Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

As the days get shorter and colder, cinnamon rolls/bun seem like the logical response. This rendition features caramelized apples which are wonderfully delicious! We decided not to use a glaze or icing for these buns because the dough was flavorful and fluffy enough to hold it's own.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

For the cinnamon rolls:
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 cup plus 2-4 tablespoon whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Cinnamon Apples:
4 cups apples,  diced into very small pieces
1/2 cup scant brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
4 tablespoon apple sauce
2 tablespoons cinnamon powder
a big pinch of nutmeg

Caramelized apples (see above)
5 tablespoons  melted butter

Caramelizing the apples:
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high  Drop in the  butter, and let it melt down, at low heat.
Drop the diced  apples  into the butter. With a wooden spoon, stir them around until they are completely coated with butter. Continue to stir until the the butter in the pan is no longer bubbling. Add the brown sugar, and the nutmeg. When the sugar melts and coats the apples well and starts to bubble, add the cider. Cook apples for approximately 20 minutes at the lowest heat, or until the fruit softens and browns completely. The released water from the apples and the sugar will make a thick syrup in the pan, which will slightly bubble. Add the cinnamon towards the end of the cooking process. Allow as much liquid to evaporate without burning the sugar. It will be thick sticky mix.
Remove the pan from the heat. Remove the apples from the pan and place them into a bowl.

For the dough:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Mix in the egg and lemon zest until incorporated. Mix in the flour, yeast and milk until a dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed, about 8 minutes until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. (You may need to add a little extra flour or liquid to achieve this texture.) Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room 
      1. Mist a work surface with spray oil. Roll it out into a rectangle with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the dough with flour if needed to keep it from sticking (about 12 x 14 inches for larger rolls or 9 x 18 inches for smaller rolls). Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to blend. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the surface of the dough. Evenly distribute the caramelized apples over the top of the dough. Starting with the wide edge, roll up the dough into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon sugar spiral as you roll. Pinch the seam shut, and with the seam side down, slice the log into your desired number of rolls. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, placing the rolls about ½-1 inch apart.
      1. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 75-90 minutes, until the rolls have grown into each other and have nearly doubled in size. At this point, the rolls can also be covered and retarded in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Pull the pan out of the refrigerator 3-4 hours before baking to let the dough proof.
      1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool in the baking about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

First off, just want to say how much I am enjoying these above normal temperatures! I'm not one to paint Canada as a blustery, snow laden country but 13, 14, even 16 degree weather in NOVEMBER that's pretty awesome!

Another thing that's awesome? uh... how about the fact that after getting a bum iPhone 4S I took my problem phone into the Apple store to see what the heck was up with it and got a completely NEW phone this morning to replace it!! Hello?? Blow me over and pick me back up! Definitely was not expecting that! But it's Wonderful Wednesday why shouldn't I have? haha.

And now let it begin,

I REALLY wish I knew how to knit this sweater! It would be utterly wonderful to have!!

I love the edgy vibe of this ring!
A little creepy but with an  the inscription like "believe in yourself" you know it's all  innocent ;)
Loving this album lately! There are so many inspirational, feel good songs on it. It's hard not to feel empowered when giving it a listen.

I know the temps we've been experiencing are hardly warm enough for bathing suits but I can't help wishing I owned this right now. The style is so flattering...they had it going on in the fashion department back in the day for sure. No frontal or back wedgies. LOL.
Oh my this show is so good and suspenseful!!  And hello?! Sarah Michelle Gellar? Can't get much  better than that, honestly. I hope you tune in to watch it - seriously you'll definitely get your intensity kicks here!

Happy Wednesday!
one, two, three, four, five

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's tough to admit but Riley and I eat quite a bit of refined sugar in our diets. Not a lot but sometimes we can heavily indulge  in that standard sweet treat. Anyway, we found a COOKIE recipe that contains NO sugar. AND it's delicious. How can you go wrong? 

Peanut Butter & Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies
3 large, very ripe bananas
1/2 cup all-natural (just peanuts) peanut butter, or almond butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned(we only had 1C of oats so we subbed in 1C WW Spelt Flour)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 – 1 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl mash the bananas with the peanut butter, oil and vanilla. In another bowl stir together the oats, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients along with the chocolate and stir until combined.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, or one that is sprayed with nonstick spray, and bake for 12-14 minutes, until just set.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fantastic Friday - Photography Edition

So, I really have not kept up this little Friday project. My apologies.

To make up for it, I have some really pretty pictures I took with my iPhone 4S (which is pretty fantastic in itself). I also edited them slightly with the Instagram app (which is also fantastic).

Birthday ballons caught up in a tree near our house

Gorgeous fall leaves in Toronto on Palmerston

The last rose on a side street in Toronto

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

There is just something about tacos,burritos,enchiladas etc. that I simply cannot resist!

Maybe it's because I am a full out dough/starch-head at heart or the fact that you can fill a tortilla - which are already delicious - with delicious ingredients like roasted sweet potatoes, citrus lime black beans, and citrus-y coleslaw to create the PERFECT Sunday (monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, or saturday) night meal.

I absolutely LOVE coleslaw but not those creamy coleslaws - I like to stay away from those. EEEK! A nice, simple coleslaw like the one in these tacos is just one of the components that makes this meal awesome.

Did I not mention the ROASTED-to-perfection sweet potatoes and citrus black beans?

Oh...I did? Well, I just thought I should say it again because it's hard to get any better than those three things having a rock star party in a lightly warmed tortilla and heading toward your mouth.

As soon as we saw this Sweet Potato, Black Bean Taco recipe here, we just knew they had to be a part of our near future.

And these beauties did not disappoint on flavour or appearance!!! Bright orange contrasted against the coleslaw. You know what I'm talking about! We couldn't get enough orange (as you can see by my orange dress) so we added some sauteed orange peppers to the recipe and they added eve more scrumptiousness.

So, I hope that when you make these (and you will) that you will enjoy them as much as we did!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos
adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Potatoes:
2 sweet potatoes (really orange-fleshed yams), peeled and cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and red chili flakes to taste
juice of 1 lime

For the Cabbage Slaw:
2 heaping cups shredded cabbage (I used a combination of purple and green cabbage) you could use a packaged  bag of shredded coleslaw like we did but had we had a head of cabbage on hand we definitely have used it
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onions
2 heaping tablespoons chopped cilantro
juice of 2 limes
salt and red chili flakes to taste

For the Beans:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lime
small corn tortillas

Peppers - any colour and as much as you would like
the leftover onion sliced thin

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place peeled and diced sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet.  Top with olive oil, salt and chili flakes, and lime juice.  Toss together until all of the potato chunks are coated.  Place in the oven to bake until softened through and toasted brown.  This usually takes about 40 minutes.   Remove the cookie sheet once or twice during baking to toss the potato chunks around.  This will ensure that the cubes cook evenly.  Remove from the oven and let stand when cooked through.

While the potatoes cook, assemble the Cabbage Slaw.  In a medium bowl, place cabbage, yellow, and chopped cilantro.  Add lime juice, salt and chili flakes.  Toss to coat and set aside while the potatoes cook and beans heat.  Letting the cabbage slaw sit will help soften the cabbage.

To cook the beans, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add onions and cook until transluscent, about 3 minutes.  Add ground cumin and stir until fragrant.  Add beans and lime juice.  Cook until heated through.
Heat corn tortillas in a hot saucepan with just a touch of oil.  Heat through and serve with potatoes, beans, and slaw.

For the Pepper and Onion Mixture:
Add some olive oil to a sautee pan and add the onion and pepper to it. Sautee until slightly browned or to whatever level of doneness you prefer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Scooby Snacks..No..Chia Cookie Balls

Here is a recipe I've been meaning to post since the beginning of the school year!! Life has been crazy busy completely insane.
Is that the Mystery Machine you see? Anyone for a Scooby Snack?

Lots of school work and my first all-nighter! (which I hope will be the last but no guarantees).

Yesterday was Halloween! I can hardly believe it to be true! Hope all the ghouls and goblins treated you well...and you them.

Here's a snack for those hectic days when you need a little energy/protein boost.

When I made these cookies...or balls...I intended them for a school snack but I find when the thaw out they're a little to sticky and mushy for my liking, so if you have a fridge at work or a freezer pack for your lunch box/bag aces! Otherwise I like to eat them straight out of the freezer - chewy and slightly hard.

A little less healthy but still delicious

After tasting these cookies I was soo surprised how so few ingredients could taste soo good! Dates are pretty wonderful, aren't they? To me, these taste almost like a chocolate truffle, not bad when they're healthy for you!

Chia Cookies
adapted from pea soup eats

1 cup dates (without stone!)
1/8 cup chia seeds
2 tbsp cacao powder
1/4 cup whole raw almonds
1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
dash of almond essence (I didn't use this...still tasted great)

Put the dates in a hand blender or food processor and blitz until a paste is formed.
Add the whole almonds, cacao powder, chia seeds, vanilla and almond essence (if using). Blitz until everything is combined. Finally add the slivered almonds and pulse in until they are incorporated into the mix.Then just shape into balls <-- you can chill them for 15 mins if you want does get messy.

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