Monday, October 3, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Sopa de Arroz

We are in the midst of a kitchen renovation.  The obvious question is to ask why I would do something so asinine as to say that I would participate in Secret Recipe Club when I don't have a kitchen.  The good news is I made this just before the renovation started.  Now, I'm looking forward to it being over so I can start cooking again.
This month, I was thrilled to be assigned and excuse to spend some time in La Cocina de Leslie!  My very first month with SRC, Leslie made my Peanut Butter Crunch Cake.  I was so excited to have a chance to peruse Leslie's blog and make some good, authentic Mexican food.
Leslie lives in Mexico with her husband and 4 children.  She's even written a cookbook called Taqueria Tacos that is being released on my birthday.  J and I are both huge fans of Mexican food.  We had our first date at Mi Hacienda, a Mexican restaurant in Toledo, and that's where he proposed as well!  I wanted to make Leslie's Shredded Chicken Tacos de Mole because it reminded me greatly of my favourite Chicken Enchiladas Poblanas from Mi Hacienda, but I couldn't find the mole paste, and a mole sauce was more work that I was up for.  (But if you are up for the work, Leslie has options for homemade mole sauce!)
Enter this recipe.  I was making a shredded pork in the crockpot to mix with black beans and Mexican rice to make burritos so that I would have things in the freezer for eating during the reno.  I needed a good recipe for Mexican rice.  Leslie's recipe from her mother in law doesn't disappoint.
I present to you now from La Cocina de Leslie, Sopa de Arroz (Mexican Rice):

Monday, September 5, 2016

#Secret Recipe Club: Peanut Butter Banana Bagels

It's time for another episode of the regular Secret Recipe Club!  Once a month, a group of bloggers get together, are given another blog to peruse in secret, choose a recipe and make something from their assigned blog.  I so enjoy doing this every month, and look forward to seeing whose blog I will be looking through for something delicious.
This month, I was thrilled to be paired with Erin of the The Spiffy Cookie.  I've enjoyed working with Erin in the past on multiblogger events, and enjoy drooling over her pictures of food on Instagram.  Erin, like myself, isn't a fan of mushrooms; but she does love all things peanut butter and chocolate (also like myself) and bakes...a lot.  How could I not make something peanut buttery after looking through her blog?
I seem to be on a breakfast kick at the moment, so I considered her Pumpkin Pecan Waffles and even something somewhat healthy with her Carrot Cake Oatmeal, but then I found this.
I have been intrigued by recipes containing PB2, but have never tried it.  I also decided to challenge myself and make something that I hadn't made successfully before:  bagels.  With bananas in the freezer, I was ready to go!
I present to you now The Spiffy Cookie's Peanut Butter Banana Bagels:

Monday, August 29, 2016

#SRC Bonus: Lunch Lady Brownies

Today is my first day back at work after being off for the summer.
I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this, seeing as it's my 7th school in the past 10 years.  While there are no students until next week after Labour Day, I need to finish unpacking and get my head around what is to come.  For me, this is not a great thing.
What is good, however, is that there are 5 Mondays in August, and we're celebrating with a special edition of The Secret Recipe Club that's all about back to school.  What's even more fun about this reveal day is that it's cross-group, so I'm not paired with someone in my regular group A for this week.  Next week, I'll be back with my Group A on Monday's reveal.
There are so many options when you consider back to school.  Around here, it means soups that I can take for lunch, or something I can pull out of my freezer for a quick meal, or something that I can make for a hearty breakfast.  I had so much fun looking through Ashley's blog, Cheese Curd in Paradise for something that might fit one of these catagories, and I wasn't disappointed.
Ashley had a ton of things that I pinned while browsing, including these Strawberry Cream Muffins to use up the strawberries that came in my produce box this week; I also thought about this Chicken Bacon Ranch Tot Casserole because come on...all in one dish?  Sign me up!
I finally opted for a dessert that can easily be frozen, and is even nut free, so totally work-takeable (as opposed to my regular SRC choice for next week).  The name even screams school - even though I work in an elementary school and there's no cafeteria.
I present to you now a Cheese Curd in Paradise's Lunch Lady Brownies:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Breakfast: Chocolate Zucchini Chocolate Chip Waffles

