Brunch, Salads, Soups, Uncategorized

Weekend Specials

I don’t know about you, my dear reader, but when I go groceries shopping I pretty much have in mind what I want to cook throughout the week, and I also go for what’s in season. Sometimes I do the groceries shopping by myself and hubby just picks me up when I am ready. Sometimes he likes to come to explore the shelves.  We both love to explore the International aisle for new spices and other goodies.

Anyway, Saturday was one of those times when he decided to come along. We had just reached the pasta section when he asked: “do we have pasta? ”

Me: ” actually we do, but I bought cabbage to make ” Pasta with cabbage” ( a dish we both liked as kids, back home in Romania). So I need  a special kind of pasta.”

Hubby: ” I like this funny shape” train wheel pasta ” and he puts the bag in the buggy ”

Me, quite sceptical: “No way that will go with the cabbage dish.”

He, stubborn: ” I want this one. They are so funny … ”

I took both pasta packages as I was really concerned the one he chose will not turn out right for his lunch.

Now you might ask what’s the reason I told you this pasta story? Well because it turned out pretty gosh darned delicious with the Cabbage and I also ended up stealing some of my Tuna and Veggies Salad, and I just loved it so much as I made twice already 😉

Train wheel pasta with cabbage:

  • 1 green cabbage, chopped.
  • 1/2 a red onion, chopped
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil ( optional )
  • grapeseed oil, about 5 tablespoons
  • 3 cups of pasta, boiled as per package instructions ( 2 cups were enough, so I end up stealing some 😉 )

In a big pot heat the oil and add the chopped onion, When translucent,  add the shredded cabbage and mix well. Sauteed the cabbage stirring frequently for about 40 minutes.

While you cook the cabbage, boil the pasta as per the package instructions.

Drain the pasta and wash it in cold water. Add it to the cabbage. Season with salt, smoked paprika and black pepper. Black pepper is a must in this dish.

Pasta w Cabbage 3 A

Tuna Pasta Salad with Veggies:

  • 2 zucchini halved and sliced
  • a handful of grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 small tuna can drain
  • lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • salt

In a large non-stick, skillet heat the oil. Add the zucchini and sautee them until light brown. Add the tomatoes. Season with salt and lemon juice. Add the parsley.

Add the veggies to a large salad bowl. Add drained pasta and tuna and stir gently.

Enjoy it.

Tuna Pasta salad 3

 

Tuna Pasta salad 4

 

Becuase it was pretty chilly and wet here in Toronto this weekend I decided to warm up with a Mushroom soup –  Vegan, Creamy, Mushroom Soup. Not as creamy as I wanted because I added a bit too much broth 😉 )

mushrrom soup 2

 

mushrrom soup.jpg

 

And there can be no weekend without a dessert. The winner was:

Raisins Cinnamon Sticky Buns. 

Raisins cinnamon sticky buns

 

 

 

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Muffins and other sweets, Uncategorized

Weekend Specials

Saturday morning I woke up way too early for a weekend morning, but I decided to get some things done instead of going back to sleep, so I choose all the ingredients to make some muffins: Carrot Raisin Muffins that my husband said they were one of the most delicious I’ve ever done 😉

Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider ( I use it to soak the raisins )
  • 2/3 cup of raisins
  • 2 cups of grated carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 2/3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • juice from half a lemon ( to activate the baking powder )

Directions: 

Beat the eggs with sugar until creamy. I didn’t use the electric mixer as it was too early but you could do so to save your energy and time ;). Add the melted butter and whisk a bit more. With a wooden spoon mix in the apple cider and raisins followed by the grated carrots. Add the sifted flour mixed with cinnamon and the baking powder on top. Activate the baking powder by adding the lemon juice. Fold in the flour careful not to over mix the batter.

Carrot muffin 2

Carrot muffins

Carrot muffin 1

 

If you believe it or not all 12 muffins disappeared on Saturday as we had them for breakfast, dessert and some of us, the luckiest ones, for dinner. For the Butternut squash Muffins, I used exactly the same ingredients and directions, but I substituted the carrots with the squash. And because I started with the butternut squash I decided to continue on the same note for lunch and snacks for the day.

squash muffins

Butternut Squash Muffins 

squash muffins 2

Sunday’s lunch: Spaghetti Squash with Oven-roasted Butternut Squash:

spaghetti squash

And the weekend’s snacks: Backed oven Acorn Squash and Butternut squash …

Acorn Squash

 

 

Butternutsquash

Well, I think it enough squash for this week, don’t you? Lol

 

Cakes

Pumpkin cream cheese swirl – Giving Thanks

pumpkin cheese cake

We enjoyed the warm and beautiful weather here in Toronto for the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend. Like the weather channel announced a June-like weekend in October, the temperatures reached 24 Celsius in the afternoon, and it felt like Spring was around the corner, instead of the cold and rainy Fall that will soon be upon us. But the Auburn colours outside and the stores full of all kinds of pumpkin helped me come back to reality, so to speak.

When I asked my peeps what dessert they’d prefer, I was given two choices: Creamcheese cake was my daughter’s preference and Pumpkin pie my husband’s. At first, I decided to give both of them their options, but I ran out of time, as it’s often the case during long weekends. You know how it is, we think we can do so much each day, and we fill up our schedules to the brink. Sounds familiar, right?

Inspiration soon knocked on my door, and I decided to combine the two deserts, instead; and this, dear reader, is what came out. A delicious dessert to be enjoyed by all.

Here are the ingredients for the crust:

  • 3 cups cracker crumbs ( I used Maria’s cookies )
  • 2 sticks of butter

Ingredients for the pumpkin cream cheese filling  

  • 2 packages of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sugar ( pumpkin pie filling has also sugar added )
  • 3 small range free eggs
  • small can of pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for the cream cheese filling  

  • 2 packages of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 small range free eggs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation: 

Prepare the pan: spray it with some oil ( optional) Wrap the bottom pan with aluminium foil and place it in a rectangle pan.

In a food processor crumb the cookies. Melt the butter. Mix together the cookies crumbs and the butter. Place the mixture into the pan and even it using the bottom of a glass or your hand. I always like to raise a bit the crust sides with my fingers just to avoid the filling from seeping through the bottom of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Some of the recipes ask to bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes. I usually skip this step because of my old oven, as in the end, my crust would always look burn on the outside.

In two large mixing bowls, using an electric mixer beat together the filling ingredients. Add the pumpkin filling to the pan. Pouring in the middle of the pan add the cream cheese filling. Using a knife make circular moves from the centre to the edges of the pan.

Bake the cake for an hour. When the sides are firm, and the middle slightly jiggle the pie should be ready. Let the cake cool down to room temperature for a few hours.

I baked the cake around 09:00 in the morning so we were able to indulge around 5:00 pm. I put the cake in the fridge for the last hour.

 

pumpkin cheese cake 3

 

pumpkin cheese cake 4

 

pumpkin cheese cake 5

 

 

 

 

 

30 minutes meals, Brunch, Uncategorized

Apple Compote

Last week I made a so called childhood desert. Some of you might know is also as “Compot de mere”. I think we all have those moments when we crave a childhood dessert. I will share the recipe, and the way my mother used to make it for us, although I noticed that French compote is more like a stew, I love the extra juice from mine. As a kid, I always thought the more juice, the better 😉 I still like it this way.

Apple compote.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 apples (I used green apples)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • juice from two lemons
  • about 2.5-3-litre water

Directions:

Bring a large pot with water to boil on medium high heat. When the water starts to boil add the sugar, the cinnamon sticks and the cloves.

Wash the apples thoroughly. Peel and core the apples. Cut them in pieces. I love mine a bit bigger. While I cut the apples, I put them in a large bowl, and I squeeze the lemon juice over the apple pieces so they won’t oxidize.

If you like it sweeter, you could add some more sugar. If you are not fond of cinnamon, you can use only the cinnamon sticks or the powder. Simmer all together for about 15-20 minutes. You can serve it hot or cold. I like it mostly cold, from the fridge.

You can serve it hot or cold. In the Summer I will definitely have it cold ], right from the refrigerator.

You can keep it the compote in the fridge up to two weeks if such a thing is possible. Mine will probably vanish in a few days 😉

 

Aplle compote 2

 

 

Aplle compote 3

 

Enjoy ! 

Bread and Pizza, Breakfast, Brunch

Turmeric Sandwich Bread

I love to make home made bread. The smell of freshly-baked bread is simply…mouth-watering. Most of the times I make buns. I think they are easy to share and eat at home, work or school and they are suitable for all meals: breakfast, lunch dinner.

Last week I wanted to try something different: a sandwich loaf. I followed pretty much my usual recipe, and I was impressed of the high bread I got.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Instant yeast (or active dry yeast)
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar (it helps using sugar but it works without as well, so it’s optional)
  • One tsp salt
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil (or any grape seeds oil)
  • 1/4 Tsp turmeric
  • about 1/4 cup additional bread flour to work the dough and flour the work surface

Directions:

1. In a medium size bowl, add the warm water, sugar, and yeast. In about 10 minutes the yeast should be activated.

2. In the large bowl add the flour, salt, and turmeric; stir all together. Add the yeast mixture and the oil. Work/knead the dough for a few minutes or until it comes off easily from your hands. You might need to add a bit more flour when you work the dough if it’s too wet or still sticks to your fingers.

3. Put the dough in an oily bowl. Brush the top of the dough with oil and cover it with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place aside from any draft. Let it rise for about an hour. The dough should double the size.

4. Oil a loaf pan. Set the pan aside. Place the dough on a floured surface. Knead it for a minute by folding it a few times. Form a loaf shape and add it to the prepared loaf pan. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise for another half hour.5

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for about 35 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown. If you noticed that the top of the bread turns brown too soon, add a piece of aluminum foil to stop it from burning.

6. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Here is the result:

Turmeric loaf

 

Turmeric loaf 2

 

Turmeric loaf 3

 

I hope you enjoyed a slice of the turmeric sandwich bread!

 

 

 

 

30 minutes meals, Bread and Pizza, Breakfast, Brunch

Tuna melts

When it’s time for grocery shopping, I always check the fridge and pantry for the items I have already. It’s good to know what I have left around because those should go first.

One of the things I hate the most is wasting food. I think most of you would agree with me that it can be pretty challenging to do the groceries to stay in the budget but also to buy healthy and nutritional food.

There might be a few reasons why I haven’t used left items through out the week:  we were not in the mood for a particular recipe, or I had a missing ingredient from the recipe that stopped me.  However, on Saturday mornings I am more eager to use what we have left around, and sometimes ideas come quickly, and the missing items are not as important anymore.

While the coffee was brewing and the kitchen started to smell of good things, I checked the fridge: half of tuna can; a little bit of cheese ( no more than 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella). Some white baguette that my hubby bought but that was not as fresh anymore. So it took me around 30 seconds to figure out how to use all of these ingredients before the new ones come to fill the fridge shelves. In other circumstances, I would love to have had some tomato slices or olives or maybe more fresh cheese, but everything that’s left has to be used.  I sliced the baguette, added the little bit of ketchup left in the bottle, put the tuna on top and sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 8 min in the preheated oven at 350 F and the last three minutes on broil.

I sliced the baguette, added the little bit of ketchup left in the bottle, tuna on top and sprinkled the cheese. I baked the baguettes  for about 8 min in the preheated oven at 350 F and the last three minutes on broil.

The result I think speaks for itself: Tuna melts

tuna melts 1

 

tuna melts 2

Bon Appetit! 🙂

Bread and Pizza, Breakfast, Brunch, Muffins and other sweets, Uncategorized

Weekend specials

As much as I wanted these days to stay away from the kitchen, and mostly for the oven, we still had to eat something.  The idea to stay away from the oven it’s not as easy as it seems.

Like almost every Saturday, we indulged a frittata for breakfast. Usually, when I make the weekend frittatas, I just check the fridge and decide pretty quick what should I throw into the pan. This time the winners were: green olives; red pepper and tuna. The greens you can see in the picture is fresh dill. In my opinion, there is no frittata without fresh herbs. They make such huge difference in frittatas. I have to admit though, that I don’t have them always handy so I will use dry herbs instead. The herbs I used the most are dill, parsley, oregano or basil.

