Saturday, 22 July 2017

Welcome home! Chocolate zucchini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!

Welcome to my new kitchen! I am so thankful to be here and final able to bake again, after what has felt like months of being in transition. I have realized (again) that baking is one of my happy places. I love to bake!

When I thought about having our first dinner party with friends in our new house, I thought I'd make one of my favourite things to eat and after a 6 months blogging hiatus I thought I'd make a nostalgic recipe! Chocolate zucchini muffins, more like cupcakes. I thought I would jazz them up with a cream cheese frosting.

These muffins are very reminiscent of Costco double chocolate muffins circa 1996; I can still remember going over to my friends house and hoping they had some left over from their weekly Costco shopping trip.
Mix 2 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 1&1/2 cup of shredded zucchini.
Add in 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 3/4 tap baking soda, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt. 
Mix well and add in 3/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes

I like to use an icecream scoop for my muffins and cupcakes. This is great especially when you're icing the cupcakes; ensures they are all the same size.

Some one has a sweets radar and appeared to have a taste test! He approved.

One of the perks of working from home...

Lunch break! My personal chef made me the most delicious BLT; on my mother in laws homemade spelt bread; delicious. I don't usually eat bacon but sometime you just need bacon; am I right?!

Now to take these "muffins" to the next level; I mixed up my favourite cream cheese icing.
Mix 2 bricks of room temperature cream cheese, 1/4 cup softened of unsalted butter, with  1tsp of vanilla and 2 cups of icing sugar with the paddle attachment.
No fail and it's even good by itself! No I'm serious!

I put my icing in the fridge for a few hours before piping the cupcakes.

They were a hit; and serving them outside was my friends genuine idea! No mess, no clean up!

The kids had a blast. So great to be able to entertain again.

Here's the next CEO! I taught him to say "you're fired!" just for my enjoyment!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Quick Soup and a visit to Jollibee

Without any real direction I started making soup.  I put two frozen chicken breasts at the bottom of my crock pot.

I dumped in chopped onion, chopped celery, onion soup mix, and a block of frozen spinach.

I then added homemade turkey stock that I had on hand along with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
I let this cook for 4 hours and then removed the chicken breasts and chopped them up.
I added the chopped chicken back into the soup along with two cans of drained, rinsed white beans.
Voila!  No sautéing or any real work to put this together.  I think I added a bit too much stock for the garnish but oh well it still tasted good.  I served this over brown rice for the kids, to bulk it up.
Now on to my new favourite dinner, Noodle bowl!
I love making this.  All the garnish you want served over rice, with your choice of meat and oh that yummy spicy lime fish sauce.  So good!
I forgot to mention on the last blog that I highlighted the noodle bowl, that I used coconut brown sugar to lower the glycemic index of the sauce and it works out great. I also blitz the sauce in my magic bullet rather than trying to dice chiles and garlic. 
On the left; mine is shown with orange sesame glazed turkey breast, cashews and GF turkey sausages chopped up.
On the right; Jeff's is shown with orange sesame glazed turkey breast, cashews and pad thai spring rolls.
Both bowls have a bed of mint, cilantro, chopped cucumber, finely shredded iceberg lettuce, and shredded carrots.

This picture was taken from Aubrey's and my culinary adventure to Jollibee.  All of her friends at school were talking about the "Pilipino" McDonalds that has recently come to Winnipeg.  She was super excited, so her and I waited in line for about 40 minutes to get fried chicken and rice.  She was pretty pumped.  I love making food memories.

The kids were invited to our neighbours birthday party; it was basically an entire "Construction theme party" board directly from Pinterest.  My friend is so gifted and throws the best parties!
Life is so much fun with these two!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Pizza! Cocobeans GF DF pizza crust review

My wonderful neighbor brought this bag of ready to make pizza dough over a couple of weeks ago.  One bag had two portions in it.  I was pretty excited to try it.  The first time I used it I definitely under baked the crust but this past time it was perfection.  Delightfully thin and crisp; this was a great substitute for a thin crust pizza.

I mixed the package with 3/4 cups of water, 1 tsp of cider vinegar and 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  I mixed this in my kitchen aid and then spread it thinly on a greased cookie sheet.
I let this rest for over 20 minutes and then baked it 12 minutes on each side before adding any toppings.
Meanwhile the crust was rising I seasoned some peeled/chopped beets and brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper.  I roasted these until tender; that took about 25 minutes at 400F. 
I drizzled the baked crust with olive oil, put a layer of fresh spinach and then topped that with the roasted vegetables.

I then topped this with goats cheese and grape tomatoes.

I baked this until the cheese was melting and had slight colour.
One cannot begin to explain how delicious this pizza was.  It was so good; Aubrey even ended up eating quite a bit of "my" dinner; but I was happy to share!
Here's the family ready for game day on Sunday.  A big game for the Green Bay Packer's football team.  We decided to show our support and all wear team colours.
This was Jeff watching the game; it was a nail-biter!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Orange Poppy Seed Loaf

So a not-so-typical morning at our house would look like this.  Goats milk latte and a bowl of fried rice.  I had a craving for brown rice, eggs, zucchini, hot sauce and cashews; so what can I say I improvised.

I imagined being somewhere around the world that this would be a completely normal breakfast.  What fun that would be!

Later on, I looked in my fruit drawer and noticed 10 oranges that needed to be used up so I zested and juiced them into a pot and then started thinking.

Why couldn't I make Lemon poppy seed loaf but with oranges?  Sure! So I found this recipe and that's what I did.
I decided to make 4 recipes; one to eat (not me obviously but my family) and some to share.
So first I took out the amount of juice needed for the syrup and the rest I would use in the recipe to offset the amount of milk I put in.
Next I whipped a pound of butter with 4 cups of sugar and then slowly added in 8 eggs.
Then I added in all the dry ingredients. 
Since I made 4 recipes; I added the remaining 1 and 1/2 cups of orange juice and used 1/2 cup of milk to the batter; instead of all milk. 

Four recipes made two loaf pans and one bundt pan.  This bundt pan is so special to  me; it was my Grandma Alice's.  I have so many treasured memories of her in kitchen.  She was an amazing cook.
After these cooled slightly I flipped them out onto a cooling rack and while they were still warm I poked 12 holes in them and then poured the syrup over each.
As you can see the bundt loaf didn't turn out awesome (stuck in several places; I should of greased and floured it) so that was the one we kept for the New Year's tea party and the other two were perfect to give away. 

The kids were thrilled to have a cousins tea party; even with real tea.

Monday Jeff and I took Aubrey with us to visit his grandma in Roblin, Manitoba.  She is 97 and we are so grateful for the time to spend with her.  Obviously none of us know the time we have left here but when you're 97 that makes one acutely aware when you say "see you later" it could really be goodbye.
I feel blessed for the time we all had together and I do look forward to the next we will see her. As she put in "In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore".
Another high-five Jesus moment from our trip was when I found an almond milk latte in the small town of Roblin, Manitoba.  No stop light but there is a lady there that sure can make a delicious latte.  Thanks again latte lady!