Monday, 25 November 2013

Streusel Crumb Eggnog Muffins

'tis the season for eggnog.

are you excited?
you should be.

 cheers to eggnog.

Eggnog Muffins w/ Streusel Crumb Topping

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup eggnog

streusel crumb topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425F.  Spray 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Add in eggs, beating for several minutes till the mixture is smooth and light in colour.  Beat in baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
Stir the flour and eggnog into the butter mixture alternating between the two, beginning and ending with the flour.  Spoon batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan.
To make streusel topping:  stir together all ingredients until crumbly.  sprinkle over muffins.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until pale golden brown in colour.  Remove from oven and serve warm, or at room temperature.

yields: 12 muffins
recipe courtesy: King Arthur Flour

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Hot Chocolate Bar & Hot Chocolate Mix

Weekend Christmas Party.  Yes, please.
Hot Chocolate Station.  Don't mind if I do.

Like most things entertaining, this idea is all over Pinterest, with good reason, almost as good as the pancake bar idea.

Ageless appeal, this build your own drink station leaves personalization up to the individual and makes a perfect accompaniment to any holiday party or get together.  Or say Sunday morning, following a snowman building party.

Truthfully for me this station was 100% about the chance to buy mini marshmallows and caramels. To decode this for you, means I'm now fully stocked up on all things sugar, which is rare, mostly because we have trust issues with one another.

In any event, have fun with this concept.  The toppings are endless and so too are their combinations.  Happy Creating.

Hot Chocolate Station:

hot cocoa mix (recipe follows)
whipped cream
whole milk
mini marshmallows
mini chocolate chips
white chocolate chips
candy canes, crushed
candy canes, whole
baileys irish cream

 (free printables via Yellow Bliss Road)

Hot Chocolate Mix

2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-processed)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. 
Store in airtight container.

To make a cup:
Fill mug half full with mixture and pour in hot water or milk.  Stir to combine.
Top with any of the fixings listed above for additional flavour.

recipe courtesy:  Alton Brown

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Roasted Beet & Orange Salad

Beets and oranges are a classic combination.
The sweetness from the roasted beets crossed with the fresh vibrancy of the oranges not only make this salad deliciously simple, but heavenly, and oh so pretty too.  Talk about a pop of colour, stunning.

I love beets.
I love oranges.
I love the colours of these two next to each other.

All the flavour components in this salad play off each other beautifully and lend itself to a perfectly healthy dinner.  Who says healthy eating doesn't taste great.  Those people are clearly doing something wrong, something like not eating this salad.  Don't be one of those people.

Roasted Beet & Orange Salad

2-3 large beets, washed, root ends and stems still intact
2 oranges, peeled & segmented
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups mixed greens, loosely packed
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted

orange vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 425F.  Individually wrap beets in tinfoil and roast for 45-55 minutes.
Allow to cool until safe to handle, rub off skins and cut into wedges.
In large bowl combine greens, oranges, and onion.  Add in vinaigrette using as much as desired and toss.
Layer in beets (do this last to prevent bleeding and staining of salad) and top with pine nuts.

Serves: 2-4 

Orange Vinaigrette

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of orange zest
salt & pepper to taste

In small container combine oil, juice, zest, salt and pepper.  Whisk till combined.
Store leftovers in air-tight container in refrigerator.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Awesome Banana Nut Muffins

We are two and a half months into the new school year and both kids are loving every minute of it.  Every minute.  They actually look forward to Mondays.  Me, I'm currently advocating for another day in between Saturday and Sunday.  I think we should start a petition.

With new schools, comes new friends, for both the kids and me.  And there is nothing better than becoming friends with a mom who loves to bake as much as I do.  Except when she sends over her baked goods and then follows it up with the recipe so you can make them whenever you like.  Now there's a keeper, thanks LM.

These are named Awesome Banana Nut Muffins for good reason.  Also they taste pretty close to exact as my favourite banana bread.  Great minds.

Awesome Banana Nut Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, spelt or a blend)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
3 large bananas, ripe & mashed
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray 12 cup muffin tin with non stick spray and set aside.
In large bowl combine butter and sugar using an electric mixer until creamy.  Add in egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.  Add mashed bananas and mix again (it'll look gross, it's supposed to)
Add salt and baking soda, and mix together with a wooden spoon.  Add flour and nuts (if using) and mix until just incorporated.  Do not over mix.
Divide batter among prepared muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

yields: 12 muffins
recipe adapted from Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine's Simply Healthy Cookbook

Saturday, 16 November 2013

4th Annual PB&J Sandwich Party

Christmas may still be 38 days away, however here in YYC we are in the middle of our very own winter wonderland.  Snow, snow, blowing snow, and yes, more snow, makes it feel like Christmas.  So to does the five Christmas trees that are currently up and decorated.  (please don't judge me)

Winter outside, means I'm staying inside, and I can think of no better way to spend the morning than partaking in my favourite family Christmas tradition; sandwich making.  
This year marked our 4th annual sandwich making party for the Drop-In Centre.   Every year our family pools together funds and shows support for our wonderful city by making PB & J sandwiches that help feed our fellow neighbours as part of the DI Centre's bagged lunch program.

This family tradition is our way of spending time together (in ugly Christmas sweaters), helping out those in need, and finding the true spirit of the season in the process.

For more information on this program, please click here.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Roasted Apple + Butternut Squash Soup

Fall is all about comfort food, period. 

And comfort food can come in multiple forms depending on the individual.  For me, it's all about stews, lasagna and soups.  The good stuff.  The stuff that warms you from the inside out, brings back childhood memories, and gives you an overall happy-fuzzy feeling.
Comfort food also tends to make your house smell a-maz-ing as it cooks slowly, wafting heavenly aromas about.

This weekend I decided would be best served alongside a big bowl of butternut squash and apple soup.  The great part about this soup is that it contains pantry staples requiring zero trips to the grocery store, just a new way to look and incorporate the ingredients on hand.
Mmmmm soup.

Note: comfort food is best served in cozy sweatpants and alongside people you love.  Trust me these simple acts make for perfection.

Roasted Apple & Butternut Squash Soup

2 lbs butternut squash,  peeled, seeds removed, chopped
2 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper, and chili powder

organic chives for garnish
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F
In large roasting pan, place squash, apples, onion and garlic.  Toss with olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper and chili powder.
Roast for 40-50 minutes, turning every 10 minutes until tender and golden brown.
Remove from pan and put through a food processor in batches with stock.
Return pureed mixture to large saucepan and bring up to temperature.  Adjust seasonings to taste.
Garnish with organic chives and top with a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Magnolia Pancake House | Apfel Pfannekuchen

I'm a Food Network junkie, this you already know.  I especially love the show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and use it as my own food road map whenever I travel to the US, so far it hasn't let me down.  Thanks Guy!

So while looking at potential places to visit for an upcoming trip to Las Vegas, I stumbled across a recipe for Apfel Pfannekuchen courtesy of Magnolia Pancake Haus in San Antonio, Texas.  This place is made famous for their pancakes, and I like pancakes, especially German style pancakes.  Twist my arm it looks like it's pancakes for the family on this holiday Monday. 

This breakfast is pretty much what you'd get if Apple Pie married Pancakes and had babies, thus, making it perfect for breakfast and dessert.

Now to get back to my original task of Vegas restaurants....

Apfel Pfannekuchen

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 Granny smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp cold butter

powdered sugar and whipped cream for serving


Preheat oven to 400F.
In oven safe skillet, add cinnamon, nutmeg and apples.  Saute over medium-low heat until slightly soft, 3-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the batter.  Mix the milk, vanilla and eggs in a bowl.  Add the flour, granulated sugar and salt and whisk lightly (some lumps are okay)
Increase the heat under the apples to medium and add the brown sugar and butter.  Cook until a syrup forms, about 3 minutes, then add the batter all at once to the centre of the pan.  Swirl the apple syrup mix through the batter, using a heatproof spatula, to form ribbons (you do not want to fully combine the apple-sugar syrup into the batter)  Cook until small bubbles form around the edge.
Finish cooking the pannekoeken in the oven, 12 minutes.  To serve, invert a 12-inch plate over the pan and flip the pan to turn out the pannekoeken.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with whipped cream if desired.

serves: 4

recipe courtesy Magnolia Pancake Haus via Food Network

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Girls Brunch Date: 80th & Ivy

What's the only thing better than Sunday brunch with girlfriends?
Sunday brunch with girlfriends, followed up by an afternoon crafting session of course.

Today, we decided on 80th and Ivy as the brunch venue of choice because well, the food is always amazing and, it just so happened to be blocks away from where destination crafting was taking place.    Or did we pick the crafting venue based on the location of 80th & Ivy? be the judge.

Here is a look at our fantastic meal & my finished craft project.  Now to catch up on some Sunday football....
Have I mentioned how much I adore Sundays?

our eats: 

eggs benedict |  ham, herbed hollandaise, fresh baked croissant, peter's hash

pear, bacon, brie chicken sandwich |  brie, roasted pears, bacon, greens, garlic aioli.  served w/ salad

eggs benedict |  vine ripened tomato, herbed hollandaise, fresh baked croissant, peter's hash

garden frittata |  roasted red peppers, fresh tomato, arugula, feta, peter's hash

beet & arugula salad |  thyme goat cheese coulis, candied walnuts, honey dill vinaigrette, grilled chicken breast

 moss filled ornaments.  rustic christmas.  love.

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