My Menu - Bonnie - 30 May 2011

I'm quite excited about this weeks menu. For the first time, I've planned all three meals of the day. Granted, the lunches are almost all leftovers from the night before but at least there is a plan ! This is always a good thing !! And breakfast, it's cooling off now and I like winter breakfasts that take a bit more preparation than just get up and throw a bowl of cereal together ...

We're trying mostly new stuff this week which is ALWAYS exciting to me !


B. Leftover Chocolate Marble Banana Muffins

L. Leftovers ... clean out fridge !!

D. Jamie's Oozy Mushroom Risotto, Spinach Salad & Quick Lemon & Raspberry Cheesecake (from his 30 minute meals cookbook) soooooo good !


B. Apple Coffee Cake Streusel (my delicious little experiment)

L. Leftovers

D. Chook Roasted w/Garlic & Verjuice (like we saw on Masterchef)
with Roast Veggies and Garlic Knots


B. Yummo Apple Oats

L. leftover Chook/Veg

D. Crock Pot Sloppy Lentils w/homemade Whole Wheat Buns


B. Yummo Apple Oats

L. Leftover Sloppy Lentils

D. Dinner at a friends place ...


B. Overnight Oatmeal

L. Leftovers or Sandwiches

D. Pizza ... trying some new ones.
Greek, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese, Garlic Cream w/Artichoke


B. Warm Apple Cinnamon Maple Oats

L. Leftover Pizza

D. Garlic Potato Soup w/Florentine Rolls


B. Unplanned ... (just for something different !)

L. Leftover Soup

D. Steakhouse Mushroom Burgers


For more menu plans, head over to Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday

Apple Coffee Cake Streusel

I've long been searching for a recipe to make a cake I remember from my childhood. It was a coffee cake. It was cake on the bottom with buttery, brown sugary, crumble stuff on the top. I've never found what I was looking for. This morning, I came pretty close. The one I remember didn't have apple in it, but this filled the craving I have had for many many years to eat this cake again !!

I took elements from a couple of recipes I've tried recently and came up with this. There are three layers ...

For the Cake Layer:
2 tablespoons canola oil (I think you could probably use whatever oil you like)
1 & 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 160C/325F degrees. Spray a 9-by-12 & 1/2-inch baking pan with oil, lay baking paper on top of that and push it into the corners and up the sides to flatten it. (leave a little excess up the sides to easily remove the cake at the end) Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan, and set aside.

For the Apple Layer :
2 apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced.
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix all ingredients in medium sized bowl. I used my fingers to rub the sugar and spices into the apple sliced. Cover cake batter with apples.

For the Streusel Layer :
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, softened

In small bowl combine all ingredients and sprinkle on top of apples.

Transfer pan to oven, and bake, rotating pan every 10 minutes. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 30/40 minutes. (this will depend on your oven ... I tested mine every 5 minutes after the first 20)

Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool. I actually pulled the cake out of the pan, using the excess baking paper ... it took two people to do it.

Let cool for a couple of minutes, then serve it up and enjoy ! Rory and the kids (and our friends who live next door) had creme fraiche with theirs but I just ate it as it was ... mmmmmmmm.

Chocolate Marble Banana Muffins

A friend of mine made these a few weeks ago...then my Saturday when I had a few bananas that needed to be used up I gave in and finally tried them. Delicious! I found the recipe here.

I only did a couple things differently, which are highlighted in orange.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I poured 1 Tablespoon white vinegar into a 1 cup measuring cup then filled it up with Vitamin D Milk and let is set for 5 minutes. Ta Da! Buttermilk!)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 count muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas, then whisk in the buttermilk, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and whisk until just blended.
  5. Remove one cup of the batter, and add it to a medium bowl. Whisk in the cocoa powder, just until blended.
  6. Mix chocolate chips into the regular, white/yellow batter.
  7. Divide the regular, white/yellow batter between muffin cups.
  8. Scoop 1 tablespoon of chocolate batter on top of the batter in each muffin cup.
  9. Using a toothpick, swirl the chocolate batter into the banana batter.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Honey Sesame Chicken

This recipe looked so yummy to me. I changed it just a little bit ... here's how I did mine :

3 chicken breasts - cut to bite size pieces
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of sherry
1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of sugar
2 tbsp flour & 1 tbsp cornstarch,mixed together
salt & pepper to taste

Marinate chicken with soy sauce, sherry, sugar, sesame oil, salt & pepper. Let marinate at least an hour. Just before frying mix the flours into the chicken.

Heat oil for frying. Fry chicken until golden brown, remove from pan to paper towel. Tip all the oil from the pan.

Mix the following ... and pour into the pan you cooked the chicken in.
3 tbsp of sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1- 2 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1/4 cup of water
some toasted sesame seed

Let the sauce thicken a bit. Add in the chicken & stir, making sure chicken is coated with the sauce. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on the chicken. Serve with warm rice.

My Menu - Bonnie - 23 May 2011


A good mix of old favorites and new stuff this week ....

Chicken Pot Pie

The Ajiaco Soup got pushed back from last week. We had it Saturday. Delicious !

Had take away fish and chips with Dad who is staying nearby for a couple of nights.

We're going to try the Isabella
and I'm going to make Khrista's homemade Wheat Buns

With all the talk of this on facebook, I've just got to make
Mom's Penne with Triple Tomato Sauce

with Caesar Salad



Jamie's 30 minute meals ... Oozy Mushroom Risotto, Spinach Salad,
Quick Lemon & Raspberry Chesecake

Can't wait to try this one !

Maggie Beer's Chook Roasted with Garlic and Verguice
that we saw on Masterchef a couple of weeks ago
with roast veg


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

Potato Bake

I'd never had potato bake before coming to Australia. I love it.
But don't make it very often, usually only when other people
come over so we don't eat the whole thing by ourselves !!

Here's what you need :

Potatoes, I have no idea how many, I just cut as I go
Grated Cheese, I use a mixture of Mozzarella and Tasty (Cheddar)
Minced Garlic
Onion, sliced
French Onion Soup Mix

Ok ... get ready, this is a very technical recipe. With very specific measurements !

Mix the french onion soup and cream with a blop of minced garlic.

Slice your onion and potatoes. Like I said, I just slice the potatoes as I go. (I use a mandolin slicer to get them thin and uniform) And as you can see, I don't bother peeling the potatoes.

Do layers of cream, potato, onion, cheese, cream, potato, onion, cheese, etc .... til you get to the top of your baking dish.

Make your last layer cheese.

Cover and bake in a 180C/360F oven for about an hour. (or until potato is tender) Remove cover and bake another 10 minutes or so to brown the cheese on top.

Cream of Chicken and Barley Soup

I had the most amazing soup at a luncheon at Glen Echo Country Club. This is my attempt to replicate it. I added chicken to make it a meal rather than a first course, and I omitted the almonds in deference to my husband. I recommend adding them, as they add a delightful crunch. I'm not sure at what point to add them though. You can also use cream, or yogurt mixed with a little flour to thicken the soup and make it creamy. I chose this low-fat option, and it was delicious!

  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • ½-2/3 c pearl barley
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 c chicken broth
  • dried thyme
  • 1 c nonfat dried milk
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • garlic powder
  • optional: salt, pepper, sliced almonds

(may use other chicken pieces, removing meat from bone after first hour of cooking and returning meat to soup)

Put chicken, onions, carrots, and barley in soup pot. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer one hour. After an hour, add mushrooms and continue simmering until barley is tender (approximately 30 minutes). Add water as needed at any point to maintain soup consistency.

In separate container, combine powdered milk, cornstarch, and garlic powder. Add enough water to dissolve milk and cornstarch and stir. Add this mixture into soup and stir to incorporate. Continue to simmer until soup thickens and becomes creamy. Season to taste. Add almonds if desired. Serve with crusty bread.

My Menu - Bonnie - 16 May 2011


I am so thrilled that it is FINALLY soup weather. I love soup. I didn't used to. But then I discovered soups with toppings and my soup hatin' days were over. And now ... I even like soups without toppings. Crazy.

Anyway ... I planned my menu from Friday this week ... here's how it went ..........

Potato and Leek Soup


Homemade Sushi

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala
Homemade Naan

Crock Pot Steak Fajitas


Burrito Bowl

Ajiaco Soup



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

Bonnie Salad

One of my go to, throw together salads that I love ...

iceburg lettuce, i love it's crunch !
chopped tomato
chopped cucumber
chopped avocado
crumbled feta cheese
pine nuts
usually there would be sliced red onion but i don't see any in the photo

topped with a vinaigrette or italian dressing
or like this one ... just a sprinkling of your favorite vinegar, olive oil and rock salt

easy peasy
yummy yummy

Baked Potato Bowls

So ... I saw this recipe and wanted to try it. I didn't make it quite the same way, mainly because I forgot the bacon. How I did THAT, I don't know ! I cooked them anyway, and they were good but they will be so much better next time when I add the bacon. I changed a little bit about mine ... here's how I did them.

1 large potato per person, (and I of course did extra's for lunches the next day)
1 egg per potato
bacon, cooked and diced (probably one piece per 2 potatoes)
shredded cheese
fresh herbs, optional
salt and pepper

Bake the potatoes. Lay the baked potato on its side, and cut off the top of the potato. Scoop out the insides to make a “bowl", (I didn't know what to do with these innards last time but next time I'll be planning gnocchi for the following evening !) Break and egg into each bowl. Top with bacon, cheese, fresh herbs, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 350F/180C for 20-25 minutes, or until the egg whites are set. Serve immediately.

