A favourite treat of mine to make lately is fudge. I follow easy recipes that use sweetened condensed milk and no candy thermometer is necessary. This summer I made Reese's Fudge and Salted Butterscotch fudge and both were pretty tasty. I love these recipes because they are easy and they make a whole lotta fudge. Over two pounds per recipe so it is great for sharing.

Most recently I tried Oreo Cookie fudge. This recipe called for Marshmallow Fluff, and I have to say this is the firmest fudge I've made so far. There is nothing wrong with a gooey fudge, but I really liked how this one firmed up. Perhaps the marshmallow held it together?

This recipe was originally found on Shugary Sweets.

3 cups white chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar Marshmallow Fluff (less enough to make a fluffernutter sandwich)
25 crushed oreos
1 tsp vanilla 

Begin to melt white chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk over medium-low heat.

Add Marshmallow Fluff and stir to combine/melt all ingredients.

Once smooth, add vanilla and mix in completely.

Mix in crushed Oreos.

Pour into pan. I lined an 8x8 pan with parchment paper and sprayed it with cooking spray. The 8x8 pan allows the fudge to be cut into big sharable chunks (about 200g each).

Slice and serve!

Posted by Jen B On Sunday, October 27, 2013 13 comments
Now that we have Mom's old food processor, I got the idea to make scalloped potatoes. Homemade versions I've had in the past always had too thick potatoes and too runny a sauce. I knew the food processor would cut thinly, so I Googled a good recipe, added some extra seasoning and sliced onion, and cooked it up. We were pleasantly surprised with how good these were, and I will definitely be making them again. So tasty. Also, it took longer to clean the food processor than it did to slice the potatoes. So cool.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, October 25, 2013 10 comments
About a year and a half ago my mom got a new food processor and gave me her old one. A few months later I got 50 lbs of potatoes from my farmer brother and wanted to use the processor to make some chips. Unfortunately, in the time between receiving it and wanting to use it, I had hid it on myself. I looked everywhere at least three times, even checking at mom's thinking maybe I left it there. Nope. I had lost it. :(
Mom's old food processor. It's from the 80s.
This past weekend we cleaned out the garage and stored a number of things in the attic. We moved some boxes around up there to make space, and I just happened to open the box that had my food processor in it! John said the look on my face was pure delight. I also just got my annual 50 lb bag of potatoes from my farmer bro, so the timing of finding it was perfect.

My Bro grew some pretty amazing potatoes this year
I spent much of the next day just fooling around in the kitchen. Potatoes were sliced. Chips were made. French fries were baked. I spent a year waiting to use it, so I had a lot of fun. We don't have a deep fryer, so I baked the chips in the microwave and the oven. Both versions tasted great, but they took soooooo long in the microwave (I have a small one so could only cook a few at a time).

Food processor equipped with the ripple chip slicer
Putting a potato in the feeder
One potato turned into a whole lotta slices
Chips prepared in microwave (took six minutes and two flips)
Chips prepared in the oven (about 20 minutes, checking often)
Baking some fries made with the french fry slicer blade
A bowl of french fries
Excited to have loads of fun with this food processor. Can't wait to try recipes with sweet potatoes too. Also going to pick up some peanuts and try homemade peanut butter. There are really a million and one things I can do with this and I love that I can finally make use of it.

Thanks Mom!! :)

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, October 24, 2013 4 comments
Went for a nice walk last week before all the rain hit. A neighbour was having a small fire in their yard (brush and leaves I think) and the sun was shining through the smoke beautifully. It could be because I'm currently reading The Lord of the Rings, but sometimes I feel like I live in a fantastical land (but with paved roads and cars).

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12 comments
Gary either really likes sleeping on my stuff, or I have a habit of leaving my things where she likes to sleep. It is a chicken or the egg type question, and a reminder that maybe I shouldn't leave my things lying around. Still learning that good habit.

Gary with my iPod: "I'm waiting for an important text"
"How do I get to my Twitter, again?"
Gary using The Hobbit as a pillow

Posted by Jen B On Monday, October 21, 2013 2 comments
I was craving peanut butter cups but didn't want to go to the store or make a giant batch of them. So I asked Google if there was a single serving recipe and of course there was. So now I can have a peanut butter cup at a moments notice (with just a little bit of waiting for chocolate to harden). It is too easy. If you don't want to know how to do this, please click away, I totally get it!

Recipe was slightly adapted from Maple Spice.

The recipe will make two (in case you need two or feel like sharing).

1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp margerine
sprinkle salt
4 tsp icing sugar
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vegetable oil

1. Mix peanut butter, margarine, and salt in bowl until smooth. Add icing sugar and stir until incorporated. Set aside.

2. Line a muffin tin with two muffin liners.

3. Melt 1/4 cup of chocolate with oil in microwave, checking every 15 seconds until melted.

4. Spoon a layer of chocolate into each muffin cup, spread out with knife to ensure bottom is covered. Spoon half of peanut butter filling onto chocolate, spreading out with knife or finger so it covers chocolate. Spoon remaining chocolate over peanut butter layer.

5. Place in freezer and wait at least 20 minutes. Wait longer if you are able (we were not).

6. Enjoy!

The cups probably didn't set long enough and broke slightly when bitten into. Still tasted amazing, but I couldn't get an attractive photo. I imagine chilling longer would help with that. I'm sure I will make them again soon, so I will find out (if I can wait for them to chill longer, that is...).

Posted by Jen B On Friday, October 18, 2013 13 comments
My favourite meal to cook is a big turkey dinner. There is so much I love about it beyond the wonderful food I get to eat when it's done. I love having the house smell amazing all day. I love preparing all the sides. I love impressing people with my turkey making skills. I also love 2-3 days of leftovers and the option of making turkey soup. There is so much to enjoy.

For some people, a turkey is just served on holidays. In my family, we throw a turkey in the oven whenever there is an excuse to do so. When I was away at school, any weekend I came home was a reason to have a turkey. Now most birthdays or family get togethers are accented with a turkey. I often make one on my own birthday, as I like making them so much (but this year mom has volunteered).

I have a method for making a turkey that works for me (and works for mom, as I mostly copy her method). We cook the turkey for a long time, but somehow we don't overcook it. We stuff the bird. We make tonnes of sides. And we have a relaxing and enjoyable time preparing it. If you've never made a turkey before, there are some safe food handling concerns regarding preparation and ensuring the meat and stuffing are cooked to the proper internal temperature. For a good overview of how to make a turkey safely, please check out Butterball's Turkey Safety Tips and Turkey Ontario's How to Prepare a Turkey.
I will let the pros provide a step by step guide for cooking turkey, but the following are some of the things I do to have an awesome turkey dinner - every time.

An important aspect of cooking a turkey is getting a turkey deal. For me, a turkey deal is when the price is $0.99/lb or less. I love getting a turkey for $10, and a 10 pound turkey is my favourite size to prepare. There's enough for dinner with guests with the perfect amount of leftovers (too many turkey leftovers can be too much of a good thing). With Thanksgiving sales this past week, I got two 11 pounders at the $0.99 price point. Gotta love the turkey deal!

On the day of cooking, with a completely thawed turkey, I make my stuffing. I like a simple stuffing: bread, onion, garlic, mushrooms, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, and butter. 

I use a turkey rack (when I remember) which makes removing the cooked turkey from the pan so much easier. Because I like to cook my turkey for a long time, it has a tendency to fall to pieces when taking it out of the pan, but the turkey rack helps keep it intact.

I stuff the bird right before it goes into the oven, stuffing the cavity and the neck. I sprinkle the turkey with salt, pepper, and some melted butter, and into the oven it goes at 325°F.

The turkey cooks throughout the day and I relax. I baste it periodically, but mostly I just let the oven do all the work. I do spend some time preparing sides, but I find that relaxing. Early in the day I peel potatoes, prepare and mash a sweet potato, and chop broccoli and carrots. 

I usually aim to have my turkey done at 5:30pm and then it is Go Time. The turkey comes out of the oven and settles for half an hour while I hop around the kitchen. The potatoes get on and boiling then mashed, the veggies get steamed, the gravy gets prepared, and the sweet potato gets reheated. Finally the stuffing comes out and the bird is carved.

And the beautiful dance that is turkey dinner is complete and is ready for consumption!

After dinner is done and (most likely) pie is consumed, I head back to the kitchen and de-bone the turkey. All the meat gets stored in a convenient tupperware for the next few days of leftovers, and the bones are frozen and saved for some fantastic turkey soup.

