Yum

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pie in a Jar

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While I was searching on line, for a cute gift, to make for Mr.B's teacher, I found this cute idea; over at Our Best Bites. I really liked the idea of little individual pies. The bonus was, they can be kept in the freezer, until you have that craving for pie. There is always such stress about making a whole pie. If there is some leftover, how do you store it? On the counter? The fridge? What if only one person wants pie? What if you are sitting watching TV by yourself and the pie craving gets you? Are you more likely to go to the kitchen and make one big pie, or just grab this cute little pie and bake it up? I'd go with the little pie everytime, LOL.

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These were pretty easy to make. I decided to fill them with apple and strawberry rhubarb, since those are some of our favorite pie flavors. The result was a flaky little pie, full of wonderful goddness. Hubby was really interested in this concept and the kids just loved their own little pies in a jar. These would be great Christmas gifts, or a nice little something to share with friends and neighbours.

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Press the pie dough into your mason jars (short and fat 1/2 pint/250ml jars), so that it completely covers the bottom and sides. If you are not a pie dough maker, then feel free to use store bought pie dough. What ever works best for you.

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Fill 3/4 full with your filling; if you fill them too full, you will not be able to place the lids on to freeze. Fill them with what ever you would like. I just happened to go with apple and strawberry rhubarb.

Apple Filling:
4 apples, peeled cored and chopped
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cloves
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c flour

Mix everything in a bowl, so that the apples are coated evenly.

Strawberry Rhubarb:
2 C strawberries
1 C rhubarb, chopped
1/4 C white sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C flour
2 Tbs butter
1/4 tsp almond extract

In a sauce pot mix all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until berries and rhubarb become very tender. Cool before filling pies.

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Roll the remainder of the dough out, to make the tops. Using the ring part of the lid, cut out tops for your pie. Make a vent, in each top piece ( I used a cute little cookie cutter, but use what ever you have on hand).
Place the dough onto the filling, so that the center is directly on the filling. The top will be big enough, so that the sides go up against the bottom crust. Using the tynes of a fork, crimp and seal the edges.

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At this point, you can throw the lids on and put them in the freezer. To bake up, simply place them on a cookie sheet, in a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 375 degrees and bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the middles are bubbly. If you’re baking them fresh and not frozen they take about 45 minutes.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

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This recipe is actually called Burger in a Salad with Caramelized Onion, Avocado, Tomatoes and Thousand Island Dressing. This is another wonderful recipe from celebrity chef Ann Gentry's new cookbook: Vegan Family Meals. We are far from Vegan, but I just love this cookbook. I could go meatless everyday, but I'm not sure Hubby would appreciate that, LOL. So, when I saw this recipe for Black Bean Veggie Burgers, I just had to make them. I've always wanted to find an alternative, for myself, when the rest of the family has beef burgers. I usually end up eating the bun, loaded with lettuce, cheese and tomato. But now that I've found these, I am so excited about burger night!

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These have wonderful flavor. The cumin adds a nice slightly smoky lemony taste to them. I really love the way half the mixture is pureed, but them you still have some bits of vegetables and rice in there. It gives the burgers a wonderful texture, so that you don't feel like you are eating mush, LOL. Now since we were having burger night, I did not make the entire recipe. I made half the burger recipe, half the caramelized onion and half the dressing recipe. I served a patty on a bun, topped with the onions and dressing and it was pure heaven. The sweet onion and dressing just brought these burgers from good to phenomenal. The sweetness complimented the savory flavors of the beans, carrot and cumin, beautifully. I am so happy to have found an alternative for myself when the rest of the family has burger night!

Even though I only made part of the recipe, I will post the entire recipe. I have plans of trying the whole recipe next week, since the kids will be gone.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers
printable version

3 1/2 Tbs neutral cooking oil, plus more as needed
1 C finely diced onion
4 tsp finely minced garlic
2 C finely diced peeled yams
2/3 C finely diced peeled carrots
1/2 C finely diced celery
2 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp finely diced jalapeno chile
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp paprika
2/3 C fresh corn kernels,or frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 C finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 C corn flour (not cormeal)
4 C cooked short-grain brown rice
2 C rinsed and drained canned black beans
1/4 minced fresh parsley
3 Tbs powdered egg replacer

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbs of oil in a large heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic  and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the yams, carrots and celery. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt and saute until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the jalapeno, the remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt, the cumin, black pepper and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add the corn and bell pepper and saute until they become slightly tender, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the corn flour. Add the rice, beans and parsley. Using your hands, mix thoroughly.

Place half the burger mixture into a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped and slightly mushy. Return the pulsed burger mixture to the remaining burger mixture. Sprinkle the egg replacer over the burger mixture, and using your hands, mix to blend very well.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on a flat griddle pan over medium heat. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed for each batch, cook the patties until they are browned on both sides and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Form the burger mixture into twelve 3 1/2-inch patties that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Place patties on the prepared baking sheet, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Alternatively, you can store them in and airtight container and freeze; thaw before using.

Caramelized Onions
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs vegan butter
3 lbs Spanish onions sliced
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbs mirin

Heat the oil and vegan butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and salt. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 1 hr. Add the mirin and cook until the onions are brown, about 15 minutes.

Dressing
1/2 C vegan mayonnaise
1/3 C ketchup
3 Tbs sweet relish
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl, to blend.

Salad
1 large carrot, peeled
1 medium beet, peeled
6-8 C mixed baby lettuces
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the carrot and the beet with a mandoline into long, thin curly shoestrings, or use a vegetable peeler to cut them into long shavings. Toss the carrot, beet and mixed baby lettuces in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat lightly. Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper.

To Assemble: Mound salad in the center of each of 4 plates. Spoon some of the caramelized onions and all of the 1/2 C sliced roasted red peppers over the burger patties and arrange a smothered patty on each plate with the salad. Scatter 1 peeled pitted and diced avocado, 2 ripe tomatoes cut into wedges and Maple Tempeh Bacon, coarsely crumbled; over salad if desired.

Cindy's notes: I used a regular egg, in place of the egg replacer. I also used regular mayonnaise in the dressing and regular butter for the onions.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Meal Plan Monday~ June 27, 2011

Happy Monday!

It's so nice to see some sunshine, after 4 days of clouds and rain. We were starting to get a little stir crazy, but a nice trip to the strawberry patch, helped some. Despite the rain we had fun and came home with 3 baskets of strawberries; 11 litres in total. I was also able to snag some new baby potatoes, sugar snap peas , asparagus and of course rhubarb. Strawberry and rhubarb is one of my favorite combinations.

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This week is Mr.B's last week of school. Summer vacation officially begins on Wed and he is super excited!! I am somewhat excited, I just dread the moodiness that ensues when he lacks the structure of school. I'll have to try and plan a lot of activities to keep him busy this summer. I'm hoping the nice weather stays with us all week, since grilling, seems easier than cooking on the stove. Less clean up and I just love grilled food. So most of the menu will revolve around my hopes for nice weather.

  • Burgers with potato salad and roast asparagus
  • Grilled pizza (BBQ chicken and/or Canadian) with Caesar salad
  • Fish and chips with corn on the cob
  • waffles with fresh fruit salad
  • Pierogies with bacon, onion and cheese; tossed salad
  • assorted subs with all the fixins; sweet potato fries
  • Leftovers
Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for more great meal plans!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jalapeno Popper Cheeseburgers

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When I browse food blogs, or recipe web sites, I usually talk to myself. I say the title of the recipe out loud and then voice whether I think it would taste good or not. Well, while visiting my friend Brenda's blog Brenda's Canadian Kitchen; I happened to see this recipe and mentioned the name, out loud. Hubby who was sitting across from me, lifted his head and said "I'd try those!!". So, on the menu they went. And am I ever glad they did. These were awesome!! I really love how you make the filling patties and freeze them, so that they don't ooze all out of the burger. Mine ended up oozing, since I don't think I made the burgers thin enough, so by the time meat cooked through, the filling was melty and oozy.

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No matter! Most of the filling stayed in; so we still got to enjoy each and every cheesy spicy bite of burger. The beef itself was nicely seasoned with the grated onion. I loved the ooey cheese, paired with the slightly hot jalapenos. I used 2 roasted jalapenos, made myself one filling disk and then added a fresh jalapeno for the boys. I knew this would be way too spicy for the kids, so I just made them plain burgers, using the beef mixture. I'm pretty sure Hubby mentioned 4 times, during the course of the meal, that these were "amazing! Definitely a keeper!". So a big Thanks to Brenda, for posting these!!!

Jalapeno Popper Cheeseburgers
Adapted from Canadian Living Magazine-June 2011
printable version


1 egg
1 small onion, grated and drained
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
Three-quarters sweet onion, cut in 4 thick rounds
2 tsp. olive oil
Pinch each salt and pepper
4 hamburger buns

Cheese Filling

1 cup shredded old Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chopped drained pickled jalapeno peppers
2 T chopped fresh parsley

Cheese Filling:

In bowl, stir together Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, jalapeno peppers and parsley.  Divide into quarters; flatten each to 2 1/2-inch circle.  Freeze on tray for 15 minutes.

In bowl, whisk together egg, grated onion, bread crumbs, salt and pepper; mix in beef.  Shape into 8 balls.  Flatten each into 5-inch wide patty.  Top 4 of the patties with cheese circle; top with remaining patties, gently pressing and pinching edges to seal.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place patties on greased grill over medium heat; close lid and grill, turning once. 

Meanwhile, brush sweet onion rounds with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium heat, turning once, until softened and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes.

Sandwich burgers and onion in buns.

Makes 4 burgers.

Cindy's notes: I used 2 roast jalapenos and 1 fresh. I also doubled the recipe to make 8 burgers.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Quick Tip: Bananas

If your like me and your bananas seem to ripen way too quickly, here's a great tip for you!






Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Banana Split Cake

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This is a recipe that I've been working on for a few weeks now. My original intention was to make the base brownies and enter this to the Real Women of Philadelphia contest. However, every homemade brownie base I tried, stuck to the pan. Finally I decided to try a white cake base, and it was an amazing success. I made this a few weekends back, when our neighbours came over for a cook out. Everyone ooohed and aaaahed and the neighbours had 2 pieces each! It was the perfect end to a perfect night, with spectacular people.

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The cake was moist and fluffy. The layers of flavor mimicking a banana split included pineapple, banana, strawberry and chocolate. The fluffy light toppings were wonderful, and not too sweet. We all enjoyed the hint of banana which blended so subtly with the pineapple mousse and whipped cream. This would certainly be amazing with brownies, so now I just have to find a nice cake like brownie batter, that won't stick stubbornly to my pan, LOL.

Banana Split Cake
printable version

1 C sugar
1/2 C butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C milk
1 pkg pineapple cream cheese, softened
4 C heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
1/4 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large bananas, sliced
2 C strawberries, sliced
1/4 C 70% cocoa dark chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch cake pan and evenly coat it with sugar. In a medium bowl, cream sugar and butter. Beat the eggs in, 1 at a time, then add the vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda and add to the creamed mixture. Mix well. Stir in the milk, until the batter is smooth. Pour into greased cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. The cake should spring back when slightly touched. Let cake cool completely.

While cake cools, whip the heavy cream, to soft peaks. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip to stiff peaks.

In a bowl, beat the pineapple cream cheese, until fluffy. Fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Spread the pineapple mousse over the cooled cake. Sprinkle evenly with sliced bananas. Spread remaining whipped cream over the bananas and sprinkle evenly with strawberries. Melt chocolate in a ziptop bag. Snip off a tiny hole in one tip of the bag. Drizzle top of cake with melted chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve and refrigerate any leftovers.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Meal Plan Monday~ June 20, 2011

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and took the time to wish their father's a Happy Father's Day.

After 1o days of Hubby being home, he had to return to work this morning. I have to say, that I really enjoyed having him home. We had such a wonderful vacation, visiting attractions close to home. This is the first time we've had a family vacation, that didn't involve us having to drive countless hours to visit my, or Hubby's parents. We were able to relax, go at our own pace and enjoy being together.

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As a result of Hubby's vacation, I haven't really thought about this week's meal plan. Since we've done a lot of eating out, last week, I plan of getting some healthy home cooked food back into our bellies. Here is the plan

  • Grilled chicken sandwiches with coleslaw
  • Jalapeno popper burgers (new recipe) with sweet potato fries
  • Black Bean Burgers (new recipe) with a salad
  • Summer Corn Fettuccine (new recipe)
  • Tacos
  • Pierogies with grilled Italian sausages and baked beans
  • Leftovers
Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for more great meal plans!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Journey has Ended

Well, the judges have spoken and I have not been chosen as one of the Real Women of Philadelphia finalists. Though I do not agree with many of their choices for the finalists, or their decision not to pick me; I must say that the experience has been amazing. I just loved being able to 'host' cooking segments in my own kitchen. I mean who doesn't pretend to have their own cooking show, while making dinner?? This gave me the opportunity to fulfil one of my fantasies, LOL. For a look at all the videos I submitted click HERE

It has also given me the opportunity to re discover just who Cindy was. For years, I've lost myself in being Hun, or Mommy and was starting to forget who Cindy was. What excited me, other than watching and helping my children grow and strenghtening my relationship with Hubby. This contest let me rekindle my passion for cooking and creating new and exciting recipes.

Here is a list of the finalists, linking to their winning videos.

Appetizers
  1. Andrea Greico
  2. Leeanne Bayley-Hay
  3. Angela Amati
  4. Audrina
Sides
  1. Candice Meighan
  2. Elise Copps-Smith
  3. Miriam Borys
  4. Sue Faber
Entrees
  1. Lyndsay Wells
  2. Danielle Abray
  3. Mandy Cmoc
  4. Elisa Hendricks
Desserts
  1. Lisa M
  2. Laurie P
  3. JoHanna Hyde
  4. Kristen Eppich
So, there you have it. The 16 Canadian women, who will be competing to become the 4 Real Women of Philadelphia.

On a side note, I did win a ticket, to attend an event during cook-off week and will be able to meet some of the wonderful ladies that I've become so close with, during this journey. Though I am disheartened by the loss of the competition, the chance of meeting such amazing, supportive, talented and fun ladies brings a smile to my face. So, keep an eye out for my post about our Real Women of Philly soiree!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Feta

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With the nice warm weather finally making an appearance, I've been trying to find more side dishes that do not require cooking. Salads are wonderful, but a bowl full of lettuce and toppings can get a bit redundant. I decided to make a cucumber tomato salad. Both kids love tomatoes and cucumbers, so I was hoping they would love this. I loved the freshness of the salad and how quickly it can come together. I was able to find a package of tomatoes, that only cost $.59. Since they were getting overly ripe, they were marked down. I used the firmest ones, keeping the softer riper ones for pasta sauce.

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This salad screams summer! If you are a fan of Greek style foods, you will love this. The dressing has some great Greek flavors, but the balsamic vinegar adds a slight sweetness. The salty Feta adds a wonderful  layer of tangy salty goodness. This pairs perfectly with some grilled burgers or a nice big steak!

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Feta
printable recipe

1 large english cucumber
3 large tomatoes
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
1/8 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbs crumbled Feta cheese

Peel cucumbers and cut in half, lengthwise. Cut each half into thirds and cut thirds into small cubes. Place in a bowl. Cut tomatoes into 8 wedges. Cut each wedge in half and add to cucumber. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, oregano and pepper. Pour over tomatoes and cucumber, add 1 Tbs Feta and toss lightly, to coat. Sprinkle with remaining Feta and serve.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gluten-and Soy-free Waffles with Summer Berry or Apple-Pear Compote

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I was asked to make this wonderful recipe, from Ann Gentry's new book; Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone. At first I was a little apprehensive since I had never eaten gluten free. For some reason, I had a preconceived notion that the texture would be close to card board. Was I ever wrong. First of all, the brown rice and tapioca flours are so silky soft. I really was amazed by their texture, when I bought them. The only thing that caught me off guard, was how expensive xanthan gum is. Since it is only sold in large amounts, you do have to splurge on this ingredient, to make the recipe work. Xanthan gum can be compared to gluten, which needs to be used in gluten free baking. Wanting to make the original recipe, I caved and bought the xanthan gum. Thankfully I've recently become friends with an amazing woman, who has celiac disease and makes the best desserts you've ever seen.



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I think what I loved most about these waffles was the addition of the almond meal and almond extract. It gave a sweet, almost cherry like flavor to the waffles. I'm a big fan of almond extract, so I knew I'd enjoy this addition. Then there was the Apple-Pear Compote, that I also made, to top the waffles. I went with apples and pears, instead of berries, since I have several pears I needed to use up. All I can say is that I fell in love with this compote! The addition of the vanilla bean to the maple syrup and spices, was so intoxicating. I could not wait to dig into these. I did forgo the tofu whipped cream, since I wanted to experience the flavors of the waffles and compote, by themselves.



Gluten-and soy-free Waffles with Summer Berry or Apple-Pear Compote
Ann Gentry: Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone 

printable version
When you bite into this crisp waffle with its soft fruit compote, whipped cream, and maple syrup, it is amazingly delicious. The waffles’ almond flavor also pairs nicely with apricots, so another way to enjoy these crispy cakes is to simply spread apricot jam on top. Both the powdered egg replacer and the xanthan gum can be found at regular grocery stores as well as natural foods stores: These two ingredients take the place of eggs, helping the flours bind.
Makes about 5 waffles
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon powdered egg replacer
2 cups almond milk
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon sunflower or safflower oil
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 ½ cups brown rice flour
¼ cup almond meal
¼ cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
Non aerosol nonstick cooking spray
Apple-Pear Compote (recipe follows) or Summer Berry Compote (recipe follows)
Soy whipped topping or Tofu Whipped Cream (recipe follows), for serving
Pure maple syrup
Toasted sliced almonds
Preheat a standard waffle iron over high heat. Whisk the 3 tablespoons water with the egg replacer in a medium bowl until well blended. Whisk in the 2 cups almond milk, the agave nectar, oil, and almond extract.
Whisk the brown rice flour, almond meal, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum in a large bowl to blend. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until moistened, being careful not to over mix. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes to thicken.
Spray the hot waffle iron generously with cooking spray. Pour about ²⁄3 cup of the batter onto the waffle iron. Close the lid and cook until the waffle is golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, gently loosen the waffle from the iron and transfer it to a plate.
Immediately top the hot waffle with the compote and soy whipped topping, or with maple syrup. Garnish with toasted almonds and serve immediately. Repeat to make more waffles.
Summer Berry Compote
The key to this recipe is to allow the heat to soften the berries to the point where they’re just about to begin losing their shape: When you bite into them, they’ll be even sweeter than when picked. These berries go perfectly on top of waffles, and they also make a delicious ice cream or sorbet topping. Leftovers can even be added to your granola in the morning.
Makes about 3 cups
½ cup fresh orange juice
¹⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (10-ounce) container fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 (6-ounce) container fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 (6-ounce) container fresh raspberries
Stir the orange juice, maple syrup, orange zest, mace, and cinnamon in a large saucepan to blend, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the strawberries and blueberries to the syrup mixture. Simmer gently until the berries begin to release their juices and soften, about 8 minutes.
Stir the 2 tablespoons water and the arrowroot in a small bowl to blend. Stir the arrowroot mixture into the berry mixture and increase the heat to medium. Allow the compote to simmer for about 2 minutes, or until the compote thickens. Remove the compote from the heat and stir in the raspberries. Set aside to cool slightly (the compote will thicken further as it cools).
Refrigerate the compote in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Apple-Pear Compote
When apples and pears are in season, this is an excellent topping for waffles and French toast. This simple cooked fruit is also a winner if you need to whip up a quick last-minute dessert: I’ve served it many times with a cookie or two, and it always hits the spot. You might sprinkle some chopped toasted nuts on top to give it a little crunch.
Makes about 3 cups
¼ cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¹⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
¹⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 apples, such as Gala, Pink Lady, or Rome Beauty (about 1¼ pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 ripe pears, such as Anjou (about 1¼ pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon arrowroot
Stir the maple syrup, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg in a large saucepan to blend. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the syrup, then add the bean. Stir in the apples and bring the syrup mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the pears and continue cooking until the apples and pears are tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir the 2 teaspoons water and the arrowroot in a small bowl to blend. Quickly stir the arrowroot mixture into the apple-pear mixture and simmer until the liquid thickens, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean. Let cool slightly before serving. Refrigerate the compote in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Tofu Whipped Cream
This is a recipe I have relied upon for years: I included it in my first book, The Real Food Daily Cookbook, and I love it so much that I had to include it again. It’s a soy based whipped topping that you can make at home, using all-natural ingredients. The recipe couldn’t be simpler, although it does depend upon the use of agar to create the consistency one wants in a whipped cream.
Makes about 2 cups
1 (12.3-ounce) container vacuum-packed extra-firm silken tofu (such as Mori-Nu)
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¹⁄3 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon agar agar flakes
Pinch of salt
Blend the tofu, maple syrup, and vanilla in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Combine the juice, agar, and salt in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes, or until the agar dissolves. Immediately blend the hot agar mixture into the tofu mixture. Transfer the tofu mixture to a bowl.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the mixture is set. Return the tofu mixture to the food processor and blend until it is smooth and creamy
The tofu whip will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated. Whisk before using.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Blog Tour: Vegan Family Meals…Get Cookin’ with Ann Gentry this Summer

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I was recently contacted by Much and House Public Relations, in regards to being a blog stop for the launch of “Vegan Family Meals: Real Food For Everyone”, a new cookbook from Hollywood’s #1 Vegan Chef and owner of chic LA restaurant, Real Food Daily, Ann Gentry. I was super excited, since I try to make an effort to eat meatless, at least once a week. Not only is it budget friendly, but I am not a big fan of meat. I always say I'd make a great ovo-lacto vegetarian. Vegan-ism goes one step further, as to where it is all plant based foods. I was excited to have new recipes to add to my repertoire.

