Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Years Baking

Louis gave me one of my favorite gifts right before Christmas - the cookie cutters for these awesome Ninja Bread Men Cookies. I had so much fun making them and giving them to people. It was a simple way to put a smile on people's faces. Watch out...they are "cut out for action"...hehe. This was on the package and it makes me giggle every time.

Ninja Bread Men
adapted from ``Gingerbread Stars`` from Company`s Coming Most Loved Festive Baking 2008

1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cloves
1 large egg
1/2 C fancy molasses
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 1/2 C flour ( you can use all purpose or whole wheat here and most people will not be able to tell the difference)

1. Cream the butter and brown sugar. 
2. Add the next 7 ingredients and mix well. 
3. Add the egg, molasses, and vinegar and mix until smooth. It will look curdled. 
4. Add half of the flour and mix until incorporated, then add the second amount of flour and mix. 
5. Separate the dough into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or over night. 
6. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to desired thickness. Use cutters of your choice and arrange cookies about 2 cm apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
7. Bake in 375F oven for 8 minutes or until edges are slightly darker. 
8. Cool cookies completely on racks before decorating. I used royal icing for the Ninja Bread Men. 

The Ninja Bread Army:

Shortbread done two ways: Salted Caramel Shortbread and Chocolate Toffee Shortbread
adapted from "Salted Caramel Shortbread" in Food Network Magazine Vol 6:10 Dec 2013, "Basic Shortbread Cookie Dough" and "Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Cups" in Canadian Living December 2013. 

I made 1 full recipe of shortbread, and split it between 2x9" square pans, and then made 1/2 of a recipe of the salted caramel and 1/2 recipe of the chocolate toffee

For Shortbread:
1/2 C unsalted butter
1/2 C salted butter
3/4 C icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C all purpose flour

For chocolate toffee:
3/4 C semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 C toffee bits

1. Butter one 9x13" pan or two 9" square pans and line with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F.  
2. Using paddle attachment, beat butters icing sugar and vanilla  until light a fluffy. 
3. Stir in flour until just combined. 
4. Press dough into bottom of prepared pan(s)
5. For salted caramel, leave shortbread as is. For the chocolate toffee, sprinkle toffee bits and chocolate chips evenly over short bread. 
6. Bake in oven until golden brown, about 30-35 min. 
7. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool slightly. Remove shortbread from dish using parchment paper to lift. Cut shortbread into squares, triangles, or rectangles. 

For salted caramel:
1/4 C unsalted butter
1/2 C brown sugar
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 Tbsp 18% cream
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
salt for sprinkling

1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, espresso powder, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat while stirring occasionally for about 6 minutes. 
2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and vinegar. 
3. Let cool 5 minutes before drizzling over cut shortbread. Sprinkle with salt.  

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
adapted from " Chocolate Sugar Cookies" in Food network Magazine Volume 6:10 December 2013

1 3/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 C granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 recipe royal icing and festive sprinkles

1. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixture until light and fluffy.
2. Mix in egg and vanilla.  
3. Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. 
4. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture until just incorporated. 
5. Divide dough into 2 balls and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. 
6. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of floured parchment paper, and use festive cookie cutters to shape cookies. Place cookies 4-5 cm apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
7. Bake 350F for about 12 minutes, switching the top and bottom pans half way through. 
8. Cool completely before decorating as desired. 

Gluten Free Candy Cane Biscotti
adapted from this recipe by Allyson Kramer

1/2 C sugar
1/2 C butter
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C sorghum flour
3/4 C brown rice flour
1/2 C potato starch
1/4 C tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 C crushed candy canes

1. Preheat oven to 325F
2. Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl, then add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. 
3. Combine all remaining ingredients ( except candy canes) in a separate bowl and whisk well to combine. 
4. Gradually incorporate dry ingredients into butter mixture. Mixture should be firm. 
5. Fold in the crushed candy canes. You can leave a small amount for sprinkling on the cooked biscotti if desired.  
6. Shape the mixture into 2 logs and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten each one so that you have a 10 cm by 30 cm flattened log. 
7. bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, then remove and allow to cool until you can handle comfortably. Cut each log diagonally into cookie, and place them cut side down back on the parchment lined sheets. 
8. Return to the oven. and bake for 12 minutes. Flip and then bake for 12 more minutes. 
9. Remove from oven and garnish with additional crushed candy canes or melted chocolate if desired. 
10. Dip in coffee, tea, or hot chocolate for best results. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 Christmas Baking

I've spent almost all of my free time in the kitchen the past couple of weeks making lots of yummy Christmas treats. As you can probably guess, that makes me a very happy girl. I've been doling out the the goodies to friends, family, and co-workers which is what I love to do this time of year. I really haven't made anything that I'd call healthy. I've been trying to eat really healthy meals to make up for it, but haven't been all that successful to be honest. Ah well, I guess we all fall off the wagon at some point. 

I'm splitting my Christmas baking into two posts, so stay tuned for post number 2 tomorrow. I've decided to omit the nutritional information for these goodies. Just enjoy them and have a very Merry Christmas!

Gluten Free Spritz Cookies ( Cookie Press Cookies)
adapted from this recipe from Land O Lakes

2/3 C sugar
1 C unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 C Bob's Redmill Gluten Free flour

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Combine sugar, butter, egg, and salt and beat until creamy
3. Add flour and beat until mixed. 
4. Fit cookie press with template, and fill it with cookie dough. 
5. Press dough onto ungreased cookie sheet about 5cm apart. 
6. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. 
7. Bake until edges are lightly browned ( 7-9 minutes)

- Invest in a decent cookie press. I bought a cheap one, and it kept falling apart while I was trying to press the cookies which was frustrating.
- bake on the top shelf. The bottoms brown quickly if in the bottom of the oven. 

Peppermint Bark Rice Krispies Squares

1 bag marshmallows
1/4 C butter
5 C Rice Krispies (gluten free if desired)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C white chocolate, melted
1 C dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted
crushed candy canes, about 1/2 C

1. Melt marshmallows and butter
2. Stir in Rice Krispies and vanilla until mixed.
3. Grease 9x13 pan and your hands and press marshmallow mixture into pan and flatten with hands.
4. Drizzle white chocolate on squares, then drizzle dark chocolate on squares. Top with crushed candy canes. Let squares harden before cutting.

Hot chocolate on a Stick
adapted from this recipe by "The Dessert Spot"

8 oz good quality semi sweet chocolate
1/4 C cocoa
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/16 tsp salt
12 large marshmallows
12 lollipop sticks
14 candy sticks to be used as stirrers

1. Use a whisk to combine cocoa, powdered sugar, and salt together.
2. Melt the chocolate, then add the cocoa mixture and stir until combined. It doesn\t look like it will all mix in, but it will.
3. Once mixed, spoon into a small silicone ice cube mold.
4. Top each cube with a marshmallow, and add lollipop stick.
5. Allow to harden completely, then package as desired if giving as gifts.
6. To enjoy hot chocolate, heat one cup of milk of your choice until its steaming. Do not use water. Stir in the hot chocolate on a stick until completely dissolved. To add extra flavour and sweetness, stir with a candy stirrer.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Jam Thumbprints
adapted from this recipe by Elana

3/4 C peanut butter (just peanuts)
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 C gluten free Bob's Redmill flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C raspberry jam

1, Preheat oven to 350F
2. Cream peanut butter, sugar and egg until mixed and smooth.
3. Stir in flour and salt.
4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
5. Make balls with about 2 Tbsp of dough, then place on cookie sheet. Make a large thumbprint in the center of each cookie. You may need to form the shape of the cookies to make sure they don't fall apart at this point. Fill each thumbprint with raspberry jam.
6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.
7. Once completely cool, store in the fridge.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mom's Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

This was the first time I made and used royal icing, and I probably didn't let it set long enough before packing up the cookies, but now I know that when it says, leave it for 30 minutes, that you should actually leave it. I'll be making some more over the next few weeks, so there's time for improvement. My Mom's sugar recipe is my favorite. It's crispy, yet melt in your mouth and of course its that familiar taste of home. She always uses butter cream icing, which I love, but I felt like trying the royal icing for a change. It's definitely a little more difficult to work with. It starts to harden when its exposed to air so you really have to work quickly. If you're not going to use it right away, package it in a sealed Ziploc baggie with the air removed or in a bowl covered with a damp towel. You can do lots of fun things with color, but I decided to do mostly white this year, and I liked the results. I got the idea from the cover of a magazine. 

 Mom's Sugar Cookies

1 C butter
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
41/2C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 C icing sugar
1 C canola oil

1. Cream butter and sugar. 
2. Beat in eggs, one at a time until light a fluffy. 
3. Add oil, vanilla, and lemon extract. Beat until well mixed. 
4. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture.
5. Wrap and chill dough for several hours or over night. 
6. Roll the dough and cut with cookie cutters. 
7. Bake at 325F for 8-10 minutes. 

Royal Icing

2 C icing sugar
2 Tbsp meringue powder
3-4 Tbsp water

1. Using the paddle attachment for your mixer, beat ll ingredients together at high speed until smooth and thick. 
2. If desired, add coloring. 
2. Immediately transfer to a resealable bag and either refrigerate or pipe onto the cookies. If using sprinkles and other decorations, quickly add them before the icing hardens.
3. Let cookies set for 30 minutes. 

Nutritional info per cookie for 96 cookies (without icing)  

cal 76.5
fat 4.4g
   sat fat 1.5g
carbs 8.7g
    fiber 0.2g
    sugar 4.1g
protein 0.7g

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Black Bean Pumpkin Burgers

Before the sugary goodness that will come over the next few weeks, I wanted to share a healthy recipe that you can make ahead and freeze. Just pop one out of the freezer, either fry or bake to reheat, and serve with a salad and you have an easy recipe for a busy evening which happens a lot this time of year.

Black Bean Pumpkin Burgers
adapted from this recipe by Sara Forte

3 small cloves of garlic
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 C pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 C cooked quinoa
2 Tbsp ground flax
1/3 C oat flour
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

 1. In food processor, combine garlic and green onions and pulse to chop
2. Add pumpkin, olive oil, and spices and run to just combine.
3. Add quinoa, flax, and flour, and pulse a couple of times
4. Add the beans, and pulse just to combine. The beans will be chunky, and the mixture should stick together.
5. Form 6 patties with your hands. At this point, you can freeze patties for future use. Just lay them on a piece of parchment paper on a pan, and stick in freezer for about 1 hour. Then you can remove them from the freezer, and place them in a labelled Ziploc bag for easy storage.
6. If using now, heat some oil in a frying pan, and cook patties until browned and slightly crispy on each side. Alternately, you can cook in an oven. Lightly spray with oil, and place on parchment lined pan. Cook at 350 for about 8 minutes per side. I would do this if I already had the oven on cooking sweet potato fries or something. You can cook patties from frozen either way. It will just take some extra time.

Sara recommends garnishing with avocado and cilantro. I would also add a little bit of Greek yogurt to that.

Nutritional info per burger (for 6 burgers)
cal 156
fat  6.8g
   sat fat 0.8g
carbs 19.7g
   fiber 5.2g
   sugar 1.2g
protein 4.6g

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I'm back with Curried Tomato Lentil Soup

This soup is delicious and very warming. It's great for a blustery day like today.

Curried Tomato Lentil Soup 
adapted from 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart by Neal Barnard, M.D.; recipe by Jason Wyrick of the Vegan Culinary Experience.

1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup brown or green lentils
1 Yukon Gold potato, diced
1/2 cup cooked quinoa or 1/4 C uncooked quinoa

1. In a saucepan, saute the onion until golden in a small amount of oil.
2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the carrot, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and fenugreek. Continue to saute for about 1 minute. 
3. Add the broth and tomato paste, and stir to combine completely. 
4. Bring the soup to a simmer, and add the lentils and stir. Once the soup begins to simmer again, cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes. 
5. Add the potato and uncooked quinoa if using. Cooke covered for 5 more minutes. If using cooked quinoa, stir in after potato is cooked. Remove from heat and serve. 

Nutritional info per serving ( 3 servings): 
Cal 184.4
Fat 1.5g
   sat fat 1.1 g
Carbs 37.4g
   fiber 7.4g
   sugar 6.7g
Protein 8.2g


Monday, October 14, 2013

Spinach Salad with Roasted Pine Nuts and Gorgonzola

I've decided I really don't eat blue cheese or pine nuts enough, although looking at the nutritional information I've calculated, that's probably a good thing. This salad is well worth the indulgence though, believe me!

Spinach Salad with Roasted Pine Nuts and Gorgonzola
makes 2 main dish servings

2 large handfuls baby spinach
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 oz Gorgonzola, chopped into cubes
1/4 C pine nuts

Poppy seed dressing
2 1/4 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground mustard
2 Tbsp + 3/4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp poppy seeds

1. Wash and spin spinach and place in a large bowl. 
2. Heat olive oil over med heat in a frying pan. Add onions, and cook until caramelized. This can take up to 30 minutes. You need to watch carefully to assure they don't burn or dry out. If they begin to brown too quickly, lower heat. If they start to dry out, add a splash of water. You will need to stir more frequently as they get closer to being done. About 15-20  minutes in, you can add the peppers. Once the onions are nicely caramelized, remove from heat, and add the balsamic vinegar. Stir. 
3. While onions are cooking, place pine nuts on a rimmed cookie sheet and toast in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. They can burn quickly so watch closely. Remove from the oven.
4. Prepare the dressing by placing all ingredients in a sealable bottle and shaking vigorously. 
5. Place the warm onions and peppers, pine nuts, cheese and dressing in the bowl with the spinach and mix. The heat should very slightly wilt the spinach and melt the cheese. Serve immediately. 

Approximate Nutritional Information per serving ( including dressing)

cal 427
fat 37.7g
   sat fat 8.4g
carbs 15g
   fiber 3.5g
   sugars (includes natural sugar in vegetables) 9.5g
protein 10.8g

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pumpkin Coconut Muffins

Here is my first pumpkin recipe of the season. These are gluten free and extremely moist. They're really more like a cupcake than a breakfast muffin.

Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
adapted from this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories

1/2 C almond flour
1/2 C coconut flour
1/2 C buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
1/2 C pumpkin puree
2 eggs
5 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 C olive oil
1 C light coconut milk
Juice from half of a lemon
1/2 C walnuts minus 2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
1-2 Tbsp terbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl and in a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients. 
3. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and gently stir together until just evenly mixed. 
4. Add the walnuts and gently fold until combined. 
5. Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. 
6. Sprinkle the muffins with sugar and remaining walnuts. 
7. Bake for about 25 minutes. They should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted should come out clean. 

Nutritional Information for 1 muffin ( makes 12)
cal 205
fat 14.5g
sat fat 3.3g
carbs 17g
fiber 3.6g
sugar 8g
protein 4.6g

Monday, September 23, 2013

Whole Wheat Beer Bread with a Bread Machine

This bread is great out of the oven, but also works well as a standard bread for toast or sandwiches.  You can't really taste the beer, but I think it helped it rise. I didn't find it as dense as other whole wheat breads I've made in the past. I'd definitely make it again. If you want to make it into rolls instead, cut and shape the dough into 16 equal pieces, and bake at 400F for about 25 minutes. 

Whole Wheat Beer Bread with a Bread Machine
adapted from this recipe

1 bottle room temp Guinness Black Lager 
1 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 C light spelt flour
2 tsp yeast

1. Place ingredients in bread maker in order listed, and choose dough setting. Start machine. 
2. Once cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a floured surface and shape dough into a ball. Cut dough into two equal parts.  
3. Line a 9 by 9 inch pan with parchment paper. 
4. Shape dough into two oblong rolls that will fit next to each other in pan. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. 
5. Preheat the oven to 425F. 
6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 40 minutes. It should sound hallow when tapped. 
7. Allow to cool slightly if you can wait. Then cut yourself a piece and enjoy it slathered with melted butter ( or something healthier if you are so inclined:)

Nutritional Information per thick slice (8 slices per loaf):

cal 140
fat 2.2 g
sat fat 0.8g
carbs 23.6g
fiber 3g
sugar 1.2g
protein 4.7g

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Protein Boosted Potato Leek Soup topped with Roasted Seeds

There is nothing like a hearty bowl of soup to get rid of the chills. Although I hate to say it, I think that soup season is upon us. The nights have been really cool, and its only a matter of time before the pumpkins are out and the scent of burning wood fills the air. Don't skip the seeds for this recipe. They add a nice crunch and flavor which should not be missed.

Protein Boosted Potato Leek Soup Topped with Roasted Seeds
makes approximately 5 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil or butter (or a mixture of the two)
1 bunch leeks
3 C vegetable broth
1 C water
2 1/2 C diced new potatoes
1/2 C quinoa
1 C rinsed and drained cooked chickpeas
1 C almond milk ( or milk of choice)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 C unsalted pumpkin seeds

1. Clean the leeks and cut off the green tops. Slice the bottoms.  
2. Place the vegetable broth, water and green tops of leeks in a large saucepan and heat to a simmer. I didn't want to waste the tops of the leeks and thought this would be a good way to get some of their flavour. Continue to simmer until you are finished step 3. 
3. Heat the oil and/or butter in a frying pan and saute the light green/white parts of the leeks until softened. Remove from heat. 
4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the leeks\ tops from the saucepan. Add the potatoes, quinoa, chickpeas, and half of the leek bottoms to the saucepan, and keep at a low simmer until the potatoes and quinoa are cooked (15-20 minutes). 
5.While soup is simmering, roast seeds on a rimmed baking sheet in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes. Check the seeds frequently to ensure that they don't burn. 
6. Remove the soup from heat, and using a hand blender, puree the soup. Stir in the almond milk and the rest of the leeks and return to heat. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add more milk or water at this time. 
7. Serve the soup hot, topped with roasted seeds. 