 

tuna frittata 3

 

Saturday’s lunch followed with a homemade (from scratch) pizza: Artichoke, Tuna, and Feta Cheese Pizza. Some of you might think tuna again? Well, the tuna can in olive oil I like to buy is pretty big, so I try to use it throughout the day. When it’s not possible, I would store the rest in an airtight glass container and use it in the next days. Most of the time the other half of the can will end up in a Greek Pasta Salad or Potato Tuna Salad.

What I like about making pizza is that you have just enough for lunch and dinner and you have time to focus on other projects.

 

artichoke tuna and feta pizza

And, of course, there’s no such thing as not indulging our sweet tooth during the weekend 😉

I checked what we had in the fridge and pantry, and the winner was chosen:  Cinnamon – chocolate chips buns! You might ask: why chocolate chips in a cinnamon bun but it was my daughter’s request to try them this way, and I have to say I will most definitely make them again. They were yummy!

 

Cinnamon chocolate chip buns

 

And because is Summer and it’s so hot, and it’s very humid here in Toronto, one way I ensure that we all stay hydrated is making citrus infused water that the whole family can enjoy.

 

citrus-infused-water-3

 

Stay chilled!

 

 

Bread and Pizza, Brunch, Uncategorized

Thank you and a homemade pizza

Thank you so much to all of you, my over 200 followers, for taking the time to stop by and following my blog.

Thank you for your comments but also for all your posts that inspire me daily.

Image result for 200 followers on wordpress

This week, I had a couple of days off, so called a short vacation that I needed it so much. My mind and body were crying for some time off. When I was asked what my plans were, I said that I just wanted to relax. Now I believe we are all different and we relax in our own way. Usually, when I relax means, I want to be equally productive and physically active and just at the end of the day, lazy. 🙂 I really like exuberance and happiness I feel after a good and thoroughly house cleaning or after a five-kilometer ( or more ) walk.

I just wanted to share with you what a day off means to me. I woke up at 06:00 AM instead of 05:00 AM. I started as usual with coffee and getting the breakfast ready. Becuase there was no rush I decided to make a frittata with feta cheese and fresh dill.

fritatta

Around 06:50 hubby and daughter left for work and college, so there were only my babies left in the house and me. After a few coffee sips, I put my furry boys in the crate on the balcony so they can enjoy the warm morning, so I started to clean the house. By 08:30 I finished two laundry loads and by 09:30 the cleaning was done. The cleaning included the windows as well. 😉

After a quick shower, I could finally enjoy the fresh scent of a clean house and my second cup of coffee while browsing the internet for lunch ideas. Homemade pizza was the winner. I decided for a Three Cheese Tuna- Crab Meat Pizza. I have to admit it turned out delicious. My daughter said: “I have no idea what you do or put on your pizza that makes it always the best pizza comparing with  the takeout ones ;)”

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups of whole-wheat flour ( I used 1/4 cup when kneading the dough )
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • the juice of one lemon

For the pizza topping:

  • sweet basil tomato sauce
  • 100 gr mozzarella
  • 100 gr feta cheese
  • 50 gr of Parmigiano  petals
  • 1 large tuna in water ( no drain one )
  • 1 can of crab meat ( well drained )
  • 1/2 of a large organic white onion
  • green olives

Combine the flour, salt,  turmeric and chia seeds if using.

Put the yeast in a cup of warm water. When it start to bubble, pour the mixture over the flour. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and mix all together.  Once combined, knead by hand for about 5 to 10 minutes. The dough is ready when it feels soft, springy and elastic.  Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl, cover it and set it in a warm place.

In about an hour the dough should triple the size and be ready for the pizza. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Oil a work surface and roll the dough into a rectangle shape. Rol the dough in half and place it on the baking tray and start topping it.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Using a ladle add the sauce and using the back of the spoon swirl it all over the top of the dough. Top it with tuna, crab meat, thin slices of onion and green olives. Crumble the feta cheese and sprinkle shredded mozzarella and Parmigiano petals.

Cook in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.

 

pizza 1

 

pizza 2

It feels like I’ve been making pizza since I was young. I started by using the ready made dough, but once I learned to make the dough, it became so natural to have a homemade pizza a few times a month.

Some people might think that is time-consuming, but I like it because while the dough is getting ready, I have the time to prepare the topping. While the pizza is in the oven, I got ready and left to wait for my daughter so we could enjoy 3 kilometers walk back home. We kept hydrated with lemon infused water. It was a good exercise that made us hungry, so when we reached home, we were so eager to enjoy that pizza and watch our favorite show: The Bridge.

 

lemon infused water.jpg

 

In the evening I didn’t do much but watched some videos on Youtube, planning my new knitting – crochet projects 🙂 when I did not play with my furry babies 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast, Brunch, Chicken, Uncategorized

Long Weekend Specials

We celebrated Victoria Day this Monday, so we had a long and relaxing weekend. The weather was not friendly, and I had in mind a weekend with smoothies and salads, but it did not turn as I wanted.

The strawberries that I bought for the smoothies ended up in a melt-in-the-mouth goodness: Strawberry Clafoutis. I know I have another post about Clafoutis, which you can read here.  This time I used strawberries ( abut 250 grams) but they were giant in size, so I cut them into pieces.

Ingredients :

  • 250 g strawberries 

  • 4 eggs

  • 400 ml cashew milk (warmed up)

  • juice from half of lemon

  • 1/4 cup of grape seeds oil 

  • 3 tablespoons of sugar 

  • 1 cup of all purpose flour

Preheat the oven at 350. Oil a baking dish. Wash, drain and cut the strawberries.  Place the strawberries on the baking tray.

Lightly beat the eggs; add the sugar and whisk together until smooth. Stir in the flour.

Add the milk ( warmed up ) and the lemon juice. Pour into the baking dish over the fruits.

Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown.

Uncategorized

Sunday’s Specials

This Sunday I was very busy, and because of that, I had to think of a really easy and fast meal. There was no time for my Sunday pancakes, so I made a fresh batch of muffins. I know what you might think, but I did it again. This time I decided for a Peanut butter coffee flavor.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashion oats
  • 5 teaspoons of chocolate peanut butter powder 
  • 1 teaspoon French vanilla instant coffee
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • lemon juice from 1/2 lemon 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grape seeds oil
  • 2 cups cashew milk
  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • a few almond flakes for topping

They were moist and delicious, and they had to keep us going until 3 PM when we returned home for a late lunch.

peanut butter coffee muffins

First, I was thinking of ordering out for lunch today, but before I left the house I browsed the internet for a few minutes, and I found a  recipe that inspired me.  My inspiration was Sabrina from Dinner and then dessertEasy Greek Pasta Salad. I adapted the recipe with my ingredients and here is the result: Easy Tuna Pasta Salad. 

Ingredients:

Makes: 4 servings; Prep time: 15 min; Cooking time: 20 min

for the salad:

  • 225 gr rice and quinoa fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 of an English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet grape tomatoes, halved
  •  1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 3 small tuna cans in olive oil
  • 50 gr feta cheese

for the dressing: 

  • I saved the olive oil from the tuna cans, but I did not use all of it. ( approx 3-4 tbsps )
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Boil the pasta as per the instruction from the package.

Place the cooked pasta in a large porcelain bowl. Add the chopped cucumber, halved tomatoes, red onion, green olives, and tuna.

In a small bowl whisk together: olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and black pepper.

Pour the vinaigrette over the pasta mixture and stir slowly. Add some extra black pepper if you wish.

easy tuna salad.jpg

 We spoiled ourselves a bit today by having a Chocolate mousse topped with Pistachio Ice Cream ( Indian style. Both, the mousse and ice cream were storebought).

chocolate mousse and ice cream.jpg

 

There is a frost advisory here in Toronto, but I would like to end my post with some beautiful yellow tulips and the hope that Spring will come soon 😉 ❤

yellow tulip