Tuesday 11 September 2012

Slow cooker Pulled Pork

So, I just moved into the new condo, and.... it's still under construction. I still don't have a tap in the kitchen, or half of my counter tops. But, I just can't handle eating out anymore. So I tried to figure out what I could use to cook to make some kind of hot meal. As I was unpacking, I found my crock pot, and got an idea. I really wanted to make some pulled pork. I got all the ingredients, and found a delicious sounding recipe. I still had to turn on my stove, and I have a lot of dishes to do in the bathtub. But it was worth it.

This was my lunch, pulled pork and sandwich bread that I put together at school.

1.75 kg pork shoulder
3/4 tsp each salt and pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 bay leaves
1 can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke

Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper, and brown in a pan with half the oil. Put in the slow cooker once it is browned on all sides. It doesn't need to be cooked through, just browned. It will keep cooking in the slow cooker.

Add the other half of the oil to the pan, and cook the onions, garlic, chili, coriander and bay leaves, and cook on medium-high heat until the onions are softened. Then add the tomato paste, and cook for 2 minutes, until brown. Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. Add the mixture to the slow cooker. Cook on low heat, for 8-10 hours.

Transfer pork to a cutting board, and cover with aluminum foil, and let stand for 10 minutes. With 2 forks, shred the pork.

Add the sauce to a pan, and skim the fat. Bring to a boil over high heat, boil until the mixture is reduced to about 3 cups, about 15 minutes. Serve with the pork, over buns, over salad, tacos, or however desired!

Thursday 6 September 2012

Non-homemade oatmeal, but good in a pinch!

So this is not a homemade oatmeal. Last week, I was in Toronto to move to my new condo. I did not have anything left in the fridge or cupboards to have for breakfast, so I had to eat out. I decided to go to Starbucks, and was really trying to figure out what I was going to have that would keep me full for a long time, and give me loads of energy. Lo and behold, I found oatmeal! I was worried that it was going to be too sweet, because a lot of places use some type of Quaker Oats mix. But I thought I would try it anyway, because I typically really like oatmeal. It turns out that you get plain oatmeal, and they give you mixins! I took just dried fruit and nuts, no sugar. It was fantastic (well, for something I bought at a store, it was also a little on the expensive side)! I highly recommend it, in case you ever need breakfast on the run!

Macaroni and cheese

I told Shawn that I would make him macaroni and cheese a long time ago so I finally followed through on my promise. Only problem was that we didn't have macaroni pasta. We also didn't have enough cheddar, so I used extra cheese we had lying around. I threw in some corn kennels because we have so much leftover from a garden share that he just took over.

The picture is terrible because I took it when I was packing in Toronto. I forgot to take a picture the first time around. Oops!
1 pound pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated old cheddar cheese
1 cup Oka cheese
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup proscuito
2 tomatoes sliced
Cook the pasta according to directions on the package.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat, and add the flour, stirring well to mix everything together. Slowly add the milk and bring to a small boil. Turn down the heat to simmer, and cook for around 5 minutes or until thick. Add the cheeses, and heat to melt.
Add I'm the pasta and the corn and proscuito and mix well.
Put the mixture into a baking dish, add slices of tomatoes on top. Cook in the oven at 375 to bake for 20 minutes.

Most delicious popsicles

I won't go as far as saying that I rely on Pinterest for new cooking ideas like some people, but I have definitely found some gems there. One example of that are these popsicles. I have been looking all summer for a good recipe for popsicles, one of my favorite summer time treats.

The recipe is so easy and so customizable. I made chocolate mocha, the best!

1/4 cup uncooked oats (not steel cut)
1 1/2 cup ground Chia seeds
1/4 cup milk (or any liquid)
1 cup yogurt (Greek is good)
2 Tbsp honey (or other sweetener  though I'm not convinced it's necessary)
2 small bananas
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
2 Tbsp espresso powder
Those are the ones I used. But you could add fruit, peanut butter, anything really.
I'm definitely making these again, just as soon as I get back my popsicle molds.

Monday 23 July 2012

Chocolate chip banana bread

We have so many bananas that get a little too ripe, it's ridiculous. I continuously find myself wanting to use them up in baking. Sometimes in smoothies, sometimes in banana bread. Or sometimes, I eat them overripe. The other day, I did so with iced coffee, and came to a realisation: Coffee flavor goes really well with bananas! Chocolate, peanut butter, and now coffee! Is there any flavor that I don't like with bananas?

In my never ending quest to use up bananas, I made chocolate chip banana bread the other day, and added a little something unusual: a few teaspoons of instant coffee. The result was good! Although, if I'm honest, I could have used some more coffee flavour. As a snack today, I spread peanut butter onto a piece of banana bread, and it just took it to a whole new level. 
On a separate note, the only peanut butter that I like is natural peanut butter. I find it completely unnecessary to add anything else. Just ruins the flavour. 

Ingredients (adapted slightly from preventionrd.com)
1 1/2 cup mashed banana
1/3 cup greek yogurt
5 tbsp canola oil
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup flaxseed
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant coffee powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/ 3cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Combine banana, yogurt, oil, eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, and beat until blended.
3. Weigh or spoon flour lightly into measuring cups. Combine with flaxseed, baking soda, salt, coffee powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to the banana mixture. Beat until just blended.
4. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into 9x5 inch loaf pan coated in cooking spray and tossed with flour. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes, until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.


So, a little break from tradition. I realised that a lot of what I use the blog for is to store recipes that I like, and keep them for future reference (particularly the recipe for granola, which I keep going back to!). The other day, I did a crazy workout with Yves, and it was really effective! The only problem is that it was so intricate, that I don't think I would be able to remember it if I tried to repeat it. Anyone who knows him knows that Yves is a beast. So if this workout helped him because as strong as he is, I'll try to do it too, so that I could also become strong like him. 
Since a lot of people who like healthy eating also like to keep fit and active, I thought I would post this workout for other people to be try it too! It is a total body workout, so you could split it up over a few days. I promise that you feel this the day after, you really do feel this workout. 
Make sure you bring some music along, this workout is long and tough. Even better, do it with a friend to keep you honest, and entertained!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Pumpkin pancakes

I've had this recipe stashed for a while, but I've been delaying actually publishing it. We made them as a dessert a few weeks ago. We had some pumpkin purée left in the freezer from a while ago (we made some in November or December last year? at some point when I came home from school). I searched for a while for an appealing recipe and found one that I really like it. I adapted one from Prevention RD. I dressed them up with some Cool Whip and fruit. It was incredibly delicious. 

1 cup pumpkin purée
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
2 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a small bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, and buttermilk. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Stir in walnuts.
Cook in a heated pan, until small bubbles start to form on the top of the pancakes, and flip the pancake. Cook on the other side, until lightly browned. You can leave them in an oven on low heat to keep them warm while waiting to serve.
They freeze well for breakfasts in the morning. The nuts add a good crunch to the pancakes.

Home garden in progress

We already have a few plants on the windowsill, lavender, basil, spearmint, a sad little sage plant, and a sad little tomato plant that doesn't grow tomatoes. By far the most successful things that grow are herbs (save for the sage). 
Recently we decided to buy some new plants. We bought three kits like this one and planted them the other night. We ended up planting chives, oregano, marjoram, chia, and a few other things. this is the first step. 

I'm so excited for these to be ready! I love seeing the little green sprigs pop up full of promise of delicious herbs to come. 

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Tuesday tradition: pizza

Does doing something for 4 weeks in a row make it a tradition? Maybe! We kind of decided that pizza on Tuesday evenings was going to be a new tradition, after really only doing it once, and I have to say, it is our best idea. Every Tuesday, we make pizza from scratch. Sometimes the dough is made ahead of time, and sometimes I make it the day of, but either way, I love this tradition. We try to vary and do something new each week, so far, it's working!

Dough (adapted from Fine Cooking): 
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
4 1/4 cup flour (I've done all all-purpose, but we really prefer 1/2 allpurpose and 1/2 whole wheat, more flavor!)

Mix together the first 5 ingredients.  Slowly mix in the flour, until a dough forms. If you are making it ahead of time, you can just leave it in the bowl for a few hours, and it will expand and mature on its own. However, if you are making it right away, add enough flour to make a good dough, and kneed it for a few minutes. This dough is usually enough for at least two pizzas. It also keeps well in the fridge, in a bowl, and covered with plastic wrap, for up to a week. You can apparently also freeze it, but I haven't tried that yet. 

