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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Peanut Butter & Honey Bran Muffins

If you’re fighting to get more fibre into your family’s diet, try these. Tell them they’re cupcakes—they taste so good they’ll believe you.

2 cups flour
1 ½ cups bran
1/1/4 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup peanut butter
2 cups (one 650 gram container) caramel yogurt*
1 beaten egg
½ cup honey (can substitute corn syrup)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, bran and baking soda. Cut in the peanut butter with a pastry blender until mixture looks crumbly. Add the yogurt, egg and honey, and stir until just mixed. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full and bake for 25 minutes.

How many this will make depends on the size of your muffin pan. I generally get 14 medium-sized muffins.

*Haven’t tried it yet, but plain, vanilla, Greek, or banana would probably all work too. I’m definitely planning on trying the banana yogurt next time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Free Molasses Cookbooks Online

I bought a carton of Grandma fancy molasses at my grocery store the other day, and when I went to put it away; I saw a LINK to a cookbook. Of course I had to check it out, and actually ended up downloading several of the books on offer, covering breads, desserts and main dishes. I’ve already made the baked beans, the Chili Molasses Sweet Potato Wedges (link to the recipe HERE), and the Boston Brown Bread Muffins. All of them were easy, came out fantastic, and are now in my recipe file. Well worth a download.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Conflicted Bran Muffins (fibre and chocolate)

My chocolate riff on the standard All Bran muffin. They run about 130 calories each—you could drop that by using butter instead of vegetable oil (it has 20% fewer calories, who knew?), skim milk (or water) for 1%, and by replacing two tablespoons of the flour with cocoa.

2 cups All Bran original
1 ½ cups 1% milk
1 beaten egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the All Bran with the milk, egg and vegetable oil. In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine the flour, cocoa, and sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the All Bran mixture and stir until moistened—don’t overstir.

Drop batter into muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 small muffins

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Maple Bran Muffins

2 cups flour
1 ½ cups bran
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 cups maple-flavoured yoghurt
1 beaten egg
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup vegetable oil
maple flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, combine flour, bran, sugar and baking soda. In larger bowl, combine yoghurt, egg, syrup and oil. Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir just until moistened—don’t overmix. Spoon into muffin tins. Sprinkle with maple flakes if desired. Bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 9 large or 18 small muffins.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Yorkshire Pork Pie

Another recipe from The Canadian Family Cook Book. If you want to try the original recipe, this LINK is good at the moment. My modernized version, which includes such things as quantities and oven temperature, follows.

1 package (400 gm) unrolled puff pastry, thawed
1 pound (454 gm) lean ground pork
1 small or 2/3 medium onion, minced
3 hard-boiled eggs, diced
pepper, salt and sage to taste
flour for dredging

Preheat oven to 350°F (325 if using a glass pie plate).

Liberally grease a 10-inch pie plate. Roll out just over half of the puff pastry and use it to line the pie plate. Crumble half of the ground pork into it, then cover with half the onion and half the egg. Sprinkle with pepper, salt, sage and flour. Repeat with remaining pork, eggs and onion. Put little bits of cut up margarine over the top. Roll out remaining puff pastry and cover the top. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t quite cover. Press the contents down. Cut a couple of slits in the crust.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until pastry is golden. Can be served hot or cold.

Serves 4


Next time I make this, I’ll probably fry the onions first, as they were still a bit crunchy. Also, I didn’t have sage so substituted thyme. It was still good. Rosemary would probably work, too.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Citrus Freeze

Best summer dessert ever—and no baking! I’d like to provide credit for it, but I’ve had it so long I don’t know where I got it, and failed to find it (though there are many recipes with a similar name) online. Given the ingredients, I suspect it originated with Kraft Foods.

10-12 ginger snap cookies
1 250 gm package cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 can frozen lemonade or limeade,* thawed
1 litre tub CoolWhip, thawed

Place cookies on bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Don’t worry if there are gaps, but you can put in broken pieces if you like.

