Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Corn & Watermelon

Corn on the cob is a staple in our house during the summer months.  We usually opt to eat it grilled along with a little butter.  Really, is there anything better?  Didn't think so.
In an effort to change things up (and keep my family on their toes), I stumbled across this delicious recipe from my girl Paula Deen and knew it would make a perfect side for our BBQ.  Best part, I still have a couple leftover ears to grill up the old fashioned way.  Double win!

Simple ingredients.
Perfectly refreshing.





Sweet Corn Salad w/ Watermelon


Ingredients:

4 cups watermelon, cubed
4 ears sweet corn, grilled and kernels cut off the cob
1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
sea salt & pepper to taste


Method:

In medium bowl combine all the ingredients above.  Toss well.  Serve Chilled.

Serves 4
Slightly adapted from Paula Deen


Sunday, 29 July 2012

A Marriage of Two Treats

I'm confident that you could mix Oreo cookies into any other treat (or even dirt) and you'd have success.


Exhibit A - Cookies 'n Cream Cookies
Exhibit B - Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Exhibit C - Cookies 'n Cream Popcorn.


We may as well add an Exhibit D.


Oreo + Rice Krispie Squares.  I've met my match.  Heeeyyyyy!





Cookies 'n Cream Rice Krispie Treats



Ingredients:

6 cups rice krispies cereal
15 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
35 jumbo marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla


Method:

In large bowl combine rice krispies cereal with chopped Oreos.  Set aside.
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.
Stir in vanilla.
Transfer marshmallow mixture to bowl with rice krispies.  Stir until well coated.
Using a lightly buttered spatula, press mixture into a buttered 13 x 9" pan.
Allow mixture to cool slightly before cutting into squares.


Enjoy.



roasted tomato crostini w/ ricotta cheese

I have a love-hate relationship with Sundays.

I love how relaxing they are.
I hate that it means tomorrow is Monday.  Boo.

What's a girl to do?
Eat and lounge of course.
A little bread, some ricotta cheese, roasted tomatoes, oh and some Olympic volleyball action.  A perfect afternoon, spent alongside mr handsome.  cheers.



Roasted Tomato Crostini w/ Ricotta Cheese


Ingredients:
1 french baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
sea salt & pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar

Method:
Preheat oven to 400F.  Line baking sheet with foil and set aside.
Toss tomatoes with oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 15-20 minutes, till tomato skins burst.
To assemble:  Spread toasted baguette with ricotta cheese, top with tomato mixture, basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Serve immediately.

Simple Bean Salad

Summer and salad pretty much go hand in hand.


I love bean salads.  Protein - check.  Fibre - check.  Tasty - double check.
This one is sure to please omnivores and carnivores alike.  Happy Summer!









White Bean Salad w/ Tomato & Basil



Ingredients:

1 - 19oz can no-salt added white beans, drained & rinsed
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped fine
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt & pepper


Method:

In medium sized bowl.  Combine beans all ingredients above.  Toss well.
Allow to sit for 30 - 60 minutes before serving.


Serves: 4
Adapted from my Tuna w/ White Beans & Avocado

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Choco-Nana 'Ice Cream'


My healthy "ice cream" is quickly becoming our go-to after dinner treat.  We are teetering on the verge of obsession now, yikes.  Although the Peanut Butter & Banana ice cream is delicious and healthy and perfect.   I think I've found a new flavour favourite.  Chocolate Banana.  Oh my, I don't think I ever want to have a regular banana again.  I only want to eat them in frozen form from here out.

Now you'll have to excuse me while I get my spoon and do some damage on this bowl.
See ya!



Choco-Nana 'Ice Cream'

Ingredients:
2 large bananas
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 Tbsp icing sugar

Method:
Peel and slice bananas in half crosswise, then lengthwise.  Freeze until firm 2-3 hours.
Place frozen bananas in food processor and whirl till creamy.  Add in icing sugar and cocoa powder, whirl till smooth and blended.
Serve immediately as soft serve or re-freeze covered for a couple hours to achieve a harder ice cream.

Yields: 1-2 servings

Friday, 27 July 2012

Diner Deluxe | Maple Fried Oatmeal w/ Vanilla Bean Cream & Lemon Curd

Typically, whenever I go out for breakfast, the last thing I think about ordering is oatmeal.  Usually my go-to's are pancakes or Eggs Benedict.  This is nothing new/shocking/or otherwise surprising, I'm sure.  However I make one exception...

Breakfast @ Diner Deluxe.  
(located @ 804 Edmonton Trail NE in Calgary, Alberta)



Maple Fried Oatmeal w/ Vanilla Bean Cream & Lemon Curd.  

Oh. My. Word.  Deliciousness.  

Enjoy, Happy Friday!  (or rather, Happy Saturday Morning.  breakfast date J?  pretty please.)



Maple Fried Oatmeal w/ Vanilla Bean Cream & Lemon Curd


Ingredients:

Lemon Curd

  • cup sugar
  • eggs
  • egg yolks
  • lemons, zest and juice
  • 1/2 pound cold butter, cubed

Vanilla Cream

  • whole vanilla bean
  • tablespoons good quality vanilla extract
  • cup apple juice
  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • litre whipping cream

Oatmeal Squares

  • tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • cups rolled oats
  • tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Assembly

  • cup real maple syrup
  • litre Vanilla Cream recipe
  • cup Lemon Curd recipe


Method:

Lemon Curd

  1. Over a double boiler, combine sugar, whole eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice and whisk until ‘ribbon’ stage.
  2. Slowly add the cold butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking until mixture is smooth and cool.
  3. Refrigerate until needed.

Vanilla Cream

  1. Split and scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add to apple juice, lemon juice and maple syrup.
  2. Add vanilla pod and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes.
  3. Add in whipping cream and return to a gentle simmer. Do not boil or cream will split.
  4. Reduce by half. (Approximately 20 minutes)
  5. Cool and refrigerate until needed.

Oatmeal Squares

  1. Bring 1 litre of water to a boil adding 2 tablespoons of salt.
  2. Add brown sugar, oats, butter, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  3. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until oats are cooked through. (Approximately 7 - 10 minutes)
  4. Add dried cranberries, and spread out on a 6 x 9-inch baking sheet that has been lined with parchment or lightly greased with butter.
  5. Allow to cool and then slice into eight equal squares.

Assembly

  1. Gently fry the squares of oatmeal in a non-stick pan with some butter.
  2. When lightly browned, flip the oatmeal squares and add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, ½ cup vanilla cream, and top with 1 tablespoon lemon curd.
  3. Repeat assembly eight times.

Recipe courtesy: You Gotta Eat Here (food network.ca) & Diner Deluxe (chef Ryan Turbide)


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

PB & B Ice Cream

The ice cream truck has been making regular trips down our street for the last couple weeks now.  Everytime I hear the 'catchy' music, my mouth begins to water, and out of habit, I reach into my pocket for spare change.  Thankfully, I never seem to have any....this is a good thing.

So in an effort to calm the cravings and keep my money, I decided to make a healthy 'faux' ice cream for dessert tonight.  Three ingredients and incredibly satisfying.  Bananas, peanut butter & icing sugar.  Easy-peasy.



Peanut Butter & Banana "Ice Cream"


Ingredients:
2 large bananas
1/2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tbsp peanut butter

Method:
Peel and slice bananas in half crosswise, then lengthwise.  Freeze until firm 2-3 hours.
Place frozen bananas in food processor and whirl till creamy.  Add in icing sugar and peanut butter, whirl until smooth and blended.
Serve immediately as soft serve or re-freeze covered for a couple hours to achieve a harder ice cream.

Yields: 2 servings (or 1 serving....I won't judge)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Thirty Lessons in Thirty Years. A Birthday Post.



It's official.  I'm thirty.  My 21 year old self is confused as to how this has happened.  Exactly where did the last nine years go?  Whoever has their finger on the fast-forward button of my life, kindly remove and place on pause.
So, as I embark on entering a new decade, I thought it appropriate to share what I've learnt over the course of the last 30 29+ years.

  1. If your shoes hurt your feet before you've left the house, they will inevitably hurt an hour later when you are busting out your sweet moves on the dance floor.
  2. Pain or not.  Keep them on.  Removing them will be like trying to fit into skinny pants after two weeks of vacationing in Paris.
  3. If you don't like where you are change it.  You are not a tree.
  4. Date nights with your partner are as equally important in year 11 as year 1.
  5. Take a moment each day for yourself.
  6. Say yes to new things and people.
  7. Never leave home without lip gloss.  The moment you realize you are missing it, your lips will dry out at an exceptionally fast rate.
  8. To further point #7, Lip Smackers are perfectly acceptable even in your thirties.  Who doesn't want to kiss a girl that smells like 'Skittles.'
  9. You will fail at certain things.  Parallel parking and swimming are perfect examples.  But that is why you got married and wear a life jacket. 
  10. Dogs will love you unconditionally, get one.
  11. Pancakes makes mornings better.  Period.
  12. Messy hair is what you do best.  Rock it.  It's your thing.
  13. Tomorrow is another day, but that doesn't mean you should waste the present moment.
  14. It's perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to nap daily.  Shut off all ringers between 2-4pm, they'll will just interrupt your day dreaming.
  15. Worrying will never change the outcome.
  16. There are things in life out of your control.  Roll with it.  See point #15.
  17. Run your own race.  Utilize competition from within yourself, it's the healthiest kind.
  18. When you find a shirt you love, buy it in every colour.  And two in your favourite colour.
  19. Bring your "A" game everywhere.  You don't do "B."
  20. Never go to bed mad, you'll end up waking up the same way.
  21. Storing multiple Slurpee's in your freezer does not make you crazy, you are simply prepared for when the urge strikes.  It's called stockpiling/being resourceful/genius.
  22. Be your own kind of beautiful.
  23. Always have new goals, it keeps life interesting.   Trying every flavour of Pop Tart qualifies as an acceptable goal.  No one said it had to be huge.
  24. Perfect pie crust.  This is a family tradition that needs to be continued and passed on.  The world will thank you.
  25. Be the person you would like to meet.  Awesome hangs with awesome.
  26. Purging your closet is an excuse to go shopping.  Purge once per season.  That seems acceptable.  There are 8 seasons in a year, right?
  27. You will always think you are a better dancer than you are.  Who cares.  Do it anyway.
  28. You will need a vacation from your vacation in Vegas.  Shopping, eating, and gambling takes a lot out of a girl.
  29. Never leave the house in Pajamas.  Flannel is not an acceptable outfit to wear past the front door.   Today could be the day you meet Ryan Reynolds or Matt Cruzchy.  Best to be prepared.
  30. Embrace your thirties (after the small, minor, freak-out/melt down session you're currently having)

I'm now off to eat my weight in birthday cake pancakes and pie.  That's one thing you should know about me.  I need pancakes and pie on my birthday.  So if you're looking for me,  I can be found drowning myself in champagne, maple syrup, and buttery-flaky crusts.  I know you're all jealous.  Happy Birthday to me!




Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Wine & Chocolate

A few weeks ago I shared with you my enjoyment of wine & cheese.  Today, it's the sequel...wine & chocolate.
Have you ever wondered what chocolate is best served with which type of wine?  If you're like me you'd eat any kind of chocolate with any kind of wine and you'd call that in itself a success.  But can you imagine what properly paired chocolate and wine would be like?  Hmm, I'm not sure if my palette can handle this?  Bring on my two favourite food groups...(yes, I said food groups)





How to Pair


Pair lighter chocolates with lighter wines; darker chocolates with full-bodied wines.  Go from light to dark in your tasting session, starting with milk or lower percentage cacao chocolates and their corresponding wines.


Pairings for Milk Chocolate
Merlot
Riesling
Sauvignon Blanc
Dessert Wines

Pairings for Dark, Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate
Zinfandel
Syrah
Tawny Port
Armagnac
Cognac

If you're looking to pair up Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, or Sangiovese reds, they need to be well-aged to suitably pair with darker chocolates.

Another important note is that the wine should be just as sweet if not sweeter than the chocolate you are serving.  Otherwise, the taste can become bitter or sour.


Tips courtesy of allchocolate.com
Photo courtesy buzzle.com

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Earls Patio Lunch

Currently in YYC, we are smack dab in the middle of a heat wave, Stampede, oh and most importantly, my Birthday Week!
Today my dad took me out for lunch to ease me into this whole turning '30' thing.  So between good conversation, a minor sunburn and some delicious food, I think I might be ready for this next chapter...

My ideal birthday lunch consisted of a couple appetizers.  Both seafood driven, perfect for summer, and completely satisfying.
Thanks for lunch Dad!


Dominical Fish Tacos  | flour tortillas, grilled lime and coriander marinated wahoo, mango and avocado salsa, spicy valentina crema



Prawn Dynamite Roll  | panko breaded prawns, mango, avocado, cucumber, togarashi mayo, maple soy reduction and sriracha mayonnaise, toasted black sesame seeds




Photo fail.  No pictures.  All photos courtesy earls.ca

Monday, 9 July 2012

Chicken Burgers, Hawaiian Style

Dinner tonight is reminiscent of a tropical getaway.  Hawaiian style.  So dawning my favourite pair of flip flops and jamming out to Bob Marley,  I'm bbqing chicken w/ the flavours of teriyaki and pineapple.  Let's get this (island) party started. Aloha!




Teriyaki Chicken Burgers w/ Grilled Pineapple


Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (homemade or store bought)
4 slices Havarti cheese
4 pineapple rings
4 Tbsp mayo
4 lettuce leaves
4 crusty buns, toasted

Method:

Preheat grill for medium heat.
Lightly oil the grill grate.  Place chicken on grill with both sides basted in teriyaki sauce.  Grill 6-8 minutes per side, until desired temperature is reached.  Adding more sauce during last minutes of cooking.
Place pineapple on grill, and grill until caramelized.
To Assemble:  Place one chicken breast on the bottom half of each bun.  Top with cheese, pineapple ring, lettuce.  Spread 1 tablespoon of mayo on the top half of each bun, and sandwich both halves together.

Enjoy!  Aloha!
Serves: 4

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Whether you opt to make teriyaki sauce yourself @ home (cause your domestic like that,) or you go for the store bought version (which I often find myself doing,) there is no arguing that teriyaki sauce is a must have kitchen staple.  It's great for grilling meat, flavouring stirfrys, or just straight up on udon noodles.  
Teriyaki heaven.


Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Ingredients:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp, plus 2 tsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp sweet rice wine
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced ginger


Method:

Combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
To make glaze:
Mix in 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch with 1 Tbsp water.  Heat sauce on medium-high heat and add cornstarch water mixture.  Simmer until thickened.




Recipe courtesy: Majerle's Sports Grill, Phoenix, AZ

Sunday, 8 July 2012

mussels w/ onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes & white wine


I love mussels.  I wish I had muscles.  At least one of these is easily attainable, unfortunately, it isn't strength.  In fact, if you challenged me to do a 'chin-up' right now, it would be laughable.  Envision a 29 year old dangling from a bar, trying her hardest not to fall.  That's what you'd see.  Shameful, I know.  Does anyone out there want to take on the role of my personal trainer?  I will pay you in friendship and food.


Okay, back to the mussels I actually know something about.  The seafood.  The mussels currently taking up space in my fridge, begging to be steamed.
Pre-blog days, mussels scared me.  I was under the impression they were only something attempted by world renowned chefs, saved for restaurant outings, and gasp, never attempted by a stay at home mom.  Truth is they couldn't be easier, quicker, or healthier to work with.  Simple and fresh ingredients make this dish perfect for an easy weeknight meal, yet fancy enough to entertain with on weekends.  Oh, and who could forget the sides that accompany mussels.  Frites & bread.  I've got goosebumps just thinking about it.





Mussels w/ Onions, Garlic, Cherry Tomatoes & White Wine


Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs mussels, cleaned
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup white wine
sea salt & fresh ground pepper
red pepper flakes

Crusty bread or 'frites' for serving

Method:
In large pot with lid, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic cook for an additional 1 minute stirring constantly.  Add in tomatoes, parsley, wine, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper.  Allow mixture to come to a boil.  Add in mussels, stir.  Cover and cook for 7-9 minutes, or until mussels have opened.
Transfer to large serving bowl, discard any mussels that did not open completely.  Garnish with parsley.

Serve w/ bread or frites
Serves 2 (main dish) or 4 (appetizer)

Arnold Palmer


The sun is shinning, it's the weekend, and my deck has been cleared for relaxing.  Only things are missing:
  1. Cold drink
  2. My favourite 'summer song' of all time

The year? 1999.  The band? LFO (lyte funky ones)  The song?  Summer Girls.



Okay, now that I've got my go-to summer song on replay (which J is loving @ this point), we need to get the bevvies going.



Arnold Palmers.

50% ice tea, 50% lemonade, and 100% refreshing.





Arnold Palmer

Ingredients:
Sweet Tea
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Ice
Lemons for garnish

Method:
Combine 50% tea with 50% lemonade.  Serve with ice and garnish with lemon

Note:
To make a boozy/more fun version, add 2oz bourbon.




Saturday, 7 July 2012

Blueberry Almond Scones

Has anyone else noticed how delicious blueberries are looking lately.  I must admit I've been stocking up on the fresh ones like a hoarder needs more paper plates.  I've completely ignored the frozen section for the past couple weeks instead opting for fresh.
So with a fridge full of these little blue guys I decided some of these lucky buggers were going to become a complement to some flaky scones.

Delicious!




Blueberry Almond Scones

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds

sugar & milk for glaze

Method:
Preheat oven to 375.  Line baking sheets with silpat mat or parchment paper.  Set asde.
In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Cut in butter.
In separate bowl combine milk and egg.  Add to dry ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Fold in blueberries and almonds.
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.
Transfer to prepared baking sheets.  Brush tops with sugar-milk mixture and bake for 15 minutes or until golden in colour.
Serve and devour while warm.  Mmmm...

Yields: 8
Adapted from my Dark Chocolate Orange Scones

Friday, 6 July 2012

Whole Wheat Blueberry & Banana Pancakes

The first Friday in July marks the beginning of ten straight days of cowboys, free pancake breakfasts, beer gardens, rodeo/chuckwagons, belt buckles, and concerts.  The Calgary Stampede is underway.  Yeehaw!  And next to Christmas, this is my favourite time of year, since it usually coincides with my birthday (you can't fault me for that.)  Also, I blame the free pancakes and cowboys (in that order.  Swoon, every girls dream...)
This year happens to be the 100th anniversary, which only means a bigger and better party than any year past.  Twist my arm.  A bigger party?  I'm game.  What, Garth Brooks is coming to play in concert?  Sure, I'll go.  He's only my favourite artist ever (shout out to you KR for letting me be your date.)  These next 10 days are going to be epic!

So to kickoff the next week and a half, the kids and I are rocking out in our western attire, watching the parade on TV, and eating homemade 'flapjacks.'  And no regular flapjack either.  Nope.  100 years and Garth Brooks means I'm breaking out the big guns lassoing in a special one, Whole Wheat Banana Blueberry.   Mmmm.  I love me some pancakes and Stampede.


This one is for you LS.   I hope it reminds you of home and of the Blue Star Diner.  New Zealand is lucky to have you for the next couple years.  After which Canada is looking forward to keeping you permanently.  The two of us will also have a much overdue breakfast date to attend to.  Mark your calendar.
Hugs,
JS





Whole Wheat Blueberry Banana Pancakes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
3 bananas, mashed
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries, plus additional for garnish
1 tsp vanilla

blueberries, sliced bananas, & maple syrup for serving

Method:
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
In separate bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, mashed banana, and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients until just moistened.  Fold in blueberries.
Spoon batter in 1/4 cup portions onto lightly oiled griddle or pan.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbles form on top and underside is golden.  Flip and cook for 1 minute.  Keep pancakes warm in oven while repeating with remaining batter.

Yields: 12-14 pancakes
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