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!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blueberry Avocado Crumb Squares

Did you know that you can substitute avocado for butter in some recipes?  Instead of using 1/2 cup of butter here I cut the fat by using some avocado. I don't know that I'd want to use only avocado in place of the butter as avocado doesn't have the melty quality that butter has, but using 1/2 works very well. 

1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup  unsalted butter or marg
1/4 cup avocado (about 1/2 an avocado)
1 egg

2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1  1/2 tbs lemon juice

Prepare your blueberry filling. Toss together the fresh blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 F, and grease an 8 X 8 inch baking pan. 
In your mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, avocado and egg, and mix until the dough is moist but very crumbly.

Divide the dough in half, and press one half into your prepared pan for the crust.
Next, pour the blueberry filling mixture over the crust. Take the rest of the crumbly dough and sprinkle it over the blueberries.

Bake for 35  minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and the dough has browned a little bit.

It cuts into beautiful squares that hold together nicely.
And you've got the added nutritional value of the avocado.
Bonus  : )

Adapted from http://ahomemadeliving.com/2013/06/blueberry-crumb-bars

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Namoura or Basbousa Honey Lemon Squares

So I bought some cream of wheat the other day. But when I opened the box I realized it was the instant microwave kind. That's not what I wanted but I tried it. Yuck! It tastes like sawdust, how does anyone eat this stuff? What to do?

Then I had a memory of when I was in elementary school and our class made a cookbook (with Gestetner copied pages) filled with recipes from everyone's cultural background. And I recalled that a middle eastern student contributed a dessert made with cream of wheat.

I searched Pinterest and found namoura and basbousa, syrupy cakes made of semolina or cream of wheat. There are similar desserts found in Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Greece.

I took bits and pieces of different recipes and came up with this. And I was able to turn my yucky instant cream of wheat into a lovely dessert.

1  1/2 cups cream of wheat (regular or instant)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp baking powder

1  1/2 cups milk

1  1/2 cups water 
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsps lemon juice
zest of 1/2 - 1 lemon
3 tbsps crushed slivered almonds

Mix cream of wheat, sugar, coconut and baking powder together. Stir in the milk.

Spray a 9 X 9 " baking pan and pour the batter in.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

While the squares are baking, start making the syrup.
Stir water, sugar and honey together in a pot and bring to a boil. Keep stirring and boil until a candy thermometer reads 110C/230F

Remove from heat and add the butter, lemon juice and zest.
As soon as you take the squares out of the oven, pour some of the syrup on. Sprinkle the almonds on and gently pour the remainder of the syrup over the top.

Cool and cut into squares.

They are good right away but the next day, after the syrup has been sitting in them for awhile, they are excellent!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Blueberry Orange Yogurt Pops

Lots of blueberries in the stores now.  

1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup vanilla yogurt, divided
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp orange zest

Mix a pinch of the zest with 1/4 cup yogurt and pour into molds. 

Put blueberries, zest, honey and 1/2 cup yogurt in blender and pulse a few times. Spoon into molds then top off with remaining 1/4 cup of yogurt. Put the sticks in and freeze.

When you want to unmold them simply stand the mold in a glass of water for a minute and it should pop right out.
Now go sit in the shade and enjoy!

Spiced Drummies or Wings

This recipe steams the chicken so it's tender, plus the added bonus of getting rid of alot of the fat.

I used 10 chicken drumsticks, but if you're using more just increase the amount of spices and sauce.

Use a broiler pan to steam the chicken.
Fill the bottom part of the broiler pan 2/3 full of water and place in the oven.
Spray the top part with cooking spray. I'm assuming your pan has holes in it for the steam. If not, then use a rack.
Place the drummies on the pan and cover with foil.

Place on top of the water-filled bottom in a 350F oven for 40 minutes. 
When done if you take both pans out, be careful. There'll still be water in the bottom, and it's HOT! Better to just remove the chicken pan. Get the bottom when it cools down.

I should have taken a picture of the water....it was full of fat!
(This method can also be used for ribs)

Spice Mix:
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Put the spice mix together in a bag and shake the chicken pieces in it to coat. Refrigerate until ready to BBQ.

1 tbsp spicy ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder

Brush on sauce and grill on medium high until heated through and yummy.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Creamy Tortellini Ratatouille

"I know this sounds insane, but, well, the truth sounds insane sometimes. But that doesn't mean it's not the...the truth. And the truth is, I have no talent at all." - Linguini, from Disney's Ratatouille.

400g Italian sausage tortellini
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups eggplant, cubed
1 green pepper, sliced
1  1/2 - 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or chopped plum tomatoes
1 small yellow zucchini, sliced
a handful of spinach, chopped
6 basil leaves, chopped


1/3 cup beef or vegetable broth
2 tsp flour
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1  1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chive and onion cream cheese 
2 tsps lemon juice

Parmesan cheese

Cook tortellini as per package directions. Drain and toss in a bowl with some olive oil to keep them from sticking.

In a large skillet heat olive oil and lightly brown onion, garlic and mushrooms.
Add eggplant, green pepper, tomatoes and zucchini and continue cooking only until tender crisp. Remove from heat and toss in the spinach and basil.
Love the colours!
Add the cooked vegetables to the tortellini bowl.

Use the same skillet to make the sauce.
Combine broth, flour and seasonings and shake well in a covered jar. Pour into the skillet, whisk and heat until thickened. Add the cream cheese and, once incorporated, remove from heat.  Add the lemon juice.

