Easy Caramel Sauce

Easy Caramel Sauce

  • Servings: 16 tbsp (1 cup)
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Homemade caramel sauce is so simple, you’ll never want store bought again. Although isn’t that true of most homemade recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of light brown sugar packed
  • 4 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp of sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup of half and half or use equal parts of heavy cream and milk
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat, whisking constantly or until thickened and no longer watery, 6-9 minutes. (Keep in mind that it will thicken as it cools.
  2. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

Nutrition Per Tablespoon

  • Calories 89
  • Fat 3 g
  • Sugar 13 g
  • Carbohydrates 13g
  • Protein 3.6 g
  • Fibre 0 g

If you use salted butter, reduce salt by 1/2. You can keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks. You can pop in the micro for 30 seconds to heat it up. As you can see in the pictures, I didn’t have light brown sugar, I only had dark, works just as well, just doesn’t look as traditional.

Now comes the fun part, what you can put this on. I have heard, apple pie, of course ice cream, in coffee, as a drizzle over cheesecake. The choice is yours and remember to have fun and make it your own.

Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies

Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies

  • Servings: 14 sandwiches
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Christmas time is a time for sharing. My young protege chef, sent me, as a Christmas gift, a recipe book he made. These are recipes he makes at home. This is one of them. I’m sure you will love it.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of shredded carrots
  • 2/3 cup of packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp of canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of grated orange rind
  • 3/4 tsp of vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 4 ounces of low fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar (icing sugar)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper
  3. Combine carrot, 3 tbsp of brown sugar in a bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Place carrot mixture in a fine mesh strainer and let drain for 10 minutes. Discard fluid.
  5. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in microwave.
  6. Add oil and rind to butter, 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and egg. Whisk together.
  7. Combine flour, remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk together.
  8. Add carrot mixture, butter and stir until just combined.
  9. Drop dough by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets for a total of 28 cookies. Gently pat to form circles.
  10. Bake for 11 minutes or until set. Let stand for 3 minutes. Remove cookies from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.
  11. Combine cream cheese, remaining 2 tbsp of butter, remaining 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract and remaining salt and beat with a mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed for 1 minute or well combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.
  12. Spread 1 tbsp of icing on flat side of 1 cookie, top with other cookie flat side down.
  13. Keep refrigerated.

Nutrition Per Sandwich

  • Calories 174
  • Fat 7.0 g
  • Sugar 18.1 g
  • Carbohydrates 26.2 g
  • Protein 2.2 g
  • Fibre 0.7 g

I can tell you that his turned out nicer than mine. He then tells me that was why he was using a measuring tablespoon not a regular tablespoon for the measuring out of the dough. Now he tells me, lol.

I have to admit these were great. They are moist, fresh, and not overly sweet. You can add raisins if you like, or more cinnamon if that is what you want. After all, you just have to have fun and make them your own.

Sebreena’s Pie Crust

Sebreena’s Pie Crust

  • Servings: 4, 9 inch single pie crusts
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Pie crusts. Who hasn’t had a need for some. Well I tried making them once and they could have been used as weapons. Never did that again. A couple of days ago, I wanted to make Tourtiere a.k.a Meatpie, see this link. My recipe makes two meatpies. So off I go downstairs to the freezer and oh oh, I only have one package of 2 frozen pie shells. Stores are closed. Now what??? I asked a friend, who makes great flaky pies if she was willing to share her recipe. Here it is.

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces divided, 3/4 and 1/4
  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of ice water

Directions

  1. Layout 3/4 of the butter pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until hard, at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate remaining butter.
  2. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor.
  3. Add refrigerated butter and pulse to combine, about 10 times.
  4. Add frozen butter and pulse until mixture resembles course meal, with some blueberry size clumps.
  5. Add ice water, and immediately pulse until water is absorbed about 10 times. Squeeze a small amount of dough to make sure it holds together. Pulse a few more times if needed.
  6. Layout 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half of the dough onto each piece Bring edges of wrap together to gather dough. Press into disks.
  7. Roll out disk, still wrapped in plastic, to 1/2 inch thick rounds about 9 inches in diameter.
  8. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes.
  9. Note, I’m not including the baking time, as it will depend on the recipe you are using this pie dough for.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 690
  • Fat 46.8 g
  • Sugar 8.3 g
  • Carbohydrates 60.4 g
  • Protein 8.75 g
  • Fibre 4.1 g

This dough can be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen up to a month. Now I must reiterate what Sebreena made sure I understood. ICE WATER and FROZEN BUTTER are key to success. She told me that once I’ve succeeded in making this, I would never go back to frozen pie shells. You know what, she was right. As you see in the pic, the ones on the left are her recipe and the ones on the right are the frozen pie shells. I was intimidated on trying this but I will be making these going forward. This is the one time that I will not tell you to make it your own. What you put inside is where you can get creative, have fun and make it your own.

Benson’s Shortbread Cookies

Benson’s Shortbread Cookies

  • Servings: 24 cookies
  • Difficulty: Easy
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*Due to a typographical error, the original posting states 2 cups of icing sugar, when in fact the correct amount is ½ a cup. Sincere apologies for the error.*

What says Christmas more than cookies. I remember there always being shortbread cookies. Oh no, I don’t have a recipe! Tried a couple that didn’t quite turn out like I wanted. While talking to my best friend, she said she had a recipe from an old box of Benson’s corn starch that her mom used to make. To this day, those cookies reminder her of her mom. Well Benson’s is no longer around, but their recipe brought a smile to a lot of young faces. This recipe is too good to go forgotten with the times.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of corn starch
  • 1/2 cup of icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of softened butter

Directions

  1. Sift together flour, corn starch, and icing sugar
  2. With a wooden spoon, incorporate butter until a smooth dough forms
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  4. Preheat oven to 300
  5. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutters for fun shapes
  6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned
  7. Cool on wire rack

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 90
  • Sugar 2.54 g
  • Carbohydrates 8.9 g
  • Protein 0.61 g
  • Fiber 0.17 g
  • Fat 5.8 g

As you see in the picture, I added sprinkles. I did that to the dough as I was mixing the dough. (they are not counted in the nutritional facts) I’m not great at decorating. The size of your cookie cutters will determine how many cookies you get. Mine are approximately 3 inches from top to bottom. They are low enough on carbs and sugar that even diabetics can indulge in a cookie or two. Have fun and make them as festive as you like and make this old recipe your own.

Quebec Style Yellow Split Pea Soup

Quebec Style Yellow Split Pea Soup

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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There are many variations of this soup. You will find this in many restaurants, in Quebec, on Fridays. This is a hearty soup with lots of protein. You can half the recipe and it will still serve 6.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb of unsmoked ham hocks
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 medium carrot peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery rib finely diced
  • 2 medium onion finely diced
  • 3 1/2 cup of dried yellow split peas rinsed and sorted
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp dried savoury
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 8 cups of chicken broth
  • 6 cups of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Trim off and discard skin from ham hocks.
  2. In a very large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Add carrots, celery and onion. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in dried split peas, bay leaves, savoury and thyme. Cook while stirring for about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in broth, water and ham hocks. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 hours. Stir regularly until the peas are soft and soup has thickened.
  6. Remove bay leaves.
  7. Remove ham hocks. Take the meat off the bones and shred. Add back to soup and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 445
  • Fat 18 g
  • Sugar 6 g
  • Carbohydrates 39 g
  • Protein 32 g
  • Fibre 16 g

This is a very filling soup. Serve it with country biscuits, if carbs are not an issue and it is a full meal. If you serve it as a side or appetizer, it is thick enough that you don’t need to serve it with anything at all. Ham hocks often come frozen. If you can’t find any, you could use left over ham. Be careful on the salt you add if you use ham. When you come to reheat, you will need to add water or chicken broth. You can also freeze this soup. Like I mentioned at the top you can half the recipe easily and it won’t alter the recipe at all. Just have fun and make it your own.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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No two recipes for aglio e olio are the same, but this one is pretty true to the classic. The key is roasting the garlic to perfection, a golden brown. If it’s too light, you don’t get the full flavour and if it’s too dark it gets bitter. My advise, do this slowly and you will succeed.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of fresh italian parsley chopped
  • 1 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large pasta bowl.
  2. While pasta is cooking, combine olive oil and garlic in a cold skillet. Cook over medium heat to slowly toast garlic, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat when the oil starts to bubble and continue to cook until garlic is light brown.
  3. Stir red pepper flakes, salt and pepper into the pasta.
  4. Pour in hot oil and garlic and sprinkle the italian parsley and half the parmesan, toss until well combined.
  5. Serve pasta topped with the remaining parmesan.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 755
  • Fat 35 g
  • Sugar 3 g
  • Carbohydrates 87 g
  • Protein 23 g
  • Fibre 4 g

This is not a recipe to do if you are on a diet. I am a firm believer that everything in moderation’s is ok. You can serve it as a sided and then it’s only a half guilty pleasure. I have the nutritional facts as 4 smallish servings. You can make it quite spicy, you can add toasted pine nuts. Just have fun and make it your own.

Easy Swedish Meatballs

Easy Swedish Meatballs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This is a quick go to meal that is tasty, easy and impresses guests. I make my own beef meatballs but if you need to save time, you can use thawed frozen meatballs. Whatever works best for you.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 10 ounces of meatballs

Directions

  1. If you are using fresh meatballs make sure to brown them and cook slowly to make sure they are cook through.
  2. Whisk together stock, cream, flour and spices in a large saucepan over low heat until smooth.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in meatballs, and continue cooking until meatballs are heated through about 5 minutes.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 393
  • Fat 32 g
  • Sugar 1 g
  • Carbohydrates 12 g
  • Protein 15 g
  • Fibre 1 g

I make meatballs with extra lean ground beef, panko, egg, garlic, salt and pepper. I use a cookie scoop to make sure meatballs are even. You can make these with ground chicken, ground turkey, pork and beef, venison, whatever your heart desires. If fat content is an issue you can sub heavy cream with whole milk. You will need to add a tbsp of flour to thicken.

By using lean meats, that will help reduce the fat content. What you serve it with will make a difference. I served it on spaghetti squash. Added fibre without adding carbs or many calories. That choice is yours. Basically have fun and make it your own.

Healthy Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies

Healthy Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 24 small cookies
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Soft and chewy oatmeal cookies that don’t contain any flour, butter, eggs or refined sugar. The dough takes about 5 minutes to prepare. What more could you ask for?

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups of quick oats
  • 1/2 cup of mini dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.
  3. In a large bowl, mix applesauce and oats. Mix with a spoon until evenly combined and all oats are moistened.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  5. I used a cookie scoop and made 24 small balls.
  6. Use a spoon or a fork to flatten to approximately 1/2 inch. These cookies will not spread or change shape as they bake.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes depending on thickness. (To know if your cookie is cooked, try to lift the cookie with a spatula. If it lifts easily, they are ready)

Nutrition Per Serving with Splenda

  • Calories 50
  • Fat 3.5 g
  • Sugar 3 g
  • Carbohydrates 5.5 g
  • Protein 1.2 g
  • Fibre 0.9 g

I used chocolate chips as this recipe is not very sweet. You could use just about anything as a fill in. Dried fruit works well, raisins, depending on your nutritional needs or restrictions. A traditional serving would be two cookies. Even with chocolate chips, they are still a good option even for diabetics. Think of how you could change them for Halloween or Christmas. Just have fun with these and make them your own.

Healthy Pineapple Carrot Cake

Healthy Pineapple Carrot Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This healthy carrot cake is a lighter version of the original. It is moist, easy to make and is lower in sugar and has no butter or oil.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (I used splenda 1:1)
  • 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple
  • 3/4 cup of finely grated carrots (about 2 large)
  • Pam vegetable spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray Pam on 8×8 ceramic cake pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together egg and applesauce.
  5. Add vanilla, sugar and crushed pineapple. Stir until combined.
  6. Pour dry ingredients into wet and gently mix with a spatula until completely combined.
  7. Stir in carrots until evenly distributed.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 25-35 min until pick comes out clean from centre.
  10. Cut into 12 squares.

Nutrition Per Serving with Splenda


– Calories 55
– Fat 0.55 g
– Sugar 2.8 g
– Carbohydrates 10.1 g
– Protein 2.0 g
– Fibre 1.0 g

Nutrition Per Serving with Sugar


– Calories 94
– Fat 0.55 g
– Sugar 11.3 g
– Carbohydrates 18.6 g
– Protein 2.0 g
– Fibre 1.0 g

This cake is easy to make. The longest part is grating the carrots and making sure that there is no extra protein (the skin off your fingers) as I so often scrape my fingers on the grater.

I’ve given the two versions of nutritional facts with sugar and with Splenda. Even using sugar, a diabetic can have this as the carbs are low and so is the sugar. You can ice it with a cream cheese frosting (let me know if you want the recipe) but it doesn’t even need it. You can sprinkle a little icing sugar for extra sweetness but that is up to you. There are so many possibilities including chocolate chips, or raisins, or even dates that there is no reason you can’t have fun and make it your own.

Applesauce Cake

Applesauce Cake

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Applesauce is often something I have in the house. I’ve learned to buy the little cups as many recipes ask for it but in small quantities. I hate opening a jar and then have half go bad. Here is a recipe that calls for just one of those prepackaged cups of unsweetened applesauce. I’ve given you a couple of options on the fat or sugar content below.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil or applesauce (if you have extra, my nutritional value below is based on oil)
  • 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of white or cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups of white, spelt or oat flour (I used white unbleached flour)
  • 1/3 cup of sugar or sugar substitute (my nutritional value is based on sugar, if using substitute sugar value is 0 g)
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of allspice (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk liquid ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add remaining dry ingredients to form a batter.
  4. Smooth into a greased 8” square pan.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
  6. Cool, then frost if desired.
  7. Cut into 9 squares.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 130
  • Fat 4.4 g
  • Sugar 7.2 g
  • Carbohydrates 21.6 g
  • Protein 2.8 g
  • Fibre 2.6 g

So as you can see this was really easy. Just because it is low in fat and sugar doesn’t mean it can’t taste good. I made mine with oil but without the sugar. I used splenda 1:1 and it was fine. This also brought the calories down to 102 cal per piece. If you change the oil to applesauce it goes down to 66 and only 0.4 g of fat. You can add raisins, chopped walnuts, even chocolate chips without making it go crazy on calories or sugar. Depends what you are after. You could even ice it, if you really wanted to. I thought it was great plain but now it’s your recipe and have fun and make it your own.