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Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Oh, Canada!  My home, native land, and where maple syrup originated. First collected by the indigenous people, Canada became the largest producer of maple syrup, and today exports 70% of the world’s demand. Sweet and silky, this amber syrup has hints of toffee and caramel and is like no other. If you’ve been lucky enough to taste our famous export, then you know what I’m talking about. Every spring our maple trees are tapped and the sap that collected is carefully boiled down to pure syrup. Maple syrup is used on everything from an oozing pancake or French toast topping, to a popular dessert flavour to a sweet glaze for vegetables, chicken, fish or pork. So basically this magical syrup goes with everything! Bacon and maple syrup in particular, are a delightful combination and one of my favourites. When your maple syrup runs all over your plate and soaks into your bacon, there are no complaints! So when my friend and I found a recipe for Maple Bacon Jam we knew we had to make it. Paired with some strong cheddar cheese on fresh multigrain bread, this Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese is truly the tastiest way to say Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

This recipe is from Better Homes and Living, and the only change I made was to swap the regular bacon for maple bacon. We bought the two-pound pack from Costco and it took all our will power to not sneak a little bite. Their bacon is so thick, salty and super maple-syrupy!

Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese

The ultimate sweet and savoury combination, the sweet, caramelized maple flavour balances the rich, salty bacon and strong cheddar cheese. Using mayonnaise instead of margarine or butter is a grilled cheese maker’s secret for a perfectly crispy browned sandwich.

Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese
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Maple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Maple syrup flavoured bacon is caramelized into a sweet and savoury jam, complimenting the strong cheddar, making for the ultimate grilled cheese!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 1
Author ISeeHungryPpl

Ingredients

  • 1 pound maple bacon chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1` medium yellow onion minced
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup old cheddar cheese thickly grated
  • 2 slices multigrain toast 1/2 inch

Instructions

  1. In a large pot (Dutch oven works best) over medium high heat,  saute bacon until just brown and slightly crisp on the edges. Remove cooked bacon and pat excess grease off with paper towels.

  2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from pot. Turn heat down to medium low. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent. Add apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and coffee. Bring to a boil. Add cooked bacon.

  3. Simmer on low for 1½ hours, stirring every 10 minutes, watching closely as the sugar will burn easily.  Bacon jam should be thick and syrupy.

  4. Transfer bacon jam to a food processor or Vitamix. Pulse jam until creamy but still a bit chunky. Spoon into 125ml mason jars.  This jam cannot be processed and must be stored in the refrigerator.  Use within one month, or freeze up to three months.

  5. Head cast iron pan or grill on medium low heat.  

  6. Spread one tablespoon of mayonnaise on each slice of bread and place in hot pan.  Quickly top with half the cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons of bacon jam and remaining cheese.  Place 2nd slice of bread on top, mayonnaise on the outside.  Cover tightly with a pan lit or ceramic plate.

  7. Toast for 2 minutes on one side until lightly brown.  Flip and toast on the other side until brown.  Turn off stove and leave covered for a minute or so until cheese is melted, making sure the sandwich doesn't burn.

  8. Slice in half and serve with ketchup or sriracha!

With this delicious sandwich in hand, I say Happy Birthday Canada!  I’m so proud to be a Canadian and live in a country that believes in equality, diversity, peace and protecting our planet.  I’m thankful for all you have given me.  From the beautiful camping trips to a safe home, a group of friends from many different cultures and the freedom to express myself and believe anything is possible.  Cheers to another a hundred and fifty years!

How did you celebrate Canada’s 150?  Have you ever tried a maple bacon cheddar grilled cheese?

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes With Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

These Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes With Orange Cream Cheese Frosting are perfectly moist and are totally addictive!  Gingerbread is my favourite holiday flavour and over the years I’ve made lots of gingerbread recipes.  Everything from gingerbread bacon cookies to gingerbread stuffing, I love experimenting with this flavour.  Surprisingly, I had yet to make cupcakes, so for an upcoming holiday party I decided to bring a vegan dessert.  I love the richness of vegan treats and adore a cream cheese frosting (the best kind!).  I also had to make them dairy free for my boyfriend, so with that in mind I set out to make these ultimate vegan cupcakes.

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes With Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

These spiced vegan cupcakes are spongy and stay moist because of the baking soda combined with the coconut oil, which also added to the sweetness.  I used homemade apple sauce as a natural sweetener as well as a binder and it worked like a charm.  I find it so satisfying to bake without processed sugar.  For the topping,  I chose Daiya cream cheese as this brand really tastes like the real thing.  The frosting turned out amazing!  Dairy-free, creamy and fluffy, I actually prefer this to the regular version.  I couldn’t stop eating the leftovers!

These to-die-for, oh-so-moist Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes With Orange Cream Cheese Frosting are full of spiced flavour, with a kick of citrus and are topped with a velvety, tangy frosting.  A nice light, low sugar dessert for the holiday season!

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes With Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

These to-die-for, oh-so-moist Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes With Orange Cream Cheese Frosting are full of spiced flavour, with a kick of citrus and are topped with a velvety, tangy frosting. A nice light, low sugar dessert for the holiday season!

Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup pure molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • For the frosting
  • 1 container (227 g) of Daiya cream cheese (or similar dairy free cream cheese)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
  • 12 small pieces of crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced crystallized ginger

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a twelve cup muffin tray with liners. Heat orange juice in a small pot until it boils.
  2. Into a medium bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and the salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer mix apple sauce, coconut oil and molasses until combined.
  4. In a measuring cup combine the baking soda with 1/4 cup heated orange juice and stir the mixture to dissolve the baking soda. Stir the juice into the molasses mixture.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time until evenly combined, making sure to scrap the sides with a spatula.
  6. Spoon the batter into the liners, filling them halfway. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Don't worry if the cupcakes are flat or slightly indented on top. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
  7. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, apple sauce, coconut oil and vanilla until combined. Slowly add the icing sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, gradually increasing the speed of the mixer until all the sugar is mixed in. Beat on high until smooth and fluffy.
  8. Beat in the orange zest and juice and the chill the frosting for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
  9. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and top each one with a piece of ginger.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/11/21/vegan-gingerbread-cupcakes-orange-cream-cheese-frosting/

What is your favourite vegan cupcake recipe?  Do you love gingerbread and cream cheese frosting as much as me? 

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

For many years I relied on the same old honey-pecan-carrot recipe when it came to a festive root vegetable dish, but this holiday season I was on a quest to find a new side.  Roasting vegetables is an easy way to bring out the flavours with minimal effort, and a really healthy cooking technique too.  I still wanted to use carrots, but tried to use a few other veggies that are often forgotten about,  and thus my Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel recipe was born. 

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

I absolutely love roasting fennel, the process transforms this lowly root vegetable into a soft, fragrant addition to sauces, salads, curries and sides.  High in fiber and B vitamins, fennel also has a lot of beneficial health properties, and is also a source of iron, calcium and magnesium.  Good for the body when the winter blues hits, and after indulging in heavy holiday fare!

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasting carrots brings out the sweetness and is balanced by the sweet licorice flavour of the fennel.  Parsnips are one of those vegetables that I always fear will be bland, but in this case they add a bit of heartiness and are a compliment to the sweet carrots.  The crunch from the fennel gives the dish some texture alongside the tender roasted carrots and parsnips.

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Quick and easy, this dish can be prepped ahead of time and then popped into the oven when the turkey comes out.  A healthy addition to a holiday menu, these root vegetables are given new life with the addition of fennel, and as a bonus the roasted fennel will fill your home with a delightful licorice aroma!

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Ingredients

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 4 medium parsnips, peeled, trimmed, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks discarded and bulbs cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F, making sure the racks are in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  2. Divide vegetables evenly between two baking sheets. Toss carrots, parsnips and fennel using half the olive oil, wine, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper per sheet.
  3. Evenly spread out the vegetables and cover pan with aluminum foil.
  4. Roast vegetables for 10 minutes, then uncover, toss and rotate sheets.
  5. Roast 10 minutes more. Toss and rotate sheets.
  6. Roast until vegetables are tender and browned, about 10 minutes more.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/11/07/roasted-carrots-parsnips-and-fennel/

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Fennel

What is your favourite holiday side dish?   What other dishes can roasted fennel be added to besides carrots and parsnips?