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Friday, June 20, 2014

French Fries

Russets. With the peel. Baked. Best fries we have ever had. Thanks, Annie's Eats!

  • Cut potatoes into fries, soak in very hot water for up to half an hour.
  • Dry them off and dry out the bowl. 
  • Toss with a bit of olive oil and lots of salt and pepper.
  • Spread into a baking sheet that has itself been coated with oil (use a pastry brush) and seasoned well with salt and paper. 
  • Bake on high (475 degrees F) for about 20 minutes, flip each fry over, bake for another 10-15 minutes depending on how crispy you like them. We like them well done as above so they are all crispy and crunchy.
  • Dab oil off with paper towel if desired, and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Carrot Cake

My husband gets most of his vegetables from carrot cake. I'm just kidding. But seriously. The Pioneer Woman makes a great recipe - so great that all I changed was that I took out the nuts in the icing. I also find that this makes a little too much cake for one 9 x 13 pan - it rises high and takes too long to cook in the middle. Next time I will halve the recipe in total (batter and icing) and it'll make a shallower cake with a higher icing-to-cake ratio.

For the cake, mix together:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Separately, combine:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp each of baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon

Add the flour mixture to the cake and then add 2 cups of grated carrots. Combine and pour into a greased sheet cake pan or Pyrex. Bake at 350 degrees for anywhere from 30-50 minutes (depending on if you used the full recipe and had it in one pan or in two). Mine took even more than 50 minutes to fully cook in the centre. Use the clean toothpick test to confirm it is done.

When it has cooled, spread with this icing:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 1 package (8 oz) softened cream cheese
  • 1 pound (4 cups) icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I have never found a cheesecake in my life before that I liked (some people say that's weird) - and at age 28, I found this one, from One Perfect Bite. I actually ate an entire piece of this to myself, which is a big step for a cheesecake-hater.

I cheated for this one and used a pre-made crust because I saw it for $2 across the line (so cheap!). I also halved the recipe into the portions below because I wasn't sure how it would turn out, and I didn't want to waste 4 packages of cream cheese... and it was the perfect amount. My husband and 2 friends and I devoured it in one evening.

For the cake:

  • 1/8 cup melted butter
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) softened cream cheese
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg

Beat ingredients in order. Once the eggs are added, beat on low until just combined. Take a cup of the mixture and put it aside in a small bowl. Stir the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg into this smaller amount. Then separate 1/2 cup of this new mixture (spiced pumpkin cream cheese) into another bowl.

Pour the majority of the pumpkin filling over the crust, then top with the plain cream cheese batter. Swirl a knife through this mixture, then drop the remaining pumpkin on top and cut this in as well. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-65 minutes, until top of cake is just set and loses its glossiness. Place a baking sheet of water underneath to provide steam that will help to prevent cracks in the surface (I still have not mastered this, clearly). 

Serve after chilling overnight (or a couple hours in the freezer). 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


This may be "Canadianized" lasagna, but it is my favourite type because it's what I grew up with. I was always happy when Mom made this for dinner.

To make 1 large and 1 mini-lasagna:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped yellow onion, on the larger side
  • Several garlic cloves or 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • Approx 2 lb ground beef (this could be even less, compensating by making it saucier - it's all based on preference)
Sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil, then add ground beef and cook until browned.  Add water if needed, but be sure to pour off any fat/grease before adding sauce.

  • 1 Tbsp parsley if you have it, or I used a mix of basil and oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 cans of pasta sauce (I used a pre-spiced "garlic and herb" sauce, 28-oz size can)
Let the sauce and meat simmer for 5 minutes. Separately, blend:
  • Approx 2 cupes cottage cheese
  • 2 beaten eggs
Also prepare:
  • 1/2 lb lasagne noodles, cooked and drained (half a package)
  • 1/2 lb sliced mozarella cheese - or as desired
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Now you are ready to assemble the lasagna(2).  Layer in this order, spreading through the two pans:
  • thin layer of meat sauce
  • half of the noodles
  • all the cottage cheese mixture
  • half of the mozzarella
  • half of the remaining meat sauce
  • remaining noodles
  • remaining meat sauce
  • remaining mozzarella
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  I prefer my cheese topping browned and crusty so I end up leaving it in closer to the 45 minutes.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pumpkin Cookies

I tasted some great, soft pumpkin cookies at Halloween and have had a hankering for them ever since. I grabbed the first recipe I found from Better Homes and Gardens and did not change much, although I used my favourite icing recipe from my favourite sugar cookies.  Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
  • 2 cups butter, softened
Mix in:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus up to 1 more cup as needed - I found I over-melted my butter and needed to add a bit of flour... they still turned out yummy!). If you need to finish adding flour with a spoon, whatever it takes.
Drop onto cookie sheets - if you want to make them perfectly round go ahead, that's too much work for me and I left mine a bit too sticky to do that anyway. Bake for 10-15 minutes - I made mine quite large, yielding about 50 instead of 60 so I needed to give them about 15 minutes. They should be still soft when they come out so that the surface hardens as they cool.

Frost as desired using the links above (my easy icing is 1 cup icing sugar, 2 tsp milk and 2 tsp light corn syrup).