Monday, October 31, 2011

Pastry Wrapped Pears with a Vanilla Sauce of Course!

Oh my my, oh hell yes, hunny put on that party dress!  Or fat pants.
I vote fat pants, like buffet style - the ones that have drawstrings so you can loosen away when eating until you can't move.
I may or may not own a pair, that may or may not come out at holiday time, or Sundays.

Pants or no pants, if you like pears you will LOVE this dessert.
Its beautiful.
Its tasty.
And its pear, vanilla sauce AND puffy flaky pastry!  How can you NOT want to make this??

I'm Listening to: Last Dance with Mary Jane - Tom Petty

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Poaching - The Kind You're Allowed to Do

A lost method of cooking in our house.
I personally don't like runny eggs, the Mr. BM doesn't like chicken without skin and crunchy bits on his meat and Little Ugh, well he thinks its "weird mom".
Lunar eclipses might happen more often than poaching in my house.

So what is it that I am talking about?
I can tell you that I am not referring to garbing up in camo fatigues, sitting in a tree in the off season to catch animals that are illegal.
Although this would be an awesome party chair wouldn't it??

Basically, poaching is a method by which you are cooking something in a simmering liquid.  Generally fish, fruit and chicken because they can be delicate or dry out and this process is gentle and preserves flavors well.

It is also a healthy way to prepare certain foods.
Except in this post.

I poached pears.  In sugar water.  Not "quite" healthy.

3 ingredients
vanilla bean

Peel and core the pear - keeping the stem on

Add 3 cups of water along with about 3/4c - 1 c. sugar into a small saucepan on low/med heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Once the sugar has dissolved, add 1 vanilla bean, cut in half and split to expose the seeds along with the pear
Ideally I have read you should really have the pears completely submerged but as long as you are rotating while you poach they will not turn colour.
The whole process should take about 10 minutes once you drop the pears in.

I like to eat mine cold, so I like to gently place them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and toss in the fridge for at least an hour.
Your choice

I'm Listening To:  Lemon Tree - Peter, Paul and Mary (I'm being nostalgic)
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tip of the Week - Heavy Cream

Write a list BEFORE you go grocery shopping.
That's a tip I'm sure you are familiar with!

Apparently I do not heed my own advice.....
Yup, its a good thing I'm pretty.

Hence the post.
As I am sure you've guessed I needed heavy cream for a recipe and what do you know, I didn't have any in the fridge.
But eureka!  A solution!

You can make your own heavy cream substitute (although I have only tried this in a few recipes I am not sure it would stand up in a "all liquid" recipe)

Here's all you'll need:

3/4 c. milk
1/3 c. butter
(maybe a tbsp. of flour if using less than 2% milk)

In a sauce pan add milk and butter and heat. (not to boiling point)
Whisk in the flour if needed.

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Another Award From My Friends

Good morning to me!
I woke up to find that not one, but two of my food family members awarded me with the Versatile Blogger Award!  I was first gifted by Krista over at Everyday Mom's Meals and then Amy at Crumbs in My Mustachio.

You guys are grand!
What does that mean though?
Maybe that means we are creative, or we can switch up posts from delish desserts to breakfast in a pinch?
Whatever the reason I accept, graciously - thank you!

Now, there are of course some conditions to accepting:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award. - CHECK
2. Share 7 things about yourself - Below and CHECK
3. Send it along to 15 other Bloggers and let them know you have awarded them! On its way!