Pizza Sauce (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1 can tomato paste
6 ounces of lukewarm water
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp honey
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch of ground pepper, salt. 
1/2 tbps fresh sage

Mix all the ingredients together until it forms a sauce, and let it sit for 30 minutes so that the flavors blend together. You can adapt the herbs and spices as you wish. We only had dried basil, so I added some of our fresh sage, but any herb would work here. 

Top the pizza! We always have pepperoni (according to Shawn, it's not real pizza without pepperoni), red peppers, mushrooms. Then we vary the other ingredients depending on what is in the fridge. The cheese also changes from week to week, always mozzarella, but a little havarti has shown up, and others like monterey jack may show up in the future! 

Chocolate cake in a cup

A while ago, I was at my sister's apartment, and happened to see a recipe for chocolate cake in a cup posted on her fridge. Apparently someone gave her the recipe and ingredients for her birthday, knowing she liked cake, and doesn't cook much. Well, apparently she never tried it, but I told myself that I would! Last night, I finally decided to try it, and it was totally worth it. 

Does the picture speak for itself? It was delicious (even though the microwave could use a little cleaning!!). It wasn't too sweet either. BUT, there was a lot of it, so it could be shared quite easily!

4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
3 tbsp oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp chocolate chips

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, oil, egg and vanilla in a mug until well combined. mix in the chocolate chips.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Enjoy!! Cake can't get any easier than that!

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Rhubarb muffins with crumble topping

On the weekend we went to the Market, and we got some rhubarb. I got so excited for this, because I love baking stuff with rhubarb. I had a lull in my day on Monday, so I decided to make the rhubarb muffins I had been wanting to make. They were so good! I brought one for El when I met her for lunch today, in exchange for her strawberry rhubarb jam. I found my recipe on Foodland Ontario's website, and adapted it slightly. I think they turned out really well.
Now it's pouring rain outside, and I would love to be able to cook something else.... Pizza night??? Pizza and a movie on this rainy night sounds perfect.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup granola
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup chopped rhubarb

1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp margarine

1. In a medium bowl, combine flours, granola, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, canola oil, and vanilla.
3. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and combine just until combined. Stir in the rhubarb. Put into muffin tins.
4. In a small bowl, combine the oatmeal, brown sugar, and margarine until well combined, and sprinkle on top of the muffins.
5. Cook in an oven preheated to 375F for 15-18 minutes.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Kale and egg breakfast sandwich

I made this particular dish as a breakfast, but it could easily be made as a dinner. I got this recipe from Eleanore again, from the recipe book that raved about for a few weeks, Power Foods. This was a little bit of a labour intensive breakfast, but I woke up early to make it, and it ended up being incredibly filling. Quite the change form my usual breakfasts, which usually involve oatmeal with fruit, or toast with jam. 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups kale, chopped and trimmed
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice
coarse salt, pepper
4 slices whole wheat bread (this was on my red river cereal bread)
3 tbsp ricotta cheese
2 large eggs

1. Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook garlic until barely golden, stirring frequently  for approximately 1 minute. Add the kale and water, and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. 
2. Spread two slices with half of the cheese. Top with kale mixture, dividing evenly. 
3. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet, and cook the eggs. Place on top of the kale, and top with the last 2 slices of bread. 

Ricotta kale pasta

Exams are finally done, and I have time to do so many things that I didn't have time to do before, like clean, and cook. And I'll have to pack. I have a very busy schedule for the next two days which involves wrapping things up here in Toronto, before returning to Ottawa. I figured I would take a few minutes to add a few of the delicious meals I've made in the past little while. This one I got from Eleanore's blog. She made a ricotta spinach pasta that raved about, so I just slightly adapted it since I only had kale, not spinach. I also had my favorite way to squash on the side: acorn squash with a little brown sugar.

Spinach Kale Pasta
4 cups of whole wheat rotini2/3 cup ricotta cheese1 teaspoon grated lemon rind3/4 teaspoon salt, divided1/2 teaspoon black pepper2 tablespoons olive oil, divided1 1/2 cups diced red pepper1/3 cup chopped walnuts 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or pressed 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice3 cups fresh kale

1. Cook pasta according to package, drain in colander; reserve 1/2 cup pasta water
2. combine ricotta, 1 tsp lemon rind, 1/4 tsp salt, and black pepper
3. heat 1 tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add bell pepper. saute 2 minutes. Add walnuts, 1/2 tsp salt, and garlic, saute 2 minutes. Stir in remaining oil and juice. Add pasta, pasta water and kale; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Top with ricotta mixture

Acorn squash
1 acorn squash cut into quarters, and seeded
1 tbsp brown sugar per acorn

When the squash is prepared, put into a microwavable baking dish. Put some water in the bottom of the dish, enough to cover the bottom with 5mm of water. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap, leaving a small space for the steam to vent (or if you have a lid for the dish, just use that!). Microwave for 10 minutes at a time on high. Check every 10 minutes to test for softness. I think mine took 20 minutes. put the brown sugar on the acorn while it is still warm, and it will melt onto it, and add just enough sweetness.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Granola, many ways

Oh wow, exams are draining me of all my energy! And time. I have such a huge backup of recipes to post. I've decided that before I start studying for the next set of exams, I'll post at least one! This one is so easy to make, and so incredibly versatile. I made some last night while I was studying. I'm talking about granola. Every time I make some, I wonder why I would ever buy granola at the store, and then I realize that it's because I can be excruciatingly lazy at times, or busy. Busy maybe sounds better. I've made this so many different ways, I can't even remember all the combinations. I'll post the basic recipe, then mention where you can make changes.

3 cups oatmeal
1 cup nuts (walnuts, slivered almonds, chopped pecan)
1/2 cup seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dried fruit

1. Mix the oatmeal, nuts, seeds, coconut, brown sugar together in a bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the honey and oil.
3. Mix the liquid with the oatmeal mixture in a 13x9 pan. and cook at 250F for 1h15mn, stirring every 15 minutes.
4. Mix in the dried fruit when the granola is removed from the oven.

Variations: Yesterday, I added 2 scoops of unsweetened cocoa, and dried blueberries, so good! you can also add flax, or bran, or hemp, any other health food. Such a versatile recipe!

Saturday 31 March 2012

Whole Wheat Walnut Waffles

Woah, that is a lot of Ws in a row! The other day, El told me about some post-run waffles she had, then that made me really want some. So I made some for my breakfast. I actually went for a very early morning run, then brought a waffle in my breakfast to school. So I ended up having my own post-run waffle! They were really good. I had made them before with Shawn, and they were great. We got the recipe from www.preventionrd.com. They are also healthy given the whole wheat waffles, and walnuts. It adds a little extra crunch. I also had extra lentil puree that I added in. So far, I've had them a few different ways, topped with applesauce, yogurt (trust me, this works), and with almond butter and jam.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup walnuts
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 cup lentil puree

  • Mix together all of the dry ingredients. 
  • Whisk together the wet ingredients.
  • Add buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together until all of the dry ingredients are just moistened. 
  • Make waffles according to directions. 
  • You could also make pancakes with this. 

Friday 23 March 2012

Homemade pizza

I've been studying, and procrastinating studying, so much lately that I haven't posted much. I have been waiting for 2 weeks to post this! Well, while I avoid preparing my essay for Community, here it is!
When Shawn was here a few weekends ago, we had decided to make pizza for dinner. A week before, we were both flipping through the LCBO magazine, and came across pizza toppings, and one of them in particular caught our eye, and we decided to reproduce it! It had a base of tomato sauce, then, mozzarella cheese, Genoa salami (I bought hot, all they had left at the store! this is shocking for anyone who knows about my low tolerance for hot food), wild mushrooms, and parmesan cheese slices. Me being me, I also wanted to make the pizza dough from scratch, and it was delicious! I promise that making yeast dough is not as hard as it may seem. Homemade pizza also seems so much more satisfying to me than ordering pizza, it just tastes better.

Pizza dough (from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp ground flax
2 1/4 tsp quick rising yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp liquid honey
1 tbsp corn meal

In a medium bowl, combine flour, flax, yeast, and salt. Mix well
In a measuring cup, combine water, olive oil, and honey. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and mix (I used my stand mixer with dough hook, but you can do it by hand). To do it by hand, mix with a wooden spoon to form a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and kneed for 2 minutes. Spray another bowl, and place dough inside, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 20 minutes. To prepare the pizza pan, spray with oil, then dust with cornmeal. 
When dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 12 inch circle. Transfer to the pizza pan. Prick the crust in several places with a fork, and bake in 425F oven for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with your toppings (I highly recommend the combination we had), then bake for another 8 to 10 minutes. 