After last summer's fun with my friend's waffle iron, I kept thinking I should buy one of my own.  I thought about it for a whole year (which I am wont to do), and finally picked one up on the cheap at Kohl's when J and I went to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday in Toledo.
But what to make first?  I have an absolute pile of waffle recipes pinned to my Breakfast board on Pinterest.  There's pumpkin, and snickerdoodle, and gingerbread...but I was looking for wow factor for the first waffles from the new toy.
I started searching again for something with wow factor, that would use things in my fridge.  I'm pretty sure I picked it with this recipe. Seeing as I had buttermilk leftover and a couple of zucchini from our Good Food Boxes, this was a no brainer.  Seeing as there was cocoa and chocolate chips involved, I'd found my wow factor.
Even better?  This made enough for 2 brunches the day of and more for the freezer for later.  You know, when I want a bit of a day brightener.  That can always be achieved through chocolate chips for breakfast.
I present to you now The Candid Appetite's Chocolate Zucchini Chocolate Chip Waffles:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Freezer Friendly: Walnut Zucchini Muffins

Despite the fact that as I write this we haven't been on vacation yet (Friday's coming!), I've started planning for my Back to School cooking extravaganza.
Three years ago, I discovered the genius of freezer meals.  After buying a Taste of Home freezer magazine, I tried cooking and freezing meals that would make my life easier upon my return to work.  It totally does make my life easier.  We eat at home during a stressful time with the startup of school and being away weekends for football.  I've started my lists and my inventory of the deep freeze so that we have some more healthy choices than the nearest restaurant.
To that end, I'm stocking not only dinners but breakfasts as well.  I need something that can be quick, or on the go; but not just peanut butter toast when I can't think of anything else.  My Christmas present from last year has been a help:  a Hamilton Beach breakfast sandwich maker that we pull out maybe once a week.  I also try and stock bagels, and often have cooked breakfast sausage links so I can make quick scrambled egg wraps.  I also enjoy muffins from time to time.
My mother makes lots of different muffins that are delicious, and if you look at my index I make lots of different flavours too,  Muffins freeze well, are portable, and can use up things that are lurking in your produce drawer.
Speaking of produce, if you and I are friends on Facebook, I've been posting pictures of my Good Food Boxes this summer from The Stand in Burford.  J and I have eaten more fresh fruits and vegetables for an incredible price because of these boxes!  We've had things like this:

 Every week, there is a head of romaine lettuce, and a field tomato.  The rest is seasonal, so we've had carrots, new dug potatoes, garlic, corn, green onions, peppers of all colours, field and hot house cucumbers, green and yellow beans, cherry tomatoes, garlic scapes, red onions, and zucchini.  We've been picking up the box and then meal planning to use as much as possible from the box.
 Fruit-wise, we've had tons of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches, and yellow plums.  J eats the blueberries.  The rest are left up to me.
I've been freezing what we can't eat (mainly strawberries and beans), and knowing that in winter we will have lots of things to choose from out of the excess of our bounty from the summer.

But there are many things that we get that can't be frozen.  And vegetables like zucchini need to be made into another form to be frozen.
When I saw this recipe in my Taste of Home freezer magazine, it was like it was meant to be.
I present to you now Harriet Stichter from Milford, Illinois' Walnut Zucchini Muffins:

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Revenge of the Magazine Challenge: Grilled Pizza with Asparagus and Sundried Tomatoes

When we moved, one of the things we talked about was the fact that we might grill more, because the deck is off the open concept kitchen/dining room.  As opposed to our last house, where I had to walk around through the family room to the far end of the house to retrace my steps outside to get to the grill, this is just open the door and step out.
We've taken to grilling a lot.
Despite the fact that we don't often sit outside to eat because of the trains (We have 2 backyards between our deck and the tracks), we carry in things from the grill to eat at the dining room table.  And seeing as there's more to life than burgers, I'm always on the lookout for fun new things to try cooking over propane.
When we renovated the last kitchen, we discovered that you could make pizza directly on the grill.  When I saw this recipe in the June 2008 issue of Everyday Food, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  I was right.  It was worth it.  The was a fantastic change of pace on a Saturday night with a glass of cold white wine.
I present to you now from the June 2008 issue of Everyday Food, Grilled Pizza with Asparagus and Sundried Tomatoes:

Monday, August 1, 2016

SRC: Lemongrass Ginger Pancakes

It's time again for the Secret Recipe Club!  What's that, you ask?  Well, it's a group of food bloggers who are all assigned another blog from the group (in secret, hence the name) and then we all reveal on the same day at the same time.  Fun, right?  I enjoy getting my assignment every month and finding something to make from a blog that I don't know a whole lot about.
This month is no exception.  I was assigned the blog Crazed Mom, written by Nicole.  Nicole is a mom of 5 teenagers, and I am exhausted just thinking about that.  She's a writer, and she makes some delicious looking and sounding food.
I have to admit, when I started looking at her blog, I didn't get past her Breakfast offerings.  As the owner of a new waffle iron, I'm all about waffle recipes right now.  I eyed these Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, because I have ricotta needing to be used in my fridge and blueberries right now; but Nicole made these for an SRC reveal.  I also really want to make these Pumpkin Spice Latte Doughnuts, but I would need a doughnut baking pan...and I'm still playing with my waffle iron.  Then I found something that totally caught my attention.
As some of my friends on Facebook know, I was literally giving away some of my Gourmet Garden stir in paste herb tubes from past blogging events.  I love their products (just ask, and I'll tell you!), but there are some that I've never known what to do Lemongrass.  It's intimidating looking at the store, and I've never used it.  But I have 3 tubes of it in my freezer.  I saw the picture in the index with the Gourmet Garden tubes, and saw that this would use up (albeit a small amount) of my Lemongrass stash, and I was in!  Plus, the leftovers are freezable, as we start the grind towards school.  I'm starting my freezer cooking to make the fall easier.  J and I both enjoyed these for breakfast, and they'll be great out of the toaster with maple syrup this fall too,
I present to you now Crazed Mom's Lemongrass Ginger Pancakes:

Thursday, July 28, 2016

#BookClubCookbookCC: Lemon Chicken and Orzo

It's the last month of the #BookClubCookbookCC project!  I've so enjoyed working with the other bloggers and especially Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla who spearheaded this project!  This month, Camilla hosted, and she invited us to make Greek food and read Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres.

Once again, I haven't read the book.  For whatever reason, there's been a run on the copy at my local library.  I am currently third on the waiting list.  I was fifth when I went to reserve the book.  But I can make Greek inspired food.  We love Greek food.
I'm always looking for new 1 pot meals that go together fast and are delicious.  This one fits the bill.  J and I loved it.  It also comes from one of my favourite sources for recipes, Budget Bytes.  With lemon and feta cheese, it's reminiscent of all the great flavours of Greek food.
I present to you now from Budget Bytes Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Grillmistress: Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

Remember in January when I Spatchcocked a chicken and roasted it in the oven?  Well, at that time, I bought a couple of whole chickens and froze them for later.
Later finally arrived when we were cleaning out the freezer for the move.
While I was looking for something to do with a whole chicken, I came across this recipe with an interesting marinade that would use the pastes provided to me from Garden Gourmet.  A win all the way around as I tried to clean out my freezer and prepare for the move.
Now I need to buy another whole chicken so I can do this again.
I present to you now from Martha Stewart Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dessert to Share: Rhubarb Custard Pie

It's been a while, and rhubarb season is, for all intents and purposes, over.
But this is too good a pie not to share.  It's no secret I love lemon.  That's because you can get lemons year round.  As opposed to rhubarb, which has a tiny window of opportunity and if you're like me you need to know somebody to get it from because there's no way I'm paying for what is essentially a weed.
Call it what you like, rhubarb is a fantastic flavour - blisteringly sour and begging for sugar.  My aunt used to have a red stalked variety that was gorgeous when it was cooked down (my favourite way to eat it...still warm....over ice cream).  But my aunt lives a long way away, and my source for rhubarb moved into a smaller house.
Fast forward to this June, where we were at a friend's for dinner, and she mentioned that I was welcome to go and get some rhubarb from the farm.  She gave me directions, and I didn't go.  Then she brought a bag of rhubarb to me. I chopped some for cooking and eating this winter, took some more and made a batch of delicious muffins, and turned the rest into this pie with a pie crust I found in the bottom of the freezer.
I called my mom looking for my grandmother's recipe.  It's apparently lost.  My mother's comment was she was looking too, and I didn't want the recipe she'd made last.  So I turned to the source of all recipe knowledge, Pinterest.
I present to you now from Creative Bite, Rhubarb Custard Pie: