Friday, January 12, 2018

Apricot Cheesecake Bites

I made these in the summer when we were being inundated with apricots. Lillooet grows some of the most amazing apricots in the world. We even have an annual Apricot Festival to help celebrate them!
This recipe came about because I wanted something simple, elegant, and delicious that made enough for a crowd. This met all the criteria and then some. 
I used large apricots and got about 30 pieces. Smaller apricots would work just as well, you would just be dipping and filling for a while longer!
Fresh fruit, fluffy cheesecake filling, and decadent dark chocolate - yes, yes, and yes. 
Also, they are soooo pretty. So, there's that. 

Apricot Cheesecake Bites

15 large apricots, halved and pitted
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups Cool Whip

2 Tbsp graham cracker crumbs

Place prepared apricots on a cookie tray lined with a Silpat or plastic wrap, pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

Place the dark chocolate chips in a microwave safe glass and melt in 20 second increments in the microwave, stirring in between, until smooth. 
Dip each apricot halfway into the melted chocolate, gently shake off excess, then place back on cookie sheet. Repeat until all the apricots are done. If the chocolate starts to harden up simply microwave for a few seconds again. 

Set aside to solidify while you make the cheesecake filling. You can pop them in the fridge for a few minutes to speed up the chocolate hardening. 
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add in the brown sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Stir in the Cool Whip. 

Place filling in a piping bag (or a large Ziplock bag). Pipe filling into each apricot half.

Sprinkle each with a pinch of graham cracker crumbs to finish.

The crumbs are optional but really add to the cheesecakeyness. 

The larger apricots are perfect 2 bite desserts to bring to a potluck. No cutlery needed!
Chill until ready to serve. 

In the above photo you can see I left a few without chocolate just to see how they looked. I think they look naked. Definitely go with the chocolate. It adds all the right things! Of course, if you have people that don't like chocolate then this is always an option. But, I don't really think those people exist. Do they?
Anyway, These may be a bit fidgety to make with all that dipping and piping but they are not at all difficult. If you have a helper it goes even faster. 
FYI - I think the sprinkle of graham crumbs looks like gold sparkles. Don't you think?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Korean Pork Chops

Okay, I am in LOVE with the sauce on these pork chops. I'm thinking it's going to be my new sauce for everything. Not even lying. It would be fabulous on chicken, beef, pork, even tofu. 
It's hard to believe it only take 6 simple ingredients and 5 seconds to whip up. I served it with some Double Happiness noodles (Click HERE for what Double Happiness noodles are!) but it would go great with rice as well. 
Looking for a meal that can be ready in about half an hour or so? Look no further. 

Korean Pork Chops

1/2 cup soy sauce
4 Tbsp honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce

4 - 6 pork chops 

For cooking
2 Tbsp oil

In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients. Remove half the sauce for later. Place the pork chops into the sauce remaining in the bowl. Marinate the pork chops for 10 minutes. (NOTE - this can be done the night before and marinated over night.) 

Heat the oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Place the pork chops into the hot pan. Cook for approx 6 minutes then flip to the other side. Pour in the reserved marinade and continue to cook for another 6 or so minutes - until pork is done. 

Serve immediately. 

How easy is that?
A super simple meal that doesn't take a lot of effort or time. Perfect for those days when you just don't have any energy left but still want something delicious! 
Feel free to double the sauce too if you want to make sure you have lots to use as a sauce for your rice or noodles. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

10 Salad As A Meal Ideas

Yes, I do New Year's resolutions. Most of my resolutions involve eating better or living in a healthier way. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed. Such is life. 
One of the things that I find helpful in keeping my resolutions is planning out my meals. I've put together this list of 10 Salad As A Meal Ideas because they are some of my favorite recipes to make. They are generally pretty easy, quick, and - most importantly - very tasty.  It's not a secret that I am not a huge fan of salad BUT I am very fond of these recipes because they are more like a filling, hearty meal than a boring old green salad. 
Links to the recipes are included below each photograph!

Roasted veggies with a lovely garlic vinaigrette combine into one of my all time favorite salad recipes. It comes in at 360 calories per serving, which is fabulous for those counting their calories! (Nutritional counts can be found with the recipe at the original link) Find the recipe by clicking HERE! 

The dressing on this salad is amazing! I promise you will be wanting to make it for everything!
This salad comes in at 440 calories but is full of protein and fiber and is sooooo hearty and filling. Also, it's beautiful, so that counts too, am I right? 
The recipe and nutritional counts can be found by clicking HERE

At only 250 calories this salad is as close to perfection as a salad can get. With all those pretty colors how can you not fall in love? And don't even get me started on the flavors and textures! #addicting
Click HERE for the recipe and nutritional counts. 

Sweet and spicy are the big attraction here. Not to mention the huge serving for only 378 calories. Looking for something to heat up your taste buds? You'll want to give this delicious salad a try. 
Click HERE for full nutritional counts and the recipe! 

The first time I tried a wedge salad I was skeptical. I mean.... it's a big hunk of lettuce. Here's the thing though..... it's so much more than that. It's weird but when you top it with the dressing and prawns it transforms into a light and refreshing lunch for only 162 calories. Give it a try, you won't regret it!
Click HERE for the recipe and nutritional counts!

This one takes a little bit of planning but is totally worth it. All those flavors and colors and textures are simply amazing. It comes in at 417 calories and is very filling. Definite something different!
Find the recipe and nutritional counts HERE

I make this salad at least once a week (when I have asparagus available). The calorie count is fabulous (249 calories) and it is full of fiber and protein so it keeps you feeling full a bit longer. What's not to love about that?
Find the recipe and nutritional counts HERE

This is the only salad we didn't do a nutritional count on. That being said it is still a super healthy choice full of protein and lots of veggies. When we were catering this was one of our most popular lunch orders! Find the recipe HERE.  

Steak and cheese in a salad? Yes. ALL the yes. 
You'll satisfy even the biggest of eaters with this healthier take on a cheese steak sandwich. All of the tastiness much less of the calories and carbs! (435 calories)
Find the recipe and nutritional count HERE

Last, but not least is this bit of pasta and chicken art. 
For only 260 calories per serving you can have pasta and chicken and still eat healthy! 
Find the recipe and the nutritional counts HERE

All of the above salads have their own homemade dressing which I prefer over store bought. Don't get me wrong - I use store bought dressing quite often, but making your own can be so much more rewarding. 

Still looking for more salad as a meal ideas? Check out our previous round up:
18 more recipes with homemade dressings which include calorie counts and nutritional values. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Angel Food Dream Cups

For Christmas dinner I was trying to make a fruit pavlova and it just did not turn out. My pavlova cracked and fell apart and left me in a bit of a panic. I went through my cupboards to see what ingredients I had to save dessert. 
And that is the story of how this dessert came about. 
Turns out failing doesn't always mean failing. 
This is a light and fluffy dessert that is perfect for after a heavy meal. 

Angel Food Dream Cups

1 angel food cake
1 pkg strawberry Jello powder
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, room temp
2 cups whipping cream


Cut angel food cake into pieces and evenly distribute among 12 glasses (I used regular size disposable plastic cups). Press down firmly and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat the Jello powder and boiling water until Jello dissolves. Beat in the cream cheese. 
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the Jello mixture. Spoon the mixture evenly into the 12 cups, on top of the angel food cake pieces. 
Top with a few pieces of fruit. Cover and chill until ready to serve, at least 2 hours up to overnight. (They will keep in the fridge for a couple of days)

I used strawberry Jello but you could easily switch it for your favorite flavor! Don't have fruit to top it with? Add a squish of whipped topping to fancy it up. 
My almost dessert disaster turned out pretty darned good. I'm going to be making this again with different flavors of Jello to see which is my favorite!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Curried Chicken Gizzards

2017 was a weird year, am I right?
For the last post of 2017 I decided to share a weird recipe. 
Have you ever had curried chicken gizzards? Growing up they were one of those foods I remember because I was always completely grossed out by the thought of them. I got in big trouble one year because I told Sue what gizzards were. See.... she used to love them until I told her what the gizzard was and what the chicken used it for. Big surprise - now she doesn't like them. My parents were not pleased with me. 
Anyhoo..... childhood shenanigans aside.... this recipe is one that needs to be tasted before being judged. It's not the prettiest but it is delicious, I swear. (I tasted the sauce, not the gizzards, but my parents loved it) 
We're ending 2017 with some weirdness - here's hoping 2018 brings a little more. 
Weird is good. 

Curried Chicken Gizzards

2 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/3 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb chicken gizzards
1 cup water

Prep your ingredients. 

In a large frying pan oven medium heat, heat oil until sizzling. Add in onion, garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes. 
Add in the diced tomato and spices and cook another 2 - 3 minutes.
Add in the gizzards and water.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour (to an hour and a half) - until gizzards are tender. Stir the dish every 20 minutes or so to make sure it is not burning.  
After an hour or so the sauce will be reduced and the gizzards should be tender. Serve with rice or quinoa.

Happy New Year to all our readers! We hope to see more of you in 2018. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Cinnamon Cheesecake Pie

When I first heard about cinnamon pie I was curious.... I mean, how exciting could a pie made of cinnamon be? Well, it turns out there are a lot of variations on cinnamon pie and the one I went for - the cheesecake-y version - is very exciting. 
Dense and squishy like a cheesecake, crust on the bottom like a pie, and all that spicy, cinnamon-y goodness inside. This worked really well for Christmas dinner as a small slice will do so you can get a lot of servings out of one pie: unless you are me and you enjoy eating a LOT of super rich dessert until you feel like exploding. In that case, you will not get a lot of servings. 
Anyways, we love trying different desserts and this one is definitely that. 
Different is good. 

Cinnamon Cheesecake Pie

pie crust for a 9 inch pie

8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup whipping cream (or heavy cream)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup flour
3 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups whipping cream
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

extra cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350. 
Place pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan and set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth, scraping sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk. Beat in the whipping cream and vanilla. 
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. 
Pour into prepared pie shell. 

Bake at 350 until pie is set, about 40 - 50 minutes. Remove from heat to wire rack and let cool completely. 

When pie is cool, prepare whipped cream topping.
In a mixing bowl, beat together whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of pie. If desired sprinkle with a little more cinnamon for decoration. 

Cover and chill until ready to serve - at least 2 hours, up to overnight. 

I really liked this dessert. Sue, not so much. But then, she's not a huge cheesecake fan. *cough* weirdo *cough*

A little goes a long way as this pie is rich, sweet, and dense. Leftovers will last a day or two, covered, in the fridge before the pie crust starts to get too gummy. 
Are you a fan of cinnamon? If so, you should definitely give this treat a try.