Approximate nutritional information for 1 C

cal 350
fat 15 g
     Sat fat 1.4g
carbs 45.8g
     fiber 6.9g
     sugar 3.5g
protein 10.3g

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Soft Molasses Buckwheat Cookies

You know how there are some flavors that are "adult" in nature? To me, one of those flavors is molasses, even though its sweet and sugary. It makes me think of baked beans, molasses cookies, or molasses spread over hot biscuits - all foods I associate with my grandparents. 

I don't think I ever baked molasses cookies before last week, but its one of those things I've been meaning to do. I found a recipe that was hand written in an old book, so I figured it must be good. I just swapped a few ingredients to make it my own. I decided to swap the all purpose flour for buckwheat which worked out beautifully. I think the fine consistency of the buckwheat made the cookies even softer. I was lucky it worked because if it didn't, I would have been stuck with 70 cookies I didn't like. I froze most of them, and they froze well and defrost easily.  I feel like they should be enjoyed in the afternoon with a hot cup of orange pekoe tea - just like at Grammy's. You can take them out of the freezer when your friends and family arrive they'll be ready to enjoy with your tea as soon as it steeps.

Soft Molasses Buckwheat Cookies

3 1/2 C Buckwheat Flour
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C molasses
3/4 C butter softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 C hot brewed coffee

1. Combine first 5 ingredients, and mix well. Add the molasses, butter, and egg and mix until evenly combined.
2. Stir baking soda into the the hot coffee, then add to the dough. Beat until blended.
3. Drop by the tablespoonful onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
4. Cook in oven preheated to 350F for 10-12 minutes on top rack.

Makes 60-70 cookies.

Approximate Nutritional Information per cookie ( for 70 cookies)

cal : 54
fat : 2.2g
   sat fat 1.3g
protein 0.9g
carbs: 8g
     fiber 1.1g

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grilled Vegetable Salsa

This corn salsa is a nice addition to fish tacos. It's very fresh tasting so it doesn't over power a light fish and the charred BBQ flavour really adds some depth. It would be prettier if you use a red pepper rather than orange.

Grilled Vegetable Salsa

2 large Cobs of Sweet Corn
1 Tbsp butter
1 pepper
1 avocado
1 onion ( I used yellow, but red would be prettier)
Juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
1 large handful of fresh cilantro chopped

1. Husk the corn, and spread with butter to prevent it sticking to the grill.
2. Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. I didn't remove the seed, and it began to crack in the heat.
3. Slice the onion.
4. Preheat the grill and place the pepper and corn directly on the grill.
5. Put the onions and avocado in a tin pie plate or on some aluminum foil and place on the grill.
6. Grill the vegetables until they have a nice charred look, turning every few minutes. Remove each vegetable as it is done.
7. Remove corn kernels from the cob, and chop all the vegetables. Place all vegetables in a bowl and stir in juice, cilantro and salt and pepper. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb flavors.
8. Serve as a side dish, as an appetizer with chips, or as a topping for fajitas/tacos.

Approximate Nutritional Information per serving for 4 servings:

calories: 216
fat: 13g
saturated fat: 4g
carbs: 26g
fiber: 7g
protein: 3g

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Happy First Birthday!

Today is a day to celebrate.  It's the first birthday of my blog - The Scarlet Spoon. For a birthday present to myself, I hired my awesome friend to design me a logo which you see on my homepage and right here:

I'm so impressed. I've also decided to get a Facebook page for my blog, so if you'd like to follow me that way, like me on Facebook today and tell all of your friends.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Honey Boiled Icing
inspired by my Mom and Grammie

1/4 C cocoa, plus extra for dusting
1 C whole spelt flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/4 C maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3/8 C butter
0.5 C milk of choice

1. Preheat oven to 325 F
2. Butter 2 small round pans ( I used a 6 inch and a 7 inch), line with parchment paper, and lightly dust with cocoa powder
2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 
3. Stir together wet ingredients. 
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients. 
5. Pour in prepared pans and cook for 40 minutes. 
6. Remove from oven allow to cool completely. This can be done ahead of time. I wrapped mine and froze them for a few days, and took them out of the freezer this morning. 

100g 70% chocolate
50g full fat coconut milk

1. Mix together chocolate and coconut milk in a sauce pan. Heat over low heat while stirring until completely melted and luscious. 
2. Use as a filling between the two layers of cake

Honey boiled icing
2 egg whites
1/2 C honey
1 tsp vanilla

1. Add all ingredients to the top of a double boiler. 
2. Heat water and mix ingredients with a hand held mixer until light a fluffy. 
3. Top cake with icing. 

Garnish cake with shaved dark chocolate.

Enjoy in the company of great friends.