Monday, 31 December 2012

Gift In A Jar - Fruit Crumble

If I hadn't have been sick and feeling like I was dying while putting these things together I may just have used my own crumble topping recipe. But I decided to go with one that was listed for Gifts in a Jar, so this one actually is untested as the person I have given it to has yet to try it out. But really, I don't think you can go wrong with this sort of topping. Add some sugar, some oats, flour and cinnamon and you're good to go. I guess it's not a bad thing that I used this recipe, because when I make a crisp, I typically just throw ingredients in willy nilly without measuring and hope for the best.

Recipe is from Craftbits.


1 C. Flour
1 1/3 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Oats
2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg


~Layer ingredients in a 1 quart jar in the order listed above
~Attach a tag that says:

What You'll Need
2/3 C. Butter, softened
8 apples, sliced

What To Do
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a baking dish
Place apple slices in dish
Pour contents of jar into a bowl and add butter and mix until crumbly.
Sprinkle overtop the fruit
Bake for 30 minutes.


Sunday, 30 December 2012

Gifts In A Jar - Coffee Creamer

I'm going to include three recipes on this one. This is something I never actually sampled because the short answer is, I don't like coffee. The coffee creamer drinker in the house said they were good, but not sweet enough so more sugar had to be added after the fact. But, that was comparing it to White Death, as we so elegantly call the liquid coffee creamer / petroleum by-product that is typically consumed. I guess I shouldn't say much, I eat nutella like it's going out of style.

These recipes came from the Gourmet Coffee Shop.

Amaretto Coffee Creamer

3/4 C. Dry Coffee Creamer (like Coffee Mate)
1 Tsp. Almond Extract
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
3/4 C. Icing Sugar

Bavarian Mint Coffee Creamer

3/4 C. Dry Coffee Creamer
1/2 C. Cocoa
1 1/2 C. Icing Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Peppermint Extract

Gingerbread Coffee Creamer

2 C. Dry Coffee Creamer
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Ginger
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Allspice
1 Tsp. Nutmeg 
1 Tsp. Cloves


~Mix each batches ingredients in its own Ziplock back and shake bag and work with your hands to combine. (If pouring in any liquid, make sure to pour it onto a bed of the powders and don't just dump it in, and have it run down the sides of the bag as it won't mix properly).
~Scoop into jars and attach the following labels to each jar:

Amaretto Coffee Creamer

Stir 2 Tbsp. Creamer into 6 oz of hot coffee. 

Bavarian Mint Chocolate Creamer

Stir 2 Tbsp. Creamer into 6 oz hot coffee.

Gingerbread Creamer

Stir 2 Tbsp. Creamer into 6 oz hot coffee.


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Gift in a Jar - Fudgy Brownie

Here begins my slew of post-Christmas posts, for stuff that should have been posted pre-Christmas. But, pre-Christmas was really busy and I was sick for quite awhile, so you're getting them now...for next year.

This brownie tasted pretty good when I tried it out. The only complaint I had was that it made a very, very thin layer in the pan. So, I cut back the amount of chocolate pieces in it and double the mix amount so it will now fill up the 1 quart jar perfectly. The only thing is, because I actually only made a quarter of the amount listed below (I halved the original recipe and made it in a loaf pan to see what type of volume you would get), which means my baking time is going to be different from the listed baking time. So I've just copied over the original recipe's time and you'll have to just add a bit of time as you go if needed.

Recipe from Kicked-Up-Cookie-Recipes

Makes 24 Brownies


2 C. White Sugar
1 C. Cocoa Powder
1 1/3 C. Flour
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 C. Chocolate Chips


~Layer all the ingredients in the order listed in a 1 quart jar.
~Attach tag with these instructions:

What You'll Need
1 Jar Fudgy Brownie Mix
1 C. Butter, melted
4 Eggs
2 Tsp. Vanilla

To Make
Preheat oven to 350 F
Mix contents of jar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and mix to combine.
Spread batter into a greased 8x8 baking dish.
Bake for 27-32 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from pan.
Cool before cutting into squares.


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas Trifle

This isn't like any other trifle out there, and because of that, I don't particularly like any other trifle out there. This one has no alcohol in it (so it's kid friendly for your Christmas Dessert), and it does not use custard. Honestly, it's probably one of my favourite things in the world which may surprise some because it has no chocolate (or lemon) in it. But, just to prove my last statement, I want to support it with some evidence. Every Boxing Day, my mom and I pull out the leftovers and that's our breakfast. Healthy, well maybe not, as my dad likes to point out every time we do this. But really, considering what we just ate on Christmas morning (cinnamon buns, french toast, bacon and sausages), I think we're cutting back and making good healthy decisions, because hello, there's actually fruit in this!

