Happy Halloween

 

It’s Halloween and you know what’s scary? Time. Yes, that’s right. Time is scary. Time is like a silent ghost that passes in the night. You feel its presence and you know it was there, but can’t explain how it got there, or where it went. Sure, it’s a huge treat – treat as in gift – that I am…you are…well, we ALL are…blessed to have, or blessed to HAVE had. Thinking of time this way may seem a bit strange and amazing, but hey, that is what Halloween is about…strange and amazing. 

Happy Halloween

As I look back at what I posted last Halloween (yummy pigs in a blanket and zucchini, pesto, and garlic soup, a.k.a. Mummy Fingers and Goblin Soup) on The Cooking Canvas, scary is a word that applies. Where did a whole year go? A lot has certainly happened not only with the blog – new recipes, added features, huge increase in readership – but in life. We now have our own little BOO (I apologize if baby pictures are not  your thing, but com’on…she’s all dressed up for Halloween!)!

Happy Halloween

Honestly, the countless hours since last All Hallow’s Eve spent on creating yummy homemade recipes as well as now marveling at how quickly the past two weeks of life in parenthood has FLOWN by is astonishing and frightening. You guessed it, like Halloween.

As you give out candy tonight, prepare a spooky meal, or maybe are having a quiet evening at home, I thank you for the time you have spent with me on The Cooking Canvas and I wish you a very scary, and happy, Halloween

Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and…now…BlogHer!

 

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Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

 

Pumpkin Seeds

Superfoods. What’s that mean? As a girl who really views most foods as super, this term is sort of misplaced. When I hear the word, I imagine cheese with a cape, or flying almonds that save kittens from trees.

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

But we all are familiar with the term and what it really means. Superfoods are foods that are supposedly packed full of good things for you, from antioxidants to omega-3 fatty acids, things that you should just eat more of. On the list are foods like kale, spinach, blueberries, green tea.

Others resemble in their natural states actual human body parts! Yes you just read that. It’s true. Think about how walnuts look like brains, how a transected carrot parallels the human eye, how kidney beans resemble…you guessed it…kidneys! Don’t believe me? Google it.

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

But a superfood you may not have heard of is, and is oh-so-season appropriate, the PUMPKIN SEED. Want proof? I’ll provide links for you on this one. Click here, here, and here. You’re welcome.

So, in effort to balance out the Halloween candy (a different kind of super) and sugar explosion, it makes sense to feature a superfood, a healthful snack that not only extinguishes a salty craving, but gives you a good excuse to carve those pumpkins and get your hands dirty in some orangy guts. Plus, now you know what to do with ‘em instead of to-the-garbage-they-go.

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

A few days ago, Ryan and I (and Madeline, although she took a much less active role) cranked up the spooky tunes on Pandora and did just that. Check out our talents below!

Pumpkin Seeds

Can you guess who carved which one? Well, let’s just say Ryan’s was clever and sweet – see the M + M and R as the mouth? Mine is the one with the mustache. I am particularly pleased with the eyebrows, aren’t you? Little Miss Madeline had some help, but hers is the universal sign for female (we thought it was funny, keep in mind we are a bit sleep deprived).

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Some avoid roasting pumpkin seeds because sifting through the goopy glop of the pumpkin seems so unappetizing, but let me tell you folks, it really isn’t that bad. Seriously, just go for it. It’s…super.

Pumpkin Seeds

There are a lot of recipes out there to add sugar and cinnamon to just plain salt to pumpkin seeds – all good ideas – but I thought to add curry and paprika instead. Boom. What a flavor. Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds, superpower-style. Pop them by themselves or toss with a salad, sprinkle on a soup like this Butternut Squash Soup or Red Lentil Soup, or add to a snack mix like Chex-Mix. Options are endless…

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

The curry really brings out the pumpkin flavor of the seeds. We had two large pumpkins and one smaller one and gleaned about 2 generous cups of seeds. So, going with that ratio, you might get ¾ cup per pumpkin as you carve.

You ready? Lay down some newspaper, bust out the carving knives, roll up your sleeves, and go harvest for some superfood while you celebrate the season.

More superfood and super recipes are here at The Cooking Canvas.

Updates

Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and…now…BlogHer!

Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds



Curry Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Yields 2
A post-carving pumpkin savory snack and topping for autumnal soups and salads.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of raw pumpkin seeds (taken from three fresh pumpkins)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  4. 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon curry powder
  6. 1 teaspoon paprika
Instructions
  1. While carving pumpkins separate seeds from the guts of the pumpkin and place on a separate jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.
  2. Once all seeds are collected, rinse seeds under water in a colander. Swish seeds around to remove remaining pumpkin.
  3. Place a cloth towel (a paper towel will stick to seeds) onto pan and then layer seeds to dry.
  4. Allow seeds to dry completely from rinsing on cloth.
  5. Once seeds are dry preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Remove cloth and lay seeds on the jelly roll pan.
  7. Drizzle olive oil onto seeds.
  8. Sprinkle all seasonings evenly onto seeds.
  9. Mix seeds around to throughly coat each seeds with seasoning.
  10. Once mixed, place pan in oven for 15 minutes or until the seeds become a rich, golden yellow.
  11. Allow seeds to cool before tasting and enjoying.
Notes
  1. All seasonings can be added more or less to taste.
  2. Enjoy the seeds by themselves or as a yummy topping to a soup, salad, or an addition to a mixed-nut bowl.
The Cooking Canvas http://www.thecookingcanvas.com/

Apple Almond Torte


 

Apple Almond Torte

First off, I need to clarify to you, my dear readers, that this torte recipe was planned for a post exactly one week ago…then I went from this: 

apple almond torte

 

To this: 

 

Apple Almond Torte

 

That’s right folks! We had a BABY! 

In case you missed it and want to see some more pictures of our little girl, Madeline Louise, check out the guest post by my husband, Ryan, the new Daddy, earlier this week. It’s packed full of good sh*t. Whoops! I mean stuff. (Read it and you’ll understand).  In short, Madeline came about 10 days early. She is healthy, happy, and doing all the things that newborns do. I, too, am feeling healthy, happy, and doing all things that first-time Moms do. That said, over the coming weeks, I hope to post at least once a week, but everyone and their brother says I should take it easy. So, cut The Cooking Canvas some slack if something might seem delayed and lagging. Kinda like how I feel, but it’s all good! 

So, let’s get back to this nutty, savory, smells like heaven, and satisfies the taste of the gods torte.

Apples and almonds. I just like the way those two words sound together. Actually, it sounds like a pretty good blog name come to think of it, or maybe a daycare center. Why did I think of that? Baby on the brain?

Anyway…

Anything apple has also been on my brain. Since the leaves outside have started changing, apples have been on my list…I track ‘em down and use them any way I can in the kitchen.

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Turns out that apples and almonds not only sound like they are destined for each other, but they are meant to have a big ol’ party on your taste buds together, moving and grooving to the scrumptious symphony (alliteration, anyone?) of cinnamon and butter enter this heavenly Apple Almond Torte recipe. Too bold a claim? I don’t care, ’cause it’s true.

Want some more alliteration? This terrific tasting torte is not only palette pleasing, but it is particularly panoramically pretty, too. Okay, moving on…

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

I had the BEST time getting those slices of apples to all fit beautifully into the springform pan. I might have even exercised my French with a “Damn, that looks good!” before sliding it in the oven. Pardone-moi!

But what does it TASTE like?

Like you suddenly started speaking French.

Cette Almond Torte Apple a une croûte croustillante et de noisette que les transitions dans un doux , tarte , et le goût de pomme acidulée qui fera que vous voulez avoir quelques secondes, voire tiers. Since you haven’t tried it, though, you’ll need the translation.

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte 

Apple Almond Torte

Do YOU ever find recipe inspiration in the darndest places? I do. Seriously, I have family recipes that have been taken from the back of cereal boxes and newspaper cuttings (which proves there is an alternative to Pinterest afterall).

To that point, the origins of this Apple Almond Torte recipe I stumbled upon in one of my favorite local magazines, Radish Magazine (pg. 12), and although it was called a “cake”, I believe that “torte” is the more appropriate term for this fabulous dessert. Why? Well, I found this nugget of information from trusty ol’ Google. And if Google says it, it’s gotta be true, right?

Torte vs. Cake

Ingredients Difference – A traditional cake is made with ingredients mainly consisting of sugar, eggs, butter and flour. A torte, however, calls for little to no flour and the use of ground nuts or breadcrumbs in its place. This change of ingredients causes the torte to be much heavier in both texture and taste.

