Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tofu, Green Beans, and Potato Chips

Well, I was attempting to be creative, pretty, and precise with this plating. This caused me to realize why all the really intricate, professional-looking, fancy plates are always so small of portions - it is easier to arrange less food to look pretty. Since I was making this plate of food for myself for my dinner, I wanted enough food to keep me going, so the plating may have become a little clunky, but it is a start!

The inspiration for this dish, as with many of my recent dishes, came from what I found in the refrigerator and cupboards. I wanted a quick, nutritious meal for myself. I began by lining the plate with fresh, crisp green beans. If I really wanted to be tedious in plating, I would have cut the green beans to ensure they were all the same length, but personally I think that is a waste of food for just myself consuming it. Next, I stir-fried one small sliced onion and two cloves of chopped garlic in a little oil with some cubed (or irregularly chopped) pieces of tofu, along with some paprika and seasoning. Meanwhile, I thinly sliced a medium-sized potato and fried it in some oil to obtain some quick potato chips.

I arranged the tofu mixture over the green beans, and used the potato chips to line the edges of the plate. This was a tasty, well-balanced dish with some variety in color and texture. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Classic Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is a classic comfort food, and a great way to use up leftovers - both chicken and vegetables. Once the prep work is complete, it really does not take long to put together and is such a homey, warm, and soothing dish. Here is my recipe for a big batch of chicken pot pie. I pictured it here before I put the biscuit crust on top so you can easily see the different colors and textures from the inside. 
Classic Chicken Pot Pie
2 cans cream of chicken soup (590mL each)
2 can-fulls of water
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1 3/4 cups milk
2-3 cups leftover cooked carrots (or use frozen)
1 package fresh mushrooms, chopped (250 grams or 8 ounces)
1 small bag frozen peas
1 small chicken (or use half of a turkey), cooked and diced
4 cups biscuit mix
4 large eggs
2 cups milk

In a large saucepan, bring the soup, water, and celery to a boil. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and 3/4 cup milk. Stir into soup, stir in remaining milk, and bring to a boil again. Boil until thickened and creamy. Stir in the carrots, mushrooms, and peas. Spread the chicken pieces in the bottom of a large pan. Pour the soup mixture over top and stir together. Cover pan, and bake in the oven at 350F for about half an hour, until warmed thoroughly. 

Meanwhile, mix together the biscuit mix, eggs, and milk in a large bowl. Once pie is warmed, pour this batter over top and spread evenly. Bake for an additional thirty minutes, or until biscuit is golden and cooked through. 

You can feel free to vary the vegetables in this recipe to suit your personal tastes - onions, potatoes, and beans are always good. Also adjust the seasoning and spices as desired. You can of course use your own biscuit recipe for this, but you will need a large batch and the biscuit mix is just convenient and fast. The trick to properly cooking the biscuits is to ensure the base is hot before putting the biscuit dough on top. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Care Package

After being away from home for a few weeks now, I was delighted to hear that a family friend from back home was heading this way, and as willing to deliver me a care package from my parents. Although I am certainly enjoying a lot of great food here, there isn't anything quite like your mother's own home baking - the comforting treats you grew up with! This can sometimes be a challenge to send, depending on how far away you are, and what means of sending the package are available to you. Care packages must include treats suitable for travelling - think cookies and breads, not cakes or anything with perishable ingredients (no turkey dinners). Luckily, in this case, we had same day personal delivery, so my treats stayed fresh and undamaged. My mother sent me a batch of soft date cookies, as well as a slab of her infamous double chocolate zucchini loaf, which she always makes near the end of summer when zucchinis are ripe, but which I did not get a chance to have before I left. It is moist and delicious and makes a good snack, dessert, or possibly a breakfast for me! My mother also sent me some new recipes she clipped out of our local newspaper. Thanks again Mom! :) 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Quick Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Quick Banana Oatmeal Cookies
1 small overripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons chocolate chips (or butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, chopped nuts, raisins, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix together the banana, oats, and cinnamon. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until firm.

