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I think we’ll all agree that the nice summer weather was late to the party this year. As such, I found myself somewhat recently making soup. Onion soup no less.

I make this soup all the time. So much so, that 10 year old – onion hating me, would be shocked. Dismayed even.

So why, when for once, I was planning to share said soup with visitors did I decided I would try to change it up?? The only word that comes to mind is stupidity. In my quest to somehow make my favourite soup better – I destroyed it.

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You had such promise onions on their way to being caramelized… but then you met me… woopsie.

Onion soup is ridiculously easy to make. In its most basic form you caramelize some onions and add water on top… let it simmer away until magnificent. If you like, you can substitute wine or broth or beer for the water. But BE CAREFUL.

This is where I made my mistake. In place of some of the water I decided to add some beer. In it went, before I tasted it. Like I said… stupid. It was an incredibly bitter beer. Which of course, made an incredibly bitter soup.

I had a couple of hours before the girls arrived for dinner. Enough time to try three techniques to save the soup and therefore the dinner. In the interest of saving you the time of doing an internet search – here are your options when you have an incredibly bitter soup to deal with.

Option 1 – Add a little sugar. This works well if the bitter taste isn’t too overwhelming. A little maple in a parsnip or carrot soup can actually be quite lovely. Add a TBSP of sugar to the pot. Stir and wait 2 minutes. Then give it another taste?? Still bitter – don’t add more sugar! Strangely enough something can be sweet with a bitter after taste… also known as bad.

Option 2 – Remove 1/2 the liquid and replace with new broth or water. This will only help if the bitterness is in the liquid. If it is because you have slightly burnt your meat or vegetables before they went in, or the veggies themselves were just bitter (not uncommon for older root veg) this is not going to help much if at all.

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Looks pretty good… but I assure you it tasted like poison.

Option 3 – Call it. It’s dead. Time to start again. Sometimes, as painful as it is that you have just wasted that time, money and food… not to mention that you perhaps have already cleaned up and it’s time to get dirty again, you just have to do it. In my case this is the road I ended up having to travel. Though there wasn’t enough time… or onions for that matter (and honestly by this point it had gotten warmer and I wasn’t feeling soup so much anyways – aka I dumped you not other way around soup). So my ‘fix’ was to make salad instead.

Of course… had I tasted the beer before it went into the soup… or attempted to remove all the liquid and start again right from the start I wouldn’t have been in this mess. But as I said in the beginning… stupidity was the name of the game.

recipes

Every now and then, or basically every 20 minutes since I started using pintrest, I come across something hilarious on the interweb that I just want to share with everyone! Today I’m reaching beyond my circle of facebook friends to show you this amazing recipe I found. For ice cubes. Why would anyone take the time to write and post the recipe for making ice??

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Been there lady.

So the recipe for ice itself is smirk worthy.

photo 2But in the grand tradition of internet jokes such as binder of women, banana slicer, and the grand-daddy of them all… 3 wolf moon shirt, The punch line is in the comments. Here are a couple choice ones. For the full joke check out food.com

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I keep reading this next one with different accents in my head and laughing until it hurts… yeah… I need something better to do with my time. photo 5

recipes

I have a great view from my balcony. It is one of the main reasons I got this apartment… other reasons include it was in my prefered neighbourhood, wasn’t in a scary basement and allowed pets.

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 See – gorgeous, eh?? Though the hot air balloons only come out during the Hot Air Balloon festival once a year.

I plan on taking full advantage of both the view and what I’m hoping will be amazingly nice summer weather. Starting…. now. Now! Now?? Nnnnnnow!! Ok… soon. While I might be happy to call a gorgeous glass of red wine – dinner, not everyone is. So here is a really quick little bite that you can throw together quickly and get back to the sunshine! It is adapted from a wonderful cook book called “Around my French Table” by Dorie Greenspan – she calles it a Dieter’s Tartine.

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Dorie’s Dieter’s Tartine

Ingredients
Cottage Cheese
Baguette or nice bread you can cut into thick rounds
Tomato
Cucumber
Avocado
Salt
Pepper * For this I used a smoked pepper from The Salty Don - it’s just amazing. You can use regular pepper… but it’s worth seeking out this fantastically delish product.

1. Cut as many rounds of bread as you want to serve/eat. I find I’m stuffed with about 3 or 4 I’m in that phase where I eat like a bird (nature’s way of balancing when my mouth is like a black hole that all food is sucked into). Toast them either quickly on a griddle pan or in a toaster oven. One side will do – it’s just for texture.

2. Scoop out a tablespoon of cottage cheese for each bread round. Season it to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Cut the tomato, avocado and cucumber into a tiny little dice.

4. Spread the cheese on the bread and add the chopped veggies on top. Don’t worry if it spills over… if you have already started drinking before making the snacks it was bound to happen anyway.

5. Enjoy!

recipes

Living alone gives you a lot of some things, like privacy, free time and opportunities for sitting around sans-pants. Sadly for your bank account, that often translates to going out. Not to mention that paying bills on your own is way more expensive than splitting them with someone. So it is great when you find smart ways to save money, money better spent treating yourself to something kick ass… like this:

ed08_star_wars_death_star_tea_infuser Oh this… it’s just my DEATH STAR TEA INFUSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok… it’s not mine yet – but it will be once someone buys it for me.

Aged balsamic vinegar is thicker, sweeter and more complex that regular balsamic. It makes a spinach and strawberry salad sing a song so beautiful your ears will weep with joy. It’s also a hell of a lot pricier depending on how long it has been aged. Thanks to my amazingly awesome boss at C’est Bon Cooking - there is a work around.

Take a bottle of your regular, cheap balsamic. Pour it into a pot and turn on the heat to about medium. Allow that vinegar to simmer. NOT BOIL. If you boil it, the smell of vinegar will fill your house like mustard gas. But if you simmer it, and allow it to reduce by half – you will have a thicker, sweeter and very similar to aged balsamic tasting vinegar. Let it cool – pour it back in the bottle.

It is, quite literally, awesome sauce.

Leaving your budget free for something amazing. Perhaps Spock oven mitts?? Ohhhh baby.

ef2d_star_trek_oven_mitt

recipes

I love lasagna. It is a way for me to justify more cheese on my pasta and nothing could make me happier. The only problem – making a single serving of it. Sure you could buy the frozen kinds – but let’s face it, they suck. There is either all meat sauce with no veggies, all veggies and a severe lack of cheese or it is just bland.

Then I discovered this little trick and it has once again brought the sun shine happiness of homemade lasagna back into my life: a loaf pan is the perfect size for two servings of lasagna. Basic noodles fit almost perfectly (a little trimming might be required), two per row.

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Oh baby.

Use your favourite lasagna recipe as a guide or take a look at what I did.

Just layer oven read noodles between tomato sauce (add a little water to it if it doesn’t already have a very liquid consistency – the noodles will need it while cooking. Add handfuls of spinach in some layers, and use cottage or ricotta cheese in place of the bechamel sauce and your favourite cheese. Throw it in the oven until the noodles are cooked to your liking and BAM! Lasagna for one (or two depends on if you like to share) that tastes amazing and is simple enough for even the busiest single guy or gal.

 

 

recipes

There is a British Study that says that people tend to choose dog that have similar personalities to themselves. I don’t know about that, but I DO know that since Lemon and I moved out on our own… he’s gotten quirkier. So, yeah. I guess that study is pretty bang on.

Lemon and I

Let us look at the ways that Lemon and I are the same:

1. We both dislike early mornings and love naps.

2. We are both somewhat paranoid and twitchy.

3. Neither of us have much fashion sense.

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You can’t see it in this photo but his purse totally clashes with that hat.

4. We love a good cookie.

5. We are easily startled.

6. We hate cleaning up after ourselves. *The only difference is that one of us will eventually do it anyway… thanks Lem.*

7. We are somewhat awkward and a whole lot weird.

8. Once you get to know us those things become adorable.

Here is another thing we have in common… we love this recipe. Me, because it is basically dessert dressed up like a meal and Lemon, because he gets the fruit that I drop on the ground. Both the accidental and deliberate kind.

Also, because it is just the two of us (though TV assures me that cute single girls in the city have many opportunities for “unexpected, but completely welcome morning visitors”… please don’t let this be more of your ‘false advertising’ television) this recipe is in singles friendly portion. One recipe makes 2 decent sized pancakes.

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Best Pancakes In The World

Ingredients
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup liquid (milk or water – up to you)
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp white vinegar
1/2 TBSP sugar
1 medium sized fruit or 1/2 cup
A little sugar and spices to taste

Depending on the fruit you use, you may need to cut it up and saute it with a little butter and sugar. Use the sugar to taste, it will depend on if you are using a seriously sweet banana or if you have a bitter apple. Berries and such don’t need to be cooked first, but you can if you like.

This is also a good time to add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg if you so choose. Usually 1/2 tsp is more than enough.

Mix all other ingredients in a bowl, add your fruit – cooked or not. Mix well.

Cook pancakes in a fry pan over medium heat until golden brown and cooked through.

Enjoy with an abundance of maple syrup. Seriously… go nuts. It’s awesome.

recipes

Everyone is good at something. I am a spectacular procrastinator. Spectacular. But sometimes that isn’t a good thing. Say, hypothetically of course, you were baking brownies and you didn’t check in on them maybe as much as you should…. and they are dry. Not burnt mind you. But so dry that you can’t even cut them with any kind of knife. They could be used as a weapon.

Luckily, the second thing I’m good at is fixing my fuck-ups. It might not be what you originally intended but it is way better than those bricks you call brownies.

First step: If there is anything salvageable – scrape it off and put it in a bowl.

Step two: Add a few tablespoons of butter in little pieces all over the dried, stuck to your pan brownies. Put them in the oven at 200 degrees until the butter melts.

