Blackberry Ganache Tarts

As seen in The Drive Magazine

Spending Valentine’s Day in this year? Get cozy and treat your special someone to a decadent dessert that is both simple and delicious.  The bonus? This recipe can be prepped in advance for those with a busy schedule (my favourite part)!

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What you will need:

For the Crust:

For the Ganache:

  • 1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Topping: 

  • Pint of blackberries (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries work well too)

  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting/decoration

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. In a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.  Once fluffy, add the sugar and beat until combined. 

  • Next, add the flour and salt to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.

  • With the remaining butter, evenly coat the tart shells to prevent the dough from sticking. Once finished, roll out the dough on a floured surface to a one centimetre thickness and press evenly into the shells. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

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  • Remove the tart shells from the fridge and place enough pie weights in each to cover the bottom. This will keep the dough from rising in the middle while baking.

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  • Add the tart shells to a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and firm. Once baked, immediately place them on a cooling rack. When they have cooled enough, remove the weights and cookies from the shells. Set aside.

To make the ganache, melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat.  Once melted, add the chocolate and mix until melted.  Be sure to mix constantly so they chocolate does not burn.

Next add the heavy cream and stir until it is completely combined and there are no lumps. 

After the ganache is complete, pour a layer into each tart (enough to generously cover the bottom).  Spread it evenly with the back of a spoon if needed. 

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Finally the fun part! Add a layer of berries to the top of the tart and sprinkle confectioners sugar to decorate.  Be sure the berries are completely dry from washing before adding them to the tart.  

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  There you have it! A super simple but decadent dessert to serve this Valentine’s Day, or any special occasion! 

-Mona

Holiday Gingerbread Cookies

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As seen in The Drive Magazine

I absolutely love Gingerbread Cookies around this time of year. They bring up nostalgic memories as soon as you take your first bite. My own memory was growing up in my parents’ bakery, constantly stealing the smartie buttons and then quickly hiding away to enjoy them before anyone noticed! Looking back, I’m sure they were on to me. It was one of many great memories from my childhood that I can’t help but celebrate every holiday season, and It makes me so happy to be sharing my recipe with you.

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To start you will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)

  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses

  • 1 large egg

  • sprinkles and royal icing for decorating

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg; set aside. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined and smooth. Add in your molasses and egg.

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With the mixer on low speed, add your flour mixture; mix just until a dough forms. Place dough on floured plastic wrap and pat into a square. Be sure it is wrapped well. If the flour is preventing the plastic wrap from sticking, add a second layer. Once your dough is wrapped, place it in the fridge for 1.5 hours

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then divide your dough into two pieces. This way one is continuing to chill while you work with the other. The firmer the dough, the easier it will be to work with.

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Roll out your first half of dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Begin to cut your gingerbread shapes with your chosen cookie cutter. I used a 5-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter and was able to get a dozen cookies. You can use any cookie cutter you prefer, just keep in mind if it is smaller to decrease your cooking time, likewise if the cookie is larger.

Carefully lift your cut cookie shapes and place them 1 inch apart on lined baking sheets, then place in the freezer for 20 min. Repeat, with your second refrigerated piece of dough.

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Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack. Once your cookies have completely cooled, you can begin to decorate! You can also store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days if you choose to decorate them another day-or have a super awesome cookie decorating party.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. If you have a gingerbread memory, I want to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below :).

Print

Holiday Gingerbread Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 8 minutes

Chilling Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Total Time 2 hours 18 minutes

Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups Flour

  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda

  • 1/4 tsp Salt

  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger

  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter room temperature

  • 1/3 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar

  • 1/3 cup Unsulfured Molasses

  • 1 Large Egg

  • Sprinkles and Icing for Decorating if desired

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg; set aside. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined and smooth. Add in your molasses and egg. 

