Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'm Back!

Hi Everyone, I'm back, again. Sort-of.

I know I have been neglecting everyone here for quite awhile. But this is because I have been doing less cooking and more crafting and just other stuff. I want to post all this stuff here, but everytime I think 'but it is a cooking blog', and I don't. So, instead I have started a new blog The Canadian Domestic Wannabe. This one is going to have everything! Crafts, recipes (when it cools down and I start cooking again), and lots of other surprises!

I hope you will join me at my new home, I am not abandoning this blog altogether, but rather it will go on the back burner for now.

Thanks for following!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

June Package Pals

I am horrible waiting so long to post this! I have been terribly forgetful lately and cleaning out the apartment, trying to get things organized before Fall. Yeah, i know there is oodles of time, but i am going slow because it has been so darn HOT! 

This is my first month participating in Package Pals, hopefully I will be able to do it again. I mailed my package out to Kristin at Brilliant Like Fireflies very late, i am very slack lately. I received this one from her. I honestly don''t know if the mailman licked it all the way from Ontario, but the poor box looked like it had been! Thankfully, the contents were mostly intact. 

So many pretty pink things came out of the damaged box!

A stamper-cutter for my scrapbooking, can't wait to use this!

Some pink plastic straws, i have not seen anything like these around my city...i will have to use them wisely!

Some little pokers, made with the cutter! Also some mini cupcake liners (they missed the photo op), these will be great to use together for an upcoming baby shower, won't know if it is a girl or boy for a few more weeks though!

And some home-made pinwheels! These were a bit dog-eared from the damaged box, but i set the edges under a few heavy books and they are almost perfect now. I am thinking of mounting one on one of the straws to go with my pink rose, they will compliment each other nicely. Now to jut get around to it!

If you are interested in participating, click on the logo above, Package Pals runs every other month. 

Hope everyone is having a great summer so far, it is so hot here and I am trying to keep busy, not much time for cooking! I have mostly been ordering out or eating yucky boxed crud because it is to hot to turn on the oven! I'll be back to it soon, promise!! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals.

About a month ago, I mentioned i was participating in a trade off called Foodie Pen Pals.  Click HERE to read more about it and sign up. Basically, you get matched up with someone, usually in your own country, and send them a Food parcel that is valued at 15 dollars or less. Just to mix it up a bit, you also get matched with someone else who sends you a parcel. So you are not sending and receiving from the same person. I sent a parcel of New Brunswick goodies off to Saskatchewan, and i received a lovely box of chocolate from Ontario! Here is a peek at what i received:

Some mini chocolate bars and a gourmet coconut chocolate bar, yum, chocolate coconut is one of my favourites! 

A box of chocolate mint tea, a perfect pick me up! And another of my favourites. Mint is perfect if you are tired, it wakes up the senses. 

Organic Chocolate covered raisins. I have tried a few things in this brand, but it is fairly new around here, so i had not found these yet. Their animal crackers are excellent! 

Cherry honey!! I have never had flavoured honey before, and Cherry is another of my favourite flavours! 

A box of home made chocolate bars with lots of healthy ingredients! 

They look kind of funny, and i'll admit i was hesitant to try them, but my Pen Pal said her kids love them! I tried a bite and they are delicious! It was a nice pick me up on a day that i was feeling yucky. 

And, to even all this chocolately goodness out, a health food magazine. I've already picked out a few recipes to try, but it has been a long couple of weeks so I have not had the chance yet. I have not seen this one on shelves around here, so I am glad for a chance to peruse something new! 

I also participated in another group this month, a crafting one. I have received my parcel but know mine has not arrived yet, so I am going to hold off posting until that arrives. No fair that I can post and my partner can't just because i slacked on the mailing date! 

If you are interested in joining Foodie Pen Pals, run on over to The Lean Green Bean and sign up, I highly recommend it, it's great trying something new! 

Hope everyone is having a great Canada Day Weekend (or almost 4th of July).

The Lean Green Bean

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Swimming in Cupcakes

Last week we had a team meeting. They routed all of our calls offshore for two hours while we sat, gabbed and ate. It wasn't all fun, we did go over some business, but it was really an enjoyable time. 

I am on the R&R committee at work, which means I helped set up and tear down our lovely meal. We had decided to go with a picnic themed sandwich bar. We had everything set out for people to make their own sandwiches, and we added a few picnic goodies like watermelon, chips and a lovely cake for dessert. I made these little cuties as a contribution to our meal, it is something I found online.

I started out with a cake mix, quick and easy. I used a Rainbow Bit mix, and just made it into cupcakes.

Yummy! They would have been perfect as is, Rainbow Bit is one of my favourites. I slapped some blue icing onto them. And i discovered just how difficult it is to make waves with a knife.

I slightly stretched peach candy rings and slid a Teddy Graham (no name brand) into each, this is their floaty ring. Then i just perched them on top of each cupcake! 

I have seen other versions that have sand made out of crushed graham crackers, or little umbrellas that you get in bar drinks, but i decided not to go so fancy. 

Everyone thought they were really cute, and i had a few people fighting over the last two! I guess cake mixes are sometimes the way to go!

Hope everyone is having a great first full week of summer! It has been raining non-stop here, we may have to break out the pool floaties to! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Homemade Nacho Dip

Last week, cheez whiz was on sale for 3.99 a jar, half price! I have not had cheez whiz in years, one because of the price, and two because i'm a little wary of the word 'processed'. But, i have a few recipes that call for it that i want to try out, so i went for it. This is something i came up with years ago when i was looking for a munch and had nothing to dip my Tostitos in, I threw together some ingredients and made a yummy treat, homemade nacho cheese. 

I start with a good glop of cheez whiz. Usually about 1/4 of the medium jar. This is enough for one serving. I also add about a tsp of garlic butter. 

I turn the stove onto medium to start melting them together, and as it melts i stir and add milk to thin it. Usually about a Tbsp at a time until it looks good. Meanwhile, i chop a bit of green pepper and onion.

This is a mini cutting board, and a toothpick laying beside the chopped veggies, so when i say a little bit, i mean a little bit :-) Usually i try to cut them really fine, but i didn't bother this time. 

When it is thin enough, i add garlic powder, the veggies and some cayenne pepper for a bit of kick. I keep stirring it until it is nice and hot (i do not like cold nacho cheese, i am always going back to the microwave with it). Break out the Tostitos and you are good to go! Yum!

It has been a busy week, hope everyone is having a great one! It is almost Father's Day weekend, we are heading to my parents Sunday for BBQ, can't wait!

Have a good week, everyone!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pierogi Casserole

I'm back from vacation! A day and a half early, but that's OK. So today I am working on laundry (boo) and catching up. This is a recipe I made a week ago before we left. We each had a serving or two, and then I froze the rest. I found this on Kraft Canada, i was looking for potato recipes because they were on buy one get one the week before, so i got two bags.

Easy Pierogi Casserole. 

9 lasagne noodles, uncooked.
4 cups hot mashed potatoes.
1/2 cup (1/2 of 250-g tub) Herb & Garlic Cream Cheese.
1 pkg. (80 g) Real Bacon Bits (or about 6 pieces real bacon, cooked & crumbled).
2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided.

Cook noodles as directed on package. Meanwhile, combine mashed potatoes, cream cheese, 1/2 cup chopped bacon and 1 cup shredded cheese. Spray 13X9 glass dish, layer 3 noodles, cover with 1/3 of potato mixture, add 3 more noodles, more potato, last three noodles and remaining potatoes. Top with remaining bacon and cheese. Cover, bake 30 minutes at 375 F, uncover and bake another 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

This was extremely easy to make, and if you already have the potatoes ready, just heat them and layer and dinner is almost ready. It said to serve it with a salad, so I had a piece with a small ceaser. Mr No Veggies had two pieces straight.

It made a great big dish, i have about 6 pieces left over in the freezer. We both agreed it is great, but it would be just as good, if not better, without the pasta. Maybe it is because i used ready to use noodles, and i didn't boil them correctly or long enough, but they just seemed tough. I am definitely making this again, but i may just use it as a potato dish, omitting the pasta. 

Vacation time was really enjoyable, this was my first real vacation. My beau could not get the time off because he just started a new job, he is a trucker, so I just went with him, We left Saint John Monday morning, drove to Halifax, loaded 8 Audis(cars) for Montreal, went there and unloaded at the dealership, then loaded 9 more Hondas for Halifax. They did not have any work for  him there for yesterday and today, so they sent him home instead of running them down and coming back empty; he will take them the rest of the way Monday. 

St-Juste-du-Lac Lake, Quebec, Canada. 

I took lots of pictures of Quebec, since i had never been there before; and really enjoyed the trip, although it was a bit boring at times! And sleeping in a small bunk is not comfy, i slept like a baby last night back in my own bed! 

Farmland, Quebec, Canada. Flat as far as you can see...I'm told the mountain is most likely in Vermont, USA!

Hope everyone has had a great week, I don't plan on disappearing again anytime soon. I still have two more potato recipes to try! 

Have a good weekend everyone!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hello again!

Hi everyone!

I'm sorry I have been away so has been a wild couple of months. Between baby showers, and babies, an early summer and being a bit sick, plus baking oodles of cookies for different fundraisers, there has been a lot on my plate lately! Hopefully, in a few weeks, i will have some good news to share as well! I have been trying to bake and cook, but it seems like it has been a lot of frozen leftovers and meals lately (thankfully, i have lots in the freezer!!) I am working on a new recipe, i dug i tout this morning but then found out one ingredient was frozen, and i was missing another. A trip t the store may be in order, and hopefully be able to make it tomorrow.

I am going on vacation next week, leaving Monday morning and coming back Friday evening. If it all works out, I will be visiting two Provinces, one that I have never been to! I can't wait! My beau is a trucker, so I will be road tripping with him. Depending on the loads, we will be going to Nova Scotia and (fingers crossed) Prince Edward Island.

I am planning on participating in a couple of new things i found on my online wanders, one I have already started working on, Package Pals, it is a crafter swap!  The other I just signed up for today and am awaiting emails it is called Foodie PenPals. I can't wait to see what I receive from both, and finding something to send to my new online friends!

Hopefully in the next couple weeks or so, i will start posting again, and i don't plan on taking another hiatus! Hope everyone is having a great Spring!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peanut Butter & Banana Cake.

Happy First Day of Spring! It is finally here! They are calling for record temperatures here this week, today it is supposed to get up to 10 C (about 55 F), it is supposed to continually rise until Thursday, it is supposed to go up to about 20 C (about 70 F). Typical highs for March are about 4 C (about 40 F). None of these conversions are exact, i just checked the weather network website, changed it to F and wrote what it said there.

Late last week, I got the Spring Kraft What's cooking magazine in the mail. I found this recipe on page 14, here is a LINK to the recipe on their website. I decided to make this recipe at the last minute for a Spring/St Patrick's Day Potluck we had at work Friday. It was a toss up between this and chocolate chip cookies and since I had a lot to do Friday morning, i finally decided on the cake because i would have half an hour to get ready to go out while it baked; cookies I would have to babysit, in and out of the oven.

Peanut Butter & Banana Cake:

2 eggs.
1/2 cup oil.
1/2 cup sugar.
1/2 cup packed brown sugar.
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, about  three.
1+1/2 cup flour.
1 tsp baking powder.
1/2 tsp baking soda.
1/2 tsp salt.
1/3 cup peanut butter.
1 cup icing sugar.
1/4 cup milk.

Beat eggs, oil and sugars in mixer until smooth. Add bananas, mix well. In another bowl, combine flour, powder, soda and salt. Add to banana mixture, mixing well to combine. Pour into 9 inch prepared pan. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, mix all three ingredients in mixer until well combined. Spread over cake.

This was a real hit, everyone had some and there was very little leftovers. I even had to look the recipe up online because a few people wanted it! It is a great recipe for kids, just like the classic peanut butter and banana sandwich!

The cake turned out very moist, and it baked with no issues. It also just slid out of the pan, although I had sprayed it. I accidentally used Becel instead of oil (i was not paying attention), but it was warm, so it combined with the sugars nicely.

The frosting was easy and delicious! It suggested if you are short on time to just mix some peanut butter into store bought frosting, but honestly i think this way would be much easier and quicker. I don't think i used the full quarter cup of milk. I mixed the peanut butter and sugar in the mixer, then slowly added a bit of milk while it ran, until it was the proper consistency. I think it may have only taken a couple tablespoons, so be careful if you do make this.

Delicious and maybe just a little bit nutritious. I will definitely be making this one again for another potluck quickie!

Happy Spring, everyone! Hope the weather is treating you nicely to!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Almost - Lofthouse Cookies

I have always seen the sugar cookies in the stores, but never really noticed a name on them. My new tester-guinea pig loves sugar cookies of all kinds, and the Lofthouse are his favorites. Unfortunately, they are usually out of the budget most weeks, so when I found this recipe on Pintrest, we both jumped on it! I followed the Pin to a blog called Smells Like Home, it is a beautifully done site and I can't wait to dive into it deeper.

4+1/2 cups flour.
4+1/2 tsp baking powder.
3/4 tsp salt.
1+1/2 cups room temp unsalted butter.
1+1/2 cups sugar.
3 eggs.
5 tsp vanilla.

In bowl of mixer, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, blend well. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to butter mixture, mixing well. Roll into ball, cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Roll and cut dough (or alternately, scoop into small balls and flatten onto cookie sheet). Bake at 350 F for ten to twelve minutes or until just set, do not over bake!! Cool on sheets for several minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely before icing.


4 to 5 cups icing sugar, sifted.
5+1/3 tbsp. melted unsalted butter.
1 tbsp vanilla.
6-7 tbsp milk (plus more, if needed).
Food colouring (optional).
Sprinkles (optional).

Mix together butter and icing sugar. Slowly add milk, 1 Tbsp at a time, until spreadable consistency. Add colour if desired. Spread on cool cookies and top with sprinkles, if desired.

I love this recipe! I did not use a drop of extra flour to roll them out. They rolled between waxed paper without a single issue. Yay! So i will be making them again just for that reason. My sugar cookie man ate about 4 straight out of the oven. They are great!

We had a few issues with the icing. It might have just been the sugar i used, but it tasted powdery. I ended up adding more butter, milk, vanilla and even a bit of almond to get rid of the powder taste. His verdict is that they are "almost", but the proper ones taste like cake as a joke i said next time I will just buy a container from the supermarket. He said that would be perfect! Men :-P

The recipe stated a yield of 27, i got 37 (and this apparently justified the 4 he ate as they came out of the oven). I still had plenty of icing leftover. It has been a week and it still sits in the fridge, I am not sure what i am going to do with it. More cookies perhaps?

They turned out very good, aside from the icing issues this is definitely worth making again and again. And i am sure they are much cheaper than at the store, priced at 5 dollars for a half dozen!

Happy Friday everyone, hope everyone had a great week!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crock-pot Buffalo Chicken

Lately, I have been finding more and more recipes on Pintrest.  There are just so many out there, and with pictures! This is a recipe i found last week, on a pin that led me to a blog called My Kitchen Apron. Once again, I have not had time to go completely through her recipes, but what I have seen so far look delicious!!

This is a recipe i threw together before bed, making it ready to pack into my lunch bag while i ate breakfast. I love recipes like that!!

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken.

3 Lb frozen, boneless chicken breasts.
1 bottle Frank's Buffalo sauce.
1 pkg ranch dip mix.
2 Tbsp butter.

Put frozen chicken, wing sauce and ranch dip into crock-pot. Cook on low 6 to 7 hours. Using two forks, shred chicken and return to pot. Add butter and cook on low for an additional hour. Serve on buns or in wraps.

The first day I had some, put it between some tea biscuits. They were easy to fit into my lunch bag and i was able to keep everything separate until i was ready to eat, avoiding soggy tea biscuits. I had the rest a few days later in the wraps, and it was much spicier! It gets better with time!

This is a 6 AM picture. I got up just to shred the meat and then went back to bed. Instead of using Franks sauce, i used what I had in the fridge (Kraft, i think). This is because I got to the store to get the sauce and got sticker shock, the smallest bottle was five dollars! Ouch! i also cut the recipe down by only using two chicken breasts instead of three pounds.

This turned out really nice, i think next time if the budget allows I will make it with the proper sauce. It was quite spicy, but that is because the BBQ sauce i used was Spicy Cajun Heat. Yummy :-) This is definitely going to be a re-make, though.

The only down side I had was that it smelled quite funky cooking, it could have been because of the sauce I used, though.. best part was that it cooked from frozen, this is a great recipe to make if you forgot to take the chicken out!

Hope everyone is having a great week, it is almost over!! I have lots to do this weekend, going to visit my folks and getting ready for next weekends baby shower. Have fun!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cake Ball melting snowballs.

It's hard to believe that just two days ago we had weather that rivalled any day last June. Schools were cancelled and it has been freezing rain since the wee hours of the morning, and they are calling for snow overnight. Technically, it is still winter for another six days, but i'd rather have the spring weather we had Monday than what we are getting today!

I made these cake balls upon request from the R&R committee at work. They wanted something to give to everyone to kick off St. Patrick's week, and also to commemorate the clocks moving forward, and thus the unofficial beginning of spring. They described cake balls, dripping in white chocolate and with little frowns on them. This is what I came up with:

This is before i drew the faces on them with edible markers. Cake balls are easy enough to make, i used a basic chocolate cake mix, made as per the box.

I let it cool overnight and then crumbled it, I found it easier to crumble it after i cut it in squares, it was just easier then tearing it apart. Once the cake is completely crumbled, you add icing.

I had to divide it into two bowls to mix it, as there was so much. I used a full container of store bought icing. Yummy. Once it is completely gucked up and mixed together, just roll it into balls, about the size of a Timbit (or donut hole, for those who are not in or near Canada and a Tim Horton's). They dip best if frozen, i kept them on the pans overnight before dipping.

Finally, i melted down some poor, defenceless, unsuspecting white chocolate bunnies. They are a great cheap source of chocolate. I put a teaspoonful on the waxed paper, dropped a frozen cake ball onto it, and then spooned more melted chocolate over it.

Everyone who ate them said they were great, i didn't try them because i find white chocolate to sweet. i gave mine to a co-worker who has two kids.

I got 65 cake balls out of the cake, so i had plenty of leftovers. I used the rest this morning for another recipe. They are still chilling and have one more thing to add, then i will reveal!

Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday, and that Spring has sprung wherever you are!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Italian Meatball Biscuit Bake

Oh, what a busy month it has been. I can't believe it is almost half over already! I have been cooking and baking, and crafting as well. I've got all the pictures taken and just need to find the time to post it all. Some I have to wait until after the 25th, because i made something special for my sister's baby shower, and she follows my blog. Don't want to give away the secret to soon!!

This is a recipe I found on Pintrest a couple weeks ago, it led me to the Pillsbury website. Now, because it is a Pillsbury recipe, it is made with Pillsbury products. I mixed it up a bit and instead of buying the individual elements, I made them.

Italian Meatball Biscuit Bake.

8 frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs, 1 inch size.
2 Pillsbury® Grands!® frozen buttermilk or southern style biscuits.
1 cup frozen bell pepper and onion stir-fry vegetables.
1/2 cup tomato pasta sauce.
1 Tbsp sliced ripe olives.
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.

Thaw meatballs completely and biscuits slightly in microwave. Cut each biscuit in quarters. Place in medium bowl with meatballs, green pepper, onion and olives. Add pasta sauce, toss to coat. Spoon into casserole dish, making sure everything is evenly distributed. Bake uncovered at 375 F  30 to 35 minutes, until biscuits are no longer doughy. Sprinkle with cheese, bake another few minutes until cheese is melted. 

It looks kind of funky, but it was really quite good. I spent about an hour in the kitchen making the meatballs and biscuits, but if you used the frozen stuff it would take no time at all to throw this together. 

I think i should have used a smaller dish. It burnt a bit around the edges; i mixed it all in the dish (saves dishes), and attempted to scrape it a bit, but as you can see it didn't quite work. It only makes enough for two, but I think this recipe could easily be expanded to make enough for a family sized meal or pot-luck. 

For the meatballs, i just used plain hamburger with some Italian spice sprinkled in. I cooked them in a pan and let them cool. For the biscuits, i used This Recipe, i cut two large ones and then the rest regular sized.

I stuck them in the freezer for about half an hour, since it said to only slightly thaw them, i figured it might be part of the magic. 

I was really expecting the biscuits in this recipe to be very soggy; mixing biscuits with sauce usually produces that result. But, they were still fluffy and delicious. Even sticking it in the fridge for two days didn't cause them to absorb the sauce and make them soggy; I made this on a Saturday and took the leftovers for lunch Monday. 

I think this will make a quick go-to recipe if i had the ingredients on hand. I usually don't purchase the pre-made meatballs and biscuits, nor the pre-cut veggies, they just cost to much. I took the time to make it all because it was storming and I had nothing better to do (I also made chocolate chip cookies that afternoon). So, i think the next time we have a stormy afternoon and I am bored, this recipe may come out again. 

Hope everyone is having a good week, it has been absolutely beautiful here; be broke a temperature record yesterday!!