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!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Classic Osso Buco

Classic Osso Buco is, of course, made with veal, but don't rule out using pork. It stills turns out very tender.

1 lb veal or pork shank slice
2 tsp flour
salt and pepper
2 tbsps olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsps tomato paste
1 tbsp parsley

Mix flour, salt and pepper and dredge the meat. Heat oil in a heavy frying pan and brown meat on both sides. Add onion and garlic and brown lightly.

Combine stock and tomato paste and add to the pan.
Cover and simmer 1  1/2 hours.

Serve with risotto and sprinkle with a little parsley.
I think I might have been Italian in another life : )

Here's a link to Saffron Scented Avocado Risotto pictured here.

Avocado Risotto

This recipe takes a little time and patience, but is so worth the effort. If you have arborio rice use that, but I had plain white rice on hand and it worked well too.

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup rice
3 cups hot chicken broth
1/2 - 1 avocado
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp flax
salt and pepper
1/4 cup shredded parmesan, romano, asiago mix
2 pinches each of parsley and saffron

Heat oil and cook onion and garlic on low until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook 2 minutes.

Gradually add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, only adding more when the last addition has been absorbed. This is where the patience comes in handy.

Mash the avocado with lime juice and when all the broth has been absorbed, add to the rice along with the flax, salt, pepper, cheese, parsley and saffron.

Goes great with Classic Osso Buco

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Coconut Oat Cake

Even though it's a cake it could definitely be eaten for breakfast.  Because of the oats it's a hardy cake not light and fluffy. You could even do muffins with this recipe.

1 cup oats
2 tbsps cream of wheat
2 tbsps chia seeds
1  1/4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup butter or marg
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1  1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Soak the oats, cream of wheat and chia in boiling water and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together, then add the vanilla and eggs. Stir in the oat mixture and combine well. 

Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together, then add to the wet mixture in 3 additions.

Pour into a greased 9 X 9" baking pan and bake at 350 F for 40-50 minutes.

For the topping mix together:

1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsps cream (I used 10%)
3/4 cup coconut

and spread over the cake while still warm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Meatball Minestrone

We had the first snowfall of the season yesterday and, as usual, it seemed like everyone forgot how to drive in a little snow.  A trip in the car that should have taken 30 minutes turned into nearly 2 hours! Glad we had this waiting for us when we got home.

Olive oil
1 cup ditali pasta, or any small pasta
2 cups onion, diced
1/2 cup yellow pepper, diced
2 carrots, sliced or diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
Parmesan rind, if you can find some
1  1/2 - 2 cups frozen cooked mini meatballs
398 ml ( 1  1/2 cups) kidney beans
2-3 drops hot sauce
900 ml (4 cups) beef broth
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp fennel seed

Cook the pasta as directed on the package, drain, toss with some olive oil and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot. Add garlic and onion and cook until lightly browned. Add broth and parmesan rind. Stir in the canned tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables, kidney beans, hot sauce and seasonings, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add meatballs and cook an additional 10 minutes. Yes, I used frozen cooked mini meatballs. Sometimes you just have to give yourself a break!

Check to see that the vegetables are cooked and the meatballs are heated through. Toss in the pasta and stir until heated, a couple of minutes. Remove the parmesan rind and serve the soup with shredded parmesan at the table. 
P.S. It's 1 month 'til Christmas!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Baked Bloomin' Onion

Ok so I'll admit the deep-fried version probably tastes better but this one's pretty good and a lot better for you.

1 medium onion
2 tbsps bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten

Using an apple slicer cut the onion almost all the way through then remove the slicer.  You'll have to push and prod a bit but it'll come off.

Gently pull apart the sections and brush in between with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the bread crumbs next. I used Italian seasoned crumbs, but you could also add your own seasonings like garlic, oregano, etc.

Sit the onion on a sheet of parchment paper and tent a piece of foil over the top.

Into the oven it goes at 400 F for 5 minutes then remove the foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Broil a couple of minutes at the end to get nice brown tips.

Serve with sour cream, low fat if we're still trying to be healthy ; )

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cheesy Baked Egg and Toast

Weekends are made for this kind of breakfast. 

shredded cheese

Make a depression in the bread with the back of a spoon then crack an egg into it. Top with chopped arugula/spinach.

Pile the shredded cheese and sliced mushrooms around the edges leaving the egg yolk uncovered. Salt and pepper to taste.

Bake in a 375 F oven for 10 minutes.
Broil 2 minutes.
Happy Weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Avocado Watermelon Salsa

This salsa is a great side to any fish dish, but it would be equally good served as a snack with tortilla chips.

1/2 avocado, cubed
1 cup watermelon, cubed
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup yellow pepper, diced
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno pepper
salt and parsley to taste

Mix everything together and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

Salmon with Nasturtium Vinaigrette

After a busy day you need an easy recipe for supper.
This is it!

Wild Pacific Salmon fillet (skin on)
1 lemon
Nasturtium vinaigrette

You could use any vinaigrette you like, but here's the link if you're interested in making the nasturtium vinagrette


Slice half the lemon thinly and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Lay the salmon over it.

Spoon some vinaigrette on top. If you are using a different vinaigrette, just add a spoonful of capers to it.
Fold up the parchment to enclose the salmon.
Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.  That's it!
Garnish with dried nasturtium flowers for a light peppery taste and, of course, more lemon.
And here's the link to this colourful Avocado Watermelon Salsa:


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Italian Slow Cooker Stew

This stew can be served as is or you can top it with sliced potatoes. You'll find this option at the end of the page.

1 lb stewing beef (angus beef worked really well!)
1/2-1 cup diced onion
2 tsps minced garlic
olive oil
1  1/2 cups sliced celery
2 cups carrots, 1/2" pieces
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
1  1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp basil

Toss beef in flour, salt and pepper then lightly brown in a cast iron skillet in a bit of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Cook a few minutes longer.

Spray your crock pot then spoon in the beef, celery and carrots. Stir in the remaining ingredients and set the heat to low for 6-7 hours.

If you want to thicken it up mix 2-3 tbsps cornstarch with some cold water (maybe about 1/2 cup) and heat in a small saucepan. Spoon in some of the hot juices and whisk together. Pour this, while stirring, into the stew and heat on high 20-30 minutes.

Sliced Potato Top option
Spoon stew into an oiled baking dish and slice 1 potato very thinly, using a mandolin, and layer it in a tight concentric circle over the top of the stew. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 F oven for 30-40 minutes.
Serve with a nice crusty bread to sop up the gravy.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Chicken Mariposa

Went to dinner a few weeks ago and our hosts made this dish. It was so flavourful and I had never heard of it before.  Even searching on the internet did not turn up many recipes for it, so this is my take on it.  When we first tried chicken mariposa it was topped with shredded cheese, but I left that out to keep the meal on the lighter side.

1 tbsp butter
4 chicken legs, split and skinned
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 - 14 oz (398 ml) can sliced peaches, reserve juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tsps minced or grated ginger
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup orange marmalade or peach preserves
1/2 tsp hot sauce
2 tbsps worcestershire sauce

Heat butter in a medium skillet and add drained peaches and lemon juice. Cook 4-5 minutes until juice and butter slightly thicken and set aside.
In a large skillet heat to medium high and add olive oil. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and place in the skillet to brown. Add onion. Cook 3 or 4 minutes on each side.

Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish and lay the chicken pieces in a single layer. As you can see in the picture below I only browned them lightly.

In the same large skillet as the chicken was browned in, cook the ginger for 1 minute, then mix together the reserved peach juice (about 1/3 cup), stock, marmalade, hot sauce and worcestershire and add that to the ginger. Pour over chicken, top with peaches and butter.
Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes. Increase temperature to 400 F for an additional 15-20 minutes. Spoon pan juices over the chicken a few times during cooking.

Serve over your favourite rice.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Healthy Pancake Mix

Make up this pancake mix, keep it in the pantry, and when the family wants pancakes you've got it covered.

You'll need:

4 cups flour
3 tbsps baking powder
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tbsps sugar
3 tbsps ground flax
2 tbsps wheat germ
1/4 cup whey powder

Keep this dry mix in a jar or plastic container.  When you want to have pancakes, to 1 cup of mix add:

1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp melted butter or oil

I always add a little more butter to the pan, even if it's a non-stick pan, just to get the crispy edges. When you see the bubbles popping through the batter it's time to flip them.

Then dig in! 

Banana Sweet Mincemeat Muffins

Makes a light cakey muffin that'll go well with your first coffee of the day.
Or with your tea before bed.

2 cups flour
4 tsps baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 banana, mashed
2/3 cup sweet mincemeat (homemade or store bought)
walnuts to garnish

In a large mixer bowl combine flour, sugar and baking powder together. Add to that the egg, coffee, oil, mashed banana and sweet mincemeat.
Pour into prepared muffin tins, top with walnut if desired and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.
Cool on rack.
Makes 12
And if you ever want to make your own sweet mincemeat here's a link to a good one:


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How to Keep Kitchen Papers Rolling

I can't believe I never knew this !!