Monday 12 March 2012

Lemon blueberry chocolate chip muffins

I love muffins, and the theme of most things I made lately is "I have to use this up - what can I make with it?".
I had lemons to use up, and I was running out of lunch snacks, so muffins were made! I also happened to be browsing on food websites on the internet, and came across the Lentils website, and how to mix lentils into baked goods and make them more healthy. They were surprisingly good! I based it more or less on this recipe, and I really liked how it turned out!

  • 1/4 cup dry red lentils
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned (large flake) oats
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup  frozen blueberries (not thawed)
    1 cup mini chocolate chips

  • In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with water by an inch or two, bring to a boil and simmer until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a 12 cup muffin pan with large paper liners. In a medium bowl, soak the oats in the milk and yogurt for 30-60 minutes, until the milk is absorbed into the oats. Stir in the brown sugar, oil, eggs, lemon zest and cooled lentils.
  • In another medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the oat mixture until nearly combined. Fold in the blueberries and chocolate chips, being careful not to over-mix. Spoon into the muffin papers and bake until golden on top, springy to the touch and a tester comes out clean, about 20–25 minutes. Tip the muffins in the pan to allow steam to escape. Makes 12 muffins.
  • Delicious green smoothie

    So, I have a semi big back up of things to post, so I guess I have to start somewhere. I was kinda bored in class, and went onto the Whole Foods website. They have this thing going on now of 28 day challenge, and it is basically 4 weeks worth of meals, everything is planned for you. I would totally try this at some point, but I also like to be able to make my own things out of what I have every once in a while. However, they do have some delicious looking things on there that I will try.

    One of the things they had on there for a breakfast was a Green Smoothie. I have wanted to try a smoothie with spinach in it, and I just so happened to have baby spinach in my fridge that needed to be used up. SO, I put Almond dessert tofu, 1 cup baby spinach, 1 banana, 1/2 cup greek yogurt, and filled the rest with milk.
    It ended up being delicious. I had also just finished an interval run, so it was just what I needed!

    Wednesday 29 February 2012

    Quinoa salad

    When I was in Ottawa over reading week (and I really did do work!), I met up with E, and we made some awesome healthy cookies, and this quinoa salad. 
    It was from something I had posted on Pinterest a while ago, and forgot about. Since the cookies had quinoa in them, we decided to just make a bit more quinoa and try making this recipe at the same time. E really wanted to try it, and said she had all the ingredients, which really meant that she had quinoa, dill and goat cheese, but we worked around it and found colorful vegetables to add to it and make it pretty!
    I was adapted from the Rainbow Quinoa from KathEats. 

    1 cup quinoa
    2 cups water
    1 tomato
    1/2 avocado
    1/2 log of goat cheese
    3/4 cup carrots

    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1 heaping tsp mustard (ok, I honestly read it wrong when I made it, and put 1 tbsp of mustard, and it was WAY too mustardy, but I'm sure it would be fine with 1tsp!)
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tsp soy sauce
    1 1/2 tsp fresh dill

    Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until ready. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and goat cheese. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl for the dressing, and pour it over the quinoa and vegetables. Mix, and enjoy. 
    I've actually also put it over spring salad mix, and it turns out to be pretty good that way also. 

    Friday 17 February 2012

    baking with lemons

    I got Meyer lemons from the grocery store the other day, so I got really excited about cooking with lemons and made lemon loaf and lemon blueberry muffins. Both tasted excellent but the loaf did not look pretty. So, definitely won't be posting the pictures of the loaf, but I'll post the recipe! The muffins are pretty enough to post the picture and recipe!

    Lemon blueberry muffins - adapted slightly from Canadian Living Cookbook and Quinoa 365
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3/4 cups whole wheat flour
    1/4 cup bran
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup quick cooking oats
    1 tbsp lemon rind
    2 eggs
    1/3 cup oil
    1tsp vanilla
    1 1/4 cup buttermilk
    3/4 cups blueberries

    Mix the flours, bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, oats and lemon rind together. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, oil, vanilla and buttermilk together. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add the blueberries. Spoon into a muffin pan (my silicone pan doesn't need oil, and lasts forever!).
    Cook at 375F for 25 minutes until the tops are firm and golden.

    These were so good!

    Lemon loaf - adapted from Wanda's Pie in the Sky cookbook
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 cup white sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 eggs
    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    2/3 cup milk
    1/3 cup lemon juice
    1 tbsp lemon zest

    Beat the butter and sugar until well combined. Stir in the eggs and vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whish together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of milk. Stir together until well combined. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 325F for 40-50 minutes, or until a tester is dry when inserted into the loaf.
    You can also add 1 cup of raspberries or blueberries but I didn't choose to do that.

    Tuesday 14 February 2012

    Monkey bread

    So for Steph's birthday, I figured I would make her a homemade version of Monkey bread, something that she loves but always buys. I found a recipe on Food Network Canada, so I figured I would try it. It was delicious! I only had a few bites (and that is really all I needed, so much sugar and bread). But she managed to plow her way through half in 12 hours. I don't know how she does it...

    • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla
    • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
    • 4 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons salt

    For rolling

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted

    • For the bread
    • Preheat oven to 200°F. Lightly oil a large bundt pan or other baking pan.
    • In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, add the melted butter, milk, brown sugar, vanilla and yeast. Mix for a few minutes and then add the flour and salt. Mix until the dough comes together in a shiny mass, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
    • Put the dough into a large oiled bowl, cover with a towel, turn off the oven and place the dough in the preheated warm oven to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
    • When the dough has risen, take it out of the oven. Pour the melted butter into a small bowl. Put the sugar and cinnamon into a second bowl and whisk well to combine.
    • Punch down the dough to knock the air out of it and then form and roll small balls in your hand or on the counter. Dip them first in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar and layer them into the bundt pan or other baking pan.
    • Put the pan into the oven to rise for a second time, for about 45 minutes, until the dough balls reach the top of the pan and double once again. Remove from the oven and increase the heat to 350°. Once hot, place the pan back into the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

    Sunday 5 February 2012

    Snacks for the superbowl I am not watching :(

    I am so sad to be missing the Super Bowl, instead I get to sit on a train, download class notes, and answer emails. That sounds like more fun though, right? Nope, not to me either. At least I am following the game on TSN. In honour of the Super Bowl though, I figured I would post about the caramel popcorn that I made a while ago, as studying snack food. Actually so bad for your teeth, but I'm not a dentist yet!

    This popcorn is so good, it's really hard to keep it for more than 2 days, and it's so easy to make!

    1/4 cup unpopped popcorn
    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup icing sugar

    Pop the popcorn over the stove top. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pot with a tight fitting lid. Add the popcorn, and heat it, moving the pot around often until the first kernel pops. Make sure the lid is on, or else the popcorn will fly out of the pot! Keep moving the pot until the kernels popping slows down (2 seconds between each). Take the pot off the heat. 

    Add in the butter and icing sugar and stir it with a wooden spoon. the butter will start to melt. Make sure the kernels get coated with the butter and sugar. The mixture will start to caramelise and darken. Don't take the popcorn off the heat too quickly, or you won't get good flavour. Wait until it gets nice and golden brown, and spread the popcorn onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool. It was super tempting to eat, but don't! I did, and totally burnt my tongue. wait til it's cooled down, and you can eat it. 

    Another thing that I have also done is add in nuts, like walnuts, and it adds a little extra to the popcorn when you are eating it. And maybe a small healthy bit into an otherwise pretty unhealthy snack! But delicous snack, I really have to emphasize the delicious factor. 

    Leek, potato and carrot soup

    Every time I go to the grocery store, I end up buying more vegetables than I could ever eat on my own. Before I left for Ottawa, I decided to use some of them up to make some soup to freeze for days when I don't want to make any dinner, or don't have time, which frankly happens quite often. 
    This time, I had carrots, potatoes, and leeks, so what better to make than  soup!

    1 tbsp vegetable oil
    3 leeks, white part sliced
    2 potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
    8 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
    4 cups chicken broth
    more water

    Heat the oil over medium-high heat, and cook the leeks until slightly browned and softened. Add the carrots and potatoes to the pot.

    Bring the mixture to a boil, and let it simmer until the vegetables are softened, maybe 30 minutes? I was doing school work in the meantime, so it must have been about that much. 

    Once all the vegetables are soft, blend it with a handmixer. 
    Done! I just put it into containers and into the freezer, and dinner is ready for this week at some point! I may add in some cheese (maybe feta?) into one of my bowls of soup just to see how it tastes. Sometimes having the same thing too often gets boring, so this could make it more interesting.