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Fairy House

I was just going through my Pinterest folders and realized I hadn’t posted photos of my fairy house I made out of a Fun-kin (faux pumpkin)! I thought I would share. I simply cut out the shapes for the door using regular pumpkin carving tools, and made the door out of popsicle sticks that I cut with pruning shears, and glued together with “Goop” glue, then added a piece from an old necklace. The little hinges were taken from a birdhouse I found at the dollarstore. The mushrooms and gazing ball were made with Sculpey and marbles. The fairy figurines I found at Michael’s. The lights were bought online at Wise Mall = $4.29 Warm White Mini 40 LEDs Wedding Party Christmas Fairy String Light: Amazon.ca: Tools & Home Improvement.

It really was a lot of fun making this and Miss M. kept trying to help but she’s still a little too small. She had fun using the pumpkin as a house for all of her little figurines. The neighborhood kids also liked taking a peek on Halloween night. :)

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Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Chives

I really am late getting my posts up. I was so sick last week I was afraid to be alone because I had such a terrible headache I suspected an aneurysm. And Valentine’s Day / Chocopalooza was a pretty much a bust. I tried making red velvet pancakes by combining a buttermilk pancake with some cocoa powder and food colouring and it was a rubbery, disgusting mess. I tried sneaking a little into my daughter and Little Miss was not impressed. She came out to the kitchen with her mouth open and chewed pancake on her tongue. “Yucky!!” I told her it was a new recipe and every weekend since she asks if it’s a new recipe or an old recipe for her Saturday morning pancakes. This past weekend I tried Ricardo’s oatmeal pancakes and they were also gross. Too cooked on the outside and gummy on the inside. I do not recommend them.

But back to Chocopalooza – I made a brunch blowout and invited Mr. M over, (will post a recipe soon) then for dinner I made steak and garlic mashed potatoes, which was a big hit. For dessert I just ate Godiva chocolates. At least the steak and spuds were great! The potatoes were super creamy and flavourful. They have been my go-to special occassion side for the past 10 years. I hope you like them too.

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Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Chives

INGREDIENTS

1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut top 1/4 inch off head of garlic to expose tops of cloves. Place in small baking dish. Spoon oil over; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until garlic cloves are tender, about 45 minutes. Squeeze garlic cloves from skins and mash in small bowl.

Cook potatoes in heavy large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 18 minutes. Drain; return to pot. Stir over low heat to allow excess water to evaporate. Add whipping cream, butter, sour cream, and roasted garlic and mash together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in chives and serve.

Source: Bon Appetit magazine, September 2003.

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

I’ve been seeing a lot of good recipes being shared on facebook lately and decided to save this one for later. I don’t know the original source so I apologize for not giving credit. I decided to use pork tenderloin cutlets and slow roast them in the oven and it turned out okay. I should have stuck with the original recipe because it was a little too dry. The sauce itself was fine but it felt like it was missing something but I don’t know exactly what. I think I will use honey instead of maple syrup next time to make it more like a honey garlic sauce. I’ll let you all know if I get around to doing this.

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

2 pound Pork Tenderloin
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 TBS Yellow Mustard
2-3 TBS maple syrup
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS Diced dried onions
1 1/2 TSP Garlic Salt or Powder

Mix ingredients above. Pour over Tenderloin in the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.

Chocopalooza is upon us again!

Heather’s annual single girl chocopalooza extravaganza is upon us again, this Saturday, February 14th. I’m running out of chocolate breakfast ideas so I think I’m going to extend my choices to include red velvet, which will allow for red velvet waffles or pancakes.  A friend of mine whom we shall refer to as Mr. S or Stevius Octavius will be joining us for dinner and I’m making steaks, but for dessert I’m still deciding. I was thinking of making woopie pies but it just doesn’t quite scream ultimate chocopalooza indulgence. I am open to suggestions. Here’s a look at my Pinterest Chocolate Desserts folder:

These look insane!

