Friday, November 11, 2011

I've Moved!

If you've stumbled here and you want to know what we've been up to lately, please check out the new home of the blog at!

Looking for handmade ideas for this Holiday Season? Check out our series of 101 Handmade Holiday Thingies! I'm sure you'll find something there that you'll find interesting...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Meal Plan - Week of July 31 - August 6

So, I have started a "Home Management Binder". Inside, I have (so far) the monthly calendars to the end of this year (with birthdays and community events marked down), contact numbers (including family, doctors, insurance providers, and the people we pay every month), cleaning (with one checklist in it so far...the declutter list), and finally, a tab for meal planning.

I plan to put my (otherwise scribbed onto a scrap of paper and stuck to the fridge) organized meal plan in the binder, with printouts of the recipes.

So here is what we have on the plate (see what I did there?) for dinner this coming week:

Sunday: Roasted Salmon Salad
Monday: Sirloin Burgers with Roasted Garlic and Rosemary
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken & Peach Salad
Wednesday: Grilled BLT on an everything bagel (with cream cheese, made like this), cottage cheese (to boost the protein) and sweet peppers
Thursday: Baked Falafel and Couscous with tomato and cuke

And for snacks...Energy Bites (thanks to my friend Sherri for bringing it to my attention)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Granola Bites

Quinn and I decided to make some granola bites this morning. I got the recipe out of the latest issue of Today's Parent magazine.

I think it's obvious that I have a pretty good relationship with food, and I really hope to pass that along to Quinn. One of the ways I can get him to appreciate food is to let him have a part in making it.

Making Granola Bites

1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1 cup large flake oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dried blueberries
2 1/2 tblsp sesame seeds
pinch cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12 muffin tin with oil (I have one of those mister things).

In a large bowl, whisk egg, maple syrup and oil. Add oats, seeds, blueberries and cinnamon. We tasted everything (but the egg) as it was going into the bowl.

Divide evenly amongst the 12 wells. It was about a heaping tablespoon per well. Press mixture into tin with the back of the spoon.

Bake in oven for about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and gently (using the spoon if needed) remove them and place them on a plate.

If you take them out too soon, they will fall apart. If you wait too long, they might stick.

Granola Bites

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Menu Plan!

I try to get organized on Saturday nights...I sit and look at my Pinterest, stare and drool at all the lovely morsels I've pinned. Then I snap into reality and check the flyers to see what might be on sale.

Here's what we've got going on this week (days may change):

Sunday: Tacos and Diana's Mom's Rice

Monday: Scrambled Egg Cupcakes, Baked Potato/Homefries, Apple Nachos

Tuesday: Apple Chicken Quesadillas, Green Salad

Wednesday: Tomato Grilled Cheese Bagel, Onion Soup

Thursday: Tuna Casserole

Friday: Bento for Movie Night

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Greek Dip

We had a bunch of fresh, locally grown veggies, and at the end of the weekend (with all the eating at restaurants) something light was in order.

I saw this recipe and gave it a go. This is how I did it:

1 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp dill (or more)
1 tsp herb and garlic seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
1 tub hummus (or make your own)
Chopped cucumber
Chopped tomato
Chopped green onion
Chopped kalamata olives
Chopped lettuce (dark green...I used some baby lettuce I grew)
Chopped fresh parsley
Feta cheese, crumbled
Fresh cracked pepper
Olive oil

In a medium bowl, mix (with a mixer) the cream cheese, lemon juice, dill and seasoning. Adjust to taste but remember that the flavours will intensify with time.

Smear cream cheese onto bottom of a glass pie plate (or other vessel). Top with hummus (I used about 2/3 of a tub). Put a layer of cucumber, a layer of tomato, a layer of green onion, a layer of chopped olives, and a layer of lettuce on top of the hummus.

Crumble feta on the vegetables, sprinkle on chopped parsley, grind some fresh black pepper on top, and drizzle on some olive oil.

Easy stuff, right?

The original recipe suggested covering and refrigerating for a couple of hours. I chose not to. First, because refrigerating tomatoes is a sin. Second, I wanted to eat.

I toasted up some whole wheat pita triangles to eat with this, but you could use whatever.

We will totally be eating this again, though I'll probably throw in some orange sweet peppers for a little more crunch (and another veggie).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cheesy Pull Apart Bread

It's Father's Day. We had all the Dads over here. It was a great time. I made pulled pork, brats (boiled in beer and a vidalia onion, grilled, and popped back into the onion beer), spinach dip...

...and this gem (from the Changeable Table), that will make a repeat appearance in the future. For sure.

Cheesy Pull Apart Bread

1 round loaf of sourdough (though I had to substitute a calebrese loaf because that's all I could find and it was fine)
1 brick monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 green onion

Cut bread lengthwise and then crosswise, not going through the loaf completely. It's like a bloomin onion, but, like, bread. If you have trouble with this, put the handles of 2 wooden spoons (or dowels) on either side of the loaf to stop your knife. Oh, and obviously you will want to use a good serrated knife for the cutting.

Put bread onto foil lined cookie sheet. Slice the cheese (yay for not having to grate it!) and tuck the slices into the cuts. Cut the green onion and mix it in with the melted butter. Drizzle over the bread. Cover loosely with foil.

Pop into a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

You could mix other stuff with the butter: garlic, chives, whatever you like.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tilapia Burger

Tilapia Burger

I served this with Scalloped Tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen. The recipe comes from Canadian Family magazine, Summer 2011.

Makes 6 burgers.

1 tblsp chopped garlic
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 lbs tilapia filets
3 tblsp soy sauce
1 egg white
4 green onions
1/2 cup red pepper, seeded and diced

Multigrain buns
Red onion slices
Mango chutney

In a food processor, chop garlic and ginger. Cube fish and add to food processor, pulsing until everything is the consistency of ground meat.

Stir in soy sauce, egg white, green onion and red pepper. The original recipe also had you add 3 tsp sesame oil, but I chose not to. Form into 6 patties and place in fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium high heat and add a bit of olive oil. Pan fry patties for 6-8 minutes each side (until cooked through). If the edges are burning, turn the heat down (duh).

Assemble burger. Mayo on one bun, mango chutney on the other, lettuce, red onion, whatever else you want to add...

The original recipe also suggest eating it with pea shoots and chopped pickled ginger. Also, they suggest it would taste awesome with honey wasabi mustard (which I'm going to have to try.

