Monthly Archives: November 2013

showing off another one of my cakes


If you’re a regular reader, you know that I love  making kids’ birthday cakes! I’m really quite proud of the monster cake I created for my eldest’s 6th (yes, SIXTH!) birthday party. It was rather simple to make and I took a few shortcuts but it turned out great! All the kids loved it. The only negative experience was not having enough eyeballs for all the party guests. If I was to make it again, I’d have a 9-eyed monster!

T had requested a Sully (from Monsters Inc.) cake which I decided was impossible for me to make. Instead, I decided to create my own interpretation of Sully and made purple cake with blue icing.

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The eyeballs were really quite easy to make! I bought a box of pre-made Rice Krispie squares and one full square rolled out into the perfect size…!
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Then I coated them in some white, premade fondant (yep! I didn’t even make my own this time!) to cover the eyes. I cut out some extra white pieces for the monster’s teeth. Then, I coloured the rest of the fondant in the colours I needed for the eyes and made some extra black for the mouth. I used a bit of vodka brushed on the different fondant pieces to make them stick together. Worked like a charm! Stuck a few cake-pop/lollipop sticks in them and they were done!
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As for the icing, I just made a regular buttercream and iced it using a grass (233) tip. I started around the bottom and worked my way around and then up. It’s pretty hard to mess anything up using that tip. It’s pretty straightforward. If you do mess up, just go over the problem spot again with some more icing. You can never tell!

The birthday boy loved his cake and has requested another one for next year… Although i’m sure he’ll change his mind by then!
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buttermilk pancakes


Oh buttermilk pancakes? How did I ever live without you? I don’t know how I did not know about buttermilk pancakes until now but from now own, they’re all I’ll ever make. Fluffy, light and full of flavour… Perfection!

I discovered this recipe about a month ago while I was looking for ways to use up a litre of buttermilk I’d purchased for a recipe that only needed approximately 3/4’s of a cup’s worth. I was so surprised and impressed at how lovely the recipe turned out. So were the kids, I thin. They have demanded pancakes every weekend ever since I first made them.

This recipe makes a pretty large batch, but I make it on the weekends and keep the batter in the fridge so I can whip up some quick pancakes for breakfast during the week.

Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups buttermilk (If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, add 1 tbsp of vinegar to every 1 cup of milk and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat your pan over medium heat.

Whisk together your flour, baking powder & soda, salt and sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine, but don’t overmix. You want some small lumps in there!

Use a 1/4 cup measure to dole out your batter. Cook until the pancakes have bubbles on top and the edges are slightly dry. Flip over and cook another minute or so, until the bottoms are golden too. Serve with a pat of butter on top and some warm maple syrup.

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korean beef bowl


Yet another fantastic Pinterest find! It’s probably far from authentic Korean beef but delicious nonetheless. It is one of the easiest recipes in our meal rotation. The entire cooking process takes about 15 minutes, and that includes making the rice to go along with it. Perfect for one of those rushed nights! I doubled the recipe the first time I made this to make lunches for the week, and most of it was gone by the end of the meal. My eldest ate three kid-sized bowls of it! I, myself, was very tempted to lick my bowl clean.  We’ve made it several times, since!

Korean Beef Bowl
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Cooked rice
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Whisk together the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper flakes in a bowl.

Heat your vegetable oil over medium high heat, add garlic and ginger. Sautee until aromatic. Add your beef and cook until browned and crumbled. Add the soy sauce mix and green onions. Stir until well combined. Simmer for about 2 minutes. Serve with rice and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top for garnish.

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beef taco pasta


I’ve found another winning recipe from Budget Bytes! This time, their Beef Taco Pasta was tried, tested and deemed worthy of being added to our regular meal rotation by all four of us.

This recipe is really reminiscent of old school Hamburger Helper with a lot less sodium, a lot less processed and a whole lot more flavour.

Beef Taco Pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
1 lb extra lean ground beef
2 tbsp homemade taco seasoning (see recipe below)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
2 cups beef broth
8 oz (about 2 cups, dry) extra wide egg noodles
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2-3 green onions, sliced
Sour cream for garnish

In a large pot, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Throw in your onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

Add the taco seasoning and jalapeno. Stir to combine and cook another minute or so.

Add the noodles and beef broth. Stir and push the noodles down until they are completely covered by the broth. Cover your pot and let it come to a gentle boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes. Make sure to stir so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pot!

After 10 minutes, the pasta should be cooked and most of the broth absorbed. If it’s still too runny, cook for another 3-4 minutes with the lid off.

Add cheese and stir until completely melted. Top with green onions and sour cream.

Serve and enjoy!

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Homemade Taco Seasoning
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and you’ve got yourself a low-sodium, tasty, taco seasoning. I usually triple or quadruple the recipe and keep it in my pantry, ready to go!

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low fat banana peanut butter muffins


It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Life has been incredibly hectic and, sadly, updating the blog has been one of the first things to fall by the wayside. I’ve been getting home fairly late most evenings after picking the boys up from daycare. Getting an interesting meal on the table for dinner has been challenging.  We’ve been having many meals of breakfast for dinner, or sandwiches and soup. These dinners in themselves aren’t all that bad, but they’re definitely not all that blog-worthy.

But, I’m here today with a new delicious recipe to share. Ironically, it’s another muffin recipe, but definitely another one you’ll want to try! I was inspired by a Cooking Challenge taking place on one of the online forums I participate in. One of the members picks a new blog every week and every participant must pick one of the recipes from the blog, make it and share their comments. This week’s blog choice was Sally’s Baking Addiction.  I picked a delicious looking recipe for Skinny Peanut Butter Banana Muffins. I did take the liberty of making a few changes such as replacing the peanut butter with Wow Butter to make it nut-free for the boys’ school.

2 ripe large bananas, mashed with no chunks
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup 0% Greek Yogurt
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (non-oily natural style is OK)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Spray 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, honey, brown sugar, yogurt, egg, and milk together until combined.  Whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth and thick. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips together (if using).  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and lightly whisk until combined.  Try not to over mix the muffin batter or your muffins will have a tough (not soft) texture. Stir as little as possible until no flour pockets remain.

Fill the muffin cups practically all the way to the top. Between 3/4 full and all the way full. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F degrees. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350F and continue to bake for 12 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove muffins from tin and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for later!

pb banana muffin

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