Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cider and berrries

Just bottled my hard cider. 1 gallon is sparkling and dry, one gallon with brown sugar is sparkling and a bit sweetened (2pkg truvia) and the rest 3/4 gallon were bottled and set aside as wine, with fermentation stopped and sweetening with 2T wine sweetener. The wine bit had star anise in it so I am curious if the flavour comes thru at all. We shall see- I plan to let it age a year. A few weeks to carbonate the rest and then I can give it a try...

Now? Well my sis in law works at the local upick strawberry ranch and lconvinced me to go out there yesterday- I picked 8Lb in under 10 minutes! Ad so I froze half of them and the other I am making into preserves...simple but yummy for some future date. I already made a bunch of jam and I would rather have some preserves for dessert and ice cream over the winter. I modified the recipe from my small batch canning cookbook, cutting the sugar to 1/3 of the recipe initially.

7.5 cups rinsed strawberries (whole)
2 c sugar
4.5 T lemon juice (from 1 big lemon)

Stirred and let sit 3-4 hours i a bowl, stirring occasionally. The juice comes out of the berries snd dissolves the sugar.
Then I added 3/4 c dry wine/sherry- I used the last of the elderflower from my friend Karli

Brought to boil and cooked 2 minutes and stirred in half a ack of low sugar pectin and processed in sterilized jars for 10 minutes.

Thismade 6 half pints plus more for me to eat in the next week or so in the fridge.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dynamite chocolate cake (gluten & dairy free)

Yesterday was my brother's birthday. I was tasked with the cake. His wife and a few of his friends are gluten free and dairy free so I took up the challenge and made what is quite honestly one of the best cakes I have ever had *period* and my first attempt at gf df chocolate cake. You should make this soon. You won't regret it.

I must admit I was visiting with my dad and I made one version of this without baking soda which was a tasty brick...but I tried again the morning of and was not dissapointed. I have used prebought flour mixes and made my own for gluten free baking and either way, this is the sort of recipe that would work regardless of the mix you use because the cocoa would mask the chic pea flavour in some gf flour mixes (I like either rice flour based like Kininicknicks or chic pea based like Bobs Red Mill or I make my own (see below)).
This cake  is super easy and makes a nice light chocolatey cake that reminded me of a cake my mum used to make all the time.  I doubled this recipe to make two 9 inch round cakes and layered them with chocolate mocha icing (below). Mmmmm.

Dynamite chocolate Cake

1 1/2 c gluten-free flour mix 
1/2 c cocoa (sifted to remove lumps)
1 c sugar
1/2 t salt
2 heaping t baking soda
3/4 t guar gum (critical ingredient)
5 T cooking oil
1 T vinegar
1 t vanilla extract
1 egg
1 c water

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl to remove lumps. In another bowl, mix all the wet together with a whisk. Add all liquid ingredients and mix well. Bake in greased and floured 9" square pan lined on the bottom with waxed paper, at 350 F for 30 - 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Once it cooled I iced it with chocolate mocha icing:
6 T dairy free margarine
6 T coffee
2 t vanilla
4-5 c icing sugar ( to desired thickness)

Whip up the first three ingredients with a mixer and add in icing sugar until well mixed. This is just enought to ice a 9x13 cake or do a layer cake with icing in the middle as I did. The coffee adds a nice extra touch of yumminess. You could use coconut extract too instead and then sprinkle coconut on top too... big brudder dislikes da coconut so I went for coffee instead.

Afterthought: If you are curious and have a Nutters or Bulk Barn near you, you can save a lot of $ and make a very versatile gf flour mix with 3 c rice flour, 1/4 c potato starch, 2/3 c tapioca, 1/3 c cornstarch (and 2t guar gum if adjusting a regular recipe to be gf). Always add guar gum or xanthan gum to gluten free baking. It takes the role of gluten and allows thet stickiness you need for things to trap air and rise. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Newest healthy snack bliss

Sweet Potato Hummus.'s good people....

