Recipes, Savory, Sweet, Uncategorized

Disney Inspired Treat: Mickey Soft Pretzels

Disney Inspired Treats_Mickey Soft Pretzels National Pretzel Day April 26

April 26 is National Pretzel day and today my family is celebrating with these delicious Mickey soft pretzels I baked up yesterday.  Judging by how many my husband enjoyed, I think this will definitely have to be a repeat recipe in our house.

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Recipes, Savory, Travel

Disney Inspired Treats: Tomato Basil Soup

DIsneyInspiredTreats_Tomato Basil Soup Homemade Soup Day February 4

It can get mighty chilly in Edmonton in the winter months and that has me wanting soup.  Since National Homemade Soup Day just happens to be February 4, I thought for my February Disney inspired treat I would make up a pot inspired by one of the delicious meals I had while in Disneyland Park: the Jolly Holiday Combo.  This meal of tomato basil soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is served at the Holly Jolly Bakery and is a nice change from the hot dogs, pizza, French fries and other sugar laden goodies we ate way too much of throughout the park.  It might not fit most the standard definition of a “treat”, but it is a definite step up from the can of tomato soup I usually heat up on the stove.

Jolly Holiday Combo_disneyfoodblog.com
A picture of the Jolly Holiday Combo from disneyfoodblog.com

Continue reading “Disney Inspired Treats: Tomato Basil Soup”

Recipes, Savory

Simply Delicious 2 Ingredient Grilled Salmon

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I love salmon.  It can be pricey around here so we don’t have it that often and I always forget how easy it can be to cook and how much I enjoy it.

Growing up my mom and dad used to always prepare it stuffed full of dill, onions, fresh herbs and a good squirt of lemon juice.  I like it this way, but one time when I did not have fresh herbs on hand I stumbled upon an even tastier way I now use to prepare mine.

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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Using a spoon or dull knife, spread the Dijon liberally across the surface of the salmon.  I prefer the grainy style Dijon, but smooth is what we had on hand this time and it works equally well.
  2. Put a generous sprinkling of Clubhouse la Grille Salmon flavour seasoning over the mustard.
  3. Grill or bake your salmon until cooked through and flaky.  For an extra layer of flavour we always grill ours on a soaked cedar plank.  It smells delicious as it cooks, and it keeps the salmon nice and moist.

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My husband is not a huge fan of fish, but he really enjoys this recipe and surprisingly the kids both gobble down everything on their plates when we have it.

If you are not a fan of Dijon mustard, don’t fret.  Once cooked, I have a hard time really tasting the mustard on the fish.  It imparts a delicious vinegar zip and combines perfectly with the spice mix to enhance the fish and give it a wonderful burst of flavour.

If you are watching your salt intake, I noticed on the Clubhouse website that there is a no-salt added version of the Salmon seasoning mix available along with all their other great flavour options in the spice aisle.

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Enjoy!

 

 

Recipes, Savory, Sweet

Treats for the Beach

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This week we hosted another playdate at the private beach in our subdivision with a bunch of our friends from playgroup.  The kids and I spend so much time together that it is nice to plan dates that give them a chance to play with other kids and me a chance to actually get some adult interaction in.

I seem to be going into a little bit of party planning withdrawal because I felt the need to whip up a few last minute treats for the occasion.   I always find recipes I would like to try, so it is nice to make them when I have a crowd and won’t end up consuming the majority all on my own.

 

Summer Sand Pudding

Not long ago my sister posted this adorable Summer Sand Pudding from Ma Nouvelle Mode on my Facebook timeline and I have been wanting to put my own spin on it and make it into individual beach buckets.  What better place to serve it then on a beach playdate?

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Ingredients

  • 1 package Golden Oreo cookies
  • 2 or 3 regular Oreo cookies
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (1 block)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup icing (powdered) sugar
  • 2 boxes of white chocolate instant pudding (or vanilla)
  • 2 3/4 cups of milk
  • 1/2 of a large tub of Whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed

Pudding Directions

  1. Cream together softened cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar in stand mixer.
  2. In another bowl, whish together the pudding powder and milk.
  3. Slowly add pudding to cream cheese mixture to combine.
  4. Fold in the whipped topping.

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To make the sand, use a food processor to finely crush the entire package of Golden Oreo’s with 2 or 3 of the regular chocolate Oreo’s.  The original recipe calls for Vanilla wafers so those can also be substituted for the Golden Oreo’s.

