Sunday, November 29, 2009

Roast Beef Dinner and Updates

Happy end of November everyone! I had a nice little message from Ingrid of 3 B's today asking how things were going, so I thought it was time to update a little. Truth be told, I look back at November and think, once! That's it? I posted only one recipe? How is that possible?
Well, then I started to think about November and go "oh yeah, that's what happened to it" and December isn't likely to produce much more looking ahead.
I started off November sick. Although completely unconfimed I have suspicions that I had H1N1. The symptoms were there, fever, cough, sore throat, lack of energy - never mind working at 2 schools where there were confirmed cases and lots and lots of sick students and staff. So I had very little energy for about two weeks there. (I did recieve the vaccine, but the symptoms showed up before the 10 waiting days were over).
I recovered nicely in time for my birthday. I had a lovely, lovely dinner out with my husband and a few close friends. We went to Suwanna, which is my favorite restaurant in town. It is a Thai restaurant and luckily my friends think like we do, order 6 dishes and pass around to share. We had Pad Thai (of coure, 2 orders of it), Matsaman Curry (my pick, so delicious), Bamboo Shoots (tres spicy!), a beef stir fry (yummy) and I know there was one more dish, I'm just not remembering what it was now. We also had some Thai carrot/cabbage salad, which is so delicious and curry puffs as an appetizer. I'm going to miss this restaurant when we move away. I did take pictures of the evening, unfortunately, my photo card got accidentally erased before we downloaded anything.
The next part of the month has been dedicated to work, work and more work. Pretty much from Thanksgiving on till Christmas, my job kicks it up a notch (Canadian Thanksgiving - 2nd Monday in October). I teach music so I'm involved in getting performance groups ready for Remembrance Day ceremonies (Nov. 11th), the Empty Stocking Fund telecast (last weekend-a 70+ year old local telethon benefitting families that need help at Christmas time), the Santa Claus Parade (very strange to sit on a float, you can't believe the number of people that watch that thing!), and currently Christmas Concerts. As I said I work at 2 schools, so most of this is x2 work. Never mind that report cards fall into the middle of all this and parent teacher interviews (marks for 600 kids). So yes, work has kept me busy.
And through all this I've found myself right into my 3rd trimester. Yay! Of course 3rd trimester means less energy and I've definately seen myself slowing down a bit. I've started to teach sitting on a chair, instead of sitting on the floor with the kids. I also discovered that there are certain songs I cannot participate in with the kids. I had to laugh at myself when I was teaching this one song to kindergarten classes that involves getting down on all 4's and then jumping up and jumping up and down - I couldn't do it. Talk about changing your lesson plan on the fly! (I teach 4 kindergarten classes in a row, so that just wasn't going to work!).
My own little guys are doing well. They and my husband take up the rest of my energy really. I have done more cooking this month than my blogging shows for, but my pregnant brain often fails to remember to take a picture.
So here's a doozy of a blog post for you all. One of my favorite comfort meals of fall and winter, a pot roast beef dinner. Oh it is so yummy, I want to make it again right now. This dinner had the beef, gravy, yorkshire pudding (my Auntie Sue's Recipe), whipped potatoes, peas and a carrot bake (Katy's recipe of Food for a Hungry Soul).

Pot Roast

1 roast
1 tsp salt
ground pepper (have ready to grind)
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp cooking oil
1 1/2 cups each BBQ sauce, and beef broth
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic (crushed and minced)
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp lime juice

I like to cook my roasts in a crock pot, it just makes the meat so tender. I put this all on in the morning and let it cook for 8-10 hours. Prepare your crock pot by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
Sprinkle roast lightly on all sides with salt, pepper and flour. Heat oil in a frying pan (med-high heat). Add roast and brown on all sides. Once it is browned/seared, place roast into the crock pot.
Mix remaining ingredients together. Pour over roast. Cover, put crock pot on low heat and cook for 8-10 hours. (You can also make this on high heat for 4-5 hours).

Roast gravy

Once roast is finished, remove it from the crock pot and cover with foil to keep hot. Drain the juices over a seive and into a saucepan. Add 1 cup water, 1 tbsp beef boullion powder and 1/4 cup + flour. Whisk everything together over med. heat, whisking constantly until gravy is heated thouroughly and thickens.

Auntie Sue's Yorkshire Pudding

My Auntie Sue is one of my very favorite people. She isn't really my aunt, but a good family friend that I've known my whole life. I grew up with her home being my second home and our families spending a lot of Sunday dinners and Holidays together. She is a wonderful cook. I'm glad my mom snagged this recipe of hers for me.

3 eggs
1 C flour
1 C milk
1 tsp butter
dash of salt.

