Spices and flavorings

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I recently decided to never buy a spice or spice mix that I can make myself.

My first attempt was seasoning salt, because we recently ran out and I was sick of hearing the kids ask me if I remembered to buy more. (Can you guess the answer? Hahaha) So off I went in search of a recipe. Of course anytime lately it seems  I’ll find a recipe and adapt it to fit what I have in the cupboards or to suit our personal tastes.

It was better than any seasoning salt I’ve bought at the store.

Here’s my adapted recipe

1 TBSP table or sea salt

1Tbsp white sugar

1/4 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp tumeric

You can also add 1/8 tsp onion powder.

 

Mix it all together in a bowl or shaker, and use whenever you want to. Store in an airtight container.

We like it on home baked oven fries, eggs, hash browns, slices of cucumber and so much more!

Enjoy!

 

Pancake shapes and colours

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Some of you may wonder how I make the shapes and colours for the pancakes, and how the letters, numbers and faces are made.

ladybugs

ladybugs

It’s simple, really. I found some condiment bottles meant for ketchup, mustard and mayo and filled them up with pancake batter. To fill the bottle, I usually use a measuring cup and just make a big mess. A better way  would be to use a funnel to fill the bottle, replace the lid and create away. If you happen to have several condiment bottles you can even make several different colours and make scenes for your family to eat.  With practice, I have been able to make letters, ladybugs, faces, minecraft creepers and valentines hearts, and will only be making more as I go along. 20140420_104841

For colours, so far I have used chocolate powder for brown and food colouring for the rest. I am going to be experimenting in the future with using different foods to add colours to the batters  I use, and will be bringing you right along for the journey.

I have just begun being creative with pancake plates, so bear with me as the designs get better and more fun to devour.

 

I will post a tutorial video as soon as possible to show how I create all the different fun plate ideas.20140420_161859

Yummy Tex-Mex Chicken

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Tex-mex chicken

Tex-mex chicken

I try to find creative ways to make food, especially since we eat many of the same basic shelf foods every day. The other week, in a quest to make better chicken I decided to just raid the spice cupboard to see what I could come up with.

There I found, stuffed behind the big bag of garlic powder, a shaker full of texmex seasoning. And I knew I found the answer for supper that night.

What you need:

9×13 inch baking dish

About a Kg of chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can use whatever you like)

Texmex seasoning, about 3 TBSP

Small jar of salsa (we use mild or medium here)

Grated cheddar cheese, about 1 cup

I first took the chicken and placed it in the ungreased baking dish. Then I generously sprinkled the texmex seasoning all over the top of the chicken pieces. After that, I poured the salsa on top, spread out the grated cheese and popped it in the oven for about 35 minutes at 375 degrees F. The cook time may vary, depending on what size the pieces you are using are and whether it is boneless or not.

I’ll usually serve with rice or roasted potato fries.

Enjoy!

 

Easter Cupcakes

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Simple and Delicious Easter Cupcakes

Simple and Delicious Easter Cupcakes

Easter is always a fun time of year for us. We are not religious, and don’t normally attend church (my partner and I grew up with different religious backgrounds).

Since my family does celebrate Easter (and other holidays) we attended the usual family gathering and dinner. I’m usually in charge of desserts for most family dinners, and this time the kids got a special treat-chocolaty cupcakes.

I’m usually more of a cookie maker, and have just started trying cakes and cupcakes from scratch. I found a recipe that came on the back of my cupcake  papers, and decided to give it a try. Boy, was it EVER a great choice! They turned out so moist and rich the icing was an unneeded addition.

Old Fashioned Cupcakes (courtesy of the packaging on Sweet Creations cupcake wrappers)

1 3/4 c all purpose flour

2 c granulated sugar

3/4c unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup brewed coffee (you can use instant, I just used leftover from the morning)

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you are using liners, place in cupcake tins and set aside. If you don’t use liners, grease the pan.

2. mix together the first  6 dry ingredients in a large bowl, and set aside.

3. Whisk together the other 5 ingredients in another bowl.

4. pour the wet batter into the dry mix and whisk until combined.

5. Fill each cupcake tin half full, and bake for about 18-25 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean

 

Decorate after they are cooled with icing and candies, or sprinkle icing sugar over the top.

 

Please enjoy these cupcakes.

 

Pastry Crust (Easy Pie Pastry)

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20140419_pie crust yes

I can’t believe I forgot how deliciously simple it is to make my own pie crusts!

I semi combined 2 recipes, using the technique for one and the recipe from the other. Right now, the dough is chilling in the fridge, while I decide which pies to make. I can’t decide between pumpkin, apple or banana cream. I will probably make a banana pie of some sort, as I did find a new recipe I’m trying out (and altering slightly to fit the ingredients I have on hand).

This is what I did.

I took a pound of lard (454 grams) and mixed it into a salt flour mixture  until it resembled small pea sized crumbs. I then added an egg mixed with vinegar and ice water until the dough stuck together. (I didn’t have to use it all, only about 4-5 TBSP). Then I chilled the dough for about an hour (you should chill it for at least 30 minutes) before rolling it out to fit into my pie tins. Since it made 6 discs, I will also be freezing the left over dough until I need to use it again.

If you want really flaky pastry, try to work the dough as little as possible.  Rolling it out too many times, or kneading it will make it tough. I always try to touch it as little as possible.

There is also a great way to make pastry crust using shortening, which I will use at a later time.

Check out the next post to see which pies I chose to make, and how I did it.  Have a great day.

Keep calm and bake on!

 

Recipe I used, from the lard packaging:

1lb chilled lard

5 1/2 cups flour,

2 tsp salt

1 large egg

1 TBSP vinegar

ice water, added to egg vinegar mixture to each one cup.

 

 

Passionate about Baking

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Hey there! I’m SO happy to see you reading my blog and I hope that I can help inspire you, while I show you my journey.

Baking powder biscuits-a quick family favorite

Baking powder biscuits-a quick family favorite

So far I have touched down on a few things I enjoy making at home for me and my family to enjoy as meals and treats, but now I’m going to share with you one of  my true passions in life- baking!

I have been an avid cookie maker for years, perfecting my timing almost down to the second on my chocolate chip cookies, chewy and moist, but firm enough to keep their shape. I have made jam jam cookies, modifying the recipe without anyone even noticing. I have made countless batches of oatmeal-type cookies to finally find the perfect one-only to make it even better, and with my kids over the years I have made dozens of cut out cookies from gingerbread in the winter time to sugar cookies any time of year.

I have been able to make good enough breads and loaves, using both a bread making machine to fully from scratch by hand, and somewhere in between by using my super duper stand mixer. We have a couple of favorites, and I plan to experiment a little bit with some of the recipes I have here in my box to make them tastier, healthier and all around better.

I have tried to make cakes and cupcakes and I have never heard any complaints…but until they say “wow, that’s just like grandma used to make” to me it won’t be good enough.

Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps

I have made pie crust from scratch a total of twice in my life, and plan to try it again and again until I also perfect that recipe (of course using the tried and true recipe found on my shortening or lard packaging) and have made home made pumpkin pie the family couldn’t seem to get enough of (topped of course with real whipped cream) and even a sweet potato pie that no one could tell wasn’t pumpkin.

I really hope that over the next months I can begin to share my passion for baking, especially cookie making and decorating. I also hope to share my learning experiences as I go along trying out new recipes and methods I find along the way.

The Great cookie experiment- Part 2

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I tried! I really did, but I personally don’t think the cookies with the modified ingredients turned out as well.  The kids and their dad ate them up, and the kids didn’t even know I had modified the recipe.

If you read my previous post, you will know that I am trying to add healthier options into our foods, especially for my more fussy eaters. With this experiment (which isn’t quite over) I tried to make a basic drop chocolate chip cookie dough replacing the fats (in this case margarine) with pureed beans. I replaced the full amount of margarine with pureed chickpeas (garbanzo beans).

I noticed that I had to bake them a little bit longer, and that they didn’t spread out as much while cooking like the ones made with margarine or shortening.  The dough was also much more liquidy after “creaming” the beans with the sugars and eggs, so I added a little more flour to the dough, about a 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour.

My partner exclaimed that they were the PERFECT dunking cookie, and ate far too many for one sitting (which for me only means more fun in the kitchen, and proof that the experiments are working.) I guess I like softer cookies. I don’t dunk cookies very much.

Next time I will be trying to replace the margarine in another of our favorite cookie recipes, without adding any extra flour to the recipe even if it looks too liquidy this time around. Hoping that the cookie will turn out more like I expect next time, but I’m certain that no matter what they won’t last long.

 

(Sorry for the lack of pics this time, I WILL make sure to get some for the next round)

My home made garlic spread

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making garlic spread

making garlic spread

I like to make my own garlic spread for garlic toast or garlic cheese bread. It’s a simple recipe and I usually use margarine instead of butter because it’s less expensive, and always something I am sure to have on hand.

1 square of hard margarine, softened to room temperature (or about 1/2 cup of the spreadable stuff) OR use  butter, (omit the salt if you use the salted kind)

2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp garlic powder (feel free to use more if you have no fresh garlic on hand, or to taste)

pinch of salt

1 tsp parsley (I don’t always add this because the kids are picky about the “green stuff”)

Mix thoroughly in a small glass bowl.  Use right away, or save for a later time. I have kept this for up to 2 weeks in the fridge in a reusable container  after making it. The taste seems to get stronger after it sits.garlic bread slice

Happy eating!