Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween Severed Finger Cookies

I've been making these cookies every year for Halloween for the past 5 or 6 years now and I still think they are sooo cool! The nasty, busted, discoloured finger nails are the best part if you ask me!   I got this recipe from my mom years ago and I think she got if from a friend but beyond that.......I have no idea.  there are however many versions of this cookie floating around on the Internet but but I find none (I've tried 3 or 4 others) look quite as gruesome or hold their shape as well as these......not even the Martha Stewart version compares to these (gasp I can't believe I just said that, but it's true)

I made these guys in the photo's really quick before work yesterday which is why my piping gel isn't really mixed so well and they don't look as awesome as they could, but I still wanted to share......these are after all one of my favorite Halloween traditions.  I love the look on peoples faces when I hand them a little treat box all nicely tied with ribbon they open it up and peel back the tissue paper to find 2 or 3 severed fingers, fake blood and all!

What you need:
1 cup butter softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
50-60 almond slices (not too cracked or chipped)
1/2 cup piping gel (you can get a small container of this at bulk barn or a place like Michael's)
red food colouring paste
black food colouring paste

Here's what you do:
1.  In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla.  combine the flour and salt; stir into the sugar mixture.   Cover dough and chill for at least 1 hour.

2.  Roll out logs of dough approximately 1/2 inch thick and 3-4 inches long.....variety is okay but keep them relatively the size of your fingers.

3.  put as many as you can onto cookie sheets and pop them into the freezer or about 15 minutes.


4.  Working in batches pinch one end of a log to form a tapered end for the finger tip.  pinch two more times, not as much as the finger tip, to form the middle and bottom knuckle.

5.  Nest use a butter knife to score the knuckles, 3 lines by the finger tip, 3 on the main knuckle and and 2 at the "cut" end.  when scoring the knuckles with three lines try to curve the two outside score marks a little.

6.  Insert and almond slice into the finger tip so a little of the almond is inserted into the cookie dough, and pressing down a bit to flatten it out like a finger nail.  be careful not to apply too much pressure or the almond will break.

7.  put your finished fingers on cookie sheets spaced 1 inch apart (if you follow this recipe the dough won't spread)  and pop them back into the freezer for another 15 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F 

8.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden at the edges.  remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.


9.  Put your piping gel into a small bowl and colour with the red and black food colours......only a hint of can always add, but you can't take can be seen in the photo's of the cookies I made this year, some of them have way too much black.  When cool, dip the "cut" end of your finger into the piping gel.  or if you would prefer you can paint it on using a small bakers brush.  Also if you like you can add some of the icing blood up around the finger nail area.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 22 September 2011


Both T and I are huge fans of this dish although he grew up calling it Milanesa and I believe in his house it was usually made using thin cuts of beef.  I on the other hand, until I met T only knew it as Schnitzel and I associated it most often with veal......yes I know veal is actually cow but I think most people would agree with me that a veal steak tastes decidedly different than a beef steak.  I have also tried this recipe using thin cut pork and it also works nicely.

2 pounds veal, pork, or beef scallopini (cut no thicker than your finger)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups bread crumbs
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup oil for frying
4-5 cups of milk

The night before you want to make this, you should tenderize the meat and then cover it in milk in an air tight container and put it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.  As I understand it, using the natural enzymes and acidity in milk is a great way to further tenderize the meat.
take your thin and tenderized steaks, and dredge in flour. In a shallow dish, beat the eggs with salt and pepper. In another dish combine the bread crumbs and the grated Parmesan.  Coat the veal with egg mixture, then with bread crumb mixture.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes on each side.  Squeeze fresh lemon over top and Serve immediately

Make sure you make more than you need for dinner because the left overs make delicious sandwiches!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed loaf

I took this recipe from the Rose Reisman: "The Complete Light Kitchen" cookbook, and it's definitely one I feel is worth passing on.  It makes a really nice light dessert when serving it with coffee or tea.

What you need:
3/4 Cup Granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil **** I subbed in 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
2tsp grated lemon rind
3tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup 2% milk
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1tbsp poppy seeds
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/3 cup yogurt or light sour cream

1/4 cup icing sugar
2tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

What you do:
1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray
2.  combine the granulated sugar, oil, egg, lemon rind and 3tbsp of lemon juice; mix well.  Add the milk, mixing thoroughly.
3.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds.  Add to the wet mixture alternately with the yoghurt, mixing just until incorporated.
4.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.  let cool for 10 minutes
5.  For the glaze, combine the icing sugar and 2 tbsp of lemon juice.  prick holes in the top of the loaf with a fork or a wooden skewer and pour the glaze over the loaf

*****if you prefer muffins......pour your batter into muffin tins, and increase oven temperature to 375F
cooking time is reduced to 15-20 minutes
Let me know what you think of this one......We really enjoyed it!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Easy Deviled Eggs

For me, Deviled eggs are one of those foods that feel totally old school.  but they are so delicious and super easy to make I often wonder why I don't make them more often.
1 egg makes 2 pieces
For this recipe I used 9 eggs
2tbsp white vinegar taste
pinch of dill
pinch of paprika

Fill a large pot with water add your 2 tbsp of Vinegar and turn heat up to high
gently place in all of your eggs making sure the water covers each egg
let the water come to a boil, once water is boiling turn the heat off but allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for about 4-5 minutes.  remove the eggs from the hot water and submerge into cold water.  Once the eggs are cool enough to handle with your fingers carefully peel the eggs ( the goal is to peel the eggs without leaving any marks/cracks in the egg flesh.....this is not too hard to achieve but can be tricky if you have longer fingernails) once all the eggs have been peeled you slice the egg in half length wise.
 Now you carefully scoop out the yolk from each egg and set aside
Using a fork mash up the yolks adding mustard to reach desired consistency......I like the filling to be smooth and a really creamy mashed potato
next you can either scoop a little filling into each egg half using a small spoon or you can use a piping bag with a large star tip for a slightly less rustic look.  once each egg is filled you can season with sprinklings of paprika or dill.....or whatever else you like
pop any leftovers into an air tight container and they'll keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
*****Helpful tip!******
Boil and peel the eggs the night before and then just finish them off in the morning.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Camera is broken >:-z

Sorry for the long delay in posts I really appreciate those who are sticking with me despite the lack of current activity on this blog.  It feels as though summer has just flown by!  I have been both cooking and baking yet with my camera not in working order I have no photos to share, I'm hoping to either get the camera fixed or to just get a new one in the very near future (this is what I'm really hoping for!)
coming up in the next little while......Lemon poppy seed loaf, spaetzle, Wiener Schnitzel, lemon ginger cookies, a variety of soups and so much more!
I'll be back shortly I promise!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Pie for Dinner.

I love pie!  All kinds of pies, fruit pies, meat pies, sweet pies and savory pies!  There is so much variety, you can do just about anything.  A couple of nights ago I was feeling the corn and onion vibe.

  I started with 5 corn on the cob, I threw them into a pot of boiling water until cooked.....I don't know......say 20 minutes?......I wasn't really paying attention.  once they were cooked I cut the corn from the save yourself some time you could just use frozen corn that you've let thaw, but hey I had the corn on the cob in the fridge. I chopped and sauteed a large onion with 2 cloves of garlic and I seasoned it with cracked pepper and ground thyme.  I turned the heat down and added the corn to the onions.  I then proceeded to stir in and melt 6oz or cream cheese.  Once everything was fully incorporated I let the mixture cool and then beat in one egg
evenly spread the mixture into your pie shell
when it comes to pie shells you have two options you can buy the frozen ready made shells or if you have a few extra minutes you can make it yourself from scratch........that's literally all it takes is 3 or 4 extra minutes.  I have a few different pie crust recipes in my repertoire but for this particular occasion I selected my most basic savory style shortening centered recipe.

Here's what you need:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
Here's what you do:
Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a fork or a pastry blender until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork.
Roll gently onto floured surface so that the diameter is about an inch larger that your pie plate.  Carefully lift and press crust into pie plate.
If adding a top crust again roll gently onto floured surface cut out centre shape to release steam carefully lift and place on top of filled pie. using your fingers go along the outside of the pie and pinch the two layers of crust together 
brush with a little bit of egg wash or milk and then pop her in the oven (350) for about 45 minutes and your done!  Sorry I forgot to take the after picture, the pie just smelled so good that 10 minutes after T got home the buzzer rang and we just cut into it immediately.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Peanut butter pie (For Mikey)

Last week among the many food blogs that I read on a regular basis one in particular stood out.  In Jennie's Kitchen Author, Jennifer Perillo had the courage to write about the tragic and sudden loss of her husband Mikey. The post was beautiful and it brought me to tears.

her request was so simple.....Peanut butter pie was his favorite dessert. Make a peanut butter pie and share it with someone you love.
what you need:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crusts
 What you do:
1.  Beat together cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Mix in peanut butter and milk. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
2.  Spoon into two 9 inch graham cracker pie shells; cover, and freeze until firm.

