Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chia Seed Gel

Chia Seeds (yes, the very same Chia that you see advertised in Chia Pets) are amazing. They're tiny little round, black or white seeds (that somewhat resemble poppy seeds) that when come into contact with moisture, form a gel coating around itself. This gel coating, comprised of water and cellulose, more than double their bulk and help you to feel full with less food ('a dieter's dream' they're called) and are packed with a lot of goodness. 

Chia seeds are full of protein, fiber and have more Omega 3s per gram than salmon! They keep you feeling full longer and give you more energy than a cup of espresso. And because of their unique structure and water retention, you can turn them into a gel and use the gel to replace up to half the required fats in any recipe reducing the fat and increasing the fiber and protein. Amazing right? I'm hooked! I like to add a teaspoon of chia to my yogurt, I sprinkle it on my salads and I'm just starting to experiment with it in baking. Google Chia Seeds for yourself and read up on this amazing ancient grain. Seriously. Do it. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Caramelized Onion Mac and Cheese

I went to a party last month. It was a chic, industry, big-city party with open bar and and a caterer. I was sooooo out of my element, heck, I had my 5 month old baby with me! Thankfully everyone was so lovely, Will was taken out of my hands almost as soon as I walked in the door to be oooo'd and awwww'd over and I was pointed in the direction of the wine and food.

I grabbed a glass of red and wandered over to the spread of appetizers. I was nibbling on a celery stick when a server came by and offered me a "plate" (it was the size of a coaster) of Mac and Cheese. I think it took me all of 17 seconds to inhale it. It was AH-MAZE-ING. I tasted a hint of sweetness and it was definitely not made with Velveeta. I sought out another server and had 2 more plates before I started wondering if everyone was looking at me like "who's the girl eating all the Mac and Cheese?!". 

If you live in or around Toronto, check out Cheesewerks on Bathurst, they know their Mac and Cheese. If, like me, you live no where near Toronto, you need this recipe! I've come up with my own version that's pretty damn good if I do say so myself! I kept it simple using ingredients I had in my fridge and pantry, but feel free to switch up the cheeses and noodles to create your own version!

Print this recipe
Caramelized Mac and Cheese

6 medium onions, sliced thinly
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter

1 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
450g uncooked macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend of mozzarella, asiago, parmesan and provolone)
1/2 cup aged white cheddar, shredded
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
Salt to taste

1. Put the 3 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of butter in a heavy bottom frying or sauce pan and put over medium heat until the butter is melted and oil is glistening.
2. Add the onions. Stir to coat all the onions in oil.
3. Cook onions over medium-low heat (I had my burner set at 3) stirring ever 5 minutes or so. 
4. After 15 minutes add the salt and stir. Continue to stir occasionally not letting the onions burn.
5. Add the brown sugar and continue to slowly cook, stirring and moving the onions around as needed until they're soft and golden brown. This could take up to an hour.
6. In the meantime, cook the macaroni to under al denté. (you want them slightly under cooked so they don't go mushy)
7. In a large saucepan heat the butter over medium-high heat until melted and then add the flour. Stir with a whisk to incorporate and continue to stir for 3 minutes to cook the flour.
8. Add the milk and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens. Add the cheeses and stir until the cheese has melted. 
9. Pour the cooked noodles, cheese sauce and onions into a slow cooker and mix. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 4 hours. Serve hot.

(You can do this on the stove as well, just cook your noodles to al denté, mix your cheese sauce and onions with the noodles in the pot and serve)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Crumble Cake - Recipe Review

I joined a book club in September and I love it! But more importantly, I love my book club ladies! They're a great group, full of support and humor and great conversation. Our weekly meetings are about 20% book discussion, 60% chit chat and 20% coffee and treats.

I like to try to bring a new treat every week. Cookies, squares, muffins, etc... This week I decided to try a cake. It's risky because I have limited time in the morning, and cakes take some time in the oven. I have three kids to feed, dress and get off to school (at three different schools), a baby who wants to nap right around the time we have to be out the door, and I like to look somewhat presentable which requires me sneaking in a shower in the hour and twenty minutes we have from when we wake up to when we're running out the front door.

