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.

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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.
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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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Indian Spiced Lemon Chicken

Allow me to introduce you to Indian spice. If you’re not familiar with cooking Indian spices but are curious, this is the perfect recipe. It couldn’t be simpler to make and the hardest part is making sure you have all of the spices. Luckily though, they should be easily sourced from any large grocery store, but definitely from an Indian grocer! I buy mine in bulk so I can buy small amounts and they’re as fresh as possible when I use them. That being said, if you like Indian food in general, you will not regret having any of these spices on hand! A good investment for sure. This recipe is similar in flavor to an African Bobotie, but without the bread and eggs. It’s much easier to make and is lower in calories and fat. Anyways, if you want to take a tiny step outside of your culinary box, or just want a super stripped back, basic recipe for dinner, try this. And then tell me that you love it.

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November’s Fave Five

It has been so long since I’ve done a fave five post. It seemed like they were too similar every month. Which I guess isn’t a bad thing, it means the viewing of certain posts is consistent and makes them popular. And while the number of views per post is still really insignificant, I have seen a large increase in traffic which makes me happy. I’m putting more effort into posting regularly – once a week hopefully – and my man bought me a new camera so I’ve been practicing with food photography. I have no photography skills whatsoever so it’s a fantastic learning process! I even bought an e-book on food photography at home. I’m hoping to set up a small infinity booth for pictures too! I know people are drawn to beautiful pictures of delicious food and far too many of my recipes don’t have any pictures at all, let alone nice pictures. I’m working on that. There’ll be a lot of cooking going on once I’m set up. Movin’ on up friends, movin’ on up!

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Sweet & Spicy Cashew Chicken

This recipe is from the Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook. A friend photocopied it and gave it to me and it’s taken me a good year and a half to get around to making it. Quite unfortunate really because it’s incredibly delicious and surprisingly low in fat! I tried it out on friends last night and I think it was a winner. It’s absolutely packed with flavor and I think you’d be hard pressed to distinguish this dish from one in a restaurant! I served it over steamed Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) and Bok Choy although the picture shows it over rice.

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Crock Pot Beef & Broccoli

Beef. Broccoli. Sauce. What more does one need in life? A personal chef you say? Well, I can’t give you that but I can say that the next best thing is a crock pot/slow cooker. Come home from work, dinner is made and it’s like your personal chef has been slaving over a hot stove all afternoon. I really just like the simplicity of this recipe. All of the ingredients are basic and are certainly pantry staples in my house. This recipe has a nice flavor, not spicy, not sweet, not salty. Just delicious. Your kids will probably like it too!

Crockpot Beef & Broccoli (4)

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Chicken Stock

So like I said in the last post, roasted chicken is a double hitter. Roast up your chicken with some spices, butter and veggies and after dinner, remove all of the meat from the bones and throw the carcass in a slow cooker with your roasted veggies (or fresh veggies if you used the roasted ones for dinner) and some water. I’ve done up this recipe with the assumption that you’ll use fresh veggies. You can use any veggies you want and can add any additional spices you want. I’m not sure how aware you are of the salt content of store bought stocks. Even the low-sodium versions are loaded with salt. It’s used as a preservative and I think it’s virtually unavoidable if you’re going to buy it. No judgement though, I have certainly bought my fair share of stocks but there is almost no sodium in this recipe – I didn’t add any more to the crockpot and it has a pure, delicious chicken flavor. This recipe is absolutely just as easy to make as it is to throw the carcass away so I highly recommend it! You can split it into freezable containers and keep it stored away for several months, or you can do what I did and make Garlic Parsley Risotto and Creamy Cheesey Polenta with it – a great hearty soup is also a solid option. It’s great to plan almost a week’s worth of recipes around one chicken, let me tell you!

Chicken Stock (3)

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