Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chocolate Banana Muffins with Avocado

This is a simple way to make use of overripe bananas and avocados. Feel free to add chocolate chips (1/2-1 cup) for even more chocolate flavor. If chocolate isn't your thing, you can also omit the cocoa and add an additional 1/4 cup of flour (I'd also add 1 tsp cinnamon).

Ingredients

3/4 c overripe banana (2 medium)
1/4 c very ripe avocado (1/2 small)
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt
3-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 - 3/4 c flour
1/4 c cocoa

12 banana chips (optional)

Instructions


  1. Spray 12 muffins tins with nonstick spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if using nonstick or dark colored pan reduce heat to 375 degrees.)
  3. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla.
  4. Stir in banana and avocado.
  5. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.
  6. Add flour mixture to liquid ingredients. Stir very gently until just combined.
  7. Place approximately 1/4 cup of batter into each tin.
  8. If using, place one banana chip on each muffin.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Cool five minutes and remove from tins onto cooling rack.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Broccoli Farro Salad

This salad is easy to make. I make it for dinner and take lefts overs for lunch. I've only recently started adding farro to our shopping list but I love it! It makes the dish more substantial and adding whole grains is always a plus to any meal. There are many different kinds of farro and some are quicker to cook than others. I use Trader Joe's 10 minute farro but what ever you use just follow the package's directions. You can even make it ahead or make more than you will use so you have left overs!

If you can't find farro, you can substitute something else - rice, barley, bulgar wheat, quinoa etc.

Here's another farro recipe that I like: Farro & Vegetable Salad

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked farro, cooled
2 large heads broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup reduced fat mayo
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp chipotle sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled bacon (optional)
1 tsp diced red jalapeno pepper (optional)

Instructions


  1. In a medium bowl, combine mayo, sugar, spices, and vinegar.
  2. In a large bowl add broccoli, farro, onion, and sunflower seeds.
  3. Add dressing and combine.
  4. Sprinkle with bacon and jalapeno, if using.


Serve.


PS: Do you live in Canada and have foodies in your life looking to try new, delicious Canada products? Check out www.foodiepages.ca. I've found a tonne of great new items on their such as Wendell creamed honey. They also have monthly tasting boxes if you can't decide on one thing! #Foodie Pages CHEF’S BOX Challenge

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Basil Pesto

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The Busboy (Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld)

(Jerry, George, and Elaine are all eating at an Italian restaurant. George hasn't eaten anything)

GEORGE: Why do I get pesto? Why do I think I'll like it? I keep trying to like it, like I have to like it.
JERRY: Who said you have to like it?
GEORGE: Everybody likes pesto. You walk into a restaurant, that's all you hear - pesto, pesto, pesto.
JERRY: I don't like pesto.
GEORGE: Where was pesto 10 years ago?

LOL. Classic. But seriously, who doesn't love pesto? So fresh, so green, so delicious!


Can you ever have too much basil?

Ingredients

200 g basil leaves ( a big colander full or three small bunches), ends cut off but I keep the stems on
200 g toasted pine nuts
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
200 g Parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced

Instructions


  1. In a large blender, place pine nuts, basil, garlic and lemon juice.
  2. Puree for 1 minute or until ingredients are roughly blended.
  3. Slowly, add oil while blender is on medium setting.
  4. Add cheese.
  5. If too thick add a bit more oil.
  6. Blend until almost smooth or to desired consistency.
  7. Will last for a few of days in refrigerator.
  8. If adding to pasta, make sure you include a couple of tablespoons of pasta water when adding pesto to pasta.
or pine nuts?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mango Tango Berry Smoothie

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Smoothies in the morning are an easy way to grab a nutritious cup of fruits and veggies especially for people who don't like a big breakfast.

This one is easy peasy. And it doesn't have anything but fruit in it - no dairy. Throw in a handful of frozen mango, fresh or frozen strawberries, pineapple and a 2 peeled oranges. I add 1/2 c  water (more if needed). Blend away and it's done! It honestly tastes like spring feels - clean, fresh, pure and refreshing. If you want you can add some hemp hearts for added nutrition.

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen mango
1 c strawberries
2 medium orange, peeled
1/2 cup pineapple
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp hemp seeds (optional)

Instructions

Blend everything together for 1 minute or desired consistently is reached.

Other smoothies you should try:
Green Goodness
Avocado Strawberry Smoothie
Blueberry Mango Smoothie
Blueberry Banana Tofu Smoothie
Pomegranate and Kale Smoothie
Strawberry Muesli Smoothie
Detox Lemon Spinach Smoothie
Cranberry Orange Antioxidant Smoothie
Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

Friday, January 9, 2015

Orange Spiced Tea Poppy Seed Loaf with OJ Glaze

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I drink coffee. A lot of coffee. For the most part, I only drink tea if I'm feeling sick or my mom is in town. But baking with tea is something different - I love it. I didn't really think about it until I attended the IFBC 2014 in Seattle last September. There, I attended a session led by Cindi Bigelow, President & CEO of Bigelow Tea. I learned an amazing amount of facts and information about tea. We also tasted amazing baked goods with tea as a main ingredient. This what inspired this loaf. Bonus: My kids loved it!



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Brush with tea glaze - poke holes in top of loaf to ensure maximum tea flavour.

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Brush or pour the glaze on the loaf once loaf has cooled.

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Let sit for at least 30 minutes to dry slightly.

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Ingredients

Tea:
3 bags orange and spice tea
1 -1/4 c  boiling water

Loaf:
1½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp poppyseeds
3/4 cup plain yogurt
¼ c steeped orange and spice tea
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp orange zest
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup vegetable oil

Orange Tea Syrup:
1 cup orange and spice tea
1 cup granulated sugar

Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp pure orange flavoring (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray.
Tea

  1. Steep 3 tea bags in boiled water.
  2. Let steep 10 minutes.
  3. Discards tea bags and let tea cool.

Syrup

  1. Make orange syrup by placing 1 cup tea and 1 cup sugar in blender. Blend for 1 minute.
  2. Set aside. Can be made ahead of time.

Loaf

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt and tea.
  3. Add eggs and whisk until combined.
  4. Add sugar, zest, vanilla and vegetable oil and whisk until combined.
  5. Add in dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan.
  8. Poke holes over top of loaf.
  9. Brush syrup over orange poppy seed loaf.
  10. Wait 10 minutes and brush with more syrup. (you’ll have extra syrup – just refrigerate for future use)
  11. Cool loaf completely.
  12. Create glaze by whisking together icing sugar, orange juice and orange flavoring.
  13. Gently pour glaze over loaf, let set till crust forms on glaze, about 30 minutes.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mini M&M Chip Cookies

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Ever get intense, give it to me now, craving for chocolate chip cookies? I do. And there is nothing more frustrating when all I have is cold hard butter instead of the room temperature version most recipes call for. This recipe avoids the problem by using melted butter! The cookies are crispy and perfectly sweet. Mmmm craving satisfied.

I used mini m&m's but you could substitute regular or mini chocolate chips.

Ingredients

2-2/3 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
2/3 c melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp hot water
1 package (about 2 cups) mini m&ms or chips
2 eggs


Instructions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until well mixed.
  3. Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds until incorporated.
  4. Mix in vanilla and water.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 
  6. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
  7. Using 1-inch cookie scoop, place on ungreased baking pan.
  8. Bake for 8 minutes.
  9. Cool on pan for 5 minutes and remove to cooking rack.
  10. Repeat with remaining batter.







Monday, December 15, 2014

Drunken Beef and Potato Stew

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Vancouver rarely gets really cold. Usually our winters are mild and rainy with a few periods of snow thrown in over the season. This year, however, has been colder than usual...and I'm not complaining because it has also been sunnier than usual...I'll take sunny & cold over mild  & rainy anytime!

And let's face it, cold weather is perfect for cooking up soups and stews. Stew is exactly where my mind went to when I was trying to decide on a recipe to create for The Little Potato Company. Have you heard of them? If not, you've probably seen them...they're in lots of grocery stores across Canada...even Costco. They produce over a dozen potato products and take their work very seriously to give their customers the perfect little potato. I also love that they give back to the community by donating over 25,000 pounds of potatoes to food banks every year!
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Here, I used their Blushing Belle potatoes. According to The Little Potato Company, they were "...originally bred in Germany by one of the oldest breeding companies in Europe, Blushing Belle is extremely versatile, and adapts well to a variety of cooking methods. Named after its blushing red skin and buttery yellow flesh, Blushing Belle delivers a soft, light texture with mild, delicate flavour. Excellent roasted or mashed."

Image from The Little Potato Company


I used them in this recipe because they hold up well under long heat. In other words, they won't turn to mush before they make it to your plate. I also added big pieces of carrot and celery and lots of garlic! Oh and did I mention the wine? Yup, a whole bottle of dry red wine goes into this stew!

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Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs beef stew meat
3 c dry red wine (1 bottle)
3 cups beef stock
1/3 c flour
1.5 lbs baby red potatoes
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
2 large shallots, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 gloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
1/2 c tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. On medium high heat, add vegetable oil to large sautee pan.
  3. Brown beef by placing pieces of beef in large dutch oven or other bakable pot - don't crowd the meat! Work in batches if necessary.
  4. Turn beef until all sides are browned.
  5. Remove beef from pan and place in large mixing bowl.
  6. If needed, add another tablespoon of oil to pot and add onions, leeks and shallots. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir often so they don't burn.
  7. Add garlic to onions and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Remove and place onions/garlic mixture into beef bowl.
  9. Add tomato paste to pot and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. This will deepen the flavour of the tomato paste.
  10. Add 1 cup of wine to pan and mix with paste. Stir and get all the bits stuck on the bottom of the pan off of the pan.
  11. Bring to simmer.
  12. Add the beef and onions back into the pan.
  13. In a small bowl stir flour salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and cumin.
  14. Sprinkle flour mixture over the beef and combine.
  15. Add Worcestershire sauce, ginger, 2 cups wine, and stock to the pot.
  16. Bring the pot to a simmer.
  17. Add carrots, potatoes, and celery.
  18. Cover and place pot in oven.
  19. Cook for 3 hours, until beef is incredibly tender.
  20. Remove from oven.
  21. If it is not thick enough, mix cornstarch with cold water in a small dish until cornstarch is dissolved.
  22. Add to stew and stir in.
  23. Place back in oven for another 15 minutes.
  24. Remove from oven.
  25. Serve.
Note: As with most beef stews, this dish tastes even better the next day!