Sunday, 23 December 2012

Gingerbread Cookies

Tried this recipe for the first time et voila! Awesome cookies! The empty tuperware container in my kitchen speaks for itself. On top of pulling off some extra awesome, perfect looking gingerbread cookies, I also pulled off royal icing quite well. First attempt! I must admit, it was time consuming. AND my arms may have hurt a tad the next day from all the muscle involved in piping the icing onto these babies. But I think you'll agree that they are well worth it.

Recipe I used:

Yields 2-3 dozen cookies

8 tablespoons (115 grams) butter
1/3 cup (65 grams) dark brown sugar
2/3 cup (155 ml) dark molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour


1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the molasses and egg and continue mixing. Mix in the baking soda, spices, and salt. Gradually add the flour, stirring until well combined.

2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour to firm up the dough.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick and cut out the cookies using cookie cutters. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. Remove and allow to rest on the baking sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


**Note! This recipe uses raw eggs. Meringue powder is used in a lot of royal icing recipes, however I did not have any at my disposal, so I opted for a recipe using egg whites instead. If you feel uncomfortable using raw eggs, I suggest travelling to Bulk Barn or Michaels to pick up some meringue powder. As another alternative, you can buy egg whites in a carton that have been pasteurized.

Further, if you want to make designs like in the pictures, you will need pastry bags & tips. Only a simple, small round tip is needed for these. Disposable Wilton bags are easily found in baking/craft stores along with the tips and couplers. I know Bulk Barn sells them individually, instead of within large packs.

3 egg whites
~4 cups icing sugar (depending on desired consistency)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp cream of tartar
Any desired colour

1. Beat the egg whites until you reach the soft peak stage. Add in the sugar & cream of tartar and continue to beat until there are stiff peaks.
2. Add in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  
    ***This is important: To make beautiful royal icing designs, you need to have two      consistencies of icing, 1) stiff, that will pipe well to outline the cookies, and 2) runny (think the consistency of honey), to flood the cookies within the stiffer, piped outline.
3. Divide the icing up into however many batches you want for different colours.

To make the designs, fill one pastry bag with the stiff icing. Using precision, pipe an outline around the outside of each cookie.

Now, with a second pastry bag filled with the runnier icing, pipe a bunch in and watch it spread around the cookie until the surface within the outline is totally covered and smooth! (you may have to tweak it a bit, depending on how stubborn it chooses to be)

Add any desired sprinkles :)

Allow these to dry overnight before serving.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Birthday Cake Cookies

You read right. Cake...turned into cookies. What could be better?? This is honestly the easiest, fastest cookie recipe I've ever seen. I timed myself on these... 15 minutes from beginning of prep to baked goodness. Need a quick fix? Whip these up.

Birthday party? Make 'em birthday style: rainbow sprinkles.
Christmas cookies? Use green & red sprinkles.
Into spices? Use chocolate cake mix and add cinnamon & cayenne.
Thanksgiving? Use carrot cake cake mix. Dip in cream cheese frosting.

The list goes on!

So, this is what you do.

1 box cake mix (ANY kind- but I recommend funfetti for birthdays and white for christmas)
1 tsp baking power
2 large eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
2. Mix together cake mix and baking powder well.
3. Add eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix until all incorporated.
4. Add sprinkles, if desired.
5. Drop 1" balls onto parchment paper covered baking sheet.
6. Bake for 8-9 minutes.


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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Luscious Lemon Cheesecake

Happy December, 9th.

Today was my work pot-luck party! Can you say food baby? There were sooo many good dishes there, I ate way too much (couldn't help myself).... and we also exchanged secret santa presents! Emily, my GEM partner in crime, got me and obviously bought me some beautiful ornaments that match my "christmas tree scheme" I've been ranting about to her for weeks. They're these pretty glass balls with white feathers inside and silver snowflakes on the outside. SO. PERFECT.

