March 23, 2011

Sweet Potato Burritos

We have all been told to never judge a book by its cover. Well, I'm learning to not judge a recipe by its title. 

As a newish cook, I still find it difficult to read through a recipe and have a really good sense of what it's going to taste like. So when I saw the title, Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos, I wasn't sold. I couldn't get my mind to understand what the combination of sweet potatoes and beans (and mustard?!) would be like, but how could 1,218 people who gave it 4.5 stars on, be wrong? Well, they weren't.

In just three short weeks, we've made this three times. It is so good, I can't even begin to explain it. The sweet potato doesn't have a very powerful flavour and while it adds more than just being a filler, it doesn't compete with the beans. And the best part is that this dish is screaming healthy. I mean, sweet potatoes and beans and spice? If I didn't douse these in sour cream, we'd be looking at a serious health food here. 

So now you have it. Sweet potatoes and beans = a match made in heaven. 

Sweet Potato Burritos
Makes 12 large burritos
Printable Recipe


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (boiled or roasted)
  • 12 10" flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine the black beans and kidney beans and roughly mash.
  • Heat butter in a medium saucepan and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in beans and gradually stir in water -- you want them to be thick still and not too runny so you might not need as much as 2 cups of water.
  • Remove bean mixture from heat and stir in chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce.
  • Warm stack of tortillas in the microwave for 45 seconds to make pliable.
  • Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between tortillas. Top with cheese and roll tortilla and place seam side down in a baking pan. 
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned.
  • Serve with salsa and sour cream.

March 17, 2011

Oven-Baked Bacon

Bacon is one of my weaknesses. For years, I was a vegetarian, but secretly, on Saturday mornings when T and I would go out for breakfast, I would indulge in a few strips of bacon. There's something about the saltiness of it that I crave and it just completes a Saturday morning breakfast.

But no matter how much I loved bacon, I rarely made it myself. I found it super messy and I hated that hot oil always popped up and burned me and covered my stove top. Baking my bacon though has changed all of this. It is a foolproof way to cook bacon and I always  have perfectly cooked, non-curly bacon that has an easy clean up. The other great thing is that it is one less thing I have to watch on the stove when I am making eggs, pancakes and vegetables. 

Oven-Baked Bacon

  • strips of your favourite bacon
  • Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and place a cooling rack on top.
  • Lay strips of bacon out on cooling rack in a single layer and put in centre rack of oven. Turn oven on to 400 degrees (do not preheat) and bake for 18-20 minutes or until bacon has reached desired crispness.
  • Remove tray from oven and transfer bacon strips to a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess grease.

March 14, 2011

Thank You!

A few weeks ago, Ann from Apples and Twinkies awarded me with a Stylish Blog award and I have also been honoured by Stephanie at The Starving Artist with a Lovely Blog award. What a treat and an honour for my little blog! 

Ann has been one of my most regular followers and her constant comments have been a huge boost for me. She has a wonderful blog with lots of great recipes, so go check her out. Stephanie is a relatively new food blogger but she always has amazing recipes with a neat take on presentation, which I love.

As part of these awards, I am supposed to tell you seven things about myself, and direct you to a few of the new blogs I have found. So here goes:

Seven things about me:

1. I have an adorable puggle -- pug x beagle cross -- named Cooper.

2. I have been a Toastmaster for 5.5 years and just last month, completed all the requirements to be honoured as a Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest honour. (Toastmasters is an international organization that promotes communication and leadership)

3. I live in Toronto where we are enjoying a lovely, snow-filled winter. (and today it's a warm and sunny 4 degrees!)

4. I still use a paper day planner and love it.

5. I read about one book per week, all taken out of the Public Library.

6. Having my nails done every week is one of my biggest luxuries.

7. The Sound of Music is my all time favourite movie. I even had a surprise Sound of Music themed wedding shower!

Some amazing blogs I have discovered over the past year:

March 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownies

Some things just go together. Frauline Maria and Captain Von Trapp. Crossword puzzles and pencils. Puggles and vacuums. Chocolate and peanut butter.

Last night I was craving something sweet, but being in a minor food rut, I didn't have too much in my cupboards to draw from. So I turned to Martha Stewart and her many brownie options and found just one where I had everything. And this, is how peanut butter brownies came to be.

Now, I'll tell you, there is a lot of peanut butter in these. I would argue, they are 40% peanut butter and 60% brownie, so you have to be committed to this flavour combination. I wholeheartedly am, so I proceeded and didn't look back. The result is a rich and very sweet treat, to be enjoyed with a tall glass of milk or a steaming hot cup of tea. It hit the sweet spot and then some. Even my peanut-butter loving puggle wanted some. Sorry Cooper, these are just for mom. And dad. And any guests. But not for puggles.

Peanut Butter Brownies
Makes one 9x9 pan
Printable Recipe


  • 8 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces 
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x9 square pan with parchment paper, allowing two inches to hang over the sides. 
  • Make the batter: Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
  • Whisk the granulated sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture stirring well until incorporated.
  • Make the filling: Stir together the butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, salt and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
  • Pour one-third of the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Place dollops of filling on top of the batter. Drizzle the remaining batter on top and gently spread to fill the pan. Place dollops of remaining filling on top.
  • With a butter knife, gently swirl the filling into the batter running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through the layers. 
  • Bake about 45 minutes; until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet.
  • Let cool slightly in the pan. Lift out brownies and let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Recipe from Martha Stewart: The New Classics

March 3, 2011

Lentil and Spinach Soup

This year, I have made my way through almost every kind of creamy soup: leek and potatobroccolitomatosquashroasted eggplantcarrotspinachcauliflower and asparagus, just to name a few. I love to stay in on a cold day and enjoy a big bowl of cream soup with crusty bread and butter. But on a recent warm day, when T and I were both bouncing back from a bug, I decided I wanted something a little fresher. 

I had printed this recipe for lentil and spinach soup a while ago and thought it might just do the trick. I had never cooked with lentils and I was surprised to learn two things about it: first, Canada is the largest export producer of lentils in the world, and second, when you cook red lentils, they get creamy and yellow.

Because of how the texture changed with the lentils, this was a thicker soup than I had anticipated. But the spinach, combined with the ginger I am pretty sure was just what the doctor ordered. I actually felt healthier after eating this soup. Enjoyed, of course, with a big loaf of crusty bread.

Lentil and Spinach Soup
Serves 6-8

  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 10 ounces red lentils
  • a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 7 ounces spinach, cleaned and torn
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

  • Melt the butter in a large pot, add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic until the carrots have softened and the onion is translucent.
  • Add the stock to the pot, then add the lentils, tomatoes and ginger.
  • Stir the soup and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Put lid on for 10 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
  • Add spinach and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Season well with salt and pepper.
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver: Ministry of Food


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