January 31, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

I buy strange vegetables all the time, and mostly, they just languish in the back of our fridge. But sometimes, they make it out and I wonder why I didn't think to make it sooner. Spaghetti squash was just one such example. 

When I tried to explain to T what was supposed to happen with this large yellow squash, he had no confidence in me at all. But I swear, when you bake this veggie, when you scoop out the flesh, it comes out like spaghetti noodles! It's the neatest thing. 

So, not only were we impressed by the appearance of this one, it was delicious. I'm sure there's tonnes you can do with spaghetti squash, but for this night, I simply topped it with a tomato sauce and some parmesan cheese and it was a healthy, carb-free meal. 

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
Serves 2-3

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place cut-side down on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes; until a knife can easily go through the skin. 
  • Once slightly cooled, take a fork, and use the tines to scoop out flesh lengthwise. The flesh should come out easily and like noodles.
  • Top with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese and serve.

January 27, 2011

Crunchy Baked Apple Stacks

I have been craving sweets a lot lately. But I have been resisting the urge to make things because for two people, it's just so much quantity to make a cake or a batch of cookies. But now that I have found these lovelies, I am really in trouble. This was a marriage of two recipes: one from Martha and one from Donna Hay, two kitchen geniuses so it was bound to be delicious. (Does that make me a super-genius for this recipe?)

Warm, sweet, easy and pretty. It doesn't get any better than this!

Crunchy Baked Apple Stacks
Serves 2

  • 2 red apples, cored and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 355 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, mix together oats, sugar, butter, cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Place the bottom slice of each apple on the tray and top each slice with a spoonful of the oat mixture. Repeat with remaining oat mixture and apple slices.
  • Bake stacks for 25-30 minutes or until apple is just soft.
  • Serve with whipped or ice cream, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay, No Time to Cook and Martha Stewart, The New Classics

January 26, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

We've been roasting vegetables like crazy lately and roasted brussels sprouts are one of our new favourite side dishes. At the grocery store, T bought enough to feed an army, and they were gone within a week. Not a bad thing though because they're ridiculously healthy -- they have the same chemicals as broccoli which are believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. But you know what? We just think they taste good! 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Serves 2

  • 18-20 brussels sprouts, washed and cut lengthwise
  • scant 1/4 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a bowl, toss cut brussels sprouts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Pour coated brussel sprouts onto a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until sprouts are soft and starting to turn brown
  • Serve immediately

January 25, 2011

Turkey Chili Soup

Chili always reminds me of skating competitions. When I used to be a figure skater, I swear, chili followed me. It was in the judges' room, available for the competitors, and even what my mom considered to be an easy weeknight meal. I actually hated it; specifically the kidney beans. So I have to laugh at myself that not only did I make this chili, I really liked it. And the kidney beans? They weren't even in the recipe -- I just added them! 

This is one hearty bowl of goodness and since there's meat in it, it's very filling. Because this is a "soup," it's more liquid-y than a regular chili, but in terms of flavour, very similar. Just a nice new spin on a old classic.

Turkey Chili Soup
Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 can of red kidney beans
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/8 tsp ground cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp mild chili powder (more, if you like it hot)
  • salt and pepper
  • sour cream to serve

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, season with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink. 
  • Reduce heat to medium and add onion, celery, red bell pepper and garlic. Cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft.
  • Add the kidney beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and the stock and mix to combine. Stir in the cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to just a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until all the vegetables are very tender. 
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a spoonful of sour cream.
Recipe adapted from Easy Soups

January 23, 2011

Salted Caramel Bars and a Lesson About Making Caramel

Sometimes I just jump into a recipe without thinking. You'd think I'd learn by now, but apparently I haven't. Making caramel though was a bit of a wake up call. 

Now, I will say up front, I don't believe making caramel is hard. I think, with the right information (which clearly I didn't have), that even a novice can make this. 

That being said, I'm still not exactly sure why I thought making caramel would just be throwing some stuff in a pot and boiling it until I thought it was done. I mean, there is a candy thermometer for a reason! It's clearly much more scientific and tempermental than I thought.

The caramel in these bars was supposed to be soft and chewy. Mine could have cracked your tooth. See the jagged edges of the crust? That's because I had to take a giant knife pointing directly down into the bars to crack them apart because they wouldn't cut. 