How many times have you gone to take a short piece of plastic wrap and ended up with a big, long piece that got all stuck together because the roll popped out of the box. You try to unstick it and use it, but end up balling it all up and throwing it out.  No more. Don't waste anymore plastic wrap, foil or wax paper.

I never noticed that a lot of the boxes have little push tabs that when pushed hold the roll in place.  If the box you're using doesn't have a tab, just cut your own little tab. 
It's not going to change your life, but it will take away a little daily frustration.

You're welcome : ) 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Light Ham and Walnut Pasta

When you're in a hurry... when aren't you?

4 cups penne
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sliced green onions, both the white and green parts
1 lemon, about 1 tsp zest and 1/4 cup juice 
1  1/2 cups cooked ham, sliced or chopped
2 handfuls of your favourite greens, like spinach or arugula
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Shredded parmesan and black pepper to serve

Heat olive oil to medium in a pan and add garlic and the white slices of green onion. Very lightly brown then turn heat to low and add the ham, the green slices of green onion, walnuts and lemon zest. Mix together and leave heat on low while the pasta cooks.
Once the pasta is ready, drain then toss with the olive oil mixture, along with the greens and lemon juice. Give it a few grinds of pepper and top with shredded parmesan cheese.

Serves 4

Friday, November 6, 2015

White Fish with Nasturtium Vinaigrette

Simple but elegant.

any mild white fish fillet
Nasturtium Vinaigrette

Here's the link to make Nasturtium Vinaigrette:


Take a piece of foil and spray with cooking oil, or use parchment paper then layer some sliced carrots and celery on it.

Lay the fish fillet on top and drizzle with vinaigrette. No need for salt and pepper.
Wrap it up and bake in a 400 F oven for 20 minutes. Check to see that the fish flakes easily and you're done.

Nasturtium Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is beautiful on a green salad, sprinkled with extra dried nasturtiums. Fresh nasturtium flowers are edible and would also be a great addition.

Here's the link to make nasturtium capers and dried nasturtium flowers


Ok, on to the dressing:

4 green onions, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil 
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dried nasturtium flowers, crumbled
1 tbsp nasturtium capers

Aren't these homemade nasturtium capers like wow!
Chop the white part of the onion quite finely, but the green part can be more coarsely chopped. Add everything to a jar and store in refrigerator 1 week.
Try it in this recipe, White Fish with Nasturtium Vinaigrette:


Dried Nasturtium and Nasturtium Capers

Not only are these nasturtiums beautiful to look at, but the flowers are edible, whether you use them fresh from the garden or dried.
Cut the flowers leaving a good length of stem so that you can tie them together.  But first run them under cool water to clean.  Very important! I actually found a little green worm hiding inside one of the flowers! Gently shake out the excess water and lay on a towel to pat dry.
Tie with kitchen string and hang to dry for a couple of weeks. Here they are in between the almost-ready-to-crumble mint.
Once dried like this
remove from stems and crumble the petals like this.
Store them for later use as garnish or mild peppery seasoning.

You can make Nasturtium capers too! Just go out into the garden and harvest the little green seed pods.

I started with a very small batch for my first attempt at capers but next year I'll be making a lot more of these pickled beauties!

1/4 cup Nasturtium seed pods
9 tbsps cold water (divided in 1/3)
1  1/2 tsp coarse salt (divided in 1/3)

1/8 cup white wine vinegar
pinch or 2 of sugar
bay leaf

Place the seed pods in a glass container and add 3 tbsps cold water to cover and 1/2 tsp coarse salt. Set aside uncovered for a day. It will be a bit smelly, like a mild rotten egg smell. I kept my capers in the garage because I was warned of this but it really wasn't that bad. Drain and rinse each day for 2 more days brining in water and salt each day for a total of 9 tbsps water and 1  1/2 tsp salt.
On the fourth day drain and rinse the pods then pack them gently into a jar.  Add a bay leaf and some thyme. Bring the white wine vinegar and sugar to a boil and add to the jar and seal. Process in a hot water bath for 1o minutes.  
So there you have it......FREE CAPERS!

And you can use the rest of the seed pods you gather to save and plant next year to start all over again. 

Here's a link for Nasturtium Vinaigrette:


You might also like to try this Chicken Marbella with capers: