Grinch Cookies

I’ve been making an effort to getting into the Christmas spirit at least once a day. It’s honestly been a little challenging when there’s sooo many Grinches out there or when people make a Grinch out of me even! So continuing the festive spirit, I made what I call Grinch cookies! Sugar cookies with spirals of red, green, cream white and rolled in festive sprinkles.
Warning! These cookies take just a tad more labor and time than most sugar cookie recipes. Since it requires dying dough and carefully assembling them together. I didn’t think I was going to go through as much wax paper and saran wrap as I did.
But for a successful result, I recommend using parchment paper or special baking cookie sheets, so that your cookies don’t stick to the bottom of a sheet pan and don’t burn easily.
I was especially irritated when I arrived at Michaels Craft Store and they had just about every food dye color under the sun except for green! You would think this time of year a craft store that sells all your baking accessory needs would be overstocked in green food dye. I at least walked away with some cool cookie sprinkles and table decor. My toddler had a ball running up and down the garland aisle knocking down random cranberries and pine cones off the shelves.
Sigh Terrible twos.
Oh right! Cookies! Sugar cookies normally take anywhere between 2-4 hours to chill after you made the dough. This is critical so you can cut the pieces easily with cookie cutters or another tool. I go for the most amount of time, 4 hours.
Also, its good to take out some butter an hour or two before you start making the dough. So that it’s easier to mix.
I used food-safe disposable gloves when I mixed in the dye into the dough. I know food dye is pretty easy to get off your skin but I didn’t feel like scrubbing my hands. So I would recommend gloves, especially if you have long nails.
I wouldn’t consider this a kid-friendly recipe where your little ones could help. Maybe with rolling the dough log in sprinkles. But boy! My little one sure did enjoy eating them!

Prep time: 40 minutes Chill time: 4 hours Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

8 oz room temperature butter (1 stick)
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon red food dye
½ teaspoon green food dye
Sprinkles to taste

Right after I removed from oven. You could see I didn’t throw away the end pieces. I ate those first!

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine, butter and sugar and mix until fluffy
  2. Add vanilla, egg and salt
  3. Slowly add in flour
  4. Start forming three dough balls, equally the same size
  5. Using gloves, make a little imprint in the middle of the dough to add dye. Pour in and mix in well. Do the same with another ball of dough with a different color
  6. Lay saran wrap on a large cutting board and place one of the balls of dough down, cover with a piece of wax paper, and with a rolling pin roll out the dough into a rectangle shape. Not removing either piece of cover, place aside.
  7. Start with another piece of saran wrap and start the process again, separately, roll out each piece of dough
  8. Taking one of rolled out pieces, removing the top piece of wax paper, grab the next dough and carefully remove the saran portion and align the pieces together and lay on top.
  9. Using the last dough sheet, repeat process
  10. Still using the bottom saran wrap portion begin by rolling the dough into a log.
  11. Using a baking sheet or large plate pour desirable amount of sprinkles and roll dough into it
  12. Cover with Saran wrap and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 to 4 hours.
  13. Preheat oven 375°
  14. Remove from fridge and cut into desired pieces and lay on parchment paper-covered baking sheet
  15. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool for a minimum of 5 minutes before serving

Slow Cooker Chili and Flour Tortillas

So I know I said I was going to focus on holiday recipes, but in this house slow-cooked chili is fall/winter tradition. It goes great on football Sundays. You assemble all the ingredients in the morning, set it and forget it…well not forget it. Just set a timer on your phone for 6 hours. It’s cheap and there’s very little dishes that’s used to make it. It was cold this week in Seattle, and I couldn’t think of a better dish to cook for my family. We have burnt out on Thanksgiving leftovers already.
There are so many variations to chili recipes, this is honestly just the ingredients that I already had in my kitchen. Please, experiment! You never know if you could make the next best thing.
We have leftover Thanksgiving dinner rolls, but what goes better with chili than homemade flour tortillas? I could have sworn if my father was still here he would have asked: “Where’s grandma’s tortillas?” Anyone who’s tasted my grandmother’s Navajo tortillas knows they are the essential part of breakfast. The smell of coffee, bacon, hash browns, eggs and warm tortillas. Now, I haven’t mastered my grandmother’s recipe but I’m getting there. I’m learning some tricks. 1) Use warm water! The warmth makes the dough more pliable 2) Let the dough rest for a few minutes after you knead it, it took a beating from you, let it rest! 3) If your dough starts falling apart keep a cup of warm water nearby to dab your fingers in.

