Saturday, 31 December 2011

A Grand Mimosa for a New Year

January 1st marks the beginning of a new year, and new resolutions....
To some the resolution process can be daunting.  I actually enjoy it.  For me 2012 is going to be about organization.  From storage bins to maximizing every square inch of my house.  Here I come.  Watch out world, you are about to meet your match.
In the meantime...I figure I will need a little kick start to help me on this clutter free journey.  Enter, New Years Brunch.  Tomorrow's menu is going to include baked eggs, fresh fruit, pancakes, and toast & almond butter.  Yummy.  Happy New Year to me!  Oh, I forgot the integral part to any brunch.  A mimosa.  No, wait.  A Grand Mimosa, as in add a little Grand Marnier...

Bring on 2012!

Grand Mimosa

3/4 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz orange juice

Pour Grand Marnier and OJ into chilled champagne flute.  Top with champagne.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Top 11 Recipes From 2011

As we prepare to say goodbye to one year, and welcome in the next.  It's only fitting I recap my 11 favourite recipes of 20-11.  From breakfast to desserts, I've got you covered, enjoy!

Cheers to a delicious 2012.  Happy New Year!

Seared Peach Salad w/ Scallops & Mango Chili Dressing


Chicken, Brie & Apple Sandwich


Dark Chocolate & Orange Scones


Crab Cakes

Sausage & Grape Pasta


Carrot Cake Pancakes

Sweet Potato Casserole


Bacon Fried Rice


Beet, Apple & Goat Cheese Salad

Mango & Edamame Couscous

Butterfinger Cookies

**I had a difficult time picking favourites.  With 140+ recipes in 2011 and a true love for all of them, I think you should show my other recipes some 'love' and give them a try.  

A Winter Salad

Salad in winter.  Really?  To some people the thought of salad during cold, winter months is less than appealing.  Opting instead for, hearty stews, warm casseroles, or soup.  However, I enjoy salad at anytime of the year.  Winter included.  I think all you need to do, is opt for seasonal ingredients, and a salad in December works.

Case in point.  This one.  I brought this to Christmas dinner with the family.  Everyone knows, mashed potatoes and stuffing are essential sides on December 25.  I wanted to bring something, that was not only a healthier alternative, but colourful and flavourful.  Accomplished.  This looked like Christmas, and like most sides on Christmas, I went back for seconds!


Roasted Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad

1lb butternut squash, peeled & cubed
1 1/2 cups organic quinoa
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup apple cidar vinegar
4 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp pepper & salt

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.
To make dressing; combine vinegar, syrup, mustard, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Add in olive oil whisking constantly until well combined.
Cut squash into 1cm cubes.  Toss with 2 tbsp dressing.  Transfer to prepared baking sheet and roast for 25 mintues or until tender and browned.  Stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low. and simmer covered, for 15 minutes.
Transfer cooled quinoa, roasted squash, onion and cranberries to a large bowl;  drizzle with remaining dressing (or as much as desired) and gently toss to coat. 
Serve @ room temperature or cold.  Add walnuts just prior to serving.

Serves: 10-12
adapted from Canadian Health & Lifestyle

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Baked Lemon Doughnuts w/ Lemon Glaze

If you want to become my best friend, you need to know 2 things:

1.  I heart all things lemon flavoured. 
2.  I heart doughnuts

If you want to become my best friend forever, combine the two above.  Friends for life.

Baked Lemon Doughnuts w/ Lemon Glaze

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
4 tsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 325F.  Coat doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and lemon zest.  In small bowl whisk together buttermilk, butter, egg, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture; whisk until blended and smooth.
Spoon batter into large resealable plastic bag.  Cut off corner and squeeze batter into prepared indents, about 2/3 full.  Smooth tops.  Bake for 13 minutes, until doughnuts spring back when lightly pressed.  Cool in pan on rack for 3 minutes, then carefully turn out on rack to cool.
To make glaze combine lemon juice, milk and sugar in small bowl and mix until smooth.  Dip cooled doughnuts into frosting and allow excess to drip off back into bowl.  Transfer to rack.  Enjoy!

yields: 6 doughnuts
adapted from my baked doughnuts recipe

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Arctic Kiss

a new years kiss....
Now that Christmas is behind us, it's time to start thinking about the next big party.  You know the one, New Years Eve.  Aside from figuring out who you are going to kiss once the clock strikes midnight.  You need to surround yourself with good friends, good food, and of course, a little champagne!

This year instead of reaching for just a plain glass of the bubbly, try an 'Arctic Kiss' instead.  Seems fitting for NYE & life in YYC.  Raise a glass to 2012.

Arctic Kiss

2oz vodka
Hersey kiss

Chill vodka over ice (use shaker) if it's not in your freezer. Pour vodka into a chilled champagne flute and top with champagne.
Drop in a Hersey Kiss for a nice finish.

recipe courtesy of

Monday, 26 December 2011

Goat Cheese & Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

since i consumed my fair share of crab in SF last weekend, i decided to try and ween myself off of this delicious crustacean.   
i can think of know better ways than as a filling for mushroom caps.  

obviously the perfect venue to serve this delightful appetizer is Christmas Eve.

and in our family Christmas Eve is all about snacking late into the night as we await the jolly man in red.  
this year CE fell on a Saturday, which meant we made a day of it. grazing on treats from noon till night.  

stuffed mushrooms are always a fun appetizer, poppable, limitless filling possibilities, from bacon to cream cheese, there is something for everyone; except mushroom haters.  but more for me in the end.  

