Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween and A Dirt and Worms Cake!

Happy Halloween!

The Kitchen Grrrls love Halloween! We do! I (Caitlin) have been trick or treating longer than I really should. I went out every single year including Grade 12... I didn't go when I was in first year of university because I had an exam the next day (boo you Biology) but I went out trick or treating - door to door - last year (my third year of university)!!! I think that's a record. I'm 5'9 so it's not even that I look like a little kid. I do dress up quite well so I think that's why I can get away with it (see below). I might go out this year, depending on the weather. I completed the essay I have due the next day ahead of time just in case I want to go out.

Killer Bunny, anyone?
So here is a Halloween Dirt and Worms Cake that doubled as a birthday cake for our dad. Yay Halloween!!
(more pictures after the recipe)
Thanks to Meaghan for featuring our cake on Edible Crafts at CraftGossip (click to check it out)!

Devil’s Food White-Out Cake: Halloween Style
Adapted from The Caramel CookieServes 12
From Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the cake:1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
For the filling and frosting:1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

GETTING READY: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans (I only had 9-inch).
TO MAKE THE CAKE: Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.
TO MAKE THE FILLING AND FROSTING: Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer.
When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable — don’t try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don’t worry about smoothing the frosting — it should be swirly.


Trick or Treat to all the Goblins and Ghouls!
Thanks to Meaghan who featured our cake on Edible Crafts at CraftGossip!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brazilian Butternut Squash Soup

This is a perfect autumn soup - soothing, warming, and something different for the changing seasons. We served it with our Pumpkin Cornbread (click for recipe) and it was the perfect combination. Butternut squash can be tricky to cut but it's worth the extra effort in this amazing soup.

Adapted from the Macro Chef

1 tablespoon canola or other light vegetable oil
1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and chopped
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped (2-3 medium tomatoes)
4 cups soup stock* or water
pinch of cayenne or a sprinkling of red chili flakes (optional)
1 cup thick coconut milk
squeeze of fresh lime juice (preferably) or lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro for the garnish
Additional garnish: kernels from one ear of corn, cut from the cob, tossed with olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400º F oven for 20-25 minutes (optional, but really good).

1. Heat a large, thick-bottomed soup pot, add the oil and when it is hot, add the butternut squash, onions, sweet potato, the cumin and a tiny pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato and the cayenne or chili flakes, sauté a few minutes more.
2. Add the stock, turn heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.
3. Purée in the pot with an immersion blender (preferably) or in small batches in a standard blender.  Caution, hot soup can burn! Use a towel to cover the top of the blender–if using a standard blender.
4. Return soup to the pot, add the coconut milk. Stir, and taste.  Add a little squeeze of lime juice, additional salt, black pepper or whatever is needed for well-balanced flavor.
5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro and the roasted corn (6-8 servings).

Butternut Squash on Foodista

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adventures in Vegan Baking: Coconut Chocolate Chip Blondies

 Halloween is just around the corner! One week! I want everything in black and orange. These vegan blondies aren't really particularly Halloween-y but it's spooky how you can't even tell they're vegan. This is a super simple recipe and even if you're not vegan, like us, you can make them easily without compromising on taste. AND they're almost healthy!! Score!

Vegan Blondies
Adapted from The Sensitive Pantry

1 1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup rolled oats
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 EnerG egg replacer
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup flaked unsweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the faux egg: 1 ½ teaspoons EnerG Egg Replacer plus 2 tablespoons warm water. Mix together and set aside.
Mix the dry ingredients—flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon—together in a large bowl.
Add the oil, applesauce, vanilla, and egg replacer. Mix by hand until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
Measure out and add the chocolate chips, walnuts, and coconut. Gently mix them in until they are evenly spread through the dough.
Turn it out into a parchment lined 8” x 8” baking dish. If you have some extra chips, walnuts, and coconut sprinkle them on top to decorate the blondies. I also sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top of that.
Pop the pan in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Leave them in the pan for 10 minutes or so then lift the blondies out (using the parchment) and transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Slice into 12 bars. Eat within a day or two or freeze.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yummy Sweet Potato Lentil Soup

I must say, this soup is so good for you and so easy. It's vegan and it's pretty much unintentional. Nothing but the basics and the flavour is so powerfully delicious.

bbq lentil and baked sweet potato soup
yields 4-6 servings

about 1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a medium onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
2 c veggie broth
2 c water
1 c dried lentils
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp liquid smoke

bake the sweet potatoes ahead of time.  i used traditional light yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes, not the orange-fleshed variety usually called yams.  but you can use either one you’d like since the taste is very similar.

poke each potato with a knife or fork and line them up on a baking sheet.  i like to add about 1/2 cup water to the bottom of the pan to help them stay moist.  cook at 350F for about 30 minutes, then flip over and add another 1/2 cup water and bake another 30 minutes.  by then they should be soft if poked with a knife, but if not cook a bit longer.

once they are cooked let them sit and cool off thoroughly before handling.  their skins should easily peal off.  crush up any chunks with a fork or potato masher and set aside for later.

to start off the soup heat up the olive oil in a medium pot over moderate heat.  throw in the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.  while they are frying up throw in the salt and cumin as well.

then add the veggie broth and only 1 cup of water.  add in the dry lentils and cover.  the lentils take barely any time to cook, once it’s at a simmer they will be soft in less than 10 minutes.

toss in the sweet potato pulp and the rest of the water, along with the brown sugar and liquid smoke to finish off that barbecue flavor.  add salt to taste depending on the broth you used.

top with some crushed black pepper and a few croutons, and enjoy!

Sweet Potato on Foodista

Friday, October 15, 2010

Seasonal Baking: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It was Thanksgiving this past weekend. We had a very small gathering this year but it was full of love and great food. Since none of us really like pumpkin pie, we still thought we had to incorporate pumpkin somewhere into a dessert. We found a nice recipe for these relatively low-fat muffins (bonus!)... they tasted delicious and were a hit with everyone.

While they're Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, the pumpkin flavour is very, very subtle. It's there but if you didn't tell someone they were pumpkin, they probably would never know! Try them out, in the fall or spring they will definitely work all year round for a fast and simple tasty treat.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from Recipe Girl

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
1½ cups pure canned pumpkin
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbs canola or vegetable oil
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 18 muffin tin cups with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (through pie spice).
3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, applesauce, oil and vanilla until well blended. Stir in dry ingredients and mix only until combined (do not over mix). Gently fold in chocolate chips.
4. Scoop into muffin pans and bake 18 to 20 minutes. Turn onto rack and cool.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

Read more:

Pumpkin on FoodistaPumpkin

Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Tis the Season! More Pumpkin!

We are really on a pumpkin kick this fall. We haven't had time to make our own pumpkin puree but the canned variety seems to be working well so far. Here is another recipe using pumpkin that's really delicious and a perfect pair for a chili or soup. We served this Pumpkin Cornbread with Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup. It was a match made in fall heaven. Just looking out the window at the beautiful fall leaves while eating this stuff will make you weak in the knees. I love this time of year if you couldn't already tell!

While this uses pumpkin puree, it really isn't too pumpkin-y. It would work all year round as well but I think it tastes a little better with a cool wind and fall leaves.

Pumpkin Cornbread
Adapted from Recipe Girl

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup cornmeal
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or freshly cooked and processed)
2/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 Tbs molasses

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 10-inch glass pie pan or 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Sift flours, baking powder, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in cornmeal.
3. In separate bowl, beat eggs lightly. Whisk in pumpkin, brown sugar, oil and molasses.
4. Make a well in the dry mixture. Add pumpkin mixture and blend batter with a few quick strokes (just until blended- don’t overmix).
5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cornbread is browned and the surface has a slightly springy feel.
Servings: 8

Recipe Source: Recipes from the Old Mill: Baking with Whole Grains

Pumpkin on FoodistaPumpkin

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cute Little Baked Donuts

When we got our mini donut pan we were soo excited! We love doughnuts but not their general unhealthiness so being able to enjoy them without the guilt is amazing! Doughnut pans are not the easiest to find in stores but most quality kitchen supply stores will carry them or you can always find one online somewhere. There are also regular sized doughnut pans but we like the cute petite mini doughnuts. Look for more doughnut posts as we are trying out as many recipes as we can find to make good use of our pan.

Now that fall is here, I just want to bake warm delicious donuts in as many flavours as I can possibly find while listening to The Drums. Their music is like the perfect soundtrack for autumn and changing leaves and sweater-wearing weather.

Applesauce Doughnuts
adapted from Twin Tables

1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs (or 6 egg whites or 3/4 cup egg substitute)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup water

2 1/2 cups powdered suger
pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt


1.Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a doughnut baking pan.
2.In a medium bowl, mix sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and flour. Mix buttermilk, eggs, honey and applesauce in a separate medium bowl, and stir into the dry ingredients. Then spoon the mixture onto the prepared pan.
3.Bake the doughnuts for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.
4.You can sprinkle confectioners sugar on top of the doughnuts while they're warm or you can make your own glaze to dip them in.
5.To make the glaze, bring the water to a boil and add the powdered sugar, spices, vanilla and salt.  Dip each doughnut and tadah! now you have a glazed doughnut.

Yields 12 doughnuts

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Our First Vegan Cookies

 Riley and I aren't vegan but we love vegan baking. This was our first attempt at baking vegan cookies and I think it turned out quite well. You can easily substitute non-vegan ingredients, too. Oh, and our cookies were not so pillow-y... we kind of liked the idea of a more two dimensional cookie with the peanut butter more evenly dispersed throughout the chocolate cookie.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows
Adapted from The Post Punk Kitchen
makes 2 dozen cookies


Chocolate dough:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup agave (or, as we used, honey since we aren't vegan)
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
2 tablespoons black unsweetened cocoa or more dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup natural salted peanut butter, crunchy or creamy style
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons soy creamer or non-dairy milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In a large mixing bowl combine oil, sugar, maple syrup, non-dairy milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.

2.Sift in flour, cocoa powder, black cocoa if using, baking soda and salt. Mix to form a moist dough.

3.Make the filling. In another mixing bowl beat together peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons of soy creamer and vanilla extract to form a moist but firm dough. If peanut butter dough is too dry (as different natural peanut butters have different moisture content), stir in remaining tablespoon of non-dairy milk. If dough is too wet knead in a little extra powdered sugar.

4.Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bakings sheet with parchment paper.

5.Shape the cookies. Create the centers of the cookies by rolling the peanut butter dough into 24 balls. Scoop a generous tablespoon of chocolate dough, flatten into a disc and place a peanut butter ball in the center. Fold the sides of the chocolate dough up and around the peanut butter center and roll the chocolate ball into an smooth ball between your palms. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and repeat with remaining doughs. If desired gently flatten cookies a little, but this is not necessary.

6.Place dough balls on lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake for 10 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and let cookies for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to complete cooling. Store cookies in tightly covered container.

7.If desired warm cookies in a microwave for 10 to 12 seconds before serving.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The BEST Tomato Soup EVER!

This is our go-to tomato soup. It's ridiculously easy and you're pretty much guaranteed to have all the necessary ingredient on-hand. It's seiously delicious and you should make it right now.

Tomato Alphabet Soup
Adapted from The Parsley Thief

Serves 8, makes about 8 cups


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 small cloves garlic, peeled & smashed

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes, pureed with the juice

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

6 ounces dry alphabet pasta


1. Melt the butter & olive oil in a large, heavy pot, over medium-low heat. Add the onions & garlic & cook until softened {about 8 minutes}.
2. Add the flour & stir to coat the onions.

3. Add the pureed tomatoes, chicken broth, sugar, & a 1/4 teaspoon of both salt & pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot & cook for 40 minutes.

4. While the soup is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta, according to package instructions, until al dente {about 7 minutes}. Drain & set aside.

5. Puree the soup in batches, using a food processor {or blender}. Transfer the pureed soup back to the pot, or a bowl & stir in the basil & cream.

6. Put about a 1/2 cup of pasta in serving bowls, ladle some soup on top & serve.

The soup can be made ahead & even tastes better the second day. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Just make the pasta as you eat it, to prevent it from getting too mushy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

~*~*~*!!!!KILLER BROWNIES DELUXE!!!*~*~*~*~

 It's such a beautiful day here where we live! We just decorated for Halloween and Thanksgiving - it's probably our favorite time of year. We thought brownies would be an appropriate way to treat ourselves after working outside decorating all day. So here are some yummy and relatively easy brownies you can make for yourself.

Here is a picture of our decorations last year. I think this year's are better and we will post one soon.

I don't think we have to say much here to sell you on these brownies... so we will let the pictures do the talking.

~*~*~*~KILLER BROWNIES DELUXXxXxxXxxXE~*~*~*~*~*
(yes that is the official name)


1 box of your favorite brownies (or any brownie recipe)
1 1/2 C mini marshmallows
1 C carob/chocolate chips
3/4 C peanut butter
1 tsp margarine
3/4 C Rice Krispies
2 tbsp peanuts
2/3 C broken pretzels


1. Prepare brownies according to package but take them out 5 minutes before directed. Preferably bake them in a 9x11 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for time directed. Let cool.
2. Cover top of brownies with marshmallows and bake for another 5 minutes to melt. Remove from oven.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt margarine, chocolate chips, and peanut butter together.
4. Remove peanut butter and chocolate mix from the heat.
5. Add to the pbchoc mix the Rice Krispies, peanuts, pretzels and stir to combine.
6. Pour/spread the peanut butter chocolate rice krispie pretzel goodness over the marshallow topped brownies and allow to cool. Probably place them in the fridge so you can cut them more easily when the time comes for you to devour them.

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