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

 

 

 

Advertisements
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.

Brunch, Cakes

Banana Peanut Butter & Oats Muffins

muffin post 2.jpg

I woke up with an undeniable urge to bake. As you might know from reading my previous posts, sometimes I make pancakes or crepes when the mood strikes me. And there’s also that odd batch of sweet and/or savory muffins that makes the cut as well.

Today, while the rest of the family slept I scoured the fridge to see what I could make for breakfast. There wasn’t a lot to pick from (we had yet to go grocery shopping, heh) but that didn’t stop me. I see an (almost) empty fridge as a challenge, not a defeat.

 And so, here we are: Banana Peanut Butter & Oats Muffins. Not bad, if I do say so myself 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashion oats
  • 6 teaspoons of chocolate peanut butter powder 
  • 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 white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

 Whisk together: flour, oats, sugar and peanut butter powder. Make a hole and add the two eggs, milk, vanilla extract and grape seeds oil. sprinkle the baking powder and add over the lemon juice. Stir until the flour mixture is moistened – do not overmix. 

 Using a medium size ice-cream scoop, pour the batter into the muffin cups. Each cup will get 2 ice-cream scoops. 

 Bake until muffin top springs back when lightly pressed, it should take no longer than 20 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the pan then move the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

 And, if you’d prefer a bit more sweetness you can top the muffins with a teaspoon of Nutella. Yum! 😊

Bon Appetit! ❤

Makes: 12 muffins; preparation: 10 – 15 minutes; baking 15 – 20 minutes.

muffin post 1

 

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