Good bye 2018 … Welcome 2019 !

2018 was an eventful year, but that was not the reason for my absence. Somewhere along the way, the drive that once fueled my desire, my passion for cooking dwindled until months had gone by without me realizing it.

Some major personal breakthroughs in 2018: (Not in a chronological order) the best thing that happened was that I found a “cure” for my digestive problems. Looking back, I realize that this was the turning point for me. Little by little, my passion for cooking returned and I found myself thinking of what recipes I could try my hand at again, and most importantly, what the next post could be. Additionally, I changed my department under the same company at work. I am very happy with my decision. I had the chance to learn new things and to meet a bunch of new, wonderful people. And last but not least, we have also decided it’s time for us to buy a condo and move to a new location. Like I said, it’s been a busy year.

All I can say looking back at 2018, is that I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family, including my two furry boys, Sherlock & Steve, of course :); I am so grateful for my friends and coworkers and not at least for being able to improve my health.

Do I have a list of resolutions ? Not really. But I have a few ideas I would love to stick with and achieve in 2019:

  1. to read more: I decided a book a month;
  2. to knit/crochet more: at least on little thing a month;
  3. Socialize more. As my daughter says YOLO.
  4. Blog more; a post a month (at least).

I am pretty sure most of you have a say that whatever we do the first day of a new year, we will do it through the year. So what better way to start the new year with than a platter with grilled cheese and ham sandwiches.

What cheese and ham did I use? Soft goat cheese, Old Cheddar cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, Brie and Camembert cheese along with Black Forest Ham. Who doesn’t want to eat cheese all year round?

Happy New Year 2019!!!

Ham and cheese sandwich ready for the pan

Ham and Cheese sandwiches in the pan
Getting the platter ready
Grilled ham and cheese platter for the first 2019 breakfast
Am I going to get a sandwich or not ?!?

Bon Appetite!
and
Happy New Year 2019 !!!

Pumpkin cream cheese swirl – Giving Thanks

pumpkin cheese cake

We enjoyed the warm and beautiful weather here in Toronto for the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend. Like the weather channel announced a June-like weekend in October, the temperatures reached 24 Celsius in the afternoon, and it felt like Spring was around the corner, instead of the cold and rainy Fall that will soon be upon us. But the Auburn colours outside and the stores full of all kinds of pumpkin helped me come back to reality, so to speak.

When I asked my peeps what dessert they’d prefer, I was given two choices: Creamcheese cake was my daughter’s preference and Pumpkin pie my husband’s. At first, I decided to give both of them their options, but I ran out of time, as it’s often the case during long weekends. You know how it is, we think we can do so much each day, and we fill up our schedules to the brink. Sounds familiar, right?

Inspiration soon knocked on my door, and I decided to combine the two deserts, instead; and this, dear reader, is what came out. A delicious dessert to be enjoyed by all.

Here are the ingredients for the crust:

  • 3 cups cracker crumbs ( I used Maria’s cookies )
  • 2 sticks of butter

Ingredients for the pumpkin cream cheese filling  

  • 2 packages of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sugar ( pumpkin pie filling has also sugar added )
  • 3 small range free eggs
  • small can of pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for the cream cheese filling  

  • 2 packages of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 small range free eggs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation: 

Prepare the pan: spray it with some oil ( optional) Wrap the bottom pan with aluminium foil and place it in a rectangle pan.

In a food processor crumb the cookies. Melt the butter. Mix together the cookies crumbs and the butter. Place the mixture into the pan and even it using the bottom of a glass or your hand. I always like to raise a bit the crust sides with my fingers just to avoid the filling from seeping through the bottom of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Some of the recipes ask to bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes. I usually skip this step because of my old oven, as in the end, my crust would always look burn on the outside.

In two large mixing bowls, using an electric mixer beat together the filling ingredients. Add the pumpkin filling to the pan. Pouring in the middle of the pan add the cream cheese filling. Using a knife make circular moves from the centre to the edges of the pan.

Bake the cake for an hour. When the sides are firm, and the middle slightly jiggle the pie should be ready. Let the cake cool down to room temperature for a few hours.

I baked the cake around 09:00 in the morning so we were able to indulge around 5:00 pm. I put the cake in the fridge for the last hour.

 

pumpkin cheese cake 3

 

pumpkin cheese cake 4

 

pumpkin cheese cake 5

 

 

 

 

 

Tuna melts

When it’s time for grocery shopping, I always check the fridge and pantry for the items I have already. It’s good to know what I have left around because those should go first.

One of the things I hate the most is wasting food. I think most of you would agree with me that it can be pretty challenging to do the groceries to stay in the budget but also to buy healthy and nutritional food.

There might be a few reasons why I haven’t used left items through out the week:  we were not in the mood for a particular recipe, or I had a missing ingredient from the recipe that stopped me.  However, on Saturday mornings I am more eager to use what we have left around, and sometimes ideas come quickly, and the missing items are not as important anymore.

While the coffee was brewing and the kitchen started to smell of good things, I checked the fridge: half of tuna can; a little bit of cheese ( no more than 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella). Some white baguette that my hubby bought but that was not as fresh anymore. So it took me around 30 seconds to figure out how to use all of these ingredients before the new ones come to fill the fridge shelves. In other circumstances, I would love to have had some tomato slices or olives or maybe more fresh cheese, but everything that’s left has to be used.  I sliced the baguette, added the little bit of ketchup left in the bottle, put the tuna on top and sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 8 min in the preheated oven at 350 F and the last three minutes on broil.

I sliced the baguette, added the little bit of ketchup left in the bottle, tuna on top and sprinkled the cheese. I baked the baguettes  for about 8 min in the preheated oven at 350 F and the last three minutes on broil.

The result I think speaks for itself: Tuna melts

tuna melts 1

 

tuna melts 2

Bon Appetit! 🙂