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!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Singapore Shrimp and Noodles

Yep, more Chinese food : )

1/4 lb rice noodles
3/4 lb shrimp, shelled, deveined and rinsed
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
2 tbsps apple juice
2 tbsps soya sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup sliced green onion (3)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup shredded cabbage (or coleslaw mix)
1 red pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare rice noodles as directed on package, drain, toss with oil and set aside. These just required 6 minutes in a bowl of hot water.

Mix white wine vinegar, apple juice, soya sauce, cornstarch, paprika and cayenne together. Fold in the shrimp to coat and marinade 20 minutes.

Heat 1-2 tbsps oil in a wok and add green onion and garlic. Toss in the shrimp and cook until pink. Remove to a plate. Add a couple more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the cabbage, red pepper, onion, celery, salt and pepper.  Cook 1-2 minutes.

Add the shrimp back to the pan, stir to coat with sauce.

Finally toss with the noodles, heat through and serve.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sweet Chili Baby Bok Choy

Bok choy is a member of the cabbage family, but before you screw your nose up and say you don't like cabbage, give this super easy recipe a try!

7 or 8 baby bok choy
1-2 tsps sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps vegetable oil
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce

Wash the bok choy and trim a slice off the stem ends.

Heat oil in skillet and lay the bok choy in the pan. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper and cook 3-4 minutes. Turn them over, salt and pepper again, and pour in the sweet chili sauce.

Cover the pan and cook over low to medium heat 5-10 minutes or until your crispy tender preference.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Pork Dumplings

My dumplings are all unique, not one the same as the next. That is not what I was going for but here they are.

1/2 lb ground pork
4 water chestnuts, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup grated carrot
1 tbsps finely grated orange peel
1 egg (divided)
2 tbsps plum sauce
2 tsps cornstarch
2 tsps soya sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 dashes hot sauce
40 wonton wrappers

In a food processor blend chestnuts, green onion, carrot and orange peel together. Remove to a bowl and add the ground pork. 
Beat the egg with a fork, measure off half to add to the pork mixture. Reserve the other half.
Mix plum sauce, cornstarch, soya sauce, garlic and hot sauce and add to the meat mixture.

Form into small balls and lay on a wonton wrapper. Brush edges with reserved egg and gather up. I pulled mine up and gave them a twist but I'm sure you can come up with something fancier! Keep remaining wontons wrapped until ready to use as they could dry out.

To cook bring water to boil in the bottom of a steamer and place an oiled dish with the dumplings in the top half. Cover and steam over medium heat 10 minutes.

Here they are sitting in the steamer. They have to be steamed in batches done in a single layer and should not be touching (like mine are here, oops)

Serve immediately, or the dumplings may be prepared up to 3 days in advance and reheated in the steamer.

You may serve them with plum sauce or this Peanut Dipping Sauce:

1 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce
6 tbsps peanut butter
2 tbsps soya sauce
4-6 tbsps water

Whisk hoisin, peanut butter and soya sauce together, adding water gradually to the desired consistency.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Chinese Almond Cookies

Gong Hei Fat Choy!
Congratulations and be prosperous! Celebrating the year of the rooster with these classic Chinese almond cookies!

1 egg
40 whole blanched almonds
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp almond extract

Put 20 almonds in a food processor and chop until fine, then transfer to a medium bowl.

Add baking powder and salt and set aside. Separate the egg. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Blend well. Add egg white and almond extract and beat until smooth.
Gradually add the flour to form a light dough.
Roll rounded tablespoons of dough and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet spacing 2" apart. 

Use fingertips to flatten to 1/3 thickness. Beat egg yolk with a fork then brush the top of each cookie and place a whole almond in the center.

Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes

This recipe makes 12 cookies but may, and should be doubled.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Small Batch Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

The only word to describe these lemony cupcakes!

For 6 medium cupcakes:

4 tbsps butter or marg, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup + 2 tbsps milk
1/4 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp lemon zest 
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder 

lemon curd (recipe link to follow)

In a mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar together until creamy.
Add egg, milk, lemon extract and zest.

Mix flour and baking powder together and add to the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Dollop into prepared muffin tin and bake at 350 F for 20-22 minutes.

You can use store bought lemon curd or, while the cupcakes bake, you could prepare this easy microwave curd.


Once baked, cool completely on rack.
Using a melon baller scoop out the middle of the cupcake...

 fill with lemon curd and frost.

Lemon Frosting:

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1  1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
yellow colouring (optional)

Sugar sprinkle

Cream butter, zest, extract and juice together.  Gradually beat in the icing sugar then, if using, add a little bit of colour. 

You can also make a yellow sugar sprinkle by simply mixing about 1 tsp sugar with a drop of yellow colouring. Mix well and sprinkle on top of the frosting.

Bite in and prepare to be zinged!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spinach and Ricotta Fusilli

Love this pasta dish!

6 cups chopped spinach/arugula mix
1 lb fusilli
2 tbsps olive oil
4 green onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup 10% table cream
Pinch nutmeg
1 tbsp butter

Cook the fusilli and drain reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss with a little olive oil and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add green onions. Cook until tender crisp then add the spinach/arugula and garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste. 

In a small bowl mix ricotta, yogurt, cream and nutmeg together.

Stir the ricotta mix into the greens and add butter.
Simmer 5 minutes adding enough reserved pasta water for the consistency you like.

Serve with lots of parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cranberry Crisp Baked Apples

Gingersnap cookie crumbs give these stuffed apples an extra jolt of flavour!

3 tart apples
2 tbsps butter
2 tbsps brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Crisp topping:

1/4 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs (or graham crumbs)
2 tbsps oats
2 tbsps brown sugar
2 tbsps white sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsps butter
3 tbsps dried cranberries

1/2 cup apple juice

For the topping mix crumbs, oats, sugars and cinnamon together, then cut in the butter. Add the dried cranberries and set aside.

Cut the tops off the apples and cut or scoop out the core. Using a melonballer scoop out the insides of the apples, leaving a 1/4" of flesh on the skin.

Coarsely chop the flesh and mix with 2 tbsps butter, 2 tbsps brown sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat until apples are tender crisp.

Fill the apples with the cooked apple filling and spoon on the crisp topping.

Place the apples in a baking dish that is filled with 1/2 cup apple juice.

Bake uncovered in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes.

And they're ready to serve warm topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Bran and Blueberry Breakfast

This morning we woke up to an ice storm and my daughter went off to school, her first year in university, with this hearty breakfast in hand.

She ate it on the subway on the way downtown. I said the other riders must have been jealous and she said they totally were!

1/2 cup oats
2 tbsps bran cereal
1/4 tsp honey (or your favourite sweetener)
1 single serving yogurt cup 
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Mix everything together except the blueberries then layer in a jar or container, cover and place in the fridge overnight.

I used frozen berries and they worked fine. They defrosted overnight....I hope my daughter defrosts overnight tonight! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Banana Bran and Blueberry Muffins

Banana Bran and Blueberry muffins. Try saying THAT three times fast!

For a wholewheat muffin these are surprisingly cake-like.
To make them you'll need:

1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1  1/2 cups wholewheat flour
1/2 cup bran
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tsp baking soda

Streusel topping:

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsps butter, melted
1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts

Beat butter, brown sugar, vanilla and milk together, then add egg. When smooth add bananas and walnuts.

In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients together up to and including the salt, then add to the wet ingredients. Don't overmix.

Stir baking soda with blueberries to coat and fold into the batter.

Pour batter into prepared tins. I made 8 mini loaves but you could make 12 medium muffins.

Mix the streusel together and top the muffins with it. Press down gently.

Bake at 400 F for 25 - 30 minutes

Cool in the pan before carefully lifting out to cool completely on a rack.

Aren't they the cutest?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Slow Cooker Classic Beef Bourguignon

There is something special about a good bourguignon, and this one not only has a deep rich flavour but you have the added benefit of letting it simmer away in the slow cooker.

2 lbs beef bourguignon or stewing beef
2  1/2 tbsps flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsps bacon fat
3/4 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
1  1/2 tbsps minced garlic
2 tbsps tomato paste
1 cup broth (beef, chicken or turkey)
1/4 cup soya sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar
2 cups quartered mushrooms

Cut beef cubes so they are uniformly about 1" in size. Of course beef bourguignon cubes would be the cut of choice for this dish, however stewing beef works very well too.
Toss the beef with flour, salt, pepper and thyme.

Heat bacon fat in a skillet, add the beef and brown lightly. Add the onion, carrots and garlic.
Stir together the tomato paste, broth (I used turkey here), soya sauce and balsamic.

Cook 3-4 minutes then transfer to slow cooker. Add 1/2 cup red wine and the bay leaf. Cover and slow cook on low 4 hours.

In a fry pan heat butter and sugar then toss in the mushrooms. Brown lightly and add the remaining 1/2 cup red wine.

Add to the slow cooker and cook 15 minutes longer. Don't forget to remove the bay leaf.

If you'd like the gravy a bit thicker mix 2 tsps cornstarch with 2 tsps cold water. Add a spoonful of hot gravy. Mix well and whisk into the stew before cooking that additional 15 minutes.

Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.
I added some chopped and fried onions to these potatoes, YUM!