Gingerbread Doughnuts

8 Mar

These doughnuts are phenomenal! I found this recipe on a website dedicated to healthy food. Even though there aren’t many posts and it hasn’t been updated in 9 months, there are some great sounding recipes there that are worth checking out.

I love that these are baked and not fried, plus they can be totally vegan. I’ve never tried egg replacement products before, so I slightly tweaked the recipe to include real eggs instead.

Gingerbread Doughnuts

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk

Preheat oven to 350. Grease doughnut pans, if necessary.

In a large mixing bowl, combine first seven ingredients with a whisk.

In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Stir well with a fork to make sure that the molasses is evenly distributed. Add the wet mixture to the dry. Mix until just combined.

Scoop all the batter into a ziplock bag, cut the tip and pipe evenly into the doughnut pans. Bake 10-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the doughnuts comes out clean. Let them sit in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

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Optional glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

While the doughnuts are cooling, prepare the glaze. Using a whisk, mix the ingredients in a small bowl, but one that’s big enough to fit the doughnuts. Adjust the consistency depending on your preference. I ended up cutting this in half, and there was MORE than enough.

Once the doughnuts are completely cooled, dip the tops in the glaze. Place them back on the rack to drip and harden. Make sure to place a piece of parchment or paper towel underneath to catch the drips and keep your counter less messy.

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doughnuts

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glazed

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As you can see, I made some with the glaze and some without. The doughnuts have enough flavour/sugar in them to be fabulous on their own, but you can’t really pass up a doughnut with a sweet and sugary glaze!

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Apple Cinnamon Loaf

22 Feb

I’m not sure where I found this particular recipe, as I didn’t have a website saved along with it, but I’ve had it filed away for quite some time now. It sounded simple and easy to bake, which is always a bonus in my books. Plus, it’s hard to go wrong with apples, cinnamon and sugar. I had some free time this afternoon so I decided to give this a try. It is so delicious and it turned out perfectly! This would be great to serve with an afternoon tea or coffee.

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside. Beat the white sugar and butter together in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add vanilla extract.

Combine flour and baking powder together in another bowl and stir into the creamed butter mixture. Mix the milk into the batter until smooth. Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Add half of the apples and half of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat into the batter.

Pour the remaining batter over the apple layer and top with the remaining apples and brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat the apples into the batter and swirl the brown sugar mixture through the apples using your finger or a spoon.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean – 30 to 40 minutes.

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loaf
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inside
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A few quick notes: I used rice milk, and that didn’t seem to have any adverse affect on the loaf. The middle part did collapse a little bit, but overall that’s not a big deal. Also, I decided to use a Spartan apple, as they’re not a super crunchy apple when eaten raw, and I chopped the pieces pretty finely. I didn’t want to have hard chunks in the middle of the loaf, and by cutting the pieces smaller (no matter what kind of apple you end up using) you’ll prevent that from happening.

Dine Out 2014

11 Jan

I’ve had some people finding my site lately through searches related to Dine Out. Since my last post on that is from 2 years ago, I figured I’d do a little update for this year.

Dine Out Vancouver is “a 17 day calendar of culinary events and dozens of hotel options to create your own delicious dining experiences.” The festival started in 2002, and it’s a chance for diners to try a new restaurant and enjoy a 3 course meal. This year the festival runs from January 17 – February 2. There are three price levels: $18, $28 and $38, so there’s something for everyone! I’ve tried many different restaurants over the years, and it’s fabulous.

Since this is a Vancouver-based event, there’s only one restaurant participating in the Fraser Valley – The Keg in Langley. While The Keg is a decent chain restaurant, I don’t feature chain restaurants on this site.

The Fraser Valley has a wealth of fabulous restaurants, so it’s a shame that this area doesn’t have a similar festival. If there IS such a festival, it hasn’t ever been on my radar. It would be such a great opportunity for the local restaurants (especially those who source all their ingredients locally) to participate and encourage diners to eat locally.

If you’re going to the festival this year, happy dining! And here’s to hoping that maybe we’ll have a Fraser Valley festival in 2015.

Happy Holidays!

15 Dec

I had grand plans to post a little more often in the last month, but life and work and other things obviously got in the way (as they often tend to do). I’m headed off on a short vacation this week and then it’s Christmas, so I’m going to be absent around these parts for the rest of the year.

If you’re looking for some suggestions on great holiday meal or appetizer ideas, I’d suggest any of these recipes that I’ve posted over the past few years:

Lobster Bisque

Eggs Benedict Casserole

Pumpkin Spice Loaf

Loaded Baked Potato Fries

New Years Eve Appetizers (even though there are no pictures in this post, all those recipes are fabulous!)

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and I will be back again with more recipes, events and restaurant reviews for you in 2014. Merry Christmas!

 

Eggs Benedict Casserole

23 Nov

There is nothing better on a weekend morning than a fabulous brunch with family or friends. One of my favourite brunch foods is Eggs Benedict. I’ve never been able to master the art of poaching eggs properly, so I’ve avoided making Eggs Benedict on my own. So when I came across this recipe, I knew I had to give it a try, as it seemed very foolproof. What’s great about this recipe is that you prepare the casserole the night before, so you have minimal preparation when it’s time to eat.

Eggs Benedict Casserole

  • 1 lb ham, bacon, or whatever other meat you’d like (meatless works too)
  • 6 English muffins
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk (rice milk works well, if you’re concerned about dairy)
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Hollandaise Sauce

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Split the English muffins and cut into 1 inch pieces. Place half of the meat in the bottom of the dish. Top with the English muffins. Top with the remaining meat. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, onion powder, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Pour evenly over top of the casserole. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Remove casserole from fridge at least 30 minutes prior to baking and preheat oven to 375F. Sprinkle casserole evenly with paprika. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes on lower middle rack. Uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes longer or until the centre is done.

Meanwhile, make the hollandaise sauce. If you’re pressed for time or don’t want to make the sauce from scratch, a packaged mix is a decent substitute. In a double broiler or metal bowl over simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water), constantly whisk together egg yolks, cream, lemon juice, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue whisking until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low. Drizzle in melted butter, whisking constantly.

Serve casserole with the sauce and garnish with parsley.

eggs benedict casserole

Sip ‘n Slurp 2013

17 Nov

Thursday evening was the 4th Annual Sip ‘n Slurp hosted at 1 Fish 2 Fish in Langley. They hold this event every November to celebrate Ocean Wise month and raise awareness about healthy, sustainable seafood. The food this year was prepared by Chef Sean Bone, and the beverages were supplied by Kalala Wines and Four Winds Brewing.

The event was sold out, so the market was packed. The price for the event included everything, so we were able to drink and eat to our heart’s content. My only complaint (and it’s a small one) about this event is that it is so packed in there, and sometimes it’s very difficult to ensure that you get to try everything. I don’t know how this can be fixed in the future, but I do appreciate that the staff tried their best to make sure that the food is evenly distributed between everyone.

Here’s some of what we sampled that evening:

albacore tuna

Seared Albacore tuna on a purple potato

oysters

Raw oyster bar. YUM!

rock crab

Rock crab with dill

lifeguard stew

Lifeguard Stew. This had a great kick to it and wonderful flavour.

gnocchi mussels

Gnocchi and Mussels

chef sean

Chef Sean speaking with the guests

oyster fritter

Oyster Fritters

sturgeon

Sturgeon with mint, cilantro and a sauce that I can’t remember, but WOW was this ever tasty!

salmon tataki

Salmon Tataki with arugula and a corn puree. Unfortunately I only got one picture of this and it turned out blurry. I had to include it, though, as the colours on this dish were amazing!

It was a fabulous evening of delicious food and drinks, and I will absolutely be back again next year. I haven’t yet met a type of seafood that I don’t like, so it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to spend an evening eating delicious and beautiful food from the ocean.

Split Pea Soup

9 Nov

On weekends I love to make big batches of dishes that I can put in smaller containers and eat throughout the week, or freeze to eat later. That saves SO much time during the week when I have less energy or desire to cook. I recently started working full-time again, so my body’s still adjusting to that, and I’ve definitely not had a lot of motivation to cook mid-week. Hopefully that will change soon, but this recipe is perfect for people in situations like mine. Plus, it’s super simple, so it requires very little effort on your part. I made this several days ago and cut the recipe in half, just to test it out and make sure that I liked it. I have another pot on the stove right now with the full quantity of ingredients, so that I can have it ready to go for lunches next week. The taste got better each day that I had leftovers remaining, which is awesome.

