Category Archives: Recipes

How a little gadget made our mornings amazing

Do you ever find yourself having sad breakfasts in the morning rush?  Maybe you love the idea of freshly cooked eggs, smoky bacon, warm bread… but you also love your sleep too much to get up way early to cook it all up.  I know we definitely had that happening, and although grabbing a granola or oatmeal bar, or having a bagel (half a bagel in my case) with some sort of spread is fine, it’s not exactly the happiest way to start off the day. If that sounds familiar, one little gadget that would seem to belong on an infomercial could be the answer.

I am talking about the breakfast sandwich maker.  Yes, a funny looking little contraption that will likely set you back around $25.  After thinking about getting one for weeks, we finally got one!  Here’s the little guy in all his glory 🙂

Now, our mornings have been transformed!  I’m not even exaggerating.  We begin almost every day with the delicious experience that rivals an Egg McMuffin, a Timmy’s Breakfast Sandwich, or a Starbucks Breakfast Sandwich, but at a fraction of the cost, and none of the hassle – right in our own home!  The aroma of hot breakfast is very conducive to smiles, and I’ll show you exactly how we do it.

The night before, I prep our breakfast.  I slice two English muffins, and slice enough cheese for each one.  I sandwich the cheese (and cooked bacon if we’re having it) between the muffin halves, tuck it in a small sandwich bag, and pop it in the fridge.  I also put fresh ground coffee and water in the coffeemaker.

In the mornings comes the fun part (there’s a statement I never thought I’d make). As soon as we get out of bed, we turn on the coffeemaker and plug in the sandwich maker to preheat.  Once it’s warmed up, just lift up the egg plate, pop in the bottom half of the muffin, cheese, and maybe some cooked bacon.  Then lower the egg plate, crack in a fresh egg (scramble it a bit if you’d like), and lightly place the top muffin half on top.  Close the lid, and set a timer for 5 minutes.  Once 5 minutes is up, slide out the egg divider gently, and raise each divider one at a time.  Presto!  A delicious, hot, fresh breakfast sandwich.  By now, our coffee’s also ready, so breakfast is served and fantastic!

Right now we’ve stuck to the classic recipe, but I’m also excited to see what other tasty combinations we can come up with, maybe with some veggies, other types of cheese, biscuits… my mouth waters just thinking about it.

Seriously, if you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking, but want a great hot breakfast, give these little machines a whirl – you won’t regret it.

How do you make your mornings better?

Advertisements

Coconut Oil Chocolates

Coconut oil is definitely having a moment right now.  It’s being touted as a superfood due to its amazing qualities, being naturally antifungal, antibacterial, great for digestion, a fantastic cooking oil, an amazingly versatile beauty product, and of course, delicious.  I like using the extra virgin organic coconut oil for maximum benefits.

When I was on the HCG diet, I found a great recipe for Phase 3-friendly coconut oil chocolate.  That one used stevia to sweeten it, but I loved it!  I also found a recipe using honey, which I love.

I really like this recipe because not only is it ridiculously simple and foolproof, but it yields a delicious fudgy chocolate that is all natural, whole, real food, and its rich taste means that only a little square can kill any chocolate craving with a fraction of the calories, but is amazingly satisfying!  A quick suggestion would be to use refined coconut oil if you don’t really like the taste of coconut, because it is still noticeable.

Recipe

  1. Mix the following in a microwave-safe bowl – ½ cup coconut oil, ½ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup sweetener of choice (here I used raw sugar), and any extras you want to add in (shredded coconut, nuts, etc. – I used chopped pecans here)
  2. Microwave if needed to soften the coconut oil, and simply mix until smooth
  3. Pour mixture into a dish or mold (ice cube trays would be great for portion control)
  4. Refrigerate until firm, I just leave it in overnight
  5. Cut up if needed, and enjoy!

Now you can easily enjoy all-natural chocolate, without fear of excessive sugars or chemically-laden ingredients!

Has anyone else tried this?  Or tried using coconut oil in general, let me know in the comments, I’d love to discuss!

Simple Meat & Mushroom Lasagna

Hello, friends!  How has your early spring been so far?  I hope it’s been wonderful, and I know I’ve been happily wearing my bright pink spring coat and new pink purse!  I always find this transitioning time an interesting one, both in terms of style as well as food – one day is warm and beckons of summer, the next is cold and invites you to cozy up like you have all winter.  On one of those cozier days, I decided to cook up dinner with random items I had lying around – and it turned out really well.  So I thought I’d share this with you, my super simple delicious lasagna.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 cans sliced mushrooms, drained and rinsed
  • 830mL tomato-based pasta sauce (marinara, roasted garlic, your choice)
  • 250g cottage cheese
  • 220g cheddar cheese, sliced thinly
  • oven-ready lasagna noodles, about 10

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, brown the ground beef.  If desired, add salt, pepper, and italian spices such as oregano, basil, etc.  Once browned, add in mushrooms and pasta sauce, and mix until uniform.  Take off heat.
  3. Layer as follows into a 9×13 pan: ⅓ meat sauce mix, one layer of noodles, ½ cottage cheese, ⅓ cheddar, ⅓ meat sauce, one layer of noodles, ½ cottage cheese, ⅓ cheddar, ⅓ meat sauce.  Reserve last ⅓ of the cheddar for later.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, but check for doneness around the 30 minute mark.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top, and bake for an additional 10 minutes for melted crispy cheese topping.
  6. Allow to cool for at least a few minutes before serving.

Et voila!  Delicious, textured, hearty Italian flavour without loads of time and effort spent in the kitchen.  This was quite a hit at our home, and I’ll likely make it again, in between lighter springier foods as well.

What have you been cooking up this spring?

 

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos

Happy Friday, sweet friends!  Here we are, halfway through January, embarking on the weekend, today is a good day!  And speaking of good days, one of the best ways to start a good day is with a good breakfast.  Today, I’ll be sharing one of the best ways I minimize the morning rush on weekdays – make-ahead freezer friendly breakfast burritos.

I cook these up in batches, and will tell you exactly how I do it.

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos (makes 12)

Ingredients

  • 12 tortilla wraps (I’ve used both 6” and 10”, both work decently well)
  • 12 breakfast sausages
  • 12 strips bacon
  • 12 eggs
  • milk
  • salt & pepper
  • seasonings of choice (minced onion, garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder, taco seasoning, Greek seasoning blend)

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon – I cook it in the oven.  Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper in a single layer.  Place the sheets in the oven cold, and then turn oven to 400 and cook for 20-22 minutes.  Once the bacon has slightly cooled (enough to handle), I layer it on a plate with paper towels in between to get rid of the excess grease.  Also, I cook an entire pack at a time, and just use 12 slices for this recipe.
  2. Cook the sausages.  I turn the oven to 350, place the sausages in a shallow baking pan, and bake for 12-15 minutes, turning once or twice.
  3. Set up the assembly and start to put together.  Cover your workspace with wax or parchment paper, and lay out the 12 tortillas.  Using scissors, cut up one strip of bacon in the centre of each tortilla, then cut up one sausage in the centre on top.
  4. Eggs.  In a small bowl, lightly beat together 4 eggs with a splash of milk and desired seasonings (I always do salt and pepper, usually a bit of minced onion, and then add either some chili powder, a dash of taco seasoning, or some Greek seasoning blend).  Preheat a frying pan on medium, and add just a touch of butter or light-tasting oil, such as canola.  Scramble the eggs in the pan.  Once cooked, divide the eggs into 4 equal portions, and split among 4 tortillas.  Repeat this procedure 3 times for a total of 12 eggs in 12 tortillas.
  5. Put it all together.  Close up and fold each tortilla like a burrito.  I like to put the rolled wraps on a plate to save space.  Once they are all rolled, wrap each burrito individually in aluminum foil.  Place the wrapped finished breakfast burritos in a larger container for easy access, such as a larger freezer-safe serving bowl or a large Ziploc bag, and pop in the freezer!  After a couple of hours, they’re good!
  6. Time to eat!  To serve, unwrap a burrito from the foil and place on a microwave-safe plate.  Heat up for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.  Let cool slightly, and enjoy!

These breakfast burritos are awesome!  They are filled with good protein and nutrients, and very tasty!  I usually only eat half of one for breakfast, since they pack quite the calorie punch, but Nick has one every morning, and they actually keep him full!  If you want a serious breakfast for a rushed weekday morning, or a breakfast that will keep a man-sized appetite satisfied, I would highly recommend these!

How do you guys deal with the morning breakfast rush?  Any favourites for filling delicious breakfasts?

Christmas No-Bake Oreo Truffles

Hello again sweet friends!  I hope you’ve been enjoying everything the season brings, we just got another dusting of winter wonderland snow outside our window!  One of the best-loved traditions of this time of year is making sweets and treats together.  I recently shared my recipe for red velvet white chocolate cake pops, and today I’m back with an easier, but also delicious, no-bake recipe!  These are my Christmas No-Bake Oreo Truffles, inspired by this recipe from Savvy Saving Couple.  Ready to dig in?  Let’s get to it!

Ingredients

  • 1 block (250g, or 8oz) of light cream cheese, softened
  • 36 Oreo cookies of choice – for a seasonal touch, I used the Mint Cream Oreos
  • 250g (8oz) chocolate chips for coating, I used milk, but you can use white or dark as well
  • festive sprinkles

Directions

  1. Crush the cookies into a crumble, and mix with cream cheese until uniform.  I crushed the cookies in batches with my food processor, and then used a hand mixer to mix in the cream cheese.
  2. Shape into balls, and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  I rolled them into about ½ inch balls, and made almost 60.  Freeze truffle balls for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips carefully, by heating in small increments in the microwave and stirring in between.
  4. Cover truffle balls in melted chocolate, and then place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
  5. Sprinkle with festive sprinkles, or maybe crushed candy canes, as you’d like.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until firm, and chocolate coating has become solid.

I loved these, and so did Nick!  You could easily put your own twist on these – maybe use the seasonal Gingerbread Oreos and white chocolate, or add finely chopped nuts.  Or use different decorations, like little shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, or little hearts and pink sprinkles for Valentine’s Day.

Have you tried these, or other Oreo treats?  Let us know!

Red Velvet White Chocolate Cake Pops

Oh, Christmas baking is upon us!  Cookies and brownies and candy cane everything… it’s a dream for someone like me with a sweet tooth.  We were just at a Holiday Potluck and cookie exchange, so right now our fridge is stuffed with all kinds of festive treats and sweets.  Today I’ll be sharing the recipe for the treat I brought to the exchange – red velvet white chocolate cake pops.  They were really more like cake balls since I didn’t use lollipop sticks, but I’m still calling them cake pops 🙂   

It’s a recipe I made up myself as I was making them, adapting one of my favourite trifle recipes.  Here it is!

Red Velvet White Chocolate Cake Pops

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • ½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) red food colouring
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
  • 1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) apple cider vinegar

Cream Cheese & White Chocolate Frosting

  • 2/3 cup (heaping) white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (250 mL) light cream cheese, softened

Candy Coating & Garnish

  • 340g white chocolate chips
  • festive holiday sprinkles

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C) and line a 9 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Reserve.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl. Add food colouring and vanilla and beat until uniform.
  4. Add a third of the flour mixture to the batter, beating until combined. Add half of the buttermilk. Repeat, adding alternating ingredients until all the flour mixture and buttermilk have been incorporated.
  5. Combine baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl, and stir until it foams. Add to batter and mix just until fully incorporated. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes.
  6. To make frosting, gradually melt white chocolate and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl, and mix between heatings to create a smooth mixture.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, crumble the cake (you can also use a food processor for this).  Add the frosting and mix well, until uniform.  Roll into 36-40 balls and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Freeze for about 30 minutes, until cake pops are solidified.
  8. For the candy coating, melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, gradually and mixing well.  Gently roll and cover each cake ball in the melted white chocolate, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Top with sprinkles, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to firm up.

That’s it!  It took me a bit more work since I was experimenting as I was going to make the recipe, but they were fun to make and even more fun to eat!  Not too sweet since the frosting was more tangy from the cream cheese, and not too heavy – just delicious!  You could also top them with crushed candy canes, or maybe heart-shaped sprinkles for Valentine’s Day!

Who’s doing Christmas baking?  Anyone making cake pops?

 

 

Simple Pumpkin Pie – Thrown Together Edition

So, a few days ago,  I tried making my first ever pumpkin pie.  Yes.  And I wanted it to be from scratch, kind of.  Allow me to explain.

I was at home and knew that Nick would be getting home late and tired, so I wanted to surprise him with something nice.  I remembered that pumpkin pie is one of his favourites, and thought to myself, “Well, I know I have a premade pie crust in the freezer, and a can of pumpkin.  Somehow with those and a few other things I’ve got laying around, I should be able to throw together a pie.”  Also, this was the day of American Thanksgiving so pumpkin was understandably at top of mind.

With that I took to the internet in search of recipes that I had everything for, since I had no evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk.  So I found a recipe for a Paleo Pumpkin Pie using coconut milk, and made a few tweaks based on what I had available.  Here we go, Delia’s first ever pumpkin pie!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups canned pure pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup sugar, plus a bit more if needed, to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 frozen 9-inch pie shell, unbaked.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 350.
  2. Using a hand mixer, mix well the pumpkin and eggs.
  3. Mix in the coconut milk, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Pour filling into the crust.
  5. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

There you have it!  A pumpkin pie that is a little bit traditional, a little bit paleo, a little bit fast, and a whole lot of tasty!  I only say the last one because it was husband-approved, and by a husband that is quite the pie connaisseur from what I gather.

Do you have a favourite pumpkin pie recipe?  Ever tried making it with coconut milk?