Boom. There you have it. Verdict out.

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

Apple Almond Torte

It doesn’t really matter what you call it, though. You should bust out some green granny smiths and give this a go. FYI: It also plates beautifully with some rich vanilla ice cream.

Okay, thanks as always to YOU, my dedicated readers. I am so joyful that I can bring to you what I genuinely LOVE doing: creating in the kitchen. I look forward to your comments!

Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and…now…BlogHer!

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  Apple Almond Torte  

Apple Almond Torte
A fall dessert with an irresistible nutty sweetness.
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Torte
  1. 1/4 cup almonds
  2. 3/4 cup flour
  3. 3/4 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
  6. 1 teaspoon almond extract
  7. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  8. 3 Granny Smith or other tart apples
Topping
  1. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a 9 inch spring form pan.
  3. In a food processor, combine and pulse almonds and 1/4 cup flour until a course meal is formed.
  4. Add rest of flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter and pulse until butter is granular.
  5. Add the almond extract and egg and blend well - mixture will be like wet sand.
  6. Using your fingertips press the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  7. Place pan in refrigerator to chill.
  8. While torte is chilling peel and core apples and cut into very thin slices.
  9. Remove torte from fridge and stick apple slices into the torte batter, packing them tightly. Leave about a 1/4 inch rim around the outer edge.
  10. Place torte in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  11. While torte is baking melt the remaining butter, allow it to cool, then whisk it together with the remaining sugar, cinnamon and egg until a thick slurry is formed.
  12. After torte has baked for 45 minutes, pour the thick topping over the cake as evenly as possible - start in the center of the cake and circle outward.
  13. Place torte back in the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
  14. Once baked, allow torte to cool completely before removing the sides of the spring form pan. A knife can be scraped along the edges to prevent sticking.
  15. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Serve with vanilla ice cream for an extra treat!
Adapted from Radish Magazine
Adapted from Radish Magazine
The Cooking Canvas http://www.thecookingcanvas.com/

 

Madeline’s Dirty Diaper Ale

Dirty Diaper Ale 

Helloooooo, Cooking Canvas readers!

Are you ready for a humdinger (yes, I did just use that word) of a post? And be warned…this is a long one!

But first, I’d like to spare those of you who are not interested in beer or babies whatsoever a few precious minutes. In other words, you can stop reading here.

BUT. If you:

(a) Are a new father or mother or know any new parent (s);

(b) Are curious about making beer or you already enjoy make beer;

(c) Are searching for a celebratory beer recipe or homemade brew recipe;

(d) Have been following or have contributed to my Kickstarter campaign; and/or

(e) Are curious about Baby D….

…then you’ve GOTTA keep reading.

In case it is not obvious, this is Ryan here. Megan has graciously allowed me the opportunity to momentarily take over her blog to reveal an unusual little beer project and to publish a recipe. So, let’s all take a minute and raise our glasses (yes, go pour yourself a cold one) to The Cooking Canvas CEO, Megan, for letting her annoying, he-must-have-nothing-else-to-do-with-his-free-time husband take over for this one. Meg: thanks, love.

Before beer, though, we have a HUGE announcement!

In case you haven’t heard, Baby D. (now, Madeline Louise) has officially arrived! Let’s put our hands together again, this time for Mamma AND Baby! Hooray!! At a sizable 7 pounds, 9 ounces, little Madeline joined us last Friday morning. She is healthy and happy (um…as much as a newborn can be) and I’m learning all kinds of good stuff, from the adorable “moro” to new words like “meconium” to redefining what love really is. I have particularly enjoyed watching her eyes open for the first time, feeling how delicate she is in my hands, and walking out from the hospital to the many sights and sounds of reality. I’m still getting used to her serenading us on the hour, every hour with her wails and the dance that ensues. Our little honeycomb. I…we…feel very blessed, indeed.