I found this recipe on Budget Bytes, which I’ve mentioned several times before. This is one of my favourite recipe sites and I highly recommend checking out her archives, as well as the new cookbook  that she has coming out in February. Her food is always beautiful, flavourful and inexpensive to make. I can’t rave enough about her!

I usually don’t eat pork or red meat, but on occasion I’ll make an exception for something like bacon. Bacon is definitely what makes this recipe so amazing! If you add extra an extra slice or two (like I accidentally did), there’s no need to add any salt to the soup, as the bacon has that in abundance.

Split Pea Soup

  • 6 oz bacon (In my estimation, 1 slice = 1 oz)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups split peas
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1½ lbs. potato
  • ½ tsp salt (optional)

Cut the bacon into one-inch strips and add to a large pot. Cook the bacon over medium heat until it is brown and crispy.

While the bacon is browning, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Once the bacon has browned, add the onion and garlic to the pot and continue to cook and stir over medium heat. The moisture from the onions will dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the pot and absorb the bacon flavor.

Once the onions are soft and translucent (5 minutes), add the split peas, chicken broth, bay leaf, and a healthy dose of freshly cracked pepper (20-25 cranks of a pepper mill).

Allow the soup to begin heating through while you peel and cube the potatoes. Cut the peeled potatoes into one-inch cubes then add them to the soup. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil. When it reaches a rolling boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer gently for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes of simmering, test the peas to make sure they are very soft. Turn the heat off and let the soup cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf and then use an immersion blender to lightly blend the soup until it is smooth and creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer a few cups at a time to a blender and pulse the contents until smooth. Work in batches until the soup is fully blended.

Taste the soup and add salt as needed.

split pea soupIsn’t the colour amazing?!

Pumpkin Spice Loaf

13 Oct

Fall (and especially Thanksgiving) is the perfect time to cook with pumpkin. Everywhere you go, there’s pumpkin-flavoured something available. I found this fabulous recipe through Hillary, who regularly posts amazing looking (and sounding) recipes. This is very easy to make, and is a HUGE crowd-pleaser.

Pumpkin Spice Loaf

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9×5 loaf pan.

In large bowl, whisk together sugars, eggs, oil, water, pumpkin and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.

Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, until top is lightly golden and toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

pumpkin loaf

I doubled the recipe so that we could have two loaves, and they turned out perfectly! I made them yesterday afternoon, and we’ve already gobbled down one of the loaves. We’re having our big family Thanksgiving meal this evening, and I’m sure the last loaf will be consumed as part of our dessert.

Tomato Herb Soup

27 Sep

Now that it’s fall and the weather is getting cooler, I find myself making soups more often. This fabulous tomato soup is from one of my favourite food sites – Budget Bytes. There are so many incredible recipes to be found there, and a good number of them have become regular staples in my house. This soup is super quick and simple to make and is packed with flavour. An added bonus is that this is completely vegan – yay!

Tomato Herb Soup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 10-15 cranks freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Mince the garlic and add it to a sauce pot, along with olive oil, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes and pepper. Turn the heat onto medium low and saute for about 2 minutes or until the garlic has softened.

Add tomato paste and brown sugar. Stir until everything is mixed (the oil will stay partially separated). Cook the mixture while stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes, or until it takes on a darker, almost burgundy hue.

Add crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. Turn the heat up to medium and heat through, stirring occasionally.

tomato herb soup

I didn’t have any rosemary on hand, so I just added a little bit extra of all the other herbs. I also added a pinch of salt, and it tasted fabulous! The soup is VERY thick, so it’s the perfect consistency for marinara sauce. I have some fancy pasta that’s just begging to be used, and the leftover soup I have will be excellent to use with that.

Roasted Garlic Mushrooms

19 Sep

I love mushrooms. I’m surprised that I’m not sick of them yet, since I constantly seem to be putting them in a lot of the food that I eat. I recently found this very simple and quick recipe for roasted mushrooms that’s become a new favourite.

  • 16 mushrooms, stalks cut levelly
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly fry the mushrooms in hot oil for about 1 minute.

Arrange the mushrooms in a shallow roasting tin with the stalks facing upward.

Mix together the remaining ingredients and spoon a little of the mixture on top of each mushroom. I had some leftover, so I just filled the rest of the pan with the flavoured butter. Cook for 10 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through and are a nice shade of brown. I took the pan out of the oven and spooned more of the butter over the mushrooms halfway through the cooking time.

mushrooms