Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Three for the Price of One

While I love summer and I would never wish a day of my life away, I wouldn't mind it if we could celebrate Christmas more than just once a year. Christmas is full of happiness, spending time with family and friends, sharing love, and eating goodies until you are full to the brim. 
Since Christmas isn't coming for just under five more months, I've decided that I needed to spend a little time developing a few new cookie recipes to share with my loved ones. You know, just to taste test everything so I would know if my baking would be up to snuff for the big day. 

But once I got out my flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, I looked outside and realized that I didn't want to be inside by my oven for the entire afternoon. It was just too beautiful out. So my game plan changed and I used one basic recipe for Snickerdoodles and made it into three different types of cookies. 

You're going to love how this recipe is so versatile; you can make just one big batch of cookie dough and split it into three to bake a unique plate of cookies. It's going to help you to have so much more time Christmas!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Upside Down

Eggs are important for baking for three main reasons. Eggs help all the other ingredients in baked goods stick together. Eggs help to make baking moist. And eggs help baking to rise. 

I understand how eggs bind baking and make baking moist, but I had to think (and also research) about how eggs help baking to rise. I learned that it's because when you beat eggs, you're adding air into them and the air gets trapped inside your wet batter. Then, when your baking is in the oven, the air warms and expands and your baking rises.

Now that we're all learned why eggs are important for baking, I'm going to share a recipe I made when I was rushing about in the kitchen and talking on the phone. I was feeling so upside down and preoccupied that I completely forgot to add the eggs to my batter! 

I thought forgetting the eggs was going to make my cake a huge flop, but somehow my dessert worked incredibly well and I will never feel the need to eggs to it again! 

So, is this is one of the rare times when baking isn't a science? Read below my recipe to see my scientific conclusion :)

Friday, 27 July 2012

No-Cook Summer Leftovers

There are three things I especially love about barbecuing. Barbecuing is relaxing in the warm outdoors, it's easy to make food taste great on the grill, and I love taking a cold drink outside with me to cook. 

But because I love barbecuing so much, I always make too much food and have tons of leftovers. And if you know me, you know I don't let anything go to waste and I don't want to eat the old leftovers three nights in a row. 

Today's recipe is a cool no-cook Asian salad that's perfect for a hot summer night; it uses up leftover barbecued chicken (or you can use a store bought rotisserie chicken) and it tastes delicious. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Cold and Fresh

Summer is here and to me this means it's time to entertain friends. I love to entertain and I always want to serve something memorable, but it's hard to find the time to make memorable things. 

Today's recipe is a drink that's perfect for summer entertaining because it has only a few ingredients and it's cold and fresh! Plus, it isn't too much work because you make all the drinks in one big batch and you can do it all ahead of time!

Well, I guess it's more work than chilling and opening a bottle of wine, but who's going to remember that?

Monday, 23 July 2012

Salt of the Earth

It's just not a summer BBQ without a burger. So to finish off my week of grilling I've sharing a burger recipe with you. 

I know it wasn't that long ago that I last shared my Meatloaf Burger, but this is a new one. And this one is the most simple burger you can ever imagine. 

Cooking shows and chefs always seem to share the same old "secrets" of cooking the perfect burger and I used to shrug them aside as things a chef would do in a really busy kitchen. I used to think that a busy just wouldn't have time for something as special as my Meatloaf Burger. 

So I decided I would try their "tricks" and see what kind of burger appeared. And, boy, was I surprised - they were great!

I'll still make my Meatloaf Burgers on weekends and for parties, but now I have a great easy weeknight burger too! 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Don't Be Chicken!

I had a few chickens that I was planning on roasting in my oven to make my Lemon Dill Roast Chicken, but I hadn't accounted for the fact the it could get hot in Victoria and I wouldn't want to use my oven. I haven't lived through a real summer in Victoria yet and it surprised me when summer actually arrived! 

With the heat here, all I wanted to do was turn my BBQ on let the heat from cooking the chickens stay outdoors. Normally what I would do would be to make my Dancing Chickens, but my fridge was empty of beer so that was out too.  

Then I heard about a spatchcocked chicken. After I realized that we were talking about butterflying a chicken and not about the birdies you play with during badminton (they're called shuttlecocks, not spatchcocks as I previously thought), I was excited to try this new way of barbecuing a whole chicken. 

I even decided to try cooking my newly spatchcocked, or butterflied, chicken under a brick for the first time too. I was already trying one new thing. Why not try two?

And I was surprised to find that not only is butterflying a chicken easier than I thought, but it makes for an incredibly evenly cooked bird! This technique rivals my steak technique from last summer and I will use it again and again!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Being Corny

I think it's important to laugh at yourself. And this is one I am very successful at -- laughing at myself all the time. I am a little bit corny and being silly makes me happy. 

So I am going to warn you, this post is seriously corny. And it's going to start off with a corny joke. 

Question: Why is it not wise to tell secrets in a corn field? 

Answer: Because there are too many ears! 

I can hear all you groaning from here, but hopefully I made you smile! Let's keep the corn going and cook with it. Today's simple recipe is a cheesy and corny dish that's easy to make on the BBQ or in a steamer. I promise it'll make you smile more than my corny joke did. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Stick to Your Ribs

As much as I try to eat healthy, everyone needs a splurge once and awhile. And I think it's ok to splurge as long as I keep my portion sizes on the smaller side.

So on nights like tonight where I make BBQ ribs, I make sure I fill my plate with lots of fresh salad and take only a small portion of ribs. I eat my ribs slowly to enjoy every bite and I'm just as happy as could be.

Sometimes I do go back for seconds, but I've heard that it's a great compliment to the chef to do that. And every chef needs compliments, even when the chef I am complimenting is me!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Saucy Details

If you looked at my post title and thought that you were going to get a risque story filled with scandal, I am sorry to disappoint you. While today's post is about the saucy details and how they can be the most exciting and the best part of a dish, I don't have any juicy gossip to share. 

Instead, I'm sharing a sweet, spicy, and healthy version of a BBQ sauce I made a few days ago. And just like how no summer party is complete without juicy gossip, no summer party is complete without this sauce. 

My Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce is inspired by a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow and could go on anything from slow roasted BBQ ribs or chicken to a quick weeknight stir fry. You really have to try it; it's so easy, yummy, and perfect for summer that you really don't have a choice!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Pasta Fantastica

I was a vegetarian before entering university and I still really enjoyed everything about food. I love veggies and fruit, I loved grains and starches, and I loved life without meat. 

But the university I went to was small and you had to pick and choose the best meal available. Sometimes the best choice was a meat dish and while I tried my best to eat salads, veggie stir-frys, and a dish called "Pasta Fantastica" for a while, there came a day where I just couldn't do it anymore. I had to eat something else. I had to eat meat. 

Once I started eating meat again, I realized that flavours I was missing out on and meat stayed in my diet even after graduating from university. 

Today I am going back to my old eating habits of enjoying more meatless meals. And I have to say that if the "Pasta Fantastica" dishes at my university were more like today's recipe, I might have never changed my eating habits to begin with!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Sticky Situation

I love dessert but I like to try and stay healthy too, so I try and look for as many healthy dessert options as possible. And let's be honest, as much as I want to say I'll choose the fruit salad, it's not enough of a true dessert for me to get excited. 

I also love leftover dessert for breakfast the next morning and while a fruit salad definitely is a breakfast food, it just doesn't work for those days when I want a little something more. 

This dessert takes a little planning ahead because you need to soak the rice before for a few hours prior to starting to cook it, but the planning is worth it. This Sticky Rice with Mangoes is a real treat and it's healthy enough to justify a craving of eating it for breakfast!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Souper Soup

When I read a recipe I like to use it as inspiration and make it as easy to replicate, but still keep the original amazing flavour. 

I don't think cooking should be hard and I don't think that it should make people shy away from staying home for dinner. I think cooking should be fun and creating flavourful meals should be easy. 

When I was given a recipe for Tom Yam Gung (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup), I almost put it down and vowed to only enjoy it when I ate out. But then I thought to myself that I could replace making a time intensive shrimp broth with simple seafood (or even veggie broth) and just add in a few extra flavours. It worked when I made Wonton Noodle Soup, so why wouldn't it work now?

Well, wouldn't you know it. My idea worked. I think my simple version of Tom Yam Gung is just as good as the homemade broth version!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

A Real Secret Ingredient

I love watching food related tv shows of any kind and one of my favourites is Eat Street. Eat Street travels all over the USA, Canada, and also to other countries and shows off food trucks and the special food that they produce. 

I love food trucks because they've evolved from the standard hot dog and chip truck to something extraordinary. You can find almost anything in the world at a food truck- frog legs, crepes, mile high burgers, curries, tacos, and more. And food trucks have a lower overhead than a regular restaurant so you seem to get a little more for your money too. 

Usually I want to try the food that Eat Street features, but one of the episodes of Eat Street I watched made me laugh instead of wanting to dig in. The food truck was called Tex's Tacos and they young men ran it explained what their secret ingredient for a certain taco was on the show. I was expecting a chili pepper, a special salsa, or a weird spice, but they shared that their secret ingredient was cheese. 

If cheese if a secret ingredient on a taco, then I guess I know all the secrets!

I think you'll really have to scratch your head to figure out what the secret ingredient in for the recipe I am sharing today. I challenge you to take a look at the picture below and venture your best guess. 

Here's a hint: it's not cheese! 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Mole Mole Mole

 Whenever I hear someone talk about mole sauce, two things come to mind. I think how weird it must be to eat a tomato-chocolate sauce for dinner and also the ABBA song Money Money Money.

After trying mole sauce for the first time, I no longer think eating tomato-chocolate sauce for dinner is weird. I think it's weird that I've never tried it before!

But I still think of ABBA's song. Mole and money just sound too similar to me! But since it makes me smile to think of ABBA, I'm happy.

I'm also happy to share this recipe. But don't be worried because it's inexpensive to make; you don't need to live in a rich man's world to enjoy it!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Granola Treats

Today is my step dad's birthday and to celebrate I am going to share a recipe for a homemade granola bar. You might think it's weird that I'm sharing a granola bar recipe instead of a cake, but George works hard outside all day and I think he'd love a treat that he could pack up to take with him while he works. 

I hope you have a great day today, George! You deserve it!

And if you don't have time to make these tasty treats, try one of Fibre 1 or Nature Valley's yummy new treats. Don't forget to enter my giveaway for to win a Fibre 1 and Nature Valley Snack Kit including a lovely weekender bag! Today's the last day you can enter I be picking the winner tomorrow!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Happy 145th Birthday Canada!

I love celebrating Canada Day because it's something all Canadians can take pride in and we can all celebrate the day together. 

Clearly there are the fireworks and that's a big part of the excitement for me, but I also love to celebrate Canada Day by creating special themed foods for the holiday. The theme I choose is mostly just red and white creations, but I always try to sneak in a little surprise somewhere too. 

This year's Canada Day recipe is no exception to my rule. It's red and white all over and it definitely has a little surprise hidden inside. 

Anxious for a bite? Keep reading to find out how I made this deceptively easy treat!