Saturday, May 24, 2014


Photo from Delicious Magazine

So this conversation happened last week when we were eating butter chicken:

Parker: Mommy, wouldn't it be hilarious if we ate a chicken?
Me: Um... we are eating chicken buddy.
Parker (laughing): I know, but I mean if we killed a chicken with a head and feet and feathers and everything and then ate it.
Me (looking at Tyler for guidance and thinking this is defining moment in parenting): Well, here's the thing... We are eating a chicken that somebody killed, cut off the head and feet, plucked out the feathers, and then we bought it at the store to eat.
silence for a few moments
Parker: Oh, ok.

And he resumes eating his butter chicken. I've said it before and I'll say it again. My kid is awesome.

I found some beautiful and delicious recipes this week. Enjoy!

Cook's Illustrated Blondies via Food52 I think I'm going to make these for a work potluck next week

Fresh Spinach Pasta via Smitten Kitchen Another recipe from My Paris Kitchen. I think I need to buy this cook stat.

Warm Baby Veg Salad with Goats Cheese Curd and Sherry Vinaigrette via Delicious Magazine How beautiful is this salad? The photo just makes me happy.

Peach Raspberry Granola Crumble via Annie's Eats This is interesting because you make granola, which I do all the time anyway, then cook the fruit and top with granola at the end. 

Courgette Tart (Scarpaccia) from The Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking via The Independent The pastry is kind of a pancake batter. Looks easy and delicious. Also, the name of this book is so fun, right?

Belgian Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake from The Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking via Red Online What else needs to be said other than those four words?

Toad in the Hole from Fast, Fresh and Unbeliveably Delicious by Matt Preston via Taste Magazine
I've never eaten this classic British dish, but I'm putting it on the menu for this week with a salad- maybe the salad above! Tyler will be happy- his favorite food is Yorkshire Pudding, and this is basically yorkies baked with sausage. Serious comforting man-food.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Swedish Pancakes with Rhubarb Compote

What a perfect morning to kick-off to the long weekend. I kind of forgot how much I love rhubarb. Tangy and sweet, rhubarb might actually be one of my favorite fruits. Or is it a vegetable because it doesn't have seeds on the inside? Just a sec, let me consult Google...

{cue elevator music}

It's a vegetable. Unless you live in the United States... apparently the US courts can mess with science and declare it a fruit. Don't even get me started on that.

Parker and I ate some (ok, a lot) of the compote out of the bowl with a spoon while I finished cooking the crepes. I worked two pans today! I seriously feel like I can take on anything now that I have mastered the two-pan crepe technique. Bring it on.

I found breakfast to be particularily photogenic this morning. Or maybe it was the idyllic morning that translated to the photos- the three of us at the breakfast table on a long weekend, a second cup of coffee, the sun peeking through the clouds. Either way, I'm very pleased with life at the moment.

PS There was also barbequed bacon. Oh yes.

Serves 4
An Amy Original
Rhubarb compote can be spread on toast, stirred into yogurt, spooned onto pork chops... you'll find lots of uses and excuses to make it, trust me.
  • 1 recipe Swedish Pancakes
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced rhubarb, fresh or frozen (don't even bother thawing if using frozen)
  • scant 1/4 cup sugar
  • splash vanilla extract
While cooking the crepes add all other ingredients to a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and lower heat to a simmer until rhubarb is soft, stirring occasionally. Mash to desired consistency. Continue to simmer until thickened.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Weeknight Indian

I was busy in the kitchen today, boy. I am eating dairy and gluten again, for now, and I'm finished with a cleanse I was doing for 5 days (ok... it was supposed to be 10... I'll admit it. I gave up). These factors, combined with a day off during the week, equals Cooking Binge.

It started with the Onion Bhaji. I bought chickpea flour on a whim months ago, maybe even closer to a year ago. It's been languishing in my cupboard ever since. Time to use some of it methinks? A woman at work suggested making onion bhaji. Good call Sandra, once again. Of course the next step, if you are me, is to spend an hour researching the best onion bhaji recipe. This is why I love food blogs. Tested recipes with reviews. Most recipes call for adding water to make a batter for your fried onion dumplings. The winner of my Google search, "Ridiculously Good Onion Bhaji" from Kitchen Experiments, uses liquid smushed out of the onions themselves. Welcome to Flavour City. Genius.

