Gingerbread Cookies

It’s almost that time of year again! For a while I’ve been craving a good, soft, homemade gingerbread cookie with that delicious icing and gumdrop buttons. The following is what happens when I have a day off, a great Pinterest find, and cool weather outside.

Gingerbread Cookies
Bake time: 8 minutes per batch
Bake temp: 350F
Yields: 2 dozen cookies

Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar (golden, packed)
10 Tbsp soft butter or margarine
1 large egg yolk (save the egg white for the icing)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses (fancy, not blackstrap)*
2 Tbsp milk (rice milk for dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together dry ingredients, flour through salt, and set aside. In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat together brown sugar and butter (or margarine). Add egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add molasses and milk, mix until combined.

Set the mixer on low speed, and add dry ingredient mixture slowly until fully incorporated.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions, and roll each portion between sheets of parchment paper until 1/4″ thick (no thinner*!). Cut shapes with cookie cutter, but don’t move them yet – place dough on parchment paper onto a cookie sheet or other large flat surface, and chill in freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove excess dough and transfer cookies to cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper). Bake for 8 minutes at 350F. Cookies should be soft and stay indented when touched. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack. When cool, decorate with icing and gumdrops, sprinkles, etc.

Notes:
*Pour a small amount of canola oil into liquid measuring cup and swirl around to coat before pouring molasses – this is a great trick I’m sure many grandmothers have handed down. Doing this means your molasses won’t stick to the measuring cup.
**Seriously, I went too thin on one batch and burnt them at the same time and temperature as the others. If anything, go thicker and add 1-2 minutes to the bake time. And don’t skimp on the time cooling on the pan either. Or in the freezer.

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Icing
1 egg white
1 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Beat egg whites on high in mixer until frothy; add lemon juice and icing sugar, and beat until thick on high.

Transfer to piping bag or Ziploc bag with tip cut off for decorating. Add food colouring if desired.

Use to decorate fully cooled gingerbread cookies. Add gumdrops, sprinkles, etc. to decorate. (This is the icing that hardens and is great for gingerbread houses and such. Don’t make it until you’re ready to decorate.)

 

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Original cookie recipe here, and original Royal Icing recipe here.

Feisty Fiesta Chicken Salad

I didn’t know what to make the other day for dinner, but I knew I had romaine lettuce and chicken breasts to cook up, so I decided to go for a salad. I had some tortilla strips for salad toppings in my panty, so I decided to make a Mexican-inspired chicken salad. This is the delicious creation we ended up with. Enjoy!

Feisty Fiesta Chicken Salad

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 2 as meal

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin or butterflied
Romaine lettuce (chopped)
Grape tomatoes (halved)
Cucumber (diced)
Avocado (diced; if you only use 1/2, save the half with the pit in a Ziploc bag in the fridge for later)
Tortilla strips (salad topping)
Fresh cilantro (chopped)
Chives (chopped)

Marinade
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tablespoon of Worchester sauce

Blackening Seasoning
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano

Salad Dressing
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch chili powder
1 garlic clove (minced)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp sugar or honey (optional)

 

Combine marinade ingredients, and marinate chicken (30 minutes to overnight).

Combine blackening seasoning ingredients. Remove chicken from marinade, rub with seasoning, and cook on medium heat in frying pan. Chicken should “blacken” as you cook.

Combine salad dressing ingredients in a small lidded container and shake to combine.

Toss lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and salad dressing. Top with slices of cooked chicken, tortilla strips, cilantro, and chives.

feisty fiesta chicken salad

 

Original dressing recipe here.

Super Greens Soup

This is another recipe that comes from Jamie Oliver’s Super Foods recipe book. It is very easy to make (especially the way I do it!) and extremely delicious. It saves well too – I haven’t gone more than 2 or 3 days without finishing it all off, but it holds together well for leftovers. Hope you enjoy!

Super Greens Soup
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
Serves: 4

1 sweet vidala onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
2 medium sized white potato, chopped
1 can of chickpeas (standard 14oz can), drained and rinsed
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 bay leave
4 cups chicken stock
2 to 3 stalks fresh kale (about 5oz)
6oz chorizo sausage (fresh or smoked- I recommend smoked!)

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add potatoes and chickpeas. Tie together fresh herbs and add to pot. (If using dried herbs, skip this step.) Add chicken stock; bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to low heat for 15 minutes until potatoes are almost cooked through.

If using fresh (raw) chorizo, pan-fry or bake sausages (whole). When cooked through, slice, set aside, and reserve pan drippings. If using smoked chorizo, slice and set aside. (The smoked flavour makes up for the missing pan drippings, trust me!)

Remove thick stalk from kale, and chop leaf into bite-sized pieces.

Remove fresh herbs from soup (if using dried herbs, skip). Add chorizo slices, pan drippings (if you have any), and kale to pot. Kale absorbs a lot of liquid, so you may need to top up with a cup of water (there is enough flavour in this soup it can handle the addition!) Simmer for another 10 minutes uncovered.

Serve and enjoy!

Chicken, Apple, & Pomegranate Salad

This is a salad I make often for lunch at work and sometimes for dinner at home, and I am always asked for the recipe. So, at long last, here it is. It kind of mimics a salad at Wendy’s, but my version is healthier. At least, I think so. Enjoy!

PS there are no measurements for any of the ingredients except the dressing; I just start adding things to the bowl and stop when I feel like there’s enough.

Chicken, Apple, & Pomegranate Salad
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 10-20 minutes
Serves: 2

1-2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (I recommend 2 breasts if making this for dinner)
your preferred salad greens (I like spinach and romaine, or the Organic Girl sweet pea blend)
1 gala apple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
crumbled blue cheese
pecans (candied or plain – to candy see instructions below)
pomegranate seeds

Dressing
1 tbsp pomegranate juice (I buy the Pom juice)
1 tbsp honey (you can use less if you don’t want it as sweet)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Cook chicken with your preferred spices (I fry my chicken with Montreal chicken seasoning), and slice into strips.

Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until honey is dissolved/combined. (Alternatively you can combine in a small container with a lid and shake to mix.)

Toss salad greens with most of the dressing, reserving some. Place salad greens in a bowl to serve, and top with apple pieces, blue cheese, pecans, and chicken slices. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top (if you bought a real pomegranate and not a container of the seeds, cut in half and hold over the salad bowl with the cut half facing downwards and your palm underneath. Hit the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to release the seeds), and drizzle remaining dressing over toppings to add flavor.

Enjoy!

(Apologies, I do not have a good photo of this salad yet. Next time I make it I will take a picture and update this post!)

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

This recipe comes from Cuisine Tonight: Cuisine Lite, a magazine my Mom picked up somewhere. This soup is delicious and very quick and easy to throw together. It is one we both highly recommend. I hope you enjoy!

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Serves: 4

2 tsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp minced red chile, plus more sliced for garnish if desired
2 tsp minced garlic
1 bunch baby bok choy, chopped (separate stems and leaves)
4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium preferred)
1 can coconut milk (light preferred)
2 tsp curry powder
4 oz. wide rice noodles
10 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thin
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add 1 tbsp chile pepper, garlic, and bok choy stems. Sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup broth, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pan. Add remaining broth, coconut milk, and curry powder; bring to a simmer. Stir in noodles and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in bok choy leaves, and chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Remove soup from heat, and add lime juice and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper; garnish with slices of remaining chili pepper, lime wedges, and serve hot.

Nutritional Information, per serving: 325 cal, 9g fat (6g saturated fat, 2g mono, 1g poly), 46mg cholesterol, 499mg sodium, 30g carb (2g fiber, 3g total sugars), 22g protein, 1mg iron, 21mg calcium.

thai coconut curry soup

Park the Carr

This is a cocktail I created based off of a martini called Tiffany Blue. It of course has some tropical flavor, to match the other Carr Cocktails. Enjoy!

1/2 oz bols blue
1/2 oz pineapple coconut vodka
1 1/2 oz white cranberry juice

Shake over ice and pour in champagne flute or short cocktail glass.

Top with club soda.

park the carr

The Carr Alarm

Here is another cocktail creation from my Dad and I while we were at the Cabin.

1 part gin
1 part vodka
½ part Cointreau
1 part lemonade
1 part orange juice
White sugar
Grenadine
Cucumber wedge for garnish

Shake gin, vodka, Cointreau, lemonade and orange juice over ice in martini shaker.

Dip rim of martini glass in grenadine, then white sugar.

Pour martini into glass. Drop grenadine into centre of class. Garnish with cucumber.

carr alarm