17 Oct 2014

Whole Wheat Black Cat Cookies




Are these just the cutest darned cookies that you ever did see?

Because Halloween is all about being cute, donchaknow. Or am I thinking about Valentines day. Because I can make these cats again for Valentines day and fall in love with them all over again.




These cookies came to pass when my and my boyfriend stumbled across this store that only sells bulk food. Tubs and barrels and vats of bulk food. A bulk food heaven, if you will. Anything a foodie can possibly want. However much you want. Just a scoopful away.




We shoveled quinoa, beans, chia seeds, popcorn, chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries... everything we even remotely wanted inside bags. It was the best shopping spree of my life. Who knew it would be in a bulk food store?

And when I saw the candy corn tub, I immediately grabbed a bag and scooped a huge bagful of the stuff. Which made my boyfriend happy because he is a candy fiend, but it also made me happy because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.




I credit this idea to a class I observed during my practicum. It was last year, a couple of weeks before Halloween, when I stepped into a grade 8 foods class to watch the teacher teach. And they were black cat cookies Not these exact cookies, I didn't have the foresight to steal the recipe, but I was amazed at how a whole class of teenagers bakes.

I think only one group's cookies actually looked like cats The other ones were brown balls almost entirely covered in candy. I understand their reasoning: why only have 3 pieces of candy on these cookies when the teacher is willing to give as many as we need to make these cookies? This is why making them at home is so much better: the leftover candy can go straight into my mouth.

Thank you bulk foods store. I will see you soon.




Whole Wheat Black Cat Cookies
printable recipe


What you'll need:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • +candy corn
  • +swedish berries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of of a stand mixer, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and the sugars until fully combined 
  3. Mix in the butter and egg on medium speed. The dough will mix into a big sticky ball when it is ready.
  4. Form balls of dough, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten them a little with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. While cookies are warm, pinch the cookies for ears, and use a fork to create whiskers for each cat. Decorate with candy corn for the eyes and swedish berries for the nose.

Cookie recipe adapted from Fulfilled Homemaking

14 Oct 2014

Coconut, Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed Microwave Oatmeal



Can I talk about how obsessed I am with oatmeal lately?

I have had oatmeal every morning for a month. And this is not an exaggeration, I accepted a challenge from someone to see if  I could last. They thought the lack of variety would kill me,

Seriously? No way. Over the course of this month, I will be posting some of my most favorite oatmeal recipes that I have been making, and show you that oatmeal is not some boring last minute breakfast.




Not saying that it can't be a last minute breakfast. Case in point, this oatmeal.

This is my favorite microwave oatmeal. Ever. Say goodbye to those Quaker packets. Say hello to the next best thing in quick and easy breakfast ideas.




As you can see, I am slowly easing my way into the pumpkin season. You see? You see the seeds? I was thinking of making this oatmeal pumpkin flavored, but decided against it. I was too lazy to find my can opener, and plus, why complicate a good thing?

This is also one of my favorite recipes because it's a "one ripe banana" recipe. How often do you have one ripe banana, and don't know what to do with it? For me, almost every week. I have found my solution. And it is in the form of oatmeal.





Coconut, Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed Microwave Oatmeal
printable recipe


What you'll need:

  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons sweetened coconut 

Directions:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, mix together the banana, oats, milk, cinnamon and vanilla until fully combined. 
  2. Microwave for 3 minutes, stiring halfway through.
  3. Add the pumpkin seeds, cranberries and coconut. Mix in and enjoy!

Adapted from Fannetastic Food

11 Oct 2014

Spiderweb Cupcakes



This year is going to be the year that I make more Halloween treats than ever before.

And since the only time I have ever made a Halloween treat was last year, and it was just the one recipe, this year with my candy corn peanut butter and this cupcake recipe, I have already DOUBLED the amount of Halloween recipes I made last year. Take that 2013.




Now I would like you to look at these cupcakes. What do you see?

Other than deliciously orange frosting, I just see a regular cupcake. But what does my boyfriend see? "Too much icing" he claims. Armed with a butter knife, whenever he takes a cupcake I catch him scraping half of the icing into the garbage.

Horrified, as I often am when people waste food (or FROSTING!) I take the knife away from his hand and scoop half of his frosting into my mouth. Even though he looks at me disapprovingly, I am not going stand and watch some cream cheese laden, rich frosting go to waste. My new life mission.




