Author Archives: Margaret

About Margaret

A self-trained cook, cooking for herself and her husband in their condo. Cue the cozy domesticity! So, yes, this blog is about the creative satisfaction of cooking, about making meals that real people eat, in real people time (I also work outside the home), about trying to find the best recipes out there and about trying to stretch my cooking skills while I’m at it. Join me? I’ll link the recipes to the blog posts, so that you can try them too (I’m interested in feedback), and put in pictures so that you can see how they turned out.

Cherry & Vanilla Oreo No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes and Why I Will Not Be Losing Weight This Week

Creamy, delicious, and infinitely addicting. Also, please forgive the less than perfect muffin tray — I have better things to do than scrub out every spot, don’t you?

I’ve been trying to cook extra delicious things lately, to pique the appetite of my mother-in-law who is visiting us (really, she’s visiting her grandchild. We’re kind of incidental to that. It’s rather sweet!). I think I’ve got the meal bit down pat, but I’m trying to come up with delicious desserts as well, to put some meat on her bones (she’s ill, unfortunately). So I came up with these admittedly calorie-dense Cherry & Vanilla Oreo No Bake Mini Cheesecakes, but can I just say, they’re worth every calorie!

Dedicated readers will know I have a thing for Oreos, given that I’ve made Surprise Inside Oreo Cupcakes, as well as my own Copycat Oreos. But let me tell you about these Cherry & Vanilla Oreo No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes! These little morsels of deliciousness have a vanilla Oreo base. You don’t even need to do anything — it’s a literal vanilla Oreo cookie base. Then, we top it with a no bake cream cheese cheesecake mixture, made even more delicious by the addition of the cream filling of the vanilla Oreos. And then we top that with cherry pie filling, for a sweet, creamy, tangy, and crunchy mouthful of deliciousness! You have been warned, they are addictive! I made a dozen one evening. Forty-eight hours later, they were all gone. (And my mother-in-law had eaten a full serving!)

Are they delicious? Well, I gave one to my sister and she loved it. And I gave one to my mother at dinner, and then pressed her to take another home with her. Normally she would decline appreciatively, but this time she accepted. So they must be extra delicious! And addictive. Have I mentioned that they’re addictive? They are definitely full of sugar, and when that sugar hits your brain, your dopamine sensors will happily go haywire and want more! So not really the sort of treat to help you meet any New Year’s weight loss goals, but definitely the treat you want to eat if you want comfort food. Mmm…so creamily delicious! Worth temporarily stalling my post-partum weight loss for!

Let’s get to making some!

 

5 from 1 vote
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Cherry & Vanilla Oreo No Bake Mini Cheesecakes

These deliciously rich mini cheesecakes are the comfort food your stomach deserves!

Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 vanilla Oreo cookies
  • 345 g cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 can condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 can cherry pie filling

Instructions

  1. Open up the Oreo cookies, and separate the cream filling from the actual cookies. Set the cookies aside.

  2. Mix the cream fillings with the cream cheese (must be softened, to avoid a lumpy cheesecake batter), condensed milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Blend with a mixer until completely smooth.

  3. Line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake liners (foil ones are best). Place two of the Oreo cookies in the base of each cupcake liner (i.e. each of the two sides of a single Oreo cookie, without the filling).

  4. Divide the cheesecake batter over the 12 muffin cups, and place in fridge to set up for 12 hours.

  5. Once the cheesecakes are set, divide the cherry filling into 12 portions, and spoon over top of the cheesecakes.

  6. Serve with a spoon and enjoy the rich deliciousness!

Please note that these are soft cheesecakes. They have to be served cold, and they really do need the 12 hours in the fridge before they can be served, unless you layer them in a custard cup and serve them that way. But if you want to serve them in cupcake liners, foil ones would be best. I used regular paper liners, and just made sure I had the cheesecake set for the full 12 hours. But you do you, boo!

As the main flavour of the cheesecake is vanilla, you could easily switch up the topping to whatever flavour is your favourite. Blueberry? Or perhaps a swirl of whipped chocolate ganache? Or a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of multi-coloured non-pareils? If you make this recipe, let us know in the comments how you topped it!

