Eating In

Monkey Bread Two Ways

Look no further for the easiest, most crowd pleasing recipe.

Monkey bread is basically a pull-apart bread, and can be made sweet or savoury.

I decided to try out both options. The final result not only looks beautiful and complex, but it tastes AMAAAZING. Your guests will assume you worked really hard on this dish, but it’ll be our little secret just how easy it actually is.

Another secret I’ll share with you is that the recipe uses Pillsbury dough. You can make this recipe from scratch but that requires more time and energy, and frankly, who has that these days?!

(more…)

Healthy Pizza ft. Cauliflower

If I told you there was a guilt free way to indulge in pizza, would you believe me? It might sound crazy what I am about to tell you, but trust me on this one. Cauliflower, as well as gluten-free eating is having its 15 minutes of fame at the moment and being thrown into just about anything. A carb-less pizza also sounds pretty crazy, but guess what? Totally possible!

Pizza crust made out of cauliflower is the star of today’s recipe. It might seem odd to imagine how such a mushy, never mind vegetable, can replace that doughy, carby pizza dough. After trying this recipe, you will be hooked!

Once the cauliflower dough crisps up in the oven and is covered with sauce, cheese and your favourite toppings, you would never believe what it was made of.

cauli1

cauli2

cauli3

Check out the recipe below if you want to try something new, healthy, and super delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Toppings-use whatever you would like! I made 2 pizzas and used tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, onions, arugula. The other had all of the same, plus salami on half.

Directions

  1. Rinse cauliflower and remove stems and leaves. Toss florets into food processor and pulse until it forms a grainy, almost powder-like “snow”.
  2. Place “snow” into microwave safe bowl and microwave for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Pour cauliflower onto a clean small towel and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Once cooled, wrap towel around cauliflower and wring out as much liquid as possible, squeezing pretty tight.
  5. Pour cauliflower into bowl, and add in the rest of the ingredients (mozzarella, garlic powder, oregano, salt, egg). Mix together.
  6. Prepare either a baking sheet with parchment paper or a pizza stone.
  7. Place dough mixture on baking sheet or pizza stone and form into a circle (crust) using your hands.
  8. Bake crust at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until browned and crispy (or however you like your crust).
  9. Remove crust from oven, top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Place back in oven for about 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted to how you like it.
  10. Remove from oven, let cool for a minute, slice as you would a regular pizza, and enjoy!

“Indulge” in this gluten-free, super tasty pizza without any guilt!

Oreo Trifle

trifle2If you’re every looking for a crowd pleaser, but not looking to spend hours in the kitchen, I suggest whipping up a trifle. Trifle’s are extremely versatile and can be made out of pretty much anything such as chocolate, berries, various fruits, as well as many other sweet treats. They are basically layers of any kind of cream, custard, or pudding combined with either fruit, or cookies for the most part.

I have a huuuuge soft spot for Oreo cookies and love to incorporate them whenever I can. This Oreo trifle, which has been a favourite of mine when my cousin makes it is simple, yet insanely delicious. It consists of layers of chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, cool whip, and chopped Oreos. See below for the recipe, which can be altered depending on preference, and the size of your bowl.

You really can’t go wrong with a trifle, so have fun with it and get creative!

trifle

Ingredients

1 box of chocolate cake mix

2 boxes chocolate pudding

1 container Cool Whip, or any whipped topping

Approx 15 Oreo cookies, crushed

1. Bake cake according to package instructions, and crumble into bite size pieces.

2. Prepare pudding according to package instructions

3. Crush Oreo’s by placing them in a zip top bag and bang them with a rolling pin, or anything hard.

4. Begin layering in trifle dish or any bowl. You can layer however you would like but my order was crumbled cake, then pudding on top, then a layer of cool whip, then sprinkled generously with crushed Oreos. Continue until you reach the top of the bowl.

5. Spoon out this yummy goodness and enjoy!

 

Love for Dulce de Leche

 

photo_1 (2)

If you didn’t know already, I LOVE DULCE DE LECHE!! Literally anything dulce de leche I will inhale. For those of you not aware, dulce de leche is a South American caramel, which can easily be made by heating sweetened condensed milk.

I have been wanting to make my own dulce de leche and incorporate it into a recipe for a while now, so when I came across these Dulce de Leche Sandwich cookies by Joy the Baker, I was instantly sold.

It was perfect timing, considering I have a cookie exchange at work today.

