June 29, 2010

Streusel Rhubarb Loaf

After making strawberry-rhubarb pie, my husband has discovered that he loves cooked rhubarb. Always looking for new ingredients, I was happy to oblige and find something new to make. I found this recipe for rhubarb loaf and on www.allrecipes.com, it was getting rave reviews. 

I already had the buttermilk on hand for my recent buttermilk pancakes, so I gave this a whirl and it was worth it! It made two loaves, and I had every intention of giving one full loaf to my mom, but it didn't last long in our house and she only got a couple of slices. Sorry Mom, but hope you loved it as much as we did!


  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or sliced frozen rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cold butter


In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and oil. 

Add egg, mix well. 

Beat in buttermilk and vanilla. 

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into brown sugar mixture just until combined. Fold in the rhubarb and nuts. 

Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans.

For topping, in a bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbly; sprinkle over batter. 

Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Cut with a serrated knife.

June 28, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

I tend to over-buy vegetables. I get overly ambitious about the things I'm going to make, and it's not uncommon to have casualties in my fridge; poor vegetables that have been ignored and unused. 

So last week when I was at the farmer's market, and I came home with four peppers (which would be keeping the two peppers I already had in the fridge, company), T told me that I needed to use them asap. 

A quick search of my freezer, fridge and cupboards showed that I had all the ingredients of stuffed peppers -- a family fave. I defrosted some beef I purchased for lasagna, grabbed a can of tomatoes, dug up some rice and got set to cook!

These stuffed peppers are a meal in themselves -- a giant pepper stuffed with meat, tomatoes and rice. I am often perplexed about what to serve as a side with them because they simply don't need anything else, but they look lost on the plate. I'm open to suggestions! In the meantime, enjoy the peppers.

  • 1 lb. ground beef (or chicken or turkey)
  • 1 28 oz can of tomatoes (diced, stewed, whole, whatever)
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • four peppers, tops cut off and insides scooped out
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

In a pan, melt the butter and sautee the onion and garlic.

Add the ground meat and cook until no longer pink.

Drain off fat.

Add can of tomatoes, rice and chili powder. Simmer for about 25 minutes until rice is cooked.

While cooking, prepare peppers by cutting tops off and scooping out insides.

Let meat mixture cool slightly, then stuff peppers, right to top.

Cook at 325 degrees, covered with foil, for 90 minutes, or until peppers are soft.

Uncover and sprinkle with cheese and broil for 5 more minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Print recipe for Stuffed Peppers

June 26, 2010

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

This recipe came from one of my favourite sites to scout recipes: www.allrecipes.com. On this site, someone will post a recipe and then other bakers and cooks can rate the recipe and write in what they liked about it -- or didn't like about it -- and often what recommendations they had for it. I like this site in particular because I enjoy other new chefs commenting on recipes and appreciate the feedback they offer.

This blueberry muffin recipe had 3,750 comments and received 4.5 out of 5 stars. And let me tell you, that many people certainly weren't wrong! This recipe is oustanding, ridiculously easy and full of ingredients I already had on hand (huge bonus). Plus, the crumble topping was a nice treat!

One of the things in particular I noticed when mixing this was how thick the batter was. It was unlike anything I had ever made before -- really dense and more cake-like than muffin. It bakes up really well and I wouldn't call the muffins light and fluffy, but they have a nice substance to them. Don't be shy on the blueberries either!

The original recipe said this made eight muffins, but I stretched it to 10 (in a regular muffin tin) so I had room on top to add the crumble mixture.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Print recipe for To Die for Blueberry Muffins

June 25, 2010

Muffin Frittatas

This is the new Egg McMuffin. 

These met all the criteria for a weekday breakfast:
  • easy to prepare (even better to make the night before and just microwave in the a.m.)
  • healthy -- loaded with veggies and protein
  • good for on-the-go
I made this frittata mixture and simply put them in (note: well greased) muffin tins. You could add any combination of veggies that you like and any kind of cheese to dress them up -- or down -- as you like. 

Next time I'm going to experiment with a strata recipe, which I think will make these a little denser (the difference, as far as I can tell, is that in a strata there is bread). These would also be great as mini-muffins as a nice brunch appetizer. Stay tuned for more variations of this one!

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (if you use skim, mix some 5 or 10% cream with it so it's not too runny)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced tomatoes


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper until blended.

Add cheese and veggies, mix well.

Ladle into well greased muffin cups. About 1/4 cup each -- makes 10 to 12.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until just set.

Cook on rack for about 5 minutes, but as soon as they come out of the oven, run a paring knife around the edges (this will not only help get them out, it will make clean up a breeze).

Serve warm.

June 23, 2010

Creamy Asparagus Soup

I picked up some fresh Ontario asparagus from a farmer's market last week and I've been hunting for a unique recipe to try. I stumbled upon this recipe for asparagus soup which intrigued me, but it was the curry powder that made me really want to try it.

As you may have noticed from my recipes, I am not a heavy spice user. In fact, the food I usually make has very subtle flavours, nothing bold. But, I'm working to come out of that spice shell so I gave this a try. 

It was quick and easy and the curry powder definitely gave it a kick. My husband liked it so much he ate half of it before I could even take this picture. 

We ate it hot, but this would also be nice served cold in shot glasses as a refreshing summer appetizer. Unexpected but refreshing. Enjoy.

  • 1 pound asparagus, stalks sliced into 1 inch pieces, tips reserved
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper


In a small saucepan, bring the asparagus stalks and 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of water, to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Let cool slightly and blend until smooth in a blender.

In a larger saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Whisk continuously for about three mintes.

Add the chicken broth while whisking and bring to a boil.

Add milk and cream, whisk and let simmer for another three minutes.

Add the blended asparagus, curry powder, salt and pepper and reserved asparagus tips.

Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Recipe adapted from www.allrecipes.com 

June 21, 2010

Whipped Cream

I love real whipped cream. And I mean real. Not out of a can. Not out of a tub. Real, whipped-at-home-right-before-serving whipped cream.

It is ridiculously simple to make and will take any dessert (or pancake, crepe, fruit...) to the next level. So ban the can and take those extra five minutes to make it fresh. You'll thank me for it.


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 scant tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

  1. Chill mixing bowl and beaters for at least 10 minutes
  2. Pour whipping cream into mixing bowl and begin beating on high until it starts to thicken
  3. Add sugar and vanilla
  4. Continue beating until peaks start to form. You don't want it to be too wet, but be careful not to overbeat or you'll end up with butter. Watch closely and once it starts to get thick, go ahead and stop beating for a bit and see how the peaks are. If they flop over, continue beating, but if they stand up, it's done.

June 20, 2010

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Every sunday morning, I make the same pancake recipe. It's easy and delicious, but this weekend, I had buttermilk in my fridge so I whipped out a brunch cookbook and found this new recipe. 

These pancakes are light and fluffy but rich and decadent at the same time. The batter -- which was full of air holes -- should have been a good indication of how light these were going to be. They were certainly a nice change to my regular stack and the kind of special occasion pancake you'd serve with warm maple syrup and whipped cream. Mmmm...

The trick to these is in the mixing. If you overmix the batter, the pancakes won't be moist and delicate. The batter, according to the recipe, should be thick and lumpy, but by the time I went to put my second batch on the skillet, it was light and airy. 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • some butter to grease the skillet


In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and melted butter.

Using a spatula, combine the dry and wet ingredients to make a thick, lumpy batter, being careful not to overmix.

In a non-stick skillet, melt some butter over medium heat. Ladle 1/3 cup batter into hot skillet and sprinkle with blueberries. Do not overcrowd the skillet because the pancakes will puff up and out as they cook.

When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes, and the edges begin to brown, flip the pancakes and cook the other side. 

Smother with maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream.

Recipe from Out to Brunch: A Mildred Pierce Restaurant

June 18, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb season is almost over so I wanted to try one of my favourites -- strawberry rhubarb pie. Once I overcame my fear of pie crust, making an actual pie was easy.

This was my first attempt at pie so it wouldn't have won any awards for appearance, but it certainly made up for that in taste. It was the perfect blend of tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries and it certainly didn't last long in our house! I speak from experience when I say there is nothing wrong with pie for breakfast...

I now have big plans for peach pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie... the possibilities are endless!


  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, cleaned and cut
  • 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 2 pastry crusts

In a 9" pie plate, insert/drape a rolled out pie crust. Cut off excess dough.

In a separate bowl, mix strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and flour. Stir until well combined.

Pour fruit mixture into bottom pie crust.

Moisten edges of bottom pie crust with water (using your fingers is fine), and drape over second pie crust on top. Using your first finger and thumb, pinch together bottom and top crusts. Cut off excess dough.

Using a paring knife, mark slits in top of pie crust, which is both decorative and functional.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-45 minutes.

For a fruit pie with lots of liquid, like strawberry-rhubarb, when you take it out of the oven, the liquid will be really thin, so you need to let it cool for three to four hours before serving so the mixture thickens up (hence the flour).

After a few hours of cooling, I put my pie back in the oven on the warm setting is it was warm when we ate it and it was delicious.

June 17, 2010

Flakey Pie Crust

Pie crust is something I have been wanting to make, but I have been really intimidated by it. For a recipe -- and advice -- I called my Aunt Linda who is the pie baker of the family. I have never known anyone else to bring a pie to a family event, it's always Aunt Linda and her pies are delicious. As a wedding shower gift, she bought me a pie making bowl, a pastry blender (I didn't even know what this was) and a box of Tenderflake, so I was all prepared (10 months later) to start baking pie crust. 

Pie crust is surprisingly easy to make and it's possible it's one of the most rewarding things I have ever made. It was delicious and flakey and it made my home smell amazing. I think this year is going to be the Summer of the Pie! 

  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pound of lard
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • cold water 

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt together.

Add lard and use pastry cutter or two knives to blend into mixture. You want it to be the consistency of oatmeal.

In a measuring cup, break two eggs and beat slightly, add vinegar, and add cold water to make volume 1 cup. Stir.

Make a well in the flour mixture and mix in liquid to help ingredients stick together.

Lightly flour a flat surface and turn dough out onto surface. Form into a ball. 

Divide into five equal sized pieces. Each piece is enough for one pie shell. If you want a top on the pie (a double crust pie), you'll need two of these pieces. 

At this point, you can wrap them well in saran wrap and a freezer bag and freeze individually.

To use, take one piece on a lightly floured surface, and flatten slightly with your hand. Lightly flour your rolling pin and, always starting from the middle, roll north, south, east, west, until flat and large enough to cover an 9" pie plate. (If your plate is larger, you may need more dough). 

Drape crust onto rolling pin and roll into pie plate. Pat down so it's in the pan and cut off the excess dough around the ages.

For a top crust, repeat process. Before putting on top of pie, wet edges of bottom layer with water to help top adhere. Use your fore finger and thumb to press edges together.

June 15, 2010

Orange Cranberry Muffins

These muffins were extremely moist and the batter was even really not like any other muffin batter that I've made before. The orange muffin on its own would have been really good, but I decided to add some craisins (cranberry raisins). For T, this put the sweetness scale over the top, but I really enjoyed them. So much in fact, that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.

Either way, I'd definitely make these orange muffins again but instead of the craisins, I would maybe add some walnuts or raisins instead, just to try something different.


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp taking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup craisins (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, soak oats in warm orange juice for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and mix in oat mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl, blend flour, baking powder, soda, salt and nutmeg. Stir into batter.
  4. Stir in vanilla and craisins.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans (greased or with paper liners). This batter will be really liquidy, but the muffins will be soft and moist!
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

June 13, 2010

Easy Cheesy Macaroni

For years, I have had a secret love affair with Kraft Dinner. My mom (smartly) refused to serve it, so it was always a treat to go to someone else's house where it was a staple. There's nothing like writing your name in ketchup on those cheesy noodles!

I have however, come a long way with my culinary tastes, and while I'm still a pretty plain food eater, I do love me some cheesy pasta. So, on a wet, cold and awful day, I decided it was about time to learn how to make my own macaroni and cheese. And four cups of pasta and one entire large brick of cheese later, I sat down to some ooey-gooey goodness.

Now, as a new cook, I don't seem to understand recipes very well. Let me save you the trouble here: 4 cups of pasta and an entire large brick of cheese will leave you with enough macaroni to serve an army -- or least two people for five dinners. I will provide the whole recipe here, but you might want to cut it in half for two weeknight meals. I speak from experience.

Either way, the first couple of days we really enjoyed the treat. Certainly a rich and decadent dinner, though!

  • 4 cups Dried Macaroni
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2-½ cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard
  • 1 pound grated cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat egg.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.

Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.

Add in cheese and stir to melt.

Add salt and pepper. Do not under salt!
Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Serve immediately (very creamy) OR pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

(before baking)

(after baking)

** I much preferred the creamy version before it was baked, but T enjoyed the baked version better. It's nice to try both. You could also add different toppings, such as fresh tomatoes or steamed broccoli
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman


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