mile high meringue pumpkin pie

So, my first ever Pumpkin Pie won a contest at work. Not too shabby for a first timer, right!

In the spirit of Fall, we were all invited to prepare a dessert using apples or pumpkin at work. Let’s just say that it was a sugar high Friday! So many desserts, so hard to decide which one to try, even harder choosing a winner. One of my favorite was a pumpkin-and-chocolate-brownie type of thing my friend Anne-Marie had made… and she even gave me some to bring home!!! So right there, I guess I was already a winner!

At first I was going to make my go-to Pumpkin Pop Tarts, but then had a craving for meringue… so I went on a hunt for a pumpkin pie with meringue recipe. Didn’t have all the ingredients on hand so had to improvise and ended up with my very own Mile High Meringue Pumpkin Pie.

Don’t attempt this if you’re in a hurry, as it’s time consuming. But next time your hosting, just pretend you’re Martha Stewart and make it, because your dessert will be worthy of a magazine cover.

Mile High Meringue Pumpkin Pie

What you need:

 

Crust:

store bough pie crust or even better, homemade

 

Filling:

3 large eggs

15 oz. Pumpkin Puree

1 cup of heavy cream

2 teaspoon cornstarch

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Meringue:

2 cups sugar

8 egg whites, room temperature

 

How to:

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Roll out crust on a lightly floured surfaced. Place crust in a 9 inches pie plate. Let the dough hang a bit on the side, it will shrink a bit while baking and you want to have lots of crust for this dessert. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust starts to golden. Remove from oven and let cool.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling in a large bowl. Mix together the eggs, pumpkin puree, heavy cream, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg.

Lower to oven to 325. Pour the pumpkin mix into the pie crust. Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes. The middle may still be wobbly, but that’s ok! Remove from oven and let cool on a wired rack. When it’s room temperature, place in fridge for a few hours.

Now, for the meringue, use a heat proof bowl, like the one on your Kitchen Aid mixer and place over a saucepan filled with boiling water on the stove. Add the egg whites and sugar. Mix with whisk or hand held mixer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and then place on the Kitchen Aid. Mix for another 3 minutes on medium speed, then for 6 on high. It will look like marshmallow frosting. Soft, fluffy and delicious: DO NOT eat it all and keep some for the pie! Stack the meringue on the pie, making swirling motion. Using a kitchen blow torch, brown the meringue to a soft gold color. And voilà!

Your guests will be impressed, and so will you! It was my first attempt with meringue and I’m now an addict! Going to have to find new recipes with meringue, but since it’s October, for now I’ll keep on enjoying this delicious Pumpkin Pie.

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mozza pesto chicken…with tomatoes

 

So have you tried my bruschetta recipe?  If you haven’t, you should really try it out… it’s a must for your life!  It’s literally mind-blowingly good.  But make sure you keep some tomatoes for this next recipe… definitely one of my new favorite summer dishes: Mozza Pesto Chicken with tomatoes; something I started to make this summer, but will be making forever.  Again, easy and fast, which is perfect for those dreaded weeknights diner, while still full of flavors.

Mozza Pesto Chicken…with Tomatoes

What you need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 fresh tomatoes

1\2 cup of pesto (click here for recipe)

few slices of mozzarella

salt and pepper

How to:

Butterfly the chicken breast and marinate it in 1\4 cup of pesto (can be store bought but homemade tastes so much better) for at least an hour.  Advice:  when you buy large quantity of chicken, always butterfly the breast and freeze them in large Ziploc bag.  When you need them, they takes less time to thaw, you get more marinade on your meat and it takes less time to cook.  In the morning, I take out the meat and throw in the marinade in the Ziploc bag and leave in the fridge.  When I get back from work, the chicken is ready to be cooked.  Heat oven at 400 and place chicken in a Pyrex dish.  Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and cheese.  Remove the dish from the oven, place 2-3 slices of tomatoes on top.  Season with salt and pepper and add the leftover pesto on top.  Place the cheese on top.  Return to oven for 10 minutes then broil the cheese until golden.  Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes

Serve with your favorite veggies and a side of rice.  Delish!  Enjoy!

Mozza Pesto Chicken with Tomatoes
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you say tomato, i say bruschetta

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

It’s tomato season… and if you’re like me, well you have plenty from your garden by now!!!  I’m not one for tomato sandwiches or sliced tomatoes, but I do have a few recipes I’d like to share with you this week, all of them using fresh tomatoes!