(more…)

Keeping Warm-Sweet Potato and Kale Soup

As the temperature drops, my cravings for warm food rises. I find it so crucial during this freezing weather to eat something comforting, yet healthy. I came up with the idea of combining two super foods that I happen to love; kale and sweet potato. This soup recipe is pretty simple and consists of hearty ingredients. Feel free to play around with my recipe and add in what you love, for example noodles, quinoa, or any veggies you have on hand. Check out the recipe below to help warm up over these cold winter months, while still fitting into your skinny jeans.

kalesoup

kalesoup2

Sweet Potato Kale Soup

3 large carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

8 cups vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth)

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup or 1 bunch kale, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Pour olive oil into large pot over medium-high heat.

2. Add garlic and onions, stir to soften, about 2 minutes.

3. Add carrots and celery to garlic and onions, stir to soften, about 5-10 minutes.

4. Pour vegetable broth into pot and bring to a boil.

5. Once boiled, add sweet potato and reduce heat to a simmer.

6. After about 5 minutes and sweet potatoes have softened, add kale and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes.

7. Pour into bowls and enjoy!

 

 

 

Happy Fall

Nothing quite says like fall like a nice, crisp apple. This chilly weather got me thinking just exactly how to put a spin on the season’s hottest fruit. I came across this recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, and there was no turning back. Plus, it is Paula Deen’s creation, which means you’re in for a treat…a real, buttery treat. Nonetheless, everything Mrs.Deen makes is truly worth the extra 48374375987 hours on the treadmill!

There you have it, sweet, buttery, smooth deliciousness all created by the genius, Paula Deen. Don’t be afraid to try her recipes once in a while for an indulgent treat!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I omitted, due to preference)
  • Streusel topping, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping.

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.

Yield: approximately 3 cups

Cinnamon Bun Fun

It was a quiet, rather chilly fall day, and I was in the mood to bake something indulgent. I started thinking and realized that there is nothing quite like a hot, gooey cinnamon bun straight out of the oven. Baking these can seem quite intimidating because of their complex shape and pure deliciousness, however, they are actually quite simple. Check out the pictures and recipe below to find out how you too can make this wonderful treat.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Add in the butter, milk and egg. Stir until you have a dough consistency.

Roll the dough onto a floured surface.

For the filling, combine brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Sprinkle filling evenly onto dough.

Roll up the dough.

Cut the dough into approximately 12 rolls and place either on baking sheet or in muffin tin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Ingredients

Filling:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Dough:
2 cups bread or all-purpose flour, + more for rolling
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk or buttermilk

*I added about a teaspoon of butter to the icing as well

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.

2. Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients with a fork until a crumbly mixture is formed.

3. Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use clean hands (or a pastry blender) to work the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the milk and the egg and stir to combine.

4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into roughly shaped large rectangle (about 1/4-inch thick). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all the way around. Carefully roll up the rectangle (the dough will be soft). Use a sharp knife to cut 12 rolls. If you want smaller rolls, cut them a little smaller and you’ll get 18. Carefully place the rolls in the prepared muffin tin.

5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the frosting: Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk/buttermilk in a medium bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine. Add a little more milk if you wish to have a thinner frosting. Spread the frosting on top of warm rolls or drizzle on top. Serve warm.

Another Dreamy Combo

I love avocado. I love mac and cheese. However, I have never thought of merging the two. While I was casually browsing recipes online, I became almost shocked when I saw one for Avocado Mac and Cheese. Such a simple combination sounds quite unique and intriguing as well. I immediately knew this would top my “to-cook” list. I got right to it that night and decided to play “housewife” and have it waiting for Jonty when he got home from work.

I will start off by showing some step-by-step photos, followed by the recipe (which I made a few changes to) below.

Combine butter, and milk in sauce pan, bring to a boil.

Add in cheese and flour.

Pour cooked pasta (I used whole wheat) into baking dish.

Add in avocado, garlic, lime juice mixture.

Pour cheese sauce over pasta.

Top with breadcrumbs, and bake in oven (optional step).

The finished product, paired with homemade garlic bread and a side salad.

Ingredients

10 ounces dry elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I dislike cilantro, so it was omitted)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (I used skim)
2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese or any cheese of your preference (I used reduced fat marble)

Directions

1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Salt the water and add in macaroni. Stir and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. While the pasta is cooking, make the avocado sauce by placing the garlic, avocados, lime juice, (cilantro), salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

3. For the cheese sauce, place butter in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in flour to help thicken. Next, whisk in milk until smooth. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce starts to thicken. Add in cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.

4. Place macaroni in a large bowl/baking dish. Pour the avocado sauce over the macaroni and stir until well coated. Add the cheese sauce and stir until macaroni is coated and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5. If you would like to bake this dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and place it in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 mins. Once you remove it from the oven, let cool a few minutes and enjoy!

I decided to make this rich and often fattening dish a little bit healthier by using skim milk, whole wheat pasta and baguette, and reduced fat cheese. It came out pretty well, and Jonty and I had a lovely evening in.

I Like Apples & Caramel

I suppose it is safe to say that one of my favourite flavour combinations is apples and caramel. I found this recipe while watching The Chew, my new daytime television obsession. Daily at 1:00 pm join chefs Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Mario Batali, fashion guru Clinton Kelly, and author, health advocate, and Dr. Oz’s daughter Daphne Oz as they tackle the art of cooking, chatting, and of course eating! On numerous occasions when I ask my mom what is for dinner, she replies “Oh just this recipe I saw on The Chew!” That is all the answer I need in order to know that it is going to be absolutely delicious.

As for todays recipe, after watching Carla Hall bake this Tarte Tatin, I figured I would take a stab at it. It seemed pretty easy and tasty.

The recipe calls for store bought pie dough, but I decided to make my own and take full credit for the dessert.

*As you can see, the pictures are not perfect, and either is the pie, but regardless, it tasted delicious!

After making the pie crust, you must allow it to chill in the fridge for anywhere from 1 hour-2 days. I let mine sit overnight.

Here are the recipes for the pie crust and the Tarte Tatin

Pie Crust Recipe

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

6 to 8 Tbsp ice water

1 Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough.

2 Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape the dough mixture into two disks. Work the dough just enough to form the disks, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

3 Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. 

Tarte Tatin

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup Apple cider

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

1 stick unsalted butter (cut into tablespoon-sized pieces)

Pinch of salt

4-5 Apples (peeled, cored, quartered)

2 cups Mascarpone (optional, for topping)

1. Pre-heat oven to 425F.

2. In a 10-in cast iron skillet, combine the sugar, apple cider, lemon juice, and seeds from the vanilla bean pod over high heat. Bring to a boil, and use a damp pastry brush to brush down sides if necessary. After about 6 to 7 minutes it will become a light brown color. Stir gently to promote even cooking, and allow it too cook until it becomes a deeper amber color.

3. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the butter, two tablespoons at a time, stirring in to incorporate as the mixture bubbles. When it has all been incorporated, stir in the salt to incorporate. Arrange the apple pieces, rounded side down in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium for another 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Roll out the pie dough and place over the top of the apples, cutting to size with a paring knife and tucking in the edges. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes, and then place a platter over the crust and carefully flip it over, allowing the tart to gently fall from the pan.

5. Serve the tart with dollops of  mascarpone (Optional, I chose to omit this step).

An Apple a Day

Just like pesto makes any savoury dish a thousand times more delicious, so does caramel in the dessert world. I absolutely love caramel anything, especially caramel apples. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has perfected these, but I figured I would take this task to the kitchen. There is always the easy, boring way of melting those caramel squares and dipping apples into them, or there is the more time consuming, yet rewarding way of making caramel from scratch. I chose the latter.

The process takes about 45 minutes to an hour in total, but it is totally worth it. After combining all of the ingredients, you must watch and stir it consistently (see recipe below). When all is said and done, I was left with buttery, creamy, sweet, sticky goodness, in which I dunked Granny Smith apples into. Since I also have a love affair with oreos, I crushed some up and rolled the apples in them, along with skor bits. These caramel apples were literally just as good or better than Rocky Mountain if I do say so myself! They were also a huge hit with my friends and family!

Here are some pictures of the process, followed by the recipe.

Since I cannot let any caramel go to waste, I used the extra to cover some oreos, which are my two favourite things combined. Nothing can be better than this!

Ingredients:
1 C. unsalted butter
2 C. dark brown sugar, packed
1 C. light corn syrup (I used honey)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8-10 medium-sized apples, sticks inserted in tops

Instructions:

 1. Over medium-high heat, stir together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and condensed milk in a heavy sauce pan.

2. Bring to a boil.

3. Cook about 30-40 minutes (stirring often), until the caramel darkens and thickens. It should reach the “firm ball” stage of candy-making. This means that a firm ball forms when dropped into cold water. This ball shouldn’t flatten when you remove it from the water, but should still easily change shape when you touch it. The temperature should read 245-250 degrees F with a candy thermometer.

4. Remove finished caramel from the heat.

5. Stir in vanilla extract.

6. Dip apples into hot caramel. In order to get as thick a caramel coating as possible, dip each apple at an angle and rotate within the caramel.

7. Pull apple out vertically and allow excess caramel to drip off. Then turn the apple right-side-up a moment (as if you were about to eat it) and let the caramel settle for a few seconds. This prevents large bare spots at the top of the apple.

8. Dip apples into your favourite candy (oreos, skor, nuts, M&Ms etc)

9. Place apples on greased wax paper or foil.

10. Let cool to set.

 I think these caramel apples give Rocky Mountain a run for their money, if I do say so myself!

1 2 3