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Anyway, back to recipes, this is probably the most unique, albeit ridiculous, one you’ve ever laid eyes on. And if you know ANYTHING about beer, you’ll know that beer companies don’t exactly advertise it when they taste like “crap” (get it? dirty diaper? crap?). Well, ladies and gentlemen (ARE there gentlemen reading this?), this homebrew recipe is. In fact, it’s downright deplorable. And I take pride in that. Why? Because handing out bottles of homebrew that not only I made, but co-made with a dozen other cool-^&$ people, in order to celebrate the arrival of Madeline is something that no else has EVER done, to my knowledge.

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So, a little background. Back in August, I created a Kickstarter campaign titled “Dirty Diaper Ale“. My goal was to fund a little project in which we (various contributors and I) would co-create a beer…a celebratory homemade brew…to distribute to friends and family instead of traditional cigars upon the arrival of lil’ Baby D.

Ingredients for the brew would be requested by folks who contributed $5.00 or more, with opportunities to receive varying fun little gifts in return. No rules (except edible and safe) on the requested ingredients…the crazier, the better. The beer, though, would have a theme, the dirty diaper, and would aim to represent the diaper change experience, something that I personally had NEVER done before and absolutely DREADED doing.

The beer would ideally possess such qualities as a disgusting color and/or a strange smell. The idea, of course, is that like a changing a diaper, it’s really not that bad. Don’t get me wrong, that tar-filled first diaper change was absolutely, mind-blowingly disgusting. But once wipees are warmed and the ol’ ankle-hold move mastered, it’s fine for everyone.

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So, like I said before, a unique way to welcome Baby D., er…Madeline. Still getting used to how she now has a NAME.

We ended up SMASHING the funding goal of $60 and raised $215! The funds purchased all ingredients necessary, the wicked-cool labels (again, thanks Meg for the design), and the items needed to make and send the rewards to those who participated.

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Here, I am posting the official recipe for the Dirty Diaper Ale, THE celebratory homemade brew, a.k.a., new dad beer, new parents beer, beer for new baby. Whatever you call it, it’s decent stuff.

It’s also a real dirty diaper recipe. What’s actually in it, you ask? Well, if you blew by the pictures, above, here’s a summary:

The ingredients parallel baby food a bit. The creamy, milky head is significant. It smells not unlike other brews, although I can’t say it smells that great. The color is a spot-on nasty brown. Read the ingredients and you’d expect it to be a LOT worse! Tangible flavors of vanilla, mixed with light sour notes of apple and pumpkin spice, on a backdrop of green chili and jalapeno…what!!?? Overall, it’s a good-tasting beer, in a depressed sense, and it leaves me hanging somewhere in between wanting another sip and not. But maybe that’s just because I know what’s in it.

And to the Kickstarter contributors, the moment you’ve been waiting for: blog stardom. Your name and your ingredient is below…you’re now officially featured on The Cooking Canvas!

Apple – Mary Dehner, Cheyenne, WY
Pumpkin – Carrie, Cheyenne, WY
Chocolate – Shawn Stoeker, Anamosa, IA
Vanilla – Dustin Kurrle, Ames, IA
“Surprise me” – Liz Grace, Rockford, IL
Honey – Ken Nesbett, Iowa City, IA
Jalapeño – Carlos Ortega Amparan, Solon, IA
Green chili – Benjamin Abeyta, Albuquerque, NM
Hazelnut – Alecia and Evan Bern, Chicago, IL

A HUGE round of applause to you and a gargantuan THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

And a HUGE shout-out to the two contributors who wished to be unnamed: you know who you are…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

If you have comments or questions about the recipe or even about the gear needed to make your own homemade brew, feel free to post here or email Megan. She’ll pass your words on to me.

Okay. I’ll turn it back over to Meg. Thanks, readers, for putting up with me!

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Thanks, Ry! This is Megan and I’ll take it from here. We’ve got some good posts on their way over the next few weeks, so be on the lookout.

As always, a huge ‘thank you’ to my faithful followers. And if you haven’t yet, I invite you to subscribe to The Cooking Canvas on the right. It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe! Just enter your email and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter.

And did I mention we’re now on Blogher?? Yey!!

