A Pattypan Soup – The Squash Experiment

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The task? Creating something, anything out of the green, vegetable equivalent to a turtle.

The outcome? A steaming bowl of soup. A curry-like Pattypan Squash soup to be exact!

It all started at a friends farm. There I was, standing on the lawn when I was handed a squash. The grower of this squash, knowing about my food blogging, gave me the challenge of finding a use for it. Looking down at it, I knew it was destined for the soup pot.

You know those soups that have just the right mix of spices that they leave you sniffling before running across the living room to grab a tissue? This is one of those soups. A nose un-clogger as I like to say… So before you start eating this soup, make sure you bring the box of tissues a little bit closer. Maybe a lot closer.

I’ve only ever made 2 soups in my lifetime, (I know…it’s shameful…I’ve been too busy making cookies) those being a carrot/potato soup and this soup, so I sure didn’t whip this one up myself. With a little bit of help (okay…maybe a lot of help) from the recipe over on Naturally Ella, this delicious soup was created!

I love the addition of coconut milk to this soup, because it adds that little extra special something that we all need in a soup. The extra bit of paprika sprinkled on top gives it some nice colour and extra goodness as well!

My sister said, “This soup tastes like Chick Pea Curry blended up!” I hope that that was a positive statement…

It’s perfect for a rainy, rainy day and is delicious paired with a good slice of homemade bread or some crackers and hummus.

An altogether warming and…unclogging soup.

Enjoy!

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Pattypan Squash Soup-slightly adapted from Naturally Ella-makes 4 servings

  • 3 cups cubed pattypan squash, skin removed (about 1 medium sized one)
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: coriander, turmeric, and paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin and cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (plus extra for topping)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

 

Heat olive oil over medium low heat. Add in garlic and onions, sauteing until onions begin to soften and garlic becomes fragrant. Add in squash, carrot, and potatoes- continuing to cook until squash and potatoes being to soften, about five minutes. During this time, begin to add spices. Once vegetables begin to soften, add in white white to deglaze the pan. Finally, pour in vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and reduce then to a simmer. Let simmer until potatoes and squash are soft, 20-25 minutes. (taste a couple times during this to adjust spices to your liking)

Once potatoes are done, use an immersion blender or a regular blender to create a smooth texture in your soup. Return soup back to stove top, stir in coconut milk, and heat again until soup is hot. When ready to serve, place soup in a bowl, spoon 1 tablespoon of coconut milk onto top of soup, and sprinkle a little paprika on top of each.

A Bicycle Cake

Doin’ a super speedy post today! 

Yesterday, we hosted a birthday party for my Dad who turned 50! Twas a wonderous event.

Since it was a birthday, of course there had to be a super duper awesome cake. 

My Dad is really into cycling, so my Mother and I created this delicacy for the occasion.

The actual cake part is two Chocolate Hazelnut Tortes, and the bike is cardboard…I guess you could eat it if you really wanted to…but I’ll leave it to your conscience. 

ImageDat’s me lightin’ the cake 🙂

 

Soft and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies

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You know those times where you see the most amazing box of cookies in the grocery store, (and we aint talkin’ bout’ your average joe box of cookies, we talkin’ bout pretty pictures and pretty packaging) you buy them feeling like you have found the best store bought cookie ever made and as you take the first bite the cookie is as hard as rock. (Sorry for all the italics going on right now) So hard, that the cookie could practically be made of concrete.

“But Emma, you write about homemade cookies! Why you buyin’ them?” Well you know, sometimes it just happens. Sometimes you are in a pickle and the boxed cookie has just got to happen. Anywho…

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Almost every time ‘the dreaded rock cookie’ scenario has occured, it’s involved a gingersnap. Those dreaded gingersnaps. I understand that gingersnaps are supposed to be on the harder side, served with a tall glass of milk, but does any cookie really need to be that difficult to bite into? I betcha all those cookie companies are owned by dentists. Dentists who want you to break your teeth so you can pay them to fix them. It’s all a clever ploy…maybe I’m overthinking this just a wee bit.

My favourite cookie when I was younger was this particular recipe for soft gingersnaps. I guess they really aren’t ginger’snaps’ persay, ginger’chews’ would better suit this recipe. Funny how that is…

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I really have no idea where this recipe came from, but what I do know is that it is written in my mom’s trusty, handy dandy recipe book covered in vanilla/molasses/who knows what stains.

If you like soft, chewy, delicious and buttery cookies, then this is the definite recipe for you.

Enjoy!

Soft and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies –makes 3 dozen

  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In  a large bowl or electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in molasses and beat until incorperated. Add in egg and beat until incorperated.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.

Add the flour mixture in 2 additions to the butter mixture and beat until well combined.

Depending on how soft your butter is, the batter may be very soft and sticky. Just refrigerate for 10 minutes or so. It will still be a soft dough to work with regardless.

Roll into small balls, then roll in sugar and place on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until  tops look cracked. (they will still feel soft to the touch, but that is what makes them chewy!)  Watch carefully, because you do not want to overcook these.

Let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Kale Salad with Beets, Olives and Currants – The Perfect Packed Lunch!

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I know that I shouldn’t even be saying ‘the word that must not be named’ for a few more weeks, but I figure that since children of the U.S have already gone back to ‘the word that must not be named’, then I’m allowed. Also, this particular recipe doesn’t just apply to a certain institution where citizens under the age of 18 learn and spend most of their time, it applies to all of us!

Whether you are travelling, working or going to ‘the word that must not be named’, you usually need to bring a lunch. Unless of course you are lucky enough to have a healthy meal provided for you. If you are one of those people, lucky you! Can I join you?

I’m always looking for something new to bring for lunch that I can prepare in the morning (so it’s gotta be quick and fairly simple) or the night before, that will last till lunch.

I’ve noticed that many other bloggers are all throwing in their own kale salad concoctions. Some are more reserved and some so wild that it seems they hired a chemist to help them concoct it. So I thought I’d join the party! The superfood salad party! I’m inviting myself of course, and there was no help from a chemist…it was pretty much just one of those situations where I tossed what was in my fridge into a container and called it lunch. I photographed it just incase it tasted good, and it was amazing!

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Whenever I pack salads for lunch, I take a little container of salad dressing and pour it on right before I eat it. With this salad, we completely eliminate that step and stir in the dressing right when we make it! I find that the best way to mix in the dressing is after you pile all your ingredients into your container, pour on the dressing, put the lid on (tightly) and shake it! Put some muscle in it, maybe have a dance party and shake the dickens out of that container. This method ensures that every square millimeter of salad is coated in dressing. Until you eat the salad, the dressing will infuse into everything and the flavours will all mingle into something delicious. The shaking is crutial, you cannot use any other method. Yup, the salad just won’t be the same if you use a boring old wooden spoon. This method is the legit best…yes, I am going to keep reassuring myself of this…

Now I warn you, it will end up looking like a pinky, purply mess, but it will be a deliciously HEALTHY pinky, purply mess. This changes everything. Embrace it.

While you are eating this uberly healthy salad, think of everything unhealthy, fattening, sugary and generally terrible to ingest while listenin’ to this song. Not only will you reassure yourself, you’ll feel awesome…I promise.

Kale Salad with Beet, Olives and Currants-for 1 serving

2 big stalks of kale, finely chopped

1 small beet, peeled and grated

A small handful of each:

  • cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • kalamata olives, sliced
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • dried currants
  • sunflower seeds, toasted in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned

For the dressing:

  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 Tb apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tb white wine vinegar (or more apple cider vinegar, or vice versa)
  • 1 heaping tsp smooth dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place kale in your container and top with rest of fixings. Whisk together dressing and pour immediately onto salad. Close the lid, making sure it’s tightly on, and shake the container, coating the salad. Enjoy in a few hours!

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

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This is the kind of dessert that deserves celebration. Wait, no. It doesn’t just deserve to be served at a celebration, it requires it. Or in other words, a celebration is the only way we can justify eating a large slice 🙂

The particular celebration that this particular cake was served at was a 19th birthday party/send off into the big wide world of university for my older brother. That last part could probably be a tongue twister…’big wide world of university, big wide world of wuniwersity, wig widfe gjkfgrk uniwerjsdlbety…’ (as you can tell, I’m not the best at tongue twisters)

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Anywho, I am 1 of 4 siblings. I have 2 older brothers and a younger sister. My eldest brother moved out a few years ago. When he did, it felt kind of strange for the first week or so, but then I easily slid into the life of having only one brother around the house. Not that my eldest was actually around that much anyway 🙂

Saying goodbye to my other brother is going to be tougher I think. By him leaving, that means that there will be only one manly presence hanging around, that person being my Dad. For as long as I can remember, there has always been an older brother hangin’ about or being heard either by the eldest’s guitar or the second eldest’s violin. Sometimes even both at once…now that is an interesting experience.

There’s always been one of them to talk some sense into me, chase me around the couch or torture me with never ending tickles that ever so kindly come with a complementary death grip.

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I’m so fortunate to have two brothers and a sister to grow up with. Of course there have been plenty of kerfuffles and arguments over why one of us deserves not to do the dishes or eat the last cookie, but it’s all good.

I’m not a very sentimental person when it comes to saying goodbye to my siblings, because I understand. I understand their excitement to move away, become independant and begin their lives! I’m not necessarily ‘happy’ to see them go, but I’m excited to see where they go. Both of them are very talented, smart, young men, so it’s exciting to see them weave their way through their own personal web and take on life. I’m even a little jealous at times that I’m not older and moving out with them…don’t worry Mom, I’ll still be round for a while 🙂 But as they say, high school is the easy part of life, so I’ll just make sure I finish that first and then figure it out from there.

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My brother isn’t quite leaving yet, but when he does, maybe there’ll be more cake 🙂

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte from Betty Crocker

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips – good quality chips makes all the difference
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 organic free range eggs, seperated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped and toasted hazelnuts or almonds (the more the better!) plus extra for garnish.

Heat oven to 325 degrees F and grease the bottom and sides of 2 round 8 inch pans. Line the bottoms with waxed paper or baking parchmentdo not skip this…trust me, there have been too many broken cakes for my liking because of skipping this step.

Melt chocolate chips and butter in a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water set on medium heat. Stir constantly until completley melted. Take bowl off heat and let cool 5 minutes. Stir in flour until smooth. Stir in egg yolks until well blended.

Beat egg whites in large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 Tb at a time until soft peaks form. Fold chocolate mixture into whites, making sure to keep as much air in the whites as possible. Fold in toasted hazelnuts and spread evenly into pans.

Bake about 25 minutes or until tops of cakes appear dry and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife along side of each cake to loosen; remove from pan to wire rack. Remove wax paper and cool completely.

Prepare chocolate truffle filling (below). Spread 2/3 cup of filling on bottom layer. Top with other layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with remaining filling. Garnish with hazelnuts, chill till firm and devour!

Chocolate Truffle Filling

  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt chocolate chips and butter in a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water set on medium heat. Stir constantly until completley melted. Take bowl off heat and stir in the heavy cream. Chill in fridge for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring periodically, until just thick enough to mound and hold it’s shape when dropped from a spoon. Frost that delicious torte!