Sunday, August 22, 2010

Super tart lemon bars

This recipe is adapted from The Joy of Baking. I've cut the amount of sugar in half so it makes this recipe super tart, just the way I like it. :)

Shortbread Crust:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioner's (powdered or icing) sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Lemon Filling:
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately two large lemons)
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8 x 8 inch pan. I only have an 8 x 6 inch pan so my shortbread crust (my favourite part) is super thick.

Shortbread Crust: Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together. Press onto the bottom of your prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.

Lemon Filling: Beat the sugar and eggs until nice and smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Fold in the flour. Pour the filling over the shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling has set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

To serve: Cut into squares and dust with confectioner's suger (I usually don't do this because I find that the confectioner's sugar melts anyway and it just makes it more sweet). These are best eaten the day they are made but can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Very moist blueberry muffin recipe

These muffins are super moist and easy to make. You only have to use 1 bowl, 1 measuring cup, a fork, and an ice cream scoop. Makes 8 muffins.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line muffin tin with muffin cups.
2. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. I think this is the trick of the entire recipe. Instead of just using 1/3 cup of milk, use enough milk to make it 1 cup of liquid to make the muffins super moist.
3. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries.
3. Divide into 8 muffin cups. The easiest way is to use an ice cream scoop with a lever.
3. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done. Don't over bake or else they will not be as moist.

mini cheesecake recipe

I like these individual size cheesecakes a lot. They look pretty when presented, are quick and easy to make, and each recipe only makes 6 mini cheesecakes so even if you have left overs, you can store them as individual servings.

Crust:
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup graham cracker or oreo crumbs

Filling:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F
2. Mix crumbs and melted butter; press onto bottom of 6 muffin pan lined with muffin cups. Or you can cut strips of parchment and have it hang over the muffin cups so you can use them like handles to remove the cheesecakes.
3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Add egg just until blended. Spoon over crust.
4. Reduce heat to 300°F. Bake 20 min. or until center is almost set. Turn off the oven and leave it in for another 20 min. Cool at room temperature for 20 minutes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. Serve with blueberry sauce or fresh fruits.

Blueberry sauce topping:
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, bring blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt to a boil for 1 minute. Add vanilla. Serve hot or chilled.

Friday, August 20, 2010

money I don't spend

I wish there was a way to track money that I don't spend. I sometimes think about all the money I save because I don't have the following habits:

- drink coffee daily (~$2/day)
- drink alcohol regularly (~$50/month)
- smoke (~$100/month)
- use a diaper genie (~$10/month for the refills)
- subscribe to newspapers/magazines (~$15/month)
- have a data plan (~$20/month)
- shop all the time (?/month)
- have a zoo/science center/wonderland/ontario place membership (~$400/year)
- have a subscription to a theatre production (~$50/month)
- have a gym membership (~$30/month)
- have a premium cable package (~$50/month)
- have 2 cars (~$3000/year in maintenance, insurance, gas, parking)
- have hobbies/collections (?/month)

That's at least $10,000/year that I am saving! With all this money I save, we should be able to go on more vacations! If only it worked that way...

Mac & cheese.... with cauliflower?

i just made an amazing mac & cheese with cauliflower puree. Even my son liked it and he is a very picky eater. You can't taste the cauliflower but it gives the macaroni such nice texture. And it is low fat too because you don't need to use any butter/flour to make the sauce. I didn't really measure but just to make it easy, this is roughly the recipe:

1 cup of macaroni (uncooked)
1 cup of milk
1 cup of cauliflower puree
1 cup of grated cheese
Salt/pepper to taste

Cook macaroni in salted water. When it's almost done, stir the milk and cauliflower puree in medium heat. When the macaroni is fully cooked, drain it and add it to the milk/cauliflower mixture. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese. Let it melt a bit in the pot. Serve while it's hot.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

waddle

I'm resisting the waddle. With my last pregnancy, at one point, I suddenly noticed that I was waddling. I can't remember exactly when that happened but it would have been some time in the last couple of months. Right now, I'm in my 30th week and I'm already feeling like I need to be waddling but I'm resisting the urge. I'm consciously trying to walk normally. Good thing God only made the human gestation period to be 40 weeks.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Frozen Custard

On Friday, my co-workers mentioned this new place at Yonge & Eglinton that serves frozen custard. I've never had frozen custard before so after dinner tonight, I googled it and off we went to Jedd's Frozen Custard for our first frozen custard experience. The three of us (four if you count the baby that was moving madly inside my tummy as I was consuming the frozen custard) thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They only had 3 flavours: Chocolate, Maple, and Mint Berry. My husband and son shared a chocolate frozen custard in a cup and I 'shared' my Maple frozen custard in a waffle cone with our unborn baby. Compared to ice cream and gelato, the custard is very smooth, silky, and rich. The staff were really nice and we had a great time. I will happily be going there again.