Next Post: Probably my Easy Tex-Mex Potatoes. So easy. So, so easy. And vegan! 

Linking Up at Full Plate Thursday!

Pastry-Wrapped Cranberry Baked Brie, Or How to Repurpose Leftovers!

Serve wedges of this buttery, cheesy, tangy gooeyness at your next get-together! Or, you know, when watching Netflix!

This year we hosted my family for both Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, and put out yummy things to nosh on each time. One of the items was a lovely cheese and crackers tray. I love cheese and crackers as an appy, so I made one for each get-together. But after New Year’s was over, we still had some leftover brie. Not an entire wheel, but at that point I was rather cheese-and-crackered out, so thought I’d try to repurpose it into something else. (Not that leftover brie is a problem — I mean, it’s brie!) I also had some leftover cranberry sauce that I had made (so yummy and so easy — try it yourself!) so I decided to use that too. And voila,  I decided to turn it into Pastry-Wrapped Cranberry Baked Brie!

It really is rather easy. Just take some pie crust (I used my vodka pie crust recipe), some cranberry sauce, some brie, and wrap it up all together, pop it in the oven, and voila, cheesy melted goodness, wrapped up in buttery pastry with a dollop of sweetness!

It really is easy to make, and it looks (and tastes!) impressive. Want to make one of your own? Let’s!

 

5 from 1 vote
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Pastry-Wrapped Cranberry Baked Brie

This dish takes a brie and adds tangy cranberry sauce and buttery pie crust to it, for a delicious (and easy!) appetizer!

Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 wheel brie
  • 1 recipe pie crust
  • 6 tbsp. cranberry sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  2. Roll out 2/3 of the pastry dough into a circle. Spread 3 tbsp. of cranberry sauce in the centre. 

  3. Place the brie on top of the cranberry sauce-covered pastry, and spread the remaining 3 tbsp. of cranberry sauce on top of the brie.

  4. Bring up the edges of the pie crust to wrap around the brie.

  5. Roll out the remaining pie crust into a smaller circle and place on top of the brie. Pinch the edges of the pastry together so that no cheese or cranberry sauce is showing. 

  6. Wrap in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, and then remove foil and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. 

  7. Let sit for 10 minutes to let the cheese slightly solidify again, and serve! It will be ooey-goo-ily delicious!

By the way, you can use store-bought pastry dough and store-bought canned cranberry sauce, but it is just as easy and takes just as long to make it yourself as to go shopping for dough and sauce, so I encourage you to try making it from scratch yourself. If you make it, let us know in the comments what you thought of it!

My NYE cheese board, made from my Christmas Eve cheese board leftovers, and a few pantry staples. Once we were finished with it, I took the brie and turned it into Pastry-Wrapped Cranberry Baked Brie. We had already started sampling it when I decided I should take a photo.

p.s. – In case you were wondering, yes, once again I am typing this with an infant sleeping on me. She’s so cute and cuddly that I don’t even care that I have to contort myself to balance both her and my laptop at the same time! I really am enjoying this mom thing.

Next Post: Tex-Mex Potato Wedges? Or Cherry & Vanilla Oreo Mini Cheesecakes? Mmm…comfort food at its finest!

Linking Up at Full Plate Thursday!

No Fail Chicken Noodle Soup: A Great Recipe for Both Beginner Cooks AND Experienced Foodies!

This is some ‘soup-er’ tasty soup!

My very sweet mother-in-law has been staying with us for a few weeks, to spend some time with her new grandbaby. Unfortunately she isn’t in the best health, so I’ve been trying to make nourishing meals that also pique her appetite. One day she really wasn’t feeling well, due to the side effects of the drugs that she is on, so I decided to make some chicken noodle soup. I mean, that’s the ultimate food to feed someone who is ill, right? And that’s why I came up with the recipe for my No Fail Chicken Noodle Soup!

