Monday, 29 October 2012

Halloween Leftovers



If your household is anything like mine, come Thursday morning (also referred to as, the day you wake up from your chocolate hangover) you're probably going to be left with truckloads of Halloween candy.  Between overbuying and the loot the kids bring home, we are sure to be in a sugar coma for at least a month.  Typically I send all of the non-chocolate/chocolate that I don't like with J to work in an effort to be 'healthier.'  This leaves just my will power and I to exercise extreme caution when it comes to my favourite mini chocolate bars. Dun, dun, dun...

Luckily I've found a few ways to help get rid of the excess stock.  Cookies, popcorn, and even pancakes all studded with chocolaty treats.  Enjoy!

Disclaimer:  Eating chocolate bars in cookies, brownies, and other various butter baked delicacies is not healthier, but it sure does taste delicious.


Caramel Twix Popcorn


Giant M&M Cookie



Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Brownies



Butterfinger Cookies



Coffee Crisp Pancakes



Snickers Blondies



S'mores Cookies








Sunday, 28 October 2012

I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghosts....

Rice Krispie Treat Ghosts.  Boo!
Happy Halloween.


 

 
 
 

Ghostly Rice Krispie Treats

Ingredients:
Rice Krispie Squares (either homemade or prepackaged)
white chocolate or vanilla candy melts
mini chocolate chips

Method:
Place white chocolate or candy melts in microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high, stirring every 30 seconds till completely melted.
Dip squares into melted chocolate shaking off excess.  Add mini chocolate chips for eyes.

Viola!  Halloween treats for big and little kids alike.

LOVE,
JS


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Nova Scotia: Chives Buttermilk Biscuits


As the story goes, these biscuits were created because on opening night of Chives back in 2001, the Chef forgot to order bread.  So he improvised and called upon his grandmother's recipe for tea biscuits as a substitute.  After making some adjustments, the Chives Buttermilk Biscuit was born, and have been baked fresh and served (in a paper bag) everyday since.

After being introduced to these flaky biscuits on our trip last week, J & I haven't been able to stop talking about them.  Luckily for us, the recipe for these gems is available online, which I'm pretty sure is the universe's way of ensuring my happiness and being on team JS.

Best Biscuits Ever.  Period.


Homemade Buttermilk Drop Biscuits


Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup butter
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Method:
Mix dry ingredients well...work the butter into the dry mix with a fork or pastry cutter until mealy in consistency.  Beat eggs into buttermilk in separate bowl.  Add the wet mix to the flour/fat mixture and just bring together (do not knead or overwork dough)
Drop the dough onto a greased or parchment lined baking tray with a spoon (should be around 2 1/2 inches in diameter) and bake at 400F on the middle rack until golden brown.


courtesy: Chives Canadian Bistro

Friday, 26 October 2012

East Coast Style





This past weekend J and I headed out east to the beautiful province of Nova Scotia.  My cousin C was getting married, so we took this momentous occasion as an excellent opportunity, to visit with family and become reacquainted with Halifax, after a nearly 20 year absence.

Of course, being the self proclaimed foodie I am you know that I'm going to make it my mission to eat at the best restaurants the city has to offer.  And I did.  Consider this my visual gift to you, or perhaps, me bragging about all the great eats in NS.

Here are the highlights and my personal recommendations on dishes to order if you ever find yourself so lucky to visit historic Halifax.

Two If By Sea

Butter. Butter. More Butter.



Two If By Sea was our first stop after our red eye flight. I was actually thinking about these croissants the entire time we were in the air. So upon landing and starving we headed out to make my dreams come true...

 

Plain Croissant

I'm certain I had my yearly butter quota met with just this 1, albeit, jumbo croissant. It was delicious, buttery, flaky, rich, buttery, and a Nova Scotia 'must have.' I'm serious. By a plane ticket. Eat a croissant, (plain, pain au chocolate, almond, prosciutto, or one of each) Hop back on the plane. Send me a thank you note. Better yet, bring me back a croissant. Please.







The Bicycle Thief

Great Food.  Great Atmosphere.



Located on the waterfront, this was the first reservation I made on our vacation.  Rave reviews by other diners, plus a menu that is sure to appeal to the masses made it an easy choice.  Plus, let's talk about how cool the restaurant name is.  Outside you'll find chained up bicycles, while inside wheels and Christmas lights make for unique light fixtures.

And then came the food.

Mussels 

homegrown | tomato, garlic, basil pesto, white wine & toasted croutons


You know a dish is good, when a mussel sceptic (aka my dad) tells me over and over how delicious this appetizer was.  I on the other hand, have the unique ability to eat my body weight worth in mussels, I love them so.  We all agreed that the sauce would be perfect on pasta, gnocchi, anything.  The flavours were excellent, but then again how can you go wrong with pesto and white wine.  My favourite part was when the toasted croutons soaked up the sauce.  Mmmm.  Leftover sauce + leftover bread basket = Happy Me.


BLT Fettuccine

 Pancetta, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, Arugula, Pecorino cheese

Flavour explosion and carbohydrate heaven.  This dish was everything I love about Italian food.  Fresh ingredients, uncomplicated, the food/photo speaks for itself.

Lemon Meringue Pie

very tart lemon, brown sugar meringue, graham cracker crust

For those of you who know me, lemon desserts are my go-to, and lemon pie is my favourite dessert of all.  I've had many a slice of this pie in my time, and I have to say that this is the best lemon pie I've ever eaten, EVER.
I loved that the crust was crushed graham crackers, the tart lemon filling was perfect, but it was the meringue that was the clencher.  So delicious.  3 perfect layers of citrus dessert heaven.




Chives Canadian Bistro


Amazing. Exceptional. A Must.


This was our last meal in Halifax, and wow, what a way to finish off the trip. I'm certain if I would have tried this restaurant on day 1, I would have been back on day 2 and 3. I can't praise them enough.


Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Let's just all agree that few things beat out warm flaky buttermilk biscuits. Not only were these delicious, but they came served in a paper bag. A perfectly rustic presentation in my opinion. Let's also agree that because they came in a paper bag one could "hypothetically" ask for say another bag to take home? Hypothetically of course.  I'm in biscuit heaven.



Braised Nova Scotia Lamb Du Jour

roasted squash risotto, market vegetables, sherry lamb jus reduction, and pumpkin seeds

I'm not even sure where to begin with this dish (I wish I had a photo, since my words won't begin to do it justice.)  Every component of it was perfect. The lamb was exceptional, it melted in your mouth it was so tender, the risotto was beyond flavourful - top notch, and the sherry reduction finished off everything wonderfully.
This dish was hands down one of the top two meals I have ever eaten. I'm still dreaming about it. I will probably always dream about it. My complements to the chef you out did yourself. Seasonal ingredients and a true passion for cooking lends itself to a meal that is worthy of the highest recommendation.



Cut Steakhouse




Tomato Bocconcini Salad

grilled & sliced steak tomatoes, bocconcini, house made pesto & aged balsamic vinaigrette

I need to remake this at home ASAP.  Hello, pesto and cheese, don't mind if I do.  Minimal ingredients, maximum flavour, this is salad done right.

Lobster


Let's not forget about a maritime essential: LOBSTER.  Of course I had one, how could I not, I'm pretty sure not eating one while on the east coast is grounds to be locked up.  Only one problem.  Being an Alberta girl I know nothing about de-shelling a lobster.  Luckily most east coasters do, it's probably taught around the same time as the alphabet.   Mmmm, lobster bliss.







All in all J & I had a wonderful vacation.  Time spent exploring the beautiful city, eating our way through it, and of course, visiting my fantastic family.  I'm already looking forward to the next one, until then, I'm probably just going to drool over these photos.

LOVE,
JS



Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Sour Cream & Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins


Normally when I make muffins or quick breads, I opt for healthier ingredients; yogurt for sour cream, applesauce for butter and oil.  Not this time.  These muffins are coming to you in pure full-fat form.  Rich, moist, and calorie happy.  Sometimes you just gotta have a muffin the way the world intended, with chocolate, butter, and sour cream.  That's why the world also invented the treadmill, a balancing act of the proportions.



Who doesn't love a good chocolate chip muffin?




Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Muffins


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 ounces sour cream
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Method:
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 12 cup muffin tin with liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In separate smaller bowl combine egg, sour cream, butter and vanilla.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just moistened.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
Transfer batter to prepared muffin tin, filling 3/4 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.  Set on wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 1 dozen
Source: Taste of Home

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

I think I may have just found a waffle recipe that is almost easier than popping an Eggo in the toaster, or a very close second at least.

Are you ready for it?

Refrigerated cinnamon roll dough

cooked

in a

waffle iron.

I know, genius right?  Thank you Pillsbury for becoming an enabler to my ever-expanding pancake/waffle addiction.  Oh waffles for lunch, how I love thee.  Here's hoping I stop before I turn into the doughboy (ok doughgirl)

What's even better, is that I now have a new easy way to feed a hungry breakfast crowd.  Stress-free Christmas Morning here I come...but for now, let's eat waffles for lunch!

Love JS.





 

Easy Cinnamon Roll Waffles


Ingredients:

1 can refrigerated cinnamon roll dough w/ icing

Method:

Heat waffle maker, spray with non stick spray.
Remove cinnamon rolls from can and separate.  Set aside icing.
Place one roll onto each of the square of the waffle maker.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until cooked through and golden in color.
Drizzle with icing or maple syrup.

Makes 8 (small) waffles

Monday, 15 October 2012

Perfecting an Omelet

It's 8 am on Monday morning which can only mean one thing, my husband is still in bed under the covers.  It might be the beginning of the work week but J isn't too concerned, he's not what you'd consider a morning person.

Things weren't always this way... before trading in my work wardrobe for yoga pants and mommyhood, J and I would carpool downtown together.  To beat the traffic we'd leave our suburban oasis around 6:30.  Those days are long gone and now sleeping till 8 or later has completely taken over.

Because J is usually rushed to get out the door, he rarely eats breakfast.  I'm certain he lives off caffeine until at least 11:30 before heading out to his lunch meetings.  This morning I decided to have a nice hot breakfast waiting for him when he came downstairs.  I'm sweet like that.  Omelets with my hubby = perfect Monday morning.  Love you J!



Basic Omelet 

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
butter
sea salt & pepper

chives for garnish

Method:
Preheat large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.
Meanwhile, crack eggs into small bowl and season with salt & pepper, beat with a fork.
Add butter to skillet and let it melt, tilt pan to ensure butter is evenly distributed.  Once melted and bubbly, add in eggs.  Move pan to ensure eggs are evenly distributed same as you did for the butter.  Allow eggs to cook, and for bottom to set up.  Once eggs have firmed up with a little raw egg on top, use a spatula to ease the edges and then fold omelet in half.  Continue to cook till underside is golden and omelet is cooked through.
Slide onto warmed plate and garnish with chives.

Serves 1
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