This has got to be one of the quickest and easiest cookie recipes out there - only four ingredients! These cookies are a healthier option as well - no added fat or sugars. Of course, they are much healthier if you use nuts or raisins and not chocolate, but a little chocolate does a lot of good! This makes a really small batch, only eight cookies - perfect for one to two people, but you can easily scale up the recipe. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cake Breakfast Parfait

Who wouldn't want to eat chocolate cake for breakfast? I know I do, but I just cannot justify eating only a slice of sweet, frosted cake for breakfast. My breakfast have to be filling, nutritious, and incorporate all four food groups in order for me to start my day off right.
This breakfast parfait began with some leftover, healthier chocolate cake I had. This chocolate cake was soft and dense, almost like a brownie, and I had not frosted it. I sprinkled on some ground flaxseed and wheat germ for some added nutrition, then scooped on some thick, creamy plain Greek yogurt. Next I added a layer of fresh, sliced strawberries, and some whole hazelnuts. I repeated all of these layers, then drizzles the top with a little almond hazelnut butter. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throw It Together Granola

I love homemade granola. Usually I am more of a hot cereal fan, but I do enjoy bowls of homemade, nutritious granola, catered to my personal tastes. Something slightly odd though, is that I rarely eat my cereal with milk. I occasionally eat it with yogurt, but usually I just add fresh fruit and keep my cereal crunchy instead of soggy in the milk. 

Making granola usually requires baking up a large batch of cereal, which then only has a short shelf life since it has no preservatives, and would need to be refrigerated or frozen, which often causes it to lose its crunch.Another thing about granola is that it usually requires some form of fat or sweetener to make it hold together in chunks, and must be baked for a long time at a low temperature and stirred frequently. I personally prefer looser granolas without the chunks.
Therefore, I have discovered a nifty way to make just enough granola quickly. This only works for loose granola though. You just combine all the ingredients in a bowl, approximately a small spoonful of each, and add fresh fruit, milk, or yogurt. The bowl of granola featured here is a combination if cereal squares of cracker pieces, whole hazelnuts, dates, wheat germ, ground flaxseed, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and fresh sliced strawberries. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blueberry Cake with Coconut Pecan Streusel Topping

I apologize for the delay with this post, as this is one of my award-winning recipes from the exhibition baking competition I entered in August. This is a new blueberry recipe that appeared in the newspaper, literally the day I was looking for a new blueberry recipe. I love blueberries, they are so fresh, local, and versatile. It was blueberry season, and I was looking for an alternative to the usual blueberry recipes we use - blueberry yogurt cake, blueberry muffins, blueberry coffee cake, and blueberry squares (type any of these terms into this blog's search bar to see them). 

So I saw this recipe, which was different and really appealed to me. It begins with a moist, fluffy, white cake base. Then a thick layer of fresh blueberries. Then a layer of coconut and pecan cinnamon streusel. The streusel provides a great textural contrast, with a buttery flavor and hint of brown sugar and cinnamon. All together, the three layers make a delicious snacking, breakfast, or dessert cake that is delicious straight from the oven, cold, room temperature, or reheated. It makes a fairly good-sized cake that freezes well. Although the recipe has three layers, it is relatively quick and easy to put together, and have in the oven while eating your meal if you plan on serving it for dessert. It doesn't require anything, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a small dollop of whipped cream would add a little something extra. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Homemade Porridge Bread

This is an old-fashioned, homemade bread that I was taught to make recently. This is different from most of the breads I have been making lately - no bread machine involved! This bread is so soft and moist and simply, homey. It has a beautiful rich texture, and is hearty without being too heavy. Unfortunately, I do not have the actual recipe, because this recipe was never actually written done, simply done from touch, look, and memory. Here is my best crack at it.
Heat up one cup of leftover porridge (or plain oatmeal). Heat two cups of milk with a little lemon juice until hot and bubbly. Add a little sugar and a little margarine, and 4 Tablespoons of yeast. Add in a little whole wheat flour, then white flour. Mix this all up using a stand mixer, until it is well mixed and forms a soft dough. Dump it onto a counter dusted with white flour, and dust the top with more white flour. Knead just very briefly until it is smooth, then put it in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm spot until it is risen. Then oil six loaf pans and divide the dough evenly among them, let rise again. Once risen, bake the bread, and remove it from the pans. Then brush with margarine and cover with a tea towel immediately for a soft top crust. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Potato Zucchini Hash

Potato Zucchini Hash
1 medium potato
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 large cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 large egg
seasoning as desired

Pierce the potato all over with a fork, place in a little water, cover and microwave for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Slice into wedges.
Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and sauté for five minutes. Add the zucchini and potato and sauté a few more minutes until soft. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and crack and egg in the middle. Fry until cooked, then season as desired.

