Pecan Pie Bars

Even though I recently made buttertarts, I needed to bring back that sweet, gooey texture to my mouth. I didn’t want to make the EXACT same recipe though. So I thought of pie. Pecan pie to be exact. And then I thought “if I make bars, I could eat the whole ‘pie’ and not feel bad”. So that’s what I did. I made pie-bars.

Also, I made this recipe at Christmas and the bars got completely eaten up. So, I made two batches to give away to a friend of mine who is having a birthday. One tray for her and her family, one tray for me and my stomach. Sounds fair to me.

This recipe makes 16 beautiful 2-inch squares. It is a family favorite, and I found it written on an old cue-card. I miss the old way of recording recipes! I find it amazing how my Nanny remembers where all the scrap pieces of paper are. She always does though. When I ask “Nan, where’s the butterscotch pie recipe”, she’ll reply “it’s not in the book, it’s above the microwave under the tortilla dip card”….uh ok! Sweet.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

2 large eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups pecan halves

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 x 8-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. To make the crust, combine flour, icing sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on low speed to combine. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the ingredients just begin to come together in clumps. Sprinkle the mixture across the bottom of the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, then bake the crust until the edges are just golden (about 18 to 20 minutes). When crust comes out of the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
3. Meanwhile, to make the topping, whisk together the eggs, butter, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Stir in the pecans.

4. Pour the filling over the hot crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely.

5. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares.

NOTE: Bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. But you know they won’t last that long :P

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

It’s 8am and I’ve already devoured an entire batch of chocolate pudding. Think I like chocolate? That goes without saying.

I have a few things in the kitchen that I need to get rid of. Oranges, a pineapple, and an avocado. So, to use up my avocado I threw it in my pudding recipe as a thickener. Think I’m crazy? Maybe. But this unusual recipe turned out to be the best chocolate pudding I’ve EVER tasted. Seriously folks, would I lie to you?

Avocados are great, and are considered the worlds healthiest fruit. Why? Because they contain vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin C! So, using them in my chocolate pudding makes me feel great. I used other healthy ingredients like pure cocoa powder (instead of chocolate chips), honey (instead of refined sugar), and light coconut milk (instead of heavy cream).

I love chocolate, and telling you this will never get old. Earlier this year I brought some of my chocolate baking to a faculty pot luck to hear my professor say “Ew, I HATE chocolate”. Really?? I mean, really? People don’t like it? This baffles me in several ways. I sometimes wish I didn’t like it so much. It would save me from eating all of the cookie batter before I put the cookies in the oven, but it’s one of those simple things that I NEED to survive. Chocolate + Honey + Brown sugar = my favorite ingredients.

So here we are. 8 am and ready to begin another chocolate fun day. Awesome. This recipe makes 4 small servings and is 3 weight watchers points per serving.

1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp honey

Put all ingredients in a blender and BLEND! The pudding will come out smooth and sweet. Absolute perfection!

Aren’t avocados just the greatest?

Light and Lemony Poppy Seed Bread

The sun has been shining a lot lately, and I have been craving a light snack to get me in the mood for spring. So, I thought of lemons…

…and then I thought of how good lemony bread is…and how moist it is…oh my.

Lemons are lovely. Not only do they taste great, but they are also used in household products because of their superior cleansing properties. Think these properties only relate to the home?? No way! Lemons are also known for their internal cleansing abilities. Eating lemons helps cleanse the bloodstream and the liver, and also helps in balancing your body’s pH levels and promote healing in your body! Talk about a superfood! I recommend making this yummy bread, and then sitting and enjoying it with a cold glass of ice water with sliced lemons. Rid your body of impurities, you deserve it!

Because I felt like baking something healthy, I also calculated the nutritional value for these bad-boys. This bread makes 1 loaf, and should be cut into 12 slices. Each piece is 3 weight watchers points per slice and:
161 calories, 5.3g total fat, 4g protein, 27g carbohydrates, 1.1g fiber, 30mg cholesterol, and 197 mg sodium.

Let’s start baking! This recipe comes from the Eat, Shrink, and Be Merry Cookbook.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cups oat bran
1 tbsp poppyseeds
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup 2% milk (skim would make it even less calories!)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, oat bran, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter, egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are just moistened.

4. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until loaf is light golden brown and a toothpick in the centre comes out clean. Cool loaf pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

5. Remove loaf from pan and cool completely on rack. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature OR the fridge (sometimes people enjoy chilled lemon bread).

Pure Canadian Butter Tarts

It’s my uncles birthday this week, and unlike most years, I get to celebrate it with him! So to get ready for the occasion I asked my aunt what kind of cake he’d like the best. Personally I like birthday PIE! Butterscotch pie to be exact…but it’s not my birthday.

Anyways, my aunt said that if my uncle could have anything it would be a batch of gooey butter tarts. And being the true Canadian that I am, I think that this is a GREAT favorite! Over the years I’ve collected quite a few recipes for this amazing dessert, and the question is always “maple syrup or corn syrup?”. Yes, I am Canadian. Yes, I love my country. Yes, I love maple syrup on everything (cookies, pancakes, ice cream..even snow). Buuuuuut, butter tarts are simply better with corn syrup. It’s a fact, and I have my cousin to thank for that trick. No one has a better recipe than hers – not any store OR anyone.

This recipe has been in the family for years, and thank goodness it’s not a secret. Why would we keep this delectable treat to ourselves? I surely wont. I want to share it with everyone so that they can make it for me one day. Also, butter tarts are on my all-time favorite foods list! So I simply must let the world know how to make them.

The one thing that can be tweeked in this recipe is the pie-crust. I posted my personal favorite (making a fresh crust) that is made especially for these butter tarts, but you can always use a regular pie crust recipe, or a thawed frozen crust as well. Whatever your lovely heart desires.

Ready to get started? This recipe makes 12 lovely butter tarts.

Tart Crust:
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
6oz cold cream cheese
1 cup cold unsalted butter
2 tbsp ice water

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
*1/4 cup raisons or pecans if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 12-cup muffin pan.
2. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Grate in the butter and cut the cream cheese into chunks before adding to the mixture.

3. Then mix together until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in enough water to form a firm dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick. Use a circular fluted cookie cutter to cut out 12 dough rounds. Press the dough rounds into the prepared cups.

5. With a mixer on high speed, beat the egg until frothy. Beat in the rest of the filling ingredients
6. Spoon the filling into the cups until almost full. Bake until piecrust in browned

Mango and Cranberry Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

I don’t know why, but I am unable to make a meal without including a starter. Whether it be a soup, salad, or some sort of warm bread, I need one. I find that out of all the starters possible a nice, colourful salad is my go to option. I think it’s because they come together so quickly, and never bore me.

I also like salads because I can add in bits of protein (in the form of nuts and seeds), and fruit to make the starter salad a MEAL!

This recipe serves 6, and is from the Bite Me cookbook

Sugared Pecans:
1 large egg white
1 tbsp water
4 cups pecan halves
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt

Honey Mustard Dressing:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup seed mustard
1/4 cup honey mustard
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsp orange juice
1/4 tsp salt

10 cups romaine lettuce torn into bite-size pieces
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup cranberries

1. For the pecans, preheat oven to 250 F. Coat baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white and water until bubbles form. In a medium bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add pecans to egg whites, mixing to coat. Add sugar mixture, tossing pecans until they are coated. Spread pecans onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

*you will have LOTS of extra pecans, that are an excellent snack for later!

2. For the dressing, in a medium bowl, which honey, seed mustard, honey mustard, vinegar, oil, orange juice and salt.
3. In a large bowl, place lettuce, diced mango and cranberries.

4. Add 1/2 cup of sugared pecans and salad dressing, tossing well to combine.