Sunday, October 31, 2010


Okay, I loved this recipe. I used about a ¼ cup extra milk to thin out the batter, but other than that, I made no changes to the recipe. They puffed up beautifully, worked awesomely with maple syrup and bacon and made my Sunday morning an awesome one.

Next time I do this recipe (and there will be a next time), I'm going to add orange zest to the batter, and some orange blossom water to the maple syrup.

Definitely a keeper!

The great pumpkin!

October has been such a crazy month for me. I have not had much time to try the tasty recipes posted but I have been taking notes for a later date (like the scones for Christmas brunch). When I saw this week's recipe I had to make them since I am on a pumpkin kick. Luckily, I had some pumpkin left over after making some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

They were a little dense, however I expected this knowing how the cookies baked up. These pancakes were so tasty that the hubs went back for more (we do have enough for breakfast tomorrow, yay!). I liked the seasoning for these pancakes that I used the same amounts in the second batch of cookies I made. The house smelled so good after cooking, reminding me of the holidays. Definitely a keeper!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


(OK, lame, but Halloween is all about being silly, no?)

Happy Halloween! We had these for dinner and also brunch. I was excited about these because I've never tried anything other than plain pancakes from scratch.

I didn't have allspice, so I added extra cinnamon, nutmeg, and added some freshly ground cloves. Apparently, the flavour of allspice closely resembles the mixture of those three spices.

I always feel so sciency when I use my mortar & pestle
The resulting batter seemed really thick...

I tried making a couple of pancakes with it but they turned out really thick and dense.

But after thinning it down with some extra milk, the pancakes turned out much better.

These tasted great with maple syrup! The spice in the pancakes went with the syrup really nicely.

Rather than making all of the pancakes and heating up the leftovers, I just stored the extra batter in an airtight container so that I could make fresh ones the next day, and it worked great!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

I have a new obsession with everything pumpkin. So far this year, I have added pumpkin to yogurt and oatmeal along with making pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin pancakes. Admittedly it is a little over the top.

However, the pumpkin pancakes were awesome! And with this weekend being Halloween, I thought this was a timely recipe. Enjoy!!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp groun all spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

Combine wet ingredients in large bowl. In separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Heat lightly oiled griddle or frying pan. Use approximately 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

(The first time I made these, I added some chocolate chips. They were heaven! We are having company this weekend--my best friend just moved home from Europe!!--and I can't wait to make these again for Halloween brunch! Also, the last time I made them I had leftovers and just put them in the fridge and had them for breakfast a couple of mornings after microwaving them for a few seconds.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Too many alarms to count

I made the chili. It was delicious. But it was SPICY. Like, literally made my ears ring. Methinks I overdid the jalapenos. More specifically, the jalapeno seeds. I'll lighten up on them next time.

What I really liked about the recipe was how easy it was to put together. I just stood next to the pot and threw things in as I chopped them up.

We happened to shop at a new market this week and I didn't know where to find the veggie "meat" stuff. So I skipped it. I guess that made it more of a bean stew. I was reminded that "garbanzo beans" are sold as chick peas around these parts. I didn't measure the spices but I threw in some paprika, cayenne pepper (more heat - yay), garlic salt and garlic powder in there along with the other stuff. Great flavour. Waaaay too much heat.

So, wish us and our taste buds luck as we try to finish the rest of the pot.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Veggie Chili!

Yesterday, I made a pretty big batch of my vegetarian chili. It turned out so good that even Paul likes it, which is a big deal. He likes his chili meaty and without much veggies, usually.

I followed the recipe pretty much, expect that I forgot to grab celery on Saturday, so I put in some diced carrots instead, and I had red peppers from last weekend from the market, so I used those instead of green. I also added a bit more chili pepper spice than it asked for, and a bit more jalapenos, too. We like spicy, especially when it comes to chili. I haven't even gotten to try a bowl yet (just ate spoonfuls as it cooked and while I portioned it out in containers). I'm saving it for our dinner, tonight. Then I'll eat the rest of the portions for lunches this week and next!

Okay, on to the pictures.

First, just the onions and seasonings browning:

Then, added the other veggies:

Now, with veggie ground "beef":

And finally, with everything else (tomatoes, beans, corn):

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Updates, but no pictures

So, I have been keeping up with the cooking...but my camera has not been keeping up with me. Oh well...

I made the chicken tikka masala and it was delicious. I followed the recipe exactly since I had never made it before. I served it over brown rice (which was the only part of the meal that didn't turn out well--go figure). Even Ed tried this recipe! He wasn't a huge fan (thought it was too spicy) but at least it was one that he would try.

I also made the scones last weekend. I subbed a few things with these...whole wheat flour rather than white, 2% cheddar instead of full fat, and turkey bacon for regular. They came out great! I served them with French Onion soup with dinner and then had them with the leftover soup for lunch the next day. These were awesome...and a hit with Ed even!

And finally, I made the chili today for lunches for the week. I followed this recipe except that I used ground turkey breast instead of vegetarian ground "beef", I forgot the buy celery, and I used orange bell pepper since that was what I had on hand. I halved the recipe since it was just for me for lunches this week and it still made a ton! I am making it again tomorrow night, this time as vegetarian, to bring for a class dinner that I need to provide Tuesday night at school! I think it will be a huge hit...and hopefully I can get my camera to cooperate and add a picture!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Soup and Scones!

Man, I keep falling behind.  I still want to make the Indian dish, but I have no idea when.

I did, however, make up the Chicken Tortilla Soup and the Bacon Cheddar Scones.

First, the soup.  Things started off with a nice mirepoix (although I guess in this case we should call it a sofrito, eh?)

And ended up with a really delicious soup!

Like ringy we couldn't find any mexicorn, so I just used a can of corn.  And, what I thought was a can of green chilli's was actually salsa verde, so most of that went in instead.

We chose to garnish the soup with some sour cream, fresh grated cheese, avocado (because they are my favourite) and the leftover salsa verde.

When I asked Derek what he though his answer was "It's soupy".  Um, yeah.   Despite that comment we both really enjoyed the soup.  The avocado got a bit lost with all of the other flavours, and Derek needed the sour cream to tone the heat down to a level he was happy with, but I'll definitely be making this again.

Now, on to the bacon.

This was my first experience making scones, and while I wasn't sure if my dough was right, they were amazing.  I followed the directions exactly and ended up with this pan of delicious for Sunday breakfast.

Because we are gluttons, we had these, topped with some MORE butter and coffee for breakfast.  There was 1 left.

I will 100% make these again (but maybe cook up the bacon the day/night before) and am quite interested in experimenting with different scones in the future!

Now, who's got recipes that use up butter milk?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dinner scones

I couldn't find the time to make the scones for breakfast this week but hey - who's to say you can't have them for dinner?

Sometimes, just for the hell of it, I like prepping all my ingredients and putting them into little bowls like they do on TV. It makes me feel like a real chef.
Hey! Stop snacking on my ingredients!
I used pancetta instead of bacon again, and soured milk (milk + 1 tbsp vinegar) instead of buttermilk. Otherwise I followed the recipe. No wait, I also forgot the egg wash. Oops.

I think I messed up the pastry making. The pastry blender I have isn't the best (it's a weird flat-bottomed shape), and I was running out of time as we had to head out, so butter-flour mix wasn't quite the right texture. Also, I think that making the mix in a metal bowl may have melted the butter a bit (because of my warm hands holding the bowl). It was still tasty but the taste and texture of the dough wasn't as rich and melt-in-your mouth as I hoped. It was doughy :(
The pan was ungreased as the recipe said but they stuck a little bit. I used parchment paper on the second batch - much better.
Anyway, we had it with a beautiful big salad. It needed it - it was indeed very filling. I'll try it again someday and hope that it turns out even better!
Sherlock is not so interested in the salad

The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World

I found this recipe online a few months ago, and I've already made it a few times. I always change it up, adding whatever I had at home already. I suppose it could be made with ground beef instead of the veggie ground round... then it would just be chili. Haha.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian ground round
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
2. Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

~ I serve this with garlic bread on the side.

~ I'm excited to make this again, this weekend! I also plan on freezing half of it, in portions, for future meals!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Soup for a cold day

I finally got a chance to make the chicken tortilla soup. It was great!

I'm always a little surprised when these recipes call for cooked meat, but don't instruct you to brown the meat and deglaze the pan. But anyway, I started off by browning the chicken.

Then I made the roux in the same pot, cooked the base veggies as instructed and threw everything else in. I couldn't find Mexicorn so I just used canned corn. I may have overdone it with the fajita seasoning... actually, I used the whole pack. Next time, I think I would also throw in some rice.
Fire burn and cauldron bubble
I garnished it with some sliced avocado and cheddar cheese. The avocado balanced the seasoning in the soup really nicely. Sour cream would have been great too, but I don't use it often so I didn't want to buy it just for this. Actually, I really liked how all of the ingredients in the soup balanced each other out.

