It never fails, every Sunday morning, out comes the pan and flipper for some tasty pancake making.  I wake up thinking about it and it really helps that my little pea is very keen on them too! I really am a vanilla kind of girl when it comes to my Mom’s pancakes.  Double stacked with butter and syrup please!  You might think me folish for letting you in on this little secret, but I favour with all my heart and tongue the Aunt Jemima syrup.  Gasp!  Coming from a land known for it’s woody maple syrup it is truly an offence.  Especially for my francophone friends.  My good friend from Quebec found out my little secret when we lived together in Vancouver training for the Olympics.  She scolded me and then had to avert her eyes every time we chowed down on our day off.  But alas, my shame is always overrun by my preference for the lady bottle.

Over here, Aunt Jemima is replaced by syrup imported from the States.  Bosco claims it is the original.  I must say it is good enough to pour over my pancakes.  Those plain little cakes.  This weekend, though, I was itching for something less plain – less vanilla.  Didn’t I see some banana loaf pancakes one of the many blogs I follow?  After a short search I realized it was these carrot cake pancakes that I mis-remembered.  Hmmm, those could be good another day.  Instead I meddled a little with my Mom’s classic, fried them up in some extra creamy european butter and me and LP had a right good feast!  With my Bosco syrup.

Banana Loaf Pancakes

We use stainless steel pans in our house, so pancakes tend to stick.  I have found that frying them in some butter makes them crispy and delicious around the edges and omits the buttering-of-the-pancakes step.  Also, did you know that European butter has more milk fat in it?  I have totally noticed the difference and it sure is creamy! I always eat pancakes with syrup so I never feel the need to add sugar.  If you do, then a 1/4 cup will do. This recipe makes 8-10 small pancakes.

1 and a half mashed ripe bananas

1 egg

1/8 cup oil

3/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

Mix together the wet ingredients and then whisk in the dry. Preheat the pan on low to medium heat.  Prepare your pan with butter and ladle on 2-3 small puddles of batter.  Only put the butter where you are planning to put the batter.  This keeps it from burning in the spots where no batter will be.  When bubbles start to emerge on the top, gently flip over and cook through. Repeat.  Serve immediately with the syrup of your preference!

 

I came across this channel on YouTube and I think it is awesome.  It’s Martha Stewart endorsed and the lady who is in the cooking videos, Sarah Carey, is laid-back and cheery.  She isn’t above using some canned stuff in her meals.  It’s all about quick delish meals you can throw together and feels good about the healthy choices.  The videos are satiating my want for the Food Network.  Why oh why can’t I watch Canadian or American tv shows on the internet….do any of you know how I can? So far I liked the lentils and the bacon wrapped chicken.  I haven’t watched them all yet, though.  Check it out for yourself!

Oh and here’s a new photo of LP :)

I love risotto.  My love affair began the first time I made it.  Creamy, smooth, warm, earthy, and full of flavour.  It has now become our household ‘celebration’ meal.  If it’s on the table, it is either Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve or we are having people over.  I did make this one the other day, just because, and Mr. F was smiling his devilish smile at me accross the table.  He felt special and so did I.  That is what risotto does.

We have been making the risotto in a warm earthy flavour way pretty much every time.  Using ingredients like rosemary, mushrooms, goat cheese etc.  I’ll tell you that our two faves are rosemary and mushroom or goat cheese and prosciutto.  I’ve also made a special champagne risotto with lobster on New Year’s but that’s when we were ready to down the rest of the bottle on a carefree/baby free night.

This recipe of risotto is a real change up.  I got the book ‘Cook With Jamie’ from my brother-in-law last year for Christmas.  I didn’t mind the heavy cookbook in my luggage in the least!  I voraciously read it cover to cover when I got home, but then just left it on my shelf – what?!  I know.  I just couldn’t pick anything.  Does that ever happen to you? Well, finally I heard about this risotto.  It was claimed to be one of the best thing’s from the book, but fresh tomatoes in risotto?  That sounded….fresh….  Well, I can gladly report that it will be in our celebration rotation from now on.  I guess I never met a tomato basil combo that I didn’t love.

Fresh tomato, basil and ricotta risotto adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Cook With Jamie

You can make risotto with whatever ingredients you want, but it always starts the same.  I will explain the basic recipe and then tell you when to add the rest.  Oh, and the basic recipe is superb as a side, no extras needed.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1.5 cups risotto rice (short grained or arborrio)

6 cups chicken broth (can use veg)

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Extras:

1 clamshell of grape or cherry tomotoes (or any good looking ones that you see)

red wine vinegar and olive oil to marinade the tomatoes in

handful fresh basil

crumbly ricotta cheese or crumbly goat cheese

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

First chop the tomatoes in half or quarters and put them in a small bowl with a glug of olive oil, a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper, stir and let sit to marinade.

Second, place the ricotta on a small baking dish.  Rub with a little oil and spinkle with the oregano and red pepper flakes.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Third, begin by putting the stock on low to medium heat.  In a separate pot, sauté the diced onions and celery in the oil until the onions are clear.  Add the rice and stir.  When the rice is somewhat clear, pour in enough dry white wine to cover the rice.  Stir continuously until the wine is absorbed.  Spoon one ladleful of warm stock into the rice mixture.  Continuously stir until it is the stock is absorbed.  Repeat this until there is about 2 ladlefuls of stock left. At this point, add 2/3 of the marinated tomatoes without the marinade – just use a slotted spoon. Continue adding stock as directed above until the last of it used.  For the final risotto, is should be creamy and oozy and slightly looser than you think.

Lastly add in the butter and parmesan until melted.  Right before serving, add the broken up ricotta, the rest of the tomatoes and tear in the basil.  Enjoy!

The big day is here.  The day I could not even conjure up in my head 10 months ago.  You know, when a baby is 2 months old and she can’t do anything but eat, cry and sleep and cry and cry….And now the day is upon us and how she has changed!  Smiles that melt your heart, laughter that makes you warm all over, physical abilities that make me burst with pride.  Nothing is better than my Little Pea.

This carrot cake placed right up there though.  Moist as all get out, quite spicy and that icing!  That icing is the icing that I have been waiting all my life for.  Smooth, cool, creamy, sweet and tangy.

I went for The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme.  I saw this cake/cupcakes made up on Pinterest.  I had it bookmarked for months.  I must say that I am very pleased with how it turned out.  I used marzipan instead of fondant for the head with a thin layer of the cream cheese icing underneath.  I thought the taste was great! A little wobbly for my first time using a piping bag with the star nozzle, though.*  My friend Patty once told me a Japanese saying – imperfect art has it’s own character.  I think I’m going to go with that!

And of course LP inhaled it.  I picked carrot cake because it is healthier than just regular cake, right?  Because of all the carrots. So, if you just wanted to bake yourself up some healthy cake, this is the one for you.  And go ahead and eat a whole bunch.  All that beta carotene is good for your eye sight – wink wink.

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing – via smittenkitchen.com

The recipe makes 24 cupcakes or two 9″ cakes.  Just like Smitten Kitchen, I grated the carrots on the fine grater.  I loved this since there were no thick strands of carrot, but grating was……..a pain.  I made 1.5 batches of this recipe for the cupcakes and one 9″ cake.

Carrot Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees celcius).  Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.  Mix the oil and sugar together and then add one egg at a time and incorporate.  Now add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix.  Lastly, add the grated carrots and stir until just combined.  Spoon into cupcake tins lined with paper cups 3/4 full.  Bake for 14-18 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  OR half of the batter into a 9″ buttered and floured pan and bake for 40 mins and repeat.

Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I used Mon Chou cream cheese)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Slice the butter and cream cheese into 1″cubes and put everything into a mixing bowl.  Use a hand held mixer to combine until whipped and smooth.  Add food colouring of your choice.

*Here is a handy tip for using a piping bag.  It made my life soooo much easier.

Hi y’all!  It’s Valentine’s Day and over at my house I just bought a grocery basket full of candy, chocolate, chips and pop.  No baking over here folks.  I know, brutal, but I am gearing up for Little Pea’s first birthday and I don’t want to kill my baking mojo before the big day.  BUT, I did hunt something out for you on this sweetest of all holidays (or should I say celebration day?).

When I read this recipe, my mouth dropped open.  Not only does this ice cream recipe have only 2 ingredients, it does not need an ice cream maker!  That has been what has held me back all this time.  I just couldn’t fit another appliance in the kitchen.

If you hurry and get it going in the morning, it will be all set up for the romantic or girls night or candy poppin movie watchin night you have planned.

Here’s the link to Cookies and Cups.  Thanks for hooking a girl up, Shelly!

