The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

Did you know that the very first chocolate chip cookie ever made was by Ruth Wakefield in 1938? She invented the recipe when she owned a popular restaurant called the Toll House Inn, that pride itself on serving homemade food to its customers. Over the years the story has been twisted slightly to state that she accidentally invented the cookie but Ruth had always insisted that she invented the cookie on purpose. She had been serving a thin butterscotch nut cookie with ice cream for some time and thought it was time to try something different. So, she added chopped up bits from a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar into a cookie and voila – the Toll House Cookie was invented.
Haven’t all us home chefs been there? Wanting to try something different and experiment in the kitchen? Updating old recipes and making them new again? We are no different than Ruth wanting to update something as simple as a cookie. I bet Ruth never thought in a million years her cookie would become a staple in every household or be the ultimate cookie in the hearts of every child.
There are so many different recipes out there and debates on what is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. I know I have made tons of different recipes over the years, just to try and find the ultimate cookie that my family loves. Does your family like the crunchy kind or the soft and chewy? How about loaded with chocolate chips or a sprinkle of nuts? The truth is, the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe is really what your family loves when biting into it.
So here is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe that my family loves!

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Here is what you will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp  salt
  • 1 cup  margarine
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of milk chocolate chips)

How to make the chocolate chip cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and set aside.
  • Beat margarine with sugars in large bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla until blended. Gradually add in flour mixture and beat until blended.
  • Stir in chips.
  • Drop a tablespoon amount of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper 2-inches apart. It is important to use an ungreased cookie sheet for these cookies otherwise they will melt because of the margarine.
  • Bake 8- 10 minutes or until edges are golden.
  • Cool on wire rack

In the spirit of Ruth Wakefield, I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Candied Prosciutto – A.K.A. Meat Treats!

If you have been following my blog, you know that Friday nights is girls night for me, usually at my place. Paul is out playing hockey with the boys, Em is usually doing her own thing,  so it is a great time for me to kick back with the girls, try new appy recipes and of course have a lovely glass of vino.
Every now and then, Paul has some of  his buddies come by the house after hockey for a quick beer, so on those nights I like to include something different in my appies for them to eat when they get home.
One of the best all time hits, guaranteed to be a crowed pleaser are candied prosciutto. I first came across this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis and I thought to myself that this is a must try. I did alter some of the spices to match my own preferred flavoured profile so the recipe below reflects what I did but use whatever you like.
Sometimes I serve these on their own and sometimes I like to serve the with home made guacamole or hummus. On their own or with dip these meat treats are so good, they are a little pieces of meat candy heaven!

Candied Prosciutto

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Here is what you will need:

  • 5 to 10 pieces of thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp of chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp of paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Here is how to make the candied prosciutto:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Lay the prosciutto slices on the parchment lined baking sheet without touching.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, chili powder, paprika and cayenne.
  • Brush each slice of prosciutto with some olive oil and sprinkle with the spice mix.
  • Bake until the prosciutto  is beginning to crisp and the sugar is caramelized, 16 to 18 minutes.
  • Transfer  to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Blot with a paper towel if beads of oil form.

 

I hope this inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

If you would like to view Giada’s original recipe go to https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/candied-prosciutto.

 

Anginetti Italian Easter Cookies

I love these yummy Italian lemon cookies. My mom use to always make them at Easter but they are great for any holiday or special occasion. I use to always look forward to these cookies and beg my mom to make them throughout the year but sadly it was only at Easter. I guess that is why I love them so much because we only had them once a year. They have a nice fresh taste that reminds me of spring. You can find many versions of this recipe that vary slightly, regardless of the different variations, I know you will enjoy them!

Italian East Cookies

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Here is what you will need:

  • For the cookie dough:1/2 cup of sugar
    • 6 tbs of of soft butter (you can use vegetable shortening)
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
    • 2 cups of flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • For the icing
    • 3 cups of icing sugar
    • 1/4 cup of water
    • tsp of lemon extract or lemon juice
    • Coloured sprinkles for decoration

How to make the Italian Easter Cookies:

  • How to make the cookie dough:
    • Preheat oven to 350°and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat sugar, vanilla, butter until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    • Stir in flour and baking powder (dough should be soft and sticky).
    • There are many ways to shaped the cookies:
      • Drop dough on to a cookie sheet with a spoon.
      • Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough (cold dough is easier to work with)  then break off pieces and roll with floured hands to form into a ring shape (I like this way the best).
      • Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe 2-inch diameter rings onto the cookie sheet lined with parchment. Press the ends of the rings together with your fingers.
    • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the cookies are golden.
    • Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool.
  • How to make the icing:
    • Whisk together sugar, water, lemon extract (or juice if using) until well blended. Thin with more water if icing is too thick.
    • Brush icing on cookies and decorate with coloured sprinkles.

