Monday, 30 December 2013

Exciting new ingredient project

I plan to continue my journey in tweaking tested recipes and sharing delicious other ones but came up with an idea for the new year.  I am going to start a series on ingredients and how versatile they can be.  I have selected two ingredients and am in search of two more.  How this will work is once per months. Will search and find and create one recipe with each ingredient then blog about my experiences with this ingredient and recipes.  I pride myself that my family really enjoys trying new recipes and there are just so many out there.  I think 12 different dishes made with each ingredients over a year seems like a reasonable project.  If I keep the plan to what I hope I will make one dish per week with a new recipe.  I am positive some recipes will fail but at least I will have tried it and explored new things.  In this process I encourage if you find a recipe you think we may like please send it my way! I will take a look before deciding on the weekly project.

I am looking forward to this and am going to research the four ingredients this week to finalize them.
I have decided I am interested in trying Pumpkin year round to see its versatility so this is ingredient #1.  Ingredient #2 is Cinnamon as per hubby's request he things that would make for some interesting recipes.  I am also thinking of either Artichokes or Leeks but haven't decided yet.  Suggestions are welcome but note the ingredient must be readily available in odometer form year round for this to work.

Cheers from my home to yours!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Turkey Soup

Alright I don't really go by a recipe for my soup.  I kind of took how my mom did it....and made it my own many years ago.

I take the bones, wings, and extra pieces of the turkey and boil them in water for about 1.5 hours.  While boiling I also include about 1 tbsp of dried rosemary, 1tbsp of dried thyme and 3 bay leafs.  Once boiled down to make stock I strain liquid and return to the pot.

My normal recipe would then have me adding chopped onion, celery, carrots and turkey meat.  Simmer until the carrots and celery are cooked.  Then I would add the spices again (thyme, bay leaf and rosemary) and noodles of choice <my house likes mini shells>  

My tweak this time is I also included the leftover gravy I made from the pan drippings the day before....this thickened it a bit but gave it a great strong turkey flavour.  I simply added more water so it wasn't so thick.  I will do this from now on as soup was gone first day.

Happy holidays!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Libby's Pumpkin Pie

So I am a pumpkin pie maniac.  I love it.  Growing up mom has made many pies....but it always came back to Libbys.   The combination is such a wonderful balance it just works perfect.  I could enjoy a piece of this anytime.

My tweak: while I enjoy the original recipe I enjoy it even more if I put into it about a 1/4 teaspoon of ground all spice, ground cloves and ground nutmeg.  I usually put even more nutmeg as this is my go to spice for the holidays.  I also like cooking these in mini tart shells as they are proportioned for easy consumption.

These went over so well this weekend we even saw them go home with people. My family enjoys them and any leftover filling put in the fridge can be mixed with warm hot chocolate or latte to make pumpkin pie latte or hc......or even mix with white ice cream for pumpkin pie ice cream.....delish?!?

Soft Gingerbread Cookies !tweaked again!

Ok so last week I made soft gingerbread cookies and today decided to tweak them again.  I had the idea that gingerbread and lemon sounds I figured a small amount of zest in the dough and combine the sugar dough is rolled in with a little zest to give more lemon flavour.  In making these I wasn't sure it would work....overwhelming response is that this is a great combination and the lemon doesn't overpower the ginger.  The cookies remained soft in texture and kept the classic round shape.  

The originals went over well too as always but the lemon ones seemed to have an extra element to them.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Easy Chocolate Mousse

So I decided to try and use some of our half and half cream and see if I couldn't make so e mousse by whipping it with some chocolate.  Not sure why I assumed this would be so easy and work.  I even tried adding some cool whip to thicken it.  FAIL. 

By this time I had built my hopes up for a yummy treat.  So I went online to see how hard it really is to make some, and the resulting recipe was tried.

I found it very simple as I had all the ingredients.  It took about ten minutes to set in the fridge.

In my case it didn't "set" and when I went to serve they looked set but as soon as spoon hit mousse it was like runny whipped chocolate.  I wasn't impressed at all and will have to explore more recipes.

Families reviews:

"It tastes like all other mousse I have had.  Nothing special. ". <I took this to be a 5/10 rating>
"Awesome"<kid ratings don't count for chocolate>

Hershey's Black Magic Cake

SThis cake is easily my families all time favorite cake.  If you like cake or chocolate or both this is a must try.  No tweaking here!

While there is no tweaking needed I find that once cake is cooled it also makes for a great cake pop recipe as it keeps them moist.  

Here is what I do then:
    Crumble the cooled cake 2/3 is usually enough cake into a large bowl. <here is where I would add in additional flavouring in form of oil available at Bulk barn I.e. raspberry or strawberry>
    Mix 1/2 container of ready made chocolate whipped frosting <I like whipped as it is lighter> and mix with your hands until it is a nice consistency to ball in your palms and isn't sticky or loose.  
    Freeze the balls on cookie sheet for about 15 minutes to let the cake and frosting set.
    Take the cake pop sticks and dip them in a small amount of melted chocolate on the tip before sticking into the balls so when the chocolate hardens it makes for a more sturdy hold on the stick.  
     Put them in the refrigerator for about 15 so the chocolate sets in stick properly.  
     Melt chocolate for coating cake balls <I use a mixture of Dark and Milk Belgium chips found at Bulk barn>
     Dip cake pops in chocolate and use spoon to coat all sides.  Tap stick gently on heel of palm over bowl to tap off excess chocolate, while this seems silly as the more chocolate the yummiest......but it will harden too heavy and your cake pops will fall off the sticks.  
    Once done tapping I like to decorate different flavours differently so I know the flavours.  I.e. Red sprinkles for chocolate raspberry, holiday sprinkles for regular chocolate ones.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Soft Gingerbread cookies

Ok so I was in the mood to enjoy some gingerbread but I don't enjoy the tough cookies it takes your jaw muscles to break.  I quite enjoy the softer ones.  I searched online and found a recipe for them. 

Here is the link for the recipe I used:

So I found that at the time of cooking these cookies were very soft.  They were deliciously ginger flavoured and held that classic shape.  My family gobbled up the sugar coated ones that night.

My tweak: I enjoyed them rolled I sugar but decided to try tweaking the recipe a bit for the holidays.  I made half the batch with rolling them in candy cane crumbs instead of sugar.  They are very pretty even though they didn't quite melt into that classic round shape, but I find that a day later all the cookies are very hard.  

Kids reviewed these tweaked cookies :
"Yummy I love the candy cane. It's so Christmassy!"

I couldn't get much more of a review from them as they were too busy eating them.  I don't know if I will roll them again but it made for an interesting combination.