Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hand Me a Pie

I love getting fresh garden treats from our CSA at Almost Urban farms. Even though I do silly things like plant my own zucchini, beans, and potatoes and at times get overwhelmed with too much of a good thing, I still love it.  Some times I feel inundated with the dark leafy greens....there I said it. I love garden fresh veggies, but get tired of kale, Swiss chard, lovage, beet greens, and even plain old lettuce.  I'm not a huge salad lover.  The Boy loves sautéed greens and creamed greens but Hubby isn't a fan of cooked greens.  I like them mixed in with salads, but I can only eat so much salad.

What is a girl to do? Well, first off, I'm always on the hunt for new ideas, second, I seem to have a back log of magazines with recipes in them....soooooo it is that I happened upon a recipe for Kale and Spinach hand pies in the January 2013 edition of Chatelaine magazine.  It is a spanokopita inspired hand pie with feta using a pastry dough instead of phyllo. Of course I didn't follow the I ever? 

Greens and spinach hand pies 

1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, cold and cubed

Break out the food processor for this one.  Give the cottage cheese and egg yolk a whir with the blade.

Add the flour, salt, and butter.

Pulse until a ball forms.

Divide into 2 even portions, roll into rectangles, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 1 1/2 hours.  This is a soft and squishy type of dough. You should still see tasty bits of butter through out it.

While the dough is getting its chill on, heat up a large skillet and wash up some dark leafy greens and get your ingredients ready. This time I used:

A handful of kale
A bunch of Swiss chard
Beet greens from 5 or 6 medium sized beets
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
A healthy grating of nutmeg
2 tsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup feta, crumbled

Wash your greens how ever you normally wash your greens, remove any large and tough ribs from the greens. Chop them all up into bite size pieces. (I hate biting into something and having a long string of greens pull the rest of the filling out.)

Sauté the onion until soft (some garlic would be a great idea here too!)

Add in the hot pepper flakes, greens, and grate in the nutmeg.

Continue to sauté until the green are wilted.  Set aside to cool.

Once cool, drain any excess liquid and stir in the feta.

Now you are ready to rock n roll and assemble.

Pre heat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

The amount of dough should get you 10 rectangles approximately 6" x 5", give or take.  Mine never turn out the same size.

Lightly flour the counter and roll out the dough and cut into 10 somewhat even rectangles.

Divide your greens into 10 somewhat even portions.

Scoop 1 portion of greens onto the middle of each rectangle and fold the pastry in half (short end to short end) to enclose the deliciousness inside pressing to seal the edges. Crimping with a fork makes a nice pretty edge....

Brush the tops with an egg wash and use just the tip of a sharp knife to puncture the tops of the pies to vent the steam.

Pop into the oven and bake. For about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

These were wonderful!  The pastry was flakey and easy to work with.  The Boy enjoyed leftovers direct from the fridge when he came home from work, or before work, or before bedtime....

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bacon and Beans

Garden season is in full swing. Not only are we getting fantastic veggies from our CSA, I harvested my first ripe tomato from my own garden today and everyday brings in more handfuls of beans.  Today it was the purple pole beans.  They are gorgeous!  Now beans are great for munching on straight from the garden, in fact I watched my friend's 5 year old daughter pack away a bunch of the beans I brought over the other day.  That's how you know they are tasty! There are many ways to prepare fresh beans, that s if they make it in from the garden....

A while back I tried a side dish at a restaurant that was called 'firecracker beans'.  It was basically over cooked beans with limp bacon and no spice....not too appealing.


Tonight I decided to make my own firecracker beans and boy oh boy were they tasty. There really wasn't too much to it.  My bacon was in the freezer and since I've been doing quite a bit of cooking with it, I unwrapped it and hacked of the end, sliced it up and tossed it in the pan. 

2 slices bacon, sliced
1 big handful of beans
1/2 to 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
A large fry pan

 Once the bacon is close to crisp, pop in a good pinch of hot pepper flakes. (If your bacon has left lots of grease, drain enough grease to leave about a tablespoon) Use up to a teaspoon, depending on how spicy you like it.
  Let the flakes heat up a little and add the beans. Sauté the beans for no more than 3 minutes.  You want the beans to still have some snap and not get soggy.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Eat the beans.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Quinoa Salad is Berry-licious!