I liked the recipe! I'll probably make it again, but I would have to plan for it (as opposed to it being a quick throw-together meal) because some of the ingredients aren't on my usual grocery radar.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Everything's Better with Bacon

That has long been my philosophy. I was looking for a brunch recipe for today and was very excited to see these bacon and cheddar scones were this week's choice. I already had everything I needed except the buttermilk, so I picked up some on my way home from church this morning.

They came together really quickly and were soon ready for the oven.

I served them with scrambled eggs and am looking forward to having the leftovers for breakfast this week.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bacon Cheddar Scones

How about a breakfast recipe? This week's recipe is from Annie's Eats, adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather. I've been meaning to try it since someone posted it on another board a few weeks ago.


For the scones:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. ground black pepper (depending on your preference)
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1½ cups grated cheddar cheese
4 green onions, thinly slices
10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk (plus up to ½ cup extra, if needed)

For the egg wash:
1 large egg
2 tbsp. water


Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper; mix briefly to combine.  Add the cubes of butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter pieces are about the size of small peas.  (Alternatively, this can be done in a regular mixing bowl, using a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.)  Add in the grated cheese and mix just until incorporated.

Mix in the green onions, bacon, and 1 cup of the buttermilk into the flour-butter mixture.  Stir by hand just until all the ingredients are incorporated.  If the dough is too dry to come together, mix in the remaining buttermilk a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough can be formed into a ball.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8-inch disk.  Slice the dough into 8 to 10 wedges.

In a small bowl combine the egg and water and whisk together.  Brush each wedge lightly with the egg wash.  Transfer the scones to an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Indian Food

This was my first attempt at making Indian food and I loved it. However, something in the flavor profile didn't work for J, so I may not do this one again. He said it smelled great when he came in and he couldn't tell me what the taste was that he didn't care for, so I'm not sure what I could do to fix it.

I was a little afraid of the amount of cayenne pepper in the marinade, so I cut it down a lot, and I think this was a mistake. The finished dish could have used some more heat.

I used the George Forman to cook the meat, rather than the broiler since I have a horrible habit of burning things to a crisp in the broiler. A note for future reference, small chunks of meat in a heavy marinade will stick to the top of the grill when you open it. I swear, it looked like all my chicken pulled a Houdini.

I served the dish over brown rice.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall and soup are two of my favorite things!

I love fall and I LOVE soup! I always try through the fall and winter to make soup on a Sunday so that I can eat it for lunch all week...Not only is soup an easy lunch, but I also tend to use it to clean out my fridge of anything that I didn't get a chance to eat over the week. This soup was no different--which means I didn't follow the recipe super closely.

First of all, I added yellow and red peppers to my soup since I had about half of each one left in the fridge. I also used ground turkey breast instead of chicken because I had it. I used the rest of the ingredients in the recipe, but I made the soup nice and thick so it came out as a mix between a soup and a white chicken chili. It was delicious for dinner Sunday night and I ate it every day this week for lunch! Perfect!

Oh, and lest I forget...what else would I have for a perfect fall dessert...Apple crisp! Yep, perfect meal.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Soup Time

My husband loves soup; we have it once a week. This one was so quick and easy, it's going into the recipe file.

The only changes I made were to the seasoning. I tasted it as it was simmering and decided it needed some more heat, so I added chili powder. As I was eating it, I decided that it was too smoky for my taste, so next time I will cut the cumin down and up the chili powder.

Chicken Tikka Masala

I've been cooking Chicken Tikka Masala at least a couple times a month for over 4 years. The recipe has evolved over time with my research and the help of a local Indian restaurant owner. He will not give me his recipe, he will however hint at what I need to change.

(I've met ring_pop's Mr.V in person and he's a very nice man. I hope that if they choose to cook this or a spin off, he's gentle on the critique!)

The stars:
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Yes, I have an addiction to paprika and cumin and use large quantities.
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Chicken Marinade
1 lb boneless chicken breast cubed into 1-1/2" pieces. (I use tenderloins cut in 1/2 or 1/3)
1C plain yogurt (I use greek)
1Tbsp lemon juice
1tsp cumin powder
2tsp coriander powder
1tsp paprika
1/2tps turmeric
1tsp cayenne pepper
1Tbsp minced ginger (I use jarred)
1Tbsp minced garlic (also jarred)

Mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss chicken in marinade and marinade for at least an hour. I am known to let it marinade all day or overnight.