I topped the 'potato tops' with cheese and made potato skins. Yum !


I served these with sauteed mushrooms and onions, corn on the cob and a green salad.
Just realized that since I forgot the bacon, this was a totally vegetarian meal.

Pad Thai

i made this again the other night and decided it should be re-posted.
ya'll need to try this !

200g Thai Rice Noodles, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then drained & rinsed under cold water.
6 Tablespoons oil of your choice, i use olive
2 eggs, scrambled
a bunch of cilantro (coriander leaves)
5 Tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts (i just quickly dry roast them and then crush them)
250g sliced chicken breast
10 peeled, deveined prawns (i buy ones that have been sitting in garlic and parsley)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red chilli, chopped
1/2 bunch chives, cut in 5cm lengths
5 Tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 2 limes (roughly 4 Tablespoons)
1 & 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
250g bean sprouts

Chop everything before you start. Mix together the fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar.

Heat 3 TBLS oil in a wok on high heat. Add chicken, prawns, garlic and red chilli ... stir for 5 minutes (or til chicken is pretty well done) and then set aside.

Heat the other 3 TBLS oil in same wok on same heat. Stir in rice noodles ... keep stirring for 2 minutes. Add scrambled eggs. Add chives, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and bean sprouts. Stir stir stir ! 3 minutes.

Add chicken/prawns back in.

Garnish with cilantro and peanuts.

Cake in a Jar

Cake is powerful food. It brings people together.
Jim Gaffigan

In honor of a cake post, here is a bit about cake. You're welcome.

So I saw this recipe and thought it would be a cool project for No T.V. Tuesday
It's pretty simple and fun, and if Pastor Ryan can do it, so can you!

Here is what you need:

  • 1 box white cake and ingredients to make according to box
  • food coloring, neon is best, but use what you have
  • 3 one pint glass jars
  • one can frosting (we didn't have any on hand, so i whipped up some cream cheese goodness)
  • sprinkles (my son jack's favorite part)
Here is what you do:

Preheat oven to 350F or 175C I would assume for you metric folk. 

Wash and dry the jars inside and out and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Set aside
Divide into 5 bowls, which is a little more than half a cup each.  Choose your colors and mix.
Spoon around 2-3 tablespoons of the batter into the jar of each color, making sure you dont go more than 3/4 of the way up the side. We tried for a rainbow effect, but it is more of a tie dye effect!

Place jars in a baking dish and add around a 1/4 inch of water to the pan. Or 6 millimeters for you metric junkies out there. Bake for around 30-40 minutes depending on your oven and location. If you have one of those Pampered Crook ahem Chef cake stick checker things you can check to see if there are done. If not you will begin to smell the cake and you can see if the edges are browning. 

Remove, let cool, scoop a bit of cake out if need be and apply frosting and sprinkles. 


Thanks for checking out Pastor Ryan's first Bean's Blog entry.
I think next time we are going to try red velvet cake and nutella frosting...



I am so excited ... we FINALLY have a table of contents !!


Along the top of this blog you will see
About this Blog, Home, The Beans Blog Name, and Table of Contents


The Table of Contents used to be one that had a few things in it
that I was SLOWLY trying to update.


But this morning, I found a code that does it for us AUTOMATICALLY !


It looks like the titles of the posts are listed under their labels,
so if you want beef ... scroll down to beef,
and as long as that post is labeled correctly, you should find it !


I will now spend a bit of time working with the labels, making sure the main ingredients are listed on each post ... making this table of contents really really useful !


Go check it out ! It's very cool !


PS ... give it a minute to load, the page appears to come up blank but then all of a sudden,
there's a plethora of choices !!


Chicken, Proscuitto, Pastry, Cream Cheese ... oh yeah !

so ... a few weeks ago, i found this recipe for pastry wrapped chicken
not only was it wrapped, it was stuffed ! i HAD to try it !!

but ... i changed it a bit ...

2 chicken breasts
2 frozen puff pastry sheets
a couple spoon fulls of cream cheese
prosciutto, 4 pieces (or more if you like)
1 spring onion, chopped
1 egg

Mix together the cream cheese, parsley, spring onion, salt and pepper.

Slice each chicken breast in half through the side of it lengthwise, so it folds open. Put half the cream cheese mixture into each chicken breast and fold the chicken back over itself.

Wrap each breast in 2 pieces of prosciutto. Wrap prosciutto wrapped chicken in puff pastry.

Beat the egg, and brush the top of the pastry with the egg.

Pop them in a preheated oven, and bake at 400F (200C) for 30 to 35 minutes. (or until chicken is cooked)

One of these fed two adults ... with a side of asparagus and potato bake. (potato bake recipe coming soon)

Printable Recipe