Posts Tagged ‘Recipe’

Feb
09


I make a batch of banana muffins about twice a month. They are the perfect snack, freeze beautifully and the muffins are a nice addition to a lunch box as well.

Recently I was introduced to the Guiding Stars program which is now available at No Frills, Loblaws and Real Canadian Superstores. Next time you are shopping, look for these signs which indicates a “better choice”.

PC - Guiding Stars

Here are two examples of Star Ingredients:

Egg
★★ White Eggs – Large
★★★ Omega-3 Eggs

Flour
★ White Flour
★★ Whole Wheat Flour
★★★ Whole Spelt Flour

Therefore you could take my amazing banana recipe and make it even healthier just by using an Omega-3 Egg or by adding a high-fibre cereal, flaxseeds, hemp hearts and/or your favourite nut to turn this snack into a healthy breakfast option!

See what I mean? It doesn’t take a lot to make an ordinary recipe a much healthier recipe!! Plus the Guiding Stars program is an easy way for you to accomplish this.

Once again, look out for these blue stars!

pc - two stars

Not to mention, that certain Loblaws stores have In-Store Dieticians to assist you as well!!

Here’s my banana muffin recipe but feel free adapt it with Star Ingredients!

pc - ingredients

Ingredients

2 cups of mashed bananas (about 5) Note: the darker the better
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (see options below with Star Ingredients)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (see options below with Star Ingredients)

Star Ingredients

Egg
★★ White Eggs – Large
★★★ Omega-3 Eggs

Flour
★ White Flour
★★ Whole Wheat Flour
★★★ Whole Spelt Flour

Note from In-Store Dietitian, Lauren Baker:
Add Ground Flaxseed
Add Hemp Hearts
Add Cinnamon + Vanilla
Add “crunch” with Bran Flakes or Quick Oats

I really do believe that homemade muffins are a convenient snack for on-the-go routines, and can be lower in saturated fat, sugar, and calories than store bought or fast-food alternatives! For improved portion control, try making mini-muffin and enjoying only one or two with your morning coffee. Its a win-win!!

Happy Baking!

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post, however all opinions are my own

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Jan
17


The other night, we entertained which is code for: “try some new recipes”. So I spent some time on Pinterest looking for inspiration and then planned the following menu:

-Edamame Salad

entertaining - edamame

PC® Vegetarian Pot Stickers

entertaiing - potstickers

-Rice Wraps: trust me I will blogging about this one day soon

entertaining - rice wraps

-Sushi platter from Sushi on Bloor

-Avocado Egg Rolls with a sweet chilli sauce (click here for the blog post with the recipe)

entertaining - eggrolls

-General Tso’s Tofu

entertaiing - tofu

I’d like to share the General Tso’s Tofu recipe with you, as it was beyond delicious and easy to make as well. The trick is to squeeze the excess water from the tofu which is something I’ve just started to practice and it makes all the difference.

Plus I’ve never coated tofu in cornstarch before either and I believe this made a difference too.

RECIPE:  GENERAL TSO’S TOFU (original recipe can be found by visiting www.grumpyshoneybunch.com)

1 block extra firm tofu
3-4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon canola oil

Sauce: (there’s a lot of ingredients but don’t let this scare you)
½ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp hoisin
3 Tablespoons white or rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup water
1 tablespoon Sesame oil
4-6 spring green onions, sliced
3 tbsp fresh ginger finely chopped
Hot pepper flakes (optional) ps I didn’t chose to use hot pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Squeeze tofu of excess water! (this is an important step) I did this by placing the tofu between two plates and then placing a heavy object on top of the plate i.e….I used my water jug! Wait 30 minutes or longer.

2. Prepare the sauce: Miix together the first 6 ingredients and set aside.

3. To prepare tofu for frying: Cut into cubes and then coat lightly with cornstarch and fry in a shallow frying pan with canola oil until browned and crispy. Remove from frying pan and set aside.

tofu - fried

4. Wipe pan clean with paper towel and add sesame oil with onions and chopped ginger. Fry about 1 minute, until fragrant.

tofu - ginger

5. Then combine everything….the tofu, the ginger/scallions and the sauce. Stir till all the tofu is coated in the delicious sauce.

Happy Cooking!

 

 

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Jan
08


Over the holidays I found myself with some serious spare time on my hands which meant there was this fantastic opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen. Nothing makes me happier than spending time in the kitchen (please don’t judge me. Lol)

It also makes me happy to discover recipes that only involves 4 ingredients. Yes  – that’s right – 4 ingredients.

spinach-ingredients

This recipe intrigued me as it included an unusual ingredient which I believe made all the difference. This ingredient is: HERBED STUFFING. Believe it or not I’ve never bought a box of stuffing before but wow did it ever provide flavour (and crunch too)

Also loved the fact that you can freeze these Spinach Balls. (original recipe can be found here)

Here’s what you will need: (note: I cut the recipe in half)

INGREDIENTS

2 (10 oz.) packages frozen spinach, thawed & well-drained (very well drained)

2 small onions, very finely chopped

2 1/4 c. stuffing with herbs

6 eggs, beaten

1/2 c. butter, melted

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

2 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients.

spinach-stir

3. Shape into golf-sized balls and place on a baking sheet.

spinach-tray

3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until heated through and browned

FINAL RESULTS

spinach-final

Serve these delicious Spinach Balls with salmon and a salad and bingo you will have a pretty delicious meal! (in my humble opinion).

OR

Put them on an appetizer plate along with other goodies!

appetizer-plate

Happy Cooking!

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Dec
27


In 1990, I was introduced to the Cheesecake Factory while visiting Washington. Since then, I’ve been to Cheesecake Factory in numerous other cities and I always (I mean ALWAYS) order the same thing: Crispy Avocado Egg Rolls. I just adore the combo of the crispy wrapper and the creamy avocado  inside plus the addictive sauce.

Naturally I was scrolling thru Pinterest and discovered a recipe for these delicious egg rolls. Within no time at all I was making these egg rolls!

Here’s the recipe. (original recipe can be found here – www.savorytooth.com)

Recipe: Avocado Egg Rolls with Sweet Chilli Sauce

Ingredients

10 egg roll wrappers
3 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 roma tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
canola oil, for frying

For the sweet chili sauce:
4 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Add avocados, tomato, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados to a chunky consistency. This will become the egg roll filling. Pretty easy so far, right?

avocado-bowl
2. Lay out the egg roll wrappers and a small bowl of water. Distribute the egg roll filling among the wrappers, scooping them onto the bottom third of each wrapper. Once again, pretty easy!

avocado-stuff

3. Taking one wrapper at a time, use a finger to brush water along its four edges. Fold up a corner over the filling, then the sides, and then roll it up. Dab the last fold with more water to seal. Repeat for all other wrappers. (not hard at all)

eggrolls-wrapped-up
4.  Add canola oil to a large pot until the oil is about 2 inches deep. Turn the burner to medium heat. When the oil temperature reaches 350 F, add the egg rolls in batches. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Slice each egg roll diagonally.

FINAL RESULT:

eggrolls-final

Now don’t forget to make the sauce! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this sauce and how freakin’ delicious it was.

eggroll-sauce

I really need to organize a dinner party soon! These egg rolls would be a hit.

By the way – here’s what I did with the rest of the wonton wrappers. I put them in a muffin pan and baked them at 375 degrees till golden brown. They are now in a sealed container in the (stuffed) freezer and will come in handy as an appetizer. Most likely I will fill them with roasted garlic, tomatoes and basil. However you never know what other ideas I might find on Pinterest!!

eggrolls-wonton-wrapper

Happy Cooking!

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Dec
22


Its that time of year where there’s a lot of entertaining going on. So I thought it might be useful to share two recipes for you.

The first recipe is ideal for breakfast or a brunch. I discovered it while flipping through a RICARDO magazine and thought “hmm..this sounds interesting AND easy”.  I tried it and it worked!! In the event you have never heard of Ricardo before, he is a well known media personality in Quebec who launched an English version of his magazine in 2014.

Basically all you need is some cheddar cheese (I used St.-Albert cheddar of course), Wonder Bread and a waffle maker (I used my beloved Breville Waffle Maker)

ricardo-cheese

Place one piece of buttered Wonderbread onto the waffle maker (buttered side facing down), place some cheese on top, place another piece of buttered Wonderbread on top (buttered side facing up)…close the waffle maker for a few minutes and bingo you have these delicious Cheese Waffle Sandwiches (with NO MESS).

ricardo-waffle

The second recipe is ideal for an appetizer for a party.

This Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Bread Dip Ring is once again super easy to make and delicious.

The entire recipe can be found on this video. 

But here’s a recap in case you don’t want to watch the video!!

Basically you take pizza dough and make golf sized balls. Place these balls in a greased, oven-proof dish. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Mix in a bowl: sour cream, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, drained artichoke hearts, drained frozen spinach, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Place the spinach mixture into the centre of the oven-proof dish. Brush dough with an egg wash.

appetizer-ballsspinach

Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. VOILA – delish appetizer

appetizer-final

Happy Holidays!

 

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Dec
20

Chanuka Ideas….


Chanukah is just around the corner and I’m ready. (I think). I found my Chanuka decor thanks to my beloved new Brother Label Maker, and my tummy is ready too.

chanuka-decorations

Of course I spent some time on Pinterest and found a few ideas to get me in the holiday spirit. In particular, I found this recipe for Chanuka Gelt Cookies!  The other day I made them and they were a HUGE hit. I’m sure I will be making another batch soon. It took only one bowl, a few ingredients and about 30 minutes to make (start to finish).

Chanukah Gelt Cookies (original recipe from www.bakingandmistaking.com)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup (150g) butter or margarine, softened (I used butter …of course)
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups (220g) flour
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Unwrap the chocolate coins. (not as easy as it looks but easier than unwrapping candy canes!!)

gelt2

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until the dough comes together. I then placed the dough into the fridge for an hour. (a tip I learned from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Roll the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Then place the disc, well spaced apart, on an ungreased baking sheet OR  put the dough into a muffin tin sprayed with Pam. This is a new kitchen hack that I learned that will prevent the dough from spreading too thin.muffin4I then pressed the gelt (chocolate coin) into the centre of the cookie and placed it into the oven at 350 F for exactly 9 minutes. The edges were slightly brown but the centre was pale and puffy (and perfect)

Let them cool before removing them from the tin.

chanuka-gelt-2

Other cool chanuka ideas (thanks Pinterest) that I’m going to attempt include these adorable Cheese Dreidels. How cute!! Loved this idea but something tells me I’m not going to be successful. Time will tell.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-9-25-03-pm

 

These cute napkin rings.

pinterst-chanuka

Wishing everyone who celebrates, a wonderful Chanuka. May light and peace fill these 8 days.

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Dec
08


Natrel recently launched  a line of Lactose Free butter and an Organic butter too. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I received the press release which announced this news.

This is the first lactose free butter on the market*

butter-blog

There are only two ingredients in this butter: Lactose Free Cream and Sea Salt.

Other info you should know: at the moment it’s only available in a 250 gram package and I only saw “salted butter” on the shelves. The organic butter is only available in Ontario + Quebec, and the lactose free in Ontario, Quebec + the Atlantic provinces.

As someone who is lactose free, I can’t wait to bake some of my favourite recipes with this product without having to take a lactose free pill. I’m beyond excited.

I’m also excited to let you know about Natrel’s The Greatest Dessert Exchange which is currently underway! It’s a pretty cool ideal. Basically the concept is to Spread Joy this holiday season beginning with delicious Natrel products. Add a little love and the best ingredients to make your favourite dessert, and then offer it to someone you care about. Invite them to continue the dessert chain by doing the same for someone.

Feel free to visit Natrel’s Facebook page and share the official Natrel Greatest Dessert Exchange post. For each share, Natrel will donate 25¢ to Breakfast Club of Canada.

Here’s recap:

  1. Make a Natrel dessert 
  2. Offer it to a loved one
  3.  Invite them to do the same

Here’s a recipe for a Big, Soft Ginger Cookie thats perfect for this time of year. Of course I used Natrel lactose free butter for the recipe. The best part was that I could actually lick the beaters without having to take a lactose pill. Yes Im a 51 year old adult!!

Big, Soft Ginger Cookie (original recipe from www.tasteofhome.com)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Natrel lactose free butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger…be generous!
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon…be generous!
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves…be generous!!
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar in a small bowl

natrel-ingredients

Yay lactose free cookies!

Directions
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

natrel-two-bowls

Roll into 1-1/2-in. balls, then roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. (they expanded more than I thought so don’ t overcrowd your sheet). Bake at 350° until puffy and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Note: My first batch wasn’t as flavourful as I wanted them to be so I added more spice for the second batch and was MUCH happier.

I will definitely be offering these cookies to loved ones and participating in the #NatrelDessertExchange and I hope you will be participating too.

FINAL PRODUCT:

natrel-final

*Source: The first lactose free butter made with sea salt and lactose free cream available on the Canadian market )

Happy Baking!

For more information:

Website: www.natrel.ca

Twitter/Instagram: @NatrelMilk

Hashtag #NatrelDessertExchange

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natrel/

To learn more about the Greatest Exchange, please click here.

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post however all opinions are my own

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Nov
24


The other week, I tried TWO new side dishes and both were “blog-worthy”.  So here I am on a Thursday night sharing these two recipes with you. Both these recipes were not only tasty but I could make them in advance, which comes in handy when you work full time and have guests coming over.

Israeli Couscous Stuffed Butternut Squash Bowls (original recipe from A Communal Table)

Ingredients

4 butternut squash (I bought one and cut it into quarters)
6 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 cups vegetable stock (I used water)

1 cup shallots, sliced
4 cups fresh baby spinach, stemmed
1 Tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup shelled, toasted pistachios

Instructions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with foil.
  2. Peel the butternut squash and cut the butternut squash just above where the squash begins to flare out. (as you can see from the photo – I didn’t peel the squash)
  3. Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp as you would with a pumpkin. (NOTE: this was the hardest part of the recipe)

squash-bowl

4. Using a pastry brush, brush 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil inside the squash and over the outside.

5. Roast the squash in the 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is just fork tender but not mushy! Remove the squash from the oven and cool.

TO MAKE THE COUSCOUS FILLING

7.  Place the dried cherries in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the couscous and stir for 5 minutes to toast the couscous.
Add the garam masala and cook for another minute.
Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Simmer for 10 -15 minutes or until all the stock is absorbed and the couscous is all dente – tender but still firm.

8. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes or until the shallots are tender and lightly browned. Add the spinach and cook for another 3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
9. Drain the cherries and add them to the spinach mixture.
10. Add the couscous and stir to combine.
11. Add the pepper and sherry vinegar and stir to combine.

12. Fill each butternut squash with the couscous mixture.
Place on the foil lined sheet pan and re heat in a 375 degree oven until the squash is heated through. Serve.

FINAL RESULT..isn’t it gorgeous? I got fancy and added some crumbled feta and pomegranate seeds too!

squash-final

Recipe #2:  Cauliflower With Pumpkin Seeds, Brown Butter and Lime  (original recipe from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large head of cauliflower
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves with tender stems for serving
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 450°.

1. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 Tbsp. oil.

2. Slice cauliflower and arrange cauliflower slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until underside is deeply browned, 20–25 minutes. Turn cauliflower over, season with salt and pepper, and continue to roast until other side is dark brown and crisp, 15–20 minutes longer.

3. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium.

4. Add pumpkin seeds, bring to a simmer, and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until pumpkin seeds are toasted and butter is browned and smells nutty, 6–8 minutes.  (it’s freakin’ delicious)

brown-butter

 

Remove from heat and add red pepper flakes; let cool 10 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.

5. Arrange cauliflower on a serving platter and drizzle with dressing. Serve topped with cilantro leaves.

FINAL RESULT

cauliflower-final
I would make both of these recipes again but I know myself and will be scouring Pinterest for more recipes to try. What on earth is wrong with me? ARGHH.

In fact we have guests coming over next weekend and I’ve already started looking at Pinterest for new recipes. Please take a peek at my Pinterest Food Board and tell me what you think!

Happy Cooking!!

 

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Nov
17


I’d like to take a bet that it would be hard to find someone who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese. It’s comfort food at it’s best.

Plus it’s easy to make. I think it was probably the first thing I learned to make on my own when I was a teenager coming home at lunch time!!

These days, Italpasta has introduced a macaroni and cheese that has 100 percent Canadian wheat and real Canadian cheese. Added bonus: No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. I’m all too happy to support this concept of using Canadian ingredients. Wouldn’t you agree?

italpasta-box

The other night I made macaroni and cheese and brought it to another level of yummy-ness.

Heres’ four secret ingredients: (which clearly aren’t a secret anymore{

  1. Add 5% cream instead of milk. What a difference. (or use both!!)
  2. Add panko and more grated cheese on top of the mac and cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes
  3. Add a touch of cream cheese.

Bingo, you will have a freakin’ delicious macaroni and cheese to serve.

italpasta-final

Trust me. Everyone will be digging into this dish.

Another tip I received on facebook when I posted the above photo included:

-try making the mac and cheese in a slow cooker. Apparently it comes out really really creamy. (which I’ve never done before)

The other tip I would like to share is that this dish freezes beautifully. This means, I always make a big batch and then freeze it for those nights when I come home and I’m too tired to cook (you know what I mean, right?)

Happy Cooking!

For more information: www.Italpasta.com

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post however all opinions are my own.

 

 

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Nov
13


I try hard to participate in Meatless Mondays and thought I would share what I made last week. This plate contains; arugula salad with shaved parmesan and tomatoes, wilted spinach, and cucumber noodles topped with sesame seeds. Not bad for Meatless Monday eh?

banana-healthy-meal

This meal should be called: Three Shades of Green!!

An hour later, I had a “not-so-healthy” moment as I had discovered a recipe on Pinterest (click on the link to see my Food Board. Hint)  that I always wanted to try: Banana Fritters.

Before I knew it, I was whipping up dry ingredients and mixing them into the wet ingredients. Then I was DEEP FRYING. I even brought out a thermometer to make sure the oil was hot enough!

banana-final

Here’s the recipe for this super easy but not-so-healthy-dessert:

Banana Fritters (recipe courtesy of OMG Chocolate Desserts)

Ingredients

Approximately 4 large bananas

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup plain greek yogurt

1 egg white

Vegetable oil for frying

Powdered sugar for dusting…(I used cinnamon)

Instructions

  1. Peel bananas and cut into 1.5 inch long pieces .
  2. In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add egg white and yogurt into dry ingredients and stir well with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth.
  4. Heat about 2 inch oil in a frying pan.( Be careful not to over heat the oil or the fritters will be too brown, it should be about 350F). This is an important step!!
  5. Using a fork dip each banana slice into to batter to coat it well and transfer it into oil and fry until it’s golden brown. Work in small batches because you have to work fast. (agreed – I had to work fast. Do not answer the phone or do anything else)
  6. Remove fried fritters to a paper towel lined plate to drain .
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve

Happy Meatless Monday Everyone!!

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