Saturday, November 18, 2017

Spiralized Squash

Usually when I think of using my spiralizer I always think of making zucchini, but a friend of mine  said he was going to make squash noodles and I thought I would try it out. I had a whole bunch of butternut squash from my CSA to eat up. I read a few different recipes and articles. Key takeaway is that you can only use the long skinnier part of the squash (save the rest for a soup). I also found that after peeling the squash, it's good to microwave it for a few minutes to soften it enough so the spikes in the spiralizer can grip on.  If you don't have a spiralizer or it's too much effort, many grocery stores sell pre-made boxes of spiralized squash. Not too overpriced surprisingly and skips a lot of the hassle.

Once your squash is spiralized you can fry it or roast it. I drizzled it with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted at 400 for about 10 minutes. We topped with Stefan's homemade Bolognese meat sauce and it was delicious. I am a pasta lover and even i didn't miss it.

Stay tuned for many more squash recipes and some other ones from new cookbooks I got at the Food Blogger's conference. I've been really busy at work and at night haven't wanted to be on the computer much, but i've been cooking a fair bit and want to share some of the recipes!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Part 2: Chilli Pickling

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Does this tongue twister ring a bell? I couldn't help but think of it, while pickling the peppers..I mean chillis..with Stefan on the weekend. We got everything ready to pickle and then realized we didn't have enough vinegar. So we decided to go play squash.. then buy some more vinegar and then get to work. It was a fun little project for a rainy day.

We borrowed this canning pot from Stefan's parents (on the right in the photo below), although if you don't have one, you can just use a regular pot and sterilized tongues.

The pot has a rack inside so you can take the sterilized jars out without touching them.

We loosely followed this recipe from the Roasted Root. Basically, you cut up the chillis, prep onion and garlic, fry to soften them up a bit. Then you sterilize the jars and make your vinegar mixture. You put the chilis in the jars, fill with the vinegar mixture and let cool. Its important to close the jars most of the way and then let cool so that they seal, and then tighten the jars.

These would make great gifts. I made chalk labels that say "Spice up Your Life". They are really spicy! Too spicy for me right now, but maybe after some time they will be more tolerable ;) Maybe next time we will try roasted red peppers.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Part 1: Chili Plant

Back in July, I got Stefan two chilli plants for his birthday. Did you know, we have the exact same birthday? Same day and year. We are maybe two hours apart. When we first met and found that out, we calculated the chances and it was something like 1 in 6000. Pretty crazy right? I don't know if I believe much in horoscopes and astrology but we do have similar personality traits and I wonder if it's the birthday.  We have teachers in both our families, family in Austria and Poland (so nearby) and both went to French school. For a couple years after university,  I lived with Keldi in a house diagonally behind Stefan's family home. We had a few friends in common, but never met. I'm surprised our paths hadn't crossed sooner, but glad that they finally did :)

We have both taken an interest in photography in the last few years. Stefan is really talented. We woke up early yesterday and decided to go check out these stromatolite fossils over on the Quebec side of the Island Park bridge. I had been before, but forgotten how beautiful it is there.

Anyway, back to the birthday and the chilis. I had seen a chilli plant in the market and went back early one morning with Daniele to sneakily buy it, but the stand was closed. I could see the plant but it was fenced in..hmm what to do? Well luckily we found another booth that was open and had some other types of chillies and I decided to get a hot chilli plant and a Hungarian chilli plant.

I always call them chilli peppers, but Stefan is advising me that it's wrong..they are not peppers, just chillies. He says it's a taxonomy error.. hmm.  Regardless of the name, Stefan really liked them, and it was a gift that kept on giving. Because we don't get much sun on our balcony and were heading off to Europe, we asked Stefan's parents if we could keep them in their garden. Stefan's mom is a wonderful gardener, and I'm not sure what she did, but the plants flourished and we got so many chillies! It was a lovely surprise to see about 40 of them on the plants.

Back in July 

Beginning of October 

Stay tuned for Part 2 on pickling.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Chocolate Chip Muffins and Juliet in Ottawa

Last week, Juliet was in town for a world-wind trip. My aunt and uncle were here too, meaning that our week was filled with family dinners. Stefan and I haven't done groceries in weeks.. we would just eat at my parents house every night with the family and Juliet would pack up bags of bagels and food for us to eat for breakfast everyday. No shame! But hey, my parents always buy way to much food, so really, it was win-win. It was so nice to have the family together.

We tried to make the most of Juliet's visit. We went running twice on the canal, saw some pretty views, got into The Handmaid's Tale (traumatic no? but I can't stop watching), shopped till we dropped, went to Bridgehead and Scone Witch, celebrated my uncle's birthday, and for some good old Canadian fun- went canoeing on the Canal!

The family also saw Mosaica and had a great time. Unfortunately I was at work..but I saw the photos. It has really grown since I saw it in July!

Juliet also cleaned, sorted and organized our apartment while we were at work. Do I have the best cousin or what? it makes such a big difference! I swear she did that out of her own free will.

For my uncle's birthday, I whipped up this decadent chocolate cake. Everyone liked it, and it made up for our so-so dinner. Finally, a smile on my uncle's face.

I also made some chocolate chip muffins for a charity event at work! I followed this recipe. I will remember the tip to heat at high temperature first and then lower the temperature. Apparently that helps create a fluffy, bakery-style, muffin.

and spotted on Juliet's instagram

I think Juliet really wanted a muffin, she decided to come to work with me for the charity event. She got to visit a few friends and spent the morning studying (sleeping?) at an empty desk. Haha, I won't post the photo evidence. And then, just like that, our week together was up, as Stefan and I were off to Lake Placid for the long weekend. Missing you already Juliet! Time to move to Ottawa!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Stefan's Quiche

Stefan and I said we'd bring a quiche to L&J's dinner for the break fast last week. Because I was fasting, and I tend to get hangry/emotional/grumpy.. Stefan told me to stay OUT of the kitchen and that he would make the quiche. Yahoo!! Well, of course, he went above and beyond and it resulted in these beautiful and delicious quiches. He wanted to show me the veggies at different stages of cooking, but I wasn't interested. I was like get this out of my sight!!  It all smelled so good. Anyway, they were well worth the wait.

Everyone liked them and asked him for the recipe. Usually Stefan just wings it, but he graciously wrote out his recipe so we could all benefit.

Here it is, enjoy!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Macaroni Salad

Stefan and I haven't been cooking that much. We've both been super busy, and I've been eating dinner at my parents a lot. This weekend though, we spent a fair amount of time at home and cooked several things. It was nice to get back into the kitchen. Especially with Stefan, who chops everything super quickly, makes sure the kitchen doesn't look like a disaster by the end and takes great photos.

Every month I get Food Network Magazine in the mail, a gift from D&N. I love going to check the mail and finding the magazine! I had picked out a few recipes, and we made a variation of the Cajun Macaroni Salad. I never found creole mustard, so just made my own out of dijon mustard, worcestir sauce and hot sauce. I also added in some vinegar to add a bit of punch. Enjoy!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

This summer was a bit of a cool one here in Ottawa. We had rain for days, beating all kinds of records. If it weren't for our trip to Europe, it wouldn't have felt much like summer at all. But this fall, wow!!! It's been so hot. This past weekend was 30 degrees both days. All last week we had sunny, warm weather. I love it. It's the best of both worlds. Warmth and beautiful fall colours.

I went for a run one morning last week and was so sweaty after that I decided to whip up smoothies.
I try to mix things up, but always have a few key ingredients- banana, almond milk, some sort of frozen fruit. Here I also added freeze-dried strawberries. Delicious! It gives the smoothie a bit of a sour, refreshing taste.

One important thing to remember is to stick to one or two types of fruit. That way, you can vary the flavours each time you make one.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


My mom gave me some salsa from Farm Boy, and we didn't have any tostitos- first world problems, I know. We did have a little bit of baguette left, so I decided to make some crostinis to tide us over until dinner.

They were so easy and delicious. I love using up food and not wasting anything. Stefan and I are both committed to eating things up before they go bad. It is challenging for me, as I always want to go out and buy more.. but i've halted my spending until we use up what we have on hand.  I find produce goes badly so quickly this time of year. I bought blackberries on Sunday and they were already moldy this morning :( Moral of the story, don't buy so much all at once.

- baguette, slices thinly
- olive oil
- sea salt
- any topping you'd like: salsa, feta, balsamic reduction

- preheat oven on broil
- brush baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt
- broil for 6-8 minutes flipping once
- remove from oven and top with topping of choice. Enjoy!


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