Saturday, November 26, 2011

Busy But Fun Birthdays

Times just keep getting more and more exciting in the Little Kitchen! It was birthday weekend! Hubby and the Boy both celebrated their birthdays Saturday!!  Everyone had Friday off work and school so we spent the day roaming the city.  Partly due to the fact that we had no running water and partly because our day seemed to quickly fill up with appointments and opportunities. First we stopped at the CTV studios at 7:30am (thanks to Susie for setting that up for me) for a spot on their morning show, next we stopped at the sports injury clinic for an appointment and checked up on my stupid ankle which, by the way, is still being stupid. Third, we stopped at the Travel Health offices and the Boy got 4 needles divided between both arms...he is all vaccinated and ready for his exciting trip to Kenya on spring break.  After that we stopped at the book store, because at least they had running water. Our last stop of the day was the movie theatre to see the new Muppets Movie.  It was an awesome movie! We also stopped for a bite to eat somewhere along the way!  It really did feel like we had been out all day....oh wait, we had been out all day....

You see, I don't kid around about being busy!!

Saturday, we ran a few errands then came home as the Boy was having friends over.  Then I got myself into the kitchen, cranked the tunes, and starting baking.

I find all too often that I bookmark things from other blogs with the intent of trying things out and half the time I never get to them.  This cake recipe is one I knew I would make for birthday day. I found it on Brown Eyed Baker's blog and couldn't resist!  Michelle's recipe is for a bundt cake but I don't seem to have a bundt cake pan so I turned this moist cake into cupcakes and Marvel heads.  Why not? Here is the link to Michelle's post with the recipe.  I used it as is with the exception of the cake pans. The cupcakes took about 17 minutes at 325F and the marvel heads took about 22 minutes.

This cake smells sooooooo good while it is baking. I didn't want to wait for the birthday party. I was tempted to sit in the corner and eat the whole batch by myself.  Instead I opted to drink the rest of the rootbeer....

 Make this cake a day ahead if you can...the rootbeer flavour gets better as it sits!!!! It is actually quite an easy cake to put together and well worth the rootbeer!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Preparing For The Big Game

Helloooooo football fans and welcome to the Little Kitchen. I am so glad you dropped by today! I had the amazing opportunity this morning to be on CTV Morning Winnipeg this morning to talk about snacks for the Grey Cup.  For my readers South of the border, the Grey Cup is our Superbowl and this year the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in the final game.  They will be playing the BC Lions this Sunday in the season finale game!

Here is the link to the segment from CTV Morning Live: Click here to get to the CTV Morning live website, then click on "Grey cup snack attack" to see the clip.

I promised the links to the recipes I used on the show this morning and here they are:

Pulled pork:  This you can assemble the day ahead and plug the slow cooker in the morning of the big game.  When it falls apart, it is done! If you don't want pork, use chicken thighs or a chuck roast in the slow cooker with your favourite BBQ sauce instead. For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Pulled pork sammie with coleslaw!

Chicken Wings: Make these beauties the day before and heat them up before game time. provide hot sauce and bbq sauce on the side for dipping! For a printable version click here.

Hummus: The recipe ont his page is for the Hot Wing flavoured hummus. It is truly divine! Again, make it ahead of time and relax during the game! Serve with veggies and pita wedges. You can find a printable version of a hummus recipe here.  For a spicier version, called Buffalo Wing Hummus, click here.

Crispy wings baked in the oven
Jalapeno bundles: These are a favourite, easy to make ahead of time and bake just before the game. They are also wrapped in bacon....need I say more? You can find a prinatble version of this recipe by clicking here.
Jalapenos wrapped in bacon....

Brownies: This link has the basic brownie recipe on it. For the footballs shapes, I quadrupled the recipe, coole and iced the brownies (use store bought) then cut them out with a football shaped cookie cutter. The white lines were made with the store bought white icing that is already in the tube...just squeeze and draw! For a printable version of the full recipe, with icing, click here.

Some game day tips:

Plan ahead. Think about what you can make, when you can make it, and when to heat it up. You want to enjoy the game with family and friends, not spend the entire game in the kitchen!

Throw fancy out the window.  Keep it simple for the big game. Finger foods are essential. People want to eat, chat, and watch the game not fuss with cutlery.

Make use of the help...precut veggies, premade icing, shredded cheese. Who says you have to do it all yourself?

Make use of things such as tin foil and parchment paper to line your baking sheets. It makes clean up so much easier!

Two words: Paper plates.

Happy game day everyone!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

You're Going Where?

It has been such an exciting week in the Little Kitchen! There is news to be told!! While baseball is still officially the Boy's first love, in the wake of his injury, he has been exploring other options.  He came upon an exciting endeavour being offered by his school through EFtours. After much thought and discussion, we have decided that this opportunity now in front of him to just too good to pass up. I am so excited, I can barely contain myself....The Boy is!!!! He will be participating in a voluntour with Free the Children and the Me to We people!!!!!!!!!! What a fantastic opportunity for young people! The itinerary looks amazing! He also gets to go to WE day this week as well!

How can I as a parent not do everything to help make this opportunity happen for my child? I wish I could go!! Of course to help celebrate this event, I have been researching some recipes for Kenyan foods!  The one we decided to try first is for a very simple flat bread called Chapati that we found on the internet here.  There some other recipes on this page that we hope to try out over the next few months before the Boy leaves on his trip.


1 cup flour
1cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp oil
3/4 to 1 cup water
salt to taste (1 used 1/2 tsp)

Mix the flours, salt and oil in a bowl.

Slowly add the water, mixing and kneading as you go. You will know you've added enough water when it comes together to form a slightly sticky but kneadable dough.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and stiff.

Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes (or longer).

Heat a fry pan or griddle to medium/high.  Split the dough into 6 equal size pieces and dust with flour.  Roll each piece out to a thin roundish shape.

Brush the pan or griddle lightly with oil and lay one piece of dough in the pan. Let it cook for about 1 minute on the first side then flip and cook for another minute.  Each side should have some browning starting on each side.  As you cook the rest of the the Chapati, keep the cooked ones warm.

We find these easy to make flat breads quite tasty and are perfect with hummus and we are looking forward to trying them with other meals.
We are just so excited to be able to help the Boy have this opportunity to travel to Kenya and will keep looking from some regional foods we can make right here in our Little Kitchen.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Between The Crosses, Row on Row

I know I posted this video on my 9/11 post, but this one is so fitting for Remembrance day. If so inclined, please donate to (or go check out) the Hero fund at As the saying goes, We can never give as much as they did. This song also gets me a little teary eyed.

The poppy is a symbol of Remembrance, with thanks to the poem Flanders Fields by John McCrae.  McCrae wrote this poem during World War I after being witness to the death of a friend.  Poppies flourished in the soil on Flanders' field were the war dead are buried. Due to this, poppies have become the most noted symbol of Remembrance I know. We buy our poppies every year and wear them with pride as a sign that we pause to remember and think about all the brave people who have risked everything for us to be able to live the way we do.  Here I've found a video with the poem being recited.

Because of the poppy, I thought baking something with poppy seeds might be in order.  Naturally, I immediately thought of lemon poppy seed loaf.  Naturally, I turned them into some cupcakes.
I adapted the recipe from the Canadian Living website.

Lemon Poppy seed cakes
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest, grated
  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
Beat together the butter and the sugar until light and pale coloured.

Add the eggs one at the time, beating well after each one.  Continue to beat the mixture until it all comes together and is a pale yellow.

Add the lemon zest and mix in.

Most people will tell you to mix the dry ingredients in another bowl, which you can do if you like. I prefer fewer dishes to wash so I just add the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds on top of this mixture.  Mix everything together.

Add the milk and mix until it is well incorporated. This batter is quite thick but bakes up oh so tasty!

Line a cupcake tine with liners and divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups.

Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

While the cakes are in the oven. Mix together 1/2 cup icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a thick glaze.  Put a teaspoon of glaze on the top of each hot cake and let it melt and ooze all over.