Honey Wasabi Mustard

1 tblsp honey
1 tsp wasabi
t tblsp Dijon mustard

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese and Edemame and Corn Salad

Jalepeno Popper Grilled Cheese & Corn and Edemame Salad

Edemame and Corn Salad

Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp herb seasoning mix (I used a Mrs. Dash type one)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen edemame beans (the shelled kind)
Handful of cherry/grape tomatoes
Thin slices of red onion
Pinch of salt to taste
2 tsp olive oil

Boil corn and edemame on stove for a couple of minutes until thawed. Dunk in ice water immediately to halt cooking, keep the veggies bright, and to cool them off.

Meanwhile, mix lemon and seasoning in a medium bowl and let reconstitute a few minutes. Throw in onion, tomatoes and cooled corn and beans, season with salt to taste and put in fridge until needed.

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

(makes 1 sandwich)

2 jalapenos
2 slices sourdough bread
Couple tblsp cream cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
Crushed up tortilla chips

ETA: If the idea of roasting and skinning the pepper is keeping you from trying this delicious sandwich, just use the canned jalapenos. It's the same basic idea.

(it's tough to give measurements for sourdough slices were from the centre of a circular sourdough loaf, so they were huge...and you might like more of one thing and less of another, so it's up to you how much you use)

Set oven rack to top position and turn on the broiler. Cut the jalapenos in half and scrape out the seeds and ribs (you might want to use a fork to hold the pepper, wear gloves, or put a plastic bag on your hand for this step). Put peppers cut side down on baking sheet and pop under broiler until the skins are blackened (maybe 15 minutes?). Pull them out and place them in a bag or container and seal, allowing steam to help loosen the skins and cool the peppers off.

Once cooled (around 20 minutes) enough to handle, pinch off the skins and discard.

Begin warming a skillet on the stovetop. You could probably also grill this.

Lightly butter one side of the bread. Flip it over and smear on some cream cheese, place the skinned jalapenos on the cream cheese, sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips and top with shredded cheese.

Butter the second piece of bread and put on top of the goodies you've just piled up (butter side out of course...I'm sure you've all made grilled cheese before!). Place in heated skillet and cook on medium-high until bread is toasty and cheese inside is melty.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Yummy Summer Avocado Wrap

This is a vegan recipe that I found on Pinterest and tracked it down here.

Avocado Summer Wrap

To make 2 wraps:

2 extra large wraps
1/2 an avocado
1 roma tomato, thickly sliced
1/4 Vidalia onion, sliced
4 tblsp fresh lime juice
1 tblsp apple cider vinegar
2 tblsp olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup (the real stuff, obviously)
6 tblsp spicy hummus
1 cup matchstick carrots
Freshly ground black pepper

Slice avocado into strips. Coat in lime juice and some salt and pepper. Throw some lime juice on the remaining half, cover, and store in fridge for another use.

Place onion and tomato slices in bowl and toss with olive oil, maple syrup, a splash of lime juice, and apple cider vinegar.

Warm tortilla in oven (or microwave) until soft. Spread spicy hummus on wrap, top with slices of avocado, some tomato and onion, matchstick carrots and a grind of pepper. Drizzle a little of the tomato and onion marinade on top.

Roll up your wrap and slice. Wrapping a piece of waxed paper around the wrap will make it easier to both slice and eat.

Mix the remaining tomato and onion marinade with some mayo (or sour cream) to make a dipping sauce if you like! I served it with Caprese salad on the side.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blog Pimpin'

My friend (and fellow foodie) Pam has a food blog and I wanted to share the link. The blog lists a ton of incredible recipes that I am just itching to try.

Check, check, check, check it out!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wedding Advice for my Girls

A couple of great friends are getting married shortly (not to each other, just to be clear, and on different days), and it made me think about the excitement (and complete scatterbrained-ness) in the days leading up to the Big Day.

There are three bits of advice that I would like to pass along to Dawn and Tanya:

First, take lots of "mental snapshots". I had an incredible photographer, but even she couldn't capture all of those moments that only I could see and feel. Take a moment to breathe it all in. Watch everyone enjoying your day with you.

I have used this with other important days as well, including watching Quinn grow.

, I'm a planner. Anyone who knows me is laughing because I'm pretty sure if there was an "Extreme Micromanaging Planner" reality show, I'd be the star. Not that I'm saying either of my friends are that type of person, but it's easy to get caught up in the details and expecations.

I handed all my vendors their lists (see?!?) and once the wedding began, I just let whatever happened happen. I planned and prepared for everything I could think of, but had to remember that it was my day and however it ended up, it would be perfect.

The DJ played the wrong version of the Hockey Night in Canada theme (I wanted the Shuffle Demons version, I got the TV version) as we walked into the reception. What could I do? No one one cared. I didn't either.

Third, have an emergency kit handy, stashed under your table. In this basket of preparedness, have things like:

  • Tylenol/Advil (in childproof bottles if you have a chance of kids getting at the basket...and kids are ALWAYS crawling under tables)
  • A small baby powder (amazing for sprinkling on your white dress when you inevitably drop gravy on it)
  • Tide Wipes (amazing for when your new husband gets schmutz on his shirt)
  • Deoderant (seriously...someone is going to forget. Might even be you! Make sure it's not the sort that rubs off white, and this may sound weird but use it once (or rub it off) so you get all those flaky edges Maid of Honor was the one that used my emergency deoderant and it flaked all over her black satin dress and black satin gloves)
  • Tissues (duh)
  • Hairspray
  • Lip balm, touch up makeup, a little mirror
  • Bandaids (for those new shoe blisters)
  • Tums/Rolaids (take precautions if you have kids around)
  • Mints/Breath Spray (probably not gum because that doesn't look too hot in photos)
  • Tampons/Pads/Pantiliners (you never know who is going to need them)
  • Contact lens solution and a spare pare if you have one (if you're a lens wearer)
  • Nail file

I'm sure there are more things that I could add to this list, and there are probably going to be things that you may find useful that I wouldn't have thought of, but there's a start.

Don't forget your slippers/flops/flats (I wore my blue fuzzy slippers through the whole ordeal)!

So I hope that the weather in the Niagara region is perfect on my beautiful friends' Special Days. I'll be thinking about you girls and can't wait to see all the photos!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

A wonderful friend (WENDY) turned me onto this recipe a week or so ago and I've been itching to try it. It's from a SparkPeople recipe, but I adjusted it a bit (go figure).

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

This served 3 of us, adjust as needed.

2 Tilapia fillets
2 Tblsp butter, softened
1/4 cup parmesan (don't go for that powdered stuff. Seriously)
1 Tblsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp mayonnaise
2 tsp PC Vegetable Seasoning Rub (I LOVE this stuff!)

Preheat broiler. Line baking pan with foil. Place tilapia fillets on the foil.

In a small bowl, mix up everything else, taste and adjust as needed for your taste, and put aside.

Pop fish under broiler for 2 or 3 minutes each side, until 95% cooked.

Pull it out and top with the parmesan stuff. Stick it back under the broiler to finish cooking and to melt and slightly brown the topping.

I served it up with browned butter brussels sprouts and some chopped tomato and cucumber salad (with a little salt, pepper, olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar) and a couple of black olives.

The President's Choice seasoning I'm talking about, I can't seem to find online, but it's a dry spice mixture of sea salt, brown sugar, roasted garlic, rosemary, black pepper, sage, lemon, parsley and bay. I found it beside the fish counter. It's not the kind with the spice's a metal shaker canister. There was one for seafood as well, but it looked like they had very similar ingredients.

Quinn Drinking

I had some key limes and ginger ale left over from Easter, and I'd bought 2 boxes of raspberries, so I thought I'd fix me a drink.

I threw the juice of 13 key limes, 25 raspberries, 2 Tblsp sugar and about 1/4 cup ginger ale into the blender and whirred it up. I filled half my glass with the juice and topped it off with ginger ale.

Quinn loved it. If only he ate his veggies that readily!

Raspberry Limeade

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cookie Dough Dip

Cookie Dough Dip

When your dip is this good, you don't have to put it in a fancy bowl. NO ONE IS LOOKING AT THE BOWL!

To be honest, this tasted more like chocolate chip cheesecake, which makes it more awesome.

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 8oz block cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 mini chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, melt butter and add brown sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves and remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

While that is cooling, cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and light and fluffy. Mix in the slightly cooled butter/sugar mixture, bit by bit, until combined. Toss in chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed.

Serve at room temperature with whatever you think would be good. I served mine up with Nilla wafers and graham crackers.

Key Lime Pie

Key limes. They rock. If you find these tiny gems in your supermarket, buy them. And make this.


The hardest part of this recipe is squeezing the limes. There are lots of tutorials and hints online. Some suggest microwaving for a few seconds, some suggest using a citrus reamer, some say the trick is a garlic press...I used our potato ricer (until I broke it) and then used the top of our plastic potato peeler and the raw power in my hands to get all the juice out.

These guys have seeds, so I juiced into a bowl and then strained into the measuring cup. I bought 2 - 1lb bags "just in case", and ended up using maybe 1 or 2 out of the second bag. I don't know that the juice from those extra couple of limes really made a difference, but whatever.

If you don't have key limes, you can use regular limes I'm sure...just don't use bottled lime juice. If you're going to do that, you might as well go ahead and buy yourself a frozen key lime pie. Just sayin'.

Key Lime Pie

1 ready made graham cracker crust (or make your own)
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
150 mL freshly squeezed lime juice (around 1/2 cup + 2 Tblsp)

Preheat oven to 350.

With a mixer, mix the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks until light and creamy looking. Add lime juice and mix for about 3 minutes.

Carefully pour into crust and bake for about 15 mins. Chill for at least 8 hours. Filling will set as it cools.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mixed Veggies

Mixed Spring Vegetables

Handful carrots, cut into 1" pieces
Handful of sugar snap peas
Handful of thin asparagus, cut into 2" pieces
1 yellow pepper, cut into 2" pieces
2 Tblsp butter
2 shallots, chopped finely
Salt and pepper

Put a saucepan with salted water on to boil. While that's heating up, fill a bowl with ice water.

Blanch carrots for 1 minute, add peas and asparagus for an additional minute. Toss peppers in for about 30 seconds.

Using a slotted spoon, remove veggies and plunge into the ice water. This will halt the cooking process and keep the veggies nice and brightly coloured.

In a frying pan, melt butter and toss in shallots. Cook until softened and add veggies. Cook until warmed through, test for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Mac and Cheese

There are a trillion and one recipes for mac and cheese online. My sister, Willow, wanted to learn how to make mac and cheese from scratch so we took the opportunity to make it together for Easter dinner.

It turned out awesome!

Macaroni and Cheese

1 box whole wheat pasta (something with ridges to hold onto the sauce)
3 Tblsp butter
3 Tblsp all purpose flour
3 cups cold milk
3 oz shredded cheese (sharp cheddar works awesome)
1/2 tsp or so of dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

If you like a crusty top, you can sprinkle on a mixture of breadcrumbs (we used Panko) and Parmesan.

Put a large pot of water on to boil, salt the water, and cook the pasta until just shy of done (if you're going to be baking it to crust up the top, the pasta will continue to cook...if you're just going to mix and serve, cook the pasta to the point you like it).

Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pot, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, add flour and whisk. Cook, whisking, until roux takes on a light golden colour.

Add milk, a bit at a time, whisking after every addition, to make sure you don't end up with big lumpy clumps. Once you get your first cup of milk in, it should be smooth enough to just dump the other 2 cups in.

Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sauce is thickened (it will coat the back of a spoon and when you swipe your finger across the back of the spoon, it will leave a clean line). Remove from heat, and add the cheese by the handful, stirring to melt. Season with mustard powder, salt and pepper and taste.

If it's not cheesy enough, add more cheese!

Drain pasta when it's done (don't rinse!) and mix in cheese sauce.

If you're going to finish it off in the oven, preheat to 350, and dump into casserole. Sprinkle on the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture and bake until top is golden brown and crispy.

Chickie Cheeseball

Chicky Cheeseball

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup cheese, shredded (I use cheddar)
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper
Seasonings (I usually match to what we're eating, but this time I used a garlic and herb type seasoning...a couple of shakes, to taste)
Decorations (this time, I used carrot slices to make the feet and beak, and 2 green peppercorns for the eyes)

Using a mixer, blend cream cheese and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. I usually grate in 1/2 a clove of garlic (I like garlic like crazy, but realize that not everyone loves it as much as I do). Season with salt, pepper and whatever seasonings you wish. Keep in mind that it's going to get stronger as it sits in the fridge.

Plop it onto a piece of plastic wrap and, using the wrap (keeps your hands cleaner), mold into a roundish shape (though, for the chick, I made the top and bottom a little flatter), and place in fridge to set. I usually leave it overnight.

I used a pre shredded white cheese, and the shreds were long. That's fine for the inside, because the cheese will soften inside the cheeseball, but would be too long for the outside. I grabbed my little mini chopper food processor and pulsed the remaining shredded cheese to make the shreds smaller. I dumped the cheese "crumbs" into a bowl and rolled the cheeseball in it to coat.

I did this about an hour before everyone was to arrive, so the outside didn't get soggy.

Using the carrots and peppercorns, I decorated my chick. Serve with an assortment of crackers.

Multigrain Rolls

From Annie's Eats

Multigrain Rolls

Made 16 rolls.

1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup warm milk (105-110˚ F)
2 1/4 tsp. rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 whole wheat flour
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. salt
Around 3 cups all-purpose flour (I ended up using 3 1/2 cups this time)
Oil, for greasing the bowl

For the topping:
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. mixed seeds (I used a blend of sesame and poppy seeds)
Coarse salt, for sprinkling

In a small bowl, mix oat bran and flax seeds, and pour over boiling water. Let sit for about 5 minutes (until water is absorbed).

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a mixer (with dough hook attachment), combine milk, yeast, and honey and run the mixer a tad, to blend. With the mixer set to low, mix in eggs, oats, wheat flour, pepper, salt and oat bran mixture until combined. Add all purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and begins to come together. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Allow mixer to knead the dough at medium low speed for approximately 3 minutes.

Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled boil, covered with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled, around 1 1/2 hours.

The Annie Eats recipe used a 10" round baking dish, but I ended up using a lightly oiled cookie sheet. The round dish created a really neat visual effect.

On a lightly floured surface, turn dough out and pull off pieces about 2 1/2 ounces each (or 16 evenly sized dough balls). Place dough balls on the pan/dish you're going to be baking them in, cover with the plastic wrap and kitchen towel again, and let rise an additional 30 minutes, until nearly doubled.

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together egg yolk and water, and brush this wash on the tops of the risen rolls. Sprinkle with seeds and course salt and bake around 25 minutes, until the tops are golden.

Cool about 10 minutes and remove to a rack to complete cooling.

I really enjoyed these with unsalted butter, but the Annie's Eats site suggested eating them smeared with honey butter. Honey butter is goooooood.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Peek into Our Easter Dinner

So, we're hosting Easter Dinner this year. It's something we've always wanted to do, but our house is so small...and my immediate family is SO BIG. There are three of us in this house, my Dad, three sisters and one brother, my Father (yup, I'm lucky enough to have two!), and my Father in Law.

We have a table that seats six, very tightly.

Normally when we have get togethers, I just lay out snacks and nibbles and people stand around, sit on the floor, sit on the stairs...but we can't do that for Easter!

I'm excited to see how this is going to turn out! I love cooking for my family, it's one of my favourite things to do. We'll borrow a plastic table, and maybe a plate or two, and we'll be fine :)

So....what's on the menu?

Pre Dinner Snacks
Cheese and olives (brought by my Father from the deli by his place)
Hummus and toasted pita
A cheeseball, fashioned like a chick

The Meal
A delicious Honey-Bee ham
Parsley mustard sauce
Mac and Cheese (one of my sisters wanted to learn how to make it from scratch, what a great opportunity!)
Baby vegetable medley
Mashed potatoes
Green salad
Multigrain rolls

Key Lime Pie
Chocolate pudding pie
Fresh strawberries and blueberries (I think)
Fresh whipped cream

My mouth is watering just thinking about all of this amazing food! The awesome thing is, I can make much of it beforehand, and thankfully the ham is done (it will just need to be warmed up).

If I can hold off on eating everything, I'll take photos. If not, you'll just have to imagine it :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I really enjoyed this. The recipe comes from Food Network Kitchens. I doubled the sauce in their recipe. Measurements have been adjusted below (along with my modifications).

Sweet and Sour Chicken

4 tblsp honey
2 tsp chili sauce
4 tblsp rice wine vinegar
2 tblsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup orange juice
3 teaspoons cornstarch

4 tsp vegetable oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1" pcs
Salt and pepper
2 coloured sweet peppers (I used red and orange)
5 green onions, cut into 1" pcs
Good handful of sugar snap peas, ends trimmed and cut into 1" pcs
Chopped peanuts, toasted

Put on some rice or noodles.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, chili sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, orange juice and cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tsp oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a plate and return pan to the stove.

Heat the remaining 2 tsp oil in the pan. Add peppers, green onion (the whites), and sugar snap peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved chicken, give the sauce a final whisk and pour into the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened (about 2 minutes).

Serve over noodles or rice and sprinkle with chopped peanuts if you wish.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Delicious Noodle Bake

This was so good! It's a recipe from The Pioneer Woman (her version looks a lot neater than mine). It was the perfect warm casserole to end a chilly, wet day.

It made a lot, and I wish we'd have frozen the leftovers, because I'll bet they are just as good, or better, later.

Noodle Bake

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 jar pasta sauce (I used fire roasted tomato)
Salt and pepper
8 oz Eggless egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup cottage cheese (small curd)
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
1 cup grated cheddar

Preheat oven to 350.

In a skillet, brown beef and drain if necessary. Add tomato sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer.

Cook egg noodles until al dente.

I let Quinn do this part. In a large bowl, mix sour cream and cottage cheese. Add a bunch of black pepper. Stir in well drained noodles and add green onions. Season to taste with salt.

In a casserole dish, toss in noodles. Top with half of the ground beef mixture, sprinkle on half the cheese, finish with the remaining ground beef mixture, and the last 1/2 cup of grated cheese.

Bake 20 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Lemon Caper Tilapia

This was the first meal in a very long time that Quinn ate completely...and wanted seconds. I'm sure it was just a fluke, as he's nearly 2 1/2 and all about controlling his own deal, but I was happy.

I served this tilapia with some orzo (8oz cooked in 2 cups stock + 1 cup water with 2 cloves of garlic and finished with a bit of olive oil and some lemon zest) and sweet potatoes (microwaved 2 sweet potatoes, scooped out the flesh, and served with a bit of cinnamon sugar on top - that was at Quinn's request).

Lemon Caper Tilapia

3 tblsp butter
1 tblsp vegetable oil
3 tilapia fillets
Salt & pepper
3/4 cup chicken stock
Juice of 3 lemons (just over 1/4 cup?)
1 tsp capers

Heat saucepan on med-high heat and melt 1 tblsp of the butter and vegetable oil. Meanwhile, season tilapia with salt and pepper and dredge lightly in flour. Cook fish, flipping once, until fish is flaky and done.

While fish is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk chicken stock, lemon juice, and capers.

Remove fish carefully to a plate and add lemon chicken stock to hot pan, scraping up the bits, and reduce for about 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 tblsp cold butter, bit by bit, whisking to emulsify. This will create a creamy sauce.

Plate fish and pour sauce overtop.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pressed Pizza Sandwich

This one is a quick prep but takes a bit of time before you can eat it. Pressed sandwiches are awesome for picnics, lunches, anytime...

Pizza Sandwich

2 Portuguese rolls (or any soft crusted roll)
6 slices salami
6 slices mozzarella
Jar of roasted red peppers
Basil pesto

Cut a small slice off the top of the rolls (or whatever bread like thing you've got on hand) and scoop out the middle of the roll to make a well to put the goodies in.