Now that I have lived and learned -- and now researched -- I have a few important tips that I think will help your caramel making journey be much more successful than mine.
  1. You need a candy thermometer. This will help you identify the exact right stage to remove your caramel from the heat to get the desired consistency.
  2. You should insert the candy thermometer into your pot at the beginning of the cooking process so you can see it climb (not after when you've already passed the point of no return).
  3. Slowly, slowly, slowly bring it to a slow boil.
  4. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring.
  5. Monitor the candy thermometer very closely. Caramel will get hot quickly so it doesn't take long to get to the stage (soft, hard, hard crack) you want, so don't go anywhere!

Whew, I feel better. Now, go and make these delicious bars (carefully!)!

Salted Caramel Bars
Printable Recipe
Serves 9-12


  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk, whisked
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

Caramel Topping:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 12 tsp vanilla extract
Plus a few pinches of sea salt flakes for sprinkling

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper with the edges hanging over the side (this will allow you to lift it up to remove and cut nicer bars)
  • In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar and salt with a fork. Add the yolk and combine. Add the flour and combine until the dough is flakey. Pour dough into lined pan and press down making it level. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Once chilled, bake for 25-27 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Once baked, set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile in a pot, combine the topping ingredients: butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, sugar and cream. Insert candy thermometer into pot (it should have a ball or clip so it doesn't slip in). Slowly bring to a boil and make sure all sugar is dissolved. Stir for about 5 minutes until it is thick and bubbly. Once the thermometer reads 230 degrees, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour on top of shortbread.
  • Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Then sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

January 21, 2011

Chicken Stuffed with Roasted Red Pepper and Basil

Oh my. This chicken was a winner. I made this for our guests on New Year's Eve and it was a hit. 

The chicken was tender (I may have pounded out my frustrations of 2010 on it), the red peppers, basil and asiago were a perfect combination and the sauce, oh, the sauce, was amazing and really, the icing on the cake.

When we're having company over, I really love a make-ahead dish so I can spend time with them when they come over and I am not relegated to kitchen. This one I could do 85% in advance (i.e. stuffing the chicken), but I did have to be a little more attentive while cooking it as it's cooked on the stovetop. Next time, I probably wouldn't have had a salad course (which I couldn't enjoy as I was monitoring the chicken), and just do a traditional appetizer people can enjoy until dinner is served. 

Chicken Stuffed with Roasted Red Pepper and Basil
Serves 6
Printable Recipe


  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 medium red peppers, roasted and skins removed, cut into thirds
  • 20-24 fresh medium-large basil leaves
  • 1 cup asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine OR 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream


  • Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise, being sure to leave a hinge. Pound to flatten slightly. 
  • Open and sprinkle each breast with salt and pepper. Inside, evenly divide the red peppers, basil and shredded cheese. Fold breasts over using toothpicks to close them.
  • In a large skillet, heat half the oil and cook chicken for seven minutes on each side until no longer pink. Remove to plate and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add remaining oil to pan, add onions and cook. Stir in wine for three minutes. Add the cream, salt and pepper. Simmer for five minutes until thickened.
  • Return chicken to pan and cook for five more minutes until heated through.
  • Serve breasts and top with wine sauce. Garnish with parsley if desired. 

January 19, 2011

Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake

There are two rules I have about cheesecake: 
  1. You need to have at least 10 hungry adults to make making this worthwhile.
  2. You should always make a cheesecake that has a topping to hide any unsightly cracks and, more importantly, to help you not care about any unsightly cracks.
For us, we were hosting Christmas Eve (11 adults, check). And this cheesecake was covered with a thick layer of whipped cream (check). And, on another plus side, cheesecakes need a lot of time to chill (usually overnight), so a make-ahead dessert was a bonus.

Made in a springform pan, this one is visually impressive too with the three layers, but it's super rich and decadent so don't cut those pieces too big! 

Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake
Serves 12-14


Crust Layer
  • 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Layer
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 8 (1 oz) squares semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream, room temp
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps instant coffee granules dissolved into 1/4 hot water
  • 1/4 cup coffee flavoured liqueur 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Top Layer
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tbsp coffee flavoured liqueur


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 9 or 10" springform pan.
  • Combine the cookie crumbs, melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon. Mix well and press mixture into springform pan. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup white sugar, mixing until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat on low speed until very smooth.
  • Melt the 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate with two tablespoons of whipping cream in a pan or bowl over boiling water, stir until smooth.
  • Add the chocolate mixture to the cream cheese mixture and blend well. Stir in sour cream, salt, coffee, coffee liqueur and vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pan over crust.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 45-50 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cake in oven with the door ajar for another 45 minutes.
  • Chill cake for at least 12 hours.
  • Combine whipping cream, confectioners' sugar and coffee liqueur and beat until soft peaks form. Spread whipping cream layer over top of cheesecake prior to serving.
  • Garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.

January 17, 2011

Italian Sausage Soup

My girlfriend Lindsey and I had plans to go skating recently so before we headed out into the deep freeze, I thought soup would be the perfect meal to keep us warm! 

I had been wanting to try this soup for awhile. I usually gravitate towards rich, creamy soups, but this one, even though was broth based, seemed full of so many delicious, healthy ingredients, that I thought would be a great change. Boy was I right. Every bite had something different -- pasta, veggie, beans, cheese. And what I love is that you could change anything about the recipe to tailor to your own tastes. 

Italian Sausage Soup
Serves 6-8

  • 1 pound Italian sausage (you may want to mix mild and hot for more flavour)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 can (28 oz) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 can (14 oz) white kidney beans, rinsed
  • 2 small zucchinis, diced
  • 1 cup bowtie pasta
  • 2 cups spinach, torn
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Cut the sausage out of the casing and break it into small pieces. Cook in a frying pan until browned.
  • In a stockpot, melt the butter and brown the onion and garlic until soft. Add broth, tomatoes, carrots and sausage. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Stir in beans and pasta. Cover and simmer another 10 minutes, then add zucchini and simmer for another 5 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and add spinach. Replace lid, allowing heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves, for about five minutes.
  • Serve with grated cheese on top.
Recipe adapted from www.allrecipes.com 

January 14, 2011

Kahlua Creme Brulee

I got ramekins for Christmas and was desperate to do something with them, when this recipe for Kahlua Creme Brulee crossed my path. (actually, it was irish cream, but I had Kahlua and it was yummy, too).

Since we only had one other couple over for New Year's dinner, I thought it was nice to make individual desserts, which also kept me from making a full pie or cake, where more than half of it would be wasted (yes mom, I know, I know, freeze it and you'll have it later...). 

It was easy to make and mostly make-ahead (always a winner in my books!). The only thing was that I read that if you didn't have a torch you could caramelize it under the broiler, but mine seemed to take an awful long time and heated the custard more than it should have. Any tips?

Overall though, an excellent and fairly simple dessert. I think I might invest in a torch because I think I'll be making this one often!

Kahlua Creme Brulee
Serves 6

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Kahlua
  • 6 tsp superfine sugar 
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place six ramekins on a dish towel set in a roasting pan at least 3 inches deep (the towel keeps them from moving around).
  • Stir together cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until very hot, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • In another bowl (a standmixer with whisk attachment is best), whisk together egg yolks, vanilla and Kahlua until combined. While still whisking, slowly add 1/3 of the cream mixture 2 tbsp at a time (slowly so you temper the eggs). Once you have incorporated 1/3 of the cream, you can stir in the remaining hot cream without it curdling.
  • Pour custard through a sieve and then pour evenly into the ramekins. Then fill the roasting pan with boiling hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake in preheated oven until set 35-45 minutes -- custard should be set around edges but slightly jiggly like Jello in the centre.
  • Allow custards to cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about an hour, before covering and refrigerating until cold, another four hours.
  • When ready to serve, unwrap custards and sprinkle 1 tsp superfine sugar on each to coat top. Melt sugar either using a hand torch or directly under a broiler until sugar has melted. The cold custard underneath will help harden the sugar into a crispy crust.

January 12, 2011

Roasted Squash, Sweet Potato, Onion and Garlic Soup

Toronto was hit with a snowstorm this weekend so I was thrilled to have nothing to do but cook in my pyjamas and watch marathons of reality TV. And this soup was definitely on my to-do list! I love roasted vegetable -- how you can easily change a crisp, fresh veggie into one with a deep, rich, caramelized flavour.

This recipe involved roasted four kinds of vegetables: squash, sweet potato, shallots and garlic. Then, simply adding some stock and cream and calling it a day. How much easier can it get? 