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To cook, I place the chicken on a broiler pan and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. I broil them for a 5-7 minutes after that. Remove from oven and set aside of you haven't started your sauce.

Masala Sauce:
2Tbsp butter or oil
3 garlic cloves minced (I use jarred)
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and diced
1 small red onion
8oz tomato puree
1C heavy cream
2tsp ground cumin
2tsp paprika
1/2tsp garam masala
1tsp honey (optional)

Melt butter in large heavy skillet over medium. Saute garlic, jalapeno and onion for 1-2 minutes. Season with cumin, paprika and garam masala. Add tomato puree and cream and mix well. Simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes until sauce thickens. Mix in chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Add honey the last minute if you plan to do so. Garnish with cilantro.

Aaron prefers jasmine rice, so I serve it over that. I use a rice cooker, so I can ignore it while I prepare the rest of the meal. I wasn't in the mood to make garlic naan this time, so we used store bought, shame on us.

Final product:
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Everything's better with TEQUILA

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Aaron always gets intrigued when he sees me grab the bottle of tequila when cooking, since I swore off drinking it years ago. Since Aaron has texture issues with carrots, celery and other vegetables when cooked, I looked around a bit and decided to piece this soup together.

I marinated the chicken using Guy Fieri's recipe.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces silver tequila
2 limes, juiced
2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 cloves garlic (used jarred garlic)
1 teaspoon oregano
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 lb chicken tenderloins

I marinated the chicken overnight. Original recipe says 6-8 hours.

Soup Base
Olive oil
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 can fire roasted green chili's
4 garlic cloves
1 (14oz) can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 (14oz) can great norhtern beans
1 box (32oz) of chicken stock

In a large pot heat up olive oil and saute onion, green chili's and garlic for a couple of minutes. Deglaze pan with a little bit of chicken stock and add remaining chicken stock, tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30-45 minutes.

While the soup base is cooking, cook your chicken. There is no right or wrong way here, most recipes I saw called for grilled, but since I was already at the stove, I just threw it all into a pan.

To serve
Place cooked chicken in the bottom of a bowl and add as much soup base as you'd like to the top. Garnish with whatever you'd like, but I'd recommend Guy Fieri's tequila creme!

Tequila creme
2 oz tequila
3/4 cup

Whip together using a hand whisk or hand blender. I think Aaron liked the tequila creme more than the soup itself! He didn't want any to go to waste so he ate the leftovers with salsa and chips.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010


This is a bit ridiculous, I know (and I'm sorry!), but I have a few updates to make. I figured I'd do them all in one post to try and be as least obnoxious as possible. I'll also keep the pictures down to one or two per recipe.

In order of first appearance on the blog...

Grilled Salmon with Blueberry Pan Sauce
We enjoyed this! I decided to use the entire amount of balsamic since we both love it, and I'm glad that I did. It was very blueberry-y (obviously), but I thought it paired really well with the salmon. Unfortunately, I didn't have any mint (and didn't want to make a special trip to just get that), so I made it without. As you can see, I served it over a bed of fresh spinach. Yum!

Thai Ground Pork Salad
We seriously loved this. I don't really have much else to say other than that. I pretty much made it exactly as written, except omitted the cilantro (my food arch nemesis... but seriously, the only ingredient I've ever come into contact with that I don't like. And by don't like, I mean despise) and made up for it with extra basil and mint. I also added a bit of extra Sriracha and jalapeno because we like things spicy. Oh, and as you can see I had to use iceberg lettuce instead of Boston (sad!). AND I used regular onion instead of shallots. Hmm, I guess I changed more than I thought, but nothing too drastic. Anyway, we loved it and are looking forward to the next time we have it!

Thumbprint Cookies
YUM! I made these today, and had to restrain myself to only eat two. They're delicious. I had a haunting suspicion that I'd love them given the Nutella and espresso and hazelnuts, and I was definitely correct. So tasty, and I love that they're semi-healthy. (Not really, but they're from Cooking Light, so I can believe that... right?!) I put a little extra salt in because I love when certain cookies have a bit of saltiness to them, and I was so glad I did. It worked perfectly with the sweet Nutella.