Smear a little bit of pesto on the bottom of the hollowed out roll, and on the "lid". In the bottom of the roll, lay some roasted red peppers. Top with a layer of salami, and then a layer of mozzarella cheese. Though I think I did cheese, meat, cheese for this one)

Put the lid on the bun and wrap tightly in saran wrap. Now it's time to smush them!

I used our big wooden cutting board with a cast iron frying pan and 2 cans of beans to press these babies. I left them under the cutting board for 6 hours, and then popped them in the fridge until it was time for us to eat them.

Pressed sandwiches are awesome! You can put any combination of stuff in there...grilled veggies, meats, cheeses, peanut butter and banana...whatever!

This combo just happened to taste like pizza (which was a pleasant surprise).

Crockpot Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

An amazing recipe that I found here. I'm so glad I did!

Pulled Pork

1.5 kg pork shoulder (it could have been bigger...this made lots of sauce)
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 can Dr Pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup demerera sugar
1 small onion, cut into rings

Toss everything into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.

Cilantro Lime Slaw

1 pkg broccoli slaw
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small clove garlic, grated
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne

Throw everything but the slaw into a food processor and blend it up. Pour over slaw, mix well, and refrigerate until it's time to eat.

Truthfully, I used about 3/4 of the bag of slaw and my slaw was plenty saucy (after it set up in the fridge for a few hours).

I bought small whole wheat dinner rolls, but it would have been equally awesome (maybe even better) on fresh corn tortillas, warmed in the cast iron pan. Next time!

At the end of the cooking time, the meat should be so tender it will very easily pull apart. Pile some on the bun (or in the tortilla), spoon some of the sauce on top (alternately, you can take some of the sauce and thicken it in a saucepan by adding some cornstarch slurry).

Top meat with some slaw and enjoy!

I served it up with some sweet potato and beet chips (warmed in the oven from the chip bag to make them taste a bit fresher).

Leftovers would be great on a pizza, or on nachos.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Black Bean Nachos

This was a quick "throw together" meal.

Needed: tortilla chips, taco seasoning, shredded cheese, black olives, chopped tomatoes, onions, avocado, jalepenos, salsa, sour cream...whatever you like on or with your nachos.

Black Bean Nachos

Filled the bottom of a 9" pie plate with some multigrain tortilla chips.

I heated up a can of black beans and seasoned them with my taco seasoning and a little water. Once that was done, I topped the nachos with the seasoned beans.

On that went a TON of cheese. Whatever it was that we had in the fridge...probably farmer's marble.

Sliced black olives, very finely chopped onion, diced (seeded) tomato, and a little more cheese went on top of the cheese.

It was baked in a 350 degree oven for about 15 or 20 minutes until all the cheese was gooey.

I chopped jalepenos and put them on the side because Quinn doesn't need that kind of surprise. The avocado was on the side as well because I don't like it warm. At all. Salsa and sour cream on the side as well, works.

St. Paddy's Day Eats

We had a delicious meal of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage.

St. Paddy's Day Eats

I didn't corn my own brisket. I'm not going to apologize. I pulled it out of the package and simmered it for 3 hours. In the last hour and a half, I tossed a handful of baby red potatoes into the pot.

I had made a soda bread and froze half of it, so I pulled that out of the freezer and whipped up a little butter with a drop of honey and some chopped chives.

The cabbage was quartered and cut very thinly. A couple of tablespoons of water in the bottom of a skillet, some salt, and a tablespoon of butter, did the job to steam the cabbage. I finished it off with another tablespoon of butter and pepper, and added a bit more salt to taste.

I made a buttermilk horseradish gravy to finish it off. I took 1 cup of the water that the potatoes and meat simmered in, heated it up with 1 cup of buttermilk. I made a slurry of 2 tblsp cornstarch and 2 tblsp water and whisked it into the mixture, simmering low until thickened. Then I added about 3 big tsps of prepared horseradish (tasting as I went).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Red Velvet Pancakes

I've been meaning to try these since I saw the recipe around Valentine's Day. I finally got the chance tonight!

They were a hit, and I think I'm going to have to make them more often.

Red Velvet Pancakes

1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons Ruddy Red cocoa powder (unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder)
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon red food coloring (you can eliminate this if you like)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.

Add wet to dry and stir just until combined. You don't want to overmix.

I added about 1/8 cup water to loosen up the batter, but that's because mine was really thick.

Drop by 1/3 cup onto a buttered skillet or griddle and cook until done.

This cooked enough pancakes for two adults with 2 small cakes for the wee one.

I served this with a little cut up fruit and it made for a great "breakfast for dinner".

Bean and Portobello Burgers

I saw this recipe on Self Magazine's site and adjusted it to suit us.

Black Bean and Portobello Burger

4 tblsp olive oil
2 medium portobello mushrooms, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper
2 egg whites
1 tblsp honey mustard
1 tblsp worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup oatmeal, ground (or more - or you can use breadcrumbs)
4 whole wheat pitas, naan, or buns
Barbecue sauce
Spring mix (or lettuce leaves)
Tomato slices
Shredded cheddar cheese

Heat 2 tblsp olive oil in a large skillet and cook mushrooms, onion and bell pepper until pepper begins to soften (6 mins or so). Add beans, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper. Stir and smash beans with the back of the spoon for another couple of minutes

Transfer mixture to bowl and let cool slightly (a couple of minutes). Add egg whites, honey mustard, worcestershire sauce, and oats.

Note: Grind oats in a food processor to help bind the burgers. You can use breadcrumbs instead. You may need to eyeball the measurement depending on the moisture content of your mixture. You want to be able to form it into a patty and have it stay together (without it being as heavy as a rock).

Wipe skillet and heat remaining oil to medium. Form mixture into four patties (or more) and cook in the skillet until burgers are golden brown and have a nice crust.

Dress burgers with lettuce, tomato, barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese (or anything else you may like).

I served mine with a cold broccoli salad (raw broccoli dressed with a combo of mayo, apple cider vinegar, sugar, a touch of salt, and fine dice of red onion).

We all really enjoyed this burger, but it needed...something. Maybe a little cilantro would brighten it up. Next time!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


When posed with the question "What do you want? Bean and portobello burgers or tacos?" Don laughed. I knew what his answer would be.

So tonight is taco night!

We get corn tortillas from a Mexican Mennonite place here in town. They make them fresh, with no preservatives, and they are excellent for anything we used to use whole wheat bread for. I love cheese melted between them, or peanut butter and, I'm hungry.

I prefer to make my taco seasoning because it gives me a chance to control what is in it. It's not difficult and doesn't use any crazy exotic ingredients - most people I know have all the components. Why would you WANT to eat something out of a package (containing who knows what?) that you can make so easily (and quickly)?

I brown my ground sirloin, add a bit of water and the below seasonings, and let it simmer on low for an hour or so. I'm sure this would work with TVP as well, but I can't stand the stuff.

I heat up the corn tortillas in a dry frying pan, and pack them with meat, cheese, tomato and sour cream (and avocado and fresh cilantro, if we have them handy). That's how we like them.

Taco Seasoning

1 tblsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh, grated in)
1/2 tsp onion powder (or 1/2 a fresh onion, finely diced)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried cumin
Pinch salt

I taste after a bit and adjust the above, to taste.

I'd love to get my mitts on some ground chipotle. That would make my taco seasoning extra delicious!

By the way, if you don't have smoked paprika, you can use "regular" paprika.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vegetables with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Polenta

I made my own polenta rather than going for the instant stuff (and definitely not the premade stuff). The veggies were pretty basic, and the sauce was SPECTACULAR. I will totally use that again...for pasta sauce, sandwich spread, whatever!

This recipe served the three of us. I'm going to break it down into its three parts.



3 cups stock or water
1 tsp butter
1 cup coarse cornmeal (I used medium grind because that's what I had, and it worked fine)
2/3 cup grated parmesan (divided in 2)
Dash of cayenne

In a saucepan, bring stock or water to boil. Add butter and allow to melt. Slowly pour in cornmeal, whisking to keep it from clumping together. Turn heat down to low, cover, and stir every couple of minutes to keep it from clumping or burning to the bottom of the pan. This will take about 35 minutes to thicken. Stir in 1/3 cup parmesan and the cayenne, and taste for seasoning. If you're using water, you may need to add salt.

Pour into a lightly creased cast iron skillet, or 9" pie pan, and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.

Once the veggies (the next step) come out, top the cooled polenta with the final 1/3 cup parmesan and place under broiler about 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.

If you like your polenta loose, serve it up immediately. If you like it a little more like a cake, let it sit 20 minutes or so to set.


Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1 tblsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tblsp chopped fresh thyme
10 small asparagus stalks, ends trimmed
4 green onions, trimmed
2 small Chinese eggplants, cut into 1/3" half circles
1 small yellow squash or zucchini, cut into 1/3" half circles
10 cherry tomatoes

Preheat broiler and set the rack to about 6" from the top. Line baking sheet with foil.

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add the vegetables and toss to coat. Arrange on baking sheet in one layer and pop into oven for 5-10 minutes (or more) until you start to see colour on the vegetables.

Flip the veggies and roast for an additional 5-10 minutes, remove from oven and let cool.

(At this point you'd toss the polenta into the oven)


1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained
1/3 cup broth
1 large clove garlic
A few leaves of fresh basil
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar

Throw all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend up. My red peppers had bonus!garlic so I threw those in, as well as the raw garlic. I love garlic!

Putting it Together

Top a slice of polenta with some roasted veggies and smother with sauce. I garnished with a bit more fresh basil and a few black olives.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Seeded Soda Bread (WF)

I love the ease of soda bread. No yeast so no rising time. I based it off this recipe.


I used the seeds I had on hand, but would love to try this with sunflower seeds as part of the mix. The original recipe suggests a combo of (2 1/2 tblsp EACH) sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and flax seeds, with a more minor addition (1 tsp) of fennel seeds.

Here's what I did:

2 1/2 tblsp sesame seeds
4 tblsp flax seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 3/4 cups spelt flour (with 1/4 cup possibly more)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 3/4 cup butermilk

Preheat oven to 400 and place silpat (or parchment) on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix seeds, put aside.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in all but 2 tblsp of the seeds. Add buttermilk and mix with a dough hook until dough just comes together. If it's a little sticky, a a bit more flour until it's workable.

Don't take too much time because you want the baking soda to do its work in the oven.

On a lightly floured surface, roll into a ball and transfer to the baking sheet. Cut a deep x in the top of the loaf, brush on a little extra buttermilk, and sprinkle remaining seeds on top.

Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 45 - 50 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cornmeal Tilapia and Garlic Scented Broccoli

The dipping sauce is mayo, dijon mustard, honey and dill. Very good.


Tilapia is dipped in buttermilk and then dredged in cornmeal seasoned with a little garlic powder and chili powder. Frying up in a titch of oil in a frying pan makes the crust crispy and delicious.

Broccoli is made by putting about an inch of water in a saucepan, a tsp or so of olive oil, and cracking (but keeping mostly whole) 2 cloves of garlic and bringing to a boil. Add broccoli florets (and peeled stems if you like) to steam the broccoli tender crisp.

Spelt Oatmeal Bread (WF)

Wheat free bread is a staple in our house. This makes 2 loaves. Taken from this recipe.


2 cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup honey
2 tblsp butter
2 tsp salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 large egg
4 1/2 cups spelt flour

In bowl of mixer (fitted with dough hook), combine boiling water, oats, honey, butter and salt and let sit.

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees) and a drip of honey. Let stand 10 minutes to proof.

Add yeast mixture to the bowl of a mixer and mix well. Add egg and mix, then add flour and mix until dough is smooth and elastic. If it's sticky, add more flour 1 tblsp at a time. Spelt flour is more delicate than wheat flour, so you need to be careful and not abuse it)

Lightly oil a large bowl and add dough, turning to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside to rise in a warm place until dough doubles, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375.

Punch down dough, place on lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 balls. Form into loaves and place into 2 lightly oiled loaf pans. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise again for about 40 minutes (until doubled).

Bake about 30 minutes, until top of loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump it. Remove from loaf pans gently and let cool. If you like, you can top with a little melted honey and sprinkle with a few oats.

Jack and the Bean Stack

This is a recipe from my Crazy Plates cookbook by the Podleski sisters.

The original recipe calls for flour tortillas, but I'm using corn tortillas from a local Mennonite joint. I would have used diced avocado on top (because we love avocado) but there weren't any ripe ones in the store today.


3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup whole-kernel corn
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup unpeeled, diced zucchini
1/3 cup grated carrots
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp chili powder
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
1 tblsp lime juice
6 small corn tortillas
1 cup shredded Farmer's Marble cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped lettuce
Sliced black olives
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a nonstick saucepan, saute most of the tomatoes, onions, jalepenos, carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, corn, garlic, chili powder and cumin for about 5 minutes. Add drained and rinsed black beans and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Place 2 tortillas on a cookie sheet. Spoon veggie/bean mixture onto both tortillas, top with cheese. Pop on a second tortilla, spoon more veggie/bean mixture, top with cheese, and finish with a final tortilla and a little more cheese.

Pop in oven for 15 minutes. Until cheese is melted and edges have a little colour.

Serve with black olive slices (if you like), some chopped tomato, fresh chopped cilantro, sliced green onion, and lettuce. Serve with sour cream.

It was a little difficult to cut with the corn tortillas (the flour would have been easier), but this would make an incredible veggie taco deal. That's how we'll eat it next time.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This Week's Plan...

This week, I'll be making some mouthwatering meals (if I do say so myself).

In no particular order:

- Jack and the Beanstack - Essentially a stack of beans, veggies, cheese and tortillas. The original recipe calls for flour tortillas but in our attempt at eating wheat free, the tortillas will be replaced with fresh corn tortillas made locally.

- Coconut and Tofu Soup - As made here, but replacing the chicken with tofu.

- Sweet Potato Curry - If I can't find butter beans, it will just be chick peas.

- Buttermilk and cornmeal crusted fish with herb roasted potatoes and some green veggie type thing (we'll see what we come up with at the grocery store tomorrow...the fish will probably be tilapia)

- Falafel with tzaziki and a quinoa salad.

I probably shouldn't be writing about food when I'm hungry!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Oat Bars (WF)

In our endeavor to wean ourselves off of wheat, I made these oat bars to take the place of the cookie snacks Quinn enjoys. The only down side is that I can't pack them up to bring to the gym child care centre, as they are peanut free, but we'll just have to bring fruit or something.

I found these to be a little crumbly, so I'd probably add a bit more honey in the next batch...and I won't bother adding the fruit either. Don doesn't like dried fruit, and judging by the smeared, half eaten dried blueberries on the floor, Quinn doesn't either. Oh well!


2 cups puffed rice
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds, shelled
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup mixed dried fruit, chopped (optional...our bulk store has a great selection)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup rice flour
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Line a 9x13 baking pan with wax or parchment paper, including up the sides.

In a large bowl, toss in the puffed rice, rolled oats, sunflower and sesame seeds, dried fruit, rice flour and chocolate chips. Mix well.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, and honey and heat gently for 2 minutes or until it becomes runny. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until coated.

Using a piece of wax paper to protect your fingers, press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove and let cool and crisp in tin before cutting it into bars. Store in an air-tight container. Makes 20 bars.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gambler's Chili in a Crockpot

This delicious recipe comes from Lauren Ray and was the 2008 Chili Verde World Cookoff Winning Recipe from the International Green Chili Cookoff in Las Vegas.

It was delicious and I will definitely make it again! I made mine in a crockpot. It made the pork super tender. This is how I made it:

2 lbs. pork tenderloin, cubed
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 can chicken broth
1 bottle tomatilla salsa (I used President's Choice)
2 small cans green chilis (I used Old El Paso)
4 cloves garlic
2 1/2 tblsp chicken bouillon
1 tsp celery salt
2 tsp oregano
1 tblsp cumin
1 tblsp chili powder
1 tblsp flour
1 diced jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed
3 tblsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Cube pork and brown in a skillet.

Meanwhile place chicken stock, onion, salsa, and green chilis in the crock pot. Turn it on high for 8 hours. Grate in garlic, and add bouillon, celery salt, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Stir and add pork.

Mix the flour with a little cold water to make a slurry, and add to crock pot, stirring.

Taste and adjust salt as needed.

In the last hour of cooking, add the fresh jalepeno, and in the last few minutes, add the cilantro.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing

This is another Chef Michael Smith gem. It will be added to our regular rotation for sure!


1 chipotle pepper in adobo
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
2 tblsp agave syrup or honey
1 tbslp dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
4 tblsp olive oil

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 tblsp chili powder
Pinch salt
3 tblsp vegetable oil
Mixed baby greens
1 bunch cilantro
4 green onions, sliced thinly
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (not heated)
Tortilla chips, crumbled by hand

In a blender, puree all of the dressing ingredients (adding the oil in a slow, steady stream at the end, as the blender is running).

In a shallow bowl, whisk together cornmeal, chili powder and salt. Slice chicken into long thin strips. Preheat a skillet and add vegetable oil. Dredge chicken strips in cornmeal mixture and fry in pan until chicken is cooked through.

Lay a bed of lettuce on a plate (or salad bowl), sprinkle cilantro and green onions over top. Mound tomatoes, black beans, avocado and corn on top of lettuce. Arrange chicken strips and drizzle dressing over the whole works. Crumble tortilla chips on top.

If you like, you can shred a little cheese on top.

I served the salad with cornmeal muffins.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tandoori(ish) Chicken, Mashed Chick Peas, and Pepper and Onion Salad

Saw this recipe on Food Network Canada, and since we love Indian food, I was excited to make this.

I learned that I can make tandoori(ish) chicken. I also learned that our smoke detector does, indeed, work...and it's LOUD.


2 pitas (or Naan if you can get it)

1 cup plain yogurt
2 inches grated ginger root
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut across in 1/2...the same amount of marinade can be used with 4 chicken breasts)
Salt and pepper
1 can chick peas (good for decent sized servings for 3 up a second can if there are more)
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tblsp tahini paste (use natural peanut butter if you don't have tahini)

1/2 small red onion, very small dice
1/2 yellow bell pepper, very small dice
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime juiced
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Drizzle of honey
Splash of green tabasco sauce
(I used the last three ingredients in lieu of the hot banana pepper rings and a bit of juice from the jar which I didn't think would be good, but after tasting it, I'm going to try it next time I make this, and ignore the last 3)

I chose to mix up the yogurt and spices (yogurt to olive oil from the above list) and marinated the chicken for a few hours. It's not necessary.

Preheat your oven to 500 (or as high as your oven goes). Cover a baking sheet with foil and if you have a baking rack, stick it on top.

Place chicken on baking rack (or right on the foil, if you don't have a rack). Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until chicken reaches a temp of 190 (or until it's cooked).

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Grate 1 clove garlic into warm oil. Put drained and rinsed chick peas in the bowl of a food processor, tahini (or peanut butter) and chicken stock and pulse until chopped. Scoop chick pea mash into skillet and warm through on low.

Combine red onion, bell peppers and cilantro. Add lime juice, vinegar, and honey (or add chopped hot peppers and juice to onion, peppers and cilantro). Drizzle a little olive oil over and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Warm the pitas (or naan) in the oven.

Serve pepper and onion salad over the chicken, with mashed chick peas on the side. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the whole lot and eat up!

Serve chicken with lime wedges to squeeze over top. Serve mashed chick peas alongside. Top the chicken with pepper salad. Cut pitas in half and pass at table.

Lemon Budino

I saw this recipe on Epicurious and it made my mouth water just reading about it! I had to try it.

I love all things lemon. Years and years ago, a friend's Mom made this Lemon Surprise (I think she called it). It was like magic. She mixed a whole bunch of stuff together, threw it in the oven, and when it came out, it had separated into a fluffy mound surrounded by a gorgeous lemon sauce.

