March 30, 2014

fall and winter highlights

Although the snow that was piled high in our backyard and front lawn hasn't completely melted yet, spring is definitely here.  So I thought I'd do a little retrospect on the last cold six months of the year, because while it was harsh and cold at times, we still had some fun memories.


Best history lesson:  Washinton DC.  This city totally exceeded my expectations.  There was so much to do and see and learn!  We when to the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress and many, many museums.  Best of all, they were all free and everywhere we went, we got a tour by amazing people.  The tour guide at the Library of Congress was like the best university professor you ever had.  And there was no test at the end.

Best learn-to-appreciate-what-you-have experience:  The ice storm caused us to lose electricity for a good 48 hours, and then our frozen pipes caused us to go without water for a couple of hours.  It's amazing the things we take for granted here.  Electricity and water make all the difference.

Best snowy experience:  We went snow-shoeing!  It was sooo much fun.  It was also really tiring.  I almost passed out a couple of times.  You really have to lift those legs.  After snow-shoeing we went tubing and I learned that it's the most sure-fire way of getting rid of the muscle pain and fatigue from the snow-shoeing.

That's all!  I hope you have a happy spring!
xoxo
a



March 23, 2014

Guest post! Coconut flour-breaded fish tacos


Fun!  This recipe is pretty easy and the batter does not have a strong coconut flavor, so you could make regular fried fish and chips if you wanted.  If you're concerned with the glutens or the carbs, then this recipe is for you!




Here's the recipe!

Coconut Flour-Breaded Fish Tacos

Ingredients:
3 Tilapia Filets - cut length-wise
1 egg
1 and 1/3 table spoons of coconut flout
1/4 cup milk (maybe)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for frying (coconut oil works well)


Directions:

  1. Beat the egg, then add everything except for the milk and mix thoroughly.  Add enough milk to make a batter (consistency of pancake batter)
  2. Batter the fish!  Might be easier to smush the batter on with your hands.
  3. Fry the fish.  Only takes about a minute per side in a quarter inch of oil
  4. That's about it.  Recommend topping with avocado and the cole slaw found here!

March 16, 2014

chocolate chip banana bread


Banana bread is the comfort food of sweets.  I absolutely love banana bread.  I made one variety that is really tasty and healthier here.  But this recipe is a little more decadent, involving butter, sugar and chocolate chips.  So if you're up for splurging a little on your banana bread, this is a good recipe to try out.





Here's the recipe!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
2 tablespoons sour cream or yoghurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces chocolate chips

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
2) In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed.
3) Beat in bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture and chocolate on medium. Pour batter into pan. Bake until a skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
4) Let bread cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Enjoy with a nice cold glass of milk!  Mmm, mmm, good.


March 09, 2014

best ever chocolate chip cookies



I'm going to make a confession:

I'm not very good at making cookies.  Usually my cookies turn out either too hard, too soft, bad tasting,  too flat, too… well, you get the picture, they just never turned out great.

Until this recipe.  A friend at work made these amazing cookies and shared them with everyone.  They were so good I ask her for the recipe and she passed it along.  It's amazingly simple, but oh so good.  And best of all, they're fool proof.  Even though my cookies never turned out well before this recipe, these ones were amazing.

Just one my note.  I would have made these with chocolate chips, but halfway through making them I realized we were out (a certain someone had finished them all up making smoothies).  So that certain someone helped me out by chopping up the bars of dark chocolate we had in our cupboard to replace the chocolate chips.  They still turned out great. :)





the ice cream scoop makes a re-appearance!  I love this thing.




Here's the recipe!

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
2/3 cup soften butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tbls hot water
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:
Beat butter and brown sugar. Gradually add in eggs and hot water.
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Gradually add to the butter mixture.  Add in chocolate chips.
Make into 1 - 1.5 inch  balls (I used my ice cream scoop for this which makes the job a snap), put on parchment paper or silicone baking mat, and bake for roughly 8-10 minutes (will depend on size and your oven so it's a bit of trial and error until you figure it out).  Cookies should be just slightly brown around the edges and may look a bit wet in the middle (if too wet though, put in for another minute). Do not overcook otherwise they won't be chewy and delicious.
Lift parchment paper onto wire rack where they can cool.  If possible  (this will be a challenge), wait at least 10 minutes before grabbing one.
Enjoy!


March 01, 2014

cavalo nero (kale salad)


If you live in or around Toronto and are looking to head to a restaurant, may I recommend Gusto 101?

My favourite dish there is actually a salad, the Cavalo Nero.  The first time someone recommended Gusto to me, they told me about this salad, and I thought "how can a kale salad be that good?"  Well, I've tried it (a couple of times now) and I'm here to tell you that yes, a kale salad can be that good.

I decided to recreate it at home a few weeks ago, and it didn't turn out half bad.  The restaurant version is still king, but this recipe does a good job of getting close.






Here's the recipe!

Kale Salad (aka Gusto restaurant's famous Cavalo Nero)
adapted from Kitchen Inspirations

Ingredients
6 cups of kale, finely chopped in thin strips
2 tbsp dried blueberries and/or cherries
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds or toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp pesto sauce or mashed up basil
1/4 cup finely shaved or grated parmesan or grana padano
pinch of salt


Directions:
About 30 minutes before serving, combine the lemon juice, honey, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt and mix well in a large unreactive bowl (not metal).  Add the finely cut kale and toss to coat evenly. Set aside for a minimum of 30 minutes.  This allows the kale to macerate in the dressing and get the right texture and taste.

Just before serving, add the blueberries, pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, pesto and grated parmesan cheese to the dressed kale and toss well. 

Enjoy!