The Best Brownies You’ll Ever Make!

Who doesn’t like a good homemade brownie? Especially when they are ooey and gooey!
As you can see from my previous recipe posts, I am a fan of easy recipes that yield great results. These brownies have a prep time of ten minutes and a cook time of 35 to 45 minutes. Can’t get much simpler than that!

These brownies were found at http://www.cravingsofalunatic.com. Rest assured that the point of any of my food posts are to show you successful (and yummy) make again recipes. I will not post any disastrous or unappetizing food 🙂

On to the recipe!

IMG_2685.JPG
Ingredients:
8 tablespoons of butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs. beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate!)
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon vanilla salt (you can use regular salt for this or even sea salt)

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2. Line your pan with parchment paper (sometimes wetting it gets it more pliable).

3. Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together over low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon.

4. Remove from heat and add the sugar. Stir well.

5. Now add your eggs and vanilla, stirring until it’s smooth.

6. Add chocolate chips, flour and vanilla salt. Stir until well blended.

7.Pour into pan and place in oven.

8.Bake for 35-45 minutes, toothpick inserted should come out clean when done.

9.Remove and cool on a rack.

Yum yum yum!!! Happy munching!

IMG_2719.JPG

Savoury Cranberry Pomegranate Brie Bake

Guests stopped in today and I decided I wanted to make something new for an appetizer. I found this lovely Brie bake on a site called “www.dashofsavory.com”. It’s easy, it’s yummy, and it’s savoury. It is delightful!

Here we go!

IMG_2668.JPG

Ingredients:
-1 {13 ounce} Brie Wheel
-1 sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
-Pomegranate and Rosemary Cranberry Sauce
-1 whole Egg
-1 tablespoon Water
-Crackers, baguette etc.

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Unfold the puff pastry sheet on a floured surface. Roll out slightly. Place the brie wheel in the center and spread the cranberry sauce on top in an even layer. Fold the puff pastry around the brie, crimping the top together and sealing the edges. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

3. Whisk together the egg and the water. Brush the egg wash on the puff pastry covered brie.

4. Place in the oven to bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers or baguette.

Now to make the sauce!

Ingredients:
-1 pound Fresh Cranberries, washed and dried
-1 – 1/2 cups Sugar
-1 {8 ounce} bottle Pomegranate Juice
-1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
-1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
-1 finely chopped jalapeño
-1 teaspoon Fresh Rosemary Leaves, roughly chopped {about 3 sprigs}
-1 Orange, zested and juiced

Method:
1. In a medium size heavy bottom pot add the washed cranberries, sugar, pomegranate juice, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Bring mixture to a simmer while stirring until cranberries begin to burst, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the rosemary, jalapeño, orange zest and juice. Continue stirring and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Allow to cool and serve.

NOTE:
There was a mix up and I had to get rid of the dough today and then dinner was rescheduled but it was too late – DIDN’T MATTER!!!! This was fantastic without the pastry dough – popped in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 and it was amazing!

Here’s final product!!! Reviews to follow 😉 look how it oozed out when cut into!!!

IMG_2687.JPG

Happy munching!!

Ricardo’s Asian Style Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Simple. Delectable. Make again.

Within my family we have this saying, “Make again”. That’s when we have decided that whatever we just ate for the first time is worth making again or whether we should scrap it. This recipe made it to the “Make again” list.

Now I know that some people will shy away from this recipe because of the star anise because they are not a fan of this flavour, myself included. However, a coworker of mine had made this and was so happy with the results that I decided that I was going to try it. I have to say that the star anise is just one little bit of the intense flavour that this recipe delivers.

In my first line I stated that this recipe is simple. My gosh it is! As you’ll see in the picture below, the beef is already cubed and I bought squash that was already peeled and chopped. This leaves very little preparation to do and once in the slow cooker the rest of your day is free.

Alright, on to the recipe! It can be found at http://www.ricardocuisine.com.

IMG_2682.JPG
Ingredients:

3 tablespoons (45 ml) cornstarch
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) ketchup
2 lbs (1 kg) stewing beef cubes (a made them a tad smaller)
2 onions, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 star anise
1 small cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
Pepper

Method:

1. In a slow cooker, combine the cornstarch with the soy sauce and ketchup.

2. Add the remaining ingredients except for the squash and bell pepper.

IMG_2683.JPG
3. Season with pepper. Stir and top with the squash.

IMG_2684.JPG
4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Add the bell pepper and combine.
Serve with rice (I’m making a multigrain.)

IMG_2688.JPG

Happy munching!!!

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

This is a favourite! I absolutely love this salad!!!
It is just so easy and so quick to make. It’s a great salad to bring to people’s homes or to potlucks. I’m off to a great friend’s house and was asked to bring a salad. Instantly my mind went to this salad – it has spinach, chickpeas, and it’s dressing packs a lot of flavour!! So much more interesting than a regular green salad.

I’ve tweaked the original recipe that can be found at “www.ohsheglows.com”.

IMG_2670.JPG
Ingredients:

One 15-oz can chickpeas (2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
2 cups spinach
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped finely
Juice from 1.5 limes
3 tablespoons of Cilantro paste (or 3/4 cups fresh)
1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt + ground pepper

Method:
1. Chop the spinach into small pieces. Add the spinach, drained chickpeas, and chopped onion into a large bowl.
2. In the blender add the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, sugar, garlic, cumin, and oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
3. Pour the dressing on top of the spinach chickpea mixture and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for about 10 minutes to let the flavours develop.

As a side dish this will serve about 6-8 people with nice spoonfuls.
Final product below!

Happy munching!

IMG_2671.JPG

Puzzling Assignments

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
-William Shakespeare

Students crouch and hide the moment the bard’s name is spoken. They have been brain washed one could say into believing that his works are “too hard, too confusing, too long” or “too boring”. Any true Shakespeare lover has their heart broken a little more each time those words are spoken.

When trying to get students to engage with Shakespeare’s works it is a wonderful idea to have them try to connect the pieces. Literally. The following teaching idea comes from my mentor and friend Mrs. Brown. Where she found this idea I do not know but it is a great way to have students connect some dots!

Each puzzle piece in this assignment has been given a different topic. Students are then assigned a scene (or if doing this with a novel then perhaps a chapter). Students are randomly given the chopped up puzzle pieces and they must complete which ever pieces they are assigned. They are to cut them up and glue them onto the template as the final part of this assignment.

This is meant to see what they retained from the day’s reading, what they understand and how they can piece together different parts of what they have read. When it comes to marking this assignment it is easy to give 5 marks to each puzzle piece for a total of 20. You are looking for accuracy, effort, relevant information and quotations.

Keep calm and teach on!

IMG_2659.JPG

IMG_2658.JPG

Winston

After health scares, skin infections, and upset tummies, we couldn’t imagine our lives without him. Almost two years ago Stefan and I were blessed with an addition to our family. Winston entered our lives on a rainy September day and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

Winston is like any other dog and yet…… he is so, so, different. Winston loves his walks, but can’t be off the leash. He’s a runner (insert favourite disco tune here!). He learnt to answer to a new name (can a name be new if he never had one?) and he can sit and give his paw. But when he is off the leash he just will not come when called. So that means he can’t run freely, but if it saves him then so be it.

Oddly enough Winston is a window licker… Yes, I said it. Window licker. Why? No idea. Is it funny? Oh hellz yes. His teeth clang up against the glass and he looks like an alien. It is extremely entertaining and ridiculous all at the same time. Truly a must see.

Lastly, he is a slut. Honestly. If you are snuggling with him on the couch and someone else sits down he will instantly get up to test the “snuggly-ness” of the new individual. Slut. He will keep bouncing back and forth between the two as he wishes depending on the attention he is getting. Snuggle slut.

We couldn’t be happier in our home with Winston and he makes our family complete. I am sure I will write more about him but I’ll end here.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
― Josh Billings

IMG_2601.JPG

Guacamole!

Guacamole!!!

My first Foodie post and it is one of the easiest and most crowd-pleasing of foods. I have heard many people talk about how they make their’s and everyone thinks their’s is the best. However, I have discovered that the best guacamoles are the simplest and made with the freshest of ingredients.

The way I make my guacamole is the way I was taught by a coworker of mine who taught in Mexico for a little while. Down there avocados are part of everyday meals and I wish it were the same here. Avocados haven’t made it into my everyday meals yet. They can be expensive and I don’t always know how to include them in the meal. Guacamole and just slicing them up into salads, onto pizza, or over enchiladas seems to be my way of habit. I try to buy two at a time, as to not waste any. Sometimes Loblaws has them at 4 for 5.00$ and so I’ll buy 4. But then I have to make sure I work them into dinner. I do not have to bring a lunch to work anymore so sneaking it into my lunch bag is a no go. All this to say I am still an avocado “virgin” and I am learning slowly, but surely. Anywho, onto the guacamole.

As a note, fresh ingredients is key remember!

Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped tomato
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
juice of half a lime
1/2 jalapeño chopped into tiny pieces (or Tabasco sauce)
pinch of salt

Method:

In a small mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients, making sure to use a fork to mash the avocados. You will have to be cautious when adding the lime and Tabasco. Do it to tase. You don’t like spice? Then be cautious with the heat! Make sure to mix it well. Serve with tortilla chips, veggies, or veggie chips.

Note: You can always add cilantro if you enjoy that flavour – I know my dad sure doesn’t! Happy munching!

IMG_2654-0.JPG