But back to the food. After careful contemplation, and changing my mind about eight times, I decided on cheesecake as the best plate to bring. What kind of cheesecake? Lemon. The sweetness of the custardy cheese filling with the tart lemon curd are a match made in heaven. Believe me.... I had two pieces, and am STILL eating it (there's not much left) so if anyone wants a fail-proof perfect cheesecake recipe for the holidays, this is it.


1 1/3 cup graham crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt

3 eight-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
about 1 cup lemon curd (this you can make homemade or buy it in the store- i bought it this time)


1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter in a bowl, and press into a 9-inch spring-form pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set on a wire rack to cool, and lower the oven temperature to 300*F.

2. Beat cream cheese and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, until all are incorporated into the cream cheese mixture.
4. Mix in sour cream and vanilla.
5. Pour filling into the pan on top of the prepared crust.
6. Using a spoon, dollop the lemon curd all over the top of the filling, and use a knife to swirl it around until its spread out well.
7. Bake (in oven which has been turned down to 300*F) for 50-60 minutes. The centre may still be a bit wobbly when you take it out, but it will firm up.
8. Set on cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes before placing in the fridge. Serve cool.

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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Strawberry Whipped Cream

Speaking of uses for pomegranates....

Whipped cream, whipped with strawberry Nesquick powder :) Sprinkled with pomegranates. Yum.

White Veggie Lasagna

Ever feel like the comfort food that is lasagna?

Make one up. No need for a recipe. Be creative. Layer noodles...or zucchini or eggplant as the noodles, add a tomato sauce (or another kind if you'd prefer! Pesto? White sauce?), add any of your favourite chopped up veggies, spices, and a ton of cheese, and you've got yourself a perfect dish.

In this, I used a homemade white sauce with garlic and extra old cheese, spinach, chopped onions, mushrooms, zucchini and roasted red peppers and lots of basil.


Long time no post.

It's been the longest ever since a post, and I have to say, I'm blaming this one on applications. The work for grad school starts in your application, I swear. But, I'm almost done!

Five schools.
Four in the USA.
One in Canada.
Zero motivation left. :) Just kidding, there's a little.

As busy as they've kept me, I've also been kept busy by a new job. It ain't easy working ~50 hours a week, but I like being busy. I've also started hitting a gym a few times a week and I'm HALF done my christmas shopping, I am happy to report. But, aside from all of this overwhelming news, I'm happy to report I have been cooking and baking just as much as always (just not reporting it as often, evidently.)

I made my first cupcake order and I brought cupcakes in for my first staff meeting at the new job (which I love, by the way, you girls are the best). So on this snowy, frigid (ok I'm exaggerating... freezing for November) Saturday, I thought it was about time I gave you all an update, as well as this lil' blog.

I hope to continue posting recipes, more often than not. Stay tuned for Christmas cooking/baking/brewing.... (yes, brewing)... and in the meantime, here's a beautiful fall food to tie you over...

Pomegranates are in season.
 Ever thought about how to remove those seeds? I saw a contraption today that somehow helped you de-seed them? It cost $10.00. You could try that, or you could try this trick for free...
 Pomegranate seeds sink. The pulp floats. Nice coincidence eh?
 What you're left with, from only one pomegranate.
 And what, you ask, do you do with pomegranate? Well, besides the countless toppings you could use it for (think: mouse, cheesecake), and the smoothies you could blend it into, or just eating it plain, you can make salad. Pomegranate is perfect because it gives you these little bursts of sweetness in an otherwise savoury dish.
Voila. This contains: Quinoa, spinach, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds, crumbled feta cheese & pear and blue cheese dressing.

Happy cooking.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Apple Chimichangas

Good evening, blog readers. This one is from Thanksgiving weekend, so I'm a bit late posting it, as usual. The past couple years I've attempted to bring a unique desert to Thanksgiving dinner. Last year I brought carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing (they were SO good), and this year I was a little braver. I decided to make apple chimichangas. I hear you asking "apple-what?".. well, a chimichanga is a Mexican dish that is essentially a deep fried burrito. So you can only imagine what an apple chimichanga is like. Filled with apples, deep fried. My pal, Kirk, suggested adding a maple cream cheese inside, which I did. Thus... apple pie filling (homemade), maple syrup beat with cream cheese, deep fried in small flour tortillas, rolled in cinnamon and sugar, and then drizzled with caramel.

I found the original recipe here. I added a twist with cream cheese & maple syrup.

Apple Filling

4 apples, chopped (I used macintosh)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

8-10 small tortillas
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp sugar
oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)

1 brick cream cheese
1/3 cup maple syrup

Combine the water, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 3 min, or til the mixture becomes very thick (this is key.... may want to sprinkle a bit more cornstarch in if its not very thick)

Add the chopped apples and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until apples become tender (about 10 min)... then allow to cool (also pretty crucial, could even do it the night before)

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow large dish. Spoon apple pie filling (& cream cheese mixture) onto a tortilla (the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla), then..fold the end over the mixture, fold in both sides, and roll up the rest, being careful not to let much seep out the sides.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet with about 1/2 an inch of oil for frying. Once the oil is hot (test by dropping something in to simmer, such as a piece of tortilla or apple piece), start frying the pre-cooked chimichangas. Cook until golden brown (approx. 30 seconds on each side)

Once fried, remove and immediately roll the chimichanga in the sugar & cinnamon mixture. Set aside.

If serving immediately: drizzle with caramel sauce (homemade or in my case, store-bought) and ice cream :)

If serving later: re-heat in oven for about 5 minutes at 300*F.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Veggie Pot Pies

This post should have been up a week ago! But it's not too late! I've been craving a lot of vegetables lately. I wanted some sort of comfort food like veggie pot pie or some sort of veggie version of shepherds pie. I went with the pot pie option, since it's something I've never done. It's relatively simple, especially if you use puff pastry!

Here's what I did:

A good giant pot full of:
2 cups of veggie stock
Dash of cream (optional)
3 tbp flour]
1 pckg of frozen puff pastry

4 small-to-medium sized ramekins

Preheat oven to 400*F.
In a large pot, cook the leeks and onion until they become fragrant and transparent, add in the rest of the chopped veggies you selected. Cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes.  Sprinkle with the flour, and stir to coat. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the stock (and cream) and bring to a simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Roll out defrosted puff pastry and cut out little circles/squares. Fill each ramekin with veggies and seal it all in with the puff pastry dough! Bake for about 15 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Yummers.

Autumn Quinoa Salad

Man, I'm getting lazy with these posts. I've made so much but haven't documented it! Tonight I was feeling a bit ambitious and decided to rip off Bridgehead's roasted squash quinoa salad (plus I made it better). It's really good, but could use some more squash! Next time, I double the amount.

A package of cooked quinoa
Chopped & roasted butternut squash
Fried apple chunks
A good dose of dried cranberries
Feta cheese
Ribbons of basil
A shake of thyme
Handful of sunflower seeds
A bit of caramelized onion
Drizzle of olive oil

Mix all that good shit up.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Gourmet Sammy

Back in Canada after a little stint in Mexico... After 3 days of work I came home and craved something more than just a plain pb&j. This did it. I'm not sure I've ever made a sandwich this good. The peppadew peppers are a new and exciting discovery- marinated peppers that are both spicy and sweet. The perfect addition to this meal.

What I used?

Homemade bread- courtesy of my buddy Bryn.
Sliced gruyere cheese
Baby spinach
Pesto spread
Thinly sliced spanish onion
Peppadew peppers, sliced

Pop it all in a toaster oven, toast for a couple minutes, and then broil for another couple.

I might make a second one...

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Ombre Petal Cake

It's been far too long since my last recipe post. But this post is a FANTASTIC post, so it makes up for it. I've been planning this cake for a couple weeks. I knew I wanted to make my friend Kaley a cake for her birthday, and was originally going to try and use fondant, but I went for a frosted cake instead using a swiss meringue buttercream. This way it looks and tastes delicious. This cake is a three layer vanilla cake with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, both of which were recipes obtained from Sweetapolita.

The effect looks a bit complicated but is really very easy, just time consuming. It involves making little bubbles of icing and smearing them with a small palette knife. The frosting was just made in increasingly more vibrant colours and used to create an ombre or gradient effect down the side of the cake. If you ever want a birthday cake made, I'd be happy to try and work something out ;)

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Quinoa, Corn & Scallion Salad

I recently borrowed a recipe book from Tara I've been meaning to go through for a long time, "Home Made"by Yvette VanBoven. There are so many awesome recipes I still want to try! But the first thing that caught my eye was this twist on tabouleh. I made a couple modifications to the recipe (due to a cheese-choice mistake and limited funds), but overall it is quite similar to what is displayed in the book. Definitely scrumptious and packed with NUTRITION.. which is something I've kind of been lacking lately. Needed some sort of salad to reverse this trend, and this happened to be the perfect pick.

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
4 fresh ears of corn or 1 large can of corn kernels
6 scallions
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
2 small heads baby romaine (I just bought a bag of pre-cut romaine)
1 1/4 cups aged goats cheese (YUM! However, I screwed this up and ended up adding shredded gruyere to try and self-correct)

2 tbsp prepared mustard (I have this vinaigrette dijon that is delish- brand is "maison orphee")
1 clove garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 white wine vinegar
2/3 cup grape seed oil

Make sure quinoa is either already cooled or run it under cold water in a sieve to cool it down, let drain. Cut the scallions into rounds, finely chop the parsley, cut the cheese into small dice. Mix everything together well.

To make the dressing I used my blender (magic bullet)...combine everything and pulse it until smooth. Pour over salad and mix well.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Cookie Dough Pops

I'm not sure my apartment has ever been this hot. That being said, I think it's time for a popsicle post. My favourite flavour of ice cream is cookie dough, and this is a close second- except much easier to make than ice cream. So what makes a popsicle taste like cookie dough? Surprisingly, not much.

2.5 cups whole milk (a bit heavy in my opinion but necessary to ensure creaminess)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
3 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup choco chips

In a saucepan, dissolve sugars, salt and vanilla into milk at a low heat.

Allow to cool.

Put your chocolate chips in the popsicle molds.


Freeze. Enjoy cookie dough popsicles. Rob and Jeff did.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Watermelon Goat Cheese Bites

Hey, it's been a while since my last post- partly out of distractions from the real world, partly out of laziness. But here's a new one, finally! The most perfect, easiest thing to bring to a summer BBQ. "Watermelon and goat cheese?" you're thinking. Trust me it works. The juicy sweetness of the watermelon fits perfectly with the salty and creaminess of the cheese, plus a refreshing kick of basil to add to the complexity of all-around amazing tastes.

I don't think you need me the list the ingredients or the method of preparation. But as a side note, I just used a cookie cutter for the watermelon (which was cut into inch thick disks). I also made others with a slice of jalapeño pepper on top instead of basil, for some of the more adventurous party-goers. However, as much as I love jalapeño pepper, it just couldn't beat the basil.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Pâte à Choux

Had an empty afternoon this Saturday, so I decided to try something from my amazing new recipe book, Sprinkle Bakes. In case you haven't heard of this book, or this blog, the author/artist is Heather Baird and she is phenomenal. This is her blog. VISIT IT. Your life will never be the same.

Besides being overwhelmingly creative with everything she makes, the book offers simple steps to follow, extremely helpful tips and pictures, and rather than encouraging you to follow exactly as she does, she encourages creativity and imagination within the recipes. Screw drawing and painting, baking & confectionery is the new visual art form. 

I've had the book for a couple weeks and still hadn't attempted anything yet, but have been pouring over the pictures on an almost daily basis. So today when I asked Taylor what he wanted for dessert later and he said "cream puffs" I knew I could try it out for the first time (...the perks of dating a baking addict...)

