May 31, 2012

eggplant pizza

I'm starting to see a pattern in the types of recipes I like to make.  Have you guessed it yet?

It's vegetables!

I absolutely love vegetables.  Even when I go out for lunch or dinner, I always try to eat vegetables.  I've got my favourites, eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, just to name a few.  There aren't many veggies that don't make the list.  I'm not the biggest fan of raw broccoli, for example.

As for today's recipe, it features eggplant.  It's super tasty.



Here's the recipe!

Eggplant Pizza

Ingredients
4 Chinese eggplants, sliced lengthwise 1/4"
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 cup of goat cheese
red chilli flakes
olive oil
salt & pepper
pizza dough for crust

Directions

1. Preheat over to 350F.  Place eggplant on sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.  Coat both sides.   Roast eggplant in the over for 40mins, turning them over half way through, until they fully roasted on both sides.

2.  Roll out pizza dough and place on a baking stone in the over for 5mins, to partially cook.  Remove from the oven and set it aside.

3.  Spread goat cheese evenly on the pizza crust.  Next, place the eggplant on top, spreading the pieces evenly.  Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and chilli flakes to taste, and drizzle with olive oil.

4.  Place pizza in the oven for another 10 mins until the crust is fully baked.

Enjoy!


May 27, 2012

fluffy coconut flour pancakes


Mr A loves pancakes and these ones are paleo, so they're getting double the love right now.

In my opinion, these coconut flour pancakes are even tastier than your wheat variety pancakes and just as easy to make.


We also tried them again today and this time added 1/4 cup frozen blueberries and they turned out great!  The only thing we changed was that we added 1 extra tsp coconut flour because the blueberries add a little extra moisture.

Here's the recipe!

Coconut flour pancakes
adapted from Nourishing Days

Ingredients
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp honey
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
butter for frying (you can also use coconut oil)

Directions

  1. Preheat griddle over medium-low heat. In a small bowl beat eggs until frothy, about two minutes. Mix in milk, vanilla, and honey.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt and whisk together. Stir  wet mixture into dry until coconut flour is incorporated. 
  3. Grease pan with butter or coconut oil. Ladle a few tablespoons of batter into pan for each pancake. Spread out slightly with the back of a spoon. The pancakes should be 2-3 inches in diameter and fairly thick. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until the tops dry out slightly and the bottoms start to brown. Flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with butter, maple syrup or fruit preserves.


May 24, 2012

very special salad dressing


I love salad, and I love it even more in the summer.  This salad dressing is simple, but it's got a couple of secret ingredients that really take it over the top and make it extra special:  maple syrup and shallots!

I made this salad with grapefruit sections.  Perfect for a warm summer day!



Here's the recipe!

Oooh lala salad dressing

Ingredients:
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp maple syrup

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients and whisk well.  Add salad leaves and toss well to coat.

Enjoy!

May 21, 2012

tomato potato gallette


This long weekend, my husband and I staycationed in sunny Toronto.  I felt like is was on a real vacation.  The weather was awesome, we lunched on patios, and I got to see old friends.  A girl couldn't ask for more.

Here's a nice recipe for a Sunday or long weekend brunch.  We had ours for dinner and it worked well for that too.





Here's the recipe!

Tomato Potato Gallette
adapted from Canadian Living
Servings: 6

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups (375 mL) whole wheat all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 pinch smoked paprika
2/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup (50 mL) cold water, (approx)

Filling:
2 potatoes
6 roma tomatoes
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) herbes de provence
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

In bowl, stir together flour, salt and paprika. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture is in fine crumbs with a few larger pieces. Stirring with fork, pour in enough of the water to make dough hold together. Press into disc; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
Filling: In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cover and cook potatoes just until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool. Thinly slice crosswise; transfer to large bowl.
Meanwhile, cut tomatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick slices; place on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with pinch each of the salt and pepper; broil, turning once, until slightly shrivelled and edges are blackened, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Add to potatoes along with 1 1/2 cups of cheese and all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the eggs; toss gently to combine.
On lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 16-inch (40 cm) circle; place on pizza pan. Spread potato mixture over pastry, leaving 2-inch (5 cm) border uncovered. Arrange tomatoes on potato mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Fold border over top, pleating to fit. Brush pastry with remaining egg.
Bake in bottom third of 400°F (200°C) oven until pastry is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand on rack for 10 minutes before cutting. (Make-ahead: Let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Rewarm before serving.) 
Enjoy!

May 19, 2012

simply asparagus



Sometimes the simplest things taste the best.  When asparagus is in season, I love to drizzle them with olive oil, and some salt & pepper, and roast them in the oven.  It's so simple, but so delicious.



After you've washed the asparagus, place them on a baking sheet.  Drizzle some olive oil, enough to coat the asparagus, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put them in the oven at 350F for 20 mins, and you'll have yourself a very tasty side dish.


We ate ours outside on the patio.  I highly recommend.

Enjoy!

May 17, 2012

mocha cupcakes



Sometimes I get a craving for cupcakes.  Oh who am I kidding, I have a craving for cupcakes every day.


These cupcakes are great because the cake part is wheat-free (it's made with beans!) and the icing is seriously delicious.

Here's the recipe!

Mocha Cupcakes

Flourless Chocolate Cake
see recipe here

Coffee Buttercream Icing
adapted from My Kitchen is My Playground


1 T. instant coffee granules
1  T. water
3/4 lb. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar

Combine water and coffee granules in a small bowl; stir to dissolve coffee.  Set aside.

Beat butter in bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.  Reduce mixer speed to low.  Add confectioners' sugar.  Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes.  Add the coffee mixture; beat on low speed to combine.  Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl.  Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Frosts 18 cupcakes.



I also sprinkled them with chocolate shavings for a nice finishing touch.


Enjoy!

May 14, 2012

pillow talk


Making your own decorative pillow is so much fun.  You can get as creative as you want and use pretty much any type of fabric you have on hand.

Here's the one I made, and I'll show you how I did it.


You'll need some basic tools, like pins, fabric pencil, good fabric scissors, and of course a sewing machine.


I used two old sweaters and layer them flat on top of each other and then drew out the lines using a ruler and a fabric pencil.



Then I pinned the two pieces of fabric together.



And sewed them together.



Here's what I ended up with:


The other side:



I then cut the extra fabric around the edges.





I turned the pouch inside out and pinned on my decorate flowers.  These were taken off of another old shirt.




Once I was done with the pinning and I liked how the design looked, I hand-sewed each flower onto the pillow case.


I then stuffed the case with batting.  Make sure to get the batting well-dispersed and into the corners before we sew up the final side of the pillow.  Moving the batting around after you've sewed the pillow shut is challenging.




After getting the batting into the pillow the way I wanted, I sewed the pillow closed.  This is also a bit challenging because the pillow is quite bulky by then so getting it under the sewing needle is tough.  Next time, I plan on leaving a bit more fabric at the top edge so that it is easier to sew together at the end.

And voila!


You have yourself a very, one of a kind, decorate pillow for  your chair or coach.



May 13, 2012

happy mother's day!

Thank you for being my rock and my biggest cheerleader all my life.  You're the best.  I'm so lucky to have you as my mom.
Love,
zaza


May 12, 2012

homemade banana frozen yoghurt


This recipe is absolutely perfect for summer and will take you no time to make.  It's super healthy and ridiculously delicious.  We've made this a bunch of times and each time I'm so excited and surprised at how yummy it is.

The key ingredient are extremely ripe bananas that you'll need to freeze in advance.




We use this extremely rich, gooey vanilla extract that we received as a gift from my mother-in-law.  This gives our frozen yoghurt little specs of vanilla bean which I personally think make it look, and therefore taste even better.



Here's the recipe!

Homemade Banana Frozen Yoghurt
by Tarts and Crafts

3 extremely ripe frozen bananas
1 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Peel the frozen bananas (this can be tough to do, so we usually let the bananas thaw out for 5 minutes before we start peeling them), break them up in small pieces with your hands and place them in the food processor.  Add the yoghurt and vanilla extract.  Blend them all in the processor for 1 minute until smooth.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

May 06, 2012

spaghetti night!


Tonight was spaghetti night, which I absolutely love.  I learned this hearty spaghetti sauce recipe from my mom and I'll carry it with me forever.  It tastes like home.  Spaghetti night makes me feel like everything's gonna be ok.

Side bar:  We made it with mushrooms tonight, but it also works great with cubed zucchini.




The weather is so great today, we ate outside on the patio.  Double the fun!

Here's the recipe!

Mushroom & Meat Sauce Spaghetti
by my Mom

Ingredients
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili flakes
500g extra lean ground beef
2-3 cups mushrooms, sliced
500 mL of your favourite pasta sauce
2 cups whole wheat pasta, prepared as per package instructions

Directions
Heat vegetable oil in a large pot, then add the onions and sauté until they are tender.  Add the turmeric and chili flakes to the onions and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.  Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is fully cooked and browned.  Add the mushrooms to the meat and cook until the mushrooms are cooked.  Add the pasta sauce and bring to a boil, then reduce heat so that the sauce is just simmering.  Let the sauce simmer for 5-10 mins so that it is heated through.

Serve over pasta and sprinkle with parmesan.  Enjoy!


May 05, 2012

coconut flour donut-muffins


My brother in law gave us the idea to bake with Coconut Flour a few months ago, and we finally found some at a grocery store last weekend.  Coconut flour is big with people on the paleo-diet and/or gluten-free diet because it's not a grain and it's packed with fibre.

I found a recipe for baked coconut flour donuts, but since I don't have a donut mould, I made them in muffin moulds instead.


It was my first time baking with coconut flour, and what stood out to me is how little of the flour you actually use.  This recipe only called for 1/2 cup!




Toasting the shredded coconut was fun!  Makes the house smell great too.


One went missing soon after they came out of the oven...


Here's the recipe!

Coconut Flour Donut Muffins
by Comfy Belly

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of honey (or other sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted (coconut oil, or regular oil will work as well)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Blend all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Using a whisk, or mixer on a low setting, blend in all the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix until well-blended.
  5. Fill donut pan circles about 2/3 of the way full with batter.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Honey-dipped, toasted coconut topping

Warm a few tablespoons of honey in a saucer (I put it in the microwave for about 10 seconds). Toast some coconut flakes for about 5 minutes at 300 degrees F. Dip each donut in the honey and then in the toasted coconut.