Cinnamon Toast

I really look forward to weekends because that’s when I have time to really prepare my food, or if I’m lucky, go out for brunch. That’s exactly what we did on Saturday. Then we went shopping at Winners for a little butterfly couch for my daughter. My Dad saw a pic I took of her admiring it and he decided to send a little money along so that I could surprise her with it. She was jumping up and down with excitement when we left the store! That evening we got home late and we still full from our big breakfast feast so I made pan fried salmon with steamed veggies on the side for dinner, and for dessert I made this. It’s super fast and so simple, although I’m thinking it’s just as unhealthy as cupcakes when you look at the amount of butter and sugar. Probably not something to eat every day but nice on a cold winter’s evening. It was so yummy we gobbled it up before I could take a pic. I scaled the recipe down for 2 adults with sweet teeth. ;)

Cinnamon Toast

4 slices of bread
1/2 stick butter softened
1/4 cup Sugar (more To Taste)
1/2 rounded teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (more To Taste)
pinch of Ground Nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Smush softened butter with a fork. Dump in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg, if using. Stir to completely combine. Spread on slices of bread, completely covering the surface all the way to the edges.
Place toast on a cookie sheet. Place cookies sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until golden brown and bubbling. Watch so it won’t burn! Remove from oven and cut slices into halves diagonally.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Stovetop Chicken with Herb Dumplings

This recipe is deceivingly simple, yet insanely delicious! Seriously one of the best recipes I’ve tried in months. Thank-you, thank-you Chef Michael Smith! This is another recipe from his cookbook “Family Meals” that I had planned on making months ago but never got around to it, and now I’m kicking myself. I had two big bowls tonight, and so did my friend Mr. M. He wanted to smack his lips but I wouldn’t let him! lol I made a couple of substitutions and two mistakes, truth be told.  I didn’t have white wine so I used chicken broth, and no heavy cream so I used 5% cream instead. I was in a hurry and missed the part where I was supposed to turn off the heat while making the dumplings, and everything started to brown on the bottom of the pan. Not quite burnt, but close. Thank goodness it didn’t affect the rest of the dish. And when I was making the dumplings I accidentally added too much butter. They were too soft but still quite yummy. Next time, I fear it will literally blow my mind! I highly recommend everyone try this dish at home (when you’re not rushed) ;)

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Stovetop Chicken with Herb Dumplings

For the Creamy Chicken Stew:
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 mL) or so of butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
1 large carrot, diced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) of white wine
1 cup (250 mL) of whipping cream
1 cup (250 mL) of water
1 cup (250 mL) of frozen green peas or corn
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of salt
Lots of freshly ground pepper

For the tender dumplings:
1 cup (250 mL) of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 mL) of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of salt
A handful of chopped fresh parsley (or 2 green onions, thinly sliced)
1/2 cup (125 mL) of milk
1/4 cup (60 mL) of butter, melted

Start making the stew. Heat your favorite heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the vegetable oil, then add the butter (the oil prevents the butter from burning). Add and sear the chicken breasts, building a golden-brown crispy crust on each side, about 15 minutes total. Remove the delicious chicken to a plate.

To the skillet, add the onions, celery, carrot and garlic along with a splash or two of water to loosen and dissolve all the flavorful browned bits. Stir and cook until sizzling, 5 minutes or so. Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until it’s evenly absorbed by the butter. Pour in the wine and stir the works again. Pour in the cream and water and continue cooking, stirring often, until the sauce is beautifully thickened and smooth.

Meanwhile, chop the chicken into bite-size pieces. Return them to the pan along with the peas. Season with thyme, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.

To make the dumplings, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir in the parsley. Add the milk and melted butter, and stir together until the dough is just blended. Return the chicken stew to a slow simmer. Spoon 10 or 12 dumplings over the stew. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, then cover tightly and cook until the dumplings are fluffy and tender, about 10 more minutes. Spoon, serve and share.

Inuit Fried Bannock

I must apologize for not being around lately. As I mentioned a while back, I re-injured my knee and had to get surgery. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very diligent with doing my post-op exercises and now I need physiotherapy :( I still haven’t been cooking much. One of the only new things I’ve tried making has been this Inuit style fried bannock. There are different types of bannock – baked, shallow pan fried or this recipe which is basically deep fried but in about an inch or inch and a half of hot oil. I would go so far as to call these Inuit donuts. They’re super crispy and yummy on the outside! The first batch I made was a little too big so they were too doughy on the inside, but the second batch was pretty good. I look forward to perfecting these in the future ;)

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Inuit Fried Bannock

3 cups flour

3 Tbsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp. sugar

1-2 cups of water

Vegetable oil for frying

Heat an inch of oil in a deep, wide frying pan, to about 365 degrees (the oil will appear to ripple). Mix dry ingredients together then slowly add about 1 cup of water and mix, adding drizzles of the remaining water until it makes a sticky, goopy dough.  Carefully place rounded tablespoons of the dough into the hot oil and fry on each side, about 2-4 minutes until brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with butter and jam.

For variety, you can try adding a couple of handfuls of raisins or other dried fruit to the dough. Frozen berries also work well.

This recipe was given to me by a woman from Coral Harbour, Nunavut.

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