I needed a cake recipe that was easy, fast and of course, delicious. I went to and right on the homepage was a picture of this cake. The name drew me in, Pumpkin Crumble Cake. When I read the ingredients and saw how easy it is I decided to give it a try. I made a little modification, I wanted to bake it in a bundt pan (purely for the pretty) and so I put the crumble in the bottom of the pan and poured the batter over top. If I were to do it again in the bundt pan I'd pour the batter in and then put the crumble so when it's turned out on a plate it would be easier to slice through. But any way you bake this recipe it'll be delicious (I may try cupcakes next time)! The cake has a great light, fluffy, soft texture similar to red velvet cake and it tastes like a slice of pumpkin pie but with an amazing, sweet, pecan crunch. My book club absolutely LOVED it!  My friend Jeannette's two year old kept coming back to steal bites off her mom's plate, which, she begrudgingly shared. 

My book club ladies!

We read some heavy material :)
I'll definitely be making this one again as it was a big hit!

For the recipe for this amazing cake, head on over to!

Please read my Disclosure Page to learn about my relationship with General Mills Canada.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Maple Pecan Squash Casserole

Thanksgiving is upon us, and I don't know about you but it seemed to me to pop up out of nowhere this year! Wasn't it just summer? Not that I'm complaining mind you, I could eat turkey and stuffing and pie every day of the year!

Our friends Devin and Laurie had our family over for dinner last fall and Laurie made this amazing squash dish that had me going for thirds and fourths. The sweet, smooth squash is topped with a crunchy sweet crust packed with pecans that will make your toes curl it's so good! I made it for dinner last Thanksgiving and made a few batches for the freezer to pull out whenever I had a craving! As soon as I noticed Thanksgiving was coming up I ran out for more butternut squash to make another batch since my freezer was all out.

 I changed her recipe (which I understand she got from her mom who found it on the internet a few years ago) slightly to incorporate maple syrup which just hits this dish out of the park! Try this for your Thanksgiving dinner this year, you'll be thanking Laurie!

Print this Recipe

Maple Pecan Squash Casserole

1 butternut squash, cooked and mashed (about 3 cups)
3 tbsp butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter

1. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and innards. Place cut side down in a casserole dish with 1/4" of water and bake at 350˚F for about 40 minutes or until the squash is cooked and soft.
2. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and then scoop out the cooked squash and add to a blender or food processor.
3. Add the butter, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla and blend until smooth.
4. Spread the squash mixture into a casserole dish.
5. In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, flour, pecans and butter until the mixture is crumbly.
6. Sprinkle topping mixture over squash and bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Iced Caramel Macchiato

I'm baaaaaaack! 

So, I've been away a while, doing this: (warning: proud mama in the house)

But now I'm getting a bit of sleep again, and a routine has been carved out and I'm bursting with inspiration! I sat down last night and wrote out 25 recipe ideas I want to try.

Given my current state of perpetual zombieness this bevvie went right to the top of the list.

I love a good iced coffee in the morning. It's instant gratification for my caffeine needs (some mornings even my Tassimo takes too long!), and I much prefer a cold coffee to hot in the sweltering heat of summer. I used to be a straight up Mocha girl at coffee shops but lately I'm all about the Caramel. I was curious to see how the caramel flavour translated to an iced coffee and I'm thrilled to report my experiment was scrumtastic! (I couldn't decide between the two adjectives.)

I will definitely be brewing this up for the rest of the summer!

Print this recipe

Iced Caramel Macchiato

10 cups strong-brewed coffee, hot
1/2 cup caramel sauce (I used Torani)
1 tsp vanilla


1. Brew 10 cups of your favourite coffee.
2. As soon as the coffee is done brewing pour in the caramel and vanilla.
3. Stir to melt the caramel into the coffee.
4. Allow to cool to room temperature and then place in refrigerator.
5. Serve over ice with milk or cream. Garish with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel for an authentic coffee house experience.

Print this recipe

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meyer Lemon Squares

I live in the country, far from the nearest major city. Our grocery store is well stocked but they don't often carry the "fancy" stuff. You won't find micro-greens, truffles or crown roasts there, at least not on a regular basis. Every now and then though I'll pop in for milk and see something out of the ordinary. Something I have always wanted to cook with or try. A couple weeks ago that item was Meyer Lemons. A whole display of them greeted me as I walked in the door. Without even thinking I grabbed a bag and almost danced through the store to the chip aisle (the reason I was there, of course). I had NO idea what I wanted to make, but never having even tried a Meyer Lemon before I wasn't about to let the opportunity pass me by!

They sat in my fridge for a few days as I scoured the internet and quizzed my twitter pals on what they would make. I almost made lemonade just to enjoy the flavour unadulterated, but then decided they deserved a more complex fate. I went to my stash of grandma's cookbooks and found a recipe for lemon squares that sounded perfect. A light shortbread crust with a layer of silky lemon curd using both the juice and grated rind, what better way to showcase the sweet-tart taste of a Meyer Lemon?

Meyer Lemon Squares

1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp Meyer Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp grated Meyer Lemon rind


1. Mix the first four ingredients together until crumbly. Press into the bottom of a greased 8" x 8" cake pan and bake for 350˚F for 20 minutes.
2. Grate the lemon rind and then squeeze and strain the lemon juice.
3. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the baked base. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes. Do not brown!
4. Cool and sprinkle icing sugar over the top and cut into squares.

I just discovered that Meyer Lemons have a season, which is quickly coming to a close. Grab yourself a bag of these yummy beauties and give this a try. If you're like me and can't get your hands on Meyer Lemons (usually!) you can certainly use regular lemons, I would just add a little squeeze of Mandarin Orange juice in addition to the lemon juice to try to mimic the slightly sweeter Meyer Lemon flavour.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Braised BBQ Ribs

I didn’t eat ribs until I met my husband. The thought of gnawing meat off a bone with nothing but my bare hands and teeth kind of creeped me out. It was too messy and quite frankly, a little too “caveman” for me. Then one night we went to my sister-in-law’s for dinner and she made ribs. I’m not one to not eat what’s put in front of me at a dinner party, it’s rude (unless of course I’m allergic or have a severe aversion). So I rolled up my sleeves and resigned myself to the fact I would make a huge mess and probably look ridiculous. But my sister-in-law’s ribs were so tender the meat slid right off the bone and they totally changed my perception of ribs. I got her secrets for super tender ribs and started making them at home. Now they’re my husband’s favourite dinner and we serve them often when we have dinner guests as they’re so easy and incredibly tasty.

I use a mixture of bottled barbeque sauces to save time, if you make your own sauce more power to ya! This is not the traditional way to make ribs, and I’m sure a lot of barbeque aficionados would scoff at my methods, but give it a try and I swear you’ll fall in love with these ribs! (If you want to do these on the grill you could do them in a foil pan and then transfer directly to the grill when it comes time to coat in the BBQ sauce)

Braised BBQ Ribs

Dry Rub

2 tbsp seasoned salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dehydrated onion
1 tsp smoked chipotle powder


2 racks baby back pork ribs
dry rub mixture
1 1/2 cups Bull’s Eye Barbeque Sauce
1 1/2 cups Diana Chicken and Rib Sauce


  1. Mix together the spices for the dry rub and set aside.
  2. Place the ribs in a large pot and cover with water (I cut them into servings of 4-5 ribs to fit the pot). Bring to a boil and boil for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the ribs from the pot and place in a shallow pan reserving the water.
  4. Sprinkle some of the dry rub onto each section of ribs making sure to coat them well.
  5. Add some of the cooking liquid to the pan, enough to cover the bottom.
  6. Cover the pan with tin foil and place in a preheated 350˚F oven.
  7. Bake for 2 1/2 hours checking once or twice to add more cooking liquid as necessary (you don’t want to boil them again, but you don’t want to pan to go dry).
  8. Mix together the two barbeque sauces. Remove the tin foil and pour about 2/3 of the sauce over all the ribs to coat. (if the pan goes dry at this point it's fine, don't add more water)
  9. Return to the oven uncovered, after 20 minutes baste the ribs with the remaining sauce.
  10. Cook for another 10 minutes and remove from the oven and serve.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Everyone Loves Cheerios!


I have a gaggle of children so to say we go through a lot of Cheerios in this house is an understatement! The kids love to snack on them dry, and I love a big bowl full in the morning with milk and sliced banana. When I had my cholesterol checked recently (something I do regularly as heart disease and high cholesterol run in my family) my number was really low, and it's quite possible that I can thank my love of Cheerios for that! (I certainly can't thank my love of bacon...)

Cheerios are made with Oat Fibre, and Oat Fibre has been shown to help reduce cholesterol. A bowl of Cheerios a day is an easy and yummy step you can take to ensure your future heart health!

Cheerios recently launched their very own website where you can find lots of information on cholesterol (like how to decode test results, questions to ask your doctor and what kinds of foods lower your cholesterol) as well as recipes and coupons for Cheerios! Who doesn't love coupons?!

To celebrate the launch of the website I am giving away a Heart Month Cheerios Gift Pack which includes a box of Honey Nut, Original and the New Family-Size Box of Chocolate Cheerios as well as an adorable set of Heart Shaped nesting bowls!

How to win:

Share a heart health tip in the comments (something you do to help keep your cholesterol and heart in check), head over to and 'Like' one of the cholesterol articles (and leave a comment telling me you did so and which article it was), or perhaps share a Cheerios heart healthy recipe!

Contests period is February 21 through March 13, 2012
Open to Canadian residents only, you can enter across multiple blogs but only win once.
The Cheerios Giveaway kit is valued at approximately $50 and includes: a set of four heart shaped blows, Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, and the brand new family sized Chocolate Cheerios.  

Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Please see my disclosure page for information on my Life Made Delicious/General Mills Canada Partnership.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bagel Skins

There's a bar/restaurant (it actually calls itself a Saloon, which I love!) near my house that I never get to go to. On the rare occasion the husband and I do go out we don't go there because they don't serve chicken wings and my husband won't go anywhere they don't serve chicken wings. Weirdo.

Anyways, my absolute favorite item on the menu there is their bagel skins. Like a potato skin, sans potato! They serve them with Caesar Salad and they are just the most perfect, yummy lunch food/snack I can think of. Since I never get to go there (I may be a wee bit bitter about this) I have been making them at home for some time now. Great for a light lunch or even a Superbowl Snack, these cheesy, garlicky, doughy bites will have you looking at bagels in a whole new light.... move over cream cheese!

Bagel Skins

1 everything bagel, cut in half and hollowed out slightly
1 tbsp garlic butter, melted
2 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 scallion, diced
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I like to use 1/4 c marble cheddar and 1/4 c mozzarella)
salsa (optional)
sour cream (optional)

1. Cut the bagel in 1/2 like you would to toast it. Using a sharp knife remove some of the dough to form a shell (you can dry the dough and make bagel croutons!)
2. Brush the inside of the bagel halves with the melted garlic butter and place under the broiler until lightly browned.
3. Remove from the over and stuff each half with the bacon, scallions and cheese.
4. Return to the broiler and heat until the cheese has melted.
5. Serve with salsa and sour cream

Friday, January 6, 2012

Caesar Salad with Scallop Croutons

 Most of my recipes are homey, stick to your ribs, "the kids will love it" recipes. But every now and then I like to fancy it up. Ya know, get out the good china (that's not chipped from "helpful" kids loading and unloading the dishwasher) and silverware and eat in the company of other adults.

I had this salad at a restaurant over 10 years ago and it has stuck in my mind ever since. I've been wanting to try to make it for years but it never crossed my mind when I was actually planning dinner parties. A couple weeks ago it popped back into my brain and right then I emailed my friend Laurie and asked her if she wanted to come over for lunch the following week, I wanted to use her as a guinea pig. To my amazement she said yes! I think she said yes because she knows I'm not a seafood fan and couldn't believe I wanted to make something with scallops, and just had to see me eating them with her own two eyes to believe it. I'm a complex gal.

So Laurie came over and helped me prepare this yummy, hearty salad for lunch. The bay scallops are breaded in panko and fried (how can that NOT be good?) and placed atop a caesar salad made with homemade dressing and act as the crunchy croutons... with a soft, slightly sweet centre.

This recipe would make 8 appetizer size salads or 4 meal size salads, and would be an elegant addition to your next dinner party.

 Caesar Salad with Scallop Croutons

1 egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c. oil, vegetable or canola olive oil really changes the taste
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

scallop "croutons"
1 lb bay scallops  (the wee ones)
1/4 c flour
2 eggs
2 c panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
salt & pepper

1 head romaine hearts
1 small container mixed baby greens
6 strips bacon, fried crisp and chopped
parmesan cheese, shredded


1. In a food processor or blender, pulse egg and lemon juice until combined.
2. Lightly mince your garlic and add to the egg and lemon.
3. With blade spinning, slowly stream in the oil and allow to continue blending for 1-2 minutes.
4. While the mixture is blending add the vinegar and cheese and salt and pepper.
5. Transfer to a bowl or pitcher and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (1-2 hours is better) so the dressing has a chance to set and thicken and the flavours to develop.
6. In the meantime, fry the bacon until crisp and allow to drain on paper towels. Chop  into 1/2" pieces.
7. Set up a breading station by putting flour (seasoned with salt and pepper), eggs and panko in separate shallow dishes.
8. Rinse the scallops and dry on paper towels.
9. Dredge the scallops through the flour, then eggs then roll in the panko to coat thoroughly.
10. Heat oil to 365˚F. Carefully drop the scallops into the hot oil making sure not to over crowd. Cook until scallops are golden brown.
11. Drain excess oil off by removing scallops and placing on paper towels.
12. Rinse and dry the lettuce and tear into bite size pieces. Toss with bacon, dressing, parmesan and the scallops and serve.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mango Chicken Curry

When I first started dating my husband he was really excited for me to meet his friend Mike. Mike was a great guy, really friendly and smart and we hit it off right away. One night Mike asked us over for dinner. My husband was all for it and told me Mike was going to make us his famous Mango Chicken Curry. At first I was all "Seriously? Not frozen pizza or a bottle of marinara poured over pasta?", the usual single 20-something guy's cooking staples. And then I was all "Really? YOU like curry? The guy who eats almost nothing adventurous?". I had to say yes because I had to see these two phenomena for myself.

I went right from work to Mike's apartment and got there before my husband-to-be, so Mike let me watch him make his curry dish. I was really impressed with the fact that he didn't have to read a recipe, and even more impressed that it was so freakin' good (I have to admit, wasn't a big curry fan up until this point)! My future husband ate 2 plates of dinner and I knew I had to add Mike's famous curry dish to our repertoire. What I really like about this dish is that there is a nice balance of spice and sweet and all the ingredients can be easily found at any grocery store.

So Mike Lamont, thank you for teaching me how to make this. I'm sure along the way somewhere I changed some ingredient quantities because I never wrote down the original recipe, and have been making it from memory for almost 10 years, but Jason still eats 2 plates of it so I must be close!

Mango Chicken Curry

1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled & chopped in 1/2" pieces
1 green pepper, chopped in 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
3 cups chicken stock or water
3 tbsp Sweet Mango Chutney
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt & Pepper

1. Brown chicken thighs in olive oil until about 50% cooked through.
2. Remove chicken from pan and add onion & green pepper. Cook for about 5 mins over medium heat.

3. Add rice and stir. Cook for about a minute and add chicken stock.
4. Add chutney, curry, cumin and coriander and stir.

5. Return chicken to pan and cover.

6. Cook over medium-low heat until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through (about 20 mins)  stirring occasionally and adding more stock/water a little at a time as needed.
Serve hot.