Allow the cakes to cool and enjoy! These little beauties got the full thumbs up approval by both Hubby and Boy (and me as well) I will be making these again!)

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Southwestern Meatball's Chance in....

The view from my front door this morning. ACK!
Well, the prairies woke up to a blanket of snow this morning.  It was pretty wet snow and it melted off the sidewalks pretty quickly so I don't think it will last.  I hope it won't last.  I do enjoy the snow and in fact it looked quite pretty out there this morning.  I am just not ready for it yet. Also, I think I need a new winter coat but haven't had the time to go shopping yet....It also means there were PLENTY of snowballs being thrown out on the playground today!! (And not by me!!)

Tonight is a gym night, it has to be.  I have a headache but I need to go. My local expert tells me it is the best thing to do. When I got home from work I prepared everything to cook dinner. A mise on place if you will. I made the turkey meatballs and placed them in the fridge, cut up all the veggies for the warm corn and black bean salsa.  All I have to do when I get home is cook everything and according to the recipe in the October 2011 edition of Clean Eating Magazine, this will only take 10 to 15 minutes to cook....
Mise en place: everything is ready to go
Turkey meatballs ready for the fridge.

Okay, I am back from the gym and ready to cook.

Southwestern Turkey meatball skillet
Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine October, 2011

1 lb ground turkey
2 large egg whites (I used one whole egg)
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I used wheat germ tonight but don't tell Hubby or the Boy....)
1/4 tsp sea salt (I used kosher)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp olive oil (I may have used a little bit more...
1 cup frozen corn
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (I used water because I only had broth frozen in 4 cup blocks....)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1/4 fresh cilantro

I also added
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic

First mix up the meatball mixture.  In a bowl mix together the turkey, egg, crumbs, salt and pepper.  I also added extra cumin to the meat balls but after eating them, they need way more spice.

Heat a large skillet over medium, add the olive  oil, then the meat balls.  Brown the meat balls, turning to a new side as they brown for about 5 minutes.

Once the meatballs have a decent brown going on, add in the onions, green peppers, tomatoes, corn, black beans, broth, cumin, and lime juice. Mix everything up, being careful to not break the meatballs up. (This is where I added the garlic.  I grated it in with the micro plane...I just love garlic and I am glad I added it)

Slap a cover on the pan and let it all get happy happy for about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle on the cilantro and another squeeze of lime juice.

I served this with rice tonight, but the Boy ate his with multi grain tortilla chips.

It really did only take about 15 minutes to cook this dish!! Overall the warm salsa very tasty and I got the approval to make it again.  The meatballs were quite bland and I kind of knew they would turn out that way when I started. We decided however to add more spice to the meatballs. The winners of the spice discussion were smoked paprika and come chili flakes along with more cumin. (Perhaps some crushed garlic as well).

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November Rain, Chicken Noodle Soup & Biscuits

Here we are on November 6 and it is raining on the prairies. Normally I enjoy a rainy day but in November we run the risk of rain turning into ice and snow. Ice and snow tend to leave layers of slippery ice on the streets and sidewalks. Good thing I have a pair of these to wear on my shoes for my walk to work.

I haven't tried these grippers before but I do hope they help.  I do have a tendency to fall and seeing as my ankle is still technically healing from my fall back in June, I am trying to be extra careful! It is a good thing I have these because it just turned to snow out there!!

To help chase this cool rain away I felt the need to make soup and biscuits today. This was one of those days were I started rooting through the kitchen and chopping knowing only that I was making soup and biscuits, just not what kind.  As the I was chopping up the veggies for the soup, a good old fashioned chicken noode soup was taking shape.  As I searched through the kitchen I found everything I needed for chicken noodle soup.  I started out thinking I would make a broccoli cheddar soup, but didn't have enough milk to make both that and the biscuits.

I found cheese, and a jalapeno so I went with my jalapeno and cheese biscuits from this earlier post. I used havarti and cheddar cheeses this time. 

