Thursday, December 30, 2010

Food Blog Shout-Outs

I have to take a moment to give a few shout-outs to some sites I've been following recently. Lots of inspiration has been drawn from these two sites and I want to make sure I'm giving credit where credit is due.

Skinny Taste....great recipes and very Weight Watchers friendly!!!
**This site is updated daily with fantastic recipes that are so flavourful and Weight Watcher friendly

Joy of Baking....simple baking recipes with fantastic pictures...what more could you ask for?

Holiday Baking

As mentioned in my earlier post, I got really lucky and didn't have to cook anything for any of the THREE Christmas dinners we were part of.

It didn't seem right so I decided to bake a few different items and gift them in tins (who doesn't love a good re-usable tin).

Blueberry Oat Bars

**The recipe calls for raspberry preserves but I opted to use blueberry pie filling.

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

**affectionately dubbed "nipple cookies" by Clutterbuck

Oreo Truffles

**Probably the easiest things to make and people go crazy for them!!! I called them Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles because it sounded much more gourmet than Oreo Truffles.

Marshmallows...I MADE marshmallows.

I love making things that sound so fancy or gourmet. Who makes marshmallows? They are such anomalies. You can buy them in the store for so cheap but who would ever think to actually make them from scratch...surely you would need to be some fancy candy maker or something to attempt that. Nope, I'm here to tell you that its even easier than the Oreo truffles.

I made them because I've been off work all week and Clutterbuck has been working. I've had lots of time to menu plan and satisfy my baking bug. I decided to make these S'mores for New Years Eve and the marshmallow recipe was also on the site...why not??

They are currently at the "let rest at room temperature for 12 hours stage" but I have a good feeling about them (how can you go wrong with 2 cups of sugar and vanilla extract?).

I will report on how the S'mores and the rest of the food for New Years goes.

Happy New Year to everyone!!! Hope you all have a great New Years Eve!

A New Camera For Christmas

Maybe this means the food photos will look better...maybe not.

Clutterbuck hit the mark this Christmas and I couldn't be happier! I've wanted a camera since ours was stolen last year. So far all I've had a chance to test it out with is Phoebe (she doesn't seem to mind).

Hope you all had a great holiday!!!

We managed to make it through unscathed and only had turkey once (well actually twice but I opted for Ham the second time). We had 3 Christmas dinners to attend and none of them required any contribution from our part. Since I wasn't going to be buying a turkey for our family meal I figured I'd buy one for another family.

I did do some baking over the holidays and will update shortly on that.

The very first picture taken...Phoebe, in the car, on the way to the Clutterbuck Christmas.

Phoebe's cousin Maggie....they don't really get along.

Clutterbuck and Phoebe recovering in between Christmases.

Phoebe in black and white.

Phoebe in sepia.

Sanchez giving the camera his best Blue Steel

Cherry Tomato Crisp

Twas the night before Christmas (eve) and I didn't really feel like cooking.

I had a PC Blue Menu Chicken Pot Pie in the freezer so I went with it. I steamed some asparagus and roasted some pearl onions, cherry tomatoes and sliced garlic in a little garlic oil. I had one lonely whole wheat bun so I broke it up and tossed it in some oil and threw it on top of the tomatoes with a bit of Parmesan cheese. Roasted in alongside the PC Pie and it turned out fabulously.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chicken Vegetable Soup

I was about to make yet another batch of my vegetable soup to live off of for the week but at the last minute I decided to switch it up a bit. Instead of pasta I decided to add chicken.
So I threw in 2 bone in skinless breasts and let the whole thing simmer away for a few hours. The chicken was falling apart (just the way I like it) and the cayenne pepper was the perfect amount of heat. We ate it over a handful of fresh spinach that wilted beautifully under the hot soup.
I'm having it for lunch for the second time today and can't wait.
Another favourite of mine for soups is to throw in any leftover parmesan cheese rinds. I only buy fresh parmesan and it really grinds my gears (pun intended)when you are left with this big chunk of useless hardened cheese. Throw it into soups. It softens and adds a fantastic flavour!!
Definitely a success and just enough to get us through to the 3 days of Christmas craziness...where, luckily, I don't have to cook at all. I do plan to bake though and I'll be sure to document those adventures over the next few days (since I haven't made any of the recipes before).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baked Beef Ziti

I decided to take a stab at a recipe I tried a while ago. It has all the ingredients I love in a dish. Pasta, Ground Beef, Onions, Tomato Sauce, Garlic, and Cheese, but the last time I made it we weren't too happy about it. It was quite bland and made a HUGE amount that we resented having to eat for days after.
This time around it was fantastic. I went really heavy on the herbs and even had some fresh basil to throw in at the last minute. I also decided against Ziti because its a round smooth other words its not very good at clingy to sauces. I used a Rotini instead and it was perfect.
We really enjoyed it and have been enjoying it since (made Sunday...its Tuesday). We had it with a garden salad...yes Clutterbuck and I have different salad dressings...he will only ever eat Russian which I am not a fan of at all. Actually lately I've noticed I'm much more of a fan of no dressing on my never thought I'd see that day.
Thanks to K.Hill who also made this recipe on the weekend (that's what gave me the idea to make it again). I'll have to ask her how hers was....we can compare notes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I figured it out!

I went with the stir fry. If you can get over all the chopping (which wine helps with) its such an easy dish.
I opted for a veggie version. I'll happily leave meat out of dishes whenever possible. Not because I don't like meat, but just because it automatically simplifies the cooking.
The only thing that can be good or bad about dishes like stir frys is that the end result is always different. This one happened to be really yummy. I used a little chili garlic sauce, lots of garlic and ginger and a little teryaki sauce. It was perfectly spicy and not too saucy.
Clutterbuck, who had previously decided he would have only salad for dinner (weirdo), even opted to have a full serving.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What should I make for dinner?

I haven't been very creative lately and have been relying heavily on old familiar recipes. I want to make something new tonight, but there are conditions:

  • Must be simple on the lighter side of prep time
  • Preferably heavy on the veggies
  • Nothing too heavy but still filling

I was hoping posting this will help me think....nope I'm still drawing a blank.

At the moment I'm thinking a veggie stirfry...maybe I'l search for a new recipe for a stirfry sauce...maybe I'll have lunch first.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Very Yummy and incredibly simple. I sauteed some mushrooms and cooked asparagus in some garlic oil and chilies. Tossed in some cooked pasta, a bit of the asparagus water, lots of parmesan cheese and an egg yolk. Voila a creamy but not CREAMy sauce.
Can't wait to try this again with whatever other veggies I have on hand.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oven Fried Paprika Chicken with Mushrooms and Roasted Cauliflower

I don't think the picture is very flattering but the whole meal was quite tasty. Roasted Cauliflower is better than french fries or anything similar. For such a tasteless vegetable it really comes to life when roasted. Its like this nutty crispy goodness and tossed with a little Parmesan cheese there is no stopping it.
The Chicken cutlets were breaded in some crunched up saltine crackers with a bunch of paprika and a bit of salt and pepper. They were quite good and since they were so thin only took a few minutes in the oven to cook. I topped them with some sauteed mushrooms with a little white wine and chicken stock to make a little sauce.
Good times and this will definitely be enjoyed again in the Smart-Clutterbuck household.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chana Masala and Roses

I made Indian last night. Chana Masala with onions and peppers, some steamed veg. and of course Naan (why else would anyone eat Indian?)

It was great and very easy.

However, the best part was being surprised with some beautiful flowers from Clutterbuck. He's a keeper!

Healthy Risotto and Honey Garlic Salad

I made a healthy risotto the other day. I don't really know how extra healthy it was but I didn't use any butter and only 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Plus I loaded it up with mushrooms and peas. It was so good. Risotto is just so good and I really enjoy making it. Once you do it a few times you realize how really simple it is.
The salad was a basic garden salad with whatever veggies I had on hand (red onion, yellow pepper, toasted almonds, sauteed mushrooms and mixed baby greens). The dressing was what made it great. Its recipe is as follows:
  • 1 part oil
  • 1 part vinegar (i used apple cider)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
I emulsified it in my food precessor and stuck it in the fridge to hang out for as long as possible. It was so good! Try it! You won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

High Class!

I made my own version of General Tsao's Chicken last night (yet another dish that seems to have multiple spellings).
  • Chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
  • Chicken broth
  • Soy sauce
  • White wine vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Served over brown rice
It was really good. A perfectly proportioned meal...I love when that happens.
Anyway, it didn't look all that great so I didn't snap any photos, but I did take this one of the view I had while cooking. I think its much more entertaining.

Sanchez doing the "bunny rabbit". A pose he normally saves for the middle of the bathroom floor in the mornings. Apparantly last night he was felt it was appropriate for the counter during dinner preparation.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Veggie Soup and other healthful things

Eating the last batch of veggie soup for lunch at work today. I'm eating it as I type. I think the secret weapon here was water chestnuts. I've been putting them in everything lately. I don't even know what they are but I love 'em!

I made another great dish last night, but forgot to take picture. It was a sort of asian peanut noodle stir fry dish. It was really good. More on that later (when I photograph the leftovers in the fridge).

In other news, a month ago, Clutterbuck and I decided to invest in some good bicycles. We shopped around and test drove them all over the city and finally decided on the perfect ones. Now we're riding in to work whenever we can (22k round trip), biking all over the city on weekends and absolutely loving it. We even invested in a basket so Phoebe can come along on some rides.

Great times!!! I so enjoy the summers in Toronto!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Homemade Veggie Soup

As it sounds. All the veggies you can find, some veggie broth,herbs and spices to season (I used hot pepper flakes, thyme, salt, pepper and chives) a tiny bit of pasta, and garnish with parmesan cheese.
We'll be living of this for the next week. We're trying to whip our bodies back into shape after a vacation in Chicago that involved a lot of eating and drinking.

Asian Beef Salad

Ok, so as I've stated in previous posts, I just can't get into eating a salad as a meal. However, this one changed my mind.
I marinated some sirloin in some garlic, white wine vinegar, peanut oil and hoisin sauce overnight. Clutterbuck grilled the steak on the BBQ while I boiled the reserved marinade.
I tossed together any fresh veggies I had in the fridge (bell pepper, celery, water chestnuts, carrots) with a bunch of baby greens, topped it with the thinly sliced beef, some mandarins, chow mein noodles and then the cooked marinade as a dressing.
It was incredibly good. I'll be making it again soon since I have have the sirloin hanging out in my freezer.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Honey Ginger Chicken and Gingery Garlic Sugar Snap Peas

Say that 5 times fast!

This dish was full of my favourite flavours and filled the house up with yummy smells for the rest of the night. The Sugar Snap Peas came from this recipe in Chatelaine. The Chicken was marinated in some hoisin sauce, orange juice, soya sauce, garlic and ginger which later became a glaze once some honey was added and it was boiled on the stove.

Will for sure be making this again. Even brought it for lunch today because it made such a great quantity.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chicken Marsala

Sorry for the poor quality photo. I was late getting dinner going and by the time I got it on the plate I barely had time to let it cool down before it completely disappeared.
This was such a simple and really flavourful recipe. Something we've started to do in the Smart Clutterbuck house is serve dinner on small plates instead of the big ones. Very simple concept...looks like more food because it takes up more plate...but isn't. We've also opted to forego the carbs, when possible, in favour of more protein and veggies.
The recipe is as follows:
1. Sprinkle Chicken Breasts with pepper and poultry seasoning
2. Slice mushrooms and saute in a pan until they release juices (a few minutes)
3. Add Chicken and brown on each side, push mushrooms to the side of the pan
4. Add 1/4 cup of Marsala and let simmer for a minute, Add 3/4 cups of low sodium beef broth, Simmer uncovered until Chicken is cooked
5. Dissolve some cornstarch in 1/4 cup of beef broth, add to pan, stir until sauce thickens
6. Plate Chicken, spoon sauce and mushrooms over chicken breast
7. Watch Clutterbuck actually lick the plate clean once the chicken is gone....we're all class at the Smart-Clutterbuck house :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shepherds Pie

So yummy!
However, I'm noticing a startling thing in our place. When the oven is on it heats up the entire kitchen/living room to supernova temperatures. This is going to make cooking difficult over the summer...guess its time to start browsing the BBQ recipes.
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Please ignore all typos, unless they're funny
~ _ _/>
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Friday, May 21, 2010


So I realize this is following the pancake blog but unfortunately I haven't had much on the go in the kitchen since last week. Here's some crepes I made last weekend.
I have many fond memories of weekend mornings, watching tv and enjoying crepes that my dad made for me. It was always a crowd pleaser after any sleepover.
Good times!
Another new thing I've discovered is roasted chickpeas. YUM!!!!
-A can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
-A small amount of oil
-Some garlic power, salt and pepper and cayenne (or whatever you feel like seasoning with)
-Roast in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes depending on your crispiness preference.
You will not be disappointed!!
Sent from my Crackberry wireless device
Please ignore all typos, unless they're funny
~ _ _/>
/\ /\

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saturday Morning

Had a lovely low-key morning this morning. Made pancakes and Clutterbuck cut up a big watermelon. Yummy.
Now its off to a series of dinners all over the place.