Whisk eggs. Add rest of ingredients and whisk together. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 425* until done (about 10 minutes or so) - the puddings should puff up nicely and brown. My mom says this works best if the ingredients are cooled in the fridge while the oven is heating. My English husband insists it works best if you let the ingredients sit at room temperature for 1/2 hour or so before baking. I've done it both ways and both ways turn out well.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chicken Chow Mein

This is very much American Chinese food, not authentic Chinese. My mom made this for us a lot when I was growing up and once I started cooking I added it to my repetiore. It's so easy to put together and comes together quite quickly. I'm always amazed that it tastes as good as it does. Pair it up with some egg rolls and you've got yourself dinner.

1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cooked chicken, chopped (I usually buy a rotisserie chicken every couple of weeks and use the meat in recipes like this)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 package chow mein noodles
1 cup chicken stock
soy sauce

Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add onion and green pepper and cook until veggies soften a little. Turn up the heat to med-high. Add the chicken and bean sprouts - mix altogether. Add chow mein noodles and chicken stock. (Keep extra water on hand just in case the noodles start to stick a little). Dash with soy sauce to your liking. Mix together. Keep cooking and stirring until the noodles are soft. Serve.

*You can add other ingredients to this one. I've used mushrooms, water chestnuts, snow peas, and celery at times, depending what I have on hand.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My friends

Hello my friends out there in the foodie community. I haven't written to you for some time, I know. I had a wonderful afternoon today visiting each and every one of you. Some know this because I left a little note, to others I was a visiting ghost so to speak. I honestly haven't done this in a very long time. But there is nothing like staying home from work sick to give you some time.
I want to say how much I enjoyed all of your recipes. I'm amazed and inspired by you all. How you continue to produce such quality recipes day after day is really quite something. I do pop by from time to time, but haven't taken the time like I did today to see you all.
I'm also amazed by those who I know spend time appreciating and commenting on the blogs of so many others. Thanks especially to those who keep the comments coming, even if I've been somewhat silent on my part.
I know my food blogging stream has died down a bit these last few months, first by the nausea of pregnancy and continued by repeat dinners. I decided that I didn't want to let my blogging life take over my real life. I run 4 blogs and was feeling the pressure to write something new on all of them all the time. Then I started to wonder why? Why was I spending so much time and energy on these? It was becoming more work than a hobby I enjoy. So I've slowed the pace down a bit and am finding that I'm enjoying blogging again. I like to take the time to peruse and think of something clever and honest rather than just posting for the sake of posting. I promise you all that when I discover something delicious and worth posting I will share it with you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yummy, yummy applesauce

I saw this recipe over at Tried and True Cooking with Heidi last month. She calls it "The Best" Applesauce. It looked wonderful and I figured it had to be better than the apple mush I tried to pass off as applesauce last year. It was! So delicious. I first made it for my boys and one of their friends a couple of weekends ago and made it again by request of my oldest son last week. He loves it. He says it's his favorite snack ever. My youngest loves it too, which is great for Mr. Picky who won't eat much of anything that isn't bread or chocolate.

Here's the recipe:

4 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar (she suggested Splenda and that's what I used too)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher if you want chunky sauce, or put in the blender for a smooth sauce. I quite like a smooth sauce, so I used my hand blender and it worked like a charm. Thanks Heidi for this one!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Tale of Two Pies - Pumpkin Chiffon and Apple

Canadian Thanksgiving was a couple of weeks back and I've been terrible about posting my recipes. At least I'm getting these ones up in time for my American friends to read about before their own Thanksgiving celebrations next month!
I also have a pie confession - I used pre-made pie crusts. Yes, I COULD make my own, but no. Thanksgiving is a big meal and really, the pre-mades are a lot better than mine for what I need.
So yes, 2 kinds of pie. Pumpkin is my favorite and seeing as we just went apple picking the weekend before, apple had to be on my list. Here's the recipes.

Pumpkin Chiffon

1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/3 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
2 unbaked pie shells (9-inch)

Mix pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt together. Add milk and egg yolks. Mix well.
In another bowl, beat egg whites until firm. Fold into pumpkin mix and pour into pie shells - there's enough filling for 2 pies. Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Apple Pie

7 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon (this makes it very cinnamony - you can use less)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 unbaked pie shells

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine sliced apples with sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice. Fill pie crust with apple mixture and dot with softened butter. Place top pie shell on top and crimp edges together. Make some slits in the top crust for steam to escape. *If you wish try my friend Ang's trick. She uses a vanilla egg wash on top (combine an egg white with a little vanilla and brush on top of the pie - makes it look lovely and smells delicious when baking). Bake for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes longer.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes

Shortly after we were first married, my husband went away on a college work trip to the Mirimichi. He came home with this recipe. He swore it was for the best scalloped potatoes he'd ever had. I tried the recipe and sure enough they really were the best scalloped potatoes I'd ever had too.
*Just as a side note of cultural interest, I call these scalloped potatoes. I'm originally from the western part of Canada. My Maritime friends who are true New Brunswickers call these potatoes scallop. I don't know why.

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 14 oz can chicken broth (Campbell's Herb and Garlic is what was recommended to us)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/8 tsp pepper
5 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 med. onion, finely chopped
8 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (can use light)

Melt margarine in saucepan. Add flour; blend well. Add broth, mayonnaise and pepper. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Alternate layers of potatoes, onions and cheese in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour sauce over top. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350* for 1 1/2 hours or until golden brown.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tales of A Corn Casserole

After all the rigmarole surrounding this next food story and recipe, you'd think that I would have remembered to take a picture. Alas, I didn't. Blame it on pregnant brain if you will, or the business of cooking on a holiday, whatever the reason, there is no picture.

Our story begins yesterday morning. Canadian Thanksgiving. (An explanation for my American and other nationality type friends, Canadian Thanksgiving is always the second Monday of October and traditionally celebrates harvest time). I had my menu planned. Turkey (of course), stuffing, cranberries, carrot-turnip mash, whipped potatoes, peas, squash, gravy, rolls, 2 kinds of pie (pumpkin chiffon and apple - recipes and pictures to come) and corn. Hmmm, corn. for some reason I was thinking that the corn needed to be a little more special than just plain old corn. Sometimes I have corn in butter sauce, but today I wanted something else. Aha! I remembered my mom had a recipe for corn casserole. I'd just phone her and get that and we'd be all set. Unfortunately, this realization hit me at 11am my time. My mom lives on the other side of the country and a 4 hour time difference away, she definitely wouldn't appreciate a wake up call like that! During my wait I decided to look up corn casseroles on Yes, I love it. I found a great looking one for a creamed corn casserole, but not quite what I was looking for. Finally at 12:15 I called my mom (I figured she should be up by now, it was after 8 her time). Yes she found the recipe for me. Unfortunately, it called for green peppers, which I didn't have in the house. New Brunswick is a province where everything but gas stations and Blockbuster close on holidays, so the possibility of running out to a market was nil. Then I got inspired. Why not pull from both recipes and make my own? So I did. Here are all 3 recipes. I hope you enjoy them. Let me know if you try any of them out!
Mom's Corn Casserole

2 cups corn
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
2 tbsp minced onion
2 chopped green peppers

Combine in a casserole dish and bake at 325* for 40 minutes
Creamed Corn Casserole from

1 cup creamed corn
1/4 cup melted butter
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar

Combine in a casserole dish and bake at 350* for one hour (or until the cornmeal sets)
My Corn Casserole

1 can creamed corn (398ml/14fl oz)
2 cups corn
2/3 cup milk
1 cup corn flour
2 eggs, beated
1/4 cup melted butter
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup cheddar

Combine in a casserole dish and bake at 350* for one hour. (yes, I kept the lid on)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oatmeal and Yogurt Pancakes

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that Saturdays are usually pancake day in my house. All sorts of pancakes. You'll also know that I've promised you a few recipes to use up yogurt. This recipe does not disappoint. They are honestly some of the best pancakes I've had in a long time. I found the original on and tweaked it for myself. (Yes, Recipezaar is my new internet discovery).

1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup milk
1 cup milk (approximately)
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg whites

In one bowl, pour 1/2 cup of milk over the oatmeal to soak. While the oatmeal is soaking, combine the rest of the ingredients together and mix well. Add the soaked outmeal and mix in. Make pancakes on a pre-heated frying pan or griddle, cooking on one side until the pancake looks half cooked through and then flip over to cook the other side.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Timmy's vs. Mickey D's

2 breakfasts out. 2 mornings in a row. Highly unusual for me. What I'm about to write is just my own experience this week. It doesn't mean it's always like this, but this week it was.

Thursday morning, 8:30am, I went through the McDonald's Drive-thru on the west side of town. My order: An Egg McMuffin, with just egg and cheese. Hash browns. Peppermint Tea with Splenda. My wait time? A good 20 minutes. I had to be at work at 9. I walked into work at 8:58. (Oh, and she couldn't remember what I wanted in my tea)

Friday morning, 8:30am, I went through the Tim Horton's Drive-thru on the west side of town. My order: An egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, hash browns, a hazelnut smoothie and a fruit explosion muffin for my break later in the morning. My wait time? Less than 5 minutes. I got to work early enough to enjoy my breakfast in the parking lot and read a bit of my book before heading in the building.

I don't know why this is. Both line ups had about the same amount of cars in them. In fact Timmies is on a busier corner. I just found it interesting that's all.

***An addendum due to comments/questions.
I enjoy breakfasts at both places. The Egg McMuffin is one of the best fast food breakfasts going as far as I'm concerned. Also the Tim Horton's sandwich is fabulously tasty. Here's the differences for my American friends who don't know about this Canadian institution. The Tim's sandwich is served on a toasted buttermilk biscuit. The egg is more of a seasoned scrambled egg patty. The hashbrowns are smaller than at McD's but are seasoned with herbs. Take a look here if you want to see.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sour Cream Zucchini Bread

'Tis the season for zucchini! I had some fun poking around and found this lovely recipe for zucchini bread. I did some adapting of my own and would have done more if I hadn't discovered that my applesauce was growing mold in the back of the fridge. I would have substitued applesauce for the oil (there's a lot of oil in this recipe!) The bread was really nice and moist. Delicious with butter, even better with cream cheese :o)

2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup light sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 bread loaf pans. In a mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, and oil. Add the dry ingredients slowly to the egg mixture. When thoroughly mixed, add the sour cream and vanilla. Finally, mix in the shredded zucchini. Pour the mixture into the two loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 1 hour and 20 minutes (use a toothpick to see if the bread is done, it should come out clean, or with just a few crumbs on it. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yogurt Muffins

I know I'm having a bit of a muffin theme in my house - I'm also having a bit of a yogurt theme (I have a pile of recipes to post backed up that I just haven't had the time to post - bad blogger!) These muffins were really tasty. I think you could put any flavour of yogurt into them, I just happened to have some strawberry that needed using up (plus a few cups of the kids yogurt, peach and banana that I threw in - why not?)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup strawberry yogurt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350*. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk the egg, yogurt, vanilla and butter; stir into the dry ingredients. Fill muffin tin sprayed with non-stick spray, or lined with muffin cups. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Maple Salmon

This was a spur of the moment, what am I going to do with this salmon to make it interesting recipe. Here's what I came up with.

Salmon Fillets (I used 2 - recipe can be adapted for more)
1-2 tbsp melted margarine
1/4 cup maple syrup (I just used my regular pancake syrup)

Heat the oven to 350*. Place the salmon fillets in a shallow baking pan. Pour margarine and syrup overtop. Sprinkle with dill. Cover with foil and bake until fish flakes easily (20+ minutes).

(FYI - that's squash, mashed potatoes and creamed corn on the plate too)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

I wanted to make something different than our usual Saturday morning pancakes (shocker I know!) and had some fresh blueberries in the house that were calling to be baked up. My kids love muffins and I haven't made them in a while, so why not? I played with a Betty Crocker Recipe, changing for what I had in the house. The results speak for themselves. My oldest son ate 6 before lunch (regular size, not minis) and my youngest who will pick fruit out of most things ate 3 without any problem at all. I guess I have to make them again sometime :o)

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup strawberry yogurt
1 egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Splenda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 400*. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat together the milk, oil, yogurt and egg. Stir in the flour, Splenda, baking powder and salt until flour is all moistened. Fold in blueberries. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes (or until golden brown). Enjoy!
*I sprinkled the tops with the PC brand Sugar/Cinnamon/Chocolate grinder just before putting them into the oven, which made them even tastier.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Contest Alert!

Hi everyone,

I'm hosting a contest on my book blogging site, Bookworm Kristen. There is an opportunity to win an autographed copy of either Cleopatra's Daughter or the Heritic Queen by Michelle Moran. Check it out here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yummy Chicken Pie

First, thank you for your kind comments yesterday and noticing my absence from food blogging. I'm starting to feel more like me with food, but still eating pretty bland and still not cooking as much as I like to. So yes, my blogging will be pretty random still for a while. We've also just moved houses and spent a lot of time picking up food and popping things into the oven. Topping off my busy life, I'm back at work after the summer break and my oldest has started school. He's very excited and loving kindergarten. More on that over at Kristen's Contemplations. Now onto the recipe!
My husband is English originally and grew up on meat pies. I did not. And I didn't really get what he was talking about. Each time we've visited his relatives in England he's happily eat his meat pies and talk about how much he loves them and still I didn't clue in. So we've been married for over 7 years and now I've finally made him his first meat pie.

There are 2 steps to making a good chicken pie - the pastry part and the filling part. You could buy pre-made pie pastry and save yourself some time. I made a 2 crust pie pastry recipe the night before.

2 crust pie pastry

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
2-3 tbsp cold water

Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut in the shortening using a pastry cuttter until the mixture is crumbly (about the size of peas). Sprinkle with cold water and use a fork to moisten the dough.
Divide the pastry into 2 parts. Gather each part into a ball. Roll out separately into 2 flattened rounds. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour (if you make it the day before like I did, remove the pastry before you need it to soften it and roll it out flat.

