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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lime Strawberrycream Cookies

Lime Strawberrycream Cookies
 These cookies are delicate and delicious.  The cookie is made up of Strawberry buttercream sandwiched between two lime cookies. They are adapted from the Lemon Berrycream Cookies I had previously made.  That recipe was one of my kids' favorites, and I anticipate I will try them over and over with different flavour combinations.  When I asked my daughter what she thought of the idea of making one of our "classics" with different flavours she said "awesome!"- I think that's her new favourite word.  She really is my biggest supporter.  She loves helping with the ingredients and ideas.  Both kids loved how these turned out and my daughter thinks they will make a great year end gift for her teachers.  Smart kid :)

Lime Cookie

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp light cream
1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp lime zest
pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and mix well.  Add cream and mix well. Add lime juice and mix well.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, lime zest and salt. Mix well.
Slowly add to creamed butter mixture. Mixing well.  Dough is mixed enough when it comes together and forms a ball.
Remove cookie dough from mixer.  No need to flour the surface as the dough is the texture of a play dough and should not stick

Divide into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log approx 3cm in diameter.  Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour

Remove one log of dough from the refrigerator and use a sharp knife to slice into 24, 1 cm thick cookies.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Leaving a little space between each cookie (they don't spread much).
Bake @ 375° for approx 8 min, or until the bottom edge is just starting to turn a pale golden colour. Remove from oven cool for 1 min, then move cookies to a cooling rack. 
Repeat with each log of dough until all cookies are baked. Makes 8 dozen (96) cookies.  Allow cookies to cool completely.

Strawberry Buttercream

1/3 cup butter, unsalted, softened
1 1/3 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp whipping cream
1 1/2 tbsp Strawberry Coulis

Cream butter and icing sugar. Add coulis. Beat until light and fluffy.

Pipe Strawberry Buttercream on 1/2 (48) of the cookies, top with remaining cookies.  Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow butter cream to set.  Store cookies in refrigerator. Makes 48 sandwich cookies.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lime Muffins with Strawberry Cream Cheese Glaze

Lime Muffins with Strawberry Cream Cheese Glaze

These muffins have a lovely light lime flavour, and topped with the strawberry cream cheese glaze they are a real treat.  These would be a beautiful served with brunch, or for a special breakfast with fresh fruit. 

Lime Muffins

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
juice of 1 large lime

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
zest of 1 large lime

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.  Makes 12 muffins.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg, mix well.  Add sour cream, milk and lime juice and mix well.  Set aside.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and zest.  Stir and add to moist ingredients.  Stir together  until just mixed.
Spoon evenly into prepared muffin tins. Bake @ 375° for approx 18 min.  Remove from tins, cool completely and lightly frost with Strawberry Cream Cheese Glaze.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Glaze
1/4 block of light cream cheese
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tbsp whipping cream
1 tbsp strawberry coulis

Cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth and free of lumps.  Add icing sugar and continue to mix.  Add whipping cream and coulis. Mix until well blended and smooth.
Lightly frost cooled muffins.

Strawberry Coulis

Strawberry Coulis
Strawberry Coulis burts with flavour, and is so easy and quick to make.  Use it in your favorite recipes or as a dessert topping.   I use this coulis in Lime Muffins with Strawberry Cream Cheese Glaze and in Lime Strawberrycream Cookies
Strawberry Coulis
(makes approx 1/2 cup)

1 cup  frozen strawberries, thawed
3 tbsp sugar

Combine ingredients in blender and puree until smooth

Friday, June 24, 2011

Strawberry Lime Ice Cream

Strawberry Lime Ice Cream
I love the sweet-tart flavour of strawberry and lime together, they combine perfectly in this creamy, yet fresh and zippy ice cream.  I kept this recipe really simple to let the pure flavours come through.  This ice cream is really easy and quick to prepare, my three year old son did everything, with the exception of turning on the blender. I have to wait  until he is on the couch, well hidden under a blanket, to turn the blender on in this house.  If your kids like to help in the kitchen this recipe is great, there is really no way to mess it up (not that they ever mess anything up :)
Strawberry Lime Ice Cream
3 cups strawberries, fresh
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Combine Strawberries, sugar, lime zest and lime juice in a blender and puree.  Add whipping cream and blend.  Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturers directions.  Ice cream makers generally freeze ice cream to a soft serve consistency. For firmer ice cream transfer to a freezer safe sealable container and freeze for an additional 2 hours. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Week #9 : Lime, Strawberry, Whipping Cream

After what seems like weeks of rain, the sun is shining brightly today.  My son and I managed a 2 1/2 hour Wal Mart grocery trip without a single tear or tantrum (from either of us!). It is a good day!!!!

This weeks ingredients are once again leading me down the path to desserts and sweets. I know it will be too hot to bake much once summer really hits us, so I suppose it's good that I'm doing so much baking now.   We get such brief summers here that I truly enjoy every minute of sunshine, but I do miss baking.  Baking somehow nourishes my soul.  It is something that makes me feel connected to my roots. My mother bakes, my grandmother bakes, my great grandmother baked, all of them wonderfully.  Baking is something that is woven into the fabric of our family. We are nurturers, and for me baking is connected to that. 

I am not feeling overly creative today, but hopefully inspiration will hit and I will be able to create a couple of tasty recipes for this weeks ingredients.

Daughter: lime
Son: whipping cream
Husband: strawberry

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon Swirl Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This is a moist and delicious cake, with tender pieces of pear and swirls of cinnamon and brown sugar throughout.  The top of the cake is crunchy and sweet, even under the layer of luscious cream cheese frosting.  This would be the perfect cake for a coffee date with a friend.

I made this cake last night, and it was just coming out of the oven as the kids were getting ready for bed, the aroma of pear and cinnamon filling the house. You can imagine their disappointment at not being able to eat it immediately.  They were good sports though and agreed that cake for breakfast would be fabulous, so I was able to hold them off.  I, of course, had to test it out last night, and I must say I was a little disappointed that it was falling apart as I was cutting it.  I had let it cool for 1 1/2 hours!  Surely that was long enough.  I decided to put it in sealed container, leave it to sit overnight and see what a little time would do.....I was not ready to call this cake a failure, because the flavour was so good.  When we woke up this morning my daughter said "I bet the cake is cool enough by now Mom", so with fingers crossed I removed the cake from the container and sliced a piece...Success!!!! The cake held together perfectly, it was easy to slice and serve.  My kids devoured it.  The frosting benefited from the extra time as well. 

Make this cake the night before you want to serve it, you will be glad you gave it some extra time.  I personally love recipes that I can make ahead of time for morning play dates or brunch.  Anything that gives me extra time in the morning is a winner with me.

This cake is so yummy, It will definitely become a favorite in our house.

Cinnamon Swirl Pear Cake

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1 cup  fresh pear, chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°.  Cream 2/3 butter and 2/3 cup of brown sugar until well mixed.  Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each. Add vanilla, mix well.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Mix thoroughly. 
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix well.  Pour milk in while mixing.  Mix until well blended. 

Fold in chopped pear.Set aside.

Combine 1/4 cup melted butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray.  Spoon 1/3 of the cake batter into loaf pan.  Dot with brown sugar mixture. Spoon on more batter, dot with more brown sugar mixture. Repeat.

Top with remaining brown sugar mixture, this gives the cake a crunchy sweet top.

Bake @350° for approx 1 hr, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove to cooling rack. Allow to cool for 10 min. Run sharp knife around edge of the cake.  Leave to cool for 1-2 more hours.  Remove from pan.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp whipping cream

Cream together cream cheese and butter until well combined and free of lumps. Add icing sugar, vanilla and whipping cream.  Mix well.

Frost cooled cake.

Place frosted cake in a sealed container overnight.  Slice and enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pear Caramel Cheesecake

Pear Caramel Cheesecake
Cheesecake is my all time favorite dessert.  This cheesecake is infused with a delicate pear flavour, topped with fresh fragrant pears and drizzled with rich caramel.  It is worth every calorie, and seriously who's counting anyways? 
I think there exists a common misconception that baking a cheesecake is a daunting task.  It really is quite simple.   My husband baked me a delicious cheesecake for my birthday last year, and he does not bake.  So go on, give it a try, just make sure you have lots of people to share with!

Pear Caramel Cheesecake
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup graham wafer crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325°.  Line the bottom of a spring form pan with parchment.  Combine all ingredients and press into the bottom of the spring form pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2 bricks of cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 can (14oz/398ml) unsweetened pears
3 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine cream cheese and sugar and beat well, ensuring there are no lumps.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing slowly until each egg is completely incorporated.  Drain canned pears.  Puree pears until smooth. Add to cream cheese mixture and mix until well blended.  Pour filling over prepared crust.  Bake for 1 hour.  Turn off the oven.  Remove the cheesecake from oven and slide a thin sharp knife around the edge of the pan.  Return the cheesecake to the oven. Leave the door ajar and allowing the cake to cool slowly.  Remove cheesecake after approx 1 hr.  Cover cheesecake and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I prefer overnight.  To serve remove rim of spring form pan.  Remove cheesecake from the base if possible.  Sometimes you can tell it's just not going to happen.  Don't sweat it, leave the base on. 

1-2 pears, fresh, ripe and slightly firm. Thinly sliced.

Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until butter is completely melted. Raise temperature to medium-low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. This is important, you don't want a grainy texture to your caramel.  Raise heat to medium, continuing to stir until mixture reaches a boil.  Stir at a boil for 2-3 min.  Remove from heat.  If taking your cheesecake somewhere use a thermos to keep your caramel deliciously hot. 

Garnish with fresh, thinly sliced pears. Drizzle with caramel sauce.  Serves 12.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Week #8: Pears, Cream Cheese, Brown Sugar

You know I'm thinking cheesecake right could I not be?!  The ingredients my family choose will compliment each other perfectly.  I can't wait to start creating some yummy recipes!

Husband: Cream Cheese
Daughter: Pears
Son: Brown Sugar

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Garlic Ginger Dipping Sauce

Garlic Ginger Dipping Sauce
This sauce has just the right balance of flavours and it absolutely delcious with Chicken Won Ton Appies.  My daughter and I tried countless combinations before we came up with this one.  It is tangy and salty and sweet all at the same time- YUM!

Garlic Ginger Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 small clove of garlic, finely grated
1 tsp ginger finely grated

Combine all ingredients, serve with  Chicken Won Ton Appies, spring rolls, dumplings, or any Asian inspired finger food.  This doesn't look like a lot of sauce, but it is thin and a little goes a long way.  This recipe was more than enough for the entire recipe of Chicken Won Ton Appies.

Chicken Wonton Appies

Chicken Won Ton Appies

These yummy little parcels pack a lot of flavor and are delicious with the Garlic Ginger Dipping Sauce.  The kids and I had fun making these little treasures and the whole family enjoyed eating them. Wrapping the won tons is a perfect activity to keep little fingers busy.  These would make a great appetizer for your next party, or girls night.

Chicken Won Ton Appies

3/4 lb extra lean ground chicken
3 tbsp goldfish crackers, crushed
1 egg
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
1 clove garlic, freshly grated
1 tbsp sauce
2 tbsp onion, minced
1/4 cup zucchini, finely grated
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup cilantro, packed, finely chopped

50 won ton wrappers
50 chives (more probably, I'm sure for every chive I tied successfully there was a chive snapped in half)
non- stick cooking spray

Combine filling ingredients and mix well.  Spoon 1 tsp of filling in the centre of each won ton wrapper. Dip finger in water and run a circle of water around filling.  Gather up edges of won ton wrapper and pinch together at the top of the filling.  Wrap with a chive and tie.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Spray won ton parcels with non-stick cooking spray and bake for 10-15 min @ 350°.  Serve with Garlic Ginger Dipping Sauce.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Scrumptious Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls

Scrumptious Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls

There's nothing that says "I love you" like a meatball.  Okay, admittedly that's not going to make it on the inside of a hallmark card anytime soon, but if like me, you are married to a man, you know what I'm talking about.  The aroma of these meatballs will have your man grinning from ear to ear, asking when dinner will be ready. Even my little man loved these meatballs!
Ground chicken makes perfect meatballs in my opinion. They are juicy, moist and tender and never greasy.  You will want to make rice to soak up all the delicious sauce.  I too, loved these meatballs, but I could have just as easily had a dinner of rice and sauce, the sauce is that good. 
This dish is lick the plate delicious!

Sweet and Sour Sauce

3/4 of a medium onion, finely chopped (save the other 1/4 for the balls)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 can 14oz/398ml. pineapple tidbits (juice and fruit)
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

In a very large skillet or pot heat vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, saute until translucent.  Add all remaining ingredients, except the pineapple pieces.  Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce to low  cover and simmer for 30 min.  While simmering prepare your meatballs.

Chicken Balls

3/4 lb extra lean ground chicken
3 tbsp crushed goldfish crackers (I'm pretty sure I said: "prepare to meet your maker fishies..mwahahaha!" as I crushed the goldfish)
1 egg
1/4 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix all ingredients well.  If you want to go old school, roll into balls.  Me, I prefer to avoid getting my hands in the raw meat, and I'm lazy.  I always, always use my mini muffin tins for meatballs.  They are the perfect size, they come out roughly ball shaped and it saves me a lot of time.  I only ever use chicken for meatballs so I don't have to worry about grease, in fact the tins help keep the balls nice and moist.  So trust me on this and use your tins. Just give the muffin tins a quick spray with non-stick cooking spray and spoon the meat mixture evenly in each tin.  Makes 24 balls.

Just spoon in, so easy!

Bake for 10-12 min.  When cooking chicken always check to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

cooked balls: see, not messy!

The chicken meatballs will just slide right out of the muffin tins when they are cooked.  The tins do not get very messy or greasy, in fact I just throw mine in the dishwasher, no problem.

Once your chicken balls are cooked put them in the pan with the sauce, add in pineapple tidbits, mix gently and allow them to simmer together for 20-30 min more. 

Serve over rice, with fresh green beans on the side or a nice green salad.  These would also be delicious for an appetizer in a chafing dish with toothpicks, or in a crock pot for a potluck.
This recipe will definitely make it into our dinner rotation.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Week #7: Ground Chicken, Soy Sauce, Goldfish Crackers

Yep, you read that right...

Husband: ground chicken
Daughter: soy sauce
Son: goldfish crackers

I asked for my husband's item first this week, then my daughter's, and when I got to my lovely three year old son his response was "black".... black???? hmmm, okay how about something else buddy?  "brown"...okay so this is how this is going to go...Have I mentioned that my darling boy has been challenging my every move over the last couple of days?  So when he piped up with "fishy crackers" I said okay.  My husband and daughter both looked at me like I was insane for agreeing, but I say you've got to pick your battles, at least it's a food!

So, let's be positive about this shall we?  This we be a fantastic creative challenge, there should be some absolutely unique recipes, and it offers a welcomed reprieve from the sweets. (Okay, I will admit that sounds a lot more confident than I am feeling right now)

Wish me luck!