Category Archives: easy

Cheesecake Squares

In June we had a wedding reception at our church to celebrate the start of Michael and Rebecca’s adventure together. These cheese cake squares were the dessert of my choice to bring as they are bit-size, so people can try more than just one dessert and they are easy to decorate at any season. I chose raspberries and small lemon balm leaves this time.

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 3 cups (400g)  graham cracker crumbs
  • a bit less than 1/2 cup softened butter
For the topping
  • 3 blocks cream cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • sugar
  • vanilla
For the decoration
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • raspberries
  • small lemon balm leaves

Preparation

Knead the crumbs and the butter together and press into a 12×12 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Mix all the ingredients for the topping and pour over top. Bake at 350˚F for 30 min. Open the oven a bit and let the squares sit in there to cool off slowly. Chill for at least two hours before decorating.

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Filed under dessert, easy, for a crowd, for guests

It’s Rhubarb Season

I love rhubarb. As soon as it appears in my local produce store or farmers market I buy it. Having grown up on the country side with an abundance of this vegetable available I do not want to miss it.

One of the first things I used rhubarb for this spring were my basic muffins. I added small rhubarb cubes and walnut crumbs and used vanilla flavouring to complement the tangy taste of the rhubarb. I baked those for my neighbour Julia and her family after she gave birth to little Monty.

A fantastic dessert I recently tried was strawberry rhubarb galettes from my favourite cookbook author Lucy Waverman posted in the Globe and Mail. Unfortunately my crust flattened down a bit. I have to try those again.

Much easier than galettes is a strawberry rhubarb pie as it sits in a pan.

Last night I opted for a rhubarb strawberry crumble as dessert. Here is the recipe that my dear friend Alison shared with me years ago when I had no idea about great American recipes yet. Alison is a great baker and has always some treats ready for her family and friends.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients

for the crumbs

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • cinnamon

for the fruit layer

  • 3 cups rhubarb cubes
  • 1 cup strawberry cubes
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • vanilla extract or vanilla sugar

Preparation

Mix oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add not completely melted butter and form crumbs. Mix all ingredients for the fruit layer.

Grease a 6×9 inch baking pan, add the fruit layer, top with the crumbs. Bake at 400˚F for 30-40min. Let cool off a bit and serve with vanilla ice cream.

The feature photo originates from La Grande’s Farmersmarket photostream on Flickr.

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Filed under basic, dessert, easy, spring, summer

Chocolate Muffins with a Surprise

A dozen of these chocolate muffins is gone very quickly at our house, everyone loves them. One bite into the dark ball reveals the surprise: a white vanilla cream cheese filling.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 tbsp. dutch processed cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • vanilla flavouring
  • 1.5 tbsp. sugar

Preparation

Mix together all the ingredients for the filling and set aside.

Prepare the batter for the muffins.

Line the muffins pan with baking cups and fill the bottom of each cup with two tablespoons of the batter. Add one heaped teaspoon of the filling and top with batter.

Bake at 180˚C for 20-25 min.

After the muffins had cooled off a bit, I poured chocolate glaze over top and added some sprinkles for decoration.

I would like to try some variations of this recipe like adding shredded coconuts to the filling or using a different flavouring or even preparing a white batter and adding a filling with cream cheese and jam. What are your ideas?

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Filed under baking, easy, muffins

Home-Made Vinaigrettes – Ready to Go

What I  learned from my old friends Klaus and Dorle who were both busy teachers and were rising a family with four young children at the time is that it is efficient and saves time to prepare in advance. They used to always have a bottle of home made Balsamic vinaigrette dressing ready to go in their kitchen. I adopted this habit and added a bottle of my own raspberry vinaigrette.

If you want to do the same or if you want to prepare a nice present from your kitchen for a friend just  prepare the dressing, then download and print one of the labels and glue it onto an empty vinegar bottle.

Both vinaigrettes go well with a toss of leaf lettuce with fruit, nuts and cheese.

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Filed under all seasons, basic, easy, inexpensive, vinaigrette

Cappuccino Cheesecake Squares

Inspired by a recipe on the lid of an Astro Yogurt I made these super- easy cheesecake squares for dessert last Sunday.

Ingredients

  • 200g amaretti crumbles
  • 125 g melted butter
  • 2 packages softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • cocoa powder for decoration

Preparation

Knead crumbles and butter together and press into a greased 8×8 inch baking pan. Mix all the other ingredients and pour over top. Bake for 30 min. at 325°F. Let cool off in the oven, just open the door, then chill for a couple of hours.

Be creative with your decorations! I simply dusted the squares with cocoa powder.

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Filed under baking, dessert, easy

Lasagna à la Mexicana

In our family we renamed this original Kraft “Layered Fiesta Casserole” to “Mexican Lasagna”.  It has become almost as popular as lasagna in our house and is very easy to prepare, even in advance. Give it a try!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. (450 g) extra-lean ground beef (turkey or chicken)
  • 1 green pepper, cubed
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • (optional: 1 bag of burrito seasoning)
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1/2 big can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 3-4 big tortillas, cut into wedges
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheese

Preparation

Brown meat and peppers. Stir in salsa, tomatoes and corn and bring to boil, simmer for a bit.

Grease baking dish and fill with (2-3) layers of meat mixture, tortillas and cheese (cheese on the top).

Bake at 375°F for 25-30min. Let stand for 5 min. before serving.

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Filed under casserole, easy

Leche Flan

This is a recipe from my Filipino friend Mila Jahraus.  She displayed a mouthwatering picture of this dessert on her Facebook. Then I talked her into writing her own blog post about Leche flan, a typical Filipino dessert. “It’s yummy, simple and easy to make.” as she writes. Thanks, Mila, for giving me permission to share this recipe here. The Easter dinner seems to offer a perfect opportunity for me to try it myself.

Ingredients

  •    10 egg yolks
  •     1 small can of condensed milk
  •     1 cup milk or evaporated milk
  •     1 tsp. vanilla extract
  •     1 cup granulated sugar

Preparation

Beat the egg yolks with a hand mixer. Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly. Pour in the (evaporated) milk and the vanilla extract and mix again. In a flat mold (Llaneras) caramelize the sugar and let sit for 5 min. Gently pour the egg yolk mixture over the caramel sugar and cover the mold with aluminium foil. Steam for 30-35min, then refrigerate. Before serving run a thin knife around the edges of the mold to loosen the flan. Place a plate over the mold and flip upside down so the golden brown caramel is on top.

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Filed under dessert, easy, for guests