 

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Easter Egg Decorating

I love decorating for the holidays, any holiday actually. I have bins full of decorations that Paul pulls out for me whenever there is a holiday approaching. Decorating for the holidays also means craft time and if I am lucky, craft time with Em. I love searching on Pinterest and thinking about new crafts for us to make every holiday.  It’s a great way to encourage creativity, building memories and traditions that will last and be passed down from generation to generation. One tradition for Easter that Em and I like to do is decorating Easter eggs. We have done them several different ways over the years from using shaving cream, food colouring, Kool-Aid, watercolour, wax  and dyes to create beautiful colours and patterns. This year we decided to use purple cabbage and gold paint to create a robins egg blue colour with gold flex. The one thing I will say about using natural dyes like purple cabbage is I find that they take a lot longer to do then the ready to use dyes you get at the store. The pictures below are mostly of me doing each of the steps – Em lost interest when she realized that it was going to take more than 10 minutes for this craft but that’s ok because it is also a great craft to do on your own.

The Easter Eggs

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I love the way these look, so pretty and so creative. A couple of things that we did different is that I we used hallow eggs bought from the dollar store and I didn’t leave the eggs in the dye for as long as you would want, to achieve the different shades of blue. Plus, traditional robins eggs are usually speckled where ours have more of a splattered artistic look to them.

 

Here is what you will need:

  • 12 eggs (hard boiled, hollow or artificial
  • 1 purple cabbage roughly chopped
  • Gold acrylic paint
  • Paint brush  with stiffer bristles hairs
  • 6 cups of water
  • 5 tbs of white vinegar
  • A large Pot

 

Here is how to make the Easter Eggs:

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  • Roughly chop the cabbage ( I only used half of the cabbage)
  • Add the cabbage and water to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Once the cabbage and water is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes and then let cool.

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  • Once the cabbage is cooled, removed the cabbage from the pot.
  • Add 5 tbs of white vinegar and stir.

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  • Add the eggs to the water and cover with the dye. If you are using artificial or hollow eggs be sure to stir them gentle and frequently because they will not sink to the bottom like hard boiled eggs will.
  • Keep eggs in dye for a minimum of 1 hour up to overnight. The longer you leave the eggs in the dye the darker they will become.

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  • Remove the eggs and place on a paper towel until dried. I like to used an empty egg carton to stand the eggs to dry.

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  • Once the eggs are dry, tip the end of the paint brush in the gold paint and flick the bristles to create the desired pattern on your eggs.
  • Let eggs dry on a paper towel.

I hope this craft inspires you to be creative in your home – enjoy!

 

 

 

Jalapeño Poppers – Hot! Hot! Hot!

Jalapeno poppers is one of those appies that you either love or you hate because you can’t handle the heat. My better half (Paul) loves all spicy food, so jalapeno poppers are a food that he requests often when I am making appies for guests. Everyone tends to make the usual jalapeno popper (jalapeno smeared with cream cheese wrapped in bacon). I guess because I find myself making it so often, I get board of the same old, same old. This recipe for jalapeno poppers is a bit different because it incorporate my love for bread.

L-A’s Jalapeno Poppers

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Here is what you will need:

  • diced jalapenos with the seeds removed, cream cheese, diced cooked bacon, grated cheddar cheese, sriracha sauce (optional), crescent roll dough

How to make the jalapeno poppers:

  • For the dough:
    • 1 cup of warm milk
    • 2 1/4 tsp of yeast
    • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup of margarine
    • 1 tsp of salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 4 cups of flour
    • Mix together warm milk, yeast and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer and let rest for 5 minutes until yeast mixture begins to foam. Add remaining ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Place dough on a very lightly floured surface and kneed until a smooth dough forms. Place in a butter greased bowl and let rise until it doubles in bulk (1 1/2 – 2 hours). Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 16×12 rectangle.
  • To Prepare the jalapeno poppers
    • Spread cream cheese over dough, sprinkle with diced jalapenos, diced bacon and grated cheddar cheese.
    • Roll the dough into a tight fitting log and cut into 9 – 12 pieces.
    • Place on a baking sheet lined with a silo pad or parchment paper.
    • Bake a t 350 for 20 – 25 minutes (until the dough begins to turn golden.
    • Take out of the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
    • Drizzle with sriracha sauce if using and serve.

 

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy and don’t forget to check out my next post on Monday March 19!

Pizza Cake

As you know Saturday is my day to experiment in the kitchen and try new things. This Saturday I made a pizza cake. What I liked most about it was how simple it was to prepare, just like a regular pizza BUT much more filling with just one piece. I have seen different versions of this on the internet, the key thing for me is make it as simple as possible. Hope you enjoy this recipe.

Pizza Cake

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Here is what you will need:

  • 9″ spring form pan
  • Non stick cooking spray
  • Pizza dough
  • Pizza sauce
  • Medium or large tortilla wraps
  • Salami
  • Thinly sliced onion
  • Grated mozzarella
  • Any other pizza toppings that you prefer.

 

How to make the pizza cake:

Pizza sauce

  • One can of diced tomatoes (plus half a can of water)
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Diced garlic
  • Diced onion
  • Red wine (optional)

To make the pizza sauce: In a small pot heat olive oil and saute the onions. Add the garlic, splash of red wine. Once the onions are translucent (about 5 – 10 minutes) add the tomatoes plus half a can of water (water is the best diluter and will help cut the acidity of the tomatoes). Add the herbs and reduce for approximately 15 minutes. Set tomato sauce aside and let the flavors merry for about 30 minutes.

Pizza Dough

  • 1 2/3 cup of AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of tepid water

Put water and yeast in a large bowl and mix together. Let stand for 5 minutes until it starts to foam. add the four and olive oil and gradually work the flour until a soft dough forms. Sprinkle more flour if the dough feels sticky but make sure not to dry it out. The dough should be pliable and smooth.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and kneed to about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour as needed. Rub some olive oil over the dough and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let rest for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll to desired size.

Preheat the oven to 425. Spray the spring formed pan with cooking spray. Place the dough in the pan and gently press the dough to make sure that it fits comfortably in the pan.

Spread a layer of sauce, toppings and cheese. Place a tortilla wrap flat on top of the pizza toppings. Spread another layer of sauce, toppings , cheese and tortilla wrap, repeat until you reach the top of the pan. The last layer should be sauce, any remaining toppings and cheese. If there is pizza dough hanging over the edge of the spring form pan, gently fold the edges over to create a boarder or crust on the inside of the pan

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly and melted on top.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tis The Season For Strawberries – Almost!

I love strawberries! If you have been followed my blog this week you would know that this weeks posts are all about the wonderful world of strawberries. They are a romantic fruit, a sweet sensation and very versatile. I love dropping a plump juicy strawberry into a glass of procesecco on a hot afternoon in the summer.  This week I have shared with you a recipe for strawberry sauce that I have been know to eat right out of the jar with just a spoon, a strawberry crisp recipe that is so simple and easy yet divine, to this coffee cake recipe that you can enjoy any time of day because it is not too sweet for breakfast or afternoon coffee and can also hold its own as a dessert. whatever your desire, if you love strawberries, you will love this recipe.

Strawberry Coffee Cake

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Here is what you will need:

  • For the topping
    • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • 2 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • For the cake
    • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
    • 3/4 of a cup of Miracle Whip
    • 1/4 cup of milk
    • 3 cups of all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp of baking soda
    • 1 tsp of baking powder
    • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
    • 1 tsp of salt
    • 1 pint of fresh strawberries hulled and coarsely chopped

How to Make the Strawberry Coffee Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 rectangle pan.
  • To make the topping stir together cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  • To make the cake, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium- high speed, beat the eggs and sugar for 1 minute. Add the Miracle Whip and milk and beat on high speed for about 2 minutes. The batter will be think and pale (thick like banana bread batter).
  • In another bowl stir together, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nut meg and salt.
  • Turn the mixer to low and add the egg mixture. Beat until thoroughly blended.
  • Add the strawberries and any of their juices and using a large rubber spatula fold in the strawberries, just until evenly distributed. Do not over mix.
  • Spoon batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkling topping evenly over the cake batter.
  • Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes our clean.
  • Let cook for about 5 minutes, run a knife around the sides of the pan. Cut into squares and serve with homemade whip cream or sprinkle a dusting of icing sugar if desired before serving.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

