Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recipe: Orange Ginger Loaf

Orange Ginger Loaf


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/4 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract, optional
1 cup applesauce1 teaspoon baking soda

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt.Then set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in orange extract.
Mix baking soda into applesauce and stir into creamed butter mixture.Add flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes or until atoothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and orange extract. Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar.
Once the cake has cooled, evenly spread the frosting on top. Decorate with chopped candied orange peel or candied ginger .

Recipe: Creamy Chicken Parmesan

Creamy Chicken Parmesan

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 45 min
Makes: 2

3 30% Less Fat RITZ Crackers, finely crushed
2 Tbsp. KRAFT 100% Light Parmesan Grated Cheese, divided
2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (1/2 lb./225 g)
1-1/2 cups 25%-less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
1 tsp. oil
1/4 cup PHILADELPHIA Light Cream Cheese Spread
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas and green beans), thawed

COMBINE cracker crumbs and 1 Tbsp. of the Parmesan cheese on small plate. Rinse chicken with cold water; dip in crumb mixture, turning to evenly coat both sides of each breast with the crumb mixture. Press crumbs gently into chicken to secure; set aside.

COMBINE 1 cup of the broth and the water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Add orzo. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 9 min. or until most of the liquid is absorbed and orzo is tender. Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook 5 to 6 min. on each side or until chicken is cooked through (170ºF). Remove chicken from skillet, reserving drippings in skillet; cover chicken to keep warm.
ADD cream cheese spread and remaining broth to drippings in skillet. Bring just to boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Simmer 3 min. or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, add vegetables to orzo mixture; simmer 2 min. or until heated through, stirring frequently. Stir remaining 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese into cream cheese sauce.

SPOON orzo mixture onto two serving plates; top with the chicken and sauce.

Recipe: Cheesy Beef & Pasta Skillet

Cheesy Beef & Pasta Skillet

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 45 min
Makes: 2

1/2 lb. (250 g) extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 can (19 fl oz/540 mL) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup water
1 cup whole wheat penne pasta, uncooked
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup CHEEZ WHIZ Light Process Cheese Product
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

COOK meat with onions, cumin and chili powder in large skillet on medium-high heat 5 min. or until meat is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

ADD tomatoes, water, pasta and peppers; stir. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Simmer 18 to 20 min. or until pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.

STIR in Cheez Whiz; cook 2 min. or until melted, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Recipe: Baked Crab Rangoon

Baked Crab Rangoon

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 40 min
Makes: 12

1 can (170 g) chunk crabmeat, drained, flaked
125 g (1/2 of 250-g pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Light Brick Cream Cheese Spread, softened
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
12 won ton wrappers

HEAT oven to 350°F. Mix crabmeat, cream cheese spread, onions and dressing.
SPRAY 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Gently place 1 won ton wrapper in each cup, allowing edges of wrappers to extend above sides of cups. Fill evenly with crabmeat mixture.
BAKE 18 to 20 min. or until edges are golden brown and filling is heated through. Serve warm. Garnish with chopped green onions, if desired.

Recipe: Savoury Parmesan Bites

Savoury Parmesan Bites

Total Time: 30 min
Makes: 32

1 pkg. (250 g) PHILADELPHIA Brick Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup KRAFT 100% Parmesan Grated Cheese, divided
2 cans (235 g each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 cup chopped red peppers
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

HEAT oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup Parmesan with mixer until well blended.
SEPARATE rolls into 4 rectangles; press perforations together to seal. Spread 3 Tbsp. cream cheese mixture onto each rectangle; top with peppers and parsley. Fold 1 long side of each rectangle over filling to centre; fold up again to enclose remaining filling. Cut each into 8 squares. Place, seam-sides down, on baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
BAKE 13 to 15 min. or until golden brown.

Recipe: Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Dip

Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Dip

Prep Time:10 min
Total Time:15 min

1 pkg. (300 g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 lb. (450 g) VELVEETA Process Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
125 g (1/2 of 250-g pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Brick Cream Cheese, cubed
1 cup salsa
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled

COMBINE all ingredients in microwaveable bowl.
MICROWAVE on HIGH 5 min. or until Velveeta is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 3 min.
SERVE with assorted Christie Crackers and cut-up vegetables, if desired.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie


1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup Mashed, cooked sweet potatoes

3 lightly beaten eggs

1/3 cup corn syrup

1/3 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pie shell, Unbaked


Cream butter and brown sugar in bowl until light and fluffy. Blend in sweet potato and eggs. Add next 4 ingredients; mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 35 to 45 minutes longer or until well set.

Recipe: Orange-Glazed Sweet-Potatoes

Orange-Glazed Sweet-Potatoes


1 pound sweet potatoes

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 tablespoon wheat germ

1 tablespoon margarine

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice potatoes about 1/8 inch thick; spread evenly in an 8-inch square dish. Combine orange juice, brown sugar, wheat germ, margarine, orange peel, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover dish with foil or lid. Bake 1 hour, until potatoes are tender.

