Sunday, February 5, 2012

Renovating Jesse's Kitchen

Of course! The week I promise to keep my blog updated....

We do this to the kitchen:

Jesse's Kitchen is being renovated - literally.
And it's waaaaayyyy more intense than I expected.

I have such a hard time making choices to being with and now I'm trying to choose between infinite paint colors, trillions of countertop options and flooring?!?... Please tell me this is all going to turn okay! One day (possibly this lifetime) I will have my kitchen back?

Here's a picture pre-ripping apart of the kitchen. This picture was taken in about the same spot as the above picture. We removed the wall and cabinets which really makes the kitchen look bigger.

So umm.... needless to say there's not a lot of cooking or baking going in there. Which is going to equal infrequent posts (again) for awhile. I'm sure once the improved kitchen is up and running I'll be so excited I'll bombard you with pictures and unwanted information about it so yeah.... be prepared!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pumpkin Shortbread Bars

Ok, I'm going to do this.
I'm going to climb out of my rut and make this happen.

If you haven't noticed (*sniff), I've sorta lost my blog posting groove since last summer. I can't think of any particular reason except that life happens. And when life happens in a big way, you make take out your friend.
Take out and sweets.
Sugary, buttery, fattening sweets.

Oh, and coffee (but that's another subject for another day!)

Anyways, I'm going to try to at least do weekly postings again. 

My energetic 2 year old might be an obstacle to this goal, however I will prevail!
I think.
I hope.
Don't hate me if I don't.

These pumpkin bars are going to fuel me. They're sort of like a cross between pumpkin pie and a butter tart. Um... does that sound a-ma-zing or what?

If you're like me and you stock piled pumpkin puree at the end of the fall, make these.
Your cupboards and mouth will thank you.

Pumpkin Shortbread Bars
Makes: about 16
Source: Slightly adapted from Lauren's Latest

For the Crust:
1¼ cups all purpose flour
4 tbsps white sugar
½ softened butter
dash of salt
½ tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:
1¾ cups pumpkin puree
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup all purpose flour

For the topping:
¼ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup toasted pecans
¼ prepared caramel sauce (I used Smucker's ice cream topping)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8 x 8 square dish with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl combine all the crust ingredients until moist. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. 
2. In a different bowl, stir together filling ingredients until smooth. Pour over shortbread crust and smooth the top. 
3. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and nuts over the top. Press gently into the filling. Drizzle caramel sauce over top of the entire pan.
4. Bake 45 - 60 minutes or until pumpkin filling is firm. Cool completely. Cut into 16 equal squares. (Can be served warm or cold.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Brazilian Cheesebread (GF)

Everyone is probably making new year's resolutions to cut down on carbs, eat healthier and exercise more. 
If that's you, good for you! I hope you win.

One word of advice though.... you might want to stay away from me for a bit. 
I'm nothing but trouble!

I've never really subscribed to the whole New Year's Resolution thing. 
One time of year we resolve to make major lifestyle changes? 
Seems overwhelming and destined for failure. 
(Why yes, I know I'm a ray of sunshine :p).

Don't get my wrong, I'm all about resolving to change oneself. Change is good. I just prefer to tackle it day by day, and moment by moment.

In that spirit, I'm always resolving to try out different ingredients in my cooking or baking.
This recipe interested me in particular because it's made mostly with tapioca flour (starch), something that I've only used maybe once before. (For anyone wondering, tapioca flour was $1.79/425g in the supermarket's oriental section.)

Plus I'm a sucker for anything carby and cheesy.

These were really easy to make, no kneading or rising. But there was one thing......

They had a very um..... unique texture. I'm not sure if it was unique good or unique bad.
They are extremely chewy like I-thought-I-under-baked-them chewy.
Almost..... dare I turn you off by saying......... gluey?
That really sounds gross but they weren't gross at all they were just different.
Your just going to have to try these out for your self.
Embrace them. Love them. Make them this 2012.

Brazilian Cheesebread
Makes: about 12
  • ½ cups Whole Milk
  • ½ cups Water
  • ¼ cups Canola Oil
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt (heaping)
  • 2-½ cups Tapioca Flour, Or A Little More As Needed
  • 1-½ whole Egg Beaten
  • 4 ounces, weight Granulated Cojita Cheese, Plus Extra For Topping Cheese Breads
  • Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease 2 baking sheets. In a saucepan bring the milk, water, oil, and salt to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and set aside. Add the flour in increments, stirring constantly until the dough becomes pliable and can be kneaded with hands. Be patient, the more you stir the more solid the dough will become. Only add enough flour until dough reaches desired consistency. Stir in the beaten eggs then the cojita cheese. Stir until dough becomes thick and can be molded. Add additional tapioca flour if needed. Roll dough into 1″ balls and dip the tops into the extra cheese. Place on the greased baking sheets and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese becomes golden brown.

