Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christmas Cookie and Sweets Round-up

Here are some of my favourite things to make and give away at Christmastime. Enjoy!

Cookie Recipes

Chewy Coconut Cookies
Eat Shrink and Be Merry Peanut Better Gingersnaps
Raisin Cookies
Robin Hood Chocolate Chip Cookies
Best, Big, Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Almond Spritz with Raspberry Jam
Angel Crisps
Gingerbread Cookies
Cranberry Hootycreeks - cookies in a jar
Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
Chocolate Almond Wrapped Dried Fruit Biscotti ( Whole Wheat ) 
Double Duty Chocolate Chip and Raisin Cookies (Whole Wheat)
Saffron Infused Cinnamon Raisin Biscotti
The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Chip Rugelach Cookies 
White Chocolate Raspberry Slice Cookies
Sugar Cookie Cutouts
Kourabiedes (Greek shortbread)
Brownie Roll-out Cookies
Small Batch Mint Chocolate Cookies
Small Batch Peanut Butter Cookies (Weight Watchers)
Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies
Small Batch Brown Sugar Cookies
Soft Sugar Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chips
Cardamom Tea Cakes
Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Nutella Glaze

Sweets and Dessert Recipes

Brownies and Blondies
Black Bean Brownies
Peanut Brittle
Extra Buttery Lemon Cranberry Scones
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bars
Chocolate Rum Truffles
Hot Chocolate on a Stick - Fudge Balls
Magic Cookie Bars
Christmas and New Year Cake Ball Pops
Baked Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Doughnuts (donuts)
Baked Cake Doughnuts (donuts)
Cranberry Coconut Lemon Squares
Cake Mix Chocolate Chip Blondies
Sugar Plums
Easy Layered Mint Fudge
One Bowl Maple Walnut Brownies
Peanut Butter Cups

Monday, November 11, 2013

Quick Pickled Beans - Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to another episode of Secret Recipe Club!

This month, Suzanne gave me her own blog to choose a recipe from. I was originally going to make her Jazzy Coleslaw, but then I noticed the giant bag of beans I bought at Costco had to be used up before the beans went bad. So I decided to make quick pickled beans instead. I've loved pickles my entire life.

Suzanne is the hostess for my group (Group B) and likes to travel. Now the title of her blog Thru the Bugs on My Windshield makes complete sense to me. She takes a lot of photos through the windows as she's travelling. I've done this as well, but never noticed any bug splats. I'll pay more attention next time!

I added some tarragon to the recipe because tarragon is really nice with pickles, and the beans I used are the skinny french beans (purchased in a 2 lb bag from Costco). Suzanne also pickled some asparagus, and I think you could also use this recipe to pickle other vegetables like sliced cucumbers.

My pickling spice mix has many different things in it including bay leaves and cloves. The flavour of pickling spice is unique. Your pickles won't taste anything like a jar of dill pickles that you'd buy at the store.

And finally, the jar I used was one that I saved from a store bought spaghetti sauce. It was 700ml (about 24oz). I used enough beans to fill the jar. I'm guessing almost a pound of beans because it was almost half the bag, but I didn't measure.

Secret Recipe Club

Quick Pickled Beans
Adapted from Thru the Bugs on My Windsheild
Makes 1 Jar (or 2 smaller ones)

1 lb skinny green beans, trimmed
1 garlic clove, smashed or sliced
1 dried red chili (or 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes)
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup cold water
1 heaping teaspoon pickling spice
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

Place the beans, garlic clove and chili into a clean glass jar.

In a small pot over medium heat, bring the rest of the ingredients up to a boil.

Pour the mixture into the jar and put the lid on. Turn the jar upside down a few times.

Refrigerate for about 4 days before eating. Suzanne says they'll be good for a month in the fridge, but will they last that long? Probably not!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Indonesian Pork

This pork dish was really delicious. You can use pork tenderloin, but I got some other cut of boneless pork from Costco (I can't remember the cut - it looked like a loin when it was cooked anyway) and it worked out just fine. It was lean as well. I also didn't have any limes, so I used lemon, and I had no cilantro. I just happened to have everything else hanging around though.

I covered my pan instead of placing the pork in the oven. Sometimes I'm just lazy that way. It would have taken extra effort to dig the oven proof pan out of the cupboard (it's at the bottom of the pile). Then I'd have had to put it back after.

Indonesian Pork
Adapted from
(This blog is published in Polish, scroll down the pages for English)
Makes 4 servings

1 lb pork tenderloin (or thick piece pork chops)
1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 lime (or 1/2 a lemon), juiced
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together the apricot preserves, garlic, coriander, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, peanut butter, lime juice, orange juice, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Try to get the mixture smooth.

Place pork in bag with the marinade and squish it around a bit. Seal the bag and squeeze out the air. I refrigerated mine overnight.

Over medium high, heat the oil in large non-stick pan. Sear the pork on all sizes for a few minutes per side. Mine could have browned a bit more but anyway. Once seared, cover he pan and continue to cook for about 15 minutes (turning once) or until cooked through. If you decided to dig out your oven proof pan, you can bake the pork at 375F instead. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

The original recipe suggests that while the pork is in the oven, you can bring the marinade to a boil and let it thicken up a bit to make a sauce. But I just ended up drizzling the pan juices over the meat after I sliced it.

Garnish with cilantro or parsley if you want to get fancy.