Sunday, 30 September 2012

Butterscotch + Pumpkin = A Happy Me.

Do you remember when I told you about my pumpkin hoarding problem?  Well I found a delicious use for one of the cans currently situated in my pantry.  One down, five to go...

Pumpkin Butterscotch Bars.

Is there anything that butterscotch chips can't make better?  No.
Is pumpkin the greatest thing on earth?  Yes.

So then it's fair to assume that the combination would be dy-na-mite!  Yes, yes it would.

Oh how I love fall/autumn/pumpkin season.

Yours Truly,

Pumpkin Butterscotch Bars


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
3/8 tsp nutmeg
3/8 tsp cloves
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pure pumpkin
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips, divided


Preheat oven to 350F.  Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt; set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined.  Beat in pumpkin.  Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined.  Fold in butterscotch chips, reserving 1/4 cup.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with remaining chips.  Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides and a toothpick inserted in centre comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool completely in pan.
Life cake from pan.  Peel off foil, and use serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Baked Spinach & Eggs

A simple, easy, weekend breakfast, my favourite kind.  I traded in my Sunday pancakes for something less sweet and more savoury, baked eggs with wilted spinach. 
Perfectly paired with a side of toast, a hot pot of coffee and the morning paper.

Breakfast Love.

Baked Spinach & Eggs


3 cups baby spinach, packed
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs
pinch of nutmeg
sea salt & pepper



Preheat oven to 400F.
In non-stick skillet, heat olive oil.  Add onion and garlic and cook till translucent 2-3 minutes.  Add in spinach and cook till wilted, 2-3 minutes more.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Divide mixture among two 8oz ramekins, sprayed with non stick spray.  Top each with an egg.
Bake for 15-17 minutes until whites are set.


Serves 2.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Pumpkin Recipe Round-Up

it's september and pumpkins are everywhere.  
in my books that means you should try and consume it (or at least hoard cans of the orange stuff) like you'll never see it again.
don't judge.  
so what if I cleared out Safeway of their stock.  we are coming into a shortage.

here are just a few ways we enjoy it in the "S" household.

Happy Pumpkin Picking!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Spice Pancakes w/ Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter

Cinderella (aka Pumpkin) Dip

Monday, 24 September 2012

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Dear Las Vegas,

My pants don't fit.  My shirts are tight.  My boots look great though.
Thanks for keeping me full, "hydrated," and filling up my closet with amazing new clothes.

Love Always,

Now to begin the detox. 
Pasta fake out 101.  Sub regular, delicious, carby-starchy spaghetti noodles, for spaghetti squash.  Extremely versatile, vitamin packed, and much needed after destroying bread basket after bread basket in Vegas.
All aboard the health train. Chuga, chuga...

Roasted Spaghetti Squash


1 spaghetti squash
olive oil
sea salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 400F.  Line baking sheet with foil and set aside.
Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet and cook for 45-55 minutes, or until tender. 
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Using a fork, scrape out the squash to create spaghetti like strands.  Place in serving dish.  Serve with olive oil and salt & pepper or top with your favourite sauce.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

What Happened in Vegas..., shopping, Garth Brooks, shopping, 'hydration,' shopping, food, food.

Followed by exhaustion.  I now need a vacation from my vacation.  Why does this happen every time?  You'd think at some point I'd learn, but no, the result is always the same.  The only difference is the older I get the longer that it takes to recuperate.  Bah.
So to ensure I squeezed every last ounce out of a 4 day mini vacation, I made sure to go big, before going home.

Eat too much - Check.

Shop too much -  Double Check.

Drink in moderation (wink) - Check.

Have a blast w/ my travel partners.  Mom + Dad + J + Me = Vegas 2012 Success!

Here are the culinary highlights from our trip and my recommendations:

Gordon Ramsay Steak @ Paris
  • Roasted Beef Wellington
  • Smoked Beef Tartare
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding

Lakeside @ Wynn
  • Sea Scallops
  • Crab and Avocado Salad

Mon Ami Gabi @ Paris
  • Lemon Pancakes

Earl of Sandwich @ Planet Hollywood
  • Hawaiian BBQ

I'm officially in a food coma and going through 'bread basket' withdrawal...
Here is a look at Vegas through my eyes, stomach and iPhone.

Until next time Vegas....

Love always,

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sausage & Spinach

I'm convinced I'm half Italian because of my love/adoration/obsession with pasta. 
My family heritage would beg to differ.
Heritage aside, I've come to love this cusine on account of my tastebuds alone (and man, do I have good taste buds.) Carbs, carbs, cheese, and bread always within an arms reach.  How can you not love Italian food.  Bellissima!

What's more Italian than pasta?  Pasta with Italian sausage of course.  Double whammy.  It's like the PB & J of the dinner world.  Destined to be together. 
Dinner last night played off that idea of "togetherness."  Spicy sausage, wilted spinach, garlic, onions, and a bed of spirally noodles.  Dinner success - Italian style!

Sausage & Spinach Pasta


1 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, sliced thin
4 cups spinach, packed
1 cup no-salt added chicken broth
3 tsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
fusilli pasta (or other short cut pasta)
olive oil

pine nuts for garnish



In large saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add in sausage and cook 3-4 minutes, breaking up into pieces with wooden spoon.  Add in onion and garlic and continue to cook till sausage is cooked through, approximately 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain off excess fat.
Meanwhile in small cup, whisk together broth and flour.
Once sausage is cooked and onions are translucent, add in spinach and stir till wilted, 1-2 minutes.  Add in broth and cheese and cook for 3-4 minutes, it will begin to thicken a little.  Season to taste with pepper.
Remove from heat and serve over cooked pasta.  Garnish with pine nuts.

adapted from my sausage & grape pasta

Saturday, 15 September 2012

caramel twix popcorn

if loving twix is wrong, i don't want to be right.

Requirements for a successful Saturday family movie night:

1. Movie
2. Snacks
3. PJs
4. Cars??

That's right, cars.  Tonight we are going to the drive-in, via our living room.
Earlier this week I decided it would be fun to turn leftover cardboard boxes into make shift cars for the kids.  Turns out, it is their new favourite way to watch cartoons.  So tonight we are having family movie night, drive in style.

Now for the important part - SNACKS.
Popcorn or chocolate?  Popcorn or chocolate?  Both.  Introducing Caramel Twix Popcorn.  The best of both worlds and no sacrifice required.  You're welcome!

xo JS.

Caramel Twix Popcorn


8 cups air popped popcorn
1 (269g) pkg Kraft caramels
2 Tbsp butter
4 regular size Twix candy bars, chopped


Preheat oven to 300F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In small bowl combine caramels and butter.  Cook on high for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes, until smooth and melted, stirring every 30-45 seconds.  Add caramel mixture to popcorn, tossing to coat.
Transfer to prepare baking sheet and bake for 16 minutes, stirring once halfway.  Remove from oven, allow to cool before breaking into pieces.
Transfer popcorn to large bowl, add in Twix pieces and toss.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A Cookbook Review: The Artisan Soda Workshop

There is something about homemade sodas that reminds me of simpler times and old-school diners.  Part of me wishes I grew up in that era, but then I think of my iPhone, Pinterest, Kitchenaid mixer, and I come to the conclusion that I'm more suited for this decade.  That being said, I think there are certain aspects that we need to start incorporating back into current times.  Baking and cooking from scratch immediately comes to mind.
Far too often we reach for the mass-produced, processed foods that fill store shelves, for no other reason than sheer convenience.  Laced with chemicals and ingredients hard to pronounce, these foods are poisoning us slowly.

Thanks to Andrea Lynn and her book titled "The Artisan Soda Workshop," making drinks at home just became a little easier.  Homemade beverages made with real ingredients, no chemicals or artificial flavours present.  You will find recipes for everything from fountain classics to fizzy teas, and of course the all important 'float.'
Being a fan of 'floats,' I was immediately drawn to the recipe for Egg Cream.  For those of you unfamiliar, Egg Creams are a classic old-time New York concoction, sometimes referred to as a "poor man's ice cream float."  Despite the name, Egg Creams don't contain eggs or cream.  Traditionally made with milk, chocolate syrup and seltzer; the result is a sweet, fizzy, glass of deliciousness.
Andrea changes this recipe up a bit by subbing out milk for a smaller volume of cream.  Producing a richer/fizzier, refreshing beverage.  Delicious.  Milk or cream, either way I'm a fan.

Egg Cream

1 1/2 Tbsp cream
2 Tbsp chocolate syrup (recipe follows)
3/4 cup seltzer

In a 10 to 12-ounce glass, stir together the cream and chocolate syrup to thoroughly combine.  Slowly pour in the seltzer.  Gently stir again if needed.



Chocolate Syrup

3/4 cup water
1/3 cup good-quality natural-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

In a medium, heavy pot, combine the water, cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Bring to a boil over high heat, and let boil until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes, whisking vigorously to combine.  Remove from the heat, and let cool.  Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 7 days.

To make Chocolate Soda:  Stir 2 Tablespoons Chocolate Syrup, or to taste, into 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) seltzer

Images courtesy: Ulysses Press & Andrea Lynn

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