Showing posts with label Holiday Posts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday Posts. Show all posts

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Homemade Fruit Snacks

This recipe appeared in the Hinton Voice's February 7th Edition. 

[A common favourite for kids and adults alike, fruit snacks are one of those foods that you’ll likely find in most households at one time or another.  Making homemade fruit snacks is so unbelievably easy; as soon as you finish reading this recipe you’re going to wonder why you haven’t tried making them sooner.  When I first made these fruit snacks I was half expecting something sticky and slightly firmer than jello – instead I was pleasantly surprised that what I ended up with closely resembled store bought fruit snacks.  They are even better in fact because not only can you use healthier ingredients, the possible flavour combinations far surpass the usual five possibilities.  

I remember as a kid I almost always had fruit snacks in my lunch. I would tear into the package hoping the contents were mostly made up of the orange or grape varieties.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the yellow or green kinds, mostly due to their intense artificial flavours.  This worked out well for whichever friend I sat with for lunch that day, since most of my friends weren’t quite as picky as I was.  Needless to say with five or six fruit snacks in a package, my chances of having to share a couple were pretty high. 

Fast forward to present day and I’ve gotten a lot better at sharing (and less picky depending on who you ask).  I’m still not a huge fan of yellow or green fruit snacks because I still think they bear no resemblance to real fruit.   No problem though as now I can make all my favourite fruit snack flavours at home.  Since I already have the heart shaped cutter and all, I might even make some more wild raspberry ones next week as a Valentine’s Day treat for my special someone.]

Tip:  For homemade jello, use 1 package gelatin and 2 cups of your favorite fruit juice.  For sweeter jello, add up to 1/3 cup sugar.

- 1 (3 oz) package gelatin, any flavour
- 2 (.25 oz) envelopes of unflavoured gelatin
- 1/3 cup water or fruit juice


- 2-3 (.25 oz) envelopes of unflavoured gelatin (2 for soft, 3 for firm)
- 1/3 cup of your favourite fruit juice

Place water or juice in a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin overtop – let sit for 2-3 minutes to soften gelatin.   Heat over medium heat and stir until gelatin is completely dissolve (about 3-5 minutes).  Pour into molds and allow to set for about a half hour.   You can speed up the setting process by placing your mold in the fridge. 

If you don’t have a mold, pour into a small (preferably ceramic or glass) pan and let set.  Once set, remove from pan and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter or sharp knife.

- Nutritional Info (1/2 recipe using fruit juice) -

Calories - 36   Fat - 0    Carbs – 7     Protein - 3   Fibre – 1


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Homemade Kahlua

Last year I made homemade Bailey's on Christmas Eve, and it was nothing short of awesome.  This weekend I set out to make a batch in preparation of the upcoming holidays, and ended up making a batch of Kahlua as well.  Here are the results: 
- 6 cups of your favourite coffee, brewed
- 1 lb light brown sugar
- 2 cups vodka
- 4 tbsp vanilla extract
Combine freshly brewed coffee with brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved.  Transfer to a medium saucepan set to medium heat.  Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes.  Cool the mixture completely, then add vanilla extract and vodka. 

Recipe makes 6 cups (1.5 L).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Roasted Chestnuts

Our first official snowfall of the year has came and gone - only to come again with full force!  As a result Christmas music has been dancing in my head.  On our way home from a recent trip to the city, we stopped to pick up groceries along the way and I saw a bin of fresh chestnuts.  Immediately I thought of the infamous line about chestnuts roasting on an open fire from "The Christmas Song" so I couldn't resist buying them. Since (much to my dismay!) we don't have a fireplace at home, and it's well past campfire season - I opted for oven roasting instead. 
I was surprised by the final taste - I was expecting a harder nut with a nuttier taste.  Chestnuts are quite soft (especially once roasted), and the taste is pretty mild. Marc and I both thought they tasted similar to mashed potatoes!  I'm going to try them again later in the week, only this as apart of squash soup!  
- fresh chestnuts, any quantity
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
With a sharp knife, cut an "x" in the centre of the chestnut, round side up.  As the chestnuts roast, the shell will curl away enabling easier peeling. 
Roast chestnuts on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes until lightly browned.
Peel the shells away while the chestnuts are still warm.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Butter Tarts

Butter tarts are a true Canadian classic with the first recorded recipe dating back to the early 1900's.  I love classic recipes like these that have been able to stand the test of time.  It's so awesome to envision people making this same dessert back in the day.  Like most older recipes, this one is simple, and calls for ingredients that most people will already find in their kitchens.

