Friday, 29 June 2012

Mexican Panini Wraps

While I believe I have already mentioned that I've had a love hate relationship with breakfast, the same holds true for lunch. I never used to dislike lunch. All that changed one day when I was sitting eating my lunch in middle school and my sandwich tasted off. So, I opened it up and my 'fresh' deli sliced black forest ham was glowing iridescent. It wasn't even the vacuum sealed junk that really isn't meat and has an expiry date of 4 years from now and would survive the apocalypse. No, I'm talking the stuff that you watched the deli person slice in front of you. Not a word of a lie. This quickly put me off of sandwiches and unfortunately, if you are taking a bagged lunch there aren't many other options than sandwiches. For a long time then I ate heavily processed frozen dinners and leftovers when we had some.

In our house, we always ate wraps cold. We didn't heat up the fillings and we definitely did not put them in a panini press. It was basically just another means for eating your ham and cheese sandwich. Thanks but no thanks. When I lived in the dorms at university, they had a great little sandwich place. And by great I mean the food was worth the 15 minute long line up (because it was the best option available *shudder) that you had to wait. Oh yeah, did I mention there was only one other person in this line up. To put it nicely, they were slow moving unambitious workers who couldn't talk and work at the same time (a bit harsh? Sorry it's the truth). But anyway, they made great sandwiches. And the wraps, this was where I really got introduced to the concept of panini presses. So while I don't miss university at all (that's a story for another time), I did find myself missing grilled wraps. Well lo-and-behold a few months ago a cousin decided he was not wanting his George Foreman Grill any longer and donated it to us. While I know this is not the same thing as a panini press, it still works just fine. And ever since I have been counting down the days until the weekend so I can have my grilled wrap, because I don't think they'd take too kindly to me showing up every day to work lugging this big grill and all the fixings for my lunch. I've tried all sorts of combinations and I've basically settled on a great low calorie one. It really is all dependant on what's in the fridge at any given time but I'll give you the base line and you are free to go from there. The secret though...a pinch or two of cumin (my latest obsession). It adds some amazing flavour, and it's flavour you can't get from hot sauce because I find there is a very fine line between getting good flavour from the hot sauce and having too much on and getting an awful taste (not just hot, I find it almost bitter at times. I don't know.) In the directions of this recipe I've put in my two-bits about how to avoid this. And, while I know these aren't really Mexican, I'm really at a loss for what to call these, so that's what they're stuck with. Because the amazing creation my brother came up with one day holds the title of Southwestern Wrap. Maybe I'll share it one day with you. If I ever get up the nerve to consume that many calories in one sitting (outside of the dessert menu). It's a little unsettling to say the least. But for now, I'm going to stick with this healthier option.

If you do want to change things up a bit, this is also good with a light coating of refried beans, a sprinkle of cheese and some rice. Or any combination of the above and below.


Makes 1 Wrap

1 Tortilla Wrap
1/3 Red Bell Pepper
1/4 C. Onion, sliced
1/2 Chicken Breast
1 Mushroom
Pinch (or two) of Cumin
Dash of Hot Sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot Sauce)


~Cook your chicken breast anyway you like (or if you're like me, this cleans out the leftover chicken from the night before. Plus, it's better if you're putting all cold ingredients in the wrap, they'll heat more evenly when the wrap is grilled then.).
~Clean your pepper and mushroom.
~Slice the pepper, onion, mushroom and chicken breast into slices.
~Get your panini press or grill heating.
~On a dinner plate, place your wrap. Down the centre, lay out your mushrooms, onion, pepper and chicken.
~Sprinkle the cumin over the fillings.
~Top with as much hot sauce as you'd like (make sure it's evenly spread out and not just in big globs).
~Roll up your wrap, making sure all ends are tucked in and sealed so no juices can leak out.
~Place your folded up wrap on the press / grill. And grill until the wrap is toasted on the outside (but not black).
~Remove wrap from the press and cut in half. Let it sit for a minute to cool slightly. (Be careful the fillings do get extremely hot).
~Now what I do to get an even taste of hot sauce is I pour a little bit of sauce on my plate and with the back of a spoon I scoop some up. I then rub the back of the spoon lightly across the edges of the wrap. Coating it just nicely in hot sauce. Then you let it sit for a minute and 'dry.' All the moisture from the sauce soaks into the wrap and you are left with the flavour of the sauce, without the kick. You can see in the picture below the red line down the side of the wrap. That's the Hot Sauce.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lemon-Lime Brownie

I've done something bad. I mean really, really bad. I don't know if I should even admit this. Okay, I'll tell you...I...made...a brownie that had no chocolate in it. Gasp! I know, I feel so guilty. I guess I've always known that if there was one thing that could pull me away from chocolate, it would be lemon.