Step three: the melted butter will loosen up that brownie no matter how much you swore it was never, ever, coming off the pan. Put those scrapings in the bowl with the other brownie pieces. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look pretty.

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Step four: Add one egg and 1/2 cup of milk for every 1 cup of dried brownie pieces. Add a splash of vanilla. I realize these aren’t exact instructions, but not following instructions properly is most of the reason we are in this situation in the first place.

Step five: put them in a muffin tin or ramekins that has been sprayed with oil. Bake at 350 degrees until the liquid has evaporated and the texture is like a soft muffin.

Step six: enjoy your now soft and awesome brownie bread pudding… because that is exactly what you meant to make.

recipes

You know why I love Facebook? Because it is like having a team of people searching the internet for you and then posting all the best stuff. The best looking recipes, the luckiest chain letters and the funniest jokes. Ok… that’s not always true. But if you sift amongst the rocks there is gold in them there hills!!  I mean… that there news feed.

My friend Amanda posted a link to making your own deodorant. I had the same reaction that I bet you are having right now. It sounded something like “Pfft… that is some pretty hippie shit right there.” Well I was wrong and so were you. Actually… we were both pretty bang on but just because it is hard core hippie doesn’t mean it doesn’t rock the proverbial casbah.

It just so happens that I have very sensitive skin. I’m also super accident prone – so when I had cut my under arm (yes that’s right… I cut it)  I found that regular deodorants burned and stung like a mother cuss-er. I was pretty quick to beg Amanda for a sample.

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Do you know what clove and orange smells like?? Juicy Fruit gum. Oh hell yes.

Made from essential oils, house hold baking supplies and coconut oil – not only does it smell amazing, is natural and didn’t sting – it is also fully customizable!! Oh yes. For every time I have turned to someone and said “I wish I smelled just like this ______” insert yummy smell here. Usually it is wine, bacon or popcorn. Just swap out the orange and clove oil below for your prefered scent.

So I made some! And with it a bit of a change in the recipe for a better texture. So use up your old stuff – keep the container (you can just pour this right in and it will set up like a regular stick of deodorant). But you might want to have some regular stuff on hand because this recipe is the exact opposite of “no white residue”. Sorry little black dress. But it does last all day and even through my yoga sessions.

Homemade Deodorant – Smell Like Candy

Ingredients
10 drops Oregano Oil (this is the bacteria fighter… you need this. I know you may not like the smell but you wont notice when you are done)
25 drops Orange Oil
10 drops Clove Oil
4-5 TBSP coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup corn starch

In a big bowl whisk all the ingredients together until combined. Should be the consistency of thick cake batter. Pour into your container and start smelling great!

And now, because you know it is in your head. The Clash -

The funny thing about these cookies is that they never actually made it to the intended recipient.

Remember when I had said that I was making cookies as part of a 2013 creative ‘Pay it Forward’? (If you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, catch yourself up here. Don’t worry I’ll be here when you get back.) Well these ginger snaps were made for my friend Katy. In my head I was 150% certain that she was going to be at a dinner party mutual friends were having. Turns out Katy was 151% certain that she was going to New York City for the weekend.

So… the cookies were made, they were photographed, eaten and enjoyed. Katy simply had no part in any of that. *Note to Katy – I do promise to get you a cookie at some point. It may even be a ginger cookie and be made by me. It could also be a single Oreo that I hand you and then proceed to eat the rest of the bag by myself. In one sitting. While you watch. *

Incase Katy gets tired of waiting for me to show up at her door with cookies – here is the recipe

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Ginger Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup molasses
1 TBSP baking soda
3 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 TBSP ground ginger
1/2 TBSP grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Melt butter and shortening together, put in a large bowl. Add molasses and baking soda. Stir to combine.

Add flour, sugar, buttermilk, ginger and salt. Stir until blended and becomes a dough.

Form dough into small balls. Place on cookie sheet with space in between. Bake 13 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees. If you prefer a crisper cookie (more like a ginger snap) press the ball of cookie dough out with the palm of your hand or a fork before baking.

recipes

Sometime in early January I saw a friend make the following post in their facebook status:

“2013 Creative Pay-It-Forward:­ The first five people to comment on this status will receive from me, sometime in the next calendar year, a gift – perhaps a book, or baked goods, or a candle, flowers, or a surprise! There will likely be no warning (well, except if I need your address) and it will happen whenever the mood strikes me. The catch? Those five people must make the same offer in their FB status. Who’s in?:

The chance to get a random surprise?!? Of course I was in. I have a deep love/hate relationship with surprises. I love getting them, I hate not knowing what they are!

Of course, those who signed up on my status are receiving food. I decided it would be best to make everyone cookies! Cait was first with a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

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Here is the recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (6oz) package of chocolate chips

In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir until combined. Add dry ingredients and blend together.

Stir in chocolate chips.

For dough into small balls (about 2 TBSP per ball). Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet a couple of inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees until the edges become golden.

Allow cookies to cool, or you will burn your mouth like I did.

 

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