Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

My mother-in-law made her own pumpkin pie filling and then brought us a loaf of pumpkin bread that she made!  This inspired me to make my own and I must admit I used canned pumpkin (despite my best intentions to make my own from the pie pumpkins that we got from Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze).  This was such an incredibly easy, delicious and moist cake that we just gobbled it up!!!

4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin
1 tsp real vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves or ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces or chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour a 10" bundt pan or tube pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs with a large fork until well blended.  Mix in the sugar. Add the oil in a steady stream, mixing all the while, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
  • Mix in the pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, clove and salt. Add the baking soda and baking powder in pinches, breaking up any lumps with your fingers. Stir in thoroughly.
  • Stir in the whole wheat and all-purpose flours just until blended. Stir in the walnuts or chocolate chips.
  • Pour and scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert, remove the pan, and cool on the rack for about 15 minutes more.
  • ENJOY!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Slow Cooker Roast Beef with Carrots & Potatoes

With the cooler weather upon us, I decided to bust-out my slow cooker and give it a work out!  Since I still had quite a few carrots and potatoes from my CSA share, as well as a lovely cross-rib roast of beef in my freezer (also from Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze), I decided roast was on the menu!
The cooking time may seem excessively long, but trust me - even though the roast is technically cooked perfectly after 7 or 8 hours, leaving it to cook until the full 10 really makes it super tender and produces an amazing gravy!
2lb cross rib roast
2 to 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp EVOO
2 cups of good quality beef stock
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 onion, sliced into 1/4" thick slivers
20 small carrots (I approximate 5 per person)
4 - 6 medium sized potatoes scrubbed and cut into 1" chunks with the skin on
  • Wash and pat roast dry.  Combine salt and pepper (to taste) with flour in a bowl.  Heat the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  While you are waiting for the oil to get to temperature, rub the flour all over the roast.  Place the roast in the skillet and brown all sides.  Remove from heat.
  • In a slow cooker, set on low heat, place the carrots on the bottom of the pot, the roast on top of the carrots and onions all around the meat.  Pour the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce over top. 
  • Cover and set to cooking for 8 hours (resist the temptation to open the lid as this dramatically lowers the temperature...but the aroma is incredible!)  Check periodically to ensure there is enough gravy.  If it seems it is evaporating, add more beef stock in 1 cup increments.
  • Immerse the potatoes in the stock around the roast.  Place the lid back on and cook for another 2 hours.
  • After 10 hrs of cooking on low, switch off the slow cooker and remove the roast. Place on a cutting board to rest.  With a slotted spoon remove the vegetables and keep warm in a serving dish.  Pour the gravy into a small saucepan.  Place over medium-high heat and reduce by half so the gravy thickens a little.
  • Carve the roast and serve on a bed of the roasted vegetables with the rich gravy drizzled over top!
  • ENJOY!
*What we like to do with leftovers is make beef dip sandwiches for dinner the next evening, with sauteed onions!!!  YUMMY!
*For the Brussels sprouts I simply trimmed and sliced them in half, tossed them in olive oil and lemon pepper and placed them on a rimmed baking sheet.  Then they were baked in the oven for 20 mins at 375F,  and turned once halfway through to ensure even roasting.  This is simple and quick (and I have had several requests for my 'recipe' for these Brussels!  LOL!)

Monday, November 1, 2010


I just realized that I haven't posted anything since mid-October...I guess I've been busy! Lately we've been eating a lot of dinners that I have already posted on my blog, so there's nothing new to add, sadly. I have been focusing on my scrapbooking which has been sorely neglected over the summertime while India and Devon were at home, and the early fall when things were super-busy over at Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze! (So technically I haven't been sitting back relaxing - just not catering to my creative outlets as much as perhaps I should!!) A few weekends ago I got together with a group of my girlfriends for a weekend retreat and got a LOT accomplished! I am almost finished my 2009 album in time for 2010 to come to a close :0) My goal for these layouts was to minimize the number of pages that I was having to complete because I had 50 pictures of each event.  Therefore, I now choose better-quality and fewer photos that best show whatever event I am scrapping about! Here are a few pages that I wanted to share...take a look!!!

I love the fact that the photos that we took at our wine tasting are as blurry and poorly composed as we all were!!

Even though I wanted this page to be fairly simple as the photos have a lot going on in them, I decided to write all the different "language" that the Sommelier encouraged us to use while tasting, around the journalling area.  I created a circular journalling space to mimic a ring left by a wine glass!

I also decided to add the varieties of wines that we tasted that night (of course I had to refer to the notes we were given because I really don't remember much after the white wines and champagne!!!)

I created this page for my girlfriend's latest baby, Jaxon!  What was cuter than the baby, was that Michelle understood my scrapping needs and dressed herself and Jaxon in similar colours!!!

Just a close-up of the title that I created on my Cricut using the "Cuttin' Up" cartridge and the paper buttons that I backed with foam squares to give a 3D effect!

Who can resist the play on words?!
I decided to do a page devoted to Greg's first car that he ever owned (and he still owns)!!!  BTW, India chose to pose like that all by herself....future auto show girl?!  LOL!

I attempted to recreate a VW symbol using silver card stock - not exact, but not bad!!!

The black ribbon reminded me of a tire tread mark on a road, and I added the purple floral one to tie in with India's boots and floral pattern on her skirt!
This page is all about India and celebrating the fact that she is now our Sunday morning Chef at breakfast!!  India's favourite are pancakes and she faithfully reproduces them from my "Canadian Living Cookbook" from scratch...of course no pancake is fully dressed without a smile!!

Just a close up of the silver crown that I backed with foam squares and cut out using the Cricut cartridge "Cuttin' Up".  The holographic appliques are repurposed from one of India's old shirts!!

As I wanted the pancakes to be the focus of this page, I decided to print this photo as a 10" x 12".  Then I simply applied white cardstock strips to provide a journalling space!