This recipe made its way around the food blog world a while ago and I am glad I finally got around to making it. I had high hopes at the beginning for this brownie (yellowie??) but when I pulled it out of the oven I was a little disappointed. It took forever for everything to cool and the glaze to set, and so finally I just gave up and dug in. I had to find out what it tasted like. Well, it has the taste of a typical lemon square (you guys all know the one I'm referring to right? With the shortbready crust and the lemon-eggy mixture on top), but without all the hassle. This really only did take mere minutes of active kitchen time, which disappointed me. I had just had two days that I had not made anything and I was going through withdrawal and then this only took ten minutes. There was no way that only 10 minutes of baking was going to cure my kitchen withdrawal symptoms. So my solution, make two things in one night. Anyway, when I say I was disappointed with this recipe, I in no way mean I was disappointed with the taste or look of this square. It even tasted better the following day right out of the fridge.

The original recipe that I used called for lemon juice and lemon zest. Well, we always have a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge so that was simple enough, but we don't buy lemons all that often. We do buy limes and so I usually use the zest from the limes and the juice from the bottle. It works, and I get pretty green flecks in stuff. Anyway, so I used 7 limes in this recipe because they were pretty tiny. You'd probably only need 3-4 lemons. But, I was left with 7 zested and unjuiced limes. What to do, what to do? Oh, I know, this weekend is the long weekend. I'll make margarita mix. So, stay tuned for this adventure.

Back to the brownies though. A couple things I would recommend is that you double this recipe (and still put it in an 8x8 pan), because the single batch of batter made the thinnest of layers and I was kinda hoping for something a bit more dense. The other thing was that the glaze recipe I used called for a lot of liquid and not as much icing sugar as I would typically use for a glaze. Because I felt like this glaze was not going to harden up like I wanted it to, I kept adding in extra icing sugar. So much so that I don't actually know how much extra I added in. The original called for 1 C. sugar, 4 tbsp. juice. This wasn't a good ratio for me, so I'm going to say I used 1 1/2 C. sugar, 4 tbsp. juice, but if you want a harder glaze, make sure the mixture isn't watery when you pour it on the brownie and adjust your sugar accordingly.

In other completely unrelated news, I just bought my first silicone muffin pan, and I must say it you don't have one of these, you need to march yourself down to the nearest department store and buy yourself one. Or two. They are amazing. I was sold after removing one muffin from the tin (or silicone). You don't require paper liners which means this is a more economical and environmental option. Plus, the ease alone is worth it. You don't have to try to pry the muffins out with a knife, they simply pop out. It's pure magic. When I say I was quickly sold, I mean I popped one muffin out of this new pan and then went to try (key word try) and remove a muffin from the old metal tins and I quickly realized how fast you can fall in love with a kitchen gadget. (You'd think I was getting paid to sing these praises, but I'm not.) So, back to the lemon brownies.

This recipe has made its way around the blog world extensively. The version I used was from Becky Charms, but the original recipe can be traced back I believe to Rita's Recipes.

On another side note, I may have gotten a little carried away with taking pictures for this post. But it was fun and everything was green so they were just begging for the shots.

Makes thin layer in an 8x8 pan (I'd recommend doubling both the batter and glaze)

3/4 C. All Purpose Flour (I used 1/2 C. Whole Wheat, 1/4 C. All Purpose)
3/4 C. White Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1/2 C. Butter, softened
2 Eggs
2 Tbsp. Lemon Zest (I used Limes)
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Lemon Glaze:
1 1/2 Rounded C. Icing Sugar
4 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Lemon Zest (or Lime)


~Preheat oven to 350 F.
~Grease an 8x8 baking dish.
~Zest & juice your lemons.
~In your mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter until crumbly.
~Add in zest, juice and eggs. Beat until smooth and creamy.
~Pour into baking dish and until it just begins to turn golden around the edges and a tooghpick comes out clean (23-25 minutes). If you're doubling the recipe (like you should be), adjust the bake time accordingly.
~Let brownies cool on a rack.
~While they are cooling, mix together icing sugar, juice and zest in small bowl. Whisk together and make sure there are no lumps of sugar remaining. (Because I don't have a fine grater for the zest, I had to push the mixture through a sieve to remove all the hard, long chunks of zest.)
~Spread half the glaze over the brownies. Let set.
~Spread the other half of the glaze on top of the first layer. Let set.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Whole Wheat Bread

Now, I believe I said the last time that I'd found The Bread recipe, but if I recall correctly, I said that the time before as well. I guess it shouldn't be surprising then to anybody that I may just have to say it again. You see, while I said the Farm Country loaves were excellent (which they were), they weren't that excellent for you. Besides getting half their flour from white all purpose flour, they also used quite a bit of sugar (albeit brown sugar) and quite a bit of butter. Plus they called for eggs and milk, which while not bad for you, made it a very extensive list of ingredients and so quite a bit more costly to make.

This recipe though is simple. The directions on the original recipe instructed you to do some different things as far as making bread is concerned, and I wasn't entirely convinced. Instead of following their directions, I just stuck with the steps for how I normally make bread. Plus, I only ever use instant yeast (yeah, yeah, I hear you traditionalists screaming) and so all you really have to do is throw everything in a bowl, knead, let rise and bake. Simple enough right?

The original recipe called for a sliding scale of ingredients. I didn't know which end of the scale to use and so I actually made two different batches of this bread. One with the smaller quantities and the other with the larger. The goal was to do a taste test. It was funny, the bread didn't actually taste any different, but what was different was the appearance of it. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but the two loaves look very different. I didn't have a chance to get a better picture the next day when the light was better, because well, one of the loaves had magically vanished. The one that used the smaller quantities sort of cracked when rising and didn't look as pretty as a whole loaf, but as a slice looked great, but did not look like sandwich bread. Instead it just looked like bread and butter bread. While on the other hand, the other loaf browned perfectly and looked like excellent sandwich bread. I think I'll use the smaller quantities for next time because hey, if you can use less sugar and still have as good of a taste why not? I will put the larger quantities in brackets if you feel like you need to do the taste test yourself.

When I say that this may be the bread recipe I go back to again and again, I mean it is great for how I eat bread. I like it just plain with butter, and I don't eat sandwiches. (It was also great for French Toast.) But, I can see if you want your fresh loaves to be for your ham and cheese sandwich, this recipe may not be for you. Give it a try though.

I adapted the directions for the original recipe I got off of Find It, Love It, Share It who incidentally has the same green mixer that I had for too short of a period *sigh. On the original recipe, they call this Great Harvest Bread because apparently it tastes just like the real Great Harvest Bread. I have not tried this original and so I am not the one to tell you whether or not it actually tastes the same.

The one on the left has the quantities that are in brackets. It browned nicely and had a smoother surface. The one on the right used the smaller quantities, it didn't brown and the top is sort of cracked. It looks rustic. I actually like the look of the one on the right better for this type of bread.

Makes 1 loaf
3 1/8 C. Whole Wheat Flour (+ additional if required)
1 Tsp. Salt
1/4 C. Rolled Oats (or other add-ins such as flax seed, sunflower seeds, etc.) (or 1/3 C.)
1 Tbsp. Yeast (I used Instant and so that is what my directions will work with too)
1 1/3 C. Luke Warm Water
2 Tbsp. Honey (or 3 Tbsp.)

Olive Oil


~Add flour, salt, rolled oats, yeast, water and honey into mixer bowl and mix to combine.
~Knead for 5 minutes (or longer if doing by hand).
~Spray dough and bowl lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
~Place bowl and dough in a warm spot and let rise until double in size (about an hour).
~Punch down dough. Roll out with a rolling pin and then roll into a log.
~Put log into a greased bread pan. Cover again with greased plastic wrap.
~Let dough rise again in a warm spot until doubled in size (about an hour).
~Bake in oven at 350 F until bread reaches an internal temperature of 190 F (about 23 minutes in my hot convection oven. Probably will take longer in most other ovens. Like 25-30 minutes.)
~Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
~When cool enough to touch, remove bread from pans and let cool completely on rack before cutting into.


Monday, 25 June 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Muffins

Okay, people said these were good. My dog loved me when I was making them because she got to lick the peanut buttery spoons clean. (She's such a good little helper.) I don't actually know what they taste like as I'd much rather eat my Nutella Muffins than these. Plus, I'm not so fond of these muffins for the sole reason that they gave me a horrible time when trying to photograph them. Yup, I don't know what it is about muffins (and breakfast foods and breads) that make them so hard to get a good picture of. Maybe it's that they are all brown and brown isn't the nicest colour. Or even that they are brown and I'm trying to take their picture next to a brown countertop, brown wood board, brown kitchen cupboards, brown walls. I think I've found why I can't get a decent picture. Then again, didn't I say that I don't really care if I have top notch photography (or even mediocre), so I shouldn't be fretting over this. This blog in the end is just for me to document what went right and wrong in the kitchen. Hey, if anyone else wants to read this then that's a bonus.

Yes, this is the same muffin recipe as the one from which I made my Banana Bran Nutella Muffins. In the process of trying to make these muffins dairy free, I think I also created something wonderful. You see, the first time I made these with peanut butter, I threw a couple chocolate chips on top as an after thought because hey, everyone that likes peanut butter seems to love peanut butter cups. Well the verdict quickly came in, they were good but didn't have enough chocolate. So here you have my updated Peanut Butter Cup Muffin Recipe. And yes, they still are pretty healthy (minus the odd chocolate chip or two now in them.)

One thing I did notice is that while you think peanut butter and nutella have a similar consistency, they actually bake up quite differently. With the nutella, I was able to swirl the extra spread on top of each muffin and it just stayed there nicely like I had placed it. The peanut butter on the other hand really melted and oozed over the top of the entire muffin (and looked really horrible and unappetizing). My recommendation: continue to place the nutella on top of the batter, but if you do peanut butter, place the blob of peanut butter on top of the batter and then with a toothpick try to flip the blob upside down so that the entire blob is coated in a bit of muffin batter. Does that make sense? If it doesn't, just push the blob into the depths of the muffin batter. When the peanut butter is encased by the batter it doesn't ooze away and so you bite into a peanut butter surprise.

The original recipe is still from Baking Bites.


Makes 14 Very Large Muffins (or 18 Regular Sized)
1 1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1 C. Oat Bran (or Quick-Cooking Oatmeal)
2 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 1/4 Tsp. Vanilla
1 C. Mashed Bananas (about 2 1/2 Bananas)
1/3 C. (heaping) Peanut Butter (+ additional for top ~ 1/3 C. extra)
1 C. Buttermilk
1 1/2 C. Chocolate Chips


~Preheat oven to 375 F.
~Line muffin tins with liners or grease.
~In a large bowl, combine flour, bran, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir to combine.
~In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, eggs, banana, nutella and buttermilk until smooth.
~Poor wet mixture into dry, add chocolate chips and stir until just combined.
~Fill each muffin tin.
~Drop 1-2 tsp of the additional peanut butter onto top of each muffin, then either push the peanut butter into the middle of the batter or with a toothpick, flip the peanut butter blob around to get the top surface covered by muffin batter.
~Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Approximately 13-15 minutes for regular sized muffins or 15-17 for large muffins.
~Cool muffins in tin slightly then remove to cool completely on a cooling rack.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Fudge Nut Protein Bars

I'm not typically a big fan of protein bars. A coworker of mine said it best, they have a funny taste. Now, there is a couple I'm okay with, and one I actually really like but they're expensive. Some protein bars can be a couple of bucks each. Now when you eat them as a meal replacement that's not too bad of a cost. Or if you cut a bar in half or thirds like I do, again not too costly. No, it's when you eat protein bars like my brother does that you begin to have a problem. You see, he thinks nothing of having a 300 calorie protein bar only minutes after eating his dinner. So his request today was and I quote "if you're going to make something tonight, at least make some more of those protein bars." Yup, I guess I'll chalk that up as a win for me.

Basically, this recipe is a base for something amazing. I've added a lot of different things into the main base of peanut butter / honey / oats / whey / cocoa. Some examples are shelled hemp seed, ground almond, whole peanuts, shredded coconut, etc. The possibilities are really endless and I know that I won't be making these the same way any time I make them because there are just so many different things you can add in to them. It's a good thing to make to use up the tail end of bags of stuff that are cluttering your pantry. Next up for me will hopefully include some flax seed and who knows what else.

Adapted from Spark Recipes.


Makes 12 Bars
1 C. Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup or Honey
1 1/2 C. Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
1 C. Rolled Oats
1 Tbsp. Cocoa
+ Additional Add-Ins
Water (amount is dependent on the amount of add-ins - with no add-ins use about 4 tbsp)

Add-Ins (I used this time)
1/3 C. Wheat Bran
1/3 C. Ground Almonds
1/2 C. Water 


~Place peanut butter and syrup into a microwavable dish and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stir to combine.
~Add in the rest of your ingredients and mix until it forms a crumble. 
~Add water, a tablespoon at a time until you achieve a sticky, moist texture (but not wet).
~Press into greased 8x8 dish.
~Place dish into fridge and let set (at least half an hour).
~Once cooled, cut into squares or bars.
~Store in the fridge.


While it may not be the most environmentally friendly way to do things, I wrap each bar up individually so they are an easy grab and go snack, just like a granola bar. 

Alternatively, instead of pressing into a dish, you could roll into balls for something a little different. If the mixture is moist enough you can then even roll the outside in a bit of ground almonds or coconut, etc. Have fun with it.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Greek Pasta

Greek Pasta. Is that an oxymoron? Maybe it's just having a culture identity crisis. I don't know, all I know is that it's tasty. I started a little while ago throwing a bit of tzatziki on my cold pasta that I was taking for lunch because we didn't have the dressing I normally use for pasta salad, and I'm not a fan of olive oil and / or balsamic vinegar. So, much to my delight I found something amazing. So, there are two ways you can eat this dish. Hot or cold. It's as simple as that. If you're eating it cold I'd suggest tossing your pasta with some raw mushrooms, some bell pepper, feta and tzatziki. Hmm! A great lunch. Well I began thinking and we needed something for dinner and we had some left over plain pasta. So I whipped this up in dare I say 5 minutes. Not a word of a lie. All those recipes people quote as saying are quick and simple work night meals, well this really is. The only thing you have to cut up is the mushrooms and from the time you walk into the kitchen until you can be eating this is literally 5 minutes. My leftover chicken I was reheating in the microwave was barely even heated by the time I was ready. So because I made this to accompany a leftovers meal, I did not make this up in a large quantity. Instead I did it more on an individual basis for just myself. Feel free to double, triple etc. depending on how much pasta you are having. Oh one more thing, when I say leftover pasta, I mean that I reheated it so it was hot. You can use fresh pasta though if you're one of those leftoverphobes. I guess I might not fit too well into the food blogging world because I am definitely not a leftoverphobe.