Recipe: African Squash and Yams

African Squash and Yams


1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 pound Hubbard squash, pared and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 yams, or sweet potatoes, pared & cut into 1" pieces
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


Cook and stir onion in oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes longer.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Drink Recipe: Nutcracker (for adults)



1/2 cup ice

1 oz vodka

1/2 oz Bailey's Irish cream

1/2 oz amaretto almond liqueur

1/2 oz Frangelico hazelnut liqueur

1 scoop vanilla ice cream


Pour above listed ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth (if too thick add milk. If too thin add more ice cream).

Drink Recipe: Candy Apple (for adults)

Candy Apple

1 ½ ounce Vodka
½ ounce Grenadine
1 ounce lime juice


Pour all the ingredients into a tall glass with ice.
Garnish with a slice of lime or apple.

Recipe: Candy Apples (for kids)

Candy Apples


Popsicle sticks

6 Fuji or Granny Smith apples

1 1/2 cups water

4 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/8 cups corn syrup

3/4 teaspoon red food coloring


The first step is to clean apples. Place your Popsicle stick in the center of the apple.

Set your apples on the counter next to your stovetop.

Now, add the water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium to large sized saucepot. Stir the ingredients together, it will look grainy.

Place the candy apple mixture on medium heat until the sugar boils. Once the sugar boils, turn the heat to high. You will need to occasionally clean the sides of pot with cold water and a brush. This will prevent the mixture from crystallizing. Cook the mixture eon on high heat to 283 degrees F.

Once the mixture has come to this temperature, add red food coloring and swirl around in the pot, do not stir. Continue to cook to 328 degrees F. Remove from the heat and let rest for 3 – 5 minutes. The next step requires a little caution. The candy apple mixture is extremely hot. Dip the apple on an angle.

Twirl the apple around to coat it. Place the coated candy apple on a sheet of wax paper that has been sprayed with Pam.

Recipe: Apple Betty

Apple Betty


10 cups Sliced peeled apples (about 3lb/1.5kg) (2.5 L)
1/4 cup Apple juice (50 ml)
2 cups fine oatmeal cookie crumbs (500 ml) (TIP: to make 2 cups of cookie crumbs, place about nine 3 inch cookies into a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin - or use a food processor.
1/4 cup butter, melted (50 ml)
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon (2ml)


In a large bowl, toss apples with apple juice. In separate bowl, toss together cookie crumbs, butter and cinnamon.

Spread half of the apples in 8 inch (2 L) square baking dish; sprinkle with half of the crumb mixture. Repeat layers. Bake in 375 degrees F (190c) oven for 50 minutes or until apples are tender.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe: Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp


6 medium apples, pared and sliced

1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted (60 gm / 2oz)

3/4 tsp (4 ml) ground cinnamon1/3 cup softened butter or margarine (95 gm / 3½oz)
3/4 cup brown sugar (120 gm / 4 oz)

1/2 cup oatmeal flakes (25 gm / 1 oz)

3/4 tsp (4ml) ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C. Grease baking dish with additional butter and arrange apple slices in it.

Cut the flour into the softened butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Then add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the dry mixture over top of the apples. Bake 30 minutes, or until apples are cooked and topping is golden-brown.

My Ode to Autumn & Winter

Since summer is officially over, I figured that I should add some autumn and winter inspired recipes to the site. I hope you try these out and enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Recipe - Pho

This recipe is from, a wonderful resource for all things Vietnamese.

Beef noodle soup (pho bo)
Makes 8 satisfying (American-sized) bowls

For the broth:

2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound total)
4-inch piece ginger (about 4 ounces)
5-6 pounds beef soup bones (marrow and knuckle bones)
5 star anise (40 star points total)
6 whole cloves
3-inch cinnamon stick
1 pound piece of beef chuck, rump, brisket or cross rib roast, cut into 2-by-4-inch pieces (weight after trimming)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 ounce (1-inch chunk) yellow rock sugar

For the bowls:

1 1/2-2 pounds small (1/8-inch wide) dried or fresh banh pho noodles ("rice sticks'' or Thai chantaboon)
1/2 pound raw eye of round, sirloin, London broil or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (1/16 inch thick; freeze for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced paper-thin, left to soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of cold water
3 or 4 scallions, green part only, cut into thin rings
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (ngo)
Ground black pepper

Optional garnishes arranged on a plate and placed at the table:
Sprigs of spearmint (hung lui) and Asian/Thai basil (hung que)Leaves of thorny cilantro (ngo gai)Bean sprouts (about 1/2 pound)Red hot chiles (such as Thai bird or dragon), thinly slicedLime wedges

