Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Tastiest, Easiest Fudgey Pumpkin Cookies Ever and an Epic Battle

Gratuitous fudgey pumpkin cookie shot....something to look forward to....

The Nephew slept over Saturday night so I got to spend my birthday with my 3 favourite guys....Hubby, the Boy, and the Nephew! We watched a movie, watched the nephew get over tired from going to 2 other birthday celebrations, and had a massive Nerf dart gun battle. You know you are in trouble when you see this:

Or this.....

The poor little guy, because of the cast, he needed help loading gun for EVERY shot! It still didn't stop him from chasing the Boy into the bathroom and cornering him in the tub though!

Darts were flying everywhere!!

Eventually though, snacks were needed....energy was needed to keep up the battle.....

And to keep everyone happy!
A happy Nephew and his pirate loot!
The moment I saw these, I knew I had to make them.  I have made them twice now.  Since Sunday.  It is only Tuesday.  Hubby did take some to work and I did some to my mother in law's for supper last night. Cleo Coyle not only writes the Coffee House Mysteries, she manages to whip up some very tasty treats!  Cleo did a guest post on Dying for Chocolate and that post introduced me to Chocolate Fudge Pumpkin Cookies.  You only need a few items from the pantry to make these.

A box of devil's food cake mix, a can of pumpkin, vanilla, and chocolate chips!!!  For the glaze, all you need is butter, water, pumpkin pie spice, orange colouring, vanilla, and icing sugar. Seriously.....go to the dying for chocolate link, get the recipe, and make these....then go to the Coffee House Mysteries link and check things out.

Mix the mix, pumpkin, and vanilla

Keep mixing....it will come together

Add the chocolate chips

Scoop and bake

Make the glaze

Drizzle with Glaze

Seriously, make these cookies.....I dare you!!

Make sure to check out the blog hop for Melt in you Mouth Monday over at Make Ahead Meals!!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cook For the Cure

Every week in our staff room, someone has the nasty job of tidying up, running the dishwasher, and bringing in some treats on Friday.  It is a neat idea to keep things neat but sometimes it seriously feels like some people use it as a license to leave dirty dishes in the sink and leave their crumbs everywhere.  While I was loading the dishwasher, I grabbed a glass from the counter.  It turned out is was actually 2 glasses nested together and the outside glass was broken. There was actually a shard of glass on the counter! Lucky for me I notice before a grabbed tightly and pulled the glasses apart!

For the past three years, I have used my clean up week/treat day to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation through their Cook for the Cure party. All I have to do is register my party online, tell my co workers that on my Friday I will collect donations for the CBCF.  Donations are optional and everyone is invited to snack.  The CBCF always helps me out by sending items to raffle off, things to use as thank yous such as post it notes and name tag lanyards.

This year's treats included: Brownies with pink icing, pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple brown butter icing, strawberry mini cupcakes with strawberry meringue icing, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate meringue icing, pink strawberry Star Wars sugar cookies, banana bread Marvel heads, and some chips with onion dip and popcorn....you know, just to have some salt!

Between donations and raffle tickets, the lovely people I work with, donated $500!!! WOW! Thank you guys!  The prizes sent to my by CBCF were 2 cookbooks with a pink apron attached to each one, 2 pink Webkinz poodles, and 2 pink ribbon travel mugs.  Each raffle winner was very happy to win their prize!! I really should have taken pictures, but I left my camera at home the day I did the raffle. (Shucks!)

Anyone interested in donating, please go to this link and click on the 'sponsor me button'.


Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Mexican Restaurants

We seem to have a bunch of Mexican restaurants opening up around the city and I must say I am a fan of this concept.  Hubby, the Boy, and I have visited two of these restaurants in the past month and have had some pretty darn tasty food! As I write this I am still so full I could fall asleep! The food at both places was delish but at the same time quite different from each other.

Tonight we visited Burrito del Rio on River Avenue.  It is a brightly painted, Subwayesque place where they make your food in front of you so you can choose the fillings.  Burritos are the main item but they also offer tacos and fajitas. Once you choose from  a variety meats such as chicken, carnitas, beef, (or veggie), you can choose from two different types o beans as well as corn, rice, lettuce, jalapenos, cilantro, green onions, and even different sauces and salsas.  There is quite a bit to choose from.

