Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Marble Bundt Cake

Happy Halloween! Here's a Halloween(ish) cake... you know, because it's orange and "black"...
Know why I love Halloween? Because once it's out of the way, the next holiday is Christmas! And because it provides ample opportunity to make fun and spooky twists on treats.

I've had trouble finding a marble cake that didn't suck. Normally the chocolate half ended up too dry, crumbly, or dense in comparison to the vanilla. But I think I've found a winner! The texture of this cake is consistent and delicious, and the glaze is the perfect complement, without making the cake too heavy or rich.
What's did you dress up as for Halloween this year?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blueberry Banana Pancakes with Maple Butter

A deep Fall has settled in Vancouver, and I can finally feel Winter coming on. The mountains, when not shrouded in fog, are covered with a light dusting of snow. The grass is crunchy with frost in the morning. And my hands hurt like hell when I have to pump gas. It's all left me wanting to curl up in the mornings with tea and a warm, hearty breakfast.

I made maple butter the other day. It's unfortunately not the maple cream variety-- the one made by heating and cooling syrup until it reaches a creamy, spreadable consistency-- but rather maple syrup that's heated to 240F, and mixed with butter. The result is a smooth, buttery, maple spread that makes pancakes, cornbread, muffins, bacon, everything, absolutely wonderful.

(Yes; I just admitted I spread what is essentially butter on bacon. Moving right along...)

It was perfect spread over these blueberry banana pancakes, fresh off the griddle and sprinkled with berries and warm syrup. The boy and I finished far too many, curled up under blankets on the couch, enjoying a lazy fall morning, and are sure to do the same thing tomorrow morning.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

These cookies grew out of an old dream, and a new desperation to fulfill it.
I've been wanting to put pretzels and chocolate chips into a cookie forever. (I dream big). But buying pretzels was never on the top of my to-do list, and I never saw any in public or private that I could horde to bring home and bake with.

Then the boy turned 5 on the 13th (still in shock my baby is 5!), and I had a bunch of leftover snacks from his party. While I took care of seeing that all the Cheezies and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were gone in record time, the pretzels were lagging a bit behind, and I didn't have a spot in my cupboard to store the giant bag. I think you see where this is headed...
Anyway, they turned out amazing! The salt gives them a good edge, and cuts down on the sweetness of the chocolate. Now I'm trying to think up other ways to use a couple more cups of pretzels. Pie crust? Brownies?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cheesy, Spicy Kale Chips

Parmesan cheese, chipotle chile pepper, and kale. The perfect afternoon snack.
Potato chips are not often welcome in my home. Cakes, cookies, vodka: all things that can hang out on my counter and last for a few days. But not chips. I have no will power when it comes to chips.

Fortunately, I've found a healthy replacement. That I've smothered in oil and cheese...

Kale chips were introduced to me by my friend Tara, who is always making delicious things and never giving us the recipes. She made a variation of these during a clothes exchange at my place in late summer, and I've been hooked ever since! 
There are so many ways to make kale chips, I can't wait to try new variations. How do you make yours?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Easy Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce so easy my 5 year old made it.

The boy was cranberry obsessed this past week. "DID YOU KNOW CRANBERRIES GROW IN FIELDS AND FARMERS FLOOD THE FIELDS AND THE BERRIES FLOAT?!", he’d yell at me from his car seat on the way home, with his distinct lack of volume control. Every day there was a new little cranberry factoid he couldn’t shout loud enough about. I chalked it up to either they were spending a disproportionate amount of time learning about Thanksgiving condiments and side dishes in Kindergarten, or his paternal side’s cranberry farming genetics were starting to burst through in weird, uncontrollable spurts.

Then on Friday he came flailing out of his classroom and shoved this adorable little jar of cranberry sauce into my face. Mystery cranberry obsession solved.

I am thankful to have such an exuberant little guy, who is beyond excited for us to share in trying the cranberry sauce he made tonight during our Thanksgiving dinner. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, whether you celebrated Thanksgiving or not!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Red Pepper Soup

Happy October!

I love Fall.

Fall means warm clothes, jeans, and sweaters. It means boots and umbrellas (okay, every season means boots and umbrellas in Vancouver, but still). It means tucking away my self-tanner (and my razor!) and not smelling like a chemical-laden tropical smoothie while I try to figure out which looks worse: eerily pale or unnaturally streaked thighs.

But almost best of all, it means soup! I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and fell in love. I ended up halving the recipe for the boy and me, and cutting down the onion, and it was the perfect amount to keep us fed for a few days. The boy liked it best with croutons, and I liked to dip bread in mine. We're a carb family.

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