I'd forgotten about that dessert until I pulled these little "puddings" out of the oven, and I was so in love with them that I ate 3 of the 6 individual ramekins within an hour of them being done. I'm not embarrassed. They were good!

The recipe calls for Meyer lemons and regular lemons, but my grocery store doesn't carry Meyer lemons (though if they ever did, I would totally give it a try!

Mine probably could have been a little darker, but I was impatient...and they were cooked.


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
3 large eggs, seperated
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 tblsp fresh regular lemon juice (I just used the juice from 2 regular lemons)
2 tblsp Meyer lemon zest (I just zested a whole regular lemon)
3/4 cup plus 2 tblsp whole milk

Put a pot (or kettle of water on to boil). You'll need to utilize a bain marie (in this case, the ramekins will be placed in a 13 x 9 baking pan you'll pour boiling water into the pan). This technique will help cook the eggs evenly and maintain humidity in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly butter 6 3/4 cup ramekins.

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, flour, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk until well blended and then whisk in milk.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and salt until frothy. Slowly add remaining 2 tblsp sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

Gently fold beaten egg whites into lemon mixture in two batches. Gently pour into buttered ramekins. Place ramekins in baking pan and carefully (don't let it splash into the batter) pour hot water into pan until it reaches the halfway point of the ramekins.

Bake for about 30 minutes. The puddings will be golden on top and spring back lightly when touched. Take them out of the water and serve warm.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Yum

This is another one of those busy night, quick and tasty meals.

I usually have chicken breast in the freezer, broccoli in the fridge (it's one of the only veggies Quinn likes right now), and sauce and pasta in the cupboard.

You could use leftover chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, whatever you have or whatever is easiest for you. I usually just poach a couple of chicken breasts.

This recipe comes from the President's Choice website.


1 box high fibre pasta
1 jar alfredo pasta sauce (or quattro fromaggi pasta sauce)
2 cups broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces (I also use the stem)
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook pasta as directed, in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. In the last 4 minutes, I throw the broccoli in with the pasta. Reserve about 1/4 cup pasta water, and drain pasta and broccoli.

Mix pasta, broccoli, pasta water, pasta sauce and chicken. Pour into a casserole dish, top with parmesan cheese, and cook for 10-12 minutes until cheese browns a touch.

Serve with fresh ground pepper.

Tuna Casserole, Redesigned

I grew up eating tuna casserole. From what I remember, it was egg noodles, a can of tuna, some cream of whatever soup, and frozen peas. My Mom put frozen peas in everything.

I saw this recipe that Janet and Greta Podleski put together. I mentioned them a couple of days ago. They have cookbooks and shows dedicated to redesigning not so good for you recipes and boosting the nutritional value without sacrificing flavour.

Tuna casserole is a quick meal to put together, and most people have those 3 items in their cupboard (and some frozen or fresh veg in the fridge to throw in).

But there has to be a better way!

Janet and Greta worked their magic and came up with this gem. The below recipe makes 4 large portions. It was the first time that I had made a sauce using evaporated milk instead of cream or soup mix and I was very happy with the results.


4 cups uncooked high-fibre rotini pasta
1 cup frozen green peas (or another vegetable)
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup diced yellow onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 10oz can 2% evaporated milk (13 oz/370 mL)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Grated zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup packed shredded sharp cheddar cheese (3 oz/85 g)
1/2 cup packed shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz/56 g)
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 can wild salmon, well drained (6 oz/170 g)
1 can tuna, well drained (6 oz/170 g)

Janet and Greta suggest getting all your stuff chopped, shredded and otherwise prepped before beginning this recipe. It's a good habit to get into.

Put a pot of water on to boil, and cook the pasta according to directions. Unlike my previous tuna casserole ventures, this one won't be going into the oven for a final heat-up, so cook the pasta how you want to eat it.

While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery and garlic and cook until soft (about 4 minutes). Add broth. In a separate bowl, whisk together evaporated milk and flour until smooth and add to pot. Cook until sauce bubbles and begins to thicken, stirring frequently.

Once the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (and leaves a clear path when you swipe your finger across it), stir in mustard, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.

Remove pot from heat and add cheeses, stirring until melted. Add drained tuna and salmon and mix. Add drained noodles and peas and mix well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Good For You Taco Dip...

...or at least better than a traditional taco dip.

I found this recipe from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry for a taco dip...and, although I don't love the show (too much of the "this is baaaaad, you must eat thiiiisss) type stuff, I do really enjoy the Podleski sisters' cookbooks, and know that most of the dishes that they come up with are pretty darned good.

This is their Macho Nacho Dip.

It's very, very good...and has some adjustments from the traditional, fat laden taco dip (which I LOVE). Some of these things might sound kind of disgusting (hello...mushy peas in the guac?!?!) but this is really, really good!

It takes a bit of work to put together, and needs a couple of hours (at least) to set up, but it's worth it. The original recipe apparently serves 15, but I made some adjustments to fill an 8" casserole that fed the three of us, with leftovers. Here's my recipe, with the mods I made.

Taco Dip

Beans Layer

1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small can green chilis (keep liquid)
2 tblsp low sodium taco seasoning

Throw it all in a blender, puree until smooth. Place in bottom of dish you're using (I used a round glass casserole, about 8"). Pop in fridge while you work on the second layer.

The Green Stuff

1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
1 large avocado
Juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
Salt & pepper

In food processor (or food mill) blend up peas, avocado, and lime juice. Dump in a bowl and stir in grated garlic and onion, taste and adjust salt and pepper. Spoon and smooth onto bean layer in casserole. Put back into fridge.

The Creamy Stuff

1 cup sour cream
1 package light cream cheese with garden vegetables, room temp

You can mix these up by hand, but I like making it super creamy, so back to the food processor you go with these two beauties. Blend them together until smooth. Spread onto green layer in casserole. Pop back into fridge.

The Red Stuff

Some salsa you like (jarred, homemade, whatever)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Layer salsa over creamy layer, sprinkle on the cilantro.

At this point, I covered it with plastic wrap and left it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set up. You CAN add the cheese and veggies before letting it set, I think that's how the original recipe specified, but I don't like soggy cheese and veggies.

Cheese and Veggies

1 cup grated cheese (sharp cheddar, monterey jack, whatever you like)
Sliced black olives
Sliced green onions
(red bell pepper, shredded lettuce, whatever veggies you want to add)

Throw everything on top, and serve with chips.

I like the multigrain tortilla chips (though I wish they weren't so damned salty!), and I love heating them up a little in the oven. It makes them a smidge crispier and fresher tasting.

This went over very well.