The filling part

1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
1 cup peas (I thawed from frozen)
3 carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
2-3 cups chopped cooked chicken (this is one of those great recipes where a store bought rotisserie chicken comes in handy)

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, onion, salt and pepper and cook until bubbly. Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and milk. Whisk it all together . Add carrots and peas. Put the saucepan back on the heat and heat until boiling. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Add chicken and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 425*.

Roll out pastry. Ease into 9x9x2 pan (I used a corningware casserole dish instead and it worked just as well. Pour chicken mixture into the dish. Cover with the remaining pastry.

Bake for 35 minutes, serve and enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sweet Potato Salad

At the beginning of the summer we went to our church picnic. Everyone is asked to bring some sort of salad. One of them was the most delicious potato salad I'd ever had. The problem was, I didn't know who brought it and couldn't get the recipe. A few weeks later, we were at a Canada Day BBQ at a friend's place, the same salad was being served. My friend Erin was the creator of this masterpiece. I asked what she did and got a couple of ideas to make something similar. I have yet to get it as perfect as hers, but this one was pretty good.

2 sweet potatoes
6 small/medium potatoes
1 small onion
6 eggs
1/2 cup coleslaw dressing
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to sprinkle

Peel sweet potatoes and potatoes and cut into cubes (Erin makes her cubes a lot smaller than mine). Boil until soft. Boil eggs until hard boiled. Dice onion.
Cool potatoes and eggs. Remove shells from eggs and slice or dice, depending how you like them in your salad.
Mix everything together in a salad bowl. Sprinkle with parsley to decorate.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chicken Quesadillas

These are my very plain version of chicken quesadillas. They can be spiced up and revved up with veggies, but baby's not having any part of it right now. They were still very tasty (and loved by my kids which was wonderful!)

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 can of chickpeas
1/4 cup sour cream
(optional 1/4 cup salsa)
(optional - chopped veggies - peppers, onions...of your choice)
1 cup Monteray Jack Cheese
8 flour tortillas

Pre-heat oven to 300*. While the oven is heating, fry the cubed chicken meat in a little bit of oil until browned and cooked inside. Set aside. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place them into a mixing bowl. Add sour cream. Using a hand blender, blend until somewhat smooth. (Add salsa to the mixture and mix in if using). Take out 2 cookie sheet. Place 2 tortillas on each. Spread 1/4 of the chickpea mixture onto each tortlla, until each tortilla is covered. Divide the chicken evenly amongst the tortillas as well. (Add veggies if using). Grate the Jack cheese over each tortilla. Cover with another tortilla. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt and the totillas to crisp up (watch they don't burn!). Remove from oven. Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to cut into 4 or 8 wedges per tortilla 'sandwich'. Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eating in PEI

We vacationed once more on PEI this summer. Quick, what do you think of when you think of PEI? Anne of Green Gables? Lobster? Mussels? Oysters? Potatoes? All of the above? None of the above? Maybe you aren't even sure where I'm talking about...
PEI stands for Prince Edward Island. It is Canada's smallest province and sits in the Atlantic Ocean off the shores of New Brunswick (where I live) and Nova Scotia. You can get to PEI by ferry (from Nova Scotia) or via Confederation Bridge (from New Brunswick). Confederation Bridge is one of the world's longest bridges (12.9 km).
PEI is known for 2 things, tourism and food. They are great at both. Most of the island (it seems)is covered in potatoes. The waters surrounding the island have are some of the best seafood waters in the world. I have a love for both potatoes and seafood, so we're all good.
The campgrounds we stayed in are very close to the tiny community of Malapeque. Malapeque Bay harvest some of the finest oysters in the world (and ships all over). ( I was tricked into trying an oyster shot last year (not my thing) but my husband loves them! You take the raw oyster, open it up (with an oyster shucker), add a little lemon juice and seafood sauce and shoot it down. Here he goes:

More to my liking is one of Canada's best ice cream places, Cows. Not only does it have wonderful ice cream, it has a great clothing/souvenir line that parodies popular music, movies and TV featuring cows. Lightening Mooqueen, Cows in the City, CSI (Cow Scene Investigator) get the idea. (

Yes we bought him a replacement, in a cup this time :o)

Something we wanted to do last year, but didn't and made sure to do this year was visit the Cheese Lady. The Cheese Lady originally comes from the Netherlands. She used to make cheese for friends as a side in Amsterdam and brought some of her starter over when she immigrated to Canada. Specializing in Gouda (and every sort of Gouda you can imagine) she makes her cheese on site from milk from her cows. She supplies to local farmers markets on the Island.