Because of the snow, neither T or I wanted to go out to get a breadstick (our usual accompaniment to a good soup), so I think during our next snowstorm, I am going to have to learn how to make bread!

Roasted Squash, Sweet Potato, Onion and Garlic Soup
Serves 6-8

  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 350 g)
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 4 shallots
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • salt and pepper
  • snipped chives, to garnish
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Cut the sweet potato, squash and shallots in half, lengthwise, through the stem to the end. Scoop the seeds out of the squash. Brush the cut sides with oil. Put the vegetables cut-side down on a baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves, brushed with oil, too. Roast for about 40-45 minutes, until tender and light brown.
  • When cool, scoop the flesh from the potato and squash halves and peel the garlic. Put in a pot with the shallots.
  • Add the stock and a pinch of salt. Bring just to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender.
  • Blend (either using a blender or an immersion blender) until smooth. 
  • Stir in the cream and let warm through. Stir in the salt and pepper. 
  • Serve in bowls with snipped chives.
Recipe from Easy Soups by Parragon Books (can't seem to find it anywhere online)

January 10, 2011

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Our New Year's Eve meal started with this salad, which pretty much guaranteed an awesome start to 2011. Roasted beets are such a treat because I rarely -- like almost never -- make them. But I think based on this salad, my resolution this year is clear: make more beets.

Beets are practically perfect roasted on their own really. Or with a side of sour cream and chives. But this salad took them to a new level. If you read through the recipe, you'll notice that there is no salad dressing to speak of, only a marinade of sorts for the beets. I worried that with no dressing on the salad, it would be dry, but the beets are so moist and flavourful and their warmth slightly melts the goat cheese, making it a perfect marriage of the warm beets, with the cool spinach, sweet goat cheese and tart marinade. Heaven.  

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Serves 4-6
Printable Recipe

  • five medium sized roasted beets, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups spinach, washed and dried thoroughly
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • In a bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, orange zest and salt and pepper. Add beets and toss to coat.
  • On each plate, make a small bed of spinach. Top with 1/4 of warm beet mixture (if in the fridge, pop in the oven or microwave to warm) and sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top.

January 8, 2011

Roasted Beets

Roasted beets are maybe one of my favourite vegetables. In part, I think, because they are a treat. Sure, not a treat like chocolate, but a treat because I rarely get to have them. I don't make them often because, well, they take time. But every time I have them, I vow to eat them more. Another resolution for 2011? 

Roasting beets brings out their natural sweetness. They are one delicious vegetable and when served warm, there is simply nothing like them. While roasting does take time, it simply couldn't be easier. You do just need to be careful because the bright colour of the beets easily can go everywhere, so having a pair of rubber or surgical gloves on hand can be helpful. An apron is also recommended. I speak from experience, folks.

Here's a quick and easy how-to so you can start roasting your own beets.


  • bunch of beets -- usually four to six per bunch
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt, optional


  • Heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Wash beets and cut off tops and bottom roots
  • Place beets in tin foil on a baking sheet and coat well with olive oil and, if desired, salt
  • Wrap the tin foil up like a present and leave on baking sheet
  • Bake the beets for about an hour (small beets are faster, larger take longer). You know your beets are finished when you can easily slide a paring knife in them like a baked potato.
  • Let beets cool. Then, in a sink, rinse them under cold water and the skin should just slide right off. You may need to use a paring knife or peeler to get some of it off though.
  • Cut beets into bite-size for serving. 

January 6, 2011

French Onion Soup

When my parents used to have company over, they often used to make French Onion soup. My dad made it in these old brown bowls with handles and he would drape puff pastry over it before putting it in the oven, creating this lovely crust on top where, once you punctured it, you would find a soup of rich broth, caramelized onions and melted swiss cheese. 

Without those beautiful oven safe bowls, I had to find another way to make a French Onion soup. I made the base the same way -- by cooking a variety of onions for nearly an hour and adding beef stock -- but then I toasted french loaf and melted swiss cheese on it and dropped two of them in my soup. Delicious! Necessity is the mother of invention, isn't it? Or, is it hunger?