As part of the blog tour, I was asked to make a recipe from this wonderful cookbook. When I say wonderful, I mean, so different and informative. Ann goes on to talk about being vegan, wonderful plant based foods and their uses in vegan cooking, gluten free foods/products, meat free products, non dairy cheeses and even cooking utensils. She does all this without coming off preachy or as trying to get everyone to eat vegan. She even states "Don't let an all-or-nothing attitude turn you off: It's well worth the effort to consume less meat and dairy even if you don't eliminate it entirely". I really loved learning about ingredients I had never cooked with before, such as sea vegetables, grains, different flours. This is a great way to become more adventurous with food and also getting some  "healthful and balanced" meals on your table.

If you'd like to learn more about Ann Gentry, her new cookbook, restaurant and recipes; visit her fabulous blog Real Food Daily. Stay tuned later this week, when I review Ann's Gluten- and Soy-free Waffles with Apple Pear Compote. I promise you will not want to miss it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meal Plan Monday~ June 13th, 2011

Happy Monday!

Are you a foodie?  I sure am and I am extremely happy to have found a wonderful blog hop, that lets all of us who have passion for food, to get together.  Make a Food-"e"-Friend Monday, is hosted every Monday by The Lucky Wife, over at the Saturday Evening Pot, another food and recipe blog. It's a spectacular way of
linking up some of your recipes and seeing what others, like you, are cooking up in their kitchens.


As a way to get everyone better acquainted with each other, the Lucky Wife has decided to feature one of the Food-"e"-Friends, each Monday.  I was randomly chosen as the first Food-"e"-Friend, so make sure to go over and learn more about my passion for cooking!  You could even link your most popular recipe to the Star Recipes Collection!!

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This week is a little up in the air with the meal planning. Hubby is off all week, on vacation and we've decided to do a few day trips, here and there, since Mr.B is still in school. So, this will mean a bit of eating out, or take out; after a long but fun day. On the days Mr.B will be in school, I'm sure we will be enjoying some delights on the BBQ. So I will plan for 5 days of supper and 2 days out. If we eat out most of the week, that's fine with me, LOL.
  • Steaks, baked potatoes and vegetable kebabs, all on the grill
  • Grilled chicken with pasta salad
  • Pierogies and sausage, with a tomato cucumber salad
  • grilled shrimp tacos
  • Black Bean Veggie Burgers (new recipe) with a Greek salad
Don't forget to head over to OrgJunkie.com, for many other great meal plans, for the week.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza and a Let's Celebrate Summer Giveaway

***Giveaway is now closed. Good luck to all who entered***

First of all, I am so excited to announce that I've been chosen by Mom Central Canada and General Mills Canada, as the latest Canadian blogger, to be part of their Life Made Delicious Connector program.

This means that I will be able to try some great General Mills products, share in some great discussions on cooking, meal planning and just about everything related to food. Of course that also means that I will have many opportunities to share wonderful and easy recipes with all of you! Make sure you take the time to visit!

What a better way to celebrate my special news with you all, then to host a giveaway! The wonderful and generous people at Life Made Delicious - General Mills Canada have provided a special treat for you.

One lucky winner will be receiving

  • Barbecue Utensil Set
  • Paper Plates
  • Colourful Napkins
  • General Mills goodies from:
                     -Old El Paso
                     -Cheerios (including Chocolate Cheerios!)
                     -Fibre 1
                     -Betty Crocker
                     -Nature Valley

The “Celebrate Summer Giveaway” pack is valued at approximately $100 and is open to Canadian residents only.  This giveaway will run until midnight July 7th 2011. I will then choose a winner at random, on Friday morning, July 8th, 2011.

To enter all you have to do is share their favourite Summer recipe from Lifemadedelicious.ca . Easy isn't it!! Please include your email address, in [dot] com form, so I can contact you if you win. For an additional entry, simply

Like Life Made Delcious on Facebook and leave me a seperate message as well.

 “Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

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Speaking of easy recipes, this one is great! I know that with the warmer weather finally making an appearance, the last thing I want to do, is fire up the oven. But even in the summer, I like to enjoy some oven baked meals. So, I was super excited when I found this recipe for Grilled BBQ pizza and many other yummy BBQ recipes over on the Life Made Delicious site.

This one couldn't be easier and the results are so sensational. There is just something about BBQ sauce on pizza, that really appeals to me. I'm not sure if it's the sweet and savory, together, but I sure do love it. The crust was crispy and the topping were a mix of sweet and salty. My nephew really enjoyed this one, since we LOVE BBQ sauce and pizza. You could even use this method to make any version of pizza you prefer. But I highly recommend trying this version first!

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza
LifeMadeDelicious.ca

Ingredients:

1 pkg (283 g) Pillsbury* Italian Pizza Crust
1/4 cup (50 mL) barbecue sauce
3/4 cup (175 mL) chopped cooked chicken
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped red onion
1 cup (250 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese
6 grape tomatoes, thinly sliced

Method:

Heat coals or gas grill on medium high for indirect heat. If using charcoal grill, arrange coals around edge of firebox.
Spray a 12-inch (30 cm) pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray. Unroll dough; place in pizza pan; starting at center, press dough out, forming a 1/2-inch (1 cm) rim. Grill pizza base over center of charcoal grill or over unheated side of gas grill. Cover and grill 10-12 minutes or until crust is firm. Rotate pizza occasionally.

Remove pizza from grill. Spread with barbecue sauce. Top with chicken, onion, cheese and tomatoes.

Return to grill; grill over unheated side of grill 8-12 minutes. Rotate pizza occasionally. For a crisp, brown crust, place pizza pan over direct heat for 30 seconds or longer. Gently lift corner of pizza from pan to test for crisping and browning.
Cut into wedges.


Beer Battered Grilled Cheese

This was one of my final entries for the Real Women of Philadelphia entree week. My nephew is a very big fan of bacon and deep fried foods. So when he pondered out loud wether grilled cheese could be deep fried, it caught my attention. I thought grilled cheese would be great dipped in a beer batter and deep fried. Total bar food; guy food. And since I'm a fan of anything containing cheese and deep fried, I knew this would be right up my alley.

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All I can say is that this was awesome. The inside was was melty and the outside was crispy and salty. Perfect combination. The only way I could think of making this better is by adding a nice cheese sauce to dip it in. This was I have to say the best bar type food I've ever made. It was so good, that I now have a secret weapon to bribe the men with, to get them to do me a favor, LOL.



Beer Battered Grilled Cheese

12 slices French bread
1 1/2 cup(s) of flour
1/2 cup(s) of crushed cheese puffs
1 tsp. of paprika
1 1/4 cup(s) of beer
2 cup(s) of Havarti cheese, thinly sliced
8 ounce(s) of Roasted Red PepperPHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese
1 pound(s) of thick cut bacon, cooked
1/2 cup(s) of butter, softened
1 tsp. of minced garlic
5 cup(s) of vegetable oil, for frying
4 ounce(s) of Light PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese
1/2 cup(s) of milk
1 pinch of each of salt and pepper
1 cup(s) of old Cheddar cheese, shredded

Pour oil into a deep fryer and bring oil to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine flour, crushes cheese puffs and paprika. Add in beer and stir well, to make a batter. Set aside.

Spread a generous amount of the Roasted Red PepperPHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese onto 6 slices of bread. Top with 2 strips of bacon and enough cheese slices to cover the whole piece of bread. Top with remaining bread slices.

Mix together butter and garlic. Spread onto tops of sandwiches. Place sandwiches, buttered side down, into a preheated skillet. Spread remaining garlic butter onto tops of sandwiches. When bottoms are golden brown, flip sandwiches, to toast 2nd side.

Take grilled sandwiches and dip into beer batter. Carefully place in hot oil and fry for 2 minutes, on each side. Remove from oil, to a paper towel lined plate.

While sandwiches cool, melt light PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese into milk, in a sauce pot; over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Once light PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese is melted, remove from heat and stir in old Cheddar, until melted.

Use cheese sauce to dip the Beer Battered Grilled Cheese into.



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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pan Roasted Vegetables

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I have to admit that lately, I've become a bit of a veg head. Now that I am able to, I'm eating more veggies and enjoying them again. This method of cooking them was shared with us on Cooking for your Family. There had been an oven roast broccoli recipe floating around. It was summer and one of the members of the forum wanted roast broccoli, but did not want to use her oven. So she pan roasted them, with great success.

