Thursday, October 29, 2009

My friends

Hello my friends out there in the foodie community. I haven't written to you for some time, I know. I had a wonderful afternoon today visiting each and every one of you. Some know this because I left a little note, to others I was a visiting ghost so to speak. I honestly haven't done this in a very long time. But there is nothing like staying home from work sick to give you some time.
I want to say how much I enjoyed all of your recipes. I'm amazed and inspired by you all. How you continue to produce such quality recipes day after day is really quite something. I do pop by from time to time, but haven't taken the time like I did today to see you all.
I'm also amazed by those who I know spend time appreciating and commenting on the blogs of so many others. Thanks especially to those who keep the comments coming, even if I've been somewhat silent on my part.
I know my food blogging stream has died down a bit these last few months, first by the nausea of pregnancy and continued by repeat dinners. I decided that I didn't want to let my blogging life take over my real life. I run 4 blogs and was feeling the pressure to write something new on all of them all the time. Then I started to wonder why? Why was I spending so much time and energy on these? It was becoming more work than a hobby I enjoy. So I've slowed the pace down a bit and am finding that I'm enjoying blogging again. I like to take the time to peruse and think of something clever and honest rather than just posting for the sake of posting. I promise you all that when I discover something delicious and worth posting I will share it with you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yummy, yummy applesauce

I saw this recipe over at Tried and True Cooking with Heidi last month. She calls it "The Best" Applesauce. It looked wonderful and I figured it had to be better than the apple mush I tried to pass off as applesauce last year. It was! So delicious. I first made it for my boys and one of their friends a couple of weekends ago and made it again by request of my oldest son last week. He loves it. He says it's his favorite snack ever. My youngest loves it too, which is great for Mr. Picky who won't eat much of anything that isn't bread or chocolate.

Here's the recipe:

4 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar (she suggested Splenda and that's what I used too)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher if you want chunky sauce, or put in the blender for a smooth sauce. I quite like a smooth sauce, so I used my hand blender and it worked like a charm. Thanks Heidi for this one!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Tale of Two Pies - Pumpkin Chiffon and Apple

Canadian Thanksgiving was a couple of weeks back and I've been terrible about posting my recipes. At least I'm getting these ones up in time for my American friends to read about before their own Thanksgiving celebrations next month!
I also have a pie confession - I used pre-made pie crusts. Yes, I COULD make my own, but no. Thanksgiving is a big meal and really, the pre-mades are a lot better than mine for what I need.
So yes, 2 kinds of pie. Pumpkin is my favorite and seeing as we just went apple picking the weekend before, apple had to be on my list. Here's the recipes.

Pumpkin Chiffon

1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/3 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
2 unbaked pie shells (9-inch)

Mix pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt together. Add milk and egg yolks. Mix well.
In another bowl, beat egg whites until firm. Fold into pumpkin mix and pour into pie shells - there's enough filling for 2 pies. Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Apple Pie

7 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon (this makes it very cinnamony - you can use less)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 unbaked pie shells

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine sliced apples with sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice. Fill pie crust with apple mixture and dot with softened butter. Place top pie shell on top and crimp edges together. Make some slits in the top crust for steam to escape. *If you wish try my friend Ang's trick. She uses a vanilla egg wash on top (combine an egg white with a little vanilla and brush on top of the pie - makes it look lovely and smells delicious when baking). Bake for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes longer.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes

Shortly after we were first married, my husband went away on a college work trip to the Mirimichi. He came home with this recipe. He swore it was for the best scalloped potatoes he'd ever had. I tried the recipe and sure enough they really were the best scalloped potatoes I'd ever had too.
*Just as a side note of cultural interest, I call these scalloped potatoes. I'm originally from the western part of Canada. My Maritime friends who are true New Brunswickers call these potatoes scallop. I don't know why.

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 14 oz can chicken broth (Campbell's Herb and Garlic is what was recommended to us)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/8 tsp pepper
5 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 med. onion, finely chopped
8 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (can use light)

Melt margarine in saucepan. Add flour; blend well. Add broth, mayonnaise and pepper. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Alternate layers of potatoes, onions and cheese in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour sauce over top. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350* for 1 1/2 hours or until golden brown.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tales of A Corn Casserole

After all the rigmarole surrounding this next food story and recipe, you'd think that I would have remembered to take a picture. Alas, I didn't. Blame it on pregnant brain if you will, or the business of cooking on a holiday, whatever the reason, there is no picture.

Our story begins yesterday morning. Canadian Thanksgiving. (An explanation for my American and other nationality type friends, Canadian Thanksgiving is always the second Monday of October and traditionally celebrates harvest time). I had my menu planned. Turkey (of course), stuffing, cranberries, carrot-turnip mash, whipped potatoes, peas, squash, gravy, rolls, 2 kinds of pie (pumpkin chiffon and apple - recipes and pictures to come) and corn. Hmmm, corn. for some reason I was thinking that the corn needed to be a little more special than just plain old corn. Sometimes I have corn in butter sauce, but today I wanted something else. Aha! I remembered my mom had a recipe for corn casserole. I'd just phone her and get that and we'd be all set. Unfortunately, this realization hit me at 11am my time. My mom lives on the other side of the country and a 4 hour time difference away, she definitely wouldn't appreciate a wake up call like that! During my wait I decided to look up corn casseroles on Yes, I love it. I found a great looking one for a creamed corn casserole, but not quite what I was looking for. Finally at 12:15 I called my mom (I figured she should be up by now, it was after 8 her time). Yes she found the recipe for me. Unfortunately, it called for green peppers, which I didn't have in the house. New Brunswick is a province where everything but gas stations and Blockbuster close on holidays, so the possibility of running out to a market was nil. Then I got inspired. Why not pull from both recipes and make my own? So I did. Here are all 3 recipes. I hope you enjoy them. Let me know if you try any of them out!
Mom's Corn Casserole

2 cups corn
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
2 tbsp minced onion
2 chopped green peppers

Combine in a casserole dish and bake at 325* for 40 minutes
Creamed Corn Casserole from

1 cup creamed corn
1/4 cup melted butter
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar

Combine in a casserole dish and bake at 350* for one hour (or until the cornmeal sets)
My Corn Casserole

1 can creamed corn (398ml/14fl oz)
2 cups corn
2/3 cup milk
1 cup corn flour
2 eggs, beated
1/4 cup melted butter
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup cheddar

Combine in a casserole dish and bake at 350* for one hour. (yes, I kept the lid on)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oatmeal and Yogurt Pancakes

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that Saturdays are usually pancake day in my house. All sorts of pancakes. You'll also know that I've promised you a few recipes to use up yogurt. This recipe does not disappoint. They are honestly some of the best pancakes I've had in a long time. I found the original on and tweaked it for myself. (Yes, Recipezaar is my new internet discovery).

1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup milk
1 cup milk (approximately)
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg whites

In one bowl, pour 1/2 cup of milk over the oatmeal to soak. While the oatmeal is soaking, combine the rest of the ingredients together and mix well. Add the soaked outmeal and mix in. Make pancakes on a pre-heated frying pan or griddle, cooking on one side until the pancake looks half cooked through and then flip over to cook the other side.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Timmy's vs. Mickey D's

2 breakfasts out. 2 mornings in a row. Highly unusual for me. What I'm about to write is just my own experience this week. It doesn't mean it's always like this, but this week it was.

Thursday morning, 8:30am, I went through the McDonald's Drive-thru on the west side of town. My order: An Egg McMuffin, with just egg and cheese. Hash browns. Peppermint Tea with Splenda. My wait time? A good 20 minutes. I had to be at work at 9. I walked into work at 8:58. (Oh, and she couldn't remember what I wanted in my tea)

Friday morning, 8:30am, I went through the Tim Horton's Drive-thru on the west side of town. My order: An egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, hash browns, a hazelnut smoothie and a fruit explosion muffin for my break later in the morning. My wait time? Less than 5 minutes. I got to work early enough to enjoy my breakfast in the parking lot and read a bit of my book before heading in the building.

I don't know why this is. Both line ups had about the same amount of cars in them. In fact Timmies is on a busier corner. I just found it interesting that's all.

***An addendum due to comments/questions.
I enjoy breakfasts at both places. The Egg McMuffin is one of the best fast food breakfasts going as far as I'm concerned. Also the Tim Horton's sandwich is fabulously tasty. Here's the differences for my American friends who don't know about this Canadian institution. The Tim's sandwich is served on a toasted buttermilk biscuit. The egg is more of a seasoned scrambled egg patty. The hashbrowns are smaller than at McD's but are seasoned with herbs. Take a look here if you want to see.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sour Cream Zucchini Bread

'Tis the season for zucchini! I had some fun poking around and found this lovely recipe for zucchini bread. I did some adapting of my own and would have done more if I hadn't discovered that my applesauce was growing mold in the back of the fridge. I would have substitued applesauce for the oil (there's a lot of oil in this recipe!) The bread was really nice and moist. Delicious with butter, even better with cream cheese :o)

2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup light sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 bread loaf pans. In a mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, and oil. Add the dry ingredients slowly to the egg mixture. When thoroughly mixed, add the sour cream and vanilla. Finally, mix in the shredded zucchini. Pour the mixture into the two loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 1 hour and 20 minutes (use a toothpick to see if the bread is done, it should come out clean, or with just a few crumbs on it. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yogurt Muffins

I know I'm having a bit of a muffin theme in my house - I'm also having a bit of a yogurt theme (I have a pile of recipes to post backed up that I just haven't had the time to post - bad blogger!) These muffins were really tasty. I think you could put any flavour of yogurt into them, I just happened to have some strawberry that needed using up (plus a few cups of the kids yogurt, peach and banana that I threw in - why not?)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup strawberry yogurt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350*. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk the egg, yogurt, vanilla and butter; stir into the dry ingredients. Fill muffin tin sprayed with non-stick spray, or lined with muffin cups. Bake for 20-30 minutes.