Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nutella and Strawberry Smoothie with Spinach

I used Nutella in this smoothie and the flavour didn’t really come through. If you don’t care about calories, go ahead and add 2 tablespoons instead. I think that might do the trick. But next time I’ll probably just use cocoa. I don’t like the idea of adding 180 calories (2 tablespoons) worth of Nutella. This smoothie was still delicious!

You can use frozen fruit if you like.

1 smoothie

1 medium banana
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 heaping tablespoon Nutella
1 handful fresh spinach
1 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened)

Place all ingredients into the blender and puree until smooth.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Apple, Mango, Kiwi Smoothie with Spinach

You can make smoothies out of whatever you find your fruit bowl. This time I grabbed a kiwi and a mango. My 2 year old wanted an apple so I gave her half and put the other half in the smoothie. I added a handful of spinach as well. My 4 1/2 year old loved this one. It wasn't sweet and it wasn't sour, it was just right. It helps if your mango is sweet of course, and your apple should be a sweeter variety as well. If you want a sour smoothie, use a granny smith.

1 smoothie

1/2 a medium apple (I left the skin on but removed the seeds)
1 kiwi, peeled
1/2 a medium mango, peeled
1 handful of spinach
1/2 cup almond milk (I'm still using that carton of coconut flavour)

Place all the ingredients into the blender and puree until smooth. This was a thick smoothie, you could add a little more milk if you want it runier.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Veal and Zucchini Mini Burgers

You wouldn't believe how much flavour you can add to your ground meat just by adding a packet of onion soup mix! I used Lipton brand. I'm not sure if other brands use such large pieces of dehydrated onion. And of course, I added veggies to these mini burgers. I served them on lettuce but you can find slider buns all over the place these days. Only 4 ingredients in this recipe. It doesn't get any easier! And whatever you do, you should know that adding salt to this recipe would be a bad idea. Onion soup mix has more than enough of it.

12 mini burgers

1lb lean ground veal (or beef)
1 packet dried onion soup mix
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 zucchini, grated and gently squeezed

Use your hands to combine all of the ingredients well. Shape into 12 balls and flatten them to about 1/2". They'll get fatter and shrink while they cook.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat (closer to medium) and add a bit of cooking spray (or oil if you wish).

Place the little burgers into the pan (maybe 6 at a time depending on the size of your pan) and cook for about 5 minutes per side or until golden and cooked through.

I served mine on lettuce with some tzatziki (that I found in the fridge), avocado and tomato.

Linking to
at Carole's Chatter

Banana Pistachio Smoothie

The first time I ever had this Banana Pistachio Smoothie was also the first time I went for dinner at my husband's place. Of course, he wasn't my husband at the time, but he made this for us that night. He also ate a lot of pickled garlic, which I thought was kind of weird, but as it turns out the stuff is delicious! Sometimes we add a spoon of honey, but the bananas are usually sweet enough if they're ripe.

Here's my husband's cup with his ice cream on top.

1 smoothie

2 small bananas (frozen if you like)
1/2 cup 2% milk
15 shelled pistachios (mine were salted)
1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a glass. If you're like my husband, you'll put a scoop of ice cream in.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Layered Mango, Strawberry and Banana Smoothie

I thought this layered smoothie looked like fun! My mangoes were a little sour though. Try to find sweet mangoes or you could even use frozen ones. I added some honey to sweeten it up. If your mangoes are sweet, omit the honey from the recipe.

I used coconut flavoured almond milk in this recipe even though it called for coconut milk (which I don't have).

Omit the honey to make this vegan.

2-3 servings (or 1 really big one)

Bottom Layer
1 ripe mango
1/2 an orange, peeled
1/2 cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
1 tablespoon honey (maple syrup for vegans)
Top Layer
1 medium banana, peeled
1 cup strawberries, hulled
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup almond milk (or coconut milk)

In a blender (or Magic Bullet), puree the bottom layer ingredients until smooth. Divide among 2 glasses.

In the same blender, puree the top layer ingredients until smooth. Use a spoon and place the top layer gently into the glass. If you pour it, the layers will mix.

It's that simple! Serve cold.

Tip: If you wanted a more slushy texture, freeze your fruit first. Strawberries and mangoes come already frozen. I've never seen frozen bananas in my stores, but I suppose it's possible. I just slice and freeze my own.

Adapted from Incredible Smoothies.

