Spiced Apple and Almond Cookies

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A good cookie is not something to be taken for granted. Many cookies I like to describe as just ‘meh’. That’s halfway between tasty and just edible if you know what I mean. This is how I feel about boxed cookies. I don’t usually eat cookies from a box, but when I do it’s mostly because they just happen to be in the cupboard and I’m hungry or want to dip something in my tea.

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For me, I know I’ve got a good cookie when I want to eat it first thing in the morning. This is a big deal, because I love breakfast! I’ll have granola and smoothies anytime, anywhere. I’m just like that.

These cookies are those kind of cookies. The kind I want to eat at 7:00 am. Every day. For an entire week.

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These cookies require a good amount of apples and even more of self restraint.

Spiced Apple and Almond Cookies- based on this recipe

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or cider
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 2 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl beat butter for 30 seconds. (An electric mixer works best) Add sugars, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves. Beat until combined, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and apple juice until combined. Beat in flour and ground almonds in 3 additions, beating well after each addition. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the apple.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack  to cool completely. Frost with Apple Frosting!

Apple Frosting

Beat 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of softened butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp milk and enough apple juice to make the frosting a nice spreadable consistency. You can do this in the electric mixer, or by hand. If doing by hand, start with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the butter, beat until combined, then add more sugar and some of the liquid, then more sugar and more liquid until all the powdered sugar is combined and you have your icing!

Spinach-Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella and Parmesan, Served with Salsa

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The other day I had gum graft surgery. If you aren’t sure what that is, I shall explain. I will warn you it is a little bit gruesome sounding, so skip this paragraph if you don’t want anything to do with that. Anywho, after having braces my gum on one of my teeth had receded quite far down, exposing quite a lot of bone and almost the nerve. Therefore, the dentist had to cut a little bit of gum away from one part of my mouth and stitch it onto the troublesome area. So there we go! That is what happened.

I apologize, because I know this is not a conversation I should be having with you on a food blog, let alone over this delicious sandwich!

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The actual surgery was not painful at all, because the entire right side of my face was frozen. The recovery has been completely fine as well. The hardest part seems to be the fact that I have to keep a strict soft food diet for the next few days. Unfair! I thought about making something delicious and soft that I could pair this story with, but in the end, my diet has been yogurt, spinach/kale/berry smoothies, eggs and lukewarm soup. Which really isn’t interesting enough to write a post on. The other thing is that I can’t have any hot things! So tea is completely out of the question. Being me, I cannot live without my tea, so I improvised. I made some iced herbal tea and had a large jug in the fridge. I say I ‘had’ a large jug because I drank it all in one day…

I ate this sandwich the day before I had my surgery, and it was so darn delicious I just had to share it. It seemed a lot more exciting than a recipe for scrambled eggs… Also, writing about this sandwich sort of fulfills my craving for it.

My mother came up with the idea of pairing salsa with a mozzarella grilled cheese sandwich. Not only is it a healthier option, it tastes so much better! We really enjoy mozzarella as opposed to cheddar in our sandwiches.

This sandwich is so divine that if others are sitting around you, they will be drowning in a pool of their own saliva. Okay, maybe not that much saliva. If they ask, make sure you give them a small bite, or else you may have a riot on your hands. I don’t want to see any of you running down the street scarfing down this sandwich, being followed by a pack of hungry citizens armed with forks and knives.

Enjoy this sandwich with caution.

Spinach-Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella and Parmesan

  • 2 slices whole grain seedy bread- I used Silver Hills Mack’s Flax
  • 1 stalk of flat leaf spinach, or a small handful of baby spinach
  • a few slices of red onion
  • a small handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • as many slices of mozzarella cheese as you desire!
  • little bit of butter

Put mozzarella slices on both slices of bread. Place spinach on one side and parmesan and red onion on the other side. Put together, butter both sides and place on a pan set over medium heat. Grill until golden brown and deliciously melty. Serve with salsa of your choice.

Enjoy!

Fig and Cinnamon Slice

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I’m out of school now, which means it should be summer. It means that days at the beach are plenty and weeks go by without a cloud in the sky. That just isn’t the case at the moment! Dark clouds are still overhead, meals aren’t prepared in the morning to save the oven from heating up the house, I’m sitting here in flannel pajamas and slippers and outside the leaves are wet from the night’s rain. It just doesn’t seem right!

The positive news we can take from this is we still have an excuse to devour fresh baking, drink all the tea in the cupboard and still enjoy warm bowls of soup without sweating.

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Everyone has different ways of dealing with dark, cloudy days. Some hide inside their beds covered in layers upon layers of blankets to protect themselves from the darkness, others carry on without a care whether the sun is above or behind the clouds, and others pull on their wellies and enjoy what mother nature has to offer. Personally I do a bit of everything. I Layer myself in warm clothing, enjoy the day and put cinnamon in everything. I love cinnamon, and that’s an understatement. I put cinnamon in my tea, and extra on my porridge, pancakes and french toast. Anything with cinnamon is automatically more appealing to me.

That is why this cinnamon and fig slice is one of my favourites. Even though this is the first time I’ve made it, I’m still saying it’s in my top ten. Then there’s this whole deal about why I love figs, but that’s a story for another day. If you do decide to make this delicious slice, I recommend extra cinnamon…just saying…

Fig and Cinnamon Slice-slightly adapted from Simply Delicious Slices

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • Around 250 grams of figs, give or take-depending on how thick you want the fig layer to be
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8 by 8 inch square pan and line with parchment paper, hanging over the sides.

Beat butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until light and fluffy, then mix in the flour. Press the mixture evenly into the tin and bake for 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Place the dried figs, cinnamon stick and 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a saucepan, mix together and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on and until the figs have softened and the water has reduced by a third. Remove the cinnamon stick and place in food processor. Process in short bursts until smooth.

Pour onto the cooked base and bake for 10 minutes, or until set. Cool in the tin and when cold, lift our and cut into squares.

Enjoy!

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Pesto-Cream Cheese Salad Wrap

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School’s out tomorrow, so of course this is the perfect time to show you what I bring to school for lunch! Oh well, this delicious lunch (or dinner, maybe even breakfast!) is perfect for the summer season.

I’m on the fence about school. I don’t like it and I don’t loathe it. It’s just kind of a thing I know I have to do to succeed in life. So off to school 5 days a week I saunter down the road. My walk to school has been implanted in my brain. Sometimes I leave the house and just seem to ‘arrive’ with out knowing how I got there. Food is probably on my mind… If I didn’t go to school, I’m sure that all I would do is eat and eat and eat. Which is not the best idea!

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Since I strive to be healthy, I don’t really like to buy lunches. Since I enjoy making my lunches so much anyway, buying them just seems disappointing sometimes. To be honest, I love going out for lunch, but forking out 10 dollars every day just isn’t in my best interests.

There are so many different things you can take for lunch that aren’t a sandwich. Personally I only take a sandwich to school at the most once a week. I like bringing leftovers, salads and especially wraps. They are my absolute favourite.

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This week I am bringing you my favourite wrap that travels in my bag to school. The mixture of homemade pesto and thick cream cheese is just delicious. Even on crackers. My Mom makes a big batch of fresh pesto from our plants and freezes it in cubes to use throughout the year, so that’s a pretty neat idea if you’re up for it. I then threw yesterday’s leftover salad into my wrap and topped that with a few extra fixings. So even though you may not be bringing this to school, bring it to the beach! Or work! Or a picnic! The possibilities are endless. Same goes for what you put in the wrap. Mix it up and make it delicious.

Pesto-Cream Cheese Salad Wrap

  • Tortilla I like the whole wheat ones
  • Pesto link to homemade pesto here
  • Cream Cheese
  • Grated Cheese I like mozzarella
  • Lettuce
  • Vegetables of your choice –I used tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, celery and whatever else was in yesterday’s salad
  • A few sliced olives
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper-These ingredients are very important! At least to me anyway 🙂

Spread the pesto and cream cheese on your wrap, followed by the cheese and everything else. Then devour.

Mini Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

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Chocolate. We all need a little bit more chocolate, water, exercise, relaxation time and vegetables. But in actual reality, do we really drink enough water every day? Do we ever have a day where our stress level doesn’t rise or we eat the perfect amount of food group servings requested by our nutritionists for our age group? I think not. Sometimes we have cake for dinner because we don’t feel like eating anything else. Sometimes we don’t have a relaxation day in over a month because we need to go to school and work and have fun because we want a good life and want to go to university. But it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay to have way to many ‘ands’ in a sentence and start one with ‘but’. It’s okay not to do exactly what’s requested, because I would dislike my life more than a little bit.

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Just because we are expected to do something doesn’t mean we have to achieve it to the highest possible level. Except if your job or life expected on it…that wouldn’t end very well. Just because we’re told butter is fattening and refined sugar shouldn’t be touched with a ten foot pole doesn’t mean it’s not okay to enjoy it on occasion or in small quantities.

Now that I’m done with my life changing rant, time to get to the important stuff. Sandwich cookies. Mini Chocolate Sandwich Cookies to be exact. Creamy sour-cream chocolate frosting slathered in between two soft chocolate cookies seems like a pretty good stress reliever to me.

That’s why these cookies are perfect. They’re small so no guilt will be felt after eating 3…okay, maybe a teensy weensy bit, but they fulfill that chocolate craving inside of you. So without further ado, here’s the know how to these little cuties.

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Mini Chocolate Sandwich Cookies- slightly adapted from 100 best cookies

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips ( I used mini dark chocolate ones)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a small heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water heat and stir chocolate over medium heat until melted. Set aside.

In a medium bowl beat butter until smooth. Add sugar until fluffy, and beat in melted chocolate, egg and vanilla.

Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in freezer for 20-30 minutes or firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper;set aside. Removing one portion of dough from the freezer at a time, shape each portion into an 8-10 inch roll, depending on how big you want your cookies to be. Place back into freezer for 5 minutes to firm up. Cut the rolls into 1/4 inch slices. Place slices on cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

Spread Frosting (below) on bottom sides of half the cookies, using around 1/2 tsp for each cookie. Top with remaining cookies and DEVOUR.

Milk Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting

In a small heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water heat and stir 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until melted. Take off heat and let cool a bit for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup sour cream. Gradually stir in 1 to 1 1/4 cups icing sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency.