Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hot Apple Cider

During winter and especially at Christmas time, hot apple cider is a nice treat. Sittting all cozy by the lights of the Christmas tree with a cup of cider in hand is a wonderful way to relax. This recipe has a nice twist with the addition of pineapple juice. Goes really well with savory snacks.

  • 6 cups of pure apple juice
  • 2 cups of pineapple juice
  • 1 stick of cinnamon, broken into a couple pieces
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Serve immediately or cool down and refrigerate until time to reheat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fair Trade Fruit and Nut Chocolate Clusters and Breakfast Television Segment

Fair Trade Chocolate Fruit and Nut Clusters​

Kathy and Lovella recently visited Breakfast Television in Vancouver to showcase the products available at Ten Thousand Villages across Canada.  Looking for Fair Trade Products for your Christmas giving this year?  
  • ​2 100 g bars Fair Trade Divine Milk Chocolate 
  • 2 100 g bars Fair Trade Camino Dark Chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons Fair Trade Zatoun Olive Oil (divided)

Assorted Fruits and Nuts
  • 4 oz  (112 g) Brazil Nuts (chopped)
  • 2.5  oz (75 g) Fair Trade Dried Pineapple (chopped)
  • 2.5 oz (75 g) Fair Trade Golden Berry
  • 2.5 oz (75 g) Fair Trade Exotic Fruit Mix (Dried Dragon Fruit, organic Golden Berry and Coconut)
  • 2.5 oz (75 g) locally sourced dried cranberries
  • Himalayan Fair Trade Salt (optional)
  • Melted White Chocolate for garnish (optional)

  1. Prepare a cookie sheet  with parchment paper.
  2. Melt Dark and Milk Chocolate each with 1 tablespoon Olive Oil over low heat in separate small saucepans. Stir continuously to keep from scorching.
  3. Remove from heat, and stir in fruits and nuts as desired.  Alternately, leave fruit and nuts out of the melted chocolate allowing a variation of nuts and fruits as to your preference onto chocolate.  Placing fruit and nuts on top of the chocolate is a good way to make visible what is in the chocolate for those with nut allergies. 
  4. Using a small spoon, drop chocolate mixture in small mounds.   If desired, sprinkle with sea salt or drizzle with melted white chocolate.
  5. Refrigerate to set.  Because this recipe does not temper the chocolate, the chocolates should be packaged and stored in the refrigerator. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies using Ten Thousand Village Fair Trade Ingredients

 In today's post I'm featuring Fair Trade baking essentials from Ten Thousand Villages.

I received a box in the mail a few weeks ago which contained a gift set from Ten Thousand Villages. The gift set contained Camino Cocoa, Golden Cane Sugar, cinnamon, and a few little novelty items for the kitchen all wrapped up in cellophane. I played with a recipe I had received years ago from a co worker for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, adding Fair Trade cinnamon, and double dipping the cookie dough balls in Fair Trade cane sugar and then powdered sugar before baking.

Chocolate Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies
Yields 4 dozen cookies
  • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Camino Cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
Sugar cinnamon for rolling cookie dough balls:
  • 1/3 cup Camino Golden Cane Sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  1. Beat butter until creamy. 
  2. Add brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat well.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together egg whites and sour cream. Add to first mixture and beat well.
  4. Add flour and mix well. 
  5. Turn cookie dough out onto a long piece of wax paper. Shape dough into a long snack. Roll wax paper around the dough and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
  6. Cut 'dough snake' into thin slices that when rolled up make into small balls. 
  7. In a small bowl mix together the 1/3 cup Camino Golden Cane Sugar and the cinnamon.
  8. Put the 1/2 cup powdered sugar in another small bowl.
  9. Dip and roll the cookie balls in the cane sugar and cinnamon mixture and then dip and roll in the powdered sugar. (see note)
  10. Place dipped cookie balls onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes. Remove immediately while still hot to cooling rack. 
NOTE: Dipping first in the cane sugar and cinnamon helps the powdered sugar to not melt into the cookies when baking and also helps the baked cookies to maintain the snow looking powdered sugar. 

