Granola

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This past semester our class had an amazing overlay teacher.  She did so many awesome activities with the kids.  Once a week (at least) we would cook, make or bake something.  One of the days we made granola.  I have never been a huge fan of granola, but I was sold on this recipe!

This recipe is from Living Primal.  I, in no way follow any primal diet or lifestyle, it just so happens this is the one she brought in that day.

Primal Crunch Granola

1 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries OR blueberries OR raisins (or combo)

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Add nuts, seeds, and coconut to large mixing bowl.

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3. Melt coconut oil in microwavable dish, then mix in honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until consistency is even.

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4. Pour over nut mixture and toss to coat evenly.

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5. Spread thin on a baking sheet (parchment paper makes for easy clean up.)

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6. Bake for ~20 minutes or until coconut browns, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

7. Mix in dried fruit. (forgot a picture when the raisins were mixed in)

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Allow it to fully cool before eating. Enjoy with plain Greek yogurt or milk (as you would with traditional cereal.)

I loved this!  Honestly, I didn’t put it with anything.  I just ate it straight from the bowl as a snack.  A handful here and there and it was gone in no time!  I had many requests for the recipe, everyone loved it!

Thanks to Living Primal for the wonderful recipe.

 

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Snickers Popcorn

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* Please excuse the look of this post!  Not sure what is wrong, but the spacing is not cooperating, everything looks crammed together*

Another recipe with Guest Baker Amy!  I love when my cousin Amy comes out to bake!  As mentioned in previous posts this days main focus was 2 cheesecakes but only one was accomplished, check it out here. We also attempted a caramel sauce, what a disaster you can see it here.

We decided on this recipe while we were in the grocery store buying the cheesecake ingredients.  We were going back to Amy’s place to have a nice dinner with both of our families.  We needed dessert, but it had to be something that was ‘no bake’ or stove top as the oven was busy with cheesecake!    Amy found this one on Six Sisters’ Stuff, it sounded delicious!

* Unless you are feeding a crowd (10+ people) I would half this recipe, it makes a lot!

Snickers Popcorn

4 quarts popped corn (about 1 cup kernels)
1 cup salted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup salted peanuts
30 fun size Snickers bars chopped up
3 oz melted chocolate chips
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Chop up Snickers bars into bite size pieces
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3.Pop your popcorn and put popcorn and peanuts in a big brown paper grocery bag. We didn’t have a paper bag, so we went with a big bowl and a pot
I had to go up to the attic to get the popcorn popper, had not used it in forever!  Popping the popcorn was a whole new adventure in itself, haha!
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It was like we were back in 1999 when I was babysitting her, we always had popcorn watching movies.  We were both watching it for the first kernel to pop!
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There it is! But do you notice a problem?
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As the popcorn started to shoot out the top of the popper we had kernels and popcorn all over, it was snowing popcorn!  No idea where the little lid/butter melter is.  We had to improvise ….
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4.  Seperate into bowls big enough to stir and add nuts
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5. Over medium heat boil butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup for 5 minutes (stirring constantly).
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6. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
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7. Pour over popcorn and stir
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We gave it a try – it was a little soggy, yikes!
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8. After the popcorn is coated well, spread onto a cookie sheet. Spread chopped Snickers over top of popcorn and put in oven for 5 minutes.
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9. Remove from oven and drizzle melted chocolate over top of popcorn.
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Look at that!!!
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When it cake out of the oven it was nice and crunchy, way better than any caramel corn I had ever had.  In fact I don’t even like caramel corn.  This was amazing!
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The crunch of the baked caramel sauce and the sweet of nut chocolate were an excellent combination.  It wasn’t overpowering sweet at all (others mentioned as I never thing anything is too sweet).  It was a huge hit for dessert, not much left of the tray.  It was so addicting, we seriously couldn’t stop, had to move away from the table.
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I would definitely make this again.  The only thing I would change is the addition of salt.  My Uncle suggested as we were eating that it would be awesome with some salt.  He was right!  We put a few shakes on and it got even better!  The salt really enhanced the flavours and who doesn’t love sweet and salty things?  I would put it on just before the bake so it stuck to the popcorn.
Thanks for picking an awesome recipe, this one will definitely be a redo!
*If not eaten immediately…can be stored in an airtight container.

Caramel Sauce

Another recipe with Guest Baker Amy!  Amy was out making cheesecakes.  As the first one was in the oven, check it out here, we started the caramel sauce needed for the second cheesecake.

Being in an adventurous mood I thought we would try making homemade caramel sauce.  I read many recipes and watched several videos, it looked really easy.  Very few ingredients and very little work.  All the recipes seemed to be quite similar, but I decided to go with one from ‘A Teaspoon and A Pinch‘.

When purchasing all of our ingredients, I did get a jar or caramel sauce ‘just in case’ things went terribly wrong.  We were optimistic we wouldn’t need it though.

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

1 c. sugar
1¼ c. heavy cream
¼ tsp. coarse salt or sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, optional

1. Measure out the heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup and add vanilla bean paste.  Microwave for one minute and set aside.

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2. Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, watching carefully.

We both watched the pot of sugar quite curiously as we did not believe it would melt down.

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3. When the sugar begins to liquify around the edges, use a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon to gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted, taking care not to over stir or allow sugar to clump up

I will admit we got very excited at the sight of liquid forming, we didn’t believe it would happen.

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Mine did not liquify around the edge, it did so in the centre, then clumped.  This didn’t happen in any of the videos I watched!  I am thinking I am glad we bought the jar of sauce!

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It stayed like this for quite some time before all the sugar melted

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4. Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat.  We were optimistic, it was looking and smelling wonderful!

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5. Carefully and quickly, stir in half of the heavy cream.

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6. The mixture will steam and bubble violently. Stir until the cream is well incorporated

*this is when things start to go down hill rather quickly!

In the original recipe the author posts pictures and comments about what to do if the caramel hardens…

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Of course mine did!! A giant clump of candy in a discoloured milky soup, mmmmm delicious!  Blah!

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I followed the disaster directions which basically said to bring back to the heat and stir until the clump dissolved, which it did.  We are optimistic once again!

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7. Stir in the remaining cream. Stir in the salt and optional butter. If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If needed, it can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.  Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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This looks nothing like the original recipe (or any other that I looked at)

 

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It is grainy and gloopy,not runny at all.  IT was like lava, so we allow it to cool

 

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When it had cooled enough to taste, I grabbed to spoons and we dug right in.

As I am tasting mine I glance over at Amy, she was wincing in pure disgust! It was quite funny.  It was horrible!  This time it is not just me being hard on myself wanting it to be perfect, it was awful!  Amy agreed.  Amy made a good point, she said usually you can eat a dessert maybe a comment about it being too dry, not sweet enough, but this is disgusting and inedible! (something to that effect anyway)

It went directly into the garbage! Ewww

Thank goodness I bought the backup jar of sauce 😉

Toffee Candy

I have wanted the recipe for this candy for a long time, finally I got it!!!  I had to promise that I would NEVER, EVER share the recipe.  So this one you just get to look at.  I have had several other toffee candies that may be similar, but this one is the best!

My Poppa had a favourite candy that we can no longer find in stores, it was then that I begged for the recipe.  I really hope he likes it, everyone here did!

Thanks again…don’t worry, I’ll take this one to the grave with me 🙂

A big bowl for Poppa

Organization!

I finally decided to tackle something I have been saying I was going to do for years…..organize my recipes!!!  Not many people have seen my recipe collection, it is a bit ‘scary’ for lack of a better term.  I have hundreds of recipes, some good, some bad, some I will try, some I will probably never try, but all of them are jammed into two file folders.  One folder is for desserts and the other is for everything else.

Now, one might think that the big thick pile would be the ‘everything else’ recipe folder, NOPE!  The big thick one is all sweets and treats, the other small one ‘everything else’.  This clearly shows my hate for cooking and my LOVE for baking!

For years I have been saying I wanted to organize my recipes, the current system, or lack there of, was just not working.  Every time I would search for a recipe disaster struck, sheets would go flying, it was chaotic really.  Thumbing through each page trying not to drop the whole lot on the floor.

