Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spiced Cranberry Overnight Oatmeal



This oatmeal is perfect for a delicious fall or winter weekend breakfast. You will never go back to those instant oatmeal packets once you've tried this! And the best part is that it is just as easy to make as instant oatmeal - just throw everything in the slow cooker and leave it overnight! Slow cooking the oatmeal allows it to get so rich and creamy and really absorb all of the flavours of the spices. 

Ingredients:

4 and 1/2 cups water
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups fresh or dried cranberries - If you are using dried cranberries then increase the amount of water by 1/4-1/2 cup because they will absorb more moisture
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice 
Sprinkle salt


Directions:

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker (crock pot) and stir to combine. Cook on the lowest setting overnight (6-8 hours). Stir, top with more fresh or dried cranberries and serve.

This recipe makes about 6 servings. You can also halve the recipe if you need less.



*Recipe from Coconut & Lime

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Flavourful Teriyaki Tofu




Ingredients:

1 lb. firm or extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or Bragg's All Purpose Liquid Soy Seasoning
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup oil
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
2 Tbsp. ketchup

Directions:

Remove the tofu from the package and drain excess water. You will have to press the tofu to remove the rest of the moisture from it, which will make room for the tofu to absorb the marinade. Do this by placing the brick of tofu in a strainer or on a flat plate, then place another plate on top of it and put a heavy object on top to weigh it down. This will squeeze all the extra water out. Allow the tofu to drain for 30-60 minutes. Be sure to drain the water as it collects on the plate. You can also cut the tofu into 3-4 slices, sandwich them between a clean tea towel and use your palms to firmly press down on the tofu to squeeze out the moisture.

Once the tofu has been thoroughly drained, slice the brick into small cubes. In a medium size bowl or dish, combine the marinade ingredients. Add in the tofu cubes, cover, and refrigerate overnight. This will allow the tofu to soak up all of the flavours of the marinade. If you can't refrigerate it overnight then let the tofu marinate for at least 3-5 hours before cooking for best results.
After the tofu has marinated, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the tofu cubes from the marinade and place in the skillet, cooking until just browned. Add in the reserved marinade sauce, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. The tofu is done when it is golden and crispy on the outside but still spongy on the inside. 
Add tofu and remaining marinade sauce to steamed vegetables, rice, or a stir-fry. 

*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

Citrus & Herb Grilled Tofu


Ingredients:

1 lb. firm or extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
1/2 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. capers
1 tsp. dried oregano

Directions:

Remove the tofu from the package and drain excess water. You will have to press the tofu to remove the rest of the moisture from it, which will make room for the tofu to absorb the marinade. Do this by placing the brick of tofu in a strainer or on a flat plate, then place another plate on top of it and put a heavy object on top to weigh it down. This will squeeze all the extra water out. Allow the tofu to drain for 30-60 minutes. Be sure to drain the water as it collects on the plate. You can also cut the tofu into 3-4 slices, sandwich them between a clean tea towel and use your palms to firmly press down on the tofu to squeeze out the moisture.

Once the tofu has been thoroughly drained, slice the brick into small cubes. In a medium size bowl or dish, combine the marinade ingredients. Add in the tofu cubes, cover, and refrigerate overnight. This will allow the tofu to soak up all of the flavours of the marinade. If you can't refrigerate it overnight then let the tofu marinate for at least 3-5 hours before cooking for best results.

After the tofu has marinated, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the tofu cubes from the marinade and place in the skillet, cooking until just browned. Add in the reserved marinade sauce, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. The tofu is done when it is golden and crispy on the outside but still spongy on the inside. The majority of the marinade sauce will have evaporated by the time the tofu is done.

I added these cubes of tofu to a big spinach salad that included pecans, cranberries, grilled zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli florets, and poppyseed dressing. This tofu would also be delicious served with rice or in a creamy pasta dish.


*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

Monday, November 22, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

This recipe holds a special importance for me because it was one of the first things I baked completely on my own and shared with my friends. After tasting it and getting such a positive reaction from my friends, that was it - I was hooked on baking! This loaf is simple but full of comforting flavours like apple and cinnamon. It might not spark up a new passion like it did for me, but I hope eating and sharing it will bring you just as much joy.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl combine the applesauce, oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. Do not over mix the batter or it will result in a very tough, rubbery loaf.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Mix together ¼ cup brown sugar and ½ tsp of cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool on a wire rack and then remove the loaf from the pan. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies



Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 and 1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup sliced almonds, crushed
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 large egg
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 and 1/2 tsp. milk
1 tsp. orange zest
1 and 1/2 tsp. orange juice


Directions:

Begin by toasting your sliced almonds. Evenly spread out 1 cup of almonds onto a frying pan, and place on the stovetop over medium-heat for 7-10 minutes. Be sure to stir the nuts around constantly and keep a close eye on them so that they do not burn. If you do happen to burn the nuts then throw them out and start over. Don't use the burnt ones anyway because they will ruin your cookie with a bitter taste! 

Place the other 1/4 cup of sliced almonds in a plastic bag and crush using your hands or a heavy object. Put in a small dish and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, graham cracker crumbs, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cranberries, and toasted almonds. Set aside.

In a separate, large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar with a mixer. Add in the egg, vanilla and almond extracts, milk, orange zest and juice and mix until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula. Shape the dough into balls and roll the tops in the crushed almonds before placing on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for 3-5 minutes on the cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.



*Recipe adapted from Oatmeal CookieBlog

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blueberry Peach Bran Muffins


This is a delicious and healthy muffin that is one of my family's favourites! Perfect to enjoy with your morning coffee.

Ingredients:

1 and ¼ cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 and ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 can sliced peaches
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups Bran Flakes cereal
½ heaping cup blueberries - Fresh or frozen works fine



Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt until combined.

Drain the canned peaches, but reserve 1/3 cup of the juice/syrup from the can. Pour the peaches and the 1/3 cup of juice into a blender or food processor and puree.

In a large bowl, whisk the peach puree with the brown sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula, gently stir the Bran Flakes into the wet mixture. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

Lightly coat the blueberries with a small amount of flour. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the batter once they are in the muffin tins and will give you evenly distributed blueberries in your finished muffins. Fold the blueberries into the batter.

Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Fill the muffin cups all the way to the top because these muffins won't rise much during baking. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Let cool slightly on a wire rack and enjoy warm.


*Recipe from Karen McMillan

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies



Here is one last recipe to help you get rid of any Halloween candy you may still have laying around! I used some chopped up mini Wunderbar's in my fudge brownie batter, but you could also use Oh Henry!, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Crispy Crunch, Snickers, Butterfinger, or any other peanut-chocolate bar. These brownies are rich and delicious, and packed with intense chocolate and peanut butter flavour in every bite. 

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Strips:

1/4 cup peanut butter chips - 
If you don't have any peanut butter chips then you can use white chocolate chips instead, but you will just lose a little bit of that extra peanut butter flavour
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter 
1 Tbsp. butter

Fudge Brownies:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. white sugar
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
8 mini Wunderbars or 1-2 regular sized Wunderbars (or other peanut-chocolate bar of your choice), roughly chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8"x8" baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper.


Begin by preparing the peanut butter strips. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the peanut butter chips, peanut butter, and butter. Melt on high for approx. 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. 


Line a small baking sheet or large plate with wax paper. Spoon the melted peanut butter mixture onto the wax paper and spread it evenly into a rectangle at least 6" long. Place in the freezer while you make the brownie batter, or until it has hardened.

To prepare the brownie batter, begin by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, stir in the sugar. Allow the butter and sugar to come to just about boiling, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, baking powder, salt, and flour. Add in the melted butter and sugar and stir until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon half of the brownie batter into prepared pan and spread in an even layer.

Remove the hardened peanut butter mixture from the freezer and slice into long, thin strips. Cut them horizontally instead of vertically to prevent breaking. Lay half of the strips over the brownie batter. Evenly sprinkle the chopped chocolate bar on top of the peanut butter strips. Spoon the remaining brownie batter over the strips and chocolate bar pieces and spread evenly.


Bake the brownies for 26-28 minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately lay remaining peanut butter strips decoratively over the hot brownies — pressing them down gently. These strips will melt and create ribbons of peanut butter on top of your brownies.


Let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack, then transfer to refrigerator to chill for about two hours. This will help them to set and make cutting easier. Once chilled, lift the brownies from the pan and cut into squares. Enjoy with a glass of milk!





*Recipe adapted from Cookie Madness

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread


This loaf is soo delicious. And don’t be thrown off by the fact that it has a vegetable in it! I promise it will taste like chocolate and not zucchini! The zucchini just makes the bread incredibly moist – and maybe it will make you feel a little less guilty about having that second piece. This recipe makes enough batter for two whole loaves, so you can make one for yourself and one to share with a friend!

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups finely grated zucchini (approx. 1 and ½ medium zucchinis)
3/4 cups mini chocolate chips – If you only have regular chocolate chips or a chocolate bar, just chop them up with a knife until they are roughly the size of mini chocolate chips

Topping:
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease 2 loaf pans and set aside. I actually used one regular size loaf pan and 4 mini loaf pans – the batter divides perfectly for either option.

Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Place flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips until they are evenly coated with the flour mixture. This will prevent them from sinking in the batter and keep them evenly distributed in your finished loaf. Set aside.

With a mixer beat the oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs until combined and slightly fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined. Gently stir in the grated zucchini.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Do not over-mix the batter or you will get a tough, rubbery loaf. Divide the batter between the loaf pans and sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over each. Place the pans on a cookie sheet for easy moving.

Bake the loaves for 50-60 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through the baking time. The loaves are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean, with no goopy batter on it. Let the loaves cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes and then remove from the pans to continue cooling.


I made this loaf for the U of A Campus Food Bank bake sale this past week. To make it bake-sale presentable, I packaged the individual slices and mini loaves in small plastic bags and tied them with curled green ribbon.. I thought they turned out really cute! The bake sale was a great success, so thanks to all who came out and supported the CFB with their generous donations!



*Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Candy & White Chocolate Popcorn Munch



This is a super simple way to use up leftover candy from Halloween! Enjoy this treat on your next movie night! But be warned: once you begin eating this Movie Munch you probably won't be able to stop.

Ingredients:

1 bag microwave buttered popcorn
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 (12 oz.) pkg. white chocolate chips
1 cup Cheerios 
(you can use any type of Cheerios or another cereal of your choice, such as Rice Krispie's, Nesquick, Cocoa Puffs, Fruit Loops etc.)
2/3 cup M&M's or other candy (I used a mixture of M&M's, Smarties, Reese's Pieces Bites, and some rainbow sprinkles. You could also add peanuts or other nuts in as well)

Directions:

Microwave the bag of buttered popcorn and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, microwave the peanut butter and package of white chocolate chips for approx. 90 seconds, or until smooth.


Transfer the popcorn out of the bag into a large mixing bowl by hand, so you don’t get any unpopped kernels in your mix. Add the Cheerios (or whatever cereal you are using) to the popcorn and mix. Slowly pour in the melted chips and peanut butter and mix until it’s all coated.

Add M&M’s or your candy of choice and mix until they are evenly distributed. Spread the mixture onto waxed paper on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for about an hour.
Break the popcorn up into clusters and serve in a big bowl. Store in an airtight container or large plastic bag in the fridge so it doesn't begin to melt.

Yummy!

*Recipe by Brooke McMillan