Prep time for Chili: 20 minutes Cook time: 6 hours

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
20 oz of beef broth
1 16 oz can of black beans
1 16oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup diced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons diced jalapenos
6 oz kernel corn
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheddar cheese, raw onion, sour cream, jalapeno slices

Directions for Chili:

  1. In a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker, pour in beef broth, black beans, diced tomatoes, diced jalapenos, and corn. Turn the cooker to low setting.
  2. In a large skillet, turn the stovetop to medium, brown the ground beef until you can no longer see pink.
  3. Add diced onion, garlic, chili powder, diced jalapeno, salt and pepper to taste. Mix in well.
  4. Add skillet ingredients to slow cooker, mix in. Cook for 6 hours.
  5. Add optional shredded cheese, onion, sour cream or jalapenos

Ingredients for flour tortillas (double recipe if you have a crowd to serve)

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons shortening
1 ½ cups warm water

Directions for tortillas

  1. Using a cast-iron skillet, set to low medium heat
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine, flour, salt, baking powder and mix. Add shortening, using either a pastry cutter or two forks, cut in shortening until you get small chunks. Gradually add water. Mix and knead with hands.
  3. If your dough is still a bit dry, using that extra cup of warm water, dab your fingers with water and knead more into one ball.
  4. Leave in bowl and cover with a wet cloth. Leave alone for 10 minutes.
  5. After letting sit, start forming one small ball at a time, roll onto lightly floured cutting board. Roll evenly. Add to warmed cast iron skillet, let cook each side for about 1 minute each side.
  6. Repeat until you used all your dough.

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie with Toasted Marshmallows

Alright so I know I made pumpkin pie on this blog before, but y’all haven’t seen my Fall themed sweet potato pie with toasted marshmallows! You guys… I have fallen in love with my new pastry cutters. I was walking by a clearance aisle in Fred Myer and they were practically giving away Fall themed decor and entertaining accessories to make room for Christmas stuff. I got these awesome pie dough cutters for $2!! I hope to find Christmas themed ones soon.

Honestly, this was only my second time making sweet potato pie but before then, I don’t know why, but I thought making sweet potato pie was hard. Really though, there’s not that many ingredients and if you have premade store-bought dough it takes less than an hour to bake. The first time I made this, I made a shortcut and boiled the sweet potatoes rather than baking them. Baking them will add more texture and make the pie less runny. I thought boiling the potatoes made the pie moister. But either way, it tastes the same. Boiling will cut your time in half.

Another change was I used my large food processor this time to mix the ingredients. You can mix by hand, or use a hand-held mixer. But a food processor gets the consistency to a nice purree.

I made a special trip to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought a kitchen butane torch. This gadget is pretty nifty. It will come in handy for other recipes like french onion soup and creme brule. It was fun toasting the marshmallows. Everyone has a preference for how burnt they like their marshmallows toasted. I like it right in the middle, right before it catches fire.

I made two of these pies, one for immediate eating and the other I was planning on putting in our garage fridge and breaking out for Thanksgiving. My husband looks at me and says “I don’t think the second pie is going to last till then…”as he eats his second piece This recipe is that delicious. You may want to double this recipe for two pies!

Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb baked or boiled sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about two)
1 cup of small marshmallows
⅓ cup softened butter
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup canned evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 or 2 uncooked pie shells

Before I added the marshmallows, so pretty!

Directions

  1. (Baking sweet potatoes)
  2. Preheat oven 425°
  3. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into medium chunks, add to aluminium foiled lined baking pan, drizzle vegetable oil over chunks, cover with another layer of foil, and bake for 30 minutes
  4. Add chunks to a large mixing bowl or food processor. Start mashing the potatoes to a soft texture.
  5. Add milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, butter, sugar and salt. Mix well until you achieve a smooth texture.
  6. Pour mixture in a pie pan that has a pie pastry laid out. I used the second roll of dough to make a decorative topping.
  7. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then decrease the heat to 350° and cook for an additional 30/35 minutes
  8. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes
  9. Carefully add the marshmallows on top of the pie, take your torch and toast to your delight!
  10. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.
  1. (Boil sweet potatoes)
  2. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into medium chunks, add to a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring heat to medium/high, boil until softened. Drain and add to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using a manual hand masher or handheld mixer, mix potatoes to a smooth texture.
  4. Using a separate medium mixing bowl, combine egg, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, butter and sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix well and pour into sweet potato mixture and mix again until well blended.
  5. Pour mixture in a pie pan that has a pie pastry laid out. I used the second roll of dough to make a decorative topping.
  6. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then decrease the heat to 350° and cook for an additional 30/35 minutes
  7. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes
  8. Carefully add the marshmallows on top of the pie, take your torch and toast to your delight!
  9. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.

Cranberry Cheese ball/Cranberry Punch

I’m going to have to admit the early holiday cheer bug has bitten me. I get a little excited when I see holiday decorations for sale, when I see funny ugly Christmas sweaters, and when favorite seasonal produce goes on sale like Brussel sprouts and cranberries.
Which brings me to this weeks post. I have two recipes this week! Both including the most abundant fruit this time of year. Cranberries! First, non-alcoholic cranberry punch, and then a cranberry pecan cheeseball. Two perfect entertaining pieces that are easy and fast to make.
I started making the cranberry punch, mainly because I wanted something fun to drink while I make the cheeseball. Now once again, this recipe is non-alcoholic, for a great reason. My toddler. He will drink and eat everything I do. So I had to set an example. He watched me make it and anxiously waited with a cup in his hands. He took a sip and said “Mmmmh!”. I said “You like it??”, he said “Mhh hmmm” and walks away. That was my toddler stamp of approval. You, of course, can tweak this recipe to add alcohol. Some may add vodka or alcoholic apple cider. What makes this drink fun and decorative is the whole cranberries and orange slices. Be sure to have a ladle to scoop the fruit into glasses.

And for the cranberry cheeseball. It was a little messy to make. I used my favourite Kitchenaid mini food processor. This kitchen device is so handy when it comes to mixing smaller items and batches. It’s great for salsas, cutting up small produce pieces and nuts, and making small batches of frosting. I wouldn’t recommend hand mixing as you really want to mix the cream cheese to a smooth consistency, that would take all day if you did it manually. You could use a large food processor too. Also, make sure you take out the cream cheese out of the fridge an hour before you are ready to make this. It will make mixing a lot easier.

The cheeseball is so addicting, the salted pecans bring a nice contrast to the sweet dried cranberries. But next time I’m definitely going to try using goat cheese instead of cream cheese.
This recipe can be made ahead of time, put in the freezer and used later. You would just need to thaw it out the night before in the refrigerator.

Prep time (punch): 15 minutes

Prep time (cheeseball): 35 minutes

Cranberry Punch Ingredients:

1 bag of fresh whole cranberries
1 Orange sliced into cocktail size
32oz cranberry juice cocktail
1 or 2 liters of ginger ale (your choice to how much ginger taste you want)
2 cups orange juice
1 bottle Martinelli sparkling apple cider (I used their cranberry/apple mix)

Directions

  1. Combine cranberry juice, ginger ale, orange juice and apple cider. Stir and then add the cranberries and orange slice, add ice and serve.

Cranberry Cheeseball Ingredients

1 package (8 oz) of cream cheese warmed at room temperature
8 oz shredded sharp white cheddar ( I used Tillamook Sharp White Cheddar)
1 or 2 tablespoons of milk
½ cup chopped pecans
1 package (5 oz) of dried cranberries
Plastic cling wrap such as Saran wrap (used to form ball)

Cheseball directions

  1. Using a food processor, slice cream cheese into chunks and add to food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add shredded cheese, milk, pecans and half a cup of dried cranberries. Mix until well combined.
  3. Using the Saran wrap, line into a medium-sized bowl. You will now be forming the cheeseball.
  4. Scrape the cheese into the bowl. Using the plastic wrap, form the cheese into a ball form and twist the ends together. Place in freezer, and let cool for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  5. Using the same medium-sized bowl, pour the rest of the cranberries in.
  6. Remove cheese from freezer, unwrap and place into cranberry filled bowl. Begin by pressing the berries into the cheeseball. Serve immediately with entertaining crackers.

Buttermilk Cornbread

Now that Halloween is over, I’m going to focus on holiday-friendly recipes. I love the holiday season. Comfort food, toasty fires, foggy cool mornings, warm blankets. This week I bring you buttermilk cornbread. Thick, creamy and an amazing base recipe to play around with.
This is an easy side recipe with lots of room to experiment with. You can add other ingredients like corn kernels, honey, jalapenos, green chiles or cheese.
This recipe makes enough for a family dinner with left-overs. This can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ sugar
2 ½ tablespoon salt
4 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
½ cup (1 stick) partially melted butter
Non-stick cooking spray or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 400°, take a large mixing bowl and start combing dry ingredients, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix well.
  2. In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk and butter. Mix well, it’s ok if the butter is still a little lumpy.
  3. Add to dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Spray baking pan with cooking spray or using regular cooking oil and a paper towel spread oil to prevent sticking.
  5. Pour into a large baking pan, spread evenly with a spatula.
  6. Add to oven and cook for 10 minutes, after ten minutes turn pan around to cook evenly. Cook for additional 15 minutes. Poke the center with a toothpick, if it comes up dry then it is done.
  7. Remove and let cool for 5/10 minutes.

Wonton Soup

Hey y’all! I was in hiatus last week. I was exhausted from going 110 miles an hour all October and seriously needed a break from everything. I usually try to enjoy October to it’s fullest but it just didn’t happen. As a result, I got sick which I’m still recovering from. I was craving food to with healing powers. So! I made wonton soup! It was my first time making wontons from scratch, and surprisingly it was easier than I thought. Wonton wrappers are refrigerated dough pieces you can usually find in your produce section. Wonton dough surprisingly is an easier dough to handle versus other premade doughs like phyllo and puff pastry. You just need to make sure once you open the package to cover the stack with a wet paper towel so it doesn’t dry out. What’s great about the leftover wrappers you don’t’ use is that they are freezable. Just make sure they are wrapped tightly with a freezer-safe storage bag.
I thought about what I wanted to make and it brought a memory to mind. My parents loved going to our local Chinese restaurant. We loved the traditional wonton soup appetizer and green tea. It always came with a side of freshly grated ginger and horseradish. Knowing the healing power of ginger, I made this recipe with extra ginger and added baby bok choy leaves.
This recipe has easy to buy ingredients, all which are fairly inexpensive. This recipe serves as a great appetizer or by itself if you like to eat light.

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 oz approximately fresh sliced ginger
2 whole green onions
Salt & pepper to taste

Wontons:

15/20 wonton wrappers
4 or 5 ozs ground pork
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
1 teaspoon corn starch
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon sesame or canola/vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 green onion finely chopped
Salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, combine chicken stock, water, garlic, and sliced ginger. You can break the green onions in half and add to pot. Heat to medium for 10/15 minutes
  2. While stock is warming, start making the wontons. Grab a small bowl with water to wet your fingers.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients for wontons.
  4. Place first wonton wrapper in the palm of hand and dab a finger in the bowl of water, wet two edges of the wrapper. This will act as glue to seal it.
  5. Put about ½ teaspoon of filing in the middle of the wrapper and grab the dry edge of the wrapper and squeeze with the wet edge to seal. Dab your finger again and wet the bottom two corners, again meet two edges and seal. Place on a plate or baking sheet.
  6. Repeat until you run out of filling.
  7. Using a large utensil with drainage, remove ginger and green onions, increase the heat to medium/high.
  8. Add wontons and cook for 10/15 minutes.
  9. For garnish and extra flavor you can add fresh chopped green onion or cilantro.

Flaky Chicken Pot Pie

It’s getting cold out and nothing could be better than good old fashioned comfort food to warm your belly. I treated my family to made from scratch chicken pot pie. The only corner I skipped was using canned cream soup which always guarantees the right density and creaminess to the filling. The pie crust is my own recipe, the directions and ingredients are down below. My pie crust recipe is unique as it uses half vegetable shortening and half butter. Most crust recipes call for all butter but this creates a more agreeable dough when working with it.
Besides the onions and potatoes, I used frozen vegetables to save. I’m sure using fresh-cut veggies would add more flavour, but I have a two-year-old that hangs from my leg when I cook so I need quick items sometimes.
For the chicken, I used thighs. Boiled and then tore and cut into small pieces. You can use breasts, I just used thighs because thighs were on sale at the market.
This is one of my husband’s favourite recipes, and believe it or not, this was my son’s first time trying chicken pot pie. Long story short, my husband not only went for seconds but thirds and my son turned his pie filling into a sandwich. My little one took one bite and said “YUM!”. That’s my stamp of approval from my son.
This recipe takes a lot of preparation if you are making the crust from scratch. I started making the dough in the afternoon and then cooked the chicken and let both sit in the fridge for a few hours. It took about 40 minutes to make the pie filling. And you will most likely have leftover pie filling which can be saved for later use. This whole recipe is good for a Sunday where you have most of the afternoon and evening to make. But it’s perfect for a table of 4.

Prep time total: 1 hour & 10 minutes Total Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Pie crust:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
½ cup or one stick of unsalted cold butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
⅚ tablespoons water

Pie filling:
½ pound of cut cooked chicken
1 can of cream soup
1 cup water
2 cups of frozen vegetables
2 tablespoons of cooked cut onions
3 cooked/cubed russet potatoes
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon thyme
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Directions: Pie Crust

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut cold butter into small cubes and add to flour. Add vegetable shortening and using a pastry cutter, begin mixing in. Blend butter and shortening to the point where the mixture resembles large bread crumbs.
  2. Add water and mix together. Using your hands, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes. Break into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap each ball separately in wax paper or cover and place in the fridge for at least one hour.
  3. (I boiled the chicken and potatoes during this time)

Pie Filling:

  1. Boil chicken and potatoes in separate pots. Cut chicken into smaller pieces once cooked. Set aside.
  2. Once potatoes are cooked, drain all but one cup of water from pot. Reduce heat to low medium. Add cream soup and mix in. Add frozen vegetables and onions. Add pepper, salt, thyme and garlic powder. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°
  4. Take out the pie dough and roll the larger ball onto a lightly floured surface, make sure it’s rolled a little bigger than the pie dish. Gently place the rolled bottom dough onto the pie dish. Begin rolling out the small dough. Let sit while you pour the pie filling into the pie dish. Add a little more than the top of the dish. Carefully add the top dough to the top of the filling. Pinch the edges of dough to close.
  5. Cut a slit into the middle top of the pie for venting.
  6. Add to oven, and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 20 minutes

Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans

Happy fall to y’all! It’s such a magical time of the season. Leaves are at the peak of colour while swiftly moving along the sidewalks and yards. If you could walk into my house right now you would instantly smell warm pumpkin vanilla candles, and see my dining room table set for a spooky meal. Basically like The Munster’s house but less natural spiderwebs, and Spot doesn’t live under my stairs. I really go above and beyond for Halloween. But you guys will understand this more as the month goes on.

I love baking, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it considering I still think of myself as a novice. I couldn’t compete on a baking show or anything. But I can make a great pie crust from scratch. Although I didn’t make this recipe with my homemade crust, I just happen to have frozen pie crust in my freezer. My husband thought I was going to make a chicken pot pie. I told him as we were shopping this week, “Yup, I’m making a pie, just not chicken”. He LOVES chicken pot pie. But I was craving dessert. So this week I bring you pumpkin pie with candied pecans. This recipe was found from an old cookbook that I picked up from the thrift store. A traditional pie filling but topped with a pretty pecan crust. It’s certainly eye candy, especially when you add whipped cream on top. The pecans are coated in a hard sweet caramel and adds just the right amount of crunch to balance the soft pumpkin. 

You could totally make this recipe with homemade pie crust, but again, I had the frozen stuff in my freezer already. It also cuts down the time, if it matters to you. Making the candied pecans takes a little time because you have to cook the sugar/water mix slowly until it starts turning brown. And then after mixing you have to let it sit for a minimum of 30 minutes to let the sugar harden. 

This is a terrific recipe to bookmark for Thanksgiving. You can wow your guests or other party-goers with the pretty pecan topping. 

Prep time: 40 minutes     Total cooking time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Ingredients:

9-inch pie crust
1- 16oz can of packed pumpkin (not pie filling)
1- 12oz can of evaporated milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

Candied Pecan Topping:

¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup of halved pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 350°
  2. Start with the filling, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a large mixing bowl. Mix well, and pour into pie crust.
  3. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until you insert a toothpick in the centre and comes out clean.
  4. While the pie is baking you may start the topping.
  5. Using a nonstick baking sheet or lightly add shortening to a baking sheet.
  6. Using a small saucepan combine sugar and water and cook on medium heat until sugar dissolves, once dissolved increase heat to boil (medium-high heat). Boil until mixture becomes a light golden brown colour. Stir frequently. Add butter and nuts. Coat nuts well and then quickly pour evenly on the baking sheet. Let cool for 30 minutes. Once cooled and hardened using a large cutting knife chop into smaller pieces to your liking. Sprinkle over the pie edges.


Moist Carrot Muffins

I went to a classroom training for work this week and it was catered by a local restaurant. A table full of assorted pastries. I had their carrot muffins, and I knew I wanted to make some at home. Carrot cake mix is often used for Springtime recipes but my son loves carrots so I made him this recipe. Breakfast carrot muffins! My son loves these muffins. This recipe has a lot of ingredients but to achieve the moist above the bar taste, its worth it. Prep the ingredients, such as the grated carrots, before you start mixing it all together. You will be using two mixing bowls, one for the dry and wet ingredients. The wet ingredients can be mixed with an electric mixer to make adding wet ingredients easier. I was just too lazy to grab it from the top of my cupboards.
People have different variations to what they add to carrot cake mixes, I like the classic raisins and walnuts. Some add coconut flakes or even crushed pineapple.
Continuing my love for Halloween month, I found these cute cupcake cups and napkins at my favourite JoAnn’s craft store. The first weekends in October I start breaking out all my Halloween decorations. Now I can use my black candelabra at my dining table. 🙂
These muffins will last for a few days in an airtight container or bag.
Happy baking everyone!

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (makes 12 standard-sized muffins)

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup of raisins

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 350°, line muffin pans with baking cups
  2. In large mixing bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. In another mixing bowl (or mixer) beat eggs, then add granulated sugar and brown sugar for about three minutes. Add oil until combined. Add vanilla extract until combined. Fold in grated carrots until mixed in. Try to not overmix. Fold in nuts and raisins.
  4. Fill each liner ¾ full, bake for 20 minutes
  5. Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy!




Sunday Pot Roast

Now that it’s officially Fall and the temperature outside is getting colder, I can finally make comfort food! Comfort foods like roasted chicken, goulash soup, chilli, macaroni and cheese, and my childhood favourite beef pot roast! Which is what I made this week. This dish takes me back to a time in my childhood. Cool crisp Autumn days, raking up the leaves in the lawn just to jump in a pile. Coming into our farmhouse, the immediate smell of a slow-cooked beef pot roast fills my nose and heart with comfort and joy. My mom pulls the lid off of the roaster and a ploom of warm steam rises up and my dad hears me say “Ooooooo”. Dad grabs the french bread that’s still warm straight from the bakery, he cuts big pieces because he knows I love french bread. Although my parents are gone now, recipes like this open up the time vault and warms my soul.
The prep time for this recipe takes a little longer but the end flavours are worth it. I highly recommend cutting up the carrots, celery, onions and potatoes in advance. This will save you total time. I used a large dutch oven to brown the roast. Any other large skillet will due, just make sure your roast will fit the pan.
I made the extra effort to shop for the perfect cut beef and purposely buying local produce. I went to the butcher counter at my local grocer and looked for a chuck roast that had the most marbling. The more marbling (fat veins) the more flavour you’ll get. I ended up getting their smallest roast which was 4 ½ lbs. Luckily my grocer stocks a lot of their produce from local farms. So I grabbed carrots and celery that was grown right here in Washington state. If you buy from local sources your overall carbon footprint decreases, you are less likely to be exposed to pesticides, preservatives and hormones. And since it’s local, it tastes just as fresh as it came from the ground that very day.

The red wine in the recipe is optional and can be replaced with non-sweetened grape juice. I just happen to have a Halloween themed cabernet sauvignon called The Walking Dead. So fun!

So anyway, here’s to amazing start to this Autumn! Happy cooking!

Prep time: 30 minutes Total cook time: 5 hours

Ingredients:
4-5 lbs beef chuck roast
Salt and pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large carrots, cut into spoon sized
3 stalks celery, cut into spoon sized
½ large onion, diced into spoon sized
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine or unsweetened grape juice
3 cups beef broth
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground thyme
½ teaspoon ground allspice

Directions

  1. Use a paper towel to dab excess meat juice from the roast. This is properly prepping to browning any red meat.
  2. Sprinkle and rub a few pinches of salt and pepper on each side of roast.
  3. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Add the roast and cook each side until golden brown. Transfer roast into slow cooker. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add cut carrots, onion, celery to slow cooker.
  5. Using the remaining oil in skillet, add tomato paste and stir around for a minute using a whisk. Slowly add flour and wine while still whisking. Add beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, and allspice. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper, for desired taste. Keep whisking until slightly thickened. It may take a few moments to get the gravy to start simmering.
  6. Add cut potatoes on top of roast and the other veggies. Then pour gravy over ingredients. Add lid and cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low for an additional 5 hours. You can stir the ingredients every now and then to make sure the potatoes get cooked evenly.
  7. You know your roast is done with you take a fork to a the meat and it falls apart. Turn down to warm and let sit for 15 minutes. Carefully removing the roast onto a large cutting board, tear apart the meat using forks to desired sizes. Put back into slow-cooker and serve immediately! I recommend serving with a side of french bread or pub buns.