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Please ignore all typos, unless they're funny
~ _ _/>
/\ /\

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I figured out what to do with the leftover chicken. I shredded it up and made chicken enchiladas (another first). I served it with some refried beans and cut up veggies. The veggies are so boring but I buy them and then have to think of every possible way to eat them, otherwise they go bad in the fridge. So, we end up eating a lot of raw veggies on their own.
It was a good dinner and I was pleased with the end result. Which is good because we ended up with enough to feed a family of 4 for a week. I really enjoy the whole process of cooking. Thinking of what you want to eat, researching various recipes and adding my own ideas, shopping for the ingredients and than preparing the meal. I completely appreciate that some people hate this entire process (Clutterbuck, for example) but not me!
After browsing allrecipes (which is the best recipe site ever. Lots of pictures and reviews) and looking at several different enchilada recipes, this is what I did:
  1. Shred the remaining chicken and set aside
  2. Finely chop a green pepper, onion, 2 jalepenos and garlic
  3. Saute veggies in a pan until soft
  4. Add chicken, sour cream, fresh oregano, cumin, chili powder, pepper, cheddar cheese
  5. Cook until cheese melts, add Salsa
  6. Roll mixture up in tortillas and place in a pan
  7. Cover with red enchilada sauce and remaining cheese
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
:) Guess what we're having for dinner tonight

Monday, May 3, 2010

Roast Chicken

Its been a while since I've blogged...because its been a while since we've eaten anything worth blogging about. Since Clutterbuck has finished school (a.k.a. graduated school WOOP WOOP) and I've been working at this new job we've been on a diet of tuna melts, canned soups, and various frozen entrees.

Last night I roasted a chicken. Basic, I know...but it was my first ever and it was quite a success. I marinated it ahead of time and used this recipe. It was absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe pretty closely but added some garlic and onion powder into the rub, than I shoved some celery stalks (a tip I read online), lemon and garlic up in the ol' bird and baked it on a bed of potatoes, onions, garlic and carrots. I also poured a little white wine and chicken stalk in the bottom of the pan to baste with. It truly was the most moist chicken I've ever tasted, and the spices were a great combo. I made a little gravy out of the drippings as well...yum!

Clutterbuck was very pleased and kept stating that this was the best "double leg dinner" he's ever had (this is his regular order from Swiss Chalet).

Now I have all this left over chicken in the fridge and I dont know what to do with it. I always see these recipes for different things and think "If I only had leftover chicken I would totally make that". Now I have the leftover chicken and of course those recipes are nowhere to be found.

I do look forward to making a chicken stock, but want to find something else to do with the chicken meat first (because i'm not a huge fan of Chicken soup anyway).

Any suggestions?

Ben is normally completely uninterested in my food prep and cooking (unless it includes tuna). However, last night he was feeling very connected to the chicken and kept sitting and staring it. He never touched it...just wanted to hang out with it.

Here's the finished bird. I cooked it breast side down so I should have taken a pic of the back because it looked much better....but nonetheless the breast was so juicy

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

The first patch of sunday afternoon sun must be shared. Only after about 1pm does everyone get their own patch of sun.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pecan Pie Recipe

Here is the recipe for the Pecan Pie. I just ate the last slice last night and I'm resisting the urge to make another one already!

1 sheet refrigerated piecrust (half a 15-ounce package) I used a frozen Tenderflake crust
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 cups toasted pecan halves
Freshly whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll the piecrust and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhang under and crimp the edge with a fork or your fingers. Bake the crust until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. (Leave the oven on.) I decided against baking the crust before filling it. 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven was plenty to bake everything through.

Whisk the corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl, then whisk into the corn syrup mixture.

Finely chop 1/2 cup pecans and spread evenly over the piecrust. Roughly chop another
1/2 cup pecans and mix into the corn syrup mixture, then pour the filling into the crust. Arrange the remaining 1 cup pecans on top in a decorative pattern.

Bake the pie until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. I baked for 40 minutes and it was ALMOST overdone. Cool completely on a rack. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pecan Pie

Exactly what the title says. Baked this bad boy yesterday. The recipe couldn't have been easier and it took less than an hour (including baking time). It was really good and it will definitely be made again. The recipe came from Food Network new fav. magazine!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

MacBook Sidenote

I should mention that I'm actually not posting this from my brand new MacBook. I'm using a loaner. Let me explain....but wait, first of all consider this a warning: this is a super long post and has absolutely nothing to do with food!!

Since we found ourselves completely computerless we decided to take it as a bit of blessing. We had a clean slate, which really allowed us to consider ALL options. After much discussion we kept coming back to this:
  1. Neither of us have ever heard anyone say "I wish I had never purchased/switched to a Mac"
  2. The only negative comments we've heard about the Mac are from people who have never owned one.
So on Saturday morning we took advantage of the beautiful weather and strolled down to Queen Street for some breakfast and a visit to the BeachMac store (which we'd never been in). After a yummy breakfast at the Beacher we back tracked to browse MacBooks.

Its a small store and we were lucky to have it to ourselves. We were shown everything from the littlest MacBook right up to the 27" iMac (which Clutterbuck is considering). We explained our situation and every question was answered fully and with the patience that is required for Mac virgins. There wasn't even any snickering or eye rolling when Clutterbuck cut them off mid iMac pitch to ask if they sell equipment to lock the computers up.

Anyway, after learning all the options we sauntered to Starbucks with our Apple brochures to weigh the options. We decided to go with the MacBook Pro 15". Excited we finished our coffees and power walked back to BeachMac.

Myles (the owner) greeted us at the door and when we told him our choice he hesitated for a moment and then broke the news. He didn't have one in stock...sigh...but....he had one at his other location and he would happily pick it up and deliver it to us after the store closed that evening. woo hoo! We happily agreed. We made the purchase and Myles threw in a laptop lock with it (Thanks to Clutterbuck for his contribution as my birthday present).

So as we're waiting for Myles to confirm timing etc. I see his face fall while he is on the phone with the other store. Sure enough the last remaining MacBook was JUST sold. Before he even hung up the phone I knew what was coming, Easter Sunday and Monday were the following days and Tuesday (today) was the next business day. Clutterbuck says my face looked like my baby had just died. Poor Myles was so apologetic and gave us the option to back out of the purchase, but we had come this far already. He offered to console us saying "Can I buy you an ice cream? You've been threw so much already." We laughed and politely declined and returned home to try to enjoy the rest of the weekend without thinking about our new family member.

Fast forward to today. I started my new job today, but who effing cares about that? More importantly today was MacBook day!!! I had a bit of a sobering moment when I told a very knowledgeable Mac enthusiast colleague about my new purchase and he immediately told me I was a fool to buy when I did because Apple was about to update their lines of computers and if we had only waited a few weeks we could have got more computer for our money....blah blah blah....but still it made me think we might have made a mistake.

Like a good government employee I left the building at 4:30 on the dot and drove right to BeachMac to pick up my new MacBook...woop woop!!!

I arrived at 5ish and walked in trying to contain my excitement. Myles was helping a customer and when he looked up I proudly announced "I'm here to pick up my new MacBook." He actually excused himself from the customer and came over to deal with me. He brought a MacBook box up from behind the counter, but something wasn't was open....I tried to contain the hysteria that was rising up inside of me.

Myles explained that not only was he not able to find the MacBook at his other store but he wasn't able to find them anywhere. "The channels have dried up" he said. I stood speechless unable to find any words. Apparently this is a clear sign that Apple is in fact prepping to release their updated line and because they are a public company they don't tell their retailers anything until they announce it to the public, they simply stop stocking their product until the new one is released. OK, but what did this mean for me??

Myles said he was very sorry and he knew I was anxious to start computing so he would happily lend me the floor model until the new MacBook is released, free of charge. He also guaranteed that even though the new laptop would most likely mean an increase in price he would honour the price we paid. I was relieved and eagerly agreed. Not only did it allow me to familiarize myself with a Mac but it satisfied the fear that we bought an outdated version right before a new one was released.

So whats the reason for this long blog about the whole experience? Because I feel compelled to talk about the good customer service and highly satisfactory experience both Clutterbuck and I had at BeachMac. Both of us will happily go to Myles for all our computing needs in the future, and would encourage you to visit him for any Mac needs as well.

Here's Ben enjoying the loaner 10 seconds after I got it out of the box...not sure if he approves or wants to show it who's boss.

Bittersweet Apple

This is the very first post made from my brand new MacBook Pro. Clutterbuck and I have decided to make the switch from PC to Apple. I know all you mac enthusiasts are rejoicing in front of you're beautiful high resolution screens, but try not to be too smug because the reason for the switch is bittersweet. Our apartment was broken into last week and almost everything of value was stolen. I'll spare you to details and to be honest we're totally over the loss of "stuff" but still mourning the loss of every picture, song, movie, word document and memory that lived on both our laptops.

Anyway because of the trauma (and the holidays) I haven't felt much like cooking...and I would have loved to blog...but the lack of computer made that difficult. So this post might end up being a bit long because I have a few things to get out.