Try finding anything in that mess

I had a hard time coming up with how I wanted to do it.  Many people suggested typing all my recipes and putting them on the computer, to save space and would be easy to call up a recipe.  Although this sounds good I am fussy when it comes to my recipes.  I much prefer a hand written recipe than a typed one.  There is just something more personal about a recipe that someone took the time to sit down and write.  I guess it stems back to before computers and type writers when people actually wrote!  I love having recipes from my Nana that are in here hand writing, that are stained with the listed ingredients.  Knowing that she took the time to write it, held it and used several times to make desserts for my Dad when he was young, just makes it special.  Just having a print off doesn’t do it for me.

You can always tell how goo a recipe is by how dirty it was.  The good ones were always covered in ingredients and fingerprints

Recipes in my Nana’s writing.  Since she passed away means that much more

There must be a better way!

In an effort to make myself get organized, for Christmas 2010 I asked for a recipe book.  I didn’t want just any recipes book, I wanted my Mom to write out her recipes and put them in a book.  Nothing fancy, just her everyday recipes.

This was the book

It is a photo album book with the peel back pages with several of her recipes

As much as I loved the book, it failed to motivate me to get the rest of my recipes organized!  They stayed in the growing folder until now!  I had a minor (well maybe a major) fit while trying to find a recipe.  I thumbed through, page after page after page.  I knew exactly what the page I was looking for looked like but would not see if for the life of me.

It was early on a Sunday morning, I immediately got up and  struck into town, to Staples.  It was getting done today! After 45 minutes in the store I got a big binder, 100 sheet protectors and some sticky divider tabs.  The cashier saw my items and said “oh this looks like a project, not fun!” I told her that it was indeed a project but a good one, making a recipe book.  She thought I should bring her back some treats from the book as she had 4 essays due that night….Anyways…

Back at home all motivated to get organized.  I dive into the mess and start several piles for sections, Squares, Pies, Breads, Odds n’ Sods, Cakes, Cupcakes, etc.  I even had a throw out pile, for those recipes that have been hanging around for years that you know you will never make, but looked good at the time.

Several hours later I had two organized cook books!

Blue book is strictly baking, all sweets and treats.  The red book everything else. Each book is filled with sheet protectors filled with old recipes, new recipes and WILL try recipes.  Each is categorized into sections so it is easy to find what I am looking for

I love my new books!  They are easily stored, easy to find things in and are full of memories.  There are a few of those boring ‘typed’ recipes but those ones are ones that I have found and tried.  I look forward to filling these books with more wonderful creations to pass on.

Next time you ask for a recipe have the person write it out.  It is something you will have forever and always remember them by.  With the same respect if you give someone a recipe write it out, you never know, it just may bring a smile to their face in years to come 🙂

A Spectacular Treat!

I was out an about with my Mom the other day and we came across this  little piece of heaven on a stick…

Yes, you are seeing correctly, Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked (cookie dough and brownies) on a stick!!! Saw it and had to have it!

Some Ottawa Eats

This past weekend I spent some time in Ottawa with my Mom, we had a fantastic time and indulged in some wonderful food.  Here are a few of the items you just don’t see around Peterborough.  When in Ottawa you must go to the By Ward Market and try some of their wonderful foods

I spent alot of time in this store, The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.  The smells coming form here were fantastic!

If that chocolate was not behind the counter I swear I would have put my mouth right under the flow haha…

They had many different types of covered apples.  This one really caught my eye, Carmel dipped, then Oreos stuck, drizzled with milk and white chocolate then more Oreos.  WOW

This one I just had to try.  Oreo Bark!  Wow was it tasty!

This sign was in the window of a homemade ice cream and hot dog hut.  Just thought it was funny.

If you are ever in Ottawa or anywhere else you see a Dunn’s Famous Deli you MUST eat there.   Their food was excellent.  They are known for their smoked meat sandwiches but have many other tasty selections, Mom had the homemade Mac’n Cheese, was excellent!

But this is what I ordered….

The best smoked meat sandwich I have ever had.  Mom, who does not like smoked meat – hence ordering the mac’n cheese, just loved it! She actually said she wished she had ordered one.  We shared it, it was Huge!  The meat was so moist, juicy and tender.  I will definitely be heading back to Dunn’s!

And Finally….

Beaver Tails, a deep fried dough that is to die for.  Ottawa is known for them, you can’t seem to get them many more places.  I always get the cinnamon sugar, but they have many others to choose from.