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Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp

OMG! *Drool drool drool* You wouldn’t expect something so simple  – and something from Cooking Light – to be so drool worthy! It’s seriously the best apple crisp I’ve ever made. I left out the walnuts actually, used Gala apples for the filling which ended up freshly sweet and lovely, and the crisp was no dry or soggy or bland, it was sweet, lightly spiced and well…crisp. Perfect dessert, especially when topped with vanilla ice cream. My buddy Mr. M and I inhaled two oversized servings each and I sent him home with a bunch. I didn’t want it in the house tempting me but now I’m regretting it. It would have made a decadent breakfast.

I also packed some into a Tupperware to give to my Mom tonight who happens to be in town for a couple of days. Apple desserts are her favourite so I have a feeling she’s going to love this. So I forgot to take a pretty pic, and now all I have is some cold crisp crammed into a Tupperware container so I’ll spare you the visual details and just include the image from the magazine. I just noticed this photo features a plate of crisp with two forks, presumably for a couple of people to share this serving. That’s just plain ridiculous. Not gonna happen  people. I guarantee you will want one than one serving. To be realistic, they should show someone scarfing down half the pan! lol

apple crisp

Image: Cooking Light Magazine

Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup regular oats
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
7 cups sliced peeled Rome apple (about 3 pounds)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, oats, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. Stir in walnuts.

Combine apple and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Spoon apple mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish or 1 1/2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 208
Calories from fat: 31%
Fat: 7.1g
Saturated fat: 3.4g
Monounsaturated fat: 1.9g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.3g
Protein: 1.8g
Carbohydrate: 36.5g
Fiber: 2.3g
Cholesterol: 14mg
Iron: 0.9mg
Sodium: 58mg
Calcium: 27mg

Homemade Onion Soup Mix

This is a fun little recipe that I have yet to try but I think it would really come in handy for those recipes that call for onion soup mix. I posted a similar recipe earlier this year but it calls for onion bouillon which I’ve never noticed at my grocery store, so this one has more common ingredients. If you’re curious about the ingredients in Lipton onion soup mix, take a look. It also has 27% of the your daily sodium requirements.

“Dehydrated Onions, Salt, Corn Starch, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Colour, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Corn Syrup Solids, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Sulphites. May contain milk, soy, sulphites, wheat.”

Unfortunately the beef bouillon isn’t any better so I did a search for organic beef bouillon instead and found this product from GoBIO. These beef bouillon cubes are made with real organic beef and are gluten free.

Ingredients:  Sea Salt, Corn Starch*, Non-Hydrogenated Palm Oil*, Yeast Extract, Glucose Syrup*, Beef Fat*, Dehydrated Beef Powder*, Tomatoes*, Roasted Onions*, Lovage* , Garlic*, Pepper*, Rosemary*, Thyme*. *certified organic

I had no idea what Lovage was so I googled it and apparently it’s a plant that has a similar flavour as celery.

 

Homemade Onion Soup Mix

8 teaspoons instant minced onion (I believe this is the same as onion flakes?)
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 teaspoons beef bouillon (like OXO powder)
1/4 teaspoon celery salt

Mix together and use in recipes just as you would the store bought kind!

Ginger Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

I was going to post this over a month ago and never got around to making actual ice cream sandwiches in order to take a photo, so I gave up and took a pic of just the cookies. Here’s hoping we have another couple of days of heat so that we can enjoy frozen treats again. Apparently August 2nd was national ice cream sandwich day and I missed it! It’s so weird because I was fixated on making them for days but didn’t have the time to bake and then I stumbled upon notice of the “holiday” on twitter. It was a long weekend here in Ontario  on August 4th (Civic Holiday) so I decided to have a special meal with ribs made in the Crockpot and these sandwiches for dessert. The finished cookies were HUGE. I didn’t have any cloves so I substituted with allspice and I have a feeling it’s even better than the original (I am not a fan of cloves). The first batch were a little too dark on the bottom, so I watched the second batch very carefully and took them out after 13 minutes. They were still a touch too brown but still soft on the inside. Next time I am going to make a test cookie to make sure they turn out just right. It’s important that you don’t over bake these because you want them to stay soft even after freezing. Taste wise they were delicately spiced and didn’t outshine the vanilla ice cream. They’re also great on their own and remind of Bear Paws (but 10x better!) I actually didn’t make ice cream sandwiches but warmed the cookies and served the ice cream on top, then ate it with a spoon. It’s less messy and has a nice balance of cookie to ice cream. Fresh, homemade cookies warm from the oven are so worth it!  Those Walmart ice cream sandwiches that won’t melt – ya, we won’t mention those because they’re not worth comparing to actual food. LOL !! Try these and you will not be disappointed.

photo (24)

 

photo (25)

Vanilla Ice Cream and Ginger Molasses Cookie Sandwiches

Yield: makes 6

Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup unsulfured (light) molasses
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
Sugar

Sandwiches
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
1/2 cup chopped drained stem ginger in syrup
Fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced
preparation

For Cookies:
Sift first 6 ingredients into medium bowl. Combine butter, shortening and brown sugar in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter mixture until fluffy. Add egg, molasses and peel; beat until blended. Add dry ingredients; mix just until incorporated. Cover; chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 baking sheets. Place sugar in small bowl. Using wet hands, form dough into 12 equal pieces; shape pieces into balls. Roll in sugar to coat. Transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are pale golden and cracked on top but still soft, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Transfer to racks; cool completely.

For Sandwiches:
Place ice cream in medium bowl. Stir in ginger. Freeze until almost firm, about 30 minutes.

Place 6 cookies on work surface, flat side up. Top each with 1/3 cup ice cream. Spread to 1/4 inch from edge of cookies. Top each with second cookie. Press to adhere. Place in freezer. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly; keep frozen.)

Arrange sandwiches on plates. Garnish with berries and serve.

Source: Bon Appetit, March 1996

Aprons and Lard

I know its strange for me to post so often but I’m part of the Cookbook Junkies group on Facebook and I saw this post and thought I would share. My great grandmother had an apron like this and most of my memories of her include her wearing such an apron. She began a local singing career when she was in her 70’s, singing at community events. She was too shy to face the audience and her signature song was “Amazing Grace”.  Now every time I hear that song I think of her. I never heard her say a single unkind thing to anyone and her favourite pet name for any young girl or woman was “good girl”. She was an amazing cook by the way, and she passed her skills on to my grandfather, who then passed on skills and cooking methods to my mother, and I suppose to some extent – me. I really should start posting more Labrador style recipes. One unique recipe my grandfather used to make he called “Stir About” which was bannock fried in cured pork fat and grease, then broken up and topped with partridgeberry jam. Sounds weird but it was actually quite tasty. I suspect pork fat was used so much because it was probably cheaper and/or easier to get than lard. If you’re curious, I did a quick search and found this blog post about rendering your own lard. http://thehealthyfoodie.com/how-to-render-your-own-lard/

My grandmother, Edna Campbell.

My grandmother Edna Campbell, on the cover of Them Days Magazine.

 ____________________________________________________________________________________
(This isn’t my grandmother by the way) 
No, it's not about running......nothing to do with running at all.<br /><br />
Enjoy.</p><br />
<p>The History of ‘APRONS’ </p><br />
<p> I don’t think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.</p><br />
<p> It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. </p><br />
<p> From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. </p><br />
<p> When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..</p><br />
<p> And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.</p><br />
<p> Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. </p><br />
<p> Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.</p><br />
<p> From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. </p><br />
<p> In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. </p><br />
<p> When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. </p><br />
<p> When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.</p><br />
<p> It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes. </p><br />
<p> Send this to those who would know (and love) the story about Grandma’s aprons.</p><br />
<p> REMEMBER: </p><br />
<p> Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.</p><br />
<p> They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.</p><br />
<p> I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron – but love” width=”387″ height=”395″ /></div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
<div class=

The History of ‘APRONS’

 

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.

Send this to those who would know (and love) the story about Grandma’s aprons.

 

REMEMBER:

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.  I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron – but love

Crockpot Ribs

If you’re curious about how the ribs turned out in the slow cooker, I found this great post online and used his method. I think 8 hours may have been a little too long. I had a hard time getting the ribs out of the Crockpot because they were literally falling off the bone. Maybe it’s because I only made one rack? We were starving so I skipped the broiling but I  have used that method with slow cooking in the oven and it’s a nice touch.

Here’s the link: http://www.thestayathomechef.com/2013/04/the-secret-to-crockpot-ribs.html

kcbbqsauce

Ribs with my favourite Kansas City BBQ sauce. 