I chose this recipe to start off with because of it's simplicity......and it really is simple although I think next time I'll drizzle chocolate on top and garnish with chopped nuts to make it look a little more polished.
I hope that those of you who try this recipe love it and pass it on.  My heart aches for Jennifer Perillo and her two young daughters.  This was my Peanut butter pie for Mikey.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Zucchini sticks

In an Effort to get H to eat more vegetables I've been trying all kinds of new recipes, as well as trying to stick with what's in season so that the food tastes it's best and hopefully entices him to eat more of it!  Today I tried yet another zucchini recipe.....I know it must seem like we eat a ton of zucchini in this house but I swear it's not a freakish amount! to be honest lately we have been trying a lot of zucchini, but thats because it's in season...... but we've also been eating other veggies as well.  It's just that not everything gets posted......some of the stuff is too normal or simple that it doesn't really seem post worthy.  Sometimes I'm trying something for the first time and either the recipe itself is a total flop or I have in some way messed it up.....either way it doesn't get posted.
  There I go, off on a tangent again!
Todays recipe is for zucchini sticks, breaded and baked.......super simple and really yummy.
 I came across this recipe in the Hospital for Sick Children Better Food For Kids cookbook and just tweaked it slightly to suit our families tastes
What you need:
2  medium-large zucchini's cut into 8cm x 1cm sticks
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
1tsp ground or chopped thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs (beaten)
olive oil (a couple of tbsp's to drizzle over before baking)

1.  In a bowl combine breadcrumbs, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, thyme, salt and pepper.  Mix well.
2.  in another bowl beat eggs lightly
3.  Dip zucchini sticks in the egg and then in the bread crumb mixture; transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet.
4.  Drizzle sticks with a small amount of olive oil and bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned, turning sticks over once halfway through baking time.
 Before the Oven
After the Oven
I've tried them myself just a few minutes ago fresh from the oven and they're pretty good......the cook book also claims they're just as delicious cold.  As soon as H is up from his nap we'll put them to the test!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Slow cookers were invented for lazy fridays

Often lazy Fridays are so lazy they're Pizza Fridays but I've realized that a slow cooker meal can be just as little effort as throwing together a pizza......sometimes even less.......this is one of those meals.
I had the roast in the freezer and I took it out wednesday to cook it for Friday.  Our freezer has quite a nice variety of both types of meat as well as cuts of meat.....on a good day anyway.  We like to shop the sales, freeze and forget.....that way when we start to feel like oh more pasta, I just open the freezer and I'm like hey how about Pot roast......or chicken wings........or pork chops.....or ribs.....well you get the point.  So I pulled out the top sirloin roast, but was hesitant because, let's face it, having the oven on for 4 or 5 hours in the middle of august.......not appealing!  but then I remembered my lovely slow cooker who has been hidden away for a couple of weeks now, and just like that the pot roast was a go.

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1teaspoon onion powder
1 (3 pound) top sirloin roast
6 cloves garlic, slivered
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 large sweet onions, peeled and chopped
1bottle Lager or ale.....or any beer you like really
2 large green bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
Oops, the roast was half eaten before I remembered to take a picture
Here's what you do:
Rub salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder into the meat. With a small knife, make slits in the roast. Press the garlic slivers into the roast.
Place the potatoes, carrots, and onions in a large slow cooker. Place meat on top of the vegetables. Pour in beer.
Place lid on slow cooker, and cook for 6 hours on High, or 8 hours on Low. During the last half hour of cooking, add the green peppers.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Sweet potato and Coconut soup

Among the ga-zillion of ingredients I have in my cupboards is red curry paste.  This week, for whatever reason, it was calling my name.  I was not really sure what I wanted to make with it so rather than hit up my cook books I took to the internet to do an ingredient search.  Sweet potato and coconut soup is what I decided on in the end, and Mmmmm Mmmmmm Mmmmm was it ever good.

 ******This is a spicy soup......consider yourself warned
 Onions, Ginger, and Curry paste just hanging out enjoying the heat
1 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, thinly sliced * too lazy to go to the store to get fresh Ginger I subbed powdered ginger with a positive result******also I did not measure but I"m guessing I used about 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 (15 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups vegetable broth
3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
adding the coconut milk was my favorite part.....the house becomes so fragrant!
Sweet potatoes are always a hit in my house!
Peel, chop and boil sweet potatoes just until tender
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and heat for 1 minute, then whisk in the coconut milk and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Take the sweet potatoes and mash up a few of the peices. Add to the soup and cook for 5 more minutes so they can soak up the flavor. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt. Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired
Mmmmm finished product!
Despite the spiciness of this soup I nervously offered it to H to try......He loved it, opening up for more every time!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

cookies from the garden

Today was a baking day for me......well it's been a baking week actually. 
  This past weekend T, H, Ella and I went up to a friends cottage and we had an awesome time! but when I got home I realized I had a bunch of stuff still in the fridge that had to be used up.  Among the must be used immediately were two of the biggest zucchini's I've ever seen.  A neighbor had brought them from her son's garden and so generously bestowed them upon me.  Seeing as H is going through a bit of a rough patch with Veggies I decided to use my mom powers to turn zucchini into cookies!

Well what do you know, the little bugger has never been so pleased to eat zucchini in his entire life, although to be fair I think he'd eat anything if you told him it was a, I'm not's a little frightening.  
Well other than the zucchini everything else is pretty standard and likely in your own cupboards.....happy baking!

I covered the batter with plastic wrap and let it hang out in the fridge over night

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup grated zucchini
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup raisins
so much Zucchini!!!!  
Here's what you do:
1.  Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. 
2.  Beat in the egg then stir in the zucchini. 
3.  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir into the zucchini mixture. Mix in raisins. 
4.  Cover dough and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
5.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Cookies should be about 2 inches apart.
6.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven until set. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
H is no Henny Penny he loves to help mum make treats!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Broccoli and Cauliflower Cassarole

1/2 cup uncooked white rice
10 oz broccoli florets (I used 2 heads....smallish)
10 oz cauliflower florets (I used 1 big head)
1/2 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups of cheese whiz
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup 
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups crushed crackers (Ritz or something similar)

Here's what you do:
1. In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Simmer broccoli and cauliflower florets in water for 10 minutes, or until crunchy. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute onion. Stir cauliflower, broccoli and rice into the saucepan.
3. Once the vegetables and rice are coated, stir in the cheese, chicken soup and milk. Transfer the entire mixture to a 9x13 inch baking dish and sprinkle the crackers on top.
4. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 30 minutes.

******Sorry about the lack of photograph, it was eaten up before I even thought about posting the recipe!
I made the casserole again this week at my sisters request, this time I took a picture

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

600g Whole Wheat Flour (will probably need to add more to achieve a good rolling consistency)
500g Peanut butter (I like to use crunchy)
30g Baking Soda
500ml Milk
4 Eggs
100g honey
200g carob chips

Mix the first 6 ingredients, once blended stir in the carob chips until incorporated
Because Ella is quite a large dog I make the cookies quite thick, rolling them out to about a 1/2 inch
cut them into whatever shape you desire (I usually use my super cute dog bone cookie cutter)

bake at 350 for 12-16 minutes depending on the thickness of the cookie.
* cookies are good for about a week....2 weeks tops.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Easy Home Made Dog Food

Sometimes the thought of cooking for yourself can be daunting enough let alone cooking nice healthy meals for your pets.  but when you've got a dog who is ill or often suffers from a sensitive stomach cooking your own pet meals is the way to go.  I've been making my own dog food for years now and to cut down on costs I shop the sales and make the food in bulk and freeze it in meal size portions.  Only a couple of hours in the kitchen means Ella has nice, home made, human grade food for a month! (I would make even more but my freezer is pretty small)  If you are interested in making your precious pooch his/her own food yourself you can pick up a pet food recipe book from your local pet store, take to the Internet to do a bit of research or even just talk to your vet the next time you're in there....I'm sure they can give you some advice or make you aware of any supplements your dog may need.....particularly if your dog suffers from any kid of sickness.

In my case though, Ella is a big healthy girl with no real issues, giving me a little more freedom with her menu.  I use a uniform distribution ratio for my recipes.  Meaning: for every pound of protein, I match it with a pound of fruits or vegetables and a pound of carbohydrate.  To make sure she meets her calcium requirement I let her lick out any and all dairy containers (yogurt, sour cream, cottage name it) that have been finished that day.... or in lacking that, I'll cut and give her 1 oz of cheese as a treat.  That being said I have read a couple different books on making your own dog food and depending on who you listen to there may or may not be other important minerals or nutrients missing, for that purpose I find it easiest to supplement her home made food from time to time with a good quality store bought kibble, although it could also be done by adding particular oils or vitamins purchased at specialty stores.......but I stick with what's easiest for me!
An example of her home made food would be

I brown and drain 4lbs of lean ground beef  
stir in 4lbs of fresh or frozen fruit or veggies (in this case it was frozen peas)
 boil 4lbs of whole grain brown rice until cooked (not necessary to salt the water)
 Mix it all together and let cool.
 Once cool, bag in meal size portions. (Ella is a large breed so she gets between 1.5 and 2 cups per bag.  *I find sandwich bags are the perfect size)
 below is an example of shredded chicken, mixed fruit (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) and whole wheat pasta noodles
this post reminds me of an excellent peanut butter and carob chip dog biscuit recipe I have.......for those of you with dogs you like to spoil, stay tuned and I'll try to post that one in the next day or two! El'Poocho is going to love it!!!!!!