Recipes

Homemade Granola

We all eat granola thinking we are doing ourselves a favour and eating healthy. However, many packaged granolas are filled with unhealthy ingredients such as sugar, saturated fat and oils. The health potential of granola is quite high and can be bursting with nutrients as well as flavour if made correctly.

I like to make a big batch of homemade granola and eat it plain as a snack or sprinkled over yogurt. My granola must be a hit because I constantly get requests for it and everyone can’t get enough!

Granola is actually quite easy to whip up on your own, so go ahead and try my recipe!

I use coconut oil which is a healthy fat, and helps to bind everything together. It also gives off a subtle coconut flavour. Instead of using sugar, I use raw, unpasteurized honey for its high mineral and antioxidant content, as well as it’s antibacterial properties.

Granola is meant to be fun and versatile, so using oats as a base, feel free to throw in whatever dried fruit, nuts, and spices you love!

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

2 tbsp raw, unpasteurized honey

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine all ingredients (except honey, coconut oil and cranberries) in a large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, microwave honey and coconut oil.

4. Pour honey and coconut oil into granola mixture.

5. Pour granola onto large baking sheet, spread evenly.

6. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Make sure after about 10-15 minutes to toss granola around on sheet.

7. Remove from oven, let cool about 10 minutes, add dried cherries.

8. Let cool completely and enjoy!

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Feel free to play around with amounts and measurements, as well as ingredients. This recipe is a healthy and tasty snack, breakfast, or dessert! Have fun with it!

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?!

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Love for Dulce de Leche

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

Cinnamon Swirl Choc Chip Banana Bread

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While browsing various blogs, I stumbled upon this recipe which I instantly felt the desire to eat. But I guess wanting to eat something means I have to make it, so right after work, I headed straight to the kitchen. It seemed rather simple, and not too unhealthy, so I gave it a shot.

Using coconut oil provides a dose of healthy fat, while also adding only a slight hint of coconut flavour. The mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour also amps up the health factor, providing plenty of fiber as well. Oh and the yogurt too. I decided to use plain non-fat yogurt to add protein without any extra fat. Great idea if you ask me 😉

The cinnamon swirl in this banana bread is what really excited me, so next time I would have put a little bit more of the brown sugar mixture between the layers.

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Ingredients

For the bread:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate chips to taste (I added these to the recipe)

For the swirl:

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing you a very Happy Valentine’s Day filled with lots of love and happiness! Regardless of who you spend the day with, spread the love while indulging in some delicious Valentine’s treats.

Since this holiday is synonymous with sweet treats and desserts, I decided to do a little baking to get in the spirit. I made heart shaped shortbread cookies and decorated them with pink icing. I know everyone in my office bursts with excitement any time food is in sight, so I figured it would be a nice little gesture to share the love and bring the cookies into work today for everyone to enjoy.

See below for the recipe.

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Ingredients

Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Icing

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

Food colouring

Crushed strawberries (optional)

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

2. Stir in flour and combine until a dough is formed and is no longer crumbly.

3. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut dough using heart shaped cookie cutters.

4. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until bottoms are a very light golden brown.

5. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and place on wire rack to cool.

6. Once cooled (about 30 mins), decorate with icing.

*I added some crushed strawberries into one of the icings to add colour and a hint of flavour.

Happy Valentine’s Day once again from Sweets and Meats!

Cookie Battle-Recipes

As promised, I will share with you the recipes that I used for the Chef’s Challenge Cookie Battle that I attended the other night. I made two different cookies, leaving me options as to which cookie to bring with me to the battle. The face-off was between Momofuku Compost Cookies and Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip cookies with browned butter, vanilla beans and sea salt. I decided to go with the Momofuku Compost Cookies, as you saw in my previous post.

Momofuku Compost Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter (two sticks, unsalted)

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 Tbsp corn syrup (I left this out)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsps Kosher salt

1 1/2 cups your favorite baking ingredients (I used milk and semi sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips)

1 1/2 cups your favorite snack foods (I used potato chips, pretzels)

Directions:
1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for two to three minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides with a spatula.
2. On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate.
3. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.
4. When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
5. Mix 45 – 60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
6. On the same low speed, add in the hodgepodge of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30 – 45 seconds until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.
7. Using a 6 oz. ice cream scoop, portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheetpan.
8. Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour or up to 1 week.
DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.
9. Heat the oven to 400 F. Take the plastic off your cookies and bake 9 to 11 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.
At 9 minutes, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don’t match up and your cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface.
10. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At room temp, they’ll keep five days.
Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter, Vanilla Beans and Sea Salt
Yields about 2 – 2 1/2 dozen
Ingredients:
1 cup salted butter, diced into 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
seeds of 2 vanilla beans (or increase vanilla to 2 tsp)*
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
about 2/3 cup Nutella, chilled
coarse sea salt 
Directions:
1. Brown butter in a medium saucepan
2. Pour browned butter, using a rubber spatula to scrape out any excess, into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and allow to cool until lukewarm, about 20 – 30 minutes. 
3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and 1/4 tsp kosher salt, set aside.
4. Add light-brown sugar to cooled butter in stand mixer fit with paddle attachment.
5. With mixer set on medium-low speed, blend mixture together until well combined, about 1 minute.
6. Add in vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla then add in eggs one at a time and mix until well combined after each addition.
7. Set mixer on low speed and slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
8. Mix in chocolate chips.
9. Transfer dough to an airtight container (or place plastic wrap over bowl) and chill in refrigerator about 1 1/2 hours. 
10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
11. Remove dough from refrigerator and scoop dough out about 2 1/2 Tbsp at a time and shape into balls, then align them on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper. Evenly flatten dough balls until you have about a 3 1/4-inch circle.
12. Place 1 tsp chilled Nutella in the center on top of each. Carefully fold dough up and around Nutella, covering it entirely
13. Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown.
14. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle cookies with coarse sea salt (you can also sprinkle them with sea salt before baking as the salt sticks better that way).
15. Allow to cool several minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

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.

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