I really have no excuse for not posting too regularly except for the fact that I have been enjoying some much needed alone time.  How is this you ask? For one, I am on holidays from work until September.  Two, Hubby has been working during the day, as per usual. Three, the Boy is on a fantastic Me to We adventure in Ecuador building a school, playing games with kids, and having a blast. (He's a keeper!)

Not to brag too much, but I have been sleeping in, watching Netflix, and hanging out in the garden.  Nothing too exciting but seems to be just what I needed.  That being said, many apologies if I haven't kept in touch. I must also admit to spending a good amount of time browsing Pinterest.  I love seeing the ideas and thing people come up with and sometimes it inspires my own thought processes.

I found some salads featuring quinoa and berries.  The dressings didn't seem to appeal to me so I figured honey and lime always go well with berries and boom....there you have it. 

Berry Quinoa Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

4 cups mixed berries 
    - I used a mixture of blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and strawberries
1/2 cup un cooked quinoa
1 cup water
Slivered almonds, toast almonds in a dry pan until slightly golden and allow to cool.

Honey lime dressing

1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp oil (use a neutral tasting oil such as canola)
Pinch of salt

Combine the quinoa and water in a pot.  Bring to a boil, slap a lid on it, reduce the temperature to low and set the timer for 15 minutes.  When the timer dings, take it off the heat, fluff it with a fork and set it aside to cool.

Wash and dry the berries, cut up the strawberries, pit and halve the cherries, and put it all to the side.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake it until everything is combined. Give the dressing a taste to see if it needs more honey, or lime, or salt.

Once the quinoa is cooled, combine it with the berries, almonds, and the dressing. Chill until serving time.

This salad was divine....Hubby gave it rave reviews!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Supper Central: Meal Assembly 101

Oh my, have things been busy around here.  The Boy graduated high school!!  There was convocation, a dinner and a dance, a limo full of teenagers.... Now that graduation things are over, we had to get the Boy registered for University classes in the fall!  By the way, he earned himself an entrance scholarship!  The last of our excitement is underway as way as well:  the Boy leaves for his Me to We trip to Ecuador!  Wow!

 A while back I had the opportunity to check out Supper Central.  They had teamed up with the Manitoba Chicken Producers to sponsor a meal prep gathering. I had heard about this place but had never been. Supper central is a dinner assembly kitchen. You order your meals, set a day and time to go in, and rotate through the statio stations assembling meals. Here's the neat part: they do all the prep AND the clean up! What's not to love? At the end of the evening you leave with your meals, each one neatly packed in a big zip top bag complete with meat, grain or pasta, and veggie.

Packing your meal couldn't be easier. Rice and pasta are pre measured into baggies, meats are already portioned out into another baggie....seriously.  All you need to do is follow the recipe instructions they provide to add marinade ingredients to the meat, smoosh it up, reseal it and put it into the larger zip top bag.  Now grab your grain or pasta, toss that in, and assemble your last part.  On this meal that was the mango salsa.  In another meal, it was grabbing a Baggie of frozen green beans and adding honey and soy.

As you assemble your meals you can adjust seasonings to your family's liking, we like spicy so I added extra spices accordingly. Supper Central will also provide you with a handy prep card with instructions on how to prepare your meal.

Meals come together quickly and easily. For a busy family or couple, this is a fabulous dinner option.  The chicken and mango salsa were tasty and came together quickly with a quick grill of the chicken, boil the rice and thaw the mango salsa. Everyone in the house enjoyed it.  We got 5 chicken breast with the 'full size' meal. The pieces were quite smaller than I would normally buy when grocery shopping but if you are feeding smaller kids, they are a good size. If you are feeding a giant teen boy, there most likely want be leftovers.

The Quick and Easy:

I am in love with the concept of supper central and will most likely make use of them during busy times. They are organized, clean, and they do the work for you.  The meals are tasty and well thought out as well.

Supper Central is allergy aware with nut free stations, gluten free options and the like.  

