Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars



Today is "National Cheesecake Day" and I am celebrating with these "Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars". 

When I saw that fellow blogger Roxana from Roxana's Home Baking was organizing a Cheesecake Day for bloggers, I knew I had to sign up!  Would you believe that over 65+ bloggers signed up?  It seems as though we all really love our cheesecake!  Be sure to check back on your favourite blogs to see if they posted something for cheesecake day too!


Now, let's get to the goods:



Ingredients

Crust
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened

Filling
- 2 - 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract

Apple Pie Topping
- 4 granny smith apples
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Crumble Topping
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup oats
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened

- 1/2 cup Caramel Sauce (either store-bought or homemade)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all of the ingredients for the crust, and flatten into a 9x13 baking pan lined with foil.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. 

Combine ingredients for filling, whipping either with a whisk, hand mixer, or stand mixer.  Ensure all ingredients are well combined.  Pour onto warm crust. 

Core and finely chop apples.  Add lemon juice, sugar, and spices, and spoon evenly over cheesecake mixture. 

Combine ingredients for crumble topping and sprinkle ontop of apples. 

Bake in pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until cheesecake layer has set and crumble topping is golden brown. 

Drizzle with caramel sauce before serving. 

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Friday, July 25, 2014

S'mores Popcorn




This week happens to be s'more week (I know, right?) and some of my favourite bloggers are 
participating! Be sure to check out the bottom of this post for all of their awesome s'more recipes! 


I am a huge fan of popcorn in any way, shape, or form.  I've been known to eat it plain, with butter & salt (my personal favourite), flavoured toppings, in caramel form, or drizzled with chocolate.  When I first heard about s'mores week, I knew that s'mores popcorn was the way to go.  The buttery saltiness of the popcorn compliments the sweetness of the chocolate, while the cereal gives the popcorn a nice sugary crunch, and the marshmallows add a pillowy softness.  Make this bowl of popcorn for your next movie night and satisfy everyone's movie munchies! 

  

Ingredients
- 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- salt, to taste
- 1-2 good quality milk chocolate bars
- 1/2 cup golden grahams cereal or broken up graham crackers
- 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Directions

Pop your popcorn using your favourite method (I like to make mine on the stove in a deep stock pot with a little bit of olive oil) and place on a large baking sheet. 

Salt & butter your popcorn as you normally would.
 
Melt chocolate either in the microwave or in a saucepan over the stove, then take a spoon and drizzle the chocolate overtop of the popcorn. 

While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle golden grahams and mini marshmallows on top. 
Allow chocolate to harden (tip - to speed up this process stick the tray in the fridge for a few minutes).
 
Break off a few pieces and enjoy! 


   

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cherry Cobbler




I made this berry cobbler the other day and it ended up boiling over.  I laughed when it came out of the oven, thinking there was no way I could possibly use this picture for a blog post, but then when I posted it on Cooking With Jax's Facebook Page to poke fun at my disaster, tons of readers thought it still looked delicious and asked for the recipe.  It WAS still delicious, even though it didn't turn out picture perfect this time, I knew that if I had used a larger different dish like the recipe calls for, it would have turned out perfectly.  The truth is, things don't always turn out exactly as planned.  That's been going on a lot lately in my life, but I'm trying to just go with it instead of letting it stress me out.  So, instead of remaking this entire recipe just so I'd get a better picture, I decided to just go with it and try not be such a perfectionist this time around!


This cobbler is my Gramma's recipe and it's a huge family favourite - Gramma's signature dish is to make it with blackberries, and while that's still my personal favourite, I've made it with raspberries (SO good), peaches, pears, and even mango all with excellent results!  I made the cobbler with fresh, BC cherries this time around, and I have to say I highly recommend it!  Do you yourself a favour though, put it in a 9x13 pan, not the pretty artsy pan that's just a smidge too small.  ;)

Ingredients
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk

Mix the above ingredients thoroughly and place in a 9 x 13 pan or dish.  

Combine the following ingredients and pour over the batter. 
- 2 cups berry or other fruit
- 1 granulated sugar
- 1 cup water

Bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for 1 hour. 


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gordie Johnson's Weekly Tomato Sauce


A few weeks ago I had the privileged to interview Canadian rock legend Gordie Johnson from Big Sugar. During the interview, Gordie told me that his kids love this sauce and he makes it weekly so when he's out on the road, the kids have a delicious homemade meals that their Dad made ready in the to go for the week. As soon as he shared this recipe with me, I made a trip to my favourite Italian store to stock up on ingredients.  This sauce is every bit as delicious as it sounds, and I can't wait to make it again next week with a bit of the secret ingredient ;)!  Thanks Gordie for sharing this awesome recipe with us!  

A Little Bit A Big Sugar






A few weeks ago I had the privilege of sitting down with Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson to chat food!  You can read all about how the interview came to be, as well as a glimpse into my day HERE.