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Dirty Diaper Ale
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Ingredients
  1. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 1/4 pound chocolate
  2. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 1/2 pound caramel 120L
  3. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 1/2 pound special B
  4. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 2 pounds of 2-row grain
  5. (GRAIN BILL, Fermentable) - 2 pounds of Munich grain
  6. (Fermentable) - 2 pounds of plain wheat dry malt extract (DME)
  7. (Fermentable) - 1 bag of Dark Belgium Candi Sugar
  8. Lactose powder - 1 pound
  9. Brown sugar - 1/2 cup
  10. Pumpkin, canned - 2 heaping tablespoons
  11. Apple, extract - 2 teaspoons
  12. Honey - 1/2 cup
  13. Chocolate nibs (organic) - 1 bag
  14. Hazelnut, extract - 1 teaspoon
  15. Vanilla, extract - 1 tablespoon
  16. Jalapeño, fresh - 1, diced with seeds removed
  17. Chopped green chili, canned - 1/2 can
  18. German Hallertau hops - 1 oz.
  19. Tettnang hops - 1 oz.
  20. WPL300 liquid yeast - 1 bottle
  21. Priming sugar - 5 oz (for bottling)
Mash (60 minutes)
  1. Prepare boil pot with strainer bag, attaching well it to sides of pot.
  2. Bring 4 gallons of water to 165 F degree, then pour entire GRAIN BILL in, making sure all grains are inside bag. Stir well as you pour.
  3. Turn off heat and cover pot.
  4. Maintain water at 160 F degrees for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally without puncturing the bag.
  5. Using a broiler pan (or any "sheet" with slots allowing drainage), unclip and carefully lift grain-filled bag out of pot (now heavy), placing it onto broiling pan, which now sits atop your pot, allowing sugar-rich grain water to drain back into pot. Do not squeeze bag.
  6. Begin mash out (optional).
  7. After draining, bag and grains are no longer needed (save spent grains for dog treats?).
Boil (60 minutes)
  1. Bring wort (sugar-rich grain water) to a boil. Put in the following ingredients after the corresponding number of minutes have passed after boiling begins
  2. Dry malt extract - 1 minute
  3. Dark Begium Candi - 1 minute
  4. Brown sugar - 1 minute
  5. Hallertau hops - 15 minutes
  6. Jalapeño and green chili - 15 minutes (use ball strainer)
  7. Pumpkin and pumpkin - 25 minutes
  8. Remove ball strainer with jalapeños and green chili inside and dispose
  9. Honey, chocolate nibs, hazelnut, and vanilla - 45 minutes
  10. Tettnang hops - 45 minutes (1/2 oz)
  11. Lactose - 45 minutes
  12. Tettnang hops - 60 minutes (final 1/2 oz)
  13. Stir well after each addition. Take caution in that some ingredients will inspire a rapid boil-over within seconds. Stirring will prevent this. During the boil, be sure to sanitize all your equipment (wort chiller, fermenter, hydrometer, etc.). And enjoy a cold, frosty beer yourself!
  14. After the 60 minute boil, turn off heat. Cool wort as quickly as possible, covered, to 70-75 F degrees using wort chiller or ice.
  15. Pour wort into fermenter.
  16. Take and record original gravity (OG). Target OG is 1.061 at 65 F degrees.
  17. Pitch yeast and stir.
  18. Cover and fermentation begins.
Fermentation
  1. Allow to ferment at 65 F degrees for two weeks. Take and record final gravity. Target FG is 1.030.
Bottle/Keg
  1. Pour 2 tbsp of vanilla into bottling bucket or keg. Bottle using priming sugar or keg beer as per proper procedures.
Notes
  1. This recipe uses a method also referred to as Brew In A Bag (BIAG).
The Cooking Canvas http://www.thecookingcanvas.com/
 

Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Anyone tired of turning to the slow cooker for staple dishes like chili or beef stew? Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a mean chili, and am a sucker for a rich beef broth, but this weekend I was in the mood for something with a BIT more adventure…

I really wanted a simple, substantial, standalone soup (say that 5x fast!) that would be a meal staple. So, in what seems like a LONG time ago, I pinned this recipe for a Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup from one of my favorite sites, Serious Eats. So, I decided to give it a try, but not without a few alterations…

 

Red Lentil Soup

First off, I found out that RED lentils are not an everyday grocery item. Seriously? Yeah, the regular, green lentils are easy to find in the bean aisle and CHEAP to boot, but…after trotting all across town…these little red beauties were finally found in the organic bulk section of a local grocery (go HyVee!). I was bound and determined to use red lentils for a couple of reasons: (1) I was bound and determined – ha! and (2) I thought that the red would be a whole heck of a lot prettier in photos than the greenish lentils.

And the taste? Well, you’ll have see for yourself.

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Not only was it a pleasing, autumnal color, this soup turned out delicious and it was so easy to make (Yay for the Crock Pot!). Plus, it was a HUGE hit with some dinner guests.

Filling and satisfying, it boasts a smooth, consistent texture. The real beauty, though, of this soup was in the garnish and toppings. So don’t forgo the zesty red onion and the fresh cilantro. They really are a MUST.

Red Lentil Soup

To the changes I made to the original recipe, I had some leftover bacon on hand, so I used the rendering of that fat that to saute the veggies instead of olive oil and I believe it really deepened the flavors of the soup. Instead of cayenne, I used red pepper flakes and I also used chicken broth instead of vegetable.

Why the changes? Because I’m a creative person? NOPE! Because that is simply what I had stocked in my pantry. Can’t always go by the book – right?

Red Lentil Soup

Also, for fun, I added some popcorn to my soup on the second night and it turned out to be a delightfully crunchy surprise.

This scrumptious hearty red lentil slow cooker soup is one of our new family favs. I might even try it with the regular lentils next time! Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

More this week with an Apple Almond Torte!

As always, a huge ‘thank you’ to my faithful followers. And if you haven’t yet, I invite you to subscribe to The Cooking Canvas on the right. It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe! Just enter your email and click Submit. And be sure to follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter.

And did I mention we’re now on Blogher?? Yey!!

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Red Lentil Slow Cooker Soup
Serves 6
A hearty, rich soup with red lentils that won't disappoint.
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Cook Time
4 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 slices of bacon - diced
  2. 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  3. 2 cups chopped carrots
  4. 2 cups chopped celery
  5. 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  6. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  7. 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  9. 4 cups dry red lentils
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 10 - 12 cups chicken broth
  12. Kosher salt - to taste
  13. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  14. 1 large red onion, minced (for garnish)
  15. 1 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves (for garnish)
  16. 1 lemon, cut into wedges (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. In a large saute pan, cook bacon until it becomes slightly browned and renders fat.
  2. Add onion, celery, and carrots to bacon and cook until veggies begin to soften.
  3. Add garlic and let cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add paprika, cumin, red pepper, and a hearty pinch of salt.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Add veggies to a slow cooker that has been set on low.
  7. Add broth, uncooked lentils, and bay leaves to slow cooker and cook for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more broth depending on desired soup consistency.
  8. When the soup is done, discard bay leaves add vinegar and transfer to a blender, food processor, or use a hand-held blender to puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings, if needed.
  9. Ladle into bowls and top with red onion and cilantro, and serve with lemon wedges.
Notes
  1. Garnish is a must!
Adapted from From Serious Eats
Adapted from From Serious Eats
The Cooking Canvas http://www.thecookingcanvas.com/

Freezer Meals and Nursery Nesting

Freezer Meals

With a baby on the way and giving into what many say is the “nesting” instinct of many expectant mothers, I have been searching for and making freezer meals in preparation for when our bundle of joy *finally* arrives. Actually, to be honest, my lovely and patient mother made the meals that are currently in our freezer while I was at work, while I selected the recipes and helped with shopping. And here they are in all their motherly glory, shared with you, my dear readers! Below are links not only to the freezer meal recipes, but also a lovely photo of what is in both my freezer and pantry in order to make them all happen.

Freezer MealsFreezer Meals

Now, to clarify, I have no idea what these actually will taste like (hopefully good!) as my prior experience with freezer meals is leftover soup. This uncharted territory of assembling everything in a bag, slapping on a label, freezing it, and then eventually throwing it in the crockpot with the aspiration of being delicious is new to me. Hey, ya never stop learning. Got any go-to meals of your own? Share them below!

I tell you what, when a fellow blogger gives you a clear shopping list and reasonable ingredients with clear instructions, I have to give them a huge shout out. Thank you Kojo Designs!

Here they are: 

Honey Rosemary Chicken
Coconut Curry Chicken
Lime Salsa Chicken
Santa Fe Chicken

Speaking of photos as evidence of my growing “nesting” instincts, several readers have asked for more photos of something that I poured some creative energy into this summer and fall: the baby nursery. A few weeks ago, I shared a little gem-of-a-photo with our dog, Omie, perched ready to greet baby and, well, here are some more. Note: These photos were taken with a trusty smartphone – sometimes you just gotta give.

