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.

Ridiculously Easy Strawberry FroYo: A Waistline Friendly Dessert (or Breakfast!)

Strawberry froyo: so easy to make that it’s ridic!

Picture this: it’s a super-hot summer day. The heat hits you like a wall as soon as you step outside. But wait, what’s that in your hand? It’s a scoopful (ok, let’s be realistic, it’s several scoopfuls) of freshly made Strawberry FroYo! And even better, it’s healthy, aka guilt-free! Living the dream, folks!

Recently, I got the ice cream maker attachment to my KitchenAid stand mixer. My husband likes to joke that I have a KitchenAid Kitchen as most of my appliances are KitchenAid (ooh, just had a thought — BHAG goal, a sponsored post with KitchenAid! Plus a giveaway. Now that would be a dream of a post to write! Any KitchenAid marketing staff out there who want to make my dream come true?) but given that I have limited kitchen space, getting an attachment as opposed to another appliance just made sense.

So, I had a new kitchen toy to play with, and it’s the dog days of August. Obviously, the only thing to do was…make ice cream! I’ve posted recipes for my super-yummy No Churn Rum Raisin Ice Cream (OH so good!) and my gluten-free Chunks ‘o Brownie No Churn Ice Cream (I’m drooling just typing that out), but I’ve been trying to develop a healthier ice cream that won’t add to my waistline, while still being yummy. What to do, what to do.

And then I was eating my favourite breakfast one day: homemade yoghurt with homemade strawberry jam. I looked at my breakfast bowl. I looked at my new ice cream maker attachment. And then I dumped my breakfast in the frozen bowl and turned on the paddle. BAM! Strawberry FroYo, yo!

In the time it took me to get dressed for work, my frozen yoghurt was ready. OH. SO. GOOD. Especially to eat happily while walking to work. Mmm…dessert for breakfast!

STRAWBERRY FROYO

  • 1 c. yoghurt (I make my own, using this recipe)
  • 1/4 c. strawberry jam (I make my own, but you do you, boo)

Place yoghurt and strawberry jam in frozen bowl, add paddle, and churn for 20 minutes; or follow instructions for your brand of ice cream maker. And…that’s it! (Told you it was easy!)

Doing its thang: churners gotta churn.

Scoop out, eat it up, and revel in the tartness of the froyo mingling with the sweetness of the strawberries. Ah, summer heaven!

No ice cream maker? You *could* make this without one. You’d just put the ingredients in the freezer in a freezer-safe container, and then stir after the first hour, and every half hour until frozen to your taste. But honestly, that’s a pain in the patootie. This is one of the few recipes that I say you need to have a specific kitchen tool for. If you don’t have an ice cream maker or attachment, I’d suggest making my No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream instead. Not as healthy, but [redacted], it’s tasty!

Next Post: Cake Decorating Basics! I’ve been working on my coursework for the Elite Blog Academy, and this is the result of an assignment a month ago. Learning is fun, but cake is the BEST THING EVER! No, wait that’s chocolate. Ok, I stand corrected: Chocolate Cake: BEST THING EVER!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Full Plate Thursday!

Easy Enchiladas: A 20-Minute Weeknight Meal!

Oh what a saucy enchilada you are!

One of my favourite throw-it-together meals is Easy Enchiladas. I make these when I want a hot, satisfying dinner, but with little work. I prep the filling in advance and freeze it, precisely so  that I can throw this dish together when I need a hearty family meal that will take me 5 minutes to make (and 15 to bake). That’s right, this dish can be on your dinner table in 20 minutes from start to finish!

These enchiladas are stuffed with seasoned rice and beans, as well as cheese, making these vegetarian. You could easily add some meat if you wanted, but there’s certainly enough protein without it. And when you bite into it, it oozes cheese and seasoned filling, with a nice tang from the…secret sauce.

The secret shortcut step that makes the whole dish so easy? Salsa. That’s right! A jar of salsa, a bunch of tortillas, some seasoned rice and beans, plus some cheese, and dinner is ON!

Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

EASY ENCHILADAS

  • 1 c. seasoned rice and beans (recipe below)
  • 8 small tortillas
  • 1 1/2 c. salsa
  • 1 c. cheese, grated
  • freshly cut green onions, for garnish

Pour 1/2 c. of the salsa in the bottom of a 9×9 pan, and spread out evenly. Take a tortilla and put 1/8 of the rice and beans mixture in the centre, and then top with a little cheese. Wrap it up like a burrito (fold the left and right sides in, then the top and bottom sides), and place seam side down in the pan. Do the same with the other tortillas until the pan is full. Pour the rest of the salsa on top, and sprinkle the cheese and green onions on top of that. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese on top has melted and is bubbly. Then dive in, and enjoy!

Plated and ready for nom-nom-nom-ing!

Seasoned Rice n’ Beans

  • 1/2 c. rice
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. tomato bouillon
  • 1 c. beans, cooked

Mix rice, beans, water, taco seasoning, and bouillon. Boil as per usual, until water is gone (10-14 minutes), stirring occasionally. Will make about 2 cups. I usually freeze this in one cup portions, so that I can pull the mixture out to make my Easy Enchiladas whenever I want.

I like to use my own homemade tortillas using this recipe, because I’m on an anti-preservative kick, but if you want to do store-bought, you do you, boo! Time is a precious commodity.

I love serving these Easy Enchiladas with a fresh and crisp green salad, followed by something deliciously creamy, like my No Churn Rum Raisin Ice Cream! Mm, mm, mmm! Now that’s a yummy dinner!

Next Post: No Guilt Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt, because it’s summer and I like ice cream but not gaining weight.

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And Full Plate Thursday!

No Churn Rum Raisin Ice Cream & How to Use Up Leftover Condensed Milk

Lusciously creamy and rum-filled and so very food coma worthy!

If you’re like me, you’re forever opening up cans of condensed milk, using a bit in a recipe, and sticking the opened can in the fridge, whereupon you forget about it, only to toss it out when you find it weeks (or months!) down the line. Today’s recipe gives you a way to use up that half-used can of condensed milk…by turning it into super-duper delicious Rum Raisin Ice Cream!

And because I have better things to do with my time than churn ice cream, this is a no churn recipe! That’s right, you just mix it up, freeze it, and eat it! <– the best part, obviously!

I took my (gluten-free) Chunks o’ Brownie Ice Cream recipe, and tweaked it, subtracting the brownies, and adding in raisins and additional flavouring. The result? Uber-creamy, and lusciously rich rum ice cream, studded with plump, alcohol-soaked raisins. My mouth is watering just typing this!

Want to make some yourself? It’s so easy!

No Churn Rum Raisin Ice Cream

  • 1/3 c. raisins
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 1/2 can condensed milk
  • 2 tsp. rum raisin flavoured liqueur  
  • 2 tsp. rum

Soak raisins in rum & rum raisin liqueur until super-plump (this may take a few hours). In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream until stiff-ish peaks form. Carefully stir in the condensed milk, raisins, and the rum/liqueur mixture that the raisins had soaked in. Spread in a loaf pan or custard cup and freeze for several hours or until firm. Once frozen, be sure to seal tightly with plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. Scoop and enjoy!

Creamy and scoopable and yes, please, I’ll have some more!

If you don’t have rum raisin flavoured liqueur, no biggie; just add in more rum! No one will complain about extra rum in their ice cream, trust me!

This ice cream is super-delicious all on it’s own, but I think it would be fantastic served on top of my Ultimate Caramel Apple Pie or Harvest Apple Crumble! And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat some more ice cream!

Next Post: Easy Enchiladas, Vegetarian-Style!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Happiness is Homemade!

Banoffee Frappe, and How I Beat the Heat

Oozing caramel and ready to be sipped! (Or, you know, slurped!)

It’s summer and it’s hot outside! Wouldn’t a nice cold coffee drink really hit the spot right now? With a dollop or three of fluffy vanilla-scented whipped cream? And tendrils of creamy caramel sauce swirled throughout? But we need some nutrition, right? So…add in some banana chunks, blend it up, layer it, and call it…BANOFFEE FRAPPE!

Banoffee frappe is my new favourite breakfast! I walk to work and because my default speed is a speed walk, I arrive at work all hot and sweaty, which is just not pleasant. I’ve tried walking more slowly — it doesn’t work. I cannot walk slowly even if I am wearing weights (true story, I’ll tell you another time). I am built to walk fast, so the only solution that I can see is to consume Banoffee Frappes while walking to work. I arrive nicely cool, hepped up on caffeine, and hey, the banana and milk count as breakfast, amirite?

Also, it’s super-easy and super-cheap to make! You could make two of these for the price of an iced capp at Tim Horton’s or 4 of these for the price of a small frilly drink at Starbucks. Personally, I’d rather take those savings over the year and spend it on a vacay, but hey, chacun a son gout, n’est pas? (<– Let’s pretend that I know how to add in the French accent on those words, ok? I’m a speed typist, but not a bilingual one.)

So. Banoffee Frappe! Let’s get it onnnnn!!!! *said in a bad James Brown impersonation sort of way*

BANOFFEE FRAPPE (think more James Brown. Can’t you just hear him say it? “Banoffee Frappeeeeeeee, oh yeah, baby!”)

Frappe

  • 1 banana, frozen in chunks
  • 4 ice cubes of frozen coffee
  • 1/2 c. milk

Whipped Cream

  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 1/3 c. icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Caramel Syrup

  • 3 heaping tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Sliced banana for garnish and to layer with

1. Make your caramel syrup: heat the whipping cream in a sauce pan over medium high heat until hot but NOT boiling. Stir in brown sugar and butter. Continue stirring over medium heat until sauce thickens and darkens slightly in colour. Set aside to cool.

2. Make your whipped cream: Using a chilled bowl and beater, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until thick peaks form. Set aside.

3. Make the frappe mixture: in a blender, combine the frozen banana, coffee ice cubes, and milk. Blend until a thick slurry forms.

4. Put it all together: Layer the frappe, whipped cream, caramel syrup, and sliced banana in a tall glass. Best enjoyed in hot weather! Makes one large serving (or two smaller servings), with leftover whipped cream and caramel syrup! (I suggest using the whipped cream and caramel syrup over ice cream. Mmm…ice cream…*drools*…what was I saying?

Er, yes! Make this frappe and beat the heat! Now, how do I get a James Brown ear worm out of my head?

Next Post: Yummy stuff. Maybe No Churn Rum Raisin Ice Cream? Sound good? Let me know what your favourite ice cream flavour is, in the comments!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and Happiness is Homemade!

Extra-Chocolatey Nanaimo Bars: A Recipe to Celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday

Too delicious to share! (My waist recommended that I share these, but my taste buds said ‘mine, all mine!’)

Why are these Nanaimo bars extra-chocolatey? Because the bottom layer (that scrumptiousness made of cookies, coconut, and nuts) is made with CHOCOLATE graham crackers! And of course, I made my own (although you could buy store-bought) simply because I prefer to have as fresh ingredients as possible.Oh, and I made my chocolate graham crackers with whole wheat flour, to increase the fibre content. I’m sure that balances out all the butter and sugar, right? M’kay.

I did write in the post title, that this recipe was to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday (yes, Canada as a nation is only 150 years old!), but I would be remiss if I didn’t address the fact that Canada is built on someone else’s land: that of the First Nations people. I don’t know what the solution is. Obviously after 150 years, all non-native peoples are not going to go back to the lands of their genetic heritage, but at the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that there are problems with how the First Nations people have been treated, both historically (residential schools) and currently (the appalling state of some of the reserves in the Canadian north). There’s no easy answer, and I have no insights that others do not. Addressing social issues is also not the purpose of this blog, but I felt I couldn’t celebrate Canada (Multiculturalism! Delicious foods like Nanaimo bars!) without acknowledging the First Nations who were the original inhabitants of Kanata.

Now, let’s make us some Nanaimo bars!

Luscious ripply layers!

Extra Chocolatey Nanaimo Bars

Top Layer

  • 3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp. butter

Middle Layer

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 drop yellow food colouring
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • 2 tbsp. milk powder
  • 2 1/2 c. icing sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp. milk

Bottom Layer

  • 1 c. chocolate graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 c. ground mixed salted nuts
  • 1 c. coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. icing sugar
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 1 egg

Make the bottom layer: Mix all ingredients for the bottom layer together. Line a buttered 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper; leave enough parchment paper to overhang the sides (you’ll be using this later to lift the squares out of the tray easily). Press the ingredients into the tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool in pan, and set aside (in pan).

Make the custardy middle layer: Blend all ingredients together. Spread smoothly over chilled bottom layer. Put in fridge until firm, or at least an hour.

Make the topping: mix the chocolate chips and butter together in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave in 30 s. bursts, stirring in between each, until thoroughly melted. Mix together and let cool slightly. Spread cooled mixture over the custard layer in the tray.

Chill the squares thoroughly before cutting. Lift entire tray of bars out of pan using parchment paper ends as handles. Place on a flat surface, and cut using a knife dipped in hot water (and then dried). Dip knife in hot water between each cut (and wipe dry after dipping).

And, enjoy a slice of Canadiana!

Can’t stop eating them! Even the chocolate-disliking DH ate them!

BONUS RECIPE: Chocolate Graham Crackers

Want to make your own chocolate graham crumbs? You totes can! I made my own chocolate graham crackers, by using this recipe (except halving it, and leaving out any toppings), and adding in 1/3 c. cocoa, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and using only whole wheat flour. Once baked and cooled, and I then blitzed the cookies in the blender until they were finely crumbled. Voila, homemade chocolate graham cracker crumbs!

Next Post: How to Make Your Own Banoffee Frappe! That’s right, it’s a frappe with banana, caramel, and whipped cream — so delicious on a hot summer’s day!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And Happiness is Homemade!