Back to the seafood. Do you know what it's like to go to PEI pregnant and therefore limited as to which seafood you can eat? No lobster, no smoked salmon, no shellfish...(okay, I snuck a few mussels, because let's face it - they are mussels! Yum!) . PEI supplies 70% of the world's mussels. We went on a boat cruise one afternoon and saw rows and rows of mussel nets (more like netted socks than big nets). The originally catch the mussels as baby mussels in the netting and grow them until they are ready for consumption - it takes up to 2 years. You can read more about mussel fishing here

Of course you can't not mention lobster fishing when you are talking PEI. The fishing season was over in the parts of the water we were at (still open in other parts as the lobster migrated), but our boat cruise had an educational trap set out. We caught two. Too bad we had to throw them back :o)

Well, that about wraps up my little food tour of PEI. I hope you get to visit there one day :o) It's a really beautiful spot and a lot of fun!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Food For Thought - My Favorite Restaurants

Good morning everyone!
I want to try out a new weekly meme brought to you by Whatcha Eatin'? If any of you are gifted in making buttons to link us all together I'd love to know how to do that :o) I'm calling it Food for Thought. Each week I'm going to introduce a food related topic for anyone who wants to to participate in. If you do decide to join in all I ask is that you write on the week's topic, link back to the original post and make sure you put your post up in that week's Mr. Linky. This is my first time trying something like this out so any suggestions and idea you have, please message me in my comments. I'd love to hear from you.
Onto this week's topic:
I've been inspired by a recent visit to Charlottetown, PEI. The whole reason (and I'm not kidding you on this one) that we picked PEI instead of Nova Scotia for our vacation this year was so my husband could go to Sirenella for dinner one night. Sirenella is an authentic Italian restaurant. They make their pasta on site and use recipes that the owner brought over with him from Northern Italy. It is extemely good eating.
It got me thinking about restaurants that I truly love. You know what I mean, places that if you are in that city, you have to go to because you appreciate the food so much. I know all of you have places like this and because we all cook we know what it takes to make food that good!
So where are your best places to eat? What makes them so special? It can be a restaurant or cafe anywhere in the world, but it has to be memorable to you!
Here's my top 8:

8. Pecos Bill in Glendale, CA - I had to check that this place was still around. An old friend of my Dad's introduced us to this when I was a kid. It has the best BBQ Beef Sandwiches ever.
7. Thai Hut in Saint John, NB - my craving for Pad Thai is fulfilled here, great takeout!
6. Benito II in New York City, NY - My husband visits here every year when he takes a mission team to NY for the week. It's in Little Italy and extremely delicious!
5. Mo's in Oregon - amazing clam chowder, a visit to the Oregon Coast isn't complete without it :o)
4. Sirenella in Charlottetown, PEI
3. Suwanna in Saint John, NB - I still cannot believe the city I live in has Thai food this good. Set in an old home on the west side you have to reserve to get a table for the night. It is worth the experience. Everything is good. We often order many dishes and share around the table.
2. Pagliacci's in Victoria, BC - Known to me as Pag's when I was at University, I would go here at 5 when it opened for seating (or else face the huge line later) - they don't do reservations. Great house salad and wonderful, interesting pastas.
1. Nick's in Vancouver, BC - Nick's has been a family favorite for years and years and years. I remember eating here when I was a little girl and now when I go back west for a visit we have to make a stop here. It's just a good old fashioned spagetti house. Nothing has changed in the 40 plus years that it has been around, and for good reason. My husband came here with me just to shut me up from hearing about it, now I think he talks about it more than me!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Dear Foodie Friends

I have some apologies to make and explanations for my blogging (or lack of it) the past few months. Since late June, my participation on your blogs has been severely limited and my blog posts few and far between (even enlisting my husband to post for me). The explanation is fairly simple, I'm pregnant :o) I'm now 14 weeks along and the heartbeat has been picked up which is why I feel I can let you all in on it.
The cruel twist to me being pregnant is that I get very, very sick when I'm pregnant. My diet is extremely plain, (I'm pretty much living on grilled cheese sandwiches) and the thought of most food which I previously loved turns my stomach extraordinarily. Anything with onion, garlic, peppers, beef, tomatoes...(okay I'm getting nauseous just writing it down so I'll stop)...basically anything with flavour is not agreeable to me. So that lovely BBQ my husband wrote about? I ate the plain tortellini from the pasta salad before he added stuff to it, that was it. Out of love for my 5 year old I made spagetti one night and then proceeded to my room for the rest of the evening sipping caffeine free root-beer trying to rid myself of any trace of the smell of it. Basically, I love all that you post, but right now, you're making me sick :o), but I'm really happy about it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I had this huge craving for pineapple upside down cake last week and while I was on Cheryl's site (Cooking Dunkin Style)there was a link within to her pineapple upside down cake. I adapted it a little, but stayed pretty true to her recipe.
While I was making this I was reminded of cooking over the campfire for Girl Guides. Did anyone else make pineapple upside down cake in a can back then? This one is much more sophisticated I'm sure :o)

1st - heat up the stove to 350 - melt margarine or butter in your cake pan (round is best) (a few spoonfuls) add brown sugar and smooth together over the bottom of the pan (another few spoonfuls). Take out of the oven and set aside until later.

In a mixing bowl mix together the following:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened - I used margarine
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
Mix all the wet ingredients together first and then add the dry
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1st - add pinapple rings to the bottom of the cake pan. Set a marichino cherry inside each if you wish.
2nd - pour the cake batter over top and spread out evenly.
3rd- Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, run a thin knife around the edge, and invert the cake onto a plate.

*I used a spring-form cake pan when making this. I recommend setting it on top of a
baking sheet as some of the margarine leaked out a bit when melting. If you do use one of these, just let the cake cool for 15 minutes and then turn over onto a plate, release the triggers to let the cake out.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Favorite Banana Bread

This recipe comes from one of the most unique cookbooks that I own. It is "Cooking With Mickey, Vol. II" and contains the most requested recipes from Walt Disney World and Disneyland. I have to admit that I haven't made most of the recipes in this book, but keep it just for this recipe. It is in no way low-fat, in fact it is high fat, high sugar and really, really yummy!
I ended up with this book thanks to my brother. My brother and I have a love affair with everything Disney since we were kids. It was one of our favorite family vacations. I grew up on the west coast of Canada and quite often we would camp our way down the coast from BC to San Diego and back. I was almost 5 the first time we did Disney and I look forward to the day when I can take my kids there too. Jeff (my brother) spotted this book at a Disney store in Seattle about 9 years ago and knew it would be something I would like (especially since it had their cinnimon french toast recipe in it which he loves and knew there was a good chance I would make it for him).

My family at Disney way back (circa. 1989?) I'm about 12 in this picture.

The Recipe
1 cup butter (melted)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp water
2 cups banana (mashed)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional) - I've never put in the full 2 cups, usually I make it without, today I added about 1/4 cup

Preheat oven to 350*. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. Mix melted butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add bananas, water and vanilla. Fold in flour mixture and walnuts and blend until all flour is moist. Pour batter evenly into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until the centre of the loaf is firm and a toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Shameless Promo for a friend

Hi all, my dear friend Angela has started her own cooking blog and I'm so happy about it! Angela and I first met back at UVic (University of Victoria) where we took our Bachelor's of Education degree program. We ended up being roommates for our final year (and had a ball). After graduation our careers called us to teach in different places (she truly became an international teacher and has taught in 4 countries - Canada, Korea, Oman and the U.S.) but we have always kept in touch. She is a dear girl. You can check out her brand new blog here at

Ang and I in our apartment back in the day with a few other good girlfriends!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Twice-Baked Potatoes

I apologize for the terrible picture, trust me the food tastes much better than it looks! I first saw these done on Emeril years ago (at least 10). It was one of those "I saw him make it that day, I made it that night" recipes. I don't even know how true it is to the original anymore, but I really enjoy them. Just give yourself the time to make it.

Baking Potatoes
your favorite baked potato toppings (these ones were fairly plain, just butter, sour cream and cheese - you can also use chives, bacon bits or whatever you like)

Step 1 - scrub your potatoes clean and bake at 350* for close to an hour
Step 2 - Slice a little top off the potato lengthwise (save the top!)
Step 3 - Be really careful with this part! - scoop most of the potato out of the shell (I've broken the shell doing this, try not to do that :o)-one of the reasons the picture looks so wobbly!) - put all the potato filling into a medium bowl. Add your favorite potato toppings and mash everything together.
Step 4 - Stuff the shells with the potato mixture (you will have more mixture than will fit into the shells)
Step 5 - Set the Potatoes onto a baking sheet (or dish), cover with the little tops you set aside earlier - bake for another 15-20 minutes

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Best Mac & Cheese I've Ever Had!

I was at a homeschool graduation for a good friend of ours in June. There was a huge spread of food. One of the dishes that really caught my eye was the macaroni and cheese. It was simply the best I'd ever had, ever! I asked my friend (whose son was graduating that night) for the recipe. She told me that her sister-in-law had made it and would try to get it for me. Thank goodness Marilyn is the follow through type! Here's the recipe. I made it on my son's birthday and everyone raved about it. I was surprised at the ingredients and you may be too! The trick is lots of milk! The picture does not do this recipe justice (I forgot to take one of a serving)

Pam’s Macaroni and Cheese

•Boil and drain noodles from 3 boxes Kraft Dinner Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (for a 9 by 13 casserole.) Add a few more noodles to make it stretch. - if you are from the US Kraft Dinner is the boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but use the extra creamy kind
•Next add one half cup margarine to coat noodles.
•Add the powdered cheese and a cup or so of milk. Mix well. I usually add another 1 to 2 cups of milk. Add some salt and pepper. - I used 3 cups milk total
•Put in one long block of old cheddar cheese, shredded. Mix in among the noodles and top with some shredded mozza and cheddar combined. (This is in addition to the first block.)
•Bake for 45 minutes at 375 or so.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Super Easy Ice Cream Cake

This is seriously the easiest ice cream cake you will ever make. I had never seen it done until this summer, 1st at a staff potluck and 2nd at a Canada Day BBQ. You can make it big or small.

Layer 1 - Ice Cream Sandwiches (you may have to slice them in half to make it fit just right)
Layer 2 - Cool Whip
Layer 3 - broken up Oreos
Layer 4 - Ice Cream Sandwiches
Layer 5 - Cool Whip
Layer 6 - broken up Oreos

That's it - it's that easy and so tasty!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Peach Topping for Pancakes

Those who have been following my blog for a while will know that my family never gets tired of pancakes. I usually make pancakes on Saturday morning for PJ and cartoon time with my boys. This week I had some fresh peaches in the fridge that needed to be eaten up and I remembered playing with a banana/pineapple topping a few years back that I thought would go well with the peaches. It did and it's super-easy!

2 fresh peaches, sliced into 8 pieces
a few spoonfuls of brown sugar
a few spoonfuls of margarine

Melt the margarine in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the brown sugar and peaches and mix well. Cover to let everything simmer together while your pancakes are cooking.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

5 Cup Salad

This was a summer staple for me growing up. When I asked my mom for the recipe she just gave me a funny look and said, "It's 5 cup salad, just remember what was in it and it's a cup of each." Okay, I felt more than a little bit stupid then. 5 cups, 5 ingredients. So easy.

Here's the 5 ingredients, use a cup of each.
-mini marshmallows
-mandarin oranges
-sour cream
-pineapple tidbits

Mix everything together. I find it tastes best if you make it ahead of time (the morning of or the day before you serve it)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Guest Post - BBQ by my "wonderful" Husband

This was largely an "impromptu" BBQ. I used to cook in Restaurants previously to Pastoring, Kris' Mom requested that I cook her a meal before she returned home to B.C. The meal is steak, with garlic prawns, sauteed veg. and a tortelini pasta salad.
The Steak was marinaded previously to grilling in an experiemental mixture of red wine and BBQ Sauce. I had been recommended by some friends a product which is available in Canada in the President's Choice line of products: Smokin' Habenero BBQ Sauce (it is made with habernero peppers and Tequila) YUM! I added about 1/4 cup of Red Wine (Cabernet Savignon) and about 1 cup of the BBQ Sauce. They steaks were marinaded for about 3 hours and during grilling I poured the unused marinade over the steaks. They were delicious.

The Sauteed Vegetables are simple. I chose some green and red peppers, carrots, snow peas, and onion and sauteed them lightly for 6-8 min. in a bit of oil. The carrots were cut very thin so that they were not super crunchy compared with the peppers. Avoid overcooking to bring out the most flavor.

The Tortelini Pasta Salad I made ahead of time. I bought some fresh cheese tortelini from our local supermarket and some fresh basil. Chop the fresh basil, add some ripe tomato, green onion,
olive oil, salt and pepper, and voila. The Tortelini was about 2 cups worth, 1-1/2 - 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil (keep all bits of stalk out), 1 whole medium tomato (ripe) you could also use a roma tomato, 1 sprig of green onion finely chopped, cover with olive oil, and a splash of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Next the Garlic Prawns.
I always use prawns that are either fresh or IQF - Individually Quality Frozen. I avoid any
shrimp or prawns which have been cooked and peeled previous to frozen- I find they are the equivalent to eating pink rubber. The prawns I purchased were butterflied (a cut down the back of the prawns which allows for easy peeling when thawed.) When I cook with garlic - I want to taste garlic. For about 25 prawns I pressed 2-3 cloves of garlic and set them asside.
I am a big believer in timing the cooking so that each part of the meal is perfectly cooked and is ready at the same time. Sautee the prawns in 2 tablespoons of margerine, add the garlic, and prawns and add a splash of white wine or cooking wine, and cover. The prawns are done when they turn a nice pink color, do not overcook. I hope you enjoy these recipies. I really enjoyed cooking this meal, and would certainly use these recipies again.

This is me, "the chef". The meal was thoroughly enjoyed by my Mother in Law!