Goat Cheese & Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

20 button mushrooms (white)
1 cup crab meat
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp panko bread crumbs
garlic powder or granulated garlic

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line baking sheet with tinfoil.
Wash mushrooms and remove stems.  Place stem side up on prepared baking sheet.
In medium mixing bowl, combine crab, cheeses, onion and parsley.  Season to taste with garlic powder and pepper.
Divide crab mixture among 20 mushrooms and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until filling is hot.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

red velvet pancakes

Despite being 29 years old, every Christmas Eve brings a sleepless night as I anxiously await Santa.  True to form this year followed suit (no pun intended.)   Rather than lay in bed, I got up early and made a batch of pancakes.  Special pancakes.  Pancakes worthy of Christmas Day.  Red Velvet!  Pop open the champagne, we've got an awesome breakfast in store.  If you are a fan of red velvet cupcakes and a fan of pancakes, then this is sure to make you happy.

I hope Santa was good to all of you, and none of you found coal in your stockings.  Merry Christmas!  I'm off to play with all the cool toys the kids got, oh and perhaps break into the ginormous Toblerone that the 'man in red' left me.  He knows me too well....

Red Velvet Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
6 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
4 tsp vanilla
2 tsp red food colouring

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, yogurt, eggs, food colouring and vanilla.  Add to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
On a hot griddle, pour batter in 1/3 cup portions and cook until lightly browned on both sides.
Serve with syrup or cream cheese glaze

Yields: 12 pancakes
Adapted from

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Cranberry Sauce

there are two kinds of people in this world.  
those that like whole cranberry sauce and those that eat the jellied variety.  
okay, maybe there are three, those who would prefer their turkey smothered in gravy.
up until i met mr handsome, i wasn't even aware that you could buy cranberry sauce in a can, our family always made it from scratch.   
i love the flavour of this delicious red fruit mixed with orange.  a little brown sugar and some added texture in the form of dried fruit, and you now have a killer topping for your turkey.  unless of course you are a gravy some people I know.

Cranberry Orange Sauce w/ Dried Cranberries

4 cups organic fresh cranberries
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Combine juice and sugar in saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Add in both varieties of cranberries and orange zest and return mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and gently boil for 10-12 minutes until berries burst, stirring occasionally.
Cover and cool @ room temperature.
Refrigerate until serving time.

Cookies 'n Cream Pudding Mix Cookies

A couple weeks back, while pursuing Pinterest, I came across Cookies 'n Cream Cookies.  Knowing full well that all things Oreo turn out great, I was sure this too would follow suit, which given the time of year is of the utmost importance, the 'Man in Red' himself is scheduled to visit.
It goes without saying, a good impression is required.  An impression worthy of say, a huge present (or a little present. wink, wink)

Not to brag or anything, but my track record with Oreos and baking is 2 for 2, and now after todays success story I'm happy to report we are 3 for 3.  It's all in the Oreo...

Sharing the ranks with these cookies are my Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies and my cookies 'n cream popcorn, both of which are completely low fat and perfectly healthy (or not, but Santa isn't worried about things like that, it's his job to be jolly.) 

The base for this recipe comes from my white chocolate coconut cookies that I made awhile back.  A few substitutions later and voila, a new cookie is born.  Today is good day! 

Cookies 'n Cream Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 - 102g package vanilla pudding mix (can also be made w/ cookies 'n cream or white chocolate mix)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups Oreos, chopped Oreos (approximately 17 cookies)
1 cup white chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and set aside.
2. Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add in pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chopped Oreos and white chocolate.
3. Drop cookie dough by rounded heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slight golden and set. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Yields: approximately 3 - 3 1/2 dozen

adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod - white chocolate coconut cookies

Friday, 23 December 2011

I Wanna Wish You...

From my kitchen to yours....

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

May 2012 bring more delicious meals to share with loved ones.  Thanks for the continued support over the last 8 months.  Cheers!

Much Love,

No Bake Cookies

No baking.  
You have my attention.

When I think back to my childhood, one cookie comes to mind.  It was the cookie my sister and I begged for.  Any guesses?  No Bake Cookies.  (Looking back we were too easy on my mom...)

These would bring us in from playing outside at record speeds.  In fact this would still bring my sister over to my house at record speeds.  She is a cookie lover, and this one is in her top 3, if not her favourite.  So it's only fitting that the Christmas Eve party I'm throwing features these delicious two bite wonders.  I guess you could say it's my Christmas gift...
I've altered my mom's recipe a little, but only because I love pecans...

No Bake Cookies

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups rolled quick oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp vanilla


In medium saucepan, mix together butter, sugar, milk, salt and cocoa.  Bring to a boil.  Add in vanilla.
Meanwhile in large bowl.  Stir oats, coconut and pecans.
Remove sugar mixture from heat and stir in oat mixture.  Mix well.  Spoon cookies (1 1/2 Tbsp) onto wax/parchment paper.  Allow to cool.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

San Francisco - Foodie Style

This past weekend was a great one.  Two words.  San Francisco. 
Back in June, J surprised me with a trip to SF.  We both love this city, and we especially love it @ Christmas time.  From cable cars with lights and wreaths, to the fabulous ice rink in Union Square.  Even without snow, it still managed to feel like Christmas. 

We ended up staying @ The Fairmont, and in true Fairmont style it was beautiful.  A 23 foot Christmas tree greeted us upon entering.  However, the true star of the show was the gingerbread house.  Constructed using 7,500 gingerbread bricks, 1,200 pounds of royal icing, 650 pounds of candy and over 12 gallons of chocolate.  Mmmm, a 20Ft tall, cookie lovers dream come true!  This house is going to give my house a complex...

We had an action packed couple of days planned.  A dinner meet up with one of J's best friends from school (and SF local now) started it off, and a 49's Monday Night Football game win, concluded it.  In between all the excitement, we squeezed in some fantastic food.  No, scratch that.  Possibly some of the best food I've tasted.  I wouldn't kid you.  I take my food seriously.  So seriously in fact, I did my homework before leaving for SF.  Searching out some of the best restaurants/dishes the city had to offer.   Here are some highlights food wise:

House of Nanking

This place was fantastic.  Our SF friends took us here for dinner, that alone should tell you how good it is.   Located on the edge of Chinatown, this was hands down the best Chinese food I've ever had.  We didn't order off the menu, instead, the owner 'took care' of us.  Bringing dish after dish of tasty creations.  If you get a chance to go here, make sure you experience it the same way, you won't be sorry. 
Now for my failure...with all of the excitement of catching up, I forgot to take photos of the dishes.  Boo.  I can't tell you how disappointed I am in myself.  Seriously?  Fail on my part.  So you'll just have to use your imagination on this one...(I did manage to get a nice photo of the sign though.  Pfff.)
Dumpling Soup w/ Mussels & Rice
Fried Calamari
Sesame Chicken w/ Sweet Potatoes
Shrimp and Green Beans
Beef w/ Rice and Mushrooms
Panfried Garlic Fish w/ Asian Spices & Vegetables


Pier 47, views of the water, and the best crab I've ever had.  Aside from pancakes, my next favourite cake is of the crab variety.  So it's only fitting that I would find a delicious crab cake near Fisherman's Wharf.  An equally important part to any crab cake, is the sauce that accompanies it.  Delicious.  I wanted to eat it by the spoonful, but the tables of other customers prevented this from happening.  This place knows seafood, knows crab cakes, and knows how to make a girl from YYC smile.   Next time, I'm going to get the Cioppino.  Nothing beats a great seafood stew.  Mmmm. 
Dungeness Crab Cakes
Dungeness Crab Risotto

The Slanted Door

This was the restaurant I was most looking forward to.  Located in the Ferry Building, it's Vietnamese food with a modern take.  I found this place through Urbanspoon where it was ranked #1 (that's a good sign.)  Upon further investigation (I told you I did my homework) I came to find out they also featured a dish that made the 100 foods to eat in SF list.  Double Score.  Best Dinner Period.  Not only was the food fantastic, but we had amazing views of the Bay Bridge @ night.  Simply beautiful. 
Spring Rolls w/ Shrimp, Pork, Mint, & Peanut Sauce
Roasted PEI Mussels w/ Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime, & Red Curry Broth
Cellophane Noodles w/ Green Onion & Fresh Dungeness Crab
Caramelized Wild Gulf Shrimp w/ Garlic, Onions, & Chili Sauce
Spicy Broccoli w/ Braised Tofu, Beech Mushrooms & Roasted Chili

Dottie's True Blue Cafe

I heart this place.   Breakfast in SF is synonymous with Dottie's.  J and I only eat here, we are  Dottie's obsessed loyal to Dottie's (hence the multiple trips we took this past weekend.)  Never disappointed.  We always go for opening (7:30am) to avoid the hour long wait.   This place was featured on 'Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,' and with good reason.  The food is great, different, and changes from day to day.  If you go, you need to order the cornbread and the buttermilk dill toast.  I'm drooling just thinking about them. 
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip French Toast
Zucchini Cakes w/ Poached Eggs & Spicy Marinara Sauce, served with Potatoes & Fresh Fruit
Grilled Cornbread w/ Jalapeno Jelly (drool)
Avocado, Corn, Jalapeno, Scallions, Tomato & Feta Frittata w/ Potatoes & Buttermilk Dill Toast
Cinnamon Pecan Bun
Banana Butterscotch Muffin

Well, that pretty much captures the best of what we ate during our 4 days in SF.  Unfortunately the subway sandwiches, stadium food, and various granola bars and fruits didn't make the cut.  Although they were delicious, they weren't blog worthy.
I will miss you dearly SF.  Actually, my palate and stomach will miss you and all the delicious food you had to offer.  Until next time...

It's official, this post has made me hungry.
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