Thursday, July 11, 2019

2nd Birthday Cake (Number Two Cake)

Our little great-niece turned two last month so we wanted to make her a special cake. We had to be able to travel with it so we couldn't really do a layered cake for fear it would fall over on the trip. 
This number two cake is fairly simple to shape and travels very well. You can easily decorate with your favorite fruits... we used saskatoons, raspberries, a mandarin orange, and strawberries. Make sure to pat your fruit dry before putting it on the cake so it doesn't bleed into the frosting.

2nd Birthday Cake (Number Two Cake)

recipe for chocolate cake (can use a mix if desired)

4 cups whipping cream
2 pkg vanilla instant pudding

Fruit for decorating

Prepare cake as per recipe instructions. Bake the cake in one 9 inch round pan and one 9 inch square pan. Let cool. 
Using an approximately 2 1/2 inch round cutter, cut out the center of the round cake. Cut 1/4 of the round cake and turn the piece to the right. Cut a piece of the square cake to fit along the bottom of the circle pieces. (See photo for clarification!) I cut an extra little piece just to make the base of the two a little longer. This is not always necessary - use your best judgment. 
You will have a little more than 1/2 of the square cake leftover for another use. 

Prepare frosting - place 2 cups of the whipped cream and 1 pkg of the vanilla pudding in a large bowl. Whip with beaters until stiff enough to spread. Spread over the cake to cover. 
When you run out - simply whip the remaining 2 cups of whipping cream and box of vanilla pudding. Continue to spread or pipe on the frosting however you like. 

Let chill for about an hour or two before adding fruit.

I sliced the strawberries fairly thin so I could add them to the sides. If you cut them thicker they may fall off because they are too heavy. 

Chocolate, whipped cream frosting, and fruit make for a perfectly presentable birthday cake for all ages. Our little munchkin loved picking off the fruit to eat almost as much as eating the cake itself. 

I know... I know... the photo is sideways. For the life of me I cannot figure out how to rotate it. I've tried, trust me. 
Anyways.... a number cake is a fabulous way to celebrate a birthday or anniversary! And you can never go wrong with fruit! 

Saskatoon Scones

Saskatoon season around Lillooet is always highly anticipated. Saskatoons grow wild around the area and are always a welcome addition to baking. The berries are similar to blueberries but are smaller, have more teeny seeds, and have a different flavor (maybe sweeter? It's hard to describe!).
If you don't have access to saskatoons you could sub in blueberries, no problem. 
This is our basic, go-to scone recipe and can easily be used for tons of different flavor combos. I get 12 fairly good sized scones out of it but it can be halved to just get 6, if you prefer. Scones freeze well though so I say make the full batch!

Saskatoon Scones

4 cups flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter, cold
1 1/2 cups saskatoons
1 cup sour cream
1 cup buttermilk

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in the butter using 2 knives (or a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the saskatoons. 

Mix together the sour cream and buttermilk. Stir into the dry ingredients until dough comes together.
Place on lightly floured work surface and knead once or twice. You don't want to over work the dough, just have it come together. 
Roll into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cut into 12 triangles. You can also use a biscuit cutter if you want them a different shape. Just make sure they are about 1 inch thick. 

At this point you can cover them and place in fridge overnight, to be baked in the morning OR you can continue on to baking them. 
Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place scone wedges on the sheet about 2 inches apart. 

Bake at 400 for approx 20 minutes - tops will be lightly golden and appear dry. 

Remove from heat and serve warm or let cool to room temp.

Scones freeze very well. Just pop in the microwave for a few seconds to thaw and reheat. They are best eaten the day they are made but for a day or two they will still be good. I recommend reheating in the microwave for a few seconds to freshen. 
Our saskatoon scones make a great on-the-go breakfast. They are sweet but not too sweet and travel well in a lunch bag. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Rhubarb Cheesecake Squares

When rhubarb season arrives everyone knows it. Rhubarb shows up everywhere because it just keeps growing and growing and growing! Not that we're complaining. Rhubarb is an amazing ingredients in soooo many things. Throw it in with some strawberries or blueberries and the flavor of whatever you are making just gets better. 
These cheesecake squares can be whipped up in about an hour from start to finish and will make you all sorts of new friends. People cannot get enough of them! And by "people" I mean me. I may have eaten more than one..... quality control, you understand. 
But seriously, be prepared to make more than one pan of these!

