Accidental Potatoes

So ... the other night I was trying out Salt Crusted Chicken from one of my Jamie magazines. I was supposed to use a casserole dish that was about the same size as the chicken. The one I wanted to use was a bit bigger so I decided to stuff a few whole potatoes around the chicken. So ... you can bake the potatoes however you like but these ones were baked with a kilo of rock salt covering them (and the chicken) ... baked on 200C for an hour and a half.

I had planned to serve the chicken with some sweet potato wedges and avocado/slow roasted tomatoes on toast ... also out of the Jamie magazine. As it turned out though, we ended up having drinks with our neighbors til a bit later than expected so I didn't have the time I thought I'd have to prepare. So ... I took a few short cuts and served the chicken with these potatoes.

2 potatoes

A couple of handfuls of basil leaves

1 lemon

4 avocados

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper



So ... you throw the basil leaves in the pestle and mortar and smush them up. Squeeze in juice of half the lemon, a couple blubs of olive oil and a bit of salt. Keep going until it's a 'drizzleable' sort of sauce.

Smush up the avocados. Squeeze in juice of the other half of the lemon, salt and pepper. Mix. Add chopped tomatoes.

Cut open the hot baked potatoes and top with the avocado mixture, rocket, feta and the drizzleable pesto ...

Mom's Banana Bread

I can't believe this recipe is not on this blog ! I've searched and searched and can't find it though, so it mustn't be. Rory made this yesterday and after my facebook status update about it, I got a couple requests for the recipe. I was certain it was on the blog but ... not so ! Well, it needs to be ! I love this banana bread, especially when Rory makes it for us !!


2.5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 TBLS salad oil (we use canola)
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
At least three bananas (we always use the ones with black skins that we keep in the freezer)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional (we never add nuts)

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Prepare pan(s) with baking paper, or by rubbing with oil/dusting with flour. Mash the bananas with a fork on a plate. Throw all the ingredients except the bananas and nuts into a bowl. Mix on medium speed for about a minute, scraping the bowl constantly. (If mixing by hand, beat it vigorously till all the lumps are gone.) Mix in the bananas, then stir in the nuts. Bake for 45-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean.

Cool in the pan for a short time, them remove. Consume immediately if you want big bunks and melted cream cheese or butter (or both !) on it. Cool thoroughly if you want to be able to slice it properly.

Wrapped in foil, banana bread freezer beautifully.

Lemon Soda ... on Lime

Andrea posted this photo on her facebook page on Christmas Day.
I took one look at it and HAD to KNOW what it was !!

Lemon Soda is an Indian drink called Nimbu Pani (thanks for that little bit of info, Gareth!) and all I can say is thank you India ! And thank you Andrea ! It is refreshing and oh so smoooooth ....

For one 16 oz glass:
3-4 tablespoons simple syrup
One muddled lime (sometimes more!)
Fill the rest of the glass with soda water (club soda) or tonic water.
Sprinkle salt.

Put in the freezer for a bit to chill.

You can drink them like that or you can add a "blub" of tequila, gin, vodka or ... whatever floats your boat. Last night, I added tequila to ours.

Do you need to know how to make simple syrup ? Yeah ... I did too ! It's simple ! (imagine that !) All you do is boil one cup of water. Add one cup of sugar. Take the pan off the heat. Stir and let cool. Simple, right ?!

Mmmmmm ! I want to make some more !

Rory's Rustic Ham Bone Soup

So, we had an amazing ham for Christmas dinner (I'll post that recipe later !) Rory wanted to do something with the ham bone so he searched on line, found a basic recipe and modified it ... Here is what he made. We loved it !

Ham Bone ... with about 1 cup of ham chunks that aren't good for sandwiches
½ pound (250g) dried red lentils
6 cups water
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, a couple minced and a couple roughly chopped
1 red chili, diced
1 (420g) can of tomato puree
¼ cup canola oil
handful of roughly chopped fresh basil and parsley leaves
1 tsp garam masala
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse lentils thoroughly. Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer for 2 hours. Remove bone from soup. Pull ham off of bone and gather up big chunks that have fallen off ... chop it up and return to soup. Discard the bone.

That's it. Dead easy. You could also do it in the crock pot ... 8 to 10 hours on low.