Best. Meal. Ever.

Posted by Jen B On Monday, October 14, 2013 2 comments
It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and we are spending a nice quiet one at home. A nice bonus of being home while everyone else is running around, is we get to dog sit our favourite dog friend Alex.

Alex lived in British Columbia with my sisters-in-law until last week, when they all returned to Ontario and settled about an eight minute drive from us. We happily volunteered to dog-sit any time they need it and we hope this is the first of many hang outs we get to spend together. He is a real sweetie.

So we are having a low key Thanksgiving with our buddy Alex and some steak leftovers we have from yesterday. We cut some of our huge haul of meat into 6 oz steaks and enjoyed the first round of them last night. Second go is tonight. We have some mini potatoes that we mix with a spoonful of butter, chives, and cilantro for what is now my new favourite side dish.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you are having a lovely weekend. :)

Posted by Jen B On Sunday, October 13, 2013 2 comments
We got a super fantastic beef deal on Friday. Giant roasts were on for $1.87/lb, and we got four of them, each weighing in at around 6 lbs. This is our favourite way to buy beef, because we cut them into smaller hunks so we have many options for cooking. The four roasts turned into fourteen 1.5 - 2lb portions that we froze and will use over the next few months as roasts, steaks, beef strips, or stewing meat. I have to say I am pretty excited about it and with winter coming I am loving that we have 24 lbs of meat in the freezer.

A 1 pound hunk of beef cut from a large roast
I'm really looking forward to turning these 14 hunks of beef in my freezer into many fabulous meals. If we cut the beef into strips we can make one of our favourites: fajitas.

A hunk of beef cut up into strips
Browning the beef strips and seasoning them with taco spice
Making my fajita: add beef and cheese
Add avocado and salsa
Add lettuce and roll up into an awesome hand held meal

Posted by Jen B On Saturday, October 12, 2013 2 comments
I make a pretty good cinnamon bun, but I crave store bought ones from time to time. Especially the Cream Cheese Cinnamon Buns from Foodland. The cinnamon bun part is perfectly fine, but not the main draw. It's the full tilt slathering of cream cheese icing that makes these buns a winner. It is ridiculous and amazing and makes eating more than one extremely difficult.

Package of six cinnamon buns - look at all that icing!
Individual cinnamon bun
This post is part of Big Dude Likes Food #FoodPornFriday link up. Feel free to head on over to his blog and link up an awesome food post!

Posted by Jen B On Friday, October 11, 2013 7 comments
I'm happy to say we are celebrating our third Car-niversay today. We had a rough summer with the car, but she has been on her best behaviour lately and I haven't had to buy her anything new for a while. Very happy about that.

It is a nice day out there, so as part of the anniversary celebration I'm going to give the car a good wash, windex all the windows, and maybe even vacuum out the inside. It will be a good way to get it nice and clean for winter.

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, October 10, 2013 6 comments
The weather has been beautiful for much of October. A few rainy days, but mostly just bright sun and perfect for walking. I love fall colours and the rail trail doesn't disappoint to show off the beauty of this time of year. I'm attempting to soak in every moment of sunshine I can. Outdoors or bust!

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, October 09, 2013 8 comments
John had a birthday a few weeks ago and his family always gets him a big Chinese food dinner to celebrate. Our favourite place to order from is Canton Restaurant in Midhurst, ON, and it is always worth the 25 minute drive (each way) to get it. We always order a tonne of food and basically have our own Chinese buffet at home.

From L-R:
(back row) Chicken balls, deep fried shrimp, egg rolls, chicken wings, almond soo guy
(middle row) Sweet and Sour sauce (it's giant!)
(front row) Cantonese Chow Mein, chicken fried rice, chicken chop suey, BBQ pork spareribs

I first discovered Canton Restaurant with my family when I was in highschool, and if I was ordering take out with them, chicken chop suey would be replaced with lemon chicken, and there would also be an order of deep fried wontons. No matter who I order with, the food is always excellent and there are plenty of delicious leftovers for lunch the next day.

This post is part of Big Dude Likes Food #FoodPornFriday link up. Feel free to head on over to his blog and link up an awesome food post!
Posted by Jen B On Friday, October 04, 2013 9 comments
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