spicy cauliflower “chicken wings”

Spicy CauliflowerSince becoming a vegetarian almost 10 years ago, the only meat I have continued to have cravings for is chicken wings. And this recipe for fake chicken wings has pretty much fulfilled that craving. It’s so basic too, just batter up some cauliflower, roll in hot sauce, and bake! I found the recipe on Bullfrogs and Bulldogs blog. This recipe is seriously so yummy and easy that you really don’t have a reason not to try it…

Copied from Bulldogs and Bullfrogs:

“Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower

Author: Amanda
Recipe type: Appetiser
Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • For the batter:
  • Dash of Frank’s Original Hot Sauce, or whatever kind you like
  • ½ c. white rice flour
  • ½ c. water
  • Pinch salt
  • For the Buffalo sauce:
  • ¼ c. Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • ¼ c. oil, canola oil works best
  • Pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together the batter ingredients in a small bowl. Dip the cauliflower in the batter until coated evenly then place on greased baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the batter hardens.
  2. Mix together sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Once the cauliflower are done baking, brush them with the hot sauce mixture and bake again for a few more minutes, until cauliflower is crispy.
  3. Remove from oven. You may want to add a bit more buffalo sauce to taste.
  4. Enjoy!”

Instead of using white rice flour, I just used all-purpose flower and it worked fine. Also don’t forget to have lots of ranch dressing to dip in!

Garlicky Green Beans

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I came across this really cute post about green beans on Tastes Lovely. In the post, Natalie explains her bad luck with green beans until trying this recipe. And although I’ve always been green bean fan, I’ve never been able to cook them properly.

However, using her recipe, I made these delicious beans! I’ll definitely use the recipe again and I invite all you to try it too! It’s simple and classic:

“Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 garlic cloves

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet with a tight fitting lid over high heat. Add in the olive oil, green beans, salt and pepper. Turn green beans constantly until they turn bright green and begin to get a few little brown spots on them from cooking. About 2-3 minutes.

2. Add in 1/4 cup of water, and cover pan immediately. Allow the green beans to steam for 2-3 minutes.

3. Remove the lid, and stir the green beans until the remainder of the water has cooked away and evaporated. Turn heat to low. Push the green beans to the edges of the pan to make a little circle opening in the middle. Add in the 1 tablespoon of butter and grate the garlic cloves on top of the butter. Cook the grated garlic in the butter for 30 seconds until fragrant, then coat the green beans evenly in the garlic butter mixture for about 30 more seconds. Serve warm immediately.

4. Will keep refrigerated for 1 week in an airtight container.”

honey and mixed berry explosion muffins

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I made the best muffins I’ve ever made/ate using Lara Ferroni’s recipe for Blueberry and Currant Muffins. If you are Canadian, then you will know the Fruit Explosion muffin from Tim Hortons. These huge muffins are filled with mixed berries to point that they actually drip berry juices when you bite into them. The honey and mixed berry muffins I made are almost exactly the same. I LOVE THEM!

I followed Lara’s recipe except that I added in more berries!

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 T baking powder

1 1/2 t salt

1/2 cup honey

1 1/2 cup milk

4 eggs

1 T vanilla extract

1 t orange zest

8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter melted

1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries

1 pint fresh currants

1 pint fresh blackberries

Start by removing the current berries from their stems. Preheat the oven to 375F. If not using silicone, use a bit of butter to grease the sides of the muffin tin.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together into a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl (if you are using a mixer, use that bowl), combine the eggs, vanilla, honey, orange zest and milk, and whisk for about a minute.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low for about 2 minutes or until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Don’t over mix.

Start slowly drizzling in the butter, continuing to slowly mix.

When all the butter is well incorporated (no visible butter streaks), fold in the berries with a spatula. Try not crush them.

Fill each cup of the muffin tin to the top, carefully wiping off any spillage from the top of the pan. Place in the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the middle muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then gently loosen the sides with a knife or fork, and turn the whole pan over to remove the muffins. Allow them to cool a few more minutes on a wire rack.

http://www.laraferroni.com/2006/07/24/mornings-are-for-muffins/

no fail crème caramel

no fail creme caramel

I have made creme caramel too many times. This french dessert is creamy, sweet, and satisfies anyones need for caramel. It is also super easy!!!. The recipe I use to make the flan part (the creamy eggy light yellow bottom) is found here. The recipe is by celebrity chef Laura Calder and she has a great french food cooking show on the food network. She shared a bunch of tips for making this recipe, however there is a much easier way of making the caramel part of the flan (the rich brown caramel top).

I made three creme caramels over the winter holidays testing out different ways of making the caramel. In these pictures I used Laura’s way of boiling water and sugar until brownish. The only problem I had was that the caramel switches from light yellow to brown so fast and continues to boil even after putting it in the glass dish. This causes it to boil and burn. I tried many times to take it off before turning brown, but the water and sugar method ultimately failed for me.

I found that using a pan, you can add about a cup of sugar, (or more if you want lots of caramel) and just let the sugar simmer alone on medium to high heat. I found that shaking the pan slightly and tilting it over the heat helped to blend the melted sugar together with the solid sugar. This way has way more control over how fast the sugar heats and boils and I avoided burnt caramel!

This youtube video really helped me understand how to cook the caramel:

A few tips:

Take the caramel off the heat as soon as you see it turning orangey

If the caramel is brown, it is burnt (the caramel in these images is slightly burnt as I used the water + sugar method of making caramel and not the plain sugar method I suggest)

Yellow caramel has a really nice delicate taste, orange caramel has a nice rich taste. Both are yummy!