(I discovered Ariel tucked into my pantry when I went to take out the food processor and thought it was quite fitting for the task at hand!)

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To assemble the sand pails, I layered the pudding and cookie crumb mixture in Dixie cups – pudding, cookie crumbs, pudding, cookie crumbs.  I found some blue candy twists for the handle and simply inserted those in, forming an arch.  I was planning to finish them off with a candy fish but ended up going with some star shaped sprinkles instead.

If you can’t find Dixie cups, any small cup will work.  I have seen shot glass sized red solo cups that would be cute with a red licorice handle.

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Both the kids and adults really seemed to enjoy the pudding – the kids were happy because of the sprinkles and sour candy handles, and I think the addition of the cream cheese made it a rich, decadent dessert for us grown-ups.

 

Watermelon Salsa

I also got around to making The Scent of Orange’s Watermelon Salsa I included in my Refreshing Watermelon Ideas post a few weeks back and it did not disappoint!  There was some tedious chopping involved, but it came together fairly quick and was something you could easily make a day or two ahead of time.  I was a little skeptical of the ingredients, and even bought some tomatoes as backup, but the watermelon pairs so perfectly with the cilantro, onion, cucumber and lime juice that it is all you really need to create a refreshing salsa.  As a bonus, I also found the watermelon is far easier to dice up then a bunch of tomatoes would be and you still get the nice traditional red color of salsa from the watermelon.  For our playdate it was served with tortilla chips, but I think it would also be a good summer meal on top of grilled chicken.

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Fruit Skewers

Who doesn’t love a fruit skewer?  I believe I have a few different versions of these pinned on my various pinterest boards, but I have never actually made them for any of my parties.  I love the idea, but always get to thinking that sharp skewers and children would not be a good combination.  I had some Dollar store wooden coffee stir sticks in the pantry leftover from creating cupcake toppers, so I decided to try using those and they worked perfect!  No one stabbed themselves and the kids all seemed pretty excited to eat their fruit off a stick.

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My skewers included honeydew, watermelon, pineapple and strawberries but you could do just about any fruit you want.  To make it even easier, you could even buy the Costco fruit tray and just skewer the pre-cut fruit pieces!

 

Corndog Muffins

One other item I made were some corndog muffins.  They ended up sticking to the pan and weren’t really picture worthy, but they did taste good and I think they are worth attempting again with a different cornbread muffin recipe and some better non-stick spray.  I like that they are easily portable and can be served at any temperature, making them an easy picnic item.  I was short on time so I used a cornbread mix and simply inserted one inch pieces of hot dog into each mini muffin well, then baked as directed.

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All in all it was a great day.  I can’t say enough good things about our lake and I am so happy we are able to invite our friends to share in the fun on hot days.  There wasn’t much time for adult interaction with the young kids going in ever which direction, but they all enjoyed the beach so that is what really counts.  And it did lead to talk of planning a kid-free mommy’s night out so hopefully we can make that happen!

Everyday Life, Recipes, Savory, Sweet

Refreshing Watermelon Ideas

Although I am nearing the one year anniversary of my blog, I still feel pretty new to blogging and haven’t had much time to sit down and figure everything out.  I am trying to be a little more involved in the blog world so I was excited to join my first linky party last week.

Party TIme Linky

I am a huge fan of Spaceships and Laserbeams and was excited to read Stephanie’s post inviting others to join in to the Party Time Linky hosted by herself and some other fabulous bloggers.  There are a ton of great ideas on there, but because I seem to be drawn to all things watermelon right now, I have picked out these great posts from some of the other Party Time contributors.

Here are my favourite watermelon themed ideas from this past week’s Party Time Linky:

Watermelon Cake Pop

Watermelon Cake Pops from Moms&Munchkins.  These are adorable, but not something I will be attempting.  I have tried cake pops before and melted chocolate and I just don’t agree!

 

watermelon-granita-10

Watermelon Granita from YummyHealthyEasy.  This looks so refreshing and delicious for a hot day.  This recipe is extra appealing with just 3 ingredients!

 

Watermelon Margaritas

Fresh Watermelon Margaritas from Flying on Jess Fuel.  Watermelon + Booze!  Need I say more?

 

Watermelon RIce Krispie Treats

Watermelon Rice Krispie Treats from Gingerly Made.  These are cute and look way more my skill level then the cake pops.  I am always amazed how versatile Rice Krispie treats can be and have a whole pinterest board just dedicated to different Rice Krispie Treat Recipes.

