Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Really Batty Pie

I tricked you didn't I? I bet you thought that yesterday's post was a rip off. I mean, it's night before Halloween and I made a Spring Vegetable Soup? What's Halloween-y about that?

Well that was the trick and now for the treat. Today's post is going to make you smile like a kid heading out to trick or treat. It's one of my favourite Halloween meal traditions and something that I am going to continue to make for my family for years to come.

Heres a hint: It's something that kids love and it's something that's as much fun to make as it is to eat. Why it's pizza of course!

But as it's a Halloween tradition, it's not just any pizza. It's Pumpkin Pizza! And I've kicked it up a notch for you this year too. Read on to find out all my tricks.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Spring Fling

When the weather's grey and dreary outside I love to enjoy a hot bowl of soup with toast on my sofa. It makes me feel cozy and I also get the added benefit of watching tv with dinner, something I don't always do!

Since the weather in Victoria BC has been exceptionally grey lately I knew not just any bowl of soup would do. It didn't long to come up with what would be a good fit because all I could think of was Spring and Spring made me want a Spring Vegetable Chicken Soup. Not only is this soup full of fresh spring-y veggies, but it's also a lovely spring green colour.

Deep down inside I know it's fall and my fling with spring will be short lived, but I think each bite pushes those thoughts further from my mind. I hope it works for you too!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Spooky Snack

Ok so maybe this brownie isn't spooky, but it is festive! I have shared my recipe for Chocolate and Banana Brownies before and now I've repurposed the recipe to fit the theme of Halloween.

Just whip up a batch of my Chocolate and Banana Brownies, but instead of using a cup of chocolate chips, use two boxes of Halloween themed Smarties or Reece's Pieces. I prefer the peanut buttery goodness of Reece's Pieces, but I have had trouble finding them recently. Luckily, there's nothing wrong with using Smarties!!

So what do you think? Will you be trying my Halloween edition of Chocolate and Banana Brownies?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pumpkin Eater

It's weird to think of pumpkin carving as anything other than an activity to make children smile, but pumpkin carving has existed for many, many years and it's origin many not be what you think it is.

Pumpkin carving started as a way to honour deceased loved ones and ward off evil spirits as people hollowed out beets, turnips, and gourds to create lanterns. But since pumpkins are bigger than turnips and other veggies, they eventually became the chosen vessel for the lanterns. 

I prefer to eat pumpkins, rather than carve them, but I still like to have a little fun. I think this meal lets me have my jack-o-lantern and eat it too. What do you think?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Scamper to the Table

I can never remember what Shrimp Scampi is. Whenever I hear those words I get a picture of a squirrel stuffing his mouth full of food for the winter and scampering around the yard to bury everything. And I know that's not what Shrimp Scampi is.

After spending a few minutes researching what Shrimp Scampi is, I realized it's a difficult meal to define. Scampi are actually small lobsters, or langoustines, so calling Shrimp Scampi by this name is actually just calling it Shrimp Big Shrimp. And that really doesn't define anything.

A little more research showed me that traditional recipes include shrimp sauteed with butter and garlic, maybe with some lemon juice and parsley on top. And the dish is usually served with pasta or rice.

My version is inspired by a healthy cooking recipe and includes artichokes and butternut squash instead of pasta or rice. It makes the dish lower in calories and carbohydrates, but is packs a lot of flavour.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mini Pie in the Sky

I'll be the first to admit that recently I may be using pumpkin seeds a little too often in my pumpkin desserts, but they are just so perfect that I can't help it!

Pumpkin seeds add crunch, decoration, and flavour to desserts. Plus, everyone knows as soon as they see them that the dessert hidden beneath the pumpkin seeds has to be pumpkin. 

Today's post is an easy to make pumpkin cookie decorated with (not so surprisingly) pumpkin seeds. I think they taste just like a pumpkin pie and now, since there's much less work, I'll get to enjoy one of my favourite flavours much more often!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fall Flavours

I just got Anna Olson's new cookbook, Best of Baking, and I am loving going through it. There are so many great recipes and tips in it and I'm learning a lot about baking. 

Even though Anna is a much better baker than I am, I still think that I have some great ideas that she didn't think of. One of them was to top her Pumpkin Muffins with Pumpkin Seeds before baking them. It adds a pretty decoration and a lovely texture to the muffins that otherwise wouldn't have been there. 

I made a couple of other small changes to Anna's recipe, just to use what I had on hand, but adding the pumpkin seeds was the definitely the best change I made! I don't know if Anna would like my addition to her muffins, but I sure think she would. Do you? 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Cold Nights = Warm Dinner

In Morocco, a stew that's cooked low and slow is called a tagine. Tagines are easy to make, use inexpensive cuts of meat, and make your whole house smell fantastic. I love them. 

However, a traditional tagine is cooked in a pot of the same name and I don't have a tagine. They're big earthenware pots with a lid that's curved up like a chimney to help cook the stew. I think my tagine would be better if it was cooked in the correct pot, but I really don't have room to store a pot that I'll use so infrequently. 

Luckily, this recipe is so easy to make that using any kind of covered oven safe pot with a lid will do. I bet even covering a baking dish with tin foil would do the trick. 

Read on for the recipe. I know you love it. 

Friday, 19 October 2012


Some holidays are all about fun and smiling and Halloween is definitely one of them for me. Halloween is for dressing up silly, overindulging on junk food, and having a great time.

To make the holiday extra special, I try and make meals really creative. Sometimes they're on the creepy side, sometimes they're orange and black, and sometimes they're just cute. I'll let you decide what today's post falls into yourself.

Today I am sharing a recipe from Life Made Delicious, Crescent Mummy Dogs. I didn't have any cheese slices on hand, so my version is slightly different, but both version are easy to make and taste delicious!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Creepy Crawly Dessert

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time for me to start celebrating Halloween. To me this means creating lots of creepy and cute Halloween themed snacks. 

Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing some of favourite, and also newly discovered, Halloween or pumpkin and squash treats. Get ready to trick or treat. 

My first treat is a delicious Pumpkin and Chocolate Swirl Cake with a White Chocolate Glaze. It would be beautiful served on it's own, but I decided to top each piece with a gummy spider. I think it adds a little extra fun into the holiday!

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Sweet Smell of Maple Bacon

The sweet smell of something other than turkey leftovers is fantastic a week after Thanksgiving, at least in my house where buying a turkey that weighs more than you can lift is a factor in choosing just the right one. 

And since I think that the sweet smell of maple bacon is always fantastic, I think you can guess how I'm feeling right about now. 

I do love peameal bacon, especially the peameal bacon sandwiches from the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, but I truly believe that maple bacon is a little more Canadian than its cornmeal rolled counterpart. 

Even if you don't agree with me, I think I might be able to persuade you in thinking that maple bacon is great and you need to try this Maple Bacon Macaroni. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Weekend Project

I have wanted to learn to make Char Siu Bau or BBQ Pork Buns for quite some time, but knowing that there were a lot of steps to the recipe and knowing I could buy them in the freezer section of my Asian market deterred me.

But since I've thought about making them for about five years, I figured it was finally time. And now having made them, I've figured out that they weren't so hard after all. 
And I've accomplished something I put my mind to! Maybe more than just accomplished it too, because they tasted spot on!
Find out my weekend project below, I used an article from the February 2011 issue of Fine Cooking to help me along the way. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Dessert into Dinner

Every year I have to get a little more creative to find ways to make my leftover turkey taste great and this year I've come up with a winner that's going to find it's way into my oven for years to come. 

I always make turkey pies, but I wasn't feeling like eating too much pastry after all the pumpkin pie I inhaled recently, so I decided to pull out a recipe for cobbler I used a few months ago. At first I thought that I was crazy thinking I could make a turkey pie with my sweet dessert topping. But then I thought about adding cheese to cobbler topping and of course I wouldn't use the sugary glaze, so why wouldn't it work? 

This dinner was a huge success! And it's is nothing like a dessert in way other than being delicious!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Pie in the Sky

I love to pile food high upon plates. I think it shows off all the little details of the dish and makes everything look beautiful. 

I especially love when I can show off details of a dish that look like they took ages to prepare, but they really took only mere moments of work. Today's recipe is one of those beautiful details with minimal work. 

I served a delicious pumpkin seed brittle on top of my traditional pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and I excited to tell you that there are only two little ingredients in it. Plus it's really easy to make!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Birds of a Feather

One of the things that's important to me when I am preparing my menu for Thanksgiving is for everything to look beautiful on my plates. 

I'm never going to be a person that spends 20 minutes fiddling with how everything is arranged on each plate and letting the food get cold. The taste and temperature is always more important to me than the look. But I do keep in mind the colours of the food I am going to be serving. 

Since the turkey I served has a gorgeous deep green sauce, I thought that my side dishes should offset the green by being orange. 

Carrots were an obvious choice, but I made mine special by making them into a middle eastern Carrot and Orange Salad. But making potatoes orange was slightly more challenging. And potatoes and Thanksgiving are as important to me as turkey and Thanksgiving, so I needed to make potatoes orange. What I came up with was a delicious Potato Cheddar Mash. 

Both my side dishes were orange, but more importantly, both were delicious!

Friday, 5 October 2012

It's Turkey Time!

Turkey and I are great friends, especially at Thanksgiving. They're relatively easy to make, they're a great bang for your buck when you count all the leftover dinners you can make, and they taste great. 

The only thing about turkeys I don't especially like is that eating them can be a bit on the boring side... You roast the bird, you serve it with cranberries, and that's that. 

Today's post shows a great sauce that will transform your turkey into something new, fresh, and fantastic. I know you'll look at the recipe with questioning eyes at first, but after a quick taste I think you'll really enjoy it.

Read on for a 2012 version of Thanksgiving turkey!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Well Rounded Side

Literally cous cous means "well rolled", "rounded", or "well formed". And I think the name speaks the truth because cous cous is one of the easiest and quickest side dishes to make and it tastes delicious when tossed with a variety of things.

Today's post is a side dish to go with my earlier post on Moroccan Turkey Burgers; a meal perfect for one or two to enjoy on Thanksgiving. No fuss, no mess, and great taste. 

I have to say that I know Luke wouldn't agree with me when I say that this meal is a perfect for a small group though. I am usually in charge of grocery shopping at our house, but when I was visiting my parents, Luke thought ahead and filled up the fridge with food. I was so pleased that he did that and then I saw a 21 pound turkey nestled between a bag of carrots and a carton of eggs... Just a few weeks before Thanksgiving... 

It turned out ok though. I got a practice run of new Thanksgiving dishes done. And Luke did the dishes! 

More on my practice run of Thanksgiving soon. Today I'm sharing my recipe for Artichoke, Cranberry, and Mint Cous Cous - a truly perfect side dish for a Thanksgiving meal for one or two!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


I can't believe it's already October! I'll miss summer, but I am thankful for each season I get to experience. And I excited to enjoy stews and casseroles again, see the leaves change colour, and share Thanksgiving with family and friends.

This week my posts are going to be about different kinds of Thanksgiving meals you could make. They'll include a new take on a turkey (complete with a crazy good sauce to use in place of cranberries), fresh sides, and a Moroccan inspired meal that would be great to enjoy on your own or with a friend.

Today's recipe is for a Moroccan Turkey Burgers. They may not look like much in the photo, but they are jam packed with flavour and, since I added some dried cranberries to the meat mixture, I think they're perfectly reminiscent of a big Thanksgiving feast. Read on for the recipe...