GARLIC SMASHED POTATOES

My boyfriend and I’s latest obsession has been scoping out different breakfast joints to have our most important meals of the day. His favourite has been pubs…. such as Brew Street Craft and Kitchen. This is a place where he can have bacon, sausages, eggs, hash browns and toast all for just $5. Yes you heard it. $5. I on the other hand, love pubs because where else can I have sangrias and mimosas at 10am in the morning??

Then of course there’s White Spot which is a 5 minute walk from home. They have a HUGE selection of breakfast items that I can’t wait to fill my stomach with! They are also known for their famous smashed potatoes. We were out for brunch a couple of weeks ago when I started thinking to myself ‘I MUST MAKE THESE AT HOME’. And of course, when I put my mind to something…I will stop at no lengths to achieve it. 

I bought a huge bag of the dynamic duo nugget potatoes from the Little Potato Company at Costco. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these potatoes! They are perfect for just about anything! I make mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes and I even use them when making my curry dishes. 

To make these delish smashed potatoes, boil a large pot of salted water. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender. Drain. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. We’ll be baking and broiling these little potatoes 🙂

Add the potatoes onto the lined baking sheet and gently press down *remember to try to keep the potato in one piece* Add olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme, oregano, parsley and tarragon. Bake at 450 for 15 mins. Then broil until golden brown. Just before the potatoes are done add some minced garlic. Don’t make the mistake that I initially made which was adding the garlic right away. I ended up with burnt bitter garlic which was totally not fun!! These potatoes are literally so easy to make. Feel free to add different herbs or even fresh herbs! Happy Cooking 🙂

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APPLE CRISP

Holy smokes! I feel like I’ve been waiting FOREVER for summer to come to an end! Don’t get me wrong, I love patio season but fall and winter are where it’s at! I love wearing boots, layering on sweaters and jackets and of course did I mention the joy of hibernating? 🙂

Since it’s apple season, I made sure I stocked up on our apples. I’ll find any excuse to make anything that has apple in it. I had an allergy test done a couple of months ago and I found it incredibly interesting how the doctor told me that I was allergic to apples. Like seriously? Me? The person who’s allergic to like a thousand things and counting? I literally laughed at him and said whatever, I’m still eating it anyway. I mean how can I say no to apple pies? Apple tarts? Sliced apples with soy butter? Yes, I know you probably think that’s disgusting but I’m allergic to peanut butter..Like actually allergic allergic..Like anaphylactic shock allergic.

No matter how full I am after a meal, I can’t say no to dessert. Better yet, I can’t say no to apple crisp! I’ve always had a vision of living on a farm and baking apple crisp. After baking it, I’d let it cool on the window sill while my husband rounded up all the cattle.

I used to bake many variations of apple crisp back when I was in middle school. That was how I came up with this wonderful recipe. Try out this delicious apple crisp and let me know what you think of it! I’m sure it won’t disappoint! 🙂

APPLE CRISP

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 75 Minutes (Bake time is 60 Minutes)
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS: 


  • 4-5 medium apples (peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch pieces)
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup and 2 tbp of granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup and 2 tbsp of light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup of all purpose flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats (do not use the quick cooking)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) of salted butter (cut into small cubes)

DIRECTIONS:


  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Move the oven rack to the middle position in the oven.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the apples with the lemon juice, cinnamon, ½ cup of granulated sugar and 2 tbsp of brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, combine the flour, ¼ cup of brown sugar, 2 tbsp of granulated sugar and salt. Cut the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the oats and mix together to form large clumps
  4. In a large baking dish, add in the apple mixture and add in the topping mixture on top. Bake the crisp in the oven for approximately 50-60 minutes. Crisp will be ready  once it’s a deep golden brown.
  5. Let the crisp cool for about 8-10 minutes until topping with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy digging in!! 🙂apple-crisp

ONE POT CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PASTA

Who doesn’t love a one pot wonder? While grocery shopping this past weekend, I quickly put this recipe together. Comfort food was what I wanted. Something homey, creamy and fabulous all in one pot. I mean come on! Who wants to dirty unnecessary dishes?? Definitely not me. I don’t even like washing the dishes once I’m done cooking or baking! After some thought, I put my vision into action and made it for my family for our weekly Sunday dinner. They were happy (as usual) 😉 It’s pretty much chicken and mushrooms in a creamy sauce topped with peas and of course, crispy bacon. Need I say more?

One Pot Chicken & Mushroom

ONE POT CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PASTA

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 45 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 4 strips of bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 6 chicken thighs, skin off
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 10 medium mushrooms (halved if large)
  • 3 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • ½ cup of heavy cream (33%)
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • ½ tsp of parsley
  • ¼ tsp of mint
  • 4 cups of egg noodles
  • ½ cup of peas

DIRECTIONS:


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until just crisp. Remove bacon and set aside
  2. Remove any access oil from the pot. Add in 2 tbsp of butter and cook chicken (sprinkled with salt & pepper) until just cooked, flipping once. Chicken will finish cooking with the pasta. Set aside.
  3. Add the remaining tbsp of butter. Add in the garlic, mushrooms and shallots. Cook until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated.
  4. Add in the chicken broth, heavy cream, oregano, parsley, mint and salt & pepper.
  5. Add in the chicken and bring to a boil until sauce has thickened. Add in the egg noodles and simmer until cooked.
  6. Add in cooked bacon and peas. Serve with garlic bread and Enjoy 🙂

CHILLI PANEER

Paneer is so common in South Asian dishes especially in Indian dishes. I’ve heard that you can make paneer at home but sometimes I can’t be bothered, since it’s relatively cheap to buy in stores 🙂 This chilli paneer was absolutely delicious! I started off by cubing the paneer into bite sized pieces and lightly pan fried them. I then combined the spices and formed a sauce for the paneer and literally just combined it together…that’s how easy it was 🙂

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CHILLI PANEER

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 1 14 ounce pkg of paneer (cut into ¼ inch pieces)
  • 5 tbsp of canola oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chilli, such as Serrano, minced
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  • 2 green onions for garnishing

DIRECTIONS:


  1. In a medium fry pan over medium heat, heat 3 tbsp of oil. Fry the paneer in batches until golden brown on each side. Once cooked, remove and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel.
  2. Put the remaining oil into the fry pan and reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, green chili, salt and pepper. Stir for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and sugar. Stir until just combined. Add in the cooked paneer with about a spoonful of water. Cover the fry pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until there is no water left.
  4. Remove from the heat and garnish with green onions and Enjoy! 🙂

PAV BHAJI

Pav Bhaji has been one of my favourite Indian food dishes of all time! You could say that it’s an Indian vegetarian version of a Sloppy Joe. It’s this amazing one-pot meal. Which is essentially a vegetable curry served on a hot buttery dinner roll. Since all of the vegetables are mashed up, its a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies! 

One of the major things that I’ve learned while making this dish is the use of butter. Butter plays an essential role in this dish! My family has been making pav bhaji for years and they’ve always used canola oil. I on the other hand, have found that by replacing the oil with butter, you’ll end up with a more richer and creamier dish 🙂

You can totally make this using premade store bought mix (all you need to do is add the veggies). But I would totally make this from scratch! Trust me, not only will your dish be more flavourful but you’ll also feel good about making it on your own 🙂

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PAV BHAJI

  • Servings: 5 People
  • Time: 45 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 3 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • ¼ head of cauliflower (chopped)
  • 5 tbsp of butter
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp of ginger (grated)
  • 1 green chili – I use Serrano (minced)
  • 2 long eggplants or 1 eggplant (cubed)
  • 3 tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 12 dinner rolls
  • butter
  • 1 small red onion (chopped)
  • ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)

DIRECTIONS:


  1. Boil water in a large pot.Once the water has boiled, add the potatoes and cauliflower. Simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain, mash and set aside
  2. In the large pot, over medium heat, add 4 tbsp of butter and onions. Saute for about 8-10 minutes
  3. Add in garlic, ginger, green chili and eggplants. Cover and cook until soft 10-12 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes.
  4. Add in tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for another 5 minutes
  5. Add in the ground cumin, garam masala, ground turmeric, chili powder, salt and the mashed potato/cauliflower mixture. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft.
  6. Remove pot from heat and add in the remaining tbsp of butter. Mash the mixture until the consistency is like mashed potatoes.
  7. Cut the dinner rolls in half and toast until golden brown. Spread generously with butter. Add a layer of the pav bhaji. Top with some red onion and cilantro
  8. Enjoy! 🙂

 

HONEY O CEREAL BARS

These amazing no bake cereal bars are literally the best! They are just so simple & easy to make and of course require no effort. The nice cherry on top is that they are completely nut, peanut and coconut free; making them lunch friendly when your children take them to school 🙂

Growing up with a nut allergy was extremely hard when I was little. Not only did my parents have to read all the ingredients on every little thing I had, they also had to monitor everything I ate. Unfortunately dinner parties were the worst! We would arrive to our family friends homes and I would immediately be drawn to the nicely displayed food. I remember how the first thing my mother would do was ask the hostess if there were any nuts in any of the foods. And of course before they could answer, I’d have gobbled down anything in front of me. Within seconds I would start having a reaction and go into an anaphylactic shock.

One of the reasons why I started making these bars was because I grew tired of trying to find bars that were completely nut free. I had been to so many grocery stores and all I could find were ones that were peanut free. The downside with the peanut free bars was that they still would contain coconuts or other nuts. Overall, I was able to find completely nut free bars but unfortunately they ended up having way too much sugar

To make these bars, I start off by melting some butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. I then add some brown sugar, cinnamon and of course HONEY! Western Sage Glacier Creamed Honey is where it’s at! It’s just so rich in flavour and I’m able to put it on just about everything. I then combine that liquid mixture with some cereal (any of your favourite will do) and I add some raisins as well.

The neat thing about this recipe is you can put just about anything you like into it! I’ve shared this recipe with some friends and they decided to put in some dried fruit and nuts instead of raisins and it worked completely well with them 🙂

 

HONEY O CEREAL BARS

  • Servings: 16 Bars
  • Time: 15 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS


 3 Tbsp. of butter
– 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
– 1/4 cup of honey
– 1 tbsp. of cinnamon
– 4 cups of cereal (I used Multi Grain Cheerios)
– 1/2 cup of raisins

 DIRECTIONS


  1. Line a 9×9 square baking pan with parchment paper
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey and cinnamon
  3. Bring to a boil and continue stirring for 2 minutes and remove from heat
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cereal, raisins and butter mixture.
  5. Pour the cereal mixture into the parchment lined pan and let the bars cool completely and then cut into squares

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HOT DOG MUMMIES

These hot dog mummies are the perfect snack to have on Halloween! And trust me, they are super super easy to make 🙂

To make these cute mummies, you will need a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and 8 hot dogs. I used chicken hot dogs as I do not eat pork or beef but any type of hot dog will do! Cut each hot dog lengthwise halfway up to form legs. Then make two more cuts for the arms. Repeat this for all of the hot dogs. Next, open up a can of the crescent rolls and cut each rectangle into 8-10 long strips. Start wrapping the dough around the hot dogs and make it look like bandages. Once all of the hot dogs are wrapped, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Once the mummies have finished baking, you can use ketchup or mustard to give them the eyes!

Not only do these mummies look really cool, but they are seriously tasty. The dough gets super crispy around the edges and the hot dog stays nice and juicy on the inside 🙂

Hot Dog Mummies

BAKED JALAPEÑO POPPERS

FullSizeRender (34)I absolutely LOVE jalapeño poppers! I started making these yummy peppers back when I started home ec in grade 6. I remember how I came home after making these in school and immediately I wanted to make them for my family. That night, my mom and I made these and wow! They were polished clean instantly! Since they are seeded, there isn’t as much heat as there would be if they were whole peppers. I’m constantly modifying this recipe as I’ve made it so many times. Sometimes I’ll add in more or less cheese. Sometimes I’ll use breadcrumbs instead of panko but I’ve finally narrowed it down this! A couple of years ago, my mom asked me to make this as a side for our Sunday family dinner. A part of me didn’t want to as filling the peppers always took me a long time. But then I thought to myself, why not just use a piping bag to fill them?! By doing this, the time it now took to fill these was less than a quarter of the original time! The other great thing I love about these is how they are baked! Now you can have more of these without feeling guilty 🙂

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BAKED JALAPEÑO POPPERS

  • Servings: 30 Servings
  • Time: 1 Hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 15 jalapeño peppers (seeded and halved)
– 1 tbsp of olive oil
– 1 small red onion (chopped)
– 7-8 cloves of garlic (minced)
– 1 tsp of salt
– ½ tsp of pepper
– 1 package of cream cheese
– ½ cup of parmesan cheese
– 2 egg whites
– 1-1½ cups of panko
– 2 tbsp of dried oregano
– 2 tbsp of dried tarragon
– 2 tbsp of dried parsely

DIRECTIONS:


1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3) In a small fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent.
4) Transfer into a small bowl. Add the cream cheese, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cream cheese has melted.
5) Fill the pepper halves with the cream cheese filling. (I found that a piping bag made this much more easier than using a spoon.)
6) In a large bowl, combine the panko, remaining parmesan cheese, oregano, tarragon and parsely.
7) Add the egg whites into a small bowl and whisk until frothy.
8) Dip the pepper halves 1 at a time into the egg whites and then coat with the panko mixture.
9) Place peppers cut side up on the prepared baking sheet.
10) Bake peppers for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
11) Enjoy!! 😀

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RED VELVET CUPCAKES

I never had red velvet cakes or cupcakes while growing up. Part of the reason probably was that I developed an allergic reaction to eggs at the age of 8. The weird part was that I would never be able to eat scrambled eggs or cakes. But I was completely fine with cookies! The allergy sort of just magically wore off when I turned 12. Ever since then, I’ve pretty much stuck to the basic chocolate or vanilla cupcakes. Since I’ve mastered both of those cupcakes, I decided to put together a red velvet cupcakes recipe

Even though my vanilla cupcakes are my favourite (recipe will be posted soon 🙂 ), these red velvet cupcakes may just be my second favourite! I absolutely love how light and moist they are. Even my grandma will have a couple of these without the cream cheese frosting. One of the key ingredients used in this recipe was oil. In almost every cupcake recipe that I’ve made, I’ve used butter. I realized that I always use oil when making muffins so why not use it when making cupcakes?! Like muffins, I also used buttermilk in this recipe to add even more moisture and to make them creamy!FullSizeRender (28)

Another great trick to do while baking is using cake flour. Cake flour is a finely ground flour used in many cake recipes. I’ve found that using cake flour provides a more structured cake. Why? Because cake flour has a lower protein content of around 8% compared to all purpose flour which has 11%. The lower the protein content, the more structure and soft light texture your cake will have! Now if you don’t have cake flour at home worry not! You can easily make cake flour at home 🙂 If a recipe calls for 1 cup of cake flour, simply measure out 1 cup of all purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons of the all purpose flour and add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Remember to sift the flour and cornstarch mixture at least 5-6 times. By doing this, it helps thoroughly combine the mixture and will help lighten the flour.