Holy crap. Easy, delicious, and so impressive. These classics will be made by me again and again. Unfortunately, Rob left with his camera for the weekend, so the glory of these babies weren't really caught to the full extent, but my iPhone really tries.

Ingredients (Pastry)

3/4 cup water
6 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs
egg wash: 1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt


1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a pastry bag for piping.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, sugar, salt and over medium heat bring it to a boil.

3. When it reaches a boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour. Mix well to combine.

4. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook while stirring until dough pulls away from the sides to form a ball in the middle.

5. Transfer dough to a bowl and stir for a couple minutes to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 425*F.

6. Add 1 egg to the bowl. When you begin to mix, the dough will break apart into pieces and look loose and glossy. Continue to mix until the egg incorporates and the dough looks similar to mashed potatoes. Repeat doing this with all 4 eggs.

7. Fill pastry bag with dough and pipe dough mounds that are an inch wide and an inch high, about 1.5 inches apart on the parchment paper. 

8. Dip your finger in water and smooth down any bumps and peaks on top from piping. They should be smooth and rounded on top. Brush on the egg wash.

9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they've puffed up and golden are brown. 

10. Reduce the oven temperature to 350*F and continue to bake until they're dry (the book suggests 20 minutes longer but I found this was too long, I left mine for about 15 minutes)

11. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool. 

Ingredients (Pastry cream)

2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
1 egg
2 egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter 
1 tsp vanilla


1. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 of the milk. Beat in the whole egg, then each yolk one at a time.
2.  In a saucepan, combine remaining milk and the sugar. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. 
3. While whisking the egg mixture continuously, slowly pour in 1/3 of the milk mixture to temper the eggs. Return the remaining milk to low heat and slowly, while whisking, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan (it is crucial you do this  very slowly while whisking, or you'll have scrambled eggs in your pastry cream)
4. Whisk constantly until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. 
5. Pour the pastry cream into a bowl and put plastic wrap directly on the cream, so it doesn't form a skin. Cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until ready to use.

*NOTE: this didn't make enough cream to fill all shells. I'd recommend doubling the recipe. That, or as I did, freeze the rest of the pastry shells.


Once the puffs and cream have cooled, using a small sharp knife, cut 1cm slices in the sides of the puff shells. Using a pastry bag, pipe pastry cream into the pastry shells. Sift powdered sugar onto the filled puffs or dip in melted chocolate. Voila!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


This pie was supposed to be strawberry rhubarb MERINGUE pie... which would have been soo delicious. But, unfortunately, I have #meringueproblems. However there are much worse problems than meringue ones.... especially when meringue can just be replaced by a close second... my good friend, whipped cream. Apart, scrumptious.. together, unstoppable (much like me and my girlfriends).

On a happier note, this was my first fruit pie and it turned out to be really good. I'm eating some right now. Next: PEACH.


Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cubed and cold
2-3 tbsp ice water

3 cups sliced strawberries
3 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey

*Optional: Whipped cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions: Crust

1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add the cubed butter and with a pastry blender or two knives cutting in opposite directions, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
2. Add 2 tbsp of water and mix with your hands until the dough forms a ball. If too dry, add another tbsp of water.
3. Kneed the dough 5 times, wrap in plastic and chill for an hour.

Pie Assembly

1. Preheat oven to 400*F.
2. In a large bowl, combine all pie filling ingredients and mix well (should look pasty)
3. Remove crust from fridge and roll it flat on a well-floured surface. Dock the crust in a 9" pie plate by pressing along the edges or using a fork.
4. Fill pie crust with filling and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until set.

*TIP: if the outer crust browns too fast and is getting too dark, cover it with tinfoil to prevent it from overcooking.

If making the whipped cream as well, beat all ingredients in a medium bowl until whipped cream forms peaks. Serve on warm pie.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Beer Batter Onion Rings

Hey guys! Guess what! You no longer have to venture outside of your house to find some nice greasy food that will make you feel inevitably disgusting! You can make it right here in your own kitchen! No walking required! What did I make??

ONION RINGS (the greasy fried kind, not the "i'm-trying-to-be-healthy-oven-baked kind")

Rob, out of concern that I might light the apartment on fire, ensured there was a box of baking soda close by to put out the apparently expected flames. I'm happy to report, no such disasters occurred (besides my health plummeting after consumption)

This is how easy it is to make! (Dangerously so)

1-2 Onions, sliced in rings
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp oil
1 1/4 cups flour
tsp salt
pepper, and other spices you'd like to season the batter
1 cup beer (I used Foster's, which was conveniently just hangin out in our fridge)

+ Enough oil (vegetable/canola) to be about 1-2 inches in the pan/pot you're using (consider using a deep one in case of lots of oil splattering)

1. After beating the eggs in a medium sized bowl, add in baking powder, oil, spices and salt, and then the beer. Mix well until there's not crazy clumps.
2. Refrigerate batter for 30 min
3. When the batter is just about ready, heat the oil. Take the batter out of the fridge and start dunkin' onions. Coat them completely and when the oil in hot enough, when you drop a batter-coated onion in it just start sizzling and splatting pretty intensely. If it doesn't do this, wait until it's a little hotter.
4. Dunk multiple onions and coat the bottom of the pan (but give them enough space for no overlap)
5. Once oil is at a good temperature, turn it down a bit. Onions should take a few minutes on each side to cook. Once golden brown, take them out and place them right on a plate covered in paper towel to let the grease drain.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I had two avocados to use yesterday that had become extremely ripe (i.e. too soft for cutting up for salads or sandwiches or any sort of thing like that), so I thought my only option was guacamole. I LOVE guacamole, but there's only so much you can eat... and I was out of chips for dipping. So I did some quick research and turns out, avocados are the perfect vegan sub for creamy pasta sauce. Who knew? I was taken by the idea immediately and started to prepare perhaps the quickest dinner of all time. I must admit, my particular sauce recipe is not vegan, but it can be, easily. I added a tad sour cream and parmesan sprinkled on top, but those are two optional ingredients. I suggest using whole wheat pasta as well to up the healthy factor just a bit.

2 extra-ripe avocados
A handful of fresh parsley, cut up (picked right from my plant!)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
Sprinkle of fresh parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

I also suggest using lemon juice (perhaps as the sour cream sub... the acids in both will keep the avocados from going brown quickly)

1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until creamy and smooth... I used a magic bullet and had some difficulty, so I added a bit of water a couple times until it could blend easier
2. Add delicious avocado cream sauce to a pasta of your choice.
3. Top with desired garnishes.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Mexican Brownies

MEXICAN BROWNIES. What makes them so Mexican? Not really sure, other than a little spice. I feel like I can't make anything the "regular" way anymore when there is so much more room for other flavours to be mixed in. So imagine normal brownies, and then add a little kick of cayenne and some cinnamon warmth. So much better than boring normal brownies! It's the little things that count.

I got this recipe from here


1/2 cup chopped dark, good quality chocolate
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp AP flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of cloves
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray & line a brownie pan (8x8 or 9x7) pan with parchment paper, so that it hangs over the edges.
2. Place chocolate and butter in a double boiler and melt until glossy. Remove from heat but keep bowl over hot water and whisk in both sugars. Let cool for 3 minutes, before then adding the eggs one at a time, whisking well to make sure each is well incorporated. Add in vanilla.
3. Add in flour, spices and salt and stir until it's all incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.
4. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a knife is inserted in the centre and comes out with just a few crumbs. Transfer out of the pan to cool immediately.


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Feta & Pomegranate Couscous Salad

Greetings all,

it's been a couple weeks since my last post so I'm due for a new one! I had an idea this week to make some kind of grain salad with pomegranate, so I opted for couscous. The sweetness of the fruit is a refreshing contrast with the heavier salty flavour of the couscous and feta. It's a breeze to make and is enough to last for a few good work lunches. Et voila...

1 box of couscous, prepared (I bought a "lemon spinach" flavoured one, but next time I think I'd just go au naturel...)
6 green onions, sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, "snipped" into smaller pieces (use scissors, its easier)
1 pomegranate, seeds removed** (I'd even go for 2 next time)
Juice of 1 lemon
A decent sized block of feta (mine was about 2x2'')
A few dashes of black pepper

**To easily extract the seeds of the pomegranate mess-free, do it in a bowl of water. when you break pieces apart, the seeds will sink and the skin and other bits will float. Then just remove the floating pieces and strain the rest- this way the seeds don't stain anything either.

Simply mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate if you prefer it cold (I do).

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Vanilla Latte Jelly Shots

I'm not a vodka fan. As I've explained to several people I believe every person goes through phases with different types of alcohol in a set order. Vodka is the first for girls (after cheap 4% coolers). It is the high school don't-get-caught, first year wasted, 'white girl drunk' drink. No self respecting adult's drink of choice is vodka. However, I am instantly drawn to anything cake-related... I even bought cake tea last week. So when I saw all these drink recipes involving "cake vodka" I was intrigued. I did some research and found out it was only available at some places in the US, so you can imagine my shock & awe when walking into the glebe LCBO yesterday and there it was; a giant sign announcing it's arrival...

Naturally, they were sold out.
But, instead I picked up their "whipped cream" flavour. Sounds disgusting. Tastes awesome. And that's not just me trying really hard to justify the money spent, it actually tastes good, however I'm unsure of possible mixes (orange juice? creamsicle drinks...?)

Anyways! For our girls night last night I decided to experiment with it and made some vanilla latte jello shots. They tasted good, considering I just made it up as I went...but didn't come out of the molds as easily as expected. Next time- either more oil or paper cups!

2 cups of cold, strongly brewed coffee, made as sweet and as milky as desired (perhaps a bit more than usual to cover the burn of the vodka?... I added quite a bit of milk, hence the latte name)
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp condensed milk
2 packets unflavoured gelatin (knox)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whipped cream vodka

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
dash of vanilla
sprinkles... if desired

1. Combine coffee, cream, vanilla and condensed milk in a saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin on top and let sit for about 5 minutes.
2. On a low heat, stir the mixture until all the gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and add vodka.
3. Pour mixture into WELL OILED molds, paper cups, pan, or anything really. Let it set in the fridge for at least 1 1/2 hours.
4. If desired, you can add a cute topping. Combine heavy cream, icing sugar, vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Dollop or pipe swirls on top of the shooters and sprinkle with... well, sprinkles.

As a warning, eating them too fast may get you white-girl drunk. Tara was classy about it though.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Curried Carrot Soup

Yet another non-dessert post. Something's definitely wrong with me.

Maybe it's all this bunny paraphernalia, but carrot's seemed like a good idea. Being alone (and admittedly, pretty bored) this Easter weekend, I figured I should make something new and fun (and carroty). This soup, although the majority being carrots, also has a lot of butternut squash (my fav), ginger, onion and garlic... but not much else. See below.

olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped
1/2 an onion, chopped
3 big (massive, in my case) carrots, chopped
1 small butternut squash, chopped
1 tsp curry powder
a few dashes of black pepper
(additionally, a dash of cayenne would work well)
About 5 cups of water or vegetable stock

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil and cook garlic, ginger and onion until fragrant and starting to soften.
2. Add carrots and butternut squash. Add water or stock, add spices.
3. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots and squash are soft enough to be "smushed" up again the side of the pot with a spoon.
4. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a bit. Using a blender, puree the mixture and pour into a second pot. Reheat if necessary! EAT.

So easy, so healthy, so good. Also makes for some damn good work lunches. :)

Monday, 2 April 2012

Key Lime Pie

Happy Monday, guys. Last night Rob and I hosted a somewhat last-minute thrown together dinner with our friends Tara and Kyle and I decided to go all out and make dessert as well (as if you'd expect anything less from me). Our meal consisted of vegetarian chilli, caesar salad and last but not least, key lime pie. :)

I chose this dessert because:

  • a) it's limeyness coincided well with our tex-mex ish meal.
  • b) i had never made it before and always wanted to.
  • c) it is yet again, another ridiculously easy dessert to make. 
It went over well, and in fact I just had another piece for breakfast. I highly recommend!

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cans condensed brand milk 
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Zest from about 3-4 limes (and more for garnish if you prefer)

1 cup whipping cream 
2 tbsp powdered sugar
splash of vanilla 

1. Preheat oven to 350*F and lightly grease a 9" pie plate.
2. Mix together graham crumbs, sugar and melted butter in the pie plate. Press into the plate firmly and bake for 10 minutes.
3. Using a whisk, beat the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Add in the condensed milk, lime juice, and most of the zest. Continue to whisk until well combined and creamy. 
4. Pour filling into the prepared crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes. After removing from the oven and allowing to cool for a bit, refrigerate the pie for a minimum of 2 hours. 
5. While the pie is in the fridge, combine whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium sized bowl and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. 
6. Before your pie is served, either dollop some whipped cream on top of each piece or if you want to be fancy, pipe some designs on the pie. Sprinkle on extra zest. 


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Homemade Spicy Pizza

Hey guys, time for another real meal as opposed to dessert! These are rare posts, as I enjoy nothing more than something sweet (and cute) to bake. Pizza isn't sweet, and it really isn't cute. But it's still delicious. And I wasn't in this alone, my co-cook Taylor came over to help out too. First shot at homemade crust and it worked out! Not that there seems to be much room for screw-up's, but still. I must admit though, there was a dessert pizza made too. This, shockingly, was not my idea to attempt to turn the entire post into a dessert-y one, it was Taylor's idea. However, due to aesthetics and the reputation of this blog, the recipe will not be part of this post ;)

Homemade pizza crust:
2 tsp quick rise yeast
a pinch of sugar
1 1/2 cups of warm water
4 cups AP flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Set aside for about 5 minutes until it looks foamy (TIP: I am still not super familiar with yeast, so I bought a packet of regular dry yeast to try first in this step. There was no foam. None. Then I tried with the quick rise I already had and voila! FOAM! ... I suggest using quick rise but perhaps this was a fluke.)

2. In a second, large bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour the yeast mixture & olive oil into it. Using a knife or spoon, make cutting motions to mix the wet & dry together (I used a pastry blender for this part)

3. Use your hands to form a ball with the dough. At this point, if you have a stand mixer, you can use this to "knead" the dough for 10 minutes. If you are not lucky nor rich enough to own one of these (*cough* me... christmas mom?), place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead manually for 10 minutes.  The dough should be smooth and elastic after.

4. Grease a bowl and place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

5. At this point, depending on how large your pizza is, you can divide the dough into two for 2 small-medium pizzas or use it all for a ginormous one. By gently pulling/stretching the dough, shape to your desired size and place on a lightly greased pan.

6. Now, you can brush the dough with olive oil and add whichever toppings you'd like. Bake it at about 400*F for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling.

Here are our toppings:

Pizza Sauce

drizzle of olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large ripe tomatoes
1/3 onion chopped
*2 serano peppers (those tiny bright red ones- totally Taylor's influence)
a few basil leaves

*these peppers are obviously optional... they added a good amount of spice to the sauce, which was toned down by the cheese, but it could have stood to have another one or two peppers depending on how much spice you can handle. We decided on these as opposed to the habanero peppers we picked up, which are supposedly much hotter, which is pretty terrifying considering how hot these serano ones are.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a pan and sauté on a low-medium heat for 10 minutes (ish) until tomatoes, onions and peppers are all very soft. Then using a blender, blend the mixture for a couple seconds until it is a sauce consistency. Spread onto your dough!


sliced onions
chopped green peppers
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella, sprinkled
a small "log" of goats cheese, cut into medallions
basil leaves
sprinkle of oregano
also can't really resist posting this... we had fun "kneading" the dough...