Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

Halloween is finally over and my kids managed to collect way too much candy as usual!  So I thought that I would turn some of that leftover candy into something a little more special!

I found this recipe on the net and am planning to try it out next week but thought that I’d share it with you just in case one of you out there would like to try it out too!

Doesn’t it look Yummy?

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup assorted Halloween candy, roughly chopped
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over the sides. Coat the paper with cooking spray.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the melted butter with the sugar and light brown sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and stir in the flour and salt just until incorporated. Stir in 1/2 cup of the assorted Halloween candy.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top, then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Halloween candy over the top of the batter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let the pan cool completely then remove the blondies using the parchment paper overhang, cut into 16 squares and serve.

Note: This is the exact recipe that I got from the site, however, I think that I am going to only put 1/2 or 3/4 cup of sugar instead of the 1/2 cup of white sugar plus 1 cup of brown! I would also add 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and only 1/4 teaspoon salt instead of the 1 1/2 tsp!… Finally, I think with my oven I might have to put it a bit longer… maybe an hour? let’s see!!

Source: Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

Barefoot Contessa’s Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons

Its the perfect weather for soups… I tried this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa today it was really delicious

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I must admit that I did a few changes to the recipe!!….! I left it to boil for a bit longer… I added 1 Tbsp of olive oil instead of 3!!! …and I also added my mixed Italian dried herbs that I love so much.

Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons (Serves 4 to 6)

3 tablespoons good olive oil 
3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions) 
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves) 
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano 
Large pinch of saffron threads 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
½ cup orzo 
½ cup heavy cream 
Grilled Cheese Croutons (recipe follows) 

In a large pot or Dutch oven such as Le Creuset, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. 

Serve hot with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered top. 

GRILLED CHEESE CROUTONS 
Serves 4 to 6 

4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated 

Heat a panini grill. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter, being sure to butter the corners. Turn the slices over and pile Gruyere on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the Gruyere, buttered sides up. 

Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute, and cut into 1-inch cubes. 

Recipe via Barefoot Contessa 

Homemade Cheese Straws

I’ve tried these Parmigiano cheese straws. Not only they’re super easy to make… but they make wonderful hors d’oevres because they are the first thing guests go for 😉


Here is the recipe:

Homemade Cheese Straws {Makes about 3 Dozen}

Ingredients
* All-purpose flour, for work surface
* Puff Pastry
* 12 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated medium-fine (about 4 cups)
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* Coarse salt

Directions
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry dough to a 9-by-20-inch rectangle.

2. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese over center of dough. Starting at the near short end, fold dough into thirds, enclosing cheese.

3. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 1 hour. Repeat. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate at least 4 hours or you can even leave it overnight.

4. Cut dough in half; wrap half in plastic, and refrigerate. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough to a 12-by-15-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. (Do not press too hard on edges.)

5. Using a pastry brush, dust off excess flour; brush beaten egg over dough until well moistened. Sprinkle 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cheese and a pinch of salt over the lower half of dough. Fold top half over cheese-covered half. Gently press to seal. Brush top of dough with beaten egg; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cheese and a pinch of salt.

6. Trim dough to 12 by 6 1/2 inches with a pastry wheel or knife. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough, cheese, and salt.

7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a pastry wheel, cut dough into 3/8-by-12-inch strips; twist into spirals. Space 1/2 inch apart on baking sheets. Press ends onto sheets to prevent straws from straightening. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.

8. Bake until golden and cooked through, about 18 minutes. Loosen straws from sheets with a thin spatula; transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 day.

The recipe makes it looks more complicating than it actually is. I promise once you start it is super easy.

Via Everything Fabulous

Parmesan Fennel Shortbread

I have been craving those Parmesan Fennel Shortbreads for a while!…They have a quite complex taste: mildly cheesy, slightly sweet and savoury from the crunch of salt and fennel seeds… It’s my favorite thing to have at tea time!

PARMESAN SHORTBREAD WITH FENNEL AND SEA SALT

Makes: 20 mini shortbreads

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

2 tablespoon powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

pinch of salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan

1/4 tablespoon crushed fennel seeds

1/2 tablespoon Maldon sea salt

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F

Cream the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the salt and pepper and continue to cream until light and fluffy. Add the flour and parmesan and mix just until dough comes together.

Shape the dough into a rectangle and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill until firm. When firm, remove from the fridge and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4″ thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters or slice into rectangles. Arrange cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush cookies generously with oil and sprinkle with crushed fennel and sea salt.

Bake, rotating halfway through until cookies are golden brown, about 20-24 minutes. Let cool on sheet for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pictures and Recipe via  i am a food blog.

Ramadan Recipe: Banoffee Pie

Thought I would share a recipe that I am trying out today for Iftar!… I just love Banoffee Pies and am hoping that this recipe would be the one for me…. and you 😉
  • BANOFFEE PIE

    Serves 8

    Ingredients

    CRUST

    9 oz / 280 g graham crackers or Marie or digestive biscuits
    1 stick / 150 g butter, melted

    TOFFEE SAUCE

    ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
    1 14-oz / 395 g  can sweetened condensed milk
    1 stick / 125 g butter

    Method

    To make the crust

    1. Line the bottom of a 9-inch / 22-23 cm springform pan with parchment paper.
    2. Chop the graham crackers in a food processor until they are finely ground.
    3. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and process to blend well. The crumbs should stick together when pressed.
    4. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and 1½ inches / 3 ½ cm up the sides of the springform pan. Refrigerate.

    To make the toffee sauce

    1. Place a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Combine the sugar and 3 tablespoons of water in a medium heavy saucepan.
    2. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil without stirring until the color is deep amber, occasionally swirling the pan and brushing down the sides with a pastry brush dipped into water, about 5 minutes.
    3. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and butter. Continue stirring for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
    4. Remove the toffee sauce from the heat and spread 1 cup of the sauce over the prepared crust and refrigerate for about 1 hour or until the toffee is semi-firm.
    5. Keep the remaining toffee sauce at room temperature.

    To fill the pie

    1. Using an electric mixer beat the cream in a large bowl until thick and very soft billowy peaks form.
    2. Very thinly slice 3 of the bananas into discs.
    3. Fold the sliced bananas into the softly whipped cream and spoon into the prepared pie crust.
    4. Slice the remaining bananas and arrange them decoratively over the pie.
    5. Re-warm the remaining toffee sauce gently over low heat.
    6. Drizzle some of the sauce decoratively over the pie. If the sauce has thickened too much to drizzle, stir a few tablespoons of milk into the sauce to create a thinner consistency.
    7. Cut the pie into wedges and transfer to plates.
    8. Drizzle each pie wedge with more sauce and serve.

Let me know if you try this recipe out! 😉

Recipe and picture via Curtis Stone 

Book Of The Week: In Search of Perfection

Ramadan is just around the corner for us … So I have cooking books in mind!!!…. and am trying new recipes from various books…. This is a book I know I can never go wrong with!!!… Love his recipes and love his logic behind them!!!… Some of his recipes are beyond perfection!!!…

Via Amazon.com

THE GLOW

The GLOW is one of my favorite sites!!!… It gives a glimpse into the world of chic and fashionable moms….. I am always inspired by those women. I love some of their styling,  multitasking, and decor ideas!

I always talk about interiors and fashion here! But today I thought that I would share a few recipes that I’ve tried from them just for a change!

My kids love those salmon fish cakes but I add lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and some seasoning to the potato mix!… I also have a no frying rule in my house so we just put the fish cakes in the oven!!!

I always use this recipe during Halloween! After we carve our pumpkins I purée the pumpkin and use it for this recipe…. (and I freeze the extra purée)

Whenever bananas get ripe I make this bread… the kids love it and so does their dad! 😉

Entertaining Tips From Collin Cowie

I just love Colin!….. I mean he doesn’t just throw fabulous parties for celebrities…he lives fabulously too!!!  I have been living by his rules or Tips on how to entertain ever since he was on Oprah a few years ago!
Colin believes that there’s no better way to share in life than to invite people into your home. “I think you will agree that some of the most memorable moments in life are spent around the dinner table.” he says.

Here are 3 main tips that I think would be key to successful entertaining!!!

Be Organised:

You won’t find any junk drawers in Colin’s kitchen. Every cupboard and drawer is meticulously organized. “I can find anything I’m looking for at a moment’s notice,” he says. “It allows me to be able to entertain whenever I need. I get really turned on by keeping everything in the right place.”

Always Be Ready:

Thanks to a huge stock of dinnerware and supplies in his organised kitchen, Colin says he can throw together a dinner for 100 with an hour’s notice. He keeps 24 chickens, a dozen racks of lamb, duck breasts, frozen soups, chicken stocks and veal stocks in the freezer…and a huge variety of chilled beverages are always ready in the refrigerator….. just in case!!!… ( Now you obviously don’t have to stock up the same amount of food or drinks in your fridge… but you get the idea!!!)

Be Creative:

Colin obviously sets the most beautiful tables and I think its because he practices all the time… I mean he sets a proper table even when he dines alone at home!!!!…By arranging your table settings everyday even when you are dinning alone you get to experiment and try different table settings and that helps with coming up with some sort of creative ideas for settings!!!

Via Oprah.com.

Super Foods

Eating well is essential to all of us … Make it one of your New Year’s resolutions this year!

Wild Salmon is probably the world’s most heart healthy source of protein. It is rich in long-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids which protect heart health, inhibit inflammation, act as natural anti-depressants, increase feelings of well-being, and help keep skin young, supple and radiant.

Asparagus is one of the richest sources of rutin, a bioflavanoid which strengthens small capillaries in the skin and may help prevent broken capillaries and it contains glutathione–an abundant and essential tripeptide antioxidant found within the cells that plays a huge role in the cell’s ability to fight free-radical damage. Glutathione is our primary antioxidant defense and an effective suppressor of free radical damage.