I'm sure this would be really good topped with a chicken breast that had been done in a souvlaki or something lemon juicy. I only had BBQed Chicken and so I decided to keep them separated on my plate instead of combining them.


Makes 1 Serving

3/4 C. Cooked Pasta
2 Tsp. Butter
1 C. Spinach
3/4 C. Mushrooms, sliced
2-3 Tsp. Tzatziki
Lemon Juice
1/2 Inch Cube of Feta, crumbled


~Cook your pasta according to the package instructions (or reheat last nights pasta as I did)
~Clean and slice your mushrooms
~When pasta is ready, heat a frying pan. When hot add in your butter.
~Once butter is bubbling, toss in the mushrooms and stir until they just start to cook (about 30 seconds)
~Add in the spinach. Stir, just until the spinach begins to soften and wilt.
~Remove pan from heat.
~Top hot pasta with tzatziki. Stir to evenly distribute. It should melt nicely around the pasta.
~Place spinach mixture on top of pasta (work fast, the spinach cools really quickly.) Stir in.
~Top with crumbled feta and a squirt or two of fresh lemon juice.


Thursday, 21 June 2012

#1 Breakfast - Raspberry Nutella English Muffin

So, this is why I had to put the lemon curd english muffin as #4 on my breakfast countdown list. Simply because I couldn't help but compare it while eating it to this out of this world treat that I for some reason call breakfast.

Have I told you that I'm a little obsessed with nutella? And by a little, I really mean I don't consider my day worthwhile if I haven't eaten some form of nutella. I know, I know, it's probably not the best thing for me to be eating daily, and in the morning for that matter, but really if this is the worst thing I'm eating / doing on a daily basis then I consider myself okay. Anyway, this was the creation that got me eating and loving breakfast. I used to just eat breakfast because I had to, and I usually consumed as little as possible, simply for the reason that I never found any breakfast foods worth eating. Sure, I like waffles and pancakes, but those were never a before school / work breakfast in our house. I went years without eating a slice of toast or a bowl of cereal, because while I didn't dislike either of them, I didn't love them and for that reason alone, I didn't find them worth eating. And don't even get me started on the atrocious thing called eggs. Then last summer everything changed. I can honestly say, that I have loved eating breakfast every morning now for almost a year. All thanks to this amazing idea I had last summer when our berry bushes were overflowing with fresh raspberries. I couldn't tell you what got me thinking of this, but all I can say is I'm glad I did because it is absolutely pure bliss. I actually made an amazing torte that tasted very similar to this awhile back. Yes, my breakfast tastes the same as my dessert (that's why I like breakfast now obviously.)

So, last September, the fresh berries dwindled away and I was stuck with a predicament. In the end, I started using frozen raspberries. All I would do would be microwave them to defrost them. But, because frozen berries just don't have the same flavour as fresh, I ended up over defrosting them and heating them just until they started to mush down into a sauce. Now, there was some good flavour. No sprinkling of sugar required for these heated raspberries. They make a perfect sauce all on their own.

If you're not someone who enjoys breakfast, give this a try. Sure, you could find something healthier to eat than nutella, but if it gets you eating breakfast, that's all that really matters isn't it? Trust me, you won't be disappointed with this. It is absolutely heavenly and you just have to try it. So, without anymore fanfare...

#1 Breakfast: Raspberry Nutella English Muffins

Simply toast your English Muffin. Top with Nutella and then with either fresh or frozen (microwaved to heat until saucy) raspberries.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Lemon Raspberry Breakfasts

For the continuation of the lemon curd series, I had intended to share with you the 2nd Best Breakfast Ever. Until I realized that there was something else that edged this breakfast off of the silver medal podium. The thing was, it was basically the same breakfast with only one slight change. What I've decided now to do is share with you all three of these breakfasts that are fighting for the title of 2nd Best Breakfast.

But what about the #1 Breakfast you ask. Well, I can't do the big reveal before I do the countdown...

There is no recipe for these breakfasts, they are simply guidelines and suggestions. The only thing you need is to get yourself some lemon curd. Now you could just go and buy some for $5 for a measly little jar or you could make your own according to this simple recipe that can be found here.

#4 Best Breakfast:   Lemon Raspberry English Muffins

Simply toast your English Muffin, spread the lemon curd and top with raspberries (for all these I used frozen raspberries that had been defrosted in the microwave and so they mushed into a sort of sauce. Fresh would be just as good.)

#3 Best Breakfast:   Lemon Raspberry Buttermilk Pancakes  

Do the same thing as above. Prepare your pancakes, then top one with curd then raspberries and the other raspberries then curd (trust me, try doing this different order. You get a completely different flavour for each, and I can't tell you which one is better.)

#2 Best Breakfast:   Lemon Raspberry Waffles

So with this one, top first with butter. Then just as you do with the pancakes, top part raspberry then lemon, and the other as lemon then raspberry. (Oh yeah, and that is a nutella covered banana on the plate as well.)

Okay, so I just want to give a bit of reasoning for why these ranked as they did. While I thought the English Muffin would be excellent, I was actually kind of disappointed when comparing it to the waffle. The flavour wasn't as full. The pancake was much better, but the pancakes are pretty sweet and flavourful and I felt like the pancake itself was competing with the curd/raspberry instead of complimenting it. So, as good as it was, I still wanted some good maple syrup on my pancakes. The waffle on the other hand was different. While I normally eat syrup on my waffles, I had no regrets when I topped it with lemon and raspberry. It was just absolutely perfect, and I have to admit I cleaned out the frozen waffle supply in the freezer pretty quickly. 

Now, we've counted down to #2, but the question still remains. What is my #1 breakfast? You'll have to check back later for the reveal. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Rhubarb Peach Cobbler - Fruit on the Bottom

I had rhubarb, lots of rhubarb. Actually correction, I still have lots of rhubarb. I also had a handful of overripe peaches that were on their way to the garbage, unless I could think of something to do with them. Now, usually my family is more into crisps. You know with the oatmeal crumb topping and such. Well, I wanted to try something different, so I decided I was going to make a cobbler. The only problem, when I went out searching for a recipe, I found that for some strange reason most people like to make peach rhubarb cobblers with fruit on the top. What?? Sorry, but I was not wanting a cake with fruit on top. I wanted something that apparently didn't exist in anyones recipe books. The other option was that if you didn't want a cake, you could do something funky and melt your butter and pour it over the fruit...I don't know, I read at least four different recipes like this and still have no idea what they were getting at. All I knew was that I wanted a topping that you had to cut the butter into (so not a cake).

I finally found a recipe, but unfortunately the dough called for a lot of yogurt and I didn't have anything to substitute for this, so I kept looking. Finally, I had to settle and make the fruit portion from one recipe, and a biscuit topping from somewhere else. Now about these biscuits. They are good, I mean not what I was expecting, or going for, but still good nevertheless. Because I used some whole wheat flour instead of all white, they had a really good grainy taste to them, but they still tasted like a good scone. Plus, they were super easy to throw together. So, while I originally had in mind more of a dumpling like creation, I am very happy with how this turned out.

The original recipe that I used for the fruit portion called for canned peaches. Now that seems a bit silly to me. The whole purpose of making a crisp or cobbler is because you have all this fresh fruit around that needs to be used up (at least that's why I make them.) So why would you be opening a can of fruit? To make it even worse, they say it has to be peaches in syrup, because you need to use the syrup in the recipe. Well, I was having none of that, so I cut up my fresh peaches and decided that I had to find a substitute. I ended up using orange juice instead. But the original recipe never said how much syrup you would use, so I just added a bit at a time and came up with the magic number of 1/2 C.

Biscuit recipe from Fruit recipe from


Yields: 9 x 13 pan 

2 C. Flour (I used 1 C. white and 1 C. whole wheat and it added a nice flavour)
4 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Pinch of Salt
1/2 C. Butter
2/3 C. Milk
1 Egg

1/2 C. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
3/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp. Salt
3 1/2 C. Peaches
3 1/2 C. Rhubarb
1/2 C. Orange Juice (+ 1/8 C. additional if required)
1/2 Tbsp. Vanilla


~Mix together the dry ingredients.
~Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly.
~In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk and pour into butter mixture.
~Stir until just combined.
~Set aside.

~Clean rhubarb and cut into bite size slices.
~Slice peaches into chunks.
~Preheat oven to 350 F
~Place rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and orange juice in a large pot.
~Bring mixture to a boil, stirring continuously as to prevent it from burning. If it looks too dry, add the additional 1/8 C. of OJ.
~When rhubarb has softened and mixture has thickened, add peaches and vanilla. Stir.
~Pour mixture into an un-greased 9 x 13 pan.
~Place pan in oven and heat for 5 minutes.
~Remove dish from oven and place dollops of dough on top of fruit.
~Return dish to oven and bake until biscuits begin to brown and fruit is bubbling. Approximately 12-15 minutes.


Monday, 18 June 2012

First Go At Pulled Pork

Well, I've finally been able to cross something off of my cooking bucket list. Yes, I've been wanting to make pulled pork, and today I finally found a recipe that did not call for you to cook the meat in the oven for 12 or 14 hours (something I was not prepared to do). So I found this recipe that works in the crock pot and luckily enough it didn't call for any tomato paste/ketchup in the sauce like so many seem to do. (One person who will be eating this can't eat tomatoes. Not that there is many tomatoes in ketchup.) A lot of the spices that the original recipe called for, can't be tolerated either and so I substituted for ones that could be. So I get the sauce all made and I'm pouring it over the large roast and I have this awful realization. This recipe calls for worcestershire sauce, something that I have never actually read the label on to check if it contains any dairy for any reason. So I scramble to grab the bottle and with a hint of relief I read that their is no dairy in it. Unfortunately though, in my excitement to make pulled pork finally, I never considered that worcestershire sauce contains soy sauce. Something else that can't be eaten. (You see now why pulled pork was on the bucket list, it's because of all the obstacles that would have to be overcome.) Well, it was too late for this poor roast though as it was by now coated in this stuff. So I go and pull out the two different types of packaged BBQ sauce we always use, just to see if they contain worcestershire sauce, so at least I could wave them around and say 'see, you eat it in this.' Much to my disappointment though, neither of them did. But, they both contained tomatoes in some form, and one even contained milk. Hmm, interesting. The two things I was consciously trying to avoid putting in this sauce.

Another oops on my part was that I made the rub up and the sauce without really realizing how large of a roast I had to work with. So, as I'm staring at my measly little bowl of liquid and a huge roast, I realized that I had made a blunder. So I made another batch of sauce, and doubled it this time. So what you see in this recipe is a tripled batch of sauce. The take home message, look at the size of your roast before making any decisions on how much sauce you'll need.

For my second go at making the sauce I ran out of apple cider vinegar and so I mixed about 2:1 white vinegar to apple juice (just because...hey, they both say vinegar and apple right?).

You know what I'm just realizing now as I type this? I never actually tripled the rub. Oh well, I don't think I'd bother with the rub anyways next time. Even if I did, I'm not sure that I would triple it though. With the quantities I have listed here, it still covered the entire roast, albeit lightly.

The original recipe was from Eat Cake for Dinner. In the end though, I really just used her recipe as a guide line. Most of the ingredients she used were substituted out for something else and so this recipe will bear little resemblance to the original. But I still am going to credit her, because I honestly would have had no idea where to start, without her recipe. Besides changing ingredients, I also didn't let the roast sit overnight with the rub on it. I just applied it and let it sit while I made the sauce. It was kind of a last minute decision to make this, this morning.


5-6 lb Pork Loin
1 Onion, sliced
6 Cloves of Garlic

1/4 C. Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Paprika
1 Tsp. Chili Powder
2 Tsp. Montreal Steak Spice

3 C. Apple Cider Vinegar (or use 2 C. White Vinegar, 1 C. Apple Juice like I ended up doing.)
3/4 C. Worchestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/2 Tbsp. Dry Mustard Powder
2 Tsp. Montreal Steak Spice
1 Tsp. Paprika
1 Tsp. Chili Powder
6 Cloves of Garlic, minced

2 C. Water

2-3 C. BBQ Sauce (depending on how saucy you like it / how much the meat absorbs / how runny your sauce is)


~Mix together rub ingredients and then rub onto roast (I did this step and I'm not entirely convinced I would do it again, as I used almost the same ingredients in the sauce that I cooked the meat in). Let roast sit (I only did this for maybe 20 minutes, but you could do it overnight if you are better at planning ahead than I am).
~Slice onion and prepare garlic (I just crushed each garlic clove)
~Put meat into crock pot
~Top meat with the garlic and onion. 
~Combine all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and stir to combine. 
~Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the roast, reserving the remaining sauce for when the meat is cooked (place in a jar in fridge)
~Add the water to the crock pot.
~Cook meat until internal temperature reads 160 F. (Took me 6-7 hours on a mix of high and low settings.)
~When meat is done, pull roast out and place on a cookie sheet (or baking dish if you used a smaller roast. You just want a dish with an edge) and pull it. (We used a mix of forks and serrated knifes because it was too hot to touch.)
~Discard juices and onions from crock pot.
~Place pulled pork back into the empty crock pot.
~In a microwavable dish, combine reserved sauce from earlier and about 2 C. of BBQ Sauce. Mix to combine and place into microwave to heat until just warmed through.
~Pour sauce over meat in crock pot.
~Stir to coat meat in sauce.
~If mixture looks too dry, add in additional sauce to your liking.
~Turn crock pot on low to warm mixture through.
~Serve on buttered buns or just eat straight from the crock pot (If you can't wait to try it!)


Oh, one last thing. Four large eaters consumed half of this in one night. (I admit, I did have to go back for seconds.) So I'd say this would feed about 8 people with a little extra to spare. 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bran Muffins You'll Actually Eat

What do you think when you hear the phrase Bran Muffin? Yeah, that's what I thought. Now, imagine two things 1) banana and 2) nutella. Have I got your attention yet? Oh yeah, and what if I told you next that they're still healthy (no butter and very little oil).

The funny thing about bran muffins is that the one single muffin I remember from my young childhood was Timmy's Oat Bran Date & Orange Muffin. I was probably only 5 or so but I recall that being my go to muffin when everyone went for coffee. I don't know now if I liked that taste of it, or just the name, but it's still pretty ironic that I liked bran as a 5 year old and then wouldn't touch it for many years after. I think it has always been that bran muffins always seem to have nuts or raisins in them, and I'm not found of raisins. Anyway, this recipe has not sign of raisins, or any other stereotypical bran muffin add in for that matter.

Okay, so these are the bran muffins that I most definitely will be adding to my make again muffin collection. They are great. They're moist and wonderful and have a hint of healthiness mixed in with a side of nutella. Unfortunately, nutella has dairy in it and so I halved this recipe (and still got 9 fair sized muffins) and made another type of dairy free muffins for the lactose intolerant among us. Next time, I might make the full batch but split it and add peanut butter to half and nutella to the rest, to save me having to make two batches one after the other. There's nothing worse than having to wash bowls you just used, to then go and dirty them again. The other thing I did for this recipe was I substituted some whole wheat flour for all purpose. Usually I split it and do half and half, but for this recipe I did 1 C. Whole Wheat Flour and 1/2 C. All Purpose. Eventually I'm trying to completely eliminate all purpose flour, but I don't want to make a complete swap right away on a recipe, because of the weight difference between the two flours. I'm also just realizing now as I type this that I swapped out the buttermilk for some vanilla soy milk with a bit of lemon juice added in to make it buttermilk-like. Oops, I guess I'm so used to not cooking with dairy milk, that even when other ingredients aren't dairy free, I still reach for the soy milk. Ha! I didn't even realize I did that until just now, some 4 days after the fact. I won't keep you from this recipe any longer.

Recipe from Baking Bites.


Makes 18 muffins

1 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour (or a combination of whole wheat and all purpose-see above comment)
1 C. Oat Bran or Quick-Cooking Oatmeal
1 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil.
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 C. Mashed Banana (about 2 bananas)
6 Tbsp. Nutella
1 C. Buttermilk
additional Nutella for topping


~Preheat oven to 375 F.
~Line muffin tins with liners or grease
~In a large bowl, combine flour, bran, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
~In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, eggs, banana, nutella and buttermilk until smooth.
~Poor wet mixture into dry, and stir until just combined.
~Fill each muffin tin.
~Drop 1-2 tsp of nutella onto top of each muffin and swirl around with a toothpick (this didn't work so well for me. It really just clumped, but don't worry it ended up looking fine and still tasting good.)
~Bake until toothpick comes out clean from centre of muffin. Approximately 13-15 minutes.
~Cool muffins in tin slightly then remove to cool completely on a rack.


Oh yeah, I'm kind of happy with how these pictures turned out for once.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Broccoli Salad

Now as I've mentioned before, when I'm cooking things I make again and again I do not like to use a recipe. As such, I don't have a recipe to share with you guys for this amazing salad. I do have an ingredients list thought, and so my recommendation is make this salad (it's so amazing you have to try it), but add in the extras as you see fit. Remember, this is a broccoli salad, so what I do is mix the dressing up first and pour it over the broccoli florets. Then toss in a few add-in's as per your own tastes. You can even make the base salad of broccoli and dressing and chop up the add-in's and let everyone make their own unique creation. While you can bottle up the dressing and mix it in just as you're going to eat the salad, I would recommend at least combining the broccoli and dressing ahead of time, because it definitely tastes better when the broccoli has been given a chance to soak. Confused yet? Forget everything I just rambled about and just go throw all these ingredients together as you see fit. That's my final piece of advice. So without further ado...Broccoli Salad more thing. Please don't omit the salami (or bacon), this salad just does not taste the same (or even half as good) without it. It needs the salt. Don't bother making it if you aren't going to add it. You've been warned.


1 C. Mayonnaise
1/3 C. White Sugar
1 Tbsp. White Vinegar

Broccoli Florets
Almonds, slivered
Seedless Grapes, halved
Salami (originally called for bacon, but the packaged salami you get in a 3 pack from Costco adds a much better flavour)

Additional Salad Add-In's:
Sweet Red Pepper, sliced into bite size pieces
Strawberries, sliced
I also tossed a few blackberries in as well as an afterthought because I had them lying around.


~Mix all the dressing ingredients together and stir well until they are well combined and the sugar is no longer gritty.

~Prepare your broccoli (the Costco bag of florets is great for this) and any add-ins you wish to have. (My recommendation would be broccoli, almonds, grapes & salami-that is just the minimum for this salad. I actually think that was what the original recipe called for if I remember correctly. It's been a while since I've seen the original.)

~Toss the salad with the dressing.