Thursday, April 20, 2017

One Skillet Steak and Veg

When S moved in, he brought with him a cast iron skillet- yes!! It's awesome. I came across some recipes in Bon Apetit for one-skillet meals with cast iron skillet, and decided to try this one- mainly because I love Steak. Also it is listed as "healthy-ish" and that appeals to me.   Asparagus was on sale at Farm Boy and I stole the peas from my parents. This recipe came together super quickly , thanks to S being a great sous-chef and helping with the mis-en-place/ chopping- all while he also made a delicious soup for us to have for the week. Where did I find this guy?  In the mornings I don't like too many cooks in the kitchen, but at night it's really nice, and sometimes, like this, it goes off without a hitch. The most important was that we had dinner ready in time to watch the Sens win! Go Sens Go!

The original recipe can be found here. I modified slightly mainly just used a different cut of steak and a different vinegar, and regular onion instead of shallots, and a bit less garlic than the original recipe.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Since I had so much dough left from the pie course, I decided to make a pie for dinner with friends. Anto offered to help me and came up with a few recipes. We settled on this one and followed it for the most part except that I used my own dough. I won't re-write the recipe as the original one is great and has a great step by step with photos and a video. I was surprised how easy it was to make the caramel. Unfortunately I didn't have salted butter so, after a quick google search,  I just added 1/4 tsp of salt to my unsalted butter.

Anyway here are the photos!

It got all eaten up pretty quickly. I'd definitely make this again.

The best part..I had leftover caramel sauce, and then came across a booklet I had from Food network with 50 recipes with caramel sauce..I tell you, sometimes the stars just line up!! stay tuned..

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pie Workshop at Life of Pie

Pastry Hands On

I came across this "Pastry hands on" workshop by chance and jumped at the opportunity to do it. i immediately asked my friend J as she and Pat always get quiches and pics from life of pie. unfortunately she was fighting a bad cold and wasn't able to attend :(.. but luckily Antonella stepped in and we had a great time! 

dream mixer

making the dough

my quiche dough

mini tarts

they had fruit inside

learning from the best

filling the tarts with fruit mixture and topping

Anto making it look easy

ready to go in the oven

finished quiche

finished tarts

This hands on course was great. the class was small enough that you really got to learn. We each went home with 6-10 tarts, a quiche and enough dough to make about 6 more pies. wow!! I won't give away all the pie lady's secrets and recipes, but i recommend this course if it's offered again. Apparently they will also have a course on making scones..mmm..yum!!

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Mysteries of Sourdough at Bridgehead

As a present, S signed me up for this class at bridgehead. So sweet!  Apparently I had been talking a lot about my barista class there. If you missed the recap, read about it here.  I also took the croissant course and it was great.. I guess I never got around to blogging about it ( could have sworn I did, but I can't seem to find any evidence of that) 

Well, I won't let that happen this time. One key takeaway from both the croissant and the sourdough course; don't try it at home. Croissants are such a long strenuous process; and sour dough bread really needs specialized equipment (you need to be able to proof the bread just right and have an oven with steam etc). 

The starter isn't as hard as I imagined but you need to "feed it" every day. You create the starter by mixing flour and water, and then every day you throw away 80% of the mixture and add more flour and water. 

One lady in my course said, well it's just like watering your plants or feeding your dog. you need to do it every day. Hmm well I didn't know a plant I didn't kill and I definitely don't have a dog so... But it was really interesting to learn about the process and see how the bread is made at the Bridgehead Roastery. The starter at Bridgehead has been alive for 9 years. Wow!!! The longer you have it for, the more flavour develops. Once you have starter, you use it for about 25% of your dough to make the bread. 

Like at all the bridgehead courses, we were welcomed in the best way possible- with coffee and treats!! yum! 

Our instructor showing us how it's done.

He is taking them out of the bamboo baskets. They have nice lines imprinted on them.

You use a sharp blade to score the bread before baking.


The fresh bread was so good!!! See those big holes? They are a sign that the bread turned out well.

They gave us dough to take home. When I tried to made bread with it, it failed miserably and I had to toss it. i think i know where I went wrong..the oven was too hot to proof it and the dough kind of melted..and became very sticky. Woops. Ah well. I did make pizza dough with some of the dough and that was really delicious! I made pizza for my parents and then again for S and everyone liked it.

I love these bridgehead workshops and highly recommend them! This instructor also teaches pastry at Algonquin. That would be fun!!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Oat Bread

Thanks to S for these photos of the bread! It's nice to have such a talented boyfriend, and to be able to share love for cooking and photography.

We set up a mini studio with  lighting one night 
Speaking of being a great boyfriend, S got me this cookbook Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm, by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann. S probably doesn't understand why I love cookbooks so much as he doesn't use recipes and just makes the most delicious food.  I guess that's how real chefs operate. For the rest of us, there are cookbooks. This one is great because it is organized by season, so you can make food that uses ingredients in season.

I wasted no time making this delicious oat bread. it was really easy.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Snapshot: Breakfasts

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.. or at least the prettiest!

I noticed that I take a lot of photos of breakfast, so I thought I would share some. Unfortunately some were on snap chat and I forgot to save them but I still have a bunch.

Lattes and Nespresso Aeroccino

Fruit Bowls- something I picked up from my mom! 

Eggs and avocado= my favourite

Thomas English Muffins are a staple for me 

Oatmeal with blueberries, walnuts and bananas

Freshly pressed juice

Eggs and Smoothies during a brief healthy phase

Camping breakfast.. can't wait to go again! 

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Whole 30 -- Book Review and Giveaway

Have you been seeing a lot of Whole 30 reviews? I sure have. they have been popping up on my feed like crazy. There is something about the new year that just gives people that extra motivation. How can you tell? the gyms are packed and the fridges at work at filled with healthy food.   Unfortunately, this motivation doesn't always last. And although I will be grateful for the extra locker space at the gym, I sometimes wonder why people give up. I think part of it, is because of this all-or-nothing approach to fitness and nutrition. people think if they eat a chocolate bar, their day is ruined and they may as well gorge on junk food all day. Same mentally applies to the gym, if you miss a day, it quickly turns into two and three and before you know it it's hard to get back... GUILTY.

What I love about the Whole 30 program is that it isn't meant to be long term. It is designed to be only for 30 days. So it is manageable and doesn't feel overwhelming. 

If you are wondering what the Whole 30 is, find out more here.  In short, eat real food, don't eat added sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy, msg, and do not weigh yourself or take any measurements during the 30 days. 

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of  Melissa Hartwig's Whole 30 Cookbook by Penguin Random House Canada for review purposes.  All opinions are my own. 

Although I didn't do the Whole 30 for 30 days, I did try out a number of recipes, and I really like this book. It has so many resources to help you, and I love the way it's organized. It starts out by explaining the Whole 30, the Rules, and how to set up your Whole 30 kitchen. After that it is separated into chapters on eggs, red meat, poultry, fish, side dishes, sauces and dressings, nibbles and drinks and basics.

I tried out a few recipes from the book and my favourite was the Thai red Curry Beef with Green beans. it was so easy to make and delicious. I Will have a follow-up post with the recipe in the coming days.

Most of the recipes in the book are quick to make and will last for several meals which is great.

Enter to win a copy!

Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only (or those with a Canadian mailing address).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 09, 2016

Home Made Ginger Bread House

A few weeks back S and I were in a grocery store, and saw a gingerbread house kit for sale. Of course, I wanted to get it. S said that those kits were lame and that he always makes his gingerbread houses from scratch. Well, I soon found out as we struggled to make templates and cut the gingerbread, it was actually his mom that always made them from scratch, not him. He also forgot to mention that this was years ago and his memory of how to make them was less than fresh. That being said, it was still a great idea and I am grateful for S and his creativity, open mind, craftiness, sense of humour, and just for putting up with me in general :) .. okay I am cheesy I know.. I'll stop now.

Anyway, we managed, using this site as guidance. We baked the gingerbread one day, got the candy another, ate all the candy (mostly me), bought more candy, and finally built and decorated the house. I'd say this took place over about a week or so. Hey it was a busy time. We  also baked a few extra gingerbread pieces and put together gingerbread house kits to give as hostess gifts and I had some fun designing printouts with the icing instructions with this cool program Canva that S told me about. 

I won't re-post all the instructions as you can follow the ones from the site. I would however advise you to let the icing thicken for a bit in the fridge, as it can be unwieldy if it's too thin. Also have patience and use glasses (or other props) to hold up the walls of the house while you let it dry. 

Under construction it looked like this:

we were a bit skeptical but kept at it. We ended up with this:

Kristin sent me a photo of the one she and Shawn made:

Looking good!

What's next?


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