Monday, 24 November 2014

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Hey everyone, hope you had a great weekend! My husband and I were lucky enough to have some great friends over Saturday evening for dinner! I haven't seen these friends in quite a while now so it was so nice to see them and catch up! It was also nice to cook as we were having them over to our new house for the first time!

I made a honey glazed pork tenderloin, the recipe is posted here
http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2012/10/honey-glazed-pork-tenderloin.html

I also made some herb and garlic mashed potatoes and these delicious roasted carrots and parsnips.

I love roasted vegetables, I find it's a very fall and winter thing to do with your veggies! I love parsnips and carrots together, I tossed them in a bit of olive oil, sprinkled with thyme, salt and pepper and roasted for a good hour in the oven. They turned out fantastic!



I forgot to take an after picture, but at least I have the before here!

I got this recipe idea from http://www.marthastewart.com/338532/roasted-carrots-and-parsnips

Ingredients
 
         1 1/2 pounds carrots
         1 1/2 pounds parsnips
         1 tablespoon olive oil
         1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
         1 teaspoon coarse salt
         1/8 teaspoon ground pepper 
 
 
Directions
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
Peel carrots and parsnips; halve crosswise to separate thick and narrow parts. Halve or quarter thick parts lengthwise.     
 
On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots and parsnips with oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Spread in a single layer.    
 
Roast vegetables until tender, tossing once or twice, 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes (if vegetables begin to stick to the pan, sprinkle with water, and loosen with a spatula). Serve immediately.
      

Friday, 21 November 2014

Carrot Cake Cookies

TGIF!!! Hey everyone with Christmas coming up and all the sweets and sugar that come with it, I thought I would find and post a recipe that has little sugar in it and is actually sweetened with maple syrup. I know not everyone is able to indulge in those sugary treats but that doesn't mean you can't indulge period!

These Carrot Cake Cookies are pretty easy to make and I love that they are sweetened with maple syrup. I had one and I thought it tasted really good. You get the spice and carrot cake taste and just a hint of sweetness from the syrup!



So in case you are one of those people that are watching your sugar intake or are just looking for a healthier option for a cookie these are definitely worth a try!

I got this recipe idea from http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2014/10/10/carrot-cake-oatmeal-cookies/




Ingredients

1 c instant oats (gluten-free if necessary)
¾ c whole wheat or gluten-free* flour (measured correctly)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp.  coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ c maple syrup
¾ c grated carrots (about 1 smallish medium)
 
Directions
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the maple syrup until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the carrots. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. (If chilling longer, cover with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the entire surface of the cookie dough.)
 
 
 
Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
 
Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops on the baking sheet. (If chilled longer than 1.5 hours, flatten slightly.) Bake at 325°F for 12-15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Cranberry Brie Puffs

We are officially in the middle of November and it's something like 36 days until Christmas! This is crazy how fast time flies!

Is anyone out there planning on hosting a Christmas party? My husband and I definitely are because this is the first Christmas we are in our new house and actually have the space to host a party! I am so excited for these holidays and our Christmas party will hopefully become an annual event!



In the planning of parties like this you usually want to serve a few nibbles, so I thought I would share these Cranberry Brie Puffs. I made these last Sunday as an appetizer and they turned out really good and tasted amazing. I thought these would be the perfect appetizer for the holidays and holiday parties! The cranberry is very festive looking and the combination of cranberry and brie is so good!

I got this appetizer idea from http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/cranberry-brie-bites/f6c8ca72-a175-482f-a0ca-8bd07c1075d1

Ingredients

package (17 1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed                           
1/2 lb Brie cheese                                  
cup cranberry sauce (purchased or homemade)                        

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
 
With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheets into approximately 3 inch x 3 inch squares. Press each square into a muffin cavity. 
 
 
 
Cube the cheese - about a 3/4 inch cube for each (you may have a little cheese left over). Place a cube of brie in the center of each puff pastry square. Top the brie with a small dollop (about 2 tsp) of cranberry sauce.
 
Bake about 10 minites or until puff pastry corners are toasted lightly brown. 
 
                          
                            
Let cool 5 minutes before serving

Monday, 17 November 2014

Mint Cookie Dough Truffle Bars

We got our first official snow fall of the season this weekend! It wasn't a full out blizzard, we probably only got 2 cm of snow but it's the first official snow fall and started making me feel Christmasy!!

In honour of that I thought I would try this recipe that I have been wanting to try for a while now but for some reason the mint flavour to me screams Christmas! So I was waiting until I thought it appropriate to make a mint flavoured dessert!



I made this on Sunday and made it at my parents house so everyone there got to try some and I have got to say it was delicious! It's different because it's a no bake dessert and my mom said that it almost tastes like fudge. You make the base and press it into the pan and then you melt some mint chocolate chips and butter or shortening and spread it on top and let it set. I found it set pretty well. It was a bit crumbly in spots but overall good. I suggest that when making this dessert be very careful to fully mix everything together and try to get all the dry ingredients a touch wet with the wet ingredients, it just helps everything stick together a bit better.

I highly recommend this recipe as it is great for Christmas and it's so easy to put together!
I got this recipe ideas from http://insidebrucrewlife.com/2014/03/andes-mint-cookie-dough-truffle-bars/

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon milk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup Mint baking chips, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons shortening or butter
 
Instructions
Cream the butter, sugars, vanilla, and milk. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together. Slowly add to the creamed mixture.
 
 
 
Stir in 3/4 cup mint chips by hand. Press the mixture into a buttered 8x8 baking dish.
 
 
 
Place the remaining 1 cup Andes Mint chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat. When the mints are melted and creamy, pour over the top of the cookie dough in the pan. Let set. Cut into 36 squares. Store in a sealed container.


 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Potato Casserole

TGIF everyone!!!  Hope you all had a great week and have an awesome weekend ahead! I know that weekends often entail get-togethers and sometimes finding the right recipes can be hard so let me help you with this awesome and easy to make Potato Casserole!



I love this recipe because it can be put together in advance and then refrigerated until you need to cook it. It does need to cook for a good 90 minutes so make sure you give yourself enough cooking and resting time, as it should be rested for 15 minutes before serving.

I made this Potato Casserole to go with the stuffed pork tenderloin last weekend and I thought the two paired really well. It was also a hit with everyone that was over for dinner, and makes great leftovers!

I got this recipe idea from http://www.galonamission.com/loaded-potato-casserole/

Ingredients
  • 6 russet potatoes, sliced into ¼" slices
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded monterey cheese
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • fresh or dried parsley, to garnish or green onions or chives
Instructions
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x13, set aside.
 
Layer half of the potato slices in the dish, overlapping slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheeses on top of the potatoes and add the crumbled bacon pieces. Add the other half of the potato slices on top of the cheese.
 
 
 
In a small bowl, mix together the milk and eggs. Pour the mixture over top of the potatoes. Sprinkle the parsley on top.
 
Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes, or until the custard is cooked and set. Allow the dish to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.
 
 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Ahhhhh, winter is coming! We have just the tiniest bit of snow on the ground but it was sure slow driving into work today and I can only imagine what the drive home will be like if it snows for a good part of the day! Yikes, the joys of winter driving!

Winter is the best time for family and friend get-togethers with great food since you can't do much else when it gets cold out! This Stuff Pork Tenderloin is a great example of purely delicious food!



I have never made a stuffed anything before so this was a bit of a test to see how things went. I made this for my parents anniversary dinner last weekend so I made three altogether and it got better as I went on. I found that I couldn't flatten the pork quite enough to roll it back up the way I wanted and to have enough filling in it so I ended up just tooth picking the tops back together to hold it together while it cooked. This worked pretty well and the filling stayed in it pretty well too. The tough part was cutting it into pieces for everyone. This seemed to be a hit with everyone and I paired it with a potato casserole (which will be posted in a few days) and some garlic carrots and salad!

I definitely recommend giving this a try if you want to impress someone with your culinary skills and honestly this isn't too hard to make. The hardest part is figuring out how to cut the pork and roll it back up to cook!

I got this recipe idea from http://janalaurene.com/blog/recipes/pork-tenderloin-stuffed-with-spinach-and-sun-dried-tomatoes/

Ingredients

Pork tenderloin
salt and pepper

the filling: (This filling stuffed three good sized pork tenderloins. If you want to just make enough filling for one, I would at least half this recipe)
2 cloves garlic
10 oz. spinach
4. oz sun-dried tomatoes
4 oz. goat cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. sour cream



Directions

Make your filling, mix together the Cream cheese, goats cheese and sour cream. Sauté the garlic and spinach until almost cooked through. Add the sun dried tomatoes and take the pan off the stove once your spinach is cooked to your liking. Add the spinach and garlic to the cream mixture and combine.

Cut your pork tenderloin open. Make sure you don't cut all the way though as you don't want it completely separated. I did this by cutting from one side and across the top and down the other side and pushed it open., I cut a little deeper until it open as far I wanted. I then took a meat tenderizer and beat the meat until it was even thinner and flat.



Then you add your mixture to the tenderloin and roll back up. if you were like me and couldn't figure out how to roll back up, I got the ends together and used toothpicks to secure it for cooking.



I cooked at 400 degrees for about 50-60 minutes. Use your meat thermometer to check the doneness, you want it to be between 155-163 degrees.



Let the meat rest for a few minutes before you cut and serve!

Enjoy!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Sweet n Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

One of the best things about carving pumpkins is roasting the pumpkin seeds. This is not a tough process but it is a bit of a long process. You start by taking all those seeds and cleaning them. This means cleaning off all the pumpkin slime and then laying them out on a baking sheet to dry. I usually try and leave mine to dry for a couple of days if I can. Once the drying is done, then I roast them using whatever recipe I decide on. This year I decided on sweet n spicy and they turned out really good!

I made these Halloween night when we had family over to hand out candy and they turned out really good. I started the process Wednesday night when I carved the pumpkin and clean and started to dry the seeds. A whole two days later I roasted them.



I highly recommend trying this recipe or one of the many other options out there. Pumpkin seeds are good for you and taste delicious!

I got this recipe from http://www.marthastewart.com/318249/sweet-and-spicy-pumpkin-seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread seeds on parchment paper in an even layer and bake until cooked and turning slightly brown.


  2. In a medium bowl combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until sugar melts and pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 45 to 60 seconds. Transfer to bowl with spices, and stir well to coat. Let cool. These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 

    Enjoy!