Monday, December 22, 2014

Taco Puff Wreath

My parents host a Christmas Eve party (almost) every year and it's a lot of fun. Family, neighbours and friends stop by for laughs, news, reminiscing, Christmas cheer, and of course, food! I try to make something new every year, an appetizer, a dip, or something sweet. This year I'm making this! 

Pillsbury Cresent Rolls are so incredibly versatile, whether your dish is a main course or dessert, sweet or savoury. For this really simple but DELISH holiday app, I took Pillsbury cresent rolls and baked them in a mini muffin tin and then filled them with taco meat and a generous helping of guacamole. 

Arranged on a platter with a pretty bow, these make a really eye-catching addition to your holiday party!

Merry Christmas!

1 tube Pillsbury Cresent Rolls
1 cup cooked ground beef seasoned with Old El Paso taco seasoning
1 cup prepared guacamole
1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes

1. Open the tube of cresent rolls and break apart in half. Unroll the halves and break apart at the perforation to make 2 rectangles for each half, leaving the diagonal perforation intact.
2. Press together the diagonal perforation and then cut each rectangle into 6 squares.
3. Press the dough squares into a mini muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through and golden brown.
4. Remove the dough cups from the tin and fill each cup with some taco beef.
5. Top each cup with a generous dollop of guacamole and sprinkle on the chopped tomato. 
6. Arrange into a wreath shape on a platter and decorate with a festive bow.
This is a Sponsored Post, however my words and my opinions are my own. To read more about my relationship with General Mills Canada please visit my disclosure page. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cookie Exchange Made Easy With Betty Crocker and Pillsbury

Did you agree to be in a holiday cookie exchange and now you're panicking because you need 8 dozen cookies by tomorrow? Well friends, let me help you out...

We're all busy. We have kids, and jobs, and hobbies, and obligations, and then there's the whole need to sleep thing. Sometimes you just don't have time to be... well, Betty Crocker. So thank goodness Betty is around and can make things simple for you! Not a great baker? Betty can Help! Short on time? Betty can help! And you know who else can help you churn out yummy treats in no time? That adorable Pillsbury Dough Boy! Pillsbury Slice and Bake? Easy peasy!

Betty Crocker has some great cookie mixes that you can customize with nuts, extracts, frostings and sprinkles. No one has to know you didn't bake from "scratch". And Pillsbury refrigerated cookie doughs can be customized too! Who knew right? I found this decadent looking recipe for Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Christmas section on and whipped them up in no time using Pillsbury Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are ridiculously good. I'm sending this batch into work with my husband tonight. Those boys are going to love them!

Want to go the extra mile since you saved so much time with baking?  There are so many cute ways to package up your cookies! I found all these adorable bags and boxes at my local Dollarama and the tins are from Independent (PC). Add a bit of curly ribbon and voilà.

My Book Club is having our annual cookie exchange soon and I'll be sharing some quick creations using Betty and Pillsbury, less time baking means more time for me! Bring on the Christmas movies, hot toddies and slipper socks!

*This is a Sponsored Post, however my words and my opinions are my own. To read more about my relationship with General Mills Canada please visit my disclosure page.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review - Betty Crocker Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

I got a box of Christmas cheer delivered to my door, courtesy of my good friends at General Mills Canada. My kids were jumping up and down at what was inside. Candy canes, snowman cupcake liners, and best of all, Chocolate Cupcakes!

Of COURSE we had to make the cupcakes right away. They're chocolate cake, and chocolate frosting, basically the perfect after school snack. 

I'd like to say my kids devoured them, but that would be a lie. They each had one... and then I had one.... and I claimed the rest for myself. I had eight cupcakes in 16 hours! I can't even say I was ashamed, they were THAT good. The cake was so soft and delicate and the frosting had a fudgey taste and was very smooth. The kids were quite disappointed when they came home from school the next day to find the plate empty. What can I say, I'm a chocoholic. I'll have to get another box and make it up to them... and hopefully exercise a bit more self-control!

*This is a Sponsored Post, however my words and my opinions are my own. To read more about my relationship with General Mills Canada please visit my disclosure page.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Tree Roll-Ups

We never have a holiday party because I'm never organized enough to have my house presentable and party supplies bought AND all the gifts bought and wrapped. Something has to give! But we do get invited to a few parties and I hate to show up empty-handed. How cute are these easy little appetizers from Life Made Delicious? I can whip these little bites up in no time and still have time to put on something sparkly!

Christmas Tree Roll-Ups
makes 64

1 pkg (250 g) cream cheese, softened 
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped drained roasted red bell peppers (from 7.25-oz jar)
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped ripe olives 
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh basil leaves  
1/4 cup (50 mL) shredded Parmesan cheese
4 spinach-flavour flour tortillas (8 to 10 inches in diameter) 
Ripe olive pieces 

  1. In medium bowl, mix all ingredients except tortillas and olive pieces. Divide mixture among tortillas, spreading to edges of tortillas. Roll up tightly. Press each tortilla roll into triangle shape, using fingers. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  2. To serve, cut rolls into 1/2-inch slices. Place olive piece at bottom of each triangle to look like tree trunk; secure with toothpick.
Tip: If you don't have time to press this appetizer into the shape of Christmas trees, just prepare the filling as directed, spread on tortillas and roll up. Refrigerate 2 hours, and cut into slices.

Tip: This recipe is easy to cut in half for a smaller group. 

*This is a Sponsored Post, however my words and my opinions are my own. To read more about my relationship with General Mills Canada please visit my disclosure page.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Old El Paso Tortilla Bowls

Once a month General Mills sends me a (new) product to try out. Usually I get excited about it and my family enjoys whatever I make. But this time, my HUSBAND got excited, and started coming up with 100 ideas for it. I believe I heard the word Superbowl about 16 times. I told him to slow down and pick one idea for dinner that night.

Old el Paso Soft Tortilla bowls are pretty cool. They’re uniquely shaped to stand on your plate without unrolling or spilling, minimizing the mess & increasing your eating enjoyment. They're like boat shaped soft taco shells! It’s the only soft-‐shell tortilla that stands up by itself! It’s versatile: can be used for fajitas, dips, traditional tacos, desserts, hot dogs, a breakfast burrito on the go!  I can see them as a bowl for chili, or a great way to serve huevos rancheros! Or you could brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake them for a few minutes and then fill them with ice cream!

My husband asked me to make individual Mexican Lasagnas. I layered taco spiced beef with cheeses and traditional tortillas and salsa and he loved every bite. My kids used them to roll up their tacos so the filling didn't fall out everywhere. 

He's still working on his Superbowl ideas using the Tortilla bowls so we'll see what I can come up with in February!

Individual Mexican Lasagnas

2 Old el Paso Soft Tortilla Bowls
2 Old El Paso Flour Tortillas
1/2lbs ground beef
1 package old el Paso Taco seasoning
1/2 cup queso cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup salsa
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato

1. Cook the ground beef with the seasoning and set aside.
2. Place the tortilla bowls on a baking sheet.
3. Spoon in a couple of tablespoons of the beef mixture. 
4. Top with a tablespoon of the queso cheese and another of the salsa.
5. Cut a flour tortilla in half and place over top the beef and cheese.
6. Repeat steps  3 to 5. 
7. Top with the shredded cheddar and place in a 350˚F oven for 5 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and top with the shredded lettuce and chopped tomato and serve.

*This is a Sponsored Post, however my words and my opinions are my own. To read more about my relationship with General Mills Canada please visit my disclosure page.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gluten-Free Banana, Coconut and Dried Cherry Breakfast Cookies

Gluten-Free Banana, Coconut and Dried Cherry Breakfast Cookies

Cookies for Breakfast? Why not! These Banana, Coconut and Dried Cherry Breakfast Cookies are gluten free and a fun way to start the day!

Gluten-Free Banana, Coconut and Dried Cherry Breakfast Cookies

2 cups (500 mL) Rice Chex* cereal
1 cup (250 mL) gluten-free old-fashioned oats
1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) chopped pecans
3/4 cup (175 mL) dried cherries or cranberries
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/3 cups/325 mL)
2 tbsp (30 mL) coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup (50 mL) honey
1/2 tsp (2 mL) gluten-free vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. 
2. Crush cereal. In large bowl, mix crushed cereal, oats, coconut flakes, flaxseed, salt, pecans and dried cherries. In medium bowl, stir together bananas, coconut oil, honey and vanilla until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; stir until well mixed and dough forms.  
3. Place 2 1/2-inch round cutter on cookie sheet. Press 3 tablespoons dough into cutter on cookie sheet. Carefully remove cutter. Repeat to use remaining dough.  
4. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool on cookie sheet 20 minutes before removing to cool completely.

COOKING GLUTEN FREE: Always read labels to make sure each recipe ingredient is gluten free. Products and ingredient sources can change.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Crunchy Raw-Nola

I have become obsessed with a woman on instagram. If you're not following Joni Jane you need to start. Her pictures of food and Australia and her adorable son keep me checking her account every day. I'm a fan. 

One of the foods she makes is rawnola... uncooked granola. The lazy health nut in me loves how easy this is. You just toss everything in a blender and pulse for a few seconds! I made the recipe the way she makes it and I felt like it needed a bit of crunch, so I tweaked it for my taste buds by adding almonds and chia seeds. I've been eating it on everything! I especially love it on a bowl of sliced bananas with a bit of milk. It keeps me going all morning!

Crunchy Raw-Nola
1/2 cup raw oats
11 pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup of shredded dried coconut
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 tbsp chia seeds

1. Throw the first 4 ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse for a minute until the dates and almonds are broken up and the ingredients combine.
2. Add the chia seeds and pulse a few more times to combine.
3. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

I have no idea how long it lasts as I can't keep it long enough to find out!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review - Betty Crocker Chocolate Chunk Brownies

I got sent a box of goodies from Life Made Delicious this month and I had to laugh. As I pulled each item out of the box I walked over to the pantry and pulled out basically the same product from the shelves. 

Everything they sent me, I already had! 

Usually I try something new and write about it, but since there was nothing new to me in the box I decided (okay, my stomach decided) to make a batch of brownies!

I have tried dozens of from-scratch brownie recipes, and I haven't found any I've liked. They're too dry, too oily, not fudgey enough, not chocolatey enough... I have wasted many a pound of chocolate on bad recipes. I always go back to Betty Crocker. They're always perfect. I always have what I need to make them on hand and they never turn out dry or bland.

I'll be sharing this batch with members of a board I sit on at our meeting tonight. I have a feeling I'm going to be the most popular person there....

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

Monday, October 6, 2014

Things My Kids Will Eat - Yogurt Tubes

Is it just me, or are everyone's kids getting pickier by the day? It's actually getting out of hand around here. My kids have even stopped liking toast. TOAST! Who doesn't like toast?? One thing they will still happily eat, and request often, is yogurt. I usually only let them have it at home because sending yogurt and a spoon to school almost always turns into a ruined lunch kit. If I do happen to send it, it's always a yogurt tube! 

I freeze the tubes overnight and they thaw perfectly by lunch time (according to my kids) and they double as an ice pack for their fruits and deli meat (did I mention they won't eat sandwiches?). They're a nice treat as while they're having fun eating them they're also getting some vitamin D and calcium (did I mention they won't drink milk?). 

As Much as my kids love their yogurt tubes in their lunch, they also love them after school, straight out of the freezer! Frozen yogurt tubes make a great after school snack. They think they're having ice cream, and it tides them over till dinner... which they probably won't eat. Sigh.

 He's saying cheese

*This is a Sponsored Post, however my words and my opinions are my own. To read more about my relationship with General Mills Canada please visit my disclosure page.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apple Nut Sticky Buns

It's September, September means the return of my beloved book club meetings! Hallelujah! Coffee, chat, books and treats. What could be better? Our first book of the year is The Five Love Languages for Children. Interesting read, not sure I subscribe to the theory 100% but I definitely see how my kids respond differently to different expressons of love. But I digress, let's talk about the most important part of book club... the treats!

I'm usually the baker in the group (they're my guinea pigs) and I like to bring something new every week. I was checking out the day before our first meeting and I saw these Apple Walnut Sticky Buns and I knew I had to try them! I substituted pecans for the walnuts because that's what I had in my baking pantry.

The ladies loved them and they were really quick and easy which was nice because I don't have a lot of time in the morning to bake while getting 4 kids ready and out the door for school. These would be a great lazy Sunday breakfast too. 

Apple Nut Sticky Buns

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, softened
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 cup (175 mL) chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar

1 can Pillsbury Refrigerated Cinnamon Rolls with Icing 
1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Generously butter 8 regular muffin cups with softened butter. 
2. In bowl, mix apples, nuts and brown sugar; divide evenly among muffin cups. Separate cinnamon rolls; reserve icing. Place 1 cinnamon roll in each cup.  
3. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Place baking sheet upside down over muffin pan; turn over. Remove pan. 
4. Remove lid from icing; microwave on Medium (50%) 5 to 10 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over warm buns. Serve warm.
Please read my Disclosure Page to learn more about my relationship with General Mills Canada. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

5 Thanksgiving Recipes for Your Table

Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away, how the heck did that happen? Weren't we JUST celebrating Canada Day? I offered to host my family for Thanksgiving this year. If everyone comes we'll be about 30 people. I've done it before, and I enjoy cooking for a crowd. If you're hosting this year and are looking for some ideas, I've got a few!

Small family? You can always just roast a turkey breast instead of a whole bird. This Oven Roasted Turkey breast is basted in thyme, butter and wine.... *drool*

Tired of traditional mashed potatoes beside your turkey? Why not try these French Onion Scalloped Potatoes? Your guests will be pleasantly surprised!

My family is French Canadian so we don't have ANY holiday meal without a Tortiere. This Tradtional Beef Tortiere looks easy and if you;ve never had a tortiere you HAVE to try it! 

Everyone knows pumpkin pie comes at the end of any Thanksgiving meal, but why not try this gorgeous white Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart this year too? I have a serious Pecan addiction this year.

And lastly, leftovers.  Leftovers can be as delicious, if not more so, than the original meal. I love turning leftover turkey into soup. This Southwestern Turkey Soup looks hearty and spicy!

Happy Eating!... I mean Thanksgiving!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review - Old El Paso Chicken Tinga Tacos

I recently signed on for yet another year as a Life Made Delicious blogger! I love working with a brand that has such a wide range of products like General Mills Canada . As part of my blogging contract they routinely send me new products to try out. I got this box of goodies last week!

My kids dove right for the Dunkaroos of course (thank goodness they come in 5 packs!) and I ripped into the now "peanut free" Nature Valley bars (delicious!). But what I was most eager to try were the Chicken Tinga Tacos. Mexican night is big at our house. We love our tacos. The whole family cheered when I declared Sunday "Taco Tuesday" (my kids are obsessed with The Lego Movie)!

I always like to try a new product out the first time exactly how they instruct to get a feel for it. Then I customize it to meet my kids' picky palates. 

The husband and I had our first round of tacos loaded with the mildly spicy, smokey chicken and onions, the chipotle taco sauce that comes in the kit, chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, avocado and cilantro as the box suggests. So. Good. The flavours were authentic, much like the tacos we had on our honeymoon in the Mayan Riviera. The tortillas seem slightly thicker and fluffier and the chipotle taco sauce just kicked it all up a notch.

The next round we added cheese and guacamole and sour cream, also delicious! My oldest daughter (8), who will only ever have a tortilla with cheese in it on taco night, tried the chicken in her tortilla and declared it "pretty good!". Very high praise from the kid who's practically living off air and cucumbers. She devoured her taco and asked if we could have them again the next night. Wow. Just wow. My 4 year old loved the taco sauce but the other three found it a wee bit too spicy so we left it off theirs. No big deal there! My 5 year old had two tacos, which was a first and the 2 year old had his taco deconstructed because that's what toddlers do, deconstruct things. Plates were pretty well clean at the end of dinner and there was no dessert bargaining!

Any meal ALL my kids will eat is a keeper in my books. The next time I make this I'm going to try cooking the chicken and onions in the seasoning in my slow cooker which will be great for our busy night of ballet. I'm looking forward to trying the Carné Asada and Fish Taco kits!

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crispy Fish Tacos

Almost three years ago now I got the opportunity to go to Blog'her in San Diego California. My first time at a conference, my first time on the west coast and the longest I'd ever been away from my kids. Side note: I came back from the trip and a month later found out I was pregnant with kid #4. My husband used to joke that if the baby came out with a surfer tan I was in big trouble. Back to the trip... it was amazing! The sun, the beaches, the ocean, and the fooooooood. OMG the food. San Diego is right next to Tijuana, Mexico. Mexican flavours permeate the food in SD. 

It was on a poolside patio at the fabulous hotel I was staying at that I ordered my first fish tacos. It always sounded kind of gross to me, I pictured fish tossed with taco seasoning and smothered in shredded cheese, and fish does NOT go with cheese. 

I had no idea. 

But sitting there, by the pool full of happy tanned people, a stone's throw from the ocean, it just felt like the right thing to order. 

I got my plate of 3 little fish tacos and had it not been for the fact that I was sitting at a table with a bunch of people I barely knew and I didn't want to embarrass myself, I would have ordered 2 more plates. They were so fresh, and light, and crispy, and just the yummiest tacos I've ever had. Well, that is until I came home and started working on my own recipe. It took me about a year to get all the components tasting like they did that day by the pool in California, but I think I've got it!

Now, I've seen people use frozen breaded fish sticks, an ingenious solution for those nights you just need to get dinner on the table in a hurry, but I promise you, you will not regret making the fish by hand. And the same for the tortillas. Store bought will do the trick, but this tortilla recipe was given to me by a friend by way of her husband's Mexican grandmother. It's straight up legit


The best part of this meal is that my whole family LOVES it, which quite frankly shocked the hell out of me. Try this once and I guarantee it'll quickly become a family favourite at your house too!

Print this recipe

Crispy Fish Tacos

For the Pico de Gallo:

3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped into small pieces
1/2 a lime, juiced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
A small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

1. Mix the tomato, lime, onion and cilantro in a small bowl.
2. Season to taste with salt.
3. Set aside to allow the flavours to incorporate.


For the Cilantro Lime Crema:

1 cup premium quality sour cream (I like Gay Lea Gold Sour Cream) 
1 tbsp lime zest
1/2 lime, juiced
1 small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

1. In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro until well combined. 
2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


For the guacamole:

(Side note, I like my guacamole creamy, if you like a chunkier guac, you can just mash with a fork)

2 ripe avocados, pitted and scooped from skin
1 lime, juiced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp Tajin*
1/4 cup red onion, minced
Salt to taste

1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the avocado and lime juice and pulse until the avocado is broken down into small chunks.
2. Add the garlic & Tajin and purée until it has reached your desired consistency. 
3. Scrape the guacamole out into a bowl and add the onion and season with salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate covered until ready to use.


For the tortillas:

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups of hot water

1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the first 4 ingredients until incorporated.
2. Slowly start pouring in the water as the mixer mixes on low speed.
3. Allow the dough to mix for 7 minutes. Then turn off the mixer and allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
4. Separate the dough into 16 equal portions.
5. Heat a cast iron pan over high heat (I set my burner to 9) with nothing in it (ie no oil or butter)
6. Roll out the balls of dough on a floured surface until they are about 1/8" thick.
7. Add a round of dough to the frying pan (one at a time) and all ow to cook on each side for about 10 seconds a side.
8. Keep warm on a plate in the oven, set on a low temperature) covered in a damp tea towel, or in a tortilla warmer.


For the fish: 

2 cups milk
1/2 lime juiced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked chipotle powder (optional)
2 large cod fillets
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 cup flour
Seasoned salt
1 tsp cumin
2 cups panko crumbs
Oil for frying

1. Mix together the 2 cups or milk, the lime juice, the cumin, the chipotle powder and a wee bit of salt and set aside.
2. Cut the cod into strips about 2-3" long. Think fish stick size.
3. Add the fish to the milk mixture and set aside. 
4. In a small bowl, add the flour and salt and cumin and set aside.
5. In a second bowl, mix the eggs and 2 tbsp of milk and set aside.
6. In another small bowl add the panko crumbs and set aside.
7. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a deep pan on the stove to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Take a strip of fish out of the milk mixture and roll it in the flour until it's coated on all sides. Shake off the excess.
9. Dip the floured fish in the eggs and them roll in the panko until the fish is coated on all sides.
10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until you have 4-6 strips done.
11. Place the breaded fish carefully in the hot oil and cook for about 7 minutes* or until the coating is golden brown. (If you cut your fish thicker this can take longer. You can use a thermometer to check for doneness or cut into a piece and check and then adjust your cooking time accordingly)
12. When the fish fingers are cooked remove them from the oil and place on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.
13. Repeat steps 8 to 12 until all your fish fingers are cooked.
For an authentic fish taco, place a piece or two of fish in a tortilla and top with cilantro lime crema, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded cabbage (I use bagged coleslaw mix), and thinly sliced radish.

*Tajin is a spice that is commonly used in Mexico. It has a chili lime flavour. My sister originally brought it back for me from Mexico after a missions trip there and she has since found it for me in Ottawa, Ontario. I imagine it can be found in most city centres if you poke around a bit. You can also order it online. Google it :)

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