Browsing all articles tagged with holidays

Caramel Butternut Squash and Apple Holiday Squares

Butternut squash dessert recipe

It’s extremely rare that you’ll find me baking desserts in my kitchen. I leave that sort of task to my much more talented friends (Stephanie Eddy), my mother or grandmother. But, when the Calgary Food Bloggers Bake Sale rolls around, I feel obligated to brush the dust off my rolling pin and stand mixer and whip something up for a good cause.

Before you start thinking butternut squash in a dessert is weird, I assure that it practically tastes identical to pumpkin once this is all over and done with. So…phew. Exactly.

To finish off the squares, I used a chai caramel sauce that I made at home (a recipe that you can find on, but if making homemade caramel sauce isn’t your thing or extremely hot sugar in a pan scares you, then just go out and buy some good quality stuff!

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The Canadian Food Experience: Pickled Cranberries

Pickled Cranberries

As you probably know, I’ve been taking part in The Canadian Food Experience project that was started back in June by The Canadian Foodie. The point of the project is to share our connections to food in Canada (regional and not) over the course of a year. Appropriate for this time of year, the theme for October was preserving.

Since I am but a bachelor, I don’t invest the time in large patches of pickling or preserving. That being said, I have happily lived off of family members’ pickled carrots, jams, jellies et al for years and years. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love a good pickled carrot? Although, I’m sure one day I will embrace the large patch preparation of these delicious goods, but, until then, I will stick to quick pickling.

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Roasted Scallion and Kielbasa Crostini

What you’ll need…

1 baguette (1/4″ sliced)

1 bunch scallions (ends trimmed, halved)

1 bunch spinach (blanched, loosely chopped)

1 head raddichio (shredded)

1/2 cup sauerkraut (loosely chopped)

1 lemon (zest and juice)

1 TSP sugar

1/2 pound kielbasa sausage (tihnly sliced)

1 TBSP grainy dijon mustard

salt and pepper

olive oil

So, I’ve been doing a series of events with Holt Renfrew¬†in Calgary this month, highlighting some of the different gourmet preserves they have for the holiday season and using them in some simple, but delicious (obviously!) appetizer recipes. This past weekend, I used some of their specialty mustard with a crostini consisting of a little wilted greens salad, kielbasa sausage and roasted scallions.

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Brown Butter Bacon Brussel Sprouts

What you’ll need…

1/2 cup butter (unsalted)

1 TBSP curry powder

2 TSP brown sugar

3 cups fresh brussel sprouts

1 yellow onion

1 head fennel

4 bacon strips

salt & pepper

olive oil

Little known fact: People that don’t eat brussel sprouts are crazy (fact source: unknown). Fennel plays second fiddle in this dish as I’ve always held brussel sprouts near and dear to my heart. They’re kind of like the little cabbages that could, and, let’s be honest, [the addition of] bacon makes any side dish situation a little bit butter better…

Start off by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Now, melt the butter in a small pot on medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add-in the curry powder, brown sugar, whisk and let it cook for 1o minutes. In the meantime, halve the brussel sprouts, slice the onions, fennel, and bacon. Place in a large bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper, toss a few times, then place into a prepared, medium-sized, baking dish.

Pour the brown butter mixture over the dish, cover with tin foil (shiny side in!), and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Once the 15 minutes are up, remove the tin foil and return to the oven on high-broil for 5 minutes to crisp things up.

This is one hell of a side dish. Guaranteed!

Serves 3-4

Total cook time…30 min


Berry, It’s Cold Outside (Cake)

What you’ll need…


3 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 TBSP cinnamon

1 TSP ground cloves

1 TBSP baking powder

1/4 TSP salt

1 cup softened butter (or vegan margarine)

2 eggs (or egg-replacer equivalent)

3/4 cup milk (soy if vegan)

a handful (or so) of the berries listed below…


1 cup brewed MarketSpice tea (water will do if cooking with tea scares you)

1 cup raspberries

1 cup blueberries

1 cup blackberries

1/2 cup white sugar

This one is for all of those people who pull the ‘I really can’t stay’. No buts, baby, you’re going to stay and have some god damn delicious dessert. This should, perhaps, be titled ‘Rustic Berry Cake‘, but due to our current holiday season I felt as though a Christmas song title should be referenced.

This will be a cake walk…(officially my best joke. ever.) First off, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, on low setting, combine all cake dry ingredients. Now, add the softened butter, and let mix until crumbly. Finally, add-in the milk, eggs, and that handful of berries (I favour blackberries, so my handful leans towards those, but a mixed handful is encouraged). Mix until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Press the dough into a prepared 8″ round cake pan and let bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick poke comes back clean!

Moving on…take all of the sauce ingredients and place them into a medium-sized pot. Give the mixture a few good stirs until the sugar dissolves. Turn to medium-high heat until the pot starts to bubble then reduce to low heat and let simmer for 25 minutes, or until the sauce reduces by 2/3s. Remember to stir occasionally.

Once the cake is out of the oven and the sauce is ready and warm dish it out to your girlfriend/boyfriend/friends/cat/family/whomever you are eating with…Remember to be nice and generous with the sauce. It’s the best part.

** Note: I did let the cake cool, then sliced in half so I could put the berry mixture in the middle and on top. Double down.

Serves 5-6

Total cook time…40 min


The Living Dead: Ginger Zombies

What you’ll need…

1 egg (or egg-replacer equivalent)

1/4 cup butter (or vegan margarine)

1 cup brown sugar

1 TSP cinnamon

2 TSP ground ginger

1/2 TSP nutmeg

1/2 TSP cloves

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 TSP baking soda

1/4 TSP salt



You say Christmas, I say gingerbread men¬†ginger zombies! The holidays are a happy time, merry, if you will, but if watching The Living Dead has taught me anything it’s the fact that zombie is now the new vampire. It’s true, my ginger vampires of Christmas ’09 proved to be a flash in the pan, err….baking sheet. At any rate…let’s frost!

Ok, this will be simple enough, I promise. First off, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the egg and butter into a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the brown sugar to the bowl, using an electric mixer on low setting, until the mixture looks nice and creamy. Now, still mixing on ‘low’, add-in the cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Finally, slowly add the flour and mix until a dough forms.

The cookie-cutting part can be left up to interpretation. Severe limbs below baking/after, scrap out their middles with a melon baller, create your own zombie shape sans-cookie cutter, you know, something nice and creative!

Pop into your preheated oven for 8 minutes, and voila! Ginger zombies ready to be iced. Of course, let them cool a bit before applying icing so it doesn’t melt. On the other hand, that might give them a neat ‘my face is melting’ kind of look.

Yields 16 cookies (or less if you’re making mega zombies)

Total cook time…20 min


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