Tropical Muffins

These muffins are delicious! If you are looking for a new and unique muffin recipe this is fantastic. The muffins are so moist you don’t need to add anything to them. One bite and this muffin will take you back to that sunny, breezy island you once went to for vacation. Enjoy!

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY

  • Steps: 4
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 20 min. prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 12 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Muffin pan
  • Muffin cups (optional)
  • Stand mixer or mixing bowl with hand mixer
  • Can opener
  • Spoon
  • Measuring spoons/cups

The Recipe

Time: 20 min. prep + 22 – 25 min baking = 45 min.

Servings: 12

Calories/serving: ~ 225

I got this recipe from Taste of Home.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons rum extract (you could use vanilla extract instead)
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (227 ml) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, sour cream and extract.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture just until moistened.
  3. Fold in the pineapple, coconut and pecans.
  4. Fill 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Decadent Fudge Cake

This cake is soo good! So moist and so chocolatey! There is 3 different kinds of chocolate and another great recipe for using up buttermilk. All you chocoholics out there will love it. Definitely a crowd pleaser! I got the recipe from Taste of Home and I highly recommend it. It’ll definitely be making it again. I served it with a sparkling wine for any of you looking for a wine pairing 😉

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 2
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • ~30. min prep
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 12 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can find at the grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Stand mixer or mixing bowl with hand mixer
  • Measuring spoons/cups
  • 10-in. fluted tube pan
  • Mixing bowls for melting

The Recipe

Time: ~30 min. prep + 1 1/4 hours bake time = 1 hour 45 min. total

Servings: 16

Calories/serving: ~ 519

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Cream butter in a large bowl. Gradually mix in sugar. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine buttermilk and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with flour, beginning and ending with flour. Add melted chocolate, chocolate syrup and vanilla. Stir in 1 cup miniature chocolate chips. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 325F for 1-1/4 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean. Immediately invert cake onto a serving plate; cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, in a microwave, melt white chocolate and 2 tablespoons shortening; stir until smooth. Cool slightly; drizzle over cake. Melt remaining chips and shortening in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat; cool slightly. Drizzle over white chocolate.

Cedar-Plank Salmon

Cedar-planked salmon is one of my favourite ways to cook salmon in the summer. I recently found a pack of 4-5 cedar planks at Costco for a reasonable price but unfortunately they are just too thin and catch fire no matter how long you soak them. I recommend investing in a thicker cedar plank. This recipe has so much flavour and it is pretty easy! If you’ve never had salmon cooked on a cedar-plank before give it a shot because you’ll never want to eat Salmon another way! I got the recipe from LCBO Food & Drink.

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY

  • Steps: 3
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 7. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 11 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Measuring spoons
  • Barbecue

The Recipe

Time: ~7 min. prep + 30 min. soak time + 20 min. cook time = ~ 1 hour

Servings: 6-8

Calories/serving: ~ 278-371

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed (I use minced)
  • 3 c2 tbsp (30 mL) grainy mustard
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) ketchup
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 lb (1 kg) salmon fillet
  • 1 soaked cedar plank (soak at minimum for 30 min. but longer is better)
  • Kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Combine mustard, ketchup, olive oil, rosemary, chili powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Spread over fish, then cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat barbecue to high.
  3. Place soaked cedar plank on grill and grill, with lid down, for 3 to 4 minutes, until you can smell or see smoke. Immediately flip plank and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Place fish on plank, skin-side down. Close barbecue lid and grill for 12 to 15 minutes, until fish is just cooked. Remove plank from grill and slip fish onto a serving platter.

Grilled Veggies

You gotta have some favourite grill recipes when it’s summertime. This is my favourite way to cook veggies in the summer and a staple side dish at our house. You’ll need a grill basket and I have linked one you can buy HERE. I have given measurements below but usually I just guess and you can add more or less of any veggie you want. Then you top it off with feta or goat cheese. It is simply fresh and delicious!

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 4
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 30. min prep
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 11 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Grill basket
  • Tinfoil
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Barbecue
  • Spoon

The Recipe

Time: 30 min. prep + 30 min. grill = 1 hour total

Servings: 8

Calories/serving: ~ 108

Ingredients:

  • 1 Zucchini
  • Mushrooms (227 g)
  • 2 Green peppers
  • 2 Red peppers
  • 1/2 – 1 Red onion
  • 2 – 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • Pepper sauce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 crumbled feta or goat cheese (or however much you want!)

Directions:

  1. Line grill basket with tinfoil. Chop vegetables into pieces and put in grill basket.
  2. Toss with olive oil, a few sprinkles of pepper sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Grill 25-30 minutes or until vegetables look cooked/charred.
  4. Put in a bowl after grilling and add feta or goat cheese and toss.

Strawberry Lemonade Scones

These scones are fantastic! Definitely do the lemon curd! I got a recipe for one HERE and it works well for me. These are a great recipe for a summer breakfast treat and for using fresh strawberries that come in June!

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 4
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 30. min prep
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 10 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Mixing bowls
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Grater
  • Basting brush

The Recipe

Time: 30 min. prep + 20 – 25 min. bake = 55 min. total

Servings: 8

Calories/scone: ~ 305

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsps. sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cream (half and half, table, heavy, etc. all will work)

TOPPING:

  • sugar or sanding sugar
  • cream (any cream will do)
  • lemon curd

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With pastry blender (or hands or food processor), cut in butter cubes until mixture has coarse crumbs. Gently add strawberries and the lemon zest. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs and cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Gently stir until moistened.
  3. Place dough onto a well floured surface. Gently knead the dough by folding and pressing it quite a few times, turning the dough a quarter turn after each fold. Move dough to a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet (or stoneware baking sheet without parchment). Pat dough into a 3/4 inch thick circle. Cut circle into wedges and separate each slightly.
  4. Brush wedges with cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar or regular sugar. Bake 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. Drizzle scones with lemon curd.

Tropical Carrot Cake

This cake is a slice of heaven, seriously… For all you carrot cake and coconut lovers out there this is the cake for you! There is quite a few ingredients that may not be for everyone but topped off with cream cheese icing what isn’t to love? It also makes quite a bit of cake which is great for a potluck or family get together. If you are looking for a fun twist on carrot cake give this recipe a shot 😉 I got this recipe from Taste of Home.

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 5
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 45. min prep
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 17 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Moderate

Equipment Required:

  • Mixing bowl with hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Grater
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Can opener
  • 13 x 9 in. baking pan
  • Butter or cooking spray for greasing

The Recipe

Time: 45 min. prep + 45 – 50 min. bake = 1 hour 35 min.

Servings: 24

Calories/serving: ~ 366

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely shredded carrots
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 can (227 ml) crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

FROSTING:

  • 1 package (250 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (I used half and half)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil and buttermilk.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; add to egg mixture and mix well.
  3. Stir in vanilla, carrots, raisins, pineapple, walnuts and coconut; mix well.
  4. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool.
  5. For frosting, beat all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Frost cake.

Buttermilk Pound Cake

This pound cake is so easy and delicious. It is so sweet and buttery. Serve it with whipped cream and strawberries for a summer dessert! Also, perfect with a morning coffee. It’s great for when you need to use up leftover buttermilk. I got the recipe from Taste of Home HERE.

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY

  • Steps: 2
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 20. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 8 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Stand mixer or mixing bowl & hand beaters
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Toothpicks
  • 10-in fluted tube pan.

The Recipe

Time: 20 min. prep + 70 min. cook time = 1.5 hours

Servings: 20

Calories/serving: ~ 285

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add alternately with buttermilk and beat well.
  2. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 325F until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Warm Mushroom Salad

This salad is one of our all-time faves! Sautéed mushrooms in butter and garlic with aged cheddar over a bed of greens, it’s simply divine. I got this recipe from LCBO Food & Drink, it’s supposed to be a winter time recipe but we enjoy it all year long! It’s great with a barbecued steak and some red wine 🙂

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 6
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Involvement
    • 25. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 14 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy – Moderate

Equipment Required:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Sauté pan
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups/spoons

The Recipe

Time: ~25 min.

Servings: 2

Calories/serving: ~ 300

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed (I use minced)
  • 3 cups (750 mL) mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced (preferably an equal mix of cremini, oyster and shiitake)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme, finely chopped (or 1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried)
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) soy sauce
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) dry white wine (I tend to use sauvignon blanc or chardonnay)
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) white wine vinegar (sherry or red wine vinegar will also do)
  • 1½ tbsp (22 mL) olive oil
  • 4 cups (1 L) winter greens, torn into bite-size pieces (arugula, escarole, romaine, red leaf lettuce or others)
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) aged white cheddar, finely crumbled (I use Balderson)
  • 1½ tbsp (22 mL) walnuts, coarsely chopped (sometimes we just leave these out if we don’t have any on hand)

Directions:

1. In a large sauté pan heat butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic clove and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add mushrooms, thyme and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes until mushrooms begin to soften and release their water.

3. Add soya sauce and white wine and continue sautéing for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms become golden. Discard garlic clove. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. In a medium bowl whisk together mustard, vinegar, olive oil and a pinch of salt.

5. Add greens and toss with vinaigrette, taste a leaf and adjust seasoning. If needed add another drizzle of oil or vinegar.

6. Divide greens on 2 plates, top each with warm mushrooms and sprinkle with cheddar and walnuts.


Mint Chip Ice Cream Cake

This is the easiest ice cream cake to whip together. And it doesn’t even have to be made with mint chip ice cream, it could be made with Rocky Road, Cotton Candy, Moose Tracks, you name it! I got the recipe from my Half Baked Harvest Cookbook which you can purchase here. This is great for summer and as I said you can try it out with any flavour!

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 6
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Involvement
    • 15. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 6 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Springform pan
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Saucepan
  • Knife

The Recipe

Time: ~15 min. prep + ~ 4 – 6 hours softening, freezing & cooling

Servings: 12 – 16

Calories/serving: ~ 344 – 459

Ingredients:

  • Non-stick cooking spray or butter, for greasing
  • 2 litres mint chocolate chip ice cream or ice cream of choice
  • 1 (9-ounce or ~ 2.5 cups) box chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or other oil of choice)

Directions:

  1. Grease an 8- or 9-inch round springform pan with cooking spray or butter.
  2. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 – 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the chocolate wafer crumbs and melted butter. Dump the mixture out into the prepared pan and press the crumbs into the bottom to make a smooth, even crust.
  4. Spread the ice cream on top of the crust and smooth into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly against the cake to help prevent ice from forming. Freeze for 4 – 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
  5. About 20 minutes before you plan to serve the cake, in a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until completely melted and smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes before using.
  6. Remove the cake from the freezer and pour the melted chocolate over the top, allowing some of it to drip over the sides. Once the chocolate hardens into a shell, you can slice and serve the cake, or return it to the freezer until ready to serve. Just be sure to take the cake out of the freezer 10 minutes before cutting. This makes cutting so much easier!

Buttery Beef & Porcini Burgers

These homemade burgers are fantastic if you like mushrooms and butter! They are really juicy and full of flavour. I got the recipe from the LCBO magazine here. I thought they were fantastic! The mayo recipe is also a fun compliment to the burger. I made the patties with homemade hamburger buns (you can find the recipe HERE) and I thought they were great but they are a little dense. So if you don’t like a dense bun then I would buy them at a store. If you are looking for a new patty to try I suggest giving this one a whirl!

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 5
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 20. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 10 ingredients
    • Most ingredients you can easily find at the grocery store but porcini mushrooms you may not find at all stores.
    • Rating: Moderate

Equipment Required:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk or spoon
  • Barbecue
  • Saucepan
  • Measuring cups/spoons

The Recipe

Time: ~20 min. prep+ 30 min. soak time for mushrooms + ~ 10 min. cook time = 1 hour total

Servings: 6 burgers (4 is way too big)

Calories/burger: ~ 312

Ingredients:

  • ½ oz (15 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup (250 mL) boiling water
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Japanese soy sauce
  • 1½ lbs (680 g) medium ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

SESAME & GREEN ONION MAYO:

  • ½ cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) sesame oil
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) chili garlic sauce or Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Make mayo: Whisk together the mayonnaise and sesame oil; stir in green onions, sauce and sesame seeds. Mayonnaise is best the day it’s made but will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 3 days.
  2. Place porcini in a small heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over; let stand 30 minutes. Drain (reserve soaking liquid for another use if you like). Once mushrooms are cool enough to handle, squeeze dry over the sink; finely chop and set aside.
  3. In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat; let cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until foaming has subsided and particles in butter are light brown. Add porcini and soy to pot, stir and immediately remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Crumble ground beef into a large bowl; spoon butter mixture over. Gently mix to combine and form into 6 equal-sized patties (patties may be made up to a day in advance, covered tightly with cling wrap and refrigerated).
  5. Season patties with salt and pepper as you would a steak. Cook over a high grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until no longer pink in centre.