Friday, 29 June 2012

Killer Pasta

I like to think that I have a pretty good grasp of both the English language and the exotic food language, but sometimes I am surprised by the pronunciation of a word. 

Orecchiette one of those words. I have always thought it was pronounced "orca - chet - ee" and therefore the little ear pasta has always reminded me of big and beautiful orcas. 

The correct pronunciation is of orecchiette is "o - reck - ee - ay - tay". So, there really isn't anything in the word that screams killer whales. 

But I still think that orecchiette is a killer pasta. And more importantly, this recipe that's inspired by a similar one from June's Chatelaine is really killer!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A Nutty Mix of Sweet and Spicy

I love to mix sweet and spicy flavours into one dish. I think it makes the flavours feel more layered and complex. And when I get to add in a nutty taste too, well that's just the icing on top of the cake. 

This recipe takes a basic sweet potato soup up notch by adding in a few tablespoons each of thick peanut butter and sweet Thai chili sauce. Plus I've created a garnish of sticky and sweet peanuts that make the soup extra special. 

I think the peanuts would make a great topping for a salad or even a great bar snack too. So I'd advise making a double serving of them! 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Choose Your Adventure Hot Sauce

I used to love reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books. You pick up a book, decide how you want it go, and if you don't like it you can read the book all over again with a different ending. 

Today's recipe is kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book because you can make this Sweet Thai Chili Sauce as spicy or as sweet as you choose. It all depends on what you decide to do it. 

I made my first batch far too spicy for my tastes, but I fixed it by adding quite a bit more honey so the "story" of my Sweet Thai Chili Sauce has a happy ending!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Think Pink

Heirloom veggies are some of my favourite veggies. They're unique and beautiful in their own special way and the flavours they bring to the table are often more vibrant than any of the more standard varieties.

Yes, heirloom veggies sometimes look a little less perfect and a little more weird, but I think that's part of the charm about them. They're special and you're not going to find them at just any grocery store.

Typically when I think of heirloom veggies, I think of tomatoes. But that's only because heirloom tomatoes have been creeping their way into the spotlight in grocery stores and magazine articles over the last few years. When I discovered how amazing heirloom tomatoes were, I knew that there had to be more heirloom veggies to discover.

One of my favourite (and newly discovered) heirloom veggies is the Warba potato. This is special find and not just because of the beautiful pink eyes and white skin found on the Warba.

I love Warbas because these delicate beauties show me that it's the start of the local BC produce season and that means that more good things are to come. And this makes me very happy because I love cooking with local produce.

Today's recipe features Warba potatoes in a bright pink potato salad. I think you're sure to have a happy outlook on your day after taking one bite.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Mango Madness

I love food that comes with a sauce because if even the meat's a little dry, a little tasteless, or a just little ordinary you always have a helping hand to make the meal taste better.

I like to think that most of my cooking doesn't need sauces to make it taste better, but everyone has flops once and while. And even when my food tastes great, I love the added benefit of a sauce to help kick up my meal a notch or two.

The recipe I am sharing today isn't really a sauce or a jam, it's more of an in-between style accompaniment. Are you curious about what I made or have you figured it out yet?

Wait no further! It's a Mango Chutney! And just for the record, a chutney doesn't need to be reserved for serving with curries! It's great with tons of things!

I've used my Mango Chutney as a jam with pork tenderloin and as a sauce for a sandwich. Which will you try first?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Indulgence You Can Feel Good About and a Summer Giveaway!

Everyday when 3:00pm hits I want to follow the office crowd to the coffee shop for a big chocolate brownie, the vending machine for a bag of crispy chips, or anywhere else when snack foods lay in waiting. Hunger has hit me and I know it won't go away until I eat as much snack food as I get my hands on.

The only problem with snack foods are that they usually have a few more calories than the choice of an apple I usually settle on for snacking. And the only problem with apples is that they usually don't taste quite as good as snack foods....

But I have discovered a few snack foods that don't make me cringe when I see the calorie count and they all taste much better than apples!

Nature Valley Granola Thins have the crispiness I love and come in the chocolate or peanut butter flavours I crave. Plus, they have only 90 calories!

Fibre 1 Brownies come in both chocolate fudge or chocolate peanut butter flavours and celebrate simple deliciousness. Plus, they have only 110 calories!

