Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

Homemade Oreo Blizzards

homemade-oreo-blizzard-096-final

Homemade Oreo Blizzards …. mmm!  We have been eating these for years, so I don’t know why I haven’t shared this with you sooner.  “Homemade” blizzards are quick and easy to put together, and they’ll save you $$$!  We can’t stop eating them!

All you need are two ingredients: vanilla ice cream and Oreo cookies.

We use about 10 cookies for two large servings.

The filling can be super sweet so we remove the cream from about half of them.  Reserve two or three cookies and place the rest in a zip lock bag, and crush with a mallet.

Homemade Oreo Blizzard 049

Homemade Oreo Blizzard 050

Place the crushed cookies in a mixing bowl and add several scoops of vanilla ice cream.  Mash quickly so the mixture doesn’t melt.

Homemade Oreo Blizzard 068

Homemade Oreo Blizzard 069

Scoop into mugs or bowls, crush one or two of the cookies (without the cream) in your hand and sprinkle over each serving.

Homemade Oreo Blizzard

Top with a whole Oreo cookie and enjoy!!

homemade-oreo-blizzard-096-final

Notes:

  • It took a couple of times to figure out the ice cream to cookie ratio that we liked, but hey you can’t go wrong, unless you make too little 😦
  • We prefer regular vanilla ice cream vs. French vanilla ice cream, which is too sweet
  • Use a large mug; this treat is cold!  Hold with one hand and dig in with a spoon!
  • Work quickly and the blizzard will remain frozen!
  • I rarely purchase processed food items so I tried to make homemade Oreo cookies. Unfortunately, they were not the same.  They tasted good, but were missing that distinct crispy- crunchy texture.  Stick with store-bought for this decadent treat!

 

Coconut Macaroons – Chewy, Not too Sweet, and Quite Addictive!

I almost gave up on making coconut macaroons.  No matter what recipe I tried, they always came out flat, with a bump in the middle.  They never looked like the pictures in food magazines or the Internet.

I came across this recipe a while ago, and was hesitant because I had a ton of flaked coconut in my pantry, but not desiccated coconut.  I had a difficult time finding it at my local grocery store, and had to Google for an alternative right there and then while standing in the baking aisle!  Another name for desiccated coconut is unsweetened coconut.  It comes in fine or medium shreds, and judging from the picture of the finished macaroon, I made a judgement call and bought the medium shreds.

When you are finished making the batter, it will be thick, but you definitely need to use baking cups to hold the macaroon’s shape.

I was so excited to see how nicely rounded they came out!  Of course, I couldn’t wait for the macaroons to cool completely, and neither could H.  I did find it difficult to peel the liner off, but hey, H had no problem whatsoever!  Nevertheless, by the next day when the macaroons had developed their flavor and softened a bit, they were much easier to peel off.

This recipe is definitely a keeper … and they look so cute!

Coconut Macaroons

Adapted from KawalingPinoy.com

Makes 3 ½ -4 dozen minis

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • ⅓ – ½ cup granulated sugar (I used ⅓ cup but if you have a real sweet tooth, use ½ cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups unsweetened medium coconut (desiccated coconut)
  1. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat butter and sugar together for a few minutes.  Be sure to scrape down the bowl
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one
  3. Add condensed milk and pure vanilla extract until well combined, again scraping down the side of the bowl
  4. With a spatula, fold in flour, baking powder, and coconut until well mixed
  5. Scoop into mini cupcake liners using a medium size cookie scoop.  If you don’t have one, the equivalent is 1 tablespoon.
  6. Bake for 12-16 minutes (depending on your oven).  When a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, they’re done. Do not over bake.
  7. Let cool for several minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

Kitchen notes:

  • This is quite annoying, but some condensed milk are manufactured in 300 ml cans.  Most recipes call for 14 ounces.  I buy a lot of baking products in the U.S. so if you can’t find a 14 ounce can, here are two options: divide this recipe in half, or open up a second can (sorry).  Either way, you can use the extra condensed milk for making iced coffee … delicious!
  • If you wish to divide this recipe in half, I would suggest using approximately 3 tbsp butter and 3 or 4 tbsp sugar.  The rest of the ingredients can easily be halved
  • Macaroons will keep in a tight-fitting container at room temperature for a few days

Enjoy!

Oven Baked BBQ Ribs and all the Fixin’s

Oven-baked ribs

It’s summertime and being foodies, we absolutely crave anything to do with BBQ!

But what do you do if it’s raining, and you don’t want to fire up the grill, or you don’t have a bbq?  How about oven-baked ribs!  We normally just use our favorite store bought bbq sauce but for an extra kick, I love this simple recipe with additional spices.  The result is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy, with a bit of heat.

Getting to all the fixin’s … our favorites are potato salad, baked beans and cornbread.  I switched it up this time with creamy mac and cheese, slices of baguette with butter and of course, pickles.  We’ve dined at Famous Dave’s a few times, and they serve these awesome pickles with their bbq platters.  Their Signature Spicy Pickle Chips are addictive and available for $3.99.  You can also find them at Costco.  They’re crunchy, sweet, sour and a bit spicy.  I absolutely hated pickles for most of my life, and now I can’t believe how much I like them.

Are you craving BBQ?

Delicious Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs

Adapted from food.com

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs pork ribs
  • 2-4 tbsp light or dark brown sugar (use less if your favorite bbq sauce is already sweet)
  • 1 tsp hickory smoke salt (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup of your favorite bbq sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Peel off tough membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs
  3. Mix together the sugar and spices to make the rub
  4. Apply rub to ribs on all sides
  5. Lay ribs on two layers of non-stick foil, meaty side up (so they don’t burn)
  6. Lay two layers of foil on top of ribs and roll and crimp edges tightly, edges facing up to seal
  7. Place on baking sheet and bake for 2 – 2 ½ hours or until meat is starting to shrink away from the ends of the bone.
  8. Remove from oven
  9. Heat broiler
  10. Cut ribs into serving sized portions of 2 or 3 ribs
  11. Arrange on broiler pan, meat side up and brush with bbq sauce
  12. Broil for 1 or 2 minutes until sauce is bubbly
  13. Turn ribs over and repeat
  14. You can also finish them off on a grill

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick’s Day is approaching; will you be making Irish soda bread?

Traditional Irish soda bread is made with flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk. There are strong debates on adding anything else! Surprisingly in Ireland, the bread is referred to as brown bread, and doesn’t resemble any of the recipes in North America.

Nowadays, you’ll find sugar and butter added, as well as caraway seeds and/or raisins. There is no yeast or kneading involved, and the bread relies on baking soda as a leavener. The bread is rustic, typically round in shape, dense and slightly chewy.

Whichever recipe you choose, Irish soda bread is very easy to make and will keep for several days at room temperature. The flavor improves with age, and it’s best made several hours in advance, or even overnight.

We like ours toasted and spread with butter and jam! To serve with savory foods, you can omit or reduce the sugar.

Irish Soda Bread

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup sugar (adjust to your taste or optional to leave out)
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk (you can make your own by adding 2 tbsp vinegar to a measuring cup, then add milk to equal 2 cups, stir and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Butter a 9×5” loaf pan and set aside
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients
  4. Add egg to buttermilk and whisk to combine, then add to dry ingredients and combine until moistened
  5. Add melted butter and stir until well distributed
  6. Spoon into prepared pan
  7. Bake for 60-70 minutes, checking near the 60 minute mark. When a toothpick inserted comes out clean, the bread is done!
  8. Let cool completely on a wire rack

Kitchen notes:

  • This recipe yields a very soft dough and requires a loaf pan to hold its shape
  • When bread is cooled completely, wrap in foil and keep at room temperature for several days

 

Happy Chinese New Year 2015!

For those celebrating, we would like to wish you the very best for health and happiness!

Happy New Year!

~ Ruby & H

Year of the Ram - 2015

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