Sunday, 29 January 2012

Monte Cristo

There are ham sandwiches.  Then, there are ham/french toast/grilled cheese SANDWICHES.  Huh?  Is this breakfast or lunch?  Simple, it's both.  Introducing, the Monte Cristo.  As far as sandwiches are concerned, this is a favourite.  Sweet and savoury, this hits all the marks as far as my palette is concerned. 
I'm officially in love.  Can you be in love with a sandwich?  Meh, at least J seems to share my enthusiasm.  It's no wonder we found each other.  We are a match made in sandwich heaven.  Score.

Monte Cristo

1 egg
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp milk
4 slices whole wheat bread
4 slices deli ham
4 slices deli turkey
2 slices swiss cheese
1 tsp honey
1 tsp mustard

strawberry preserves
powdered sugar for dusting

In a shallow pie plate whisk together egg, egg whites and milk.  Set aside.
In separate bowl mix together honey and mustard. 
To assemble: spread 1 tsp of mustard mixture onto a slice of bread.  Top with 2 slices of turkey, 2 slices of ham, 1 slice cheese and second piece of bread.  Transfer sandwich to egg mixture and coat both sides.  In a non-stick pan coated lightly with cooking spray, transfer sandwich.  Cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat.  Flip and cook on other side for 3 minutes.
Remove from pan.  Top with powdered sugar and serve with strawberry preserves.  Repeat for second sandwich.

yields: 2 sandwiches

Banana Nut Steel Cut Oatmeal

Sunday's are my favourite morning of the week.  They're relaxed in nature and I make sure to keep it that way.  
Saturday's are errand driven, Sunday's are for family time.  
This morning we had one of my favourites.  Steel cut oats.  Although time consuming, nothing quite beats them.  So while they simmer away on the stove top and the house is quiet with sleeping dogs, husbands and children.  This leaves me time for my newest obsession.  Pinterest.  Coffee in hand and browsing images for fashion ideas, artwork and DIY crafts.  
Good Morning.

Banana Nut Steel Cut Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 banana, mashed
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

chopped walnuts and milk for serving

In large saucepan bring water to a boil.  Slowly stir in oats.  Allow to thicken, approximately 5 minutes, reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered for 35 minutes stirring occasionally.
Stir in banana, brown sugar, peanut butter.  Heat thru.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Divide among 4 bowls.  Top with additional brown sugar and walnuts if desired.  Serve with milk.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Savoury Oatmeal | Cheese & Eggs

When you think oatmeal at breakfast, I'm sure only 'sweet' fixings come to mind.  Fruit, maple syrup, a little brown sugar perhaps.  Well this morning, I'm throwing a wrench into things and introducing you to savoury oatmeal.  Think eggs and cheese, on a bed of oats.  Intrigued?  This is a delicious protein packed breakfast that is sure to keep you going until lunch.   Or at the very least till 10am, when the mid-morning snack attack happens.
Sweet or savoury....I love you Quaker!

Cheesy-Eggie Oatmeal

1/3 cup Quaker quick oats
2/3 cup no-salt added broth
1 egg
1 Tbsp grated cheddar cheese
red pepper flakes

In saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add oats, reduce heat, and cook stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes.  Stir in cheese and red pepper flakes.  Remove from heat.
While oats are cooking, heat a small nonstick skillet. Add egg, cooking over medium heat until white is set, while yolk is still runny.  Approximately 2-3 minutes.
Serve oatmeal in a bowl, top with egg.  Sprinkle with pepper and parsley.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Sour Cream Pancakes

It's official, I've neglected my pancake duty.
30 days.  30 days without pancakes.  Huh?  How is that even possible?  Clearly time is going by at too rapid a pace, that I'm unaware I've been deprived for a month.  Unintentionally, deprived.  New record set.
This makes today as good as time as ever to get back on the 'pancake wagon' and dig in to a delicious stack.
The leftover sour cream from our Mexican themed dinner party last week, will prove to be useful after all.  Sour Cream Pancakes it is. And since J is out at a hockey game for business (or so he says,) that makes tonight the perfect opportunity to enjoy breakfast @ dinner.  Oh, and of course the best part, more for me!  Tonight is a win, at least in my books.  As far as our beloved Calgary Flames?  Well, you can't win them all...

Sour Cream Pancakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In separate bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients until just moistened. 
Spoon batter in 1/4 cup portions onto lightly oiled griddle or pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbles form on top and underside is golden. Flip and cook for 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with syrup.

Yields: approximately 8 pancakes

Monday, 23 January 2012

S'more Sweets...

Who doesn't love the combination of melted marshmallows with cereal?  There is a reason Rice Krispie Squares are a favourite among kids, big and small alike.  I love playing around with different cereals and mix in options to give some variety to these sweets.  My favourite being cinnamon toast crunch.  Oh those sweet, sweet swirls of cinnamon sugar...
Today, I decided to give it a go with Golden Grahams, playing up the campfire snack, s'mores.  Not only are there melted marshmallows and chocolate holding these sweets together, they can also found in their 'wholeness' wedged in between layers and layers of graham cereal.   Consider this one more way to get your s'more campfire required! 

S'more Cereal Bars

1/4 cup butter
1 - 250g pkg marshmallows
1 cup mini marshmallows
3/4 cup chocolate chips, divided
5 cups golden grahams cereal

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add 1 package of marshmallows and 1/4 cup chocolate chips.  Stir until completely melted.
Stir in cereal until well coated.  Add in 1 cup of marshmallows and remaining chocolate chips.  Using lightly buttered spatula, press into 8 x 8 buttered pan. 
Allow mixture to cool slightly, cut into 16 squares.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

i grew up with the notion that there are two certainties in life; death & taxes.  i'd like to revise this, and add a third; the 3pm snack attack/hunger pangs.  
 a given.  
today's remedy is a peanut butter and yogurt dip.
the perfect combination of protein (pb and yogurt) and fiber (apples), which should no doubt hold me over until dinner. 
officially satisfied. 

PB Yogurt Dip

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 Tbsp confectioners sugar

apples, animal crackers & mini marshmallows for serving

in a small bowl combine the above 3 ingredients and blend well.  Chill covered in fridge for 15 minutes.  
serve with cut up fruit, animal crackers & mini marshmallows

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Fried Bananas

Oh the weather outside is frightful...
...seriously, the weather outside is brutal, not frightful, BRUTAL!  Is Mother Nature is in a funk?  Perhaps she just woke up on the wrong side of the bed...3 mornings in row?  Snap out of it already.
It could be worse I'm sure.  At least I'm employed by 3 & 2 year olds, which means staying indoors and avoiding -40 temps all together.  Boom.  I know you're jealous.
Given our less than perfect weather, last night made for the perfect Mexican themed dinner party.  A build-your-own fajita bar, complete with all the fixings.  Guacamole, refried beans, chips & salsa.  Delicious, this should become a weekly occurrence.  If nothing else, at least dinner resembled Mexico.  The ice build up on my windows tells me we aren't even close to the equator, but hey, guacamole has the ability to fix any problem.  Right?
In keeping with the Mexican theme, dessert featured fried bananas and ice cream.  Mmm.  All thanks to the creative mind of my cousin and dinner guest 'AS'.  If you've never had fried bananas you are missing out.  You need to try them ASAP.  In fact I'm almost 100% certain that I never want a plain banana again.  I'm hanging up my skinny jeans and going back for seconds.

Fried Bananas w/ Vanilla Ice Cream

2 bananas, sliced (1/4-1/2" thick rounds)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 cups vanilla ice cream

In large skillet melt butter over medium heat.  Add in brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Allow to sugar mixture to dissolve into butter.  Add in cut bananas and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Place 1/2 cup of ice cream into 4 ramekins and divide banana mixture equally over top.  Sprinkle cinnamon over top of ice cream.  Enjoy! 

Serves: 4

**note: bananas should be a little on the firm side, you don't want to use ripe ones.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Strawberry Avocado Smoothie

This week is going to be brutally cold in YYC.  Highs in the -20's, windchills making it seem like -30.  Brrr...time to breakout the long underwear, and start wearing 65 layers of clothes.
The perfect antidote to a cold morning and the fact that I will be a human ice cube for the next 5 days, is of course a smoothie. Hmmm, this doesn't seem right.  A cold drink, after getting out of a warm bed?  I make only one exception when it comes to smoothies and cold temperatures.  The exception of course being my avocado smoothie.  Creamy, filling and a delicious start to the week ahead.  

Happy Monday!

Strawberry-Avocado Smoothie

1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
5 strawberries
1 cup almond milk
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp flax

Combine all the ingredients above in food processor except ice.   Process till smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.  Add in ice.  Blend further.  Enjoy.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Brownies & A Chocolate Bar

Last night we celebrated my momma's b-day.   A night of sushi take-out, a sweet dessert and movie snacks made it a perfect night.
Since my mom was the birthday girl, I made a special treat that I knew would appeal especially to her.  Reese Peanut Butter Cup stuffed brownies.  I can feel my pants getting tighter just thinking about these...
There is no question that my mom's favourite chocolate bar is the pb cup, and really can you blame her? They are best frozen, which also means there is no safe place to hide them.  Oh the delimma.  I knew I wanted to incorporate the pb cup into her birthday treat, so I decided to pair it up with my favourite brownie recipe and call it a day.
These were delicious.  HBD Mom!  Love ya!!

PB Cup Stuffed Brownies

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
12 reese peanut butter cups (4 chocolate bars)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.
In large bowl combine melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Beat in cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder.
Pour a little batter over bottom of pan.  Arrange 12 pb cubs along bottom of pan, cutting to fit.  Top with remaining brownie batter and smooth out.  Bake for 28-33 minutes.  Do not overbake.
Allow to cool in the pan before cutting.  Enjoy!

brownie recipe adapted from

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Seconds Please.

I'll be honest with you. Ever since I made my double strawberry and goat cheese sandwich I can't stop thinking about it.  Like ridiculously thinking about it.  It consumes my thoughts and fills my dreams.  Which prior to, were filled with movie stars and other various celebrities.  Not the case anymore.  Instead I'm dreaming about fruit and cheese.  What gives?
Given last night was our monthly book club meeting, I took this opportunity to make a version of that sandwich in appetizer form.  Hello, Bruschetta!  Move over tomato, it's time for a sweet substitute (literally).
Fingers crossed this will tame the dreams once and for all.  I want Justin Timberlake and Matt Czuchry back!


Strawberry & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

1 baguette
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp strawberry jam
4 oz goat cheese, softened.
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced thin

olive oil for brushing

In small bowl, whisk together jam and vinegar. Pour over strawberries and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Cut baguette on diagonal. Top each slice with a little olive oil and place under broiler till lightly toasted.  Repeat on other side. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Top each piece of bread with goat cheese, strawberries and basil.

Friday, 13 January 2012

No Bake Cookies | Vanilla Maple Almond Butter

This week I ended up restocking my nut butter supply.  I ran out prior to Christmas.  All the hustle and bustle of mini vacations and holiday baking, prevented me from finding the time to make a batch.  Now that I have finally settled back into a routine of sorts, I can fill my fridge with a family favourite. Oh how I've missed you nut butter. Guess a double batch is in order.  A make up of sorts.  So, since I've got lots to spare, it's only fitting I use some of it for cookies. Seems about right.   Now, only one question remains.  What lucky cookie is going to be jazzed up with the addition of this delicious spread? about no-bake cookies.   I took my regular recipe, subbed out the coconut, and in it's place added vanilla maple almond butter.  One more delicious way to use this butter.   Yummy!

Vanilla Maple Almond Butter No Bake Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vanilla maple almond butter
3 cups rolled quick oats
1 tsp vanilla

In medium saucepan, mix together butter, sugar, milk, salt and cocoa. Bring to a boil. Add in vanilla and peanut butter.
Remove sugar mixture from heat and stir in oats. Mix well. Spoon cookies (1 1/2 Tbsp) onto wax/parchment paper. Allow to cool.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Sprouts 2.0

The first thing you should know about me, I love vegetables.  All vegetables.  
The second thing you should know about me, I take particular likings to the vegetables crowned 'the most hated.'  What can I say, I always root for the underdog.  Any guesses to the under appreciated vegetable of choice?
...The Brussels Sprout...
These mini cabbages take the top spot on the disliked food podium.  Why?  I couldn't tell you.  My household loves them, including toddlers.  My only guess is this bad reputation lies solely in the preparation method.  Steaming or boiling can work for most veggies, but not sprouts.  Absolutely not.  They are bland and mushy, and that's just unappealing.  Solution?  Roast 'em.  Everything's better roasted.

After the success of my sugared sprouts, I thought I'd try my hand at brussel sprouts version 2.0 - savoury style.

And in case you are keeping score, I'm 2 for 2.  Brussels sprout success!

Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 lb Brussels Sprouts, halved
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. 
In small bowl combine mustard, oil, sugar, salt and pepper.  Add in sprouts, tossing to coat.
Transfer to foil lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray, and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning throughout.
Remove from oven and transfer to serving dish.

Serves 4

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

You Put The Lime In The Coconut...

Don't let the fact that it's January and cold, stop you from feeling tropical.  In fact, the quickest and cheapest way to get a dose of the Caribbean is through cooking.  Two flavours in particular scream vacation.  Any guesses?  And no rum isn't one of them.  It's lime & coconut of course.  Oh how I'd love to be soaking up some rays right about now. Barefoot on a white sand beach, trashy magazines in hand, and working on my tan.  Not the case today.  At least I've got a little slice of the tropics to go along with my flannel PJ's.  Happy Morning to me!

Lime & Coconut Loaf w/ Lime Glaze

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lime zest
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup yogurt (lime, strawberry, vanilla - you choose)
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp lime zest

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter 9-by-5 inch loaf pan.
Mix first six ingredients in large bowl. Add in coconut. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, applesauce, yogurt, lime juice and vanilla.  Fold into the dry mixture until just combined.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool 30 minutes in pan on a rack, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.
To make glaze:  whisk all the ingredients together.  Pour onto cooled bread.  Allow to set for 15-20 minutes.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Sugared Sprouts

My sister has been raving about the roasted Brussels sprouts she had at a local restaurant in YYC.  She equates them to sugar dredged, vegetable heaven, and if that doesn't make you want to eat your greens, I'm not sure what else will.  Mini cabbages amplified!  

You're welcome JM.
    -signed, your favourite (albeit only) sister.  LOVE.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar & Pine Nuts

1 lb baby brussels sprouts (or regular sprouts halved)
1 Tbsp butter melted
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 375F. 
In small bowl combine butter, vinegar, sugar, and syrup.  Add in sprouts, tossing to coat.
Transfer to foil lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray, and roast for 35-40 minutes or until crispy, turning throughout.
Remove from oven and transfer to serving bowl.  Top with pine nuts.

Serves: 4

Monday, 9 January 2012

Eggs. They're What's For Dinner!

Happy Meatless Monday!  We tend to go meat free @ least once a week, and not necessarily on Mondays.  Since we are celebrating MM tonight, it's important that I find an alternate protein source to make up for the lack of chicken and fish on our plates.  Tonight, it's coming to you in the form of eggs.  Normally, when we have eggs for dinner, it's all about breakfast-y type foods.  Hash, frittatas, or french toast would be on the menu.  Tonight we are keeping breakfast out of it, and instead opting for a soup and sandwich evening.
I can think of no better sandwich, than the classic egg salad.  I'm pretty sure I lived off of these in post secondary.  Welcome back egg salad, oh how I missed you.  Instead of opting for my standby.  I thought I would jazz up this sandwich with a little avocado.  Not only did this provide a wonderful creaminess to the sandwich, but along with it came some serious flavour.  Bam!  Dinner is served!

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

8 hard boiled eggs (minus 2 yolks)
2 avocados, pitted
2 Tbsp plain greek yogurt
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 cups mixed greens, loosely packed
8 slices rye bread
salt & pepper

Combine eggs, avocado, yogurt, mustard, salt and pepper, in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times, scraping the bowl as necessary.  Continue pulsing until desired consistency is reached (chunky vs. smooth)
Divide mixture among 4 slices of bread.  Top each with mixed greens, 2 slices of tomato and remaining slice of bread.

Serves: 4
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A Salad Rolled Up

Since returning from SF last month, my husband has been dreaming of one thing.  The salad rolls w/ peanut sauce that we had @ The Slanted Door.  Truthfully, I have been dreaming of them just as much as him, in addition to everything else we ate.  Best food trip ever!

I'm convinced that we need to spend one weekend in YYC and have our very own local food adventure.  Breakfast @ a cute diner, lunch @ a sushi place, followed by a little Italian.  Repeat on Sunday.   Anyone want to come along in our foodie quest?

Okay, back to the rolls.  Salad rolls are a favourite of ours.  They are so fresh, and make up the perfect appetizer or light lunch.  Mmmm.  Although it's easier to order them from a Vietnamese restaurant.  I have to admit it was fun making these at home too.  Side by side, with my partner in crime.  Clearly we need a little more practise in the rolling department.  Oh well, guess that just means we need to make these more often.  Oh, it also means we can consume more of our favourite peanut sauce.  Tough life I know.

Cheers to salad  rolled up!  Just one other way to get your veggie intake!

Salad Rolls

8 rice paper wrappers
1 cup rice vermicelli
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 cup carrots, julienned
8 mint leaves, halved
16 frozen cooked shrimp, peeled

peanut sauce for serving

Defrost shrimp according to package directions.
In large bowl place dried vermicelli, cover with very hot water.  Let stand for 10-15 minutes covered.
For wrappers:   Soak the rice paper in warm water for about 5 seconds.  Lay it out on a flat platter for 30 seconds till soft and pliable.  Line 2 shrimp along bottom third of round.  Top with mint, carrot, noodles and lettuce.
Fold sides of wrapper over filling and roll from bottom up, to encase filling.  Wrap up into a roll and seal by dipping finger in water and rubbing it over the seam.  Repeat with remaining rolls.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Serve with peanut sauce.

Yields: 8 rolls

The Best Sauce Ever

Peanut sauce is equivalent to liquid gold in our house.  It's one of those things that we long for, dream about, and salivate over.   Ahhh.  Drool.
This sauce pretty much elevates anything you serve along side it.  From salad rolls, to chicken satay, and even cold noodles.  It's delicious and deserves props!  Go ahead, I dare you not to like this.
Is it wrong that I just want to eat this by the spoonful?  Nah, didn't think so...

Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sriracha sauce

In medium bowl combine all of the ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

What's A Birthday Without Cake

2012 marks the year my high school friends and I, say goodbye to our twenties and welcome in the thirties.  Our twenties held some wonderful times.  We saw some get hitched, have babies, get degrees, and see the world.  All the while, remaining as close as we did back @ school. 

It's been stated (probably by a 30-something), that thirty is the new twenty (oh and apparently 40 is the new 30, and so on.)  Phew, that should make the transition a little easier, right?  Ready or not, six months from now, break out the confetti, and get your party hats ready.  It's the big 3-0 for this blogger!  But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

Instead let's focus on the present.  Last night we celebrated "A's" birthday.  The 1st of our high school friends to turn 30.  What better way to mark this special occasion, than with a surprise party courtesy of her husband, and best friend 'M.'  All birthdays should be so fun, great job guys!  It was a night full of friends, laughs, and bevvies.  All in celebration of a great girl and her big day.  Happiest of birthdays 'A'

What's a birthday without cake?  Birthdays = C-A-K-E!  The clincher to any good cake lies in the frosting which has the ability to either make or break it.  Talk about pressure.  Not wanting to fall short on this occasion, I turned to Magnolia Bakery in NYC for their famous buttercream recipe.
Disclaimer:  I have never been to New York, nor have I eaten @ Magnolia Bakery.  Does anyone want to take me?  Kidding.  Well, sort of...
Anyways, despite having never visited, I have managed to live vicariously through the Food Network and various celebrities.  So I know, that the place to go with the vintage charm and a step back in time for desserts is MB.  Here it is...Vanilla Buttercream Icing, courtesy of the experts & NYC. 
Disclaimer #2: I'm convinced you could spread this on anything.  In fact I'm tempted to use my leftovers in my oatmeal this morning.  Hmmm...
Enjoy!  HBD.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing

courtesy: Magnolia Bakery

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6-8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of sugar, followed by the milk and vanilla.  On medium speed, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.  Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.  If desired, add a few drops of food colouring and mix thoroughly.

Note: use and store the icing at room temperature, icing will set if chilled.   Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Yield:  1 (9-inch) 3 layer cake
Icing Colour Chart

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Salad Turned Sandwich

Today for lunch I decided to take one of my favourite salads and put it between two slices of buttery grilled bread.  Thursday just became better awesome!  Not only are we only 1 day away from the weekend, but I just devoured quite possibly my favourite sandwich yet.  This will no doubt become apart of my weekly lunch rotation.
There is a reason grilled cheese is a Canadian favourite.  Buttery bread, gooey cheese.  This sandwich is now right up there in the rankings with the jalapeno grilled cheese, and the apple pie grilled cheese that we frequent in our house.
Question.  Can you buy stock in goat cheese?  At the rate I'm eating it, this could set me up for a great retirement!


Double Strawberry & Goat Cheese Sandwich

2 slices bread
2 tsp strawberry jam
3 strawberries, sliced
8 baby spinach leaves, stems removed
1 1/2 Tbsp goat cheese, softened

Preheat non-stick skillet.
Butter each slice of bread and assemble sandwich.  Grill till golden brown in colour and cheese has warmed.

...if you are a goat cheese and strawberry lover (like me), you may feel the need to make another sandwich after you down the first one.  I fully endorse this action!
Happy Grilled Cheese Day!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Chocolate & Cranberries

Ever since I made cranberry sauce for Christmas dinner, I've been on sort of a cranberry fix lately.  I add them to my oatmeal in the mornings, to my smoothies, and now to a delicious scone, complete with chocolate.  Hello!

My last scone recipe was a ways back, so I figured I was well overdue to take a stab at a new one.  Oh happy day!  Enjoy. 

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips

sugar & milk for brushing

Preheat oven to 375.  Line baking sheets with silpat mat or parchment paper.  Set aside.
In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Cut in butter.
In separate bowl combine buttermilk and egg.  Add to dry ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Fold in chocolate chips and cranberries.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead 5-10 times.
Pat out to form a circle 1 1/4-inch thick, cut into 8 equal segments.
In small bowl combine a few teaspoons of sugar with a couple drops of milk.
Transfer scones to prepared baking sheets.  Brush top of each scone with milk and sugar mixture.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.
Serve & eat right away.  Mmmm.

Yields: 8
adapted from my Dark Chocolate Orange Scones recipe

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A Green Smoothie for a New Year

Well it's Day 3 of 2012.  More specifically it's Day 3 of January in YYC, and it's going to be 8 degrees today, 14 degrees tomorrow.  For someone that isn't a fan of the cold this makes me happy.  So happy in fact I think I'll celebrate with a smoothie.  Temperatures like these are basically 'spring like' anyway. 
This breakfast is the perfect fresh start from all the holiday indulgences that occurred over the past couple weeks.  A powerhouse full of vitamin C, calcium, and fiber.   Nutritious & delicious!

Cran-Apple Green Smoothie

1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1 gala apple, cored
2 cups spinach
1 Tbsp Flax
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor except for ice.  Starting with flax and spinach.  Top with fruit, milk and yogurt.  Blend for 1 minute.  Add ice and blend further.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

chicken & waffle sliders

summer is over. 
labour day came & went, and today the kids went back to school. 

i'm now the proud mom of a first & third grader, and the new owner of 8 hours kid-free time; to do what with i'm not sure?
lunch date anyone?
gym date anyone?
hike date anyone?

like every year on the first day of school i make something special.  usually pancakes or waffles driven, and this year was no exception.  
i decided to make a twist on one of my favourite breakfast dishes. chicken and waffles.  
but in sliders form.  
little bites, perfect for little mouths.
also did you know how well sriracha sauce tastes with maple syrup.  game changer.

chicken & waffle sliders

frozen mini eggo waffles
frozen chicken nuggets.
sriracha sauce
maple syrup

cook chicken nuggets per package instructions.
toast waffles.  break apart into individual mini waffles.
top each waffle with a chicken nugget and sriracha sauce.  place another waffle on top and insert a toothpick to hold together.  drizzle in maple syrup.  repeat with remaining nuggets and waffles.
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