Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous Halloween weekend so far! For me, these past few days have been an absolute blast.

For a movie night this past week, I decided to make a Halloween cake.  This seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out making a 'checkerboard cake', and it turned out awesome!

You can get kits from or Michael's to make these, and they are amazing.  


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Triple Citrus Cheesecake

I had a serious craving for cheesecake the other day, so I checked out the website for some ideas.  I absolutely love citrus desserts, so this recipe quickly made it to the top of my 'recipes to try' list! I modified it a little bit, and it turned out unbelievably delicious.

I was surprised at how easy it actually was to make a cheesecake, it had always seemed like such a daunting task.

While mine did have a crack along the edge, I think it turned out pretty amazing! I love how you can see the different citrus zest's in the cheesecake.

One thing that I did (which was recommended on the site) is to put a 13" x 9" pan half full of hot water below the sprinform pan.  I think this helped keep a moist environment in the oven and reduced my chance of having major cracks develop on the surface of my cheesecake.

Triple Citrus Cheesecake

  • 1 1/4 cups oreo crumbs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3 packages of cream cheese (250 grams each)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • Juice of 1 lemons, 1 limes, and 1 oranges
  • Zest of 2 lemons, 2 limes, and 2 oranges
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F
  2. Mix together the oreo crumbs and the melted butter
  3. Press the oreo crumb mixture onto the bottom of a pan, using your hands or a glass to press it down
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth
  5. Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture, one at a time
  6. Add the citrus juices and zest's, and mix them in carefully (you do not want to introduce too much air into the batter)
  7. Pour into the pan, and smooth to create a flat surface
  8. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes (the cheesecake will be done when a small circle in the middle of the cake still looks soft)
  9. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, run a butter knife along the edge to separate it from the pan
  10. Let cool for 45 - 60 minutes before removing the rim of the pan
  11. Place in your refrigerator for 4 hours (minimum) to fully cool and set
  12. Garnish with whatever you like! Berries, chocolate, fruit slices, anything!
  13. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes (Vegan)

Here is another fantastic recipe from my Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook.  If you are in the market for a great cupcake cookbook, I definitely recommend this one, even if you are not vegan (which I am not).  These recipes are absolutely delicious!
These cupcakes also have a really fun look about them, and taste amazing.

These cupcakes are a little bit different from the Chocolate Mint Cupcakes that I have made previously.  Both are great, but these have the advantage of being Vegan, so you can serve them to a large crowd and avoid most allergies.

The icing and ganache are an amazing addition to these cupcakes, I would definitely recommend topping the other chocolate mint cupcakes like this as well, so tasty! This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes (Vegan)

  • For the cupcakes:
    • 1 cup soy milk
    • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tsp mint extract
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/3 cup cocoa
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Mint Icing
    • 1/4 cup shortening
    • 3 cups icing sugar
    • 1/4 cup soy milk
    • 1 1/2 tsp mint extract
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • green food coloring
  • Chocolate Ganache
    • 3 tbsp soy milk
    • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 candies to top cupcakes (optional)
  1. To make the cupcakes:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line your muffin pan with cupcake liners
    2. Mix together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar then set aside so it can curdle (about 5 minutes)
    3. After soy milk has curdled, add the sugar, oil, vanilla, and mint extracts. Beat until foamy
    4. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
    5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until smooth
    6. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake
    7. Let cupcakes cool completely before icing
  2. To make the mint icing:
    1. As the cupcakes are cooling, you can prepare your mint icing and chocolate ganache
    2. Mix the shortening in a bowl in order to soften it
    3. Add 1 cup of the icing sugar, followed by a tablespoon of soy milk and mix until completely smooth
    4. Repeat with the remaining icing sugar and soy milk, until all has been added
    5. Add the vanilla and the mint extract, and beat until smooth
  3. To make the chocolate ganache:
    1. Place the 3 tablespoons of soy milk in a bowl, and microwave until very warm
    2. Mix the chocolate chips into the warm milk, and stir until completely melted
  4. To assemble the cupcakes:
    1. Top each cupcake with the mint icing, and then let it set for a few minutes
    2. Top the mint icing with a teaspoon of the chocolate ganache
    3. (if using) place a candy on top of the chocolate ganache and let it set
  5. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

These cookies are so cute, I was able to convince myself that even though I ate six right away, they are tiny and therefore too small to have calories worth counting. 


Exactly. I prefer to live in my happy world of denial, thank you.

I found these cookies on, she has a ton of fun halloween recipes up right now.  These were so quick to make, they are great if you want to whip a halloween treat up quickly to take to dinner, or to send to school with your kids!

They are a basic sugar cookie recipe, with classic candy corn shoved in them.  Baking doesn't get much easier than these!

The original recipe can be found here and makes about 30 to 36 cookies. 

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

  • 4 tbsp soft butter or margarine (or 1/2 a stick)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • approximately 3 dozen candy corn pieces
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper (I really do love parchment paper!)
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar until well mixed and fluffy
  3. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, baking powder and salt, and continue beating until well mixed
  4. Add the flour and mix with a spoon until a soft dough forms
  5. Roll 1/2 tbsp of dough into a ball and set it on the prepared cookie sheet
  6. Repeat with remaining dough, placing the balls about 2 inches apart (so they don't spread into eachother)
  7. Bake for 8 - 12 minutes, or until the edges are firm (be sure to remove them before they start to turn golden brown)
  8. As soon as you remove a cookie sheet from the oven, carefully press a candy corn into the middle of each cookie
  9. Let cool, and Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes!

It has been far too long since some cupcakes have graced this blog. For that, I apologize, and bring you these Halloween cupcakes! The skeleton is my favorite of the group.

I had a blast making them, and can't wait to make more in the days leading up to Halloween!

You can decorate your cupcakes with icing, candies, sprinkles, anything that says 'Halloween' to you.

As it gets closer and closer to winter, I am losing my natural light faster and faster! Soon, it will be gone by time I get home from work.  I will do my best to work around the lighting, but until I figure it out, sorry for the yellow/orange lighting from my household lights!

I hope everyone has a Halloween full of delicious treats!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells with Meat Sauce

Here is a recipe that takes a little bit of work, but makes a wonderful meal.  The jumbo shells are stuffed with three different kinds of cheese (delicious!), and the topped with a great meat sauce that you can customize based on what is in your cupboard!

We had this with some biscuits, but it would also be amazing with a side salad and garlic bread for a complete meal.

I found this recipe on, but since it makes such a large meal I halved it.  I have my modifications listed below, but if you are looking for the original recipe it can be found here.

On the next cold Sunday, make this meal!

Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells with Meat Sauce
  • 20 - 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 - 3 links italian sausage (casing removed)
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 398 mL can crushed tomatoes
  • 213 mL can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 500 g ricotta cheese
  • 100 g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup romano cheese, grated 
  • 1 egg
  • 6 - 8 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsely
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 - 3 basil leaves chopped
  1. Cook the pasta shells in boiling water for about 8 minutes, remove from heat, rinse and drain (they will not be fully cooked)
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil and then add the diced onion and garlic
  3. Cook for a couple minutes until onions begin to soften
  4. Add the italian sausage and break it up as it cooks
  5. When the sausage is fully cooked, pour in the red wine and let it simmer for a couple minutes
  6. Add the two cans of tomatoes and the parsley, and stir well. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste
  7. Let the sauce cook for about 30 to 45 minutes at a simmer (stirring every so often)
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  9. While the sauce is simmering, mix together the ricotta, parmesan, and romano cheeses
  10. Add the egg, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley to the cheese mixture, and mix well
  11. Fill the shells with the cheese mixture (but do not overfill, you want to be able to close the shells)
  12. When the sauce is ready, pour some on the bottom of your baking dish
  13. Place the shells seam side down onto the sauce, and then cover the shells with the remaining sauce
  14. Sprinkle on the remaining parmesan and basil, then bake for about 20 to 25 minutes
  15. Enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chocolate & Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Another awesome recipe that uses pumpkin puree! And the best part? These are perfect for your halloween party too.

If you have never had 'Whoopie Pies' before, they are an awesome dessert that sandwiches icing (in this case pumpkin icing) between two fluffy cookies that are made from a batter very similar to cake batter.

You can also add some extra excitement by rolling the edges in sprinkles or small candies!

This recipe is originally from, and the original link can be found here. This recipe makes about 20 whoopie pies :)

Chocolate and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

  • For the cookies:
    • 1 3/4 cups flour
    • 3/4 cup cocoa
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp soft butter or margarine
    • 1/4 cup shortening
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla
  • For the pumpkin filling:
    • 1 ounces of cream cheese (half a pack) at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup soft butter or margarine
    • 1/2 cup icing sugar
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
    • dash of cinnamon
    • dash of nutmeg
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and cover your cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt
  3. In a second bowl, beat together the butter (or margarine), shortening, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy
  4. Add the egg to the sugar mixture, and mix well
  5. Add half of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix well
  6. Add the milk and vanilla, then the rest of the flour mixture and stir until completely mixed
  7. Drop about 2 to 3 tsp of batter at a time onto the baking sheets.  I fit 8 cookies on each sheet and they didn't expand into each other :)
  8. Bake for 7 - 12 minutes (depending on their size), or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cookie
  9. Let cool completely before icing
  10. To make the icing, beat together the cream cheese, butter (or margarine), and icing sugar.  When smooth, add the pumpkin and spices and continue to mix until smooth and fluffy
  11. To make a whoopie pie: Place a layer of icing on the bottom of one cookie, and then cover with a second cookie
  12. Enjoy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Keeping in theme with my current obsession with pumpkin recipes (like the delicious pumpkin cupcakes and the wonderful pumpkin cream cheese muffins), I found this recipe on  It had more than 3700 reviews, and still maintained it's 5-star rating! 

This recipe makes two pumpkin loaves, and is absolutely delicious.  The only modification I made was to substitute the oil with margarine and apple sauce.

A bonus is that this recipe freezes really well, if the second loaf even makes it to the freezer!

Pumpkin Bread

  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease & flour two loaf pans
  2. Mix together the pumpkin, eggs, applesauce, margarine, water and sugar 
  3. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix well
  5. Pour half into each pan, and level the batter with a spatula or spoon
  6. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick (or skewer) comes out clean when inserted into the center of a loaf
  7. Let cool for at least 30 minutes, then the loaves should easily come out of the pans
  8. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is originally from, so despite the creamy, cheesy, deliciousness that it is, this is actually a fairly healthy choice! win-win!

I will admit that I threw in extra cheese, and some bacon as well, but when does bacon not make a meal better?

If you don't like spinach, you can throw any type of vegetable in with this: broccoli, peas, mushrooms, or leave the vegetable out all together.

Here it is ready to go in the oven! I threw the leftover grated cheese on top, you can't let cheese go to waste.

And here it is right out of the oven, nice and golden!

The original recipe can be found here.  I halved it because the original recipe would have made way to many leftovers.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  • 6 oz fiber macaroni
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (reduced sodium)
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (depends on how cheesy you like it)
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs (I use Panko bread crumbs)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook your pasta as per the directions on the package, drain and set aside
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 and spray your baking dish with cooking spray
  3. In a large pan, melt the butter
  4. Add the flour and whisk it into the butter
  5. Add the onion, and cook for about 2 minutes
  6. Pour in the milk and the chicken broth, then continue mixing until it is smooth and has thickened
  7. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper while mixing
  8. Remove the pan from the element, and then stir in the cheese
  9. Continue stirring until the cheese has completely melted, and the mixture is smooth 
  10. Pour over the macaroni and add the spinach and bacon 
  11. Mix thoroughly, and then pour into the prepared baking dish
  12. Top with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and any leftover shredded cheese
  13. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until golden
  14. Enjoy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ravioli & Vegetable Soup

Here is a hearty soup that will warm you up and satisfy even the hungriest tummy!  Since the ravioli cooks right with the soup, this is an extremely quick and delicious supper.

I fond this recipe on the website, they have a ton of delicious and healthy recipes that I cannot wait to try.

I used whole wheat ravioli filled with cheese and spinach, yum! You can really use any type of ravioli, or tortellini if that is what you have in your house.

When served with some bread or a bun, this makes a wonderful meal!

Ravioli & Vegetable Soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups of chopped bell peppers & onions (I used a frozen bell pepper and onion mix from Safeway!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (796 ml)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups of chicken broth (reduced sodium)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp basil 
  • 1 small package of ravioli (ie: not the family sized packs)
  • 2 cups diced zucchini 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large sauce pan or pot, heat the oil and then add the peppers, onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper
  2. Cook for a couple minutes until vegetables start to soften
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, water and basil
  4. Bring the soup to a boil
  5. Add the ravioli and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often
  6. Then add the diced zucchini, and continue cooking until the ravioli is cooked and the zucchini is crisp-tender (about 5 more minutes)
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  8. Serve with some delicious bread
  9. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin muffins with a cream cheese center, delicious! These make such an amazing breakfast, I have been looking forward to them every morning. 

These muffins have a recipe for the filling, but since I had a bowl of cream cheese icing in the fridge already, I figured I would give that a shot.  It seemed like such a good idea! What I discovered after pulling the muffins out of the oven is that while cream cheese icing is delicious on top of cupcakes and cakes, it isn't exactly prime for the baking process. And now I know! 

So I would definitely recommend giving the filling that the recipe suggests a try, the cream cheese icing that I used just bubbled right out of the muffins! About half of it soaked into the muffins, which in turn did make a delicious center, but the rest made a nice mess of my pans.

You can also put a streusel topping on them, which is in the original recipe, but we preferred them without it.  I have included the topping in this recipe so you have the option when you make them. Trust me, you will thank me if you make them. They are that good.

The original recipe is from, and can be found here.  Please make them soon! :)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

  • Cream Cheese Filling
    • 1 package (250 g) cream cheese
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • Streusel Topping
    • 4 1/2 tbsp flour
    • 5 tbsp sugar
    • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • Muffin Recipe
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/3 cups canned pureed pumpkin (or one 398 ml can)
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F, and line 18 muffin cups with paper liners
  2. Beat the cream cheese, then add the egg, vanilla and brown sugar.  Continue beating until smooth, then set aside for later
  3. If using the streusel topping: In a second bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and rolled oats.  Then mix in the butter with a fork until crumbly.  Set aside with the cream cheese filling.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. 
  5. In a medium bowl add the pureed pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla, mixing well
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix together until the batter is smooth
  7. Divide half of the batter between the 18 muffin cups (about 1 tablespoon in each)
  8. Add 1 tsp of cream cheese frosting on top of the batter, and then cover with the remaining batter
  9. Sprinkle with the streusel topping (if using) pressing it into the batter
  10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes
  11. Enjoy!