Showing posts with label kid approved. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kid approved. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Refrigerator Raisin Bran Muffins

Versions of this recipe have been around for decades. The great thing about it is you can keep the batter in your fridge and bake up a fresh batch in the mornings for breakfast or after school for snacks. I've read you can keep it for up to 6 weeks! 

While I haven't tested that, I doubt they'd last that long just because they are sooo delicious and moist! To be honest, I usually bake up the whole batch and throw them in the freezer so we can grab these muffins anytime we're running out the door. They don't take long to thaw and are much healthier than a store bought muffin or processed snack.

This recipe is also pretty forgiving in terms of ingredients...if you don't have bran flakes, use bran buds or fibre cereal. If you don't have whole wheat pastry flour you can substitute all purpose (though you'll lose some fibre content). The batter will also thicken as it stands so if you do keep it in the fridge expect it to go from almost liquid to very thick. Finally, sometimes I make these in mini muffin tins - they take about 12-15 minutes to bake. 

This recipe will make about 4 dozen muffins! If you use dark colored muffin tins you might want to reduce your oven temperature to 350 degrees or watch carefully as they may brown a bit faster than a normal tin.


2 c boiling water
2 c wheat bran
2 c raisins
3 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c wheat germ
4 eggs
1-1/2 c brown sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1/4 c molasses
4 c buttermilk
4 c bran flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray muffins tins with baking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, add bran and raisins. Carefully add boiling water over them.
  3. In a very big bowl whisk the eggs.
  4. Whisk in the brown sugar.
  5. Add the oil, molasses, and buttermilk. Whisk until well combined.
  6. In another large bowl, whisk flours, wheat germ, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  7. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk bowl. Gently whisk together. It will look lumpy but will come together. It will be very liquidy!
  8. Stir in the bran mixture.
  9. Add the bran flakes and combine. It will look very wet.
  10. Fill muffins tins 2/3 full.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Top Ten Chocolate Chip Recipes!

Did you know it's National Chocolate Chip Day in the US? Even though we're Canadian I thought we'd help celebrate!

Here's a round up of Within the Kitchen's favorite chocolate chip recipes! Just click on the title to go to the recipe link. 

1. The Chipper! Oh so decadent!

Sinful Pudding:

And finally, if you want to know more about the history of the chocolate chip cookie read this piece from the New Yorker!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Indonesian Blackout Chicken
During a wind storm a couple of months ago, we were sitting in the living room enjoying a little peace while the kids were playing quietly upstairs (i.e. they weren't fighting, bickering or asking us for things). Suddenly, outside our window, sparks were flying, loud "pops" were sounding and then nothing but darkness. The kids came running downstairs asking why fireworks were going off down the street. Turns out a very large and very old tree couldn't stand up to the strong winds and decided to go out with a bang - it fell across a street, taking a power pole with it and crushing a car for good measure. Thankfully, even though it's a busy corner, no one was hurt. Power, however, would be out for the night and the next morning.

Luckily, we had planned to BBQ our dinner. I know you're thinking "why would you plan on grilling in a wind and rain storm?" We BBQ all year round and, yes, in any weather (and by we, I mean my husband). This recipe was adapted from Saveur. The original recipe makes skewers but we bypass that and use whole thighs and cut up breasts.

That night, thanks to the power outage, we had a fun dinner by candle light and we dubbed the dish "Blackout Chicken." The kids LOVE this chicken because it's full of flavour but not spicy. In fact, it's now in our regular rotation.

Serves 6.


1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp tumeric
2 tsp salt
2 stalks lemon grass, chopped
1 head garlic, separated and peeled (at least 5 cloves)
6 mediums shallots
2 larges pieces if ginger (about 8-10 inches in total), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbsp ground fennel or 2- 3 tbsp fresh fennel
1 tsp ground curry

5-6 lbs chicken thighs or breasts or combo.


  1. Blend everything except chicken in a food processor until a thick but relatively smooth paste is formed.
  2. If using breast, cut them in half or about the same size as a medium thigh. Using a smooth sided mallet or cast iron pan flatten the chicken pieces so they are all the same approximate thickness. This will help the chicken cook at the same rate.
  3. Place the chicken in a bowl or ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Massage the marinade into the chicken so every nook and crevice gets its fair share.
  4. Seal or cover the chicken and marinade for 2-6 hours.
  5. Heat your grill to medium-high. Once hot, place chicken and cook for 5-9 minutes per side until chicken reaches 165 degrees F and juices run clear and bits of the chicken are charred).
  6. Place on serving dish and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with rice and your favorite vegetables.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Baked Tortillas

These tortilla chips are so easy! In fact, they are perfect when you and your kids want to do something together in the kitchen. With a little guidance from you with the cutting and oven handling, you can have a great time together, bake something healthier than the average chip and then eat it together!

All you have to do is pick your favorite tortilla – white, whole wheat, cheese, spinach, tomato …the varieties are endless and add your favorite spices…salt, pepper, garlic, curry, paprika or cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat.

Today, we used to varieties of tortillas – both white but one was made by Indian Life and the other by Dempster’s. The Indian version had a bit more fat in the tortilla and we found that it came out flakier when baked vs the regular Dempster’s variety. Both were great, just a little different!

Portion control is easier with these snacks than when confronted with an entire bad of chips because you can make as many or as few as you want. And, of course, since you bake them with just spices and a spray of cooking oil they are healthier than regular chips too!

Note: If you want to make your own cinnamon sugar to have on hand just mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 tbsp of sugar (you can add a bit more if you like it extra cinnamony) and store it.

You may want to go a little lighter on the cinnamon/sugar
than my daughter did!


4-10+ tortillas (depending on how many you want to make)
1/4 c cinnamon sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut tortillas into desired shapes/sizes or just use a pizza cutter to cut up like a pie.
  3. Spray large baking pan with a baking spray such as Pam or brush with a small amount of vegetable oil.
  4. Place tortillas on pan.
  5. Spray/brush tortillas with more spray/oil.
  6. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or other desired seasonings/herbs.
  7. Bake for 7-9 minutes (depends on your oven and the size of your tortillas), until golden.
  8. Remove from oven and cool.
  9. Repeat if you have more tortillas!
  10. Store in air tight container. They should last at least a week or more.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Millionaire Bars
If your family is anything like ours, your family calendar is bursting at the seams - between all the kids' activities like  play-dates, soccer, swimming, homework, homework and more homework, violin practice, track and field,  not to mention the occasional workout for yourself, work, appointments etc etc - there is not always time for family dinners! And family dinners that are relaxed, homemade and without pressure to get somewhere else are even more rare.

To combat all this craziness, we try to have a bit more of an old school family dinner on Saturday or Sunday. Each week dessert duty goes to a different family member. The rules are it has to be homemade - no store bought cake/cookies etc. This idea has been a true hit with the kids! My 7 and 9 year olds love planning what they are going to create, shopping for the ingredients and the actual baking of their masterpiece dessert. It's also a good opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with the kids since adult supervision is still needed at their age.

Last week, my daughter made these absolutely fabulous millionaire bars or homemade Twix bars. This dessert looks more complicated than it really is so it's perfect for little hands. And let's face it - chocolate, caramel and shortbread? It's a trifecta of goodness!
Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe. The bars can be cut in any size desired so you can easily get anywhere from 12 huge bars to 50 small bars.


1 cup butter, unsalted, at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt

2 cups caramels
4 tbsp whipping cream

3 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Prepare pan by cutting a 9 x 15 inch piece of parchment.
Place it so the extra over hangs.
Spray with baking spray and set aside.


  1. Using a stand mixer, beat butter, salt and icing sugar at medium speed until well combined. 
  2. Add vanilla and combine. 
  3. Add flour on low speed until it starts to come together.
  4. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix until dough comes together and is smooth.
  5. Gently spread dough into the pan and pat with fingers to get it into the corners.
  6. Prick the batter base multiple times with a fork.
  7. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until edges are golden.
  8. Place on cooling rack.
  9. Set side to cool completely.

Caramel Layer

  1. On low heat, melt the caramels and cream.
  2. Pour over cooled base.
  3. Place in fridge for 15 minutes to set slightly.

Chocolate Layer

  1. Over very low heat, stir constantly and melt the chocolate chips in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Pour over caramel layer.
  3. Return to fridge to cool and set for 4 hours or overnight.

To serve

  1. Run a knife around the edges of the pan.
  2. Carefully pull the dessert out by lifting it out by the parchment over hang.
  3. Cut into desired sizes. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chocolate Avocado Banana Bran Muffins
Don't be fooled into thinking these are your typical high sugar, low nutrient muffins. They are not! They are packed with fibre, whole grains, potassium, and other great nutrients - and they are DELICIOUS! You don't need  many chocolate chips to up the flavour of these muffins thanks to richness of the cocoa so I often will buy a small quantity of really good quality dark chocolate and chop it up into this recipe to maximize the flavours.

I make a batch of these every couple of weeks. I can easily individually wrap them and throw them in the freezer for snacks, breakfasts and any other time we need a bite on the go.The added bonus is that they act as a bit of an ice pack if the kids have other things like cheese or yogurt in their lunch bags!

Calories - approx 206 per muffin


1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
2 very ripe large bananas, mashed
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (which has less protein than standard whole wheat flour, giving baked goods a more tender texture))
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
3/4 cup skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup bran cereal
1 tbsp ground flax
1 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, or chopped good quality chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place milk and cereal in large bowl. Let sit 5 minute to soften cereal.
  3. Mix in egg, vanilla, flax, oil, mashed bananas and avocado until well combined.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Add flour mixture to cereal bowl. Stir until just combined.
  6. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Divide evenly amongst 12 muffin tins.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Freezer Meal - Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

"Mom, what's for breakfast?"
"Mom, what's for lunch?"
"Mom, have you seen my library books?"
"Mom, I can't find my (insert his/her favorite piece of clothing)!
"Mom", "Mom", "Mom"....sound familiar???

Perhaps you are more organized than me or at least able to get up earlier but I always find mornings a bit crazy and too short! Getting two young kids up (they used to be early self-risers but lately we've had to wake them up - which they don't appreciate :) and trying to help get them ready, fed, lunches made and, of course, get ourselves ready is a challenge.

To help find ways to ease the morning rush, I've been trying to make freezable meals that my husband and I can grab in the morning. The kids don't have access to a microwave so these don't work for them but if your kids do these would be great.

If you have time add a little sour cream and salsa to your lunch bag!


1 roasted chicken
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large red pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 cup pre-shredded carrots
1 cup salsa
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup low fat cream cheese
10 whole wheat tortillas (10 inch)
1 tbsp oil


  1. Pull apart chicken and shred it. Set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. 
  3. Add onion, peppers, and onions. Saute for about 4 minutes.
  4. Add beans and chicken and saute for additional 3 minutes to heat through. 
  5. Add salsa and 1/3 cup cream cheese.
  6. Heat until salsa and cheese are hot and combined with mixture.
  7. Remove from heat. 
  8. Place one tortilla on cutting board.
  9. Spread a little cream cheese on it.
  10. Sprinkle about a tbsp of shredded cheese on top.
  11. Add large scoop of chicken mixture in a log shape in the middle of the tortilla.
  12. Add another tbsp of shredded cheese on top.
  13. On the short sides of the mixture, fold about an inch of tortilla onto mixture.
  14. Tightly roll the long sides of the burrito. (Watch this video if you need to see how it's done)
  15. Wrap in plastic wrap.
  16. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  17. Freeze.
  18. To reheat. Simply remove from plastic wrap and microwave for about 2 minutes - until filling is hot.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Panda Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Isn't he cute!

My friend Anabel over at The Graceful Glutton and I may have an unhealthy obsession with pandas. Specifically the new born pandas at the Atlanta Zoo. We've been watching the panda cam since the day they were born.

So for Anabel's birthday it seemed a no brainer that these mini panda cupcakes were a perfect way to celebrate (never mind that she doesn't really like cake - I forgive her for that).

The idea for these are from Bakerella who makes the cutest creations ever.

For these panda cupcakes, I made a banana cupcake and cream cheese icing. Decorating the cupcakes is a snap. Don't skimp on the icing - a thicker blob of icing will make it easier to stick in the chocolate chips.


Makes approx 18 mini cupcakes
Based on recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum


2  large ripe bananas (1 cup)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups sifted cake flour
¾ cup superfine sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

10  tablespoons unsalted butter 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor, combine bananas and sour cream until smooth.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix just to blend.
  4. Combine the remaining dry ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and blend on lowest speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the banana mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat until well combined – about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining banana and mix lightly – don’t over beat.
  5. Fill 18 mini cupcake tins about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake approximately 12-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of a cupcake.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from tins. Let cool.

Cream cheese Icing


8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla


In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add butter and beat until smooth. 
Mix in vanilla. 
Add icing sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Increase speed and beat until well combined.

To decorate you will need:

White/clear sanding sugar.
Chocolate jimmies.
Chocolate chips
Candy eyes

Bringing it all together:

Gently spread icing on a cupcake.
Place sugar in a bowl and dip iced cupcake to cover icing.
Gently stick in chocolate chips for ears, eyes and nose.
Using icing for glue, add candy eyes on top of chocolate eyes.
Gently add jimmies for mouth.
Revel in cuteness.
Repeat with other cupcakes.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Swimming Pool Party and Pool Cake

Birthday Pool Party!

My daughter decided to have a swimming party at UBC pool to celebrate her 9th birthday. So we made that the theme of the party.

If you are in Vancouver, I recommend UBC pool as a place for a kid's party. The cost was just under $100 for 10 kids, a party room, and a pool leader. The leader joined them in the pool for an hour as they played games and jumped off the diving boards.


The kids spent most of their time in the pool so we kept decorations to a minimum. I found an "under the sea" roll of bulletin board paper at Michael's that we placed on a wall. I also found these pool party cut-outs on Etsy. I printed them on card stock and taped them to wood dowels. The kids LOVED them. We took pictures in front of the poster of all the kids. We also had balloons and blow up beach balls.

We served cake and a few snacks. I put the snacks in beach pails and the kids served themselves using little shovels! I also had a few shell shaped plates for other snacks. We made a balloon bouquet by simply throwing a bunch of balloons on a stick in a bucket! We also had a container of "pool water" as a drink (raspberry Kool-Aid).

Loot Bag

For the "loot bag", I found a great deal on a beach towel that turns into a backpack - normally $22 but on sale for less than $6 at Michael's! I even kept one for myself!

I made cookies for the kids to take home. One was a wave. It's a simple sugar cookie with a design I found on Glorious Treats (see her step by step tutorial) and the other one was going to be a life preserver but I couldn't get the red right so I made them "inner tubes" lol. I cut them out with a doughnut cutter I found at a dollar store.
Wave cookies -


The cake was pretty easy compared to my son's Plants vs Zombie cake! After looking on the internet for ideas, I combined my faves for this swimming pool cake!

The figures and slide are made out of fondant. The slide is held up with two straws. The cake itself is  three Texas sheet cakes - vanilla, chocolate, and "strawberry" (ok - vanilla with pink colouring!). My plan was to make a strawberry white chocolate ganache as the filling but sadly it didn't set properly (too thin). It did however, taste amazing! I didn't want to waste it so I "painted" the ganache between the cake layers and then used a vanilla buttercream as the filling on top of the ganache. The strawberry flavour really came through and made this cake a winner. I plan on perfecting the ganache and posting the recipe as soon as I can!

I "fenced" off the cake with Kit Kats!

To work off some of the sugar, we put on the kids' favorite music and let them dance until they went home.

My daughter said it was her best party ever!

Here is the sugar cookie recipe - it's my grandmother's recipe. It has shortening in it which helps the cookies keep their shape as they bake.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In bowl; whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl beat butter and shortening
  • Beat in sugars until light and fairly fluffy
  • Beat in egg and vanilla.
  • Mix in flour mixture.
  • Divide dough in half; flatten each slightly.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  • On lightly floured surface, roll out dough, 1 piece at a time, to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness
  • Using 3-inch (8 cm) cookie cutters, cut out shapes.
  • Press scraps together to reroll.
  • Bake in centre of oven for about 12-14 minutes or until light golden on bottom and edges.
  • Let cool for 1 minute on baking sheets.
  • Transfer to racks; let cool completely.
  • Decorate as you like.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Adobo-Peach Salsa

Adobo Peach Salsa | Within the Kitchen

Adobo-Peach Salsa

I love the peach and adobo mix of flavours in this salsa - sweet and spicy! 

I usually make this with fresh from the garden red peppers but occasionally use roasted peppers. I prefer the raw, fresh ones as it gives a better bite and fresh taste. I also sometimes add part of a chipotle that comes with the adobo sauce but this time all I had was the sauce. I think the sauce added lots of flavour and just enough heat but I know there are readers out there that love a higher heat level!


2 peaches
4 medium tomatoes
1 red or yellow peppers
1-2 tbsp adobo sauce with or without chipotle
1/2 red onion
1 lime, juiced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (optional)


You have two ways of putting this together:

1. Skin the peaches as per below. Chop everything by hand, throw it in a bowl, add the juice and spice and stir it all together.


2. Skin the peaches by placing them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the peaches and carefully remove the skin. Cut into sections and throw away the pit. Quarter the tomatoes. Throw the peaches, and tomatoes in a food processor and pulse them until they are the desired size. Place them in a large bowl. Then reuse the processor bowl and do the same thing for the peppers and onions. Throw them into the tomato bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine. Season with salt and pepper.

I find the food processor method easier but it does make for more dish washing. The reason I don't throw everything into the processor at once is that the harder veggies will take longer to chop to the desired size. By that time the tomatoes and peaches will be pulp and not recognizable.

Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours so flavors can come together. Also, good as soon as it is mixed!
Adobo Peach Salsa | Within the Kitchen