Prepare the broth:

Char onion and ginger. Use an open flame on grill or gas stove. Place onions and ginger on cooking grate and let skin burn. (If using stove, turn on exhaust fan and open a window.) After about 15 minutes, they will soften and become sweetly fragrant. Use tongs to occasionally rotate them and to grab and discard any flyaway onion skin. You do not have to blacken entire surface, just enough to slightly cook onion and ginger.
Let cool. Under warm water, remove charred onion skin; trim and discard blackened parts of root or stem ends. If ginger skin is puckered and blistered, smash ginger with flat side of knife to loosen flesh from skin. Otherwise, use sharp paring knife to remove skin, running ginger under warm water to wash off blackened bits. Set aside.
Parboil bones. Place bones in stockpot (minimum 12-quart capacity) and cover with cold water. Over high heat, bring to boil. Boil vigorously 2 to 3 minutes to allow impurities to be released. Dump bones and water into sink and rinse bones with warm water. Quickly scrub stockpot to remove any residue. Return bones to pot.
Simmer broth. Add 6 quarts water to pot, bring to boil over high heat, then lower flame to gently simmer. Use ladle to skim any scum that rises to surface. Add remaining broth ingredients and cook 1 1/2 hours. Boneless meat should be slightly chewy but not tough. When it is cooked to your liking, remove it and place in bowl of cold water for 10 minutes; this prevents the meat from drying up and turning dark as it cools. Drain the meat; cool, then refrigerate. Allow broth to continue cooking; in total, the broth should simmer 3 hours.
Strain broth through fine strainer. If desired, remove any bits of gelatinous tendon from bones to add to your pho bowl. Store tendon with cooked beef. Discard solids.
Use ladle to skim as much fat from top of broth as you like. (Cool it and refrigerate it overnight to make this task easier; reheat befofe continuing.) Taste and adjust flavor with additional salt, fish sauce and yellow rock sugar. The broth should taste slightly too strong because the noodles and other ingredients are not salted. (If you've gone too far, add water to dilute.) Makes about 4 quarts.

Assemble bowls:

The key is to be organized and have everything ready to go. Thinly slice cooked meat. For best results, make sure it's cold.
Heat broth and ready noodles. To ensure good timing, reheat broth over medium flame as you're assembling bowls. If you're using dried noodles, cover with hot tap water and soak 15-20 minutes, until softened and opaque white. Drain in colander. For fresh rice noodles, just untangle and briefly rinse in a colander with cold water.
Blanch noodles. Fill 3- or 4-quart saucepan with water and bring to boil. For each bowl, use long-handle strainer to blanch a portion of noodles. As soon as noodles have collapsed and lost their stiffness (10-20 seconds), pull strainer from water, letting water drain back into saucepan. Empty noodles into bowls. Noodles should occupy 1/4 to 1/3 of bowl; the latter is for noodle lovers, while the former is for those who prize broth.If desired, after blanching noodles, blanch bean sprouts for 30 seconds in same saucepan. They should slightly wilt but retain some crunch. Drain and add to the garnish plate.

Add other ingredients. Place slices of cooked meat, raw meat and tendon (if using) atop noodles. (If your cooked meat is not at room temperature, blanch slices for few seconds in hot water from above.) Garnish with onion, scallion and chopped cilantro. Finish with black pepper.
Ladle in broth and serve. Bring broth to rolling boil. Check seasoning. Ladle broth into each bowl, distributing hot liquid evenly so as to cook raw beef and warm other ingredients. Serve with garnish plate.

Fabulous Foods – Pho

Pho (as defined by Urban Dictionary) Vietnamese rice noodle, usually eaten with Sriricha hot sause and Hoisin sauce. The broth is usually homemade, by boiling chicken stock in water. The meat which can be found in pho can be virtually anything: pork, beef, tripe, chicken, barbeque... When served with beef, the beef is usually left raw, for the broth will cook it while in the bowl. At restaurants, it is only served in three sizes: Small = Large Medium = Supersize Large = Bathtub

Long story short, best damn food ever. If you ever try to eat a bowl of pho, try not to burn yourself, and eat it fast.

I can’t disagree with the definition. It is a steaming bowl of goodness that is beyond compare. The first time I went for pho I was extremely skeptical. How could something be so good? Everyone I spoke to gave it rave reviews, it appealed to just about everybody. But it really is that good. It is like a hug in a bowl and there is nothing more reassuring of its goodness than those little gobs of fat that float just below the surface. It is the best soup that I have ever had, and I would travel to Vietnam just for it.

Recipe – Kimchee/ Kimchi

This was on and I highly recommend checking it out for all things Korean.

Kimchee/ Kimchi

1 long white Napa (Chinese) cabbage, about 1 lb 3 oz
1 cup coarse or pickling salt 5 cups (1 liter) water
1 small long white radish, about 5 oz (160 g), cut in 1 1/2 in (4-cm) julienne strips
4-5 scallion (spring onion), cut in 1 1/2 in (4-cm) julienne strips
1 small leek, white part only, cut in 1 1/2 in (4-cm) julienne strips
2 teaspoons very finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 1/2 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large bowl to hold cabbage while soaking in water

Remove root end of cabbage without separating the leaves. Put all the salt in a large bowl and add 4 cups (1 liter) water. Stir to dissolve all the salt in bowl and water. Fit the cabbage into bowl adding water if necessary so it is covered. Place several heavy plates as weights on top of the cabbage and let sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours. Drain the cabbage and rinse under running water, and squeeze dry.

In a separate bowl, combine all other ingredients and mix well. Slightly separate the cabbage leaves and pack them well with the radish mixture. Pack well into glass jar and press firmly to remove air bubbles. Cover jar tightly. If you decide to cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces before adding chili paste that is fine. You can also cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces before soaking in brine water as well. It is just a matter of personal taste.

Once thoroughly mixed, fill the jars with the Kimchi and seal with lids. Allow the jar to sit in a dark room temperature area for 2-3 days. Following this early fermentation process place jar in the refrigerator and return to the fridge after each serving.
Important: Never use a reactive metal container to store kimchi; use porcelain or stainless steel. Plastic will be permanently stained by chili. Store kimchi in a cool, dark place - a fridge is best.

Fabulous Foods – Kimchi/Kimchee

Kimchi, also spelled gimchi or kimchee, (as defined on wikipedia) is a traditional Korean fermented dish made of vegetables with varied seasonings, most commonly referring to the spicy baechu variety. Kimchi is the most common Korean banchan, or side dish, eaten with rice along with other banchan dishes. Kimchi is also a common ingredient and combined with other ingredients to make dishes such as kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae) and kimchi fried rice.

It is a fiery dish that acts as the ultimate pickle. I love going out for Korean food just for the Kimchi. I can eat it by the bowlfuls. No trip to Korean BBQ is compete with out a big bowl of kimchi to eat along side the perfectly seasoned meats and fish.

If you ever get a chance to try it, I recommend that you do. You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Recipe - Thai Basil Fried Rice

Thai Basil Fried Rice


2 cups - Cold, cooked rice
1-2 tbsp - Garlic (minced)
1-3 tsp - Fresh red chilies (finely chopped)
3/4 cup – Chopped red, green, and yellow peppers
2 tbsp – Chopped onion
2 tbsp - Light soy sauce
1/2 tsp - black pepper
50 gm - Chopped chicken or pork or beef or shrimp
2 tbsp - Peanut oil
1 handful - Thai basil leaves
(Feel free to add more veggies or different combinations of meats and veggies to this dish. It's very flexible.)


Heat a wok till the surface is almost smoking. Then add the oil and spread it around till it coats the surface evenly.
Temporarily move the wok off the heat and the add the garlic and chillies, then stir for about 10 seconds.
Then add the peppers, onion, and shrimp or meat.
Move the wok back to the high heat, add two pinches each of salt and pepper and toss around for another 30 seconds.
Add the rice to the pan, crumbling any big pieces to ensure they're all separate.
Toss the rice and the veggies well and keep stirring for another minute or two so that the rice grains are properly coated with the oil.
Then add the light soy sauce.
Stir the mixture around again for another minute. Then add the basil leaves into the rice.
Stir the rice and basil mixture in the wok for another minute, then take it off the heat and serve.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kiddie Recipes

My niece is 6, and she likes to help me out in the kitchen. But I am constantly freaking out because she is getting too close to the hot oven, or the knives or something. So I found these recipes where she gets to be in charge of all the ‘cooking’.

Graham sandwiches.

Spread half a graham cracker with low-fat cream cheese; top with a little raspberry fruit puree (or whatever fruit puree you like) and the other cracker half. Yummy!

Creepy-crawley crackers.

Spread peanut butter between two round whole-wheat crackers, add pretzel sticks for legs and raisins for eyes, and you've got one fun, spidery snack.

Breakfast Recipe - Breakfast tacos.

Breakfast tacos.
I love to make these on Saturdays right before we head out the door. They really easy to make and very versatile. You could throw in just about anything that you like and they taste great. I like to scramble the eggs with the salsa, it makes it taste extra delish!

Scrambled eggs
Whole wheat tortillas
Low fat shredded cheese
Sour cream

Scramble eggs to your liking.
Spoon scrambled eggs into warm whole-wheat tortillas, top with shredded low-fat cheese, a dollop of low-fat yogurt or sour cream, and salsa.

Breakfast Recipe - Oatmeal cookie pancakes.

Oatmeal cookie pancakes.

Kids love these and they are fairly easy to make. I cheat and use the just add water pancake batter, but you can make the pancake batter from scratch if you want.

Pancake batter
Oats, raisins, chopped walnuts
Brown sugar

To regular pancake batter, add oats, raisins, chopped walnuts, cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar.
Pour into fun shapes like snowmen, Mickey Mouse, or turtles and serve warm with syrup.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Smells yummy *drool*

Someone ordered in lunch, smells like French fries, and it smells delicious! I wasn’t very hungry before, but now I am starving and I don’t think that my salad is going to cut it. So as I sit here quietly salivating at the good stuff this chickie is eating at her desk, I got to thinking about smelly stuff that you shouldn’t be eating at your desk. Don’t get me wrong I have no issues with people eating as they work (heck I do it all the time) I do have issues with certain foods though.

Onion buns – these harmless little buns carry a big smell, especially when you warm them up. These should be enjoyed outside of your cubicle, and maybe outdoors.

Boiled eggs – In any form these are stinky. Please don’t subject me to the smell, I am not saying that they shouldn’t be enjoyed, just please enjoy them in wide open spaces.

Steamed or boiled Broccoli - These bad boys are super healthy, and doctors recommend that you eat broccoli quite frequently. But please do so near an open window.

Fish – another good for you food. Most fish is full of omega 3’s & 6’s, heck it even makes your hair shiny, but it should be eaten on the patio.

As you can see it’s a relatively short list. So bon appetite folks, I am off to lunch!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Recipe - Three Bean Chili

Three Bean Chili (in a slow cooker)


2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, chicken or pork
1 sm. onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans
1 (16 oz.) can black beans
1 (16 oz.) can white beans
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes (no skins)
2 tbsp. hot sauce (this can be left out if you’re cooking for kids)
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. chopped jalapenos


Drain and rinse all beans. Brown ground beef with vegetable oil; drain. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Cover and stir occasionally. Put on low heat, can be fixed ahead and left on all day.

Recipe - Jalapeno Corn Bread

Jalapeno Corn Bread


Vegetable oil for the pan
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, optional
Dash ground chipotle chile pepper or cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican blend of cheeses, Cheddar Jack, or sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup canned corn kernels, optional
8 ounces sour cream
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
4 tablespoons melted butter


Coat a heavy 10-inch skillet or 9-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil and set aside. Heat oven to 400°.
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, soda, salt, sugar, chipotle or cayenne pepper, chopped jalapeno peppers, and corn kernels.
Heat the skillet or pan in the oven or on the stovetop.
Whisk together the sour cream, milk, egg, and melted butter. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Spread in the hot greased skillet or baking pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set and lightly browned around the edges. Cool in the pan on a rack; cut into squares or wedges.

Vive le chili!

I love spicy food. To me if you want to make something better add some pepper. Any kind of pepper will do: chilis, jalapenos, poblanos, just as long as they have a kick. Last nights dinner was no exception. I had Jalapeno cornbread with three bean chili. It was absolutely great. For the kiddies, I just omitted the jalapenos from their cornbread. So I thought that I would share the recipes, maybe you’ll try it tonight.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Recipe - Pina Colada

For those nights when you just want to feel tropical, this is the perfect drink. Put this concoction into a tall glass, add a paper umbrella and a slice of pineapple and you are set. You can make them either virgin or ‘slutty’ depending on your mood and your company. :0)


4 oz. pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz. coconut cream
1 1/2 oz. gold rum (if you want to make it slutty)
Pineapple slice

Mixing instructions:
Mix all ingredients (except pineapple slice) with cracked ice in a shaker or blender. Pour into a chilled tall glass.
Garnish with fruit

Recipe - Lemon Tarts

Since Meli means honey in Greek, I thought that I would share a honey recipe with you. This one is fairly easy to make, and with some creative plating, you can make them look very fancy.
Let me know what you think…
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 (2.1 ounce) packages frozen mini fillo shells
Garnish: 1 can aerosol whipped cream24 maraschino cherries, halved or 24 fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray.Beat egg until fluffy. Continue beating while adding honey. Beat in brown sugar, lemon juice, zest, nutmeg, salt and melted butter. Put mixture into a measuring cup for easy pouring.Place fillo shells on a baking sheet and fill with lemon mixture almost to the top.Bake 12 minutes or until filling is bubbly and golden brown. Remove to rack to cool. (Can be prepared early in the day.)Just before serving, pipe a swirl or whipped cream on each tart. Top with half a maraschino cherry or a fresh raspberry.
Yields: 24 tartlets

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Restaurant Review - Juniors

Juniors - Most Famous Cheesecake & Desserts

I would like to start off by saying, I am not a cheesecake fan. I tend to go for other types of desserts but cheesecake was never very high on my list. This was until I went to Juniors.

I am not sure how Juniors make their cakes, but they are phenomenal!!

Their flavours range from the traditional; cherry or New York Cheesecake, to the ultimate in decadence; chocolate mousse or black forest. They combine flavours to produce a treat that is just heavenly.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Recipe - Poutine

In honour of Canada Day, I decided to post a truly Canadian recipe.

I love poutines. They are french fries covered in gravy and cheese, nothing could be better.


1 quart vegetable oil (for frying)
1 (10 1/4 ounce) can beef gravy
5 medium potatoes, cut into fries
2 cups cheese curds


  1. Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy skillet to 365°F (185°C).

  2. Warm gravy in saucepan or microwave.
  3. Place the fries into the hot oil, and cook until light brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  5. Place the fries on a serving platter, and sprinkle the cheese over them.
  6. Ladle gravy over the fries and cheese, and serve immediately.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I would like to start off with - I believe in all things in moderation. As Nigella Lawson said 'I can't live on 1000 calories a day' and neither can I. To me to fully be able to enjoy food you have to be able to eat. Living off low fat, low calorie foods only can deplete you palate and make food boring. You have to indulge every once in awhile, have a slice of chocolate cake with real cream ice cream, have a hamburger with all the fixins including actual cheese, have tuna salad with (gasp) full fat mayo, or maybe even a sour apple martini. All these things taste great, they are comfort food, and they bring you a level of pleasure that you should not deny yourself. I am not saying have them all the time, but do have them. Indulgence helps to keep us mental sane at times.

With that being said it is possible to over-indulge. And those of us that have been to an all you can eat dessert buffet know all about that. So below I have posted some tips from RealAge that can help you deal with the times when you have taken things just a little bit too far.

Eat less/sweat more the day before and after. "If you know you're heading for a weekend of excess," says Hall, "squeeze in a workout and eat 300 fewer calories the day before the partying begins." Same goes for the day after. But don't punish yourself by skipping a meal -- it'll just make you cranky and hungry. Limit portions or forgo a snack," like a blueberry muffin or small bag of potato chips (about 300 calories each).

Curb carbs at lunch and dinner. Hall is known throughout the UK for her Carb Curfew diet, which "means no starchy carbs -- bread, pasta, rice, potatoes or cereal -- after 5 pm." And for food-filled weekends, she says turn the carb alarm back to noon. Why? "Chances are your fat intake will be higher on these days, pushing up your calorie intake, and with party food, it's often easier to avoid carbs than fatty foods."

Drink up! Lots of water, that is. A boozy weekend can leave you dehydrated and too hung over to stomach your usual workout. Hall's advice: Drink plenty of water during and after endless cocktail hours or a wild weekend. As for post-party exercise, go for a walk instead of a full workout, "especially if you have a sore head!"
Eat a big bowl of veggie soup. "Foods with a high water content help stave off hunger and make you feel full. Studies show that dieters who follow this advice tend to stick to their plan without feeling unsatisfied or deprived." So before you leave home, slurp up a big bowl of vegetable soup.
Shake your booty. "Sometimes you just have to go out and burn a little more energy," says Hall. But here's the good news: One of the all-time best calorie-burners is the dance floor. So get out there and cut yourself a big old slice of rug. You'll wind up boogieing away a few hundred calories before the night is through.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Deep Fried Chocolate Bars

To my calorie conscious friends this just sounds like a horrid abomination, but once you try this tasty little treat you will be hooked.

Now I am not saying that these are to be consumed daily, weekly or even monthly but as a treat every once in awhile they are great.

What could be better than your favorite chocolate bar warm and gooey, incased in a golden crispy batter. Don’t deny it, the thought of it has you salivating!!

1 Mars bar or Milky Way bar or Snickers bar basically your favorite chocolate bar
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
1 pinch baking soda
oil (for deep frying)


1. Chill the chocolate bar by keeping it in the fridge, but don't freeze it.
2. Mix the flours and baking soda together.
3. Add milk until you get a batter with the consistency of thin cream.
4. Heat the oil until a small piece of bread will brown in a few seconds, but don't allow to smoke.
5. Remove wrapper from chilled chocolate bar.
6. Coat completely in batter.
7. Carefully lower into hot oil and fry until golden brown.
8. Serve, with ice cream, if you're so inclined.

Funnel Cake Recipe

To me funnel cake represents the perfect way to end a day in an amusement park. After a day filled with foot long hot dogs and blue Icees, the best way to end the day is with a funnel cake. But no ordinary funnel cake; one covered in powdered sugar, strawberries and ice cream.

I do make them at home, but for some reason it just seems to taste better after a day of screaming your lungs out on Vortex.

So here is my recipe (actually it is Rachael Ray's recipe) for funnel cake but it is one I use and I haven't had any complaints yet.

