Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Gluten-Free or Bust

Celiac's Disease has entered my home. My poor stepson is in the process of a diagnosis and as we wait for the specialist to see him, we have started a gluten-free diet when he is home. The next few entries are going to focus on the fun world of GF living!

But first, I want to share some great resources I have found in my quest for edible gluten-free foods.

Locally we have an amazing bakery in New Westminster, Cloud 9, that makes gluten-free goodies that my stepson absolutely loves!

Check out more about their productes at the link below:

Some great online resources that I have found include the following;

Gluten Free on a Shoestring
A website that strives to make gluten-free eating affordable and enjoyable.

Stone Soup
Easy, five ingredient meals. It's easy to keep the gluten out when you keep things simple!

Allergic Living
A good resource for anyone dealing with food allergies.

Simply Without
A collection of recipes and resources for a vegan, gluten-free life.

Doctor Tom
My cousin highly recommends this doctor as being an expert in the gluten-free world.

Do you have any favourite websites for gluten-free living?

Share them in the comments section!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms, Balsamic, and Parmesan

It has been far too long, my foodie friends! But I am back, and with some garden spoils to use in my cooking efforts.

I found it on Pinterest, but the orginal recipe is found on a site called Kalyn's Kitchen. The link is here:

Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms, Balsamic, and Parmesan

(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn, and copied here for reference)


8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (I used brown crimini mushrooms, but any mushrooms will work)
1 lb. fresh green beans, preferably thin French style beans
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T finely grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450F/230C. Wash mushrooms and let drain (or spin dry in salad spinner, which is what I did.) While mushrooms are drying, trim ends of beans and cut beans in half so you have bite-sized pieces. (An easy way to trim them is to gather a small handful of beans, stand them up on cutting board, holding loosely so they will fall down and have ends ends aligned, then trim. Repeat with other end.) Cut mushrooms into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Put cut beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then squeeze bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture. Arrange on large cookie sheet, spreading them out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded. Roast 20-30 minutes, starting to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated. Season beans to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve hot.
A few things I learned about this recipe - 

Make your mushroom pieces a good size. They will burn if they overcook. The beans will just shrivel and become tasteless (yes, unfortunately I learned this the hard way). About a third of the veggies I cooked came out over done. Consistent sizing is also very important!

Ensure that your veggies are thoroughly coated before putting them in the oven. I think mine were a little dry and I ended up having to coat them with a little balsamic glaze when they came out of the over.

Other than that, this recipe was a big success! My family does not like green beans, so seeing an entire pound of them get demolished was pretty heartwarming.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Easy Peasy Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wraps - a quick, easy, and delicious dinner option.


1 lb lean ground beef (can substitute other meat or tofu, if preferred)
1/4 cup zucchini
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup orange peppers
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Chinese 5-spice powder (**see excerpt below):
to taste: chili powder, salt, and pepper
1 head lettuce (the crisper, the better!)

**Used extensively in Chinese cooking, this pungent mixture of five ground spices usually consists of equal parts of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns. Prepackaged five-spice powder is available in Asian markets and most supermarkets.

Read more at:

How to cook:
1. Dice all vegetables into small pieces.
2. Take your raw meat or tofu and vegetables in a bowl, add water, soy sauce, brown sugar, and spices. Marinate for twenty minutes in the fridge.
3. Cook mixture on the stove until meat is cooked and any excess sauce has cooked off.
4. While the mixture is cooking, take the head of lettuce and rip off the pieces as carefully as possible, in order to make little lettuce boats to fill with yummy meat mixture.
5. Once the mixture is cooked, serve with lettuce and side (e.g. rice, quinoa, couscous, etc).

I made quinoa, rather than rice, as a side dish. To be honest, however, my quinoa failed rather spectacularly. It was a soggy disaster. If you have ever experienced a similar issue, there are some handy tips to be found here:

The wraps were delicious, and the meat mixture was even better the next day.
Because you cook the meat after marinating, however, it might be a good idea to use extra lean ground beef for this recipe. I did find the mixture I made was a little greasy (not that it tasted bad, mind you!).

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Death By Chocolate

Another dessert post! It's not all we have been cooking around here, but life has been busy so most of our meals have been pretty quick'n'dirty, not exactly blog-worthy.
However, recently my husband got another year older and I made him my famous lasagna and his favourite indulgent dessert - "Death By Chocolate". It seemed like a good opportunity to get back on the ol' blog bandwagon.
1 chocolate cake from mix 
(although you could probably substitute a homemade one, if you want to do the extra work! I didn't)

1 cup Kahlua 
(and a small snifter for sampling!)

1 lg container Cool Whip OR 2 cups whipped cream

4 boxes Dr. Oetker Chocolate Mousse 
(again, you probably could substitute for homemade, but I just used the delicious easy-make variety, and it works great!)

6 Skor Bars
 (no substitutions here!)

Bake the cake the day before you wish to serve the dessert.
While the cake is still warm, poke holes in it (see above) and drench in Kahlua. Feel free to sample from snifter as you do this.

The next day, you are going to create a layer dish in a large bowl (a punch bowl works well, although as you can tell from the pictures I didn't have anything that fancy at the time I made this).

Crumble the cake. Break Skor bars into small pieces and crumble into whipped topping. Layer in bowl as follows:
Cake---Mousse---Whipped Topping
Repeat until all ingredients are used up, ending with the Whipped Topping layer. 
If you managed not to eat them all, you can crumble any extra Skor bar bits onto the top for a little extra sweet fanciness. Chill, then serve to the delight of all who are there to enjoy it.

This recipe was included in a book of family recipes given to me by my mother-in-law. I'm pretty sure you'll be seeing other dishes from her collection in future blog posts.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kid Friendly Munchies

As parents in today's hectic world, I think we all struggle to find healthy, easy snacks that our children will actually eat.

Lately I have found myself guilty of feeding my son goldfish crackers and fruit cups more than I care to admit. I am making it a goal to find some better things to feed my son when he needs a quick pick me up.

Below are some quick and easy suggestions for kid-friendly snacks, found on that always fun and often frustrating site, Pinterest:

Zucchini chips (trying these tonight!)

Whole Fruit Popsicles (if you click on the link on the Pin, you will find a great blog entry with lots of yummy ideas for snacks)

Banana Roll-Ups (a non-processed food that kids will like as much as the store-bought fruit roll ups!)

Homemade Gummy Fruit Snacks (for those parents feeling a bit more adventurous!)

Apple Oatmeal Muffins (a little more traditional, but always a fav)

For the more creative parents:

A Very Hungry Caterpillar

Cute Little Penguins

If you want to see the entire board, or follow me on Pinterest, the link is here:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Peanut Butter Cups of Awesome

In my house we celebrate Valentine's Day with homemade chocolates, and these Peanut Butter Cups are always requested.
I found the recipe years ago on Craftster (original post here) and it was an instant favourite with my husband.
Below is my mini-tutorial on making them.

In a large mixing bowl combine 
1 cup peanut butter (I like smooth)
6 tablespoons butter (softened)
2 cups icing sugar
Using a dough cutter cut the ingredients together til crumbly

Then I squish them into little pucks (see picture below)

 Then I take good quality milk chocolate (I like Berard Callebaut), chop it up, and then melt it using the double-boiler method. You use chocolate chips or melting pucks if you prefer, but I find using the chopped bricks taste better.

 Melt the chocolate, then pour it into prepared cupcake wrappers. I put a little in the bottom, put the peanut butter puck in, then top with more chocolate.
 Once they are done, put them in the fridge to set. I find they taste best, though if served at room temperature.
My husband's Valentine's gift. <3

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bacon and Onion Pan Fried Squash

We had a dinner party the other day and I wanted to try something new for a veggie dish. I had bought a couple of squash to serve but, as we were serving a turkey, the oven was busy so roasting was not an option. I had to find something else to do, so I Googled "sauteeing". A recipe for squash fried with bacon came up and PRESTO! We had a winner.

The inspiring recipe is here: Butternut Squash Saute (Betty Crocker), but as you can see, I made a few changes:


2 medium squash, peeled and cut into cubes (I used butternut and acorn)
1/2 pack bacon
1/2 large red onion, chopped
Salt & Pepper

To prep the squash, put it in the microwave for about five minutes to cut and peel more easily.
Cube into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.
Chop bacon into small pieces and fry until it starts to crisp. 
Add chopped onion. 
Fry for a couple minutes, then add squash, thyme, salt, and pepper. 
Fry until squash is fully cooked. You will know that it is ready when you can easily slice through it with a spatula.
Serve! It's delicious and super easy. 
And some pictures of our entire turkey dinner (MMMMM!). I made the yummy Quinoa salad mentioned in another blog post and even my husband liked it (he's generally hesitant about "weird grains").