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Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category


It’s still August, right??

Phew! That’s good!

I’m relentless when it comes to hanging onto summer and if it’s still August, that means it’s still summer, so kids can still enjoy this great summer treat.

During the summer months, my guys likes to snack on ice cream sandwiches.  Two rectangular chocolate cookies with vanilla ice cream in the middle. We go through a lot of them to say the least.

This Rice Krispie Ice Cream Sandwich, is my version of the ice cream sandwich.

Even though we ate ours plain, coloured sprinkles make these a fun treat to serve kids. The vanilla ice cream was delicious with the Rice Krispies but I’m sure any flavour would be good.

Rice Krispie Ice Cream Sandwiches

All you need is a pan of Rice Krispie Marshmallow Treats, you can find the recipe here.

Cut out large squares, cut them in half evenly and fill with your favourite ice cream (I used vanilla). Dip the sides in sprinkles, chopped peanuts, chocolate shavings, Nerds, mini M&M’s, candy or any of your favourite toppings and enjoy!

Serve immediately or store in a container in the freezer until ready to eat.

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If you buy bananas, you’ll know that every once in awhile, some will start to start to grow spots and the next thing you know, you need to whip up a batch of something with banana in it.

A while back Jenn, from My Kitchen Addiction, posted a recipe for Chocolate Chip Toffee Banana Muffins. They looked delicious and I loved the idea of making them mini-snack-sized. They baked up fluffy and delicious, and just like she said, they made a lot. I stored most of them in a container in the freezer and took some out every so often as I needed them. It was perfect for those busy days when there wasn’t any time to bake, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you here.

I have to warn you though, they are addictive and pop ever-so easily into your mouth as you walk by.

I hope you enjoy them!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Banana Muffins

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen muffins

Adapted ever so slightly from My Kitchen Addiction

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed banana
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toffee bits, (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with paper cups (or lightly grease), and set aside.

2. Combine the softened butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed to cream the butter and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated.  Stir in the mashed banana.

3. Meanwhile, in a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the hot water, starting and ending with the dry mixture.  Stir just enough to moisten all of the dry ingredients.

4. Add the mini chocolate chips and toffee bits, and fold them into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans (approximately 1/4 cup of batter for each muffin).  Bake the muffins for approximately 20 – 22 minutes.  Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes:

If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, you can make it, by using regular whole wheat flour, removing 2 tablespoons per cup and replacing it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and whisking thoroughly.

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Last we spoke, I told you I was making Rhubarb Honey Yogurt Scones and I told you I’d let you know how they turned out. 

They turned out heavenly.

I wasn’t really trying to keep all of this goodness to myself.  Really, I wasn’t.

I just happened to get busy baking cakes for a few friends and neighbours celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and such.

Oh, and maybe a wedding. Or two.

So I haven’t been able to share these with you until now. But truth be told, they’re worth every minute you’ve waited.

These scones are magically light and fluffy with a zesty sweetness of jammed rhubarb and candied lemons balanced out with a little drizzled honey and a sprinkle of rosemary. 

They bake up tender and biscuit-like, but have the texture of a typical scone and I just love how rustic they look, once baked. 

They’re best served slightly warm and taste just as good without butter or preserves as they do with them.

This is the yogurt and honey dough with the jammed rhubarb folded in.

Gorgeous.

The dough is gathered into a ball on a floured surface, cut into 8 wedges and sprinkled with candied lemon zest and chopped rosemary.

I adapted these scones from a recipe by Joy the Baker for Grapefruit Honey Yogurt Scones, which you can find here

I used Joy’s idea for grapefruit and switched it out with the rhubarb, lemon, and rosemary,which may sound strange, but it really, really, works so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

Besides, my middle name is Joy, so you never know, we just may be kindred spirits when it comes to scone flavour combinations.

Rhubarb Honey Yogurt Scones with Lemon and Rosemary

Makes: 8 Scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons honey plus more for drizzling

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

1 cup rhubarb, chopped

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup plain yogurt

few sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped fine

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium pot, simmer rhubarb with brown sugar until it thickens into a jam. Set aside.

3. Zest the lemon and rub together with the tablespoon of sugar and set aside.

4. Dice cold butter into small chunks and add to the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry mixer or your fingers and working quickly, break the butter down into the flour mixture until the butter chunks are the size of small peas.  Add the honey, plain yogurt.  Toss together lightly with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are moistened by the yogurt and honey.

