Saturday, 29 September 2012

Beautiful Fall

It's a beautiful fall day here in Southern Ontario. We've had a couple of light frosts but even the tender impatiens have managed to hang on. I have a weakness for fall Mums. I'm not too big on decorating for Hallowe'en but I really like having some colour outdoors through the fall.
I usually get my plants locally at Belgian Nursery. The selection is huge and the price is very reasonable. Here's a peek.....


I also have a weakness for the gourds. They are so unique and colourful and I picked up this wicker cornucopia for a very reasonable price also at Belgian. AND I can always bring it in to help decorate the Thanksgiving table.

Of course, Lindor thinks she's "helping"......

with the fall decorating. Enjoy this beautiful season and all it has to offer.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Billy Bars

I couldn't get a decent photo of these bars no matter how many times I took it but you can rest assured, they are simply delicious! Corrina says these are the Number ONE square and they were especially yummy because I used Epicure Belgian milk chocolate this time around. They're nutty, crunchy and smooth with creamy Butterscotch filling. Give them a whirl.

Billy Bars

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter (melted)

1 300g package Chipits milk chocolate bits (or Belgian if you're feeling rich)
1 cup slivered almonds
1 225g package Skor bits
1 1/3 cups caramel sundae sauce
1/3 cup all purpose flour

Combine first 4 ingredients in mixing bowl. Add melted butter. Mix well. Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the mixture for the topping. Press remainder into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350F for 12 -15 minutes.

Topping: Combine baking chips, almonds and toffee bits. Sprinkle evenly over base, mix together sundae sauce and flour until smooth. Pour evenly over crust. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture on top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden. Cool completely then cut into squares. If you can wait that long.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Strawberry cards

At last year's Lindor crop, the theme was strawberries, so the cards I designed all had a strawberry theme. I used green gingham paper on most of the ten card designs. I wish someone would come up with a gingham line. It is so useful and looks great in a lot of situations. I found a couple extras in my stash and in the spirit of "finishing" projects, I put them together and have already given one away.
Isn't that why we make cards in the first place?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Blue Hubbard Squash

Like most of you, I'm starting to think about hosting Thanksgiving which I do for the extended family on a regular basis. I like to have as much of the work done ahead of time as possible so I can spend time with the family and visit, instead of slaving in the kitchen for much of the day.

 I have a few tricks up my sleeve which I will be sharing in future posts including my crock pot stuffing recipe that has revolutionized Thanksgiving for many of my friends. Today, though I'm going to talk about another favourite make-ahead dish: squash. And not just any squash, but the motherlode of squashes; the Blue Hubbard. My friend Kathy put me onto this years ago and we both used to find them at the Farmer's market but she recently discovered a little squash farm not that far from Breslau so we can pick these beauties up close to home.

Ok, so that's a mini pumpkin but you get the idea of size.

 It's a bit of a pain to cut in half; sometimes you need the hammer and chisel but then you just bake it on a cookie sheet until it is tender, scrape it out into a bowl, add butter and brown sugar to taste. Put it into Ziploc freezer bags and then when you need it just defrost it and warm up in the oven.

 Of course, if you're lucky enough to have one of these (thanks Kathy)

you can keep your squash piping hot for a considerable time after you take it out of the oven. I admired Kathy's squash pot for years and finally I was lucky enough to get one from her as a gift.
Enjoy your fall preparations.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Homemade Pizza Dough

I've been making my own pizza dough for many years. Probably ever since "Let's Bake Bread": a 4-H homemakers club from way back when. Some of you farm gals would know what I'm talking about. I managed to complete Provincial Honours, which I think was 18 clubs. I had to finish my final club when I was in university, they even had a club on campus. We got a silver teaspoon for every club we completed. Well, nobody uses silver teaspoons anymore; or not too many of those that I hang out with, but I sure do use a lot of the knowledge and basic skills that I learned from those homemaker clubs.

Pizza dough is not that hard to make, it uses just a few ingredients and tastes just like yummy bread right out of the oven. You can make it thin crust or thick crust and it only takes about ten minutes to prepare.

I'm going to type the recipe from memory so I hope I don't leave anything out.

Homemade Pizza Dough
In one cup of warm water, dissolve 1 tsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast. Let sit in a warm place for ten minutes. When time is up, stir with a fork, add 1 tsp of salt and 3 Tbsp of cooking oil. Add to 3 cups of all purpose flour. Mix and turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth. (I usually get lazy hear and just knead it until it's mixed fairly well). Then roll it out with a rolling pin and you're good to go.
I think you can take it from there with the pizza toppings, tomato sauce, your favourite toppings covered with a healthy amount of mozzarella. Bake at 400F for 20 min.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Ice cream sandwich dessert

Believe it or not, I DO occasionally make "normal" food but its not very interesting talking about grilled chicken and frozen veggies. I had the chance to make another scumptious dessert this week for my ladies social group. We all just bring a variety of snacks etc and they know I'm usually good for the sweets. It's a little tricky taking something frozen but I'm attempting to be more organized using up my freezer stockpile so I decided to make this yummy contribution. It's quick and easy and tastes like a DQ Peanut Buster parfait, or so I'm told.

I only had the JUMBO sandwiches, but what the heck, it worked just fine. I cut a few in half to see if it would make a difference and there was none so you can basically go with whatever you have on hand.

Doesn't it look yummy? Goes together lickity split and makes a generous portion.
Here's the recipe..... Give it a try.

Ice Cream Bar Dessert

1 can chocolate syrup
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
19 ice cream sandwiches (smaller type)
1 (12 oz container Cool Whip )
1 cup salted peanuts
1 cup chocolate chunks or chips

Microwave syrup for about 2 minutes. DO NOT BOIL! Stir in peanut butter. Cool to room temperature. Line a 9 x 13 pan with sandwiches, spread 1/2 whipped topping, 1/2 choc mixture, top with 1/2 peanuts and repeat. Freeze and enjoy.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Layered Lemon

Well, summer is winding down and soon it will be back to the routine.
I was happy to be invited to a pool/dinner party with friends to cap off the
summer season in style. I usually make layered lemon as a spring time dessert but it
seemed like the perfect thing to take as my contribution. It is not overly sweet and everyone seemed to enjoy the combination of shortbread crust, cream cheese filling and tart lemon. I hope you do too.

Layered Lemon

First layer:
2 cups flour
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Second Layer:
2 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup whipping cream (whipped)

Third Layer:
2 pkg lemon pudding and pie filling (each makes one pie)

Fourth Layer:
2 cups whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour, butter and nuts together until crumbly. Press into 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 15 min at 350F,
Cool. Beat cream cheese and icing sugar together. Whip cream. Fold into cream cheese mixture and spread on cooled crust. Prepare pie fillings according to package directions and pour over cream cheese layer when slightly cooled. Beat whipped cream and add sugar and vanilla. Spread onto set lemon layer.Garnish with chopped pecans if desired.

Note: This makes a very generous portion. You can halve the ingredients, using 500 mL of whipping cream and make in an 8 x 8 pan.
I think the original source of this recipe is Company's Coming Desserts but I've made it so much, I pratically consider it one of my own.