I started this blog so my daughters could find all of our family favourite recipes in one place. It has actually grown into more than just the family favourites but also other recipes we've tried out in our kitchen. I don't like to fill up the post with alot of chatter. Sometimes there's a little story to tell, but usually I like to get right to the point. So this is for them, but hope you find some recipes that you like as well. I'll be sharing a lot of recipes, and along the way you'll find some crafty things and maybe some helpful hints too!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pineapple Banana Bread

With the first snow on the ground I needed to post something a little tropical.

1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond or coconut extract
1 tbsp poppyseeds
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup well chopped fresh pineapple (well drained, reserve juice)
2 tbsps milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup icing sugar
reserved pineapple juice

Cream the butter and sugar together, then add eggs one at a time. Add the extract, poppyseeds, banana, pineapple, milk and coconut. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and incorporate into the wet mixture. Toss walnuts with 1 tbsp flour and fold into the batter.

Line a 9 X 5" loaf pan with parchment paper or grease well and spoon in the batter. 

Bake at 350F for 1 hour AND 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool then run a knife around the sides and turn out the loaf. Mix enough icing sugar with the reserved juice to be able to drizzle all over the loaf. Sprinkle a few walnuts on top.

Now...pretend it's warm out!

Easy Wine Cork Placemarkers

First snowfall today...got me thinking of Christmas. And these placemarkers. They're so easy to make! The hardest part is drinking the wine to get the corks 😉

For each placemarker you'll need 4 corks. Just plain or use a glue stick and dip the ends in glitter. Then glue gun them together to form a square. You can tie some ribbon around them too. Next use some old greeting cards to cut out whatever shape you like for the actual namecard. Don't forget to glue a back on it too.

Write the name on the card and stick it between the corks. Bon appetit!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mock Kataifi

This is by no means a replacement for the real thing, but if you want a fake bake Greek-inspired dessert then give this a try!
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
3/4 - 1 cup water
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 - 1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
4 muffets or shredded wheat cereal

Start by simmering the sugar, honey, water, cinnamon sticks and lemon juice in a pot for 15 minutes.

Place muffets in a baking dish and pour the hot syrup over top.

Let sit for about 1 hour on the counter, then turn them over and sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. If you want them sopping with syrup just double the syrup recipe and you probably won't have to flip them over. 

With less syrup the muffets stay a little crispy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Roasted" Garlic in the Microwave

My daughter asked if we could have garlic mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner this year. I wanted to do a test run today but didn't have the time to roast the garlic.

No problem! Microwave saves the day!

Just slice the top off a head of garlic, place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 1  1/2 tbsps of water to the bowl and cover with a saucer.

Microwave on low for 3 minutes, take it out and check softness with a fork. Microwave another 3 minutes then by 1 minute increments until you achieve the desired softness.  You could broil the top if you want a golden roasted garlic but I didn't mind it like this. 

So just squeezed out the cloves and mashed them with the potatoes, a bit of milk and butter.

I may never roast garlic in the oven again!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Easy Small Batch Dill Pickles

When you have a little pickle craving...
This recipe makes just 1 pint and 2 quart jars.

2 lbs small pickling cucumbers
8 cups water
1/4 cup (+ 2 tbsps pickling salt)
1/4 cup and 1/8 cup vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups water
2 tsps pickling spice 
1/2 tsp mustard seed (per jar)
1/2 tsp dill seed (per jar)

Day one - wash and trim off stems and blossom ends of cucumbers.  Dissolve 1/4 cup salt in 8 cups water.  Submerge cucumbers in salt water for 12 hours. I used a shallow bowl that fit inside my large bowl to hold the cucs down in the water.

Day two - after 12 hours drain but do not rinse the cucumbers.

Using a coffee filter or small piece of cheesecloth, tie up the pickling spice. Mix 2 tbsps salt, vinegar, sugar, 2 cups water and the pickling spice pack and heat to boiling. 

Fill sterilized jars with cucs, fitting in as many as you can, and add the mustard seed and dill to each jar.

Fill jars with the hot brine leaving a 1/4 - 1/2" head space. You may find that you'll need to make more vinegar mix if your jars aren't tightly packed with cucs. Place the lids on top, just finger tight.

Bring a large half-filled pot of water to boil, then add the jars. Top off with boiled kettle water to cover the tops of the jars. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  

Then carefully remove from water and cool on the counter. Make sure lids have sealed.

If you choose not to process the jars then just keep them in the fridge. They do lose a little crunchiness when processed.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Silky Lemon Lime Pie

Like lemon meringue but creamier with a hint of lime.

1 - 9" pie shell

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp lemon and/or lime zest
pinch salt
2  1/2 cups milk
2 tbsps butter

3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Blind bake pie shell, 450 F for about 8 minutes, and set aside.

Mix sugar and cornstarch together in a large saucepan. Add egg yolks, lemon and lime juices, zest and salt, gently warming. Pour in the milk while whisking and heat to medium high. Continue whisking until filling thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the butter.

Pour into the pre-baked shell and prepare meringue.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually adding the sugar and cream of tartar. Continue until stiff peaks form then dollop onto the pie sealing to the pastry edge.

Bake at 425 F for 5 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Creamy Chicken and Farfalle with Bacon

We think of farfalle as bow-tie pasta, but did you know farfalle is Italian for butterfly?

2 tbsps olive oil
2 boneless chicken breasts
6 strips of bacon
1/4 cup white wine
1-2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 green pepper, diced
3 green onions, sliced
1 cup 10% cream
1 cup parmesan
5 cloves garlic, minced
450g farfalle pasta

Seasoning paste:
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp each thyme, oregano and basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Mix the ingredients for the seasoning paste together and spread over the chicken breasts. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Fry the bacon, then drain on paper towels and roughly chop. Slice and dice the green pepper, onion and garlic, keeping the white and green slices of the green onion separate.
Set aside.

Add olive oil to a large skillet, add chicken and cook on medium high about 5 minutes per side.

Then when it is almost cooked, slice each breast thickly and brown slices on all sides until no pink remains. De-glaze the pan with white wine loosening all that brown goodness from the skillet.  Add the garlic and toss for 1 minute. Remove chicken and garlic to a plate.

Meanwhile, cook pasta as per package directions and drain. Do not rinse.

Add green pepper and the white part of the green onions to the skillet. Fry 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, cream and parmesan. Use 1-2 cups diced tomatoes depending on your preference for sauce thickness.

Toss sliced chicken and bacon (reserve some for garnish) into sauce, then mix in cooked pasta.

Top with green part of green onions and more bacon.

Serves 4