Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Disasters do happen

This was a recipe I wanted to share with you.... it's the most delicious carrot cake ever!!!

But of course I HAD to try it in the bundt cake pan this time... and of course.. this is how it came out:


I'm thinking I'll do round 2 of it in a couple weeks, and hope to get some decent photos... then I'll share the recipe! :)

Putting these swollen feet to bed! Goodnight!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


We've done some swapping around of meals this last week. Mostly because I've been forgetful and forgotten to take my meat out of the freezer. But I did score some awesome deals on meat this week for next month! Nothing like good priced groceries to make me giddy :)

Looks like this month is going to be mostly beef and vegetarian, but beef will make my husband happy!

Nesting has officially began, and I did an overhaul of my pantry and freezer and took inventory, so it's looking like I can do June's meal plan without actually having to buy TOO many groceries. I also have plans to do a day of freezer cooking with a few friends at the beginning of the month, to help stock up on meals for post baby.

June's meal plan will probably be more labour intensive at the beginning of the month (but still not crazy), and then super easy meals towards the end of the month.

The meal plan is starting to come together. A few recipes from last month getting shifted forward, a few recipe requests from friends, and meals based on the meat deals I scored. :) Bring on June!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake

From Fix It and Forget It: Kids Cookbook


I've gotten a few kids cookbooks lately, as my daughter ALWAYS wants to help. This one looks like a really good one.

It has also been a rainy week around here... so we've been cooped up. So more baking than normal. :)

Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 cup all-purpose BAKING mix
2 cup sugar, divided
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, plus 1/3 cup divided
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 2/3 cups hot water

Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
In a medium0sized mixing bowl, mix together baking mix, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 Tbsp cocoa powder, milk and vanilla. Spoon the batter into your slow cooker and spread out evenly.
In a small mixing bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa and the hot water together. Carefully pour this mixture over the batter. Do no stir.
Cover your slow cooker. Cook the cake on high for 2-3 hours.
After 2 hours, check with a toothpick. If it looks wet, the cake needs to keep cooking, if it has crumbs on it... it's time to eat.
Test every 15 min if it does need to cook longer.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Mmmm

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The cookbooks we used the MOST growing up, weren't big commercial ones.... they were the books made from the collecting recipes from either churches or schools. My mom was a teacher, and my parents moved a fair bit before I was born, so we had a great collection of school and church cookbooks. You know that people select their favourite tried and true recipes, so you're going to get a fantastic collection of recipes.

I lucked out with this cookbook, since my parents had bought one for my Grandma at the time, and so it is one of my keepsakes from my Grandma's kitchen now. I think in the future, and cookbooks that we get to be a part of, I will buy 3 (well maybe 5, for the grandma's too). That way when my girls move out, they have a copy to keep too.


This recipe is from the book from my elementary school. My name is even next to a few of them. Good old Golden Horn! It's definitely a unique school. Didn't really realize at the time all the advantages to going to that school, but it was awesome.

This one was from one of my classmates.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, add sugar, beating until smooth. Add egg and vanilla; mix. Add dry ingredients; mix well. Drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F for 8-10 min or until done. Cool.

We put both semi-sweet and white chocolate chips in this batch, since that's what we had on hand.

I barely got my photo taken, before they started disappearing.





Monday, May 16, 2011

Sesame Ginger Chicken

I found this recipe in my The Girl Can't Cook book. This is a recent purchase, and I'm loving it so far. I'm not much of a cook (part of the reason for this blog), and this book gives easy meals that are impressive.


Sesame Ginger Chicken

1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup liquid honey
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 dried red chili pepper, crushed
2 lbs (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
chopped cilantro for garnish

In a microwave-proof bowl, warm all ingredients (excluding chicken). Stir to combine well, and set aside to cool.

In a resealable plastic bag, combine the chicken pieces and the marinade and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a pan with foil or parchment paper. Place chicken in a single layer on the pan, drizzle the marinade and bake for 45 minutes, basting a couple times with the pan juices.

Remove the chicken from the pan, and tent with foil to keep warm. Pour the cooking juices into a small saucepan and boil over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the sauce is reduced to a thick glaze.

To serve, slice the chicken breasts and fan on individual plates, then drizzle with some of the sauce over top. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro to garnish.

We served this dish with stir fry veggies, and udon noodles (my husband loves udon noodles, but we've never made them at home before, so this was a treat for him).

This recipe was delicious. My husband and I agreed. A few complimentary tweaks we thought of for next time, is a sprinkling of sesame seeds to garnish (we omitted the cilantro, as neither of us like it much), and perhaps a touch more soy sauce in the mix. He also suggested I sauce the noodles as well. This recipe will join in our regular meal plans though. Quick, easy and yummy.


You may notice some trends in my meal planning.

I schedule our meals based on our day to day life, and our traditions. Although we keep it flexible, my general planning is as follows:

Mondays - crockpot, or 20 min or less meal (This is my errands day, and we are on the go most of the day)

Tuesdays - more labour intensive meals (We are generally home all day, or just out in the morning)

Wednesday - light meals (my husband plays hockey these evenings, and has requested lighter meals)

Thursday - crockpot or quick meal (potentially an errand day.. or we plan playdates on Thursday afternoons)

Friday - Whatever I want to squeeze in. Sometimes I'm lazy, but usually it's something we just wanted to eat and I couldn't fit it in on another night.

Saturday - BBQ night. My husband bbqs and I prepare a salad... gives me an excuse to try new salad recipes, but if it's a busy day, it's generally just a green tossed salad, or cut up veggies.

Sunday - family picnic/movie night. As a general rule, the TV is off from around 10 am (or earlier) til after the munchkin is in bed. So this is the night we let her pick a movie and we have a picnic on the living room floor. I foresee going to the park for some in the summer, but usually it's the living room. You'll notice our menu plan generally alternates between muffins and fruit salad (which was a sunday dinner in my house growing up) or pizza (which is easy to serve and eat on the floor). Our daughter is responsible for spreading out the blanket, setting out the dishes, etc (although she is the table setter every day at the table too). This usually means that we are joined for dinner by quite a few stuffed animals having tea and cookies while we eat. She loves her tea parties. Sometimes she sets up the picnic early in the afternoon and has tea parties all afternoon until dinner time.

I find having this general breakdown makes it easier for me to plan the whole month at once. Days still get swapped around.... whether it's because I was busy on a typical non-busy day, or often, because I forgot to take the meat out of the freezer the night before. It all works out in the end though.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Banana Bread

We like to make dessert on Sundays... it's different every week, and not pre-planned. Usually cookies or something, but we had bananas to use up this week, so we made banana bread (and banana chocolate chip muffins for the freezer).

I don't remember having banana bread much growing up (although, we did have banana chip muffins on sundays often). I never had a banana bread recipe handed down to me, so I've tried many over the years that I've found online, but always been somewhat disappointed with them.

I reached out to some of my friends, and fellow etsy sellers, and the lovely Ann of Magpie Quilts sent me her tried and true recipe.


I've made it several times now.


Here is her recipe:

Banana Bread

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional - I'm not a nut fan, so I left them out)
3 mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp soda

Mix in order given, baked in greased pan at 350 for 45-60 min or until knife comes out clean.

This recipe also makes awesome muffins. I always add chocolate chips to them! :)

The one pictured I added a glaze.... TOTALLY not necessary! I love this bread on it's own, I just had some cream cheese I wanted to use up, so I thought it might compliment the bread (made it very dessert-like with the glaze).

Mini Potatoes with Grainy Mustard and Lemon

We served this with our salmon the other night... and LOVED them! New recipe.


I found this recipe in Everyone Can Cook: Slow Cooker Meals. It's not a slow cooker recipe, but is one of the listed side dishes. Quick and easy to make.

Boiled Mini Potatoes with Grainy Mustard and Lemon

24-30 mini red or white potatoes, washed
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard, or to taste
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Simply place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Gently boil the potatoes until just tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain well and place in a serving bowl. Toss in the remaining ingredients and serve the potatoes hot or at room temperature.

Everyone in our family really enjoyed these. Normally I just put a little butter and dill on mini potatoes, this was a nice change and a super yummy taste. I was, unfortunately, out of green onions though :(.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

California Black Bean Burgers

This recipe is from my Betty Crocker's Cookbook. One I admit has been on my shelf for AGES, and rarely, if ever used. Mine isn't even the "new edition" that is shown in that link.

This recipe looked promising, as we enjoy a lot of vegetarian dishes and love black beans.


California Black Bean Burgers

1 can black beans, undrained
1 can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp chili powder
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 hamburger buns
1 Tbsp mayonaise or salad dressing
1 1/4 cup shredded lettuce
3 Tbsp chunky salsa

Place beans in food processor or blender. Cover and process until slightly mashed (I just used my potato masher). Mix beans, chilies, bread crumbs, chili powder and egg. Shape mixture into 6 patties (I made 8 or 9 smaller ones), each about 1/2 inch thick. Coat each patty with cornmeal.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook patties in oil 5-10 minutes, turning once, until crisp and thoroughly cooked on both sides.
Spread bottom halves of buns with mayo, top with lettuce patties, salsa and tops of buns.

We were pretty disappointed in the outcome of these burgers... very bland... and mushy centred. The taste was alright... it just needed something... and I can't put my finger on what that is. We served them with romaine lettuce, tomato slices, and mayo, typical burger toppings. My husband put horseradish mayo on his, and the toddler didn't take more than a bite of hers(she's a bean lover even). If I figure out what it needed, I'll try them again, otherwise, I think this recipe is retired.

Our side salad was a pasta salad. I have no recipe.. it's different everytime I make it, since it's based on what's in the fridge. This one was pasta, cubed cheese, celery and green onion.. and the sauce was some random mixture of Miracle Whip, apple cider vinegar, creamy poppy seed dressing, and peppercorn ranch dressing (literally, whatever was in the fridge).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

This is one of our favorite meatless meals. I grew up on spinach lasagna... my husband, on meat lasagna. He does enjoy these, and my 2 year old devours them (she'll eat 2 rolls sometimes). It's a recipe I discovered when I was on Weight Watchers, and it is by Gina at Skinny Taste. I highly recommend these Spinach Lasagna Rolls. They just seem so much faster and easier than making a full out lasagna too.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls


9 lasagna noodles, cooked (I use 10)
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese (I like Polly-o)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and fresh pepper
32 oz tomato sauce
9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls (I make 10 rolls).

My daughter also thought she should take a picture of her plate as well... already precut:


She's not too bad with the camera.... she would much prefer to use the SLR than the point and shoot that we freely let her use.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

This is a new recipe to me. I found it in the Everyone Can Cook: Slow Cooker Meals. This book has lots of yummy looking recipes in it.


Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

1 lb (500 g) lean ground turkey
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
14 oz (398 mL) tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp honey
2 tsp cornstarch
19 oz (540 mL) can unsweetened pineapple
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat over to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Roll the meat mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and set on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Plac tomato sauce, ketchup, vinegar, honey, soy sauce and cornstarch in your slow cooker and whisk to combine. Add the meatballs, pineapple (fruit and juices) and bell pepper and gently swirl to combine. Cover and cook on the low setting for 6 hours, or until the meatballs are tender. Sprinkle servings of the meatballs with green onion.

We really enjoyed this recipe. I served it over wild rice and it was definitely toddler approved. This is a dish that will become a regular in our house!

I'm not someone who keeps fresh ginger, or even garlic in the house. I always buy prepared sources for these... since I'm not one for spending too much extra time in the kitchen. These are the ones I had on hand for this recipes.... yup... yummy tubes ;). I also buy some of my herbs this way, I've found that I use them more, and I'm not wasting food by having to throw out the neglected ones. Just one of my shortcuts in the kitchen.


Friday, May 6, 2011

BBQ Chicken


This is an awesome low-fat shredded bbq chicken recipe. It comes from Hungry Girl's 1-2-3 : The Easiest, Most Delicious, Guilt-Free Recipes on the Planet. AWESOME BOOK!

We decided to serve these as wraps.... we used some flax tortillas. I ate the left overs as a lettuce wrap (since I doubled the recipe), and that was SUPER yum! I love my slow cooker!

Slow Cookin' BBQ Chicken

1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp brown sugar (not packed)
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp garlic powder (I used fresh garlic)
1 1/2 pounds raw boneless skinless lean chicken breasts, halved

Place all ingredients except chicken in the crock pot. Stir until mixed. Add chicken and coat well in sauce.

Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked.

Remove chicken and place in a bowl. Shred each piece using two forks. Put back in crockpot and mix back in sauce.

*This was a new favourite in our house... I think it'd be great served over a salad in the summer months.