Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mini Apple Pies



My friend Niki recently visited her parents in Osoyoos, and she brought me a bunch of apples from a tree in their yard, which was very nice of her!


I decided to use a couple of them to make these mini apple pies.
My in house taste tester loves anything with apples and cinnamon so I knew they would be a hit!


What you need,

2-3 apples, diced into small pieces
2 tbsp. granulated sugar + more for topping
1 heaping tsp. of cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter, cold and diced into small pieces
12 tart shells, I bought mine
2 tbsp. heavy cream

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
Place your tart shells on a baking sheet.

In a bowl combine the chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon and cold butter. Fill the tart shells up to the top. I got 10; I used the 2 extra shells to make little cut outs for the tops of the pies. Just gently roll out the thawed tart shell and use a mini cutter to cut leaves or whatever you like.

Place the pastry tops on the pies and brush with a little cream and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.


There you have it, mini apple pies. Serve as is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! To die for!

Thanks for the apples Niki.


Jen





Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprouts



I found some lovely little brussel sprouts at the Farmer’s Market the other day.
I decided to do something a little different with them, rather than just boiling them.


I decided to roast them.  They were amazing!


What you need,

4-6 cups of small brussel sprouts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Trim the ends off the brussel sprouts and cut in half. In a large bowl toss the sprouts with the oil, garlic, lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the sprouts on the lined baking sheet and spread out into a single layer.

Roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through, until the brussel sprouts are tender.



This was a perfect side dish, such a tasty way to prepare brussel sprouts.

Jen


Monday, September 24, 2012

Late Summer Vegetable Soup

I wanted to use up some veggies I had in my fridge, so I decided to whip up a quick soup. I found this perfect recipe in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Light cookbook. This cookbook is fantastic; it is full of simple, quick and healthy recipes.



This soup was delicious!

What you need,

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
Salt and Pepper
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 small zucchini, halved and thinly sliced crosswise
2 cups green beans cut into thirds
3 cups corn, fresh or frozen
1 15oz can diced tomatoes, in juice
½ cup orzo

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in the onions, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add in the broth and water, bring to a boil.  Add in the zucchini, green beans, corn and can of tomatoes (with the juice), add in the orzo, and stir to combine.  Cook uncovered for 12-15 minutes until the veggies are tender and the orzo is cooked.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

This soup was perfect. I was surprised at how fast this soup came together; it made a really great weeknight meal. There were lots of left overs which made great lunches.

Jen

Recipe from Martha Stewart Everyday Light Cookbook

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

I don’t buy cookies anymore, but back when I did, I really liked Pirate cookies.

I am a sucker for peanut butter, as you know!

When I saw this recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod’s site I knew I NEEDED them in my life STAT!


What you need,

¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt (I didn’t use salt because I used salted butter, as usual!)
½ cup butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup quick cooking oats

For the Filling,
3 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp. heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat and set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt (if you are using).

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, peanut butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla in, and beat well.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until combined. Stir in the oats.

Drop the dough by the tablespoon, or I used a small scoop, onto the baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes until cookies are lightly browned and the edges are set. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling make the filling. Beat the peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar until smooth, add in the heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy.

Spread a teaspoon or so of filling onto the flat side of one cookie, then sandwich together with a second cookie, pressing the filling out to the edge.

Makes 20 small cookies.

Store in an airtight container up to a week. (They won’t last that long!)

These cookies are crazy good. They taste just like a pirate cookie.
They are soft and chewy and the filling is to die for.

These are definitely one of my new fav’s!

Jen


Friday, September 21, 2012

Favourite Things Friday Vol 36

This was one of those weeks that felt really long, but now that I am writing my Friday post, it feels like yesterday that I was writing last Friday's post!

Long short weeks are weird.

Anyway, here are my top 5 picks for the Comedies I am most looking forward to this fall.

1. Community


Ok, so after I watched my first episode of community I thought "this show is kinda weird."  Then I realized that I am kinda weird. After that I couldn't get enough of Community!!
There is a lot of pop culture reference and inside jokes, the characters are dysfuncional and crazy and awesome!
They are heading into their final season, I can't wait to see what the Greendale 7 get up to this year!
If you haven't seen it, check it out, it is on Netflix.


2. 2 Broke Girls


This show cracks me up. It is sarcastic and ridiculous but totally awesome.
Caroline and Max are total opposites and unlikely friends, but somehow they make a great team.
The secondary characters are great, Oleg, Han and Sophie, oh and the horse! So funny!


3. How I Met Your Mother


I have enjoyed this show since the very start. I love that it is funny but sometimes serious.
The characters are smart and funny, especially Barney (who doesn't love NPH!)
I really freaking hope they tell us who the mother is this season, I NEED to know!

4. Big Bang Theory


I love these Geeks!! They are so sweet and funny. Sheldon kills me!
I love that they are friends with Penny, who is totally not a geek.
Then there is Amy Farrah Fowler, OMG she is AWESOME!
Show makes me laugh out loud. Can't wait to see if Wolowitz made it into space!!

5. Whitney

Ok, so Whitney isn't for the faint of heart. It is rude crude and mostly inappropriate, which is why I love it, this show is freakin' hilarious! I often have to pause the show cause I am laughing so hard, I don't want to miss any jokes!
My in house taste tester and I love the show, we watch it together. It is our kind of bad humour!
I am so glad it got renewed for a second season.

So there you have it, my top 5 Comedies.
What shows make you laugh?

I hope you all have a lovely first weekend of Fall!

Jen







Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce



Even though it still feels more like summer than fall here in Vancouver, I am still all over using pumpkin in well, everything!!


This is a great use of pumpkin in a savory dish.

I love alfredo, but it always feels so heavy. The pumpkin helps make this alfredo super creamy, without all the cream.  Plus it gives it a nice sweet nutty flavour.


What you need,

18 oz. of fresh cheese tortellini
1 tbsp. butter
½ a small onion, diced finely (you could use a shallot if you remember to buy one at the store, I didn’t!)
½ cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Fresh ground Pepper and Salt to taste
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of cooking water before you drain the pasta.

Meanwhile in a large sauté pan over medium high heat melt the butter. Add in the chopped onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes until they are soft and translucent.  Add the pumpkin puree and the nutmeg, stirring for 1 minute.  Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and cook for 1 more minute.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Add a little of the reserved cooking liquid to thin the sauce if needed.

Garnish with more cheese and chopped parsley.


I loved this pasta. It had a ton of flavour, it was quick and easy.
I took the leftovers for lunch the next day and it was perfect!
Totally my kind of meal!

Jen