We served it with buttered sour dough bread and Rory sprinkled a few chili flakes on top of his ...

Last Menu Plan for 2010 !

Wow ... Can you believe Christmas has come and gone ? What a year ! We've been a bit all over the place with our planning ... and our eating for that matter ... it's been a busy month !! We're both on holidays now. I've been feeling a bit off in the guts and I suspect it has a lot to do with how we've been eating. I'm feeling awfully keen to get back to something more normal ...

The weather has been a bit funny this summer. It's supposed to be boiling hot this time of year but for the most part it has been rainy, dreary and a bit on the cooler side. Not cold. Not really even cool. Just cooler ... and definately not boiling hot. Not that I'm complaining, it just makes it tricky to plan because tomorrow could be anything !

Since it is holidays and we don't have to work this week ... I'm doing ALL NEW recipes !! I'm super excited about it !! All JAMIE OLIVER recipes too ... I was given Jamie's Ministry of Food for Christmas. And I just got Jamie's 30 Minute Meals not too long ago. Both of these cookbooks are AMAZING ! I've also got a stack of Jamie magazines that I've been reading ... Here's what we'll be having ....

I can't wait !!

Monday ~ 27 Dec 2010
From Jamie's Ministry of Food ...
Chicken Rogan Josh (pg 81)
Naan (I'm so excited to make this again since we got our grill/broiler fixed this week !!)

Tuesday ~ 28 Dec 2010
From Jamie's 30 minute meals ...
Spaghetti All Puttanesca, Crunchy Salad, Garlic Bread and Silky Chocolate Ganache (pg 54)

Wednesday ~ 29 Dec 2010
From Issue 13 of the Jamie magazine
Chicken In Salt Crust (pg 85) I've wanted to try chicken this way for some time !
Avocado & Slow Roasted Tomatoes on Toast (pg 33)
From Issue 12 of the Jamie magazine
Sweet Potato Wedges with Salsa (pg 122)

Thursday ~ 30 Dec 2010
From Jamie's 30 Minute Meals
Tasty Crusted Cod, My Mashy Peas, Tartare Sauce, Warm Garden Salad (pg 140)

Friday ~ 31 Dec 2010
I'm not going to plan for Friday yet ...
it's New Years Eve and who knows what we'll end up doing !?

Saturday ~ HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011 ~
I'm going to leave this day open for leftovers, something out of the freezer or SPONTANEITY !

Sunday ~ 2 Jan 2011
From Jamie's 30 Minute Meals
Killer Jerk Chicken, Rice & Beans, Refreshing Chopped Salad, Chargrilled Corn (pg 106)


Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Mint Chocolate Christmas Cookies


2 1/4 cup Flour
3/4 cup Cocoa
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup shortening ( I know! Who watches their calorie intake during the Holidays anyway!?)
1/2 cup Softened Butter
3/4 cup White Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs (beaten)
2 tsp Vanilla
2 cups andes mint chips

1 cup powdered sugar (to roll the cookies in before baking)

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt together, set aside.

In a standing mixer beat together the shortening and butter until creamy.
Add both sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla and mix. Next, add the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in the mint chips.

Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and then roll in the powdered sugar to fully coat.
After placing them on the cookie sheet, flatten the balls into 1/2 inch thick..
Bake 10-12 minutes. After removing from the oven let cool about one minute on the cookie sheet before moving to a wire rack.


Christmas Cinnamon Buns

I was going to post this recipe last year and have had the photo sitting in a post ready for the recipe ... since LAST CHRISTMAS !! ha ha. Well, here it is ...

We love cinnamon buns. I only make them at Christmas ... and maybe if someone requests them for their birthday breakfast !

This year, I combined two recipes ... The dough came from my Breville bread maker hand book and the icing came from all recipes ... The Clone of a Cinnabon

I use a bread maker for the first part ... the sweet dough.

Water 290ml
Egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3.5 cups flour
3 tablespoons powdered milk
1 teaspoon bread improver
2.25 teaspoons yeast

Throw it all in, turn it onto the dough setting and come back when it is done. Then you roll it out. The recipe says to roll it into a 40cm x 38cm square. Mine was for sure a rectangle ... no where near a square. I'm so not sure what difference it makes. ANYWAY ... then you melt 3 tablespoons of butter and brush 1/2 of it over the dough. Combine 4 tablespoons of brown sugar with 1.5 tablespoons of ground cinnamon and spread that over the buttery dough. You can also add chopped pecans but I never have.

Roll that up. Slice into 2cm thick slices. Put it into a baking dish (with either grease or baking paper cuz these are sticky !), cover and let rise til doubled in size. (20 minutes or so ?)

Bake in preheated 180C/350F oven for 25/30 minutes. Mine NEVER take that long. Yesterday I set my time for 15 minutes and then again for another 5 and they were done ...

While they are baking...

Make the icing ...

3 oz/85g cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1.5 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt (i just did a pinch)

Beat above ingredients to desired consistency ... spread on warm rolls before serving ...

Yesterday, I enjoyed mine with a mug of my Mom's crock pot apple cider that I cooked all night long so that our home smelled like Christmas when we woke up Christmas morning ! We ran our air conditioner all day yesterday ... it was WONDERFUL ! I drank hot apple cider and pretended it was winter !! Merry Christmas !!

Senator Russell's Sweet Potato Souffle

(table decorations H.L. ~ original photo E.O.)

We were invited to share Thanksgiving with friends this year and I was given the task of making Senator Russell's Sweet Potato Souffle. A favorite in the family ! NO PRESSURE ! ha ha. I had never made this dish before but I had eaten it once so I had that at least ! Anyway ... it turned out well and I think it will be a regular at our future Thanksgiving feasts !

(recipe D.L.)

Don't you just love handwritten recipes ? I do !!

You can pretty much see everything there to make it ... But a couple little things I should tell you. You can start with 1/4 cup sugar and taste as you go. I added a little bit more than 1/4 cup but didn't get up to 1/2 cup. Actually I double the recipe and for that whole thing I used 3/4 of a cup. It depends on the sweetness of your sweet potatoes ... and palate, I suppose :)

AND ... mash the potatoes smooth. My friend who gave me the recipe said "you're not lookin' for rustic here, you're lookin' for smoooooth ..." I used my food processor.

For the Aussies ... 350F is 180C.

I forgot to take a photo ... can you believe that ? ME ?? Forgetting to take a photo ?? Of food ?? Crazy !! Luckily, photos went up on facebook and I found this one ... well, sort of ...

Edited 15/12 ... the photographer of this photo emailed me the original after he saw the ridiculous photo I posted in it's place !! Thanks !! Here is the photo I wanted to have here ...

(photo by E.O.)

I could NOT for the life of me get the photos off of facebook ! Seriously !! I could drop and drag but when I clicked on the photo on my desktop it just took me back to facebook. I did 'save photo' but then when I clicked it told me no such photo existed ! Stinking thing ! Never one to be defeated ... I just took a photos of the photos with my iPhone ... emailed them to myself and voila ... !

I hope you make this soon. It's YUM YUM YUM !! If it wasn't summer, I'd be making it again today ....

My favorite focaccia bread

2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary or any other rustic italian seasoning you might have on hand.
optional: green olives, caramelized onions (i like to use red), roasted garlic on the side.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix warm water and sugar with yeast. Let stand about 5 minutes. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Add more flour if necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a counter and knead a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick. (a rolling pin works best.) Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven 400 degrees. Brush the dough with olive oil before adding your toppings. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Bonnie Made Slumgullion !!

I made the slumgullion last night !

I won't put the full tablespoon of chili powder in it next time ... it was a bit spicy !
I'll start with 1/2 a tablespoon and go from there ...

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 6 December 2010

So, Jamie and I decided not to make anything from his new cookbook this week ... Soon though !

Here we go for this week ... needed simple and stuff I knew !!


Israeli Cous Cous Salad


Salmon Salad


U2 concert !!!
Who knows what, or if, we'll eat !

Spagh Bol from Freezer


Lamb Skewers with Mango Chutney

Want more menu plans ?
Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

jamie plan

oh ... hello ... jamie and i are just planning this week's menu !

Overnight Oatmeal

****Just typed this whole recipe out and then deleted it when I was trying to format it...SOOOOOO FRUSTRATING!! Not gonna format it this time...what you see is what you get. Wish me luck...****

We've been making/enjoying this recipe for a while. Suprised it hasn't made it's way to the blog yet! It's soo yummy on chilly winter days. Really it's yummy any day! I don't have any photos of it at the moment. Hopefully, someone will add one eventually :-)

Overnight Oatmeal

1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
6 cups water

(or 1/4 cup oats to 1 cup water)

In a large saucepan, boil the oats in water for 1 minute. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, uncover the oats and bring to a boiler over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is cooked and creamy but still a little bit chewy - about 10 minutes.

Serve hot or store in sealed container in the fridge to be reheated.

Top with favorite oatmeal toppings.


Donna's Satay Chicken and Thai Salad

I was eating a salad at work the other day and a friend poked his head in and said "You gotta get Donna to give you the recipe for the salad we had last night !" Of course ... the moment I saw her, I asked for the recipe ... and it wasn't but a couple of days later and I was making this culinary delight !

Now, I know you've already added Nancy's Osaka Chicken to your list of recipes to try but it needs to be a chicken sort of week ... you MUST try this one too !!

For the Satay Chicken ...

1 kilo of chicken tenderloins (I just used chicken breast - cut into biggish bites)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon oil
I tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic

Mix and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Skewer and cook em up! (I didn't skewer mine b/c I was cooking in a hurry !)

Satay sauce

1 tsp veg oil
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tsp chili sauce (I use sambal oelek) (and I used chili/garlic sauce)
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oil in small saucepan. Add ginger and garlic, saute for 30 seconds. Add broth, and remaining ingredients. Stir and reduce heat. Simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This makes more than is needed for the skewers so you could even halve the recipe.

You can adjust the consistency of the sauce depending on how you like it by either adding more or less broth. Spice can also be adjusted by adding more chili.

For the salad ... (based on THIS recipe but modified a tiny bit)

3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 tablespoon natural 100% peanut ~ peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chili/garlic paste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons peanuts

To make the dressing ... throw everything but the peanuts in a food processor and whiz it up. Then add the peanuts and whiz some more. Done.

2 cups spinach and rocket ... or your preferred salad greens
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 a red capsicum (bell pepper), thinly sliced
a handful of snow peas, thinly sliced

Combine ... and drizzle with dressing.

Top with chicken !!

YUM !!

Nancy's Osaka Chicken


I got this recipe from my sister's husband's Mom ... Nancy ! Though I have never eaten any of her food cooked by her hand, I know that she is an incredible cook ! I drool over everything that she posts onto facebook and often ask for the recipe ! She's also who we give credit to for the most amazing soup ever ... Thai Chicken Soup !!

This chicken is one of the ones I asked for the recipe of and boy am I glad she was willing to give it to me ! You will be too once you try it !!

Sauce #1
1/2 cup veg oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons grated ginger
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 clove garlic minced
2 scallions chopped
Combine all ingredients in a container and blend well. I used a stick blender.

Sauce #2
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 Cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dry Mustard
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1/3 cup veg oil
Combine all ingredients in a container and blend well.

Now that you have these two sauces made you can start with the chicken. I used 4 chicken breast. Cut them into bite size pieces.

In a big hot skillet fry till browned a little in some oil then add Sauce #1 and cook until the sauce thickens a bit. Oh yeah. You can add some slices of ginger to the cooking oil and I added some sliced Thai peppers for heat.

Serve with your preference of rice ... And a mixed up a salad of sliced celery, cucumbers and grated carrot. Serve with sauce #2. We pour it over the whole thing.


Mom's Carbonara

Today is my husband's 33rd birthday ! Our lives are so crazy busy this week that we celebrated with a birthday dinner last night ! Every other night this week ... we will be out ! Including tonight ! CRAZY. BUSY ! but I said that already ! Anyway ... he always requests lasagna but this year, to be kind to me and my current crazy business, he chose Mom's carbonara instead. I went to the blog to get the recipe and discovered that it wasn't here !?!? WHAT? !?! This recipe NEEDS to be here ! And in about 3 minutes ... it will be !


1/2 (250g) lb bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3/4 cup heavy (thickened) cream
4 eggs
1 & 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (I prefer the processed stuff for this ... not fresh)
3 or 4 tablespoons butter
spaghetti (I use vermicelli)

I usually put the water on for the pasta about the time I add the onion ...

Cook the bacon about 1/2 way then add the onion. Continue to cook until bacon is well cooked. If you need to pour out some of the oil, do, but you need about 3 tbls oil left in the bacon. Pour the cream in. Simmer until the bacon is 'coated' with the cream.

In the mean time, beat the eggs and add the parmesan cheese. Whip it and then leave it alone. The cheese sucks up the egg. The mixture shouldn't look 'eggy' ...

Put your pasta into the now boiling water.

(Make salad if you are serving that as well ....)

When the pasta is nearly ready, melt the butter in the microwave.

Drain pasta. Put back into hot pan. Stir in butter. Stir in egg mixture. Stir in bacon/onion/cream mixture. A sprinkle of garlic powder on top is amazing ! We just put the garlic powder on the table and let everyone do their own !

Last night (and usually) I served this with ...

Chunky Spanish Garlic Bread

Black Olive Salad


and my new favorite wine ...


Fancy Toasted Sanga

So ... some nights, due to our crazy schedules, we need to all eat at different times. I hate cooking twice, and I hate serving Rory (who is usually eating last) something cold or re-heated. I mean, that's ok for leftovers but I have this thing about the first serve of something being totally amazing but that's just another of my oddities ... let's move on.

I have been trying to plan not only meals but specifically for our crazy schedule. So ... on this particular night, we did toasted sandwiches ... aka, grilled cheese. The kids had grilled ham and cheese and then later, much later !, Rory and I had these ...

I liked them, although the basil I chose was a bit strong. Next time I'm going to try the Opal Basil. We have about 4 varieties of basil growing in our garden so I'll give them all a go maybe and see which one I like best for this ...


Super simple. Heat up your sandwich press.

Between two pieces of bread ... Sliced Tomato. Basil Leaves. Thinly Sliced Red Onion. Salt and Pepper. Provolone Cheese.

Toast til it's Toasted.

And I served it with a handful of plain Kettle Chips. My favorite.

Yummy Cajun Potatoes


I found this cool cookbook at the library that I'm really enjoying cooking out of. It is called "The Cooking Book" ... I found these potatoes in there ... I mostly did everything as the recipe said ... except that I had potatoes that were going off and needed to be used so I did ALOT more potatoes than called for.

a few potatoes, unpeeled (they used 4- I used about 12 !)
1 lemon, roughly chopped into large chunks
lots of garlic cloves, peeled (they called for 12, I did more!)
3 red onions, cut into wedges
4 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons tomato puree
salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground oregano (we used this because we didn't have dried and for some reason didn't use fresh out of the garden ...)
1 tsp dried thyme (next time we'll use fresh thyme and oregano !!)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
6 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven. 200C or 400F

Cut the potatoes ... Mine were small to medium size so I cut them into 1/4's lengthwise. Boil a big pot of water with a pinch of salt and then drop in your potatoes for 3 minutes. Drain and put in big roasting tray. Add the lemon, garlic, onions and bay leaves.

Whisk your remaining ingredients together. Add 6 tablespoons of water and whisk again. Pour over the potatoes and mix it around to make sure everything is coated.

Pop 'em in the oven for at least 45 minutes ... turn 'em a couple of times.

Serve piping hot !

I served them with my Dad's Famous Ribs that were amazingly delicious, cole slaw and corn on the cob. YUM YUM YUM !!!



This is one of the recipes that my husband requested that I get from his Mother when we first got married all those years ago. It's one of his favorites and the last time I planned to make it, it occured to me that the all day simmering of the sauce could take place in the crock pot. I tried it, and I was right!

generous one pound ground beef
large onion, chopped big
as many cloves of garlic as you like, quartered or so...biggish chunks (I used 8 or so last time)
a big can of tomato juice
a big can of crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
about a tablespoon of chili powder
2 pounds of sturdy macaroni of some sort (Mom always used elbows, I like something bigger, I forget the name of the one I used in the photo, shells are also good)

How to:
Brown the meat, throwing in the onion and garlic when it's about half browned.
Throw this in the crock pot, then stir in everything else but the pasta.
Cook on low all day. It should cook down about 1/3 or so.
When it's nearly time to eat, cook the pasta al dente. Don't let it get too soft.
Stir the pasta into the sauce.
Dig in!

We like lots of pasta, and we like it the next day for lunch, so I always make a lot. If you want to use 1 pound of pasta, I'd use a bit less meat, and cook on high for a while so that the sauce cooks down more.

(If you don't have a crockpot, you can cook it the old fashioned way, simmering the sauce on the stove for several hours. The long slow cooking of the sauce makes a difference, don't try to hurry it....)

Blueberry and Zucchini Muffins


I usually make this as a loaf but decided to try it as muffins this morning. It was a huge success ! I doubled the recipe and made 24 muffins ... Here is the recipe ... already doubled !!

3 cups zucchini (grated, squeezed and drained)
1 cup brown sugar ( i didn't double the sugar ... )
1/2 cup oil
1 cup greek yogurt
3 tsp vanilla extract (oops I forgot the vanilla today !)
2 eggs
2 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup good white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cup blueberries
1 cup pecans (chopped)

Mix the zucchini, sugar, oil, yogurt and egg in a bowl. Sift the flour. I don't know why because I know very little about baking, but I've found sifting the flour to be a good idea when I use straight whole wheat. It seems to lighten it somehow. Mix the sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Fold gently. Add the blueberries and pecans. Pour the batter into lined muffin tins. Bake in a preheated 350F / 180C oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean - these only took 20 minutes this morning, so start with that and see how your oven does ...

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 14 November 2010


Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Well ... I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. We had my brother Jimmy and my Aunt Lissa here for 10 days and boy did we live it up ! We were busy busy. Ate out some. Cooked some. No real plan from day to day. Well, a few days we planned but mostly we just winged it. It was fun. Then we all got sick and we're all still fighting it and I just didn't feel like cooking once they left so we just ate leftovers and out of the fridge, freezer and pantry. And then today, I planned and shopped and I'm excited ! Trying some new things and making some old faithfuls. My planning has had to become much much much more organized ... Jono is doing swimming squad three days a week and Alia two days a week. Along with Rory being involved in the music at church and playing futsal once a week, oh and a home group that meets at our place once a week too ... our nights are pretty full. We still eat dinner at home though, it just means I have to be very conscious of what I plan on what nights. One night this week we're all going to be eating a LUNCH BOX dinner !! Sheesh ... how did life get this crazy busy ??

So ... here's what's on the menu for us this week !!

As I type, the BBQ is heating up and Rory is going to cook some of my Dad's famous ribs. I'm making a new Cajun Roasted Potato recipe to go with it. I had a little taste test just a minute ago ~ not quite ready ~ but boy oh boy, once those potatoes are cooked, I predict they will be some good honky !! I've got some corn on the cob and some cole slaw to go with it ... ooooowww-eee, my mouth is watering. Is yours ??


Egg Curry
Rice, Chutney and Green Peas


Chicken Taco Salad ... in a lunch box !
With Cliantro Lime Rice

Spanish Tortilla
Green Salad

Fried Mozarella Sandwiches ... new recipe, I'm excited to try it !
Rocket and Balsamic Vinegar Salad

Winter Vegetable Pasta Sauce ... out of the freezer
on this ginormous shells that I found today !

Another new recipe.
My neighbor let me borrow her Moosewood Cookbook
She recommends the Eggplant/Almond Enchiladas and I can't wait to try 'em !!

Spanikopita Meatballs
Roasted Cauliflower

And there you have it folks !!
I'm off to put the finishing touches on tonight's dinner !!

Ginger Snaps...oooooh snap!

This is Marissa Lynn's recipe, and, according to the hoards of pie-eschewing-pot-luck-goers, they are the best of all time.  So to kick off the cookie season, I'm posting this on her behalf!

Ginger Snaps

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
1 egg
4 Tablespoons molasses (1/4 cup)
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. ginger
2 t. soda
1/4 t. salt
2 cups flour

Mix together sugar, shortening, egg, and molasses.

Sift remaining ingredients and add to creamed mixture.

Chill the dough a couple of hours if time permits to make it easier to


Shape into balls. Roll in sugar.

Bake about 9-10 minutes at 350 degrees. minutes.


  • 3 or 4 pieces of bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 long carrot, sliced
  • 1 sweet potato or yam, peeled and diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 25-30 oz of marinara/spaghetti sauce
  • 4-6 cups beef broth
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-1/2 cups dry pasta, elbows or ziti or spiral...or whatever you like.
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • some fresh Italian Parsley, chopped. Maybe a 1/4 cup
  • 1-2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning (oregano, basil, etc.)
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to top


  • In large soup pot or dutch oven cook bacon until crisp. 
  • Remove bacon and saute onions, sweet potato, zucchini and carrot in bacon fat, until tender
  • Add minced garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Stir in marina sauce, beef broth and bring to boil.

  • Add dry pasta, brown sugar, handful of fresh Italian parsley and dried Italian seasoning. 
  • Cook, until pasta is tender. You may need to add more beef broth depending on how much pasta you used.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until sweet potato and carrot is cooked.

                                       (I always eat the end of the raw carrots.)

 Serve in bowl and garnish with grated Parmesan and frech Italian parsely.

Sesame Noodles with Asparagus Tips

The Marinade
1/4 c oil
3 tbsp dark sesame oil
7 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Chinese black or balsamic vinegar
3.5 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 c chopped cilantro

The Noodles and Asparagus
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on diagonal ( 2 pounds is actually too much, but 1 pound didn't seem like enough, maybe 1.5 pounds.)
1 14 oz package thin Chinese egg noodles
10 scallions, including the firm greens thinly sliced
1/4 c sesame seeds, toasted until lightly browned.

Mix the marinade ingredients together stirring to dissolve the sugar. I do this in a big bowl.

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the asparagus. Cook until bright green and tender but still firm, just a few minutes. Scoop the asparagus out, rinse it under cold water and set on a towel to dry

Pull the noodles apart with your fingers, add them to the boiling water, and give them a quick stir. Boil until tender but not overly soft, tasting them often as they cook. It should take only a few minutes. Pour noodles into a colander and immediately rinse under cold water. Shake off the excess water.

Toss the noodles with all the marinade and most of the scallions, sesame seeds and asparagus. Mound them in a bowl or on a platter, then garnish with the remaining asparagus, scallions, and sesame seeds.

{Roasted} BEETS!

Perhaps you are looking for a simple, easy, delicious way to get some more color (and vitamins) into your life.  Well look no further my friend! Ok, keep looking further, but also try this recipe! 


4 beets, washed.  Make sure you get beets that are all about the same size and shape or they won't cook at the same rate.
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Wrap each beet in foil, place in a rimmed baking receptacle.  Make sure that if you drop a beet, you immediately yell out, "beet down!"

Bake for 45 min to 1 hour (mine took a little longer, but I neglected to preheat the oven) until a skewer can be easily inserted into the side.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

Take beet out of foil and place in the center of 2 or 3 paper towels.  Use the towels to gently rub off the skin.  Slice the skinned beets, drizzle on a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

Note: Does anyone know if this could be accomplished in the microwave to cut down on cooking time?

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

I did not take a picture of this as I was too busy shoveling it into my face.  The barley is velvety and the beef is tender.  The whole thing is warm, hearty, and tasty; perfect for a chilly fall night!  But do note, be careful when you add the thyme, lest you (like me) end up with a few bites that taste like tree bark.

1 lb beef, cubed
2 T oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, unpeeled, sliced
3-4 cloved garlic, pressed
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup pearl barley
1 T dried parsley
1/2 t dried thyme

Dry the meat using several paper towels (this is important, do not skip this step).  Season with salt and pepper, brown in half the oil.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Saute the carrots, onions, and garlic in the remaining oil until the veggies are soft.  Add the wine to the pan, reduce by half, scrapping any bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot, cook on low 6-7 hours.

NOTE FOR MAKING AHEAD:  If you want to make this the night before, or even a day or two before, store the meat and the veggies in the fridge in separate containers.  Only combine the ingredients right before you are ready to start the soup. 

Bex and Liz Eat Stuff: a Menu Plan

Week 2 of Getting Back On Track nearly got derailed by my lack of being-home-ness, but I have conquered!! I think we've stumbled upon a system that will work for us.  It hasn't been easy at all because we have so many constraints.  For one, our food needs to be kosher (for me) and healthy (us), but we also need a little freedom to eat things that are fatty and delicious. Besides all that, we need food that fits into our crazy schedules easily. The opportune word there is EASILY, because if it's not, then it doesn't work and we just end up eating out.  No bueno!

Basically, the system is thus: Crockpot Mondays, Super Healthy Tuesdays, Bex Cooks Wednesdays, Fat Thursdays, Shabbat!  Because we were out of town this weekend, we're flip-flopping the crock pot and Becky meal.  We're trying out several new recipes this week and I pretty excited!

[Bex Cooks] Monday:
Grilled Cheese
Tomato Soup
Seasoned Green Beans
(I have GOT to get this recipe posted. I invented these and the are yummers)

[Super Healthy] Tuesday:
Shoyu Chicken
Luau Rice

[Crockpot] Wednesday:
Moroccan Stew with winter veggies

[Fat] Thursday:
Pasta Alfredo
Sliced Tomatoes

Ruth's Potato Pizza


A friend of mine had been telling me about her favorite pizza ... I decided one night to give it a go. It was yum, although our rosemary seemed a bit bitter so we added some fresh parmesan cheese ...

It is dead simple.

Pizza dough ... we used a whole wheat, thin crust that I make in the bread maker.

Top that with a drizzle of good olive oil, thinly sliced potatoes, a nice salt and plenty of fresh rosemary. Bake ... ours took about 10 minutes in a 200C oven.

Sprinkle with freshly grated Paremsan cheese !!

PS ... if you're wondering why I didn't post the second half of my two week menu, it's because I never shopped for it so we never ate it !! It's been a total FLY BY THE SEAT OF MY PANTS week and I've hated every minute of it !!! Two week menu planning when I have to shop weekly (because of fresh ingredients needed) is not going to work for me !!

BUT ... I got an iPhone4 this week and I have downloaded some cool apps and I'm going to start using them to get more organized !

AND ... a cool thing I did yesterday ... I was wandering around the shop after work, trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I NEVER DO THAT !! NEVER EVER !! Couldn't think of anything. Pulled out the iPhone, opened my Whole Foods Market app and found this recipe, bought the ingredients, made the dish and am thrilled with this new option for disorganized shopping !

Bex and Liz Eat Stuff

So the start of the semester really cramped my menu planning style.  But now, at least for one week, I'm back on my game and I'm really excited about this week's menu.  A slight change in my eating habit...I've decided to keep kosher.  It's difficult to explain all the reasons why, but suffice it to say, it felt important to me.  The added bonus is that it really makes me think about what I am eating.  Enough babbling,  on to the meal plan!

Chicken and veggies over couscous
Asparagus in some form

Slow cooker beef and barley soup
Seasoned green beans

Turkey burgers
Sliced tomatoes
Roasted beets

Red beans and rice with turkey sausage

We'll be grabbing something on the way to
bible study.

Buffalo Boneless Wings ... And Ranch


Ok ... let's start with the Ranch recipe. I got this from Shay and it is delicious !

I'm going to cut and paste from the email she sent me ....

My freaking favorite ranch
I don't worry too much about which herbs to use but I always use fresh dill. That makes it. I like a lot of dill. You can play around with this one. All to taste and texture.
I like to double but that makes a good bit-this is for one batch.

1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. buttermilk, shaken
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 scallion chopped
1 garlic, minced
2 tbsp. dill
2 tbsp. chives
1 tbsp. tarragon, or 1/2 tsp. dried
2 tbsp. parsley
dash worchestershire
dash hot sauce
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

whisk all

I did this in the afternoon and put it in the fridge until dinner time ....


For the 'wings'.

I did 1 kilo of chicken breast. Cut into chunks (see photo above). I put some whole wheat flour in a ziplock bag, added the chicken, shook it around then then shallow fried these in olive oil til golden brown.


For the hot 'buffalo sauce"

If you're in the States, you'll use Franks but I can't get that here ! BUMMER ! But, I found this Louisiana hot sauce the other day. It was a darn good substitute !! Not a cheap substitute though ! This bottle cost $9.99 and it was just under a cup of hot sauce !

So ... melt 2 TBSP of butter in the microwave. Add 1 cup hot sauce. Mix. Put back in the microwave and make it hot. Add 'wings' and mix to coat.


For the Garlic Parmesan "wings"

Melt 1/2 a cup butter. Then add to it 2 tsp (3?? ... to taste) garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Put back in microwave and make it hot. Add 'wings' and toss to coat !