Fettucini Carbonara

IMG_6500This was the chosen birthday dinner by my husband, and I knew his answer before I asked the question. The recipe that I usually go to is from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  But I had recently bookmarked Pioneer Woman’s post for this one and decided to give it a try and I think we liked it better.  We adapted it slightly as I have a big bag of frozen green chickpeas that I got at Costco so I used those instead of frozen peas. It was really good, silky smooth and delicious.  I will definitely make it again.

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Toddler Banana Bread

We were very excited when we found this recipe which we had lost!  It is a recipe that was on a sheet of paper and it had gotten tucked inside another recipe book and when leafing through it the other day there it was.  This recipe came from Evie’s daycare when she was a toddler, her caregivers were a wonderful group of young ladies at a Reggio Centre and they really were special.  This is a recipe that they made regularly with the toddlers, each child had a part, one measured the flour, one mixed etc.  The children loved taking part and they loved to have their banana bread for a snack afterwards.

Here is the toddler banana bread! (that is Evie’s note)

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There you have it, a very simple easy banana bread.  It is perfect for breakfast and snacks.

 

Dog Biscuits

We haven’t made any Christmas cookies for humans yet, but yesterday Evie was with a friend to her decorate her tree and they made dog biscuits!

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Here is the recipe (sorry took the picture with my phone and had a little trouble with the orientation:

They used lean ground chicken instead of beef.

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The taste testing.  Max (my Westie) is very picky when it comes to treats and will not eat a dog biscuit to save his life, but he did like these.  Especially since they were still a little warm when they tested them.  He did eat a piece the today also, so he does like them.  It was Lily’s birthday, she loves treats of any kind and gobbled hers up before Max had eaten half of his.

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After the excitement of a car ride and a treat he needed a nap before going home.

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Today we are making human cookies.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Cake with Buttercream Icing

This post is for Mandy, who said that she was looking for a vanilla cake.  I hope you like it, we sure did!  This cake gets better a day or two after is has been made.  I find it best to make the cake and frost it, then keep well covered in the fridge for a day before eating it…if you can wait that long.

This cake was a promised gift for a friend as a congratulations for a huge career accomplishment.  Her favourite is vanilla cake and this cake has got vanilla!

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Preheat oven to 350F and grease two 8″ cake pans and line with parchment.  I forgot to line and had a little trouble getting them out, but they came out fine in the end.  My round and are 9″ and they baked fine but I just caught them from getting too dark.  I would say, whether you use 8″ or 9″ and keep a close eye towards the end of the baking time.

For the cake

3 cups of cake flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 vanilla bean, split with the seeds scraped out

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

5 large eggs, room temperature

1 & 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

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Take 1 cup of room temperature cubed butter

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Place in bowl of mixer.

Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.

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Add the vanilla seeds to the butter and beat until well mixed, 2-3 minutes on medium speed until the butter is light and creamy.

You get this beautiful butter mixture flecked with vanilla seeds.

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Add 2 cups of white granulated sugar, I beat in 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition and beating for about 1 minute after each addition.

Add the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until incorporated. Reduce speed to low.

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Add the vanilla extract to the buttermilk

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Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Mix just until incorporated.  Sharpe sides of bold and mix for about 20 seconds to make sure everything is all mixed together well.

Add batter to prepared pans and bake for about 35 minutes or until done.

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Let cool completely before removing from pan.

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Once the cakes are completely cool you can prepare the Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting.

1 cup butter at room temperature

4 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar) (you can add mote if needed, but I didn’t want it too sweet)

1/2 cup milk

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In mixing bowl cream butter with vanilla seeds until smooth and creamy.  Add icing sugar a cup at a time, add milk and vanilla extract, continue beating until light and fluffy.

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Guinness Chocolate Cake…a.k.a Best Cake Ever

We all LOVE LOVE LOVE this cake. I make this at least a few times a year.  This is another Nigella recipe (from her book Feast) and it is my favourite.  It is a delicious dense dark moist chocolate cake topped with a very creamy smooth cream cheese icing.

