You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2012.

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

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.


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?

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 29 other followers