Now if you'll excuse me I have a bowl of hummous to drown in.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pumpkin branish muffins

Trying to be a bit healthier lately, so I thought of something that I figured would taste good together and winged it to make up these muffins in my head and they are pretty good if I do say so myself

1  3/4 c flour (3/4 whole wheat if you have it...I think it'd be too dense if it was all whole wheat)
2/3c bran
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t vanilla
1/3 c chopped toasted pecans


2 eggs
1 c almond milk
1 cup cooked pumpkin puree
1/4 c oil

Toast the pecans and chop them roughly. Mix all the wet together and stir in spices, salt and bran and toss in pecans. Then add remaining dry and stir until just mixed. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 healthy and tasty muffins. Next time I will be replacing the oil with coconut oil and tossing in some chia seeds or maybe some raisins or dates. If you want to be uber healthy you can cut back on the oil but I have found that if you don't have a bit of fat in a muffin they don't keep well for more than a few days unless you freeze them. The pumpkin really moistens them up and compensates for the bran. If you are baking for a larger horde than by all means swap out oil for greek yogurt, but for just J and I, if I want them to keep more than a day or so and not get that "off" muffiny softiness (bleh) a little fat helps keep the muffins fresh.
Enjoy! I am :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

stuffed chicken

It was a tasty wekend. For breaky/brunch we had this baked oatmeal recipe I made with blueberries and it was fantastic!
Then, last night we had a lazy evening of time so I made a meal that wasn't elaborate but required cooking time: Greek stuffed chicken breast and greek roasted potatoes. I had just made lemoncello and so I had 2 c of freshly squeezed lemon juice so I tried to think of ways to use it up. This worked deliciously.

First I peeled and sliced a few (3?? can't quite recall...) potatoes in to wedges and parboiled them in salty water for 15 minutes and drained them. While doing that I started on the chicken and turned the oven up to 375 F.
For the chicken, I took 2 chicken breast and pounded them out nice and thin and then layered a mixture of 1/3 c crumbled feta, 1/2 c spinach, 3 diced mushrooms, 2 green onions, 1 t minced garlic and 2 t pesto on top of them. I rolled them up and used a few toothpicks to keep them shut and put them in a little baking dish sprayed with Pam (lots of juice cooks out with this so you need something other than a baking sheet to not make a mess and keep the chicken from drying out). Then I poured about 1/4c lemon juice over them (adjust to your own taste) and sprinkled a few more mushrooms, red onions on top and put them in to bake for 20 minutes. I took the drained potatoes and tossed them with some drizzles of chipotle olive oil, pepper and italian seasoning and more lemon juice to coat and put them spread out in a pan and into the oven with the chicken. After 20 minutes I flipped the potatoes and put 1/3 c shredded mozza onto the chicken and baked it all for another 20 minutes. Then I took the chicken out to sit a bit, flipped the potatoes and let them bake another 5 minutes until they started to get nice and crispy while I prepped the chicken on the plates.
Results were so good I forgot to take a picture. Yummy and easy peasy... :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

pumpkin carrot nut multigrain muffins

Everyone I mention these muffins to keeps mentioning they want one. I made them up after having leftover pumpkin on the weekend and they turned out well. Luckily I could remember what I put in them and after making them a few more times (we've been inhaling them in mass quantities), I've written the recipe down so I don't forget. After eating one people keep saying they want the here ya go. J and I love them. This recipe makes 12 muffins.

In a big bowl, mix well:
1/4c coconut oil (melted) or regular canola oil
1/4 c water
1 c grated carrot
1 c pureed pumpkin
2/3 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 t salt
1 1/2t pumpkin pie spice (OR 1/2 t each of cinnamon, ginger and cloves)
1/2c chopped walnuts of pecans (whatever you have around -I bet pumpkin seeds would be good too)

In a separate bowl, mix and then stir in to the wet stuff until just mixed:
3/4c multigrain flour
3/4c white flour
1/2t baking soda
2 t baking powder

Bake at 350 for ~20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Don't overbake them...and enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