My 7 Things:
  1.  I suffer from anxiety and even the smallest things can set it off (annoying really!)
  2.  I am getting married in 6 months - tomorrow!!  (holy crap 6 months!)
  3.  I'm a perfectionist with a mild case of OCD (crazy combo, it's a good thing my man really loves me)
  4.  Mr. BM and I don't share blankets in bed (he's a hog and I love to be cocooned)
  5.  I have had many jobs, but one of my favs was working at a little independent fruit stand when I was in high school
  6. If I don't write things down within seconds of thinking of it - its gone so my house is full of notebooks (I have at least 3 on the go at any given moment)
  7. For YEARS I was anti dog (I love them but didn't want to be an owner) but one look from my little PeekAPoo Dion and I was hooked and had to bring him home - he probably beats out the boys now in the love category ;)
The last part (which I thought would be harder than the 7 points about me) is to gift this award to 15 others - here goes:
Debz Delicious Meals
Bon Viveur
Rich and Sweet
Celebrating Home with Karie Engels
Mia's Domain
No Ordinary Momma
Newlyweds Blog
And then, I Ate It
Bake and Destroy
Lark's Country Heart
Helen's Cooking
The Bread Fairy
Sweet Tea with Cindy
Betty's Kitchen Adventures
Cravings of a Lunatic

Wow, that was pretty hard!  I wanted to add some pages that I frequent often and maybe a little new to you.

Hope you enjoyed a little about me, and check out the pages whom I've gifted this award to also.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Mash Up Monday - Chicken Parmesan Sandwich Casserole?

Have you noticed that there has been a lack of Mash Up Monday posts?
Oh good, you haven' I thought you faithfully check back week after week!

Since you don't seem to be on top of things, not sure if you also noticed that I questioned the title of this post?
I cant really decide what dinner should be classified as - is it a casserole, is it a sandwich?
Preeeety sure its a combo of both - which of course allows this to be part of the MashUp Monday section.

I love a good chicken parm sandwich!  Juicy chicken, sauce, cheese - drool!
I saw a recipe from Robin Hood (the flour company) that was the basis of this dish and I knew I had to try to make something creative!

Do you have chicken, cheese, sauce, flour, yeast, garlic, peppers?
How bout a casserole dish?
Did you answer yes to the first 2 questions?
Then you're set!


I'm Listening to: Your Love is my Drug - Ke$ha

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B is for Biscotti That's Good Enough for Me

The ONLY time I am going to say that hard cookies are ok is when eating biscotti.
Move over soft and chewy, the twice baked treat is ready for dunkin!
Now that I think about it, next time my cookie batter doesn't result in "soft and chewy" I am just going to try the double bake. I should look into ingredient ratio comparisons - wonder if I could pass problematic cookies as biscotti??

So why this Italian confection?
Because Mr. BM loves them.  (what better reason?)
He also loves his morning tea (which is actually after noon as he is on nights).
I think he could enjoy his hectic nights slightly more if he had a little sumthin to dip into his tea, don't you?

I'm a good fiance.

Little Ugh enjoys them as well.
I'm a good mommy too.
But before you think I am simply the best I have to divulge that the flavor combo was more selfish on my part.  I mean I'm already making both boys a treat just for them, something has to be about me in all of this doesn't it?

Since the pumpkin season is upon us I figured its a good idea, I mean, why not right?
And since we were talking about dipping into tea I thought, why not add a little tea flavor into them; by way of chai

This was my first time creating biscotti. 
It will not be my last!


I'm Listening To: 

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Harvest Chicken - An Apple a Day....

Apple overload....
I've even got apples hiding behind chairs!

Our yearly tradition is to go apple picking at Pieter's Appleyard on the long weekend in October (for Canadians, this is Thanksgiving weekend).
Its a little piece of heaven in my eyes and this time of year is my favorite to drive out there - the leaves changing, crisp breezes and apples begging to be picked!  How can you not enjoy this?

Here's a little something I don't tell many people - I secretly try to pick my apples as fast as I can so that I can get into the little barn to grab my quart of cider for the ride home!  I might just like it more than chocolate (ALMOST).

Here are a few snapshots from the day!

We go with our entire clan!  This year was little JJ's first time out (he's my nephew in the tree!!)

Obviously sweets and treats are in abundance the week after the pick but I thought it was high time the apple was used in a savory way.
This was new to us.
Mr. BM actually told me three times that dinner tonight was one of his newest favorites and Little Ugh inhaled it while it was still hot!
For chicken that has no skin (the only way Mr. BM really wants to eat chicken) it was juicy, flavorful and good for you too with all those apples!


I'm Listening To: Let's Dance - David Bowie  Compliments of Mike at The Culinary Lens :)

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spiced Roasted Candy Carrots

Candy and veggies?

This was my first attempt at creating a candied carrot.
I saw a recipe in the Betty Crocker pamphlet at my local grocer last week and thought, hey, I have those ingredients, why not?

Yes, why not.....

Well, I have to tell you I was slightly disappointed in the "candied" bit.
They didn't really get all glazed and crunchy around the edges like I was hoping.
Maybe that wasn't supposed to happen?
I suspect my ratios were a bit off since I sorta went with what I remembered reading.

The carrots however tasted great, a different flavor - a subtly smokey earthy flavor rather than a sweet carrot like you would think.
I liked the outcome, I just wasn't WOW'd
Possibly next time I would use a hint of brown sugar or maybe some maple syrup.

There are no photos because when sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with 16 other people who don't want to wait for you to take photos of food in various lighting positions before they can eat you have to be kind to their rumbling bellies.
I have even tried Googling the title Roasted Candied Carrots, NADA - no linking for photos either...way to go Betty Crocker, way to burn me twice on the same recipe.

But here's how you can make them (from what I remember):

2 lbs. baby carrots
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika

In a bowl combine all the ingredients except the carrots.  Heat your oven proof dish in a 425F oven first.  Spray with PAM (cooking spray).
Toss the carrots in the mixture and add to the pre heated dish.
Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, stirring once.
Serve immediately

I'm Listening to: Alone - Heart
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Ode to Canada - Maple Syrup Guest Post

This week I decided that I wanted the world to see how many wonderful products and cultural dishes Canada has. 
Ode to Canada Week kicked off with the truly Canadian dessert “NanaimoBar” and its only fair to follow dessert up with a dinner dish right?  Because in my kitchen it’s ok to eat dessert first (as long as you eat dinner)!
I knew that I wanted to showcase maple syrup at some point and not just with pancakes. 
Photo courtesy of
In Canada we even have festivals commemorating the wonderful sap that drips from trees every year so why would I just tell you to place a pitcher full beside your waffles?  Clearly I wouldn’t!
Photo provided by
When I saw Kay from and then I ate it post her Maple Baked Beans recipe on her Facebook page I knew I had to ask if she would be willing to let me share the recipe on my blog and better still, guest post it.  As another fellow Canadian she definitely understands how important this beautiful natural condiment is.  She jumped at the chance and I was thrilled!
 I’m not sure if I was more excited to have a guest blogger or that I didn’t actually have to make and eat them myself, because you see, Little Ugh and I love them -  A LOT and it causes “fanning wars” after bowls are consumed (if you catch my drift).
I do know that Kay has only been blogging since January of this year and she has a million and one amazing  things posted.  Trying to pick my favourite post is really pointless since there are so many great inspirations but one of my “must tries” is her Bourbon Chicken.
When you’re finished checking out her  step by step instruction on how to make the wonderfully mapley flavoured side dish below go and check her out!
First off, I want to say how excited and honoured I am to be guest hosting for Betty Martha. As a fellow Canadian, I too am proud of my country’s diverse culinary achievements. But I have to tell you, it’s still the home grown recipes that I enjoy the most. Plus if they happen to have Canadian ingredients in them, the happier I am.
Several years ago I began to write down my recipes so when my daughter moved away, she’d have them in a nice cookbook created by me. In January of 2011, I took the giant leap by turning those recipes into a blog featuring not only my culinary achievements but also my joy of writing and photography. Then6 weeks later, I laid down my money officially making it my website. All the recipes are meant for those who are novice cooks such as my daughter and with ingredients that are easily found in your local grocery store. But that doesn’t mean they’re boring. They are as diverse and exciting as the country we live in. Go on, get nosey, go take a good look for yourself! 
Now on to those Maple Baked Beans ...
Baked Beans are a staple in this country as they are in many others. Now cooking beans in a crock pot without soaking them is both convenient and economical. The original recipe called for molasses but you know me, I had  to do something different. So I “Canucked it up” by adding maple syrup instead!!
Maple syrup! Can’t get more Canadian than that!
Gives these a try, I’m sure you’ll love them.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

An Award? Me? You Shouldn't Have....