They have plenty of single meals pre frozen to store in your freezer and which are great options for singles or people who aren't able to cook.

Supper Central offers a packing service where they will assemble your meals and all you need to do is to pick them up.

If their meals seem pricey, think about the time component. All the chopping and cleaning pins done for you. You just show up and assemble.

Definitely worth checking out.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Please note that I assembled 2 meals at Supper Central which were generously provided to those in attendance by Manitoba Chicken Producers. Thank you for the opportunity to try out meal assembly. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Fair to Remember

The Red River Exhibition is on and boy, has the Ex ever changed since I was a kid! I must confess to not having been the Ex for quite sometime now. Probably about 10 years or so. What I remember from when I was a kid is the Ex always being set up in the Polo Park area around the old stadium and the old arena. It was always so much fun to walk around and play those carnival games, even though Mom always warned us those games were fixed, stand in line to get on the rides that will make you dizzy, and try some of that carnival food!

Nowadays, the Ex has a larger site on the west side of the city and so much more has been added. More games, more rides, more family activities, and more food. Food is what I am going to talk about. 

Monday evening the Boy, Hubby, and I ventured out to see what the Ex has to offer.  We were quite surprised at the variety of foods offered. It really isn't just corn dogs and candy floss anymore.  I highly suggest you do a full walk about before committing to a food choice. The concessions are spread out throughout the park and some concessions offer the same food item, but have a different take or recipe. (Also, if planning on partaking in the rides, ride first, eat later...)

Now, on with the food!

As I said before, take the full tour first. The 3 of us walked around, took in the sights and smells, and marvelled at a few of the vomit inducing rides.  We had 6 coupons to spend on any concession item we wanted. I enforced the sharing with your favourite food blogger law to make sure we all got to taste a little bit of everything.

This could be best expressed with the help of photos...

My memories of Ex food:

Corn dogs, candy floss, and snow cones..

Some of the food offerings this year:

Some of what we ate:  

Chipstix: fried potato on a stick. I was expecting this to be crispy  but was merely a soft, greasy fried potato on a stick. You do get to choose the sprinkle flavour of you choice, but this was a disappointment.

Souvlaki Skewers with chicken, lamb, and beef, all in the same pita! This was fabulous. All the meats were cooked just right and had all the Greek flavouring you would expect. The tzaziki was garlicky and delicious.

Tacos from Yo Quiero Tacos Tacos Tacos. Hubby ordered a trio of shredded beef tacos and the boys at the truck loaded them up with everything. They were messy and wonderful.  

Hubby here!  These tacos were awesome - nicely cooked meat, a hint of spice, cilantro, tasty tortillas and fresh vegis.  I would recommend these if you are a fan of Mexican food.  For me, they could have used more heat, but I recognize that what is spicy for most people barely registers for me.  Sadly, Yo Quiero is a native of Vancouver, but if you are out that way, find them and enjoy some mouthwatering Mexican cuisine.

Poutine from the Poutine King topped with bacon, mushrooms, green peppers, and green onions. (It was called the Canadian).  The fries were perfectly cooked on the outside and soft on the inside. The variety of different toppings offered was interesting.

Some more food we ate:

Deep fried foods are their own food group which happens to include Oreos, pickles, and mini donuts.

The pickles had a nicely spiced batter that had some dill and red pepper flakes in it. They were tasty and great for sharing.

Deep fried Oreos.....these are a must try. You will get 5 in your order and you will need to share. They are Rich, chocolatey, and have a hint of cinnamon.

Mini donuts. Freshly fried and coated in cinnamon sugar. Enough said.

I must not forget to mention the chocolate covered bacon... Or the free concert that happens every night.

The Boy thought the chocolate covered bacon was quite amazing. I felt it needed to be a better quality/tasting bacon for it to work better.

The quick and easy:

Parking at the Exhibition grounds will cost you 5$, so if you drive, be prepared for that.  City transit also makes regular runs out there.

Entrance to the park will cost 13$/person with children under 6 getting in for free.

Ride tickets bought on site run 1$/ticket with some price breaks on larger quantities.  Rides tend to be about 5 tickets each.
Ride all you want wristbands can be purchased for 45$, which, if you plan on riding a lot,  is a good deal.

Food costs vary and depend on what you order. There are many items in the 5$ range for quick snacks and sharing but you will also find items upwards of 10$ or more.  Have a look around.

Bottom line: bring money but plan out your time there. With so much to do and see, it will be easy to spend your money before the night is done.

Now don't get me wrong, once in the park there are some free things to go see. Entertainment such as  the lumber jack competition, concerts, animals and agriculture events, and so on.

The Ex also offers free admission during of small windows of time.  Check out their website for more info and entertainment line ups.

All in all, we were well fed and entertained while at the Red River Exhibition. It was a nice evening out for the three of us.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Please note that while our evening at the Ex was generously donated to us, it has no bearing on our opinions regarding quality and taste.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sharing The Farm

Today we were lucky enough to get our first farm share goodies of the season. I must say that with the delayed spring (read loooooooong winter) this was an exciting thing.  My own garden has been coming along slowly so it is always a great to get the fresh goodies, even if it is mostly greens and herbs.  I kept pushing back feelings of guilt over my lack of gardening but after a stint with pharyngitis, a sinus infection, an especially long allergy season, and the aforementioned long winter I really could get things done.

I am slowly getting things together in the yard here at the Little Kitchen and trying to stick to my gardening plan.  For now the fresh goodies from Almost Urban are just the treat we need to keep us going.

What did we get? Beets, lettuces, green onions, herbs, a basil plant, a bar of goat's milk far, so good!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

BBQ Bliss

Do you love BBQ? Do you love brisket with a fabulous smoke ring smoked right in? Do you love perfectly smoked pulled pork? Do you love fall off the bone ribs? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you really do need to head on down to Lovey's BBQ on Marion.

The other evening I had the pleasure of chowing down on some tasty, tasty BBQ. The folks at Lovey's were kind enough to offer the invite to taste their wares and blog about it. (I really do love this deal!)  I met up with a small group and we decided on ordering the Voyageur platter.  This platter feeds 4 adults but really, it could feed a small army. The amount of food you get with this platter is ridonculous!

To quote their menu:

"One slab of St. Louis style side ribs, one whole BBQ chicken, one pound Winnipeg style pulled pork or one pound slow smoked Winnipeg beef brisket, BBQ pit beans, creamy coleslaw, 4 cornbread muffins & your choice of potato salad or fries"

Of course we had to test out a few other items on the menu such as the deep fried pickles, the pulled pork poutine, and the smoked chicken wings.

I first tried deep fried pickles while in Tennessee a few years ago and for ages I could only get them when we went South of the border. Now I can find them at Lovey's and quite honestly I can not go into Lovey's without getting an order. They were crisp on the outside with dill pickle goodness on the inside.  The perfect bite to munch on while waiting for the rest of your meal.

Lovey's does their own smoking and uses locally raised meat in their smokers. Their Manitoba beef brisket has a bonafide smoke ring on the outer layer letting you know that it has indeed spent a long time slowly smoking to a tender finish. Sliced thin and piled high, the brisket is one of my favourites from Lovey's.

The pulled pork is an often ordered item here. It spends enough time in the smoker to melt off the fat from the Boston butt cut of pork and render it tender. Smothered in BBQ sauce and paired with their crisp coleslaw you can't go wrong.  Take their pulled pork and add it to fries with cheese and gravy and you've got  poutine poetry! 

The chicken is a close third to that favourite. Smoked until tender and tasty and served with a slather of BBQ sauce the chicken is safe bet if you haven't had BBQ before and aren't sure where to start.  Now speaking of chicken, Lovey's also smokes the wings. We order the extra hot wings and while tasty, with a bit of char, they weren't very spicy. For my palate, they were barely warm, tasty, but not spicy.

There is no shortage of classic BBQ side dishes at Lovey's.  Coleslaw, potato salad, corn bread, fries, garlic fries.... For the most part, everything is a good bet. It just depends on what you prefer. There is really something for everyone here, except maybe vegetarians....

The Quick and Easy:
Tasty and flavourful BBQ meats in generous portions. If you don't like pork, there's always the chicken or the beef.  Lovey's offers something for everyone from a simple cheese burger for around $6 to a platters of meats and sides for up to $70.

Did I mention they have a bourbon bar?

They also dabble in catering, take out, and have a food truck.

A friendly and community oriented bunch, Lovey's has a couple of fundraising options for groups and persons looking to raise some cash for their cause.

Kids eat free on Sundays.

Please note, that while my meal was generously provided, it had no bearing on my opinions regarding quality and taste.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Weeknight Out at the Lobby on York

Every now and then it is nice to be spoiled rotten, isn't it? Ahhh.....yes.....spoiled rotten. You see, a few weeks ago I received an offer that was just too darned good to pass up. So of course, I said yes! I don't know too many people who would pass up a night out with a group of fun loving people for dinner at the Lobby on York. I simply cannot think of a better way to spend a Tuesday evening! So here I sit, watching some baseball and reminiscing about the fun, food, and wine at the Lobby on York.

I must admit to not going to the downtown area all too often these days but once upon a time when I first started dating Hubby, he lived in the building across York street from where The Lobby on York is located and to be quite honest, the location was a little on the seedy side. Opened in May of 2009, The Lobby has such a nice warm glow that it gives off the perfect vibe for a nice slow meal with friends and loved ones.  It has definitely been fixed up, looks completely different, and serves up some modern grub in a gentle, warmly lit environment.

It was a quiet evening in this cozy restaurant and lounge, well it was quiet until us ladies showed up! We were greeted warmly at the front desk by general manager, Shan, and escorted to the back where they had a room set up for us. Almost as though they knew we might cause some sort of trouble. Shan gave us the low down on the Lobby, including the two different rooms they have for various sizes of gatherings.
Everything was already set up for us, including a table with the different wines we would be enjoying that night. Dinning room manager, Karl, got the wine flowing right away for us, with a nice light Riesling from Loosen Brothers. I am going to leave the wine comments up to Sarah as she actually knows what she is talking about in that department, all I know is that it went down smoothly. Once all the ladies (Trina, Shel, Rebecca, Susie, Sarah, and myself) showed up and we got settled, Karl hopped to it! Before we knew it we had 7 appetizers and 3 different wines in front of us.

We were treated to the following scintillating appetizers:

Albacore tuna tartare served with avocado, sesame, chili aioli, cilantro, and these delectable little homemade ripple chips. I have never tried a tuna tartare before and this was fabulous! I would order this again.

Sliced beef & crostini: smoked tenderloin served on a Guinness mustard with horseradish cream, Parmesan, and fresh arugula. An overly strong smoky flavour on the beef but it goes so well with the horseradish cream that is cut the smokiness.

Village Bay oysters served with lemon and a red wine mignonette. (These gems are from Canadian waters.) These oysters were salty and fresh. The mignonette paired so well they went down smoothly. I could have have a few more of these guys.

Tomato salad served with blue cheese, baby greens, spiced nuts, pickled onion, and a smoked buttermilk dressing. Fresh, crisp, tasty....need I say more?

Korean beef short ribs done in a ponzu marinade with sesame, cilantro, and a house made red chili sauce similar to Sriarcha, but better. Another one of my favourites.

Chopped salad consisting of crisp romaine, corn, onion, cucumber, olive, radish, and feta finished with an oregano cream dressing. Another great combination of crisp, fresh veggies.

Duck quesadilla made with pulled duck, a Brie and cheddar mix with sesame, bell peppers served with spicy mayo. Served as a roll cut into sections, a complete taste sensation.

Three wines where chosen to be served with our appetizers. To be honest, I just smiled and nodded when Karl explained the wine related details. My only question was 'Karl, is there alcohol in that wine? Then pour please.' It all tasted fabulous and that is really what matters to me.

While the 6 ladies chatted, laughed, and made a lot of noise, our selection of entrees was being carefully prepared by head chef Jesse.

For our entrees we were treated to a fabulous selection of food:

Peppercorn New York strip loin served with a pink peppercorn sauce, scallion mashed potato and seasonal vegetable. (Beef at the Lobby comes from High River Alberta, not local, but still Canadian.) The steak was well cooked but I am not a huge fan of too many peppercorns. If you love pepper, then this is for you.

Portobello rib steak served with a marinated portobello mushroom and truffle butter on scallion mashed potato and seasonal vegetable. My favourite entree of the night.

Australian rack of lamb with a tamarind mint sauce. I know lamb is best served rare but this was a bit too rare for my liking. Taste wise however, it was quite good.

Ricotta Gnocchi with a red pepper pesto, walnuts, mushrooms, asparagus, brocollini, and fresh arugula. A nice vegetarian option.

Seafood trio which turns out to be prawns, scallops, and a 1/2 lobster tail served on lemon risotto. I don't eat a lot of seafood but this not only was pretty to look at, it was pretty to eat as well.

Local pickerel served on saffron couscous, marinated tomato, and herb pesto topped with crispy Serrano ham. I am a fan of pickerel and this fish swam well with all the rest of this dish.

Alaskan lingcod served on wild mushroom risotto, truffle butter, and shaved asparagus. This was a new fish to me. It was a meaty filet but the most memorable part of this dish was the risotto. A nice combination.

Three different wines were carefully selected to go with our entrees and yet again, the wines went well with the food.

Karl was a good man and even brought out a few desserts to try:

I am fairly new to the restaurant review game but if you are looking for a night out with great food but don't want the same old boring food, this is the place to go. Be prepared to spend a little extra money but it will be worth your while and your taste buds will thank you.

The quick and easy:

Lobby not only has their dinner menu, they also offer up a fabulous lounge menu and a lunch menu!

Lounge offerings run from about 8$ for sides to 16$ for appetizers or a burger, and the steaks start at 24$

The lounge at the Lobby has some fabulous deals during the week which include:
   - Thursday's buck a shuck oysters and 8$ drinks.  Now don't go ordering a ton of oysters for 1$ each and drink water. Have a drink or two. The bartenders will fix you something nice.
    -Friday in the lounge you can get a 5 oz glass of wine for 5$ or a 9 oz glass for 9$ (or how about the bottle for 25$)
     -Jets nights will find the lounge offering shots for 3.50 and appetizer 2 for 20$ (not signature appies though)

 The lunch menu runs from about 6$ for the soup up to  about 16$ and cover a wide range of salad, sandwiches, and seafood offerings.

Dinner offerings are more expensive but have plenty to offer. Starters are in the 10 to 15$ range. Entree offerings will run from 24$ to 39$ with side dishes starting at 8$.

A funny thing happens when you dine out with food bloggers; Everyone HAS to take photos of all the food before we eat. Not only that, everyone feels the need to live tweet the event as well thus sending my phone into a tizzy of notifications. At least when dining with fellow bloggers, no one complains about everyone having their phones out. We all understand each other.

Thank you so much Lobby for putting up with us!!!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Please note that while the Lobby generously provided us with all the food and drinks during our night out, it had no bearing on my opinions regarding quality and taste.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Squash Your Pasta

Ever have one of those nights were you knock dinner right out of the ball park? Last night was one of those nights. We are still doing the gluten free thing around here but I was wanting something more Italian and pasta like. I picked up a spaghetti squash at the store this weekend and thought I would give it a go.

1 spaghetti squash
1 pkg (6 links) hot Italian sausage squished out of the casings(make sure it is gluten free if that is a concern)
1 onion, sliced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
500ml tomato sauce or a couple of diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
Parmesan cheese

To start off you will need to roast the squash for about 45 minutes until the flesh shreds into spaghetti like shreds with a fork. First pre heat the oven to 350 F. Next, wash off the squash, dry it, and slice the squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a baking sheet. While the squash is in the oven is a good time to do other things such as make your kids do their homework, do some yoga, read a get the idea.

Once the squash is cooked and ready to spaghetti, heat up your frying pan. Fry up the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks.
Add the onion and peppers and continue to cook until softened
Scrape all the spaghetti squash with a fork into strands, this will be easy if it has been roasted long enough. You should be left with 2 empty squash shell halves. Dump the strands into the pan and grate in 2 cloves of garlic. Mix it all together into one tasty mass.
Pour in your tomato sauce and stir until heated through. Sprinkle on about 1/4 (or 1/2) a cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve it up with extra Parm and some garlic bread (gluten free bread if needed).

