Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pender Harbour Bars

Katie gave me this recipe for homemade granola bars a few years back when we were visiting her in Vancouver. They've been a favourite ever since. I don't think that I've ever taken them to someone's house without being asked for the recipe. I'll often take these along with us on longer hikes or when we go snowshoeing, as they're energy-packed and travel well.

I've toyed with modifying the recipe somewhat and it turns out fairly well. I've used 1/2 of the required amount of brown sugar, used brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup and/or have decreased the amount of corn syrup to 1/4 C and also decreased the melted butter to 1/4 C. However, I always make the regular recipe when taking these to someone's house, as they are better when it's not modified.

3 C rolled oats
1 C chocolate chips
1/2 C shredded coconut
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C raisins, dates or combination
1/3 C wheat germ
1/4 C slivered almonds
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
3/4 C brown sugar
2/3 C peanut butter
1/2 C corn syrup
1/2 C melted butter
1 tbsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

2. In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients. Combine the next 5 ingredients and mix thoroughly into the first mixture.

3. Press into a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to let them cool completely before cutting, or they tend to fall apart.

Makes 24 large bars.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

This recipe also comes from my mom. I remember frequently having this as a child and it's still one of those favourite winter comfort foods. You can't freeze the whole recipe, as the potatoes don't freeze well, but you can make the base and freeze that so that you just top it with mashed potatoes and pop it in the oven a meal. I haven't made this recipe in ages, but just made a couple of bases to put in the freezer for when the baby gets here and I have less time to cook.

1/4 C margarine
2 large chopped onions
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 C consommé soup
2 C mashed potatoes

1. Melt margarine in frying pan. Fry onions and ground beef. Drain fat.

2. Add salt, thyme, pepper and consommé soup and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Place in casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 1 hour.

I've modified the original recipe somewhat over the years. I leave out the margarine altogether and just cook the beef in a nonstick pan. I also reduce the salt to 1/2 tsp., as we find it a bit too salty otherwise. I've started throwing in a can of corn in between the beef and potato layer. And on my husband's request, I'll often put a bit of shredded cheese on top in the last 10 minutes to let it melt - that's how his grandmother does it... and I hear it every time if I don't put cheese on top!

Freezer friendly: Make and freeze the meat base and then add the potatoes (and corn) just before baking when you are ready to eat it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rise 'n Shine French Toast

This recipe comes from one of the Kraft What's Cooking magazines, though I can't remember which one... Anything with peanut butter catches my eye. This was good, though I can't say that you can overly taste the peanut butter. But it's a nice variation on regular french toast nonetheless.

1/2 C milk
3 eggs
1/4 C smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 thick slices of bread
1 tbsp. oil
2 C fresh strawberries, sliced
2 bananas, sliced

1. Blend first 5 ingredients in blender until smooth. Pour into shallow dish.

2. Dip bread in egg mixture, turning to coat both sides.

3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet. Cook bread, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides. Serve topped with fruit.

Date and Maple Scones

I printed this recipe off of the internet quite awhile back but have only gotten around to making it over the past few weeks. I had been craving scones, oddly enough, as I probably haven't had a scone in the past 5 years. But I wanted one badly enough that I stopped at a grocery store to get one on my way to a client's house, knowing that it'd make me late for my appointment... So I figured that maybe I should make my own. This recipe is originally from the November 1996 copy of Cooking Light.

2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 C chilled stick margarine, cut into small pieces (I used butter)
1/2 C chopped pitted dates
1/2 C 1% low-fat milk (I used soy milk)
3 tbsp. maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; cut in margarine with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add dates; toss well. Come milk and syrup. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead 4 or 5 times. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut into 12 wedges, cutting into, but not through, dough.

4. Bake at 400 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Makes 1 dozen scones.

176 calories
5.5g of fat

Surprise Spread

This recipe also comes from my mom and is standard at any large group gathering at our place. The original recipe calls for the 2nd layer to have 1 C of seafood sauce and a 4 oz. tin of cocktail shrimp, but I replace this by salsa, as I prefer this. I made this for a Superbowl party that we went to on the weekend and serve it with nachos.

1st layer:

8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 C sour cream
1/4 C mayonnaise

Mix together and spread in the bottom of a 12-inch dish.

2nd layer:
1 large jar of salsa

3rd layer:
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped

Put in fridge. Leave for 1 hour at room temperature before serving.