Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes

Today I’m celebrating an extraordinary woman.

Is it her birthday? Nope. But it was last week, and this spunky, hilarious woman turned 95. NINETY FIVE! She’s my great Grandma (“Gran”), and she still drives, lives alone, AND still gives me $20 of “emergency” money every time I see her. What a gal.

I’m super busy with school, so I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t get a chance to go to my sweet Great Gran’s birthday party last week. So, I decided to make some pancakes and yell to the world “HEY GRAN. YOU’RE AWESOME!”. Hopefully she can taste through the screen,

Let’s make these! In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.

Measure out the milk and add the vanilla extract to it.

Whisk together the dry ingredients and add in milk and vanilla, stirring to combine. The mixture will still be dry.

Mash your bananas.

Add them in to your bowl.

Mix! Add in melted butter and stir until batter is somewhat smooth.

Heat a skillet or grilled on medium heat. Using a 1/3 cup measure, spoon batter into rounds and flatten the batter with a spatula. Cook until bubbles form on top – about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat with remaining batter.

Combine all glaze ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth.

Serve pancakes hot with the vanilla maple glaze. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes
makes 12 pancakes
Recipe taken from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Vanilla Maple Glaze:
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Measure out the milk and add the vanilla extract to it. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add in milk and vanilla, stirring to combine. The mixture will still be dry. Add in mashed bananas and mix. Add in melted butter and stir until batter is somewhat smooth.

Heat a skillet or grilled on medium heat. Using a 1/3 cup measure, spoon batter into rounds and flatten the batter with a spatula. Cook until bubbles form on top – about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat with remaining batter.

Combine all glaze ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth.

Serve hot with butter and syrup, or the vanilla maple glaze.

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Fudgy Graveyard Brownies

Oh boy. This Wednesday is not only Halloween, but it’s also the first Halloween where I get to give out candy to kids in my adult life. MY FIRST TIME!

Don’t you wish you could give out hand baked treats to Trick or Treaters without it being creepy or allergenic or a potential poison? That is definitely my ideal world.

I want to see a cute little princess, and be like “Hey little Princess, want a hand made graveyard brownie?”, without her parents giving me a death stare. Not possible.

So I’ll give out Kit Kat bars and share my Halloween baked treats with my adult friends who like me, wished so badly that they had the metabolism of those little kids who will probably eat chocolate until they’re sick Wednesday night. I used to. I think I need to make some 4-year old friends.

Have a happy and fun Halloween!

Fudgy Graveyard Brownies
Recipe lightly adapted from Picky Palate
Makes 6 giant brownies

Ingredients:
1 box of your favorite Brownie Mix
6 Milano Cookies, (for grave)
3 Oreo Cookies, crushed
6 Pumpkin candy corns and 6 normal candy corns

For icing:
1 cup milk chocolate, melted
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup icing sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Bake brownies according to box instructions and let cool completely. Cut into 6 rectangles.

Mix the frosting ingredients together and then melt them either over a double burner or in the microwave. Frost brownies with icing reserving 2 Tablespoons for piping the cookies.

Cut one of the rounded bottoms off of the Milano cookie, and pipe RIP onto it with the chocolate icing. Press a Milano cookie into the back of each brownie.

Crush your Oreos and sprinkle a tiny bit in the center of each cookie for the “dirt”. Top with a candy corn pumpkin and candy corn. Serve!

Happy Hallowe’en!

Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado, and Almonds

I have been in a bit of a fall salad rut for a while. I had trouble coming up with anything other than roasted squash and beets on lettuce. A normal conundrum. One I have every year.

For me, having a salad for lunch is ideal, and I was so happy when I came across this simple salad on the Kitchn. Simple, easy, different, and awesome! Who knew I would be so into kale?

All you need to do is gather up your ingredients. Fold a piece of kale in half lengthwise and use your fingers to tear out the tough inner stem. Repeat with the other leaves of kale. Tear all the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Cut the apricots into little bits and add them to the bowl with the kale, along with the almonds and the cheese.

Whisk together the oil and vinegar and pour the vinaigrette and a healthy pinch of salt over the salad and use your fingers to toss and rub everything together.

Transfer the salad to a bowl and leave the salad for about 10 minutes (this makes the dressing soak into the kale a bit). Slice the avocado into cubes and spoon them over the salad. Enjoy! And if you have any fall salad ideas, let me know! I’m always up for suggestions.

Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado, and Almonds
Serves one
Recipe lightly adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients:
6-8 ounces of raw kale
5 dried apricots
small handful of raw almonds (I used about 10)
1 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 avocado
salt and pepper

Directions:
Fold a piece of kale in half lengthwise and use your fingers to tear out the tough inner stem. Repeat with the other leaves of kale. Tear all the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Cut the apricots into little bits and add them to the bowl with the kale, along with the almonds and the cheese. Whisk together the oil and vinegar and pour the vinaigrette and a healthy pinch of salt over the salad and use your fingers to toss and rub everything together. Transfer the salad to a bowl.

Just before eating, slice the avocado into cubes and spoon them over the salad.

Note: This salad will keep for about 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Seven Layer Greek Dip

I never considered myself to be much of a cat person. I had a few growing up, but certainly didn’t consider having one when I was on my own. I liked them…but they seemed to be more of an expense than anything else.

Two years ago, my boyfriend and I decided that we should go to the local humaine society and look at the animals, and ended up coming home with Molly.

Am I a cat person now? YES! She’s fluffy and cute and her sole purpose of the day is to cuddle me all day long. It’s kind of the best.

But recently Molly has had a change of scenery. I moved into a house in Ottawa (with super cheap rent) and one of the conditions is that I take of the woman’s two cats. So I jumped from one kitty to three and am now an official crazy cat lady.

When you are a crazy cat lady you need to remember three things:
1. Keep up your social life with humans. You might forget that speaking baby talk to everyone is not normal.
2. There will be poop on the floor. Deal with it.
3. Don’t leave ANY cream or milk based dips on the counter. There will be PAWS!

This dip is one that I HIGHLY recommend (and so does Molly). It’s not your typical 7 layer dip, and includes homemade tzatziki, hummus, jalepeno feta dip, olives, artichokes, tomatoes, and cucumber. It’s a greek party pretty much and will make you scream for joy!…well I did.

To make this, begin by prepping the ingredients for the creamy feta and set aside. In a bowl, combine yogurt, dill, garlic, 3 tablespoons of cucumber, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and mix.

Grab a large bowl or plate and begin layering ingredients with the yogurt tzatziki first.

Then the chopped olives..

The hummus…

The chopped artichoke hearts..

And then add the crazy feta, and the tomatoes and cucumber. You can layer it however you’d like and use other ingredients to make it your own. Serve with pita chips and enjoy!

Seven Layer Greek Dip
Recipe taken from How Sweet It Is
Makes one giant bowlful and serves over 10 people

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups hummus of your choice
1 15-ounce can of kalamata olives, drained and chopped
1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 batch of creamy feta (or 4 ounces of plain feta, crumbled)
1 1/3 cups greek yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh dill
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped cucumber
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper

Directions:
Begin by prepping the ingredients for the creamy feta, if needed and set aside.

In a bowl, combine yogurt, dill, garlic, 3 tablespoons of cucumber, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and mix. Grab a large bowl or plate and begin layering ingredients: the yogurt tzatziki, the chopped olives, the hummus, the chopped artichoke hearts, the crazy feta, and the tomatoes and cucumber. You can layer it however you’d like and use other ingredients to make it your own.

Serve with pita chips or whatever you would like!

Butternut Squash, Corn and Edamame Soup {Vegetarian Collection}

Next month I’m doing this whole vegan thing.

I’ll eating and baking only vegan foods for one entire month and seeing how it goes. Why? I don’t know. Why do I run marathons? A challenge I guess, and one I’m super excited for!

I’m a vegetarian anyway, so “Veganized November” shouldn’t be a problem, and I’m really looking forward to trying some new recipes that maybe I otherwise wouldn’t have tried. SO! If YOU have any vegan recipes that you’d like to share, send me a link!

To make this soup, chop up your veggies. Here are my cool lookin’ leeks.

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; fry leeks, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add stock, 3 cups (750 mL) water and squash; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

Gather your edamame, red pepper and corn.

Add them to pot and simmer until pepper is tender, about 5 minutes.

Now it’s ready! You can refrigerate this soup in airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze it. Yum.

Butternut Squash, Corn and Edamame Soup {Vegetarian Collection}
Serves 6
Recipe adapted from Canadian Living’s The Vegetarian Collection

Ingredients:
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
3 cups (750 mL) vegetable broth
2 cups (500 mL) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 cup (250 mL) frozen edamame (or lima beans)
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 cup (250 mL) frozen corn kernels

Directions:
In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; fry leeks, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add stock, 3 cups (750 mL) water and squash; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

Add edamame, red pepper and corn; simmer until pepper is tender, about 5 minutes.

You can refrigerate this soup in airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze it!

Cinnamon Toffee Fruit Dip

Honey crisp apples are taking over my life.

Every day for the past two weeks I’ve been eating one, and every day I stare at the giant beauty and don’t care that it cost $2. Sometimes I like to jazz it up and make a super unhealthy meal with them. Like this dip. Sugar, spice and toffee, baby.

I love making sweet dips like this. Apples and toffee are best friends forever, and I’m totally ok with eating the friendship.

To make this, combine cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a food processor.

Blend until smooth. Stir in one crushed Skor bar (or a few “mini” score chunks).

Blend quickly for a few seconds.

Place in a serving bowl and serve with apples or fruit of your choice.

Cinnamon Toffee Fruit Dip
Adapted from Noble Pig
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 Skor bars, crushed (or 1/2 bag of Heath toffee bits)
3 apples (I used Honey Crisp)

Directions:
In a food processor (or with your mixer) combine cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth. Stir in ONE crushed Skor bar. Place in a serving bowl and serve with apples or fruit of your choice.

Note: This can also be pre-made and placed back in the refrigerator, it will not stiffen up.

Crockpot Bourbon Baked Beans

Four years ago today I started dating a boy, and I can’t think of any better way to celebrate than by eating cake.

We went to our favorite place to grab some cake in the market in Ottawa, ordered a Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, grabbed two forks and devoured the slice. I was so into the cake that I begged Paul to not let me lick the plate! My manners go out the window at dessert restaurants. Thank goodness I live in a big city where I know no matter what there are weirder people than me – like the guy who sells popsicle sticks downtown. They’re $2 if you’re interested.

This recipe is obviously not for cake, but it is a recipe that is one of my favorites. It’s one that the boy and I love to have on cool nights, especially with the cooler weather we’ve been having. Hope you enjoy it!

To make this, make sure to add beans to a large pot the night before and cover with water . Drain the next morning.

Bring beans to a boil in a large pot of water, let simmer for 30-40 minutes, then drain.

While beans are cooking, heat a large skillet to medium-low and add onion, cooking for 8-10 minutes, until caramely and soft. Add in garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.

Add water, bourbon, brown sugar, bbq sauce, ketchup, ground mustard, vinegar, molasses and worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and whisk well to combine. Add beans and onions to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 10-12 hours, turn crockpot to “warm” setting or turn off completely and let sit anywhere from 30 minutes-2 hours, which will help the sauce for the beans thicken even more. I actually prefer these the next day – so awesome.

Enjoy!

Crockpot Bourbon Baked Beans
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is
Serves at least 6-8

Ingredients:
1 pound dry navy beans
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups water
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons ground mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

Directions:
The night before, add beans to a large pot and cover with water. Drain the next morning.

Bring beans to a boil in a large pot of water, let simmer for 30-40 minutes, then drain. While beans are cooking, heat a large skillet to medium-low and add onion, cooking for 8-10 minutes, until caramely and soft. Add in garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.

Add water, bourbon, brown sugar, bbq sauce, ketchup, ground mustard, vinegar, molasses and worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and whisk well to combine. Add beans and onions to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally. After 10-12 hours, turn crockpot to “warm” setting or turn off completely and let sit anywhere from 30 minutes-2 hours, which will help the sauce for the beans thicken even more. These are awesome the next day!

Note: after 10-12 hours the liquid may still seem “liquidy.” It is important to let the beans sit for a while on the lower setting (or on the off setting, still covered) so they become thick and syrupy like traditional baked beans.

Two Potato Chili and Cumin Gratin

Did someone say October? Good, because this month is my favorite.

When I think of October I think of fall colours, cute boots, and the first hints of rosy cheeks. I start getting excited for pumpkin sweets, tea, and comfort food. But most importantly a lot of great “life” things happen this month.

October is the month of my boy’s birthday, our dating anniversary, and our soon to be wedding anniversary. It’s the time of year where we get to go hiking amongst the changing leaves and not sweat every ounce of water we drink. Overall, it’s good. It’s the month I look forward to every year, and by far my favorite season to cook in.

Here is a recipe for potato gratin made with sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cheese, and a creamy chili-cumin flavour to kick it up. I highly recommend this dish, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Whisk together all of the ingredients except the potato slices. Make a layer of potato and sweet potato slices in a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Pour over some of the cream mixture.

Repeat until all of the ingredients are used up.

I like to add some cheese on top at the end – it’s a good idea. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350°C for 35-45 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving….then devour!

Two Potato, Chilli and Cumin Gratin
Recipe taken from K.O Rasoi
(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients
3 medium potatoes (500g), peeled and sliced thinly
3 medium sweet potatoes (500g), peeled and sliced thinly
1 1/4 cups half and half (or heavy cream)
60g cheddar cheese
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp chilli powder
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt or to taste
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp garam masala

Directions:
1. Whisk together all of the ingredients except the potato slices.

2. Make a layer of potato and sweet potato slices in a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish and pour over some of the cream mixture. Repeat until all of the ingredients are used up.

3. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes.

4. Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

5. Grab a spoon and devour.