This got rave reviews not only at supper last night but in the staff room today at lunch. I had to promise to post the recipe.
Not to brag, but that tomato sauce is my owned canned sauce from the fall.
Sooooooo good.

The only thing we really had to say was that next time we will use a spicier hot sausage.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Warm Brownies Cold Night

The temperature keeps dropping here in the great white North and this means ski pants, extra sweaters, jammies, and warm brownies with ice cream. Ice cream? What the?
(Okay, now that I've finished writing, the temps have warmed to only -20 Celsius.)

Yes. That's right. Prairie dwellers still require the occasional ice cream or a slurpee or two, even in the dead of winter. Perhaps if our insides are cooled down, the outside temp doesn't feel as cold? Who knows? People around here tend to be extremely proud about being able to withstand the cold temperatures. Me on the other hand, I will bundle up to the point of no return. I walk to work. Even in -45 Celsius. Not happily. But I do. For some reason work just expects me to be there, no matter the temperature. Weird. I will confide this: sometimes my co-workers laugh at me. I don't mind though. Because I just say no when they come see me to borrow a sweater! FOOLS!

Anyhow, I do believe I mentioned brownies at some point. These particular brownies were of the gluten free variety. I bought a bag of coconut flour the other week and have used to coat chicken wings and to make brownies. The brownie recipe is right on the back of the bag.

Gluten free brownies

1/3 cup butter (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
(I added a good handful of shredded coconut too!)

Pre heat oven to 350 F and line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment.

Melt butter or coconut oil and mix in cocoa powder until smooth. I did this in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Mix in the cocoa mixture.

Now add the coconut flour and mix until it is no longer lumpy. You will be surprised at how much the flour seems to expand and thicken the egg mixture!

Now add the chocolate chips and coconut, if using.

Pour into the parchment lined baking pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and what ever sauces float your boat (or snowmobile).

I found some cherries in the freezer so I thawed those with a tablespoon or 2 of sugar to make a syrup....soooooooo delish!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hello Hockey Cheesesteaks

Depite bitter cold temperatures Winnipeg seems to be breathing a sigh of relief now that hockey is back. This means our beloved Jets are back in action at the phone booth and the fans are louder than ever. We are not fortunate enough to have tickets to any of the games but we did watch the game this afternoon on the TV. What does any game day require? Some grub!

This is another idea I found via Pinterest (the biggest time suck EVER)! We are making an effort to eat less gluten. That's right. You heard me. You'll notice I didn't say I that we were cutting it out altogether. I just can't do that. It is too restrictive. I don't like feeling guilty every time I slip and have a little bit of bread or a gluten containing item. We are a sandwich loving house. The Boy isn't concerned about gluten, just Hubby and I are. The Boy hasn't changed a thing.

Today's snack/lunch was a Philly style cheesesteak stuffed pepper. All the Philly cheesesteak goodness, none of the bread. I found some sliced brisket in the freezer, dug out an onion, some mushrooms, and the provolone cheese. In a pinch you could use deli roast beef, or any sliced steak/roast beef you have on hand.

These were some pretty darn tasty treats to munch on while watching the First Jets game of the season, even if they did lose.

Here's how it all went down:

Gather up the following:

3 peppers
12 slices provolone cheese
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
10 or 12 mushrooms
Sliced cooked steak or roast beef (about a pound, or 454 grams)
1 tbsp oil for pan

Wash, stem, and clean out 6 peppers and cut then in half. Line each pepper with a slice of cheese.

Slice onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Sauté these until golden.

Add the beef to the pan and stir up until heated through. Divide the beefy mushroom goodness up between the 6 pepper halves. Cover each pile o' goodness with another slice of cheese.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese is melty and the pepper have softened slightly.


Now these little gems got rave reviews and the ok to make them again! (I love it when that happens!) Today I only baked these babies for 20 minutes but I think they could have stayed in a little longer. The peppers were a little too crunchy for the taste and feel I was wanting.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.