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!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Tuna and Spaghettini

By now I guess you realize that I love pasta!
Here's an easy recipe.

1 lb (454 g) pkg spaghettini
170 g can albacore tuna, drained
1-2 tbsps capers
2 tbsps chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
2 slices capicola, coarsely chopped (or prosciutto, ham)
1/3 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
about 20 basil leaves
some fresh parsley
parmesan cheese

Cook the spaghettini as directed on package reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water when draining.

Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pan. Add garlic and salt heating just until garlic starts to turn very lightly brown. Add capicola and red pepper flakes. Cook until capicola is a little crispy.

Add tuna, breaking it up. Add balsamic, sundried tomatoes and capers.
You can use store bought capers or give these ones a try...

Toss pasta with the sauce adding as much reserved pasta water for the consistency you like. Add chopped basil.

Top with chopped parsley and parmesan.

Carrot Stick Salad

Just another salad...but with parsnip. Parsnip is such a tasty veggie that is just not used as often as it should be.

3 carrots, in sticks
1 parsnip, in sticks
1 Granny Smith, in sticks
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbsps pumpkin or sunflower seeds

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt

2o mint leaves

Mix the dressing ingredients together and toss with the "sticks" and raisins. You can do this a couple hours ahead, then sprinkle with the seeds and chopped mint leaves when you are ready to serve.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Vodka Tonic Mojito for 2

The mint is high! Time to make some mojitos!

For 2 mojitos you'll need:

8 oz (222 ml) tonic water
3 oz vodka
2 tbsps sugar
2 tbsps water
14 mint leaves
4 slices of lime
mint, lime and cucumber to garnish

Start by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Cool.

Muddle the lime slices with the mint leaves. Oooohh that's a wonderful smell!

Add the syrup and vodka.

Fill tall glasses with ice and pour in your muddle mixture. 

Top with tonic and garnish.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pizza on the Grill

So this happened last week in Algonquin Provincial Park.
We got up close and personal with these guys!

This also happened

I know, not the same as seeing bears, but still...fresh pizza out in the woods!!

Pack a frozen ball of your favourite pizza dough, oiled in a ziplock bag. You can keep it in the cooler for about 24 hours. Let it come to room temperature (or forest temperature if you're out in the woods!) 

This is the link to the dough recipe I used

Have all your toppings ready to go. While the dough is still in the baggie separate it into 2 or 3 pieces and press out to form your pizzas.

Oil a piece of foil or use this handy dandy Cookina re-usable cooking sheet. Cut the plastic bag opened, brush the dough with olive oil and flip onto the oiled sheet in a BBQ that has been heated to 500F. Oil the top side as well.

After 2-3 minutes the dough will start to brown on the bottom and bubble on the top.
When good and crispy on the bottom use a pair of tongs to flip the dough over and top with sauce, cheese, pepperoni, veggies. Whatever you like.
Close the lid of the BBQ just long enough for the cheese to melt, a couple of minutes. When just about ready add any fresh herbs you have like these basil leaves.

Check the bottom for doneness and when it looks cooked remove to a plate.
Not as exciting as seeing Algonquin's famous bears, but pretty darn good!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sausages and Veggies on the BBQ

You can prepare this meal ahead of time and pop it on the barbecue hours later, whether you are at home or even camping. This was actually a test for a future camping trip.
(You can see the simplified camping version at the end of this post)

1 onion, sliced
2 potatoes, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 spear fresh pineapple
1 - 175g fully cooked smoked sausage
a piece of red pepper
Mrs Dash table blend
fresh parsley to garnish

Spray a large piece of foil with cooking oil and layer half the onions and half the potatoes. Give the potatoes a good shake of Mrs Dash (or the seasoning of your choice).

Next  add carrots, then sausage.

On goes the remaining potatoes and another dash of Mrs Dash, topped with the rest of the carrots and sausage. Finish off with the last of the onions, pineapple and red pepper.
Here you can see all the lovely layers.

And here's a close-up because it's just so beautiful!

Spray another piece of foil and lay it on top loosely. Seal all the edges tightly. You can move the packet to a baking sheet for easy transport to the barbecue, but put the packet directly on the grill.

Leave it in the BBQ at 350-375F for 20-25 minutes.

Be careful when opening the foil as the steam can be pretty hot. Sprinkle with some fresh parsley.

This meal serves 2-3 people. Make a couple of packets if you're serving more. They'll fit neatly on the barbecue.

And here's another close-up : )
Oh and this recipe passed the test.  It'll be on the menu for our next camping trip.

Simplified camping version...

Sliced onions
Whole canned potatoes
Smoked sausage with cheese
some frozen carrots, yellow and green beans
bbq sauce

Before leaving home I sliced the sausage and put it in a large ziplock baggie along with the frozen (defrosted) veggies and sliced onion. Easy peasy when cooking time rolled around.

Oil a large sheet of foil and lay out the sliced onions.
Top them with canned potatoes, either whole or cut in half.
Next, sliced sausage and the veggies, salt and pepper if you like and more onion. 
Drizzle some bbq sauce on top.