Shucks here I am blushing....
I received a note from a fellow bloggess - Lesa from Edesia's Notebook to check out a post she submitted letting me know I had won an award.

Someone other than my mother reads my ramblings?
Just because it shows I have followers doesn't mean they read my crap.  Maybe its me and I created 80+ profiles, uniquely named them and fake comment on posts.
HA, who am I kidding, I don't have time for that but wouldn't that be awesome if I did??!!

Anywho, Lesa mentions that the name of this award in German means beloved.
I have a name for how excited I am - Schwindelig!!!

As much as I hate the term "rules" there are some guidelines that comes with being selected to receive this award....I like to refer to it as Paying it Forward:

First and foremost you should always link back to those who gifted you (sharing the love)
You also need to pick 5 (I know there are probably way more you like) and let them know they are "beloved" too by commenting on a recent post of theirs letting them know and lastly write your own post (which is what I am doing here in case you hadn't figured that out)
Network peeps, its all about networking!

So without further adieu, my 5 picks are (in no particular order because they all rock):

Donika from Mom What's for Dinner
Amy from Family Feedbag
Denise from The Bread Fairy
Amy from Crumbs in My Mustachio - FB page because the blog page is under construction
Bobbi from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen

These women (and no discrimination intended by not selecting a male produced blog) are wonderful people, caring, kind, and always have ideas or thoughts and kind words.
They have delicious foods on their pages too that always make me wanna lick the screen.
If you haven't already been to their pages I think its about time!

So thanks again to Lesa for this cute award, glad to be a part of such a wonderful community and happy to pass this along!
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ode to Canada - Nanaimo Bars with a Twist

Nanaimo bar - a truly Canadian dessert.
I get all warm and tingly when I have one, almost patriotic like.
Heard of them?
Had one?

I suppose you could Google or Wikipedia them but trust me when I tell you its born and bred in Canada.
Its a dessert bar named after a town in British Columbia - Nanaimo, no denying its origin there.
A no bake, deliciously sweet, layered with goodness, melt on your tongue treat I assure you you will want to try.
If not, take off hoser.  (Google that!)

Since I am Canadian, I wanted to showcase a few truly "Canuck" foods for those who aren't familiar with my homeland.
These had to be part of this!

With it being Thanksgiving weekend I decided to put a little spin on them, tried a few times to get them perfect and I think they are simply wonderful  - but no worries, I will give you the regular version as well in case you want to be "original".

Make them, eat them, share them -or don't but you'll increase your pant size if you aren't the sharing type.

I'm Listening to: That Don't Impress Me Much - Shania Twain
*funny story, I met her many moons ago before she was a superstar in Huntsville, ON while I was on vacation with my family.  I was hanging out with her brothers for the week, and was introduced to her while I was sitting on her couch soppin wet after a huge snowball fight - doubt she'd remember me*

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Granola

Pretty sure you could serve this to even the finicky of breakfast eaters and you would get two thumbs up.

A little touch of chocolate brings in a bit of a pick me up (or sugar high) and adds a little something extra.  Pairing it with cherries takes it to a whole 'nother level.

Pffft who says granola is boring?

Toss a few tablespoons into your regular cereal, mix it with your favorite yogurt (vanilla is my choice) or grab a few handfuls throw it into a baggie and pull it out for those mid morning lulls!

