Apple Raisin Pecan Crisp

A twist on the classic

3 apples, cored, seeded and chopped

1 – 2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

1/4 c. raisins

1/2 cup quick oats

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. flour

1/4 c. butter or margarine

1/4 c. pecans, coarsely chopped

Grease an 8 x 8 pan. Preheat oven to 350.  Put apples in bottom of pan and sprinkle with cinnamon and raisins.  Combine oats, sugar and flour in a small bowl. “Cut in” butter or margarine with a pastry blender until mix resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans.  Bake at 350 25 minutes. Serves approximately four.

Raspberry Dessert

Low in sugar, yet still delicious, this easy dessert is great for a potluck or work event.

2 cups graham crumbs

1/2 c. melted butter or margarine

4 cups raspberries (thawed if frozen)

1/4 c. sugar

3 – 4 T. cornstarch

1/4 c. water

Combine graham crumbs and melted margarine in a oblong pan. Combine raspberries, sugar, and water in small sauce pan, bring to a boil. Add cornstarch and stir until thickened. Pour over graham crumb mixture and place in refrigerator for several hours to chill. Don’t panic if it is quite runny prior to placing in the fridge; it will thicken as it chills. One package unflavored gelatin can be used in place of the cornstarch. Serve with whipped cream. Cuts into about 12 pieces,

Chocolate-Walnut Spread / Truffles

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AKA “Healthy Nutella”

Gluten free, egg-free, dairy-free, sugar free no-bake, and yummy

1.5 cups walnuts, or hazelnuts, ground

1/4 c. liquid – milk, juice, water

8 dates, pitted

1/4 c. cocoa powder

dash salt

1 tsp. vanilla

Grind the nuts in a food processor. Add liquid, process some more. Add dates, process some more.  Add remainder of ingredients and process until completely blended.  Can use as a spread or roll into balls and roll the balls in nuts, coconut, etc. for truffles.

Oatmeal Banana-Raisin Cookies

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Adapted from a recipe in the cookbook Quinoa 365.

Cream together in a large bowl:

1 1/4 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. margarine

1/2 c. oil

Add to above and mix well:

1/4 c. milk

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 large eggs

1 c. mashed bananas

Combine in a bowl:

1 1/4 c. quinoa flakes

1 1/4 c. flour

1 1/2 c. quick cooking oats

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 c. ground flax

1/3 c. sunflower seeds (unsalted)

1 c. raisins

1 tsp. cinnamon

 

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.  Drop by rounded tablespoons (I used a soup spoon) onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until bottoms of the cookies are browned.  Let cookies cool completely on cookie sheets before removing.  Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. Notes:  These cookies spread while baking so ensure distance between each cookie when dropping the cookie batter onto the sheet. This makes a soft cookie.

 

Rhubarb Custard Pie {and Straw-Barb Tarts}

Yummy Straw-barb Tarts
Yummy Straw-barb Tarts

 

This filling makes enough for two regular-size Tenderflake pre-made pie crusts.  What I decided to do was divide the filling in two and add diced strawberries to one half of the rhubarb filling and make rhubarb-strawberry tarts.

3 eggs

3 T. milk

2 c. sugar

1/4 c. flour

dash nutmeg

4 C. diced rhubarb

One prepared pie shell and 12 tart shells

Beat eggs. Add milk, sugar, flour and nutmeg. Mix in rhubarb.

Pour approximately half of this filling into an unbaked pie shell. Add top crust. Bake at 400 for 55 minutes.

To the remaining filling, add in two cups fresh strawberries. Fill 12 tart shells. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

 

 

Nectarine Crisp {Gluten Free}

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4 c. sliced nectarines
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. gluten free oats
1/2 c. brown sugar (packed)
1/4 c. gluten free flour (I used oat flour)
1/4 c. butter or gluten free margarine

Preheat oven to 400.

Place sliced nectarines in 9 x 9 glass pan. Sprinkle with sugar.

Mix oats, sugar, gluten free flour in a small bowl.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender.

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Spread over nectarines. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is browned and the fruit beneath is simmering. A wonderful summer dessert!

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Makes a great gift this Christmas season
Makes a great gift this Christmas season.

This is so easy to make, there is no need to spend money on pre-made Chocolate Peppermint bark at expensive specialty stores.

2 cups chocolate wafers (available in Canada at http://www.bulkbarn.ca/en-ca/index.html)

Chocolate making wafers
Chocolate making wafers

2 large candy canes, crushed

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Few drops of peppermint flavoring

Temper chocolate by placing wafers in the top of a double boiler. Fill the bottom half of the boiler one-third to one-half full with water. Heat chocolate over medium heat, stirring,  until melted and glossy:

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Remove from heat, stir in crushed candy canes and peppermint flavoring.

Freeze until firm, 2 – 3 hours, in a pan lined with wax paper. Remove from freezer.  Using wax paper, so the bark doesn’t melt onto your hands, break it apart into pieces.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Peppermint Bark

For gift-giving, place in a pretty container, and wrap with seasonal cellophane paper.

Five Things to Do With Instant Coffee (You May Not Have Thought Of)

 

Instant Coffee.  Coffee drinkers the world over cringe at those words and shudder at the thought of drinking it.  Although I daresay Starbucks has revolutionized the  genre with their line of instant coffee.    Here’s some things you can use instant coffee for:

  • Add a tablespoon or so to tomato based stews and chilis to deepen their flavor
  • Combine one tablespoon instant coffee with one teaspoon each of paprika, oregano, garlic and cumin.  Add two tablespoons oil and mix well.  Use as a rub on meat before grilling
  • Add one or two tablespoons (to taste) to a pint of good-quality vanilla ice cream.  Blend well (you may need to use a mixer) for delicious coffee ice cream
  • Make mine a mocha:  add a tablespoon to brownies or other chocolate-based desserts
  • Mocha Dip Or Spread: Mix some finely ground instant coffee or a little bit of brewed coffee or espresso with one tablespoon of brown sugar  into cream cheese

Some tips:

  • Start slow with adding coffee to your cooking as it’s flavor is intense.
  • It may work better to dissolve the coffee in a bit of hot water before adding so there are no undissolved grounds adding a grainy texture to your cooking.

Some information for this post gleaned from:  http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/810001/cooking-with-coffee and http://www.vanhoutte.com/en-ca/c-the-coffee-blog/coffee-tips/cooking-with-coffee

Strawberry Banana Milkshake

"Is one of these for me?"
“Is one of these for me?”

1 banana

1 cup strawberries

1 cup milk

1 cup good quality vanilla ice cream (such as Haagan-Daz)

 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly.  Serves two. (Since we have a Vitamix, we did not have to slice the banana or chop the strawberries first before placing them in the blender.)

The picture is of our cat, Oreo, checking out the milkshake.

Chocolate Strawberry Wraps with Cream Cheese

Chocolate Strawberry Wrap with Cream Cheese
Chocolate Strawberry Wrap with Cream Cheese

Celebrating my 200th post!  Here is a fast and fabulous dessert for Valentine’s Day which is similar to a crepe only easier.

1 large flour tortilla

spreadable cream cheese to cover flour tortilla

4 large strawberries, hulled and sliced

wrap with cream cheese spread and strawberries
wrap with cream cheese spread and strawberries

 

3 squares good quality dark chocolate, melted in the microwave for one minute on high and thinned with a little milk.

Spread / drizzle melted chocolate on top of the strawberries.

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mmmm–drizzled with dark chocolate

 

Roll up and enjoy!  Other fruits that would work well with this include bananas, pineapple, mango or kiwi.