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, May 31, 2015

Colourful Quinoa and Strawberry Salad

I like what balsamic gives to strawberries, but if you want a lighter dressing change up the balsamic for a white wine or apple cider vinegar.

3 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
2 tbsps fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 celery stalk and leaves, chopped
1 cup chopped strawberries

1/4 cup lime juice
3 tbsps balsamic vinegar
6 tbsps olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Prepare your first 5 ingredients and mix them in a large bowl.
Mix the dressing together and stir into the salad.  
Refrigerating the salad for a couple of hours gives the flavours a chance to blend.
Great as a main or side dish

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Planting Potatoes in a Vertical Garden

So I'll tell you up front, this is my first attempt at growing potatoes.  I read online that you could use a laundry basket to grow potatoes in.  I thought I would try using chicken wire.  I formed a length of it into a cylinder and wired the edges together.  Then I stood it in the garden and filled earth in and around the bottom.
Once I had about 2-3 inches of new earth and compost in the bottom I planted the seed potatoes (that's potatoes that have at least 3 eyes in them)

I'm not sure how much room each potato needs.  I probably should have planted only 2-3 in this container, but I think I put in 5-6....oops.
I read that each potato should yield 8-10 lbs of potatoes !?!?
They're growing pretty good right now.
As they grow fill with gardening soil and compost so that just 3 inches of growth is above the soil.
It's surprising how the dirt stays within the chicken wire, although you do have to take care to water slowly or it would probably start running out.  Drainage is essential so the chicken wire is ideal.
This is after only a couple of weeks!  They've grown about a foot as you can see they're as tall as the 1st rung on the fence.
And the soil is staying in place.  Best part is it doesn't take up alot of garden space. Pretty cool !

Will update when I harvest all these potatoes.....hopefully : )

Ok, so here's the update.
The plants grew as high as the 2nd rung of the fence. Then after a few weeks the vines dried up. That's the time to harvest!
Because the soil is nice and loose this was a pretty easy job. Usually when you harvest potatoes you have to dig up the earth taking care not to damage those 'tatoes. But in this case just lift the wire cage away and gently pull the hill down with your shovel to discover your potatoes.
Not bad for a first try I'd say.

Baked Pizza Penne

When you can't decide if you want pizza or penne....

340 g/ 12 oz pkg penne pasta
olive oil
1/4 lb pepperoni (divided)
1 green pepper, sliced
1 tbsp slivered garlic
2 tbsps chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
1/4 cup sliced black olives
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp dried oregano
2 1/2 cups pasta sauce
  (your own recipe, store bought or this Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Basil Sauce)  http://hotandcoldrunningmom.blogspot.ca/2013/09/roasted-tomato-garlic-basil-sauce.html)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2  1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided

Cook penne as per package directions. I like this one.

Meanwhile heat 2 tbsps olive oil in a large skillet. Add green pepper, garlic and sundried tomatoes.

Add canned tomatoes and cook a few minutes until liquid reduces and the green pepper is tender crisp. Add the oregano and the fennel, rubbing the seeds between your fingers to release more of it's scent. Chop 2/3 of the pepperoni and put that in too.

Remove from heat. 
Stir in the pasta sauce, olive oil and balsamic.

Spoon a ladle or two of sauce into a 13 X 9" oiled baking dish. Stir the pasta into the sauce pot along with 1 cup of mozzarella and spoon it all into the baking dish.
Top with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of shredded  mozzarella, pepperoni, black olives and whatever else you usually would have on your pizza.
Like parmesan and more green pepper.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
Serves 6
And it makes great leftovers for lunch the next day too!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Kofta with Homemade Tzatziki

I have seen these referred to as Kofta, Kefta, Kafta and Kufta. Not sure if there is a difference or not but anyways, here is my Kofta.

1 lb ground beef/pork/veal mix
3 tbsps minced onion
2 tbsps minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp parsley
1  1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp fresh minced dill
12 skewers

If you are using wooden skewers soak them in water for 30 minutes so they don't burn when cooking.  You may need to weigh them down.
Mix the ground meat with minced onion. Use a mortar and pestle to mix the garlic and salt together, then add it to the meat along with the remainder of the seasonings.
I didn't use dill in mine because my daughter doesn't like it. But you should definitely use dill.
Once the meat is mixed and the skewers have soaked, divide the mixture into 12 parts and form the meat onto the skewers covering the tip.
Refrigerate for  at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Grill stovetop in olive oil to brown then transfer to a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350F for
10 - 15 minutes.
Serve on the skewer along with wedgie potatoes,


wrap in a pita along with chopped tomatoes and sliced black olives.  And don't forget to slather on this homemade tzatziki.


1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup shredded English cucumber
1 tsp garlic (use mortar and pestle to purée)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
pinch pepper


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BBQ'd Carrots

Here's a simple one.

Cut 4 carrots lengthwise and lay on a sheet of foil that has been oiled with olive oil.
Drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle some ginger, parsley, salt and pepper on top.

Add a few pats of butter and 1 tbsp of water and fold up the foil to seal.
Barbecue the packet at 350F for 30 minutes.
This served 3 but of course you can increase the amounts to what you need.  Just make sure the carrots aren't piled too high as it would affect the cooking time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rhubarb and Apple Custard Pie

Here's another recipe to use that spring rhubarb in.

1 -9" pie crust
1 cup chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped apple (gala, or other crisp apple)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

1 egg
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour, brown sugar and melted butter together and set aside. You'll be using this for the crumb topping.

Whisk together the egg, yogurt, sugar, flour and vanilla.

Spread the rhubarb and apple on the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the custard over.
Then sprinkle the crumb topping over all and you're ready for the oven.
Bake on the bottom rack in a 400F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F for 30-35 minutes more, until filling is bubbly.
Let it cool on a rack for awhile then chill in the fridge before digging in.

Radish Vinaigrette

Adapted this one that I found in an old magazine in a doctor's office. They're never new ones, am I right?

5 radishes, coarsely chopped (I used a couple more as mine were small)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard (with chardonnay)
2 tsps honey
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Process until it thickens.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 1 cup
And it's such a pretty colour !!

Remember to take it out of the fridge about an hour before using.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rhubarb and Strawberry Corn Muffins

Seeing both rhubarb and strawberries in your garden or grown locally and sold in your grocery store, signals the arrival of spring.  Which is even more welcome than usual this year after the unseasonably cold winter we just had.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup white flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup Greek yogurt 0% fat (plain or vanilla)
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 - 1 cup chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped strawberries

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl mix the yogurt, milk and vanilla together. I used 1/2 cup plain and 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt. If using only plain yogurt you might want to increase your sweetener a bit. 
Beat the eggs and add to the yogurt mix and whisk in the honey and olive oil until well incorporated.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry just until it comes together. Fold in the fruit.
Bake at 400 F for 18 minutes. Reduce to 375 F for 4-5 minutes more.
Makes 18 muffins
A little crunchy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside.
Enjoy them with a pat of butter and a cup of tea out on the deck.  Go on....get out and soak up the sun! 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Breaded Pork Chops in Creamy Mushroom Gravy

Comfort food doesn't have to be pretty

4 bone-in center cut pork chops
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 - 1  1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp savory

1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cornstarch

1 egg

1 - 284 ml can condensed mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsps red wine (or sherry or port, really whatever you have on hand will do)
olive oil

Mix the flour and cornstarch together in a bag.

Mix the bread crumbs, cilantro, parmesan and savory together in a separate bag.

Beat the egg in a bowl with a little water (about 1 tbsp)

Shake each pork chop individually in the flour, then dip in egg and shake in the bread crumbs to coat.
When they are all ready heat a frying pan to medium high and add some olive oil.  Brown the chops on each side 1-2 minutes then remove to a parchment lined casserole dish.
Mix the gravy ingredients together and pour over the pork chops.
Cover the dish with foil and bake at 425 F for 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes.

Add a little freshly ground pepper on top to serve.
And roll up that piece of parchment making clean-up a breeze.

Lemon Greek Yogurt Pudding

A smooth and refreshing ending to a meal that needs just minutes to prepare.

Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsps butter
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Whisk eggs and sugar together in a saucepan.  Add juice, zest and butter cut into cubes.
Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and cook until you can coat a spoon, about another 5 minutes.
Remove 1/4 cup of the mixture and whisk in the cornstarch. When smooth return to the pot, whisking well. Cook a further 3 minutes.
Remove from heat for 20 minutes.
Fold in the Greek yogurt and chill.
Garnish with more lemon zest.
Serves 4

Friday, May 22, 2015

Creamy Cilantro Sauce with Vodka

Couldn't decide if I wanted to make Pink Vodka Sauce or Creamy Cilantro, so I made this.  It's kind of a mashup of the two.

1 lb spaghetti

2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps butter
2 tbsps onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrot, shaved
1/2 cup vodka

2 tbsps crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (stems too)
1 cup 10% cream
1 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Cook your pasta as per package directions.  While that's happening start your sauce.

Using a large skillet, heat the oil and butter and add the onion and garlic.  Cook until just translucent. Add the carrot which I used a vegetable peeler on.  

Next  (here's the part you were waiting for) add the vodka.
Cook 2-3 minutes until the carrot softens.
In goes the cilantro and crushed tomatoes. Isn't the heart cute? And I didn't even do this on purpose, I swear : )
Pour in the cream and add the seasonings. 

Before you drain your pasta reserve about a cup of the water and set aside.
Whisk the cornstarch into 1 cup of milk and whisk it into the sauce.
Cook 2 more minutes until it starts to thicken, then add the parmesan. 
Put your drained spaghetti into the sauce pan and stir together.
At this point you can decide how much pasta water to add depending on the consistency of sauce that you prefer. Add a little at a time.
Serve with more parmesan and enjoy!