Saturday, October 8, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

I woke up last Saturday morning and thought to myself - "I want to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies". Then I thought - "Then I want to put ice cream between two cookies!" Brilliant. I have had an ice cream sandwich almost every day since. Blame it on the pregnancy, but I think I just really like oatmeal chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches.

First I made these cookies from my Company's Coming Cookie recipe book. Don't try to reduce the fat or sugar content, these are great cookies as they are. And let's face it, we're making cookies into ice cream sandwiches - eat healthy the rest of the day then allow yourself to indulge in one of these beauties.

Oatmeal Chip Cookies

- 1 cup butter or margarine
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 /2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups rolled oats

- 2 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Dump the dry ingredients on top and mix them together before folding them into the wet ingredients (this is my dish-saving trick). Drop in spoonfuls on a lightly greased baking sheet and smooth them into discs for an evenly shaped cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Allow them to cool completely before making them into ice cream sandwiches.

Once the cookies are cool, hold a cookie upside down and scoop about two spoonfuls of ice cream onto the inside of a cookie. Use your favourite type of ice cream - I have tried peanut butter fudge crunch, raspberry cheesecake and vanilla and they were all good. Gently smooth it into a 1/2 inch layer and press another cookie on top. Make them one at a time for individual desserts, or make a bunch and keep in the freezer. Voilà!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What to do with a pumpkin?

We got a cute little pumpkin in our produce box yesterday. I had no immediate inspiration for it, but this morning at 5 am when my body was practising being awake (for when this baby comes), I was suddenly inspired to bake something with it! A few weeks ago I was at a friend's house and she served these delicious pumpkin scones and I decided I had to find something similar to do with my little pumpkin. I got up and steamed the pumpkin, dried the seeds and got it ready to make into some deliciousness. It being 5 am, I didn't think to take a picture of it. So this pic is not the specific pumpkin I used - but it could be!

I found these two recipes which turned out to come from the same blog - just follow the links to find these delicious, easy recipes. One small pumpkin was exactly the right amount to make them both.

Pumpkin bread
(aka pumpkin cake - let's not kid ourselves)

I decided to roast the pumpkin seeds as well - waste not, want not, right? However they could not appear for a picture because they are currently soaking in a salt water solution to deactivate the enzyme inhibitors which apparently is a good thing. I plan to roast them in the oven with some olive oil and a little sea salt.
Read about roasting pumpkin seeds here:

So, if you are out shopping for a pumpkin to carve and see a little one that is so cute but too small to cut a face into, buy it to make these delicious desserts!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Deja's Awesome Lasagna

This is a recipe I got from a good friend. The best part about it is that you can use normal lasagna noodles and you don't have to pre-cook them. I love lasagna, but I never bothered to make it because I hated boiling the noodles then having to peel them apart to layer in the pan. This recipe skips that whole step and makes a delicious, light and not-too-pasty lasagna. Just make the sauce, layer and bake!
I even used this recipe for a big dinner of about 80 people at a family camp our church was hosting. It was a huge hit and I had several comments as people helped themselves to seconds: "I don't usually like lasagna but I LOVE this!"

So, try it. Eat it. Love it.

Lasagna Recipe
I have slightly adapted this recipe to suit my own sauce-making. Feel free to season your sauce to taste and to add more or less vegetables.

- 1 onion
- two cloves garlic
- 1 lb of ground beef
- 2 peppers, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 1 cup prepared pasta sauce
- two cans diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried tarragon
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste

Cheesy filling:
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

- grated cheese to taste, about 3 cups (your choice of cheese, I use marble)

- lasagna noodles

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees.

Fry up the onions, garlic and ground beef together. I like to add in the herbs at this stage so the flavour gets into the meat. Add the peppers and zucchini. Let these cook for a few minutes while you open the cans of tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and pasta sauce. I like to rinse out the cans with some water and just add it to the sauce. It's ok if your sauce is runny, in fact you want it to have lots of moisture for the noodles to soak up

As your sauce is simmering on medium heat just long enough for the flavours to meld, mix together the cottage cheese, egg and cheese in a small bowl.

In a large, 9x13 pan, ladle one layer of sauce on the bottom. Then a layer of noodles.

Then sauce and cheese. Now more noodles.

Then a little sauce and the cottage cheese mixture. Surprise - more noodles. Finish with sauce and lots of cheese.

Depending how thick you want your lasagna, and how much sauce you have left, feel free to add one more layer.

Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes or so.

Dish up and enjoy!