Ok, so I'm going to make some onion bhaji. What else to make for dinner? I hadn't gotten around to making Bombay Slow Cooker Potatoes the other week. Done. With some modifications (recipe below). These were fantastic. Soft, highly flavoured potatoes. Yum. I have some leftovers that are going to be unreal as a samosa filling this weekend, I just know it.

What else to make to round out dinner? Something without such a strong curry presence again... that my boys will eat... butter chicken. Of course. The whitest Indian dish ever invented. I bought a jarred sauce for this and jazzed it up with chopped red pepper and chopped kale. I'd put kale in everything if I could.

Also, since it was my day off and all, there was wine. Oh yes. A sweet-ish Reisling was great. This one to be exact

I think my dog was South Asian in another life. She's getting up there in years, so she's pretty lazy lately. Tonight she jumped up with two furry paws on the kitchen table to try to steal some curry potatoes. It was a fairly slow jump, albeit, but she hasn't done that in forever. Now that I think about it though, maybe that's because we freaked out the day we found her with all four paws on the kitchen table eating out of the butter dish.

You think that was a lot of cooking today? Haha, young apprentice. I also made Challah bread and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. Bread is just ok (as "just ok" as fresh homemade bread can be, mind), but the cake is out of this world delicious. I love love love loooove rhubarb. Looking forward to some of this for breakfast. Hey, I'm done my cleanse. Go big or go home, right?

Serves 6-8 as a side dish
Adapted from Kayotic Kitchen

Spice Mix:
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp medium curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large or 5 small potatoes, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes, squeezed of seeds and juice, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Saute onions until softened and beginning to colour. Add spice mix, cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Add potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes, salt. Stir to combine. Pour everything into slow cooker and cook on low 4-6 hours.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

French Roast Chicken Menu

Foodies love David Lebovitz. I think we are all living vicariously though him. An American expat living in Paris. Cooking in Paris. Perusing the markets in Paris. Eating French bread and and cheese and butter (I've touched on my love of French butter before)... swoon. I read his blog, I follow his Pinterest boards, I get excited when he has a guest post on The Kitchn. He has a new book out. My Paris Kitchen. I think I need to own this book, considering I have now make three recipes from before even touching it. God how I love the Internet.

Eat Your Books has a round-up of recipes from My Paris Kitchen from around the web. I took one look at the list, bookmarked a few recipes, and then realized they would be perfect for dinner Saturday night with my BFF, her boyfriend, and his daughter. Greg and I had been planning to go for a run in preparation for a race we are have entered next weekend. The plan was to run the route. Cold rain and wind derailed that plan. It was pouring when we set out for our run, it was still pouring when we returned a wet 7.25km later. And wouldn't you know it, the sun was breaking through the clouds ten minutes after we got back. Son of a...

Regardless, we still had a good run. I feel much more prepared and less intimidated by the thought of next weekend's 7-mile race. I usually run by myself and I realized yesterday that it makes it seem much easier when running with someone else. I haven't decided yet whether that is because of the company and conversation, or if having a partner sharing in the torture makes it more tolerable- I do love running, but there's always a moment on every run when I think "what the Hell am I doing?".

The rest of the evening was a blast as well. The kids played together great despite their age difference (Parker being almost 4 and Greg's daughter being 9) while we made dinner and then they helped me do the dishes (without even being asked!). While men retired to the couch and talked football Erin, the kids, and I had a dance party in the kitchen to YouTube videos- the kids being hopped up on sugar and chocolate, Erin and I being hopped up on wine. Fun times had by all. Is it weird that I get a strange satisfaction from being told by a 9-year old girl that I'm fun and she wants to come back and visit?

Here's our menu. I will make each of these dishes over and over again. They are also effortlessly gluten and dairy free (except for the goat cheese in the lentil salad of course). I don't know much about wine and food pairing aside from I like wine and I like food... but a French Sauvignon Blanc seemed to go well with this meal.

Chicken Lady Chicken 
I used quarter chicken legs rather than a whole chicken as the chickens at the grocery store were really small. The legs worked perfectly. It did take two pans to make the all the chicken, and through this I learned that a well-seasoned cast iron skillet works best. The skin stuck to the other pan, but fared great in the cast iron. The chicken was delicious- juicy, and made it's own delicious pan sauce.

Leeks with Mustard-Bacon Vinaigrette
Fantastic. The kids didn't love these, but the adults did. I didn't steam the leeks. I cut them in half, placed them in single layer in a glass dish, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Covered tightly with foil they went in the oven with the chicken. Once the chicken was done I removed the foil and left them in the oven to brown while the chicken rested. Next time I would increase the heat to 425 or even 450 for the final browning.

French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
I forgot to buy walnuts as called for in the recipe. It was still great without, but I will remember to include walnuts next time. I used the same dressing for this salad as called for in the leek recipe above rather than making two vinaigrette. I also added some thinly sliced radishes at the end for some fresh crunch as the other vegetables in the salad are cooked along with the lentils.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sriracha Round-Up

Yes, ok, Sriracha has become kind of trendy in the last couple of years. No matter. I love the stuff. Along with Frank's (yes, I basically put that s**t on everything), Tabasco, your Haitian Grandma's homemade hot pepper concoction, I love it all. The point is, food tastes better with a bit of a kick. Or a lot of kick, in the case of my favorite mouth-numbing, euphoria-inducing Nashville Style Hot Chicken Shak Sandwich. To quote the poet Ludacris, "Sweat for the lemonade, sweat for the tea. Sweat from the hot sauce, sweat from the... {CENSORED}". Indeed Ludacris. Indeed.

Here are some interesting recipes I've come across lately.

Sriracha Shrimp Skewers via Handle the Heat
Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce via Damn Delicious
Sriracha Fridge Pickles via Bon Appetit
Ultimate Sriracha Burger via Serious Eats
Sriracha Popcorn via Authentic Suburban Gourmet
Sriracha and Honey Cashews via Authentic Suburban Gourmet
Sriracha Devilled Eggs via ME! Four Seasons Kitchen

A Pinterest search for "Sriracha" also gives some yummy looking food porn... ahem... recipes.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Quinoa and Chicken Chili

I think this may be my favorite chili I've ever made. Not least because there is basically no prep; minimal chopping, just mix everything in the slow cooker and you come home to a hot, healthy, deliciously filling meal. Fantastic.

I hate it when chili is too watery. Watery chili is up there with slow drivers, one-upping moms, and workplace butt-kissers in my book of Things That Annoy Me. This chili came out the perfect consistency. Plus it makes lots for leftover lunches, which is even more of a bonus lately when I can't just throw together a sandwich (for lack of gluten-free bread, which I hope to rectify when I do grocery shopping tomorrow).

Speaking of gluten-free. I am so stoked for Easter brunch on Sunday. It's going to be a dairy and gluten fest. Then I'll go back to being good. I cannot pass on Easter brunch with dishes like egg and sausage pie, cheesy bread pudding, that I've been eating every Easter for my ENTIRE LIFE. Clearly.

You know what else would be good with this chili, assuming you are good with gluten and dairy? Biscuits. Always a good idea with chili. Oh, I happen to have posted a recipe for Best Drop Biscuits a while back. You're welcome.

Serves 8
Adapted from Everyday Reading
Use less salt if you are not using no-salt added canned goods.
  • 1 540-mL can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 540-mL can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 796-mL can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • optional toppings: chopped cilantro, diced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream
Mix all ingredients up before chicken together in the crock of the slow cooker. Nestle chicken in the middle, ensuring chicken is submerged in liquid. Cook on low 6 to 9 hours. Shred chicken into chili prior to serving. Serve with desired toppings.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bacon Mushroom Burgers with Tomato Avocado Salad

The daughter of a friend of mine used to say "I can't like that Papa," instead of "I don't like that Papa." I love that. And I totally get where she is coming from. I have tried to love mushrooms. I'm getting there. But right now, I can't like them.

Despite this, these burgers looked sooo good in the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook. I gave that book back to my colleague almost 2 weeks ago and I've been thinking about making them since. Bacon and mushrooms mixed into the beef and then grilled. How could that be bad?

Ok, bad for your arteries, maybe. But great for your taste buds. I didn't even miss the bun. In fact, I think I liked the burger better with the citrus-y, creamy salad eaten with each bite. You can taste the burger much better without the bun in the way.

It occurred to me today (while in the shower... random... I guess I'm always thinking about food) that the Paleo Diet, aka Caveman Diet, is kind of like the Atkins Diet version 2.0. Low carb, lots of meat and fat. Dr Atkins died of a heart attack. Go figure. And how long did cavemen live? I believe 33 was a ripe old age. Though that may have been more due to the saber-toothed tigers than their diet.

Serves 4
Even if you are not going to make these burgers right now, at least just click through to see the mouthwatering juicy, bacon-y meat goodness. The recipe calls for pan-frying the burgers. We grilled them on the barbeque. The salad would be great with chicken or salmon as well.
  • Bacon Mushroom Burgers
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped
  • 1/2 an English cucumber, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • small handful cilantro, chopped  
Mix tomato, avocado, cucumber. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lemon over. Add cilantro and stir well. Serve with burgers, with or without buns.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Gluten and Dairy Free Week for Food Lovers

I've mentioned before that I love spending Saturday mornings with a coffee doing my menu planning. You know what I enjoy on Friday nights? Writing with wine. So here we go.

I'm going to share with y'all what I've been eating this week since going cold turkey on dairy and gluten for now. I hope that this will be helpful to any other food lovers who eat this way, whether by choice or necessity. I will not share the minutiae of what I put in my belly every week, I swear! This first week I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn't cry myself to sleep for want of bread. Perhaps because I ate enough bread dipped in gravy (omg that is the best right?!?) to last me for months during Sunday dinner at my parents this past week. Anyway. Moving on.

Monday was not completely gluten-free. I was still on the fence about eliminating gluten but I felt super guilty eating toast and crackers knowing I was advised not to. 

Not included below is my morning coffee with almond milk and sugar. This is a given and a must every day. Yes, the almond milk tastes a bit different, but I still love my coffee. I also drink at least 2 cups of green tea a day at work.

Breakfast: Whole grain toast with avocado.
Snack: Smoothie with mixed berries, banana, baby spinach, cold green tea
Lunch: Carrots and red peppers with hummus, Triscut crackers, a hard-boiled egg topped with a little Miracle Whip and chopped spicy picked green beans.
Snack: Green tea. Apples with Sun Butter.
Dinner: Roast chicken with weeknight risotto (recipe below)

Breakfast: Overnight Oatmeal with almond milk, flax, mixed berries. (Oats are kind of debated whether or not they acceptable on a gluten-free diet. I'm allowing it. I'm the boss of me.)
Snack:  Smoothie with mixed berries, banana, baby spinach, cold green tea
Lunch: Leftover chicken and risotto
Snack: Apples with Sun Butter
Dinner: Quiche made with a shredded-potato crust with sausage, tomato, onion, basil. Water instead of dairy used in the egg mixture.
Snack (after boot camp): Smoothie with coconut water, ground chia seeds, cocoa powder, almond butter

Breakfast: "Breakfast salad". I was out of oats and decided I wasn't going to eat bread, so I wandered around my kitchen peeking in the fridge and cupboards until I had 5 minutes left to wolf down some food. I mixed up a chopped hard-boiled egg and avocado with kale and mixed in some balsamic dressing. This was not my best work.
Snack: Smoothie with mixed berries, banana, baby spinach, water
Lunch: Quinoa salad made with sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, red peppers, cucumber, chicken, balsamic dressing
Snack: Apples with Sun Butter
Dinner: Stir-fry with tofu and brown rice
Snack: Flourless Nut Butter Cookie with almond milk

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs topped with chopped tomato and avocado. I didn't love this. The hot egg + cold avocado and tomato wasn't my favorite. Better than the "breakfast salad" though.
Snack:  Smoothie with mixed berries, banana, baby spinach, water
Lunch: Quinoa salad same as yesterday
Snack: Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas. Dark Chocolate.
Dinner: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes (recipe below)
Snack (after training run at the track):  Smoothie with coconut water, ground chia seeds, cocoa powder, Sun Butter. Nut butter cookie.

Breakfast: The tomato-avocado scramble improves a notch. Notably better mixing the tomato and avocado in the pan with the eggs while cooking. My next experiment will be making a salsa from the tomato and avocado and putting this on the eggs. Stay tuned.
Snack: same smoothie as every other day. And green tea. Of course.
Lunch: Salad with chicken, canellini beans, carrots, red pepper, Asian Sesame dressing
Snack: Apples with Sun Butter. Roasted chickpeas. Dark chocolate. A couple Starburst candies (it's Friday, ok!?!)
Dinner: ActiFry chicken wings with sweet-chili sauce, baked potato wedges, raw veggies (carrots, cucumber, snap peas). Have we talked about the T-Fal ActiFry before? I don't think so. Fantastic appliance. Read up on it. Then get one. For example, I cooked a pound of wings in it tonight, they crisped up beautifully, and I poured off almost a quarter cup of fat (potatoes cooked in schmaltz anyone?). Talk amongst yourselves.
Snack: Is red wine considered a snack? And a cookie.

Serves 4
An Amy Original 
Traditional risotto involves a lot of standing by the stove and stirring. This quick and easy version is a good alternative when you don't have the time or patience for babysitting food. Or perhaps you are actually physically babysitting a child (aka parenting). Measurements are approximate. Tweak as needed. If you are not avoiding dairy, mix in an knob of butter and some grated Parmesan cheese at the end if so inclined.
  • olive oil  
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 of a 750g bag Arborio rice
  • small handful sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups good chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small to medium zucchini, chopped small
  • fresh basil, julienned
Heat a glug of olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion, saute, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add rice, stir for 2 minutes. Add stock and sun-dried tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to keep at a simmer until rice is cooked through with just a bite at the center (like al dente pasta). If the pot is dry before the rice is cooked add some more stock or water. If your rice is super watery with only 5-10 minutes left of cooking, remove the lid and increase the heat a bit.

Meanwhile, heat another glug of oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, saute until golden-brown on all sides, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Mix most of zucchini (plus butter and Parm, if using) into risotto once rice is cooked. Serve with a garnish of the remaining zucchini and the fresh basil.

Serves 3
An Amy Original
It's easiest to cook the potatoes and garlic the night before and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • 1 head garlic
  • olive oil
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 of a 540mL can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 slices bacon, sliced into lardons
  • fresh basil, julienned
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut top of garlic off to expose the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Place on a baking sheet. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork. Place alongside garlic on baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft all the way though when tested with a sharp knife and garlic cloves are soft and caramelized. Cool to the touch.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Carefully peel off skin, taking care to keep in one piece. If it doesn't peel off easily, scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Place skins on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place flesh in a food processor with a glug of olive oil, chickpeas, water, salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze half of the garlic cloves out of their skins and add to sweet potato mixture. Puree until smooth. Scoop onto potato skins. Bake 20-30 minutes or until heated through.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a pan, transferring to paper towel lined plate once crisp. Serve sweet potatoes with bacon and basil sprinkled on top.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Flourless Nut Butter Cookies

Well, I've been dairy- and gluten-free since Monday and so far I've survived. I'm actually kind of enjoying getting creative with meals. I'll share what I've been eating in an upcoming post.

One thing that has helped me feel much less deprived is... SUN BUTTER! As you know, Parker has a full-on Epi-Pen allergy to peanuts. Therefore, no peanut butter in our house. I kept some peanut butter in my desk at work for a while, but that was a slippery slope from having a schmear of peanut butter on a couple of crackers to eating out of the jar with a spoon. On a daily basis. Not good. This week I discovered the BEST alternative to peanut butter- Sun Butter made from sunflower seeds. It tastes almost exactly like peanut butter. Maybe even better. I'm scraping the bottom of the jar already. Oy. In my defence, it's a small jar and I used an entire cup of it for these nut butter cookies.

I Googled "nut butter cookies" last night and was stirring ingredients for these flourless cookies within 5 minutes. I read through a couple of the recipe reviews to ensure they would turn out ok with the Sun Butter since it's a bit runnier than peanut butter, the reviews seemed promising so I went ahead. Indeed, these are exactly like the real thing. Oh peanut butter cookies, how I missed you in my life.

One of the reviews I read made me laugh out loud. A woman said, "They're sweet and rich. I baked them on the top shelf of the oven rack. I sprinkled them with sugar prior to baking them. I followed the recipe exactly. I gave them four stars rather than five because I like to eat several cookies at a time and these are so rich, you can only eat one, maybe two. But the flavor and texture were perfect."
You're kidding right? You gave a recipe less of a rating because they're so delicious that you want to eat a ton more but the cookies are so rich that you are satisfied with just one or two? I call that a win.

Adapted from Food Network
Makes approx 18 cookies
If your nut butter is not sweetened increase the sugar to 3/4 cup or up to 1 cup. Give a bit of the dough a taste and use your judgement. 
  • 1 cup Sun Butter or other nut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients but salt in a mixing bowl until combined. Spoon 1 tbsp of dough onto baking sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart. Roll into balls then flatten with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with salt. Bake approx. 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before carefully transferring to cooling rack.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bookmarked and a "Recipe"

Jokes on me. It was 2 years ago that Tyler went on a wheat and dairy elimination diet. I complained. Quite a bit. Well, now it's my turn. To clear up my winter eczema, among a couple other more serious concerns I don't care share here, I saw our Naturopath on Friday who suggested I limit dairy and wheat consumption. Yay. Ironic that in my last post I professed my love of bread. I am going to take baby steps here. Dairy first, then maybe wheat (I am trying to limit it though). I feel dairy is more of a problem, but that may just be my subconscious convincing me of that as it is easier for me to forgo dairy. I think. We'll see. I found Spaghetti and Meatballs last night to be only slightly lacking without Parmesan cheese.

Funnily enough, I borrowed a Paleo cookbook from a woman at work earlier this week. I finished leafing through it as I was cooking dinner on Wednesday. And then I went and made a cheese quesedilla. Haha. Now that I am limiting dairy and wheat though, this book/blog will be a good resource for the next while. The recipes on Nom Nom Paleo look fantastic, actually. She uses a lot of bacon. Now that is a concept I can get behind.

I think for the next while though, I will be thinking of life Pre-Cheese and Bread Goodness and Post-Cheese and Bread Goodness. Bookmarks are divided up as such below.

The "recipe". Can a smushed avocado on toast be called a recipe? Not really, hence the quotation marks. More like a delicious suggestion. Inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow's avocado on toast from It's All Good (OMG I just realized I already own a dairy- and gluten-free cookbook!), I've added some tomatoes to make this a lunch. I don't know why I feel this is more lunchy. For breakfast I do the same without tomatoes.

Serves 1
  • 1/3 avocado, peeled
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 a tomato, chopped
  • basil, chopped
  • mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip in my case, I don't like real mayo)
  • toast
  • salt and pepper
Smush up avocado with red pepper flakes in a bowl. Stir in tomato and basil. Spread toast with a thin schmear of mayo. Top with avocado mixture and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. A fried egg on top wouldn't go amiss if you are really hungry. Oo and some bacon.

Pre-Cheese and Bread Goodness
Paprika and Cheese Crackers via Serious Eats
Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin via Food52 This I can still eat. Yay!
Squash Brownies with Chocolate Swirl Topping via Foodland Ontario
Spinach Brownies via Blender Babes Parker told me this week that he doesn't like spinach in smoothies, only in brownies. Random... Ok kid. Have at 'er.

Post-Cheese and Bread Goodness
Fig Watermelon Salad with Honey-Vanilla Cashews via Nom Nom Paleo. Oh my this looks beautiful and delicious. I can't wait to eat this during the summer.
Caramelized Pear Oven Pancake via Williams Sonoma I made this recipe this morning using almond milk in place of milk. And apples instead of pears since that's what I had. Fantastic! Yes, butter contains some dairy, but let's not go crazy here. I'm allowing it.
Maple Quinoa Granola via Food 52 I think the quinoa will add extra yummy crunch. However, I'll have to find a new way to eat granola- usually I have it on yogurt.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Roasted Parsnip and Butternut Squash Soup

Guys. I did it again. Remember how I got lost running around frazzled getting ready for my birthday party? It happened again last week. This is getting slightly ridiculous. Only this time I wasn't so frazzled. Oy vey. Tyler finds it amusing and slightly annoying how bad I am at directions. He thinks I'm just absent-minded. I like to think it's due to all the other genius going on in my head.

Onto the food. I know. Another post about soup. Trust me, I'd rather be eating a nice fresh salad right now. But lettuce from Mexico? No Thanks. So soup it is. Plus, this is just too good not to share.

I had some parsnips languishing in the fridge along with half a squash. I'm sure I'd had a plan for those parsnips when I bought them a couple of weeks ago, but whatever that plan was, it never happened. What to do with them? My go-to is always to roast vegetables. My Roasted Cauliflower Soup worked so well that I thought I'd try that with the roasted squash and parsnips. Success! Some Parmesan cheese finishes it off nicely. As well as a slice of freshly baked bread warm from the oven... with a schmear of butter... mmmm...

I've been making bread every week. This past week was Almost No-Knead Bread from America's Test Kitchen. It's fantastic. One tip though- it's a super easy recipe but it does need an overnight rise. Plan accordingly.

I'm all about the no-knead bread lately. I think I made Food52's recipe for No-Knead Sandwich Bread six weeks in a row. Yeah. We like bread in this house. Is there a Bread-aholics Anonymous? I may join. Oops... I just ruined the anonymous part, didn't I?

Serves 4
An Amy Original
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss parsnips and squash with a drizzle of oil, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast on middle rack of oven 10 minutes. Stir, ensuring browned sides are flipped, and return pan to oven for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and onions. Cook until just starting to brown. Add stock and roasted vegetables. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and cool slightly.

Transfer everything to blender with Parmesan and blend until smooth, adding some water if soup is too thick. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What's for Dinner

Photo Credit: LCBO

I've kind of lost my cooking mojo the last couple of weeks. For one, I was sick for a week. Tyler cooked dinner for most of that week. When I had an appetite I was treated to pierogis with a side of hot dogs. I am not even exaggerating for comedic effect.

The other thing is, the daily grind of getting home from working and getting dinner on the table is wearing me down. I had planned a bunch slow cooker recipes for last week, but even then, most take some prep either the night before or the morning of. So instead of using ground beef for slow-cooker meatloaf on Friday, I made pasta with ground beef mixed with a can of tomato soup and a can of cheddar cheese soup. Not my healthiest creation to be sure. And wouldn't you know it, Tyler and Parker ate two servings each. They literally shoveled it in. God help me.

I've rounded up some recipes for quick, easy, healthy recipes this week. Here's hoping all will go according to plan!

Western Omelette Sandwich with Root Vegetable Home Fries from LCBO Food and Drink

Fusilli Rosa from LCBO Food and Drink

Chicken Shawarma from T-Fal ActiFry in pitas with cucumber, tomato, hummus

Kale Salad with Apples, Bacon, Chicken, Pecans, Feta adapted from Lauren's Latest

Pretzel-Crusted Pork Schnitzel from Bon Appetit with Roasted Root Vegetables. I am making the brine for the pork right now so it's ready to go the night before I make this.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

*UPDATE* March 2, 2014. Since I had the recipe nutritional breakdown I've updated below. This will not be a regular feature! I find it very tedious to input every ingredient into a calorie counter, plus I tend not to measure things so I can't say this is 100% accurate anyway.

So I hear winter 'round these parts is here to stay until April. Possibly May. Oh my. The cold is already making me cranky. A warm bowl of delicious soup is in order.

This soup tastes exactly like chicken pot pie. Even the soup-hating husband had seconds. Success! I like to break up my biscuits into my soup, like dumplings, Parker and Tyler prefer to dip. I can't say which is the right way (mine's closest of course!), but either way this soup is a win. 

In other news, this conversation happened with my 3 and a half year old today:

Parker: The [stuffed] tiger is looking for something...a rabbit. Or a giraffe.
Me: (in a giraffe voice) Here I am! Let's play!
Tiger Parker: Let's fight!
Me: Why do they have to fight? Why can't they be friends?

Apparently this a stupid question and there is no alternative to the tiger-giraffe throw down. Parker just walked away. Oh boy.

Adapted from Skinnytaste
Serves 4
Use which ever root vegetables you have on hand. However, the celery, carrots, peas, mushrooms must stay for the true chicken pot pie flavor in my opinion. If you don't have cooked chicken on hand, poach a couple of chicken breasts while you begin the soup. 
  • 4 cups milk, divided
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • couple handfuls sliced mushrooms
  • 2 small to medium parsnips
  • any other root veg you want to throw in (celeriac, sweet potato, etc)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups good chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken breast
  • Biscuits (recipe linked below) 
Whisk flour and 1/2 cup cold milk in a small bowl to make a slurry. Set aside.

Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion. Dice remaining vegetables, adding to pot as you go with some salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened and starting to caramelize a bit. Add thyme and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Add remaining 3 1/2 cups of milk. Bring to a simmer (fully boiling may cause milk to split and curdle). Add peas and chicken. Slowly pour in flour slurry while stirring. Bring back to a simmer. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Serve with biscuits.

Per Serving (made using skim milk)
Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sodium Sugar
299        37       5    29         514        8  

BEST DROP BISCUITS Start heating the oven before you start the soup, mix the biscuits as the vegetables are cooking. 

Per Serving (2 biscuits)
Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sodium Sugar
293          31      16    6         424        3