Wrap up the packet and pop it on the bbq for about 15-20 minutes. Cooking time is a little shorter on account of the cooked canned potatoes...

but it was definitely not short on taste!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mosaic Potatoes

These potatoes are beautiful when done right. I know because I've seen pictures : (

I've tried them in the oven and now on the barbecue. 

Brush small potatoes clean and cut in half. Slice a very thin piece almost off on cut side. Lay a basil leaf or piece of parsley inside and close the flap.

Brush the potatoes with olive oil and set them, cut side down, on an oiled grilling sheet (like this Cookina)

Grill on medium to medium high heat for 35 minutes.

I thought they didn't turn out again.  Grrrrr!

But wait.....my husband said why not remove the flap?

Not perfect but still kind of impressive, don't you think?
I meant the potatoes, not my husband. But ya...him too ; )

Shrimp and Pineapple Kebab

Temperatures are reaching tropical this week inspiring this meal. So hot that I didn't want my hubby out at the BBQ too long. This one was ready in no time flat!

300 g - 36/45 per lb sized raw shrimp
2 spears fresh pineapple, cut in chunks
1 small zucchini, cut in 1/2 inch slices
1/2 red pepper

3 tbsps sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
1 tbsps lime juice

lemon basil
lemon thyme

wooden skewers, soaked in water

Peel and remove the tail from the shrimp. Thread them on the skewers alternating with the pineapple, zucchini and red pepper. Refrigerate until ready to barbecue.

Mix the sauce together and set aside.

Heat the barbecue to medium high. Grill the kebabs 2-3 minutes per side. You'll know they're done when the shrimp turn pink.

Remove to a platter and brush with the sauce. 

Garnish with chopped fresh lemon basil and lemon thyme.
Don't you love the colours!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Brussels Sprout and Bacon Skewers

Don't say "I don't like brussels sprouts" until you've tried them like this.

You'll need:

wooden skewers, that have been soaked in water
mini frozen brussels sprouts
garlic powder
black pepper

Because I was using mini sprouts I cut the bacon strips in half lengthwise. I think if I were using larger sprouts I would cut them in half, so either way cut the bacon I guess.

So defrost the brussels sprouts. Thread one end of bacon onto a skewer, add a sprout then weave the bacon around and onto the skewer and continue filling your skewer like that.

Once they are prepared give them a good sprinkling of garlic powder and fresh ground pepper.
Slip them onto the barbecue in between the meat and potatoes. They won't take up much room. We used the Cookina reusable grilling sheet here. Works great!
Barbecue (or oven temperature) around 400F for 15-20 minutes. Then discover how good brussels spouts can be.

Bacon makes everything good : )

Cutting Watermelon

Who knew?  All these years I've been cutting watermelon all wrong.  Until now!

Just cut your watermelon in half and turn it over on a cutting board. Cut lines down and across to form squares. And pick up your little watermelon stick, that's it!
(Thanks Pinterest)

Orange and Lemon Curd Muffins

When I first bit into this muffin I was disappointed.
So disappointed that I deleted all my work-in-progress pictures. I thought there would be a lemon curd center. There wasn't. 

But once I ate it I realized the lemon curd made a very moist muffin. So if you like citrus you've got the whole orange and the tart lemon curd in this one to make you pucker up! 

Makes 12 citrusy muffins

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsps whey powder (optional)

1 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 orange, unpeeled (reserve zest)

6 tbsps lemon curd

Mix both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and if using, whey powder together in a large bowl.

In another bowl mix milk, lemon juice, egg and vegetable oil together. Add to the dry ingredients.

Lightly zest the orange and set that aside. Then cut the orange into large chunks. Remove any seeds. Pulse in a food processor leaving bits of peel whole. Incorporate this into the batter, mixing just until combined.

Spoon a couple tablespoons of batter into muffin paper lined pan. Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of lemon curd into the center of the batter then top with remaining batter. Sprinkle with zest.

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes. Cool on rack at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnip

Simple side.....

2 carrots
4 parsnip
2 tbsps olive oil
garlic powder
Himalayan pink salt
fresh parsley

Peel and coin both the carrots and parsnip. Coat in olive oil by shaking them together in a bag.

Spread out on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic powder and salt.

Roast in a 400F oven for 30 minutes.
Broil 3-4 minutes and serve garnished with fresh parsley.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Turn Tough Beef to Tender

Ok, so here's the thing, we had these 2 - 1 lb pieces of outside round steak and I thought, just marinate them and they'll be good on the BBQ.


Tough and chewy as an old shoe. We managed to get through 1 for supper but did not enjoy it one bit!

But at the price of meat I was not going to waste this steak.

So I put the leftover piece in the slow cooker and mixed this up:

1/2 can of Coke
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsps brown sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

I poured this mixture over the meat and turned the slow cooker on high for 20 minutes. I reduced the heat to low and let it go for 3 hours.

After 3 hours I cut it thinly against the grain and put it back into the sauce for an additional hour on high.

I've got to say, pretty impressed with this. Not only did it come out waaaaayyy more tender but the taste had a good kick to it.

Served straight up or piled on a bun, this is a keeper!

And for the Roasted Carrots and Parsnip check out...