Zucchini Orange Bread

July 7, 2014 in Breads, Recipes

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You will love this moist and delicious bread – quick and easy to put together and suitable for just about any time of the day


  • 1 package of cranberry-orange muffin mix
  • 1-1/2 cups of shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grated orange peel
  • Cream cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 3650F.
  2. Grease 8 x 4-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  3. Combine muffin mix, zucchini, water, cinnamon and orange peel in medium bowl and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out almost clean.
  6. Cool in pan on wire rack for about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove bread from pan to wire rack and cool completely.
  8. Serve with cream cheese if desired.


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How To Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries

June 23, 2014 in Desserts, Recipes

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You could buy a box of candy or make delicious cakes or cookies – but there really is no treat that will equal to fresh, locally grown strawberries that are coated in real chocolate!

And – you can make these ahead of time or have them ready on a short time notice – just a perfect treat!


  1. Coarsely chop about 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate
  2. Wash and dry 1 lb. of fresh strawberries (that’s about 20 of them and if you use locally grown strawberries, you will definitely notice the difference)
  3. Place the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
  4. Dip the strawberries – holding each strawberry by the stem end, dip in the melted chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip of. Repeat with the remaining berries.
  5. Transfer dipped strawberries onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
  6. As you set each berry down, slide it about 1/2 inch to the side to prevent the formation of a “chocolate foot”.
  7. Refrigerate the strawberries until the chocolate is firm – at least 30 minutes.
  8. The dipped strawberries will keep up to 3 days, covered, in the refrigerator.
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Fresh Apple Cinnamon Cake Recipe

June 17, 2014 in Cakes, Recipes

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You can cheat here a little bit to make this cake very easy to put together. Using quick bread and coffee cake mix and topping it with fresh apples makes up nicely for the cheat!

Fresh Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake


  • 1 package cinnamon swirl quick bread and coffee cake mix
  • 3/4 cups of water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 cup of finely chopped Granny Smith apples


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spray 13 x 9 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Set aside cinnamon swirl mix.
  4. Beat quick bread mix, water, egg whites and vanilla in a medium bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  6. Spread apples evenly over batter and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon swirl mix.
  7. Bake 22 -25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.
  8. Remove cake to wire rack and cool for minimum of 15 minutes.
  9. Cut into pieces and serve warm at room temperature.

Please note: These flavors are at their peak when this coffee cake is served warm. To reheat, microwave on high for 10-15 minutes.

And consider serving it with vanilla ice cream – delicious!



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Crunchy Chocolate Cookies Recipe

May 16, 2014 in Recipes

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  • 1-18 oz. package of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 bars of milk chocolate (1.5 oz. each) with crisp rice candy, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Lightly grease cookies sheets.
  3. Let dough stand at room temperature about 15 minutes.
  4. Combine dough, cocoa and egg in large bowl, beat until well blended.
  5. Stir in candy.
  6. Shape dough into 36 (3/4 inch) balls and place them 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
  7. Bake 7-9 minutes or until set.
  8. Cool on cookie sheets for about 1 minute.
  9. Remove to wire racks and cool completely

Hope you will enjoy this recipe – please send me your comments, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!


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Hot Cross Buns Recipe

March 26, 2014 in Recipes

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Hot-Cross-Buns (2)This is another favourite treat – for Easter or for anytime. If you have not made Hot Cross Buns before, trying the recipe now will give you the chance to do it before the Easter holidays. I have made these ahead of time, froze them and then put them into the oven for a few minutes just before serving time. They come out beautifully!


  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 package (1/4 oz.) of active dry yeast
  •  1/2 teaspoon of granulated white sugar
  •  3- 1/2 – 4 cups of all purpose flour
  •  1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  •  1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  •  1/2 cup of candied fruit and peel mix
  • 1/4 cup of raisins or currants

Egg wash: 

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of milk or cream


  • 1/2 cup of confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream


    1. In a small saucepan or in the microwave heat the milk until lukewarm .
    2. Add the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir to combine.
    3. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until the yeast is activated and is foamy.
    4. Meanwhile in the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the flour, brown sugar, spices, and salt. 
    5. Once the yeast is foamy, add to the flour mixture and beat to combine.
    6. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
    7. With the mixer on low, gradually add the butter, mixing until the butter is incorporated and the dough comes together. With the dough attachment, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). 
    8. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and, by hand, gradually knead in the candied and dried fruit. 
    9. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough once, so the top is lightly greased.
    10. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and place in a warm spot to rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
    11. When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, and divide into 12 equal pieces. 
    12. Form each piece into a small round ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (Place three buns to a row, four rows altogether. They should be spaced so they have enough room to double in size.) 
    13. Make an egg wash of one beaten egg with 1 tablespoon milk, and brush the tops of the buns with the wash.
    14. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and place in a warm spot until almost doubled in size (about 30 – 60 minutes).
    15. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F .
    16. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash again and, with a sharp, lightly greased knife ,make a cross in the tops of each bun. 
    17. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the buns are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Hope this recipe will turn out well for you, please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated


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Best Ever Banana Bread Recipe

March 18, 2014 in Breads, Recipes

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banana_bread_1Until I found this recipe, I used to throw bananas that turned black and soft straight into the composter. Not any more! Bananas gone past their prime are the best for this recipe and if you have more of them then what the instructions call for – do not worry – use them – it will make the bread even better! And the good thing is that you can store this delicious bread in your freezer for a long time – when you defrost it, it will taste as if you had just baked it that day!

Best Ever Banana Bread



  • 1-1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup of corn syrup
  • I cup of mashed bananas



  1. Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in nuts.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients together in another bowl.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in liquid, stir only until flour is moistened.
  5. Spoon into a greased loaf pan (8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ x 2-1/2″)
  6. Bake at 350F for 55 to 60 minutes

Hope you will enjoy this recipe – please send me your comments, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!


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How To Make Homemade Marshmallows

March 10, 2014 in Recipes

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marshmallowsYou can buy marshmallows easily and inexpensively – but making them gives you a piece of mind knowing what you use to make them. Make a batch and drop them into a cup of hot chocolate – that is the perfect cold day pick-me-up!


  • 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 2- 7 gram envelopes of unflavoured gelatin powder
  • 1/4 cup of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch


  1. Stir granulated sugar with corn syrup, cold water and salt in small saucepan.
  2. Set over high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil and boil without stirring for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in vanilla.
  5. While waiting for syrup to boil, pour warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment.
  6. Sprinkle in gelatin.
  7. Let stand 2 minutes to soften.
  8. Line 8-inch square baking dish with overhanging plastic wrap.
  9. Lightly spray with cooking spray.
  10. Set mixer on high, then pour hot syrup in a stream down the side of the mixer bowl, beating gelatin mixture until it is thick and sticky and white peaks form – about 4 minutes.
  11. Scrape into prepared pan, smoothing top as best you can with an oiled spatula.
  12. Let stand in room temperature for at least 2 hours.
  13. Whisk icing sugar with cornstarch in a small bowl.
  14. Sift one third of mixture  over top of marshmallows to dust the surface.
  15. Turn out onto cutting board.
  16. Discard plastic wrap.
  17. Sift half of the remaining sugar mixture overtop to dust the surface.
  18. Slice into cubes about 1 inch each.
  19. Roll each cut marshmallow in remaining sugar mixture until all sides are coated.


Hope you will enjoy this recipe – please send me your comments, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!




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How to Make Chocolate Truffles

February 10, 2014 in Recipes

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I really wanted to do something special in time for Valentines Day this year. Since I bake all the time (pretty much), I decided to give a try to making truffles. I do recall trying it few years back and not really having much success. But this time – with a little bit of patience – they turned out great!

Here is the recipe and step by step directions – it is really easy! All you have to remember is to be patient making them and then get creative with the finishing touches:

Chocolate Truffles:

  • 9 oz. of bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped)
  • 2/3 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of coca powder


I have developed a habit of laying out all required ingredients first – regardless of how many of how few there are. It really makes the task easier.

I used sharp, heavy knife to cut large chocolate pieces into smaller ones first.

Using my Magic Bullet is a great help in the kitchen – it is fast and easy to clean. The finer pieces you chop the chocolate into, the faster it will combine with your cream.

Put your cream into a small pot and bring to just the boiling point – when small bubbles start forming around the edges

Pour the boiling cream over chocolate and whisk until uniformly mixed. Let stand for a while, until the mixture cools to about room temperature.

Cover with plastic wrap and out into your fridge to cool for a minimum of 3 hours. I did this overnight – made the mixture night before I was ready to finish my truffles.

Making sure there are no chunks of cocoa before rolling the truffles in it is important – use a fine sieve to put the cocoa through

Form small balls from the truffle mix (this will be messy so get ready to wash your hands in between rolling the truffles) then roll them in the cocoa. I used little gold candy cups to place them into

Half on my truffles were coated with cocoa – the other half with ground almond. Then I place a slice of almond on the cocoa coated ones and a few chocolate slivers onto the almond coated once.


I hope you will try these – making your own handmade truffles and getting creative with the finish can really give you a great sweet gift to share on Valentines Day!





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Superbowl Party Tips and Recipes

January 24, 2014 in Recipes

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Traditional saying: “It’s that time of the year again” is usually associated with Christmas time, but in the month of February, it only means one thing: SUPERBOWL! My guess would be that a large number of people are looking forward to Superbowl Sunday. Some are just plain excited about watching awesome football, others are thinking “Finally it’s over and we can have our weekends back”. Whatever the reason, Superbowl parties are one of the top at-home party events of the year. They are much more than a gathering of football lovers – many people attending don’t actually even like football, they attend to get together with friends and break up the monotony of the very boring winter month.

seahawks and broncos

This year it’s the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos match up. Personally, I am thinking that Denver has the guys – especially the great Manning that will take it this year. From what I understand right now, they are the underdogs so that is partially why I would pick them – go figure.

So – if you are thinking about planning a Super Bowl party – here are few tips and some great recipes for you:

Superbowl Party Planning Made Simple:

  • Plan simple, easy foods and set it up as a buffet. That is your only option, since there is no way anyone will want to be sitting at a table.
  • If you have more than one television set, set the sets up around the party area.
  • Don’t choose recipes that will keep you in the kitchen – you should be able to enjoy the party as well
  • Have one room designated for non-football lovers who will just want to visit and chat or maybe have a game of cards
  • Plan on plenty of beverages – definitely do not forget the beer!
  • If you just absolutely have to decorate – use team colours, footballs, team jerseys, goal posts and pennants. But I wouldn’t worry about it too much – the attention will be on the television set.
  • You may want to have a good supply of paper towels, napkins and also a rug cleaner – things have a tendency to fly!
  • And keep a little spare change and small bills handy for betting pools that just might be popping up over the course of the party!

Superbowl Party – The Food:

The name of the game is simple – meaning organizing casual, hearty food. This time you can leave your gourmet expertise alone. Your guests will want to eat in front of the television set – so you pretty much have to keep the menu simple.

There are traditional foods you just have to serve at your Super Bowl party – they include chili, chicken wings, some great dips and nachos. I am including all the recipes for these – all easy and quick to put together. I have also included something sweet  -  if you are up to it -  a real football cake!

The menu:

  1. Crockpot chilli with Corn Bread
  2. Original Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing
  3. Layered Dip – Mexican Style
  4. Crockpot Spinach Dip
  5. Ground Beef Nachos
  6. Football Field Cake

1.Crockpot Chili with Corn Bread


Make sure you have grated cheese handy – it makes each serving awesome as it melts over the top of hot chili


  • 2 lbs. ground chuck
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cans kidney or pinto beans, drained
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • hot pepper, to taste, cayenne
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt


  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef.
  2. Drain well.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker; cover and cook for 7 to 8 hours on LOW, or until done.

Serves 6 to 8.

For more chili recipes, click here


Cornbread Tips:

  • Sprinkle a little cornmeal in the hot pan before adding the batter. It will brown and add a crisper texture.
  • For a crusty cornbread, make sure there is a good “layer” of oil or shortening in the pan.
  • A tablespoon of mayonnaise can be substituted for the egg.
  • You can use all cornmeal, or lessen the amount of flour in the recipe.
  • Use muffin or cornstick pans (preferably iron), to vary the shape.
  • Instead of baking, fry the batter like pancakes.

Buttermilk Cornbread:


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  1. Combine dry ingredients
  2. Add beaten egg and buttermilk, mixing well.
  3. Pour into greased, heated 8-inch or 9-inch iron skillet.
  4. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Buttermilk cornbread serves 8.

Buffalo Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing


Chicken wings are a must for Superbowl Party – this blue cheese dressing makes them really special

Super Bowl party would not be complete without chicken wings.


  • 4 to 5 pounds chicken wings
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt (if desired)
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 Tablespoons butter or margarine (1/2 stick)
  • 5 Tablespoons Louisiana-brand hot sauce or Tabasco sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar


  1. Chop off the tip of each chicken wings, and discard it.
  2. Chop the wing in half (cutting at the joint) to make 2 pieces.
  3. Grind on fresh black pepper and sprinkle with salt if desired.
  4. Heat the oil over high heat in a deep skillet, Dutch oven, or deep-fat fryer until it starts to pop and sizzle (around 400 degrees F).
  5. Add half the chicken wings and cook until they’re golden and crisp, stirring or shaking occasionally.
  6. When done, remove them to drain on paper towels and cook the remaining wings.
  7. Melt the butter or margarine over medium heat in a heavy saucepan, add the hot sauce and the 1 tablespoon of  wine vinegar.
  8. Stir well and remove from the flame immediately.
  9. Place the chicken on a warm serving platter, pour the sauce on top, and serve.

For more Chicken Wings recipes, click here

Blue Cheese Dressing:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream or no-fat sour cream
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons blue cheese


  1. In a food processor or heavy-duty blender, combine buttermilk, sour cream, garlic, sugar, paprika and salt.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add blue cheese, and pulse quickly once or twice.
  4. Do not blend. You want small chunks of blue cheese.

    Refrigerate 4 hours or more before serving to let flavours blend.

Layered Dip – Mexican Style


Great treat for everyone – add tortilla chips of any other chips you like and listen to everyone loving this dish!


  • 1 (9 oz.) can Frito Lay jalapeno bean dip
  • 3 avocados, minced
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic salt
  • 3 tbsp. sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • Several tomatoes, chopped
  • Layer chopped green onions
  • 1 (4 oz.) can black olives
  • 1 (9 oz.) can jalapeno cheddar cheese dip

Layer as follows in a shallow dish:

  1. 1 (9 ounce) can bean dip, 3 avocados, minced.
  2.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and garlic salt.
  3.  Mix 3 tablespoons sour cream, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 package taco seasoning mix.
  4.  Chopped tomatoes.
  5. Layer 3 green onions.
  6. 6. Sliced black olives.
  7.  1 (9 ounce) can Frito Lay cheddar cheese dip. Serve hot or cold

Crockpot Spinach Dip


This is an awesome dip – especially if you decide to serve it warm


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimento
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled


  1. Combine cream cheese and cream in slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW until cheese is melted, about 1 to 1- 1/2 hours.
  3. Add remaining ingredients; cover and cook on LOW for about 45 minutes longer.
  4. Serve with raw vegetables, crackers, or crusty bread cubes.

Ground Beef Nachos


You cannot have a Superbowl Party without nachos – they are easy to put together and it is OK to get creative with the recipe


  • 1 package of ground beef (the amount is up to you)
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning, about 1 ounce
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag of plain tortilla chips


  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook ground beef in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  3. Add all ingredients but the cheddar cheese and chips to the pot and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. While it is simmering, pour the chips into a casserole dish.
  5. Spread hot mixture over the chips; sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top and put in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.

For more Nachos recipes, click here

Football Field Cake

Step-by-step How to Make it


Yes you can! You can make this incredible cake and surprise everyone! Sweets are not usually an important element of a Superbowl party menu, but make this one and it will be a hit!

This creation will definitely score for you! You will need to make a sheet cake – 13″ x 9″ size is recommended.


You will need:

  • 1 – 13″ x 9″ sheet cake that has been frosted chocolate (my preference) or vanilla.
  • 7 oz. shredded, sweetened coconut that has been tinted by shaking in a plastic bag with 1 teaspoon green food gel
  • 1 pretzel rod divided in two parts
  • 4 short pretzel sticks, 2 of which have been divided in half
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 can white decorator frosting
  • Assorted football cake decorations such as footballs, plastic players, team flags

How to Put the Football Field Cake Together:

Create the Goal Posts


  • Place 12″ square piece of wax or parchment paper on cookie sheet.
  • Place chocolate chips into microwave safe bowl. Melt at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir. Continue heating at 50% power for 30 seconds each time until smooth consistency is reached.
  • Dip pretzels into melted chocolate, tapping off excess. Place on prepared paper and form into goal post shapes.
  • Once goal posts have been made, transfer cookie sheet into refrigerator to chill.

Put the Cake Together:


  • Evenly spread coconut over top of cake, reserving 1/2 cup for touch-ups as needed.
  • Draw lines with decorator frosting on field to create yardage markings and end zone.
  • Insert pretzel field goals into end zones.
  • Finish with cake toppings. In this illustration a football was created using melted dark chocolate that was formed into a football shape. Laces were created using white frosting

Hope these tips and recipes will help you have a great Super Bowl party – enjoy and share your tips and experiences – your input is always welcomed!


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Gluten-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

January 2, 2014 in Desserts, Recipes

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GLuten free oatmeal chocolate chip cookiesYou can make these with white or milk chocolate or dried apricots or currants – they will make great substitutes for the dark chocolate. Make sure you use just a level tablespoon of dough for each cookie, that will guarantee you the not-to-thin chewy texture that will make everyone wanting seconds!


  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of gluten-free baking flour
  • 1/2 cup of gluten-free quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup of sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips of coarsely chopped dark chocolate


  1. In large bowl., beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy.
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Whisk together all purpose flour, oats, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Stir into flour mixture.
  5. Stir in chocolate.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  7. Roll by 1 tablespoon into balls, arrange 2 inches apart on 2 parchment paper lined rimless baking sheets.
  8. Bake in top and bottom thirds of 350F oven, switching and rotating pans halfway through, until golden – 10-12 minutes.
  9. Let cool on pans on racks for couple of minutes.
  10. Transfer to rack and let cool completely.


Hope you will enjoy these delicious gluten-free cookies! Please send me your comments and suggestions, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!




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