LBL smoked fish cakes

Oh man.
I get ideas from watching food tv...Lately, when J works late I have been watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives...and one place in Maine made fish cakes in a way I had never heard of. With potatoes and salted fish...then they deep fried them...they looked amazing.
My dad catches fresh fish up north where he lives and he and his friends smoke it up sometimes...and it is drop dead fresh and insanely delicious. I love it but there is only so much smoked fish you can have, and J is really not a fish fan, so I usually just nibble away at it...and I got to thinking that I still had half a fillet of smokey deliciousness in my freezer on the way home today...and I decided to Saskatchewanify a US classic in a healthy way: smoked lake fish potato cakes.
So, I boiled up a large potato and once it was soft I fork mashed up the potato with a glug of milk. Then I added about 1/2 t of crushed garlic, pepper, dill and a bit of salt. Then I flaked up the fish  (~1/4c flaked) and added it in and mixed it all up with my hands and added half a beat egg and 2 T bread crumbs to hold it all together.
Then I made the smush into 2 small patties and dipped them in the remaining half egg and coated them with about 1/4 c more bread crumbs and popped them onto a hot nonstick pan with a spray of Pam just to crisp them up on both sides. I could have baked them to crisp them up better....but it was late and I was starving. :)

I nommed them up with some steamed beetroot and carrots and a bit of fresh tartar sauce I whipped up and...oh...MAN. These are the hook with flavour. They are so simple...but the smoked fish just filled it with flavour without overpowering things. I am in love.
I definitely need to make these for my dad the next time I am up visiting!

kitchen chemistry

As a scientist and a cook this made me giggle uncontrollably...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

apple cottage cheese pancakes

It's a weekend full of deliciousness.
I had cottage cheese to finish up today, so I looked for a way to have it for breakfast and found a recipe for apple cottage cheese pancakes from the Moosewood Cookbook. I've never had a bad things from that so I cooked this up to get about 10 nice sized pancakes (which for the 2 of us pancake pigs is about right!)

2 grated apples
1 c 1% cottage cheese
3 large eggs (or 1/4c egg whites if you're feeling healthy)
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
3/4 c flour
2 t baking powder

Whisk up the eggs and add the cottage cheese and stir up. Grate the apple into the wet stuff and stir in the spices. Then toss in the flour and b.p. and mix until just mixed. If it looks too wet add a bit more flour. Then cook in a hot pan and enjoy with maple syrup.
Simple and healthy and REALLY good. Some of the best pancakes I've had in a while and totally different. Kept me full all morning. :)

Chocolate irish cream cupcakes with coffee buttercream

To celebrate J's first episode of Nightdesk I made him what turned out to be my second fave cupcakes ever. Insanely good and so simple. And don't judge by the use of a mix...they are decadent...the icing is the clincher. Don't skip it- puts them over the top to perfect.

1 package super moist yellow cake
1 small package chocolate pudding mix
3 eggs
3/4 cup Irish cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 c evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Sift together cake and pudding mix. Mix wet ingredients until eggs are fluffy. Add in dry ingredients and mix on medium 2 minutes until smooth. Mixture will be somewhat thick...don't worry. Line a cupcake pan with liners. Fill liners ~ 2/3 full of cupcake mixture. You should get 21 or 22 cupcakes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of cupcakes comes out clean. It is hard to tell when they are done. Try not to overbake them.

Cool completely. Frost with coffee buttercream. Devour.

Coffee Buttercream

1 1/2c unsalted butter, room temp.
3 c icing sugar ( plus a few T at the end to adjust texture)
1 1/2 T instant coffee powder
1 1/2 T warm water
1 1/2 T vanilla
3 T baileys
1 T milk

Whip butter a few minutes until fluffy. Whip in sugar 1 c at a time and mix a few min. Slowly add in flavour in in small portions until combined. Adjust sugar if it needs a bit more.
This is the best icing I've had in a while. I'm not really into icing, but this totally makes the cupcakes. Do not skimp out on the'll thank me :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Blueberry cornmeal waffles

Wanted some vaguely healthy waffles and some cornmeal...and then decided blueberries would be good too. So i made up a recipe in my head which was crunchy but still light and yummy.

In a big bowl I mixed 1 3/4 c 1% milk + 3 T lemon juice + juice from a small lemon

Once that sat a few minutes to thicken I added:
2 t oil
2 eggs, beaten
3 T agave syrup
~1/4 t salt
Then I stirred in
~2/3 c wild blueberries
(what I had left. Didn't measure, just guestimating)

In a small bowl I mixed:
1 1/2 c flour
1 c cornmeal
2 T baking powder
3/4 t baking soda

I stirred in the dry to the wet until just mixed and then cooked this up in my belgian waffle maker, taking almost 1 c batter per waffle. It made 6 waffles. It was a thinner batter than "normal" from the cornmeal but cooked up nicely with a crunch but not too heavy. I was hoping for more lemony flavour, but it was still yummy with some blueberry yogurt and maple syrup...
Managed to remember a quick blurry (sorry) photo before I devoured my (heh heh) second one...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Red velvet chocolate chip cookies

I finally have the urge to make cookies again after my holiday cookie overdose...and being love day, it's a good excuse to make some cookies for our coworkers so we nibble a few, but not the whole batch.
I hunted valentine and red cookies and got happy when I found these:
Red Velvet chocolate ship cookies from Cooking Classy. Giggedy.