Funnel Cake

3 cups of vegetable oil
4 cups of flour
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
2 ½ cups of milk
3 large eggs
Icing sugar for dusting / toppings


1. In a deep medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 350º to 375º on a deep-fat thermometer.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and add the milk and eggs; whisk until smooth.

3. Transfer the batter to a gallon-size resealable plastic bag, remove the excess air and seal the top. With scissors, snip off a corner to make a 1/4-inch-wide hole. Carefully squeeze about 1 cup batter (one-eighth of the mixture) back and forth into the oil, making a free-form lacy web. Cook until golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn the cake over and cook until golden on the other side, about 1 minute more. Transfer the funnel cake to paper towels to drain briefly. Repeat with the remaining batter.

4. Dust the funnel cakes with powdered sugar/toppings and serve hot.

Ways to beat cravings

1. Keep your sugar substitutes, such as Sweet'n Low and Splenda, to a minimum. These are great products for adding sweetness to a beverage or cereal. But too much might trigger your craving for something really sweet - like a slice of pie or ice cream!

2. Avoid foods high in sodium, including Chinese takeout, chips, canned soups, and some frozen dinners. Sodium not only makes you retain fluids but also acts as an appetite stimulant and contributes to heart disease.

3. Avoid foods high in fat, including ice cream, baked goods, and chips. Some of these foods may contain trans fat, but even if they don't, the fat means you're taking in too many calories, and this will no doubt upset your caloric goals for the day.

4. Avoid alcohol. An occasional glass of wine or light beer is a pleasure I don't want to deny you. But it's easy to forget that alcohol contains a lot of hidden calories - 80-90 calories per glass of wine and 120 calories per beer. If you have between three and five drinks per week, that's around 250-500 extra calories per week! Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions and may lead to less-than-good food choices.

5. Caffeine is a stimulant and one many of us rely on to wake us up in the morning or give us that extra oomph when our energy lags in the afternoon. But do keep in mind that too much caffeine can be bad for us, stressing our bodies, depleting our bones of calcium, and eventually making us more tired than wakeful.

Restaurant Review - Oyster Boy

Oyster Boy
872 Queen Street West,
Toronto, ON
(416) 534-3432

This is a review for those of us that love seafood, in this case the oyster.
It doesn't matter whether it is dipped in a beer batter or panko bread crumbs and fried to a beautiful golden brown. Or delectably grilled on an open flame with the flavours of cedar infusing into it. Or sautéed in sweet butter with garlic, shallots and provencial herbs. Or even steeped in a fragrant broth surrounded seasonal vegetables and a piece of crusty bread ready for the dipping.
My favourite way to eat seafood, more specifically the jewel of the sea; the oyster, is raw. And nobody does it better than Oyster Boy on Queen West in Toronto. The restaurant itself is situated right next to Trinity-Bellwood's Park in Parkdale. From the outside it looks like a local dive bar, with its black paint and military looking logo. You may even do a double take when you enter the restaurant, not sure about whether or not you are in an eatery or a bar. It has pub style sitting with tall chairs and wood topped tables, that can be described as rustic and cozy. But the ambience is just right. It doesn't have the pretentiousness of 'finer' dining establishments, it has a homey feel.

The servers are excellent; they are fast, attentive and friendly. They are willing to explain the difference between the many types of oysters that they serve and they are even willing to go through the menu and explain the items.

Now for the food. Firstly the prepared items are delicious and absolutely enjoyable. The deep fried oysters with the wonderful mayonnaise, is heaven on a plate. And the Oysters Rockefeller are prepared wonderfully. The raw oysters are amazing. The selection cannot be found anywhere else, and the taste of a fresh oyster is like nothing you have ever had before. With over 6 varieties of oysters there is something to satisfy even the most 'selective' diner. They can be purchased individually or in dozens. And it is really easy to go through a dozen and not even realize it. Also, if you're not sure about which type of oyster is right for you, just ask the server!
For those that are not to keen on oysters the seafood platter is the thing for you. It's loaded with fish, and shrimp.

As you can probably tell Oyster Boy is one of my favorite restaurants. Since finding it by accident almost three years ago, I have been back many, many, many times and can't wait for my next trip back.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

is there anything out there that we can still eat??

I am not big on fast food. I mean when there are so many other options out there I would rather eat but I am a realist. I know that there are times when you don't have the time to go home a make a healthy, satisfying meal and a Big mac is easy, fast and tastes really dang good. I don't live in a cave, I know that in order to make these things taste so good and make money fast food restaurants don't always use the freshest, high quality ingredients. So when studies come out stating the obvious - just how bad fast food is for us, I am never really surprised, mildly disgusted, but not surprised.