Pour your sauce into the bowl of veggies and tortellini and stir together. (The sauce takes away from the look of the coloured veggies but it smells soooo goood!)

Spray a 13 X 9 baking dish and fill it up.

Cover and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Uncover, sprinkle some parmesan over top and return to the oven uncovered for 5 minutes.

It's comfort food to the max!

Eggplant Pizza

Even my non-eggplant-loving people liked this!

4 slices eggplant, 1/2 inch thick
olive oil
fresh basil leaves, torn
2/3 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
fresh ground pepper

Slice the eggplant and salt both sides. Layer it between 2 sheets of  paper towel and weigh it down for about 30 minutes. I used a heavy pot filled with water.

After 30 minutes rinse the salt off, brush one side with olive oil and barbecue that side for 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Here I mixed the tomato sauce and balsamic and spread it on the grilled side, followed by some Monterey Jack cheese, torn basil and mushroom slices on a couple of them.  Go ahead and top them with your own favourite pizza toppings.

Return to grill for 5 minutes.

Makes a great lunch or veggie side dish. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pimm's Cup

We were first introduced to Pimm's by a British couple we met while on vacation in Antigua in 1984. There we had Pimm's and ginger ale.

A few years ago we met new British friends who
re-introduced us to, what is apparently, Britain's favourite gin-based export.

This is my take on Pimm's Cup.

In a tall glass pour 1/3 full of Pimm's.
Top up with sparkling lemonade
(or 7-up or any lemon-lime soda)
Add ice cubes.....

And then there's this eclectic mix of garnishes. You can seriously put just about anything in this drink!

Green Apple

It's always Pimm's o'clock somewhere!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Grilled Pineapple Slices

You won't believe the awesomeness of this!

4 slices fresh pineapple
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp rum
1 tsp fresh ground ginger
1 tsp brown sugar
sprinkle of pepper

Mix melted butter, rum and brown sugar together and brush on the pineapple slices. Sprinkle the ginger and pepper on top. You can prepare to this point and let it "marinate" a few hours head of time.

Heat the BBQ to medium and grill 10 minutes, flip and grill the other side another 8 minutes.
Serve as a side dish or topped with ice cream for dessert.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Easy Skewered Potatoes on the BBQ

If you're using wooden skewers don't forget to soak them in water for 30 minutes first.

6 small red potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp rosemary, rubbed
salt and pepper

Bring the olive oil, garlic and rosemary just to a boil, then turn off and remove from heat. 

Cut potatoes in half and thread onto skewers.  Poke the skin a couple of times too.

Brush with the infused oil and microwave (you didn't see THAT coming did you?).
Yes, microwave for 4 minutes.
Flip them over and microwave another 4 minutes.

You can do this ahead of time and when you are ready to grill brush more oil on the potatoes, sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper.
Grill cut side down first for 7 minutes.

Turn them over and grill an additional 5-7 minutes.
And they go well with just about anything

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Strawberry Vodka Mojito

Made these a couple of weeks ago and just got around to posting.

Ingredients for 1:
5 mint leaves
5 strawberries
1 tsp lemon juice
1 - 2 tsps honey
1.5 oz vodka
sparkling lemon lime carbonated water or,
    even better, sparkling lemonade
and ice

Muddle the mint leaves with strawberries.  I didn't have a proper muddler, like this 
so I used a mortar and pestle.
It was ok, but maybe next time I'll try pulsing it in the blender instead.
Anyways, once you have the mint and strawberries prepared, add lemon juice and honey. Swirl in the vodka.  
Put it in a tall glass and top off with sparkling water or lemonade and ice.

NOTE:  The blender DID work better!

Protein Egg Puff

Here's a quick little breakfast that you make in the microwave.  It puffs up like a little mini soufflĂ©.

To serve 2:

4 eggs
4 oz cream cheese
2 tsp sweetener (sugar, stevia)
2 pinches cinnamon
2 tbsps protein powder

Put 2 oz cream cheese in each of 2 large mugs or microwave bowls. I used 12 oz mugs.

Even though this recipe makes 2 egg puffs, microwave one at a time. 
Microwave the cream cheese and a pinch of cinnamon for 20 seconds.
Add 2 eggs, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp protein powder and mix well.
Microwave 45 seconds. Stir again, breaking up any set egg. Finally, return to the microwave for a full 2 minutes and watch the magic happen. (Sorry, too dramatic?)
But it is pretty cool to see it puff up. Loosen the sides and turn out on to a serving plate or eat right out of the mug. Top with a little syrup and a side of fruit.
Repeat for the 2nd serving.

Adapted from sugarfreelikeme.com 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Stuffed Pita Quesadilla

I have a mental block about lunches.  I don't like making them. Don't know why.
But sometimes inspiration hits.

Lunch for 2

2 medium pitas, cut in half
1 small onion, sliced
2 mushrooms, sliced
olive oil and butter
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
a few slices deli meat, I used hot mortadella

Fry the onion and mushrooms in a little olive oil and butter until they're nice and brown.
De-glaze the pan with some balsamic and remove from heat.

Split the pita halves into pockets and put a layer of deli meat inside. Spoon in the tomato sauce, onion/mushrooms and shredded cheese.

Put the pitas in a clean pan and and heat on medium low until the cheese is melted.

Ok, so making lunch wasn't so bad today.