Archives for category: Recipes

So…didja miss me?

Truthfully, I started this blog purely as a hobby/way to keep myself entertained during my year off from school, and the last little while, I just haven’t been itching to write about anything.  But I’ve been thinking a little more about it lately, because in two weeks I will be beginning a month-long venture in Europe with one of my best friends and know that I will want to document some of our adventures here.

In the meantime, I needed some post inspiration…and what better place to look than my fridge?

image-9

I love breakfast.  It is by far my favourite meal of the day (well, other than brunch), partly because there are just so many options–sweet, savory, last night’s leftovers.  I’ve never been one to skip breakfast if I can help it, because a) I am usually ravenous when I wake up and b) I am also usually very unpleasant.  Apologies to family, ex-housemates, and anyone else who has encountered me before I break the fast.

Lately, I’ve gotten a little more creative with my pre-work breakfasts, and I thought I would share the recipes I currently have on rotation in case anyone is needing a little inspo–or incentive to eat breakfast at all (please do it, your body and brain will thank you).

I am the worst and slowest at getting ready in the mornings (also confirmable by family and friends), so I can guarantee that these are all super fast and easy to make.  But more importantly, they are delicious.

#1: Fruit & Nut Overnight Oats

image-6

Possibly my favourite of the bunch (though admittedly, it doesn’t photograph too well).  Requires less than a minute of effort in the morning (or none if you’re not a banana fan) and is seriously SO yummy.  I’ve been playing around with overnight oat recipes for a few months and I think I’ve hit the nail on the head with this one:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons nuts and/or dried fruit (I use a mix of almonds, coconut chips, dried blueberries and dried cranberries)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Add all ingredients to a mason jar, screw on the lid and shake up.  Place in the refrigerator overnight – the oats, nuts and berries will absorb the almond milk and all the flavours will meld together.  You shouldn’t even need any more sweetener in the morning.  I just add 1/2 of a sliced banana, then take the whole jar in the car for my drive to work!

Bonus: not only is this recipe healthy, it’s also super filling.  And remember, morning Caj = ravenous Caj, so you can take my word for that.

#2: Smoothie Improv

image-8

I call this “smoothie improv” because I don’t have a go-to recipe.  I’m sure even saying this is redundant, but the beauty of smoothies is that you can use pretty much any fruit (or veggies) you have on hand.  That said, my two current favourites are:

PB&J Smoothie

  • 1 frozen, sliced banana
  • 1 cup berries (whichever you have on hand)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • splash of almond milk (or up to 1/4 cup if you like your smoothies more liquidy)
  • optional: 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Sneaky Green Smoothie:

  • 1/2 frozen, sliced banana
  • 1 cup spinach (you don’t taste it, I promise!)
  • 1/2 cup diced mango
  • 1/2 cup berries (of any kind)
  • 3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • optional: 2 tablespoons of rolled oats (blended into smoothie) or granola (sprinkled on top for texture)

These are just approximations – I change it up all the time, and sometimes get lazy and throw things in without measuring (I know, CRAZY).  In general, I just try to strike the best balance I can between healthy and filling ingredients–peanut butter, greek yogurt, chia seeds and oats will all help keep you full.  If you have protein powder that doesn’t taste like chalk, that would also be a good call.

Tip: If you know you’ll be rushing out the door in the morning, cut, wash and/or freeze your fruit the night before.

#3: Starbucks-Style Spinach & Feta Wrap

image-11

I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory.  Like the Starbucks spinach & feta wrap, but homemade and wholesome.

  • 1 whole-grain wrap (I like spinach or sundried tomato wraps for extra flavour/prettiness)
  • 1 small handful sliced mushrooms, cut in half
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 eggs, whisked (or just the egg whites if you are healthy like that)
  • 2 sundried tomatoes, chopped (squeeze in paper towel first to drain excess oil)
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta

What to do:

  • Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and sauté mushrooms on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add spinach and continue sautéing until mostly wilted.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add eggs; push everything around the pan like you would with ordinary scrambled eggs, until eggs are cooked and spinach is completely wilted. Season with salt and/or pepper.
  • Optional: warm up the wrap in the microwave for 30 seconds, or on an additional frying pan (no oil) for 30 seconds on each side.
  • Pile eggs, spinach and mushrooms on wrap and top with sundried tomatoes and feta.  Roll up and enjoy immediately or wrap in foil to take on the go.

