Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sweet Corn and Basil


A no fuss delicious side to anything you've grilled on the barbecue.  I could also see this along side a Mexican themed meal.  So simple and so tasty.

Ingredients:

4 Cobs of sweet corn
1/4 Cup of Basil, chopped
1 Tbs Olive oil
1/2 Cup of Manchego or Parmesan cheese, grated
Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Limes, squeezed

For the corn:

Boil or grill corn.  Once cooked remove the kernels from the cob by cutting down the side.  Tip: place corn on top of a clean kitchen cloth so the kernels don't fly everywhere as you cut them off the cob.  

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan on medium heat and add corn, basil, tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Cook while stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add cheese and stir for a minute or two, add lime and serve.  You can reheat this later in the same saute pan or it can also be served at room temperature.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jane at 6 months

 Jane tasted butternut squash for the first time and it was a success!  It was sort of funny because I peeled, cut, steamed, and pureed all this squash so Jane could eat about a teaspoon of it.  That's okay though, the rest is in the freezer for later.

 I read a great book called Sprout Right, by a nutritionist named Lianna Phillipson-Webb.  She recommends starting your baby at 6 months on homemade puree instead of cereal.  She claims cereal is more difficult to digest because it's been processed, and an iron supplement is added to it which can cause your baby to become constipated.  It's a great book I highly recommend it.  You can carry on referencing it well past a year, as it has a bunch of great healthy recipes for your baby that I'm really excited to try. For now through, we'll stick to puree fruits and veggies. 

Butternut Squash Puree

Ingredients:

1 Pound of butternut squash

For the puree:

Peel, deseed, and chop squash into small cubes.  Steam until, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Puree, adding 1/2 to 1 cup of water, until it reaches the texture of a smooth, thick soup. 

Freeze using ice cube trays or baby cubes made especially for making homemade baby food. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pink Hydrangeas



These are from my garden.  They're the most perfect hydrangeas I have ever seen. I was afraid to cut them at first because it's always sad once they die, and they would of course last longer in the garden, but they're in this hidden corner I rarely see.  So decision made, they're in my kitchen for at least a week where I can enjoy them. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kitchen Renovation

Awhile back Phil and I were busy getting things done around the house before Jane's arrival.  It's funny how babies accelerate all those things you tend to put on the back burner.

We of course got her nursery ready, but we also painted our entire main floor (with a lot of help from my father-in-law) and did a small kitchen reno. All the big stuff was completed back in February but there are a few finishing touches, one of them being the blinds.  I had these made and I love them so much. I think I admire them every morning when I walk into my kitchen bleary-eyed. 

Next will be shelves for a big empty wall for some of my favourite cookbooks and a place to display oils and vinegars. 


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tomatoes

Don't you love how simple food is in the summer?  All you need are good quality fresh ingredients.  The tomatoes and basil you see here are fresh from my garden.  Just add a good olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper... delicious!


Because of all the tomatoes I also made a sauce.  Use this simple recipe here and add fresh tomatoes instead of canned. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cuban Pork Tenderloin


About 10 year ago I picked up a cookbook called "The Big Grill", by Paul Kirk.   It's one of my favourite cookbooks that I use all the time in the summer.  I find the combination of spices he uses in his recipes work so well.  Also, most of his recipes are no fuss, perfect for lazy summer evenings. 

Ingredients:

2 Pork Tenderloins
1/2 Cup of orange juice
1/4 Cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
8 Cloves of garlic, minced
11/2 Tbsp of sea salt
1 Tbsp of ground cumin
1 Tbsp of ground corriander
1 Tbsp of sugar
Half a habanero chile, or 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped finely

For the pork:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.

Place the tenderloins and the marinade in a resealable plastic bag, seal, and turn to coat.  Marinate in the fridge for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.

Grill the tenderloins over medium heat, turning every 7 to 10 minutes, for 35 to 45 minutes total.  Cook until the internal temperature reaches 145F  to 156F, being careful not to overcook.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's the weekend!


What are you doing this weekend?  This lovely lady is throwing me a barbecue for my birthday. My birthday is only the following weekend but I like to start the extravaganza early.

We also have a friend coming to stay with us for 5 days from Minnesota.  Phil runs a hockey school part time and all this week and next is the summer program.  So his friend from the US is coming to help teach. 

And maybe I'll check on the fall arrivals at Vocado.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

What a perfect summer dessert.  Phil's nan brought this over one Friday night when the three of us got fish and chips takeout.  "Nan" is known for her desserts.  I think my favourite are her chocolate chip cookies, oh and her oatmeal coconut. 

I may be wrong, but I think all you have to do is sprinkle some sugar on strawberries to bring out their natural juices. You can bake your own cake for this, but if you're not a baker like me you can find cakes in the bakery section especially for desserts using berries.  Top with with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream..

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rimmel Glam Eyes Mascara

I've tried many high-end mascaras and never feel satisfied with the results.  Just recently I bought Lise Watier's "Feline" mascara, and I found I always had black circles under my eyes by midday, and it was always smeared on my eyelids.  This was not a good thing for a new mom already lacking sleep. 


So I went back to my tried, tested, and true drugstore brand, Rimmel .  I like buying makeup and trying out new products, but I think as far as mascara goes, I've found my favourite.  It separates my lashes, and doesn't clump.  It's also half the price compared to some of the fancier brands!  What are some of your favourite makeup products?

How to Make Homemade Croutons

My two day old bread was going to be used for French toast on Sunday morning, but I realized we were out of milk and maple syrup.  So instead I made croutons for a Caesar salad.  After you see how easy it is to make these and how much more tasty they are, you'll never go back to store bought again. 



Ingedients:

2-3 Tbs. of butter
Stale bread (French loaf, sour dough, Italian loaf)
1 Tsp of Fresh Rosemary, chopped (you may want to add more depending on the amount of croutons you're making)

For the croutons:

Cut stale bread into even-sized cubes.  The bread should be a little dry, at least a day old.  If the bread isn't a little dry, spread the cubes out on a baking sheet and put them in a warm oven for about 10 minutes dry out, just a little dry on the surface so that they brown better, and they hold up better when tossed in a salad or baked in a stuffing.

Melt butter on medium high heat in a large saute pan. Add the croutons and mix them up in the butter so they get lightly coated.  Add the rosemary.  Spread the croutons out in a single layer in the pan. Then don't stir them until they start to brown on one side. Once they start to brown, lift them up and turn them over, so more sides brown. When the croutons are at least a little toasted on a couple of sides, remove from heat.

If storing, let cool completely before putting in an airtight container. Otherwise the steam released from the warm croutons will take away their crunch.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Goat Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Hamburgers.  There are a million different ways to make them.  I usually leave the condiment decisions up to the individual because we all have our favourite way to dress a burger.  As Phil says "as long as he has pickles and hot peppers he's good."

These burgers are made with equal parts ground pork and beef. I find it makes them especially moist.  I do the same with my meatballs and I also include lamb. 

This recipe makes about 6 burgers.  I always make extra and freeze for later.  Especially in the summer when we're barbecuing all the time.

Ingredients:

1 Pound of extra lean ground beef
1 Pound of ground pork
1 Egg
1/4 Cup of breadcrumbs
2 Tsp of dried rosemary
2 Tsp of dried thyme
2 Tsp of dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbs of soft goat cheese

For the burgers:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl except for goat cheese and make into burgers.  Make a dent in the burger using your thumb, add a tablespoon of goats cheese and seal patties around the edges and enclose the  cheese.  Repeat with remaining 5 portions.  Can be prepared 4 hours ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.

Grill burgers on the barbecue on medium-high heat until cooked through.  About 5 minutes on each side.

The toppings are up to you!

One Huge Salad


After eating a big lunch on Sunday we didn't feel like much for dinner so I decided to make a salad. I love a good salad when everything is in season.

This is also a great way of using up ingredients in your fridge you might not eat every day, like celery.  I always have it for stocks and other recipes and hate it when it goes to waste.  It adds a nice crunch in salads and works well in sandwiches like egg and and tuna fish.

Ingredients:
Romaine lettuce
Sunflower greens
Sugar snap peas, shucked
Egg, hard boiled
Red bell peppers
Cucumber
Celery
Cherry Tomato
Basil
Tuna in Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

I did a simple dressing with olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard.  Don't forget the oil to vinegar ratio is 3:1 to one.  Is this rule set in stone?  No, I say start with that and dip a lettuce leaf in after whisking together and see if it needs my acid (vinegar/mustard/lemon juice).  I find I like a little more punch to my dressing so I usually add more acid. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Swimming with Jane


Phil and I took Jane swimming for the first time on the weekend.  I think she enjoyed it.  Jane always goes very serious when she's around new people or out somewhere she's not used too.  I haven't figured out if she's shy or just taking it all in.  Anyway, I think it was a success.

It was funny because so much preparation went into our little day trip that lasted only two hours.  I'm sure other parents can appreciate this.  First I had to get the right bathing suit with UV protection and the right size (Jane is a big girl so she never fits the clothing she is supposed to), next was to find waterproof diapers, and all natural sunscreen for the parts of her body that were exposed.  The day of we had to wait for her to have all her naps, make a lunch to bring with us, pack everything we needed for the short trip, including a last minute trip to pick up an umbrella for shade.  Eventually we got there around 3:00 in the afternoon.  We had fun though!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Salmon with Tomato and Dill

This recipe couldn't be easier, nor could it be more summery.  There is nothing I like more than a dinner you can put together using summer's best ingredients that doesn't have you spending too long in the kitchen.  I don't know about where you live, but it has been one hot summer here, so you definitely don't want to be cooking and making the house even warmer.  

I've made this dish before but not exactly the same way.  It really is a quick and easy recipe I go back to all the time.  Just use what you have available in your garden or in your fridge. 

For this recipe I suggest you eyeball how how much you need all depending on how much you're making.  

Ingredients:

Salmon
2 tomatoes cut into wedges
1 lemon, squeezed
1 Tbs of white wine vinegar
1Tbs of olive oil
¼ Cup of dill, chopped
¼ Cup of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place salmon in foil packets and top with tomato and dill. Whisk together vinegar, lemon, oil, salt and pepper and pour over fish. Grill salmon for about 10-15 minutes or until salmon has turned a nice coral colour. Half way through open up packets so salmon does not steam.