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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cheese Garlic Bread

You know it's the holidays when in the middle of baking cookies, your doorbell unexpectedly rings and you're left standing there with a big (fake) smile on your face, but really you're thinking "Oh no. I have nothing for them to eat!"

Well don't worry, I've come to your rescue! This is something which can be whipped up in 15 minutes: 7 minutes (yes, very precise) to prep your ingredients, and another 7 minutes in the oven and then a minute to slice and serve! And this is sure to be a crowd pleaser, I can't even begin to tell you how many times people ask me to make this garlic bread.

Cheese Garlic Bread
Recipe adapted from: One Lovely Life


1 loaf of bread, can be a french loaf, but I find that ciabatta has the best results
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
5 tbsp softened butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups grated cheese (I use the store bought, pre-grated mixture of cheddar, Colby and Monterrey Jack)
1/4 tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Half your load lengthwise. Roughly slice your green onions. Soften butter in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.

Now that all the ingredients are prepared, combine the green onions, butter, mayonnaise, crushed garlic, pepper and cheese in a bowl. Make sure it's fully combined.

Spread evenly over both halves of bread, and pop in the oven for about 5-7 minutes. Or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Allow to cool for a minute or so, and slice bread into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Serve immediately!

This is seriously the best garlic bread, and whoever you serve it to will be completely smitten!

Hope this holiday season is treating you all well,

- Lou

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate and peanut butter combined is pure bliss, but when they are combined in a bite sized chocolate peanut butter cup it quickly moves from bliss to heaven. Seriously, these are the best chocolate peanut butter treats I have ever tasted.

I've officially been bitten by the baking bug. Maybe it's because baking and the holidays go hand-in-hand, or maybe it's because my best friend - the master baker - is home, but whatever the reason my friends and family are reaping the rewards of my recent addiction.

These little devils, (I call them little devils because before you know it you've eaten more of these than you care to admit...) are the perfect way to treat yourself this holiday season! Just watch out, you'll finish them all off faster than you know it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (makes about 50)
Source: Joy of Baking


Peanut Butter Filling
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup icing sugar

Chocolate Coating
12 oz semi sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
12 oz milk chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp shortening


Begin by melting the chocolate and shortening in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.

While the chocolate is melting, combine your peanut butter, unsalted butter and salt together in a bowl and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds, or until soft enough to mix together. If not soft enough, heat for another 20 seconds. Mix in the icing sugar.

Once chocolate and shortening are melted together, begin by spooning enough chocolate until your truffle paper cup is 1/3 full. Next spoon in about 1/4 - 1/2 a tsp of peanut butter filling, then cover completely with the chocolate.

And there you have it, it's a pretty easy process and it's made even easier if you make it with someone else! I was doing the peanut butter filling while my friend was doing the chocolate. Try it!

Happy baking,

- Lou

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ginger molasses cookies, I first tried these at Starbucks, where they are just divine! But these, these cookies are a new recipe for the repertoire. They are perfect.

Word on the street is that there is a big storm coming our way, and I'm not too sure if I've mentioned this yet, but I hate snow. I know, very un-Canadian of me, but I'm just not a fan! It looks pretty and all, but actually being out in the snow, trudging through the snowbanks, all the while your feet end up soaking and freezing just doesn't appeal to me. Although, now that I think of it, there is one way that I enjoy the snow... sitting on the couch, curled up in a warm blanket, watching it fall, sipping on some hot chocolate and eating these ginger molasses cookies or just any other holiday cookie in general. That for me, is the ideal way to enjoy snow; somewhere warm.

I would still rather be on a warm Islands somewhere in the Caribbean, but until then, I'll just enjoy my cookies.

Ginger Molasses Cookies (makes about 24)
Recipe from: One Cake Two Cake


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup for rolling cookies
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup molasses


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in a bowl.

Soften the butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds (it may need more). Beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, add in the brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulate sugar and continue mixing for another 3 minutes.

Add in the egg, vanilla and molasses and beat at medium speed for 30 seconds.

Add in the dry ingredients in one addition and beat until just combined another 30 seconds or so.

Place remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in bowl. Scoop out dough in about 1 tbsp scoops, and roll into a ball, then roll the ball in the granulated sugar and place on the prepared cookie sheets about 1 or 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake in the oven for 11-12 minutes, they should be cracked and the cracks should still look raw.

Let them cool for 5 minutes on the dish and then move to a cookie rack or a plate and let them fully cool.

Tell me what you think about these, anyone who tried them immediately fell in love!

- Lou

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup is a soup that I’ve been thinking about making for a while, and it’s the perfect dish not only for a meatless Monday, but also for the cold evenings that we’ve got up here in Canada.

It’s been snowing here all day, the ground in covered in a blanket of thick white snow, and it’s beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas. I was deciding between making a baked pasta or a soup, and after I woke up this morning and saw that it was snowing I just knew it would be a soup day. Black bean soup would be perfect, the ingredients are things that everyone should have in their pantry so there is no need to venture out into this terrible cold!

I don’t think that I can say this enough: there is nothing better than a bowl of warm soup to warm you up on a cold winter evening!

Black Bean Soup


1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk celery (chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
1/2 an onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic chopped
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
4 cups water (or 2 cups water/2 cups vegetable stock)
1/2 cup crushed tomato
2 19 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
salt & pepper to taste


Chop celery, carrot, onion and garlic.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat in a large pot, add celery, carrot, onion, garlic and spices. Cook over medium heat for 4-6 minutes, until vegetables have softened.

Add the crushed tomatoes and cook for a minute before adding the water (or the water/stock). Add in the two cans of black beans and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

Then remove some of the black beans (about 1/2-3/4 cup). Using an immersion blender, or regular blender puree the soup. Once the soup is pureed, add the black beans back in.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top!

- Lou

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins

I think I'm obsessed with muffins, and these whole wheat carrot muffins have fueled that obsession, not only are they really, and I mean really good, but they are also nice and healthy too! For me, muffins are something which allow my creativity as a cook to blossom because you can do really whatever you want with them, the possibilities are endless! Once you have a nice basic recipe, you're good to go with any ingredients you have on hand. Muffins make the most scrumptious breakfast, you can heat them up in the microwave and eat them warm or if you're running late (as I usually am) you can grab them as you rush out the door.

With the holidays coming up, I'm sure there are a ton people out there who are having house guests, and have a slight breakfast dilemma going on. I'll tell you something, if I was staying at your house, and you served muffins for breakfast I would definitely come back for a visit.

There are so many varieties of muffins that I love, these whole wheat apple muffins are one of my favourites. I like to keep lists of recipes I want to make, and let me tell you those lists are literally endless. Maybe one day I'll share them so you can see just how crazy long they really are. And guess what one of those lists is? An ever growing list of muffins to try, chocolate chip, lemon poppy seed, pineapple, jam surprise, sweet potato, coconut... shall I go on? For starters, let's make this one, and then soon enough I'll be back with another muffin recipe!

Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins (makes 12)


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


First of all, start off by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Also, using butter grease a muffin tin, or line the tin with paper liners.

Next, prepare the carrot by chopping it into 1 - 2 inch pieces and pulsing in the food processor. It's so much easier than sitting there grating the carrot.

Next, combine dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and lightly mix. Once just combined mix in the carrots and walnuts. (Note: I like to additionally pulse my walnuts in the food processor to make them nice and small.)

Once everything is combined, using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into your buttered muffin tin.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until when tested with a toothpick the toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the tin and cool for about 5 minutes before diving in!

- Lou

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spicy Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

With the holidays around the corner for a lot of people it means baking, baking and more baking! BUT, let's not forget that we also have people to feed! As much as some would love to live off holiday cookies, (myself included), it really isn't the best idea!

I bet lots of people are looking for quick and easy dinner ideas, and here's one... today I bring you one of my favourite recipes for chicken thighs: Spicy Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs. Not only are these chicken thighs extremely tasty, (sweet & spicy, need I say more?) but they are super easy too! And will be all cooked up and ready faster than you can say gingerbread.

Now, take a break from your holiday baking frenzy and make some of these for dinner!

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs
Recipe adapted from: Cooking Light


8 chicken thighs (with bones and skin)
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
6 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
cooking spray (for coating the pan)


Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and spray foil with cooking spray.

Combine the salt and spices in a bowl and rub on both sides of the chicken. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes on each side.

While chicken is broiling, combine the honey and vinegar in another boil. Once the chicken has done both sides, remove from the oven and brush with the honey mixture; be sure to coat it very well! Broil for another minute or two. Remove the chicken from the oven once again and flip it over, brush this side with the remaining honey mixture and broil for an addition one to two minutes.

Check to be sure chicken is done, if not broil for another minute, be sure to watch it very carefully!

Enjoy this tasty dish, it's positively perfect.

- Lou

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