Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Raspberry Orange Snack Cake

I really, really wanted to make a Raspberry Orange cake (mostly because I needed to use up both before they went bad) but I couldn't find one that I liked, so naturally, I rolled the dice and made one up.
I used my Double Glazed Raspberry Cake Recipe as a guide. The orange zing in the cake makes up for the fact that I left it un-iced/glazed. This turned out to be the perfect summer cake to snack on while the sun is shining!

  • 2 cups flour 
  • 1 tbsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • zest from 1 large orange
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice
  • 3 cups fresh/frozen raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a round 7'' spring form pan.

2. Cream together butter, egg, sugar, vanilla, milk, orange zest, and juice. Add flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix just until moistened.

3. Spoon batter into pan (it will be thick) and place raspberries on the top of the cake evenly. Bake for 25- 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once cooled, slice into pieces and snack away!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sneaky Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

I love the idea of sneaking veggies into foods where you wouldn't normally find them. Like last week with the turkey meatballs and this week with these chocolate muffins. I'm afraid I might be giving Andrew some serious trust issues since I don't tell him there was two cups of zucchini in them until after he finished one. ;)

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup of cocoa
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line muffins tins with paper liners. (Recipe makes 20 muffins)

2. Cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla, yogurt/sour cream and zucchini, mix well.

3. Add the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda, mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into muffin tins so they are 3/4 full. Bake for approx 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jessica Alba's Turkey Meatballs

If you don’t already know this about me, I like to make large batches of things ahead of time and keep them in the freezer to use at a later time. It makes me feel prepared and saves me a ton of time on weeknights. It’s also nice to make homemade versions of things you might normally buy pre-packaged, this saves you money and is so much better for you.

My childhood mentality always tells me that meatballs belong with pasta, but my health conscious adult mentality respectfully disagrees and thinks they are a lean, versatile protein option that would be great next to a salad. Sorry little one….the big girl wins this round.

  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*I used brown
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth

1. In a large bowl, mix turkey, panko, carrots, zucchini, onion, eggs, Italian seasoning, and salt until well combined; form into 1-inch balls.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning, until browned, about 7 minutes.

3. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is almost completely absorbed, about 7 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup broth and increase heat to medium; cook, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed. Serve.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The BEST Potato Salad

The weather is ever so slowly starting to get nicer and Andrew and I have been anxious to start BBQ-ing and enjoying our new backyard. We decided it was time and fired up the grill, threw on some chicken and I got busy in the kitchen making the potato salad.

Since there’s still snow on the ground (gross I know) and since we don’t yet have a patio set we ate our summer BBQ meal inside. But regardless of the atmosphere we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and can’t wait to test out some new BBQ recipes this season.

  • Bag of small potatoes (I usually get the tri-color one)
  • 4 eggs, hard boiled, and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely
  • ½ cup of mayo
  • ¼ cup of sour cream
  • 1 tbsp of mustard (I used Dijon or Hot for a little more flavour)
  • Bacon, cooked and sliced (optional – sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t)
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Boil the potatoes until tender, run under cold water. Once cool, slice each potato in half or into quarters depending on size. Put in a large bowl, along with eggs, onions, and bacon (if using) and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, sour cream and mustard.

3. Mix the sauce in with the potato mixture until well combined, season with salt in pepper. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Apple Cheddar Scones

Once I get an idea in my head it stays there. So once some brought up the old apple pie with cheddar cheese combo, I thought about it day and night. Instead of trying my hand at a pie (I’m terrible with pastry) I decided I would just whip some apple cheddar scones. I adjusted my handy versatile scone recipe that use all the time and it worked wonderfully.

  • 2 cups of white flour
  • 1 tbsp of white sugar
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 stick of cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 small apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • Old cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes + 8 pieces sliced thinly
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (make your own by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper or cooking spray.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and salt into a large mixing bowl and combine.

3. Toss in the cubes of butter and use your fingers to rub in the butter with the mixture until well combined. It should resemble a course meal.

4. Add the apples and cheese cubes, mix until combined.

6. Pour the buttermilk into the dry mixture then use both your hands to mix them together and form into a ball of dough, then pat into a 8 inch circle about 3/4 inch thick,

7. Cut into 8 triangles, place on the baking sheet and bake, when the scones are golden and almost done, place a piece of cheese on top of each and bake until cheese gets melted and crisp. Approx 18 mins total.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Peeps

I think those little marshmallow peeps that pop up around this time of year are adorable and decided today was the year I actually buy some! I decided to dip the bottoms in semi-sweet chocolate which was the perfect complement to the overly sweet little chick. If you were making them for kids milk or white chocolate would work as well, and if you really want to give those kidos a sugar high you roll them sprinkles after you dip them.

Simply melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, cut apart each peep and dipped each one. Lay them on wax paper to set.

These little chicks freeze well so they are a great make ahead treat!

Happy Easter Everyone! :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mediterranean Garlic Naan Flatbread

During the weeknights buying a store bought crust for pizza or flat-breads is the way to go. I recently started using naan bread and making smaller individual pizzas since it’s fluffy and tasty. For these flat-breads I used garlic naan bread and let me tell you, it made a big difference! It gives this recipe that extra layer of flavor…baked right into the crust.

  • 4 pieces of garlic naan bread (2 packages)
  • 4 tbsp of pesto or tomato sauce (I made 2 with each)
  • 1.5 cups of shredded mozza cheese
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 10 Kalmata Olives, sliced in half
  • Fresh Basil, Torn
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Garlic Salt
1. Preheat the oven to 35 degrees. Place the naan bread on a baking sheet.

2. Spread the pesto or tomato sauce across the crust. Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese onto each. Top with tomatoes, olives and basil and finally the parmesan.

3. Bake for about 15 minutes. The crust should be golden cheese melted. Sprinkle with garlic salt and serve immediately.

Friday, April 11, 2014


This was my first time making Tiramisu. I will admit, the thought of making it myself as always scared me a little. I think I have always just thought of it as a challenging dessert and veered away from it for that reason. There are recipes that include eggs yolks which I do think are a little more tricky, but after finding a few they mainly have whipping cream and marscapone it seemed a lot more manageable.

Instead of making the Tiramisu in a glass baking dish as you often see. I wanted to do something that looked a little more fancy so I decided to make it in a round spring form pan and place lady finders around the outside. I learned a few things the hard way, but outlined those lessons in my directions so hopefully your dessert experience will run a little smoother.

So be brave and try making a scarey dessert....or least find a less intimidating variation. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

    • 4 cups of whipping cream
    • 2.5 cups of mascarpone cheese
    • 2-3 tbsp of sugar
    • 1 tsp of vanilla
    • 1/4 cup of Amaretto
    • 1 cup of strong coffee, cooled
    • 5 packages of ladyfingers
    • Cocoa for dusting 

    1. Make a cup of coffee and set aside.

    2. Prepare the whipping cream with the sugar and vanilla. Add in the mascarpone cheese and beat until well combined. Add in the Amaretto. At this point I would taste test, if needed, add more sugar, Amaretto etc. I even added about 2 tbsps. of Baileys to enhance the coffee flavor.

    3. In a 9 inch spring form pan dollop some of the cream mixture around the outer edge of the bottom of the pan. This will act as the glue to keep the cookies in place. Then stand the cookies up one by one (sugar side out) along the edge of the pan until you have a complete circle. It’s okay if your cookies are longer then the pan, it just means it will be taller…nothing wrong with that! ;)

    4. Place a layer of cookies on the bottom of the pan, you may to break a few to cover the space. Using a brush, coat the cookies with the coffee. Don’t drench them otherwise they will get soggy, but make sure they all get a good coat. Then spread a layer of the cream mixture and continue alternating layers (brushing cookies with coffee each time) until you reach the top of the pan or cookie line. Finish with the cream layer. Refrigerate overnight or at least for 4 hours. Dust cocoa powder on the top before serving. (And of course remove the spring form ring)

      Wednesday, April 09, 2014

      Chicken with Sage and Prosciutto & Parmesan Risotto

      This is one of those great meals that is really impressive to dinner guests but takes hardly and time and effort. My Step mother made this years ago along and has ever since been one of my all time fav meals! The two actually go great together because the chicken can be in the oven while you’re stirring the risotto as it requires constant attention. I decided to make a salad to go along with it as I could make it ahead of time. Even though I’m a great multitask-er, I hate to chance it when company’s coming. ;)

      Chicken with Sage & Prosciutto

      • 4 chicken breasts, on the bone with skin on
      • 6 pieces of prosciutto
      • 4 fresh sage leaves
      • Olive oil
      • Salt & pepper

      1. Prepare the chicken by sliding your fingers under the skin so that you create a flap, with it still attached on the side with the bone. Place a piece and a half of prosciutto on top of the chicken, under the skin along with a sage leave and place the skin on top.

      2. Place the chicken in the glass baking dish, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

      3. Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 50 mins or until chicken is brown and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

      Parmesan Risotto

      • 6 cups of chicken stock
      • ¼ cup of olive oil
      • ½ cup of onion, finely chopped
      • 2 cups of Arborio rice
      • 1 cup of white wine
      • 1 tbsp of butter
      • Parmesan cheese, grated
      • Salt & Pepper

      1. In a large pot bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Keep on very low heat so it stays warm.

      2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion until translucent. Add in the rice, stir until all the grains are coated, and they turn translucent with a white dot in the center.

      3. Add the wine and cook until absorbed, stirring constantly. Then add a ladleful of the chicken stock, stir frequently until absorbed, and continue this process for about 20 minutes. The rice should be creamy and tender, but still slightly firm on the inside.

      4. Remove from heat and add the butter and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Makes 4 – 6 servings.

      Tuesday, April 08, 2014

      Fruit n Nut Chocolate Clusters

      The fact that these are easy to make is a bad thing. They are so good! I could totally see myself whipping up a batch every time I get a chocolate craving. But if you can limit yourself to just one they do make a nice little dessert that is better for you than the average chocolate.

      • 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
      • Unsalted almonds
      • Unsalted walnuts
      • Dried Cherries
      • Dried Blueberries

      1. Put the chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, taking out to stir every 30 seconds or so. The chocolate should be smooth and glossy when ready. Do not over heat or the chocolate could seize.

      2. Place a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet, and drop small spoonful’s of the melted chocolate onto it. You should have about 16 morsels. Then place the almonds, walnuts, cherries, and blueberries on top as desired.

      3. Set in the fridge or freezer until ready to consume. Store in an air tight container with wax paper in between layers.

      Monday, April 07, 2014

      Why You Should Make Your Bed Everyday

      It seems like an insignificant thing, whether you make your bed each morning or not life will go on. However, it’s the symbolism behind the bed making that is important.

      If you never make your bed because your philosophy is that you will just crawl back in that same night so what’s the point? Then why do anything? Why eat if you’re just going to get hungry again, or why bother showering because you’ll just get dirty again. Now tell me, who wants to live in a world full of unmotivated, smelly, starving people?

      When you make your bed each morning you are telling yourself that you take pride in what you do, and that you are going to have a productive day. It also marks the start of day, just like brushing your teeth or having your morning cup of joe.

      Now this may be my OCD talking but I firmly believe a little mess breeds more mess. If you start to let one thing slide, it can become a slippery slope. I believe that if you haven’t made your bed for the day you will be more likely to throw dirty clothes on the floor, let the dust collect and so on.

      Have you ever seen people in third world countries sweeping their dirt floors of their mud huts? Yes, sweeping dirt off the dirt floor. Suddenly making your bed despite the fact you will be using it again 15 hours later doesn’t seem so silly now does it? No matter what type of place you live in you should take pride in it. And you should always be grateful that you do in fact have a roof over your head and an actual bed to make. Plus after a long day I assure you getting into a nicely made bed feels a thousand times better than getting into one that has sat there all day with the blanket in a giant ball.

      Tuesday, April 01, 2014

      Erin Condren Designs

      If you’re anything like me a blog post about a day-timer will be the highlight of your day. As it was for me when my sister first shared the link to the Erin Condren website. To be fair this is NOT actually a blog post about a daytimer, it’s a blog post about a LIFE PLANNER.

      I’ve always used a month at a glance planner to keep my appointments, birthdays, and to keep track of work outs etc. And until now I always felt trapped in the stone age. I felt like people were judging me, asking in their themselves “why isn’t that girl using her iphone calendar?” But when I visited the Erin Condren website, I felt at home. These people get me. They understand that the only way I would feel organized is to see it on a brightly colored month at a glance spread in a trendy paper planner that I can tote everywhere with me.

      The icing on the cake is that you get to pick your own cover, customize it, and customize and any additional add on’s such as stickers with your friends and families faces on them.

      The website is packed with tons of other adorable accessories to help you get your life in order, from entire family systems to individual checklists. They even have wedding planners to help you plan your big day! So take a peek, I guarantee it will inspire you to ditch the digital calendar and kick it old school!