French Onion Soup
Serves 6-8
Printable Recipe

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced onions (I used two regular, 1 spanish and 1 white)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 slices French bread
  • 12 slices swiss cheese

  • Melt butter with olive oil in large pot on medium heat. Add onions, stirring occasionally until onions become tender and carmelized, about 45 minutes.
  • Add the beef broth, red wine and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with the slices of French bread. Toast the bread slightly for about 4 minutes, then add slices of swiss cheese and turn broiler on until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3 minutes.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and add two slices of cheese bread. Serve.

January 4, 2011

Ham and Potato Soup

I hosted Christmas Eve for my family this year and bought about twice as much ham as we needed so we had lots (and lots!) of leftovers. While I love a good ol' ham sandwich as much as the next guy, I wanted to make a soup with some of the meat. I understand that ham and split pea is the "traditional" but I found a recipe online that people raved about and seemed much more up my alley: ham and potato soup. 

Since the ham was still on the bone, I made some ham stock with it (same method as the chicken stock) that I used as the base of the soup. And despite my concern, it was not pink, but rather a warm yellow colour! Whew!

The result was a thick and rich soup that I topped with cheddar cheese and green onion and enjoyed after an afternoon on an outdoor skating rink. Perfect.

Ham and Potato Soup
Serves 6-8
Printable Recipe


  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced cooked ham
  • 4 cups stock (ham, chicken or vegetable)
  • 5 tbsp butter, plus 1 tbsp
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cheddar cheese and green onion for topping

  • In a large stockpot, melt 1 tbsp butter and cook the onions for a few minutes, until translucent. Add potatoes, ham and stock and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • In a separate saucepan, melt 5 tbsp butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about one minute. Slowly stir in milk, whisking constantly so lumps do not form. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot and cook soup until heated through.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with cheese and onion.
Recipe adapted from www.allrecipes.com 

January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

2011 is already off to a rockin' start with my blog making it as a finalist in the Canadian Food Blog Awards in the Best Recipe category! (this news momentarily numbed the pain of the deep cut in my pinky finger from my amazing new -- and clearly very sharp -- set of cooks' knives). 

I am honoured and humbled by this recognition and pleased that people come by to read and try these recipes. This blog has helped me find real enjoyment in the kitchen and it has challenged me to find new and diverse recipes to expand my cooking skills (properly using the previously mentioned knives is now firmly on my 2011 to do list) and my taste buds. 

My husband jokes that once I have made a recipe, he'll never have it again because I'm always looking for new things to blog about, but here's a list of some of my favourites from this year, and, if he's good, maybe, I might make them again!

Pecan Pie -- the most popular post this year, and for good reason! A sweet, decadent, classic pecan pie.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes -- buttermilk makes everything better and these pancakes were no exception. Air bubbles creeped through this batter and made for light, fluffy pancakes.

Spinach Soup -- is eating more greens one of your New Year resolutions? This soup is an easy and delicious way to get them in your diet.

Roast Chicken -- just like the grocery store. Yum.

Turkey Cannelloni  -- the most complex thing I have ever made and definitely worth the effort.

Double Tomato Bruschetta  -- kick up your regular bruschetta with this two tomato version with plum and sundried 

Apple Pie with Caramel Sauce -- this lattice crust is not only impressive, but it lets the sweet, rich caramel sauce seep into every crevice

Summer Garden Pasta -- light and simple, perfect for a summer evening with friends

Cream of Spinach Soup

Every week I make soup and T inevitably says, "this is the best soup you've ever made!" But this week when he said it, there was something a little different in his voice. One spoonful and I knew this was no regular soup. First of all, the colour is shocking. It's the most intense green, you can almost tell it's good for you (though I'm sure kids would never know!). Second, the flavour is light yet rich. The spinach is smooth and the garlic really comes through, but it's the slight hint of the cayenne that makes all the difference in this soup. 

Cream of Spinach Soup with Swiss Cheese
Serves 4-6
Printable Recipe


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 bunches spinach, about 10 ounces weight
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • small onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 cup swiss cheese, grated


  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add spinach and garlic, and let cook until wilted, about three minutes. 
  • Add spinach to a blender or food processor. Pour in 1/4 cup hot water and pulse until pureed. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, cook onion in butter over medium heat until onions begin to soften. Sprinkle flour over the top and stir to combine. Cook for about two minutes, then pour in stock, milk and cream, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper and cayenne and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in pureed spinach, then cook for another 3-5 minutes until thickened. Stir in swiss cheese.
  • Serve, adding a little extra grated swiss.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman


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