Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Autumn Chopped Salad

Recipe & Photo courtesy of Espresso and Cream

- 6 to 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 medium pears, chopped
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
- 4 to 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- Poppyseed salad dressing
- Balsamic vinaigrette

1. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. (I would estimate that I used about a cup of dressing: 70% poppy seed and 30% balsamic vinaigrette). If you prefer salad to have more dressing, feel free to experiment with the combination.
* If you feel like it you could just the make the salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Courtesy of Taste of Home

- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pkg. chocolate chips (I decided to add these for fun)

1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil and eggs. Add pumpkin and mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, cloves and allspice; add to the pumpkin mixture, alternately with water, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Pour into two greased 9x5x3 in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Triple Peanut Butter Cookies

- 1/2 cup margarine
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp. milk
- 1 tbsp. vanilla
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup peanut butter M&Ms
- 1 cup tiny reese's cups (I used mini reese pieces, that I found in the States)

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, beat margarine, brown sugar, and peanut butter on medium speed until smooth. Change mixer speed to low and add milk, egg, and vanilla. Once it's completely mixed in, add flour mixture. Beat on medium low until combined. Fold in candy.
3. Drop very large spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until edges turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cookies sit on pan for about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, remove from baking sheets.


* I decided to make my brother a larger version of the cookie

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Twix Caramel Brownies

Recipe courtesy of Two Peas and their Pod

- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups chopped Twix candy bars
- 1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Place butter in medium saucepan on the stove. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Add cocoa; stir until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; stir until combined. Stir in Twix candy bar chunks. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Drizzle caramel evenly over the brownies. Using a toothpick, swirl caramel into brownies. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool brownies completely in pan on a wire rack. Once cool, cut into squares and serve.


Monday, 5 September 2011

How-to-Can Peaches

Canning on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  My friend and her Mom taught me how to can peaches.  Unfortunately I did not document the afternoon in photos.

Here is Canning 101, courtesy of Simple Bites

1. Wash, Peel & Slice
Wash them in cold water, cut them in half, pop out the pits with a knife and remove the skin.
2. Pack Jars
Slither the halves into sterilized quart jars, or cut the halves into slices first.
3. Add Sugar
When the jars are three-quarters full, add the sugar. A scant third cup might be enough. Continue adding peaches until the jars are full, tamping them down as you go.  (or wait until the jar is full and add Sugar Syrup).
4. Add Water & Lids
Slowly add water to the jars. If necessary, use a table knife to press the peaches to one side to create a space for the water to trickle down and to ferret out any pockets of air that are lurking in the bottom of the jars. The water should reach the base of the jar neck, about 1/2 inch from the top. Next, wet your fingers with tap water and swipe them over the lips of the jars to remove any stickiness. Put lids on the jars and screw on the rings.
5. Process Peaches
Process the jars in a hot water bath. Keep them at a rolling boil for 25 minutes.
6. Cool, Label and Store
Remove the canned jarfuls to a kitchen counter lined with an old towel. Don't touch the lids while the jars are cooling. After cool, remove the rings, wash the jars with soapy water, and label them. If any jars don't seal (generally, out of about fifty quarts, three or four don't seal). Store them in a fridge and use the fruit within a couple weeks.

Extra tips:
*Boiling Water Bath: Peaches easily slip out of their skins when their fruits are first plunged in boiling water for 30 seconds. In this case, halve and pit the fruits after peeling.
*A bushel weighs about 48 pounds and will yield between 16 and 24 quarts*
*Peaches must be fully ripe before canning.*

Sugar Syrup Recipe
Light: 2 cups sugar, 4 cups water - Yields: 5 cups
Medium: 3 cups sugar, 4 cups water - Yields: 5 1/2 cups
Heavy: 4 3/4 cups sugar, 4 cups water - Yields: 6 1/2 cups

To prepare syrup, while heating water, add sugar slowly, stirring constantly to dissolve. Bring to a gentle boil. Fill jars while syrup is still boiling hot.


Thursday, 1 September 2011

Peanut Butter Treats

Courtesy of Rice Krispies

- 3 tbsp. butter or margarine
- 1 pkg. regular marshmallows or 4 cups mini marshmallows
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 6 cups Rice Krispies

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until melted.
2. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.
3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into squares and serve.

**I decided to sprinkle mini Reese's Pieces (bought in the States) on the squares.