Rhubarb Cheesecake Squares

Rhubarb Layer
5 cups chopped rhubarb
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp water
3 tsp cornstarch

Cheesecake Layer
2 - 8 oz bricks of cream cheese (16 oz total), room temp
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 egg

Crust/Crumb Layers
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper, set aside. 
Prepare rhubarb layer - cook rhubarb, sugar, and water. Simmer for 8 minutes over medium heat. Add in the cornstarch and cook 2 more minutes. Set aside to cool.
Prepare cheesecake layer - Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, and egg until smooth. Set aside. 
Prepare crust/crumb layer - Crumble together butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt. Add half of this mixture to the prepared pan and press firmly. 
Add the walnuts to the remaining half and set aside. 
Assemble square: Scoop cheesecake mixture by the spoonful on top of the crust and spread with a spoon, being careful not to disturb the crust layer too much. 

Spread the rhubarb mixture on top of the cheesecake.

Lastly, crumble on the remaining crust/crumb mixture evenly over the top.

Lightly press down. 
Bake in 350 oven until topping is golden brown and cheesecake is set - about 30 minutes. 
Cool completely before slicing. Store in fridge. 

Love cheesecake but not the time involved to make it? Give this a try. All the tastiness of cheesecake but in a fraction of the time. Plus... rhubarb and crumbly bits.... you've got nothing to lose here. 
FYI - If you are a little shy of 5 cups of rhubarb you can make up the difference with strawberries! 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Keto Hungarian Style Pork Stew

Rainy days always call for stew. 
We don't get many rainy days in Lillooet in the summer so when we do get them, we have to take advantage. This is a very simple stew that only takes a few minutes to whip up and then simmers for a couple of hours and makes your house smell UH-mazing. It also happens to be keto, which is a win for me. My parents, who are not doing keto, loved it. They had theirs over rice while I had mine with a couple of Fat Head Biscuits. (Sorry, we haven't posted our fat head recipe yet but if you Google it then you can easily find tons! I will get our version posted ASAP).
According to MyFitnessPal 1 serving, recipe makes 5, is: 163 calories, 7 fat, 9 carbs, 2.3 fiber, 1.9 sugar, 19 protein. (That's 6.7 net carbs!)

Keto Hungarian Style Pork Stew

1 lb pork, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 of a medium onion, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 pkg gelatin (about 11/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 Tbsp paprika (smoked, if you have it)
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 Tbsp red wine
8 oz (13.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt & pepper

Prep your pork and veggies. 

Add the gelatin to the chicken stock and set aside. 
In a large pot over medium high heat, cook the pork until it is browned. Once it is has been browned, remove the meat from the pot and set aside. In the same pot add the oil and butter. Add in the onion and pepper and cook about 3 - 4 minutes. 
Lower the heat and add in the garlic, paprika, and caraway. Cook and stir for 1 minute or two. Add in the red wine to help deglaze the pot. 
Add in the tomatoes, bay leaf, lemon juice, and salt & pepper. Stir for about 2 minutes. 
Add in the chicken stock with the gelatin. 

Stir well. Cover and let simmer for about 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Remove the lid and let cook down to desired consistency. (I cooked it with the lid off for another 10 minutes.)
Serve hot with rice, potatoes, pasta, cauliflower rice, fat head bread, veggies, or on its own. 

You don't have to be following keto to enjoy this yummy stew. I love any meal that only takes a few minutes to prepare and winds up tasting delicious AND is healthy. Who doesn't, really? ;)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Maple Croissants

Canada Day is just around the corner and I was wondering what I could whip up to celebrate this year. I've been playing with bread recipes a lot lately so new I wanted to start there. 
I made a list of foods and flavors that we consider "typically Canadian" and maple was at the top. Some kind of maple bread soon became my mission. 
These maple croissants are pretty darned amazing. All the crispy, flaky, chewy, squishiness of a regular croissant PLUS a hint of maple syrup goodness to elevate these to your new favorite Canadian breakfast (or brunch, or snack...)
The maple doesn't overwhelm the buttery flavor, instead it enhances it and adds a wonderful *jazz hands* of sweetness. Serve with maple butter and you'll never go back to regular croissants again. 

Maple Croissants

1/2 cup warm water
4 1/2 tsp yeast
3 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp maple extract
1 cup warm milk

Butter Insert
1 1/2 cup butter
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp maple extract

Egg Wash
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp maple extract 

Prepare dough - Stir together the 1/2 cup warm water and yeast. Let sit 5 minutes to activate. 
In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Stir in the maple syrup, maple extract, lukewarm milk, and yeast mixture. 
Stir until dough comes together. Add more flour, a Tbsp at a time if the dough is very sticky. 
Turn onto a floured work surface and knead 4 minutes. Cover and let rest 15 minutes. 

Roll to a 10 X 9 rectangle, cover with plastic wrap and chill dough for 30 minutes. 
Prepare butter insert - beat together the butter, maple syrup, and maple extract until smooth. Spread into a 6 X 8 1/2 rectangle and chill until while dough is chilling (it needs to be solid). 
Place dough on lightly floured work surface and roll to a 10 X 15 rectangle. Place butter on top, in the center. 

Fold the bottom and the top of the dough over the butter. Pinch the edges to seal the butter in.
Flip dough over so seam is on the bottom. Roll the dough to a 10 X 15 rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick). Fold in 3 with the top covering the bottom fold. 

Cover and place in fridge for at least an hour, up to 4 hours. 
Do this 3 more times for a total of 4 "turns". (Always start your roll with the short end towards you.) 
On your last turn, cover well in plastic wrap and set in the fridge to chill overnight. 
In the morning: 
Remove your dough from the fridge and place on lightly floured work surface.

Roll the dough to a 13 X 24 rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick). 
Cut into 5 inch wide strips.Then cut each strip into 2 triangles.

Make a small cut in the wide part of each triangle. Starting at the wide end, roll up the croissant.
Place on a parchment paper lined cookie tray. 

Repeat with the remaining triangles. Make sure the point is tucked under the roll so it doesn't unroll during cooking. 

Cover with a tea towel and set somewhere free from drafts to proof for an hour (until doubled in size). While they are rising, preheat the oven to 400. (I usually set them on top of the stove to rise. You don't want them to rise in a place that is too warm, like regular bread, as the butter will start to melt and you don't want that!)

After an hour (up to 2) they should be risen a bit. (They won't double in size but should still be bigger than they were.) 
Prepare egg wash by whisking together the egg yolk, milk, and maple extract. 

Using a pastry or basting brush, brush the egg wash on top of each croissant. 
Bake at 400 for 15 - 20 minutes - until golden brown. 

Let cool 5 minutes before removing to wire rack. Look at all the flaky layers! 

Serve warm or room temp with a little maple butter, regular butter, or even jam. 

Croissants are best eaten the day they are made but will last a day on the counter in an airtight container. You can freeze them for later. When ready to enjoy: let them sit at room temp while you preheat your oven to 375, then pop them in until they have warmed through. 

These smell soooo maple-y while they are cooking. Everyone coming in the house is saying, "Ooooh what smells so good?" 
Yeah. These do. 

The outside is crispy and flaky while the inside is soft and chewy and totally addicting. The recipe makes 10 rather large croissants that are just perfect for breakfast or brunch. If they don't get eaten in the first day or two (who are we kidding, right?) then use the leftover ones to make a maple croissant bread pudding. You won't regret it. 
Want to see another of our croissant recipes? Click HERE for our Baklava Croissants! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

S'More Donuts

Summer is synonymous with camping and everyone knows you can't go camping without s'mores. 
Therefore, s'more donuts are awesome. 
The end.
I'm not sure where I was going with that but s'more donuts ARE amazing and are perfect for summer and camping and just about everything else. 
Yep, they are sweet. Kind of the point, actually. All that chocolate and graham crackers and ooey gooey marshmallows make the world go 'round. Share them with your family and friends and you'll be everyone's new favorite person (like you aren't already, psssht!). 

S'More Donuts


1/2 cup graham crackers crumbs
bag of giant marshmallows
1 cup chocolate
1 tsp coconut oil

Special equipment needed
kitchen torch

Make donuts as per recipe instructions (CLICK HERE)
When donuts have cooled to room temp, cut them all in half horizontally. 
Cut giant marshmallows in half and place 3 halves on the bottom of each doughnut. Using your torch, lightly brown the marshmallows.

Place the top of the donut back on top of the marshmallows and press down firmly. 
Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and microwave in 15 second intervals until smooth. 
Spoon a glob of chocolate on top of a donut and spread it to cover. Sprinkle generously with graham crumbs. Continue with remaining donuts. 

Let sit until chocolate hardens up. It's less messy. You can, of course, serve immediately!

Your new favorite summer treat has arrived. 
I believe I got about 24 donuts from this recipe. 
If you like more chocolate - you could easily spread  some inside the donut too before you place the marshmallows on. You can never have too much chocolate....