Corn Dog Muffins

Was looking for some recipes that would freeze well and would give some options for lunch boxes besides sandwiches.  Found this one and it is a hit!  And so fun!

Makes 42 to 63 muffins (I like lots to freeze, but you could easily cut the recipe in half...another fun option would be to use mini muffin tins for fun finger food for a party)

4 (8.5 oz) boxes of cornbread mix
4 T brown sugar
4 eggs
3 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 packages of hot dogs cut into pieces (interestingly the cheaper the hot dog the better the muffins!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Lightly grease muffin tins

In a large bowl, stir together cornbread mix and brown sugar.  Add cheese and mix.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.  Combine egg/milk mixture with dry ingredients and gently stir until moist.  Fold in cut up hot dogs.  Spoon mixture into muffin tins (~2/3 full).

Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve or let them cool and package them up for the freezer.  I usually wrap them in foil in packages of two.

Crock Pot Lasagna

No stove for over three weeks?  No problem!  OK...slight problem, but we made it through thanks to the microwave, electric griddle, and of course - the crock pot!

Discovered this recipe for Crock Pot Lasagna Soup and made a few modifications that ended up making it much more like a baked pasta dish than soup.  The FANTASTIC thing about this recipe is that you don't have to brown the meat or cook the pasta - it really is a one pot recipe!

You can see the original recipe here.

Serves 6-8 (if you're feeding normal people...I fed 4 with one small portion left over - but that included two very hungry men!)

1 lb ground beef or turkey (I only partially thawed the meat before adding it to the crock)
3 cups broth (I used chicken)
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (I used my garlic press)
1 T dried parsley
1 T dried basil
1 onion, chopped
1 - 28oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 - 6oz can tomato paste
1 cup V8 juice (or any vegetable juice)
1 lb uncooked pasta shells
1/2 t white pepper (or black...I just like white better)
1/4 t salt
1 cup water
Shredded mozzarella cheese to top

Mix diced tomatoes and tomato paste in crock pot.  Add broth, garlic, onion, V8, and spices and mix.  Add meat and give it another stir.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours.

When there's 20 to 30 minutes of cooking time left (depending on how soft you prefer your noodles), add the water and noodles.  Stir.  Replace lid and finish cooking.

Serve topped with cheese.

BLT Pizza

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I LOVE trying new pizza recipes.  When I found this recipe, I knew it was one we needed to try.  I did exactly what she said to do, except I added red onions and I didn't measure at all.  That's one of the best things about making pizza ... you can just throw whatever you want on top.  No measurements needed.

Dough - use your favorite recipe or store bought.  (There are a few recipes on the beans blog that you could try.  I'll be posting my go to recipe soon ...)
Alfredo sauce, I used store bought but you could totally make it if you wanted to
Tomatoes, sliced
Red onion, thinkly sliced
Bacon, cooked
Rocket (arugula if you are in America)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

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It's not complicated.

Roll out your dough and spread alfredo sauce on it.  Top with tomatoes, red onion, bacon and mozzarella cheese. 

We cook our pizzas in a outdoor pizza oven but you can do it in the oven on 200C/390F for about 10/20 minutes.  You just want the dough to be cooked through and the cheese to be melted and golden.

Top cooked pizza with arugula.


Oven Fried Chicken

I found a recipe somewhere but the only real part if it I had all the ingredients for was "heat oven to 400 degrees." So I won't bother posting the link. 

This is how to make a delicious, moist, crunchy baked chicken with random ingredients. 

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups panko bread crumbs 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 T chopped fresh herbs (I used chives, marjoram, basil, oregano and cilantro)
3 cloves minces garlic
2 T oil
2 capfuls vinegar
1 egg
Pinch sea salt

First, preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a greased wire cooling rack in baking pan. 

Pound chicken until uniform thickness. Be sure to stick it in a ziplock first so you don't get hit in the eye with chicken juice. And don't worry if you don't seem to own a meat mallet, just borrow a hammer from your spouse. 

I think the original recipe called for mustard. But let's suppose you left your mustard on a camping trip. Clearly you should substitute mayonnaise. But let's further suppose that your hammer-loaning spouse left the mayo out in the back yard all night and you threw it away. Clearly you must get out your trusty stick blender and make some. Break the egg into a glass jar, realize you don't have any lemon juice. Decide that vinegar is an acid too and dump some of that in the jar. Add a pinch of salt and a 1/2 cup oil. Realize you only have a couple tablespoons of oil. Proceed undeterred. The resulting stick blended creation will not be mayo but will be...something white. Add herbs and garlic, put in a bowl. 

Mix together panko crumbs and cheese. Put in another bowl. 

Dredge flattened chicken in wet bowl. Press into crumb bowl, gently shaking off excess crumbs. 

Lay chicken pieces on wire rack and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Bask in the praise of your delighted family. 

Easy Cole Slaw

Shred one head of cabbage and two or three carrots (peeled) into a bowl and mix.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup mayo, 4 Tablespoons sugar, and 2 Tablespoons white vinegar.  Add to cabbage mixture and stir until combined.  If it doesn't look goopy enough for your taste, mix up some more dressing.  You can also adjust the vinegar to taste. 

It's always nice to let it marinate in the fridge for a little bit, but not necessary.  I sometimes make it and just stick it in the fridge while I make the rest of dinner.

Super easy (especially if you have a food processor or shredding attachment to your mixer) and very yummy!

If you want a yummy twist on this favorite, add to the dressing: the juice of one or two limes (to taste) and cilantro (one bunch, chopped). BAM! Yummy cilantro lime Cole slaw

Cherry Pomegranate Frozen Margarita

I thought I had posted this here before but apparently not.
So ... here you go !!
The fabulous cherry margarita !


Here's what you need ...

1 tablespoon Tequilla
1 tablespoon Triple Sec
2 tablespoons Pomegranate Juice
A handful of Frozen Fruit
Sugar, for rim


Yeah, that's blueberries not cherries.
The cherries weren't in a box anymore.
The box looked better for the photo !

Ok ...
Here's what you do.
Put all the ingredients into a blender.
If it's not thick enough, add more fruit.
If it's too thick, add more pom juice.


When Rory makes mine, he rubs lime around the rim and dips it in sugar.
But, usually he's making himself a normal margarita so already has limes cut open.
When I made it the other night, I didn't want to cut a lime just for that so I just used water.

Mmmmmm ... might have one tonight ...


Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

I posted this recipe in 2008 but thought it was time for a repost.  If you haven't tried these yet, it is time.   I found the recipe here and have basically followed her recipe but over the years have adapted it just a little bit.  I use greek yoghurt, a specific amount of oil, and I use canola ... oh,  and more topping ... but anyway, I'll give you my method below ...

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Dry Ingredients:
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 cup greek yoghurt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablspoons canola oil
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 stick butter, melted (about 55g)
1/2 cup sugar
1teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200c/400f.  Line muffin pan with paper or silicon cups.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

In a different bowl, whisk wet ingredients.  I start with the eggs, whisk.  Add yoghurt, whisk.  Add sugar, whisk ... you getting the picture? 

When the wet ingredients are combined, add the dry ingredients.  Mix gently until just mixed.  Don't over mix; batters should not be smooth.  BUT ... DO make sure the baking powder is mixed in!  The first couple of times I made these I found little lumps of baking powder when I was eating my muffin.  It was quite unpleasant!

Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 12-15 minutes.

While the muffins are baking, melt butter in a small, shallow bowl. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a different small, shallow bowl. As soon as the muffing are done, dip them one at a time in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar. Set on a rack to cool ... or just eat straight away like we do!

Makes 12 standard muffins.

Lemon Thyme Ricotta Gnocchi

I've made gnocchi with ricotta before but this gnocchi was a case of 'use up ingredients in the fridge and don't go buy more' so I didn't do the one I usually do!  I was really happy with how this one turned out though.  I'm not sure on the exact measurements as I was sort of adding a bit here and there but it seems to be pretty forgiving!  So, if you are comfortable with that sort of cooking, here's where you could start ... 

This recipe didn't make a whole lot.  For our family of four, we were all full but we also had a veggie and some garlic bread.  There were no seconds ... and we were all wishing there were!  Next time, I'll double the recipe!

250g ricotta (I didn't have quite 250g as I was using up an open ricotta!) 
1 cup of flour, or more
fresh thyme, leaves picked off ... as little or as much as you like.
rind of one lemon
30g finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg

I read somewhere that it's good to get as much moisture out of the ricotta as possible when using it for gnocchi so I spooned it all into a small colander/strainer and put that in a bowl in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour before I started making the gnocchi.  Don't know if it was necessary but a fair bit of liquid did drain out so I'd probably do it again next time.

Mix the flour, thyme, Parmesan cheese and lemon rind in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add the ricotta and egg.  I used my fingers to mix everything together until it became a dough.  I did add a little bit more flour as I went because it was really really sticky!  Make sure you don't overwork the dough or it will become tough and no one wants tough gnocchi!

Put the dough onto a well floured surface and form into a square ... well, mine was more like a rectangle, but I was aiming for square!  (Add flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick to your hands or your work space!)  Cut that into four segments.  Roll each segment into a long snake ... you know, like you used to do with playdough?! Cut each snake into small pieces which can be boiled just like that or rolled out on a gnocchi board or back of a fork. 

Add gnocchi to boiling water and cook until they float.  Normally, we'd stop there but last night I tried frying them in garlic butter as well.  YUM!  I drained them in a little colander and then popped them straight into a fry pan with butter and three smashed but whole garlic cloves.  I shook the pan around and coated them in the butter.  It gave them a little extra flavor and a bit of a crispy coating!  So good.  I did half the gnocchi that way, half just boiled.  We liked them both ways. 

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Top with your favorite sauce.  We love Craig's Bacon Mushroom Sauce and Winter Veg Sauce as two options!  YUM.  The one pictured above is a creamy roasted tomato sauce. 

Crock Pot Steak Fajitas

I found this recipe here.
I, of course, didn't cook it to the exact recipe instructions.


Here's what I did ...

500g round steak or beef flank steak
2 medium onions, cut into strips
1 large jar of medium salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 2 fresh limes
4 cloves garlic, minced
A pinch of ground chillis
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 small green bell peppers, cut into strips
2 small red bell peppers, cut into strips

For serving: chopped avocado, shredded cheese, chopped tomato, chopped spring onion, sour cream and flour tortillas, warmed

Cut steak crosswise into thin strips; place in slow cooker. Combine onion, 1 cup salsa, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt in slow cooker. Cover; cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours.

The original recipe said to ...add bell peppers. Cover; cook on LOW 1 hour. BUT we didn't. We sauteed them in a cast iron skillet instead.

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I first posted this recipe in 2009 but tonight I added something new to these tonight so thought I'd repost it with the addition ...

Garlic ... as much as you's like, diced
Jalapenos and assorted red chillies out of my garden, also diced

Fry these two in olive oil til garlic is browned.  

Remove from oil to paper towel and set aside.  Pop this into the fajita when serving.  So tasty!

Sushi Crunchies!

I discovered sushi crunchies (not sure of their 'real' name) when we were in Denver a few months ago. My parents favorite sushi place, where I think we ate like 8 times in 4 weeks (!!) makes a roll with sushi crunches inside it that I've been trying to replicate ever since. I think I've come pretty close with the roll you see in the photo above ... although, I don't roll mine inside out like they do.

I put avocado, dry roasted cashews, sushi crunchies and sometimes cream cheese. (the one pictured doesn't have the cream cheese) I top it will bulldog sauce. So yum ! It's my current favorite roll !

To make the crucnhies ... I watched this video ... you should watch it if you are going to try them. It gives some great tips.

I only make half his recipe ... here's how ...

Vegetable, corn or peanut oil
1/2 cup of Tempura flour (i actually used tempura batter mix),
1/2 cup of Water
1 egg white

Heat the oil in a pot. Don't fill it more than half way. I did the first time and ended up having to throw away the pot I used after I burned the oil to the outside of it ! Anyway, get the oil really hot (but not boiling)

While your oil is heating, mix the egg white, flour and water.

Test the oil by adding a drip of the mixture to the oil. If it instantly floats and sizzles at the top then the oil is ready. When the oil is hot, drizzle a bit of the mixture into it. (see the video for useful tips on this part !) Make sure you pour it slowly and not too much at once.

Once it's golden, remove it with a slotted spoon or small metal strainer to a plate covered with paper towel. Continue until all the mix is used up. Let it cool for a bit, then tip into a bowl. I smash it a bit with the back of a spoon because I like my cruchies broken up.

That's it.

These are so yummy.

One thing though, if you are making the sushi for the next day, don't add the crunchies, just sprinkle them on top the next day ! (they go soggy in the rice over night)

Black bean chili

1/4 c. oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, diced (the original recipe calls for red and green. I usually get at least two colors.)
1.5 tbs minced garlic
2tbs paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/3 tsp salt
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, very finely chopped
1 tbs cumin seed
1 tbs dried leaf oregano
2 cups cooked black beans
1.5 cups canned chopped tomatoes in puree

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion, bell peppers, garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt, and jalapeno peppers. Saute until onions are soft.
Add cumin, oregano, beans, and tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook slowly for an hour.

We eat this over rice with cheddar cheese, sour cream and sometimes avocados.
I usually use 2 cans of beans to one can of tomatoes, and I don't think I get them in puree. I think they're just chopped, and if I have the option, I will buy the ones with mexican spices, or chilis or whatever already in them, but not always. If it's cheaper to buy beans fresh cook them yourself.. that's a good option too.

The girl who gave us the recipe puts hers in the blender and purees it, but we like the texture of the chili instead of soup.

Plus, it freezes great!

Crock Pot Sloppy Joes

Leftover buns plus a busy Monday scheduled had me looking for something quick to stick in the crock pot.  I found this recipe here and thought I'd give it a go.  I'm not always a fan of sloppy joes, but not only did the boys LOVE this, I actually liked it!!  SCORE!  Not a drop left, and I made more than just 1 recipe. 

2lbs ground beef (I did about 3lbs and should have done more!)
1/2 cup ketchup (I did 3/4 cup since I'd increased the meat)
1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard (I did 1/3 cup since I'd increased the meat)
1 can pork and beans (I did 2 cans and really liked the fact that it was heavy on the beans)
Hamburger buns or hard rolls of some kind

Brown beef and drain.  I did this the night before when browning meat for redneck nachos and just refrigerated it overnight.  Made prep super quick the next day.

Mix browned beef, ketchup, mustard, and pork and beans well in the crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. 


The original recipe says it makes 6 servings, but I barely fed the 6 of us with the increased amount.  Granted, I was feeding a lot of hungry boys, but still I think I'd at least double it next time. 

Funky Lime Pizza

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I originally posted this funky lime pizza here. I have refined it a fair bit so am reposting with the refined directions ...

pizza dough enough to make two pizzas
4 cloves garlic, minced ~ I do a whole lot more but you do what you like !!
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
pinch of black pepper
2 cups Mozzarella, shredded
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
zucchini, thinly sliced
feta cheese, crumbled
fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, coarsely chopped
juice of 2 or 3 limes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/ 200 C if using oven.  (We do ours in our outside pizza oven ... and have even done it in the weber ... just cook it however you would normally cook pizza)

Use your favorite dough, roll out two bases.

Drizzle olive oil on both bases, spread around with a spoon.  Sprinkle with black pepper.  Top with zucchini, onion, corn and feta.  Top with mozzarella.

Bake for about 8 minutes then swap which rack the pizzas are on. Bake for another 5 - 8 minutes, til cheese is done to your liking ! I like it a bit brown ...

While the pizzas are cooking, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, til light brown ... DON'T BURN IT !! Burned garlic is bitter and narsty ! (that's for you Jimmy !)

Immediately after removing the pizza from the oven, top with garlic, squeeze a lime over the top and cover with the cilantro.

I serve with additional lime and we sqeeze more lime over during the meal !!

PS ... I googled funky lime pizza today and my original post came up FIRST ! How fun is that ? It also brought up another couple people who have reposted the recipe. One I knew about. One I didn't. Again ... FUN !!!

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

I found this recipe at A Year Of Slow Cooking. You all know about that blog right ? No ... well, you need to go check it out !! The blog author, Stephanie, made a new years resolution to use her crock pot EVERY DAY for the year 2008 !! And she did it ! So, yeah, no shortage of crock pot recipes over there !!!


I modified the recipe just a little ... here's how I did mine.

2.5 lbs (just over a kilo) potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch chili powder
1 quart chicken broth ( i used water and stock cubes)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, to add at the end
crumbled bacon, spring onions and avocado to serve

Put everything minus the cream cheese, bacon, spring onions and avocado into the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4. (I did high last night) The potatoes should be fork-tender. Add the cream cheese and put lid back on to let cream cheese melt.  I left it for about 20 minutes.

Cook the bacon.

Get your stick blender into the crock pot and blend everything together.

Garnish with crumbled bacon, spring onions and avocado !! Delish !!

My husband who "doesn't like soup" had two helpings of this last night and took if for lunch today !! Soon he will have to stop making the "i don't like soup" statement because he likes many many soups now !!