This is a really quick and easy one dish meal that incorporated a good dose of vegetables, a starch, and some protein with the egg. Sprinkle some cheese over top to incorporate some dairy as well. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pecan Molasses Oatmeal

Cook up a bowl of oatmeal using almond milk and make it creamy. Halfway through cooking, add a handful of pecan pieces and a drizzle of dark molasses on top. Cook again until caramelized, topping with more molasses if desired. Creamy, chewy, crunchy and smooth. It is almost like having caramelized toasted pecan brittle on top of hot oatmeal. What a treat!

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Haystacks. The classic, no-fail, delicious, no-bake cookie recipe. There are a few different variations or versions of haystacks. Most are chocolate, some are not. Some have coconut, some oats, some both, and some neither; as some use raw chow mein noodles as their base. Some have a peanut butter flavor, and some contain chopped nuts or chocolate chips for added flavor. No matter what your favorite version is or how you make them, they are quick and easy to whip up. the hardest part is waiting for them to set, but I have discovered they only take a few minutes on a tray in the freezer. And if you absolutely cannot wait, the hot 'dough' is delicious enjoyed straight from the pot as well. 
This version here uses oats as the base, with a little added coconut. If you prefer no coconut, simply use more oats. They get the rich chocolate flavor from a good dose of cocoa powder (feel free to increase the amount). This makes a very small batch (only six large cookies), perfect for an individual batch. Feel free to increase it as necessary, as these disappear quickly and keep well. 

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
2 Tablespoons cup milk
3-4 Tablespoons cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Line a baking sheet with foil. 
In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, milk, cocoa, and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in oats and coconut. Drop spoonfuls quickly onto prepared baking sheet. Chill until firm, they don't take long. Speed up the process by putting them in the freezer. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Potato Mushroom Layer

This dish was created through several evolving ideas. It began as a pizza with a crispy potato crust, evolved into an eggless quiche, came into a layered vegetable dish, and became what it is here. I don't really know if there is a name for this dish, but it is I suppose, a bit of a play on scalloped potatoes - but instead of being layered with onion and cheese, it is a healthier version layered with mushrooms and tahini.
Potato Mushroom Layer
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced into rounds
8 cremini mushrooms (one 250 gram package), thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons tahini
salt and ground black pepper

Boil the potatoes in water in a small saucepan for about 20 minutes until tender, but not falling apart. Drain.
Lightly oil an eight inch round pan. Place one layer of potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Spread with tahini and season. Layer half of the mushrooms over top. Repeat layers. Bake at 425F for about 30 minutes. If mushrooms are drying out to fast, cover with foil. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Flax Bran Machine Bread

Machine Bran Bread
1 cup water
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 Tablespoon oil
3 Tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup natural wheat bran
1/2 cup ground flaxseed2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional) 

Place all ingredients in bread pan in order given, or according to manufacturer's instructions for whole wheat cycle, large loaf. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal

Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tablespoon oat bran
2 Tablespoons natural smooth peanut butter 
1-2 Tablespoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup
3/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon natural crunchy peanut butter
Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl or jar, except the crunchy peanut butter. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy in the morning, hot or cold, spread with the crunchy peanut butter. For more similar recipes, type "overnight oatmeal" into the search bar of this blog.

The presentation on this post definitely could have been better. Oatmeal is hard to capture in order to make it look really good. Also, the thing about overnight oatmeal recipes, is that I usually make them when I know I won't have much time in the morning. So I either snap a quick photo, or as in this case, take the photo the night before. That is why the oatmeal looks so liquidy - it had not set overnight yet and absorbed all of the liquid. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Crunchy Broccoli Salad

Crunchy Broccoli Salad
1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
use the stalk and cut into small pieces as well
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts, raw or toasted
splash olive oil
splash red whine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a small bowl. You can make this ahead of time if you would like the flavors to marinate a bit, but add the seeds or nuts at the last minute to maintain their crunch, and serve the salad at room temperature. This makes 2-4 servings. 

A bright, healthy salad with lots of crunch. Add a grated carrot for some more crunch and color. Any nuts or seeds could be used as they add a little contrast to the salad. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Celery Cauliflower Quiche

Celery Cauliflower Quiche
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup chopped cauliflower florets
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup 2% milk
2 Tablespoons tahini
2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 Teaspoons wheat germ
salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
Preheat oven to 375F. Place the vegetables in the bottom of a 7 or 8 inch round glass ovenproof bowl. In a medium bowl, beat together remaining ingredients. Pour over vegetables. bake for about 45 minutes until just set - quiche should not be jiggly but still moist. 

You couldn't really find a quicker and easier quiche recipe than this. The celery and cauliflower make a different but yummy flavor combination. If you prefer softer vegetables in your quiche, pre-steam the vegetables. This is a crustless quiche, but the small amount of flour and wheat germ help thicken the custard and form a thin layer on the bottom. This made two servings for me, though they were hearty main course servings. As a side dish, it could easily serve four. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Potato Chocolate Cake

Potatoes in chocolate cake? Why not! Actually, mashed potatoes (or instant potato flakes, though much more processed) are common in many sweet baked goods as a way of adding moisture, richness, texture, or simply using up leftover potatoes! I have seen mashed potatoes in cakes, cookies, breads, rolls, frostings, candies, and of course my infamous chocolate potato fudge. Bread recipes often utilizes the cooking water from the potatoes as well, as does this cake. Here I had an excess of potatoes, and I tend to eat potatoes as a side dish most days already. I also remember recently seeing this recipe, and it looked really good, so I tried it out today!
Potato Chocolate Cake
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup hot mashed potatoes
1 cup warm water (from cooking the potatoes) 

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 inch rectangular baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together the oil, applesauce, honey, and vanilla until well blended. Beat in the eggs, two at a time. Beat in the cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat in one cup of the flour.
Meanwhile, blend the potatoes and water together to form a smooth paste. Beat half of this into the batter. Beat in the remaining flour, then the remaining potato, blend well.
Pour batter into prepared pan, bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cooled, with frosting, icing sugar, whipped cream, or simply by itself! 

Most potato baked goods simply use the potato as an enrichment, they are not actually healthier because they contain potatoes. However, this is a healthy cake recipe - it contains less fat, and the fat used is healthy coconut oil. It has less sugar and is a dark chocolate potato cake, sweetened by natural honey. Finally, this recipe is made with all whole wheat flour - but you would never know it! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014


This is a bean dish my grandmother often makes with the summer's fresh bean harvest, and freezes to enjoy all winter long. She gave the recipe to my father, who made this batch shown here. She calls it tighe or "tiggy" which I think is probably an Italian word, though I am not sure exactly what it means. The recipe basically involves fresh wax beans, yellow, green, or a combination of both. You could also add in some other beans, dried or canned, such as garbonzo, chickpeas, or navy beans. Add some chopped onion, and cook it up in tomato sauce. A little seasoning, and that's basically it. If you have a lot of beans and a little sauce, this makes delicious sauced beans. If you have a lot of sauce and a little beans, this makes a delicious bean sauce. Either way, enjoy it hot or cold, as a side dish or a condiment, it is a yummy way to eat your beans! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Date and Walnut Oatmeal

Dates and walnuts. They are just one of the classic, no-fail, always tasty combinations. They can be paired with other foods as well, but i would be happy with a handful of dates and walnuts. They are used in a lot of recipes, specially healthy dessert recipes, energy bars, and no bake brownies. Walnuts can be ground and used as a "flour" and dates can be puréed and used as a sweetened paste for sugar and/or eggs.
This is a simple bowl of microwaved oatmeal, which I jazzed up with some walnuts, dates, and a hint of cinnamon. Doesn't look like much, but these two simple ingredients add flavor, crunch, sweetness, and chewiness - welcome textures to oatmeal! This is one of my "baked" oatmeal recipes - all ingredients are combined and microwaved, creating a dryer, firmer oatmeal. This is different than my overnight oatmeals, which aren't cooked at all and tend to be a bit runnier. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Revamped Cinnamon Rolls

Remember the cinnamon rolls I have probably posted a few times now? See these posts: Cinnamon Rolls and  Doubled Cinnamon Rolls.Well, I made them again. They are one of the few recipes I will make again and again. But of course, I sometimes feel the need to switch things up a bit. This time, I did not change any of the recipe ingredients aside from using low-fat margarine in place of butter in the topping because I had run out of butter (nobody noticed). The recipe yields nine, large, fluffy, buttery cinnamon rolls that are baked together in an 8x8-inch square pan. This time, I wanted more cinnamon rolls, but did not want to double the recipe or anything. So I simply cut the cinnamon rolls smaller, and ended up with fourteen that were still a perfectly reasonable size. And instead of baking them in a square pan, I baked seven each in two round eight inch pans, which I think looked and worked out better. You can't mess with a good recipe, but you can make some minor adjustments and improvements. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Beans and Grits

Recipe for a really quick, easy, and well-balanced meal on a budget:
  1. Sauté some chopped onion in a little oil in a small frying pan until softened.
  2. Add in some precooked beans. If you have a little bit of leftover bean salad on hand, that is even better. I used a mixture of six beans along with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and sliced black olives.
  3. Move this to the edges of the pan and crack an egg in the center. Cook until desired softness.
  4. Meanwhile, cook a bowl of oat bran in the microwave. 
  5. Serve the mixture in the frying pan over the oat bran, with desired seasonings - I recommend some salt and freshly ground black pepper, but if you are more adventurous, try some more exotic herbs and spices. 
If your egg is runny (surprisingly, my new favorite) it creates a delicious sauce for the beans and oat bran. This is an easier spin-off on a dish of beans and grits, which would be cornmeal. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Chocolate Mousse Overnight Oatmeal

Chocolate Mousse Overnight Oatmeal
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tablespoon oat bran
1 Tablespoon wheat germ
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter 
1-2 Tablespoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup
3/4 cup milk

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl or jar, cover and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy in the morning, hot or cold. For more similar recipes, type "overnight oatmeal" into the search bar of this blog. 
This overnight oatmeal has a slightly different texture that reminds me of eating a bowl of chocolate mousse, in this case, a bowl of healthy chocolate mousse. I didn't use much sweetener, so I had a dark chocolate mousse. I would even eat this for dessert. 

Monday, September 08, 2014

Molasses Wheat Machine Bread

Machine True Whole Wheat Bread
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 cup cereal mix (see note) 
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional) 
Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in order given, or according to manufacturer's instructions for whole wheat cycle. This makes one large loaf, although size setting will depend on machine. 
NOTE: For this recipe, I used my own homemade hot cereal mixture that I keep on hand, which contains oats, oat bran, wheat germ, flax, and wheat bran. The recipe can be found at this link: {Hot Cereal Mix}. 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Dad's Rhubarb Jelly

Have I seen this picture somewhere? Yeah, you likely have with this bread recipe. This time, I am featuring the rhubarb jelly my father made, it took a lot of work but it was tasty. He used some of the end of season rhubarb that was kicking around in the garden, and was likely somewhat past its prime. It was cut up and placed in the refrigerator in a bowl of water for a few days. Then it was boiled up with some sugar and pectin until softened. Finally, it is strained to get all of the whole pieces of rhubarb out, and allow the jelly remaining to set. This jelly turned out a little thinner than most, but that is okay. It is tasty on bread, toast, muffins, bagels, and more. For an extra-special treat that would require some less sugar, try making strawberry rhubarb jelly! 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Chocolate Berry Jam Roll

I have only made a jelly/jam roll a few times before, but I never actually made it with jelly or jam. I always made a different kind of filling - such as chocolate, icing, cream, or ice cream. This is a jam roll made with a triple berry fruit jam. I cheated a little and did not actually use a jelly roll recipe. I was really busy baking for the exhibition, and since I was making chocolate cake anyway, I decided just to use that as my cake base for the jelly roll since I knew it was already an award-winning recipe that always goes over really well. Plus, I only needed a small amount of each. I whipped up the batter, than poured some of it into a five-inch round ovenproof bowl for the cake, and poured the remaining batter (which only needed to be a thin layer) into a 9x13 inch rectangular pan lined with parchment paper. Normally, a jelly roll cake would be baked in a 10x15 inch pan, but I only needed a small jelly roll. After it baked, I rolled it into a roll on a tea towel sprinkled with icing sugar, cooled it, filled it with jam, re-rolled it, and sliced it. It worked out, and the cake was delicious, but there are reasons there are certain recipes designed to be jelly rolls. i think this cake batter is a bit too moist and heavy for a really successful jelly roll. It cracked in a few places and was a bit difficult to hold together in order to be sliced, but nothing a little sprinkling of icing sugar could not hide. After I got the three slices I needed for the contest, I actually cut the cake in half vertically, and then sliced it horizontally to make smaller, less messy pieces. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Turkey Roll With Stuffing

This is a little something different, a recipe I came across in a low-fat cookbook that looked yummy and intriguing. The outside is just like a meatloaf, but made with ground turkey instead. The inside is just like stuffing, and together they are like a savory jelly-roll. You could use white wine in place of the water in both the pan juice and to make the sauce if you prefer.
Turkey Roll With Stuffing
1 teaspoon oil or margarine
1 cup chopped white onion
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 chicken bouillon cube
3/4 cup boiling water
herbs and spices, as desired, if breads crumbs are not seasoned
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 large egg
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
1 cup water

In a large frying pan over medium heat sauté the onion and carrot in the oil for about ten minutes until softened. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs. Dissolve the bouillon in the water and add along with seasoning. 

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except water. Spread out this mixture evenly onto a large sheet of waxed paper to a rectangle 10x14 inches, with no gaps. Cover this meat with the stuffing mixture. Roll up tightly from a short side, removing the waxed paper as it is rolled. Place roll in a greased roasting pan. 

Cover and bake at 350F for an hour. Pour the water into the pan and bake for an additional 30 minutes, basting twice with juices. Remove to a platter and let stand briefly, tented with foil.
To make a sauce or gravy: use the pan drippings, extra chicken broth, and cornstarch to whisk together to form a gravy while the loaf is resting. 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Apricot Hazelnut Oatmeal

So, you just moved in to a new place, you don't have all of your kitchen stuff unpacked yet, and you only bought a few groceries. What do you eat for breakfast? That is a good question! Here is my answer, though it does depend what ingredients you do have on hand, a bowl of oatmeal with a glass of milk is usually an easy option (if you have a microwave). This is oatmeal with ground flaxseed, ginger, dried apricots, and hazelnuts. A good balance of healthy whole grains, protein and beneficial fats from the nuts, dried fruit, and a dairy product if cooked with milk or enjoyed with a glass of milk! The enxt day's breakfast may be more extravagant...

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Peach Apricot Muffins

These muffins get their dark color from the whole wheat flour and molasses. They are full of peach and apricot flavor, which also ends them a lot of sweetness. I love the texture the dried apricots add, but feel free to substitute dried mango, pineapple, or another fruit. 
Peach Apricot Muffins
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup chopped dried apricot
1 1/4 cups peach juice (100% juice, not cocktail; peach mango works as well)
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease or line twelve muffin cups.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir in the apricot. Make a well in the center.
Beat together the remaining ingredients and add to the well. Stir until moistened. Divide evenly among muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Basket of Goodies

I just thought I would share with you a little more information about the basket of goodies I received as a prize from the exhibition baking contest I featured last week. Here is a picture of the contents of the basket.
Included is a pair of oven mitts, two mugs, some kitchen towels, some tea, mint chocolate chips, cocoa, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, semi-sweet chocolate squares, white chocolate coconut bar, cookies brownies and bars recipe magazine, purple measuring cups, a pastry brush, parchment paper, a brown sugar softener, and a square pan. Quite a nice prize basket filled with useful things! Most of them are catered well to me too - chocolate, spices, baking supplies, and purple. Here is a bit of a funny or ironic story - settling in to my new place here, I discovered I had brought many of my necessary (but certainly not all) cooking and baking supplies. However, I forgot something I use on a regular basis because I thought it was included in my set of baking pans - a square pan, either 8x8 or 9x9 inch. Luckily, it was included in this basket, so now I have an extra! I bake squares often, and these pans are also used for cakes, savory dishes and more, this is one of my most commonly used pans.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Green, Black & Gold Quinoa Sauté

Here I have begun a new chapter in my life. This is the first dish (aside from sandwiches and a few simple breakfasts) that I have cooked in my new apartment now that all of my cookware is unpacked and washed. This is a typical dish I would enjoy - I simply took stock of the fresh vegetables I had in the refrigerator, and used quinoa because it had the closest expiry date. Quick, healthy, no-fuss, and tasty. How's that for inspiration? More details and more dishes from this new chapter are sure to be featured soon. 

But as I begin a new chapter, I was also wondering if I should give my blog a new look? Some readers have commented that green text on a purple background is incredibly difficult to read. Though I like these colors best, I would also like my viewers to be able to read my posts. I know this does not show up well on mobile devices, but I think I have solved that problem. So what are your thoughts? Should I change the posts to a white background? Are they hard to read? Does my blog need a new look? Be sure to weigh in with your opinion!!!
Black, Gold, and Green Quinoa
1 cup water
3/4 cup black and gold quinoa mix
1/3 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 teaspoon oil
1 small white onion, sliced into rings
1 clove garlic, minced
4 large cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds
ground black pepper

In a small pot, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the salt, quinoa, and broccoli. Turn heat to low and simmer for about fifteen minutes, until all water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and sauté for 10-12 minutes until golden and soft. 

Divide the quinoa mixture evenly among two plates. Place half of the vegetable mixture on top of each. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and add a good grinding of fresh black pepper over top.