Butter tarts are such a great dessert to serve during the upcoming holidays. The sweet, flaky crust, paired with the creamy, buttery filling creates an incredible flavour combination.  Not only can these be made in advance, they also freeze quite well so they make an ideal dessert to make for get togethers.  
For Pastry
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, chilled
- 3 tbsp ice cold water
For Filling
- 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/2 cup raisins or chopped nuts (optional)
Place flour, sugar, and butter into a food processor and blend until combined.  Slowly add water and blend until a dough forms.  Place dough on a floured surface and shape the dough into a disk.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to relax the gluten in the dough. 
Once chilled, roll dough to approx 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut 12 x 4 inch circles (I used a large mug as my cutter).  Place the dough ontop of the pie tin and lightly press down to create a cup.  Cover and chill cups for additional hour. 
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 
Meanwhile, in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment wisk together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Mix in vanilla extract.  Add cream and whip until combined. 
Line the bottom of each pastry cup with raisins or nuts.  Divide filling amongst cups. 
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or so until the filling has bubbled out and is set. 
Let tarts cool completely before removing from the muffin tin.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentines Day Dinner: Heart Shaped Chicken Parmesan w/ Vermicelli & Garlic Toast

Every year on Valentine's Day my husband makes me the same dish - heart shaped chicken parmesan.  Before he became an Electrician, he was a cook.  I remember when we first started dating he would bring me yummy dishes that he made at work - usually items of his own creation.   I love it when he cooks for me, and I love it even more when he makes me this dish!  This dish also goes well with caesar salad, and of course WINE.  :) 

- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 jar of your favourite spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 cup mozza (we like Saputo)
- 1-2 tbsp parmesan cheese (use real cheese)
- 2 servings (170 g dry) vermicelli (or your favourite noodle)
- sprinkle of parsley, for garnish

Garlic Toast
- 4 slices french bread
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1/4 tsp oregano

Grate cheeses and place in separate dishes.  Set aside. 

Butterfly cut chicken to give it the heart shape.  Trim as necessary.

Preheat frying pan over medium heat.  Add 1 tsp of olive oil and cook chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side, until each side is golden brown and chicken is cooked throughout. 

Preaheat oven to 400 degrees and place chicken breasts on a baking sheet.  Spread a few tbsp of spaghetti sauce over each chicken breast.  You want to spread a nice even amount, and not so much that it is dripping down the sides. 

Sprinkle chicken breasts with cheeses.  Start with the mozza and sprinkle evenly over the chicken breasts.  Finish with the parmesan (this cheese will brown nicely given the chicken parmesan a nice golden colour).   You may need to use more or less cheese depending on the size of your chicken breasts. 

Bake for about 10 minutes, until cheese is nice and bubbly and the cheese has turned golden brown.

Sprinkle with parsley for garnish.

Garlic Toast:

Combine ingredients and spread a thin layer of butter on garlic toast (You will have some garlic butter left over you will use to toss with the cooked pasta).  Place toast in oven with chicken 1/2 way through the cooking time (about 5 minutes).  

Cook vermicelli as per package directions.  Strain and return to pot.  Add remaining garlic butter and pasta sauce and combine until warmed throughout. 


Here are a few pictures of my husband and I throughout the years. 

At a friend's wedding around the time we first started dating. 

In front of the church in Ontario that Marc's grandparents were married at that was taken on the trip we got engaged on. 

At our wedding on July 29, 2006.

The most recent photo of the two of us - this was taken by Just For You Photography this past September. 
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