Skinny Pumpkin Frappuccino

I’ve been spending lots of time browsing around on Pinterest in the past few days and I have noticed an exponential growth in the number of pumpkin recipes, which brings joy to my heart. I adore pumpkin anything, and I usually welcome the autumn season with a Starbucks Pumpkin Latte. Despite the fact that I’ve been basking in the pumpkin glory basically all summer with my morning cup of Pumpkin Chai Pinterest pumpkin recipes caught my eye.

The weather has been so hot that even though I wanted to bake pumpkin everything, I refrained. Instead, I experimented with a Skinny Pumpkin Frappuccino recipe I found on Peanut Butter and Peppers

Pumpkin Pie Spice and a Skinny Pumpkin Frappuccino

Here is my, slightly modified, version

Skinny Pumpkin Frappuccino with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

1 cup light coconut milk

2 tbsp canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling – get the actual pumpkin!)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I made a big batch with 4tbsp cinnamon, 4 tsp nutmeg, 4 tsp ginger, and 3 tsp allspice)

1 tsp sugar

5 ice cubes

Instructions

First you blend together everything except the ice. I let my mixture sit in the fridge for awhile while I made the ice cubes, but it probably isn’t super necessary. Next, blend it with the ice (mine was a bit icy, so maybe try 4 ice cubes and see how that turns out).

You now have the Skinny Pumpkin Frappuccino! I had some leftover coconut milk, so I whipped it up in my Magic Bullet and while it didn’t turn into actual whipping cream texture (maybe I just wasn’t patient enough?) it did get all foamy and thick. Pour the whipped coconut milk over the Frappuccino, top with a dash of cinnamon, and enjoy! This recipe makes a tasty treat for the pumpkin addicts among us who just aren’t quite ready to let go of summer, but still want to embrace the best parts of autumn.

Monster Cookie S’Mores

This past weekend was my community’s annual fall fair – Hope Brigade Days. I attended the fireworks, historical talks, a “drive-in” movie, and the motorsports. While watching the demo derby, Dale was perusing Google+ and showed me a picture that would get my desire to bake back up and running.

Giant S’Mores posted on Smells Like Home

Obviously we had to make these. So we went to the store, we got the ingredients, then we got back to my house and realized it was too late and there was way too much produce still floating around my kitchen to take on a baking project (thank you, canning season).

The next day, after knocking out some salsa and greatly reducing the number of tomatoes in my kitchen, I decided it was high time to make some giant cookie s’mores.

I whipped up the chocolate chip recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag, got out the graham crackers, mini marshmallows, and chocolate bar, and began mushing them all together.

Our version of Smells Like Home’s Giant S’More Stuffed Cookies

If you plan to do this, look at my cookie sheet. DO NOT DO THIS! I should have realized (in fact, as I was putting the cookies on the sheet, I thought “gee, I be it would work well to put two cookies per sheet, on a normal cookie sheet”) that the cookies would grow. A lot. In fact, halfway through the baking I had to pull the tray out and transfer two cookies onto a different cookie sheet to stop them from overflowing my tray. Save yourself the pain and just use your common sense. I blame it on being an insomniac the night before! My brain was tired…
Anyway, after the s’mores are all wrapped up in a layer of cookie dough, pop those bad boys into the oven at 325 degrees. I originally set the timer for 25 minutes, but with the halftime tray switch, I added some extra time and they were probably in there for about 30 or 35 minutes total.

Yummy, gooey Monster Cookie S’More

After they had cooled a bit, Dale and I shared one and oh man was it sweet. Between the two of us we only ate about half! While the recipe only makes four giant cookies, they are definitely meant for sharing. I left the cookies to cool and firm up overnight, then this morning I wrapped them up in cellophane to keep them fresh. They are definitely “monster cookies” and if I make them again I think I will try to do “mini monster cookies” and cut the graham crackers into smaller pieces and then scale back all the other ingredients.

Altogether I can say that Giant Cookie S’Mores were a successful experiment and a good one-in-a-blue-moon treat!

Raspberry Jam

In the second week of July I was house-sitting for my dad, who abandoned his produce in favour of a week long kayak trip to the Deer Group on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Deciding to take full advantage of his crops, I harvested buckets and buckets of raspberries. After freezing lots of winter smoothies, I decided to make my first foray into jam making.

Using my delightful BHG Canning magazine, I selected a recipe (plain raspberry jam) and set to work. Here is the recipe and some basic instructions.

Raspberry Harvest from my dad’s garden

Recipe:

8 cups raspberries

1 package powered pectin

7 cups sugar

Basic Instructions:

Crush raspberries until you have 5 cups of crushed berries in a large (8-10 quart) pot

Add pectin and bring mixture to a boil

Stir in all 7 cups of sugar and return to a boil

Boil for a full minute, stirring constantly

Skim foam (add some margarine to reduce the foam – it works like a charm!)

Ladle into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace

Process in boiling water canner for 5 minutes

 

Voila! You now have 8 half-pints of delicious raspberry jam! When I started canning I was SO fearful of killing someone with my preserves that I did not deviate even slightly from the recipe. As time has gone on, I have determined that I like the sweetness of my jam “cut” a little bit, so I tend to add a few squirts of lemon juice to my boiling fruit and sugar mixture. It is totally safe, and adds just a little bit of dimension to the jam.

This particular jam was a big winner, and of my 8 jars, one went to my dad, several went to Dale’s mom (who is apparently a jam fanatic), and one is resting happily in my fridge, adorning my toast or crackers when I want a little post-work snack. Mmm jam!

Is this similar to recipes you have used before? Any suggestions for how to take a basic raspberry jam and dress it up a bit? What is your favourite way to eat your preserves?

 

BHG Canning

My love of cooking and baking and food in general dates back to my childhood. My mom was a fantastic cook and there are lots of photos of my brother and I working with her in the kitchen.

When I went away to university I was excited to try new recipes and experiment with foods I hadn’t tried before. As I got older, I started reading food magazines, meal planning, and cooking for my friends and roommates.

When I moved into my own “first house” in March of 2012 I was eager to turn my house into a home. Visions of dinner parties, baking bread, bringing treats to work, and growing my own produce danced in my head. I dreamed of creating a domestic paradise – in addition to working two regular jobs, tutoring, taking an online class, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, of course!

Life was moving along smoothly until a fateful day in the grocery store that would change the course of my summer. There was a long line, there was a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication about canning, and there was no way my summer was going to be untouched. I got the magazine, I came home, I read it cover to cover, I attached sticky notes to all the pages with things I wanted to make (there were a lot of sticky notes), and I got excited about canning.

BHG Canning

The magazine that changed the course of my summer

Coincidentally, just after this happened, my dad (who lives about a 5 minute drive from my house) went away for a week. He has a big garden, including raspberries, and they just happened to be ripe. I went over every day that week and picked berries. I would come home, wash them, put them on cookie sheets, freeze them, and then put them into storage for the winter.

After a few days (and a rapidly filling freezer), I decided I would try making some raspberry jam. Easy. Safe. Basically free.

And that was the start of it! Less than two months later, my pantry is close to overflowing with preserves, vegetables, and fruits, all safely stored away for the winter.

After much urging from my friends, I have decided to create this blog to document what I made, what recipes I used, how things turned out, and what I make in the future. Some will be canning, some will be baking, some will be regular old cooking. Really anything that strikes my fancy is fair game for Cottage Fare!

Welcome

Welcome to Cottage Fare!

After much encouragement by my friends, I have decided to start a food blog detailing my cooking (and eating) adventures!

More to follow…