Bet you didn’t know amaretto is my favourite liqueur, did ya?

Amaretto Apple Crisp

I am sure you didn’t. But if ya don’t know, now ya know (and yes, I just quoted Biggie’s Juicy. The rap song references are getting out of control).

Seriously though, you will have a hard time getting me to drink any alcohol straight unless it’s amaretto. I love it on the rocks. My grandmother loves it too. And when I’m at a bar (which, let’s face it, is basically never because I am an 82-year-old in a 26-year-old’s body) and I want to treat myself, I order an amaretto sour.

Sidebar – do they have bourbon at bars? Because if they do, I need to start ordering bourbon instead. Although the next time I’m a bar will likely be in 2016 at this rate. Anyway, I loooove bourbon.

Almost as much as I love this amaretto apple crisp.

I really didn’t think I’d ever be sold on apple crisp. It’s my dad’s favourite dessert so I’ve eaten a lot of it in my short lifetime, but I’ve never been fond of the texture of cooked apples. And I’m not a huge ice cream fan (except for mint Oreo DQ Blizzards, obviously) so that part never really turned my crank either. Until one of my favourite blogs suggested putting amaretto in apple crisp. Then, my friends, my mind was blown.

I can safely say this was the best apple crisp (scratch that – best apple ANYTHING) I’ve ever had. And I made it, so… kudos to me.

I think you can make any apple crisp recipe and just add 1/3 cup of amaretto… but don’t quote me on that. This recipes is tried and true.

Amaretto Apple Crisp
Adapted from How Sweet It Is

6 apples, cored and chopped (not peeled)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsps flour
1/3 cup amaretto liqueur
Pinch of salt

Topping:
1 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup flour
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Splash of amaretto liqueur
Splash of vanilla extract
1/3 cup softened butter

Put apples in a large bowl. Toss with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Pour amaretto over top and mix. Pour into greased 9×9 baking dish. In another bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, almonds, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add in the vanilla extract, amaretto and butter. Use your hands to create a crumbly mix. Sprinkle it over the apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Easy Classic Pumpkin Pie

November 15, 2013

You can add this to the list with lasagna, chili, manicotti

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

… because it’s yet another classic dish I had never made. Weird.

But I am SO GLAD I did! Pumpkin pie is super easy, especially if you’re using canned pumpkin, which I did. I haven’t ventured into the world of homemade pumpkin purée just yet. Someday…

And some day I will stop using bought pie crust. Just not this time.

It should be noted I have made my own pie crust in the past… but it was too much work. I’m sorry. You can judge me.

This pumpkin pie recipe is nothing less than PERFECT. It looks perfect, tastes perfect and I swear, a monkey could make it. This monkey did, so there’s proof.

Again, excuse the crap photography. I will improve one day, I promise, but for now, please focus on making this recipe ASAP. Even if you’re Canadian and Thanksgiving has already past, because, well… pumpkin is good ANY TIME.

Easy Classic Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Allrecipes.ca
Serves 6

15 oz pumpkin purée
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, spices and salt in a bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Mama’s Peach Pie

September 25, 2012

Mothers are just always there for you, aren’t they?

People think I’m nuts, but I talk to my mom every day – often multiple times per day. We chat about all the simple things in our lives. It makes me feel like I’m close to her, even though I’m really pretty far away.

I’ve mentioned before that my Mama is a wonderful baker. I grew up with delicious and fresh baked goods around the house. She doesn’t bake as often now, but she’s got tons of recipes ideas, so when my creative cooking juices aren’t flowing, I give her a call.

Recently, I was trying to come up with a dessert for a dinner party. I had a frozen pie shell and wanted to use it (if only to make room in the freezer). She immediately had the perfect idea – Peach Pie! It was unique, tasty and the presentation was amazing… but unfortunately I forgot to snap a picture before digging in!

Mama’s Peach Pie

1 frozen pie crust, cooked according to package instructions
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 small package of peach jello
2 peaches (or nectarines) – they must be ripe!

Slice peaches and arrange in a pinwheel in the cooled pie shell. Place middle four ingredients in a small pot and cook, stirring frequently, until thick & clear. You’ll know when the change takes place. Pour mixture over the peaches, making sure to cover everything. Refrigerate until set. Slice and serve with whip cream.

Oh how I wish I’d take a photo of the finished product! It looked amazing. My Other Half suggested that canned, sliced peaches might be better because they’re softer, but I don’t think it matters. This is an impressive recipe for sure! Thanks for the idea and recipe, Mama!

Introducing my close friend Erin Chezick! She is particularly skilled in the baking department and I can always count on her to bring something delicious and sweet to book club, girls night and dinner parties. In this witty debut post, she gives her thoughts on cranberries and their place at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Please give her a warm welcome!

Thanksgiving is a fantastic holiday.  Sure, it’s a time to be thankful for family, friends, the many comforts we enjoy etc. – but that’s not why.  Simply put, it’s the time of year where we can enjoy a long weekend full of eating fantastic food without other responsibilities to church or gift-giving.  I am advocating pure gluttony, my foodie friends.  And so, in the spirit of this most spirited holiday, and the celebration of second helpings, I bring you dessert times two.

Cranberry Upside-down Spice Cake

When most people think of Thanksgiving dessert, we think pumpkin pie – but this is the 21st century, and we need to break free!  I am putting forth an endorsement for a new hero of Thanksgiving desserts – the cranberry.  The cranberry deserves to be showcased, and with your help, its days as a lowly side dish may be over.  Cranberries are healthful (hello, antioxidants), bright, tart, and beautiful – perfect for offsetting the richness of chocolate or the spice of ginger and cinnamon.  I’m a huge advocate for food looking as good as it (hopefully) tastes and this red fruit is as gorgeous as it is tasty.

While baking may be considered more of a science than an art when compared to cooking, I still wanted to have some fun with my little foray into the blogisphere, so I mixed it up a bit.  First, we have a Double Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti from Joy of Baking that employs the ‘craisin’.  I made mine exactly as shown with the single substitution of dark chocolate chips instead of white as a matter of personal taste.  Secondly, I combined two recipes from Martha Stewart to create my own Cranberry Upside-Down Spice Cake.

Double Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti

For this dessert, I used the batter from the second link and married it with the ‘topping’ portion of the first.  For whatever reason (the cake I substituted possibly wasn’t dense enough) the cranberries and pecans migrated throughout the cake instead of sitting on top with the sugar to make a nice glaze.  Regardless, both dishes were delicious and got the stamp of approval from all.

So next time the weather is getting colder, and you’re reaching for the old faithful pumpkin, do yourself a favour and consider cranberry.

Many thanks to the lovely Julia, who was generous enough to let me take over her blog for a guest entry!

Strawberry Turnovers on Canadian Living's cover

With My Other Half coming home from a short vacation on Monday, I thought it would be nice to make one of his favourite things… i.e. anything baked with ground beef, cheese and a crusty topping.

I was watching Best Recipes Ever, as  often do (although I must admit I find her recipes a bit too easy sometimes) and she made this yummy-looking Upside-down Nacho Bake. I knew he’s love it, so I set to work.

It was definitely easy and fast. However, it didn’t have enough kick for me (I’d use two hot peppers next time, for sure). Alternatively, I would use a taco seasoning package instead of all the spices and herbs the recipe calls for. It was just a little bland for my liking.

I will say, however, that it makes much more than four servings as the recipe suggests, and that My Other Half really liked it. I served it with salsa and sour cream, which was great.

For dessert I made the mouth-watering Strawberry Cheesecake Turnovers featured on this month’s cover of Canada Living. They are SO GOOD and SO EASY. You basically just buy puff pastry, stuff it with a strawberry sauce you make and a sweet cream cheese filling and bake. They were to die for! Definitely making those again.

There you have it – a complete summer meal.  And now that my boyfriend’s back in town, there will be LOTS more BBQ recipes to come!

Where do I even begin? As I lay here in bed on my laptop, I have so many wonderful “foodie” things to write about, but I can’t even fathom where to start. I guess the most logical thing would be to apologize to my followers for not blogging as much as I normally do this month. There has been a lot on the go and I haven’t been cooking as often as I normally do. Alternatively, you could blame My Other Half, since he was away (and therefore I was cooking less), and then when he came home, he went on a gigantic grocery run and consequently wanted to cook most nights. Which I’m totally fine with – his meals of late have been out of this world!

TV dinner cupcakes: chicken drumsticks, mashed potato, peas and carrots and dessert!

A huge thank-you to those of you who have sent me wonderful messages about my blog. It’s such a great feeling to know that somewhere out there, people are reading my words and making my recipes. That’s truly what I love most about cooking, besides the creative reasonings – food is what brings people together. I am thrilled you like my writings. Don’t forget – you can subscribe to my blog (meaning you’ll get an email every time I write a new entry) by going to the bottom of the page on any given post (you must click the individual titles, I think).

This week was my birthday week. And I say “week”, because it really was a week-long haul. Wednesday was my real birthday, which one absolutely fantastic. I got lots of surprises (I absolutely LOVE surprises) and the day couldn’t have gone better. Then on Saturday I had my first ever Halloween birthday party (which was actually hosted by My Other Half) and it was a smashing success. The quality of costumes was the best I’ve ever seen!

I have the most wonderful family and friends. You all know me so well and never fail to make me feel special during this time of year. Thank you for a wonderful 23rd birthday that I will never forget.

Back to cooking…

Well, as I previously said, there hasn’t been much lately. I had a girlfriend over one night and I made a delicious 15-bean soup (with sausage), but that was cheating since it mostly came from a package which my cousin gave me for my birthday. I also picked up a loaf of cheesy bread (honestly, is there anything better than really good bread?) and whipped up an apple crisp for dessert. Now, I actually did make the apple crisp from scratch, so I’ll share that recipe:

Apple crisp… half eaten.

Perfect Apple Crisp
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

4 large apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Apple crisp is painstakingly simple, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with the classic dessert, I’ll break it down for you:

Oven at 375 degrees. Slice and core apples. Cover them in lemon juice, then add sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon and mix well. Transfer to a greased casserole dish, preferably shallow (I like 9×9, the classic square cake pan). For topping, combine flour, butter, oats, brown sugar, remaining cinnamon and salt and mix well with you fingers (no, I’m not kidding, it’s the only way it works). Add walnuts (these aren’t necessary, but I like them). Put topping over the apples. Don’t worry about it being perfect – imperfections just add character. Bake 45 minutes and let sit for 20 after removing from oven.

There you have it. A fantastic and easy recipe for what is probably one of the world’s most popular desserts (well, at least in the Western world, I’d say). Dig in!

Wonderful cooking presents from thoughtful friends who know me well!

I also want to add that my girlfriend  (the same one I had for the 15-bean soup, cheesy loaf and apple crisp dinner) went totally overboard and made me cupcakes designed to look like a TV dinner for my birthday. She’s unbelievable and there is seriously no one like her. And yes, folks, everything is not only edible, but it’s sweet and sugary. She definitely hit this one out of the park!

Oh, and as a side note, I got two INCREDIBLE new cook books for my birthday (one is Nigella’s just-released book, “Kitchen”… holy crap! Thanks Roomie!) so I can promise lots more blogging in the near future. I really mean it this time.

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