Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies

After looking at this leftover pumpkin puree I had sitting in my fridge, I finally found a recipe I wanted to try to help my make use of it. AND this recipe is one that I have already come back to and used again...and will definitely use many more times.

I need to send out a "thank you" to for posting this recipe ( for everyone to try. It's so easy and so delicious. You won't be able to get enough of these little pumpkin'll probably be like me and go get even more puree to have on hand. 

I now know what I'll be doing with the pumpkin I have on my front porch after Halloween!! 

Try it out and enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eating My Own Words...Or At Least My Tomatoes & Peppers

So before Thanksgiving I kind of "made fun" of my mom and what I thought she would have prepared for our Thanksgiving dinner. It turns out that I was totally wrong. My mom had decided to go "simple" as she stuck to turkey, stuffing, and a few side dishes. WOW! Even my husband sat down to dinner, looked at the table, and said "where are the sausages?". So I even though I tell people to never assume things, I didn't take my own advice...but I should!

Now I always seem to make fun of the fact that my mom cooks like she's feeding an army of 20 sometimes, but I just realized that I may have grown up to be just or almost like her. Soon after Thanksgiving, my husband and I decided to take on the farmer's market. Why? We thought we'd attempt to go "old school" and make and jar our own tomato sauce and roasted red peppers. Yes, our parents were very proud....and they also may have thought we were a little crazy. It wasn't the fact that we wanted to try to make and jar this stuff that made their eyes pop out, but we decided to buy 6 bushels to work with: 3 bushels of Roma tomatoes and 3 bushels of red peppers!!

This is only 2 bushels. We had 4
more bags.
A bushel equals 36.38 litres. We bought 109.14 litres of tomatoes, and 109.14 litres of red peppers! What were we thinking???? Well...we obviously weren't. Or, we just had some delusional idea of how easy and fun it would be.

So, making your own sauce is not hard, but it takes some work. Honestly, the part that is the most fun is either having a shot of brandy to help warm you up as you work outside in the cold (because it's a really messy thing to do inside) or when you have finished and can get excited about how much sauce you have.

Getting ready to start.
Feat #1: lifting these heavy bags onto the table.

The tomato workstation.
1. Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and cut a small "X" into the bottom.
2. Boil the tomatoes until the skin starts to peel off, then let them cool. (this shouldn't take too long)
3. Once they're cool, peel the skin off of the tomatoes (so annoying and messy)
4. You can either de-seed them (way too much time) or do what we did and just put them through a food/meat grinder.
5. Heat up some olive oil in a LARGE pot. (It helps if you have a burner that works off of propane. They are so fast. Thanks Mom!) Throw in some onion, garlic, grated or processed carrot and celery (or really anything you don't even have to put anything other than tomatoes in it if you don't want to).
6. Pour the ground up tomatoes into the pot. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer until it reaches the consistency you want. (We went for the not too chunky but not too watery sauce...that way it may be used for more things than just pasta sauce. So we had to let it simmer for at least about 40-60 minutes.)
7. Pour the sauce into cleaned jars, and put the lids on as soon as you can. It will be really hot to handle, but you'll hear the jars "pop" soon because of the heat of the sauce (that way you don't have to boil the jars to seal them).
8. Clean up the mess of tomatoes all over the place (this is gross, annoying, and will lead to prune like fingers).

My husband hard at work.


1. Barbecue the peppers on each side until they start to blacken a little and the skin starts to pull away.
2. After they've cooled a bit, peel the skin off of the peppers, take the tops off, and de-seed them.
3. Clean some jars, and pour a bit of vinegar into each one (about one or two fingers-width worth, depending on the size of the jar).
4. Mix the peppers with some vinegar and red wine, and start to place them in the jars (and pour yourself a glass of that red wine to help you stop wondering when you'll be done).
5. Once the jars are full, pour in some of the leftover juice from when you mixed the peppers into each jar.
6. Run a knife along the inside edge of each jar to get rid of any air bubbles. This will cause some more of the liquid inside to rise up...that's good.
7. Pour a little olive oil in the top of each jar and  seal it.
8. Put each jar into a pot of water, at least to the brim of the jar's cap. Bring the water to a boil and leave the jar in there until you hear it "pop". This means it is sealed.

**you could also add in some chopped up garlic into the jars before adding olive oil.

Jarred and ready to eat.

We had to try it out!

So now I have about 40 litres of tomato sauce and 15 litres of roasted red peppers....I think I'm good for the next couple of years! Your turn!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving FeastS

So my Thanksgiving weekend started off a little "non-Traditional". We had some teriyaki fondue on Friday night and some burritos on Saturday night. To be honest, it was kind of nice to think of it as an "international" Thanksgiving weekend feast.  Today will be a little more "traditional". Now I say "traditional" in quotations because, from previous experience, I'm assuming it will be more than turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing...

I thought I'd post a little something before I went off to family Thanksgiving lunch/dinner #1.  Today we'll be at my mom's house, where I'm sure the 6 of us that will be there will be inundated with about 3 different entrees of a selection of meats. And then let's not forget about the side dishes to go with each entree...just so everyone will have something that they might want. But who are we mom will expect us to try everything. Oh the good old Eastern European mentality...if no one tries it, that means it's not good (but really, we wouldn't know if we didn't try it. We're just too stuffed to take another bite).

My contribution to today's meal....honey pumpkin pie! It's a recipe I found on that uses honey instead of sugar! I'm actually really excited to try it.

But again, this is my assumption about what Thanksgiving lunch/dinner #1 will be like today...I guess I'll find out if I'm right in about an hour or so.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone (in Canada) and I hope your tummies get as full as mine will probably be.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Morning Cookies and Coffee

Ok, seriously, what could be a better way to start a Sunday morning than putting together some homemade cookies, brewing some coffee, and then sitting down and enjoying them with a good book?  That's exactly how my morning began, and I am now having a hard time doing anything else but dunking my cookies in my coffee and reading. So it may have ruined me from doing anything else today, but all that other stuff can wait!

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make a cookie cake for a children's birthday party (which is essentially just a giant cookie with "Happy Birthday" written on it) and found a recipe for the "Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie"  from And once we got to dig into it, I realized how seriously correct that name is. It was like biting into a homemade Mrs. Fields cookie. And it was gone a couple of minutes after it was put out. This made me realize that kids are happy with simplicity. Who needs a big chocolate cake decorated as their favourite cartoon character? If you put that cake next to a tray of cookies, there's a good chance they'll go for a cookie (and come back for more)!

When I woke up this morning I was debating between cookies and crepes. Then I thought of my husband, who, like those kids, would probably prefer the simple joy of dunking cookies into his morning coffee. So, I went with the cookies. I thought I would make those delicious Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, but then I thought I'd try playing around with them a bit. They still turned out great, but maybe a tad too sweet. Next time, maybe I'd cut more of the sugar or honey.


1/4 cup honey (I also mixed this with Agave nectar since I ran out of honey)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

The Process
-melt the butter and mix it with the honey and sugar until kind of creamy
-add in the egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix until all combined
-in a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda
-add the dry ingredients to the wet ones (a little at a time) and mix until all is combined and the batter has formed
-add in the chocolate and peanut butter chips and mix by hand
I couldn't resist trying one once they were done!
-put the batter in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes (it's ok if you leave it in there even longer)
-preheat oven to 325 F
-put tablespoon sized balls of batter (or bigger or's completely up to you since they are your cookies) onto an ungreased baking sheet
-bake for about 12-15 minutes (take them out once they start browning so that you don't over bake them)
-put them on a wire rack to cool...and ENJOY!

This ended up giving me about 26 cookies (it depends on the size of your cookies), which will last for at least a couple of days ; ).  And I'm definitely happy with my decision to make cookies...but who am I kidding, I still might go for some crepes too!