My Strawberry Is Your Strawberry

If you are following my blog, you will know this week I am focusing on my 3 favorite strawberry recipes. Monday I posted a recipe for a strawberry sauce (Strawberry Fields Forever )- so yummy! Today is a recipe for a strawberry crisp. Most strawberry recipes pair strawberries with rhubarb and not that I am not a fan but sometimes I want to enjoy the taste of just the strawberries. This recipe does just that.

The Strawberry Crisp

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Here is what you will need:

  • For the filling
    • 2 quarts of strawberries hulled and quartered
    • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
    • 2 tbs of corn starch
    • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • For the crisp topping
    • 1/2 – 1 cup of old fashion rolled oats
    • 1/3 cup of white sugar
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp of salt
    • 1/2 cup of melted butter

How to make the strawberry crisp:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Toss the strawberries in a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 2 tbsp of corn starch, place in the pie plate.
  • In a separate bowl, mix oats, flour, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan melt butter and add to the oat mixture and mix well.
  • Pour the oat mixture over the strawberry mixture and bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.
  • Serve with strawberry sauce or vanilla ice cream.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Strawberry Fields Forever

I love strawberries, they are amazing on their own, in food and even in beverages. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as provide fiber, folic acid, manganese and potassium. They have a wonderful aroma, bright colour, beautiful texture and smell so sweet – what’s not to like. Next to apples, these are Em”s and Clarence’s favorite fruit to eat every which way you can think of. This week my blog will be focusing on 3 of my favorite strawberry recipes Strawberry Sauce, Strawberry Crisp and Strawberry Coffee Cake.  Hope you enjoy them as much as my family does. So lets get started with the strawberry sauce.

Strawberry Sauce

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 quart of fresh strawberries
  • 1 tsp of good quality vanilla,
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.

 

How to make the strawberry sauce:

  • Cut the heads (the green leafy part) of the strawberries off. 
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add the strawberries, vanilla, sugar and mix well. As the strawberries warm they will begin to sweat, continue to stir every couple of minutes.
  • After about 5 – 10 minutes, the strawberries will be mushy and there will be lots of strawberry juice int he pan.
  • Take strawberries off the heat and cool slightly. Pour slightly cooled mixture into a blender and pulse 3 to 4 times (mixture will be slightly chunky) or to the consistency you desire.
  • Pour mixture into a glass jar and let cool. Serve with anything and everything you like strawberry sauce on.

 

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

All Wrap Up

I am always trying to find ways to eat healthier. If anyone is following my blog, you would know about my menu board in my Saving money momma post, where I plan out our dinner meals for the week, not only to save money but also to try and eat a bit healthier. One of my favorite meals on the healthier side of things is shrimp lettuce wraps. We usually make these when we find shrimp on sale. They are like a healthier versions of tacos – easy to prepare, fun to eat and surprisingly filling.

Shrimp lettuce wraps

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Here is what you will need:

  • Iceberg lettuce leaves
  • Cooked shrimp (peeled, cleaned and deveined)
  • Cooked vermicelli noodle tossed in sesame oil
  • Shredded carrot
  • Bean sprouts
  • Finely chopped green onion
  • Peanut sauce

How to make the lettuce wraps

  •  For the shrimp: Melt 1 tbsp of butter, 1tbsp of EVOO in a frying pan over medium low heat and add the shrimp. Cook shrimp until they start to turn pink, turning them over once. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and cook until the shrimp are pink on both sides (be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they will taste rubbery).
  • For the vermicelli noodle: Cook noodles to package directions. Drain the noodles and while the noodles are still hot, toss in 1 tbsp of sesame oil and set aside.
  • For the peanut sauce: Place 3 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1-2 tsp lime juice
    1 tbsp sesame oil, 1minced garlic clove and crushed red chili flakes to taste in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water, and whisk until a loose sauce forms.
  • To assemble: Set out the lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Fill lettuce leaves starting with the noodle, then layer the carrot, bean sprouts, shrimp, green onions. Drizzle with peanut sauce and serve.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!