They are amazing...lightly chocolatey and soft and chewy. They aren't as red as the ones in the cooking blog, but they're a reddy brown like good red velvety things should be. I added less chocolate chips simply because I didn't have enough and I like them the way they are...remind me a lot of my mum's chocolate chip took all I had to not eat the batter on it's own.
Try them...yum.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mediterranean sweet potato and carrot soup

It's hothlike outside. So I made soup for my lunches all week. It is amazing. The recipe makes 5 servings of delicious, healthy soup. Wanted to log it so I can make it again.

2 t olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 t garlic crushed
I t ginger, crushed
1 t ground coriander
2 t cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli/ cayenne powder
2 medium sweet potato, peeled, diced
4 large carrots, peeled, sliced
6 cups vegetable/chicken stock
300g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
2-3T lemon juice (to taste)

In a dutch oven pot, I sauteed the onions, garlic and ginger in the oil for 5 minutes, then added the spices and cooked another minute. Then I added the stock, scraping all the good stuff off the bottom of the pot, and adding the veg. I simmered the soup 20 minutes and added the chic peas to cook for another 10 min. When all the veg and chic peas are cooked, add the lemon juice and then puree up. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Healthy banana waffles

I got a good belgian wafflemaker for christmas. I rocks. I have been hunting for healthier waffle recipes and found a few and modified a recipe up a bit for my taste. Here's my first attempt. Made some up today...

1 c multigrain flour
1 c flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 c almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (1 snack cup worth)
1 T + 1t baking powder
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 T sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t vanilla extract
Optional: 1/4 c chopped pecans (I had some around so I threw them in)

Cook in hot wafflemaker and serve with a smidge of syrup and sliced bananas. Yum.

Made ~ 5 belgian waffles. They were healthy, but not heavy and didn't stick to my waffleizer. Still fluffy and flavourful!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mexican style pulled chicken

My house smells amazing right now. A while back Magnus moved and I inherited parts of his pantry, and since he was a foodie who regularly got care packages of ingredients from his home on the coast, there was some cool and unusual stuff in it you cannot get here. One cool item was a 7 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I finally found a can of fire roasted tomatoes when I went shopping last and so I was determined to make something new with them. I settled on some kind of mexican pulled chicken...since I love pulled chicken but have never actually made it before ever for some reason...
I modified a few ideas i found on the interwebs, and you could use a slow cooker but I just used my dutch oven since I was home. It's hothlike out (with the wind it is -34C. Meh) and sunday so I am not going anywhere today! Turned out so tasty I want to write it down before I forget.

Chicken breasts (I used 3)
Chicken broth (~ 2 ish cups)
1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 of a 7 oz can of roasted chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (4 peppers plus half the juice)
One large yellow onion sliced up
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t italian seasoning (was going to use oregano but was out of it)
1/4 t chili powder
Few shakes salt

In the dutch oven I put 3 full, skinned chicken breasts and added just enough chicken broth to cover them, and then added the rest and stirred it all to mix and then recover the chicken. I brought the pot to boil and turned it down to simmer for 1 hour with the lid on. The house smelled heavenly! The broth cooked down about half into a yummy thicker sauce.

At that point I turned the heat off and removed the chicken and shredded it with 2 forks on a plate. I took 3/4 c (about half) of the remaining juice and used it as half the water in my rice maker to make 1 cup of long grain white rice. Then I put the chicken back in the pot and stirred it all together into one yummy mess to let the remaining sauce soak into the chicken. I plan to have the chicken and rice in a wrap with some beans, grated cheese and perhaps some sour cream once J gets home. I will definitely be making this again...and I need to find a place to get more of those chipotles...I may be begging Magnus (please sir can I have some more?) to mail me some now that he's back home again!