Sounds simple right?  Well, I think a lot of the world’s population would call this a staple.  I have never had it.  This sort of thing drives me to drinking.  How could millions of people eat this every day and it has never even touched my lips.  Yes, I’ve had pork and beans, from a can.  Never paired with rice, though.  This really gets me thinking.  To me it feels like the world has really become a more closely-knit community, but then something like this enters my world and I realize that I know about a thimble-full of imformation about my world neighbours.

I have set myself upon a goal of eating staple-like food a while back.  Usually when you try food from another culture, you aren’t going to get served what they would set on their table every day of the week.  Just like I wouldn’t open a restaurant to serve you ham and cheese sandwiches.  Oh wait, there’s a few of those here, hahaha!  Example: The Tosti House.  (Sidebar – grilled cheese sandwiches are called tosti’s here AND they think it is ridiculous that we call them grilled cheese!)  Hmmmm, where was I……oh yeah, eating the staple food of a culture.  You always get the fancy stuff.  You have to suss out the regular stuff.  Well, I’ve tried casava, stamppot, grits, curry, but now I got on a mission for beans and rice.

Well, unfortunately I don’t know what kind of beans and rice to make, but I found a recipe on The Pioneer Woman and thought – why the hell not start with this!  Black eyed beans with white rice.

Turns out, this stuff is pretty tasty and really satisfying.  Because the beans are home made, not from a can, they retain a firm but tender consistency.  Very enjoyable.  It also appears very easy to add/delete what you want from any given beans recipe.  I didn’t have a hamhock, so I started with diced bacon.  Delish.  Anyways, I recommend this recipe for sure.  Even Little Pea was a lova.  It is an easy meal, tasty and healthy.  Fiber rich one might say.  One might also begin singing a favourite childhood song, just like my Dad did – Beans, beans, the magical fruit…….

 

Black Eyed Beans and Rice (aka. Hoppin John) adapted from The Pioneer Woman

These beans can also be called peas (like in the music group), but they are the same thing.  You can get them dried from the grocery store for ultra cheap.  Let them soak in cold water for at least 6 hours.  I covered them with water in the morning and they were ready when I started cooking dinner.  They doubled in size, to my astonishment, so I didn’t end up using the whole bag.  Froze the left over soaked beans to make this another time.  If you’re buying bulk, 2 cups of dried will probably make 4 cups soaked. PS eat these on New Year’s Day and it’s good luck to you for the year.

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloved garlic, minced

4 slices, thick cut bacon, diced

4 cups soaked black eyed peas (beans)

3 cups chicken stock + 2 cups water
cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
Cooked white or brown rice for serving
Start by browning the bacon.  While it is browning, and if you are fast enough, chop the garlic, onion, celery and green pepper.  Drop all the veggies in when the bacon is starting to brown.  Saute until the onions go translucent.  Toss in the soaked beans, broth and water.  I never use pure stock because I think the taste is a bit overpowering, so I do half stock half water – hence the 3 cups stock + 2 cups water.  Go all stock if you wish.  Let this simmer with the lid on for 30 mins. At this point, check and see how the liquid factor is.  If you want more or less, either add water and cook with the lid on or cook with the lid off for evaporation for 15 more minutes.  This is your call!  Serve over rice.  Enjoy the soul food.

 

Hello? Are you there?  Well, I’m here.  Yes, for real!  I have been on a long journey.  Across the ocean and a vast land.  Strong winds and snow have kept me…..ok, well, I just went home to Canada for the holidays.  Aaannnndd, who has time for the computer when there are kids running about, gifts to be wrapped, alcohol to be drunk and Christmas goodies to be eaten?  Oh, and we visited a few people (understatement) too.  When we got home, back to Delft, we were plagued with sore throats and were heavily depleated on sleep.  But, isn’t that how the holidays go?  It’s all worth it!  We made so many memories.  Even Santa showed up at the house for the kiddies.  Little Pea was showered with gifts that we had to stuff into our luggage to trek home.  Don’t worry, it all made it.  Lucky little girl.

So, now we are January.  Already.  Are you on a diet?  I’m not a big resolutions person, but after all that eating, who isn’t up for a little pull-back.  Time to bring things back to the everyday normal.  Get our bodies back into routine.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  None of this breakfast, second breakfast, cookies, lunch, drinks, snacks, appys, dinner, drinks, snacks….. Here’s a cozy, hearty, healthy dinner just for you.  It is actually one of my top faves of 2011.  It’s so good.  Every time we have it I say, “we should eat this every week.”  We really should.

