, and I refuse to make it any other way, because brownies are annoyingly hard and I had one good recipe once and then I tried to recreate it and they didn’t work, but Betty Crocker nails it every time.
This one adds a few extra surprises and suddenly you look like someone who not only remembered to eat lunch, but also whipped something impressive out of the oven.
The swirled white chocolate? Hides all sins: When I tried to remove the brownies from the pan in one solid piece but it wasn’t fully cooled in the centre. I left a chunk of the middle stuck to the pan. I had a square brownie with a giant whole in the middle. You know what I did? I removed the centre from the pan and smushed it back into the middle. Easy peasy, you’d never know. The second batch I used parchment paper in order to successfully remove the brownies in one piece. Live and learn but both turned out great. Read this article »
The nice people at Castello Cheese were kind enough to provide us with some samples from their new line of Alps Selection Cheese.
So I took this new Weissbeir Cheese, which is flavoured with Bavarian Weissbeir (wheat beer) during its ripening process, and made the first recipe idea that came to mind: I made Beer Cheese dip! Yes, it is a somewhat obvious choice, but why work against what is already going for a great cheese? While I shredded and melted and shredded some more, Liz ate the cheese. She called it ‘recipe’ testing but I think she just enjoyed the cheese.
This dip is pretty rich, mainly because the bulk of it is melted cheese, so its not much of a surprise. That didn’t stop my family from enjoying most of it in one sitting.
Sorry for the Iphone photo..Best I could do at my mom’s house
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I’m going to casually skim over the fact we have been severely lacking in posts lately and just jump right back into baking.
Christmas baking has begun and I had to try out a few new recipes to mix into the traditional favourites. This one is an adaptation of a recipe I found from the blog Twenty-Two Pleasant. It’s an attempt to make the cake more bar-like, but sometimes a recipe just wants to stay as cake. But I was happy with the way it turned out regardless.
This should make any gingerbread lover very happy. And I should know. I am very picky when it comes to gingerbread. Just ask my mom.. She has already made two batches of gingerbread cookies for me this season, and one of the recipes involved her making a spreadsheet and averaging the amount of main ingredients from several other recipes. She’s a good mom!
Anyways, this is pretty spot on when it comes to gingerbread cake, no spreadsheet required.
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I made these a while ago… so long ago that I have no idea where I got the recipe. I have the hand-written recipe (which means it came from the internet, because I am too lazy to print recipes I get online), with the temperature, time to bake, and the word “muffins” scrawled in the corner. I feel like it probably came from Allrecipes but I can’t find anything similar… so here it is, credit-less. Thank you, mysterious internet recipe-sharer. I adapted your muffins, and they were good.
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Liz and I have been bad bloggers lately. I don’t really have a good excuse besides a few computer problems that have made it a lot less convenient to blog. It’s not that I haven’t been baking, but I have to admit I haven’t been photographing anything I make. Sometimes the blogging process can actually suck the joy out of baking, and maybe we aren’t supposed to admit to that, but sometimes I just want to bake some muffins, eat said muffins, and sit down. Not style and photograph and edit and upload and post a recipe. Also, sometimes I alter recipes and then can’t remember what I did to them which is also very detrimental to the blogging process.
BUT, sometimes I get my act together, and I present Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf. I have made several pumpkin recipes lately and this one is the best so far. I altered this recipe from Java Cupcake. I changed the ratio of oil and sour cream but it still came out incredibly moist and tender. And no gluey consistency that sometimes pumpkin can create. Yay, no glue!
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“Hey remember our blog?”
Torie texted me that yesterday. Of course I remember our blog! I just don’t, um, write anything for it. So I decided to change that. Which is good, because we’ve been meaning to review this cookbook for a while!
Torie and I received a copy of Grace’s Sweet Life, by Grace Massa Langlois, who writes the blog of the same name. If you’re looking for a repository of Italian desserts, this book fits the bill. It’s full of mouth-watering pictures and recipes for treats like chocolate eclairs, amaretti cookies and cannoli cupcakes.
I’m not too familiar with Italian desserts, so I picked a recipe that I thought sounded pretty easy: chocolate croissants (or, panini di sfoglia con cioccolato). They turned out to be so simple, and really tasty!
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 22 mins
Total time: 42 mins
- 1 package puff pastry, defrosted
- 200 g of good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1×3 inch sticks (I used Cadbury Premium Dark bars, which break into perfect-sized chunks)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place puff pastry dough on a lightly floured surface.
- Roll dough out into a rectangle, approximately 10″ bx 20″.
- Use a pastry cutter or a sharp knife to cut the dough into two 10×10″ squares, then cut each square into three strips, about 3.25″x10″.
- To form the croissants, lay a stick of chocolate at the bottom of a strip. Fold the dough up and over the chocolate, then seal the with your fingers.
- Lay a second stick of chocolate down and roll up the rest of the strip.
- Repeat for the other 5 croissants.
- Lay the croissants seam-side down on the prepared pan and cover loosely with parchment paper, allowing to rise for 45 to 60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Brush croissants with beaten egg.
- Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until golden.
- Serve warm.
Recipe by Grace Massa Langlois, from Grace’s Sweet Life.
Croissants are best eaten the day they’re made.
I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Alison Lewis’ new book 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
As someone who enjoys plain cheddar on Wonder Bread, this book is amazing. At first I thought, “Pfft I don’t need a recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches.” But then I used this book to make a grilled cheese sandwich and realized what I had been missing. When I finally bit into said sandwich, my exact thoughts were, “Well this is the best sandwich I have ever made at home.” The book also covers some great aspects, like making your own dipping sauces and even combinations for dessert grilled cheese, things that I would say go beyond your basic grilled cheese, for sure. I love having it spelled out for me which cheese to use with different kinds of meat and vegetables. Havarti? Provolone? Fontina? Brie? I don’t want to spend 7 dollars on cheese, only to discover it tastes super weird with prosciutto or arugala. But 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
takes the guess work out.
Behold the tastiest sandwich ever made in my kitchen.
I should note that to me, this book is much more about great flavour combinations, rather than recipes to follow word for word, at least when it comes to certain sandwiches. The recipe I selected calls for 12 tomatoes and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Without indicating the size of the tomatoes, there are very few varieties of tomato that would warrant 12 tomatoes for 4 sandwiches. Similarly, just brush the bread with olive oil to cover it evenly. I don’t think you could possibly need 1/2 cup.
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