Tilting the pan helps mix the melting sugar around. Tilt slowly. Using a spoon is really messy!

If I burn the caramel, I soaked the dish in hot water and crack the caramel with a spoon. After awhile you should be able to crack all the caramel out of your dish and restart

So here is my altered version of Laura Calder’s creme caramel:

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar (for the topping)

2 cups milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 eggs

½ cup sugar

Preheat the over to 325°F/160°C and bring a kettle of water to boil.

On medium-high heat, carefully melt 1 cup of sugar, tilt the pan to help mix the melted and unmelted sugar together, until orangey and caramelly.

Quickly pour the melted sugar/ caramel into a cake tin and swirl to coat the bottom evenly. Set aside.

Pour the milk into the same pan, add the vanilla extract, and bring to the boiling point. Turn off the heat, set aside to cool slightly.

Beat the eggs with the remaining sugar, then whisk the milk/vanilla mixture into the egg/sugar mixture.

Strain the custard over the hardened caramel and the set the pan in a larger dish or roasting pan. Pour boiled water into the bottom pan to come half-way up the sides of the flan. Transfer to the oven and bake until set, 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove the flan from the oven and from the water bath. Run a knife around the outside edge to loosen the flan. Cool completely – even chill, if you like. To serve, flip the flan onto a plate, pour over any caramel remaining in the pan. Serve in wedges.

Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/creme-caramel-2/8300/#GLC81jG4P7I87VTP.99

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chickpea and swiss chard minestrone

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Minestrone

A couple nights ago I stumbled across vegetarian ventures, which is a really great vegetarian food blog with amazing food photography. I tried making minestrone from a recipe I found on the blog and turned out pretty good! You can find the link to the recipe here.

I made caramel apple crisp a while ago as well, it turned out alright but I’m still searching for a better recipe. For that reason I’ll only post the pictures. If you read this and have a good apple crisp recipe, let me know!!!

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creamy chocolate fudge with skor bits

ImageI made fudge for thanksgiving!!! I was looking for a quick and easy recipe that would be decadent and creamy. I used a recipe from V and Co. but I changed how I made it and added heavy cream for an extra creamy taste and skor, because skor is delicious (and was on sale!) I also doubled the recipe so I could share with friends and family.

Adapted from V and Co.

ingredients:

4 packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I know it’s a lot, you can cut this recipe in half for a smaller, cheaper version)

2 cans of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup of heavy cream

1 bag of Skor toffee bits

ImageIn a pot over medium heat, melt all the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the 2 cans of condensed milk and heavy cream. Continue stirring, make sure that the chocolate chips on the bottom are not burning.

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Once all the chocolate chips have melted you should have fudge that is a smooth and thick consistency. Add as much Skor bits as you would like, saving some for the topping. I put about 3/4 of the bag in.

Pour fudge into a pan, sprinkle the rest of the Skor bits on top and let sit in the fridge to cool. About 1/2 hour. Or eat right away!

pumpkin spice loaf with cream cheese filling (and chocolate chips!!!)

pumpkin spice loaf with cream cheese filling

 

Ok. I have been roaming the food blogs, pinterest, and seeing these advertised in store windows, pumpkin bread is all the rage right now. But I wanted more of a dessert than a bread, and so, this was created! I used “The Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe Ever” from Recipe Girl, and although I have only ever used this recipe, it really does seem like the best. The bread is really heavy and moist, dense but fluffy and soft at the same time. It has a really strong pumpkin taste, like pumpkin pie but bread format! I then layered in the traditional pumpkin pie spices mixed with brown and white sugar and chocolate chips, as well as cream cheese icing. This is how I made it:

Bread:

This is copied exactly from Recipe Girl:

pumpkin bread
Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min
Every year during the fall holidays, I begin baking loaves and loaves of this incredibly moist and delicious spiced pumpkin bread for friends and neighbors. It’s the best pumpkin bread recipe ever!

Ingredients:
4 large eggs
3 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil (or 1/2 cup oil & 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups pure (unsweetened) pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9×5-inch loaf pans. You can use 8×5 pans too, but they’ll rise quite high while baking.

2. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and oil.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour through salt) and then stir it into the wet mixture. Add pumpkin and water and stir until combined.

4. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tips:
*Since this recipe yields two loaves, make several batches and deliver them to your neighbors as a fall holiday treat!
*You may also use 8 mini loaf pans- bake 45 minutes to an hour.
*This bread freezes well. When cooled, cover with plastic wrap, then foil & freeze until ready to eat. It should keep well in the freezer for several weeks.

Source: RecipeGirl.com

However, instead of pouring all the batter into the pans, layer the sugar and spice mix as well as cream cheese icing. Example, Pour batter, sugar + spice, batter, cream cheese icing, batter, sugar + spice, batter, cream cheese icing, batter, etc… I finished with the sugar and spice mix on top.

Cream Cheese Icing recipe:

ingredients:

1 pack of cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened

2 – 3 cups of icing sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer. Continue adding icing sugar until you reach the desired consistency.  I made mine really light and liquidy so it would be easy to pour and spread on the batter.

 

Sugar and Spice mix:

Ingredients

1/2 cup of white sugar

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of cloves

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of ginger

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

chocolate chips (optional and as much as you want)

pumpking spice loaf with cream cheese filling 2