I started this blog so my daughters could find all of our family favourite recipes in one place. It has actually grown into more than just the family favourites but also other recipes we've tried out in our kitchen. I don't like to fill up the post with alot of chatter. Sometimes there's a little story to tell, but usually I like to get right to the point. So this is for them, but hope you find some recipes that you like as well. I'll be sharing a lot of recipes, and along the way you'll find some crafty things and maybe some helpful hints too!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cheesy Stuffed Manicotti

For this recipe you'll need:

7 or 14 manicotti (you'll see why 7 or 14 later)
2  1/2 - 3 cups tomato sauce
500 ml ricotta
2 cups spinach (or bok choy with some of the white part finely chopped)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated romano cheese (or parmesan)
2 tbsps chopped sundried tomatoes (in oil)
1  large egg
rind of 1/2 - 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped onion, sautéed in 1 tsp olive oil

Cook manicotti as per directions on box, drain and rinse with cold water.  You may want to toss with a little oil so they don't stick while waiting for you to make the filling.

Sautée the chopped onion in olive oil until lightly browned like this, then cool.

Mix together ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, romano, sundried tomatoes, 1 egg, lemon rind and cooled onion.

Once your filling is made and the manicotti are cool enough to handle, spread a scant amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 13 X 9 casserole dish.

You can use any tomato sauce you like.  I used a homemade recipe that you can find here:


Now to fill these guys.  You can use a spoon to fill them.  Or you can use a pastry bag.  I used my icing decorating gun and it worked great! (Thanks Brittany)
I left off the decorating tip so that it would be a bigger opening. 

Fill one end and then the other.  Now here's why I said 7 or 14 manicotti.  I don't like my manicotti packed tightly with filling so I loosely filled 14.  But if you like them really big this recipe would make 7-8.

Lay the manicotti as you fill them on top of the sauce.  Now pour the remainder of the sauce over top and sprinkle with romano cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 45 minutes, then uncover for 5 minutes. Cool 5-10 minutes then serve with more grated romano cheese.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Terribly Sophisticated Blender Almond Torte

I've made this cake many times and it is always well liked.
A light and easy ending to a meal.  And for those of you concerned about gluten, there's only 2 tbsps of flour in this recipe.  Although I've never tried it, I'm pretty sure you could substitute that for another more tolerated flour.

4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup whole almonds (brown skin on)
2 tbsp flour
2  1/2 tsp baking powder

Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans, greased and lined with wax or parchment paper.

In a blender, combine eggs and sugar until smooth.

Add almonds, whole, and blend until nuts are very finely ground. (Don't start with ground almonds, it doesn't turn out the same) Now add flour and baking powder.
Pour batter into pans, bake at 350F for 15 minutes.

Let cakes cool 5 minutes.

Turn out and cool completely before icing with Terribly Sophisticated Mocha Whipped Cream Frosting.  

Terribly Sophisticated Mocha Whipped Cream Frosting

1  1/2 cups whipping cream  (375 ml)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsps vanilla
1 tbsp instant coffee
Grated chocolate to garnish

Combine all in a large bowl and beat with mixer until stiff peaks form.
Garnish with grated chocolate. Makes enough for a 2-layer round cake.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day Bars

Celebrate our planet with the flavours of the world.

Heat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, combine:

1  1/2 cups baking mix (Bisquick)
1  1/2 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

You can add 1 cup of whatever tasty bits you like or any combination of, as long as it measures 1 cup. Suggestions are coconut, flaxseed, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, dates, dried pineapple, raisins or nuts.

You can use store bought baking mix or try this homemade version:


Press the dough into an ungreased 9 X 13 inch pan and bake for 17 minutes.  Allow to cool for  10 minutes before cutting.

Here I used 1/2 cup coconut, 1/4 cup chopped almonds and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips here.  I also threw in 1/4 cup of flax and sprinkled a little cocoa over top.

This time....  
2 tbsps quinoa (1/2 cup cooked)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/8 cup ground flax seeds
1/8 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

The possibilities are endless!

Pork Roast Ecuadorian

I got this recipe from an Ecuadorian guy my husband used to work with about 25 years ago.  This year my youngest daughter will be travelling with school on a community service trip to Ecuador. 

3 lb pork roast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp cumin powder
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsps finely chopped onion
2 tbsps wine vinegar
2 tsps parsley
pinch of paprika (or chile if you like it a bit spicier)

Mix all spices together with vinegar to form a paste. Cover roast with paste and wrap in saran wrap.Place in fridge overnight.

