Author Archives: Margaret

About Margaret

A self-trained cook, cooking for herself and her husband in their condo. Cue the cozy domesticity! So, yes, this blog is about the creative satisfaction of cooking, about making meals that real people eat, in real people time (I also work outside the home), about trying to find the best recipes out there and about trying to stretch my cooking skills while I’m at it. Join me? I’ll link the recipes to the blog posts, so that you can try them too (I’m interested in feedback), and put in pictures so that you can see how they turned out.

Goat Cheese & Arugula Pizza: Or How to Have your Pizza & Eat Salad Too

How to eat pizza and still be healthy!

Today’s recipe — Goat Cheese & Arugula Pizza — is misleadingly easy, and misleadingly delicious. Who would have thought that you could combine salad and pizza, and end up with a dish that is delicious, satisfying, and super-easy to make?

There’s the crispy crunch of the parmesan topped crust, studded with soft bites of creamy goat cheese, plus the peppery bite of arugula dressed with olive oil and lemon. Each slice goes down deceptively easy, and for me at least, guilt-free, because…salad! Except that it’s pizza.

Let’s get to making some!


  • 1/2 of this no-knead pizza dough recipe
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. shelf-stable parmesan cheese (if you’re a cheese connoisseur you could always use fresh parmesan)
  • 1/4 c. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. arugula
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. halved baby tomatoes

Flour a cookie tray, and spread out your dough in a rough rectangle. Let the dough rest for a bit if you want to stretch it out more (which is what I did). This will make for a thinner crust. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the dough, and then top with the goat cheese crumbles. Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until the dough starts to get some colour and the parmesan cheese is golden. Toss arugula and tomatoes with the olive oil and lemon juice. Spread vegetable mixture over the cheesy pizza. Cut into squares, and serve!

This is a relatively thin crust pizza — you could make it with twice the amount of dough if you prefer a thicker crust. And it’s easily customizable to the type of salad ingredients that you like. Want some sliced red onions? Add them in! Julienned pepper strips? Toss them on top! The customizations are endless!

You can serve this pizza as a lunch, or as a light supper. Think of it as having salad with a side of cheese sticks! I served it for dinner, and the DH and I ate the whole thing! This is definitely a dish that I will be making more often.

Next Post: I’m thinking the Blue Velvet Pancakes I talked about earlier. Or perhaps something else altogether?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade! Plus, at Full Plate Thursday!

Lemony Pan-Fried Green Beans: A Super-Quick and Easy Side Dish!

A taste of spring in the winter months!

I love green beans. They’re fresh, they’re green, they have a satisfying, crisp crunch to them, they’re full of protein, and hey, they’re healthy! So I thought I’d make a green bean dish today: Lemony Pan-Fried Green Beans. They’re a taste of spring (or summer) in this cold February month.

With only three ingredients, this dish goes from fridge to table in 10 minutes…including prep time! Yes, it’s that fast! Who doesn’t want a quick and fresh side dish that is full of flavour?

Let’s get to making some!


  • 3 handfuls of green beans (about 12 oz, or about 350 g.)
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Heat oil in a frying pan. Wash green beans and cut off ends. Toss green beans into the frying pan, along with 1 tsp. of lemon zest. Put a lid on the pan (otherwise hot oil will splash out, especially when you put in the freshly washed green beans). Fry over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the beans are cooked to your desired preference. Put beans on a serving plate and sprinkle remaining lemon zest on top. Et voila, you’re done!

This is a vegan recipe, but to be honest, I think it would be even better if it was pan-fried in butter. Just think how delicious that would be! That said, as healthy as green beans and lemon zest are, the fact that oil (or butter) is used, means that this is not as healthy as steamed beans would be. But hey, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up a bit!

Speaking of switching things up, I was reading an article about mixing brownies and croissants together. Sounded…interesting. But now I’m thinking of the different types of mashups I could make. Brownies and bread pudding? Too rich, I think. Hmm. Brownies and…what? Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Blue Velvet Pancakes, or some sort of Brownie Mashup. Preferences?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade! And at Full Plate Thursday! Plus, at Foodie Friday!

Quick & Easy Orange & Lemon Scones, Biscuit-Style

A ray of sunshine for brekkie, no matter the season!

I like my scones kind of like biscuits, as opposed to the more solid pucks that are sometimes sold as scones. So this recipe is actually an adaptation of a biscuit recipe. Like biscuits, the less you handle scone dough, the fluffier they are and the more they rise, so be sure not to over-mix.

And, like biscuits, you can put the scones in the oven with the sides touching, for soft sides, or on their own, for crispier sides. I think scones should have crispier sides, so I put them without touching, but you do what you like!

This recipe is very adapatable. You can put in other sorts of candied citrus, and use a mix of lemon, lime, or orange peel. I just suggest that you use organic produce to get the zest, as nobody wants zested pesticides.

FYI, the butter is grated so that you handle the dough less when incorporating the butter, and so that the butter can be cold when the dough is popped into the oven. Both of these things make for a fluffier scone.


  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. cold butter, grated
  • 1 c. yoghurt
  • 1/3 c. chopped candied orange peel (I made my own and stored it in sugar)
  • 3 tbsp. sugar (I used the sugar I tossed the orange peels in, for extra citrus flavour)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon or lime zest (I used a combo of both)
  • 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar (optional)


  • 1/4 c. icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix all ingredients except for the yoghurt and turbinado sugar (and obviously not the glaze ingredients, either) together. Stir in yoghurt, until just mixed in. Gently pat into a round on floured surface. Cut into 8ths and place on an ungreased cookie tray. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.

Bake at 450 degrees until golden on top, about 8-10 minutes.

Optional glaze: mix lemon juice and icing sugar together and drizzle over warm scones. Enjoy the scones warm, cold, or toasted with fresh butter or some homemade jam!

Time for eating!

Given the use of candied orange peel, this makes for a sweeter scone, so if you’re more of a hearty breakfast eater, this is likely more of a dessert scone for you. Luckily, I like my sweets (*regular blog readers gasp in faux surprise*) so I enjoyed these for breakfast!

Next Post: A green bean side dish. Maybe with lemon zest? I’ve got a bag of crisp green beans in my fridge that is calling my name. Yummy, crisp, fresh green beans!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade! As well as at Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday!

Dutch-Style Mashed Potatoes, Two Ways: How to Eat the Rainbow w/o Giving Up Carbs

Dinner is served, packed full of nutrition!

Today’s  recipe is actually two recipes, for “hutspot” and “stamppot”. Um, say what? Those are just the Dutch names for two different types of mashed potatoes, both yummy and both full of vitamins, nutrients, and most importantly, packed full of delicious flavour!

Want to learn how to make Dutch-Style Mashed Potatoes? Read on!


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 5 medium-sized potatoes

Saute onions and carrots in butter until onions are caramelized and carrots are fork-able. While they are cooking, microwave the potatoes (or you could bake them in the oven, but that takes longer and I like to get dinner on the table asap!). Scoop out the potato flesh and mash it together with the sauted onions and carrots until chunkily mashed. And…done! 

This is a savoury mashed potato dish, with a hint of sweet from the carrots. So yum!

Legend has it that when the Dutch routed the Spanish colonizers from their land back in in 1500 and something, the Spanish left so quickly that they left their vegetables still cooking over the fire. The Dutch found it, mashed it up, and voila, a new national dish was born.

A variation on the same thing is mashed potatoes with curly-leafed greens (lettuce, endive, kale). I know, it doesn’t sound delicious, but trust me, it is! If you (or your loved ones) don’t like salads, this is a great way to get them to eat their greens — just pour some gravy on top! How to make it? Read on!

KALE MASHED POTATOES (a variation on ‘Stamppot’)

  • 5 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 head kale 
  • 1/2 c. milk

Wash kale and strip off stems. Chop the leaves finely and throw out the stems. Bake potatoes in microwave. Scoop out the baked flesh and mash in the chopped kale and milk. And…done! You could also use a hand-held blender to quicken the process, which is what I did. Just be sure not to over-process it, as no one wants uniformly green mashed potatoes. 

My mum always served these dishes with pan-fried roasts so that there was always lots of gravy to spoon over the mashed potatoes. Even though I no longer eat meat, I have to say, the memory of those meals still makes my mouth water. These are definitely delicious ways to add more veggies into your diet, and I plan to make them more often. Try them out — you won’t regret it!

I served the mashed potatoes with a slice or two of Canadian bacon, some warm kale chips, and a few sweet potato fries. The DH said “Now THIS is a meal!” So yay for yummy meals and especially for ones chock-full of a variety of vegetables!

BONUS KALE CHIP RECIPE: Wash and dry kale. Tear the leaves off the stems and discard stems. Sprinkle a little bit of oil on the leaves and rub in. Bake in a 350 degree oven until crispy, and serve lightly salted. They’re not potato chips, but they’re still sure to be a hit with people who are picky about their veggies. Or you could eat them all yourself. Not that I did that. Nope. (I just ate most of them.)

Next Post: Hmm. Good question. I’m feeling lately like I should up my protein intake, so maybe something like that. Any special requests? Let me know in the comments!

Linking Up at Happiness is HomemadeMeal Plan Monday, Full Plate Thursday, and Foodie Friday!

Honey & Whole-Grain Quick Bread: A Stir-and-Dump Recipe

Full of a mixture of five grains and seeds, plus a touch of honey!

Today’s recipe? Honey & Whole-Grain Quick Bread! For long-time readers, you’ll know that in addition to my love affair with chocolate, I also love bread. But I also try to be healthy. So, I developed an easy recipe for a whole grain bread that will have you thanking the bread gods (and possibly me) for your free pass to eat copious amounts of carbs.

This is what I call a ‘Stir-and-Dump’ recipe, in that you basically stir all the ingredients together, dump it in a pan, and away you go! That’s right, it’s a one-bowl recipe! AND it’s a quick bread, so there’s no waiting for the bread to rise, then punching it down, then letting it rise again. As much as I love yeast breads (my Pesto Swirl Bread, for example), I also love having a loaf of bread ready for dinner in only 45 minutes.

And the short-cut to make this delicious bread? A hot-grain cereal! I used one that had three different types of whole grains in it: steel-cut wheat, rye, and whole flax. And because my bread recipe adds in oatmeal and cornmeal, it’s suddenly got a mixture of 5 whole grains and seeds! See? Healthy!

Let’s get our bread on!


  • 1/2 c. hot grain cereal, uncooked
  • 1/4 c. cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. oats
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. yoghurt (I used my homemade yoghurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Mix the cereal, cornmeal, and boiling water together. Let sit for 15 min. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle a few oats on top of the loaves. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the top of the bread is nicely browned. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling tray to cool fully before slicing. And then enjoy your freshly baked Honey and Whole Grain Bread!

By the way, if you use steel-cut oats instead of rolled oats, just be sure to add them in to the other whole grains in the beginning, so that they can soak for 15 min. as well.

Honey and whole grains, in muffin form!

This recipe will make two small loaves, or one small loaf and a half dozen muffins/buns. I think the buns are great when served warm and with maple syrup! They end up tasting a bit like oatmeal pancakes — yum! I also plan to use any leftover bread to make homemade French Toast with; with more maple syrup, because I’m Canadian, eh!

Next Post: Greens! All the greens. I’ve got some purple leafy kale in my fridge that I want to do something with. Or maybe I’ll mix up some Glazed Orange Scones with the candied orange peel I made last night. Or maybe share my 10-Minute Mesquite Sweet Potato Mash? Let me know your preference in the comments!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Foodie Friday, and Happiness is Homemade! Plus at Full Plate Thursday!