It’s such an easy recipe, that you can make it while caring for a newborn. You can be a beginner cook or an experienced foodie and either way, you’ll love the recipe! Usually I serve soups with different types of quick breads. Case in point, the day I wrote this post I served an Irish Soda Bread with the Lentil and Bean Soup that I made for dinner. But this No Fail Chicken Noodle Soup doesn’t need an addition, since it has such a lovely flavoured broth, combined with shredded pieces of real chicken, chunks of carrots and celery, and delicious egg noodles.

After I served this soup to my mother-in-law, she perked up! She told my husband that it “brought her back”, and indeed she no longer had to lie on the sofa as she had all day, but was able to sit up and interact with the baby. Warm, comforting, nourishing, and easy to make — what else can you ask from a soup?

So, shall we make a batch?

 

No Fail Chicken Noodle Soup

This nutritious soup is full of flavour, and bonus, easy to make!

Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken thighs (or equivalent in chicken meat)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. celery, chopped (I used frozen)
  • 2 c. carrots, chopped into coins (I used frozen)
  • 2 tbsp parsley, dried
  • 3 cubes bouillon
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 c. egg noodles, uncooked
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot, fry chicken in butter until golden brown on the outside.

  2. Add all other ingredients, except for egg noodles, and bring to a boil. 

  3. Reduce heat, but keep at a low boil, for 30 minutes. 

  4. Remove chicken, shred using two forks, and add back into soup. 

  5. Add noodles, reduce heat to medium low, and boil for 10 more minutes, or until noodles are tender. Serve and enjoy! 

 

The soup freezes well so you can make a large batch, eat some for dinner, and then freeze the rest for another day or the next time you come down with a nasty cold. Or give some away! I mean, who isn’t impressed with homemade chicken noodle soup? I won’t tell anyone how easy it is to make, if you don’t! 🙂

Next Post: I’ve been toying with the idea of making a tofu version of the Lemon Chicken Schnitzel that I grew up with. What do you guys think? Would you be interested in that? Or maybe Tex-Mex Potato Wedges? 

Linking up at The Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

Shortbread Crumble Apple Pie, a Bonus Vegan Version, and my Christmas Baking Plans

I want this pie…now! *drools*

A few weeks ago it was my father’s birthday, and as he always requests an apple pie instead of cake, that’s what I baked. But I love trying new things in the kitchen (plus one of my sisters is dairy-free) so I baked a Shortbread Crumble Apple Pie, instead of my Ultimate Caramel Crumb Apple Pie. I’ll share the recipe for a version of the pie with butter, but if you’re vegan (or dairy-free), just replace the butter with shortening, like I did for my dad’s birthday pie.

I always prefer a crust make with shortening AND butter, as shortening gives it that flaky texture (as does vinegar or vodka), but butter gives it that flavour that I love. But like I said, either fat is fine — you do you, boo!

Now, let’s get into the recipe, and then I’ll tell you all about my Christmas/holiday baking plans! (Oh, funny story, one of my sisters has been coming over to our place a lot to help with the baby recently, and has taken to sticking her head in the fridge to see what yummy things I’ve been making. I’ve had to warn her off certain things: “Don’t eat the fruitcake, I’m aging it for Christmas. And don’t eat the candy cane bark, that’s for some hostess gifts. Oh, and the butter cookies are for baby’s pediatrician, and the chocolate-covered oreos are for my cookie tins….” She deliberately doesn’t keep a lot of sweets at her place, so it’s temptation city when she comes over to my place. I ended up giving her a bag of Danish butter cookies. They did not last 12 hours. Is she my sister or what?)

So, pie. Let’s!

 

Apple Pie with Shortbread Crumble

This apple pie can be made vegan or not, as you can use butter or vegetable shortening in the crust. I like the butter version best, but the vegan version is also sure to be a hit! I mean...pie! 

Servings 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • pinch clove and nutmeg, each
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 10 apples
  • 1 pie crust recipe (link in recipe notes)

Instructions

  1. Mix first three ingredients together to form the shortbread crumble. The mixture should be slightly crumby. You can mix it together with a fork, a pie crust mixer, or your fingers (I've done all three). 

