No Bake PB Drop Cookies

Simple. That’s the only way to describe these. Actually that’s not true. One can also call them delicious. Mike prefer to call them ‘amazeballs’. I shared them at work (what was I thinking?!) Everyone loved them which is a good sign! But it means there were less cookies for me *sad face* But I’ve been even sadder ever since they disappeared. I was away from home for a few days, eating out, eating really poorly and aside from vegetables, all I could think of was these damn cookies. They take 5-10 minutes to prepare. An hour to cool and 5 more minutes to drop onto a pan. They taste like delicious little protein cookies but with better texture and dare I say even tastier! The oats lend a little crunch to them, the coconut gives them flavor depth and more texture and the honey is just perfectly sweet but not over powering. There is no added sugar (honey is the only sugar!) and if I had children, I would feel more than comfortable giving them these as a treat. Hell, they could even make them themselves! Well … with maybe a little supervision. What wasn’t simple about this recipe though, was what to call them! 

Chocolate PB Drop Cookies (13)

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Easy Butter Chicken

I feel like I could eat Butter Chicken every day of my life for the rest of my life. It honestly wouldn’t bother me because it’s so flavorful and delicious. There’s a picture of Butter Chicken beside the word ‘satisfaction’ in my personal dictionary. I won’t turn it down, even if it’s being used unconventionally. For example, the Schnitzel House in Abbotsford has a Butter Chicken Schnitzel and it’s yummy! I just went standard procedure with this, but I’m totally not disappointed and I trust that you won’t be either. Being a dish that’s really straight forward to make, it’s perfect for any day of the week and fast enough to be a good solution for an after work meal. Pair it with a simple basmati rice and dinner is served! Be forewarned though that even though this is a healthified version, it’s still pretty packed with fat. I take comfort in knowing what the ingredients are contributing to the fat content though and 12 WW points isn’t that outrageous for something that would really satisfy any of my cravings and make me continue to feel like I can do this weight loss thing. There are no surprise ingredients in this – just pure deliciousness!

Butter Chicken (11)

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Greek Lemon Potatoes

If I had these potatoes and then never ate potatoes again, I’d probably die happy. These are the potatoes I dream about and if I’m going out for Greek food, it’s only because of these. Not that I don’t like everything else! But dreams need to be fulfilled ya know? Creamy and lemony and savory, this recipe is the closest I’ve ever had outside of a restaurant. And they couldn’t be easier to make! A little bit of marinating, an hour in the oven and you’re done. This recipe gives a new twist on side dishes, great for having people over, or if you just want something different from roasted or mashed potatoes.

Greek Lemon Potatoes (3)

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Marinated Steelhead Trout

Fish should be a staple ingredient in every household. I try to keep some in the freezer but I can honestly say we don’t eat it very often. I don’t know why. I love it when we do have it and I would consider it a quick fix meal. If you’re being conscious of what you eat, fish is an excellent healthy choice. It is low in fat and calories, high in protein and there is an abundance of vitamins like B2, A, C and D and essential fatty acids (nutrients that are required for good health but the body cannot make itself. Fatty acids found in fish are primarily alpha-linoleic acid and linoleic acid) Sometimes I find it difficult to come up with something to put on fish, something that is really complimentary and doesn’t just overwhelm the flavor of the fish itself. I also have a hard time finding recipes that don’t include added sugar – like brown sugar. The marinade with this steelhead recipe is pretty subtle, you can still taste the fish but it is flavorful enough that I don’t feel like I just shook some salt and threw a lemon onto the grill. It could easily be used on any type of fish or maybe even some beef for a stirfry. None of my pictures turned out but I didn’t want to hold out on the recipe any more - it’s the beginning of bbq season afterall!
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Chicken Phở

I crave phở like I crave sushi. Not often but every once in a while I just need some strong flavourful broth. I’ve had bad phở and I’ve had awesome phở and for me, it’s usually about the broth. Sometimes it’s too sweet, sometimes too fish-saucey and others give me the perfect balance of flavor depth. I don’t get very brave with tripe and what-not and stick to what I know with thin-sliced raw beef or chicken. The last restaurant bought phở I had was not very impressive. The beef slices were all stuck together in one big clump, hard to pull apart and mushy. Blech! It’s a good thing it’s cheap or I’d have a hard time spending money on it. Phở is one of those dishes that people don’t typically make at home because it’s ‘a labor of love’ and thus I had never even considered attempting it. So, naturally, I was a bit floored when I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. It’s actually quite simple, doesn’t have a million, complicated and inaccessible ingredients. The ingredients that you do need are super inexpensive and aside from the chicken I think I spent a total of $4 on this meal. It is time consuming though. All in all, it takes probably 3.5 hours to make but there certainly isn’t a lot of effort involved. Just a lot of simmering. I would consider this a perfect recipe for new and practicing cooks and the results are more than worth the time! I actually got so darn excited making it that I forgot to add basil and lime!

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Banana Bread with Roasted Strawberries

I found a ridiculously good twist on a classic banana bread. Roasted strawberries! I can’t believe how incredible the strawberries smelled while roasting in the oven. I wanted to eat them right off the pan. But I can assure you, the bread itself did not last long. I haven’t been able to bring myself to make it again because I’ll just eat it all. I made this for my family at my mom’s house. My Uncle is diabetic so I made one with chocolate chips and one without. They were both, REALLY good. Made with gluten free all purpose flour, it turned out moist, soft and not crumbly at all. Of course, you can make it with whole wheat or white all purpose flour. Whichever you have on hand and prefer.

Strawberry Bread (1)

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January’s Fave Five

Some of my favourite recipes are on this list. Crockpot Short Ribs are up there for sure. I make Homemade Yogurt weekly. I don’t know how the Mexican Black Bean sauce ends up at the top every month but there it is! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a kickass sauce – healthy, easy to make and handy for so many things. Out of 150 or so recipes though, I don’t know how it keeps making it to the top. I won’t complain though, it just means you guys get to keep seeing it and hopefully will be inspired to make it. I know, I know – it needs better pictures. Next time, I promise.

Jan Fave Five
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Fave 20 Recipes 2013

I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas holiday and celebrated the New Year safely and with friends and loved ones. Every Christmas we head to the Okanagan for Christmas with my family. This was one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a while. My brother had his first baby this year so my mom is over the moon happy have a Granddaughter to spoil. It has been a long year, even though it’s gone by ridiculously fast. My father was diagnosed with cancer this summer and I think we were all exuding gratitude that he was still with us and his treatment seems to be working. My parent’s house is a relaxing place for us. In the middle of nowhere, 18 acres of riverfront property. Not much to do in the winter, except sit in front of the fireplace, but in the summer we enjoy going into the mountains and down to the river for some fishing – which is always an exercise in futility! We spent our New Years celebrating in Victoria with some friends. It was nice and relaxing and quiet. We’re getting on in age … sort of … and we all really just prefer a couple people, some drinks, games and being in bed by 12:05. That’s exactly what it was. I hope you all got what you wanted out of the holidays and I hope 2014 is good to you.
Top20
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Beef Short Ribs – Slow Cooker

Who doesn’t love ribs? I mean, aside from Mike, who doesn’t? Anybody else out there as crazy as my man to not like ribs? Lunacy! I’ll tell you though, the reason he doesn’t like ribs is the bone. He’s not a fan of using his fingers to eat – doesn’t want to ruin his manicure… Just kidding, he just doesn’t like messy fingers. I don’t either but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the tender, saucy, succulent meaty ribs. And pizza – of which he also uses a fork and knife. So, I thought I’d do something nice for him and hunted down some rib fingers. Basically, the rib meat without the bone. I whisked together some homemade, no-cook bbq sauce and let the crockpot do the work. I put them with some mashed potatoes (also a treat around here) and some garlic green beans. The sauce is misleading, a taste from the pot is overly vinegary and I really wasn’t sure about it. But then I tried the meat and had no doubts. It was perfect. Sprinkled a bit of sauce over my potatoes and had a pretty well-rounded, delicious meal if I do say so myself!

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Homemade Yogurt

I have some serious rants about yogurt. Things that really just get my goat every time I buy it. We like it for breakfast, I use it in cooking and some baking but is it just me or is it outrageously expensive? I could easily spend $30+ a week on yogurt. I want to say that I do this without batting an eye but that’s just not true. There is a lot of eye-batting at the dairy counter. Plenty of blink-blinking going on! Making yogurt this way costs me $7 for 7-10 days worth! Another thing that causes excessive blinking is the ‘nutritional value’. When was the last time you looked at the nutritional information on your favourite yogurt? I’m usually pretty shocked by the amount of sugar and fat in one of those itty bitty containers. Itty. Bitty.

Which leads me straight into complaint #3 – Is there anybody out there that thinks a 2oz container of yogurt is satisfying? Aside from a 3 year old, that is. I’ve noticed over the years that the sugar content is going up but the servings are getting smaller. Ridiculous! Complaint #4 stems from the part of me that likes to know where my food comes from. I don’t know where the milk came from, what kind of process it went through, how long it sat before being fermented etc. So yeah, then there’s that. But we all know I like the easy things in life. Anything to make life a little more convenient, a little bit more tolerant of my laziness, I’m in. And we certainly know I love my slow cooker. Homemade yogurt has got to be one of the easiest kitchen experiences – EVER. I started off by making this on the stovetop. It’s a great method for small batches but is a smidge more high maintenance in that you really have to monitor the temperature. Make this once and you’ll never have to buy yogurt again. With this recipe you can control where you buy your milk and what you put in the yogurt in the way of flavor; as much or as little sugar as you want, fresh berries, honey – you choose! It’s perfect in every way – you can probably tell I’m passionate about my yogurt.

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