Southern Peach Cobbler

I absolutely love this Peach Cobbler recipe. The topping is SO good that I like to make double (but I only gave you the recipe for a regular batch of topping)! Double up if you want to!

Fruit Mixture
8 fresh peaches
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Slice an X into the bottom of the peaches (not too deep, just a little cut) and place them into the boiling water just for a few minutes. Remove them and let them cool enough so you can handle them. The skin should peel right off. Cut them in half and remove the pit, then slice them.

In a large bowl, combine the peaches with all of the other fruit mixture ingredients and toss to coat the peaches evenly. Pour the mixture into a (2 quart) glass baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons of white sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.

In a larger bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter until crumbly. Stir in the water until just combined.

Remove the peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon mixture and place back in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly and the topping is golden.

Adapted from All Recipes.

Apple and Blueberry Crisp

Fruit crisps are an easy last minute dessert. You probably have most of the items in your kitchen already. I like to sneak in a little flax here and there when I'm cooking/baking. You can leave it out if you want.

Fruit Mixture2
 large cooking apples, diced
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon flax seeds
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 425F.

In a nonstick pan over medium high heat, sautee the apples with the water until they start to get soft, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, cinnamon and blueberries. Pour into a glass casserole dish.

Combine the topping ingredients with your fingers until crumbly and sprinkle on top of fruit.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until bubbly. Let cool down a bit before you eat it because it's really hot and burning your tongue is no fun.

Top with ice cream if you want to be really naughty.

Sholeh Zard (saffron rice pudding)

This is a wonderful Persian recipe for rice pudding. The saffron, rosewater and cinnamon are a great combination.

You might be thinking that 6 cups of water is too much but you really want to cook the rice so it gets very soft.

6 cups water
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon saffron, crushed
1/4 cup rosewater
1/2 cup slivered almonds

slivered almonds, pistachios and cinnamon for garnish


Bring the rice and water to a boil in a large nonstick pot on high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium high and cook until the rice is very soft, 30-40 minutes.

Then, add the sugar and stir well.

Stir in the saffron and rosewater until well combined. Then add the almonds.

Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook on low heat for 20 minutes. It should be thick by now, if not, keep cooking it until the liquid is absorbed into the rice.
Transfer the rice pudding to a glass dish and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then, decorate it with cinnamon and nuts. Refrigerate for several hours to firm up. I like to serve it cold.

Adapted from Group Recipes.

Easy Tiramisu (no cooking)

Everybody loves my tiramisu. I use cream cheese instead of marscapone because I prefer the flavour, but the choice is yours.

36 ladyfinger cookies (about 1 1/2 packages)
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons instant coffee
2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
2 cups whipping cream (I just used the whole 500ml carton)
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white rum
1 cup frozen raspberries, defrosted and drained
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
cocoa powder

Mix coffee with warm water and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed then once combined turn to high for 2 minutes until cheese is smooth.

Reduce speed to low and add whipping cream vanilla, rum and 3 tablespoons of the coffee liquid.

Once combined turn speed to high and whip until light and fluffy. It seems very liquidy at first, but trust me, it will firm up after a few minutes. Keep whipping.

One at a time, dip cookies into the coffee liquid for only 2 or 3 seconds per side. Make a layer of dipped cookies in the bottom of your bowl and around the sides if you want. Add a layer of cream, then berries. Repeat layers making sure the last layer is cream.

Dust with cocoa powder and chill for several hours before serving. I like to make it the night before and let it sit for at least 12 -24 hours, that way the cookies will be nice and soft. Serve cold.


If you're like me, you throw away a lot of bread. I even freeze it only to throw it out later anyway. So I decided to make breadcrumbs. I'm not sure if white bread would work well (since it's so soft) unless you left the bag open for a day or two to let it dry out a bit.

Day old bread (I used 3 whole wheat flat breads from my freezer, defrosted)


Preheat the oven to 400F.

Put the bread in a food processor (but don't over fill it) and pulse until crumbly. There will be larger chunks but don't worry at this point.

Place in a thin layer of crumbs on a baking sheet (or two) and bake stirring as it browns. Bake until it gets crispy but not burnt. I didn't time it. Oops!

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Take the crumbs for another ride in the food processor to make them as fine or course as you like. Season with herbs, spices or parmesan cheese if desired.

I left mine plain and stored them in the freezer.