 

watermelon-on-a-stick

Watermelon on a Stick from One Creative Mommy.  I have always thought this is such a great idea for serving watermelon at parties!

 

Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Salsa from The Scent of Oranges.  I find this recipe most intriguing and can’t wait to give it a try.  I enjoy mango salsa so I am hoping this is just as tasty!

 

Still not enough watermelon ideas?  I posted these cute Watermelon Pops from Kraft on my Facebook page earlier this week.  They are on my to-do list since my kids are all about the ice cream and popsicles right now!

Watermelon Pops

 

Check out the Party Time Linky if you have a chance.  I will definitely be contributing again and checking in on all the other great ideas from my fellow party loving bloggers.

 

 

 

 

Celebrations, Parties, Recipes, Savory, Sweet

Recipes for a Harry Potter Feast

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In my opinion, food is the most important element at a party. I love picking menu items that reflect my party theme and are something a little out of the ordinary for my guests to try.

For my Harry Potter party, I wanted foods that were reflective of the great feasts described in the books and shown in the movies. I kept it to finger foods, but chose items with a British twist.  My menu included mini chicken pub pies, mini beef wellington’s, barbequed chicken wings, individual spinach salads, a Kahlua baked brie with toasted baguette and grapes, warm crab dip with tortilla chips, stuffed mushroom caps, guacamole devilled eggs, a mashed potato bar and a variety of pastries and cake.

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French Onion Stuffed Mushroom Caps

These were a bit of a last minute addition and one of the biggest hits on the food table. I normally do mushroom caps stuffed with a breadcrumb mixture, but I was looking for a good option for my party guests with gluten issues.  The Pioneer Woman uses grated gruyere in her original recipe, but I kept it simple by using pre-sliced swiss cheese.

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 7 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Splash of red wine
  • 3 sandwich sized slices of swiss cheese
  • 24 whole white mushrooms
  • minced parsley (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Saute onions in the melted butter, 15-20 minutes until soft.  Add in the wine, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and cook for another 5 minutes.  Once liquid is cooked down, set aside.
  2. Clean mushrooms and remve stems, then spread on a cookie sheet.  Fill each mushroom with some of the cooled onion mixture and top with a small piece of the swiss cheese.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.  If desired, place under a broiler for the final minutes to brown the cheese slightly.
  4. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve warm.

 

Kahlua & Pecan Baked Brie

Melty, gooey and oh so tasty! This was my favorite and is definitely a recipe I will be repeating. It is only 4 ingredients but the end result is both impressive and delicious.  The original recipe, with much prettier pictures then my lopsided mess, can be found at My Life as a Mrs.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large wheel of Brie (13.2 oz)
  • 2/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • Choice of dippers – crackers, apple slices, toasted baguette

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use a sharp knife to score around the top edge of the brie and remove the entire top circle of rind.  Place in brie baker or center of an oven safe platter.
  3. Mix the pecans, brown sugar and Kahlua in a bowl.  Spread mixture over the top of your prepared brie.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 8 – 15 minutes.  The brown sugar mixture should begin to bubble, but the cheese should still be holding its shape when done.
  5. Serve warm with your dippers.

 

Guacamole Devilled (Dragon) Eggs

This was my least favorite recipe to prepare due to the fact that I still haven’t found the perfect way to take the shells off a boiled egg.  The guacamole filling was a prettier green a couple hours before the party when I prepared them and put them in the fridge, so I would recommend making these up last minute to serve to guests.  They were a nice change from the traditional devilled egg and the color worked with the Dragon Eggs label I gave them.  The original recipe was found on Simply Recipes.

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Ingredients

  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 ripe avacados
  • 1 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, plus several leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced finely
  • 1 Tbsp green onion (or chives)

Directions

  1. Peel the hardboiled eggs and slice in half lengthwise.  Carefully coop out the cooked yolks and arrange the egg whites nicely on a platter.
  2. Cut the avocado in half, removing the pit and scooping out the flesh.  Place in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork.  Mash in 2-4 halves of cooked egg yolk into the avocado.
  3. Sprinkle with lime juice and salt.  Stir in the sour cream, chopped cilantro, jalapeno pepper and green onion.
  4. Fill the egg whites with the avocado mixture, using a spoon or piping bag.  Garnish each with a cilantro leaf.

 

Mini Spinach Salads with Strawberries, Candied Almonds and Homemade Poppyseed Dressing

In the past I have always just bought bottled poppyseed dressing for my spinach salad because it seemed like something that would be complicated to make.  Because of my guests with gluten issues, I opted to make my own this time just to ensure all ingredients were gluten friendly.  I was shocked how easily this dressing recipe from Dine & Dish came together and how delicious it was.  I don’t think I will be buying bottled poppyseed dressing again!

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Salad Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1 bag of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 carton of fresh strawberries, diced

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds

Directions

  1. For the candied almonds: On the stovetop, pour 1/4 cup sugar into a heavy skillet and slowly melt over low heat.  Once it has liquefied, add almonds and stir to coat.  Spread the coated almond mixture onto a foil sheet to cool and then break apart if necessary.
  2. To make the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, finely chopped onion, dijon mustard, and salt.  Once thoroughly combined, gradually add in the canola oil and then stir in the poppyseeds.
  3. To make the salad: Layer the baby spinach, chopped strawberries and sliced onions in a large bowl or individual dishes.  Top with a small handful of candied almonds and pour on the poppyseed dressing to taste.

 

Mashed Potato Bar

This is not really a recipe, but I am sharing because it went over so well at the party. My co-host was kind enough to prepare a large batch of mashed potatoes and I provided a variety of toppings for guests to use to dress up their potatoes. We served the potatoes from a large plastic cauldron and small plastic bowls from Dollar Tree worked perfect for the individual servings of potatoes. Our toppings included gravy, sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions and bacon bits but I have seen other more elaborate examples of potato bars that include items such as grilled shrimp and sautéed mushrooms.

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Desserts

Of course there were also plenty of desserts.  My co-host brought delicious pumpkin pasties and cauldron cakes, while I baked up Pumpkin Fudge and the Treacle Tarts.  We also had “Hogwarts Cookies” which were simply the Celebration brand cookies that come nicely imprinted with a castle image right in the chocolate!

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Treacle Tarts

My treacle tarts recipe comes from the Kitchen Magpie.   There are many different treacle tart recipes out there, but I knew I needed to try this one when I saw she was another local Edmonton blogger.  She also has some other great Harry Potter party ideas, so be sure to check her out.

I was expecting something close to a buttertart, but they have more of a creamy lemon flavor.  I didn’t make it to the British import store to buy the actual treacle and corn syrup recommended in the recipe, but I think they were still authentic enough to pass for my Harry Potter party.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of golden corn syrup (Lyle’s golden syrup is recommended)
  • 1/4 cup half and half cream
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fancy molasses
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 24 mini tart shells (2 inch)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the corn syrup, half and half, lemon zest, lemon juice, molasses, melted butter,egg and bread crumbs.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Place the tart shells on a cookie sheet and fill each to the brim with the syrup mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes, until the tarts shells are lightly browned and the mixture is bubbling.
  5. Enjoy either warm or cold, with or without whipped cream on top.

 

These, and other Harry Potter food ideas, can all be found on my Pinterest planning board.

And if you haven’t already seen all the details of my Harry Potter Wedding shower, please click here.

 

 

Recipes, Savory

What’s For Dinner? Bruschetta Chicken Bake

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Thursday nights are curling nights for my husband.  He alternates weekly between the early and late draw and, on the early nights, I need to have dinner cooked and ready for him to eat and head right back out the door.  5:00 always seems to be when my kids are at their absolute worst so I need quick, easy recipes that require very little watching.  Bonus if it is something I can prep while the baby naps and then just throw it into the oven!

I discovered this recipe one night when I had no idea what to make for dinner.  After staring into the pantry for inspiration, I eventually pulled a box of Stove Top stuffing down from the shelves and was happy to discover a recipe on the back of the box with ingredients I already had in the house.  It came together so quickly (prep time is 10 minutes) and was a lot tastier then I expected.  I think it is one of the easiest things I make and is my go to when I am feeling particularly lazy and don’t want to cook.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can (540mL) stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 package Stove Top Stuffing Mix (I use the lower sodium version)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Combine tomatoes, stuffing mix and garlic in bowl and mix together.
  2. Cut chicken breasts into bite sized cubes and layer in the bottom of an oven safe baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle chicken with dried basil and shredded cheese.
  4. Top with stuffing mixture.
  5. Bake 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

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Serve with steamed veggies and enjoy!