Sunday, September 27, 2015

Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

I went to visit my sister last week. I always bake something to take when I go and I always try to make something different.  I have been dying to try my Dad’s shortbread recipe forever. Normally we just make them at Christmas but I couldn’t wait. Since my sister loves Maui I thought I would put a little island spin on them with the addition of Macadamia nuts.

They turned out amazing! The nuts were toasted and crunchy; the tiny chocolate chips complemented the nuts perfectly. The shortbread itself is a dream… it just melts in your mouth!

These cookies were beyond amazing!

What you need,

½ cup cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup butter, at room temperature
¼ cup icing sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
½ cup mini chocolate chips

In a bowl cream the butter and both sugars.  Stir in the flour and cornstarch until totally combined. Fold in the macadamia nuts and chocolate chips.

Place the dough on a large piece of saran wrap. Roll into a log about 2 inches in diameter.  Put the dough log into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat.

Slice the cookies with a sharp knife about ¼ inch thick. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden brown.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I guarantee these cookies won’t last that long! They also freeze really well.

I will be making these again for sure. As my brother in law said, they taste like Christmas and Maui all in one! What could be better than that‼?



Recipe adapted from my Dad

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Zucchini Apple Muffins

A few weeks ago my in house taste tester’s boss gave him 2 HUGE zucchini.
I made a classic chocolate zucchini cake of course, it is my all-time fav! Then I froze a ton of pre-grated stuff to use in the winter.

I saved out just enough to make this recipe I saw on Two Peas & their Pod. They always have GREAT muffin recipes.  These are no exception.

They are tender and moist and full of apple. Absolutely delicious!

What you need,

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground all spice
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup applesauce (I used sweetened)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup grated granny smith apple
½ cup grated zucchini
1 cup peeled and chopped granny smith apple

For the topping,
2 tbsp. sanding sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a couple of muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and all spice. 
In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla extract. 
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix with a spatula until just mixed.  Gently stir in the grated zucchini, grated apple and apple pieces.  Do not over mix!

Divide the batter between the muffin cups.

In a small bowl stir together the sugar and cinnamon topping.
Sprinkle a little of the topping on each muffin.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool completely on a rack.
These muffins are great same day but they also freeze really well! Just wrap each muffin in saran wrap then place them into a large zip top bag.

These muffins are fantastic! I think they make it onto my top 10 favourite muffin recipes.

I love that they freeze so well. I can just pull one out of the freezer in the morning and toss it into my lunch and it makes a perfect mid-morning snack.

I am very glad I have lots of frozen zucchini so I can make these all winter long!



Recipe adapted slightly from Two Peas & Their Pod

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Broccoli Apple Salad

I always love a salad, but sometimes it is nice to do something other than the usual lettuce salads.

This broccoli apple salad is fantastic. It is super crunchy, which I love in a salad. The dressing is the perfect amount of sweet and tart. It really has a lot of flavor and texture.

I could eat just this salad as a meal, it is that good. Plus it is a great way to get your veggies.

What you need,

For the dressing,
¼ cup mayo
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tbsp. granulated sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste

For the salad,
2 cups broccoli florets cut into small pieces
¼ cup shredded carrot
1 tbsp. finely diced red onion
1 large apple, cored, quartered & sliced
¼ cup pecans, toasted
¼ cup dried cranberries

In a small bowl, stir together the mayo, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, sugar and salt and pepper. You can make the dressing a day ahead if you like, just cover in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge.

In a large bowl, toss together the broccoli, carrot, red onion, apple and cranberries.  Pour over the dressing and toss well to coat.  Stir in the toasted pecans.

Let the salad sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving. This will give the dressing a chance to soak into the broccoli.

Serve cold.

This salad was fantastic! It would be great at any time of year with just about any meal. 
It would be a great salad to take to a picnic or potluck because it holds up so well and you could easily make a double or triple batch for a crowd.

I hope you like this salad as much as I did!



Sunday, September 6, 2015

One Pot Pasta with Zucchini & Mushrooms

This one pot pasta has been calling my name for months. I have seen a few varieties all over the internets and I finally couldn’t resist giving it a try.

I was worried the texture of the pasta wouldn’t be right, because you use so little water, but it really turned out great. It kind of makes its own sauce! It tastes fabulous!

What you need,

½ lb. spaghetti
½ lb. cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 small zucchini, sliced & quartered (about 1 cup)
½ cup frozen peas
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 sprig fresh thyme
Salt/Pepper to taste
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. heavy cream

In a large pot combine 2½ cups water, the pasta, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, garlic, thyme and salt and pepper. I would start with about 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. You can adjust your seasonings later too.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender and most of the water is gone. Stir occasionally just to help everything cook evenly.

Once the pasta is cooked and the veggies are tender remove the pot from the heat. Remove the thyme sprig and then stir in the cream and the Parmesan cheese.  Adjust the salt and Pepper to your taste.

Serve right away with a little extra cheese cause that never hurts!

This was such an easy dinner! All in one pot, you can’t get easier than that.
I think cooking pasta this way will be a common occurrence in my house now!
I can’t wait to try some other versions.



recipe adapted from Damn Delicious