Chicken Noodle Soup

4 cup chicken stock (mine was still frozen so I had to thaw it in the microwave)
2 carrots, cut into coins
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
pasta of your choice. (I had a box of spaghetti with just a little bit left in it, so I used that)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I found 2 breasts left over from the BBQ the other night!)

While chopping your veggies, heat up your soup pot over medium then add the olive oil.  Saute the onion for a coulple of minutes with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.
Add in the rest of the veggies and conitnue to cook for about 5 minutes.
Add in the bay leaves and the stock.  Put a lid on it and let it simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the raw spaghetti noodles.
After another 10 minutes, when the noodles are cooked, add in the shredded chicken and simmer until it is heated it through.
While the soup is simmering and getting all happy is the time to get the biscuits shaking and baking. I won't bore you with that recipe here but you can click on the link and find it here.

This afternoon we made a batch of hummus for lunches for the week. It was so tasty, we had some with our soup and biscuits. I found the recipe for a Buffalo Wings hummus in the October issue of Food Network Magazine.

Buffalo Wing Hummus
Adapted from Food Network Magazing, October 2011

3 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained (save 1/2 cup of the liquid)
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice (I only had limes, so we used lime juice)
1/4 cup tahini (had no tahini, so we left it out)
1 1/2 tsp paprika (we used smoked paprika and loved the taste)
2 tbsp bbq sauce
2 to 3 tbsp cayenne hot sauce (We used Frank's Red Hot)
1 tbsp white vinegar

Put everything in the blender and bend until smooth.  I added about 1/2 cup of water to the mix as it was a bit thick without the tahini.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Summer Lovin', : Little Cabin in The Woods - Canoe Capers and a S'mores Pudding Cup

I am ashamed to admit that I have had this post almost completely written for a while...a long fact, an embarrassingly long while. With the thoughts of Christmas and the ever impending snowfall, I find myself dreaming back to the lazy days of summer at the Little Cabin. Without further ado, or to much prattling on, I give you, Little Cabin in The Woods:

There has been some excitement out in the woods this year!! After some shopping around and a huge sale at Canadian Tire, The Little Cabin finally got a new canoe!  Our old canoe inadvertently got destroyed by some workers who needed space.  The circa 1970s fibreglass canoe was still embedded in the ice and snow but the workers needed it moved so they pried it out thus ripping off the hand crafted wood gunwales and tearing out the yoke and one of the seats.  It really is a sad sight, this lovely old canoe in such a state.
The new canoe next to the old canoe
We however were craving some time on the water....we went in with my sister and my dad to get this beauty.  It was carefully strapped to the roof of my little Calibre....we were on our way to the Woods when a gust of wind came up and promptly removed the canoe from the roof....yes, there was plenty of cussing.  A call to my dad to bring us some fresh rope and his canoe knowledge.....and we were back on the road.  This new canoe amazingly bounced off the highway and is completely fine, except for a few scratches! (The canoe was hereby named "SS Fell Off The Effing Roof")

Once we got the baby into the water, everything just seemed right.  Calm, relaxing, and just plain fun.  Nothing beats an early morning paddle on a calm lake.

The Boy and I out on the lake
I even offere a paddle up coffe service for morning paddlers!!
Nephew loved the canoe too!
And away they go!!
Of course we paddled at sunrise, at mid-day, and at sunset but I am not brave enough to take my camera out on the lake so unfortunately I do not have pictures of the fabulous sun set the Boy and I paddled out to watch...completely gorgeous.  My summer just isn't complete without at least one sunset!! While the Little Cabin is lake front, we don't get a clear view of the sunset so we do have to either get out on the water or down the road to the beach to see the sunset.

We did get down to the the beach to watch a sunset. See....

That is enough chatter about canoes....what did we eat? Well, on this particular weekend, I made some brownies, and some vanilla pudding....I found some graham crackers and marshmallow....

S'mores Pudding cups
  • Pudding of your choice. (I used vanilla)
  • graham crackers, some broken up
  • brownie of your choice, broken up
  • marshmallows
This is so easy:
alternate layers of graham pieces with pudding and brownie chunks.  Top with a marshmallow and a whole cracker.

Dig in!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.