How To: You Only Live Once – S’mores Dip

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Well hello there! It’s been a while – about one month to be exact.

Please accept my sincerest apologies for our blog silence this past month. Between life, work, and summer vacations, there was really very little cooking happening in our kitchens these past few weeks.

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But as summer sadly is coming to an end, we are getting our butts back in gear and back in the kitchen. And can I just say I am so happy about that. Sure, a little cooking break does a body good now and then, but I sure do miss my home cooking.

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And what better way to kick off our blogging return than an unbelievable dessert. The classic campfire treat can now be made any time of year – perfect for drowning your end of summer sorrows. I had seen this recipe circulating the blog world and after my husband and I devoured it this past weekend I knew I just had to share it with all of you. I made it to serve two very hungry adults, but feel free to double or triple it for a crowd. But I have to say, I kind of like the cute individual portions.

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Serve this dip with graham crackers to recreate the classic summertime treat, or just dig in with a spoon. I am not one to judge!

Dara

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S’mores Dip

Serves 2-3
Meal type Dessert
Website Dessert For Two

Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 marshmallows (cut in half)
  • graham crackers (for serving)

Note

This dip can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd. It makes a great show stopper dessert for a dinner party or a casual night at home.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Divide chocolate chips evenly among two single serving ramekins or one 6 inch baking dish. Top evenly with marshmallow halves.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until marshmallow begin to brown. If they haven't browned yet, broil for about 1 minute, watching closely so they don't burn. Serve warm with graham crackers for dipping and a spoon for eating straight up!

How To: Snack Healthy – Pumpkin Banana Bread

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I fear that by the end of fall, I may have an orange tint to my skin.

I think this is a legitimate fear given all the winter squash I have been devouring. They are just so delicious this season I can’t help myself. I think it is an unwritten rule that they absolutely must be worked into every dish you cook this fall season.

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So then, making a banana bread? Why not throw in some squash. In this case I took a short cut and used already pureed canned pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling). If you are feeling adventurous, by all means roast and puree your own. But this quickie banana bread will be delicious either route you choose.

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It also freezes fantastically – I sliced mine up and then packaged them individually in the freezer so they are easy to pop in the toaster or microwave for a quick snack or breakfast. A shmear of cream cheese after warming turns it into a decadent treat. And if you just happen to need to finish off a bag of chocolate chips….this bread wouldn’t object.

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So who cares if you need to use some extra cover up this fall season? I say embrace the orange glow!

Dara

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Pumpkin Banana Bread

Serves 1 loaf
Meal type Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Website Adapted from Closet Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp ginger
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 2 very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar

Note

This is one of the easiest quick breads I've ever made and it practically screams fall! It tastes great plain, crumbled into yogurt, or topped with cream cheese. It also keeps well wrapped tightly in the freezer.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl whisk together mashed bananas, pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredient and mix until combined. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour, until top is brown and loaf is cooked through.

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How to: Seasonal Cooking – Grilled Pineapple, Two Ways

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GRILLING SEASON!!!!

(all caps totally necessary)

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Grilled pineapple needs to be on to your list of ‘things to grill’ this summer.

NEEDS TO BE.

(once again, legit all cap use)

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To convince you I’m posting two recipes, and both are blow-your-hair-back good.

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First up is grilled pineapple salsa.

The photo below pretty much sums up how delish it is.

Can’t go wrong with that crew of ingredients.

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By the way, that wee little jalepeno was SO hot. I find they can really vary in heat level.  Once you’ve minced it, try a little piece to test the heat before throwing the whole thing in. Also, don’t touch your eyes or any other sensitive areas after you’ve handled them.

Take it from me and my burny eyeball.

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For these photos I made a half batch of the salsa and ate most of it in a single sitting with my fave tortilla chips ever – Neal Brothers Organic Blue Tortilla with Flax Seeds.

It’s awesome as a grilled meat and seafood topper too.

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You may also eat it straight up with a spoon – no one will judge you.

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Next up is not so much a recipe as an idea to use grilled pineapple as a dessert.

I confess, I don’t love making dessert.  I’m always on the hunt for super simple ideas for good dinner party options.

Grilled pineapple and some premium quality ice cream – BAM. done.  I found some toasted coconut ice cream (PC Black Label) and jeez man, it was magic in my mouth.

If you want to go all out, try making your own Spiced Rum Caramel Sauce. Check out our post for salted caramel. For the spiced rum version, add 3 Tbsp of spiced rum after the cream for deliciously boozy results.

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Then drizzle that hot mess all over the show.

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Enjoy,

Erin

Grilled Pineapple

Ingredients

  • 1 pineapple
  • oil for the grill

Directions

1. To prepare pineapple, cut off the top and bottom first and stand it on its bottom end. Working your way around, cut the rind off in strips. If there are hard bits or seeds remaining remove them with a sharp knife. Slice the pineapple in to ½" inch rounds. You'll get 6-8 depending on the size.
2. Use an apple corer or sharp paring knife to remove the more solid core.
3. Heat a grill to medium high heat. Spray or brush grill thoroughly with oil.
4. Grill pineapple sliced 2-3 minutes per side.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Serves Makes 6-7 cups
Prep time 20 minutes
Website Adapted from Closet Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 grilled pineapple (chopped)
  • 1 mango (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/4 red onion (About ⅓ cup, minced)
  • 1 jalepeno (seeded and minced)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Note

This salsa works as a snack with tortilla chips and as a killer condiment for grilled meat or fish of any kind.  It's sweet and savoury with a pinch of heat and kick of acid.

Directions

1. Add all ingredient to a large bowl and store gently until well combined.

How to: Seasonal Cooking – Strawberry Rhubarb Pavlova

 

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The moment the spring weather hit last year I was all up in rhubarb’s grill.

It’s one of those truly seasonal foods I wait for all year.

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So, I’m at it again.  Exactly one day after our final snow fall of the year no less. And I swear to god if it’s not the final snow fall…

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Last year I also paired strawberries and rhubarb in a crumble.  It’s one of my all time favourite flavour combinations and it just makes sense; they grow in the same place at the same time of year in the same climate. They’re meant to be.

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Now the pavlova. That’s a new thing for me.  They seem to be a popular dessert option for those who celebrate Passover, so there have been a number of inspiring recipes that have crossed my path in recent weeks.

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It’s basically a big ass meringue topped with whipped cream and delicious fruity things. The texture you’re going for is a firm and almost crisp exterior with a soft marshmallowy centre.

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This recipe worked for me the very first time I tried it and it was so easy and so beautiful it has definitely made the shortlist of easy and dinner party worthy desserts.

Be sure to add the whipped cream and berries just before wowing your guests.

Enjoy,

Erin

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pavlova

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Website Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

Meringue

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Compote

  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb (½ inch pieces)
  • 1 pint strawberries (sliced - roughly 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Note

The meringue can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container for up to three days.  The same goes for the compote, but make sure your whipped cream is nice and fresh.

Directions

Meringue
1. Preheat oven to 225 F.
In a large mixing bowl (I used a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, but an electric hand mixer would work too), whisk egg whites and salt at medium speed until they begin to froth.
2. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.
Add gradually to egg whites while increasing mixing speed to medium high. Mix for 2 minutes, then slowly add vinegar and vanilla. Mix at medium high speed for 5-6 more minutes or until stiff glossy peaks form.
3. Transfer meringue mixture to the centre of a parchment lined baking sheet and spread it to form an 8" round, with a slight depression in the middle.
4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn oven off and allow meringue to cool completely in the oven.
Compote
5. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Whipped Cream
6. Place sugar into mixing bowl. Add whipping cream and whisk until stiff peaks form.
7. To assemble, top meringue with a layer of whipped cream followed by compote. Keep leftover compote in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

How to: You Only Live Once – Coffee Toffee

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I’m not even going to pretend I need to convince you to try this one.

You just do. Fact.

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How to Eat now has over 150 recipes in the bank and there are only a handful that aren’t original or adapted.

This is one of them.

It’s one of those rare recipe finds where you don’t want to change a single thing.

And there’s no way to finagle a ‘recipe makeover’ out of this one either.

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Coffee toffee is brought to you by Deb Perlman of Smitten Kitchen.  This week Deb posted a recipe for chocolate hazelnut cookies (heart shaped, of course).  It got me thinking about this recipe, which I’ve made many times and have always wanted to share.

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Thanks to our new ‘You Only Live Once’ category, now I can. You’re with me when  I say this is an extremely decadent ‘sometimes’ food, right?

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The ingredient list is short; it’s all about the technique for this one.  While I’ve tried to give you a rough guideline on how to cook the toffee without using a candy thermometer, it would make life much easier if you had one.  I got mine at the grocery store for $11 and have used it for other awesome things like beer battered halibut, shoestring french fries and caramel sauce. If you ask me, that’s serious bang for your buck.

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Once the toffee is ready, it’s important to move quickly before things cool down too much. Make sure you read the recipe thoroughly and have all of your ingredients and equipment ready to go before you start.  Because once you do…

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Bing.

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Bang.

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Boom.

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You’re done!

Happy Valentine’s Day xoxo

Erin

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Coffee Toffee

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Website A Deb Perlman recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (two sticks)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon molasses
  • 1 ½ teaspoon instant coffee
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (or your favourite nut)

Directions

1. To toast and skin hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350F. Toast nuts for 10 minutes. Lay a clean dish towel out on a flat surface and transfer the nuts to the centre. Fold the sides of the towel up to make a pouch, and shake the pouch vigorously to remove skins. Chop hazelnuts.
2. For the toffee, heat butter, both sugars, molasses, coffee and salt over medium high heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally with a whisk until the mixture reaches 250F on a candy thermometer. At this point stir continuously until it reaches 300F. The whole process takes about 10 minutes. The bubbling toffee will look light and airy and pull away from the sides of the pan easily toward the end.
3. Remove from heat and immediately pour toffee mixture onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
4. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top of hot toffee and let sit for 1 minute. With a spatula spread the warmed chocolate chips out in an even layer. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.
5. Allow to cool completely before breaking it up in to smaller pieces.