Dark Leafy Greens are rich in the antioxidant plant pigments known as carotenoids, which enhance immune response, protect skin cells against UV radiation, and “spare” liver enzymes that neutralize carcinogens and other toxins. Their important anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory effects reduce the risk of heart disease and block sunlight-induced inflammation in the skin—which leads to wrinkles and skin cancer.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is rich in oleic acid, which is a super emollient. The essential fatty acids present in olive oil nourish the skin and provide anti-inflammatory activity. The polyphenols that are found abundantly in olive oil are extremely efficient and multi-faceted antioxidants. Polyphenols are exceptionally stable and protective. The most powerful member of the Olive Oil Polyphenol group is Hydroxytyrosol. Extremely rare, and effective in even small concentrations, this super antioxidant, anti-inflammatory has been proven to be effective in improving general health and appearance.

Green Jasmine Tea—Enjoy a cup of green tea after your meal and don’t worry about the caffeine, since a compound in green tea called theonine blocks the negative effects of caffeine, while acting as a natural mood elevator and promoting feelings of well-being. Because green tea is rich in polyphenol anti-oxidants, it can help fight inflammation and age-accelerating free radicals, protect against heart disease and cancer, boost the body’s natural defenses, and exert anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects.

Nuts and Seeds such as hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds are rich in short-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which inhibit the accumulation of fats in artery walls that promotes angina, strokes, and heart attacks. Nuts are also high in the amino acid arginine, which prompts the body to release vital hormones, stimulate sexuality, increase lean muscle mass, burn fat, lower cholesterol and boost the immune system.

Apples are unusually high in fiber, with an average of five grams. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, we need approximately 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, so one apple provides about 15 to 25 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber is known as “pectin,” and is the substance that is added to jams and jellies to make them gel. Pectin has the power to decrease the appetite for up to four hours, making it a more effective appetite suppressant than the insoluble fiber found in grains such as wheat and rye. (Oats, like apples, are also rich in soluble fiber.)

Pears offer protection from free radicals; Pears are high in both Vitamin C and copper, anti-oxidant nutrients that help prevent free radical damage to the cells. Both copper and Vitamin C also stimulates white blood cells to fight infections, and directly kills many bacteria and viruses. One medium size pear can provide about 11 percent of the daily value your body needs for Vitamin C, and almost 10 percent of the copper it needs. They also promote cardiovascular and colon health: The fiber in pears has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels. It also binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, preventing them from damaging colon cells. Pears also protect against macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in older adults and provide Vitamin B: Pears have a high concentration of folates, which make up the Vitamin B complex group. These vitamins are essential for metabolic activity and red blood cell production.

Old Fashioned Oatmeal is high in fibers that enhance weight control and discourages cardiovascular disease; the beta-glucan fiber in oats and also barley exerts beneficial anti-glycemic effects as well, helping to stabilize blood sugar.

Cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar because it stimulates insulin receptors and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates them, thereby increasing cells’ ability to use glucose. Just one gram per day (approximately ¼ to ½ teaspoon) yields a 20 percent drop in blood sugar, and reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well. Cinnamon also reduces cellular inflammation—a key age accelerator. Fun fact: The mere scent of cinnamon enhances the brain’s cognitive processing, including attention, memory, and visual-motor speed.

Omega-3 Eggs are a terrific source of protein and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. The key is to make sure you purchase eggs from cage-free chickens that are fed flax meal. Not only are they much more nutritious, they taste wonderful.

Lemons and Lemon Juice contain important phytonutrients which protect lungs, alleviate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, help prevent cancer by boosting the activity of detoxification enzymes in the liver, lower blood cholesterol levels, and inhibit cancer in human breast cells, skin, lungs, stomach, mouth, and colon cancer in laboratory animals. They also play an important role in the maintenance of elastin and the stabilization of collagen.

Berries are antioxidant and vitamin powerhouses. They contain important phytochemicals including phenolics, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and more. Blueberries also contains phytochemicals that can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the areas of brain responsible for learning and memory. Raspberries are a rich source of Vitamin C—key for collagen production and also very high in ellegic acid superior in reducing the damage caused to cells from free radicals—like blueberries they are super anti-aging foods in just about every category. All berries are superb for all organ systems including skin.

Yogurt is a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin-Vitamin B2 and iodine, Vitamin B12, pantothenic acid-Vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, protein and molybdenum. Yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures may help you to live longer, and may fortify your immune system. Research studies have shown that increased yogurt consumption, particularly in immuno-compromised populations such as the elderly, may enhance the immune response, which would in turn increase resistance to immune-related diseases.

Chickpeas are low in fat and sodium but high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol, garbanzos’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. They are also an excellent source of protein, needing only to be combined with grains such as barley or oats to provide all the amino acids necessary to make a complete protein for vegetarians who do not have other sources of protein for their meals.

Turmeric. The golden root of turmeric has been used since ancient times for both health and beauty. A superb anti-inflammatory, the active curcuminoids help even out skin tone and color and have superior cell-protective properties, helping to keep skin soft and supple while protecting against the oxidative stress that accelerates skin ageing.”