As good as this is though, I've never even considered making it any other time of the year. It is Christmas Dinner Dessert, that's all! Only problem was this year, my Mom suggested maybe we didn't need it. Of course we didn't need it, but did we want it? Yes! What was I supposed to eat for breakfast the next day if we didn't have it.

About a week ago the radio station that I listen to was asking people if they shared their recipes. I was actually surprised with the feedback they received. Most people replied with a blunt No Way! I guess I'm thankful and very appreciative of the blogging world for doing what they do then. If I was to be like those people and not give out that special family recipe, this would probably be one of them, but alas, I'm not like them so I'll share it with you guys.

This to me will always be my mom's recipe, but she actually got it from a girl she used to work with who would bring it in for the staff.

Serves 15-18


1 Angel Food Cake (box mix, homemade or from the grocery store, it doesn't matter)
2 (102g) Pkg. Instant Vanilla Pudding
4 C. Milk
2 C. Heavy Cream 
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Tsp. Icing Sugar
2-3 C. Raspberries (frozen work better as they melt and contribute their juices)
7-8 Kiwi, sliced
1-2 Bananas, sliced


~Make (or buy your angel food cake) and allow enough time for it to cool completely
~In a large bowl, combine pudding mixes and milk and whisk until thickened
~In bowl of mixer, combine the cream, vanilla and sugar and whip on highest speed until cream is whipped (first time for me using my KA to do this, wow it's fast and amazing)
~In a very large bowl (I use a big chip bowl) place bite sized angel food cake chunks until you get an even layer that covers the bottom of the bowl. As you layer, make sure you are leaving yourself enough of each ingredient for the next layer as well.
~Scoop the pudding overtop the cake and spread out.
~Top with whipped cream and spread.
~Scatter the sliced kiwi, banana and raspberries (you want to put all of your banana in this layer because it will be protected from the air and so it won't brown like it would if it was on top).
~Repeat layers: cake, pudding, whipped cream.
~Smooth the whipped cream out nicely as this is the top of your trifle.
~Adorne with the remaining fruit in a decorative design (or just throw it on if that suits you better).

If you had enough ingredients and a deep enough bowl, you could go for three layers, but I never have the room for that.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Buck Eyes

I know everyone makes these, and everyone has their own special way about going about making them, so ignore this if you are stuck in your ways and consider this a post just for myself as the hard copy of this recipe seems to like to disappear on us and it would be great to have an electronic copy for myself.

The recipe I'm listing is already a doubled recipe. Do not double it again. I repeat, DO NOT! It won't fit in your mixing bowl, even your 5 quart, professional class bowl. I learned the hard way and ended up with 160 Buck Eyes, which took forever to roll and even longer to dip.

This recipe is my Mom's and my Grandma's. I don't know who passed it to who, and were it originated from before that.

Makes 6 1/2 Dozen

See I said I made a lot!


1/2 C. Butter
4 C. Icing Sugar
2 1/2 C. Peanut Butter
1 C. Rice Krispies
1 lb Milk Dipping Chocolate
White Dipping Chocolate


~In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and then add the sugar and peanut butter and mix until combined.
~Add in the Rice Krispies and process briefly to distribute them
~Roll into balls and place on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.
~Melt the milk chocolate in a microwave safe dish and dip each peanut butter ball and place back on the waxed paper.
~When chocolate has set, melt the white chocolate and drizzle over top (helps to hide the imperfections in the milk chocolate)


Monday, 17 December 2012

Luscious Lemon Square

I was walking through Costco a few weeks ago and got really excited when I saw they had in cases of Meyer Lemons. I've heard so much about them, but I've never seen anyone get them in. So I scooped up a case with the intentions of making lemon curd with them. Well, they sat in the garage for a while and I went about my Christmas Baking, until one day I realized in a panic, I'd pulled all my Christmas Recipes, but I'd forgotten one very important one, Lemon Square! Then I got really excited because I knew I had these untouched Meyer Lemons just waiting to be used, and really, I needed to make something else besides curd, because I don't need 18 Lemons worth of curd. Then the harsh reality struck. You need an oven for Lemon Square.

No big deal, after months of the new oven being on back order, it was supposed to arrive in a weeks time. It didn't. Then we finally bought the same one from a different store and it was supposed to come in a weeks time. It did. But the delivery people didn't leave it because it was damaged. I think a few people were about to strangle a few other people if you know what I mean. Anyway, a few days after the latest disaster, I came home and we had a new oven. The store had loaned us a floor model until they could get us our actual oven. Thank god is all I can say.

To give you an example of how excited I was (and still am), last night I got home from an 8 hour shift at five o'clock. I was feeling really sick all day at work, but when I got home I felt perfectly normal (strangely enough). So I set out on a spree to finish up the Christmas Baking (I would have succeeded if I hadn't have ran out of Worcestershire Sauce, and then at eleven o'clock started feeling really sick again). I dusted the lemon squares that I'd made the night more, I cut them, photographed them and packaged them up. I defrosted my spiral cookies, cut them, photographed them and baked them. I then tossed together another batch of bits and bites but ran out of the sauce part way through so I had to abandon my efforts with only part of that batch baked. And, I dipped 160 Buck Eyes. By eleven o'clock my back hurt, I felt sick, tired and my hands were so cracked and sore from washing them too many times that I gave up and went to bed leaving a stack of dishes a mile high. But it was a successful effort.

Back to the Lemon Square and the Meyer Lemons. I knew everyone said these lemons didn't have the tartness of other lemons. After making both this square and my curd with them, I have to say they are definitely good, but as a true lemon lover, I think I'd like to stay with the bit of a kick that the traditional lemon offers. I'm really glad I tried them though, they just changed the flavours of these things a little bit too much. But, that being said, these were things I love for what they were before. Maybe if I made something utterly new with the Meyer Lemons, and didn't have anything to compare it to, I would enjoy them. Until then, I think I'll just stay with the typical lemon.

This recipe came from my next door neighbour. I have included the single batch recipe (makes 1 - 9x13 pan) with the crust doubled for extra thickness. Because this is a favourite every Christmas, I ended up doubling it again and making 2 trays.

Makes 30 squares.


1 C. Butter, softened
1 C. White Sugar
1 Lemon, zest
2 1/2 C. Flour

Lemon Layer
4 Eggs
1 2/3 C. White Sugar
3 Tbsp. Flour
1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Lemon, zest
6 Tbsp. Lemon Juice (Juice of 2 Lemons)
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

Icing Sugar


~In a medium bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon peel.
~Gradually stir in flour to form a soft crumble dough. (Very important**Make sure there is no clumps of butter, otherwise when you bake it, you'll get pits in your crust were the butter chunk melted)
~Press evenly into the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish and pack down very firmly with your hands.
~Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes, or until crust just begins to take on a golden colour around the edges

Lemon Layer
~While crust is baking, in a large bowl, whisk eggs well.
~In a separate bowl, stir together sugar, flour and baking powder.
~Gradually whisk the sugar mixture into the eggs.
~Whisk in lemon zest, juice and vanilla and then pour evenly over hot crust and return to oven.
~Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (if you have a hotter oven like I used to, you might want to bake at 350 F for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 300 F after that, to prevent it from browning too much - I didn't have to do this though with my new / temp. oven)
~Once cooled, sprinkle top with icing sugar (by placing a small amount of sugar in a sieve and tapping gently over top the bars).
~Cut into bars or squares.


**If you don't want the thicker crust as I have described (or you don't have enough ingredients on hand for a spur of the moment baking extravaganza), you can simply half the crust ingredients to return this recipe to it's normal amounts (don't half the Lemon Layer as it was never doubled).

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Xmas Swirl Cookies

I made these cookies ages ago but never baked them because of the oven situation. What I did was I made them, rolled them up and then threw them in the freezer, to be cut and baked later. It was kind of frustrating to make as I was a bit over ambitious and I decided to go for three different colours instead of the two that most people shoot for. Anyway, in the end I did get them to roll, but I have to tell you it was a struggle and I was cursing them. I had my doubts that they were going to look good when I cut them after all of my difficulty rolling them, but they look beautiful and perfectly even.

To get enough cookie dough to facilitate me making three layers (and three colours), I increased the original recipe by 50%. That way I would have the same amount of dough for each colour that was originally called for, for the two colour recipe. Follow? Or is it way too early / late for that. Either way, just go with it, I'm going to explain my three colour way. If you want the two colour way, just follow the link below to the original recipe. Because of adding 50% more, the quantities are kinda different, but all doable values. Just warning you.

I substituted out the flavouring called for and put in peppermint extract in the green dough. It's not bad, but I think if I make these again (even though I like mint), I'll just stick with a bit more vanilla and call it a day. After all, the other two colours just tasted like regular sugar cookies so it was a bit different to have a bite of sugar cookie then a bite of peppermint sugar cookie.

One final note. The original poster commented that this recipe was not to be made in your KA Mixer. Instead you were supposed to use a food processor. My food processor wasn't going to be big enough for this amount of dough, plus I'm yet to find something my KA doesn't do well, so I disobeyed instructions and used the mixer.

Just a disclaimer, I had fun taking pictures and because the making process was spread over something like 4 days, I got a lot of pictures.

Recipe comes from Sprinkle Bakes.

Makes 3 dozen cookies


3 C. All Purpose Flour
3/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
3/8 Tsp. Salt
1 C. Icing Sugar
3/8 C. White Sugar
1 3/4 C. + 1/8 C. Butter
1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
3/4 Tsp. Peppermint (or other - maybe more vanilla) Extract
1/2 Tsp. Green Food Colouring
1/2 Tsp. Red Food Colouring


~In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and the sugars and mix to combine. 
~Add in the butter and process just until the dough turns crumbly.
~Add the vanilla and mix until a ball forms.
~Divide the dough evenly into 3.
~Place ball 1 in a bowl and reserve for later (white ball)
~Place ball 2 back in mixing bowl and add your peppermint extract and green food colouring and mix to distribute the flavour and colour. Put green ball aside.
~Place ball 3 back in cleaned mixing bowl and add the red food colouring and process just until colour is distributed evenly. 
~Roll each ball of dough out onto a sheet of wax paper, to an 1/8" thick. Cover with wax paper and transfer to a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
~When dough has chilled, remove from fridge and peel away the top sheets of waxed paper from the doughs.
~Place the white dough down first and brush the top surface with water (I forgot this step, maybe that was one of the reasons I had difficulty. Oops).
~Using the wax paper under the green dough, invert the green dough and place on top of the white dough. Pull away the wax paper. Press down to seal them together.
~Repeat the last two steps with the red dough on top of the green dough.
~Trim the edges so that each layer is even.
~When the dough has warmed slightly, roll up the doughs so you get a long roll. If the white layer tears as you roll, pinch and patch it back together. (You won't be able to tell once you cut it into slices anyways).    **I found it easiest to cut the rectangle of dough into two before rolling it, otherwise it was going to be too long of a roll and very awkward to work with. So cut the rectangle half way down the longest part of the rectangle to make two shorter long sides.
~You can now get rid of the last piece of wax paper that was underneath the white layer.
~Once you have your log, roll it a couple of times with both hands along the countertop the make sure everything is adhered together properly.
~Roll your logs into sprinkles and press in gently with your hands to make sure they have stuck.
~Wrap logs in plastic wrap and chill until firm enough to slice. Or alternatively you can place in the freezer and defrost when needed (which works beautifully when you had no oven to bake things in).
~When log is chilled, cut into slices either with a knife or preferably use dental floss (strange but it works amazingly). These cookies don't rise or expand so what size you slice is going to be the size that you pull out of the oven.
~Bake in a preheated oven at 325 F until the white portions of the cookies have just started to turn golden. Approximately 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy (and pat yourself on the back for accomplishing a lengthy and difficult recipe that actually turned out well in the end.)

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Orange & Almond Brownie Batter Truffles

Every Christmas it seems I crave good truffles. For a long time, I wanted to make a vanilla truffle, but a few attempts later, I think I've given up because I can't for the life of me find a decent recipe. The thing is, every year we make Buck Eyes, and they always look so amazing and professionally done sitting there on the platter. The only problem is I'm not a peanut butter fan, so even though they look amazing, they don't taste amazing to me. So that brings me to the non-peanut butter truffle hunt. Because I want something pretty and professional looking for myself too.

Now, I found this recipe over at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and put my own little spin on it. It originally called for the truffles to be dipped in almond bark, but as I was not running to the store and only making these because I had a little bit of time to kill and all the other ingredients in my panty, I decided to forgo the almond bark. Instead I just used regular dipping chocolate and added a bit of almond extract into the truffle. Then, that got me thinking. I'd just reached past the orange extract, something I don't normally use often and I love orange truffles so it was an easy 2+2=yummy truffles. Anyway, I just had a dribble left in the bottle, so I used 1 tsp. of the orange extract. Next time if I had a bit more I might increase to 1 1/4 tsp just for good measures. I was going to try that this go, but replace the extra little bit with a bit of orange liqueur, but what do you know, we're all out of that too. Surprise, surprise. Maybe next time a hint of peppermint would bring on the holiday spirit also.

