Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bread Expectations

Sitting on the couch early on a Sunday morning, drinking coffee (that was made with my new Cuisinart Keurig, which I totally love) and watching the IIHF world juniors game, I couldn't help but think about breakfast. There are so many options, but the one thing I wanted was eggs...but we had one piece of toast bread left to go along with them. I would be ok with that, but my hubby is definitely a bread guy.

To be honest, I've always wanted to make bread, but every time I've tried, it's just never turned out as good as bread I could buy (and much quicker than making it at that).  So while curled up in my PJs, I searched the various recipe apps that have saved me so many times, but I only really found what I was looking for by searching on good ol' trusty Google. And there it was, a French Bread recipe that actually didn't scare me to try. And I'm so glad I did because it was easy and delicious. The down side: my husband now expects that fresh bread will be made all the time.

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
2-3/4 to 3 cups bread flour (I used all purpose and it still turned out great)
1 tsp. salt

1. Dissolve the yeast into the water for about 5 minutes.
2. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt to the water and yeast and mix for a few minutes.
3. Add the rest of the flour (as much as you need to make a soft dough).
4. Either knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface until it's elastic and springy (this may take about 10 minutes) or use the dough hook on your mixture and mix the dough for about 5 minutes until all the flour is gone and the dough is elastic.
5. Grease a bowl and place the dough in it, turning once to coat the top of it. Cover and let it sit until doubled in size, for 1-2 hours.
6. Punch down the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface in a 12x6 inch rectangle.
7. Roll the dough tightly, starting with the longer side. Pinch the ends and edges to seal.
8. Shape the dough to make the ends thinner than the centre.
9. Place the dough on a greased cookie sheet, seam side down. Sprinkle with cornmeal, cover and let sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
10. Slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife in 3 places. Bake in the oven at 425 F for 20-30 minutes, until bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped with fingers.
11. Remove from cookie sheet, let cool, and enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter French Toast

So after seeing a tweet about peanut butter and jelly French toast by Chef Michael Smith, I couldn't resist trying it. Really, all that I needed to get me curious about it was the peanut butter...yes I'm totally addicted.

So what better day than Sunday for a breakfast of slightly sweet French toast with peanut buttery goodness? Meaning that first thing this morning, while sipping my freshly brewed coffee, I was in my French toast making zone. This was also perfect since I needed to use up some cinnamon raisin bagels.

This is a pretty simple recipe and can be altered in so many ways. I changed some things up from Chef Michael Smith's original recipe to work with what I had. My measurement aren't entirely exact either since, well, it's Sunday morning (aka the perfect time to just have fun with cooking & baking & experimenting with new things for your family to try).

2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp of vanilla

1/2 cup (or so) of oats

4 cinnamon raisin thin bagels (or whatever you have on hand)
Peanut butter (to fill in/spread on the bread)

1/2 Tbsp of oil
1/2 Tbsp of butter

-heat pan or griddle on medium heat
-whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla together
-put oats in another dish
-divide bagels in half and spread peanut butter on each half, then put halves back together
-dip the PB sandwich in the milk & egg mix, then in the oats to completely cover the bread
-put oil in pan, then drop butter in the centre of it (apparently the oil will keep the butter from burning)
- place prepared "toast" on the pan and let each side brown for about 3 minutes
-enjoy your cinnamon raisin Peanut Butter French Toast with a little maple syrup, fruit & cottage cheese, or whatever works for you!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Post Thanksgiving..

Well I spent the weekend eating. Two tables filled with food that could feed 20 (even though only about 6 or 7 were there). Turkey, stuffing, salads, fish, cranberry sauce, soup, and cake...with more cake filled all of our bellies.

But now it's time for a much needed cleanse after my feast-a-thon of a weekend. Day one of my post Thanksgiving cleanse is off to a shake and one bar down, many fruits & veggies to go.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkin Season

It's pumpkin season at Starbucks!! I've already had to dip into the pumpkin cream cheese muffin. Seriously, this is the one thing that makes the colder weather worth it.

...I'm saving my free drink card for a pumpkin latte ;)

Next up for me...pumpkin pie!! I can't help but want to make the delicious cinnamon & spice treat during Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Poutine Heaven: "Smoke's Poutinerie"

So this post is very overdue at this point, yet the timing is probably appropriate considering the "poutition" commercials all over the radio.

Poutine, as I sadly learned recently, is one of those foods that is very Canadian. Apparently it's difficult to find in other countries. Who knew that others wouldn't just know to pair that french fry goodness with cheese curds and then melt the two together with hot, tasty gravy??

I have to admit that this was my first visit to an actual poutinerie, even though I was the acting "tour guide". Sad? Maybe. But I have to say a big thank you to Smoke's Poutinerie for being my first ;) I'll never be the same again ;)

So if you happen to be down by Adelaide sometime (maybe even at a Jays game...maybe), forgo the street meat this one time and be truly Canadian; go for the poutine! My choice was veggie nacho, and let's just say I will never think tortilla chips right away when I'm craving nachos :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fresh Sandwiches in Style

Well it's definitely been a while since I've written anything, so I apologize and am grateful that life has eased up a bit.

Summer is here, which means that I can actually do lunch dates with people! First stop for this summer was Porto Via. It's a cute and very chic little place south of Eglinton and East of Dixie. It sits in a complex that houses small businesses, which accounts for the lunch crowd that was there.

Two separate lines make the speed of service great. One line focuses on serving up the sandwiches and any sides (i.e. soup or salad). The other is solely there to put your salads together. The best part of it all is the fact that all of the ingredients are fresh; even the soup is made in house, fresh that day!

My visit to this modern nouveau chic restaurant left my mouth watering and stomach thanking a grilled portobello sandwich on sea salt and rosemary focaccia, with a side of tomato and sweet potato soup. I apologize for missing pictures, but my hunger wouldn't let me take the time to take any ;)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chicago Eats!

Well it's definitely been a while (almost 2 months) since I've written anything. So I do apologize, and totally wish that some parts of life would stop being so busy so that I could focus more on food ; )

During the April long weekend I got the chance to take a trip to Chicago, a beautiful city with so much to see, and of course spent the time there excited about where I'd eat next.

Yes Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza, but there is so much more to experience while you're there. Of course, if you've never been to Giordano's then I highly recommend that you go! However, if you want to try something a little different to experience more of the city, try out Cantina 46. It's an awesome little mexican restaurant that has a variety of tacos to try. You can opt for anything from a calabacita (butternut squash, mushrooms, watercress, queso cojita, & pickled red onion) to a carnitas (pork shoulder, pineapple escabeche, serrano, & black beans).  We were swayed to walk into the doors with a "Friday 5pm-7pm $2 fish tacos" sign!! Seriously, even without that deal, the prices are worth it: affordable and more than reasonable (you can't go wrong with a $29 pitcher of margarita). The tacos are even the perfect size, where eating a few is exactly what you want to and can do.

For all of you coffee lovers out there, Intelligentsia Coffee is a must try. I was a little confused when trying to order coffee, but the very helpful and friendly baristas were more than willing to explain the variety of brewing techniques they use. And with that, I do mean techniqueS. Your coffee at Intelligentsia is brewed to order. They grind the beans and use various brewing methods depending on the coffee you want. Seriously, even if you're not a coffee addict, go and see it!

If you've never experienced Chicago and you're a foodie, my only question to you is "what are you waiting for??" The next time you're in Chicago (or if you've never been and decide to go), try the  pizza for sure, but don't forget about all the other great restaurants the city has to offer...Giordano's (and its 1 hour long wait) will always be there next time ; )

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cinnamon Spice French Toast

Early morning hot yoga class. Check.
Coffee to help refresh me even more after hot yoga. Check.
French toast that I've had on my mind pretty much the entire week. Check. Check. Check.

Cinnamon Spice French Toast..done & ready to eat
One thing I remember about weekend mornings while living at home with my mom, is the smell of french toast frying on the stove, waiting to be smothered with syrup or whatever else we felt like, just waiting to be eaten. I happened to read a post about french toast some time this week, and then I couldn't get it off of my mind. With this "low carb" fanaticism kicking through our society, I have this inclination now to try healthy meals that don't include bread. But in reality, healthy doesn't mean "no bread". There are so many ways to help make things we love to eat just a little healthier, and just as tasty.

This morning, my french toast craving turned into a baked cinnamon spice french toast. I got the idea of baking it from one of my co-workers, which actually helped really make the dish what it turned out to be...delicious. And I can say it was delicious with the utmost confidence....considering that my husband actually really liked it!

Topped with maple syrup...simple but good.
3 slices of Portuguese Cornbread cut in half (you can use any bread here and make the slices whatever size you want)
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp of yogurt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (or adjust to your liking
1/8 tsp of nutmeg
1/8 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

**these measurements are pretty much estimates as I was kind of just throwing things together and eyeing the amounts I used

1. Beat the eggs.
2. Add the milk and yogurt and beat until combined.
3. Add the spices, and beat a little more until it's all mixed evenly.
4. Place the bread slices in a pan and pour the egg mixture onto the bread.
5. Turn the bread slices over once so that the other sides can get some egg coating.
6. Turn the bread over again and place into the fridge for about an hour.
7. Turn the bread over and place into the fridge again for at least another 20 minutes to half an hour.
8. Preheat your oven to 400F.
9. Grease a baking sheet, and place the soaked bread slices onto the baking sheet.
10. Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip bread slices onto the other side for about another 15 minutes.
11. Take out of the oven, top with anything you want, and enjoy the crispy outside and warm middle of the cinnamon goodness!!!
A little bit of honey and sliced pears go a long way.

**I left the bread to soak while I went to yoga in the morning, but leave it in the fridge for however much time you have. You can probably even leave it to soak overnight. Just make sure to flip it at some point so that both sides get to soak in some of the egg mixture.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Saturday Morning Zucchini Pancakes

So this whole week, for some reason, I had pancakes on my mind. I was just waiting for the weekend to come so that I could wake up in the morning and make them. I couldn't wait for the smell of pancakes and coffee to waft through the house, in anticipation of the breakfast/lunch that would follow.

The batter awaiting its pancake fate.
This week I also happened to come across a recipe for "Cottage Pancakes" thanks to 101 Cookbooks. I love pancakes and all, but sometimes the amount of flour and "breadiness" of them is hard to handle...well at least when you try to keep eating even when you know you can't really eat anymore. So these pancakes incorporated cottage cheese and cauliflower instead of lots of flour.

So in my ready to make pancakes mode and my work with what I've got attitude, I put my own little spin on her pancakes (meaning I had to use yogurt and ricotta cheese since I was out of cottage cheese, and I was too lazy to blanch cauliflower so I used raw zucchini). I think they turned out pretty good...since I ate most of them. My husband wasn't a huge fan. But I still think that's because he just had to know what was in them before he even tried them...once he heard the word zucchini he was out.

1/2 cup yogurt
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped zucchini (into tiny pieces)...or just grate it
2 Eggs, separate yolks from whites
1/2 cup flour
So close...but not done yet.
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

1. Mix together the yogurt, ricotta cheese, zucchini and egg yolks.
2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking powder and salt.
3. In a small bowl, beat or whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks begin to form.
4. Combine the flour mixture into the yogurt and zucchini mixture, and mix until blended nicely.
5. Fold the egg whites into the pancake mixture.
6. Put your griddle or pan on medium-low heat, and place a bit of butter on it to grease it up.
7. Put 3 Tbsp of the mixture on the pan for one pancake.
8. Once they begin to brown and cook on one side (may be a couple of minutes), flip over to cook the other side.

Top them up and enjoy!
This should make about 8 pancakes that can be topped with anything you'd like. I went for some peanut butter and bananas, to ricotta cheese and chickpeas, to my mom's homemade plum jam. My husband stuck to his regular maple syrup.

Have fun with making pancakes and trying your own thing...the just add egg and/or water boxed versions really aren't any easier. This way, you know what you're getting.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cornbread with a hint of sweetness

Wow. So it's been a while since I've written anything. I know...shame on me. But it happens; life can just be way to busy sometimes. However, even though I haven't been writing, that doesn't mean that I haven't been testing out food and testing out places to eat! : )

Today I woke up with this odd desire to make some cornbread. I really just wanted to eat some cornbread, but realized that I would have to actually make it in order to have any. No problem! Cornbread is probably one of the easiest and quickest things to make...serious. And there are so many recipes on the Internet to play around with.

The first part of my cornbread plan had to do with just that, finding the right recipe to work with..and I did. I found a great sounding Honey Cornbread recipe on However, I also wanted to play around with it a bit and do my own thing.

I wanted my cornbread to really emphasize the "corn" part of it. When I was looking through different recipes they all seemed to add all purpose flour. So, I tried something different and used cornflour instead. It turned out delicious!!

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup corn flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F and grease a pan (I used a mini loaf pan that makes 9 mini loaves)
2. Combine the cornmeal, corn flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl
3. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and all the rest of the ingredient
4. Mix it until it's well blended and pour mixture into pan
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes (you may need more or less time depending on the type of pan you use)
6. Eat as is, fill with your favourite spread or cheese, and ENJOY!!