  • Note: You can also use granulated parmesan cheese (Kraft) for this recipe.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cranberry Seed Muffins

I made you some muffins.....

with my little elf. 

Beware that they may not have been made in the most sanitary way.

Elves like to lick their fingers when they bake.

They're still good though, no worries there.
Fresh, tart cranberries, with crunchy pumpkin seeds. 
A true seasonal delight.

Cranberry Seed Muffins
Makes: 12 large muffings
Source: Canadian Living 2011 Special Edition

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup oat bran (or wheat bran)
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
⅓ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
¾ cups white sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 eggs
1 ⅓ cups buttermilk
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
2 cups thawed cranberries

3 tbsp each oat bran, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds

1) In a large bowl, whisk together flours, bran, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk in sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
2)In a separate bowl, whisk together white sugar, brown sugar, orange zest, eggs and buttermilk. Whisk in butter until combined; stir in flour mixture in 2 additions just until combined. Stir in cranberries. Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups.
3) Mix together the bran, sunflower and pumpkin seeds for the topping. Sprinkle on the muffins. Bake at 375°F until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spicy Feta

My head is swimming, my nose is running, and there are nails in the back of my throat. 

Ick, ick and ick.

Consequently, I've been using 'The Backyardigans' as babysitters for the last few days.

So unfortunately, the only thing taking residence in my brain is '' We've got the whole wide world in our yard to explore. Now it's time for us to have a snack, meet you next time when your back with your friends the Backyardigans....''

That being said, I'm going to have a snack.
The jalapeños in this are going to burn out my cold and the garlic is going to boost my immunity.
And then I'm going to bed.

Spicy Feta
Slightly adapted from: How Sweet It Is
Makes: about 1½ cups

1 brick of feta cheese (8oz)
2 whole jalapenos
3 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp
1 small bulb garlic
juice of half a lemon
zest of half a lemon
salt and pepper

1. Chop the top off the garlic bulb and drizzle it with the teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap it in foil and roast for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden. At the same time, brush the jalapenos with olive oil  and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the in the oven until charred, about 15 - 20 minutes, rotating at least once. Remove both from the oven and let cool.
2. Once jalapenos are cooled, remove the skin, cut in half and discard the seeds and ribs. Finely chop. (Don't touch your eyes!)
3. In a medium bowl, crumble the feta. Add chopped jalapenos, lemon zest and juiced. Squeeze roasted garlic out of bulb and directly into the feta. Add the 3 tbsp of olive oil and mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. The feta will be a bit ''wet'', sort of cross between a dip and spread. Serve with pita chips, bread or spread on a sandwich. Keeps for about 1 week.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vegan Banana Breakfast Bar

As my daughter gets a little bit older, she's becoming super eager to help me out in the kitchen.

Her 'help' seems to involve dumping flour on the floor, eating chocolate chips by the handful, making cakes that are 1 part wood blocks to 2 parts fridge magnets and of course sampling anything I'm making by the fistful. 

Don't be fooled by those little fists.
A one year old can get a lot of cookie batter in there.

This breakfast bar (anything with oatmeal can be eaten for breakfast, right?) was a good little baking project for her and I.
The batter has no eggs (hello, it's vegan!) so I really didn't mind if she sampled. 
And then sampled again. And again.
And then just took a spoon and shoveled it in, all the while screaming ''MINE!!! MINE!!! MINE!!!!!".

I'd like to say I'm kidding but that is pretty much how it played out.

This is super easy to make and a tasty grab and go.
You can switch up the cranberries for different dried fruits and the chocolate chips for nuts. 

If you're feeling brave and like you want to spend some extra time cleaning the kitchen.... let little hands get involved by squishing the banana, adding in the dry ingredients and mixing.
(But don't say I didn't warn you.)

Vegan Banana Breakfast Bars
Makes: about 9 bars
Adapted from: Eat, Live, Run

1 very ripe banana
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup dark (pure) chocolate chips
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups quick cooking oats (or old fashioned oats pulsed in a food processor for a few moments)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork and then add the canola oil and brown sugar. Mix well until there are no sugar lumps left.
In another (smaller) bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats. Mix into wet ingredients and add cranberries and chocolate chips.
Pat batter down into a greased square 8-inch pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden. Let cool before cutting into squares.

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