Sunday, May 17, 2015

Old Fashioned Banana Bread


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There are lots of fancy modern banana breads out there. I'm sure they are all delicious but sometimes you just want something that reminds you of an afternoon spent in the kitchen with your Mom or Grandma or maybe those special care packages your family would send you when you went off to college. I'm guessing they weren't the fancy banana breads but just plain, basic stuff with the occasional chocolate chip thrown in. If you are yearning for a slice of THAT banana bread, try this. It's delicious, simple and will take you back to the excitement of opening those care packages or your Grandma's kitchen.

I can never wait for it to cool! So good with butter!

Ingredients

4 cups all purpose flour (preferably unbleached)
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups mashed overripe bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions


  1. Grease two 9x5 loaf pans and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a very large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, sour cream, sugar, butter, vanilla and bananas.
  5. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir until JUST combined.
  6. Place half (4 cups) in each loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes until nicely brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Wheetabix #mybixmix



As a Mom of two kids aged 9 &10, I try to make sure they eat well. This is especially true at breakfast. I think a great tasting and nutritious breakfast sets them up and fills them up for all of the activities throughout their day including their ability to focus at school.

My kids are old enough to make their own breakfast, so I try to make sure there are lots of healthy options for them. Our kitchen is usually stocked with items such as:

  • lots of cut/washed fruit - berries, pineapple, melons are favorites
  • milk
  • whole grain breads
  • yogourt
  • cereals - whole grain
  • homemade muffins filled with fibre, fruit etc
So it seemed like a no brainer when Wheetabix asked me to join them in their #mybixmix challenge. They wanted to see how Canadians could mix up their meals with Wheetabix and how it affected our energy and hunger pangs as the day went on. 

The kids loved the challenge! We ate Wheetabix like crackers with peanut butter, crumbled over yogurt, with milk (warm and cold), and even in smoothies! The kids liked it best when then they crumbled it over their yogurt and berries - they love they extra crunch it provided.


We also found that it kept us feeling satiated for most of the morning.

So next time you're in the cereal aisle pick a box of Wheetabix up and mix your bix! Check out your social media foods for #mybixmix for other awesome ideas!

Please note: I was compensated for this post but opinions are my own!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dragon Fruit Sorbet








Ingredients

2 ripe dragon fruit
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced


Instructions


  1. Scoop out inside of dragon fruit into blender.
  2. Add other ingredients.
  3. Puree until liquid.
  4. Pour into loaf pan and place in freezer.
  5. Stir every hour or so until frozen. Takes about 4 hours.
  6. Serve.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Easy No Bake Cheesecake Cups

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Shaved chocolate and a cool martini glass finishes off this easy dessert!


As much as I love creating desserts from scratch, there are times when I don't have time to make a complicated dessert...you know, when you are making a big dinner for family or perhaps making so many other dishes you don't have oven space for a dessert. And of course, sometimes you just want a sweet bite of something that doesn't take much time!

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Layers!

This dessert is perfect anytime you don't have the desire to bake or the time! It may not be "gourmet" but it's delicious! Kids love helping create with this dessert so put them to work!

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The chocolate version above has Cool Whip mixed into the cheesecake mixture but the berry version doesn't. It's up to you whether you want to use it...I find it gives a little bit lighter feel and taste. Also, in the chocolate version I just used chocolate condensed milk - that way I don't have to add the additional step of melting chocolate. And in the berry versions, I just split the mixture in half and added my favorite jams to flavour and colour.
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Use a pastry bag and icing tip to pipe cheesecake mixture and cool whip for a neater dessert.
If desired you could make one big dessert in a pie plate or baking dish, but I like making individual desserts and layering the cheesecake mixture, cool whip and graham crumbs!


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Blueberries top this blueberry jam version.

Makes about 8 (but depends how big your dishes are!)

Ingredients

1 can condensed milk (14 oz)- plain, chocolate or even caramel flavoured
1 bar cream cheese (8oz), room temperature
2 tbsp jam, your favorite flavour
juice of one lemon (for berry flavours) or 2 tbsp strong coffee (if making chocolate mocha flavor)

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2-3 tbsp melted butter

2 cups cool whip if adding to mixture
2 cups cool whip for layers and topping

Instructions


  1. Add condensed milk and cream cheese to large mixing bowl and beat until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add lemon juice (or coffee) and mix.
  3. Add jam and mix. (if using more than one type jam, divide mixture first)
  4. If using cool whip, add 2 cups and gently fold into mixture.
  5. In another bowl, combine melted butter and graham crumbs.


Set 8 smaller sized ramekins or cute glasses on work station. Add layers of graham crumbs, cool whip and cheesecake. You could add in other fun stuff - caramel sauce marshmallows, chocolate chips... whatever you have on hand.

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Caramel, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate cheesecake mix and marshmallows
make this a pumped up s'more version of dessert!



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chocolate Banana Muffins with Avocado

This is a simple way to make use of overripe bananas and avocados. Feel free to add chocolate chips (1/2-1 cup) for even more chocolate flavor. If chocolate isn't your thing, you can also omit the cocoa and add an additional 1/4 cup of flour (I'd also add 1 tsp cinnamon).

Ingredients

3/4 c overripe banana (2 medium)
1/4 c very ripe avocado (1/2 small)
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt
3-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 - 3/4 c flour
1/4 c cocoa

12 banana chips (optional)

Instructions


  1. Spray 12 muffins tins with nonstick spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if using nonstick or dark colored pan reduce heat to 375 degrees.)
  3. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla.
  4. Stir in banana and avocado.
  5. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.
  6. Add flour mixture to liquid ingredients. Stir very gently until just combined.
  7. Place approximately 1/4 cup of batter into each tin.
  8. If using, place one banana chip on each muffin.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Cool five minutes and remove from tins onto cooling rack.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Broccoli Farro Salad

This salad is easy to make. I make it for dinner and take lefts overs for lunch. I've only recently started adding farro to our shopping list but I love it! It makes the dish more substantial and adding whole grains is always a plus to any meal. There are many different kinds of farro and some are quicker to cook than others. I use Trader Joe's 10 minute farro but what ever you use just follow the package's directions. You can even make it ahead or make more than you will use so you have left overs!

If you can't find farro, you can substitute something else - rice, barley, bulgar wheat, quinoa etc.

Here's another farro recipe that I like: Farro & Vegetable Salad

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked farro, cooled
2 large heads broccoli, chopped into small florets
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup reduced fat mayo
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp chipotle sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled bacon (optional)
1 tsp diced red jalapeno pepper (optional)

Instructions


  1. In a medium bowl, combine mayo, sugar, spices, and vinegar.
  2. In a large bowl add broccoli, farro, onion, and sunflower seeds.
  3. Add dressing and combine.
  4. Sprinkle with bacon and jalapeno, if using.


Serve.


PS: Do you live in Canada and have foodies in your life looking to try new, delicious Canada products? Check out www.foodiepages.ca. I've found a tonne of great new items on their such as Wendell creamed honey. They also have monthly tasting boxes if you can't decide on one thing! #Foodie Pages CHEF’S BOX Challenge

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Basil Pesto

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The Busboy (Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld)

(Jerry, George, and Elaine are all eating at an Italian restaurant. George hasn't eaten anything)

GEORGE: Why do I get pesto? Why do I think I'll like it? I keep trying to like it, like I have to like it.
JERRY: Who said you have to like it?
GEORGE: Everybody likes pesto. You walk into a restaurant, that's all you hear - pesto, pesto, pesto.
JERRY: I don't like pesto.
GEORGE: Where was pesto 10 years ago?

LOL. Classic. But seriously, who doesn't love pesto? So fresh, so green, so delicious!


Can you ever have too much basil?

Ingredients

200 g basil leaves ( a big colander full or three small bunches), ends cut off but I keep the stems on
200 g toasted pine nuts
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
200 g Parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced

Instructions


  1. In a large blender, place pine nuts, basil, garlic and lemon juice.
  2. Puree for 1 minute or until ingredients are roughly blended.
  3. Slowly, add oil while blender is on medium setting.
  4. Add cheese.
  5. If too thick add a bit more oil.
  6. Blend until almost smooth or to desired consistency.
  7. Will last for a few of days in refrigerator.
  8. If adding to pasta, make sure you include a couple of tablespoons of pasta water when adding pesto to pasta.
or pine nuts?