Ten Thousand Villages is a great place to shop in store or on line. Perfect for Christmas gift giving.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Nuts and Bolts with Bugles

Those cute little crunchy horn shaped bugles add a nice crunch to this old stand by party mix that I'm sure most of you have a number of recipes for. Bugles may be a new addition for you. I make a huge roaster full early in the holiday season, bag it and put it in the freezer. They stay crisp and fresh for a long time that way. This mix makes a really nice gift in a tin. 
  • 6 cups Shreddies (These are a Canadian cereal. They are denser and not as light tasting as Chex. If you can't find Shreddies use equal amounts of more Chex cereal)
  • 6 cups Cheerios
  • 10 cups Rice or Corn Chex, or a combination
  • 6 cups pretzels
  • 6 cups bugles
  • 6 cups peanuts ( I leave these out to make a peanut free snack option, but the addition of nuts is always nice)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt
  1. Measure all dry cereal, bugles and pretzels into a large roasting pan. Make sure it's big enough so you can stir it easily during baking.
  2. Melt butter and stir in spices.
  3. Drizzle butter/spice mixture over dry ingredients, stirring to coat.
  4. Bake in 250º oven for 1 1/2 hours. Set timer and stir mixture every 20 minutes. 
  5. As the mixture cools it will crisp up. Once cooled bag and store in dry cool place or in freezer. Make sure you use freezer bags to insure they are airtight. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bread for the Journey

Third Advent reflection is on Rejoicing

As I spend time pondering during the advent season,  I can't help but wonder what Mary must of felt like. Young and unwed, what would people think, how will Joesph her betrothed take to this news of her carrying within her the Son of God? Will he believe her that she was a virgin? I could imagine that Mary was filled with fear in the beginning. It took her some time to come to that place that she accepted the Lord's will on her life. 
I am sure that we all have had times where we have been asked to do something that the Lord has asked of us that filled us with apprehensions, fear and uncertainty just like Mary.
The word rejoice is rooted in joy and grace. Mary spent time away with her cousin to come to this place of joy and gratitude in her life by being mindful of God's grace that had transformed her. Read the full scripture in the link below and enjoy this beautiful song sung by Steve Bell. 
May this advent bless you with the gift of rejoicing. 

Luke 1:46-56New Living Translation (NLT)

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

 Mary responded,
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.

    How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!

 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
 For the Mighty One is holy,
    and he has done great things for me.
 He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear him.
 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Melting Shortbread Cookies Gluten Free

Many years ago, I was visiting my parents and my dad mentioned that the lady,  for whom he was doing  some work,  had  brought him a treat for coffee time - shortbread and coffee.  He mentioned several times how this was the best shortbread he had ever had, that it melted in his mouth.
That became my standard for shortbread - did it melt in my mouth?
Always enjoying shortbread, I wanted a gluten free recipe in time for the holiday season.
This one works really well and passes the shortbread test - Does it melt in your mouth?  YES, it does!
  • 3/4 cup butter - or half butter/half margarine
  • 1/2cup icing sugar 
  • 1 1/2 cups  Julie's Flour Mix  (gluten free) 
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • glazed red and green cherries
  1. Soften butter to room temperature. 
  2. Combine butter and icing sugar in mixer bowl - then beat until butter is white 
  3. Add flour mixed with xanthan gum - blend into butter/sugar
  4. Beat on high for at least 6 minutes. 
  5. Chill in refrigerator for a few minutes - or longer. 
  6. Drop by scant teaspoon onto parchment lined cookie sheet, top with cherries cut in half. 
  7. Bake at 300 degrees for 10-11 minutes  or until the edges begin to hint of turning golden. 
  8. Let cool completely before removing from pan - I slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack to free up the pan for the next cookies. 
* These can also be baked in a cake pan with cherries even spaced to allow pieces cut in 1" squares. It is hard to keep the cherries centred on the cookies, the batter is very soft and the cherries want to slide as they bake.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Caramel Apple Pudding - Flashback Friday

Tonight it's cold in BC and the rain is pelting down.  
It's the perfect night for this yummy apple pudding.  
Apples and almonds are nestled in a cinnamon flavoured pudding
 surrounded by warm caramel sauce. 
Add a scoop of ice cream and you have the ultimate comfort food dessert.
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apple (about 1/4 " size pieces)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (these add more crunch than the sliced almonds)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  1. In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  2. Add milk, stir with a spoon until blended and then add apples and almonds.
  3. Spread in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish that you have buttered on the bottom only.
  4. Mix sauce ingredients and stir until butter is melted.
  5. Pour gently over pudding.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until top starts to brown. If you over bake it, you will have less sauce.

When you dish it out, you will find the caramel sauce on the bottom. Serve warm with ice cream.
*To make it ahead, assemble the dry ingredients of the pudding and the sauce and set them aside until you are ready to bake it. Then add the milk to the pudding and the hot water to the sauce, assemble and bake.