It seems a little weird to be posting Valentine’s Day-themed sprinkled cookies this close to Halloween, but I’m going to let it slide just this once. The reason behind all the red, pink and white hearts is that my office recently held a surprise wedding shower for a co-worker who is getting married this weekend and I offered to bake something for the treats table. These cookies turned out so well that I just had to share them. Normally I don’t use real butter or white flour in my baking, but it’s shortbread and I really like to pull out all the stops when I’m baking for other people (aka not just for me and Trevor).
A couple weeks ago, I received a large bag of gala apples from my cousin’s apple farm near Port Elgin. To say that I was excited was a complete understatement. Work commitments and a lack of vehicle options (I recently sold my car) have made it nearly impossible to leave the city, so I was a little bummed out that there would be no apple farm visit this year. To make up for it, we’ve been purchasing the locally grown apples from the busy St Lawrence Market Saturday farmer’s market, but as delicious as those apples were it never felt the same. Half the experience is definitely picking your own apples fresh from the tree and I can’t say I get the same thrill when choosing an apple basket from a sea of other identical apple baskets at the crowded market.
Another big draw I’m currently missing from apple farm is their in-house bakery. While I love their streusel top apple pies (so.much.apple), my mom is more partial towards the apple cheddar biscuits. In fact she is such a fan that she makes them herself using this apple cheddar scone recipe. Although it’s not the same recipe used by the apple farm (which makes hundreds at a time), it’s good for when the mood strikes, they will make a great last-minute breakfast addition and this recipe can be made in less than 30 minutes.
Even though Canadian Thanksgiving is over, pumpkin is still very much a big deal here. We’ve been eating leftover pumpkin pie tarts (made with coconut milk for Trevor), pumpkin gingerbread loaf and now I’m back to eating pumpkin for breakfast. It may seem like overkill right now, but soon we’ll be in the middle of the holiday season with gingerbread, peppermint and eggnog. The fall season is very, very short and I was nicely reminded of this the other day when I noticed some retail stores have already started to put out their upcoming holiday merchandise. I was so not ready to see that much red and green so soon after my long weekend.
I recently took on the challenge of roasting pumpkins to make my own puree, and wow, what a difference it was compared to the canned stuff. I’m all for using canned food when I’m in a pinch, but sometimes I forget the obvious of how much tastier (and cheaper!) it can be to go that extra mile. Of course, I forgot to document the process because taking apart a pumpkin, gutting it, cleaning, and trying to keep the seeds can be a messy job. Two small 3lb “pumpkin pie” pumpkins took me a little over an hour and that was before they were even placed in the oven. Luckily, I ended up with a sizable bowl full of pumpkin seeds to roast and over 4 cups of delicious pumpkin puree.
I’ve been on an comfort food kick as of late, what with the weather turning colder and the days being shorter. Over the weekend, Trevor and I went to Nuit Blanche which is an all-night art event held in downtown Toronto and it was so cold that I was kicking myself for not bringing my mitts, toque and a scarf. The streets were literally packed with people, but that didn’t stop the wind from picking up at random intervals and making me a miserable, shivering person. The event was all-night, but we ended our evening early just before 11pm and made a stop over at the food trucks that were parked conventionally across the street from our condo. Street food, warm pjs and late night television. Call me Grandma Jessica, but it was the perfect end to our Saturday night.
My longing for comfort food continued into the next morning when I swear these pancakes were calling my name. Normally I can’t even function first thing in the morning without my coffee, but for some reason I knew I was going to make spiced pumpkin pancakes before I had even crawled out of bed. ‘Tis the season I guess, because if it isn’t apples, apples and more apples, it’s pumpkin. I’ll probably be sick of both by the end of the month, but for now I’m embrace it while it’s here. Fall is such a short season and the fall produce season is even shorter.
Apple season is upon us! I’m so excited to share this recipe because the fall season is probably my favourite food season, especially with all the great produce available in Southern Ontario. We recently gave up our car so we’ve been braving the crowds and making use of the Saturday Farmer’s Market at the St. Lawrence Market every weekend. This was one of the many perks I was looking forward to when we were planning our move downtown and I couldn’t be happy that St. Lawrence and many other farmer’s markets are just a 10 minute streetcar ride away. Being carless may mean that we’re unable to make a trip up to the apple farm again this year, but at least we can still get our fill of locally grown apples.