I can't speak for you but I am more than alright eating chocolate for breakfast especially if it is disguised in a nutritionally packed breakfast.
Who am I kidding, if I could eat a few squares of chocolates and call it a morning I likely would.
This option is obviously better for you.

Ok, excuse me while I go devour some now......

I'm listening to: Pardon Me - Incubus

Here's what you'll need:

4 cups. large flake rolled oats
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. raspberry flavored cranberries
3/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash of salt
1 bar Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate (chopped)

In a bowl mix together oats, seeds, dried fruit and cinnamon.

In a pot over medium heat add applesauce, honey, brown sugar and salt - stir.
Warm until it has thinned out (about 2-3 minutes).  Do not boil.

Pour over the mixture of grains/fruit and toss to coat.
Turn onto two greased parchment lined baking sheets and spread out.

Throw it into a 300F oven.
Every 5 minutes flip and move around so it doesn't burn.
Keep doing this until lightly browned.
Let cool completely, add in the chopped chocolate and store in an airtight container.

This recipe was adapted from the Canadian Living Magazine - October 2011 Issue
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Winning Weekend

This weekend I was lucky enough to join so many wonderful exhibitors, sponsors, baking enthusiasts and happy, treat craved shoppers at the first Canada's Baking and Sweets Show.
The show was held at the International Center in Mississauga, Ontario and ran Friday September 30th - Sunday October 2nd and was presented by Redpath Sugar.

Walking in, we were greeted with an exquisite array of professionally decorated cakes.  I admit, I admired them probably way more than the average attendee.  Such intricate details.  How can you not marvel at the time that those must have taken!?


Walking past those certainly made my tongue tingle and there may have even been a little drool pooling in the corners of my mouth.

Off to find some samples, I mean new friends.

I swung by and checked out Bronwen Weber (Food Network Challenge Star) at the Just Add Flour booth as she was instructing passerbyes how to create molded figures.  I chatted to her briefly, congratulated her on her past challenges and went on my merry way.

Buddy Valastro, Cake Boss, was in appearance on Sunday (the only day I didn't attend) however I did manage a quick shot with him, even if it was a cutout.

Many great exhibitors fed your cravings with an array of cookies, confections, and cupcakes. Even bagels and cheeses were to be found.
You could also find fresh breads, British fare and spicy jellies and marinades if you weren't into the sweets.

One of my favorite booths was Golda's Kitchen.  I spent a good portion of my visit in that booth, creating ideas in my head as I shopped.  I'm sure I wasn't the only one, it was PACKED both days visited.  My wallet does not thank me for stopping but my heart does.

My last stop on Saturday was the competition stage where the home baking competitions were being judged by Heather of the Cupcake Girls, Erin from the Happy Baker and Marian from Sweetopia.

I happened to have been named one of the five finalists for the blueberry muffin recipe category.
The crowd dissipated slightly so I was able to see them sample each of the entries one at a time.
10 categories in total, 5 finalists in each = sugar coma I'm sure.
It was a nail biter.

After watching them test the first 8 categories I was feeling a bit nervous. 
Recipes were simply submitted by email with ingredients and instructions - what if the test kitchens messed up, what if their ovens were hotter/colder than mine?
I patiently waited and watched as they began the blueberry muffin category.
I saw them pointing to the first plate after trying them all - unanimously they picked #1.
Who's number 1?

The winners of each category received a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer (in metallic) and a box of wonderful items for the kitchen donated by Cuisipro.
I. Was. Ecstatic.
Never have I entered a recipe and been selected even as a finalist let alone a winner!
Great way to end my time at the show.

Thank you to all of the volunteers, exhibitors/sponsors, guests and the show producers for putting on your first event.  I am sure there are kinks to be worked out as I read many disappointing reviews about Sunday's event, but all in all I believe it was successful for everyone.
I will certainly be attending again next year and look forward to hearing more from Redpath Sugar and the shows site.

*Redpath Sugar, Canada's Baking and Sweets Show and any other party listed here was in no way part of this post, the opinions and expressions are my own*
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