Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dark Chocolate Whole Wheat Muffins

This past weekend I jetted off to Boston.. or more accurately, Somerville, to visit my sis and bro-in-law. The weather felt downright tropical after the -20 we have been having here. Ahh to feel the sun warming your skin- marvelous!

As my sister had an appointment in the morning, I met her by the T station near her place, and had a few minutes to peruse a cafe/bookstore while I waited for her to get there. I have so many cookbooks and yet I found myself in the cookbook aisle of the store and had to restrain myself.  I was drawn to this cookbook called "Seriously Delish" by Jessica Merchant. The recipes looked  seriously delicious but also pretty healthy and have quality, healthy ingredients.  Once Claire got there, we decided to try and make these muffins later in the day.

It was pretty funny, we picked  up some ingredients at the store that  Claire thought we might need: yogurt,dark chocolate and whole wheat flour. It turns out, Claire had all of these at home already. Hmm..Something tells me, E is the one doing most of the cooking. [ note: this was later confirmed by all the delicious meals E cooked for us while I was there... delicious salads, barbecued sausages, pancakes, eggs with mushrooms..mmm he is a great chef and whips meals up like it aint no thing.. Claire is a lucky lady.]

We didn't pick up a muffin tin however, and Claire didn't have one. E quickly went on amazon and ordered a silicon muffin tin. Alas, amazon is quick, but not THAT quick. So we decided to make this in the form of a cake- or, as it would turn out "Chocolate mess".

Well, let me tell you, this  mess definitely brought us to tears from laughing so hard. Sometimes, there is nothing better than baking with your sister!

Get all the ingredients out 
Start mixing
and crying

The texture wasn't quite what we expected..

what the heck? 

oh well, i'm sure it will still taste good

I recommend making these with moderately dark chocolate or bittersweet. We used a really very dark chocolate and I didn't find it sweet enough. My bro-in law, likes things not too sweet so he loved it. Also, we used whole wheat flour, but it would have been better with a whole wheat pastry flour. We ended up serving it in a bowl, topped with blueberry preserves. It would also be good crumpled in Greek yogurt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bok Choy

Have you heard that the food guide has apparently been replaced by this extremely simple theory that half your plate should be veggies, one quarter protein and one quarter carbs. Well, that seems easy enough to do. I realized that if I don't eat enough at dinner, I will spend the rest of the night snacking on junk food. Or go to bed and wake up in the night only to find I am eating chocolate.. yes this has happened to me! I sleep-eat. Is it worse than sleep walking? who knows?  To avoid this, I figured it would be a good idea to stock up on some greens- bok choy, spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard etc. Well not all of those at once, but a few from that list. I think my collard greens already went bad in the fridge because I didn't cook them soon enough. Grr!!

I recently signed up to the NYTimes Cooking Newsletter with different recipes. It is fun and chatty and links you to different recipes.. It looks like this

I recommend signing up, if you are into that sort of thing.

This week's newsletter included a recipe for stir fried Bok Choy, by Martha Rose Shulman. I love it when the stars align like that. So I brought over my bok choy and made it last night for my parents as a side dish and it was really good. We really liked the flavours.  I modified it a bit to make it simpler and to tailor the flavor to my tastes. Feel free to add more garlic and ginger.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Giveaway - I love Ramen

For our next giveaway, we have "I love Ramen" by Toni Patrick. 

Ahmen, ramen! 75 recipes for turning a dorm-room staple into scrumptious meals

If necessity is the mother of invention, a college student's food budget certainly led to the invention of some delicious ways with one of the least expensive, most convenient packaged foods of all time. Taste-tempting food photos show that the humble block of ramen noodles can be magically transformed into delicious main dishes as well as sides, soups and salads. There are even a couple of desserts based on the ever-popular ramen noodle. On the ramen menu: Beef & Broccoli Stir-fry, Crab Lo Mein, Baked Stuffed Tomatoes, Fiesta Chicken, Cheesy Bacon Noodles, Ramen Rolled Steak, Tangerine Chicken Salad, and even Thin Mint on a Stick. All made with magical, versatile ramen!

Toni Patrick is also the author of 101 Things to Do with Ramen Noodles, 101 Things to Do with Mac & Cheese, and 101 Things to Do with Canned Biscuits. She lives in Colorado.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pomegranite Chia Yogurt Parfait with Pistachios

I got this recipe from the Bon Appetit Food Lovers Cleanse. I have a subscription to the Bon Appetit magazine and really enjoy it. In the latest edition, they reference this cleanse to do in the new year, for people who love food and wouldn't survive on the traditional juice cleanses. Hey wait, that's me!

I looked up the cleanse online and find they have a lot of great recipes. However, I am terrible at following strict meal plans, and kind of forgot about it. Then I saw a friend of mine posted that she was about to start the cleanse. Although it was meant for the first 2 weeks in January, you could really do it anytime. It's free and BA provides all the recipes, grocery lists etc to help get you organized.  I love seeing her photos of the meals, they look delicious!

So it got me back on the website, and I decided that just because I wasn't doing it from start to finish, I could still try my hand at some of these healthy recipes. So voila- without further ado, this healthy, yummy, sometimes you need something different, breakfast!

This recipe makes enough for 2 people. To make it for 1 person just cut the amount of yogurt in half and use the same amount of everything else.

- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice- I used pomegranate- blueberry
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 cup Greek yogurt- I used vanilla 2%- I dislike the fat free kind- also cut down to 1/2 cup if making just 1 serving
- 1-2 tablespoons peeled and chopped pistachios- I used lemon roasted ones so they were extra delicious, but any kind will do.
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Instructions: Mix chia seeds and pomegranate juice and let sit 20 minutes (or overnight if you remember to do this the night before).  Then layer the chia mixture/ yogurt/chia mixture/yogurt, top with pomegranate seeds and pistachios.


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Giveaway Yummy Supper

And we are back with our giveaway series. This book, Yummy Supper, by Erin Scott is perfect to get you on track for the new year. It is filled with delicious healthy recipes. Despite the title, it isn't limited to just supper recipes, it also has breakfasts! These recipes are gluten free, but you don't have to follow a gluten-free diet to enjoy them.

After all the indulging over the holidays, I am grateful for a new year, a clean slate and clean eating! Call me predictable, but my number one resolution every January is to eat healthy.  A key factor is meal planning and prepping. It is important to be realistic, indulge every now and again and not be too hard on yourself.

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Saturday, January 03, 2015

Raisin Bread

Photo Credit: Alex Budgell
I am very behind on posting this but really want to share this recipe.  About a month ago, my colleagues from my food photography course and I got together to experiment with lighting, setups and take some more photos. If you missed it, read about my food photography class here. The get together was a lot of fun! We thought it would be neat to practice on breads so I baked this bread in the morning before hand. The recipe is from Kitchen Aid 3 in 1 Cookbook. It was easy to make. Of course I used my beloved Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. If you don't have a stand mixer you can kneed by hand.  I stole Alex's photo for the blog, as I really like it. And by stole, I mean I got permission of course.

Here are the photographers in action:

Here are a few of my favourite photos from the day:

The others got some great shots. It was a lot of fun to share photos after and see what everyone came up with.

Anyway back to the bread..

After tasting this bread,  I got a few requests from people for more. Not just more actually, they wanted their own loaves. My mom even said that I am generous about sharing my brussel sprouts.. not so much when it comes to breads. So I quickly got to work and whipped up some more. After all, I can't have that as my reputation.  Luckily the recipe makes 2 loaves so it was easy to oblige. This bread is delicious toasted with butter. It also keeps really well in the freezer.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Happy 2015!

A highlight of 2014 for me was definitely my trip to China last March. I got to experience some new (to me) culinary treats..

Salty and cripsy-yumm

Juliet about to chow down! 
These slugs were the worst! 

Left to Right- Daniele, me, Annelies and Juliet on Snack Street Beijing
..and see some beautiful places! The Great Wall was probably my favourite- it was so incredible!

Photo Credits: Juliet B.

Wishing you and yours all the best for 2015! 

Health, happiness, love and of course lots of adventures in the kitchen! 


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