Freezer Meals

Freezer Meals

Freezer Meals

Anyway, to explain a bit, my husband and I LOVE to travel and given that we are waiting to find out if our little one is a boy or girl (SO pumped for the surprise!), we decided to make our gender neutral nursery all about exploring, kind of, you know, the whole “the world is your oyster” mantra. Admittedly, I got a little carried away with some aspects. But, hey, I had a little time this summer to make super-cute curtains and closet covers. Why not? I also have to give a shout out to the generosity of family and friends who helped us get this little piece of heaven ready for our little one. Ryan and I would not be “ready” in so many ways without your love and support.

Freezer Meals

One of my favorite things.

Freezer Meals

The bedsheets…oh the places you’ll go.

Freezer Meals

We heart traveling.

Freezer Meals

Gotta have books!

Freezer Meals

The curtains.

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We actually changed an old hutch into our changing table and book shelves!

Freezer Meals

Travel rug!

Freezer Meals

Love the old chest.

With our now FULL freezer, FULL hearts, and a baby bedroom FULL of more than necessary, we are excited…and blessed…for this new chapter in our lives.

Next week, look forward to a soup and apple dessert ready for the chilly autumn nights that require a sweet finale. Be sure to subscribe to the right, follow on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram and Twitter.

And remember you can now check out The Cooking Canvas on Blogher!


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Pumpkin Pleasures on Pinterest

Okay, I admit it. I cannot help myself. I’ve got a little crush on pumpkin. So much so, that since my last post I find myself perusing all things pumpkin on beloved Pinterest.

Pumpkin Pleasures on Pinterest

I mean who wouldn’t have a little love interest in something with so much potential? Seriously, it’s warm and inviting, it’s versatile (can be savory or sweet), I always get a little smile on my face when I think of its spice and smell, and, finally, I am always looking for ways to be around it – especially this time of year. What can I say? Instead of saying much, I have decided to share what I call my Pumpkin Pleasures Board on Pinterest today. Boy, that’s a mouthful! “What is the Pumpkin Pleasures Board?” you ask? It’s a collection of pumpkin recipes, from pumpkin breads to pumpkin pastas to pumpkin desserts. I invite you to check it out, re-pin, or even add a suggestion in the comments below. Anything to feed my hunger for pumpkin.

 

Pumpkin Pleasures on Pinterest 



More recipes, pumpkin and otherwise, always on their way. Subscribe to the right, follow on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

 

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Blondies

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Blondies

It’s that time of year when orange is everywhere. Orange leaves, orange for Halloween, and yes, the obvious orange of the mighty pumpkin, which, coincidentally, also happens to be DELICIOUS. The cooler temperatures also bring about more baking, at least in our household. The comfort of the oven on with something sweet inside warms my heart as the temperatures start to drop.

So, to combine the baking and the yumminess of pumpkin, I came up with a recipe that is one of my all-time favs: Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Blondies…

And I think they will knock your cozy fall socks off!

Read on…

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Blondies

The frosting has gotten RAVE reviews from mouths and the cookie bar portion is soft and filled with cinnamony ribbon. You will be making these as long as canned pumpkin lines the grocery shelves this season.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Blondies

A couple of key pointers with this recipe:
line your pan with foil or baking paper so that the bars are easily removed
soften the butter beforehand – trust me
make double because they will go fast!
share with someone you love

More fall favorites on the way. Subscribe to the right, follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.

And be sure to check out The Cooking Canvas featured on Blogher!