Beat cream cheese with sugar until well blended. Gradually add juice concentrate. Add whipped topping; stir with wire whisk until well blended. Pour over cookies in pan. Freeze overnight.

It claims it serves 16, but we’ve never managed to make it go that far.

*It will work with any frozen citrus juice concentrate, but for best results, use Bacardi’s frozen lime margarita mixer. I’ve also made it with pink lemonade, and Five Alive.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Peanut Soup

1 can (354 ml / 1 ½ cups) evaporated milk
3 ounces smooth peanut butter
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Heat the milk in a double boiler over medium-heat, gradually stirring in the peanut butter. Once the peanut butter is mixed in, add the seasoning, and continue to stir until warmed through—10 to 15 minutes from start to finish. Thin down with milk or cream if you find it too thick.

Serves two

Got this one from the 1914 Canadian Family Cook Book, “a volume of tried, tested and proven recipes by prominent Canadian ladies, edited by Grace E. Denison.” Oddly enough, none of the recipes have the names of the “prominent Canadian ladies” attached, which I would have thought would be a good marketing tool.

I’d never seen a recipe for peanut soup before so thought I’d give it a try. Here’s the original version of the recipe in case you want to try it.

1 quart rich milk
1 large cup peanuts, ground fine

Put milk on to cook in a double boiler, add salt to taste, and season highly with black and red pepper. Add the peanuts. Cook 20 or 30 minutes. Just before taking from the fire, add a cupful of cream. Strain.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tastes Like Gourmet Rosé Pasta

I love alfredo sauce but it’s so rich, it doesn’t always agree with me. So when I was making pasta the other night, I decided to cut my store-bought alfredo with something else, and tossed in a can of Aylmer Accents stewed tomatoes. It was really good—in that slaving over a hot stove all day way. Which was great, considering it took almost no time at all.

4 cups dried pasta (I like penne or rotini, but use what you like)
1 small jar or half of one large jar alfredo sauce
1 can Aylmer Accents Spicy Red Pepper stewed tomatoes

Cook pasta according to directions. Pour into a colander and while it’s draining add the alfredo sauce and stewed tomatoes to the pot you used to cook the pasta. Heat on low, then add the pasta back in.

Serves four

If your kids are old enough to use a stove, they can certainly make this.

Ice Cream Floats for Adults

When I was a kid, sometimes as a special treat Mom would make ice cream floats for dessert. They were especially good if we had A&W root beer on hand, which at the time could be bought at their restaurants in large glass jugs.

So when I recently spotted a four pack of Mad Jack Hard Root Beer in my grocery store I had to try it, even though I’d not been keen on the original Mad Jack Premium Apple Lager. The combination of lager and apple just didn’t work for me. I did like the root beer version, however. It made me feel nostalgic and I started wondering how it would work paired with ice cream. Quite well, actually! And no, I’m not being paid to write this up—I doubt the company even knows this blog exists.

Hard Root Beer Float

Put two to three scoops of vanilla ice cream (depending on the size of the glass) in a glass. Add Mad Jack Hard Root Beer. Serve with a straw.

Then I discovered Mad Jack’s Premium Ginger Flavoured Lager. Of the three, it’s probably the best to drink on its own. It also makes a mean rhubarb cake. And not a bad float, either.

Lemon Ginger Float

Put two to three scoops of lemon sorbet or gelato in a glass. Add Mad Jack Ginger Flavoured Lager. Serve with a straw.

Looking for more cool summer drinks? Check out my B52Milkshake recipe.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Rhubarb Ginger Cake

I’d been thinking about tweaking the Cider Cake from the Canadian Farm Cookbook anyway, so when my sister asked me for a rhubarb recipe, here’s what I came up with. Unlike the original recipe, it’s not self-saucing, but it’s definitely moist.

4 cups diced rhubarb
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger, more if you like it hot
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 can (2 cups) Mad Jack Ginger Flavoured Lager*

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Add a little water to the rhubarb and zap it in the microwave for 5 minutes to soften it up. Spread it over the bottom of a 9 x 13 cake pan.

Combine sugar, flour, baking soda and ginger in a medium bowl. Stir in the vegetable oil. Beat in the eggs. Once the oven has reached temperature, stir in the Mad Jack. Batter will be very thin and foamy. Pour over the rhubarb. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream.

*I haven’t tried it, but I’m assuming ginger ale or ginger beer would also work. Something acid is needed to combine with the baking soda and make the cake rise. And give it that ginger flavour.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Broccoli Salad

6-8 cups broccoli florets (one large or two medium heads)
1 250 gram container cherry tomatoes
1 cup (half a bottle) Italian dressing
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Combine first three ingredients and toss. Refrigerate for several hours. Before serving, toss again, then sprinkle the feta over the top.

This makes a good summer salad and is robust enough for transporting (keep chilled). Kids old enough to safely handle a knife (to cut up the broccoli) can easily make this.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Found and Tested: Better Homes and Gardens Skinny One-Pan Recipes

One of the reasons I’ve put up so few posts here recently is that I’ve been working my way through Better Homes and Gardens Skinny One-Pan Recipes magazine. I found it at the supermarket checkout and while I initially balked at the $12.99 price, I figured if I could even find three or four good recipes inside, it would be worth it. And once I got it home, I discovered that it’s all recipes—with no advertisements.

Not sure it’s still available in the grocery store, but some of the recipes can be found HERE on the BH&G website. Of the three recipes I’ve tried so far (Chicken-Feta Phyllo Cups, Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread, and Rotini with Beef and Beans), I’ve been strongly encouraged to make them again. I have a few others in the queue to try first, though, including Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Topper (probably this weekend) and Pork Cassoulet—something I’ve been wanting to try since I first tasted the real thing in Toulouse. Unlike most of the recipes I’ve looked at for it, this one looks doable.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bananarific Cream Pie

1 9-inch pie crust*
1 package banana instant pudding
2 cups milk
2 bananas, sliced
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup rum (optional)
1 cup 35% whipping cream

Bake pie shell according to package directions. Cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk. Slice bananas into rounds. Cover the bottom of the pie shell with the banana slices. Sprinkle with brown sugar and rum. Cover with the pudding. Whip cream and spoon in mounds over top. Chill several hours before serving.

If you don’t tell people it’s not made from scratch, no one will ever know. If you prefer the frozen kind that used to be sold in grocery stores (don’t recall when I last saw one), use the kid friendly version below and serve it frozen. Don’t add the rum if you’re using the graham crust though, it may not hold together.

* I like the Pillsbury ones you find in the grocery store’s refrigerator section, rather than the frozen ones that come in their own pie plates, because they don’t tend to be smashed to bits when I open the box. I do find them rather salty, though.

Kid Friendly Version

With no oven or blender to worry about, and a standard table knife (no sharp edges) to cut the bananas, even your younger kids can put this version together.

1 graham cracker crust
1 package banana instant pudding
2 cups milk
2 bananas, sliced
¼ cup brown sugar
2 cups Cool Whip

In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk. Slice bananas into rounds. Cover the bottom of the pie shell with the banana slices. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover with the pudding. Spoon mounds of Cool Whip over top. Chill several hours before serving.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lime and Black Pepper Hummus

2 cups (1 19 oz tin) chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup oil (I like to use half sesame oil and half olive oil)
3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Purée ingredients in a blender. Transfer to serving container and sprinkle more black pepper on top. It’s better if it sits in the fridge for a few hours before use. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

The first time I made this, I used my Magic Bullet, a half batch at a time. The result wasn’t bad but there were a couple of whole chick peas. So next time I hauled out the big blender, but the result was much coarser in texture. If you have more than one blender, you might like to experiment to find the texture you like. I’m thinking next time I’ll use the big blender first, then finish in the Magic Bullet.