It’s a new year and we are well on our way into 2017! It’s that time for resolutions (I myself have have set a few and no none of them include the daunting “New Year New Me”) and for getting back on track. The number one new year’s resolution every year is to lose weight and get healthier. While I myself would like to do both I also am a big advocate for balanced lifestyles. Moderation is key when it comes to food and that means don’t deprive yourself of the things you love. If you are craving a Big Mac (and who doesn’t) you get out there and order that big beautiful burger. Definitely don’t get multiple in a week but it is important to treat yourself. That is where my first post of the New Year comes into play. Every year during the holidays I make homemade marshmallows, and while I often only indulge in a couple out of the whole batch (I am a savoury fan. If I made my own chips I would hoard them all for myself), I gift these little pillows of sugar so my friends and family can have a sweet indulgence. 

Everytime I tell someone I make marshmallows I always get the same reaction, “Woah! You MAKE marshmallows?” (as if I’m some sort of wizard!). Yes. Yes I do (and maybe I am a real life Hermione Granger, I don’t know!). They are definitely easier then people think to make and everyone is always impressed when you tell them you made them from scratch. I will say as a bit of a disclaimer that once you make or eat homemade marshmallows you can’t go back to the store bought (nothing will compare!).

 Now is the time to whip up a batch of these Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows to give yourself a sweet treat on a cold day! Right now I am looking out my window to a serious snowstorm and having a having a warm cup of decadent hot chocolate and a couple minty marshmallows is making Winter not seem so bad. (It is also reminding me that I am procrastinating on my date with the treadmill and I should probably go do that. After this hot chocolate obviously). 

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows
Fluffy and sweet Peppermint Marshmallows. Perfect for topping a cup of Hot Chocolate or just on their own!
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Ingredients
  1. Canola cooking spray
  2. Icing sugar
  3. 3 Envelopes unflavoured gelatin
  4. 1 cup cold water, divided
  5. 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  6. 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
  7. 1/4 tsp table salt
  8. 1 tsp peppermint extract
  9. Red food colouring gel
Instructions
  1. Line bottom of a 7 x 11 inch baking dish with parchment paper, lightly grease with cooking spray. Dust the sides and bottom of the baking dish with icing sugar. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  2. Stir together granulated sugar, light corn syrup, salt and remaining 1/2 cup cold water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook stirring often until candy thermometer registers 240 degrees. (about 12-15 minutes and reduce heat if necessary to prevent mixture from boiling over).
  3. Gradually add hot sugar mixture to gelatin mixture, beating at medium-low speed and using whisk attachment. Gradually increase speed to high and beat for 7 - 10 minutes. (bottom of the bowl should be warm and mixture is very thick and ribbony). Add in peppermint extract and 4 drops of red food colouring gel.
  4. Spread mixture into prepared baking dish using a lightly greased spatula. Dot 6-8 more drops of red food colouring gel throughout and using a wooden skewer, swirl to create a pattern on top.
  5. Heavily dust top with icing sugar. Let mixture stand uncovered, in a cool, dry place for 8 to 24 hours. Once ready remove from baking dish and cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch cubes.
  6. Store wrapped in parchment paper and in a sealed container or bag at room temperature.
Notes
  1. Icing sugar is your best friend when making marshmallows. Dust your prep surfaces, knives for cutting and packaging throughout.
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
Enjoy these Peppermint Marshmallows this weekend when you’re bundled up on the couch binge-watching Netflix (I just finished the third season of The Fall and am going through Netflix-binge withdrawal!). Stay warm and don’t forget to treat yourself (you deserve it!). Cheers!

xo Brit

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Happy Thursday Everyone! I have been caught up lately with a hectic schedule which means few (to no) posts! But I am back with a seriously delicious recipe that is perfect for this warm weather and would be perfect for Father’s Day on Sunday. My family recently went to a local favourite restaurant, Plank Restobar, that specializes in smaller bites that pack huge flavour. One of our top choices is the sliders. They are so juicy and delicious! They are topped with caramelized onions, a savoury aioli and melty cheese. All loaded on a soft egg bun (I am drooling thinking about it!). So when it came to deciding what recipe to tackle next in the kitchen it was a no-brainer. 

I did this recipe off the cuff so it doesn’t need to be exact measurements (feel free to experiment with the flavours you like in the kitchen!). My boyfriend and I wanted a Summer inspired dinner so we paired it with a delicious wedge salad (probably the easiest salad to make too). We were all set to serve up dinner when we realized we didn’t buy a blue cheese dressing (oops!). So I got to Google and typed in quick and easy blue cheese dressing recipe (I had no time for blenders or food processors I mean we were almost about to eat!). So I came across this recipe. It took only a few minutes to make and was so simple. This dressing called for whole milk but we used 1% and it just makes for a thinner dressing. This blue cheese dressing was so insanely delicious and is now a staple in my recipe book. (Seriously. Try this dressing immediately!).

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If you are looking to up your weeknight burger game or spoil Dad this Sunday definitely try out this recipe. It has so many layers of flavour and will surely be a new favourite.

Caramelized Onion Sliders
Serves 3
Flavour packed sliders with sweet caramelized onions and a tangy aioli.
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Caramelized Onions
  1. 2 sweet onions, halved and sliced, reserve 1/4 of an onion for sliders
  2. 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  3. 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Sliders Patties
  1. 1 package of pork, beef and veal blend
  2. 1/4 reserved sweet onion, grated
  3. 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  4. 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  5. 2 tsp garlic powder
  6. Salt and Pepper, to season
Garlic Aioli
  1. 1 cup of mayonnaise
  2. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  3. 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sliders
  1. 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  2. Fontina cheese, sliced (use any cheese you may prefer)
  3. Slider buns (toasting is optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice your onions and have ready to start caramelized onions. These will be cooking the entire time you prepare these sliders. Over medium-high heat melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions. Let brown and soften. About 3-5 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and let continue to soften. Stir every couple minutes so they don't burn.
  3. In a large bowl combine all the slider patty ingredients. Form small hamburger patties, about an inch thick and 2-3 inches in diameter. This should make about 9-10 patties. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
  4. Combine all aioli ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to assemble sliders.
  5. At this point add the balsamic vinegar to your onions to deglaze the pan. Continue to cook on low heat. The vinegar will thicken and coat the onions.
  6. In a large skillet, heat butter over high heat. Cook slider patties, half of the batch at a time. Brown the first side. About 4- 5 minutes. Flip and cover the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes. Once both sides are browned, transfer to a baking pan and top with cheese. Finish in the oven for another 4-5 minutes, when cheese is melted. Repeat with the second half of the sliders.
  7. If you choose to toast your slider buns, arrange them on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven while the sliders are in finishing.
  8. To assemble the sliders, spoon aioli on one side of the buns, add a generous amount of caramelized onions to the other side of the buns. Place slider patty on the onions and top with the aioli coated bun. Serve 2-3 sliders per person! Enjoy!
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
This slider recipe is oozy-gooey delicious! (And seriously addicting). I am already planning to make these again next week. I hope you all enjoy these as much as we did! Enjoy your weekend and have lovely Sunday celebrating all the Father’s out there. 

xo Brit

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If you have been following my Instagram or Twitter then you know I have been trying out the Paleo diet for this week. I was very skeptical because the word “diet” is just awful and paleo cuts out my favourite things – grains and most dairy. There seems to be a lot of grey area when it comes to the Paleo diet, like some dairy is alright as long as it is full fat or you can have alcohol from time to time. It seems to me that all you cannot have is grains and wheat. With tonight still being part of the week I will have to post my dinner recipe, which looks incredible, but I just couldn’t wait to post my favourite recipes so far. 

I will start off by saying everything I tried and cooked was so full of flavour and did not have me missing the none-paleo version of the dish. I was so surprised to see that these healthy and clean recipes were so delicious and kept me feeling full without feeling uncomfortable (if you have had All You Can Eat Sushi then you know how real the pain of being full is). I mean I have done diets before and know what healthy eating is like on a consistent basis and how good you feel, but there is always a struggle behind dieting and I didn’t feel that with the Paleo lifestyle. 

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I spent a full Sunday meal prepping before the week and trust me that is key here. You want to have some staple recipes in your fridge for those busy mornings when you can’t be bothered to cook a big breakfast or put together a healthy, balanced lunch (ain’t nobody got time for that!). Two dishes that lasted me well throughout the week were these Apple Fennel Sausages (recipe by Paleomg. All Juli Bauer’s recipes are fantastic so check out her blog and cookbook!) and some fruit salad. The sausages made 10 patties and the fruit salad was enough for me to have a scoop of each day. For the fruit salad literally just buy your favourite fruits and berries and try to buy organic if you can. I opted for the organic apples, oranges and berries but could not resist the watermelon on sale! Dice it all up and squeeze the juice of an orange over top and you are good to go! 

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Follow this link to the Apple Fennel Breakfast Sausage recipe. I followed it exactly and finished it off with a little dried parsley (all about the presentation baby!). Store these in your refrigerator and heat them up with your breakfast in the morning! They burst with flavour from the fennel and apples, plus they reheat really well!

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On to breakfast recipe number two. I wanted to incorporate some protein into my meals that didn’t have to come from meat or eggs so I chose to try a smoothie bowl (A Chocolate Nut Butter Protein Smoothie Bowl<3). I adapted this recipe from Juli Bauer’s to best fit a single serving and changed up my toppings. I didn’t know what to expect with the smoothie bowl but it was rich and super filling (this baby is loaded with protein!). I think I liked it so much because every time I seem to mix up a protein shake all I can taste is the protein powder but with this you didn’t have that at all. 

Chocolate "Peanut Butter" Smoothie Bowl
Serves 1
A rich and decadent breakfast smoothie loaded with protein!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 frozen banana, cut into 4
  2. 1 cup almond milk
  3. 1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  4. 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter
  5. 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  6. 1 tsp honey
  7. small splash, about 1/4 tsp, vanilla extract
Toppings
  1. 1/2 banana, sliced
  2. 1/3 cup paleo granola (I used an almond based granola)
  3. 2 tbsp chopped pecans
  4. 2 tbsp nut free, organic dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients, except for the toppings, into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a bowl and layer on your toppings of choice.
  3. Dig in!
Adapted from Paleomg
Adapted from Paleomg
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
 My last breakfast was a take on a frittata or a classic casserole. It was a Spicy Breakfast Casserole from Ditch the Wheat that was loaded with veggies, homemade salsa, bacon, and potatoes (this is a starch that is also in the grey area of paleo but was included in the recipe so I used it). I loved this dish but am going to work on this recipe for my own liking since I found it to be too over-the-top in the potatoes and not enough egg. I am going to play around with this recipe and will post the recipe once I have perfected it (at least for myself!). 

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Now let’s tackle the lunch menu shall we!?

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My lunches consisted of lots of fresh, organic greens and protein. I found some more great recipes to try with Paleomg (this site is seriously like a one stop shop for great paleo recipes). The first is the Spicy Candied Salmon Salad with Ginger Honey Dressing. I am pretty obsessed with this salad dressing. It is the perfect balance of spicy and sweet (and I don’t eat a lot of spice). I am also not huge on salmon but realize its full of so many great fats and blahblahblah so I took one for the team on this one.

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I upped the amount of lettuce, coleslaw, and veggies and opted to do half of the filet of salmon. I also broke my salmon apart and mixed it into the salad to soak up some of that tasty dressing (I chose not to glaze the salmon since the salad dressing had so much flavour and the oranges added sweetness). I had this salad a couple of days for lunch and it is seriously delicious. Definitely a keeper in my recipe book! Follow this link to the recipe! 