And while these cupcakes are orange, I am sad to say that they are not pumpkin in any way. If you are asking me what is my problem, and why I have not yet baked with pumpkin even though it is well into fall, my response is..I don't know. I bought a can of pumpkin a week ago, and it's just sitting in my shelf. Staring back at me with pleading eyes. Waiting to make my baking life a little better.

To this can of pumpkin all I can say is...soon.




But let me talk about these cupcakes just a little more. The cake part: so moist. The frosting part: SO good! My boyfriend is one of those people who likes things plain and healthy, so I'm not sure I can get him on board with my frosting techniques, which oftentimes include piping some of the frosting into my mouth. Shh, don't tell.




The chocolate spiderwebs are what sends these cupcakes over the top. I made only a handful of them because, unlike my sister, I am NOT an artist. Half of the spiderwebs I made turned out to look like lifeless blobs of chocolate. Of course, since I couldn't put them onto the cupcakes, what is a girl to do but to eat all the defective ones? Which somehow ended up becoming more and more when I came to that realization.

I would suggest maybe using a spider web template such as this one to avoid what happened to me. But my chocoholic self is not endorsing that piece of advice one bit.





Spiderweb Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

printable recipe



What you'll need:

Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 11.2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Frosting:

  • 8 oz butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 cups icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • orange icing color (I mixed yellow and red gel icing color)
Spiderwebs:
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line two muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Cake: In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt until fully combined.
  3. Add in the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated.
  4. Stir in the boiling water. The batter will be very thin..
  5. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins, around 3/4 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 – 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with some moist crumbs, but no liquid.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before frosting.
  7. Frosting: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the cream cheese until light and floffy. Mix in the icing sugar 1 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla, cinnamon, and icing color if using. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
  8. Spiderwebs: In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals, stiring until the chocolate is melted. Pour the chocolate into a large freezer bag. Place some wax paper on a baking sheet. Cut the end off of the freezer bag, and pipe the chocolate onto the wax paper, creating your spider webs. Freeze until hard, then place on the cupcakes.


Cupcake recipe adapted from Texanerian

8 Oct 2014

Cheeseburger Soup



If you think this chilly weather is going to make me stop eating burgers, then you are wrong my friend.

Just because summer is over, and we can't easily grill them burgers outside, I have brought you all the fun of summer into a fall/winter-esque soup.




The potatoes thicken the soup. The croutons are so that you don't skimp on the bun, unless of course you can't or don't want to eat gluten. In that case, just leave it out. But then we top this soup with bacon, and I can hear my belly sing.

Too over the top? I think not over the top enough.




Even though soups might be the easiest thing to make known to man, I have made a couple of soups this past week, and many of them were just a huge fail. Here's a serious question: how do you cook lentil soup if your lentils refuse to get soft? After 4 hours of cooking it was still like I was eating pebbles.

This soup is honestly no fail. As long as you add all the necessary ingredients and cook the meat just right, you are going to be eating this soup by the bucket. One bowl is simply not enough.

Spoon summer into your mouth right now! Unless you live in Australia. In which case, I will never stop being jealous of you.






Cheeseburger Soup
printable recipe


What you'll need:

  • 1 hamburger buns, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 375g ground beef
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large carrots, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk, or more, as needed
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Green onions for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the bread cubes into a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven, and bake for around 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, around 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. 
  3. In a medium saucepan, pour in the bacon fat and heat. Add in the ground beef and break into pieces using a spatula. Continue cooking until browned. Drain excess fat and set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat the butter on medium heat. Add in the garlic, onion, celery, carrots and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have become translucent, around 2-3 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the flour until lightly browned, around 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and milk for around 1-2 minutes or until thickened.Stir in the potatoes.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, around 15-20 minutes.Stir in the ground beef, cheese and the salt and pepper to taste. 
  7. Scoop into bowls and crumble some bacon on top. Add some croutons and green onions if desired.



Adapted from Damn Delicious

5 Oct 2014

Cinnamon Roll Baked Doughnuts



Who wants doughnuts?

...donuts? If someone could please tell me how it is actually spelled I would be eternally grateful. Although, ever since I moved from England to Canada, people have been telling I have been spelling everything wrong anyways. Like "mum" or "organise". Or anything with an "ize" ending in Canadian/American spelling.

You know what I'm saying, even if I spel lik ths, rite? Let's just all be friends and eat some do(ugh)nuts.





And right now, I want to eat all the doughnuts. Because it is a Monday. Who's with me?






These doughnuts were amazingly easy to put together, and equally as easy to finish the whole batch off within a day. With an extra helpful boyfriend, it is totally doable. Anecdotal experience of course, but if I make these again, I just see this as a challenge.

Maybe these doughnuts came out of my failure to make actual cinnamon rolls. By failure, I actually mean multiple, all the time, so many times. Only a couple of successful cinnamon rolls have made it to my blog. And by a couple, I just mean the one. But that was a pumpkin cinnamon roll, so I don't think it counts.

Will you let me count this as a cinnamon roll success story 2.0? Please say yes. Along with these doughnuts, it would make my Monday complete.






Cinnamon Roll Baked Doughnuts
printable recipe


What you'll need

Topping:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Doughnut:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
Frosting:
  • 1 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 oz butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a doughnut pan and set aside
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When the butter is melted, pour 1/4 cup (this is 4 tablespoons) of it into a bowl and set it aside.
  3. To the saucepan containing the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add the cinnamon, brown sugar, milk, cornstarch and vanilla extract. Heat just until it bubbles then take it off the heat and pour around 3/4 tsp of the mixture into the bottom of each cavity of the doughnut pan.
  4. Add the egg and milk to the bowl containing the butter and whisk together.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in the contents of the bowl with the butter mixture into the flour mixture, and mix together until just combined (the mixture may look slightly lumpy, don’t over mix it.)  Spoon or pipe the batter into the doughnut pan, filling each cavity about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes and turn out a wire rack to cool.
  7. Cream the frosting ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a small sandwich bag and cut the very tip of one of the corners off. Pipe the frosting in zig-zags onto the cooled mini doughnuts.



Adapted from Top With Cinnamon

3 Oct 2014

Flourless, Butterless Peanut Butter Cookies



Do you know what's better than a quick and easy peanut butter cookie? This isn't a question I'm going to answer, I really don't know!

In retrospect, maybe some pumpkin peanut butter cookies. Because I am SO behind on my fall baking it's getting close to ridiculous. But I will get there. Canadian Thanksgiving is only 9 days away, so if I'm planning on enjoying pumpkin treats for Thanksgiving, I'd better up my game. Also, I fully intend on celebrating both Canadian and American Thanksgiving. Because who can say no to a feast?

So in the meantime, I am going to be growing my cookie repertoire with a simple peanut butter recipe. Because while I have all these grand plans on making heaps and heaps of food, my pantry is sadly lacking. So I'm using up what I have. Which, as you can see, is not much.

Baking ingredients shopping trip tomorrow? I am thinking yes!





What you'll need:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, and mix until fully combined.
  3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball with a fork, creating a criss cross pattern.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Adapted from Jenny Can Cook

1 Oct 2014

Candy Corn Peanut Butter




I don't like getting started on Halloween until it's October. While it seems like most of the grocery stores around here have been fully stocked for Halloween since the beginning of summer, I am trying to hang on to every ounce of summer that I still can.

But this is still my first winter in Toronto, which means, according to my boyfriend, that I will need to invest in some long johns. Before now, the only kind of long john I was familiar with was the doughnut.




So while the weather is getting colder, I can find solace in the pumpkin treats and abundant supply of candy that somehow materialize in my house the minute October rolls around.

So it begins...




Halloween is my boyfriend's favorite holiday. Weird, right? It's not like he's some teenage girl wanting to show off their hot bod. He doesn't dress up, he doesn't host or go to Halloween parties. And it's one of the rare holidays where gift giving isn't a thing unless you are a young child going door to door. So what's so special about Halloween?




My boyfriend loves the colors of Halloween. He also likes seeing the cute little kids in their cute little costumes. Since we live in a basement apartment, we are even thinking of putting a sign up pointing to our side door entrance so that kids can come and collect more candy.

Although maybe it's an excuse for him to buy candy. His whole "let's be healthier" resolve is fading fast.

So in that spirit, and the spirit of Halloween, I have candy-fied homemade peanut butter. What can be better than a jar full of candy corn peanut butter that just tastes like pulverized butterfingers? I bet you that I can eat the whole thing with a spoon in 5 minutes flat.





Candy Corn Peanut Butter
printable recpie


What you'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups candy corn
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Directions:
  1. In a food processor, pulse the candy corn until the candy corn is broken into fine pieces.
  2. Add the peanut butter and the oil, and pulse until smooth.
  3. Store in an airtight container.

Adapted from Savy Naturalista


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