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This is really just a method, that I'd like to share today. You can use any veggie you prefer (asparagus, cauliflower and green beans would also work well) and any seasonings you prefer (if it's just Hubby and I, I sometimes throw n some Cajun seasoning, for a kick). This time I chose broccoli and carrots; two veggies I know the kids love. I went the simple route with the seasonings; salt, pepper, garlic and a squeeze of lemon right at the end. The veggies get slightly browned and sweet. It really is a quick and so delicious way to prepare vegetables.

Pan Roasted Broccoli (veggies)
Submitted by Rachel
printable version

Cut broccoli into small flowerets, mince a WHOLE bunch of garlic (maybe 4 cloves), and toss in a skillet with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Rachel’s Notes: I don't really have a set time to keep in on, I just taste a piece and if it still has a nice 'bite' to it, it's ready. I started doing this in the beginning of summer when I didn't want to roast it in the oven, and now it's my favorite way to have fresh broccoli.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Meal Plan Monday~ June 6th, 2011

Happy Monday!! Yesterday was the last day of the Real Women of Philadelphia contest. I was able to get 2 additional desserts in; so now it's up to the judges. It will be weird not having videos to look forward to making. I may just keep making videos, once a month or so, just for fun.

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This week is sure to be a LONG one. I say that because, Hubby's last day off was last Wednesday and he will not be off again until Friday. However, Friday starts his 10 day vacation. Since Mr. B still has a few weeks of school left, we'll be doing a stay-cation, with day trips to fun stuff close to home. Two things I'm looking forward to this week are

1. a visit from one of our best friends. She will spend the night Wed; she and Hubby will go golfing Thurs morning and we will take the kids to a near by nature park that has some wild animals on display, for a picnic.
2. I've invited our neighbours over for dinner, this weekend.

I'm carrying most of the recipes over from last week, since I deterred from the meal plan so much, LOL. So here is what's on the menu this week

  • Grilled chicken sandwiches with homemade coleslaw
  • Gluten and soy free waffles with Apple Pear Compote (new recipe)
  • Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza (new recipe) with cucumber tomato salad
  • Grilled Chops with grilled veggie kabobs (zucchini, peppers, onion)
  • Bacon wrapped egg sandwiches (new recipe) with fruit salad
  • Hubby's BBQ ribs, potato salad, hot dogs for the kids, grilled corn on the cob and grilled strawberry shortcake (new recipe)
  • Leftovers
Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for tons of other great meal plans!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Savory Popover

This was one of my entries for the Real Women of Philadelphia, contest. I've always seen popovers, or Swedish pancakes topped with fruits and creams for breakfast. I decided to take the same concept and turn it into a wonderful dinner entree. Adding chicken and vegetables, in a luxurious dill and lemon cream sauce, did just that.

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The popover was nice and light. The filling was creamy and tangy. The lemon and dill just brought a whole freshness to the dish, making the filling seem less heavy, when paired with the popover. An impressive dinner can be made in just about 30 minutes. Once the popover is in the oven, the filling comes together in a snap. This would also be perfect for a Brunch or even a lunch.





Savory Popover

3 tbsp. of butter, melted
1 cup(s) of flour
1/2 tsp. of salt
6 eggs
1 cup(s) of milk
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup(s) of chicken stock
2 tsp. of lemon pepper
1 pinch of salt
1 cup(s) of broccoli florets
8 ounce(s) of Dill PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese
1 roast red pepper, chopped
1/2 a lemon, squeezed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush a deep dish pie plate with 1 tbs melted butter. Set aside. In a bowl combine flour and salt. Add in remaining 2 Tbs melted butter, eggs and milk. Whisk thoroughly, until a very smooth batter forms. Pour into prepared pie plate and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 5-10 minutes more; until center is set and edges are golden.

While popover is baking, prepare the filling. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil and onion; cook 2 minutes. Add in chicken and season with lemon pepper and salt. Cook until chicken is browned on all sides. Add in carrots and coat with oil. Cook 2 minutes, then add chicken stock. Cover and cook 5 minutes, until carrots begin to soften. Add in broccoli, toss to combine and cover to cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Once broccoli is tender crisp, add in Dill PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese. Stir to combine, as the PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese melts. Add in juice of half a lemon and roast red peppers. Cook 1 minute, to heat red peppers through.

Remove popover from oven and let sit for 5 minutes, so the center deflates and sinks in.
Pour chicken mixture into center of popover and serve.

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