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry – Albert Heijn

There are a few possibly hard to find ingredients on this list.  I was skeptical and thought it would be to hard, but it is truly worth it.  Way better than any curry I have ever made.  Of course you can leave out the cardamon pods, mustard seeds and lemongrass, but please try to find it if you can.  Remember to pick out the cardamom pods before serving.  Biting into one of those babies can be a big surprise!

1 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp yellow Thai curry paste (red works too)

2 small or 1 large onion, finely chopped

3 lemongrass stalks, bashed with the back of a knife

6 cardamom seeds

1 tbsp mustard seeds (tiny black seeds)

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks

1 cup chicken stock

400ml can of coconut milk

400g can chickpeas, rinsed

Rice, cooked according to package (I use 1.5 cups of dry Pandan rice)

You need a pretty big pan for this.  Start by heating the oil then gently frying the curry paste, onions, lemon grass,cardamon pods and mustard seeds for 2-3 mins until fragrant.  Next stir in the squash and coat with the paste.  Pour in the stock and coconut milk.  Bring everything to a simmer.  Add the chickpeas.  Cook until the squash is tender – about 10 minutes.  Serve over rice.  Enjoy the fragrant warmth of this dish!

I have a new obsession. Pinterest.  First of all, let me explain to you what this is if you don’t already know.  It is a website that acts as a message board for all the coolest things people find on the world wide web.  I could  just keep scrolling and scrolling down the endless page of pins.  Well, sometimes I do…  SO many interesting things. Anything from hair do’s to nail colours and recipes to quotes.  I have saved many a link.  Especially for crocheting.  When I am going to find time to do all this crafting, who knows? But, man, I am loving this resource.

There also have been many a recipe saved.  Althought, pinteresters are keen on slow cooker recipes involving pop and also baked goods involving pop.  A little cringe worthy, but also….. interesting.  You see what I mean?  Lots of cool stuff.  So, brought to you by Pinterest is this lasagna soup.  I think it’s a cool twist on a favourite.  I love me some lasagna.  My mother is actually known far and wide for her lasagna.  She says the secret is cooking it in the stone, but whatever it is, it is the one thing that is always requested from family and friends alike. So, I am like a lasagna connoiseur, if you will.

This recipe is basically lasagna soup. Ok, duh, that is what it is.  Lasagna with a thinned out sauce in a bowl.  I thought it was easier/quicker than making the real thing.  And it was also kind of cool to have a switch up.  With the foggy, chilly, cold weather here, soup really does hit the spot better than anything else. On the whole I give this soup a 9 because I can get all the goods from a real lasagna in it, have the cosiness of soup to warm my chilled bones and it is interesting (or should  I say Pinteresting?).  Happy slurping!

Lasagna Soup – adapted from this link A Farm Girl Dabbles (check out her picture -delish!)

You could definitely add some veggies into this soup.  I like to put zucchini and broccoli in my lasagna, so why not in the soup?

2 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

300g extra lean ground beef

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 28oz can or 2 smaller cans diced tomatoes (she used fire-roasted, so if you can find it…)

4 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water

2 cups dry mini lasagna noodles (or rotini etc)

For the cheese dollop:

cottage cheese or ricotta

grated mozzarella

grated parmesan

Start by heating up some oil with the red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic.  I’ve been doing this lately and it seems like the seasonings really come alive inthe warm oil.  Have your onion and beef ready to dump in before it burns though.  Once yo ucan smell the oregano and garlic, dump in the onions and saute for about a minute and then dump in the beef and break it up.  Continue cooking until the beef is browned.  Now, stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute.  Next, in goes the tomatoes, broth and water.  Bring this all up to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

When you are 10 minutes away from serving, throw in the dry pasta and cook until al dente. While the noodles are softening in the soup, prepare the cheesy dollop.  Mix together some cottage cheese or ricotta and some grated mozarella and paremesan and dollop it into the bottom each bowl.  Pour the hot soup over the dollop and throw on some fresh basil if you like.  Serve immediately.  Makes 8 servings.

 

Good morning all! It’s Sunday. Yup, Sunday.  I love this lazy day.  It used to be all about sleeping in, then laying in bed forever. Getting up and putting on my slippers and a snuggly housecoat and pad into the kitchen to make coffee and pancakes.  Not much has changed, except now we don’t sleep in, but we do bring our Little Pea into the big bed to play for a while in the morning. And, pancakes are always still on the menu!

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe with you.  It is embarrassingly simple, but it is the classic go-to you must know.  My Mom has made these pancakes for decades. I remember, I used to be very proud that I ate them the way my Dad did. A double decker with butter and syrup.  My Mom and Dad were so cool. I hope LP thinks we are cool, too.  If I make her pancakes every weekend, I think I can count on it – for a few of her younger years, anyways!

Mr F is working all weekend, so I made some pancakes for myself.  I must. eat. pancakes. on. Sunday.  This is what LP was doing when I was cooking in the kitchen with the door closed. Hahaha!

Classic Pancakes – recipe by my mama and memorized by every member of my family

1 egg

1/4 cup oil

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar (optional) – I always put syrup, so no need to sweeten the cakes

Start by lightly whisking the egg.  Add the oil and whisk a little more.  Whisk in the milk. Next dump in the flour and baking powder and you guessed it – whisk.  Once incorporated, set aside and get that pan warmed on medium.  If you have a non-stick pan, no butter or oil needed.  If you have stainless steel pans like me, I like to melt a little butter to fry them in.  The edges get a little crispy that way and they won’t stick.

Stack’em how you like’em and top with whatever floats your boat. Since these are classic, I reccommend butter and syrup. Oh and by the way, I’ve made these with whole wheat flour, with buckwheat flour, I’ve added chocolate chips, bananas and topped with anything from strawberries and whipped cream to blueberries and maple syrup.  Go nuts!

So there’s this huge trend of cake balls and cake pops on the web right now.  I first saw them on Bakerella’s site and they are the coolest thing.  She is a real artist when it comes to decorating these cake pops. You should really check them out.  So, anyways, I wanted to make some, of course, but I hadn’t had an opportunity as of yet.  And then along came my 30th birthday.  What could be a better time than to try out a new “cake” than that.  They are perfect because I could eat one after another, after another, after another…..

BUT, then I was all like, what flavour should I make? Should I use icing, should I use cream cheese, should I make red velvet?  And then it came to me.  You want to know when things “come to me”?  When I am up in the middle of the night trying to fall back to sleep after I just spent 10 minutes calming LP down.  I am just lying there, trying to fall back asleep and BAM! ideas are hitting me like comets!  Things like what I should pair my new jeans with, what I should make for a Halloween costume, what thing I should crochet next and what kind of cake balls I should make for my birthday.  Come on – you guys do this too.  Don’t you?

Well, I got thinking about dulce de leche.  How could I use this oowy gooey caramel-ness?   A can of it has actually gone to waste in the back of my refridgerator once.  This is blasphemy.  I needed to come up with a way to slide it into my everyday life more often.  And at 3am, BAM! use it in your cake balls, Kerry! And add some pretzels for saltiness and crunch!

I had my cake ball idea and here it is, come to fruition.  Thanks middle-of-the-night- brain.  You really help me out in tough times.

Dulce de Leche Cake Balls adapted from Bakerella.com

1 box white cake mix (prepare as directed)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup pretzels, crushed, plus extra for sprinkling

white and milk chocolate for dipping (1 bar each)

Start by baking the cake.  This can be a boxed cake or a cake from scratch.  When the cake is ready and cooled, crumble it into a mixing bowl. Add in the crushed preztzels.

To make the dulce de leche, there are a couple ways I have done it.  One: you can remove the lable and put the can in water on the stove and simmer it for 4 hours.  The water should be about one inch from the top of the can.  Two: you can empty the can into a sauce pan and cook it on low heat while constantly stirring until it turns golden in colour.  The first method resulted in a darker brown dulce de leche and was super easy.  There is a small risk of the can exploding and it takes forever.  The second method was also easy, but the mixture does not get as dark. I went with the second method because it was quick. Do not let the dulce de leche sit and cool, since it will become very hard (if using the second method).

Add the dulce de leche to the cake and pretzel mixture and stir to combine.  Now take 1 tbsp of the mixture and roll into balls.  Place on a baking sheet and then into the fridge or freezer to set.

When they are set, it is time to get the chocolate ready for dipping. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  I peirced one ball at a time with a skewer and used a spatula to coat the ball with chocolate.  Place on parchement paper or silpat when completely covered.  Sprinkle immediately with the extra crushe pretzels.  If you are doing some white and some dark chocolate, start with the white and then just throw in the dark chocolate.  You won’t have to wash out the double boiler in this case!

Foodlova

I'm an ex-Olympian and I have a serious passion for food. I guess you could call me a food lova! What about you?

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