Monday, July 30, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday - July 30, 2012

What a busy month!  We went down to Vancouver for a 10 day visit and then we brought back hubby's cousin and her daughter to 100 Mile House.  This was their first visit to Canada.  We had feasted in Vancouver and then we feasted again in 100 Mile House!  Alas, they left on Saturday, leaving a trail of broken hearts.  We had a really great time.  It was a wonderful visit and we are looking forward to seeing them again. 

Now, I am trying to establish a summer schedule.  Hubby took the month of July off work and he will be getting back to the office on Wednesday.  Tomorrow is his last official day of vacation.  With hubby home, I haven't had much time posting recipes the past month.  Too busy having family time!

The children really enjoyed their Muffin Tin Monday today.  We had our picnic lunch on the living room floor after we came home from grocery shopping.  Blueberries were on sale for $2/lb for a 5lb box, Long English cucumbers were $0.99 each, and grape tomatoes were about $2/pint. 

Today's lunch:  ham roll-ups, fresh blueberries, cucumber star slices, triangle parmesan & roasted garlic thin Triscuit crackers, red and green grapes, grape tomatoes, aged cheddar cheese bears and chocolate oatmeal cookies. 

From our recent trip to Vancouver, I managed to hit Daiso, a Japanese dollar store that was across the street from our hotel.  There, I purchased some cute food picks and little cookie cutters.  I used the star cutter on the cucumber slices and the bear cutter for the cheese.    

I thought that it would be fun to include what mommy and daddy had for lunch.  I made "His" & "Hers" lunch salad.  I used some organic spring mix (arugula, radicchio and other baby lettuce), topped with bits of cucumber, red peppers, aged cheddar, ham and grape tomatoes.  Hubby wanted his with Bacon Caesar dressing (left).  Mine was drizzled with organic extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (right).

For more great lunch ideas, visit Muffin Tin Mom.  Happy Monday!

Pin It

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Broken Glass Jello

Since school is out for summer holidays, I thought it would be fun to have Jello as a summer treat!  Some people may turn their noses up at Jello, but I adore the stuff.  The classic jiggly, gummy texture and bright colours bring me back to my own childhood.

When I came across the gorgeous Broken Glass Jello on Food Librarian's and JustJenn's site, I just HAD to make it.  I couldn't resist the rainbow bright colours jumbled in a background of white condensed milk.  

It was pretty easy to make but it took a bit of time for each colour to cool down and set up.
I like my finger Jello on the firmer side, so I added extra unflavoured gelatin powder for each flavour and condensed milk.  

I used 4 boxes of Jello (1 box = 4 servings).  Some of them were store-brand (Western Family) and sugar-free.  For each box of Jello, I added 1 tsp. unflavoured gelatin (Knox) and only 1 cup water (instead of 2 cups).  To cut down costs, I was able to buy unflavoured gelatin in the bulk food section of my supermarket.     

Pour each flavour into a container and let it set in the refrigerator for minimum 3 hours.  After the Jello has set, grease a 9"x13" glass pan with vegetable oil or line with plastic wrap.

After minimum 3 hours, cut the set Jello into small blocks and place them into the prepared glass pan.  Carefully mix up the colours in the plan. 

ooohh... Look at the pretty colours!

In a separate bowl, sprinkle 3 Tbsp (or 3 envelopes) unflavored gelatin into 1/2 cup cold water. After the gelatin blooms, add 1 1/2 cup boiling water and dissolve. Add the can of condensed milk. Stir and cool.  Pour cooled milk mixture over jello and chill overnight.

Cut into blocks or your favourite shapes and serve!  

Broken Glass Jello

4 small boxes (4-servings each) of Jell-O or store brand "gelatin dessert" in different colors.
     (I used strawberry, lime, orange and berry blue - Jell-O and store brands.  Some were sugar-free)
5 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (don't get evaporated milk) 
4 tsp + 3 Tbsp unflavored gelatin (that Knox stuff)  

**Note:  I like my finger Jell-O firmer, so I added 1 tsp unflavoured gelatin for each flavour of Jello and 3 Tbsp or (3 envelopes) for the condensed milk.  1 envelope gelatin = 1 Tbsp gelatin. 

Dissolve each box of jello separately, using just one cup of boiling water per flavor (and 1 tsp gelatin, if desired). Pour into individual containers (small tupperware works well) and chill overnight.

Once solid, cut the flavors of jello into small blocks and mix together carefully in a greased glass 9×13 pan.

In a separate bowl, dissolve 2 (Tbsp) envelopes unflavored gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water (I use 3 Tbsp).  Add 1 1/2 cups hot water. Let cool a bit and stir in the condensed milk. Cool to touch and pour cooled milk mixture over jello and chill overnight.

- Adapted from Just Jenn and Food Librarian

The kiddies LOVED all the pretty colours!  YUM!

Pin It

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homemade Pizza Crust

Busy! Busy! Busy!  That describes my household the past 2 weeks.  I haven't had the chance to sit down in front of the computer.  I've been pretty exhausted chasing after the kiddies since their summer holidays started!  

The children started their summer holidays at the end of June.  I'm not used to having all three at home everyday!  Hubby is also taking some time off work this month too.  So far, we have enjoyed spending our time together as a family:  in the garden, day trips, bike riding, going on walks, playing in the kiddie pool and picnic meals. 

Since we were spending the whole day at home, I decided to make homemade pizza with the kiddies' favourite toppings.  This is another recipe that I have been making for almost 10 years.  I love making bread and pizza dough but it does take a little time and planning.  To make things easier, I dumped all the ingredients into my bread machine on the "dough" setting in the late morning and by lunchtime, the pizza dough was ready to be baked.

Unfortunately, my bread machine stopped working properly during this batch. It was making grinding noises while mixing erratically.  Thank goodness, this recipe is very forgiving.  I have made this recipe by hand, mixer and bread machine with good results.  I am so disappointed that my bread machine only lasted 4 years!

I used 100% whole wheat bread flour this time.  It is also wonderful with all-purpose flour or a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose.  A very flexible recipe.  

I rolled out my crust as thin as I could.  Instead of the standard red tomato sauce, I used up an opened jar of roasted garlic alfredo sauce and mixed in some tomato paste.  Toppings were: ham sausage, pepperoni, red peppers, olives, fresh pineapple, sauteed veggies (spinach, onions and mushrooms), and 4-cheese Italian shredded cheese blend.  Baked in the oven at 450F for 15-18 min, depending on the thickness of the crust and toppings. 

Jay's Signature Pizza Crust

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat bread flour.  Can also use a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour too)

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.  (Instead, I dumped all the ingredients into the bread machine according to the manufacturer's directions on "Dough" setting).

Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). (I baked mine at 450F).  If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.

Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

- Adapted from Jay's Signature Pizza Crust Recipe

Pin It