August 25, 2009

hummus & baked pita chips

hummus & baked pita chips

I've tried all sorts of hummus. I find some are too lemony in taste. Some too garlicky or not enough. Others, too much tahini and some just don't have the amount of salt I prefer. I tend to add more salt than stated in the below recipe.

I think I'm the only one who doesn't add oil to my hummus. Many recipes do but I figure the tahini has enough oils so I don't bother. The taste comes out fine and lasts just as long as other hummus.

Tahini is a sesame seed butter. Very popular in middle eastern cultures. You can find it in specialty stores or some local grocery stores and even in the health food aisle (though I find it a lot more expensive at the health food stores).


For those of you who like to cook your own chickpeas instead of using canned versions, I find that this recipe works just as well. Enjoy!


makes about 2 cups

1 - 19 oz can (540mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt or more to taste

Process all the above in a food processor until smooth. I prefer to then put it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight to enhance the flavors.

Garnish with toasted pine nuts or toasted chickpeas and cilantro, if you wish.

baked pita chips

Cut up pita circles into small triangles and place into a bowl. Mix up the pita chips with a light drizzle of oil and either salt or garlic salt.

Place pita chips onto baking sheet. Broil in the oven, for two minutes on each side until the pitas turn golden brown and crisp. Serve.


August 21, 2009

double chocolate & butterscotch chip cookies

double chocolate & butterscotch chip cookies

Sometimes I crave a chocolate chip cookie. Melted chips within a soft cookie with crispy edges. That seems like heaven. I feel like I'm salivating just typing that.

I came upon this recipe for triple chocolate chip cookies but unfortunately lacked that third chocolate (ie: white chocolate) but I had some butterscotch chips in the pantry. They worked out well.

Satisfying recipe for the little cookie monster in you. Don't forget the milk!


double chocolate & butterscotch chip cookies
makes 30 cookies

1.25 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips

Mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter, brown and granulated sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well blended. Slowly add dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated. Mix in all the chocolate and butterscotch chips.

Drop by heaping spoonful onto prepared baking sheet, ensuring enough space between each cookie, as they spread.

Bake cookies at 350F for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from: Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies, Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking.

August 19, 2009

carrot spice cupcakes with cream cheese icing

carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing

Life is a bit busy around here, thus the lack of posting. I can't promise that I'm going to be in a regular posting routine for the next while either.

Our bathroom renovation is near completion (we are awaiting for some extra specialty tile to come in to finish it up) and we were busy getting ready for house guests from Germany visiting. We're still dealing with our insurance about fixing up our home after the crazy windstorm that knocked down our 50+ year old spruce tree. Just when I think life will calm down, back to school craziness will start up. I guess that's life for you.

I forgot about these cupcakes! I made them for my children's preschool graduation party. (yes, that was months ago!)

carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing 2

I omitted the nuts and instead made them into mini-size cupcakes. They were a hit but anything that's colorful is a hit with children, if you ask me. I tend to make lots of goodies either in the colors pink or purple and green, as these are the favorite colors of my children.

The recipe was tasty. I especially liked that it was full of carrots. Made it feel like kids were getting a healthy choice (alongside the sugary icing!) A good healthier alternative to the usual plain white cupcake.


carrot spice cupcakes
makes 12 regular size cupcakes

2 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp each cinnamon and ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Beat eggs with brown sugar in a bowl. Beat in oil and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powders & soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until moistened. Stir in carrots, cconut, raisins and walnuts, if using. Spoon into greased muffin cups or paper lined muffin cups.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and let cool before icing.

cream cheese icing
makes enough for 12 cupcakes

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups icing sugar

Beat cream cheese with butter and add in vanilla. Beat in icing sugar in 2 additions until smooth.

Recipes from: Carrot Spice Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Icing, Canadian Living May 2009 Magazine Issue.

August 11, 2009

Summerland Sweets Store & Sleeping Giant Winery



That's what you are surrounded by when you drive up to the Summerland Sweets Store and Sleeping Giant Winery.

Surrounded by a beautiful orchard, trees full of cherries for as far as the eye can see.

summerland sweets store & sleeping giant winery

I was like a kid in the candy store. Syrups, jams, jellies, fruit leathers, flavored honey, candies, and all sorts of wines and ice wines. I picked up a small assortment of goodies that I will enjoy all winter long.

jams & wine goodies

Ahhhh, a taste of summer, right in a jar.


Summerland Sweets Store & Sleeping Giant Winery
6206 Canyon View Road
Summerland, British Columbia
V0H 1Z7

August 4, 2009

Glenoka Bed and Breakfast

We headed off to our vacation in Summerland, British Columbia.

Pears & Plums

And I just HAVE to mention the wonderful B&B we stayed at while we were there. When I viewed Glenoka Bed and Breakfast online, it looked charming and sounded like a place that the whole family would enjoy. The B&B is on a hobby farm, with an orchard of plums, pears and cherries, grapes and more. They also have cows and chickens that entertained the kids everyday. Ok, I'll admit, it entertained me too. I love animals.

Glenoka B&B animals

We stayed in the Plum room and we had more than enough space for all of us. The rooms were immaculate and the breakfasts each morning were so very good. We enjoyed amazing food: poached eggs, fresh fruit, granola, local yogurt, sausages and bacon, right on the outdoor balcony. I salivate just thinking of the wonderful breakfasts we enjoyed each morning we were there.

We walked to the beach which was 5 minutes away. It had a spray park, great playground and picnic tables as well as bathroom facility.

Elsa and Brian, our hosts, were so wonderful. We had many conversations with them and they really made our stay a great experience. We were so sad to go. I can very much seeing returning to Glenoka B&B, but for a much longer stay next time.


Glenoka B&B
6702 Beggs St.
Summerland, BC
V0H 1Z6

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