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Preheat your oven to 180C, which I think is 350F.  Start with a can of Guinness.  This is what happens if you are unprepared when you open it and don’t have a pot ready to pour it in. I lost a little bit.

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Pour the can of Guinness (250ml) into a pot and add butter (250g) heat until melted.  I just realized, while typing this, that I just poured in the whole can. I think that was quite a bit more than I needed.  Which explains why the batter was wetter than I remembered it being and it took longer to bake.  But it turned out amazing!

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Add sugar (400g) and cocoa powder (75g)

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Whisk this together while heating

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Take that off the stove and let cool a couple of minutes, in a separate bowl whisk together 142ml sour cream, 2 eggs and 1Tbsp vanilla

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Pour that mixture into the chocolatey beer mixture.

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To that add 275g of flour and 2&1/2 tsp baking soda

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Pour batter into prepared (greased with a round of parchment lining the bottom) springform pan (8 or 9″)

Place the pan on a cookie sheet, just in case of leakage.

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Bake for about 45-60 minutes until done. Don’t worry about the cracks in the top, those nooks and crannies will get filled with the delicious cream cheese icing.

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Let cool completely before icing.  Once the cake was at room temperature I wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator overnight and did the icing the next day.

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The cream cheese icing is amazing but very simple.  Beat together 300g room temperature cream cheese with 150g icing sugar and 125ml whipping cream.  I used a little less that that amount of whipping cream as I found the icing was getting too liquid.  Use your judgement.

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Dollop the icing on top of the cake and spread to the edges.

It kind of looks like a pint of Guinness!

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I think this cake would also be great without the icing or just a sifting of icing sugar.

Caramilk Brownies

I thought this would be a good recipe to post for Valentine’s Day recipe. I rarely post what I intend to for a particular holiday. I usually make things in a hurry and forget to take pictures, or get busy and do not post. This is my valentine post, early!! This never happens. It is only happening now because I was going to the gym, instead I decided I should make brownies with pieces of Caramilk bar inside. Maybe I will make it to the gym tomorrow and run a little while longer.

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Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9″X13″ pan.

1 cup of pecans (optional).  If you are using the pecans spread them on a cookie sheet and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes.  Coarsely chop.  I didn’t use pecans this time but they are very good with the pecans.

Coarsely chop 4oz of unsweetened chocolate, combine with 2/3 cup of butter.

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Microwave until melted.  Keep an eye on it and stir every now and then.  Should take about 2 minutes.

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(I love taking pictures of chocolate)

Cool chocolate until lukewarm, and then stir in 1 & 1/2 cups sugar, 3 eggs and 1 & 1/4 tsp vanilla.

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Gradually stir in 1 cup of all purpose flour.

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Break up 2 family size Cadbury Caramilk Bars (I think that is about 200g total).  Give or take a square or two (maybe 3), ok I ate a few.

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(more pretty chocolate pictures)

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Stir the Caramilk pieces and pecans, if using, into the batter. Spread evenly into pan.

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Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  DO NOT OVERBAKE!  Keep checking on it, very important that it doesn’t over bake.  I baked for about 22 minutes and I think that was a little too long.

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Melt 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips with 1/2 cup table cream, stirring.  Once all melted and creamy spread over the warm brownies.

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Let cool completely.  Then cut into squares.  Try not to eat too many at once.

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Apple Streusel

I have been trying to post this for weeks! It has been really busy, this is an easy recipe that is quick to make.

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1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup milk powder

1 egg

1 can apple pie filling

Mix together dry ingredients.

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Mix egg and butter, blend until incorporated together.

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Add dry ingredients and mix with pastry blender, or mixer with paddle, until a mealy dough forms.

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Reserve about 1/3 of the dough mixture for later, it will be used as a topping.

The remaining 2/3 of dough press into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a springform pan, I think mine is 9″.

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Top this with a can of apple pie filling.

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Then take the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle over the top and just press lightly.

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Bake at 325F for 50-60 minutes.

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This is good served either cold or warm.

It is really good served warm with vanilla ice cream on the side.

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