Small Batch Mint Chocolate Cookies

Small batch baking is a wonderful thing. Make only what you need so you're not tempted to eat too much. For some reason I didn't have semi sweet chocolate chips! I had to use what I did have, which turned out to be mint chocolate chips. If you don't like mint chocolate, feel free to use semi sweet.

Mine weren't crackly like they should have been, and they weren't as flat but they were still pretty darn tasty!

Makes 12 small cookies

2oz mint chocolate chips
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon beaten egg
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with a silicone pad, or parchment paper.

Place the chocolate chips and butter in a bowl and microwave for about a minute or until melted. Stir until well combined.

Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla and egg until well mixed.

Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir again until well combined.

Using a small cookie scoop, place the cookies on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 6 minutes. The cookies will puff up a bit and spread out.

Remove from the oven and rest on the sheet for a few minutes. If you try to move them right away, they'll fall apart. Transfer to a wire wrack to cool completely.

Adapted from Food Blogga.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chocolate, Banana and Peanut Butter Smoothie with Spinach

Here's another smoothie that I enjoyed. I'm sure it's been done before. I'm sure there's no combination that hasn't been done but anyway! This was yummy! You can use frozen banana if you want to.

1 serving

1 medium banana
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 handful of spinach
1/2 cup almond milk (I used coconut flavour)

Place all of the ingredients into the blender and let it go until smooth. Pour it into a glass and enjoy.

Pineapple, Banana and Mango Smoothie with Spinach

The theme for the June Crazy Cooking Challenge is fruit smoothies and shakes. This got me thinking that maybe I should incorporate more smoothies into my diet. They're super easy to make and taste delicious. And trust me, adding greens such as spinach and kale are a great idea, you can't taste them at all! Obviously the spinach turned this green, if you left it out you'd have a pretty yellow smoothie.

So, leading up to Challenge day (June 7th) I'll be posting smoothie recipes whenever I can. I have to select one from another blog for the challenge (which I haven't done yet) but otherwise, I've been throwing whatever I want in my magic bullet and hoping for the best.

This was my breakfast this morning. You can use fresh or frozen fruits when you're making smoothies. It all depends if you want a slushier texture or not.

Makes 1 smoothie

1/2 a banana
1/2 a ripe mango
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 handful of spinach
2/3 cup almond milk (I used coconut flavoured)

Put all the ingredients in the blender (or Magic Bullet) and let it go until it's smooth.

Transfer to a glass and serve it cold.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Healthier Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins Made with Applesauce

I wasn't sure if this was going to work or not because I don't normally bake with applesauce, but I thought what the heck, it's worth a try. So here's what I came up with. They were pretty good and only about 136 calories each (not including the banana chip)!

8 muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup if you like it sweeter)
1 large egg
1/4 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a silicone muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and sugar with a whisk.

In a measuring cup, measure out the milk then add the egg, applesauce and vanilla. Beat it up with a fork until well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and add the mashed bananas. Mix it all together with a rubber spatula just until combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter among 8 muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Tip: You can add nuts but it will up the calorie count. I put a banana chip on top to make it look nice but it's optional.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Emelia's Fiesta Spritz Cookies

This was supposed to be a cut out cookie recipe but my dough wasn't firm enough to roll. Instead of adding more flour, I put the dough in my spritz gun and went to work. They turned out pretty cute.

I put them all on skewers and put them in a flower pot with a piece of foam. I used store bought icing because it promised to set so the cookies could be stacked. There's no guarantee when I make my own. But you can make your own with confectioners sugar, a little milk and food colouring.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, spices and salt until a ball of dough forms. Cover, and chill for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat the oven to 325F and line a cookie sheet with parchment.

Load your spritz gun with some dough and place cookies 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets. If your dough is too thick to press, roll the dough to about 1/4" thick and use cookie cutters.
Bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Once cool, use icing and sprinkles to decorate.

Adapted from All Recipes.

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

They're supposed to be big according to the original recipe but I like smaller cookies so I used a small cookie scoop. Don't be tempted to over-cook them. When you take them out they should look slightly undercooked, they'll finish cooking to chewy perfection on the baking sheet. The original recipe doesn't say this, but I chilled my dough for an hour. Chill between batches so it doesn't warm up.

Sorry, I don't remember how many cookies I got out of this recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter and sugars for a minute until well combined. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients just until combined, ten stir in the chocolate chips. Chill for at least an hour.
Drop cookie dough using a small cookie scoop (or teaspoon) onto the prepared sheets.

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Adapted from
All Recipes.

Robin Hood Chocolate Chip Cookies

I like recipes from Robin Hood. And who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies? Here's a good one for you to try!

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cream butter, sugars, egg and vanilla together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into the butter and sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to wire racks.

Adapted from Robin Hood Flour.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Guacamole Grilled Cheese - Crazy Cooking Challenge

Oh yes! It’s time for another Crazy Cooking Challenge!

This month it was all about grilled cheese, and this was the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever had! I’m not kidding!

Who would have thought that putting guacamole on grilled cheese would be so delicious? I love avocados and I love guacamole. I also LOVE cheese. I used extra old white cheddar but any sharp cheddar will do. You could probably use other cheeses as well. Something with lots of flavour though, otherwise you’ll only taste the guacamole.

I came across this recipe from two peas & their pod and immediately knew that this was the one that I had to use in the challenge. So I went shopping and picked up the perfect avocado and some fresh croissants. Knowing that my kids wouldn’t like the texture of the avocado, I made them regular grilled cheese sandwiches and watched them eat. When they were done, I went to work on my dinner. Yes, dinner. That’s right, grilled cheese isn’t only for lunch. It’s one of my favourite things to make on nights when I’m feeling too lazy to cook anything else.

I chose to use croissants instead of bread because they already have lots of delicious butter in them (no bread buttering required). If you’re going to use bread instead, be sure to butter the outside pieces before putting it in the pan. Also, I didn’t put jalapeno or garlic. Add some if you like it spicier.


Makes 2 sandwiches.

1 small ripe avocado
¼ cup chopped tomato
1 tablespoon minced onion (I used yellow)
2 tablespoons minced cilantro (or parsley)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 butter croissants (or 4 slices of bread)
Slices of cheddar (I cut mine from a brick, you could get slices at the deli I suppose)

For the guacamole; peel the avocado and remove the pit. Cut it into chunks and place it in a bowl. Add, tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix it up with a fork. You can keep it as chunky as you like, or make it smooth.

Cut your croissants in half and divide the guacamole between the two. Spread it evenly. Place cheese on top of the guacamole. I put a lot. I like mine cheesy. Place the top of the croissant on.

Heat the pan over medium low. Low and slow, otherwise the croissants will burn before the cheese melts. The thing about these is that you can’t press them down with the spatula as you might with a regular grilled cheese. If you do, the guacamole will come out the sides and you don’t want that! So just place the croissants in the pan, cheese side down, and be patient. This will take some time. I actually put a small baking sheet over the pan to help the cheese melt a bit. This worked out well!

Once you see the cheese starting to melt and the bottom becomes crispy, flip it over and cook on the other side. Serve warm!

If you like this recipe all you need to do is click on #40 below to vote for it!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Who doesn't love chocolate dipped strawberries? And you can decorate them for any occasion. The amount of chocolate you need will really depend on the size of your strawberries. Start with 2 cups. You can always melt more. You can also use chocolate coating in a variety of colours. No need to add oil to that. Just melt it over a double boiler and dip.

This is so clever! You can do the same thing for cake pops if the holes are big enough to hold the sticks.

20 large strawberries with leaves
2 cups semi sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 tablespoon canola oil/butter/shortening (whatever you like)
White chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or any colour of chocolate coating for decorating
Sprinkles and decorations (optional)

Wash and dry your strawberries. Drying is important. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. The chocolate won't stick if the strawberries are wet.

In a double boiler, melt your chocolate with oil until almost melted, then remove the pot from the heat. The rest will melt just from the heat already in the bowl. Stir it until all the chocolate is melted.

Insert toothpicks in the leafy end of each strawberry. Dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate and plant in the strainer to dry. I don't remember where I saw this, but what a clever trick! If you don't have a strainer with big enough holes, you can just place your strawberries on a parchment lined baking sheet to dry. They'll have a flat bottom but it doesn't really matter. You can put them in the fridge to speed things up if you want to.

Once the coating is dry, melt the coloured chocolate and drizzle it over the berries. Put some sprinkles on while the chocolate is still wet and let everything dry again.
Use paper muffin liners to make your tin or plate look pretty and keep the berries separate.

Linking to
Recipe of the Week : Anything Goes