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My last lunch recipe were these Ranch Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups. They were in Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook so do yourself a favour and pick it up! I baked up some chicken breasts for this but you can also buy a roasted chicken. Throw in your favourite veggies, I used carrots, red onion, green onion, red pepper and avocado. Mix it all together with a paleo approved Ranch Dressing. You can make your own but I managed to find one at Whole Foods! (thank goodness!). Refrigerate the salad and spoon it into some Boston Bibb Lettuce. Such an easy recipe for lunches throughout the week and can easily be made into a larger or smaller batch. 

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My dinner recipes were just as delicious as the rest of the day and is usually when I like to make a “fancier” dish. I have always loved fish tacos so this was a no brainer. I decided to add a homemade Pico de Gallo salsa on top and there we had some delicious fish tacos. I will say I prepped a lot of the components for this beforehand so I would recommend making the slaw, salsa and avocado crema in advance, overnight is perfect! My other bit of advice is to make your own tortillas if you can or if you know of a good kind you can buy that can stand up to liquids then go for that. The kind I bought were from the vegan section of the store and they fell apart almost instantly. Lesson learned!

Fish Tacos
Serves 4
Zesty and Spicy Fish Tacos, perfect for dinner!
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Avocado Crema
  1. 1 avocado, ripe
  2. 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  3. Fresh lime juice, 1 lime
  4. 1 Jalapeño, chopped fine with seeds removed
  5. pinch of salt
Fish
  1. 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  2. 1/2 tbsp paprika
  3. 2 tsp chili powder
  4. 1 tsp garlic powder
  5. Fresh Sea Salt, about 1/2 tsp
  6. 4 Tilapia fillets
  7. Fresh lime juice, 1 lime
Slaw
  1. 1/2 package coleslaw mix
  2. 1/4 package carrot slaw mix
  3. 1 shallot, minced
  4. 1 green onion, chopped
  5. 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  6. Fresh lime juice, 1 lime
  7. Pinch of salt
Salsa
  1. 5 Ripe Tomatoes, I used organic
  2. 1/2 red onion, chopped
  3. 1 Jalapeño, minced and seeded
  4. Fresh Lime juice, 1 lime
  5. 2 tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped
  6. Generous drizzle of olive oil, about 2 tbsp
  7. 1 tsp sea salt
Tacos
  1. 12 Tortillas
  2. Lime wedges
  3. Cilantro for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Place the ingredients for the avocado crema in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Put mixture into a container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Place all all ingredients for the salsa into a medium bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready.
  3. Place all of the ingredients for the slaw in a medium bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. In a small bowl mix all of the spices and salt for the fish. Place the tilapia on the line baking sheet and pour the lime juice over top. Sprinkle about half of the spice mixture over the fish and flip to repeat on the other side. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is flaky and hot in the middle.
  6. When the fish is done, assemble your tortilla shells and spoon desired mount of slaw and salsa on top. Tear pieces of the fish and place on top of the slaw and salsa. Drizzle or spoon over the avocado crema. Finish with some extra lime juice and cilantro if desired.
  7. Enjoy!
Adapted from Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook
Adapted from Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
The last recipe I am going to share is this Spaghetti Squash Carbonara. I have never made spaghetti squash before and was pleasantly surprised by how filling it was and how delicious it was. I am a pasta fanatic. I could seriously eat it everyday. So it was essential to find a recipe that was healthier and had the same appeal that a bowl of pasta would. This meal did the trick!

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This had all the flavours os a classic Carbonara but I am not going to lie to you, it is obviously not pasta. You don’t feel like your eating a spaghetti noodle but it is a dish that can stand on its own, it doesn’t need to be pasta! It is so good and I will definitely be making more spaghetti squash in the future. 

Try out some of these recipe this weekend or even try out a paleo diet next week! I am going to continue this healthy eating but I am not going to cut out the foods I love either. I don’t need to get rid or wheat, grains, dairy or the foods I love, I will just incorporate healthier meals and ingredients into my regular routine. I believe in balance and this week’s paleo menu has shown me I definitely needed better balance in my eating habits! 

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Cheers to all the Moms this weekend for Mother’s Day! Have a lovely and relaxing weekend everyone<3!

xo Brit

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I had a very busy weekend which thankfully included some baking time (I was long overdue). I desperately wanted to make a decadent chocolate cupcake but to my dismay, had no milk in the fridge (seriously whyy!!!). But this turned out to be the ultimate challenge with the greatest reward. I had a brick of cream cheese and a little bit of heavy cream in the fridge so I got to researching. I pulled my favourite cookbooks out of the pantry and ended up finding the perfect recipes to make this mix of ingredients work (What would I do without baking substitutes?). 

This recipe  is adapted from two of my favourite books for delicious and beautiful baking, Handmade Baking by Kamran Siddiqi and The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I highly recommend adding these books to your collection, they will inspire you to up your baking game (and make you seriously hungry!). 

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These cupcakes are the best of two worlds. They are a blend of a rich chocolate cupcake and a creamy cheesecake (drooling..). The bottom half is a seriously decadent chocolate cupcake that isn’t too sweet but packs lots of flavour. The top half keeps the whole cupcake moist and adds some more chocolate flavour and texture with chocolate chips. 

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I chose to top off this cupcake with a thick chocolate frosting but you can also do the traditional method of topping them with cream cheese icing. I didn’t have another brick of cream cheese and for this reason went with a chocolate frosting. But I will say making them this way highlights the chocolate elements of the cake and makes the cheesecake layer a pleasant surprise in texture and flavour. 

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Unwrapping these little beauties reveals the delicious layers of cake and I am telling you, you won’t be able to wait to dig into your first and second bites (and third and fourth..). Baking these will surely have your friends and family calling you up for every occasion to whip up a batch (uh oh. What have I gotten myself into?). Check out the recipes for these rich and smooth cupcakes below!

Black Bottom Cupcakes
Yields 12
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Chocolate Cake Base
  1. 1 1/2 cups flour
  2. 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  3. 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  5. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  6. 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  7. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cheesecake Filling
  1. 1 brick of cream cheese (4 1/2 oz.) at room temperature, cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/2 vanilla extract
  5. a pinch of salt
  6. 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper cupcake cases.
For Chocolate Cake
  1. In a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment add flour, sugar, cocoa and baking soda to the large bowl. Mix on low speed until combined.
  2. Put oil, vinegar, vanilla and 1/2 cup water in a glass in a bowl and whisk to combine. While mixer is running, slowly add oil mixture to flour mixture. Increase the speed as the mixture thickens. Continue to beat until all ingredients are incorporated. Be sure to scrape sides to fully incorporate ingredients. Scoop about 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp of batter into paper cases and set aside.
For Cheesecake Filling
  1. In a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
  2. Stir in the chocolate chips using a rubber spatula. Be careful not to over mix.
  3. Scoop about 1 tbsp of cheesecake filling over cupcake batter.
  4. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops are firm and starting to golden on edges. Let cupcakes cool on wire rack. When cupcakes are cool you may frost them!
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
Chocolate Frosting
Thick and Creamy Chocolate Frosting!
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Ingredients
  1. 9 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  2. 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 6 tbsp heavy cream, more as needed
  4. 3 1/3 cups icing sugar
  5. 1 1/2 tsp golden corn syrup
  6. 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a freestanding mixer with a paddle attachment, combine butter and cocoa powder until smooth. Mix in cream and icing sugar until you reach spreading consistency. Mix in corn syrup and vanilla. Add more cream 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency. (I added about 6 more tbsp!).
  2. You are now ready to pipe the icing onto you cupcake or cake!
Adapted from by Union Grove Design
Adapted from by Union Grove Design
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
Try this out for a decadent treat this week!

xo Brit

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I find myself gravitating towards comfort foods during these Winter months, things like spaghetti bolognese (I will take all the carbs please) and hearty soups. Recently we had ribs for dinner and I simply cannot do ribs without making cornbread. I typically make a Barefoot Contessa recipe (her Jalapeño Cornbread is to die for) but I thought to challenge myself to making a recipe that used items I already had in my fridge and pantry. Once I did a quick run through of what I was working with I decided to put together some cheesy (there are 3 cheeses in these bad boys) bacon (thick cut and smoky) cornbread muffins (drooling..). I was hoping to make mini loaves, because how cute right?!, but I could not find the loaf pan anywhere so I went with muffins. Now the cornbread is portioned (who am I kidding I still ate 3) and perfect for easy serving. I also like baking them this way because it makes them easy to take for lunches or on-the-go as a snack.*

*Note: Be sure to warm these up before you eat them because eating them warm is immensely better then eating them right out of the fridge. 

These cornbread muffins are packed with flavour from the blends of sharp white and old cheddar cheese and nutty parmesan. I chose a thick cut and smoked bacon which added a whole other layer of flavour punch to round out all the cheese. Lastly there is some spice to these. I chose to add about a teaspoon of dried chilli and jalapeño but you could add more if you aren’t afraid of heat. 

Cheesy Bacon Cornbread
Yields 12
A blend of 3 cheese and smoky bacon make this cornbread a treat!
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Ingredients
  1. 10 slices of bacon, cooked until almost crispy, roughly chopped
  2. 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sharp white cheddar, grated and divided
  3. 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup old cheddar, grated and divided
  4. 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup parmesan, grated and divided
  5. 3 green onions, chopped
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  8. 1/2 cup unsalted butter or one stick, melted
  9. 1 cup cornmeal
  10. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  11. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  12. 2 tsp baking powder
  13. 1 tsp chilli flakes (I used a trio blend of chilli flakes, jalapeño and chipotle)
  14. A couple pinches of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Whisk together egg and buttermilk in a bowl. Slowly add in butter while quickly whisking to ensure egg does not scramble. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add your wet ingredients to the dry mixture and combine.
  3. Add in 3/4 of your bacon to the mixture and reserve the rest. Add in 1/2 cup of the white cheddar, 1/2 cup of the old cheddar and 1/4 cup of the parmesan. Reserve the remaining cheese. Add in your green onion. Mix until combined.
  4. Prepare your muffin pan with an oil spray or butter to ensure the muffins do not stick to the pan. Divide the mixture evenly into the muffin pan. You should get 12 muffins out of this recipe.
  5. Top each with the reserved bacon and cheese. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are browning and a toothpick comes out of the centre clean.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve! Store in an air tight container in the fridge. Warm these before eating and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you do not have buttermilk (which I didn't) you can easily make your own by mixing 1 cup of milk with 1 tbsp of white vinegar OR lemon juice. You can double this or half it for however much you need. Mix the two and let sit for 10 minutes. You may see some solid bits rise to the top, showing it is beginning to curdle. That is fine and you do not have to strain those bits out.
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
 Serve these out of the oven with your meal of choice or heat them up in the microwave for a quick treat! (Running to the fridge to get one now!)

xo Brit

 

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Looking for a delicious (and moderately easy) recipe to make during the week? Then this is the one fore you! It does take a little bit of prep time but after that this recipe is smooth sailing. I tackled this recipe a few nights ago and felt a little intimidated since I had never roasted a chicken before (I was a total rookie!). But if there is anyone I trust with flavour and delicious food it is Ina Garten (she is a Queen). This is a recipe of hers from her Barefoot in Paris cookbook. It is a fantastic one to try if you too are a newbie to roasting a full chicken or if you are looking to up your weeknight meal game. Not only will you get a lovely meal out of it but you will have amazing leftovers for the days to follow (chicken salad anyone?). I will say I did nothing to alter this recipe (which I often do) because I don’t mess with the Barefoot Contessa’s brilliance. 

Lemon Chicken with Croutons
Yields 3
A juicy roast chicken with tart lemons and savoury croutons!
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Total Time
1 hr 55 min
Total Time
1 hr 55 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 4-5 pound roasting chicken
  2. 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  3. good olive oil
  4. Kosher salt
  5. Freshly ground black pepper
  6. 2 lemons, quartered
  7. 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  8. 6 cups bread cubes (3/4 inch), about 1 baguette
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Take the giblets out of the chicken and wash it inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers. Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the lemons inside the chicken. Brush it with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
  3. Roast for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. (The onions may burn, but the flavour is good.)
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Place the croutons on a serving platter. Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the croutons. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
Serve this up for something tasty this week!

xo Brit

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Over the weekend I went to a Birthday party that had an old-fashioned cocktail party theme. There were featured cocktails that included an Old Fashioned, a classic Mojito and my favourite, the French 75. Amongst all of the muddling, shaking and mixing by the bar there was an abundance of delicious finger foods. There were classics such as Deviled Eggs (which I tend to steer clear of) and Meatballs (which I inhaled). When I was asked to bring something for the munchies table I thought how about a traditional cheese ball? You rarely see these anymore at parties unless it is around the holidays when all the old school recipes are being pulled out. 

I got to searching for the ideal cheese ball recipe and ended up finding some really tasty options (There are about a million on Pinterest that all looked delicious). I decided to stay pretty classic with mine when it came to the flavour profile, because who can turn down cheddar cheese and bacon? Not only is this recipe delicious, but it is super easy to whip up for a cocktail party and is a definite crowd pleaser. It also makes a really large portion so it is good to make if you need to serve a lot of people.

*Note: This would be a fun treat to put out for a Superbowl party, seeing as it is coming up in a couple of weeks! You could easily form the cheese ball into a football shape and make it into a cute Superbowl inspired appetizer. 

Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball
A flavoured packed appetizer, perfect for your next party!
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Ingredients
  1. 8 slices of bacon, cooked till crisp and chopped
  2. 2 8 oz packages of regular cream cheese, at room temperature
  3. 1 package of powdered Ranch dressing mix
  4. 3/4 cup of old cheddar cheese, grated
  5. 2 large green onions, chopped
  6. 1 cup slivered almonds, chopped fine
Instructions
  1. Fry your bacon first and pat excess fat off. Roughly chop bacon and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to combine the cream cheese with the Ranch dressing mix. Make sure it is combined well.
  3. Add in the bacon, cheddar cheese and green onion. Mix until combined well.
  4. Spoon cheese mixture onto a piece of Saran wrap. Place another piece of Saran wrap over top of the mixture and start to form a ball. Once formed wrap the cheese ball and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Pour finely chopped almonds onto a cutting board or plate. Unwrap the cheese ball and roll in the almonds. Sprinkle pieces over to cover ball entirely and press them so they stay. Once again wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. Serve it with crackers, fresh bread or veggies!
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
Try this recipe at your next party and even make it your own by mixing in some of your favourite flavours!
Bon Appetit!

xo Brit

A Haunted Halloween Party

Halloween has always been one of my favourite holidays. As a kid is what always so much fun to run around the neighbourhood with my friends getting a pillowcase full of candy. My favourite part of the night though was getting home and sorting all my candy so I could see what exactly I got and how much of my candies of choice I had on hand. Now that I am way to old to go out for Halloween I have taken over decorating my house and I have started an annual themed dinner!

This year was my second annual Haunted Halloween Dinner Party. I serve up a signature cocktail, some appetizers, a main and of course a dessert. I started off my setting my table! I wanted to do something simple but definitely suitable for Halloween. I found a great runner from Target that was like a black lace, but adorned with bats. I took some small white pumpkins and simple green floral arrangements and placed them alone the centre of the table. I love doing up small arrangements of a single flower and making that the focal point! I took a couple of skull shot glasses we have and put electric tea lights in them to finish off the centrepiece.

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Since I have the Silhouette Cameo I thought I would put it to good use and make some place cards! I cut out a bat shape and used a chalk marker to write everyones names.

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I also cut out folded cards for each of my dishes!

First there is the cocktail. I put together The Asylum Cocktail.

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I took some tumblers and put a splash of grenadine in the bottom and a shot of vodka. I used small syringes to make this drink on the Asylum theme! I filled them with a pomegranate liqueur. When the guests arrive top this off with half lemonade and half club soda. I finished the cocktail with a spritz of fresh lemon and lime juice. The drink is fizzy, sweet and citrusy! Plus the syringe can be used as a stir stick and guests can infuse their drinks with the pomegranate liqueur as they please.

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The appetizers I did this year I went for simple and delicious flavours. I put out some sweet potato chips, pumpkin hummus and lots of fresh veggies, perfect for the season. I made some homemade pita chips to go with this as well. I bought some Halloween cookies cutters and a pack of pita breads. I split the pitas in half and cut the shapes out. Preheat the oven to 350* and place the pita shapes on a baking sheet covered in a silpat or nonstick sheet. Brush olive oil on the pitas and sprinkle some of your favourite herbs on top. I use an Italian herb seasoning blend. I sprinkled some salt and pepper on as well and baked the pitas for 5 to 8 minutes. I like them a little bit chewier as opposed to crispy so I did them for about 5 minutes.

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Lastly I made up a Mummy Baked Brie!

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I was able to prepare this ahead of time before baking which was ideal. I defrosted a package of Tenderflake puff pastry. When it was ready to use I rolled out one piece at a time. The first I cut a circle our that was about an inch bigger then the brie wheel. I set aside the excess pastry and rolled out the second piece and did the same. I spooned about 1/2 cup of red pepper jelly, in this case is was my mom’s home-made one, on top of the brie wheel. Place the second circle of pastry overtop and pinch the bottom and top pastry circles at the sides to enclose the brie. Once this is done I rolled out the scrap pieces of pastry and used a pizza cutter to cut strips, about 4 inches long. I layered these over the top of the brie whichever way I thought looked best like a mummy! Place two pecans as the eyes and refrigerate until ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 400*. Brush egg whites onto the top of the brie so it browns up nicely in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes and serve right away so the cheese is hot and gooey!

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Now for the main entree! I did up three flatbreads and a salad. Super simple but allowed me to serve up some different flavours.

The first flatbread is my Cured Epidermis Flatbread.

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The base for all of these flatbreads are Plain Naans. I made two of each which was perfect for serving 9 people.
This one I prepared a garlic and chilli olive oil ahead of time. I cut up two cloves of garlic and added a pinch of red chilli pepper flakes to about a cup of olive oil. I brought the oil to a boil over hight heat and turned the heat off once it starts to bubble. Let this sit and the flavours will infuse.

When the flatbreads are ready to be assembled I brushed the garlic chilli oil on the two naans. I put a generous amount of fresh, shredded mozzarella and tore some proscuitto on top. Bake the flatbreads at 425* for 15-20 minutes or until the crusts are browned and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Finish this flatbread with freshly shredded parmesan cheese and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

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The second flatbread is the Bloody Eyeball Flatbread. This is like a classic caprese style flatbread. I made up a pesto the day before using a clove of minced garlic, 2 bunches of basil, salt and pepper. I pulsed the mixture in a food processor adding olive oils tbsp at a time until I got the consistency I liked. Refrigerate this until ready to use.

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Brush the pesto on the two flatbreads, adding cherry tomatoes and mini boccacini cheese. Bake for the same 15-20 minutes.

Finish with the freshly cut basil and a drizzle of basil oil.

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The last flatbread is the Rotten Garbage Flatbread.

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For this flatbread I brushed olive oil on the naans. I had pre made my caramelized onions, which I thinly cut 2 medium white onions and cooked them over medium-high heat in 3 tbsp of melted butter.  Cook for 10 minutes and add salt and pepper. Stir and add 1 tbsp of sugar then cook for 10 more minutes until the onions are a caramelized colour.

Add the onions onto the flatbread, sprinkle goat cheese and cut, cooked bacon on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Finish with some bean shoots. This flatbread has the perfect blend of smoky, sweet and tangy!

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I also served up a salad, a Decomposed Salad!

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This recipe is from Martha Stewarts website, which has so many great party ideas for Halloween. Follow this link to the recipe!

The warm roasted squash makes  a great addition to a classic green salad. Also the sugar coated pumpkin seeds when tossed with the salad dressing makes the salad sweet and delicious.

I also scooped up these great talon salad tongs from Target!

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For dessert I made Brain and Blood Clot Cupcakes!

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I made up a double batch of my Vanilla cupcake recipe and a Vanilla buttercream found at Annies Eats.

Brain and Blood Clot Cupcakes
The perfect cupcake for a Halloween party or any Spooky event!
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Vanilla Cupcake
  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup of sugar
  3. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  6. 1/2 cup whole milk
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  9. Can of cherry pie filling
Vanilla Buttercream
  1. 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  2. 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  3. 1/8 tsp salt
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 2 tbsp heavy cream
  6. red food colouring
  7. black food colouring
Vanilla Cupcake
  1. Preheat oven to 325*.
  2. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a freestanding mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
  3. Whisk the egg, vanilla and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated. Scrape sides of the bowl and continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the batter is smooth.
  4. Spoon the batter into paper cups until two thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Insert skewer and it should come out clean when done. Let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.
  5. When cooled take a pairing knife and cut out a nickel sized circle from the top. Spoon a cherry from the pie filling into the centre of the cupcake and fill. Top with the piece of the cupcake you cut out and set aside. Repeat with all of the cupcakes.
Vanilla Buttercream
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. Stir in small amounts of red food colouring into the icing and a tiny bit of black food colouring to get a pinkish brown colour.
  2. Put into an icing bag and pipe, using a small rounded tip, squiggles which resemble a brain. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Notes
  1. I had to double the recipe for the cupcakes because I used large paper baking cups. Double this recipe to make 24 cupcakes.
Adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
Adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
 These cupcakes were a hit! They had the creepy effect I wanted and were so tasty. The cupcake itself was light and moist and the surprise “blood clot” inside made for an interesting dessert!

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Overall my Halloween dinner was a success! It was a night of Haunted Halloween fun with friends, family and lots of great food! I can’t wait until next year!

-B

 

An Autumn Dinner

With the cold Autumn weather creeping up on us, I had found myself craving a meal of comfort food to warm my bones. I knew I wanted to make a hearty beef stew and after looking through my many Ina Garten cookbooks in my kitchen I came across the perfect recipe! In the Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics Cookbook is ‘Parker’s Beef Stew’. What I loved about this recipe was that the beef is soaked overnight in garlic and red wine to infuse some serious flavour. It takes on the elegance of a beef bourguignon but has the classic comfort of a hearty beef stew.

This recipe takes a good day of prep to get the most out of all of the flavours, but it is so worth it!

Parker's Beef Stew
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 pounds of good-quality chuck beef, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  2. 1 bottle of good red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  3. 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
  4. 3 bay leaves
  5. 6 ounces of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  6. 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  7. kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  8. 2 cups chopped yellow onions, about 2 onions
  9. Good olive oil
  10. 6 cloves of garlic, minced, (I used 3 cloves as I don't like a lot of garlic!)
  11. 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into chunks
  12. 1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
  13. 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can of beef stock
  14. 1 large fresh rosemary branch
  15. 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced (I used a couple tbsps of tomato paste instead to keep this flavour)
  16. 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  17. 1(10 ounce) package of frozen peas (I used fresh!)
Instructions
  1. Place the beef in a bowl with the red wine, garlic cloves, and bay leaves. Cover the bowl and marinate the beef in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Brown the bacon in a large sauté pan for 5 to 7 minutes, over medium-low heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a Dutch oven. Combine 2 cups of the flour, 1 tbsp of salt and 1 tbsp of pepper in a bowl. Lift the beef out of the marinade and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the beef cubes in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. In the same sauté pan, brown half of the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place the browned beef in the Dutch oven with the bacon and brown the remaining beef. Add the second batch to the Dutch oven.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  4. Lower the heat under the sauté pan to medium-low, add the onions, and cook for 5 minutes, adding the olive oil if necessary. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven with the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade (discard the rest) to the sauté pan and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the beef stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes (or tomato paste), Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp of salt, and 2 tsps of pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot and place it in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather then simmering, lower the heat to 275 degrees.
  5. When the stew is done and the meat is tender, discard the rosemary branch. Ladle 1 cup of the pan juices into a bowl and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. Pour it back into the stew, stir gently, and simmer for 3 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the peas, season to taste, and serve hot.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
 
Now that we have our stew what do we serve alongside it? I was looking for a something you could dip into the stew, so bread was the perfect choice. But instead of a simple french baguette I whipped up a cheddar beer bread! It was so easy and my goodness was it delicious. This is a recipe I will keep on hand for future dinners!

I found this recipe off Culicurious. I loved how crunchy the outside looked yet the centre was fluffy and oh so cheesy!

Cheddar Beer Bread
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups bread flour
  2. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  6. 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  7. 1-12 ounce bottle beer (Golden Lager) I used a Corona!
  8. 1/2 cup melted salted butter (I only used a couple tablespoons)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 ºF.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the beer and cheddar cheese.
  4. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan and then pour the melted butter over the loaf.
  5. Set in the oven and bake for one hour.
  6. Remove loaf from the baking pan and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
 
This recipe can be changed up by testing different cheeses or beers in it such as a pepper jack to add some spice or a more mild cheddar paired with a bolder beer.

If you are finding the cold weather is getting to you this Fall, try this Autumn Dinner to warm you up and bring you the ultimate sense of comfort!

-B

Lemon Raspberry Tarts

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So I have been on a little bit of a hiatus for the last couple of weeks and am long overdue for a new post! I was away in NYC for a few days so planning the trip took up a lot of my time and I have been at a new job and busy with school! But enough excuses.. lets get to the tarts!

It is Canada Day today! Happy Canada Day everyone! So I really wanted to bake something using white and red colours to celebrate the holiday. I immediately went to raspberries and love the lemon and raspberry combo so it was a no brainer.

I have never made tarts before so I was definitely leary on how it would go, but they turned out delicious and my mom is naming me the official pastry maker from now on! haha not bad eh!

Lets get to the Lemon Raspberry Tarts!

I used the Perfect Pie Crust Recipe from Ina Garten’s Family Style Cookbook. I went with this because it uses shortening and butter instead of just butter. The Barefoot Contessa uses this recipe for her Classic Apple Pie but I used it to make tarts and mini tartlets. They turned out just as buttery and flakey as they would for a large pie! This dough recipe made enough for 12 tarts and 12 tartlets.

I then went to my favourite Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, which is my go-to cookbook for baking. I used the recipe for the Lemon Meringue Pie recipe to make my lemon filling for the Tarts.

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Once the tarts were done I refrigerated them overnight to set and service them with a layer of fresh whipped cream on top and fresh raspberries.

The pastry is so incredibly light and the lemon filling is tart and smooth. With the whipped cream and raspberries it adds a whole other level of fluffiness and sweetness to these delicious tarts.

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Try these out for a delicious Summer treat!

 

Lemon Raspberry Tarts

Yields 24
Tart and sweet tartlets with the classic lemon and raspberry combination!
 
 
For the Pie Dough
  1. 12 tbsps of very cold unsalted butter
  2. 3 cups All Purpose flour
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 tbsp sugar
  5. 1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
  6. 6-8 tbsps ice water
For the Lemon Filling
  1. 8 egg yolks
  2. 2 13.5 oz cans of condensed milk
  3. 8 lemons, juice and zest
For the Topping
  1. 1 cup whipping cream
  2. 1 tsp sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 2 containers of fresh raspberries
For the Pie Dough
  1. Dice the butter and put it back in the fridge while you prepare the dry ingredients. Place flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and shortening and pulse 8-12 times until the butter in the size of peas. With the machine running pour the ice water down the feed tube until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out onto a floured surface and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured surface. You may need to flour your rolling pin as well. Cut out circles about a 1/4″ thick with a cookie cutter or glass to appropriate size for your tart pan. Form dough into tart pan and slightly crimp or press edges. Refrigerate shells for 10 minutes.
  3. Line each shell with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Blind bake at 350* for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and baking beans. Blind bake again for 10 more minutes.
For the Lemon Filling
  1. Put egg yolks, condensed milk, lemon juice and zest into a mixing bowl and whisk, using a balloon whisk, gently until ingredients are incorporated. It will be quite runny, but will naturally thicken.
For the Tarts
  1. Pour the lemon mixture into the partially blind baked shells. The shells can and should be filled right when they have been taken out of the oven for the second time. Bake the tarts for 30 minutes at 300*. They are down when the centre is firm to the touch and not wobbly! You do not want your tart shells to get too brown either.
  2. Let them fully cool to room temperature and then refrigerate from 1 hour to overnight. Overnight gives the best results.
For the Topping
  1. Whip the whipping cream using chilled whisks. Add in sugar and vanilla when it starts to thicken.
  2. Layer a dollop of the whipped cream on top of the tarts. Place a few raspberries on top of the tart. Garnish the plate with more raspberries. Serve and Enjoy!

Enjoy!
-B

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie is a bold statement but it is true! This is a recipe my mom has made forever and it is always a hit. I have adopted making them now and they are so incredibly easy and so chewy and delicious.

What makes them so good? Well they have a little crutch around the edges and are chewy and soft in the centre, the best of both worlds. Also using a really good quality chocolate chip is key. I always use a Ghirardelli milk chocolate chip when I bake these because you can taste the quality of the chocolate and they are a larger chip, making for a chocolatey bite every time.

I have never met a person who didn’t absolutely love these cookies! So making them is sure to impress anyone you serve them to!

Start off by mixing your flour, salt and and baking soda in a small bowl. I choose to mix both my dry and wet ingredients with a wooden spoon as opposed to a mixer because it leaves them tasting lighter and gives me more control over the consistency of the dough.

In a larger bowl combine your melted butter with both granulated and light brown sugars. mix them and get rid of any lumps. Add in your eggs, one at a time and mix. Lastly is your vanilla. I always recommend buying a good quality vanilla extract because it gives a better flavour to all your baking.

Start adding your dry mixture to the wet. I do this in 4 batches, making sure all of the ingredients get incorporated really well. The dough will start to pull off of the sides of the bowl when it is done.

Lastly add in your chocolate chips. I like to add in 3/4 of a bag but you can use the whole bag if you like lots of chocolate.

Scoop them using a baking scoop or an ice cream scoop onto a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until the edges of the cookies are a nice golden brown. Let them cool on a baking rack. Sneak a cookie while they are warm out of the oven because they will be so chewy and gooey!

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Those are the best chocolate chip cookies! Try them this week!

 

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
A perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookie!
 
For the Cookies
  1. 2 1/4 cups of All Purpose Flour
  2. 1 tsp baking soda
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  5. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  6. 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 2-3 cups of milk chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325*.
  2. In a small bowl mix your flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl mix your butter with both sugars using a wooden spoon. Add in your eggs one at a time. Add in your vanilla.
  4. Mix in the flour mixture to the wet mixture. *Add in 4 small batches to ensure both mixtures come together very well.
  5. Lastly add in your chocolate chips and mix.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Using an ice cream scoop or baking scoop, drop rounded scoops of the cookie dough onto a baking sheet. Bakes 8 in a batch.
  7. Bakes for 15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.
  8. Let cool at room temperature on a baking rack.
  9. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
  10. Store cookies in a tin at room temperature.
  11. Enjoy!
By My Mom’s Cookbook
Adapted from Union Grove

-B

Fish Tacos

I hope you all had a lovely long weekend!

I have a new recipe for you to try out. It is one I have made a few times and can be done to anyones preferences which makes it such a great recipe. I originally found it in an old Food Network magazine and thought it would be too difficult to make so I set it aside. As I got better with my cooking skills I decided to give it a go and ended up absolutely loving it.

Fish tacos have become a trendy dish for many restaurants and everyone is wanting to try them. This is a recipe that allows you to bring that restaurant quality fish taco to your home dinner table. It is definitely the best fish taco I have ever eaten and that includes ones from restaurants! That is a bold statement but it is 100% true!

There are a few parts to this dish so planning your time and prepping certain parts earlier on is the easiest way to do this.

Start with your slaw and your salsa. Now the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of fresh salsa. I am a tomato lover so I made my own very simple cherry tomato salsa. I quartered 1 container of heirloom cherry tomatoes, this gives the dish lots of pretty colours. Add some salt and pepper. Pour about a tbsp of olive oil over top and mix. To finish the salsa I add a small drizzle of basil oil overtop and mix. Cover the salsa up and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the tacos.

For the slaw, I have done this two ways. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of red cabbage, about 1/4 of a cabbage. I have done this, it just takes extra time to cut it and clean it. I have bought a bag of prepackaged slaw as well and made the dressing for it. I would 100% recommend cutting your own red cabbage. It gives a much better texture to the tacos and holds the dressing better then a prepackaged slaw.

Whichever way you choose, put the cabbage in a bowl and add in about a handful of roughly chopped cilantro, the juice of 1 lime, 2 tbsp of honey, and 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. Mix the slaw until it looks combined. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and store in the fridge until the tacos are ready to assemble.

Now its time to start prepping the tacos and the fish. Use a small white, corn tortilla for this taco. It has the most traditional flavour and texture. You can serve 2 or 3 tacos per person so arrange the shells on each plate ready to be assembled. Set those aside.

Take 3/4 cup of all purpose flour and put on a plate. season the flour with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 tsp of chilli powder to the flour. The last time I made these I added about 1/2 tsp of fish seasoning. Mix the flour with a fork until it looked uniform. This is your dredging for the fish.

The recipe calls for fillets of Halibut, which I have used. They work really well but can be quite expensive. I have also done the recipe with tilapia and haddock. Any white fish would do for these tacos. You want to cut the fillets into long strips. You can get 2-3 strips out of 1 filet depending on how big you cut them. 2 inches is a recommended cut.

When it comes to cooking the fish you can do it deep fried, pan fried or grilled. The recipe calls for it to be deep fried. Which I have done and of course this give  crunchy texture to the tacos. Pan-frying is a little bit lighter, and you still get some of that crunch!

If deep-frying add 3 inches of vegetable oil to a pot and heat over medium high heat. Add only about 1/2 inch of oil if pan-frying. Test oil by dipping a corner of the fish in, if it sizzles and bubbles it is ready. Add 3 pieces in at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, until they are golden brown. Remove from the pot and transfer to a baking sheet. Add a pinch of sea salt over top of the hot fish right away.  Put in a warm oven, about 225*, to keep the fish warm for serving. Cook the remaining fish.

Cut 1 avocado into long slices. Line each tortilla shell with 2 slices. Now assemble the fish on the shell. You can either fit 1-2 pieces depending on the size. Spoon your fresh salsa to one side of the shell and the slaw on the other side of the shell. I like to spoon a little bit more of the slaw dressing over the fish before serving. Serve with some lime wedges and I like to add a light garnish of green onion over top.

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This is the pan-fried version with the prepackaged slaw mix.

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That is with the red cabbage slaw and deep-fried fish.

Both ways are delicious but it is all about how much time you have and what you prefer.

These tacos have the most amazing balance of sweet from the honey and salty from the fish. You get creamy slaw and avocado with the acidity of the salsa. It is the prefect balance for a fish taco which is why I love this recipe so much!

Try it out this week for a summer inspired dinner that your friends and family will definitely love!

 

Fish Tacos
Serves 4
Crispy fish with a creamy slaw and tangy salsa all in a warm tortilla!
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
For the Salsa
  1. 1 container of heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in fours
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. salt and pepper
  4. Drizzle of basil oil
For the Slaw
  1. 1 1/2 cups of red cabbage, about 1/4 of a full cabbage, cut thin (can use a prepackaged bag)
  2. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, about 1 handful, roughly chopped
  3. Juice of 1 lime
  4. 2 tbsp honey
  5. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  6. Salt and pepper
For the Fish
  1. 1 1/4 pounds of skinless halibut fillets (can use tilapia, haddock or any preferred white fish)
  2. 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  3. 1/2 tsp of chilli powder
  4. 1/2 tsp fish seasoning (optional)
  5. salt and pepper
  6. Vegetable oil, for frying
  7. sea salt
For the Tacos
  1. 12 corn tortillas
  2. 1 avocado, sliced
  3. 1/2 cup of green onion, chopped
  4. lime wedges, for serving
For the Salsa
  1. Add the tomatoes to a medium bowl. Toss with the olive oil and season. Lastly drizzle over the basil oil and mix. Cover and refrigerate.
For the Slaw
  1. Cut and clean the cabbage. Add to a medium bowl. Add in cilantro, lime juice, honey and mayonnaise. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.
For the Fish
  1. Preheat oven to 225*. Cut your fillets into strips about 2 inches thick. Can be cut thinner if preferred. Mix the flour with salt and pepper, chilli powder and fish seasoning on a plate. Dredge the fish in the flour well and shake off the excess. Heat a pot of either 3 inches of oil, for deep-frying, or 1/2 inch of oil, for pan-frying, over medium high heat. Test oil with corner of the dredged fish, if bubbles the oil is ready. Add 3 pieces of fish to pot at a time. Cook for 2 minutes per side, until fish is golden brown. Remove from pot to a baking sheet lined with a slatted tray. Sprinkle with sea salt. Put fish in the oven to stay warm until all is ready to serve.
For the Tacos
  1. Arrange warm tortillas on plates, 2-3 per person. Line each with 2 slices of avocado. Place 1-2 pieces of the fish overtop. Spoon fresh salsa to one side of tortilla and the slaw on the other. Spoon some of the slaw dressing over the fish. Garnish with some of the green onion. Serve with a lime wedge.
  2. Enjoy!
By Food Network
Adapted from Brittany Downey at Union Grove

-B

Scallops with Leeks and Pancetta

Happy Monday! I had an inspired weekend when it came to a couple dinners I made at home. I am going to share one of those today and save the other for next week!

I was asked to make a scallop dish for dinner, since we had some in the fridge, so I brainstormed flavours I love to make a really tasty meal.

Start off with your scallops. If you are using fresh make sure they are patted very dry since they tend to hold a lot of water. If you are using frozen, thaw them well beforehand in the fridge or by putting them in a bag and placing the bag in a bowl of cold water. They will also need to be patted dry once they are thawed.

Start off by crisping up 1/2 cup of pancetta in 1 tbsp of melted butter. I did this over medium heat and crisped them to my liking, it only took a couple minutes.

Set the pancetta aside on a paper towel lined bowl or plate to drain off the excess fat. I set aside the skillet with the bacon fat in it because I used this to sear the scallops!

I prepped a pot of water for the parmesan risotto I served the scallops on top of! I bought a packet of risotto from an Italian market so it was all in Italian! All it required though was to cook the risotto for 15 minutes in boiling water, frequently stirring, over medium-high heat. Once it reached al dente I turned off the heat and stirred in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan, and finished with some salt and pepper. Give yourself enough time to make the risotto while you are cooking the scallops and leeks.

I heated 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. I added in the chopped leeks, which was about 4 cups. I used the white ends to the light green, removing the dark green since they can give a more bitter taste. I added them into the pan to soften. I cooked them for about 6 minutes and then added 1 more tbsp of butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Once the butter was melted in I poured in about 1/2 cup of dry white wine. I let this reduce down for about 10 minutes. I added the pancetta back in and let heat for about 1 minute then removed from the heat but kept covered.

I got my pan with the bacon fat in it and added 1 tbsp of butter and heated it over high heat. While thats heating season the top sides of you scallops with freshly cracked salt and pepper. I had 10 scallops, and it was enough to serve four people, but i’d recommend using 3 scallops per person, and the leek mixture had quite a bit left over so it definitely would be enough to serve 6 people with a total of 18 scallops.

Once the butter is melted add your scallops in 3-4 at a time. and let sear. Sear for about 3 minutes per side. Don’t forget to season the other side of your scallop when you flip them. I also used a spoon to spoon over the butter and fat while they cooked to keep them coated in that flavour and ensure even cooking. Once they are seared nice and cooked, be sure not to over cook, they should be just opaque through, I transferred them into the leek mixture and recovered while I finished cooking the rest of the scallops.

When ready, plate your risotto first and place your scallops on top. Lastly spoon over the leeks and pancetta, generously, and add a spoonful of that wine sauce from the pan over top of the scallops.

And that is my Scallops with Leeks and Pancetta over Parmesan Risotto!

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This meal was absolutely delicious and really easy to make. It took some multitasking but it is a good recipe that didn’t require too many ingredients. Each part of the dish was simple but when pieced together makes a sophisticated meal.

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Try this out sometime this week and I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

 

Scallops with Leeks and Pancetta

Serves 4-6
Crispy pancetta and seasoned leeks in a white wine sauce, served over sears scallops and a cheesy risotto!
 
For the Leeks and Pancetta
  1. 1/2 cup pancetta, diced
  2. 1 tbsp butter
  3. 4 cups of the whites and light greens of leeks, chopped
  4. 3 tbsp butter, divided
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil
  6. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  7. salt and pepper
For the Risotto
  1. Package of risotto
  2. 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  3. salt and pepper
For the Scallops
  1. 12-18 scallops, thawed if frozen and patted dry
  2. 1 tbsp butter
  3. salt and pepper
For the Leeks and Pancetta
  1. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a skillet over high heat. Add in your pancetta and cook tip crisp. Remove pancetta to a paper towel lined bowl. Set skillet aside with bacon fat for searing scallops later.
  2. In a separate pan heat 2 tbsp of butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add in the leeks. Let soften for 6 minutes. Add in 1 tbsp of butter and season with salt and pepper. Once butter is melted add in the white wine. Lower heat to medium-low and let simmer and reduce for 10 minutes. Once it has thickened up add in your cooked pancetta and heat on medium for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and cover.
For the Risotto
  1. When you start crisping the pancetta put a pot of water on to boil. When it comes to a boil add in your risotto and stir consistently for 15 minutes or until al dente and liquid has cooked off. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.
For the Scallops
  1. Take skillet with leftover fat from cooking the pancetta. Put over high heat. Add in 1 tbsp of butter.
  2. Season one side of your dried scallops with salt and pepper.
  3. In heated pan add 3-4 scallops at a time to sear. Sear on each side for about 3 minutes. Season other side when flipped. Spoon the butter and fat over the scallops as they cook to enhance flavour and ensure even cooking. Cook until middle is opaque and should have a slight firmness to touch. Place scallops into the leek mixture and cover until all scallops are done.
  4. Plate the risotto and place scallops on top. Spoon over the leeks and pancetta, generously. Finish by spooning some of the white wine sauce over the scallops.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Risotto makes enough for 4, so increase risotto amount if you are making for a larger group.
By Brittany Downey

-B

Baked Gnocchi with Goat Cheese

 

Serves 4
A delicious baked gnocchi in a decadent and cheesy sauce.
 
Ingredients
  1. 1 package of Gnocchi
  2. 3 tbsp butter, divided
  3. 1/2 cup of pancetta, diced
  4. 1 shallot, chopped
  5. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  6. 1 tbsp flour
  7. 3/4 cup of milk or cream
  8. 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  9. 1/2 cup Emmental cheese, divided, grated
  10. 1/2 cup frozen peas
  11. 1/2 cup goat cheese
  12. salt and pepper
  13. a few tbsp of parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375*
  2. Grease a cast iron skillet well and set aside.
  3. Start a large pot of water in high heat to bring to a boil.
  4. Heat a pan over high heat and melt 1 tbsp of butter. Add in the pancetta and crisp, 4 minutes. Set pancetta aside in a bowl lined with paper towel and pat away excess grease.
  5. Add gnocchi into salted boiling water and cook for 6-8 minutes or until they rise to the top then drain.
  6. While water comes to a boil and gnocchi cooks, In a clean pan heat 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add in shallot and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Whisk in flour until forms a paste. Whisk in milk or cream and then the dijon. Whisk in half of the Emmental until it is blended in. Add in the peas and the pancetta. Lastly whisk in the goat cheese. When combined, turn off the heat.
  7. Add the drained gnocchi into the cheese sauce and mix until gnocchi is coated. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the mixture into the cast iron skillet. Sprinkle parmesan over top and then the remaining Emmental cheese.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sides are bubbling and the top is browned.
  10. Let sit for a few minutes and then serve!
By Brittany Downey

Today I am going to share a really tasty recipe I whipped up this weekend for Adam and I. I basically just used the ingredients I had in the fridge and ended  up making a meal I will 100% make again. It turned out so decadent and delicious!

Start off with a package of gnocchi. I used a good quality package from the italian market. You could even make your own from scratch if you’re feeling extra inspired. Preheat your oven to 375*. I set aside a medium sized cast iron skillet that I greased really well with a vegetable oil spray.

I first crisped up 1/2 cup of cubed pancetta. I bought it pre cut in a package but you could get a large piece and cube it yourself as well. I added 1 tablespoon of butter the the skillet and then added the pancetta. Once it was crisped to my liking I set it aside in a bowl lined with paper towel and patted off the excess grease.

get rid of the excess fat in the pan and clean it before making your goat cheese sauce.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and heavily salt the water. Add your gnocchi in and cook for 6-8 minutes or until they start to rise to the top of the water. Drain.

While that’s coming to a boil sauté a diced shallot and minced garlic clove in 2 tablespoons of butter, in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté for about a minute, until it starts to smell amazing! Add in a tablespoon of flour and whisk until you make a paste. Pour in 3/4 cup of cream or milk into the skillet and whisk. I used half&half because it was all I had in the fridge, otherwise I would have used milk. The cream just makes it more rich but it will still be creamy and delicious with milk. Whisk in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. I then whisked in some grated Emmental cheese, about 1/4 cup. When the cheese has mostly melted add in 1/2 cup of frozen peas and the pancetta that was set aside. To finish the sauce add in 1/2 cup of soft goat cheese. Whisk it in until it it is a thick sauce.

Turn the heat off and add the drained gnocchi into the sauce. Using a wooden spoon toss the gnocchi with the cheesy sauce. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour the whole mixture into you greased cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, a few tablespoons. Lastly sprinkle over some more grated Emmental cheese, about a 1/4 cup. This will brown nicely in the oven and give some extra flavour and crunch to the gnocchi.

Bake the gnocchi for 20-25 minutes or until it is bubbling around the edges and the top is browning.

Take out the skillet and let sit for a couple minutes before serving.

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This should serve 3-4 people depending on how much you eat! Serve the Baked gnocchi with a side garden salad and that’s what’s for dinner!

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-B

Easter Baking

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter Weekend! I stayed busy with lots of baking and Easter crafting.

I tried out some Chalkboard Easter eggs this year using a great kit from William Sonoma! Here is how they turned out.

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Cute eh!

I was also asked to make some favours for the Easter table for everyone to take home. I found a kit at Michaels for mini milk cartons that I filled with Easter grass and lots of goodies. I tied some twine around and added a small name tag to each so they could be place cards as well!

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They were so easy and everybody loved them!

 I wanted to share my Easter baking because it has been a tradition with my family and I look forward to it every year! This year I joined my Grandma to learn how its done and to help out.

So it is three desserts from one dough recipe! My Grandma has always made a very sweet, rich dough, because it offers the most flavour and won’t dry out.

Start with your dough.

Sweet Dough
This is a recipe from my Grandma's kitchen that we use every year at Easter time!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of milk
  2. 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  3. 2 tsp salt
  4. 3/4 cup of cold water
  5. 1/2 cup or vegetable oil
  6. 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  7. 2 tsp granulated sugar
  8. 2 packages of fast-rising dry yeast
  9. 4 eggs, well beaten
  10. 7 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Scald your milk. Stir in the sugar, salt, cold water and the oil. Let it cool until it is lukewarm. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast, if it is too cold it will slow the growth of the dough.
  2. Mix lukewarm water with the 2 tsp of sugar and the yeast. Let it stand for 10 minutes then stir until dissolved.
  3. Put your yeast mixture into a large warm bowl and stir in the lukewarm milk mixture, add the eggs and 3 1/2 cups of flour. Make sure to slowly add in your eggs so they don't scramble. Beat mixture until smooth. Add in the rest of your flour to make dough soft. As it thickens mix it in a bowl with one hand in a circular motion.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly greased surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  5. Put dough into a greased warm bowl and lightly grease the top. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, wax paper or a plate.
  6. Let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and recover.
  7. It is now ready to use for breads, cakes or sweet treats!
Union Grove Design http://www.uniongrovedesign.com/
After it has risen, been punched, then continued to rise it will be ready to use.

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The first dessert we made was Kuchen. This is a german recipe which is essentially an apple cake with a crumble topping. This is my absolute favourite of the three! It is so delicious and who can resist a crumble topping?!

Start by taking a handful of the dough and cutting it from the batch. Be sure to recover the dough with a moist towel or a plate so it doesn’t dry out.

Roll out the dough to about a 1/4″ thick on a floured surface. You can use a square or pie baking dish for this. Line the bottom of a well greased pan with the dough.

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Brush on some egg wash to cover the top.

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It will take you about 2 peeled and sliced apples to cover the dough for each Kuchen you make. My Grandma uses McIntosh apples for this.

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Generously spread brown sugar over the apples. Sprinkle some cinnamon over top.

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To finish add the crumble topping. This is an easy mixture of flour, butter and white sugar. The key is to press it into larger crumbs when adding it to the top because those are the best part!

Mix 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of room temperature butter. Cut together with a pastry cutter. Add more flour or sugar as necessary if the crumbles are too wet.

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 Set aside for 15 minutes covered with a towel so it continues to rise and won’t dry out.

Bake the Kuchen for 30 minutes in and 350* oven.

The finished Kuchen will look like this.

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We made these two days before Easter. Leave them in the glass pans and cover with wax paper and then foil. Keep them stored at room temperature so they don’t dry out.

We made 3 Kuchens!

Next is the Nut Roll. This requires a little bit more dough per each roll. This is almost like a strudel but it is filled with brown sugar and cinnamon and lots of chopped pecans!

Once again roll out your dough to a large rectangular shape on a floured surface. the dough should be pretty thin. Rub on very soft butter to cover the dough.

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Generously cover the dough with brown sugar and sprinkle on some cinnamon.

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Lastly cover with the chopped pecans. Enough to cover but you don’t want to add so much that it makes it difficult to roll.

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Gently roll the dough so it is long and thin as opposed to shorter. Use you egg wash to seal the crease and the ends of the roll. I actually folded the ends in as I rolled so it was nice and sealed, it resembled a spring roll.

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Place in a well greased baking dish. Two can bake together as they will expand. Set aside while you make another Nut Roll, covered with a towel. When ready to bake, pierce top with a fork and brush on some egg wash.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

It will come out looking like this.

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 Wrap these individually in wax paper and foil. Also store at room temperature until ready to serve.

We made 3 Nut Rolls!

For the last dessert use up the remaining dough to make doughnuts!

Roll out your dough to be about a 1/2″ thick on a floured surface. I used a 2″ cookie cutter to cut the dough.

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Cover the doughnuts with a towel until you oil is hot enough to fry. You can rip or cut a hole out of some for the traditional doughnut shape.

We used a vegetable oil to fry and let it heat for about 10 minutes.

It ended up being too hot when we started, making some darker then we liked, if that happens lower your temperature and wait a few minutes so it cools off.

The doughnuts literally only have to go into the oil for about 10 seconds. Turn them so they brown on both sides. and when it reaches a golden colour take then out and place onto a paper towel or slotted tray.

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Store in a plastic Ziploc bag at room temperature until ready to serve.

We made 20 doughnuts!

As you can see this one dough recipe makes a lot of desserts! You can change up how many you make of each depending on what your favourites are!

When you are ready to serve cut the Kuchen into slices or squares, slice the Nut Roll and serve the doughnuts either at room temperature or they are best warmed up and dipped in sugar or cinnamon sugar.

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These are my Easter baking traditions! And now I can use this dough to make so many other desserts year-round!

Give these a try and of course Enjoy!

-B

Red Velvet Cake

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This past weekend I was asked to make a Red Velvet Cake for a birthday celebration so I took on the task to researching some recipes on the internet for the best of the best! I ended up creating my own recipe using the staple ingredients for the cake and incorporating a special ingredient to enhance the flavour and make it extra moist!

I iced the cake using a cream cheese icing that I always make out of my Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. 

Start by preheating your oven to 350*. In a medium bowl you will sift together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Give it a light stir to blend the dry ingredients.

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Using either an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat 2 cups of granulated sugar with 1 cup of Canola oil. It will look grainy.

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Beat in 1 egg at a time, for a total of 2 eggs.

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Add in 1 teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract and beat until it is incorporated.

In a separate bowl whisk together 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 tablespoon of red food colouring. Slowly beat this into your wet ingredients. It will come out looking very pink, which made me think this was going to be a Pink Velvet Cake, but don’t worry it will be red!

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Brew up a fresh cup of coffee and pour 1/2 cup into the wet mixture. It’s amazing what hot coffee does to the flavour of a Red Velvet cake. Whether from a boxed mix or from scratch, it makes the cake taste richer and just better!

Lastly mix in 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar. In small batches add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. You will start seeing a rich red colour now from your mixture.

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To thicken up the batter I added in some more flour, 1 heaping tablespoon at a time. I added 3 tablespoons.

Pour your batter evenly into two round cake pans that have been greased well (I recommend flouring the bottom of your pans or lining them with parchment paper because I had a heck of a time getting the bottoms to come out nicely, lesson learned!)

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Pop these in the oven, on the middle rack, for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the centre clean.
Set the cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing I made a double batch for this cake. Start by sifting your icing sugar, 4 and 2/3 cups, into a large bowl. Beat the sugar with 6 tablespoons of room temperature, unsalted butter. Once the butter is incorporated, slowly beat in 8 ounces, or 1 standard brick, of cold cream cheese. Cut the cream cheese into chunks to make this easier. Once all the ingredients are in, increase your speed to medium-high and beat until icing is creamy. This should take a couple minutes.

Take one layer of your cake and add about a cup of the icing to cover. Place your second cake layer overtop and begin icing the top and sides. The cake was so moist that crumbs got swirled into the cake when I frosted it, but I actually really liked the look it gave the cake! So don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, because it’ll be delicious!

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Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. I’d also suggest letting the cake sit out for about 30 minutes before you serve so the icing isn’t too tough.

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 Slice and serve!

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Delish!

Red Velvet Cake

Serves 12
A rich chocolate Red Velvet Cake with a decadent cream cheese icing.
 
For Red Velvet Cake
  1. 2 cups All-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 1 tsp baking powder
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 2 cups granulated sugar
  7. 1 cup Canola oil
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 1 cup buttermilk
  11. 1 tbsp red food colouring
  12. 1/2 cup hot coffee
  13. 1 tsp white distilled vinegar
  14. Extra 3 heaping tbsp all-purpose flour
For Cream Cheese Icing
  1. 4 2/3 cups icing sugar, sifted
  2. 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. 8 oz cream cheese, cold
For Red Velvet Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Place rack to the middle of your oven. In a medium bowl sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. Beat sugar and Canola oil until combined. Beat in one egg at a time until smooth. Mix in vanilla.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and red food colouring. Slowly beat in with the wet mixture. Beat in the hot coffee and the vinegar.
  3. In small batches add the dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients. Once fully incorporated, add in the extra flour to thicken the batter.
  4. Pour evenly into two round cake pans, that have been greased well and either floured or lined the bottom with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Set aside on wire racks to cool completely. Remove from cake pans when ready.
For Cream Cheese Icing
  1. Beat your icing sugar with your butter until combined. Cut cream cheese into chunks and add in to your sugar mixture. Beat on slow until combined and increase speed to medium-high for a few minutes. When icing is creamy it is done, be careful not to over beat.
  2. Spoon about a cup of icing onto one layer of the cake. Spread to cover. Place second layer overtop and frost sides and top. Refrigerate before serving. Let sit out for about 30 minutes before you serve. Cut and Enjoy!
By Union Grove
Adapted from: Icing – Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

-B

Buttery Shortbread with Bourbon Caramel

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Today is my boyfriend Adam’s Birthday! So I wanted to make him something yummy for a dessert. Im going to be making him a cake next weekend for his birthday celebration so I decided to make something a little different for tonight. It started out being a boozy version of a Twix bar, since thats his favourite chocolate bar, but the chocolate process ended up being a total disaster. And sometimes when you’re baking you have to improvise! So I omitted the the chocolate layer and did a shortbread square with caramel sauce. I have made both these recipes before at Christmas time on their own but decided to try them together and they are so yummy!

The shortbread cookie is a recipe I tested at Christmas based off of a number of recipes and I formed my own which turned out to be so decadent and buttery that now it’s my go-to for shortbread.

Start off by beating unsalted butter with, at room temperature, until it is smooth. Gradually mix in icing sugar thats been sifted. It should look like this:

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Add vanilla and salt into the mixture and continue to beat until it is fully incorporated.

Remove from your stand-mixer and using a spoon, stir in flour and cornstarch.

Form dough into a parchment lined, square baking dish and pat down flat. You will need to dust your fingers with flour to do this since the dough is sticky. With a fork pierce the dough.

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Bake at 300* on the lowest rack for 35-38 minutes. It should come out a light golden colour.

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Set this aside to cool. This shortbread recipe can be used to make cookies or as a base for squares. It is extremely buttery and flakey and so delicious!

For the caramel, this is a recipe I found off of Buzzfeed. I didn’t do anything to change this recipe because it is so amazing. I love cooking with bourbon so this recipe was a must try for my Christmas time baking and it was a huge hit! So when I was wanting to make caramel again for this treat I knew exactly which recipe to choose!

Start by adding your granulated sugar into a medium sized pot and mix in 4 tablespoons of your bourbon. If you don’t have bourbon, whiskey is a perfect substitute. Heat this mixture over medium-low heat, constantly stirring until the sugar dissolves.

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Increase your temperature to medium and bring the mixture to a boil.

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Boil for 8 minutes and swirl the pot every 30 seconds or so. DO NOT use a spoon to stir the mixture. This will disturb the caramelizing process. Use a wet pastry brush around the edges to prevent and sugar from crystallizing  on the sides.

Towards the end of this process your mixture will become almost sludgy and thick.

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The first time I made this I thought I ruined the mixture. But right after it does this it starts to form the caramel colour and becomes smooth and thick.

Remove from heat when it reaches a caramel colour and sauce like consistency and slowly whisk your heavy cream in. It will bubble up quite a bit. Add in your butter and salt and continue to whisk until the butter is melted.

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Let it sit for about 5 minutes before you add in your vanilla and the last tablespoon of bourbon. Allow the caramel to cool. I actually refrigerated the caramel to get it to a thicker consistency before pouring it over my shortbread.

Once its ready put over the shortbread and spread out evenly. You can jar it and serve it on the side with the shortbread if preferred but I wanted to  have some absorbed into the top of the cookie. Finish it off with sea salt. I suggest using Maldon salt crystals!

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Let refrigerate overnight, or for a couple hours if you make it the day of. Cut, serve and eat!

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They are so buttery and sticky and the perfect mix of sweet and salty! You can have these two recipes together or on their own.

Enjoy!

Buttery Shortbread with Bourbon Caramel 
For the Shortbread
  1. 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  3. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 1 cup all purpose flour
  6. 1/4 cup cornstarch
For the Bourbon Caramel
  1. 1 cup granulated sugar
  2. 5 tbsp bourbon, divided
  3. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  4. 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 1 tsp vanilla
For the Squares
  1. Maldon sea salt flakes
For the Shortbread
  1. Preheat oven to 300*. Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat butter until smooth. gradually beat in sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt until incorporated. Remove from mixer. Using a spoon, mix in flour and cornstarch to form dough.
  2. Line a square baking dish with parchment paper. Form dough into the bottom of the dish with lightly floured fingers. When the layer is even, pierce dough with a fork, every couple inches. Bake on the lower rack for 35-38 minutes. When it appears a light golden colour remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the Bourbon Caramel
  1. Using a medium sauce pot, mix sugar with 4 tbsp bourbon over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and STOP stirring. Bring mixture to a boil and let boil for 8 minutes, swirling the pot every 30 seconds. Use a wet pastry brush along the edges of the mixture to avoid sugar from crystallizing along the sides of the pot.
  2. When the mixture becomes a thick sauce and golden brown, remove from heat. Whisk the heavy cream in slowly. It will bubble! Whisk in the butter and salt, until melted. Allow the caramel to cool for 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and 1 tbsp bourbon.
  3. Allow caramel to cool and thicken.
For the Squares
  1. Pour caramel over the ready shortbread. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt overtop. Cut and Serve. Keep these squares refrigerated. Should keep for up to 2 weeks.
By: Shortbread – Union Grove
Adapted from: Caramel – Buzzfeed

-B

Chicken Parmesan Roll-ups

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Sorry I have been lagging on the posts this week! I have been planning towards a summer trip to NYC, picking my courses for Design school and finishing up projects at work as well as some DIY around my home. Inspiration struck me last night in the kitchen though when it was time for dinner so I wanted to share this tasty recipe. 

When it comes to weeknight dinners, the easier the better. That is what I had in mind for this simple and delicious Italian dinner recipe. 

I took a classic like Chicken Parmesan and made it lighter and definitely cut the prep time down. 

I took plain chicken cutlets and laid them out, cut side facing up. I generously cracked fresh salt and pepper over top.

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 Place a halved asparagus spear in the middle of the chicken cutlet. Take about 3/4 of a cup of shredded Mozzarella Cheese and sprinkle down the middle of the chicken. I added a generous amount of cheese because you will lose some out the ends while it is baking and the cheesy centre is the best part!

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 Now tightly roll the chicken up from the thicker end to the pointed tip. Place the lose end faced down on a lined baking sheet. Crack a little more salt and pepper on top. I also sprinkled some of my favourite Italian blend spice mix overtop for extra flavour. You can choose to omit added herbs or pick your own blend. Lastly I drizzled some good quality basil EVOO overtop. 

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Pop the roll-ups into a preheated 350* oven for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and cheese is melted!

While the chicken was cooking I started simmering a pot of my favourite tomato sauce. You can use a homemade or store bought sauce, whichever you prefer!

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 Give yourself enough time to bring a pot of water to a boil and to cook your pasta. I bought a freshly made linguine from my local Italian market so it only needed 3 minutes to cook. Follow the instructions for whichever pasta you use and start cooking the pasta sooner if your pasta takes longer to cook. 

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 When your pasta is cooked and drained, plate it and spoon some of the tomato sauce overtop. Place your chicken roll-up on top and spoon some more sauce over. Garnish with a basil leaf and serve!

 Beautiful and so yummy! Try this delicious recipe for dinner tonight!

Chicken Parmesan Roll-ups

Serves 3
A fresh take on an Italian Classic!
 
 
Prep Time
 
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 plain chicken cutlets
  2. 3 asparagus spears, cut in half
  3. 3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
  4. Italian blend herbs, optional
  5. Basil extra virgin olive oil, can use regular
  6. salt and pepper
  7. 1 lb fresh linguine
  8. 1 24 oz jar of tomato sauce
  9. Basil Leaves
  10. Parmesan cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Lay chicken cutlets cut side up on a cutting board. Crack fresh salt and pepper generously to the cut side. Place 1 cut asparagus spear (2 pieces) to the centre of each cutlet. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of Mozzarella cheese down the middle of each cutlet. Roll the cutlet from the thick end to the pointed tip, tightly. Place the tip down on a lined baking sheet.
  3. Crack a little more fresh salt and pepper on top and Italian seasonings. Drizzle some Basil EVOO over each of the roll-ups and bake in the oven on the bottom rack for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the cheese is melted.
  4. Meanwhile, simmer tomato sauce on low heat.
  5. With about 15-20 minutes left for the chicken bring a pot of water to a boil and add in pasta. Follow cook instructions for pasta. Drain and plate the linguine. Top with a 1/3 cup of tomato sauce. Place the chicken roll-up on top of the pasta. Spoon a 1/4 cup of the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with a basil leaf. Sprinkle fresh parmesan over. Serve and Enjoy!
By Brittany Downey

Ciao Ciao!

-B

Bailey’s Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

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It is St. Patricks Day tomorrow so I wanted to bake something sweet and boozy and what better then Bailey’s Cream cupcakes with Vanilla Bean frosting!

I adapted this recipe from my favourite cookbook The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook for both the vanilla cake and frosting.

For the cupcake I substituted Original Bailey’s Cream for the milk in the recipe so these would have a delicious and rich boozy flavour.

I also made them as mini cupcakes instead of regular sized ones.

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I lined my mini cupcake tray with plain white liners and filled them close to the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes and watch until they are browned on the top and a toothpick comes out clean.

Because I filled them higher they formed almost a cookie on the top which at first I was disappointed with but when I tried it it was so amazing to have a chewy cookie like top with a moist cake bottom.

For the frosting I used a 1/4 of a vanilla bean’s seeds. I halved the frosting when it was done and set one aside. I added one drop of green food colouring to one of the frosting mixtures. Combine it in until the frosting is a solid colour. You can add more colouring for a darker green colour.

Put the plain vanilla frosting in one side of your piping bag, I used a regular Ziploc bag with a large open tip, and the green frosting on the other side. This will give a swirled colour frosting to your cupcakes!

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I frosted half with a swirl design and half i used a knife to cover the tops with icing. On the more rustic style frosting I sprinkled some green sugar crystals to finish.

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Deliciously sweet, boozy and moist cupcakes just in time for St. Patricks Day!

Let your Sham-Rock!

Bailey’s Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Yields 18
A moist and boozy cupcake with sweet vanilla bean frosting! Add a touch of green for St. Patty’s Day!
 
 
Bailey’s Cream Cupcakes
  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  6. 1/2 cup Original Bailey’s Cream
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla Bean Frosting
  1. 2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
  2. 5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. 2 tbsp milk
  4. 1/8 of a vanilla bean (use the scraped out seeds)
  5. Green food colouring
  6. *I used two batches of this frosting recipe.
For the Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325*.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a standing mixer and beat on slow until it reaches a sandy consistency. Pour half of the Bailey’s in slowly and beat until it is combined in.
  3. Whisk the egg, vanilla and remaining Bailey’s in a separate bowl. Pour wet mixture into the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Scrap the bottom and sides of the bowl and continue to beat until all ingredients are combined well.
  4. Spoon the batter into a lined cupcake tray. I used a mini cupcake tray but you can also make regular sized cupcakes.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack and frost when they are completely cooled.
For the Frosting
  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter in a standing mixer on medium speed until its is well mixed.
  2. Combine the milk and vanilla bean seeds in a separate bowl and add to the butter mixture.
  3. When milk is fully incorporated turn mixer up to high speed and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.
  4. Half the frosting into two separate bowls and add 1 drop of green food colour (or to your colour preference) to one of the mixtures. Using a spatula mix the colouring in until fully incorporated.
  5. Spoon each of the frosting mixtures to be side by side in a piping bag with the tip of your choice.
  6. Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

-B

Brown Sugar Cookie Valentines

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Happy Valentines Day everyone! Its the day to celebrate love and what better way then with something sweet! I wanted to make something that I could package up and give to friends and family with these little kraft paper bags and mini clothespins I bought at Michaels. I thought they were so cute and perfect for giving some homemade treats. 

I chose to make a sugar cookie because they are relatively easy to make. In this case I made a brown sugar cookie, which is something I’ve never made but I knew the brown sugar would make a chewier cookie and I personally prefer them that way. I found a recipe for the base cookie from Sallys Baking Addiction. I have made a few recipes from this site and they always come out perfect! These cookies were no exception. 

When my dough was ready to work with I got out two types of sprinkles and red food colouring. I rolled the dough into small balls. I rolled a few of them in my heart shaped sprinkles and left the rest bare. 

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Taking a glass with a flat bottom I pressed the dough to flatten them until they were about a 1/4 of an inch thick. 

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I baked them for 11 minutes and set them aside. I immediately pressed a few of the cookies with the outer side of each of my thumbs to make a heart indent. *Be careful the cookies are still very hot!

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I took a sugar crystal sprinkle and delicately spooned some into the heart indents. I used my finger to position the sprinkles into the heart. On the remaining blank cookies I took a fine tipped paintbrush and the red food colouring to paint on an XO. 

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Those are the three cookies I made for Valentines Day. They are all unique, pretty and perfect to give to the ones you love! 

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When the cookies are cooled I wrapped them in cut squares of parchment paper, making an envelope around the individual cookie. I then slipped the wrapped cookie into the kraft bags, clipped the top and there are my finished sugar cookie valentines!. 

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Happy Valentines All! xoxo

-B

Heart Pound Cake

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I came across this recipe on a Buzzfeed link to lots of yummy red velvet cake recipes. I chose to do the pound cake recipe because I thought it was perfect to bake since Valentines Day is coming up and I thought it was really cute! 

The recipe came from the blog Chelseas Messy Apron, which has so many amazing original recipes that I can’t wait to try!

I made a few alterations to this pound cake recipe so I will share what I changed because the finished product was absolutely delicious. First of all when you slice into the cake you get to see the perfect red velvet heart centre making a beautiful surprise for anyone who has a slice! The cream cheese pound cake is so dense and moist and has phenomenal flavour. You get the fluffy red velvet heart centre, making each bite of this cake a different texture and flavour. The red velvet centre has such a rich chocolate flavour that I made even richer with my secret ingredient!

I started by making the red velvet cake mix. 

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 I followed the instructions on the box to make the cake except for one alteration. I wanted to give it more of a homemade flavour so instead of the 1 and a 1/4 cups of water I used coffee. I used equal amounts of coffee as there would have been water, I let it cool slightly so it wasn’t steaming hot. I also used a dark roast from Starbucks so it was a bold flavour with the chocolate in the cake. When all the ingredients are mixed I poured the batter into a 1 lb loaf pan that was generously greased and lightly floured.

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 The box said to bake for 35-38 minutes at 350* but mine took about 45 So just check with a toothpick that it is not still gooey in the centre. It came out looking and smelling delicious! 

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 I let this cool for a bit before slicing and cutting out the hearts so I started prepping the cream cheese loaf in the meantime. I followed the recipe almost exactly only changing the cream cheese I used to a low fat lactose free version and the butter to unsalted. I sliced my red velvet cake loaf into slices about an inch thick. I let them cool a little longer so they were easier to work with. With a heart cookie cutter I made as many heart cuts as I could and set aside the scraps. 

I poured the cream cheese cake batter into an 1 lb loaf pan only partway and created a layer. Next I aligned the hearts into a line down the middle of the loaf pan. 

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 When that was done I poured the remaining batter overtop to cover the red velvet hearts. 

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 I ended up baking mine for 75 minutes, covering with foil after 30 minutes. It came out looking like this.

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 I let it cool for about 30 minutes and then made the glaze to drizzle overtop. I used milk instead of the heavy cream to make a thinner glaze, used no vanilla extract and increased the melted butter to 1/2 a tbsp. I drizzled the glaze over top with a spoon and got ready to slice. I made a slice an inch thick to match the thickness of the hearts I cut and served!

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 Try out this recipe for Valentines Day or any of the other ones red velvet inspired from Chelsea’s Messy Apron or the link on Buzzfeed

Recipe:

A cream cheese pound cake with a red velvet heart centre!
 
Ingredients
  1. Red Velvet Heart
  2. -1 box of Red Velvet Cake mix
  3. – Ingredients needed for boxed mix
  4. -optional: substitute coffee for the water or liquid called for on the box
  5. Cream Cheese Pound Cake
  6. -Brick of cream cheese (I used low fat lactose free type), softened
  7. -3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  8. -1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  9. -3 eggs
  10. -1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  11. -1 1/2 cups flour
  12. -1/2 tsp salt
  13. Glaze
  14. -3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  15. -2 tsp milk
  16. -1/2 tbsp butter, melted
Instructions
  1. – Follow the box instructions to make the red velvet cake. Can substitute warm coffee for the water the cake mix calls for. Pour batter into a well greased and lightly floured loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick come out of the centre of the loaf clean.
  2. – Let the loaf cool for a few minutes and then remove from the pan. Cut loaf into slices and continue to let cool.
  3. – Start the cream cheese pound cake by mixing the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer. Beat until creamy. Add in the sugar and eggs and continue to beat. Mix flour and salt into a small bowl and slowly incorporate the dry mixture in the wet mixture. Beat until it is a smooth consistency. Add in the vanilla extract and mix. Set aside.
  4. -Preheat oven to 350*.
  5. -Take your heart cookie cutter and cut hearts out of the red velvet cake slices. Set aside. Discard or save red velvet cake scraps.
  6. -Grease and lightly flour loaf pan. Pour some of the cream cheese mixture to create a layer in the loaf pan. Create a line of the red velvet hearts standing up in the middle of the batter. Pack the hearts tightly. Pour the last of the batter overtop, fully covering the hearts.
  7. -Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the pound cake layer.
  8. -Let the cake cool then remove from the loaf pan.
  9. -While the cake continues to cool, mix together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle the glaze over the cake using the whisk or a spoon.
  10. -Slice the pound cake into inch think slices and serve!
Notes
  1. -Cover the cake with tin foil if the edges start to brown too quickly. I covered mine after 30 minutes.

-B

Game Day Party

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It’s Superbowl Game Day! And that means its time to bust out some classic party favourite recipes. I chose some great recipes that are delicious, easy and always a hit!

Nacho Layer Dip

This has been a go to recipe at my house forever! It is so easy to whip together at the last minute and is versatile so it can have layers of any of your favourite nacho toppings. I always go pretty basic with mine and it is still extremely tasty!

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Nacho Layer Dip

Cheese, sour cream and salsa layered into a delicious dip!
 
Total Time
15 min
 
Ingredients
  1. 250 g brick of cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 cup of sour cream
  3. 1 cup salsa
  4. 1 small tomato, diced
  5. 1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded
  6. green onion, about 2, chopped
  7. Tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.
  2. In a serving dish spread the cream cheese mixture to make the bottom layer of the dip.
  3. Spread a layer of salsa over top. Top with tomatoes. Layer on the shredded cheese and sprinkle the green onions over to finish.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.
Notes
  1. Can layer in guacamole, beans, olives, jalapeños, pepper jack cheese etc. Layer in your favourite nacho toppings!

Swartzy Potatoes 

This is a recipe my mom has been making since I was little and can be found in The Best of Bridge Cookbook. It is a casserole of cheesy hash brown potatoes and has a creamy texture from mushroom soup and sour cream. It is always a treat when this are made for dinner and makes amazing leftovers!

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Swartzy Potatoes

Serves 8
Cheesy hash brown potatoes! What could be better?
 
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 kg frozen hash browns, thawed
  2. 2 cans mushroom soup
  3. 2 cups sour cream
  4. 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated, divided
  5. 2 1/2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  6. 1 small onion, grated
  7. 1/4 cup melted butter
  8. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Put hash browns into a large bowl. Mix in mushroom soup and sour cream to coat potatoes. Mix in 2 cups of cheddar cheese and parmesan. Add in onion, melted butter, salt and pepper and mix. Spoon mixture into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle last of the cheddar cheese over top.
  3. Bake for minutes, until it starts to brown and bubble.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
By The Best of Bridge Cookbook

Meatball Parmigiana Sliders

I was inspired to make these this year when I came across the recipe at Martha Stewart’s website. I took the idea but made own recipe for the meatballs instead. They are deliciously moist, flavourful meatballs, topped with melted mozzarella and marinara sauce all in the package of a tiny slider sandwich! Delish!

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Meatball Parmigiana Sliders

Yields 30
Delicious meatballs topped with melty cheese makes for a tasty slider!
 
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
 
For the Meatballs
  1. 20 ounces of Pork, Veal and Beef mixture
  2. 1 cup breadcrumbs
  3. 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  6. 1 small onion, grated
  7. Handful of parsley, chopped
  8. salt and pepper
  9. 1 cup warm water
For the Sliders
  1. 24 slider buns, split
  2. Marinara sauce
  3. 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  4. 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  5. basil leaves
For the Meatballs
  1. In a large bowl mix together meats, breadcrumbs, parmesan, egg, garlic, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Add in 1/2 cup of water into mixture at a time and mix. Using and scoop form meatballs, about the size of a golfball. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, can be done the night before.
For the Sliders
  1. Preheat the oven to 400*.
  2. In a large pot heat Marinara sauce over medium heat. Add meatballs into sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook partially covered for about 30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile arrange buns, cut side up, on a lined baking sheet.
  4. Place a meatball on bottom buns. Spoon sauce over meatball. Top each with 1 tbsp of mozzarella and 1 tsp of parmesan. Bake until cheese melts, about 3 mins. Top with basil and make into a sandwich.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!
By Martha Stewart

Grilled Caesar Salad

I am a big fan of making my own salad dressings because then you can create your own healthier vinaigrettes using the flavours you like. My go to caesar dressing recipe comes from my boyfriend Adam’s stepmom, Ingrid. It is a unique twist on the traditional caesar dressing recipe because it has sweet notes from the brown sugar, a bite from the garlic and brought together by the staples of a good vinaigrette, Dijon, red wine vinegar and oil. I wanted to kick up my caesar salad up a notch by grilling the romaine which adds a rich grilled flavour to make the ultimate caesar salad!

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Grilled Caesar Salad

A delicious twist on the classic caesar salad. Grilled and warm topped with a homemade dressing.
 
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
25 min
 
For the Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  2. 1 clove garlic, crushed (can add more)
  3. 2 tbsp brown sugar
  4. 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  5. handful parsley, chopped
  6. 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  7. 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  8. 1 egg
  9. salt and pepper
For the Salad
  1. 2 heads of Romaine, cut in half lengthwise
  2. olive oil
  3. Parmesan cheese, shaved
  4. Bacon, chopped
  5. pepper
For the Dressing
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and mix. Refrigerate until ready to use. Good in refrigerator for up to up to 3 days
For the Salad
  1. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp, set aside.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Brush the cut side of the romaine lettuce with olive oil. Place cut side down onto grill for 2 minutes, until char marks appear on lettuce. Remove romaine from the grill and roughly chop.
  3. In a large serving bowl mix together lettuce, chopped bacon and parmesan. Top with dressing, enough to dress the salad to your liking. Add freshly cracked pepper.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
By Brittany Downey

 That was my Superbowl menu. Try out any of these recipes for your next Game Day Party or even when cooking for a crowd. They are guaranteed crowd pleasers!

Happy Superbowl Everyone!

-B

Brie, Proscuitto, and Arugula White Pizza

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When I have a craving for pizza and delivery just won’t cut it this is my go to recipe. It was inspired by Pane Fresco’s Brie and Proscuitto Pizza, which is absolutely unbelievable. I recreated my own version of this pizza at home one night and now it is a staple any time my family wants homemade pizza for dinner. It is the perfect balance of sweet, salty, crunchy and cheesy! 

Start off by gathering your ingredients. You will need olive oil, chili flakes, garlic, pizza dough, shredded mozzarella cheese, brie cheese, grated parmesan cheese, sliced proscuitto, baby arugula and balsamic glaze. 

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To start preheat your oven to 425*. Prep a baking sheet with a Silpat mat if you have one or a piece of parchment paper. I sprayed a little bit of cooking spray on my mat as well. 

Add 1/4 cup of olive oil into a small saucepan. Put a pinch of the chili flakes and 1 clove of garlic, sliced, into the oil. If you have a preference for more spice or garlic you can definitely add more.

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 Cook the mixture over medium heat. The oil should begin to sizzle around the edges of the saucepan. Swirl the oil to mix the flavours and let cook for a minute. Keep an eye on this so the garlic doesn’t burn! Turn off the heat and set aside.

To prep the pizza dough, lightly flour it so it makes the dough easier to work with. The best way to form the dough into the shape you want is to let gravity do its thing. Hold the dough and let it hang and stretch and work the edge of the dough with your fingers so it continues to get bigger and bigger. I then form the dough onto my baking sheet into a rectangular shape. 

Take your oil mixture and coat the dough with a brush. Be sure to not transfer the pieces of garlic, you just want to brush on the infused oil with some of the chili flakes! 

Time to top your pizza! I use 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese to cover the entire pizza. Cut 1/2 of you brie into wedges, enough for 1 per slice on the pizza. 

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Next take your slices of proscuitto and tear them so they can cover each wedge of the brie. I used 5 slices for this size pizza. grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the top, a couple tablespoons, and lightly drizzle the oil mixture over the entire pizza to finish. 

Pop the pizza in the oven on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes and let it do its thing! Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too browned. 

When it is ready it’ll look like this,

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 Crack a little salt and pepper over top when its right out of the oven. The easiest way for serving is to cut the pizza into slices first and then top with the arugula. Spread 2 cups of fresh arugula over top. To finish drizzle some of the balsamic glaze over the entire pizza. 

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That is my Brie, Proscuitto and Arugula White Pizza. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and try it out for your next homemade pizza night!

-B

 

Peanut Butter Fleur de Sel Brownies

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In honour of National Peanut Butter Day (which is January 24th) I made the most amazing peanut buttery brownie. It its the perfect balance of sweet and salty with just the right amount of cocoa-ey goodness. If you aren’t a big baker you could definitely make these using a boxed brownie mix and then whip up the peanut butter frosting to put on top. But if you are looking to really impress your friends and family then making them from scratch will do the trick. This recipe makes a dense, chewy and extremely moist brownie that is complimented really well by the fluffy frosting.

Even though National Peanut Butter Day is over these brownies are still perfect for any occasion or if you simply can’t resist!

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Peanut Butter Fleur de Sel Brownies

(Makes 16 brownies)

Ingredients:

For Brownies:
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Peanut Butter Frosting:
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) softened butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of flaked sea salt such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel.

Prepare an 8 inch square pan by spraying with pan spray. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Spray the foil or parchment with pan spray.

Preheat your oven to 325*.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a heat-proof bowl and place over a large pot of simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should rest in the pot but not touch the water.

Stir occasionally. When the butter is just about melted, remove the bowl and let the residual heat continue to melt the butter. Stir until smooth. Carefully touch the cocoa mixture. It should feel warm, not hot. If hot, wait until warm to add the eggs.

Once the cocoa mixture is warm you can stir in the eggs, one at a time. Wait until each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next. Stir in the vanilla. Once the mixture looks cohesive and shiny stir in the flour. Alice says to stir 40 times after the flour has been completely incorporated. I listen to her.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes up with a few moist crumbs. This will take about 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Once cool, frost with peanut butter frosting and sprinkle with flake salt (such as Maldon, which I used, or any Fleur de Sel)

-B @ Union Grove