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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Cream Cheese Icing

I love my mom’s cream cheese icing. There is no exact recipe as you add more of whatever you need as you go – but to start you need;

½ package of cream cheese (softened)
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
2 cups of icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt

Mix all the ingredients together. Add more icing sugar if you need to thicken. If it starts to get too sweet cut in a little more butter or cream cheese – depending on your preference! Enjoy!

Homemade Baked Jalapeño Poppers

 Baked jalapeno popper
Mike loves jalapeño poppers but I refuse to buy greasy pre-made treats from the freezer isle of the grocery store, unless absolutely necessary (ie. I am trying to convince him to take me on a trip). My mom had been facilitating his addiction to these cheesy spicy treats by getting them from a little farmers market outside of a small town called Port Perry. Since they were “homemade jalapeño poppers” I let it slide occasionally.  We went to a party over the holidays and someone had brought jalapeño stuffed with cheese wrapped in bacon, which convinced me I could just make them myself and they would be healthier. Below is my recipe, its really easy, the only problem is it’s a little time consuming to do the breading step for an impatient cook as myself, especially when they are eaten in all of two minutes. But they are worth it. This makes 12 poppers, which could be enough for as many as 4 people for an appetizer… 4 people or 1 Mike.

6 fresh medium sized jalapeño, stem cut off, sliced in half lengthwise and deseeded
½ cup light cream cheese softened
¼ cup of 2% cheddar cheese shredded (monetary jack, marble etc. all work great!)
1 egg + 2 tbsp water whisked together (or egg white substitute)
½ cup whole grain bread crumbs
½ tsp cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder

Prep the jalapeños by cutting off the top where the stem is, slicing in half lengthwise and removing the seeds to create two boats for each jalapeño. In a bowl mix together cayenne pepper, softened cream cheese and shredded cheese. Put one spoonful of mixture inside each jalapeño boat. In another bowl whisk egg and water together to create egg wash. Dip prepared jalapeño into egg wash then roll into breadcrumbs (on a plate or shallow bowl). Put finished popper onto stone or cookie sheet lined with tin foil. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve hot (careful) with a side of sour cream or plain yogurt for dipping. Enjoy!

DIY Microwave Popcorn

 Micorwave Popcorn

I know I am easily amused, but I am still amazed every time I make this. Its so easy, inexpensive and a great alternative to the artificial flavoring of packaged popcorn – or the mess and stress of the stove top method. What you need:

A paper bag (the size of a lunch bag)
About ½ cup of popcorn kernels
1 tbsp melted butter (2-3 if my husband is making it! Its up to you)
few shakes of salt

Put the kernels in the paper bag, roll the top of the bag over 3-4 times. Place the bag on its side in the microwave. Microwave on high for 2 ½ minutes (could be more or less depending on your microwave – just listen to when there is a pause between pops then stop it). Pour the butter and salt in the bag and shake. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cake Mix Rolo Cookies

Chocolate Cake Mix Rolo Cookies
I saw this recipe on Pinterest and had to try it – they looked too easy and too good not to. So I made them Saturday morning for Mike to bring to work (after I had some of course). The recipe which I found on this site: http://bunsinmyoven.com/2011/08/08/rolo-cake-mix-cookies/ consists of:

1 package of chocolate devils food cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
24 Rolos

I bought two packs of Rolos, which equaled 20 Rolos, so I used four Caramilk Easter eggs that I had leftover for the remainder.

You simple stir all the oil, eggs and mix together then create individual ball, slightly smaller than a golf ball, flatten them in your hand. Put a Rolo in the middle fold over smoosh into a cookie size and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment. 

I wasn’t convinced my stirring with a spoon was evenly distributing the ingredients so I tried a whisk – but the batter was too thick. I got out my hand mixer and used that. I am not sure if that over beat them but they did rise quite a bit, but when they cooled they sank back down. Another thing – the dough was so sticky, in the end I was just running a little water on my hands to form the balls – this might be because I over mixed it.

Once you have made your 24 cookies bake them at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. Let cool and then use a spatula to remove them from the pan so the Rolo doesn’t stick to the pan.

In the end they were a good cookie. Easy to make. And its neat that it came from a cake mix. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Granola (Ste Anne’s Imitation)

Gluten Free Granola

There isn’t a better place on earth. There isn’t. Ste Anne’s Spa, in Grafton Ontario is such a great escape from the hustle and bustle of every day life. I try to justify a trip there as many times a year as I can. Just 90 minutes outside Toronto this heavenly spa is staffed with the friendliest, most thorough staff that waits on you while you lounge your day away in bath robes and slippers, sip organic tea and eat five star gourmet meals. You also have access to an endless supply of their homemade granola…and that brings us to today’s post. I have all these nuts at home to use so I was googling to find a recipe. I love the one at Ste Anne’s Spa, so I started with that. I came across this website: http://memyselfandfood.com/2011/06/going-gaga-for-gluten-free-granola/ so I used this as a starter. I made a couple little changes, more cinnamon and nutmeg, no cloves and added some sesame… here is my recipe:

1 cup of each: Chopped pecans; Slivered Almonds; Pumpkin Seed; Halved Almonds (I just chopped full ones since I have a big bag from Costco); Sunflower Seeds; and Shredded Coconut.

¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup butter
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Mean time, over low heat, melt the butter and slowly stir in the honey. Pour the honey and butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until evenly coated. Spread the contents over a baking sheet covered with parchment (this time I was out of parchment paper so I baked it in a 9 ½ x 11 dish). Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, stir halfway so it doesn’t burn. Let cool completely and then store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Pasta with Sautéed Veggies and Marinara Sauce

Fettuccini with sauteed veggiesAlso known as “use up all the veggies before I go grocery shopping – dinner in a pinch”. In less than ½ hour, using just two pots/pans you can make a seemingly gourmet, light, healthy and delicious dinner. What I do is:

Make ½ box of Catelli “Smart” Fettuccini cooked as directed on the box

1 small zucchini sliced

½ eggplant diced

1 pepper (or in this case ½ yellow and ½ orange) sliced

1 roma tomato halved then sliced

1 yellow onion sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

2 cups chopped fresh spinach

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups Tomato sauce – (the amount is an estimate I used ½ a jar of our favourite white linen collection marinara from Costco)

Onion powder, garlic powder, red chili peppers, and ground pepper

Using medium-high heat the oil in a large frying pan, once hot add the onion and garlic sauté for one minute then add in the remaining veggies cook for 6-8 minutes until veggies are tender. Add in onion and garlic powder and ground pepper to taste. Add in tomato sauce and stir until warm. Serve over hot cooked pasta and top with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

And there you go – dinner in about 20 minutes. Add more or less pasta depending on number of servings you want, same with the sauce. Enjoy!

Graham crackers with icing

Graham Cracker with Icing

Do you ever finish piping your cupcakes, or icing your cake and you have a little bit of icing leftover? Its sort of like a god sent if you ask me… you can eat it with a spoon, save it for another day, or our favourite… sit down and enjoy it with graham crackers and tea. Optionally you can either smoother the graham cracker – which my mom does. I like to break them into bite sizes and dip them into the icing myself. Either way. Its a fabulous way to use it up!