5. Next add the jammed rhubarb and fold gently.

6. Turn the scone dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Form into an 8 inch circle, about 1 inch thick. Use a knife or a bench scraper to cut the dough into eight scone triangles.  Place the triangles on the prepared baking sheet.  Generously sprinkle the tops of the scones with the candied lemon zest and chopped rosemary.

7.  Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly gold brown on top and firm but soft in the center.  Drizzle each scone with honey and allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve warm with butter or jam.  These scones are best served the day they’re made.

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June, Sweet June

It seems there’s no surer way to make it rain than to pull out the swather and start cutting hay. Today it only took 20 minutes.

It was just a shower really but it was enough to shut things down for a while.  It won’t be long though since the winds are up and it’ll be time to try again.

Once spring seeding is over and done there’s usually never a moment to spare before the hay needs cutting and baling.  This year has been different though.  With such an early start due to the drier than normal spring weather, it hasn’t been the breakneck pace that it usually is.

 

But the beginning of hay season is just hours away and that means that things are about to get busy around here.

As the pace picks up, there’s always a temptation to skip meals but that never ends up being a good thing because hungry workers can quickly turn into tired and cranky workers who don’t realize that they need to take a moment to stop and eat. Things run a lot better when there’s fuel in the tank and I learned a long time ago, that having good food readily available on a busy farm is as important as oil is to a humming engine.

 

Some days can be long, dirty and hot, especially if equipment breaks down and the guys are trying to beat impending rains or bad weather. Though they never stop for long, when they do, I like to make sure I’ve got something that will keep them thinking and alert so they can focus on the task at hand.

 

At times like these, homemade muffins are a regular staple at our house and I love incorporating the goodness of fruits and vegetables into them every chance I get. These pineapple carrot muffins are a favourite and I love them because it allows me to indulge in both the fruit (the crushed pineapple) and the veggie (the shredded carrots).  A touch of cinnamon really compliments the sweetness and blends the satisfying flavours for a delicious snack.  I have these on the counter in the morning and pack them in lunch bags destined for distant fields in the afternoon.

The good thing is, you don’t have to drive a tractor or work in a field to love them, I love them too!

Carrot Pineapple Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup salad oil

2 eggs

1 cup finely grated raw carrot

1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1 tsp vanilla

1. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Blend on low-speed until  just moist.  Half fill greased muffin tins or paper liners and bake at 350 degrees F  for 20-25 minutes.

Delicious, satisfying goodness the whole family will love!

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Happy May days!  Don’t you just love May. With all my chatter about cookbooks, (see this post), I wanted to share with you another priceless volume that I have in my rather extensive collection. Yes, it’s true, I cannot deny that I am somewhat of a cookbook, lets say, “collector”. I browse them like magazines and read them like, well … novels.  They make up a great deal of my reading pleasure and a large percentage of my limited weight allotment when travelling. Truth be told, I have a cookbook bag in my bedroom and at the first sign of a road trip, I excitedly carry it out to the car. With my shelves burgeoning from the weight and at the risk of giving in to this small obsession of mine, these days it takes the will of a lion to steer myself clear of cookbook displays, as I vow to cook and bake my way through the ones I already have before purchasing any new editions. Fingers crossed.

In December of 1999, my husband’s youngest sister, Lynda rolled up her sleeves and took on the monumental task of assembling a family cookbook to usher in the new millennium. For Christmas, she presented each of us with a bright yellow spiral bound collection of our family’s favourite recipes, some of which have been passed down through the last century and some which are new additions, donated by some of the newer members of the family (Hmm, hmm, yours truly being one of them). There may be others, but I know for sure, that this book is a family treasure and a kitchen fixture in our home as well as the homes of my 3 sister-in-laws and my husband’s mom.

Because my mother-in-law is one of those magical bakers (not to mention cook) where everything she serves tastes like a slice of heaven, and many of the recipes she uses came from her mother, you can imagine how exciting it was to receive it;  all of our favourite recipes bound up in a single spiral.  Many of the recipes I use on a daily basis, (including this particular recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins), come from the pages of this book.

Around here, muffins are always in demand because they’re so versatile; they taste great, pack well and don’t take long to bake.  For a family always on-the-go, a batch of muffins first thing in the morning never goes astray, as they thankfully satisfy the seemingly endless appetites of working men, boys who play sports and friends who drop by.

Scratch muffins are the kind I like to make as they are often chock full of good things like fruits and vegetables. The great thing about muffins is that you can take a recipe and change it up, swap out the flour or the fruit to suit your individual tastes and make it your own. In the same way, this recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, may taste great as Orange Poppy Seed Muffins by switching the lemon juice and lemon zest for orange juice and orange zest. I personally like to experiment with the flavours but haven’t yet tried this combination yet. If you happen to give it a try, I’d love to hear about it.

This recipe comes from my husband’s mom, baker extraordinaire. It’s light and delightful and the poppy seeds provide a surprising layer of crunchy texture.  Though they do have quite a bit of sugar to balance the tartness of the lemons, they do not have a lot of fat, just a mere 1/4 cup of melted butter, balanced with the goodness of two freshly squeezed lemons and 1 and 1/4 cups of dairy fresh milk, so I feel good about serving them up, even for breakfast.

These muffins would make a great addition to a Mother’s Day brunch. They’re also a quick way to start the day if you happen to be travelling; pack a few for a great snack if you’ll be on the road for a while. You may want to whip them up to brighten someone’s day or show mom just how much you love her.

 Adapted from Our Family Recipes

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

2 lemons

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 egg

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup melted butter

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper cups.  Finely grate peel from lemons.  Mix half of the peel with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and set aside to sprinkle over the muffins before baking.  Squeeze juice from lemons. Measure out 1/3 cup juice and stir in remaining peel.

2. Using a fork, stir flour with remaining sugar, and the rest of the dry ingredients.  Whisk egg in a small bowl.  Then whisk in the milk, lemon juice and butter.  Milk may curdle when mixed with lemon juice.  Immediately stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until combined.  Spoon into muffin cups.  Sprinkle tops with lemon-sugar mixture.  Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Notes:

For a light lemony crumb, I baked mine for 20 minutes.

You can omit the lemon zest/sugar topping if serving to young kids.

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There’s a page in my cookbook that’s tattered and torn, grease stained and smeared with chocolate.  There are notes and exclamation marks in the margins, a few things crossed out here and there and some new additions penciled in.  It’s the most worn out page in my “Best Recipes This Side of Heaven” Home-Tested Recipes from Anglican Church Ladies, cookbook.  The cookbook itself is in poor condition.  The pages are dog-eared and stained, the back cover is ripped in half, the front cover is worn, creased and faded and little sticky tabs pop out on every side.  It was given to me by my husband’s aunt Mary in 1989, and reminds me fondly of her. For many years it was my most thumbed-through cookbook and as a new mom, helped me get a tasty, if not well-balanced meal on the table.  Never underestimate the culinary power of a home-tested church-lady recipe.  It can bring you fame, if only at your own kitchen table.

There must be a gazillion brownie recipes of various methods and ingredients and everyone seems to have their own personal favourite.  Brownies are like perfume or cologne ~ you have to find the one that suits you.  I’ve found one that suits me … perfectly. The surprising thing is, that it isn’t the one that’s all smeared and stained in my Anglican church ladies cookbook.  It’s new.

But these brownies, are officially my new:

sit-on-the-counter -

I-love-you -

I-have-to-have-chocolate -

let-me-comfort-you -

the-world-is-a-wonderful-place -

 brownies

Do you want to know a secret about this recipe?  It’s been directly above the one I’ve been using for the last 25 years.  Sitting there all the time.

The one I’d never tried and it took all these years to find. 

And do you know what my kids said when I asked them how they compared to the ones I had made them for the last quarter century.

“Oh, yeah, these are way better! We hated those other brownies”.

Seriously … ?? And you never thought to mention it … ??? Kids are funny!

There’s something about brownies that make everything better and these brownies are no exception.  Fudgy, moist and full of satisfying chocolate flavour, they apparently rival my oldest tried and true go-to-brownie recipe. I hope you like them as much as we do.

Wonderful Brownies

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

 1-1/2 cups flour

10 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

milk chocolate/semi-sweet chocolate chips or slivered almonds, optional, to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Pour into your prepared pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with optional chocolate chips and/or nuts.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove pan to a rack to cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.

Source:  Best Recipes This Side of Heaven, St. Andrew’s church lady in Sidney, B.C.

 

 

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Today is a beautiful, apple-icious day!

I love Spring. It just may be my favorite season. It and Summer. The Fall is pretty nice too. It’s winter I’m not so fond of. The snow is pretty, it’s the cold I have issues with, though I know some people like it. This week has been filled with mild temperatures and bright sunny days. It’s almost like a pre-cursor of what’s to come. My husband reported seeing his first Robin already and the Killdeer are quickly taking up residence here. The thing I love most about Spring is feeling the warmth of the sun on my face and I ‘m so looking forward to the heady scent of apple blossoms wafting from the trees. That and flowers popping up everywhere, getting re-acquainted with my Spring bulbs, fresh green grass and buds on the trees. I have to admit it’s been a mild winter here in Ontario, even by my standards, and it seems almost too good to be true, that Spring is officially just a week away. So this may seem rather odd, especially since we’ve just sprung our clocks forward an hour in anticipation of Spring, but I’m going to ask you to indulge me for just a moment.

Remember the Fall.

 It wasn’t all that long ago, really.

 

Think falling leaves, warm winds and crisp green apples.

 Or curly haired sheep with beautiful blue eyes and straw on their forheads.

Or pink pig caramel apples with candy watermelon slice ears, m&m eyes and a marshmallow snout.

Fall for me always includes a county fair or two and a delicious caramel apple. Or two. I know some of you worry about  all that messiness. Not me. No Siree. I’m all for messy, when messy tastes that good.

I love the crispness of the apple and the chewiness of the thick caramel followed by the deliciousness of the chocolate and crunchy peanut coating. Mmmm, so good.

I made this yummy treat last week and it reminds me of all of that minus the chocolate but with peanut butter, apples, Skor bits, caramel and chopped peanuts all on a sugar cookie crust, and sprinkled lightly with cinnamon, you won’t miss it. This Apple Caramel Cookie Pizza is a delicious treat and will be sure to delight young and old alike.

It combines the flavours of “Fall Fair” caramel apples on a delightful sugar cookie crust that is so yummy and delicious, it will literally disappear before your very eyes.  Seriously.

You’ll be, like, wait a minute — where’s the Apple Caramel Cookie Pizza I just made?  No seriously, is this a joke?

So my advice is, cut yourself a generous piece before serving, because as soon as you turn around, it will instantly disappear ~ it’s that good.

Now you can go back to blue skies and the sweet smell of Spring. Oh, that does sound good, doesn’t it!!  Happy, happy, happy!

Apple Caramel Cookie Pizza

Slightly adapted from Taste of Home Magazine

Serves 8

3/4 cup refrigerated sugar cookie dough

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons Skor pieces (optional)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 medium tart apple, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped unsalted peanuts

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup caramel topping, warmed

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method

1. Pat cookie dough into a pie pan or lay it on a pizza pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 °F for 12 -14 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges. Cool completely.

2. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla.  Add Skor pieces and stir. Spread over sugar cookie crust. Arrange apple slices on top in a circle.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and dust with cinnamon. Drizzle with warmed caramel topping and cut into wedges to serve.

Notes

To prevent the apple slices from browning, I brushed them with a pastry brush dipped in a solution of 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/4 tsp vanilla

Method

1. Place the water and sugar into a small, heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Cook undisturbed until the sugar starts to color around the edges.  Gently swirl the pot to even out the color and continue to cook only until the mixture turns a light amber. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.

2. At arm’s length, gradually stir in the heavy cream. Be careful as it will bubble up.  Stir until the caramel is smooth.  When the bubbles subside, stir in the vanilla extract.

Notes

Like all caramel, this sauce thickens considerably as it cools.  It can be made ahead and refrigerated, then reheated for a few seconds in the microwave or on the stove over low heat. The sauce will be quite stiff when cold and will thin as it warms.

Caramel sauce can be kept covered and refrigerated until the best-by date stamped on the cream carton.

Other recipes with apples:

Vanilla Bean Baker’s Apple Pizza Pie

My Kitchen Addiction’s Balsamic Onion, Apple, and Gorgonzola Pizza

Brown Eyed Baker’s Homemade Caramel Apples

Picky-Palate’s Honeyed Apple Peanut Butter Tart

The Pioneer Woman’s Quick & Easy (and Yummy) Apple Tart

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