Category Archives: Recipe

Fall

Frost greeted me this morning.

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But so did the Sun, and he stayed around all day. Maybe that was why I was in such a good mood today. Or maybe it had to do with this girl.

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Meet Sadie, cutest, sweetest girl alive. But don’t we all say that about our dogs? She’ll be 5 months this Sunday, and she’s still scared of the camera. This was about as still as she would get.

Or maybe I was in a good mood because I got an early afternoon to work on some project work. And I might have made some half decent granola bars.

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There is a granola bar sold at the hospital in their cafe that is TO DIE FOR. It’s sweet, gooey and chewy, with chocolate and raisins, and peanut butter I think. But it’s also huge, oily, and full of SUGAR. I think it might be worse than a cookie. So I needed to replicate it. This version is a good start, but they’re not perfect.

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I’m not sure what to change, I’d like them to be gooier, maybe some more peanut butter? No egg? I’ll write the recipe, and if you have any advice, let me know!

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Ingredients

2 tbsp margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (natural pb, none of that kraft krap)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup currants (I couldn’t find any raisins!)
3/4 cup nuts (I used walnut pieces, but I think sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds would be wonderful too)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325*. Grease a regular sized cookie sheet.
2. Beat together the margarine, brown sugar, peanut butter, egg, and vanilla extract until a smooth mixture occurs.
3. Mix in the oats, chocolate chips, currants, and nuts until it becomes a cohesive mixture.
4. Pour mixture onto the greased cookie sheet. Use your hands or a spatula to press the mixture flat, equal in height to edges of the pan (I couldn’t get it to quite cover the pan, there was an inch or two without any.)
5. Bake for 20minutes, allow to cool, then cut into however big of pieces  you want. I made about 18 smallish ones.

So blog readers, writers, what changes do you think might be made? What would leaving the egg out do to the texture?

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Filed under baking, Recipe

2 Weeks

I’m officially two weeks into my internship, and boy has it been keeping me busy. It feels more like a month really. Time wise, not so much in terms of the amount I’ve learned.

The biggest difference so far for me personally is how self directed it is. I’m used to having something to measure my accomplishes against, and while we do have some assignments that will be “graded” at the same time it’s up to us to know what we should be learning. What will make me competent in foodservice? What should I be thinking about, and what do I need to be paying attention to as I follow my preceptor?

So far so good, I’m on my way to learning all sorts of interesting administrative stuff, and about all the different areas in the foodservice at Royal Inland Hospital.

I’ve been spending lots of time in my kitchen as well, one of the projects we have involves creating a “cafeteria special”. I didn’t want to use recipes I’ve never tried, so I made sure I tested them out on my parents, not that they mind.

Speaking of recipes, I owe you one don’t I?

Grandmi’s Fudgies:

Ingredients:

1 cup margarine or butter
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
4 eggs
2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
Dash Salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350*.
Grease two 8×8 or one 8×15 size pan.

1. Melt the chocolate and margarine in a double boiler or microwave. Once a smooth mixture, remove from the double boiler and allow to cool while you perform step 2.
2. Mean while beat the eggs with the sugar until light in colour and fluffy, add vanilla and salt.
3. Add in the chocolate and margarine mixture slowly to egg and sugar, stir as you pour.
4. Next add in flour and salt.
5. Transfer to the two pans, and put in the oven. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes. And this is the secret key: do not over cook. Test them a little before you think they’ll be done, and stick a toothpick or knife in the middle. If it comes out just barely clean it’s perfect. (in kamloops I cooked them for 25minutes exactly).

Sorry for the lack of pictures on this post, what can I say? This post was a little spontaneous!

Adios, hope your weekend is going well!

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Filed under baking, Recipe, school

Stages of Change

I really am not too sure what I wanted to write about this week. It’s felt crazy and not so crazy all at the same time. I had an interview for a great summer opportunity, that would entail me going abroad for awhile volunteering.

I also found out that there is a very good chance I could get advanced placement for my internship (meaning it would start sept 2011 instead of sept 2012).

But still so much is undecided.

And I don’t like that. I am not a “by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kinda girl. I really do like a plan more then anything. Even if I’m going to make a change to things or something I have to have some time to think about it. I bet one day someone will ask me to marry them and I’ll respond, “I just need to think about it.” Because I don’t really know if I have a spontaneous bone in my body.

Having so much of my future right now in other people’s hands is sort of driving me insane. That said there are some things I’m working on changing in my own life, but like everything else they’re going to require some thought. I guess if we looked at the Stages of Change theory, I’d often be found in the “pre-contemplation” or “contemplation” stage.

One other thing went really well this week, a yummy recipe I’ll share with you. IMG_1498

Cinnamon-Coco-Quinoa

1 cup Quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
1-2tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
1 apple
1-2 tbsp agave syrup

1. Gather ingredients.

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2. Through the first five ingredients, throw into a pot and bring to a boil. Lower temperature and allow to simmer until liquid is gone and quinoa is cooked.

3. Meanwhile core and chop the apple, through into a medium sized mixing bowl.

4. Put quinoa in the bowl with the apple and mix all together with agave.

5. Enjoy! This makes 3-4 servings, though if you’re REALLY hungry it could serve two as well.

I ate it the following day for breakfast topped with some almond butter. I think it would probably taste great even if you didn’t use coconut milk to make the quinoa.

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Filed under Recipe

Bonjour! Je suis un Oignon

Ok not really. In fact I don’t think you’d have a lot of fun (or friends) as an onion). Then again, maybe that’s what you’d prefer, sort of like Shrek and his “onions have layers” speech.

But I’m getting off track. There really is only one thing that’s both French and an Onion, and it’s:

French Onion Soup

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Strictly speaking, traditional French Onion soup is definitely NOT vegetarian. And because I’ve been vegetarian since a time when I would have wrinkled my nose at French Onion soup, I have no idea if this is even close to being authentic. But here is a yummy soup I’ve been enjoying all week.

Ingredients

5 small onions
3 cloves garlic
4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
1/4 c soy sauce (I used low sodium)
2 tbsp margarine (I probably used almost three)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses

Bread & cheese (I totally splurged and used gruyere.).

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1. Slice the onions so you get nice thin strands. As you do this melt the margarine in a large pot. Put the onions in the pot. This is the key step. You want to use low-medium to medium heat, and you want to cook the onions down. this takes about 20 mins. Be patient, it’s so worth it for those lovely carmalized onions. Mine went from this:

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To This:

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2. Once your onions are all tiny and deliciously shrunk, add in the remaining ingredients. I added in everything but the broth mixed, then added in the broth.

3. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10min. Preheat the oven for broiling.

4. Place a bowl in a pan, scoop in some soup, top with bread and shredded cheese. (note: I used a full piece of bread that made eating it difficult. I would definitely chop up the bread next time)

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5. Place under the broiler for 2min, or until cheese is bubblin’.

6. Devour.

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Hmmm. It is so delicious. though if you really know what French Onion soup tastes like, my apologies if this is as far from it as it gets, it can be hard as vegetarians to get that meaty taste, if you know what I mean, I think it’s almost what is being called “umami”.

Even though it’s exam time and I should be studying (uh, this post might be procrastination numero 5 today) I actually have quite a few posts planned for the next few weeks. What can I say? I’m in such a blogging mood it isn’t even funny. 🙂

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Filed under Dinner, Recipe

Sweet Potato

The weather here in Vancouver is absolutely crazy. For Vancouver that is. The view from my place on Saturday was rather odd.IMG_0917

I know, this looks pretty normal for all you other Canadians, but really, this is not normal winter weather, let alone November weather for Vancouver.

But the truth is I love it! I always miss the normal winter weather when I’m in Vancouver over the winter. It’s just so dreary and grey normally, it brings me down.

This weekend I also attended The LFS Community Harvest Dinner. This was a dinner put on my several of my classmates, and it’s a tradition in the Land and Food Systems Faculty. It was an amazing five course meal. Three of them stood out: Fig and Goat Cheese Compte on homemade rainforest type crackers, Roasted Sweet Potato & Red Onion Soup, and the Winter Fruit with spiced Chiffon Cake Trifle. Delicious.

Needless to say when my dad came to town this week, and the temperature outside was hitting –10, I knew that on my grocery shopping list would be sweet potatoes and red onions. (Yes I’m that spoiled college girl whose parents visit and buy her groceries. :)) I of course invited him over to enjoy the delicious soup.

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Sprinkled with a little goat cheese.

Just to compare and contrast, Saturday’s version:

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Since I don’t have their recipe (yet, I’m gonna get it though) I’ll share with you mine.

Roasted Sweet Potato & Red Onion Soup

makes 3-6 servings depending on size you choose.

Ingredients

1-2 large sweet potatoes (I used sweet potatoes, not yams)
1 large red onion
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

3 cloves garlic
4 cups vegetable Broth
Pinch Paprika
1 tbsp Cumin

– knife & cutting board.
– large mixing bowl
– baking sheet
– pot
– blender

Directions

1. Preheat Oven to 375. Wash potatoes, and peel onion. Chop up into fairly small chunks for both. Throw together into a bowl and coat with olive oil (get in there use your hands). Add some salt and pepper.
2. Take those vegetables and spread them over a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 25minutes. Make sure they’re cooked through when you take them out.
3. When the potatoes and onion have about 5mins to go, bring your broth to a low boil or simmer.
4. Remove the vegetables from the oven and scoop into blender. Add the broth. Blend until smooth. I added it all slowly, because I’m scared of breaking my blender. Oh and good tip, keep your oven mitt on if you’re like me and keep your hand on top of your blender’s lid when you use it, because damn boiled water and fresh cooked potatoes are hot!
5. Serve promptly. If you keep it for later, it definitely thickens up, so you might want to water it down to reheat.

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But seriously so good, and so perfect for winter.

What are you enjoying about the winter season?

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Filed under Dinner, Recipe

Recipe and Review

hmmm, a couple treats for you guys today! A review and a recipe! Ohhhhh I know!

So first up is a product review. Back when I was beyond busy and couldn’t do anything but pretty much cry because, well, I was that busy, the lovely folks at Dempster’s sent me some of their new products to review…

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Oven Fresh Baguettes
– Come in packs of 2 loaves. Either multigrain or white. They’re partially baked when you buy them from the super market, and then you bake them for 8min (or 12 if they’re frozen) for a feeling of a fresh baked baguette with your meal.

I do enjoy them, and they freeze well, so for those of us who want something a little fresh but don’t have the time for bread, or aren’t patient when we have that fresh-bread craving, these work really well!

Of course I wanted to do something fun with at least one loaf before I reviewed them, but couldn’t think of anything. Then my teammates suggested a get together before our race on Sunday and while I was thinking of what to bring, this popped into my head:

Apple, Spinach and Cinnamon Crouton Salad

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I started by baking up the bread: (From raw to baked)
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While that was happening I tossed the following into a bowl:

  • 3-4c spinach
  • 1/4c raisins
  • 1/4c chopped up almonds (could toast these if you want, I didn’t and it was good)
  • 2-3 apples
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In a seperate microwaveable I mixed:

  • 1.5tbsp margarine, melted
  • 1tsp (or so) cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg, or other spices that go with cinnamon
  • 1tbsp (or just under) sugar
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When the bread was out of the oven and had cooled for a while I chopped it up into croutons:
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I then dumped these into the bowl with the cinnamon/margarine mixture and tossed and stirred until they were coated. Popped them back in the over (in an oven friendly tray of course!) for 3-5min… And then onto the salad and voila! A delicious salad for any meal.

This served 4 people as a side dish.

It’s a very “flexible” salad, and number of toppings would do; but everyone loved the croutons. They were sort of like mini cinnamon bun bits on a salad. Yum!

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Filed under food, lunch, Recipe, reviews

That Fresh Baked Smell…

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Back when I lived in Victoria and didn’t seem as busy, I spent many a Sunday baking bread. It started innocently enough, and turned into something I did for the entire year.

It was wonderful to have fresh bread every weekend, and to have it work out most weekends too! The smell would fill our cozy little basement suite, and to this day I can’t bake bread and not think of my roommate and lovely Island Friends.

This Friday my friends and I were down on Granville Island, passing by a bakery late at night… and the smell! Divine. Fresh bread filled the air for almost the whole island.

Well I knew what I would be doing this weekend…

Bread – Even students can Bake it

Bread gets a bad rap of being difficult to make, but it really isn’t. Here’s some tips I’ve picked up over the years. These can be applied to any basic whole wheat or white bread recipe.

Yeast

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(Sorry I’ve been so lazy about my nails!) 
The first step to good bread is the yeast. In fact this is the one most crucial step. The temperature of your water must be perfect. You know how mom’s test bottled milk on their wrists for babies? This is also the best temperature for your yeast’s liquid. You don’t want it to burn, but you want it to be warm.

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Also place the yeast in the water with some sugar, it needs food to grow. If you do everything right, you should go from this:

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To this:
In about 10mins
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Look at that fluffy yeast!
Add the rest of your liquid ingredients. Make sure they aren’t too hot, or too cold as well.

Mixing

Now begin to add the flour.
Use a whisk. I know, it sounds weird, but whisking at the beginning gets the gluten (sorry for all you gluten-free folks out there, I don’t know how it will work for non-gluten bread…) going. And it makes for smoother dough.

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Kneading

Once you’ve added 2/3 if not all your flour and you have a doughy ball, not unlike this:

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You are ready to start kneading!

When I first started making bread back in high school, I was so afraid of over kneading that I usually underkneaded and ended up with bread that just… wasn’t right. You have to knead for a good 10min.
There’s a lot of good videos out there on how to knead bread. And a lot of good websites, books like The Joy of Cooking offer great tips on kneading (actually on the whole bread process).
The best advice I heard: knead until your dough is soft like a baby’s bottom. I don’t touch a lot of babies’ bottoms, but I do know soft dough. It’ll look something like this:

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Rising

Into a greased bowl, then covered with a damp towel and placed in a draft free warm area of the kitchen.

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Two hours (roughly) later it has doubled:

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And if you poke it, a little indent remains in the dough.

Shaping

Now get Violent! Give it a punch or two:

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(ew it looks like my nails are really dirty, seriously that nail polish is coming off right after this…)

Do a wee more kneading, a little shaping and put it in some pans. I made two smaller loaves instead of one big loaf:

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Then cover with that warm damp cloth and let them rise for another hourish, until doubled in size again…

Baking

Then preheat the oven, and stick a small pan with water in the bottom. Now I don’t know why (though I feel like I should, having taken food science classes and all) but this is supposed to help make good crust. You can also periodically spray the tops of the loaves, or butter them, or coat them in egg, all of which I am too lazy to do.

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Look at them bake away!

And hopefully they come out nice and fresh and delicious!
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I need me a piece of that now! I think I’ll go and make myself some well earned din-din. 😉

If you have any more questions about bread making, send them my way. I am by no means an expert, but I’d say I’m fairly decent at the basic stuff. There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread in a house. Or like the taste of a fresh piece with a little buttah!

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Filed under baking, eating, food, Recipe, school