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Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Blondies
Pumpkin, cinnamon, buttercream frosting, soft snickerdoodle blondie, and fall all lead to the perfect dessert!
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Snickerdoodle Blondie Ingredients
  1. 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
  3. ½ tsp. salt
  4. ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  5. ¾ cup sugar
  6. ¾ cup brown sugar
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  9. 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  10. ½ tsp. ginger
  11. ½ tsp. nutmeg
  12. ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
Cinnamon filling
  1. 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
  2. ⅓ cup sugar
Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting
  1. ½ cup butter, softened
  2. 3 cup powdered sugar
  3. 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  4. ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  5. ½ tsp. nutmeg
  6. ½ tsp. ginger
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an 11x 7 in or 9 x 9 in (will be thicker) baking pan with foil or baking paper. Set aside.
  3. Combine all dry (flour, baking powder, salt, and spices) ingredients of the Snickerdoodle Blondie in a small bowl.
  4. In an electric mixer, combine butter, sugars, vanilla, egg, and pumpkin until mixture is smooth.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients until mixture becomes like cookie dough.
  6. Smooth out half of the batter to line the baking pan.
  7. Combine sugar and cinnamon for filling and sprinkle it on top of the first half.
  8. Add remaining batter to pan and smooth it out to make it even (don’t worry if some of the cinnamon mixture gets messy).
  9. Place pan in oven to bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes clean.
  10. Take out of oven and allow to cool completely before icing.
For icing
  1. Combine all ingredients in an electric mixer until smooth and spreadable.
  2. Using a spatula, smooth icing onto bars.
  3. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Once bars are frosted, I recommend placing them in the refrigerator for the frosting to harden a bit before cutting into desired portion size.
The Cooking Canvas http://www.thecookingcanvas.com/

Updates and a Movie

Instead of the typical “Dinner and a Movie” for hubby Ryan and me this weekend, we had what I am calling “Updates and a Movie.” Updates?”, you ask? Yes! The Cooking Canvas Blog has an EXCITING announcement to share! But first, if you tried to access the blog on Friday or Saturday at some point, you probably saw a scary malware message from Google that made your skin crawl…I am so sorry. It seems we suffered a little cyber attack and Google, to ensure viewers’ safety, intelligently implemented a preventative measure. But, 24 hours later, it was all squared away. Hooray! As you know, BlueHost and I are committed to operating a safe, clean website for viewers like you. So, faithful followers, no worries!

 

As for the announcement…wait for it…The Cooking Canvas is now a part of BlogHer Network, which is both a community of bloggers committed to quality content as well as an advertising affiliate.

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A blog has to apply and be approved and almost a year after starting this blog, we are now apart of this growing group. Yay! So, now you will see BlogHer links peppered in a post. Enjoy!



Now, to the movie part. On Saturday, we went to the matinee of The Hundred Foot Journey starring Helen Mirren. It was, in one word, cute.

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The scenery made you want to leave the theatre and hop on a plane to France, then India. Just a sweet, feel-good film about food and family. Who doesn’t like that? Given that many of the scenes made you hungry, I left the theatre craving French and Indian cuisine and plan to make this super simple Curry Pumpkin Soup from The Nutmeg Nanny for dinner this week and buy a crisp, fresh baguette. I will let you know how it goes!

In the meantime, I have made it a goal to share some more personal photos (non-food related and hopefully not too much information).

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Somebody is watching over the nursery as it waits for Baby!

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Found on my magnet wall in the art room. Too funny not to share.

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Mums the word! I love fall and this burst of yellow at our front door.

As always, thank you for your readership!

More to come this week! Subscribe to the right, follow on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Iowa City Mural is Complete!

 

Frannie Froyo wants to officially say hello! Yes, that’s right, she is all set and ready to meet the world, or at least all the lovely patrons of the PedMall in Iowa City, Iowa.

Yotopia Mural

At the end of summer, I had the privilege of creating an Iowa City mural on the side of a fabulous local frozen yogurt shop, Yotopia, and we’re thrilled with the result. The whole idea was to celebrate all things Iowa with a beautiful landscape filled with color. The very pictorial, almost childlike images are whimsical and illustrative. Really, it is just plain fun. Earlier this summer, I promised final images and here they are! The project (and my pregnant self) was even featured on page 23 in the latest edition of the Iowa City Downtown Magazine. If you are ever in town, I encourage you to swing by to enjoy some yogurt and say hello to Frannie Froyo for yourself!

Yotopia Mural

Yotopia Mural

Yotopia Mural

Yotopia Mural

Yotopia Mural

Yotopia Mural

Yotopia Mural
Hey YOU. Have you joined The Cooking Canvas yet? It’s easy and you won’t miss a single new recipe. Just enter your email on the right and click Submit. And be sure to follow on FacebookPinterestInstagramTwitter, and…now…BlogHer!

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