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)