Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

What a beautiful weekend we just had! I can't believe how amazing the weather was this whole long weekend, it was so nice to be outside and do yard work and start cleaning up for the winter!

It was also a beautiful enough weekend to open all your windows and let the breezy fresh air flow through your house and along with that were the smells of Thanksgiving dinner!

I was lucky enough to get an invite to my sister in laws house where she made such an amazing meal! I supplied the Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake but the hit of the dinner was her turkey which turned out perfectly! What is it about turkey and homemade cranberry sauce that makes me so happy! LOL



Anyways with pumpkin galore in the house I knew I needed to make something to use it up and these Pumpkin Cranberry muffins seemed like a great option. I whipped these up last weekend and I like them so much I think I might make more this week to use up some of the leftover pumpkin I still have in the fridge!

I found these super easy to make and I don't have any tips for you, just give them a try because they are totally worth it!

I got this recipe from http://amandascookin.com/2010/11/pumpkin-cranberry-muffins-with-white.html

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
1 stick (8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree (I used pumpkin I froze)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh or frozen (don’t thaw) cranberries, halved (I used dried cranberries because I had them in the pantry)
1 4-oz bar of good quality white chocolate, cut into chunks


Directions

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds on a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Place the halved cranberries in a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of the flour mixture. Place chocolate chunks in another bowl and toss with a tablespoon of the flour mixture. Set aside.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add both the sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth. One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after the eggs are incorporated, then beat in the vanilla.

Lower the mixer speed and mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear. To avoid over mixing, you can stop the machine early and stir any remaining dry ingredients into the batter using a rubber spatula

.


Fold in the cranberries, then fold in the chocolate. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan. Place muffin pan on cookie sheet.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove each one from its mold and finish cooling on the rack.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

Can you believe it's Thanksgiving this weekend for all my Canadian friends! I love a good food fest and Thanksgiving certainly fits the bill! This year my sister in law is hosting and I am in charge of bringing dessert. I am making the same pumpkin spice cheesecake I made last year and I hope it turns out as well because last year it was fantastic!

However in case you are looking for other delicious dishes to compliment your Thanksgiving dinner, I wanted to share this awesome and delicious Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole with you! I was really impressed with the sauce in this recipe, it really thickened up well and baked well. Sometimes I find these recipes too runny but this one was great! The crunchy topping was also delicious!



This is very easy to make and I definitely suggest giving it a try if you want to make a nicer or fancier side dish. This was a hit at my dinner table and I'm sure it will be at yours too!

I got this recipe from http://www.canadianliving.com/food/quick_and_easy/cauliflower_casserole.php

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups hot milk
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded old Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp  dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh or dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

Cut cauliflower into bite-size florets. Place in steamer over boiling water; cover and steam until tender, about 10 minutes.

Place cauliflower in 8-inch (2 L) square glass baking dish.



Meanwhile, in saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; fry onion until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in flour; cook, stirring, until light golden, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; simmer, whisking, until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 8 minutes.

Add Cheddar cheese, dry mustard, salt and pepper; stir until cheese is melted. Pour over cauliflower.



In small bowl, mix together bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley; sprinkle over cauliflower mixture.

Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until casserole is bubbly and light golden, about 15 minutes.
 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

Yikes, things have been crazy busy and I've neglected my blog, sorry guys! I promise you a really great recipes to make up for the missed days and the great recipe is Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars! These things are amazing!

I made these last weekend for my dad's birthday celebration and they were gone quick! I think people really like that it has a hint of cheesecake cake but also some chocolate chip cookie which everyone seems to love. They made a really nice and different combination!

 


I also like that this is layered but instead of usual when it takes time to make layers because they need to cook and cool, this one you just layer the three layers on and then cook. My only suggestion might be to start cooking the bars without the cookie topping and then add the cookie topping after about 20 minutes. I had to cover mine with foil because I felt like the cookie topping was starting to burn but the cheesecake wasn't fully cooked yet.

I got this recipe from http://www.shugarysweets.com/2014/09/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cheesecake-bars

Ingredients
    For the crust:
  • 2 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 18 full size crackers)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 2 package (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin (canned, NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • For the cookie dough:
  • 1 package (30oz) refrigerated Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Instructions
 
For the crust, pulse graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter, pulse until blended.
 
 
 
Line a 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper. Press crumbs into bottom of pan until evenly pressed.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cheesecake layer ingredients for 3-5 minutes until blended and smooth.
 
 Pour over crust layer.
 
 
 
Either make your own cookie dough using this recipe for the cookie layer. Or using the refrigerated cookie dough, crumble the dough over the cheesecake layer.
 
 
 
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes, center may still seem wiggly, it's okay. Cool pan completely, then refrigerate for 3-4 hours (or overnight). Once completely chilled, cut into bars and enjoy.
 
Store cookie bars in refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or, freeze in an airtight container until later.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Roasted Grape, Goat Cheese and Honey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Sweet potatoes, one of my most favourite sides! I found this recipe and the 2 ingredients of sweet potatoes and goat cheese made me have to try this! They did not disappoint, so delicious! My advice on this is make sure you cook the sweet potatoes long enough so they are nice and soft inside, it's so much easier to mash them together with the goat cheese when it's soft. Also make sure to leave a good inch think wall of sweet potato in the shell to help the shells keep their shape. The roasted grapes are not necessary but make a nice addition to an already great side!
I got this recipe from http://www.howsweeteats.com.



4 sweet potatoes
2 cups red, seedless grapes
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil (or another high heat oil)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons honey + additional for drizzling
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg




Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Poke holes in sweet potato with a fork, then wrap each tightly in aluminum foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until potatoes and tender to the touch. Unwrap foil and cut a slit down the middle of each sweet potato. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Lay grapes on a nonstick baking sheet and drizzle with grapeseed oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until grapes begin to burst. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Once sweet potatoes are somewhat cool, gently remove the flesh with a spoon, trying to keep the potato intact. Add the sweet potato to a large bowl, then mash with 3 ounces of goat cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and honey. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired, then scoop flash back into the potato skins.

At this point you can re-warm the potatoes (if you let them cool completely) in the oven, then top with remaining goat cheese. Add grapes on top and serve with additional drizzled honey.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

Happy first day of October! I am already into the full swing of all things Pumpkin and this recipe is no different! This Pumpkin Cream Cheese Loaf is amazing, like life changing! LOL I made it on the weekend and I can't get over how great it is. My husband says to me everyday thank you for making that it's so good! LOL I really think that the cream cheese filling just gives it an extra boost from the regular pumpkin loaf (which is also delicious!)



I had some cream cheese left over from the Pumpkin Snickerdoodle cookies I made last week so I thought I will keep this cream and make this kind of loaf. I got this idea from http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2013/10/pumpkin-cream-cheese-bread-crumb-topping/ and used the cream cheese filling I had which was very similar to her recipe here.

This recipe is a definite keep and a necessity to try this fall season! I highly recommend it!

Please note that I halved this recipe and only made one loaf as two wasn't necessary for me!

Ingredients
  • Crumb Topping:
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 stick (4 TBS) cold, salted butter, cut into small pieces
 
  • Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 
 
  • Pumpkin Bread:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 16 oz can pumpkin
Instructions
 
Preheat oven to 350. Butter two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans and set aside.
 
Make crumb topping: In a large bowl, mix flour and white sugar. Cut in butter.  Blend until mixture is coarse and crumbly and set aside.
 
Prepare cream cheese filling: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, flour and vanilla on medium speed with the whisk attachment until smooth. Set aside.
 
Prepare pumpkin bread batter: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
 
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed. With the mixer on medium, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Decrease the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until just mixed. Using a wooden spoon fold in the pumpkin. Give it a few good stirs from the bottom, making sure all ingredients are incorporated.
 
Fill prepared pans about 1/4 of the batter each (so you should have 1/2 batter left after filling both). Split cream cheese filling between the two, spreading evenly over batter. Top with remaining pumpkin bread batter and split the crumb topping between the two loaves.
 
 
 
Bake for about an hour, (Mine took 1 hr and 15 mins) until loaves are lightly browned on top and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool before serving.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Sweet n Spicy Turkey Sausages

Happy Monday! It's NFL season and that means NFL snack foods! I have got to admit that I have been slacking a bit in this department lately and this weekend was the first weekend that I made an NFL appetizer! I made these amazingly delicious Sweet n Spicy Turkey Sausages.

These were super easy to make and I love anything that can be made in the slow cooker for a few reasons. One you can clean up the mess early and not worry about it and second while it cooks it makes your whole house smell amazing!



The sauce was the key here and just a few ingredients thrown together  with the cut up turkey sausages and wham you got yourself a delicious appetizer!

I got this recipe from http://wonkywonderful.com/1/post/2014/09/slow-cooker-appetizer-recipe-sweet-spicy-sausage.html

Ingredients
 
2 Packages Smoked Turkey Sausage (cut into 1½ inch pieces)
1½ Cups Barbecue Sauce
1 Cup Apricot Jam
2 teaspoons Sriracha Hot Sauce for mild (3-4 tsp for spicy)
1/4 Cup Water
 
 
Instructions
 
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Increase heat to high the last 30 minutes. (or cook on high 3-4 hours)
 
 
 
Stir every hour while cooking to rotate sausages from top to bottom.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Flourless Oatmeal Banana Muffins

I have a few friends and family who have found themselves sensitive to gluten and therefore are trying to eat more gluten free meals and snacks. In honour of them and trying to help I made these flourless and sugarless muffins yesterday to see what they are like. They were actually quite good. Not real sweet as you can imagine but they tasted good and I would eat them (and I love sugar) so I am sure people trying to be gluten free would also enjoy them. I left half for my mom as she is trying to cut out gluten and took the other half for myself for some healthy breakfasts! I definitely suggest these as they are filling and taste good, you wouldn't even know you are eating a muffin without flour.



I got this idea from Pinterest. I got this recipe from http://fitandhealthywithdebbie.blogspot.ca

Ingredients:

2.5 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup plain low fat greek yogurt

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 TBSP ground flax seed

1 tsp vanilla

2 ripe bananas



Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray tin with non-stick cooking spray or line 12 muffin tins with silicone or foil liners.
Place the oats in the food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds. Add remaining ingredients to the food processor.
Process until everything is mixed together and oats are smooth.



Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.



Let them cool on a wire rack for just a few minutes and then dig in. They are actually really good when they are warm!