Breakfast, Brunch, Cakes, Pork, Uncategorized

First Weekend Specials 2018 and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I had so many plans to cook and to post many delicious meals and recipes for the first weekend of 2018, but unexpected bronchitis got my plans ruined. 😩

Anyway, I tried to satisfy some of our preferences for the first day of the year and to indulge a bit from breakfast through dinner 😉

Me and my daughter, we started the day with a chocolate chia pudding that I prepared the day before and let it in the fridge overnight. For that, I mixed three tablespoons of chia seeds with one tablespoon of each cocoa and brown sugar and 2 cups of unsweetened cashew milk. Give it a good stir or shake to mix all the ingredients in a jar and let it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Now, you can imagine I had to let mine warm up for a while as eating right from the refrigerator was not an option at this point 😉

Cocoa chia pudding 2

While the two of us continued with some delicious Ricotta Chocolate Overloaded Pancakes:

Ricotta Pancakes.jpg

my hubby decided to move to the savoury side and enjoyed an Italian Sausages Omelette with Sauer kraut and homemade pickled beets. While the Sauer kraut was store bought I like to make the pickled beets at home. I just boil the beet with skin on. Let them cool down, peel them and cut them into cubes or chunks depending on your desire. I just drizzle the beet pieces with lemon juice ( I use the juice from a small lemon ) and half teaspoon balsamic and a  pinch of salt.

Sasauges Omelette

 

With such an indulgence for breakfast, you can imagine that our lunch was quite late, or we could call it an early supper. But this gave me a chance to take care of the cake. I made the same cake for my daughter’s  birthday, early December 2017. The cake was quite a hit after a try like ” mom, really I am not little anymore. You don’t have to make a cake every year …yadda, yadda, yadda. ” And because we all loved it I decided to make it again as the first dessert of 2018.

While the lunch was cooking, I prepared the ingredients for the cake. As a Romanian tradition, we would serve cabbage rolls for New Year. However, I did not go for the original recipe, but I made something to remind us of cabbage rolls. I had left two Italian sausages, and I made some pan-fried turkey meatballs from extra lean ground turkey. I cooked the sausages in a large pot. After they turned quite brownish, I added the sliced cabbage. I seasoned all with salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, dried dill and oregano. I give it a stir and let it cooked until the cabbage softened a bit. I added some more hot water and the turkey meatballs on top and let them simmer on low heat for another hour or so. If you are wondering why did I add boiling water instead of just water, is because the sausages and cabbage were already cooking and by adding the hot water you won’t stop the cooking process. I had to admit the combination of pork, turkey and cabbage was just delicious.

Sausages with cabbage

 

And we end our first day if 2018 with a decadent Chocolate Tiramisu:

You could check the original recipe, my inspiration for this delicious cake here.

Here is what I used. I changed a few ingredients, but the final result is very close.

  • 500 g ladyfingers
  • 500 ml coffee, sweetened with 1 tbsp of brown sugar ( I made it again, and I skipped the sugar and was just okay as well )
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 500 gr smooth ricotta
  • 300 gr semisweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee ( optional)
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • a few amaretto biscotti for decor, optional.

Here is the result. I think that the pictures talk a thousand words :

Chocolate tiramisu 1

 

Chocolate tiramisu 2

You could add a beautiful festive ribbon around. I just couldn’t find mine, and I had no energy to look for it. Like my daughter says ” mom, don’t put it away too well, you know that you never remember after that” LOL

 

Chocolate tiramisu 3

I have only one more comment to make about the cake: with every day that passes it becomes more delicious, the ladyfingers will be so moist and soaked with the coffee, and the cream cheese just melts into your mouth. Now it depends on how long you can resist it but in my opinion, the third day was the best, so maybe if you have guests, it’s better to prepare this one day ahead. 🙂

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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!

 

 

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.

Breakfast, Brunch

Christmas Morning Pancakes

Makes about 10- 12 pancakes ( about 4 inch pancake )

Every Sunday morning our family will start the day feasting on pancakes. This past Sunday was even more special because it was Christmas day as well. I always get up early to get the batter started so by the time my hubby and daughter come to the kitchen, there will the perfect pancakes awaiting.

Our favorite are those loaded with blueberries but because it was Christmas morning I decided to use chocolate chips instead. 🙂

Right off the bat, my husband piled 6 pancakes onto his plate and devoured them with organic smooth peanut butter.  I have to admit I had three as well. Ops!  I just loved them simple like that. The chocolate chips did more than enough for my taste buds.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups GO-GO QUINOA Pancake mix ( the ingredients listed on the package were: Organic brown rice flour, organic tapioca flour, organic kaniwa flour, organic pink salt, xanthan gum, Baking soda, baking powder. )
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter powder
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl add the flour mix, peanut butter powder, sugar and chia seeds. Whisk until all ingredients are combined. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the milk and vanilla extract.  Stir until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and fold them into the batter.

Heat a skillet over the medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of a batter for each pancake. Cook until small bubbles form and pop on the surface and the bottom is golden-brown. Flip it over and cook until golden -brown, about 4-5 minutes.

Store the pancakes on a cooling rack over a baking sheet to prevent the steaming.

Enjoy !

vegan-pancakes-2vegan-pancakes-3vegan-pancakes-4

 

Breakfast, Brunch, Vegetarian

Pineapple-Kiwi Smoothie

We are still playing with the Ninja blender. This time we tried a green smoothie just with green and yellow fruits.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and cut in pieces
  • 1 small fresh pineapple, cut in chunks; I used the juice from the container
  • 1 large red and green mango, pilled and cut in pieces
  •  2 medium ripped bananas
  • 2 large  ripped kiwi
  • 1 cup filtered water

Blend all the ingredients together to the desired consistency and enjoy it.

pinepple-kiwi-smoothie-2

pinepple-kiwi-smoothie

 
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Breakfast, Vegetarian

Homemade Almond Milk

Since we got the new blender I was thinking of trying to make almond milk or cashew milk. I was browsing the internet and this time my inspiration was Pastryaffair.com.

I never thought this will be so simple to make. So I went got the almonds and just did it:)

Now you can also add flavor to it. There was a funny thing that happened to me.   I was so sure I got vanilla extract at home. I was just buying some extracts the day before. I just opened it and I was ready to pour it when a strong lemon ( very nice lemon ) flavor hit my nostrils . I checked my shelf. I got every flavor there but vanilla. 😩  I decided to go ahead and to add a pinch of almond flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of almonds ( I got slivered almonds )
  • 5 cups of filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon pure organic almond extract
  • 3 table spoons of maple syrup ( I skip it this time )

 

Put the  almonds in a bowl and cover with 3 cups filtered water. Cover and soak over night or for about 8 hours. Strain and rinse with fresh water. Add the almonds to the blender and 5 cups of filtered water. Add the extract and maple syrup if using. Blend on high for about 3-4 minutes. Using a cheese cloth strain the milk to remove the pulp.

Keep it in the fridge for up to 7 days.

 

almondmilk1

almond-milk2

almondmilk3

I enjoy it with my morning coffee 🙂

Breakfast

Green smoothie

I am still ” playing” with my new toy. Today’s dinner was ( well at least for the girls in the family  🙂 ) green smoothie with apple, banana, frozen mango and spinach.

Ingredients:

  • 1 hand baby spinach
  • 1 medium cored apple ( granny smith )
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cashew milk

Add all the ingredients in a blender and mix until until smooth and well mixed.

green-smoothie-2

 

Yummy 🙂