And I've saved what I think is the best for last. Fibre 1 Chocolate Caramel and Pretzel Bars encompass my holy trinity of chocolate, caramel, and pretzels. Plus, you'll eat 20% of your recommended daily fibre and only consume 100 calories!

These treats show me that the dilemma of choosing between taste and staying healthy is over. I know I will be indulging on a regular basis!

To try a free sample of one of these snack foods, visit Life Made Delicious on Facebook, "like" their page, and request a free sample! The only trick is that you need to request your coupon before July 3, 2012 and you can only redeem your coupon on July 24, 2012, so scope out where these treats are being sold in advance!

And if you tell me in the comment box of this post, or the comment box on my Facebook page, which of the three new Fibre 1 and Nature Valley treats you're looking forward to trying most, I will enter you in my blog's first giveaway - a Fibre 1 and Nature Valley Snack Kit including samples of all the new treats and a special weekender tote ($50 value)!

This is a treat I know you won't want to miss, so if you "like" my Facebook page, you will get a second entry into my giveaway!

Please note that this giveaway is open only to Canadian residents, readers may enter on multiple blogs but may only win one prize, and that this giveaway is running only until July 3, 2012.

“Disclosure – I am participating in the Life Made Delicious Ambassador Program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

No Eggs? No Problem!

I love eggs. Scrambled, poached, fried, hard boiled, soft boiled, made into an omelette, a pasta sauce, and any other recipe imaginable. I love eggs. 

But I also love dessert. And on those afternoons that I want a chocolate cake and have just finished my last egg for breakfast, I curse my love of eggs. 

Well.. maybe I don't curse my love of eggs, but I am annoyed! Going to the store for a box of eggs is a hassle and I could have been eating my dessert by the time I finished shopping for eggs. 

But all that's in the past because now I've discovered this long loved egg-less cake. It tastes delicious and I can't imagine finding an easier recipe! 

Now I can have my cake and eat it (as well as my eggs) too!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Big Bites

Some burgers are a such a ridiculous size that I don't think I could ever get my mouth open wide enough to bite into one. Have you seen a menu with a family sized burger you're supposed to slice into eight pizza slice shaped burgers and enjoy as a group?

I just can't imagine wanting to eat a burger so badly that I'd eat the top bun first, then the toppings, then the burger, then the bottom bun. Where's the fun in that?

But as long as it's a really good burger, I think that it's ok to serve a really big burger to your dad on Father's Day. Just as long as it's not so big that he can't bite into it and he really should be able to finish the burger by himself!

Dads want to be challenged and a burger challenge is the ultimate challenge. So let's get cracking and build a bite for tonight. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Getting Out of My Shell

Out of everyone in my family I have the toughest time getting out of my shell. It's not that I think being shy is the worst quality that I could have, it's just that I wish that I was more outgoing - especially at parties.

Outgoing people always seem to have the most fun at parties. They flit between groups, start up conversations with strangers, and end the night with piles of more friends. I just don't do that. I laugh with friends, enjoy the food and drinks, and wait for the more outgoing people to come up to me.

The only time I am in my element is when I am the host and I am serving my home cooked food. I can talk to anyone about what I cook and compliments about my food make me open up to everyone. Food helps me get out of my shell.

That's why today I am sharing a recipe to make with friends and family at a summer party. It's simple, fun, and will magically make even the shyest person in the room come out of their shell.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Girl on Grill Action

Can you imagine watching yourself on tv, doing the thing you love most? Hosting my own cooking show - that's my dream. I'd cook, chat, and make people love me and my food. 

In real life, I am just watching other people compete in reality tv to get their own cooking show. But, one day, who knows, maybe I'll be up there too. 

One of the reality cooking tv shows I love to watch is The Next Food Network Star, a tv show that's about exactly what the title promises - a cooking competition with your own cooking show on the Food Network as the prize. It really shows how you can go from watching it all happen one day and making it happen for yourself the next. And it really makes me think that one day it could all happen to me too. 

As with all reality tv shows, I have my favourite competitors that I would love to win. I love Ippy. He's a laid back Hawaiian with laid back food and he makes it look easy. I'd watch his show in a heartbeat and I really hope he wins. 

But I would never watch something called Girl on Grill to see some girl on grill action. I am so glad that Nikki was called out on being too risque with that name. I'd be happy to watch her show if it had any other name because I am a big fan of grilling!

Keep reading for a yummy grilled salmon and warm salsa recipe, straight off my grill!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Lasagna Loving!

I didn't think I could love lasagna move than I already do, but it's happened! 

Today I was crowned the Grand Prize Winner of the Taste of Home Lasagna Recipe Contest for my favourite lasagna recipe, Tuscan Veggie and Pesto Chicken Lasagna! And I have to say that a lasagna crown is one of the best I've ever worn. 

If you haven't tried this dish yet and my being crowned the Grand Prize Winner doesn't make you want to try my recipe, I don't think anything will!

Just Like Grandma Makes

I think you all know that most of time I like to get creative in the kitchen. But sometimes I crave a standard cookie to have with tea or milk. 

Sometimes it's a craving for a yummy chocolate chip cookie and sometimes it's a great oatmeal raisin cookie. 

To me a great oatmeal raisin cookie has lots of great spices, is soft and chewy, and the raisins are plump and full of yumminess. I think these cookies fit the bill! 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The New BLT

Bacon should be it's own food group and really a serving of it should be eaten everyday. Maybe not according to doctors or nutritionists, but according to taste buds it should be!

At least my taste buds think crispy bacon should be eaten everyday. Who else do you that loves bacon and jam sandwiches more than anything else?

But sometimes when I cook with crispy bacon I am disappointed because the crispiness of the food group disappears and all that I am left with is a small piece of soggy pork. It's still a yummy piece of soggy pork, but the best of the bacon is gone. 

If you're like me and crave crispy bacon in your dishes, worry no more because I had a moment of brilliance and came up with an easy way to make sure that my bacon will stay crispy in a quiche. 

Keep reading my recipe for BLT Quiche and you'll be eating crispy bacon filled quiche from now on. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Stir "Fry-Day"

Usually I take the easy way out with veggies and don't do a lot to them. Veggies are easy to steam or grill and you really don't need to do a lot to them to make them taste great. 

But once and awhile I decide that just doing the basics to veggies isn't enough. Sometimes I want to make veggies the stand out piece of my meal so I want to keep eating them forever. 

Recently I went to a Thai cooking class and, surprisingly, this veggie dish was one of my stand out favourites. When I think of Thai cooking, I usually think Thai curries or noodle dishes, but now I will think of this dish too. 

So put away your steamer tonight and try this stir fried Thai veggie side dish. I've changed the recipe a little from the one I learned at my cooking class and I know you'll love it!

I know my brother, Steve, would love it too. And it's his birthday today. Wish I was there to celebrate with you!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Fishing For Compliments

I really don't think I will have to fish very hard for compliments after you take a bite of this dish, but you never know what suits other people's tastes. 

One of the best things about this dish is that it's very easy to make it a few different ways. I chose to make it into fish tacos because I absolutely love fish tacos, but you could also make it as fillets of fish with the chimichurri sauce as a garnishing sauce. 

Either way, I think this dish will taste great. And because you can make the sauce in advance, it's super simple too. 

Not ready to compliment this dish yet? Try making it and see how you feel then!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Who's in a Cookbook?

Me! That's right! I am published in a cookbook and I am thrilled about it!

It's called the The Real Women of Philadelphia - The Cookbook and I thought the cookbook was only going to be published online. So, you can imagine my surprise to receive a copy in the mail and learn that it's going to be sold too! 

If you want to download a copy of the cookbook, or buy a copy, visit this site and be on your merry way!

I'd be sure to autograph your copy of the cookbook! Actually you'd have to try and stop me from autographing it!

And if you want to learn a little more about what kind of recipes you'll find in it, keep reading!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Butter From Another Mother

I love breakfast foods at any time of the day, but a lazy weekend breakfast is my favourite time to munch on some delicious eggs, bacon, pancakes, toast, fruit, or tea. 

I'm just sitting at home in my pajamas and enjoying the quiet and smells of my breakfast cooking. I can put my feet up and forget about any of my weekend chores and just relax. 

The only thing I dislike about my favourite time of the week is that my choice of food usually has butter in it and on it. Butter just makes everything taste better! 

Is anyone else out there in the boat as me? If you are, I have a solution for us all! 

These Mango Pancakes don't need a little pad of butter to top them because the mango that's cooked into them gets warm, smooth, and soft -- just like butter! This makes them healthier and makes me feel like it's ok to have seconds!