Clutterbuck had an exam and I did one of those HUGE grocery trips. You know the ones when you bite the bullet and buy all those items you ignore on the quick weeknight trips (i.e. Pam cooking spray, flour, frozen things just to stock the freezer, cans of soup). I actually tried to think of 5 complete dinners and listed out all the ingredients so I could go to the gym every day and not have to repeat what happened on my "It started out so well..." post.

So we had Pizza last night. Tomato sauce, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms (duh!), mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, a big of garlic, and some hot salami instead of pepperoni. Good times pictured below.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lazy Lasagne

So we had this damn leftover spaghetti sauce, and even though we're so close to garbage day I just couldn't bring myself to throw it out.
I had some leftover 5 cheese tortellini so I layered it with the sauce and some parmesan and baked it all for about 30 minutes. It was really good.
I'm sure I didn't invent this recipe, but I still feel rather smug for thinking of it on my own. Plus I'm always pleased to use up leftovers in a way that makes them not seem like leftovers.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Morning Biscuits

Fresh out of the oven. The house smells great and I can't wait to dive in.
I even used my food processor, for the first time, to make them and it couldn't have been simpler.

I did it!!!

Oh man was it good! I knew it was rich but I didn't know it involved so much butter. Oh well I don't care. I came home from work exhausted from the week. I was in a bad mood, it was too early to go to bed, too late to nap, nothing was on TV, the beautiful weather has turned into COLD weather. So while Clutterbuck episode after episode of "Big Love" , his new favourite show of all time, on the TV, I poured myself into cooking.

Nothing is more satisfying then trying a recipe for the first time and it turning out exactly as you have been picturing it. I don't know about you but this doesn't always happen for me. There have been several instances when I've taken on a new recipe and the end result has been incredibly unsatisfactory...what a let down...However, that is not the case here.

Mushroom risotto. A definite success in the Smart household. I've even got leftovers that I cant wait to eat for lunch!

Here's the final meal:

  • Mushroom risotto
  • Mixed veggies
  • Turkey breast marinated in some herbs and garlic
Now I'm trying decide if I want to make these cheese biscuits this morning. We're going to the Keg tonight, it's Clutterbuck's father's birthday. So I'm off the hook for dinner.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Made spaghetti last night. It was good...I guess

A few years ago when I was living on my own I realized my love of spaghetti, nothing fancy just your standard meat sauce with any type of long noodles. I would make it almost weekly and live off it for days (this is notable because I rarely eat any kind of leftovers!). Then a few years after that when I was dating an Italian I fell in love with his family's spaghetti. A very light sauce made with homemade canned tomatoes (I proudly canned my own one season), a few onions, garlic and angel hair pasta. Same thing, I'd make it all the time and then live off it. Same concept just different recipe.

Its amazing how your tastes the last few years I just can't get that excited about either recipe. The recipes haven't changed, the ingredient list hasn't changed, well actually it has a bit because of my new love of mushrooms, I put them in everything. The difference now is that I've got a whole bunch of it sitting in my fridge at home and all I can think is "Shit, what am I going to do with it now? garbage day isn't until Tuesday". Clutterbuck probably won't eat it because all those tomatoes are too acidic for him.

Is there a way to make a spaghetti sauce that is good for one sitting and doesn't create a weeks worth of leftovers? And don't say "Oh just freeze the leftovers" Because A) I won't, and B) We don't have room in our freezer anyway.

Tonight I'm going to make a mushroom risotto for the first time ever...I'm much more excited (and a bit apprehensive) about that. I'll deal with the spaghetti another time.

Speaking of taste changes....mushroom risotto?!? HA for anyone who's known me for a few years, would I have even entertained such a dish when I was younger?? HELL NO, I would have turned my nose up faster than you can say Jack Robinson. (Wikipedia)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tuna Melts on Thursday

Pretty self-explanatory. Tuna, Mayo, Celery, Cheddar Cheese on Flat Hamburger Buns. Although I should mention that Clutterbuck said "This is the BEST tuna melt I have ever had!"....he's easily amused.
This weekend hasn't been very exciting food wise. We've been snacking on this and that and I haven't really cooked at all. Tonight we're having asparagus and Presidents Choice Chicken Pot Pie (the reduced fat one). I'm still holding a grudge against Loblaws for not having snow peas OR sugar snap peas AND for not making it any easier to decide what to make for dinner. So therefore, I've avoided any food shopping. That'll show them!!
Now Clutterbuck is in his office finishing up his final assignment for this year (a big paper on something to do with labour relations...yuck), and I'm watching the Food Network. I'm a sucker for the Food Network Challenges. Normally they are about creating some ridiculous cakes, but this one is a competition between food stylists. They are using everything they can to make the food look good for photographs (i.e. soap bubbles on orange juice to look freshly poured, or lard as ice cream so it doesn't melt under the lights).
Thats about as good as it gets at the moment. Anyone have any ideas for quick and easy weeknight meals??
L - I did get your hot and sour soup suggestion. I will give it a go, but it will have to be a weekend project.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It started out so well...

I went to the gym yesterday right after work. After a lengthy run, Not only was I feeling rejuvenated and healthy I was full of dinner ideas (because whats better to think about while working out than food??) . I had a wicked craving for snow peas or sugar snap peas and headed off to Loblaws to pick some up and plan a meal around them...or just buy a huge amount and eat them as the meal...seriously the craving was that huge.

While still enjoying my exercise high I sent Clutterbuck a message asking if he'd like me to make extra dinner for him and leave it in the fridge. He was at school and planned to remain there until a relatively tedious assignment was done. I figured the least I could do is offer him some sustenance when he got home, plus the way I was feeling I could have taken on another pasta making session. He was totally into it....I think all he'd had to eat was an Oh Henry. was all downhill from there!

First of all they didn't have snow peas. WTF??? Don't give me that "They aren't in season" crap, because since when does that apply to anything anymore (except for maybe Quince, right Em?). This completely threw me off. I then proceeded to walk up and down the produce aisle several times, stopping once to lean in to the mister because I was hot and sweaty from the gym (is that bad?), searching for something that could be a satisfactory replacement. I'm pretty sure if anyone was watching me they thought I was crazy. My hair was all frizzy, I'm in sweaty sweats, and I'm walking around aimlessly muttering meal ideas to myself. I settled on green beans...not the same!

My energy after that promptly disappeared! It was like I somehow contracted mononucleosis between the produce and the meat counter. I wandered around from aisle to aisle, using my mini cart (love those!) as a makeshift walker, CONSIDERING everything and yet not wanting any of it. Suddenly I regretted my offer to make dinner because not only did I not have the energy to make it, I didn't even have the energy to decide what it was.

  • Stir fry would be good...but too much chopping
  • Maybe some pasta?...meh we eat that all the time
  • What about a salad?...nope salad never appeals to me as a theres the pesky chopping again
  • Oooh Maybe a frozen dinner...blech, too much salt and it doesn't really count as leaving dinner in the fridge
  • Oh I know maybe a grilled cheese, hmm I had that last night...and again, not the greatest "left over"
I ended up spending a LONG time in front of the Indian sauces and after much questioning of Clutterbuck on the blackberry (he's the Indian food connoisseur), I/we decided on Tika Masala sauce with a can of chick peas and some Naan bread. I don't particularly love Indian food, but I do LOVE Naan bread.

I grabbed the rest of what I needed and headed to the check out. It was such a beautiful day out and I remember thinking as I parked "I should park as far as I can away so that I can enjoy the weather". Eff that idea! I just wanted to be at home.

I got home and discovered we had a President's Choice (dinner for 2) frozen Tika Masala already. BRILLIANT!!!!

So after all these grand plans dinner became:

  • Microwaved Tika Masala (Chicken)
  • Steamed Green Beans
  • Heated Naan
It actually wasn't so bad, and it definitely pleased Clutterbuck when he returned home after I was asleep, but I couldn't help laugh at myself and how quickly I amended my grand plans. Oh well...such is life.
This was Phoebe when I got home. She had been out and about with the dog walker all day. Her face describes how I felt...we were in it together!

Monday, March 15, 2010

In other news

Since I'm home alone and having uninteresting leftover pizza for dinner I have to random facts to blog about instead of food:
1) I bought a hyacinth plant the other day and its bloomed fully today (see pizza and champagne post). The smell is just so wonderful, I wish they would last longer.
2) This is the first day in months I haven't wanted to put my pjs on before 7pm. This is because we set the clocks forward on saturday and this is the first day I've actually noticed the change. Woo hoo! Bring on summer!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pizza and Champagne

Pretty self explanatory. Clutterbuck is cooking. He orders a mean pizza. And he decided he had a hankering for champagne. So we dashed out to the LCBO 5 minutes before closing grabbed a bottle of bubbly and headed back home to our couch.

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The Final...

Definitely a success. I'm still feeling rather smug. Although I think the pasta machine is a must. A uniform thickness and the ability to roll without a rolling pin would be much better.
Ravioli or lasagne is the next challenge.
Oh and one more thing, as an afterthought I threw in some fresh mushrooms to roast with the rest of the veggies. YUM! They sucked up all the roasting juices and were fantastic.
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

What a perfect day to...

Make pasta!

I've always wanted to try this and can't think of a better time than a rainy Saturday. I've been toying with the idea of investing in a pasta machine, but after a slow day like today I needed a challenge, and since I already have a box of store bought pasta ready to go in case of failure, why not practice before I invest in the pasta machine.

The recipe is so ridiculously basic: flour, eggs, salt. I started with a pile of flour with a well dug in the middle, cracked the eggs into it, added a bit of salt, and started to "attack the eggs", as one youtube video put it. Slowly you start to incorporate the flour from around the eggs and a dough begins to form. I think my dough was a bit too dry, and didn't have that yellow colour that I've seen in other pasta doughs.

Anyways after lots of mixing and kneading I had something that resembled pasta dough. I let it sit for a bit and then I rolled it out as thin as I could (which it clearly didn't want to do). I rolled it up like a jelly roll and sliced it into thin pieces and unrolled them. They resembled fettucine or tagliatelle...but still perhaps a bit dryer than they should be.

Here they are drying on a broom handle (clean of course)

Phoebe noticed them at some point and was very interested...she spent a good 5 minutes trying to get a better angle to look up at them.

Once they had dried a bit I put them in a ziploc bag and let them sit at room temperature, as directed when searching "how to store fresh pasta" on google. I boiled a bit of water and threw a few noodles in, they seemed satisfactory, but I'm still apprehensive. I opted not to add more flour when putting them in the bag because of their dryness to begin with, but now I'm worried they will become one big dough ball while sitting together in the bag.

Now I'm going to roast some veggies (tomatoes, zucchini, pearl onions, garlic) and then toss them with some pesto, sundried tomatoes and some of the fresh cooked pasta. I will post a picture of the finished product, as well as mine and Clutterbuck's review of the successfullness (is that a word) of the whole dish.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Home Alone

I was home alone for dinner this evening. Enjoyed some mushroom tortellini with broccoli tossed in some pesto. Perhaps my favourite meal. Its so simple, full of flavour, and doesn't feel too heavy. I discovered my love for this meal when Clutterbuck made it for me on our second date (I later learned that this dish and omelets are his best dishes).
I received word that I was getting a great new opportunity at work so I'm also having a glass of celabratory wine.

Breakfast for Dinner

Clutterbuck was still feeling under the weather and it was a bit of a busy evening last night. I went to the gym, and we did a couple loads of laundry at the Laundromat, plus we're trying to conserve funds.
So it was a fridge surprise night. Dinner became:
  • Egg, Onion, Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Omelet
  • Hashbrowns
  • Salad (Romaine, Red Peppers...its all I had and the plate needed some green)
Again I'd say a success. If for nothing else then the discussion it created. Turns out we both have very strong opinions about how to cook an omelet. Clutterbuck, obviously felt he had the more credible point of view due to his lengthy experience as a cook at the Zellers restaurant (The Skillet), but I feel I'm still qualified to make an argument on this matter (even if I never worked at the Skillet, which I don't necessarily think overqualifies you for a culinary argument like this anyway...just saying).
The first disagreement was what to whip into the eggs. I said milk, he said water...i googled it and the first recipe I found called for water. 1 point Clutterbuck.
The next was whether to mix all the ingredients (except cheese) into the egg mixture before pouring them in the pan, then flip, add the cheese, and plate. He argued that this is how it was done at the Skillet (well exCUSE me!). I argued that this is more like making scrambled eggs with stuff in them. An omelet is supposed to be a base of eggs folded around a filling, and it should be light and fluffy on not overcooked in the middle. My method of choice would be to pour in the egg mixture, let it set up a little, add the ingredients and the cheese, fold over and plate immediately. 1 point Smart
The last discussion was over the spelling of omelet. I still haven't made a decision about this one. Google it. There are responses to every possible spelling. Clutterbuck initially suggested: Omlette - WRONG. I felt myself wanting to type: Omelette - possibility. However, I started blogging about it (spell check), and looked up recipes and its also spelled Omelet....So I'm completely confused, and now have decided to just spell it differently every time I use it until someone can give me a definitive spelling.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Clutterbuck is sick with a cold, so tonight we had Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup and Grilled Cheese.

He's having Nyquil for dessert, I'm having a glass of leftover wine and we're settling in to watch the movie "Doubt".

The grilled cheese (never an obvious choice for dinner for me) reminded me of other simple but yummy meals from my childhood. Tuna melts, mini pizzas (on english muffins). I must keep these in mind for nights like this when our palates or stomachs aren't feeling very epicurious
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