Buffalo Boneless Chicken Pizza

This pizza is so easy.

I saw a recipe for it and just had to try it. She used ranch in her base ... Rory doesn't like cooked ranch so we didn't bother. Here's how I made ours ...

Leftover boneless buffalo chicken
Your favorite pizza dough
Thinly Sliced Red Onion
Mozzarella Cheese

Break up the chicken bits and spread them, with the sauce onto the pizza base. Top with red onion and Mozzarella Cheese.

We cook our pizzas outside in our pizza oven but just cook it however you normally cook pizza.

This got gobbled up ! Jono dipped his in ranch. Rory and I just inhaled ours. Alia doesn't like spicy ...

PS ... If you don't have any leftover buffalo boneless, just melt 1TBLS butter, add 1/2 cup Franks hot sauce (or hot sauce of your choice) and then add some shredded chicken.  I make shredded chicken in my crock pot and keep it in ziplock bags in the freezer.


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I originally posted this back in 2011 ... but I made it again today and thought it was worth revisiting!


Last year at Rory's company Christmas party, I chose arancini for my meal. I chose it because it was a food I had never heard of and I love trying new stuff that sounds yum. I am so glad I did! I loved it, but I haven't had it since. Well, the other night we made risotto. A delicious mushroom risotto that I will totally make again. It is on page 66 of Jamie's 30 Minute Meals cookbook. I highly recommend trying it. Make the whole meal! The salad was so yum (you can see the few leftovers in the photo below) and the dessert .... well, there weren't any leftovers of that!!

We had some leftovers of the risotto so I decided to try my hand at arancini. It was so stinkin' easy ! Here's how you can do it too ...

leftover risotto, I had enough to make 10 golf ball size arancini
egg, beaten
panko breadcrumbs

Roll the risotto into a little bit bigger than golf ball size balls. Then coat with flour, egg and panko. (here's a little video if you want to see it done ... I watched this and decided to use the spoon like she did in the egg ... it was a good tip !)

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan to medium-ish heat (adjust heat as needed) and fry arancini until golden. I turned them onto every side ... they were actually a little more square than round by the time I finished ! haha

I served with leftover salad (it was a spinach/pine nut/sun dried tomato/cucumber with a lemon balsamic dressing salad) and I sprinkled grated romano cheese over the salad and the arancini.

Sooooooo goooooood !!

PS ... you can use ANY risotto you like.


Below: Original photo as posted in 2011.

Egg Salad Sandwich


So simple.

Hard Boil some eggs.
Chop em up.
Add some mayo.
A couple of
Add a large-ish squirt
of American
Put on your fave
fresh bread.
In my
the bread
will be Helga's
and it will
lots of seeds.


Chargrilled Salmon with Asparagus in a Lime Vinaigrette


I got this recipe out of the same delicious magazine as the fish recipe.

I made a couple of changes ... here you go with my modified recipe:

salmon fillets. i used 2 big ones for the four of us.
olive oil (to cook fish)
bunch of asparagus
grated zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tbls capers ... I used ones in salt ... DON'T do that !! Way too salty !!
a couple of cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Rory always cooks the fish on the BBQ with a bit of olive oil and salt/pepper.  He does that while I get the rest of the stuff ready ...

Meanwhile, roast asparagus in oven. (10/15 minutes).

Top asparagus with remaining ingredients. Season.

Place fish on plates. Top with asparagus mix.

I served this with greek croustade.

Quinoa Pad Thai

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I've seen various Quinoa Pad Thai recipes floating around the internet and decided to try my hand at making it.  I started with a basic recipe but quickly threw it out when I didn't have some of the main ingredients.

Also, we've been calorie counting so I'm giving you the measurements as I measured them ... in grams.   (If your kitchen scale is like mine, it should measure in both ounces and grams!)

This was a hit.  All four of us really liked it.  Even the kids, who will swear up and down that they don't like quinoa ... except tonight they are all "oh, yeah, I like that one quinoa dish with haloumi in it."  ... "And this one ..."  and I'm sure there are more, they just can't remember right now!!

Here's what you need:

4.5 cups cooked quinoa (I did two cups raw in my rice cooker)
70g bean sprouts
175g wombok (chinese cabbage), thinly sliced
120g grated carrots
45g sliced spring onions (and more to serve)
2 eggs
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp canola oil

3 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons lime juice (I used bottled because I only had one lime- you may not need as much with fresh limes)
zest of one lime (I added this because it wasn't limey enough ... you may not need it at all)
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1/4 cup chopped peanuts, to serve
1/2 cup cilantro (fresh coriander), to serve

Here's what you do:

Mix sauce ingredients and set aside.  You'll want to taste as you mix with this.  If it's too sweet, add more lime juice.  You want it to be more lime than sweet, I think, though.  And you don't want the fish sauce to be too overpowering.   If you are in the States, you may want to start with way less fish sauce.  Ellie told me that fish sauce is much stronger there than it is here ...

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic, cook for a couple of minutes until just starting to brown.  Add bean sprouts, wombok, carrots and spring onions.   Cook for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to soften.  Add chicken, quinoa and sauce.  Stir to combine.  Cook for a bit, letting the bottom lightly brown and then stirring to the top, letting the bottom brown just a little bit each time. (Like when you make fried rice ...)  In the meantime, beat the two eggs in a bowl and pour into a small, heated non-stick frying pan.  Cook a thin 'omelet'.

Slice 'omelet' into long thin strips.

To serve.  Put quinoa on a nice serving platter, top with omelet strips, peanuts, cilantro and extra spring onions.  Drizzle with a bit of lime and serve with two halves of lime on side of platter.

This fed our family of 4 quite nicely.

Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll

I'm not a huge fan of raw tuna. I mean, I'll eat it, but it's not my favorite.

This, however, is quickly becoming one of my favorites !

There's no real measurements, I just do this all to taste.

Ingredients (for the spicy tuna):
Sushi Grade Tuna, the size depends on how many you are feeding (and how much you want to spend!)
Kewpie Mayo
Spring Onion, thinly chopped
Sriracha Sauce

What else you need for the roll:
Sushi Rice

To make the spicy tuna. Chop the tuna into small pieces. Add mayo and mix. (You can see how is should look in the photo) Add spring onions. Add Sriracha to taste. I only add a small squirt at a time. That stuff is spicy hot !

Once that is done, you can make your rolls. Just add the other ingredients, along with the spicy tuna, and roll it up ! Done !!

Moroccan Tapenade ... With A Kick

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Another recipe I found for the tapas night was this amazing tapenade!  I love tapenade anyway, but this one has a spicy little kick that is so great. 

The only thing I really changed about this is the amount of olive oil I used and the method ... and I doubled their original recipe to make two cups.

400 g Kalamata olives, pitted
3 big cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon harissa (definitely adjust to taste!)
2 tablespoon lemon juice
a handful of chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil

Throw everything into a food processor and process until desired consistency is reached. 

I served with a thick crunchy crouton type cracker.  You could serve with any cracker or bread!

Auburi Scallop Sushi

These are amazingly delicious !  This is only the second or third time we've made them at home but they are quickly becoming a must have on our sushi nights !

Sushi (short grain) Rice, cooked
Sushi Rice Vinegar (you can buy it or it's EASY to MAKE)
Fresh Scallops, roe removed

I'm going to assume that you all know how to make sushi rice.  If you don't, I explain it in this post.

If you don't know how to shape sushi rice, here is a video I just found to show you.  It's in Japanese but you can see what he's doing.

Shape your rice and set aside.

Using a chef's blowtorch, sear the scallop on both sides and around the edges ... then pop the scallop on top of the rice.  Put a blob of kewpie mayo on top of the scallop and sear, just a little bit more.  Drizzle bulldog sauce on top of that and sear a bit more.


Eat while hot ! Serve with a bowl of soy sauce for dipping.

Quinoa Black Bean Salad - Combined

When I was planning my menu this week, I knew I wanted to make Quinoa Black Bean Salad.  But I discovered that there were two yummy looking recipes on the blog to choose from.  So I took a little from one and a little from the other - and this is what I got!

mine didn't look exactly like this...but you get the idea

1 cup quinoa, washed and drained
1 ¾ cups water
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 2 fresh limes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional - I didn't use any this time because fresh tomatoes are on "baby no like" list since I've been pregnant)

1 red bell pepper (I like it cut small)
1 avocado cut into chunks
5 green onions, finely chopped
Salt (pepper – optional) to taste


Wash and rinse quinoa. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once hot, add the rinsed quinoa and toast for a minute or two.  Add water, stir once, cover and simmer with a lid on for about 20 minutes.  Watch it though and turn it off as soon as the liquid is absorbed!

 2 In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, and garlic.

3 Combine cooked quinoa, beans, red pepper, tomatoes, and green onions in a large bowl.

4 Drizzle dressing over salad.  Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.  Can also add cilantro and/or red pepper flakes.

As a note - this is great as a side dish to a meal (one of the boys declared it tasted like guacamole), but also keeps well in the fridge for a healthy, protein packed lunch or snack. 

Breakfast @thebeansblog

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Breakfast was straight off the vine this morning ...


Find us on Instagram ... @thebeansblog

Mexican Beans and Rice

I cooked this again tonight and decided it was time to re-post it. 
My Aunt Jo originally posted it and I make it quite regularly in the colder months.  
I made a few changes for my family ... I'm adding those notes in RED.
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1 ½ cup water
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green bell pepper, chopped (we all prefer red bell pepper)
1 can red kidney beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
¾ cup uncooked long-grain rice (I use brown rice)
1 Tbsp chili powder (Australian chili powder is ground chili and SUPER HOT! I only use a pinch)
2 tsp cumin
1 cup mozzarella cheese (I use a mozz/cheddar blend)

In large saucepan, sauté onion, garlic, and green pepper in water. Simmer, stirring often, until onion is tender. Add beans, tomatoes, rice, chili powder and cumin. Simmer, covered, 20-25 minutes until rice is tender and most of liquid absorbed. (Keep an eye that you don’t run out of liquid before the rice is done. Since I also use the liquid in the tomato and bean cans, I sometimes have to boil the mixture, uncovered, at the end to reduce the liquid.) When rice is done and most of the liquid absorbed, top with cheese. When cheese is all melted, serve and enjoy.

Tonight I served these with quesadillas.

Green Chili - A La Liz

I love Ak's green chili recipe but since I don't live in Colorado anymore, it's hard to get all the ingredients. Does that mean I should stop making this delicious dish?

Heaven forbid!

Necessity is, as they say, the Mother of Invention. Apparently the Father of this invention is the international grocery store!

I also added beans because chili should have beans. And also because there are a lot of us to feed and it needed to stretch. And, ya know, fiber, health, blah blah. I chose navy beans, in honor of UJ. Go Navy!

Green Chili A La Liz
My fancy to-go box. What can I say? I was too busy shoveling it in my
face to take a picture in the nice bowl.

3T vegetable oil (have more oil in case you need to adjust the thickening)
2-3 lbs boneless pork butt cut into 1/2 “ cubes
1/2 c flour (have more flour in case you need to adjust the thickening)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 white onion, chopped
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (7 oz) cans chopped green chilis
2 (7 oz) cans green Mexican salsa
1 (14 oz) can tomatillos, drained and crushed
2 cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth

Coat pork in flour, salt and pepper. Fry in oil until brown and crusty beautiful. Throw in onions and garlic, fry until fragrant. Deglaze pan with the chicken broth. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer 20-30 minutes or until pork is nice and tender. Adjust thickening if necessary with more flour brown in oil.

Serve with rice and your choice of garnishes. I like avocado, sour cream and cilantro. 

Serves 6

Caprese Avocado Boats

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I've looked at this recipe quite a few times and finally made it the other night.   I didn't do it exactly like she said because I was in a bit of a hurry.  I didn't make the basil garlic oil sauce maybe I will try that next time. But only maybe ... because this way was so easy.  Here's what I did.

Avocados (one per person, but I only did half each for the kids)
Baby Bocconcini, 225g (8oz)
Cherry Tomatoes, 250g, quartered
Garlic Infused Olive Oil
Fresh Basil, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar

Cut the avocados in half, take out the seed and carefully peel off the skin.

Mix bocconcini, tomatoes and fresh basil (as little or much as you like) with a good drizzle of the Garlic Infused Olive Oil.   Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, spoon bocconcini mixture into avocado halves.  Drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar and serve.

Paleo Cinnamon Buns

The other day I made cinnamon buns for a friend's birthday.  A mutual friend, who happened to be coming over for dinner last night, heard about it and sent me a text asking if I could make paleo cinnamon buns for dessert.  It was a total joke.  I laughed about it but then I thought ... hmm ... I wonder.  And so I googled and shopped and made something that was actually quite delicious.  They weren't fluffy like regular cinnamon buns, but the flavor was good and quite reminiscent of ... well, cinnamon buns!  I used the dough in this recipe  but had a strange experience with the tapioca flour so had to change the method a bit.  I used the filling ingredients from this recipe but again I changed the method ... mainly because I didn't read the recipe right.  I made up the glaze.

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For the dough:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 TBLS honey
1 egg

For the filling:
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup pecans
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1.5 TBLS butter, melted
1.5 TBLS coconut oil, melted

 photo FDECDA5D-A6CE-4560-9BD2-3B314D1B523D_zpstskunptj.jpgFor the glaze:
4 TBLS coconut sweet spread
2 TBLS tapioca flour
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pint of salt

Before we start ... I have to tell you about this coconut sweet spread.  It is a new discovery and it is a good one.  This stuff is so tasty! It tastes like caramel and it is ALL COCONUT.  The ingredients are coconut, coconut oil and coconut nectar.

To make the dough:
 photo DDEC251E-C0BA-46ED-BE6A-3FE689436E6A_zpsoab6wjde.jpgPut the coconut water, oil, sea salt, and honey into a little pot and bring to the boil.  Take off the heat and add the tapioca flour.  The original recipe said to mix.  I did ... but it was a sticky-bouncy mess, and there was a bunch of coconut oil left in the bottom that wouldn't mix in!At this stage I didn't have high hopes for the dough!  But don't worry if that happens to you, I'm fixing to tell you how to make it work.   Let the mess in  he pan cool for a few minutes and then throw it in the food processor.  Add the coconut flour and egg.  Whizz that around in the food processor for a bit.  It will look a bit like breadcrumbs.  Grab that out and knead it for a minute or two.  At this point, it all came together into a dough like consistency.  An oily dough, to be sure, but I had hope again!  Roll the dough out on a piece of baking paper.  I did mine into a large rectangle shape.

To make the filling:
Add all four ingredients to the food processor and whizz it up.  Spread on top of the dough.

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Roll the dough up like you are making regular cinnamon buns ... or sushi.  I actually used the baking paper to assist in this process ...

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Slice the  log into 8 pieces.  I cut and discarded the very ends.
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Bake in a preheated 350C oven for 20 minutes uncovered. Cover with tin foil and bake for another 10/15 minutes or until done. I just tasted a little bit of the outside dough to see if they were done ...  Here's what they looked like straight out of the oven.

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For the glaze: Mix all ingredients. Spread on top of rolls.

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Crock Pot Shredded Chicken

You know how sometimes a recipe calls for shredded chicken?
Well, this is a great way to make it.  
Easy.  Nothing to it.

I started with four skinless boneless chicken breasts. 
Took them frozen solid out of the freezer and popped them in the crock pot.
I added two cups of chicken stock to the crock pot as well.
Four hours on high and they were done.

Just shred with two forks and THAT IS IT.

We used some of this on pizza that night.
I froze the rest in ziplock bags.
Already, I've pulled out one bag and used it for an easy dinner.
Just threw some chicken, cheese, leftover guac, chipotle mayo into a flour tortilla
 and toasted that in the sandwich press.  The others in my 
family varied their ingredients a little.  
We were all happy.
Just the way 
I like it.

Muffin Tin Eggs

Have ya'll discovered these beauties yet?  I've seen instructions floating around facebook and pinterest...but if you haven't heard about it yet, I thought I'd add it here - plus, I actually remembered to take pictures this morning!!!

Super Easy
Spray 1 or more muffin tins thoroughly with cooking spray. 
 Break one egg into each muffin cup.
You can sprinkle a little salt and/or pepper on top, but I like them plain.
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on what consistency you want your eggs).
At ~20 minutes their consistency is similar to hard-boiled eggs - without the mess of peeling the egg!

You can let the eggs cool and store in a Tupperware for the week (or so) as a quick-grab protein-packed snack. 
You can serve them hot on an English muffin with cheese and mayo.

The Cookery Wife

There is a new blog in blogland and it's one you need to see!

The cookery wife is written by two sisters ... my sister's sisters.  Confused?  Don't be ... they are the sister's of my sisters husband.  See why I just say, my sister's sisters?  Even though technically, I'm also my sister's sister! Really I just like saying sister's sister .......

The blog is brand new but already has a selection of tasty looking recipes in "the recipe journal" ... I think their buttermilk biscuits may be the first recipe I try.  Or maybe the pie crust ...

Got an instagram account?  Follow them there too ... 
Their photos will make you want to lick your phone screen.  I'm not even kidding.  
Just search thecookerywife on Insta, you'll find them.