Stay hungry!

Caj

 

 

Advertisements

Happy Easter/Passover/long weekend, everyone!  I hope you’re all enjoying your final day off.  I don’t have one, but I figured maybe you could use yours to make a delicious brunch featuring this winning recipe I tried out yesterday.  Let’s just say it’s earned itself a pretty solid spot on the weekend brunch rotation.

Adapted from this month’s issue of Chatelaine, we have egg & toast tartlets:

Image

^ How cute are these guys?!

Here’s what I used:

  • 12 slices white bread (I used Dempster’s)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion (white or yellow), diced
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (if yours come in a can, I recommend soaking up the oil with a paper towel first)
  • 12 eggs (small are recommended, but I could only find large at the grocery store)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Image

Here’s what I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 ºF.  Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking oil.
  2. Cut the crusts off of each slice of white bread.  Flatten each slice with a rolling pin before tucking it into a muffin cup, pressing along the bottom and sides (the slice will fold on itself slightly).  Place the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes until bread is lightly toasted.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and allow butter to melt.  Add onion and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and brown.
  4. Add maple syrup and spinach to pan and stir.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, until spinach is wilted. Image
  5. Distribute onion-spinach mixture evenly into each toast cup.  Sprinkle with sundried tomatoes and crack an egg on top of each.  Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until egg whites are solid but yolks are still runny.

Enjoy with fruit and, ideally, some bacon.  Preferably arranged artfully in a cup.

Image

Stay hungry!

Caj

 

I’ll admit, I had this whole Culinary Creations post planned where I would display my masterful efforts at making red velvet whoopie pies, using this recipe.  Unfortunately they were not masterful at all – the dough was super sticky, the cakes were dry (and a little salty) and try as I might, I couldn’t get the cream cheese icing not to drip all over the place.  I probably didn’t do a good job of converting the weight measurements to volume measurements (because I whole-heartedly trust The Londoner’s baking expertise), but whatever the reason, I thought I’d save you the pointlessness of that post and just let you feast your eyes on this little burger-thing:

Image

^ That icing…ugh. Luckily, my sweet tooth was salvaged this morning:

Image

^ An acceptable pre-breakfast snack.

I’m feeling all cheery today. I’ve got my red pants on and pink glitter on my nails.  I love this “holiday” because it gives me a perfectly valid excuse to send out warm fuzzies, whether in a text or a homemade greeting card:

image-92

Stay loving!

Caj

…minus the ‘Yo.

Actually, minus everything except Nutella and banana.  FYI, yesterday was World Nutella Day, and I’m not one to let a holiday slip by without finding some small way to celebrate.

image-91

This could not possibly be simpler:

  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup Nutella

Note: you can taste the banana a bit more than you can taste the Nutella, so if you’re like me and would prefer the Nutella to shine, I’d try a 1/2 cup.  Because chocolate and hazelnut.

You’ll make your life even easier if you slice the banana before freezing.  I popped the whole banana in the freezer like a noob, but it was actually pretty easy to peel and slice after running it under hot water for ~30 seconds.

Mix up in your magic bullet, top with some hazelnuts if desired (toasted and crushed would be heaven), and stick in your spoon!

Stay hungry,

Caj

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe on here, which is a shame – the food posts are some of my favourites!

I recently realized it had been a while since I’d actually put substantive effort into making a meal, so I resolved to make myself a nice dinner entirely from scratch.  No shortcuts allowed (well, maybe one or two).

image-90

One of my go-to recipes while at school was a chicken stir-fry: a chicken breast, some frozen veggies and a dollop of my housemate’s honey garlic sauce sneaked from the fridge.  I decided to rework the recipe with fresh veggies and quinoa instead of the rice I had used at school.

Here’s what I used (approximately…I tend not to measure things much when I’m cooking):

  • 1 cup mixed red and white quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Olive oil
  • 1 raw chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • About 1/3 package sliced mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, rinsed and sliced
  • Handful broccoli florets, rinsed
  • Handful snow peas, rinsed
  • 2-3 tablespoons Asian sesame dressing (I used Renee’s store-bought version–there’s my shortcut–but you could make your own using this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

This makes 2-3 servings, depending on how hungry you are.  I’m eating my second portion for today’s lunch!

image-88

^ Note: You’ll probably want a skillet or wok that is bigger than this, so you can cook everything more evenly.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Combine quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once boiled, reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
  2. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil on a large skillet (or wok if you have one) and warm over high to medium-high heat.  Add chicken breast, mushrooms and onions and stir around, making sure to flip the chicken pieces so they are cooked on all sides.  Add a drizzle more oil if chicken or veggies start to stick to the skillet.
  3. When chicken is nearly cooked through, reduce heat to medium and add pepper and broccoli.  Again, add a drizzle more oil if needed.  Continue to stir.
  4. Once peppers have softened and broccoli has turned a darker green, reduce heat to low and add in snow peas, Asian sesame dressing and sesame seeds (I leave the snow peas til the end because I like them crunchy).  Stir to thoroughly coat chicken and veggies with dressing and seeds.  If quinoa is still cooking, leave on low heat to keep warm.

image-89

^ That shadow…

Once it’s all done, scoop some quinoa onto your plate, top with stir-fry mixture and toss, adding a little more dressing and another sprinkle of sesame seeds if desired.

Stay hungry!

Caj

So, I know that I promised sweet treat recipes in the next couple of weeks. And I was fully game to start on that yesterday, as it was the perfect snowy day to stay inside and bake. But then it occurred to me that I have cake coming my way in the next few days, and then I’ll be away the two weeks after that.

That’s no excuse not to have a sweet treat, though.

After a dinner involving my first attempt at kale chips (my first time making AND eating them–so good, granted I showered them in chili powder and red pepper flakes), I figured I’d reward myself with some guilty pleasures:

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 12.56.48 PM

There isn’t really a recipe for this, just make hot chocolate as you usually would and stir in a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream. I mixed a teaspoon of cocoa powder with a teaspoon of sugar in my mug, poured boiling water over top and stirred the Bailey’s in at the end.

Cheers!

Caj

There’s nothing quite like the first snowfall of the year.  Sure, by February the whole snow thing gets old (okay, by January), but the first snowfall just always feels so magical for me, and yesterday was no different.  I was home alone for the day, and perfectly content to hole up in my comfiest outfit (i.e., basically pajamas), right after some holiday shopping and a trip to Starbucks for a peppermint mocha.

Naturally, the next logical step was to bake something (semi-)festive.

image-81

Sometime last week I was driving home from work wondering how biscotti was made, and when I arrived home I found that my mom had cut out a recipe for biscotti from the Globe & Mail.  It was the weirdest thing.  And so, with a whole afternoon in front of me, I set to work on Stephanie Eddy’s recipe.  Side note: these scones were also Stephanie’s brainchildren, and they are TO DIE FOR, so I knew I was pretty safe with these.

They weren’t hard to make–easier than I thought, actually–but the process was a little long, so I won’t bore you with the list of ingredients and instructions, especially because you can find them word-for-word in the original recipe.

image-82

image-83

^ After the first round of baking.

image-84

^ After the second round of baking and the all-important drizzling of white chocolate.

Now to dip one into a warm cup of tea!

Stay hungry,

Caj

OK, this is a winner.

I hosted a belated Halloween potluck on Saturday night and wanted to make some kind of festive dessert. After doing some browsing through Martha Stewart’s Halloween treat ideas (obviously), I settled for these, but substituted Skor bits for the nonpareils (because what are those and where do you buy them, and also because Skor bits).

image-68

Here’s what I used:

  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 package of Skor bits (by Hershey’s Chipits)

image-67

Here’s what I did:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. Beat sugar and eggs together in a large bowl until soft and fluffy.
  3. Place chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl and and melt over a pot of simmering water. Once fully melted, add to sugar and eggs and stir until fully mixed in.
  4. Add vanilla, then flour and salt and mix thoroughly to combine.
  5. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 35 minutes. You want the brownies to be slightly undercooked so that the batter is moldable.
  6. Let brownies cool and then carefully trim off the crusty bits along the top and edges. Take a heaping spoonful of batter and roll it into a ball with clean hands. Repeat until you have used up all of the batter.
  7. Spread the Skor bits out in a cookie sheet and roll each ball in them until they are covered.
  8. Optional: stick a wooden dowel or lollipop stick into each ball and voilà, you have brownie batter pops!

Stay hungry,

Caj

 

What would Caj’s Halloween be like without bedazzling pumpkins and carving sassy jack-o-lanterns? Nothing, I tell you. I pinned Lauren Conrad’s creative pumpkin decorating ideas many months ago and have been waiting for the opportunity to get creative ever since. Too bad I had to wait until the actual day of Halloween to do so (I’m looking at you, OGS application).

A quick look at today’s efforts:

image-65318566_2340018434042_1657350130_33051054_1717957211_n - Version 2

^ Doing the classic Caj wink.

image-66

^ For the bedazzled pumpkin, I just used stick-on rhinestones from the dollar store. I love the way it turned out!

Finally, what’s a pumpkin carving session without pumpkin seeds for snacks?

Whipping these up was super easy. I collected the seeds as I hollowed out the first pumpkin and rinsed them in a colander to remove all the pumpkin guts. After drying with a paper towel, I spread them on a baking sheet, drizzled a little bit of olive oil, and added a healthy sprinkle of salt and chili powder.  Then I mixed it all around with my hands to coat, spread the seeds in a single layer and popped them in the oven at 325 ºF for 20 minutes (tossing once in between).

image-64

Perfect for balancing out all that Halloween candy with something salty…or if you prefer sweet, you could try vanilla extract, sugar and cinnamon!

photo-12

Stay sassy ‘n’ spooky,

Caj

P.S. What does your favourite Halloween candy say about you? I’m a “candy hound” and “secret weirdo”…

image-60

Kyle is in Toronto for the week, and last night we decided to make dinner for my parents. Craving something warm and feelin’ the fall flavours, we adapted the butternut squash-apple soup recipe from Dr. Andrew Weal’s cookbook True Food.

Here’s what we used (serves 4):

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 5 honey crisp apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed in a garlic press
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5% cream (optional)

image-62

Here’s what we did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  2. Toss the squash, apples, onion, and garlic in a large bowl with the canola oil, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Arrange the mixture in an even single layer on the two baking sheets and roast for 45 minutes.
  4. Transfer 3/4 of the roasted squash-apple mixture to a blender and add 1 1/4 cups of water. Blend until relatively smooth (there will be a few chunks). Add the rest of the mixture (and a little more water, if needed) to the blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Transfer to a pot. You may want to use an immersion blender (hand-held) to target any more chunks you do not want.
  6. While heating in the pot, you may wish to whisk in some cream or more water until you reach your desired consistency. Cream will make the soup richer and, well, creamier.

The cooking didn’t stop there. We wanted to create an appetizer-slash-side to go with the soup, and decided to make crostini. These crostini have all my favourite appetizer ingredients placed on one convenient little piece of toast. Genius!

image-61

Here’s what we used:

  • 1 white baguette
  • 1 package of spreadable goat cheese
  • 1 package of prosciutto, with strips ripped into halves
  • 1 small box of arugula
  • 6 figs, halved
  • Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Here’s what we did (we made 12 crostini, but you can make as many as you’d like):

  1. Slice baguette thinly.
  2. Spread slices out on a cookie sheet and place under the broiler to toast for 2-3 minutes (check to make sure they don’t burn!).
  3. Spread each slice with goat cheese and top with a folded strip of prosciutto, a few arugula leaves, and a fig half.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar if desired.

image-63

This is a deceptively simple dinner and was a big hit in my house. It even inspired my parents to break into the liquor cabinet for a “digestif”. Let me qualify this by telling you that they have not broken into the liquor cabinet since–well, I actually don’t think they ever have.

Stay hungry!

Caj