Sunday, September 20, 2015

Goodbye summer...Hello comfort food!

In Vancouver we're known for the amount of rain we usually get. But this summer was different, it was one long heatwave. I tried so hard to not complain about how hot it was...I wasn't too successful. I'm about as west coast as they come, I complain in the heat and the second winter arrives, I'm complaining about the cold.
The heat made for some cranky kids (and this mom), but we survived. 
Overall it was a great summer with lots of trips to the beach and the park, playing with friends and birthday parties.

September is my favorite month! It always feels like a new year, a fresh start! Plus Dave and I both celebrate our birthdays in September.
There's so much I love about the fall - sweaters, boots, scarves, the leaves changing color and it's the kick off to comfort food season!

When the cooler days finally came, my weekly meal plans changed from BBQ hamburgers and salmon to shepherds pie, meatloaf and what this post is all about, individual creamy chicken pot pies.


I'd never made a chicken pot pie before, but when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. They just looked so good!
Something that appealed to me was the fact that there wasn't a super thick crust. In fact, there's no crust on the bottom and the top is actually made from refrigerated crescent roll dough.
These pies are packed full of chicken, carrots, celery and peas. The creaminess comes from cream cheese, which I was a little unsure about at the time, but it was delicious!

These were a hit with everyone and they will definitely be part of our fall and winter meal plans.



*All cutting and serving boards featured on 
Mommy, Can I Lick the Spoon? are made by 
local woodworker Joseph Réal Design

Individual Creamy Chicken Potpies:
(Recipe from Weight Watchers)

Ingredients:

5 tsp unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 lbs uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks
4 ribs uncooked celery, thinly sliced (about 2 ½ cups)
4 large uncooked carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
1 large uncooked onion, chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen baby peas
2 oz low fat cream cheese
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (or to taste)
1/2 tsp table salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
8 oz reduced fat crescent roll dough

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large pot over medium-high heat; add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pot with a slotted spoon; set aside.


Melt remaining 2 teaspoons butter in same pot over medium-high heat; add celery, carrots and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat and sprinkle vegetables with flour; cook, stirring, until vegetables are coated, about 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to medium; simmer 5 minutes. Add peas, cream cheese, thyme, salt and pepper; simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and vegetables are just tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in chicken and any accumulated juices; heat through.

Evenly divide mixture among eight (8 oz) ramekins or custard cups (about 1 cup filling each).

Unroll crescent dough; carefully separate at perforations. Place 1 piece of triangle dough over each ramekin, letting edges drape over sides (or folding it back over into middle).

Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbly around edges, about 11 to 13 minutes. Yields 1 pot pie per serving.



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Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Only Banana Bread Recipe You'll Ever Need!

The title says it all...this really is THE only banana bread recipe you'll ever need.

When we got married, a friend of mine gave me a recipe box with some of her favorite recipes in it. One of them was a banana bread recipe.


I have always loved banana bread. Every time I eat it I compare it to the banana bread my Gramma made when I was a kid. I know it sounds weird, but my Gramma's bread reminded me of jujubes candies. I can still taste it.


Now you may wonder why I haven't asked her for her recipe and the answer is simple - I'm pretty sure it's impossible to replicate a Gramma recipe. What if it doesn't taste like I remember it? What if I over/under cook it? I could mess it up and that may taint my memory of it. Right now that's a risk I'm not willing to take.
Maybe I should just ask my Gramma to make me some...


Over the years I've made some slight changes here and there with this recipe and I can now say it's pretty close to being perfect!

It mixes up quickly, it's so moist, and super versatile in the sense that the recipe can easily be doubled* and adding things like chocolate chips, walnuts, cinnamon etc. is always a delicious option.



When I make this banana bread, it doesn't last too long around here. It's definitely a family favorite!
If you or your family likes banana bread, I recommend doubling the recipe.  The muffins freeze well which makes for a convenient snack on the go. 

Banana Bread:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup -  Butter, softened
1 cup - Sugar
2 - Eggs

3 - Large mashed bananas (just over 1 cup)
1 tsp - Vanilla
1/4 cup - Milk

1 1/3 cups - Flour
1 tsp - Baking soda
2 tsp - Baking powder
1/2 tsp - Salt

Brown Sugar (optional)

Directions:

Combine butter, sugar and eggs.
Stir in bananas, vanilla and milk.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into mixture.
Add chocolate chips or walnuts if desired.
Pour into greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.
Optional - Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Lower heat to 300 degrees and bake for 40  minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

This picture is mainly to show off my
Joseph Réal Design serving board.
Isn't it amazing??!!

*When I doubled the recipe, I was able to make one loaf (9 x 5 x 3 inch) and 24 muffins. I baked the muffins at 300 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

I've been wanting to make oatmeal lace cookies for quite some time now.
I've never had them before, but they look and sound pretty good.
Oats, butter and sugar, what else needs to be said?

Our usual "dessert" after supper is yogurt and fruit. One day last week we were wanting something other than that for dessert and I found this recipe on Skinnytaste and decided to try it.

Not my picture!
Photo from www.skinnytaste.com

This recipe appealed to me because it made about 2 dozen cookies and required a lot less sugar and butter than some of the other recipes I found.  As fancy as the white chocolate and sprinkles look, I decided not to do that.

I'd love to tell you what these cookies actually tasted like. If they were as crispy and chewy as I thought they'd be, but I can't.
They were a major fail.

See that picture above? And this one?

Photo from www.skinnytaste.com

That's what they're supposed to look like.

Mine looked like this...



Seriously, that's what they looked like.

I read and re-read the recipe about 10 times, to make sure that I didn't miss anything. I didn't.
The only thing I can think of that made them into doughy little oatmeal balls is that I used Splenda instead of sugar. Maybe that had something to do with it?

No amount of white chocolate or sprinkles could've fixed these!

Oh well.

Maybe that was a sign that we didn't need cookies.
Or maybe I just need to try again!

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