I opted to try the pork carnitas burrito tonight.  When asked if I wanted the vegetarian black beans or the pinto beans with bacon, I obviously said "the ones with bacon please!" When you order a burrito, seriously, order the medium. It is easily enough food to feed a small army (or a teen age boy). The burrito itself was quite tasty. The sauces were flavourful but I found the carnitas itself to be quite bland and in need of some help from the other ingredients.  The medium salsa I had the girl put in the burrito was more of a mild salsa so I think next time I will opt for the hot.

Hubby and the Boy both ordered the beef burritos and varied their options to suit their own tastes.  Hubby tells me the hot salsa needed more heat and he resorted to multiple additions of hot sauce. The beef had more of a flavourful, Mexican inspired spice to it than the carnitas did and was quite tasty.

Cost wise, Burrito del Rio was nice.  We paid just under $40 for 3 medium burritos, a basket of taco chips with guacamole, 2 can drinks and 1 sangria (I just had to try the sangria. It was from a bottle and not homemade so I was a little disappointed there).  We all left full and happy with our food.

Overall the meal was very tasty and filling.  I don't think I would order the carnitas again but will definitely give something else on the menu a try.  I am not a fan of the basket lined with foil thing they have going on.  We all used a knife and fork to eat and that just cut right through the foil.  We did notice many people pick up their burritos and eat them like that but I just couldn't fit that in my mouth. We will go back and try more food.

A couple of weeks ago, we tried out another cafeteria style Mexican joint on Henderson called JC's Tacos and More.  This is another brightly painted place housed in the old Elmwood post office.  Once your read through the board with a decent number of choices, you have to make up your mind!!  JC's uses all natural and organic meats so that has been worked into the cost. We paid just over $50 for the three of us to eat here for 3 meals and 3 canned pops. There is also a nice offering of home made sauces of varying heat to try out, each one was delectable.
JC's is a cafeteria style restaurant where you order at the counter.  Some of the fillings and items they house up here.  Items such as the rice, beans, beef, and carnitas are held up here but lots of prep goes on in the back.  Other dinners had ordered a burrito and when this tiny lady walked by to deliver this ginormous burrito to the table next to us, I was suprised she could carry it, it was just that big!!

That night, the Boy was still recovering from his gastritis and order a chicken quesadilla.  Grilled chicken fresh ingredients, he truly enjoyed the quesadilla.

Hubby ordered the 3 taco platter with the shredded beef. The platter came with rice and beans. This proved to be quite the filling platter.  The shredded beef was quite flavourful and lent a punch to the taco.
3 taco platter

I ordered the enchilada with grilled chicken...I adored this enchilada. The ingredients used were fresh, the grilled chicken in particular was lovely. I wound up taking leftovers home.

Enchilada platter
a bottle of tasty hot sauce

We did enjoy both restaurants will most likely go back to both of them but at the moment I must say I am leaning towards JC's as the food I enjoyed more.

I am so ready for my burrito coma. I will have to save my ice cream for tomorrow....perhaps for breakfast...

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Pumpkin Fell into My Cart!!!

I popped into the store this evening to pick up "just a couple of things" and left with a pumpkin....you know how it goes.  They didn't have the hair product I was looking for so I bought food related items instead....sigh.  I just really fell in love with fall, pumpkins, and pumpkin seeds! That's right, I just wanted to roast the pumpkin seeds....some roasted/pureed pumpkin is just a bonus.

The Boy wanted to test out some of his carving skills this evening, so I figured why not?  I killed the pumpkin and scooped out its brains then prepped the pumpkin seeds or roasting in the oven.  I used Boulder Locavore's method of roasting the seeds, they were nice a crisp!

The Boy went to work with sharp utensils and such to see what he could come up with.

When he is done, I will roast up the pumpkin flesh and have some bake worthy goodness to bake with.  This is a win-win situation.

I was somewhat disappointed with the amount of seeds in this pumpkin, but that is the chance you take when you buy only one pumpkin!!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Check In: Part II

Well things seem to be moving in the right direction now in the Little Kitchen. It has officially been over a week since we've lasst been to an emergency room for any sort of visit (YAY).  We met my sister at the ER yesterday because Nephew broke his arm. The Boy is feeling better, although still on the DL for baseball (disabled list) until his ab. muscle heals. (To be quite honest, he may be driving me a bit batty, but then again, he is a 15 year old boy....who has an injury....)

The boys were all thumbs up and smiles!
 My little baking buddy tripped running to the next activity at gymnastics, d'oh! He is such a trooper.  The Boy came with me to meet my sister and nephew at the hospital and boy did Nephew's face light up when he saw his big cousin! We brought a lego kit with us and the two of them worked on it while we waited.

Things are looking up though for a few reasons:

1) The beloved Winnipeg Jets are back in town and this town is ecstatic! I am not the biggest hockey fan around, but I understand the significance of this event. The villagers were so sad when the Jets left...even though the Jets lost last their first home game (and the all the games since), it still felt like a win here.

2) Another bonus to this fall season is the Yankees have been knocked out of the World Series! As a true Mets fan, I am not happy with play off season until the Yankees are out.  If you don't believe me, you can take note of how I celebrated with last year's Buh Bye Yankees post! I think I will have to bake some pretzels today...

3) This year, not only have the Yankees been eliminated, so have the Phillies! I must admit I am sort of rooting for St. Louis these days. Perhaps because we spent opening day in St. Louis at the festivities and went to a game.  I am also rooting for the Texas Rangers as they have had a rough year and it would be nice to see them win

4) While the fall weather has kicked in and it is getting a bit cooler, overall the weather has been wonderful. The leaves are coming down and the geese are gathering but the weather is still working in our favour. (you know, we can stil BQQ!!!)

I really do need to get baking/cooking for you guys.  Hopefully things will slow down a bit now and we can bet back to basics!

This is my favourite picture of the day. We stopped to pick up his favourite subway sammie on the way home.  He is still a Little dopey from the meds and is wearing my Mets hat! Love the little guy!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Fall Check in

Why is it Friday Sunday already?? Where is the time going? We just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last weekend.  Usually we pull out all the stops, roast a turkey with all the fixings and eat ourselves into a coma.  With the Boy still recouperating from his gastritis and my family all being out of town, we decided to lay low.  Saturday we spent the day putting the garden to rest for the winter and raking up some of the many leaves that have fallen.  I was able to harvest a whopping 4 wheel barrows full of fabulous compost to put on my garden!!  Yay for compost!

We also had the Boy BBQ some fabulous steaks for dinner on Saturday.  I have been officially given the boot from BBQing steaks because he does such a wonderful job!

Sunday was the day many Canadians had their dinner with their families.  We popped into my Dad's place to help him with his computer issues and to get him packed for a trip.  When we came home, the Boy had cooked up a tray of bacon in preparation for some of the tastiest BLTs this side of the 49th parallel!  Fresh tomatoes from our now sleeping garden where soooooo tasty!

After that, we headed off to the cheapie theatre to see "Captain America".  Quite the great movie, if I do say so myself!!

Sunday, we jumped in the car and headed over to Hubby's Grandmother's place.  We spent the afternoon with Hubby's 92 year old Grandma and his Mom.  We were going to go to a restaurant but Grandma wasn't up to so we ordered in.  Turkey dinners from the local Smitty's restaurant.  We watched the Detroit/Texas game of the MLB playoffs.  Grandma loves baseball so we always watch a game with her if it is on while we are there. (This totally reminds me, I still have a post to make about celebrating Grandma's 92nd birthday this summer! D'oh!)

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Monday, October 3, 2011

We Be Grillin'

The fall weather is just so lovely right now we want to get every last bit of BBQ time in that we possibly can.  Tonight we grilled pizzas! I  made up a batch of pizza dough, the boys prepped the toppings, then out to the yard we went or our grilled pizza party!  You can either make your own dough or use store bought, it is up to you.  Get some help slicing up your favourite fixings, get everyone stretching their own dough and topping their own pizza and you get a whole lot of fun, with everyone pitching in!

Grilled pizza party

The boy works on his pizza
Pizza dough of your choice
toppings of your choice
pizza sauce of your choice
garlic oil
pizza peel or non melting cutting board

Pre heat the grill, scrape clean, and oil up the grates.

Stretch out the dough into small pizza shapes....the fun here is stretching out your own dough, and making any shape the dough will go.

Brush some oil on to the dough and slap it on the grill.
no worries if some pizzas are funny shapes...it all tastes great!

Close the lid and let the dough bake for a few minutes.

Carefully remove the half baked dough from the grill and flip it over.  The cooked side is the side you will arrange your toppings on.

Slide the pizza back onto the grill, close the lid and let it bake a few more minutes.


Everyone made their own pizzas tonight and we all made extras for lunch tomorrow!

These pizzas were so darn tasty! They hit the spot and made a great lunch!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!