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Skittles-Flavoured Tutti-Frutti Popcorn! (w/ Bonus VEGAN Version!)

A rainbow of flavour in every bowl! That’s what I’m talking ’bout!

How did I come up with this TUTTI-FRUTTI POPCORN recipe? Well, when I was younger I used to love the multi-coloured and multi-flavoured popcorn one could buy at the popcorn store in the local mall. My sisters and I would buy it as a gift for each other on birthdays. Somewhere along the line, I stopped eating it, why I don’t know. (Adulthood, maybe? Eh.) Then last week someone gave me a whole bunch of skittles packages and I was trying to figure out how to use them. Suddenly it hit me…I could make TUTTI-FRUTTI POPCORN at home! Childhood regained!

This TUTTI-FRUTTI popcorn reminds me of the double-glazed kind I would buy at the local popcorn shop, glossily glazed in mouth-watering sweetness, yet with a hint of tartness and lots of crunch. One batch is just enough for a v. indulgent Netflix binge-watching session for one, or perhaps a couch and movie night for two.

Have I piqued your interest yet? Let’s get to making some!

TUTTI-FRUTTI POPCORN 

  • 10-12 c. popped popcorn (about 1/2 c. unpopped + 1/4 c. oil)
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. butter plus 5 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ c. corn syrup
  • 7 regular-sized packs of skittles (or approx.. 1/3 c. skittles of each flavour)
  1. Melt and mix brown sugar, corn syrup, and ½ c. butter over medium to high heat and stir until boiling. A light sauce will form (as opposed to butter running separate from sugar. You’ll know what I mean when you see it). Continue stirring caramel sauce and let it boil until it has become a slightly thicker caramel sauce.
  2. Put 1/5th of the caramel mixture in a separate pot and add in one flavour of skittles plus one tbsp. butter. Stir over medium heat until skittles have dissolved into the caramel and it has become a homogenous sauce (it will take a bunch of continuous stirring and smushing of the skittles). Stir in 2 c. of popcorn, until thoroughly coated, and spread on a half a cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven. Do the same with the remaining 4 flavours, one at a time.
  3. You’ll end up with two cookie trays in the oven, one with two flavours of popcorn on it, and one with three flavours of popcorn on it. Every time you add one of the 5 flavours of popcorn to the oven, stir the other colours to re-coat with flavoured sauce (it has a tendency to melt off). Be sure to keep the flavours of popcorn separate on the trays.
  4. Once all the flavours are made, bake both trays in the oven at 250 degrees, for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie trays. Once cool, break up any chunks that have formed, and mix together in a large serving bowl. Then…dive in! Try each flavour separately, then try them together! You really can taste the separate flavours. Yum-o!

Often I bake and cook and bring in my creations to my workplace, or send it in with the DH to his, but this? This popcorn is all mine, my friends!  I’ll be honest, the process is a bit finicky to do with all the different flavours, but the final result is worth it.

Yum, yum, YUM! (Is all I have to say.)

BONUS VERSION: If you use a vegan margarine instead of butter, it’s…VEGAN because skittles are vegan. (Did you know that? I didn’t until recently.) Impress your vegan friends and be the life of the vegan party. Or just eat it because something this delicious will probably not make it out your door, just sayin’!

NEXT POST: I’m thinking either Cinnamon Swirl Bread (yes, I’m all about the swirl lately) or maybe something with veggies. I could do with some nice green veggies right about now! Mmm…nutrients. Veggies may not sound delicious when compared to candy-covered popcorn, but I always feel better after eating a veggie-based meal, and that sense of well-being and vitality is just as great as a bowl full of candy popcorn. (Yea or nea? Let me know in the comments!)

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday (x2) and at Happiness is Homemade! And at Full Plate Thursday! Plus, at Southern Bite!

No Churn Rum Raisin Ice Cream & How to Use Up Leftover Condensed Milk

Lusciously creamy and rum-filled and so very food coma worthy!

If you’re like me, you’re forever opening up cans of condensed milk, using a bit in a recipe, and sticking the opened can in the fridge, whereupon you forget about it, only to toss it out when you find it weeks (or months!) down the line. Today’s recipe gives you a way to use up that half-used can of condensed milk…by turning it into super-duper delicious Rum Raisin Ice Cream!

And because I have better things to do with my time than churn ice cream, this is a no churn recipe! That’s right, you just mix it up, freeze it, and eat it! <– the best part, obviously!

I took my (gluten-free) Chunks o’ Brownie Ice Cream recipe, and tweaked it, subtracting the brownies, and adding in raisins and additional flavouring. The result? Uber-creamy, and lusciously rich rum ice cream, studded with plump, alcohol-soaked raisins. My mouth is watering just typing this!

Want to make some yourself? It’s so easy!

No Churn Rum Raisin Ice Cream

  • 1/3 c. raisins
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 1/2 can condensed milk
  • 2 tsp. rum raisin flavoured liqueur  
  • 2 tsp. rum

Soak raisins in rum & rum raisin liqueur until super-plump (this may take a few hours). In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream until stiff-ish peaks form. Carefully stir in the condensed milk, raisins, and the rum/liqueur mixture that the raisins had soaked in. Spread in a loaf pan or custard cup and freeze for several hours or until firm. Once frozen, be sure to seal tightly with plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. Scoop and enjoy!

Creamy and scoopable and yes, please, I’ll have some more!

If you don’t have rum raisin flavoured liqueur, no biggie; just add in more rum! No one will complain about extra rum in their ice cream, trust me!

This ice cream is super-delicious all on it’s own, but I think it would be fantastic served on top of my Ultimate Caramel Apple Pie or Harvest Apple Crumble! And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat some more ice cream!

Next Post: Easy Enchiladas, Vegetarian-Style!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Happiness is Homemade! And again at Meal Plan Monday!

Pesto & Portobello Mushroom Pasta Bake and Why I Took Dinner Away From My Husband

I’m about to dive fork first into this dish, but held off just long enough to snap a photo for you, my dear reader! (I know. I’m all heart.)

I went camping last weekend, and boy did we eat well! After the whole Amazon-bought-Whole-Foods news bite recently, the DH went shopping at Whole Foods to see what the furor was about, and bought most of our camping food there. (As I said, we ate well.) There were some Portobello mushrooms that he had picked up, all nice and juicy plump, and he grilled some of them on the camping trip, along with the steaks he bought (and grilled them just plain for me, his beloved vegetarian spouse) but there were still a couple mushrooms left after the trip. What to do with these high caliber morsels of mushroom heaven? Fry ’em up and toss them in my next pasta bake!

Sound boring? Not at all! I picked some basil from my balcony garden, added it to some frozen pesto I had made a few months ago (made using almonds instead of pine nuts because that was what I had in my cupboard), tossed it with some pasta, added in the mushrooms after frying them to an aromatic buttery golden colour, topped it with homemade breadcrumbs and aged white cheddar, and voila, a lovely casserole! So, so, SO good!

This dish is worth making again and again! Sophisticated enough for an adult dinner, but easy enough for a family meal with kids. The Portobello mushrooms add a nice meaty flavour and texture, and who doesn’t love a cheesy crunchy topping?

Want to duplicate the dish? Let’s!

Close up of the veggie cheesy pasta nom-nom-nom-ness

Pesto & Portobello Mushroom Pasta Bake

  • 1/2 c. pesto
  • 10 basil leaves, fresh, chopped
  • 5 cups cooked small shell pasta (I also think orecchiette pasta would be fabulous in this dish!)
  • 3/4 c. crumbled aged white cheddar
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c. butter, divided into 1/4 c. measurements
  • 2 large Portobello mushrooms

Fry (it’s actually a combination of frying and toasting) the breadcrumbs in 1/4 c. butter. Set aside.

Chop the mushrooms into large chunks, and fry in 1/4 c. butter, until golden and the juices have reduced. Toss the mushrooms (including any juices in the pan) with the cooked pasta, pesto, and fresh basil. Dump this mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle the crumbled cheddar on top, and top it all with the toasted crumbs. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted, and the crumb topping is uniformly golden and crispy.

Serve, and be prepared for everyone to ask for second helpings!

This pasta bake was so good that the DH said (and I quote) “Get it away from me or I’ll eat it all!” (I do so love when my sweetie appreciates my cooking!) Make this for your friends/family/work lunches and let me know what feedback you get! It’s a seriously yummy dish!

Next Post: It’s Nanaimo bar time, my friends! But chocolate-ified, because, well, chocolate! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!

Vegan Peach Galette – Plus Why I Put Bread in My Pie

Ready for the eating! The crust isn’t the expected golden brown, because there isn’t any butter in the dough, just shortening. Hence the vegan title!

I attended a potluck BBQ thrown by a friend recently, and as she is vegan, I wanted to bring something that she could eat. Also, I wanted to bake because I love baking. And sugar. And I had a bowlful of peaches in the house. And that’s how my peach pie was born!

Except that I made the rustic French version of a pie, a galette. It’s…wait for it…easy as pie (ba da dum!) except easier, because you don’t have to worry about shaping the pie all purdy like. You just roll out that dough, slap in some filling, pull up the edges, and shove the thing in the oven. How’s that for easy?

Let’s make some!

VEGAN PEACH GALETTE

  • 1 batch pie crust, but made with only vegetable shortening (I used my regular dough recipe, and whole wheat flour)
  • 5 peaches (free-stone, because it’s easier to slice for display)
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch each nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • ¼ c. bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. large sugar crystals

Make dough and chill in fridge for at least an hour.

Cut peaches into sixths, place in a bowl, and add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, corn starch, and brown sugar. Stir until combined.

Roll out dough on a silicone liner (or wherever and then transfer to a cookie tray) into a round shape. Place silicone liner on cookie tray. Spread bread crumbs in centre of dough, leaving 2 cm bare around the edge of the circle.

Place fruit wedges in a pretty design on top of the bread crumbs. Then gently pull up edges of dough and fold in on the filling. Sprinkle the sugar crystals on the edges of the dough, and a few in the centre.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the pie crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Crust with crumbs, ready and waiting for the peach filling!

BREAD CRUMBS? HUH?: The fruit in your galette will be nice and juicy, but too juicy will mean soggy crust and a galette that falls apart or worse, doesn’t bake properly. The corn starch will help thicken up the fruit juices, and make the galette less soggy. And the bread crumbs also absorb all those luscious fruit juices, preventing your galette from being a soggy mess! You won’t be able to see the bread crumbs in your galette once it’s baked, don’t worry. Bread crumbs in pie. Who’d a thunk it?

I’m happy to say that the galette was happily received! And happily eaten, with friends. The best way to eat a pie, yes?

Next Post: Erm, I dunno. Imma gonna think on that and get back to you, ‘kay ?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And Full Plate Thursday!

Easy Hot Cross Buns & How I Avoid Getting Bored During Baking

Hot Cross Buns, looking good, and swiftly consumed!

Growing up, my mother made hot cross buns each year at Easter, and gave some to all our neighbours. It was a lovely tradition, and I remember little Margaret kneeling on the kitchen chair, trying to help stir the dough. And by help stir the dough, I mean eat the candied fruit. (Apparently my sweet tooth was prominent at an early age!)

I don’t normally make a lot of fancy-ish breads, because I find waiting for the dough to rise such a pain (Patience? Me? Ha!) but in this case, I mixed up the dough and left it to rise while I went for a walk with the DH and my sister. Then I came back and let it rise for the second time while I made dinner. I baked it during dinner, and then was able to eat it for dessert! Now that’s my kind of baking!

A lot of fancy-ish breads (that’s the technical term, doncha know?) are what are called ‘enriched’, which just means that they have more butter/oil, milk, and eggs in them. I decided to start with my basic pizza dough recipe (Easiest Pizza Dough in the History of Ever) and enrich it with milk, a dollop of butter, and some eggs. And whadya know, it turned out fantastic!

I think my goal of making an easy, no-fuss hot cross bun recipe was achieved! Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

Easy Hot Cross Buns

Dough

  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1 c. warm to hot milk (not boiling, but not lukewarm)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter, cooled
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. dried candied fruit
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Icing

  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 c. icing sugar

Mix yeast and milk and let sit until foamy, about 15 minutes. In a mixer (or by hand), mix in remaining ingredients, except for raisins, candied fruit, and one egg, until dough forms. Then mix in raisins and candied fruit.  Let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until dough is doubled in size.

Punch down dough, and cut into 12 pieces. Form each piece into a ball, and place on a greased cookie tray, or silicone mat. Let rise again, until doubled in size.

Beat the remaining egg, and brush it on the tops of the buns. This will give the buns the characteristic golden-brown crust. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until buns sound hollow when you knock on the bottom of one.

Let cool. Mixing icing sugar and lemon juice together, and drizzle on buns in a cross shape. Eat! And delight in your deliciously fruity buns! (Hmm. Perhaps I should rework that last sentence.) Point is, they’re yummy!

Balls of dough, yo!

I realized after I made these, that I forgot to add in the spices (the cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon). I told my mom.

My mum: “Slight oversight, Margaret!”

Margaret: “Um, no, the candied fruit is the most important part!”

I guess I haven’t changed that much since I was little; once a sweet tooth, always a sweet tooth!

Next Post: Maybe some Easter cookies? I’m actually off to bake cookies with the son of a friend right now!

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday, Happiness is Homemade, and Inspire Me Monday!