Monthly Archives: July 2013

blueberry banana breakfast bars


I found a pint of blueberries in the fridge early Saturday morning and had to use them up that day or they’d spoil. I figured since it was coolish out and I hadn’t baked in a while, I’d use them up in some baking. I thought I’d make some blueberry muffins for breakfast the following week but wasn’t in the mood for muffins. I hopped on the computer and by mixing and mashing a few recipes together, I came up with these lovely breakfast bars. They’re really moist and pair perfectly with my morning cup of coffee.

Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bars
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe medium banana, mashed
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup fresh blueberries

Heat your oven to 350F. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with some cooking spray or butter it up. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all your dry ingredients and set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the syrup, milk, vanilla, oil and bananas on medium-low speed until just mixed. Add your dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Slowly fold in your blueberries.

Bake pan in oven for about 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the bars comes ou clean.

Cool on a cooling rack and cut into bars.

Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container.

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spicy sausage pasta


Guess where I found this recipe? That’s right. Pinterest. It’s been my main source of inspiration as of late.

This recipe is quick (I whipped it up in less than 30 minutes), easy and best of all, it only uses up one pot. Score!

Spicy Sausage Pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage (I bought mine at our local butcher’s)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used 5% and it was just fine)
8 oz pasta (I used bow tie but penne would work fine)
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup shredded cheese. The original recipe called for Monterey Jack but I had none and used a mixture of sharp cheddar and mozzarella instead
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

Add the olive oil to a small dutch oven over medium high heat. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover dutch oven and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the oven from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.
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Recipe inspired from http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/spicy-sausage-pasta.html#ixzz2ZupBBXCy

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sour cream noodle bake


When you have small children and an enabling husband, they make you do stuff like this while photographing your meal for your blog.

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Obviously, placing LEGO Minifigures on one’s dinner plate and making Mom photograph them is way more fun than eating itself.

Despite the dinner games, everyone really enjoyed this recipe from the Pioneer Woman’s website.

The Pioneer Woman’s Sour Cream Noodle Bake
The original recipe can be found here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/03/sour-cream-noodle-bake/

1-1/4 pound ground beef
1 can tomato sauce (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
8 ounces, egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown your ground beef in a large skillet. Drain any excess fat and add tomato sauce, salt and pepper.Stir and simmer.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

Add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

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bruschetta chicken


This recipe is yet another Pinterest find. I really enjoyed its simplicity and how it used fresh, in season ingredients I was able to find at the local produce stand. Everyone really enjoyed it, and I particularly loved how easy it was to make.

Bruschetta Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 large red onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Season your chicken breasts with some salt and pepper. In a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, brown them and set aside.

In your blender or food processor (I used my mini-processor), place the garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar and water. Pulse until it is smooth.

Place the cooked chicken in an oven-proof baking dish and cover with the basil mixture. Top it all off with the tomatoes and onions. Bake for 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Serve over some brown rice, or pasta. I served it atop some garlic butter spaghetti with fresh herbs. Delicioso!

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a cake fit for a wee princess!


We celebrated my niece’s first birthday over the weekend. When I found out we’d be having a small celebration for her, I jumped on the opportunity to make her birthday cake. Making all the family’s kids’ birthday cakes has become a bit of a self-imposed tradition, after all! Because of the wee little miss’ love of strawberries, I decided to whip up a fabulous Swiss chocolate cake topped with fresh strawberry butter cream. I have to brag: it turned out magnificently! The cake was delicious and moist, and the icing had just the right amount of strawberry flavour to it. A perfect combo!

Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup Dutch process Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup strong, hot black coffee or espresso
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare 2 x 9″ cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper.

Sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl of your electric mixer.

Add remaining ingredients to mixture and mix, with your paddle attachment, for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Divide among prepared pans. Batter will be runny.

Bake for 35 minutes. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean.

Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes.

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Fresh Strawberry Butter cream
1.5 cup fresh strawberries
2 cups unsalted butter
5-6 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
Heavy cream as necessary

Puree the strawberries a blender or using your immersion blender.

Transfer the strawberry puree to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir often. Reduce the puree by half. This should take approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. (You can do this step way ahead of time!)

Beat the butter in your electric mixer using your paddle attachment.

Add 1 cup of sugar and beat until just blended.

Add 2 tbsp of puree and the vanilla extract. Beat until just blended.

Add 2 cups of sugar followed by 2 more tbsp of puree. Twice more (I used approximately 6-8 tbsp of puree)

Add the remaining sugar and beat until you achieve the desired consistency. If the buttercream is too runny,add some sifted sugar. If it’s too dry, add some of the heavy cream, about 1 tbsp at a time.

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