One important thing to remember if you decide to make multiple batches / flavours of these truffles is that once they are dipped you need to put some sort of marking on the outside of them so you know which flavour is which. Get creative, but try to keep things consistent from batch to batch, year to year ie. we always use a white chocolate drizzle on our Buck Eyes.

Some suggestions for the garnish:
~Orange zest (I used this for the orange flavour)
~Chocolate sprinkles
~White chocolate drizzle (I use this for buck eyes)
~A white chocolate dot
~A sprinkle of coconut
~A sprinkle of ground almond powder (I use this for the almond flavour)

One of the greatest things about this recipe is that they were so incredibly easy. No oven, no double-boiler, not stove-top cooking, and all the ingredients will be in your pantry if you ever do even the most basic of baking. Feel free to dabble around in the flavour combinations, or if you just like plain, just use 2 tsp of vanilla as the flavouring.

Makes 2 1/2 Dozen

Almond Truffles
Orange Truffles


Almond Truffles
1/2 C. Cocoa Powder
1 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Flour
2 Tsp. Vanilla
1/4 Tsp. Almond Extract
1/2 C. Butter, melted
Milk Chocolate Dipping Chocolate

Orange Truffles
1/2 C. Cocoa Powder
1 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Flour
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 1/4 Tsp. Orange Extract
1/2 C. Butter, melted
Milk Chocolate Dipping Chocolate


~In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
~In a microwave safe dish, melt butter. Mix in extracts.
~Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix to combine.
~Roll batter into bite size balls and place on a wax paper lined tray.
~Melt chocolate and dip truffles into chocolate and garnish right away (unless garnishing with the melted white chocolate. You'll have to wait for the milk chocolate layer to set first.)
~Place back on the wax paper lined tray and refrigerate to set.


Friday, 30 November 2012

Quinoa Yam Patties

These didn't really form like I had expected them to. Nor did they taste like I had expected either. That's not to say that they were bad (we wouldn't have eaten them for 3 nights straight if they were bad), they were just different. I had originally decided to make them one morning. It seemed like a great idea (but they seemed to take all day to make, so a bit time consuming to say the least), and I really would have liked them to be ready for lunch, but they weren't. So dinner rolled around and I must admit, dinner time is when I always confirm that I could never be vegetarian. I don't need bacon or sausage for breakfast, or sandwich meat for lunch, but I do think dinner should contain meat. So, I didn't truly enjoy these the first night. But I do have to say, they were quite filling and had some decent flavour going (then again I just ate it by itself on a plate with a bit of thai sauce as we didn't have buns or burger fixings.)

The key thing to remember for this recipe is to let it cool completely in the fridge before trying to form patties. I didn't at first and that's what caused my nightmares. They went together much better the next day after they had sat.

So I guess the main question is, would I make these again? And I would have to say I honestly don't know. I really liked the idea of them, but what I imagined them to taste like, wasn't what they actually tasted like. So, even though they didn't taste bad, it's sometimes hard to overcome something that is different.

I adapted this recipe from In Sock Monkey Slippers. The idea to add the tahini came from Made to Create.

Makes 5 Patties


1 C. Water
1/2 C. Quinoa
1 1/2 C. Yams, shredded (about 1/2 large yam)
1 Egg, beaten
1/4 C. Bread Crumbs
1/4 C. Bran
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/2 Tsp. Tahini
Olive Oil


~Rinse the quinoa and place into a pot of boiling water (1 C.)
~Simmer on low heat until all the water is gone (times vary depending on brand of quinoa), 10-15 minutes
~Allow quinoa to cool.
~Peel and shred the yam with a cheese grater.
~Place the yam in a piece of paper towel and squeeze out the extra liquids (isn't it an amazing colour??)
~In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, yam, egg, bread crumbs, bran, garlic, tahini, salt and pepper.
~Mix well and then place bowl in refrigerator to cool.
~When cool, form into patties.
~Heat skillet (or grill) and the oil, and cook burgers until they are golden on both sides and crispy.


Never would have thought Yam Juice would be this vibrant and solid of a colour. Just thought I'd share :)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Snowballs (No-Bake)

Welcome to Part II of my Xmas baking. These are an absolute favourite of mine either fresh or straight out of the freezer. Either way they are probably my top Christmas treat. As proof of this statement I'm going to let you in on a little secret...I tripled this batch...and this is only one of the many recipes I plan to make for Xmas, and I don't have a lot of people to feed.

This recipe was my Grandma's recipe. It is one of the few recipes of hers that we actually have. Unfortunately, most of them she just kept in her head and never wrote down. I guess it's a good one to have: chocolate, butter and sugar, what more could we ask for? These are very similar to most no-bake cookies / hot rods in their ingredients list, but they taste nothing, I repeat, NOTHING like the typical no-bake cookie. These are amazing and they have a unique flavour all to themselves, that no other no-bake cookie can compare to in my eyes.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen chocolate drops


Bowl #1
3 C. Rolled Oats
1 C. Coconut (flaked)

Bowl #2
1/2 C. Butter
1/2 C. Milk
2 C. Sugar
6 Tbsp. Cocoa
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla

~1 C. Medium or Fine Coconut (additional)


~Heat the contents of Bowl #2 and stir to combine.
~Add to Bowl #1 and mix.
~Cool for about half an hour and then roll into balls
~In a ziplock bag, toss the additional coconut with the balls (do this as soon as you roll each one, otherwise they will cool too much and the coconut will not stick).
~Allow to finish cooling on a tray before storing.
~Can be stored at room temperature or in the freezer (and can be served at room temperature or frozen).


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Nanaimo Bars (no-bake)

Ucluelet, Tsawwassen, Esquimalt, Cowichan, Squamish, Sechelt, Qualicum, Haida Gwaii, Zeballos, Sointula, Nootka and Naniamo. Yes, these are actually words, even though my spell check disagrees with me (saying only two of them are spelt correctly). But, they are not just words, they are places. You probably can probably only pronounce one of them though, maybe not even that. But I'm pretty positive though that even if you can't pronounce it (or spell it), you will still recognize it. Yes, I'm talking about Nanaimo, as in the Nanaimo Bar, Nanaimo. While I'm not from Nanaimo I do live not too far from it, and from all the other places I listed as well.

But this post isn't going to be a lesson about small-town BC, no it's about a custurdy, chocolatey, goodness. The recipe that I'm sharing is my Mom's recipe. I have no idea if it's the 'actual' recipe or not. If you go to the City of Naniamo's website, they have a whole page dedicated to one of my favourite treats, but they too don't know the exact origin of it and are asking anyone to come forward that does. This recipe is very close to the recipe that they do have posted on their site. It is the recipe that was decided on by the city as 'the best' Nanaimo Bar recipe. There are several slight variations on this recipe, and then some more extreme ones.

The butterscotch flavour is one of those extreme variations that I am not a fan of. So, that is why I'm making this square now, when I used to be able to get a perfectly good tray of them for relatively cheap at the grocery store.

For most of my life, we never made Nanaimo Bar at home. The local grocery stores made a large tray of it for a good price, and Costco had it on even better. Well, just over 5 years ago, the go-to grocery store closed, and we started buying the bar at other places. For awhile it was good, then I started tasting hints of butterscotch. Well, at first everyone didn't believe me, but eventually people agreed that these other bars weren't as good. But it still wasn't worth making it ourselves because it wasn't all that bad, and the price was still good. Well, we hadn't bought it in awhile and we bought a tray about a month ago. I've never seen Nanaimo Bar hang around for long in our house and usually I devour it myself. I had half a piece and thought I had just wasted my nighty dessert allowance on something that was absolutely flavourless. It was awful, so I decided that this was too simple of a thing to make to warrant buying it's now disgusting store bought variety (unfortunately, I think this is one of the last good home made tasting things that has gone the way of over processed crap (excuse my french). Now it's just another package of Chips Ahoy or Peak Freans or Deep and Delicious Cakes in the grocery aisles.

I'm going to share the single batch version of this recipe, which is to be made in a 7"x11" pan (who has one of those right?). Anyway, I doubled it and thought I could just get away with having a thick batch in a 9"x13" pan, but as I'm realizing now, I usually double an 8"x8" to get a thick 9"x13", that explains why I had way, way too much. Sorry, just typing with my train of thought there. So, what I ended up with was 1 - 9"x9" (square silicone dish) & 1 - 8"x8" tray that were the perfect thickness, as a doubled batch. Or just go with the single and have a thick 8"x8" or scrounge up the mysterious 7"x11" pan. Whew, enough with the numbers now. So, I present to you the first Xmas baking of the season, duh duh duuuhhhh!!!!

Makes: 25 squares


Base Layer
1/2 C. Butter
1/4 C. Sugar
5 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 C. Graham Wafer Crumbs
1 C. Coconut ( I used flaked, if you don't want the base as chunky, use medium)
1/2 C. Nuts (I used 2 Tbsp. Ground Almond Powder instead)

Middle Layer
1/4 C. Butter
3 Tbsp. Milk
2 C. Sifted Icing Sugar
2 Tbsp. Custard Powder
2 Tsp. Vanilla

Top Layer
1 C. Chocolate
4 Tsp. Butter


Base Layer
~Melt the first 3 ingredients in a large saucepan.
~Add egg and vanilla and whisk to help prevent the eggs from forming chunks as you heat the eggs.
~Add in the last 3 items
~Spread in a greased 7"x11" pan, pack it down firmly and put in the fridge to set, while you prepare the next layer

Middle Layer
~Combine all the ingredients in mixer bowl and beat (with paddle attachment on speed 2), until combined and fluffy (I tried to do this by hand and it felt like I was trying to mix cement by hand, so use the mixer please).
~Spread over Base Layer and place in freezer until solid (otherwise the top layer will just mix into the middle layer)

Top Layer
~In a microwave safe dish, melt chocolate and butter together.
~Spoon mixture over the Middle Layer and working quickly as the frozen layers will cause the chocolate to harden, smooth the chocolate.
~With a knife, run tracks through the chocolate where you'll want to cut the squares. This prevents the top layer from cracking when you cut it (or at least helps prevent it)
~When chocolate has hardened, cut into squares.


Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Inside-Out S'more Bars

Now to most of you, these may not look inside-out, but to me they do. Let me explain. My Mom makes a s'more square that is basically the same as Rice Krispie square, just with Golden Grahams. So she melts the marshmallows and stirs in the chocolate chips and cereal. The reason I don't make that type of square is because I really struggle timing it right. I either end up with marshmallow goop that is cooled too much and so nothing will mix into it, or too hot and so the chocolate melts and instead of having chocolate chips, you get a gooey chocolate flavoured marshmallow mess. So, this recipe is a lot safer for me (but I'd still like to share the recipe for her S'more Square, I'll just snap a picture of it one day when she makes it to show you). It's safer because you have melted chocolate and whole marshmallows (instead of melted marshmallows and whole chocolate chips - see, inside-out) and marshmallows need a lot more heat to melt than chocolate does (or so I've experienced).

This recipe was adapted from the Nestle Toll House recipe.

Makes 16 Squares


1/2 C. Milk
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 3/4 C. Milk Chocolate Chips
3 1/4 C. Mini Marshmallows
1 1/2 C. Golden Grahams (or graham crackers cut into bite size pieces), 


~In a large microwave safe dish heat milk and vanilla until almost boiling (~2 minutes)
~Stir in the chocolate chips and return to microwave until fully melted (~30 sec)
~Make sure there is no lumps in the mixture and everything is thoroughly mixed, then set it aside to cool for ~5 minutes, or long enough so the marshmallows won't melt.
~Add in the marshmallows and stir to evenly coat.
~Mix in the graham crackers / cereal.
~Spoon into a greased 8x8 pan and cool in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
~When set, cut into squares. 
~Can be stored at room temperature.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Green Bean Casserole

I've never really had any desire to make this dish until we went to Costco and bought a huge bag of these Crispy Fried Onions. They were little shavings of onions that had been fried and then packaged up to be used on salads, burgers or casseroles. So, that's what brought me to making this dish. I found it okay, not great, but okay. But that could have been because the beans we got were kind of rubbery and not so stellar. Others that tried it really liked it. But, I like vegetables just as vegetables, they don't need to be all dressed up for me to like them, so that may have been another reason.

The recipe for this came from Campbell's.

Serves 6


4 C. Cooked Green Beans
1 Can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 C. Milk
1 Tsp. Soy Sauce
1 C. French Fried Onions, divided


~Wash beans and snip the ends off.
~Boil beans until tender in a pot of water, then drain
~In a medium bowl, combine the soup, milk, soy sauce and pepper to taste. Stir.
~Mix in 2/3 C. of the onions and the beans.
~Spoon mixture into a greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
~Bake in the oven at 350 F until mixture is bubbling (20-25 minutes).
~Sprinkle with remaining onions and return to oven for 2-5 minutes (watching that it doesn't begin to burn).


Monday, 29 October 2012


So, we had a few tomatoes on our hands. Our plants did really well this year and typically we only get cherry tomatoes. But this year we decided to grow some beefsteaks and romas. It was perfect, they all ripened at very different times, so we didn't have an overload all at once throughout the summer. But by October the frost was getting heavier and the romas still hadn't ripened so we pulled them inside. All of a sudden, they all ripened at once so we knew we had to do something. So salsa was the answer.

Now, I've never canned. My mom hasn't canned in over 20 years, but we decided to give it a go. She pulled out all the jars and rings and such that I never knew she even had and I got the joy of dumping out dust / bugs / and growing things out of jars that had sat in the crawl space for 10 years and in the garage for 10 years after that. It really makes me thankful for the dishwasher, as I know they were properly sanitized before we put any food in them.

That was the easy part though. The salsa was pretty basic to make as well (as long as you have a food processor), it was the actual canning that got interesting. My mom it turns out couldn't remember what to do, so within about 30 minutes we had to phone my Grandma 3 times, because even though she's not a big canner, she does make antipasta with a group of ladies every summer. So, she had a better idea than we did. Anyway, after the 3rd phone call we thought we had it figured out (I know, I could have just looked up online what to do, but I was seriously trying to get the tomato to pepper ratio just right and the canning was supposed to be my mom's job). Not much time after we hung up from the 3rd call, a knock came on the door and my Grandma wanders in. I think she figured it out that we had no idea what we were doing.

In the end, every single one of the 19 jars of salsa sealed, which I count as a success. Plus, the salsa tasted pretty darn good (although it does have a bit of a kick to it). The recipe I'm sharing is what I concluded after about 4 separate batches to be the best tasting ratios of ingredients for heat and consistency. Because I made so many batches I got 19 jars out of it. The recipe below makes about 3 jars, so adjust accordingly for how many tomatoes you have / how many jars you want.

One thing I really liked about this salsa was the depth of the flavours involved. Most salsa has just one flavour. You taste it on first bite and it's the same while swallowing and the aftertaste is the same as well. Well, this salsa is very different. You first taste tomato, then the salt comes in and finally after you swallow you actually taste the spice. Very unique.

I adapted the recipe from Frontera Fiesta.

Makes ~ 3 Cups of Salsa (3 Regular sized jars)


6 Tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and juiced (I used a mix of romas and beefsteaks)
1/4 White Onion
1-2 Cloves Garlic
1 Hot Green Pepper (Serrano or Jalapeno)
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
1/2 Tsp. Salt


~Blanch tomatoes to help remove the skin. (For instructions on how to do this, see here.)
~Quarter the skinless tomatoes and squeeze juice and seeds out into a bowl. Reserve liquid for later (may need it if salsa is too thick).
~Prepare the onion and garlic, and remove the stem and seeds from the pepper.
~Run the onion, garlic and pepper through the food processor until they are finely minced.
~Add in the tomatoes and pulse 4-6 times or until you've reached the desired consistency.
~Top off with the lime juice and salt and pulse just long enough to mix. If salsa is too thick, you can add in some of the reserved juice.
~Store in the refrigerator or can if it's more than you can eat in a couple of days.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Carved Pumpkin Cake

For those of you who are excited that the fall classic of pumpkin flavoured everything has finally grown on me, well I'm sorry to disappoint you. For those few people out there like me who really don't want pumpkin loaf, or pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread, etc. but still want a hint of fall, then keep reading.   Because this post is only made to look pumpkin, and isn't actually pumpkin flavoured. But if you were desperately in need of pumpkin flavour, I guess in a pinch you could make some sort of pumpkin cake instead of the regular white cake I used. Don't ask me how, I'm just suggesting it.

This is one of those recipes that isn't really a recipe, and that's a good thing because I just came across this picture I had taken years ago and I thought it was cute (even though there is a lot of junk in the background of the picture) and I wanted to share. So no recipe for the cake / frosting, I'm just giving you how-to instructions for assembly.

Now, I don't bake cakes very often, and when I announced I was going to bake this one in the spur of the moment, I think everyone in the house thought I was crazy. What did we need a cake for? And more importantly, what did we need with a pumpkin looking cake?

What You Need:

1 Cake (chocolate, yellow, white, it doesn't matter) baked in a bundt pan
White Frosting (tinted orange)
Mini Chocolate Chips (don't try and use the regular sized ones like I did, as you can see they don't make as delicate of a design / they take up a lot of space)
Something green for the stem (I used a green plastic cup, but get creative)

What To Do:

~Bake you cake and let it cool completely.
~Tint the frosting
~Frost the bundt on a plate
~Use the mini chocolate chips to make your 'carvings' for eyes, mouth, etc.
~Place your 'stem' in the hole of the bundt.