Sunday, February 28, 2010

Canada Number One!

CANADA WINS GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sydney Crosby shoots the winning goal in overtime to give Canada the gold medal in men's hockey!
Gold medal in female hockey+Gold medal in men's hockey=#1 nation in hockey!

That is all!
Now to drink to this awesome event!
A good day to be Canadian ladies and gents!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cottage Cheese and Apple Pancakes with Whipped Cinnamon Butter

This recipe idea came about in an interesting manner. On Thursdays, Dave and I, both don’t have any classes and so we like to call Thursdays: Special Breakfast Day. Sometimes I make fancy omelets oozing with cheddar cheese; sometimes I make French toast or even Brunch. This Thursday I decided I would find a recipe to finish off the ricotta cheese I had and incorporate one of Dave’s favorite fruits: pears; I went online and found this recipe for Ricotta and Pear Pancakes. Perfect! Or so I thought. Thursday morning turned into a comedy of sorts; first my ricotta cheese went bad weeks before its expiration date. I said: “it’s okay hon, I’ll just replace the ricotta with cottage cheese.” So I began to make my batter and cream my cottage cheese, when I suddenly asked Dave to shred the pears, nearing the completion of my batter.  Yah, that didn’t work out either, the pears had somehow rotted through and were quickly thrown into the garbage bin with anger. Thus using my ability to improvise, I began to slightly modify the recipe and turned it into the one you see below. In a way, I’m glad that all of this happened because I emerged with a wonderful, flavourful pancake that I deemed the best pancakes ever. Hope you enjoy!

Cottage Cheese and Apple Pancakes with Whipped Cinnamon Butter

Ingredients for batter                                    Ingredients for butter

-1 ¼ cup of all purpose flour                           -1/2 cup of butter or margarine           
-1 ¼ tsp of baking soda                                   -2 heaping TBS of white or brown sugar
-Heaping tsp of cinnamon                               -2 heaping tsp of cinnamon
-1 ¼ TBS of sugar
-a dash of nutmeg (optional)
-1/2 cup of cottage cheese
-2 eggs
-1/4 cup of apple sauce (optional)
-1/4 cup milk
-1/4 cup of apple juice
-2 large apples (shredded)

I like to make my butter first but it’s all up to you. Now I’m using real butter because it’s so much better but you can go ahead and use what ever you have lying around. 
If you’re using butter though, make sure that it is room temperature and that you cut it into small cubes otherwise if you’re using a machine like mine, you might over heat the motor and break it.  Now I chose brown sugar to make my butter and in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have as the colour looks unappetizing in pictures but I prefer brown sugar to white granulated sugar. So it really all depends on what colour you want your butter to be; if you’re using white sugar it’ll be a nice caramel-like colour. Put all of your butter ingredients together in a small bowl and mix thoroughly until whipped and smooth then set aside.
Now we’re going to make the pancake batter. For this you’ll need two mixing bowls; in the larger one mix together flour, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Now when I say a dash of nutmeg, I mean a dash; nutmeg is very strong and you want to use it sparingly otherwise your pancakes will be very strong, and not in a good way. Once it’s all mixed properly, create a well in the center and put aside.
Next, in your smaller bowl, add your cottage cheese and mix it with your electric mixer until smooth and creamy looking.
Then add your eggs, apple sauce, milk and apple juice to your cottage cheese mixture and blend until all ingredients are combined.
Pour your cottage cheese mixture into the well of your dry ingredients and mix together with a spoon or spatula until everything is blended properly and your mixture is of a batter-like consistency.
Wash and peel your apples. For this recipe I like to use McIntosh apples because of the soft texture and sweet flavour.  You want to shred your apples; I like to use a cheese grater for this. Make sure that you don’t shred the core, that’s for the garbage bin.  Also, don’t worry if your apples turn brown, like McIntosh’s tend to do within a few minutes, as you will be mixing them into your batter.
Fold in your shredded apple and voila! You’re now done your pancake batter.
Now onto the fun part!

I like to use Pam cooking spray when I make pancakes because it’s a lot easier to add between pancake making; and trust me, you’ll want to spray a bit on before each new pancake as they will stick and become hard to handle. Put your heat on medium and spread batter on THINLY as these plump up a bit during the cooking and you don’t want a doughy centre.  Let cook for 1-2 minutes until the underbelly is nice and brown and then flip.  You don’t have to make your pancakes as big as these, I just like to flip gargantuan pancakes but small is good too, just takes longer to cook up your batter, but definitely better if you have guest of multiple people eating these.
Once cooked add your cinnamon butter and watch that yummy buttery goodness melt all over those delicious apple pancakes. You can even put a little bit of maple syrup on top, pour yourself a large glass of milk and enjoy!
Hope you have a very nice Special Breakfast Day!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Easy Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

I cooked up a storm today with the help of my beloved David and I thought I’d do a food blog on a yummy tasty supper that’s very easy to make and leaves one quite satisfied. My mother used to make Shepherd’s Pie all the time when I was a kid and I loved it! Being a vegetarian isn’t always easy when you want to enjoy some good ol’ comfort food from way back in the day and so I’ve decided to upgrade my mom’s Shepherd’s Pie and give it a vegetarian twist that any meat eater would enjoy. Just ask my David, he loves it!

Easy Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie


-1/2 of a large onion
-2 green onions
-A drizzle of olive oil (for frying pan)
-2 packs (312g each) of veggie ground round in original flavour.
-2 cans of whole kernel corn (or even frozen or fresh, what ever you have)
-5-7 large russet potatoes (depending on how little/much you like)
-3 TBS of butter
-1/4 cup of milk
-a pinch of salt

Peel your potatoes and cut into chunks (this will make your potatoes cook faster). Put your potatoes in a pot, cover with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.  Once your water begins to boil, bring down the temperature slightly and keep cooking until tender or until you’re able to put a fork through them.  
Meanwhile, finely dice your onions and green onions and set aside.  
When potatoes are reaching their desired softness, drizzle a bit of olive oil onto a frying pan. Once the pan is hot, add your onions and cook until they start to brown then add you green onions. 
Cook for about an additional 2 minutes then add your veggie ground round and mix it well with your onions and cook until heated through (approx. 4-5 minutes).
Drain your potatoes, and bring the pot back to the oven. Put the temperature to low and add your milk and butter and begin to mash while on stove, as the heat will help make the mashed potatoes nice and creamy.  Sometimes I find that while I’m mashing that I need more butter, milk or even a dash of salt so don’t be afraid to add more, just make sure to taste your mash; you’ll know what’s missing. You want to make sure that they’re nice and flavorful and then set aside.
In a square baking dish (I used one that was 8x8 inches) begin to layer by putting your cooked veggie ground round evenly on the bottom. 
Open and drain your cans of corn and evenly layer it over the veggie ground round layer.
The next layer is obviously your mashed potatoes, however this can be kinda tricky as you smooth the potatoes over the corn; you want to keep both layers separate but the potatoes can be slightly evil and decide that they want to mix with the corn.  A good trick for this is to put big dollups of your mash unto different areas of your dish until you’re out of mash and then begin to smooth is out as a thicker layer of mash means that it’s less likely to mix with the corn. If you do mix, it’s not a big deal, it just looks better when it’s layered properly.
Set your oven to 350F. While your oven is warming up, I like to spread a bit of butter on top of the mashed potatoes so that while you cook them, the top browns nicely and gives it a slight crunchy topping. Put your dish in the oven for about 15 minutes until it is heated through. You don’t need to keep it in very long as everything is already cooked.

Last and final step, set your over to broil for about 5 minutes until your potatoes slightly turn golden brown, then take out of the oven, serve and enjoy!
You can also make this recipe ahead of time, even the night before. Just make sure you refrigerate it and then when you want to eat it, put into the oven for a nice warm meal.

Hope you enjoy this, I tried to make the directions as simple as possible so that even the most unexperienced (ahem David ahem) can make this!

10 Things I'm Loving This Week

I've been meaning to upload this for a bit now but I was kinda busy, so here for your enjoyment: 10 awesome things that I'm in love with right now!

10. Spinach salad is one of my new found loves! I have one almost everyday, they are sooooo delicious! Plus I find that it fills me up more than a regular salad and it doesn't get all mushy if you add the dressing in the morning before you leave. I like to put chopped egg, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, chives, and carrots in mine. Sometimes I add pitted sunflower seeds and a bit of pesto with my dressing which of late has been a nice, slightly creamy, roasted garlic dressing.
9. My shower's just neat looking.  
8. Stitch 'N Bitch yarn! Actually the brand is called Stitch Nation, anyway, I almost fell of my chair when I found out that author of Stitch 'N Bitch greatness Debbie Stoller had her own brand of yarn. Unfortunately, it seems to only be available in the States right now, but I'm keeping my hopes up for a Canada release soon. It come in three different kinds of wool and a variety of lovely, bright colours. Just look at the pretties!

7. Christina Hendricks. She's just an amazing actor and such a gorgeous looking woman. I know I've written about her on the blog before, be she's just so great that she deserves a second mention, plus I gotta support a fellow sister of large and natural breasts. I remember talking about her red hair and how I wish mine was such a colour...turns out that Mrs. Hendricks is a natural blond and has been dying her hair since she was a kid. Now if only I could figure out which brand she uses.
6. Vintage typewriters. I've always wanted an old Underwood in working condition.
5. Cute Diana and instant cameras from Urban Outfitters. I want the Diana mini kit bellow!
4. Dave and I have been enjoying a Firefly marathon the last week or so and I always find myself saddened when the last episode plays. I still cannot believe the stupidity that is Fox for ruining such an amazing show. The film Serenity pretty much makes me cry as I know that it is the last that I shall ever know of these great characters. Oh and I want, no scratch that, I NEED to learn how to make Jayne's hat!
 3. Yetis! I have a strange soft spot for these furry mythical creatures; I have a pair of gloves that look like yeti hands that I wear everyday. 
Okay so I know this last one isn't a Yeti, it's actually a Sashquatch, but I mean common! How cute is Quatchi?! He's the best Olympics mascot ever and I have a small plushie of him in my bedroom to snuggle with. 

2. I found this on Gizmodo the other day. What a unique way to "hide" electrical wires.
1. Alice in Wonderland, the iPhone game. I purchased it the other day and its quite fun for an iPod game, could have been cheaper but I'm enjoying it none the less; plus the game play is a decent length.