 

No Churn NUTELLA Cheesecake Swirl Ice Cream!

OMG!!! Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk should be called Evil Brand! I made this ice cream for the Labour Day weekend and I couldn’t stop eating it. I had two bowls the night I made it, then I went to bed thinking about it, I woke up thinking about it, I had some for dessert after breakfast, and then again after lunch. In the afternoon I had maybe 3 more small bowls of it. It was a full on binge. That night an old friend came over for dinner and I had one more bowl, my friend had one and Miss M had a scoop, then it was gone. :( I should be ashamed to admit all this but I want you to understand – it’s SOOOOO GOOOD!!!! You have been warned.

I forgot to take a pic so enjoy this one from the source. The original recipe calls for a half a pan of brownies but I ran out of time to bake. All things considered, it might be just as well.

Source: http://cupcakesandkalechips.com/2014/02/06/nutella-brownie-cheesecake-ice-cream/

Nutella Brownie Cheesecake Swirl Ice Cream

One 8 oz. bar of cream cheese (light or regular) softened
One 14.5 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk (regular or fat free)
1 tsp vanilla
One pint (500 mL carton) heavy cream, well chilled
About half of a pan of prepared brownies, homemade or from a box mix (I highly suggest Flourless Nutella Cheesecake Swirl Brownies, especially if you want to make this gluten free)
About ⅓ cup Nutella (I added 1/2 cup to make up for lack of brownies)

Place a large glass or metal bowl in the refrigerator or freezer for whipping the cream.
Using an electric mixer or whisk attachment, beat together the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Set aside.
In the chilled bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk, beat the heavy cream to soft peaks.
Gently fold the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream.
Crumble about half of the pan of brownies (more or less, as desired) into to cream mixture, top with small dollops of Nutella, and gently fold in to create brownie and Nutella swirls.
Pour the mixture into a container that you can freeze and has an airtight lid, cover, and place in the freezer until frozen.

 

Chef Michael Smith’s Newest Cookbook

My new favourite cookbook is Chef Michael Smith, Family Meals. I saw it at my local grocery store, quickly skimmed through it and found that I wanted to make a good 75% of the recipes in it! Impressive – so I bought it. He also includes some helpful tips on organizing your kitchen and packing school snacks. There are slow cooker recipes, quick recipes, big batch recipes, some vegetarian options, and some innovative sides that don’t need any special ingredients, which I love.  He has a knack for taking something simple and adding a yummy twist, such as the Smoked Salmon Brunch Biscuits which combines chive biscuits, Boursin dill sauce, and browned butter scrambled eggs. It sounds super fancy but it doesn’t require any super human effort to make and I have a feeling it will be all worth it in the end. Mmmmmm!!!! I should try this recipe next week actually.

There are also a couple of versions of burgers I’d like to try – Nacho burgers and Sausage Burgers. Another neat thing about his book is the index in the back. In addition to a printed version he has included just photos of each dish with the corresponding page. I’m a visual person so I really love this!

A couple of days ago I got home late and didn’t feel like making an elaborate meal so I flipped through the pages and found this recipe for Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew. This is also a vegan option with Thai inspired flavours. I went light on the curry powder because I’m not a super huge fan and the final result was fabulous! I tried it with and without the lime juice and I like it without better. It really mutes the coconut milk so be careful with how much you add. I’ll be making this again for sure. At the bottom of the post I’ve included a recipe for homemade curry powder.

photo (23)

Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 19 ounce can chickpeas
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
4 cups of water
1 tsp salt
cups frozen green peas
a pint of cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 tsp of your favourite hot sauce
the zest and juice of one lime
a handful of fresh cilantro sprigs

Instructions:

Add the vegetable oil to a stockpot over medium-high heat. Toss in the onion and garlic and sauté them until they’re softened, about 5 minutes or so. Add the curry powder and continue cooking until the spices are heated through and fragrant, another few minutes.Add the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, water, and salt. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and continue simmering until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, peas, and tomatoes. Continue cooking just long enough to heat everything through. Season with the hot sauce and lime zest and juice. Serve and share with the cilantro sprinkled over every bowl.
 

I didn’t have any curry powder on hand so I did a quick search and found this recipe on food.com. I winged it, with a sprinkle of this and that and it turned out really well actually.

Homemade Curry Powder Mix

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

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