Unwrap and roast in oven at 325F for 40 minutes per pound.
Look at all that brown goodness! 

Let it rest 10 minutes before slicing. While waiting you could add a little water to the pan and scrape the brown off making a kind of au jus to serve on the side.

Oh and the kids had a great experience in Ecuador! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Love this wall !

I love how this wall turned out! We did it almost 2 years ago and I still look at it everyday.  It's my favourite place in the house.

The pictures tell our story.  But not in the studio-posed formal way.  Just us two as kids, then on our honeymoon, then each with our kids, the girls fooling around and how we are now. 

Of course the old pictures of us were black & white.  When I was preparing the newer pictures I first tried to get them all looking the same using a photo editor.  After awhile I realized that they all wouldn't have faded the same so some look black and white, some on the sepia side.

 We used Benjamin Moore #CC-488 Biscotti for the wall and Benjamin Moore #OC-17 for the ceiling and crown moulding.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cheese Tortellini Soup

Spring is here, but it's still cold out and everyone at home has the sniffles.  Good time for a hearty soup.

For this one you'll need:

350g cheese tortellini
2 hot Italian sausages
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, sliced or chopped
2 carrots, diced
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 cup edamame beans
few drops of hot sauce (like Tabasco)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups chicken or turkey broth
2 cups vegetable juice
28 oz can diced tomatoes
rind of parmesan
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp fennel

Fill a large soup pot with water and bring to a boil.  Cook tortellini as per package directions.  Drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and toss in a large bowl with olive oil.  Set aside to add to the soup later.

Back to the soup pot......heat it up and add olive oil.  Remove casing from sausages and chop.  Add to pot, breaking up as it cooks. When nearly fully cooked add minced garlic and toss 1 minute.  Next add onion and cook until translucent.

Toss in balance of the vegetables with the parmesan rind.

Add hot sauce, water, broth, vegetable juice and tomatoes.
Season with basil, oregano, salt, pepper and fennel.  Adjust to taste.

Cook until vegetables are tender,  then simmer on low about 20 minutes.

When ready to serve add the tortellini back to the soup pot and heat up. And don't forget a bowl of freshly grated parmesan on the table.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Here's a twist on your standard pizza using some leftover chicken. I used drumsticks here, but any cooked chicken will do fine.
Get your toppings ready, you'll need:

2 cups sliced cooked chicken
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 - 1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 tbsps pesto 
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic, minced (optional)

Lightly fry the onion and garlic and set aside.
You just want the onion translucent and the garlic barely browned.

Prepare the pizza crust.

Dough ingredients:
  • 1  1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 cup water, lukewarm
  • 2 tsps sugar 
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • parchment paper
To start the dough add the water (you can use tap water as long as it isn't hotter than 100F) to your mixing bowl.  Stir in the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave it to activate 15 minutes.

While waiting for the yeast turn your oven on at it's lowest temperature.  Mine is 170F. It doesn't even have to reach that temperature and you can turn it off again. You'll be putting your dough in the warm oven later.

Add the salt to 1 cup of bread flour and mix into the water. Mix well, then add the all purpose flour. Add a little more flour, it might look a bit raggy.  Turn out on floured counter and knead to incorporate all. 

Put a tbsp or 2 of olive oil in a glass or metal bowl (I used the bowl I mixed it in) and toss the dough ball to cover.  Dampen a clean dish towel and place over top of bowl. Put the bowl in the warm (turned OFF) oven. Let rise 40 minutes.

Punch down dough, rest 2 minutes. Cut a baseball sized ball off and keep aside.  

Preheat oven to 500F (Yes 500)

If you are using a pizza stone, turn a pizza pan over so you are using it upside down.  Cut parchment paper to roughly fit.  Or just fold the corners under. (It can be bigger, not smaller than the pan) 

Place pizza stone on the bottom rack in preheated oven. 
Take your dough and start to flatten it.  Now put it on the parchment and press to form your pizza. Or just put it in a greased pizza pan if not using a stone.

Spread with sauce.
Next add the chicken.
Sprinkle the pesto over the chicken. It's a little messy to do.
Top this with the mozzarella and fried onion/garlic. And put your reserved dough ball on top. Drizzle olive oil over all.
Your pizza is ready to go in the oven.  Take the edge of your parchment and CAREFULLY slide the paper and pizza onto the stone. 

Bake at 500F for 11 minutes.

When it comes out of the oven, let it rest 5 minutes.  It'll be easier to cut.

If you like this you might also like to try: