Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

My Recipe Box

So …

I have decided to start a Recipes page on my blog.  I thought about having a separate blog just for recipes but then I remembered a few things…

I’m not a chef.  I don’t create my own recipes.  And I’m only about 4 months old when it comes to cooking. 

With all of that humble pie in front of me, a food blog did not seem appropriate.  I kind of wanted a glass of milk actually. 

I do enjoy cooking though.  A lot.  I like trying new recipes.  Even more, I like taking a recipe I know is good and making something equally as good (sometimes better!) by tweaking two or three of the ingredients.  So why not have a page where I post recipes that I have tried, liked, and filed away into my recipe box? 

Why not, indeed…

I am from smalltown, New Brunswick, where farming (potatoes in particular) is a large part of our culture.  When I was young, everything came from the small local grocery store; if you couldn’t make it with meat and potatoes, the grocery store did not carry it.  There was no ethnic section, no organic section, and there were two kinds of apples to choose from, not ten.  Eggplants were a thing of mystery.  There was only one type of mushroom. 

Things were simple. 

Enter me, age 15.  “Mom, I really don’t think I want to eat meat any more.  I’m going to be a vegetarian”.  Talk about throwing a wrench into mealtime!  I’m sure they figured it was just a phase, that it would work its way out of my system, but here I am almost 14 years later and still going through “the phase”.  It took a while for Mom to adjust but, although I always insisted that it wasn’t necessary, she began making vegetarian versions of everything… lasagna, pasta, pizza, all of it.  She still does to this day, actually. 

My mother is an awesome cook but for much of my life she was … let’s say … limited.  She had a collection of recipes that would resurface regularly, most of them probably passed down from her mom.  She would try different things, sure, but the dishes almost always centred around the meat and potatoes standard.  The grocery stores didn’t start carrying different ingredients until the big box stores were born and that didn’t happen until I was in high school.  She started branching out then and is still enjoying trying new things today.  About a month ago, she was so excited about getting avocado on a salad in a restaurant that she told me about it three times. 

Now we enjoy sharing recipes back and forth.  I am really just in the beginning stages of building a repertoire of recipes, now that it is Brian and I.  Some of them are my mom’s recipes but many of them are new.  I love that I have access to a full range of grocery items.  The possibilities are endless really. 

I am very lucky to have a husband that enjoys cooking too.  Fortunately, he also has a knack for sensing when I just don’t feel like it and it is his turn to step in.  The herbivore/carnivore thing is not an issue.  We work with it.  I have even been known to throw my hands into a bowl of ground hamburger (extra lean, of course) over the past six months or so. 

As I mention on the recipes page, I enjoy food photography or “food porn”.  I think a great photo of a plate of pasta is going to sell a recipe more often than the list of ingredients.  Brian is a great photographer so we will try to take some pictures along the way too. 

So with all of that said, enjoy the recipes and feel free to comment if you have a similar recipe, would do something differently, or have tried a recipe and liked/disliked it. 

But please… chew with your mouth closed. 


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What a lazy weekend.  It was wonderful. 

We had friends and my sister over for supper Saturday night.  I spent all of Saturday afternoon baking focaccia bread, making filling for two kinds of homemade ravioli, and making salad and mini cheesecakes.  This was our first time making ravioli from scratch and it turned out quite well.  It was topped with a spinach cream sauce that tasted fantastic. 

Leftover ravioli filling = baked manicotti for tonight.  Yum. 

Our new favorite thing to do with salad is add cherry tomatoes that have been drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted in the oven … just until they are a little bit wrinkly.  They are super packed with flavor and delicious. 

On Sunday I was invited to perform in a church concert fundraiser for their missions support group.  I was slightly hungover and had only feebly prepared for it so I spent the morning really dreading it.  It was just what you are expecting when I say “church concert” but the variety amongst the performers was interesting… amid the normal guitar-toting drawling cowboys, old-lady quartets, and piano players (me included), there was a two-woman comedy act (the older woman had to have been 85 years old), an 8-year-old violinist that didn’t flinch at standing in front of the crowd (that will warm your heart any day), and another little girl that sang a song from Sesame Street. 

It ended up being a fun, heartwarming afternoon. 

I crashed when I got home, though.  The rest of my day consisted of the couch and an interesting array of movies, all of which I managed to stay awake for. 

I finally watched Gone With the Wind.  I know, it’s a little sad that it has taken me this long.  This is such a classic … am I allowed to say that I was disappointed?  I had really high hopes for it.  All of those famous quotes and movie scenes and parodies that I have seen over the years had this movie built up into such a frenzy in my mind.  I thought I would be so enlightened that Brian would have to slap common sense into me.  I thought the love story would be so intense that romance would be oozing out of every orifice of my body. 

Not so.  Not one speck of romance oozed out of any part of me. 


It was a good movie, don’t get me wrong… it just wasn’t the movie I was expecting.  Instead of it being about Scarlett and Rhett’s romance, it was more about her chasing after the guy that rejected her and married another woman.  Is it just me or is that just a little pathetic?!  And selfish … yeah, she went through a lot with being a nurse and delivering the baby during the war and making it back home … but every move she made was centered around Ashley and wanting him for herself.  I kept waiting for Scarlett to turn and tell Rhett she loved him, especially when he was stepping out to join the war, but it never happened… she pulled away from him!  When it was over, I double-checked to make sure it was the end because I felt gilted that they didn’t get together and I didn’t know what happened to Rhett. 

It just wasn’t what I expected. 

Brian and I watched The Prestige, about a rivalry between magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman).  I really liked this one.  If you liked The Illusionist, this is even better.  It’s one of those movies with several twists at the end that I didn’t guess.  I like being surprised.  Rent it. 

I also watched Freedom Writers last night.  It was a feel-good story.  Heartwarming.  A struggle through adversity.  It is everything you expect about a first-time teacher walking into a classroom of ne’er-do-well teenagers.  It is based on a true story, which is neat.  It was a good movie but it just wasn’t that surprising. 

On Saturday I watched Running With Scissors.  I love these types of movies.  It is about a mother who is an unsuccessful writer and starts therapy with a doctor whose unusual treatments push her further down as he adopts her son.  It is so delightfully odd and awkward and uncomfortable.  Sometimes I like a movie that gets under my skin a little. 

For a Through the Haze update, continue reading…


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Mmmm … Hummus

Here is a GREAT hummus recipe that I have used a few times.  I plan to experiment with different variations (Sun Dried Tomato hummus and Kalamata Olive hummus are going to rock my world, I just know it!) but this is the one I have used the last couple of times and it is super! 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


1 can of chick peas/garbanzo beans (15 oz.)

1/3 c. tahini *

1/4 c. lemon juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2-3/4 c. roasted red peppers (depending on taste) **

The amounts of all ingredients are flexible.  Play with it! 

Process the beans, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil until smooth.  Add red peppers and garlic until desired consistency is met. 

* Usually you can find Tahini in the health/organic section at the superstore.  It separates in the jar so I usually try to stir it some before measuring it out. 

** Both times I have just roasted two average-size peppers and used both.  Last night I used orange sweet peppers instead of red.  Just as good! 

And for heaven’s sake, don’t buy jarred roasted peppers!  To roast peppers… put your oven on 450-500 degrees.  Put tin foil down on a cookie sheet (for easier cleanup).  Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and innards.  Place them cut side down on the sheet and put them in the oven.  Once the skin has turned brownish black (don’t worry), take them out of the oven and place them in a ziploc bag.  Let them sweat in the bag until they are cool enough to handle.  The skin should peel right off.  Voila! 


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Heaven is …

… peanut butter and chocolate. 

On the weekend I made this Peanut Butter-Chocolate Banana Cream Pie from the Kraft What’s Cooking magazine.  It was easy to make and everyone loved it. 

Remember that early survivor season where the two girls took their tops off for pb and chocolate?  Yeah?  Well I would be seriously tempted to do the same … no desert island and starvation required!   

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