For the interview, Gordie and I found a quite corner just off stage and settled in on a stage trunk (a trunk that holds the band's gear).  Sounds of the river flowed on one side, and melodies from the stage drifted down from the other.  The area was filled with activity - Gordie's kids were busy running around, having the time of their lives.   The rest of the band milled about, some on stage finishing up their soundcheck, some down by the river, enjoying a steaming cup of hot tea.

Gordie was really excited to sit down and chat food, so needless to say we got right down to business.  Here's what we had to talk about:


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review/Giveaway: Glow 3 Day Beginner's Juice Cleanse



[This post is sponsored by Glow Juicery, though all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Glow Juicery provided Sarah and I each with a cleanse to review, and they also sponsored the giveaway at the end of this post]

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that my friend Sarah and I over at Stop Nothing But Time have been on a bit of a fitness kick lately.  In fact, for the last 100 days we've been meeting up for an hour or more each day to exercise together to encourage each other on our mutual quest to get fit.  We've gone walking, swimming, hiking, played racquetball, and even did a little indoor rock climbing.   To celebrate 100 days we decided to do a juice cleanse together!  Be sure to check out Sarah's post over at her blog www.StopNothingButTime.blogspot.com for her thoughts and opinions on the cleanse and how it worked for her!  


Friday, July 11, 2014

Backstage Pass: My Interview with Big Sugar

Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson performing June 30th in Athabasca, Alberta. 
Last week on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, I pulled into Athabasca, Alberta, about to embark on one of the coolest experiences of my life. 
Two weeks prior to that I received an e-mail from the record label that manages Big Sugar.  It turns out that Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson wanted to sit down and chat food with me and share a recipe with you all.  I pinched myself a couple of times (and okay, lets be honest - I did a dance around my living room and was so excited I couldn't even reply to the e-mail until the next day).  We made plans for me to attend the band's next nearby concert which happened to be a music Festival in Athabasca, Alberta. 
The band during a soundcheck
I arrived with plenty of time to spare so I checked into my hotel which overlooked the river, and also the stage where the band would be performing.  A few minutes after I settled in, I could hear the sounds of Big Sugar's "A Little Bit A All Right" drifting in and a soundcheck taking place, while some serious ninja butterflies did backflips in my stomach.  I quickly finished getting ready and made my way down to the river, completely nervous that I was not only about to interview someone, but that I was about to interview a cool musician who's songs were already among the top played on my iPod. 
A selfie while watching the soundcheck
I made it down to the river just in time to catch the last 20 minutes of the soundcheck, which in itself was pretty surreal.  It felt like a private concert, with only a few people scattered here and there, including a really sweet lady that I chatted with, which I would later find out was actually Gordie's Mother-in-Law! 
The interview itself was taking place as soon as the soundcheck finished so I waited for  Gordie to finish up as a few of the band members started filtering off stage.  I was a little starstruck hanging out with the band - I've never met anyone famous before in my life so it was insane hanging out with them and trying to pretend like it was no big deal.  I had the privilege of chatting with a few of them while I waited. Friendlyness was hanging out, tea in hand and chilling out by river, seemingly taking in the serenity of it all. He was all smiles the entire day, and completely lived up to his name by being incredible cheerful and friendly! I also had a chance to chat with Gary (Lowe) a little bit and he was really kind as well, sitting on the boardwalk also enjoying a hot cup of tea. Mr. Chill stood next to us by the stage and made small talk with me about my day until Gordie came off stage to greet me.
 
Gordie and I with a batch of cookies I made for the band
(details and recipe coming soon!) 
After Gordie and I made our introductions, we went to find a quite place to sit down and chat.  We ended up sitting on a stage trunk (a trunk that holds the band's gear) just off to the side of the stage, with the river on one side and melodies from the stage drifting down to us on the other.  Gordie's kids ran around, interacting with us during the interview, and clearly excited to be included in all the fun!  The rest of Gordie's family hung out at a nearby picnic table taking in the beautiful day and helping everyone get ready for the show. 
 
Interviewing Gordie
During the interview Gordie's easygoing personality instantly put me instantly at ease, and all of the nerves I had leading up to the day melted away.  Gordie was incredibly down to earth and just like the rest of his band, super friendly!  The interview itself felt more like a conversation than anything, and after we finished up he invited me over to the picnic bench where his family was, and they dug into the cookies that I brought for them (if you follow me on Instagram you will already know what kind of cookies I made, but if not, stay tuned as I will be posting the recipe later this week). 

Later on that night, while Big Sugar performed I had the opportunity to watch a portion of the show from backstage what was an experience in itself! 

My view while Big Sugar performed
I even got to go right on stage with the band and take pictures for my post.  That in itself was an incredible moment, and will definitely play in the highlight reel of my memory whenever I reflect on this day. 

Me on stage with the band, my hubby took this pic with his iPhone! 
All in all I had an incredible day that I will undoubtably remember for the rest of my life.  I'm really excited to share my conversation with Gordie with you, which will also include giveaways and a recipe from Gordie's personal collection!  Be sure to check back later this week, you're not going to want to miss out!   

Gordie during the interview
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