On a side note, my two-months summer vacation is now over, and this week has been kind of tough on me being back at work, having to wake up early, going back to my routine of making lunches for the boys, while also prepping them for their back-to-school next week.  But you know what, I’m still hanging on to summer like my life depends on it!!!  So I’ll take all the fresh produces and warm sunny days August and September have to offer!

My first recipe is for sure my favorite way to eat tomatoes: Goat Cheese Bruschetta.  I think I first tasted this at my aunt Pat’s place in Kitchener while visiting for Oktoberfest years ago.  It was the best bruschetta ever; and still is.  I now make my own version of it, I have no clue if it tastes like hers, but I think it’s pretty awesome.  So here it goes.

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

What you need:
3 fresh tomatoes or 2 cups of cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup of goat cheese

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper

How to:

Chop the tomatoes and place in a bowl.  Crumble the goat cheese on top, add the chopped basil, olive oil, and the salt and pepper.  Mix well and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

I serve this bruschetta mix with roasted naan bread.  Just brush a bit of olive oil on top the bread, sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper and warm up in the oven.  Also good with a fresh baguette or on top of grilled chicken.

Simple, easy to make, takes no time and it will blow your mind.  Perfect for pot-luck, for snacks or for last minute gatherings.  It’s a great recipe to try all year long but definitely my favorite on any sunny day!  So make it now before summer ends and then let me know what you think!  Hope you’re all having a great week.  Next tomato recipe coming in a few days!

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

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take me out to the blueberry field

With an already jam packed weekend ahead, I decided that blueberry picking was in order on this beautiful Friday morning.

We used to live on the outskirt of our city, where we literally lived 3 minutes walking-distance away from a blueberry farm. It’s called Canaan Blueberries.  About 25 minutes from Ottawa. It’s a family operated berry farm on a few acre of beautiful land.  Once you enter the fields, you feel secluded from the world.  It’s quiet, and so delicious!

When we lived there, I use to take the boys in the stroller, park them in the field, and give them berries while I did the picking.  This year, they were ready to have own basket to fill, which they both dropped on the ground at one point; hence a small meltdown, oh well, we lived.

It was such a gorgeous day for berry picking.  We filled a basket for us and one for their Papi (AKA Frank!).  It took us just a little less than an hour, but you can easily fill yours in 20 minutes, if you can avoid distractions and meltdowns!!!  We will for sure go back next week.

Once we got home, we made some blueberry muffins and LEMONADE!  Oh, yes… blueberry lemonade.  And I have the recipe for you.

What you need:

SYRUP:

1 cup blueberries (fresh is best)

1\2 cup sugar

1\2 cup water

DRINK:

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS blueberry syrup

1 cup sprite or 7up

ice

How to:

Place water, sugar and blueberries in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the stove and let it cool for 5 minutes.

I made this drink by the glass, but you could easily adjust the quantities for a pitcher.

In a large glass, place ice, lemon juice, blueberry syrup and top off with sprite.  Add a lemon slice, fresh blueberries and fresh mint to garnish.  This version is non-alcoholic, but add gin and you’ve got a party!

You will have plenty of the blueberry syrup… for about 10 drinks.  Store the leftover in the fridge and you can warm it up the next morning for your toast.  You’re welcome!

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hello pesto

Oh pasta!  How I love you.

Yeah, it’s clearly one of my weaknesses!

Not sure why I hadn’t done this before, but for the first time last summer I made homemade pesto.  Basil, oil and cheese.  What’s not to love!

So easy, everybody can, and should, make this recipe instead of buying premade from the store.  The boys call this recipe ‘spaghetti vert’, and we all can’t get enough!

Summer is here and I’m planning on planting so much basil plants that my yard will smell Italian!

Meanwhile, buy your basil at your grocery shop and pesto away!

What you need:

1 cup of packed basil

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 pine nuts

2 gloves of garlic

salt and pepper

How to:

You need a food processor or a magic bullet type of thing.  Roast the pine nuts, watch them, they burn quickly and at that price, you don’t want to waste them!  Place everything the food processor and pulse.  It’s that easy!

I serve with pasta and steak on the side, but you can serve it over chicken, or with bread and charcuterie.  I would say it stores well in an air tight container for a month or so in the fridge.  It taste just like ‘summer in a jar’, so go buy some basil and try this next weekend.

Enjoy!

 

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chipotle corn on the cob

Who doesn’t like corn?  I mean, aside from Logan, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that doesn’t like corn on the cob!

I bought corn and I have to say that it was pretty good for not being in season.  I got a new recipe book last week called ‘Summer Table’, in which I found a great corn on the cob recipe for my Mexican week.  I might be clueless, but it required some Chipotle Adobo sauce, which I had never heard of before.  So I looked it up, and it’s actually smoked and dried jalapenos in a sweet tangy purée of tomato.  Sound delish right?  Well it was!

So again, very easy to prepare.  Remove the husk from the corn… I didn’t entirely removed it, I decided to tie it at the other end for prettier pictures!  Then pour the sauce on top of the corn and wrapped it up in foil, leaving the husk on the outside.  Here’s the recipe.

Chipotle Corn on the Cob

What you need:

12 corns

1 can peppers in Adobo sauce (found at my local Food Basics)

1/4 melted butter

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 pinch of cumin

2 TBS tomato paste

2 TBS honey

2 TBS oilive oil

2 TBS sugar

Garnish:

cilantro

mozzarella

hot chili peppers

How to:

Preheat the BBQ at 400.  Remove the husk, leaving it hanging and tie it with twine.  Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the corn.  Wrap four corns with foil, leaving the husk on the outside.  Repeat for all corns.  If you put too many, turning them on the grill will be difficult.  Place the foil packets on the BBQ, placing the husk toward the outside of the BBQ, and close the lid.  Cooking time should be between 20-25 minutes, turning the corns once after 10-12 minutes.  Once they’re ready, remove from foil and let them roast on the grill for a few minutes.  But watch them carefully, if not you’ll end up with popcorn.  Remove from the grill and garnish with mozzarella cheese, cilantro and hot peppers.

The taste is very different than regular boiled corn on the cob, but delicious.  The smokiness from the Adobo plus the grill is amazing.  Perfect for BBQ nights and Cinco de Mayo!

So I’ve discovered a new recipe as well as a new sauce… will definitely try some chicken marinated with this spicy Adobo sauce soon!

I hope you will try some of these Mexican and spicy recipes I’ve share this week.  So far, all three would go great together!  And if you have your own favorite Mexican recipe, please share!

Salud.

 

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pineapple salsa fit for a fiesta

 

Finally, May is here. That means I’m getting ready for Cinco de Mayo!  I love, love, love Mexican food, and finally (and hopefully), the boys do too!

It took a while but we now have Taco Tuesdays at our house.  And this next Friday we’re hosting a little Cinco de Mayo get-together where I’ll be cooking some of my favorite Mexican recipes.  So this week, my blog will be all about delicious, flavorful and spicy food!

At the top of my list: GUACAMOLE! This was the first recipe posted on my blog, which you can find here.  Always a crowed pleaser, so you should double the recipe if you ever try it for a small group of people. Try it, you’ll know what I mean!  Awesome with nachos, but also great with chicken, tacos, fajitas, toast and more!

So this week’s first recipe is a Pineapple Salsa.  It tastes so ‘fresh’, it will make you think of summer.  And I bet you’ll want to eat it all summer long as well.  Great with nachos, baked tortillas, or on top of some grilled chicken.  Great for pool parties, diners or just for a snack.  It’s really healthy, well, until you add the chips!!!

This recipe calls for an entire pineapple; you may think it’s a lot, but once you’ll start to eat it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t used two!

Pineapple Salsa

What you need:

1 pineapple, cut into small cubes

1\4 cup of fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno

1 small red onion

2 tbs. lime juice

1 small tomato

salt and pepper

How to:

Really easy.  Cut everything into small cubes.  Place in a bowl.  Add the chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Place in the fridge for about an hour before serving.  You can keep it in the fridge for at least 4-5 days in an airtight container.  Serve with nacho chips, or on top of anything really!

This week’s recipes are really spicy.  I will be using a lot of jalapenos, but if you’re not a fan of the heat, use less jalapeno or just leave them out of the recipe. My kids are not fans of the spiciness, maybe because I’ve had a bit too much of Frank’s Hot Sauce while pregnant (but I was craving for it), who knows!  So all these recipes can be kids friendly without the peppers/jalapenos.

So, if you are into Mexican food like myself, you should really try this recipe.  It’ll make you feel like you’re in Mexico enjoying the beautiful Mexican sun, while here in Ottawa it’s freezing and pouring rain outside all day long.

Oh, and don’t forget to let me know what you think of this awesome pineapple salsa me amigo.

Salud!

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3 resolutions and a recipe

Sadly, our Christmas break is over.  On monday morning, the three of us were back at school.  Bittersweet, because it’s fun to go back to our routine and see friends and coworkers, but it was sooo much fun to spend those last 2 weeks at home with the boys.  I’m now counting the days till our March break! (then I’ll start counting the days till our Summer break… I guess I can’t complain!)

So, 2017, did you make any resolutions?  Usually I don’t.  But I’ve decided that I should try to improve myself, so there is goes.

#1 Be more patient… my Mom and husband are probably overjoyed by this first resolution.  I’m not always very patient, I like things my way and I like order; and I have two beautiful boys who are testing my patience daily.  So I want to try to make more time for them, listen to them and be more present, and when it won’t go the way I want it to go, I’ll try to take a breath and go forward without necessarily making them do it or act the way I want.  So to be more patient, flexible, agile and understanding with them.  We’ll see how it goes!!!

#2 Be more healthy.  Last year, I ran my first 10k race.  I was really proud of myself.  I trained hard and I did it.  After that, I kept running once or twice a week but with no other race in mind.  Unless you count the Disney Run… which is my dream race, and yes I’m planning on doing it soon, but right now there’s nothing ahead that I have to train for… and yeah, sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to go out and run just for fun… well that was in 2016… cause in 2017 I’d like to always have a race scheduled ahead, a goal, so I have a reason to go out and run!  So I want to register for the Ottawa 10k again but improve my time.  I also want to eat more healthy and make better nutritious choices for my family.  Less restaurant, fast food and treats.  More fruits and veggies, more homemade meals and plan more our weekly meals.  It’s 2017, it’s a new year, and I need to kill it with #2.

#3 Be more organized.  Organize our home, cupboards and pantries, closets, cars, basement, backyard and GARAGE.  Being more organized in my mind, setting goals and getting there.

All of these are doable.  I’ve been trying to become that better version of myself for years now, but in 2017, I will.  Never too late to change, and I feel like it’s time to stop trying or wishing for better and to just do it.

Do you take any resolutions?  I’d like to know what they are!  Inspire me! (for next year thought, as I have enough already for 2017!!!)

So for today, I’m leaving you with a restaurant worthy ham and cheese panini.

Easily the best sandwich I ever made, fresh, explosion of flavour and lots of cheese.  You can never have too much cheese, right?  Yes, I know what my resolution #2 is… but what do you want me to do with all that cheese I bought in 2016, it won’t eat itself, so I will!

Ham and Cheese Panini

Heat up your panini grill or a skillet.

Butter some rye bread.

Mix a tablespoon of Dijon mustard with a tablespoon of maple syrup.  Spread on the rye bread.

Add some slice aged cheddar cheese, shaved black forest ham, a few thinly sliced Granny Smith apple slices and some more CHEESE.

Place on the panini grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

Cut in half and serve with a lemon and oil arugula salad.

Enjoy!

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pull apart pumpkin loaf

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You need that pumpkin taste, like right now?  Boy, do I have an awesome recipe for you!  Easy, quick and so flavorful, you’ll make it again and again.

What you need:

3/4 cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

1 egg

1 roll of Pillsbury Flaky Rolls

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/4 cup of icing sugar

3 tablespoons of milk

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How to:

Heat over at 350.

Mix puree, 1/4 cup of sugar, pumpkin spice, egg and vanilla.  Set aside.

Open the Pillsbury package, split each pieces in two.

In another bowl, mix 1/4 cup of sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Dip each dough pieces in the sugar mixture.

Once all dipped, add the pumpkin mix between the dough and stack them up.

Place in a grease bread pan and bake for about 25 minutes.

Let cool.

Mix the icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and milk.

Drizzle on top of the warm loaf.

Enjoy!

Beware: you might eat it all by yourself…it may or may not have happened to me!

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