FullSizeRender (29)Getting the perfect colour was key in this recipe. Typically, the colour is either a dark/bright red or a red/brown colour. An interesting fact I found was that back during World War II, bakers used boiled beet juices to enhance the colour of their cakes. Thank god for food colouring!! For this recipe, you can use both liquid or gel food colouring. Liquid food colouring can be found in almost any grocery store. I do like how inexpensive it is and can be used for many different purposes. The only disadvantage I’ve found with liquid food colouring is that the colour is not very deep or pigmented. Therefore I’ve never really used it when baking. Gel food colouring on the other hand is my ultimate go to whenever I need it. It gives such a more vivid colour using a much smaller amount of colouring. For this recipe if you are using liquid food colouring, you will probably need to use the whole bottle to achieve the perfect red velvet colour. If you are using gel colouring, a couple of drops will be more than enough!

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

  • Servings: 85 mini cupcakes
  • Time: 1 Hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


RED VELVET CUPCAKES
– 2½ cups of cake flour
– 1 tsp of salt
– 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
– 1½ cups of sugar
– 1½ cups of vegetable oil
– 2 eggs
– 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
– 1 tsp of red gel food colouring
– 1 cup of buttermilk
– 1½ tsp of baking soda
– 2 tsp of white vinegar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
– ½ cup of butter (room temperature)
– 4 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature)
– 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
– 2 cups of icing sugar (sifted)

DIRECTIONS:


1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Ensure the rack is placed in the middle position in the oven.
2) Line the mini muffin tins with paper liners.
3) Sift together the cake flour, salt and cocoa in a small bowl.
4) In a stand mixer, blend together sugar and oil until combined. Add in the eggs.
5) Blend in the vanilla and gel food colouring.
6) Reducing the speed to low, add a third of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Add in a half cup of the buttermilk. Repeat these steps again ending with the flour mixture.
7) In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar. The mixture will foam. Add this mixture to the batter and mix for 10 seconds.
8) Add the mixture into the mini muffin tins, filling each ¾ full.
9) Bake the cupcakes for about 10-12 minutes. To check if the cupcakes are cooked, insert a toothpick into the center cupcake. If it comes out clean, the cupcakes are done.
10) To prepare the cream cheese frosting, combine the butter and cream cheese with a mixer until well combined. Add in the vanilla and icing sugar and combine until light and fluffy.
10) Cool cupcakes completely before topping with the cream cheese frosting!FullSizeRender (27)

CRAB GUACAMOLE

Guacamole is a dip made from avocados and is originally from Mexico. All you need to make a standard guacamole are ripe avocados, onions, some spice such as chilies and of course some acidity such as a lemon or a lime.

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The trick to perfect guacamole is using good, ripe avocados. Check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. If there is no give, the avocado is not ripe yet and will not taste good. I bought a big bag of avocados from Costco. They were completely firm and were a raw green colour. I did manage to look online and find out how to quickly ripen an avocado. One tip that was listed was to put the avocado in a brown paper bag and to let it sit at room temperature. By placing the avocado in a brown paper bag, it traps the ethylene gas that they produce and helps them ripen quicker. Except unfortunately this did not work!! We keep our fruit basket on the counter top right by our stove. I found that the avocados ripened quicker in the fruit basket by the stove rather than in the paper bag!

I was originally going to make just regular guacamole but then I thought to myself…why not make Crab Guacamole???!! It sounded like a match made in heaven!!! 😀 I started brainstorming what to put into this amazing crab guacamole and boom an idea came! I decided to use the ripe avocados, red onions, jalapeno peppers, lime juice, cilantro, salt, sour cream and of course crab meat!!

CRAB GUACAMOLE

  • Servings: 6-7
  • Time: 15 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 1 can (120g) of crabmeat (drained)
– 2 ripe avocados (diced) (with the seeds)
– 1 small red onions (diced)
– 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and diced)
– 5 tsp of lime juice
– 5 tsp of salt
– 1 tbsp of sour cream
– handful of chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS:


1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients including the seeds from the avocados. By adding the avocado seeds into your guacamole, it will keep it from going brown 🙂