Thursday, April 30, 2015

Garlic & Cheese Croissants

I know, I know, the blog has been quiet for the last few days.  But it was for a good reason, I promise! I was busy with making a cake for my cousins granddaughter.  No, the fact the my cousins, even some of my own sisters; are grandparents, has not completely sunk in.  I've never been happier to be on the younger side of the spectrum, trust me.  Just keep in mind that I have a huge family! I'm # 7 in a sibling pool of eleven.  Anyway, back to the cake.  It turned out spectacular and I will be posting pics soon.

Now, speaking of family....wow yours with these super tasty garlic & cheese croissants. Crazy easy to make and a perfect companion to any pasta dish!

Garlic & Cheese Croissants


Ingredients:

1 tube Pillsbury Croissant Rolls
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tbsp Parmesan Cheese


Directions:

1. Unwrap & beat the hell out of the tube of croissants until the darn thing pops open - because we all know those things don't just open with a press of a spoon.

2. Unroll the dough and separate the eight triangles.  I like to give each one a bit of a stretch  in the middle area after breaking apart, you get a little more surface area to work with.  At the widest end place a hefty pinch of the grated cheese, then roll as usual but pinch any gaps closed so your cheese doesn't escape. Place on an ungreased baking sheet ( I like to foil line mine but that's completely optional).



3. Once all the dough is nicely cheesed up and rolled. Lightly add the parmesan, garlic, and parsley.



4. Bake as per the package directions.


Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Homemade Flour Tortilla's

I love when you can make something so simple & fresh for pennies as apposed to spending dollars on chemical laden cardboard, don't you?  These tortilla's are so easy to make, you'll wonder why you've been buying them all this time.






Ingredients:

3 cups Bread Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Warm Water

Directions:

1. Combine about 2 - 2 1/2 cups of the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.  The amount of flour you start with will depend on your area, temperature, and humidity.  If you're not sure start with 2 cups.  Slowly stir in the water and oil (or if you're using  a mixer with dough hooks have it on a low speed and add).  If you've read my Skor Bit Cookie post you know that I've blown up my mixer so I've had to made these completely by hand. It's not hard to do and doesn't take that much more time.

2. Once the water and oil is added, you'll probably need to mix in more flour.  You're looking for the dough to be well combined and smooth with a slight tack.  If you're hand kneading start the knead in the bowl, once the flour is pretty much combined into the ball, turn out onto a floured surface (use the left over measured flour) and keep kneading and adding flour for about 10 minutes.  For those using a mixer slowly add the flour a bit at time on a medium/low speed until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl (about 6 minutes)

3. Once your dough is smooth cut into your desired size.  I cut it into 16 pieces for taco size (about 8 inches in diameter) and into 12 for wrap size (about 12 inches).  Let the pieces rest covered with some plastic wrap for 10 - 15 minutes.

4. Roll each piece on a very lightly floured surface so it's very thin, basically you should almost be able read the paper through it or see the pattern of your counter top.




5. Preheat a non greased skillet of an appropriate size on a higher temperature (on my stove I find that just slightly over the medium mark is perfect) and carefully place your tortilla's in.  Keep an eye on the first one and adjust your temperature accordingly.  You want the dough to slowly puff up and cook to a light brown and then flip with tongs and brown the other side. Each side should only take about 2 - 3 minutes to brown. If you find there's a build up of loose flour in your pan after a few, carefully wipe it away with a dry kitchen towel.



6. I keep the finished tortilla's on a plate beside the frying pan covered with kitchen towel just to keep them warm while the other's a being cooked.



Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Music Monday

I've said before that my music tastes are vast.  You'll never know what you're in store for on my music Monday's.  One day it could be Bach and the next well...................Let me take you back to my summer of Metallica.

Metallica - Nothing Else Matters



Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Naked Mussels

One of my 'must do's' whenever I get to the east coast in the summer is have a big pot of mussels fresh from the ocean.  There's just something about spending the morning puttering around on the Atlantic, anchoring just off shore, picking a batch straight off the ocean floor, starting a fire on the beach & eating until you almost puke.  This is how we spent our Saturdays growing up.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.

While fresh mussels can be tricky to find on, as we Newfoundlander's would say, the 'mainland' . You can on occasion find them in the seafood section of the deli.  Don't bypass these little morsel's.  They are tasty, easy to prepare, and extremely good for you.


'Naked' Mussels



Ingredients:

1 bag fresh mussels (I prefer ones from Newfoundland but the PEI variety are good too)

Directions:

1. Wash the mussels in cool water to rinse any sand away and cut with scissors or pull out any byssus (threads) that are exposed.  Give a light tap on any mussels that are slightly open if they close up again they are good if they don't then discard.

2. In a large pot with about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of boiling unsalted water add all the mussels and let steam for 5 - 7 minutes.  Do not over cook.  They are done when the shell opens wide.  Strain and serve. Don't worry about the different colours of the meat.  They vary from pale whitish (male) to orange (female).

I almost always like to eat them 'naked' over heavily sauced; you can add a little something just by warming about 1/2 cup of Italian dressing in the microwave and drizzle over the strained mussels. No need for fancy white wine sauces or anything like that.  You basically get the same affect with the dressing; a little zing from the vinegar & seasonings and the smoothness of the oil.

Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Music Monday

Lady Antebellum - Downtown


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Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Best Buttercream

Have you ever had to suffer through a grocery store birthday cake?  While the cake itself isn't that bad, what the heck do they make the icing out of? Pure vegetable shorting? Whatever it is,it doesn't taste good at all!  Here's a recipe that I hope you'll use for all your frosting needs.  It's creamy, not too sweet, easy to work with and holds up well in high humidity.

The Best Buttercream


Ingredients:

1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 cups Icing (Confectioners) Sugar, sifted
2 tbsp Milk
1 tsp Cornstarch

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl combine the shortening and butter with an electric mixer until light & fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well.

2. Slowly add the sugar.  I sift it in about 1/2 cup at a time.  Mixing well in between.  Remember to scrap the sides & bottom of the bowl often. Once all the sugar has been combined the mixture will appear dry

3. In a small bowl stir the milk and cornstarch together until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add to the icing and mix on medium speed until light & fluffy.  Add any colouring at this point and decorate your heart out.

NOTES:  
             1.To change up the flavour a bit and to match your cake flavour feel free to substitute the vanilla for almond, orange, or mint extracts.

             2. This recipe will nicely cover a two layer cake.  If you're having more than two layers or have extensive piping/decorating plans I suggest doubling the recipe.  The cake pictured is 3 layers with thick icing in between the layers and light piping. I used a double recipe and had very little left over.

            3. This pink icing pictured is strawberry flavoured and not tinted at all.  I added a 1/4 cup of strawberry puree to about a 1 1/2 cups of the finished icing.  If you add a puree to your icing you may need to add more icing sugar to it just to keep the firmness.


Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Strawberry Cake

Up until I was asked by my cousin to make her wedding cake, I had never had strawberry cake before! I know shocking!  Growing up any occasion cakes were either chocolate or vanilla. Or if it was a super super special occasion it would be lemon. Colour me surprised when I had my first taste of strawberry. I loved it!  You will too and adding a little colouring to make it ombre just adds to the cuteness.

Strawberry Ombre Cake

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups White Sugar
½ cup Butter, softened
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 cups Cake Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
½ cup Milk
1 cup Strawberry Puree
Red Food Coloring
Directions:
  1. Mix strawberry puree, butter, and sugar until well combined.  Add the eggs one at time, combining well in between.  Stir in the vanilla.  If you're not going to do an ombre cake, add the colouring now.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in separate bowl. Then add to the sugar/butter mixture in 3 parts - mix until just combined.
  3. Stir the milk in gently
  4. For the ombre effect separate the batter equally into 3 bowls.  In the first bowl add a small amount of colouring, then slightly more for the second, and even more for the third.
  5. Pour the batters into a greased and floured cake pans.  Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 20 minutes  or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  If you're doing a regular 2 layer cake bake for 40 minutes.
  6. Frost with icing & enjoy!




Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Monday, April 6, 2015

Music Monday

Kenny Chesney - Wild Child


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Saturday, April 4, 2015

No Scrubs?

Anyone that knows me in real life can attest that even at almost 40 years old I will get asked for ID more often than not when getting into clubs or buying anything that requires me to be the age of majority (for my area that's 19).  Honestly! It happened last night when I went to pick up some wine at the LCBO (for my out of province/Canada readers that is where we, in Ontario, have to buy our liquor.) And let's get this straight - from the signs that are posted, if a person looks under 25 they are required to ask for ID.  So I take from this that I look between the age of 18 & 25.  Not so bad really, I love the look of shock on people's faces when I tell them I have 18 year old daughter.

What's my secret?  Staying hydrated is important, of course. But that's usually not enough if you're like me.  My skin gets soooooooo dry, especially in the harsh winter's, that I itch like crazy.  It was so bad that I've woken in the morning and I've scratched my legs raw WHILE I was sleeping! Not pretty. AT. ALL. Part of my routine to combat this problem is using The Body Shop 's Body Scrub .


I was lucky enough to get this jar of chocolately goodness as a birthday gift from my BFF.  She knows me too well <3 . There's an amazing selection of other scents if chocolate isn't your thing.  I love all things that smell like chocolate, vanilla, shea butter so it blends well with my other beauty products.  But if you're more of a citrus/fruity lover try the Pink Grapefruit or Mango, yum! Click the link above and find your fav - you won't regret it!

The best way I've found to get the optimum results is take the jar into the shower with you and scrub while you're in there before using you body wash.  You only need a small amount so don't over do it. Give your legs and arms a good scrub and concentrate on your joints, knees, ankles, elbows.  And don't forget your upper chest and lower neck.  Nothing will age you faster than a dull upper chest.  It's one of those places that you don't think about until it's almost too late. Rinse, wash, and shave as usual.  Pat yourself dry, NEVER scrub, and moisturize.  You'll be silky smooth and smelling fab!  

I only have to use the scrub once or twice a week but if you have really dry skin and you're just starting out, use the scrub every other shower for the first week and then once a week after that. A full size jar lasts me about 4 - 5 months so don't let the $20 price tag scare you off.  It's well worth it and they go on sale quite frequently for the budget conscious of us. Plus, the Greenie in me loves that The Body Shop is environmentally and animal friendly.  

Another bonus to the all natural products the The Body Shop uses is - if you have sensitive skin, like me, you'll be less likely to have a reaction.  Of all the products I've used I've never had to worry about breaking out with anything I've bought from them.





Stay Sweet!
Tammy


Disclaimer: The views in this post are all my own and is not endorsed in any way by The Body Shop.  All trademarks belong exclusively to them.
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Friday, April 3, 2015

Parmesan Pork Chops

Are you ever at a loss when it comes to preparing pork chops?  Sure, you can add some sweet & sour sauce or Shake 'n Bake them and call it a day.  But why not try something a little different?   The combination of mayo & parm in this recipe adds a little zing that your taste buds will thank you for!

Parmesan Pork Chops



Ingredients:

4 Pork chops
2 tbsp Mayo
2 tsp grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Parsley
salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Thaw the pork chops and place in a roasting pan with a little water in the bottom.  This will help keeping the pork moist. 

2. Spread about 1/2 tbsp of mayo over each chop.  You just want it lightly covered so you may need a little more or little less depending on the size.  Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of the Parmesan over the top. Again a little more or less may be required.  Finish off with a light dusting of parsley and the salt & pepper to taste.

3. Bake in a preheated 375* oven for 40 - 50 minutes.  Enjoy!


Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Chicken with Mushroom Gravy

I should really have one category for chicken on the side menu bar.  But as I said in a earlier post, we have a lot of fowl in our diet.  This is one of our all time fav's!

Chicken with Mushroom Gravy


Ingredients:

4 Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup sliced White Button Mushrooms
1 tbsp Butter
1 cup Vegetable Stock
3-4 drops Gravy Browning
Garlic Powder
Parsley
Salt
Pepper
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
Water

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375*. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and lightly sprinkle the garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper over the breasts and add about 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Roast for about 45 minutes.

2. In a small saucepan saute the mushrooms in the butter with a little salt & pepper and a small dash of garlic powder.

3. Once the chicken is done.  Remove the breasts from the roasting pan and cover with aluminium foil.  Pour the remaining liquid into the sauce pan and add the vegetable stock.  If you don't have vegetable stock use a cup of water from your potatoes.  Bring to boil.

4. While the stocks are coming to a boil prepare your slurry.  In a gravy shaker combine the flour and an equal amount of water and shake until there's no lumps - you may need slightly more water than flour, you want a pancake batter consistency.  If you don't have a gravy shaker you can whisk the flour & water in a 2-cup measuring cup.

5. Reduce the boiling stock to a simmer and slowly whisk the slurry in.  Remember to have a continuous pour.  This will reduce the chance of lumps (or if your in my mother's house dough-boys). Add a few drops of gravy browning for a nice light colouring. Continue to whisk until the gravy thickens.


Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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