Buttery Cornmeal Muffins with Cheddar & Scallions

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I can’t believe summer break is nearing its end and the kids will be back to school in two weeks. However, the cool weather here in the GTA the past few days has certainly been reminding me of Fall and back-to-school! This past weekend my family went to the CNE in Toronto, another reminder that summer is coming to an end and that the official start of Fall is less than one month away. As we were walking along the mid-way the smell of the roasted corn filled the air and started inspiring me for my next #GayLeaMom post. As I commented to my family about how I loved the smell of the corn, my oldest daughter piped up and said “Mom why don’t you try making some corn muffins”? Well that was it and my inspiration for this post was born!

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Gay Lea has a great spreadable butter that is made by taking traditional creamery butter and adding unsaturated canola oil to make it spreadable. It is not only great for spreading on bread or toast right out of the fridge, it also will bake up great in your favourite muffin recipe. Gay Lea Spreadables Butter has no preservatives, is a source of omega 3 and comes in Regular, Light & Cinnamon Brown Sugar.

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Now I think I have found the perfect match for this delicious product, and that is in these buttery cornmeal muffins with cheddar and scallions. The blend of the Gay Lea Spreadables Butter with its colleague Gay Lea Sour Cream, makes these muffins moist and delicious. The addition of some sharp cheddar and scallions jacks up the flavour, and when you try these fresh out of the oven smeared with some more Spreadables Butter, your mouth will be in heaven I promise!

These muffins are great as snacks in school or work lunches, served as a side to your Fall chili, soups or stews (dunk away!), or even eaten with your morning coffee for a savoury snack. You can bake and store overnight, as well as freeze. Just reheat as these are best when slightly warm and schmeared with butter!  You can also choose to swap in your own flavour additions, just follow the quantity guidelines in the recipe. Have fun and try some cornmeal muffins this Fall, and don’t forget the Gay Lea Spreadables Butter!

Recipe makes 10 medium sized muffins.

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a regular sized muffin tin with 10 medium sized paper muffin liners.
  2. In one bowl combine the buttermilk, egg and sour cream and whisk to combine.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold to incorporate.
  5. Fold in the melted butter.
  6. Finally fold in the grated cheddar and scallions.
  7. Using a large (3 Tablespoon capacity) cookie scoop, transfer one scoop of batter into each of the 10 muffin liners.
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes until tops look firm and a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Remove from muffin tin and let cool for a few minutes on a baking rack.
  10. Eat warm with some more Gay Lea Spreadables slathered on top!

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“Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Goat Cheese Stuffed Peaches wrapped in Prosciutto with Arugula

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Well we have reached the final day of Peach Week 2015, and my last recipe is a mouth watering salad or appetizer that you must try this weekend! The combination of goat cheese with peaches and prosciutto is so good, and paired with spicy baby arugula and sweet balsamic glaze, your taste buds will be in heaven!

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Recipe below is per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 peach, halved with pit removed
  • 4 tsp of goat cheese
  • 2 pieces of prosciutto (depending on size – if prosciutto slices are larger you could choose to use half of one slice for each peach half)
  • 1 cup of baby arugula
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher (coarse) salt & Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • Balsamic glaze for finishing

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Directions:

  1. Place arugula on a salad plate. Drizzle with some olive oil, and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  2. Top each peach half with 2 tsp of goat cheese (my small ice cream scoop worked perfectly for this!)
  3. Wrap each peach half with a piece of prosciutto.
  4. Place each prosciutto wrapped peach slice on the arugula.
  5. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Tip: You could also create smaller portions by cutting peaches into quarters, topping with 1 tsp of goat cheese and wrapping in smaller pieces of prosciutto for bite size appetizers!

Peach Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

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What do you get when you combine peaches and cinnamon raisin bread french toast? Deliciousness I tell you! Today’s Peach Week post is a great (and easy) breakfast or brunch treat. My kids loved the delicious cinnamon raisin bread french toast, topped with sauteed peaches, maple syrup and some wild blueberries. Simple, fresh and scrumptiousness sure to make everyone smile at the breakfast table!

Recipe serves 4, increase quantities to serve more.

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces of cinnamon raisin bread (2 per person)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (1 tbsp for peaches, 1 tbsp for cooking french toast)
  • Sprinkle of granulated sugar
  • A hearty pinch of cinnamon
  • Maple Syrup for serving
  • Wild blueberries for serving

Directions:

  1. In a shallow dish big enough to place bread slices, combine eggs with milk, and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.
  2. Heat a medium skillet to medium, add 1 tbsp butter with peaches, a sprinkle of sugar and the pinch of cinnamon. Cook until peaches are tender and coated with the butter, sugar and cinnamon. Remove pan from heat and set aside until ready to top french toast.
  3. Heat a large (12″) skillet on medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and let it melt to coat the pan.
  4. Once skillet it ready, soak both sides of the bread in the egg and milk mixture and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. You should be able to cook 3-4 slices at a time. Once cooked move slices to plates for serving immediately, or move to a tray to keep warm in oven if required.
  5. Top french toast with sauteed peaches, maple syrup and blueberries.

Peach, Red Onion, Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Flatbread

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This easy flatbread made with sliced peaches, red onion, roasted red peppers, goat cheese and finished with balsamic glaze and arugula will wow company for your end of summer get togethers! Easy and fast to make, with spectacular presentation, this recipe can be served as an appetizer or a main. I found an excellent soft and delicious flatbread (from Manoucher) at my local Longo’s which worked amazing for this recipe. You can also use pizza dough, other ready to bake flatbreads, or even greek pitas as the base for individual servings. Have fun and make it your own while using the ingredients as your guide. This really turned out fabulous and perhaps one of my fave peach creations yet!

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Ingredients:

  • Flatbread of your choice (I found a 7″ x 22″ Manoucher ready to heat flatbread at my local Longo’s) which was excellent!
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling/seasoning
  • Kosher (coarse) salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 2 peaches peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of red onion thinly sliced and sauteed with some olive oil and salt and pepper until softenened
  • A generous 1/4 cup of goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sliced roasted red peppers
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Baby Arugula

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Season surface of flatbread with a drizzle of olive oil, Kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Lay peach slices on top of the flatbread.
  4. Layer the cooked red onion and roasted red peppers over the peaches.
  5. Crumble the goat cheese over the top.
  6. Drizzle top with a bit more olive oil, and season with a bit more salt and pepper before baking.
  7. Bake for 5-7 minutes directly on the middle oven rack until crust is crisp. If flatbread is smaller then you can use a pizza pan or baking sheet. My flatbread was SO big I just put it directly on my oven rack and it baked perfectly with no mess.
  8. Remove flatbread carefully from the oven and drizzle with some balsamic glaze.
  9. Finish by sprinkling with as much arugula as desired.
  10. Serve immediately in large chunks, or cut into appetizer size portions.

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Shrimp & Peach Skewers

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It is Day 2 of Kara’s Favourites Peach Week, and today’s recipe is scrumptious Shrimp & Peach Skewers (these are really awesome!). My skewers stack together marinated shrimp with peach, red pepper and red onion chunks making a sweet and savoury bbq delight. We really loved how these turned out – and the flavour combo was so delicious! You really have to try these!

My recipe made us 8 (12″ long) skewers (enough to serve 2 adults and 2 children), just increase the proportions to serve more.

Note that you can also choose to simple season the shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper if you want to skip the marinade. The shrimp with the peaches, peppers and onions is a delicious flavour combo, but the marinade really does make the shrimp taste fab!

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Ingredients:

  • Raw large shrimp (deveined) defrosted & shelled – we used one package of PC Raw Zipperback Pacific White Shrimp (31 to 40 in a 400g package)
  • 4 peaches, cut into quarters
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into chunks
  • Kosher (Coarse) Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • For the shrimp marinade: whisk together juice of 1 lime with 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp melted butter, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, pinch of cayenne and 2 tsp fresh basil (fine chiffonade)

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Directions:

  1. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30-60 minutes
  2. While skewers soak, marinate shrimp in marinade in the fridge (also 30-60 minutes)
  3. Toss peaches, peppers, and onion together in a bowl. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of Kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper to season. Toss to combine.
  4. Prepare skewers by alternating with shrimp, chunks of peach, red pepper and red onion
  5. Heat your grill up to high (400 degrees), and then once ready to grill turn down to low for cooking – which should maintain medium-high temperature (300-350 degrees) while cooking the skewers.
  6. Cook for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes per side, then remove immediately to a serving platter.
  7. Serve with your favourite summer salads and sides and some nice garlic bread.

 

Want more peach recipes? Then check out my posts from Peach Week 2014 and 2013!

Frozen Fuzzy Navel Cocktail

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It’s Kara’s Favourites “Peach Week 2015” and to kick off an exciting week of new peach recipes, I have a delicious cool and peachy summer cocktail for you. My Frozen Fuzzy Navel is made with fresh peach, peach schnapps, orange juice, vodka and ice, and is delicious. It is the perfect summer cocktail to beat the August heat! Mmmm peachy!

Recipe makes 2 drinks.

Ingredients:

  • 1 peach, pealed and cut into chunks
  • 2 shots (1.5 oz each) of orange juice
  • 1 shot (1.5 oz) peach schnapps
  • 1 shot (1.5 oz) vodka
  • 2 cups of crushed ice

Directions:

  1. Place peach, orange juice, peach schnapps, vodka and ice in a high speed blender and blend until completely incorporated and smooth.
  2. Serve in two margarita glasses garnished with a peach slice.

Want more peach recipes? Then check out my posts from Peach Week 2014 and 2013!

Best of Cape Cod 2015 + Feature Cocktail!

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I hope you all enjoyed my last post about visiting the fantastic city of Boston. Next up is my excellent adventures in Cape Cod for our annual summer vacation. Cape Cod is my oasis. My annual trip refreshed me mind, body and soul! Nothing like that salty ocean air to cleanse the spirit. Our homebase is mid-cape in Dennisport at The Corsair and Crossrip where we enjoy gorgeous Nantucket Sound. It is also an excellent location to explore the delicious food available on Cape Cod (oysters and chowder and lobster rolls, oh my!).  Ok here we go . . .

Every year our first stop is the Wee Packet which has been a fixture on Depot St. in Dennisport since 1949. We filled up on Stuffed Quahogs, Clam Chowder, Crab Cakes and Fish & Chips which were all excellent. I also indulged in a classic Cape Codder cocktail to kick off my vacation – delicious! It was so good, we stocked our hotel room bar so we could enjoy Cape Codders all week on our vacation. You can find a recipe for this classic cocktail at the end of this post.

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Another first stop while we are in Dennisport is for coffee and muffins in the morning from Woolfie’s. Their coffee is amazing (Jamaican Me Crazy brew) and their huge muffins are such a great treat, SO good!

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Last year I discovered the Oyster Company in Dennisport, also on Depot St. in Dennisport. Ever since my visit last summer I have been counting the days until I could go back. Their Dennis Quivet Oysters are perfections and their Spicy Seared Chatham Little Neck Clams are my absolute favourite (I had them twice this vacation). The Oysters Rockefeller and Lobster Quesadilla are both mouth watering as well – a favourite actually with both my kids. Be sure to make reservations though as it is getting very popular, especially with $1.25 Quivet Neck Oysters fresh from their own farm until 6:30 daily. Loved being back, and now onto my countdown for 2016!

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Across from the Oyster Company is the lovely Cake & Islands Dessert Shoppe, which I of course could not resist exploring! It is a beautiful store filled with lovely desserts. We enjoyed samples of their sea glass candy which is packaged beautifully and brought home some store made macarons which were absolutely divine!

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This year we made sure to visit the Chatham Fish Pier and Fish Pier Market to watch all of the action of the fishermen working and the seals playing in the water. It truly is such a great experience! The kids loved watching the seals, and we were all quite amazed by the Fish Pier operations. Talk about knowing where your food comes from! At the market we opted for the Clam Chowder as we had heard it was amazing, and indeed it was awesome! The Fish Pier and Market is definitely a must-do if you are close to Chatham.

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While in Chatham we also made sure to do our annual walk of Main St. which has beautiful stores and great food shops. I grabbed an ice coffee at Monomoy Coffee while my husband and kids indulged in some ice cream at Buffy’s. We really enjoyed the Chatham “Sharks in the Park” which was so fun! We missed our usual trip in to see the Chatham Band on Friday night this year, however I found some very cute band members in a store! If you have not seen the Chatham Band before you must as it is a Cape Cod institution!

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Next up on my Cape Cod 2015 was a new adventure across the Cape to Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis for their lobsters rolls, which have been touted as one of the best on the Cape. Well they certainly were! In addition to the excellent rolls, the view at the harbour and looking out onto Cape Cod Bay on a beautiful sunny evening was absolutely spectacular. It was one of the most memorable meals of our vacation.

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Now we did take 2 nights off seafood to enjoy some pizza. We love Dennisport House of Pizza and it is “our place” when on the Cape as it is delicious, totally different style from what we get at home, and really close to our hotel. My husband loves it so much he got himself a “DHOP” t-shirt just to be super cool.  This year we had the Athenian pizza (Fresh Garlic, Black Olives, Pepperoni, Onion, Chicken, Feta, Pizza Cheese, Sauce, Oregano, Olive Oil) which was SO good, and SO good that we gobbled it up before I even took a picture (I was really hungry). For our second pizza of the week we had the House Special (Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, Linguica, Pepperoni, Hamburger, Sausage) which is also really good.

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During the week we also headed out to Brax Landing in Harwichport which is at a lovely location overlooking  Saquatucket Harbor. Their Wellfleet Oysters, Lobster Bisque and Steak Tips are really great, and this year my husband tried the swordfish special as he had never tried swordfish before and enjoyed it. My daughter also really loved her fish taco. Lovely location, but beware the long waits in prime dinner time as it is very popular! We were lucky in that we were called in only 15 minutes (however the view while you wait is spectacular!).

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Our entire trip was amazing and and we fully enjoyed relaxing on the beach, playing in the water, watching the awesome osprey’s dive into the ocean for fish, watching all the crabs come out into the ocean at night, and listening to the magical sound of the ocean rhythm all day and all night. Can’t wait until next summer!

Now to remind me of Cape Cod I will rely on this classic cocktail! My husband mixed me us Cape Codders to enjoy while relaxing on the beach or by the pool before dinner.

 

Cape Codder Cocktail

Recipe makes one drink.

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Ingredients:

  • 100% Cranberry Juice
  • Vodka
  • Fresh Limes

Directions:

  1. Fill a highball glass (or other glass of your choosing) half full with ice cubes.
  2. Add one shot (1.5 oz) of vodka.
  3. Fill glass up with cranberry juice to taste.
  4. Add one slice of lime into the drink.
  5. Enjoy and cheers Cape Cod!