  2. Peel, core, and slice the apples, and mix with the remaining ingredients together (except for the dough, obvs). 

  3. Roll out the dough to line a pie plate. I like to crimp the edges, but you can also use the tines on a fork to make an impression on the edges. 

  4. Pour the seasoned apple mixture into the pie plate, mounding in the middle. 

  5. Sprinkle the shortbread crumble mixture on top. 

  6. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 60 minutes. The pie is done when the apples are forkably soft, and the crust is golden brown. Let cool slightly and enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

I always recommend this pie crust recipe -- you can replace the vodka with vinegar if you want, but...why? 🙂

Welp, it’s that time of year, when my baking ramps up along with my waistline, as I think of and try to bake All The (Yummy) Things. This year my baking is a little scaled back, what with a new baby and all, but I’m still managing to get in some delicious things. I made my usual White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark, several iterations of Ginger Cookies (vegan and low-gluten), plus Fruitcake, and Danish Butter Cookies. I still have lots of candy canes left, so I might try baking a batch of Candy Cane Redux Cookies. And I’m thinking of making some Lemon Meringue Tartlets to celebrate the New Year with. And possibly some Chocolate Chunk Whipped Shortbread to go with it. But this is all assuming baby develops a napping schedule and lets me get some baking in! Because this new mummy wants to get some eating in! Actually, just like last week, I’m typing this while baby is napping on me. Parent life, amirite?

p.s. – I was just googling some of my past Christmas/holiday-themed recipes, and came across my Peppermint Patties recipe. OMG, I totally have to make that one soon! I recommend it HIGHLY! Much easier than you’d think!

Next Post: I’m thinking I’ll share my Chicken Noodle Soup recipe. I’ve made it into a super-easy version, so that even a beginner cook can make it. 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!

Chocolate Caramel Ginger Cookies: The Perfect Cookie Mouthful

These cookies are special, as they have both a fresh gingery bite, and a chocolate caramel kiss!

Last year I made Gingersnap Cookies, and used both powdered ginger and fresh ginger in the recipe — it had a delicious bite to it! This year I decided to up the ante, and added chocolate kisses. But I used caramel filled chocolate kisses, just to make it that much more special! The result? Chocolate Caramel Ginger Cookies!

The cookies themselves have no refined sugars, as the recipe calls for molasses and maple syrup as sweeteners, so the chocolate caramel kisses add just the perfect amount of sweetness to make the cookies a treat as opposed to an everyday sort of cookie. I used black strap molasses as that is what I had in the house, plus it’s higher in iron than regular molasses, so why not?

Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

5 from 1 vote
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Chocolate Caramel Ginger Cookies

These cookies take a spicy gingersnap cookie and up the ante by adding in chocolate caramel kisses to make them even more special!

Servings 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking poweder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamon, and cloves, each
  • 3/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 3 tbsp. blackstrap molasses
  • 3 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 30 chocolate caramel kisses

Instructions

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix all wet ingredients together, and then add to dry ingredients and stir until fully mixed. 

  2. Roll into small balls and place on a silicone sheet on a baking tray. Press an unwrapped chocolate caramel kiss in the centre of the cookie dough. 

  3. Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 12 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookie is lightly golden. 

  4. Remove to a cooling rack, let cool, and enjoy! 

I baked these cookies to give away in cookie tins as Christmas gifts and/or hostess gifts, but after giving away a few tins…I have to confess I ate the rest, in the wee hours of the morning when the baby was particularly fussy and I wanted some sugar. Actually, as I type this, the baby is sleeping on my chest (and I’m slightly contorted trying to type and keep the baby balanced. New motherhood, eh?). Given that the only refined sugar is in the chocolate kisses, and the rest of the cookie is pretty healthy, I’m ok with eating a few cookies during the witching hour!

When do you crave cookies the most? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Shortbread Crumble Apple Pie, or Easy Peasy Chicken Noodle Soup. One or the other!

Linking Up at Full Plate Thursday!