Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Coffee Cake

The other day my in house taste tester requested that I make a classic style coffee cake. He doesn’t often make requests so I quickly obliged!

I love how moist and tender this cake is. The crispy crumb topping is to die for.

What you need,

For the cake,
¼ cup butter, softened (I used salted so I left out the salt later on)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt (I left the salt out since I used salted butter)

For the crumb topping,
1¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup butter melted and cooled
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract

Start by heating your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

To make the topping, whisk the flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Add the vanilla and almond extract to the melted butter. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture with a fork until coarse crumbs form. You may need to use your hands to the crumbs evenly combined.
Set the crumb mixture aside.

For the cake, combine in a large bowl the butter and sugar. With a hand mixer beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined.  Add the sour cream and vanilla, mix to incorporate.
Add the flour, baking powder and soda as well as the cinnamon and salt if you are using it. Mix just until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Spread the batter into an even layer into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the crumb topping all over it. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cake completely before cutting and serving with your favorite coffee or tea!

A hot cup of coffee and a big slice of this wonderful coffee cake would be a perfect breakfast or afternoon snack!



Recipe adapted from Living Eventfully

Sunday, April 27, 2014

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

I am so excited that it is spring! I love so many things about this time of year, the flowers blooming, the grass turning green the birds tweeting, but mostly I love firing up the BBQ!

We have been trying to eat more salad over here. To make it more exciting I grilled up some chicken and tossed it on top.

What an amazing dinner, fresh and light but totally filling. I was trying to figure out what to serve on the side and a plain old piece of bread didn’t seem right. My sister suggested a simple cheese quesadilla. It was perfection! What a great side, I think my in house taste tester liked it more than the salad!

What you need,

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup of your favourite BBQ sauce + more for topping

6 cups of leaf or romaine lettuce, chopped
½ cup corn (I used frozen but if you can find fresh grill it up and cut it off the cob. That is what I wanted to do but no corn here yet!)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 small can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cucumber, chopped
½ cup bell pepper, I used yellow but whatever color you like
¼ cup sliced red onion
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
Ranch Dressing (I love Renee’s Buttermilk Ranch but whatever you like is fine)

Heat your BBQ to medium high heat. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and season well on both sides with salt and pepper.

Grill the chicken on each side for about 5-7 minutes until it is cooked through. Baste the chicken with the BBQ sauce when you flip it until it is well coated. Remove it from the grill and set it aside for 5 minutes before cutting it into bite sized pieces.

In a large bowl combine the lettuce, corn, tomatoes, black beans, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and cheese.
Dress the salad with the ranch dressing and toss to coat.

Pile some salad on your plate, top with some of the chicken and a few of the crushed tortilla chips. Drizzle with a little more bbq sauce if you like.

Serve with a couple wedges of a cheese quesadilla and a little salsa and sour cream.

What a wonderful spring dinner. I think we will be eating this meal a lot this summer! LOVED IT!



Recipe inspired by Iowa Girl Eats

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara

I know that I have made a gazillion pasta recipes on this blog but this Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara is one of the absolute best recipes EVER‼

It is super simple and I can’t even tell you how frickin’ awesome it tastes.
Make it today, I beg of you‼

What you need,

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
8 oz. white or brown mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
8 oz. linguine or any long pasta you like
4- 5 slices thick cut apple wood smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese + more for topping
Fresh cracked black pepper and salt to taste
1 heaping tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cauliflower florets and mushrooms with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast the veggies for 30-35 minutes or until they are tender and golden brown. I flipped the veggies over about halfway through.

When the veggies are about halfway done you can start cooking the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water when you drain the pasta and set aside.

In a large pan cook the bacon pieces until they are crisp. Drain off all but 2 teaspoon of the oil from the pan. Toss in the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and parsley.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the hot pasta to the pan. Then toss the egg mixture with the pasta, use the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce as needed, I used a little over half a cup.
Add the roasted veggies to the pasta and gently toss to coat.

Serve with a little extra sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Oh man this is so good I am drooling just thinking about it. I can tell this pasta is going to make it onto my regular rotation for sure!



Recipe adapted slightly from Closet Cooking

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easy Lemon and Raspberry Mini Trifles

What are you making for Easter dinner tonight? I decided on a full Turkey dinner with all the fixings! I can’t wait, especially for a leftover turkey bun at 8pm‼

If you need a quick easy dessert I have the perfect thing! These mini raspberry lemon trifles are amazing!

What you need,
makes 4

1 Angel Food cake (I used a store bought one)
½ cup lemon curd (I used store bought)
1 cup fresh raspberries
Whipped cream (the real stuff in a can)

1. Cut the angel food cake into small bite sized pieces. You only need about half the cake but you can just eat the rest while you are making the trifles, or at least that is what I did!
2. Place a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of each trifle bowl.
3. Top the cake with a few tablespoons of lemon curd.
4. Layer some raspberries over the curd.
5. Top the berries with another layer of cake pieces.
6. Add a layer of whipped cream to the top and garnish with another berry or two.
7. Stuff in your face!

See easy, almost too easy! You could get fancy and make your own Angel Food cake, lemon curd and whipped cream but you just spent all day making Easter dinner, why kill yourself.

These mini trifles are the perfect Easter dessert. They are light and full of flavor, the perfect treat after a big holiday meal.



Friday, April 18, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 73 - Fun Stuff from Capital Iron

Happy Good Friday Everyone!

I would normally be coloring Easter eggs today but we decided to do it last Sunday. My in house taste tester wanted potato salad for supper and I figured since I need hard boiled eggs for that we should just color early. I am glad we did, because I have had great lunches this week, egg salad sandwiches, Cobb salad and these amazing Muffin Melts!

Yesterday I discovered a new store, it is called Capital Iron. It is a Victoria based store and has been here since 1934. They only had one location downtown until last week when they opened a huge store right near my house.

it is amazing! They have everything from kitchen stuff, to garden things and camping gear plus a huge clothing section. Oh and, hot tubs, BBQ's and tons of outdoor furniture.

I found a few amazing things, of course!

1. 4 mini trifle bowls, I am so making something amazing in them for Easter dessert!

2. Classic Popsicle molds, I have been searching everywhere for these!

3. Two super cute bamboo bowls, aren't the colors great!

4. A cute stir stick that is silicon, but it looks like a paint stir stick. Plus this great scoop, I think it will be very handy.

I hope you the Easter bunny brings you all lots of chocolate.
Hoppy Easter!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Super Awesome Brownies

I have never been a huge brownie girl, or at least I wasn’t until I made and ate these brownies.

I found this recipe on Cookies and Cups; she calls them her kid’s favourite brownies. I don’t have kids but I can say with certainty that they are my favourite brownies‼

They are super quick to make, which could be dangerous if you have no self-control.
The secret is in the icing; you pour it onto the brownies while they are still warm.  What you get is a fudgy yet slightly cakey, super chocolaty,  but not to sweet, perfect friggin brownie!

What you need,

For the brownies,
1 cup butter, melted (I used salted butter, as usual)
½ cup cocoa powder
4 eggs
1½ tbsp. vanilla
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the icing,
¼ cup butter at room temperature
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup milk (you may need a little more I used 2 extra tablespoons)
2½ cups icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with tin foil. Spray it well with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the melted butter and cocoa powder until smooth and fully combined. I used an electric hand mixer it worked great.
Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
Stir in the sugar and then the flour until just combined.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the center is just set. Mine took about 18 minutes, don’t over bake them!

While the brownies bake make the icing. Beat the butter and cocoa powder together. Add the milk and powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in any extra milk a teaspoon at a time until you get a smooth fairly thick icing.

Let the brownies cool in the pan for 10 minutes then pour the icing over the warm brownies. Use an offset spatula to spread the icing into an even layer. The icing will melt into the brownie a bit, you want this to happen, that is where the magic is‼

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, before cutting into squares.

Store the brownies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Good luck you are so eating all of these before the day is done.

I think I ate 3 before I had to walk away. They are so so so good. I am now officially a brownie girl! Thank you Cookies and Cups, you ROCK‼



Recipe from Cookies and Cups

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thai Chicken and Soba Noodle Salad

And my obsession with Thai food continues…

This salad, oh this wonderful, lovely, tasty salad. It really made my heart sing.

I could seriously eat this every single day. My mouth is so happy right now, I can’t tell you.

What you need,

For the marinade,
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ lime, juiced
¼ tsp. salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the salad,
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
½ head savoy cabbage, chopped (you could use Napa cabbage also)
1 large cucumber, peeled, and sliced thinly
2 carrots, thinly sliced (I used a vegetable peeler)
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
5 green onions, chopped
½ bunch of parsley, chopped (if you like cilantro you could use that)
1 cup roasted salted peanuts

For the dressing,
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup Thai sweet red chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp. sugar
Salt/Pepper to taste

For the peanut sauce,
¼ cup peanut butter
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Thai sweet red chili sauce
1-2 tsp. sriracha sauce
2 tbsp. water

1 pkg. soba noodles, cooked according to package directions

In a large zip lock bag combine the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, parsley, lime, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and stash it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, overnight would be better.  You can cook the chicken in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or you can grill it if you like.
Let the chicken cool a bit then slice on a diagonal into thin slices.

To make the dressing whisk together the rice wine vinegar, sweet red chili sauce, sesame oil, sugar and salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl make the peanut sauce. Stir together the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, sweet red chili sauce, sriracha and water until smooth. You can use a little more water if you need to thin the sauce a bit.

In a very large bowl combine the romaine lettuce, savoy cabbage, cucumber, carrot, red pepper, onion and parsley.
Dress the salad with about ¾ of the dressing and toss well to coat.

When the noodles are cooked, run under cold water and drain well. Toss the noodles with the remaining dressing.

To assemble the salad but a pile of noodles on a large plate, top with the dressed salad. Top with some of the sliced chicken. Drizzle on the peanut sauce and sprinkle on some of the roasted salted peanuts.

Stuff this salad in your face! I really can’t express how happy this dinner made me. Just make it and then you will understand the pure joy!



Recipe adapted from Taste and Tell

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Short Rib Ragu over Tagliatelle Pasta

For weeks I had been craving short ribs, which is weird because I think I have only eaten them twice in my whole life.  I really wanted a rich meaty sauce over noodles. Short ribs seemed like the perfect thing.

These short ribs take some time but they are totally worth it! They were rich and creamy and wonderful.

What you need,

4 large short ribs, try to choose really meaty ones
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
½ cup boiling water
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. anchovy paste
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce (I used Hunt’s onion, herb and spices)
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
½ bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 piece Parmesan cheese rind (optional but it’s awesome, do it!)
3-4 cups low sodium beef stock
Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by placing the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and covering them with the boiling water. Let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large Dutch oven pot heat the oil over medium high heat.
Pat the short ribs dry with a paper towel and season on all sides with salt and pepper.
Brown the short ribs on each side until a nice dark crust forms, 3-4 minutes.
Remove the ribs from the pan and place on a plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan, and reduce the heat to medium.

 Add the onions, celery and carrot to the pan and sauté until tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Add the garlic and anchovy paste to the pan and stir around for 1 minute until fragrant.

Add the red wine to the pan and scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add a little salt and pepper at this point, about ½ teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

To the pan add the mushrooms and their liquid, beef stock, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, parsley and Parmesan rind. Stir well to combine. Add the ribs back to the pan and nestle them down in the sauce until they are covered.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pan and place it in the oven to cook for 3 to 3½ hours or until the meat starts to fall of the bone and is perfectly tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the ribs to a plate. They should be falling apart, this is a good thing!

Let the ribs cool for a few minutes while you fish the bay leaves and the Parmesan rind out of the sauce.

Pull the meat off the slightly cooled ribs and place in a bowl.

Put the whole bowl of rib meat and the whole pan of sauce in the fridge overnight.

Remove the sauce from the fridge and reheat over medium low heat for 1 hour or until it is warm and bubbling. Using an immersion blender puree the sauce until smooth. Add the rib meat back to the sauce and continue to heat for another 30 minutes. Season the salt with additional salt and pepper if needed. Toss in a handful of chopped fresh parsley right before serving.
While the sauce is simmering cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Serve the ragu over a pile of Tagliatelle pasta; grate some Parmesan cheese over the top.

I can’t even tell you how amazing this was. So hearty and rich, just what I had been craving.

Worth every bit of cooking time‼



Recipe slightly adapted from Closet Cooking

Friday, April 11, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 72 – Reese’s Easter Treats

I can’t believe that Easter is only a week away! Wasn’t it just Christmas?? We are gearing up to color some eggs and eat some ham and scalloped potatoes and of course stuff a ton of chocolate into our faces!

I thought I would share with you my Easter weakness... Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, in any form!
The mini eggs are great, the mini cups are awesome but the big eggs are the BEST‼

I am always looking for the perfect peanut butter to chocolate ratio and these eggs are perfection.

Let’s be real I will eat any kind of Easter chocolate but Reese is my all-time fav!

Happy weekend everyone!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Asian Style Lemon Chicken

I love Asian food, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai... I just can’t seem to get enough of it lately. I think it is the great blend of sweet and spicy and sour and salty, it is just the best!

This lemon chicken is fantastic! It is a tender and crispy and the sauce, good lord the sauce! It is all the things I love about Asian food!

What you need,

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the sauce,
½ cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
¼ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder

In a small pot combine all the ingredients for the sauce. Over medium heat bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 12-15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season well with salt and pepper. Working 1 piece at a time dredge each piece into the flour, shake off any excess then dip into the buttermilk, then back into the flour to get a good coating on each piece.

Working in batched cook the chicken in the hot oil until it is golden brown and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes, depending on how big your chicken is.

Transfer cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate.

Serve the chicken immediately. Drizzle the chicken with the lemon glaze.

A serving of rice and some spicy green beans make this a perfect dinner!

This was sooooo good, I can’t even tell you! One of my new favourites!



Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

A few months before I started blogging I discovered The Pioneer Woman’s website. I just loved it, real life, real food and funny.

I started making some of her recipes and they were so darned good.

As soon as I saw this soup I knew I needed to make it right away. While I was eating it I decided it was time to finally bite the bullet and start my very own little blog.

It is just that good!

What you need,

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp. olive oil
1½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup diced onion, I used purple but any color will do
¼ cup each diced red and green bell pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can (10oz.) Rotel (if you can’t find it, a can of diced tomatoes mixed with a can of chopped green chilies will work just fine)
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
4 cups hot water
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp. cornmeal
5 whole corn tortillas cut into 2-3 inch strips

Sour cream, diced avocado, diced red onion, Pico de Gallo, grated Monterey Jack cheese and fresh cilantro or parsley for garnishing.

Heat your oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and salt. Drizzle the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoons of the olive oil then sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of the spice mixture over each breast. Reserve the remaining spice mixture.
Bake the chicken on a sheet pan for 20-25 minutes until it is cooked through. Let it cool slightly then shred or chop the chicken into bite sized pieces, set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onions, red and green pepper and the garlic to the pot, cook stirring often until they veggies begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining spice mixture.  Add the chicken and stir to coat.

Pour in the Rotel, chicken stock, water, tomato paste and black beans. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the soup uncovered for 45 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with a little bit of water. Pour the mixture into the soup and stir to combine. Let the soup simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning at this point, add more salt if needed.

Turn of the heat and let the soup stand for 15 minutes. 5 minutes before serving stir in the tortilla strips.

Ladle the soup into bowls and then top with your choice of garnishes. It is really all about the garnishes, they really make the soup fabulous!

You are going to love this soup! It is hearty and warm and so full of flavor. It is great left over too!

I am so glad I made this soup and it spurred me to start this blog. I love eating so many new things and sharing them all with you!



Recipe slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Friday, April 4, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 71 – Hemp Hearts

I might be a little late to the party because I only discovered Hemp Hearts this week, but man I am so glad I did!

My in house taste tester picked up a bag at the grocery store the other day because he was curious about them. I was talking to my sister that same day and she told me they are great and she eats them all the time.

They have a ton of protein in them and a lot of other vitamins and minerals. You can check out Wikipedia for more info cause I am no nutrition expert.

They have a really light kind of nutty grassy flavor, they are good on their own, or you could blend them into a smoothie.

How about sprinkle them on a salad.

Or sprinkle them on some yogurt and banana. This is my new favourite snack!

If you haven’t tried them pick some up and give them a whirl!

Have a fantastic weekend‼


By the way the Manitoba Hemp Heart people don’t know who I am; they are just my current obsession!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Homemade Funfetti Cake

When I was a kid my favourite birthday cake was an angel food, with ice cream and strawberries. Until the age of 10 it was always a funfetti angel food, I loved it! 

I decided I needed a little funfetti in my life. This cake was phenomenal! So moist and sweet, and the buttercream icing, to die for!

What you need,

1 & 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup butter, melted (I used salted butter and skipped the salt)
1 large egg
¼ cup sour cream
¾ cup milk (I used 1% because that is what I had)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup sprinkles (you want to use the longer sprinkles here not the little round nonpareils, the color will bleed too much if you use those!)

For the buttercream icing,

1 cup butter at room temperature (I used salted butter, as usual. If you use unsalted you may need to add a pinch of salt, give it a taste and you decide)
3-4 cups icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
¼ cup heavy cream
2½ tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with non-stick spray (I like the Pam for baking with flour in it!) and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt if you are using it.

Melt the butter in a large microwavable bowl. Using an electric hand mixer blend the sugars into the butter, the mixture may be a bit grainy, but that is ok.

Beat in the egg, sour cream, milk and vanilla until well incorporated.
Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until no lumps remain. The batter will be thick. Carefully fold in the sprinkles, do not over mix or the color will bleed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and give it a tap or two on the counter to get out any air bubbles.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. If you find the cake is getting too brown you can cover it loosely with foil.

Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the butter on medium speed for 3 full minutes until it is smooth and creamy. Add in 3 cups of the icing sugar, the cream and the vanilla and continue to beat on high for another 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Add in more of the icing sugar if the mixture looks too thin. I used 3½ cups total.
If the icing is too thick add a little drizzle of the cream and beat it until smooth.

Frost the cake once it is fully cooked and decorate with MORE sprinkles!

Keep any leftovers in the fridge, covered for up to 5 days.

This cake made me feel like a kid again. It tasted great and it is super cute!