  2. With the mixer on low speed, add your flour mixture; mix just until a dough forms. Place dough on floured plastic wrap and pat into a square. Be sure it is wrapped well.  If the flour is preventing the plastic wrap from sticking, add a second layer. Once your dough is wrapped, place it in the fridge for 1.5 hours

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then divide your dough into two pieces.  This way one is continuing to chill while you work with the other. The firmer the dough, the easier it will be to work with.

  4. Roll out your first half of dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Begin to cut your gingerbread shapes with your chosen cookie cutter.  I used a 5-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter and was able to get a dozen cookies.  You can use any cookie cutter you prefer, just keep in mind if it is smaller to decrease your cooking time, likewise if the cookie is larger. Carefully lift your cut cookie shapes and place them 1 inch apart on lined baking sheets, then place in the freezer for 20 min.  Repeat, with your second refrigerated piece of dough.

  5. Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack. Once your cookies have completely cooled, you can begin to decorate! You can also store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days if you choose to decorate them another day-or have a super awesome cookie decorating party.

Chickpea Curry

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your week is off to a good start :).  I’ve been trying something new this week where I go to sleep early and wake up super early to attempt to add more hours to my day… Let’s just say, my energy level right now feels like it should be Friday already… and its not  LOL.  On the plus side, this easy chickpea curry has been my new best friend in the kitchen.  It’s quick and simple to make and the recipe can be altered in so many different ways.  It also tastes great (if not better) the next day after the flavours have marinated.  So making lots and keeping it for left overs is okay in my books!

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or vegetable)

  • 1 large onion

  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 tbsp curry powder

  • 1 tsp allspice

  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 2 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 3/4 tsp red chilli flakes (add more for extra spice)

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1.5 tsp salt (to taste)

  • 1 large potato

  • 2 x 400g canned chickpeas

  • 1 x 400g can diced tomatoes

  • 1 x 946ml carton vegetable or chicken stock (low sodium)

  • 2 cups Basmati or Jasmine rice – on the side (totally optional. Follow cooking directions on package)

This recipe feeds 6.

*Tip- pre measure all of your spices in a small cup.  This way its quicker to add them into the pot in one shot.

*If you want to be a little bad and add some richness to the curry, at the very end once the curry is done cooking, add a tablespoon of butter and stir it in until it has dissolved.

I’ve repeated this recipe and instructions at the end as well, incase you wanted to skip the pictures and head right to the nitty gritty.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Start by breaking apart the head of cauliflower into bite size pieces and spreading them across a baking sheet.  Add a drizzle of avocado oil over the cauliflower, and lightly sprinkle salt and pepper.  Place in the oven and let roast for 15 min or until golden brown.

In a large pot on medium heat, add the oil and diced onions and sauté until almost translucent.  Add your mushrooms, garlic, and spices and stir.  To prevent the spices from sticking, do not be shy to add a table spoon of water as you go.

Once everything is combined, add your vegetable or chicken stock, small diced potatoes, diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and cauliflower to the pot.  Let it boil for 5 min, then turn down to simmer.

Let simmer for 20 min or until potatoes and chickpeas are very soft.  Once finished, if you would like to thicken the curry, remove from the heat and add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (dissolved in cold water) to your pot.  Thats it! You can eat this curry on its own in a bowl or served over rice or quinoa.  Feel free to add or take away vegetables to the recipe as well! It’s super versatile.

Thats it!  I put together this recipe because Mike and I have been looking for more meatless meal options to try and cut down on the amount of meat we eat.  However, if you are feeling like chicken or beef, just add some pre cooked in the simmer stage of the recipe.

Let  me know how you like it!

-Mona 

Print

Chickpea Curry

Course Main Course

Cuisine Indian

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Total Time 40 minutes

Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or vegetable oil

  • 1 onion yellow

  • 4-5 mushrooms

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 tbsp curry powder

  • 1 tsp all spice

  • 1.5 tsp paprika

  • 2 tsp dry thyme

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 3/4 tsp chili flakes

  • 1 large potato

  • salt to taste

  • 2 400g canned chickpeas

  • 1 400g diced tomato

  • 1 946ml carton vegetable stock Beef stock to substitute

  • 2 cups Basmati or Jasmine Rice Cook according to package

Instructions

  1. Directions:

    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Start by breaking apart the head of cauliflower into bite-size pieces and spreading them across a baking sheet. Add a drizzle of avocado oil over the cauliflower, and lightly sprinkle salt and pepper. Place in the oven and let roast for 15 min or until golden brown.

    In a large pot on medium heat, add the oil and diced onions and sauté until almost translucent. Add your mushrooms, garlic, and spices and stir. To prevent the spices from sticking, do not be shy to add a tablespoon of water as you go.

    Once everything is combined, add your vegetable or chicken stock, small diced potatoes, diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and cauliflower to the pot. Let it boil for 5 min, then turn down to simmer.

    Let simmer for 20 min or until potatoes and chickpeas are very soft. Once finished, if you would like to thicken the curry, remove from the heat and add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (dissolved in cold water) to your pot. That's it! You can eat this curry on its own in a bowl or serve over rice or quinoa. Feel free to add or take away vegetables to the recipe as well! It’s super versatile.*Tip- pre-measure all of your spices in a small cup. This way it's quicker to add them to the pot in one shot.

Recipe Notes

Pre-measure all of your spices in a small cup.  This way it's quicker to add them into the pot in one shot.

If you want to be a little bad and add some richness to the curry, at the very end once the curry is done cooking, add a tablespoon of butter and stir it in until it has dissolved.

Spicy Shrimp & Quinoa Bowl

Hey everyone!

I hope your week is off to a good start.  I have a long to do list of work around the house we need to do this week, but so far I’ve just said “lets start tomorrow” haha.  So wish me luck that today, I get this week moving! Haha.

So I have made a pact with myself to slowly start to get back into the grind of exercising and eating healthy, but boy its been tough! I can almost always fit a nice walk in the day, but eating healthy or even eating a decent meal at all has been hard.  I find that sometimes the days just go by so fast that by the end of them, I realize I just snacked all day…. and usually not the healthy snacks either.  (Any Mama’s with me on this one?!? LOL) .  Yesterday I decided enough is enough and I’m going to make sure I am getting in some healthy meals throughout the day.  So I broke out the QUINOA.

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What I love about quinoa is it just seems to absorb the flavour of whatever your eating, and bonus, it’s packed with tons of protein.  I made a huge batch, this way I can store it in the fridge for the week.  If I have easy access to it, and I don’t always have to put a pot on to cook it, I’m hoping it encourages me to eat the healthier option more.

Any who, I went through the fridge and threw together a bunch of things I had.  Boy oh boy did this turn out good.  It was so quick to make!  The quinoa takes 15 min to cook, but if you have that done ahead of time, this recipe should only take you about ten min to prepare and cook!

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For this recipe you will need:

  • Quinoa, cooked (cook based on instructions on packaging)

  • 1 tbspn olive oil

  • 1 onion

  • 3-4 large mushrooms

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 tspn chili flakes

  • Sriracha to taste

  • Salt/pepper to taste

  • 3/4 cup corn (frozen/canned/or fresh)

  • 1 cup salsa

  • 8-10 raw shrimp

  • Half an avocado

This recipe feeds 2.

Start by sautéing the onions and garlic on medium heat with olive oil.

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Once your onions are almost fully translucent, add the mushrooms.  Cook until the mushrooms have become a nice golden brown.  You can then add your corn, shrimp, and salsa, as well as your spices.  I used about 2 teaspoons of Sriracha with my dish but you can use any amount you think fit for your taste.

Cook on medium heat until your shrimp has fully cooked.  It should be pink in colour, but if your like me and are still unsure, cut into a piece of shrimp to check that it is no longer translucent.  I am always over cooking my shrimp because I’m a worry wart that I’m going to serve it raw haha.

That’s it!  I sliced some avocado to garnish my dish.  I highly recommend doing so as well.  It really complimented the spice of the dish nicely…. AND who doesn’t like avocado?!?!  Except my husband lol.  More for me!

Have a good week!

-Mona