The latest 'bad thing' that scientists have been saying is in our food is high fructose corn syrup. If you watch The View you know that high fructose corn syrup is bad for you. Whoopi has mentioned several times that it was banned from food product because it was bad for you and then the government removed the ban. Like every other additive in food, I never really paid attention to it though, until now.

This is the first time that I have ever decided to search for a list of the actual foods containing HFCS and dang!! It's a long a$$ list!! And this is only a list of the foods from fast food restaurants, the list of the products that are on grocery shelves for daily consumption is even longer!!

So have a gander, maybe this will help you make some 'better' choices, if there is anything on the menu left to eat.

Arby's Fat Free Italian Dressing
Honey Wheat Bread
Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Raspberry Vinaigrette
Santa Fe Ranch Dressing
Spicy Brown Honey Mustard
Blimpie Blue Cheese Dressing
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Cinnamon Roll
Fat Free Italian Dressing
Fudge Brownie
Honey French Dressing
Marbled Rye Roll
Mustard Potato Salad
Potato Salad
Sweet Peppers
Thousand Island Dressing


Burger King Breakfast Syrup
Buffalo Sauce
Chocolate Shake Syrup
Coca Cola Classic
Corn Dusted Buns Croissant (Croissan'wich)
Dr Pepper
Dutch Apple Pie
Hershey's Sundae Pie
Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Honey Mustard Spread
Icee - Coca Cola Classic
Icee - Minute Maid Cherry
Milk Shake Milk,
1% Lowfat Chocolate
Mott's Strawberry Flavored Applesauce
Sesame Seed Buns
Specialty Buns
Steak Sauce
Strawberry Shake Syrup
Tartar Sauce
Chick-fil-a Barbecue Sauce
Blue Cheese Dressing Buttermilk
Ranch Dressing
Carrot & Raisin Salad
Carrot & Raisin Salad Chicken Salad
Cup Chick-fil-A Southwest Chargrilled Salad
Chocolate syrup ingredients
Dr Pepper
Fat Free Honey Mustard Dressing
Fudge Nut Brownie
Garlic and Butter Croutons
Honey Mustard Sauce
Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce
Honey Roasted Sunflower Kernels
Polynesian Sauce
Reduced Fat Raspberry Vinaigrette
Sunflower Multigrain Bagel
Thousand Island Dressing
Yeast rolls


Dairy Queen Chocolate Cold Fudge


KFC Potato Salad
Apple Pie Slice
Cherry Cheesecake Parfait
Lemon Meringue Pie
Lil' Bucket Chocolate Crème
Lil' Bucket Fudge Brownie
Lil' Bucket Lemon Crème
Lil' Bucket Strawberry Short Cake
Strawberry Crème Pie Slice
Apple Pie Mini's
Mott's Apple Sauce


McDonald's 1% Low Fat Chocolate Milk Jug
Baked Apple Pie
Barbeque Sauce
Big Mac Bun
Big Mac Sauce
Butter Garlic Croutons
Chocolate Triple Thick Shake
Coca-Cola Classic
Deluxe Warm Cinnamon Roll
English Muffin
Hi-C Orange
Honey Wheat Roll
Hot Caramel Sundae
Hot Mustard Sauce
Low Fat Caramel Dip (for Apple Dippers)
McDonaldland Cookies
McFlurry with Oreo Cookies
Newman's Own Cobb Dressing
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
POWERade Mountain Blast
Regular Bun
Sesame Seed Bun
Southwestern Chipotle Barbeque Sauce
Strawberry Sundae
Strawberry Triple Thick Shake
Sweet 'N Sour Sauce


Chicken Strips, Teriyaki Glazed
Chipotle Soutwest Sauce
Chocolate Chunk Cookie
Deli Style Roll
Fat Free Honey Mustard
Peanut Butter
Sourdough Bread
Wheat Bread


Taco Bell Caramel Apple Empanada
Citrus Salsa
Pizza Sauce

Monday, June 23, 2008

I love you berry berry much!!

Summer is here in the great white North, and you know what that means???

The food is even better!! It's fresher, sweeter, juicer, crunchier, and easier to find.

I went to a farmers market this weekend and was in a state of bliss. I was surrounded by produce that was picked the day before, freshly baked breads and pies, and eggs that were selected that morning.

And the berries, I have to mention them seperately, they were simply mouth-watering. The red ripe raspberries, the plump juicy strawberries and the delicious cherries, they overwhelmed my senses. They presented so many possiblities; jams, jellies, preserves, pies, ice creams, in salads, and as snacks, I could barely contain myself.

It was a foodies dream!!

I Heart Food

I am a foodie at heart. I love just about any kind of food out there and my waistline can atest to that.

Because of that I figured this could be my forum for expressing my love or ( in the rare instance) dislike for all the restaurants, roadside stands and random forms of nourishment that I come across.

A foodie fanatic   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital