Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bacon Brittle - WIN!


Yes, this is a real thing.
Yes, this is as amazing as it sounds.
Yes, it is another food post, but I'll hopefully be doing something non-food related soon.

And sorry for the hiatus. I can't cook like this all the time! :D

So my lovely, amazing and talented sister-in-law came across this recipe for her husband's 30th Manly Birthday Party. Since her husband and my husband are brothers and birthdays are a week apart, I decided to make this as my "I have no idea what to get you but I still love you" birthday gift. And who doesn't like bacon encased in sugar for their birthday?

Great thing about this recipe is I had pretty much everything except the corn syrup and bacon (it's a real treat in our house). I should say I do NOT have a candy thermometer and probably will never purchase one. Going on my Sister-in-Laws advice she cooked her brittle for about 13 minutes, again without a thermometer. 
And here we go!

The recipe comes from here. It takes a bit of time but is really super easy.




First - Assemble ingredients
6 slices bacon, cooked and finely diced
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
coarse sea salt for sprinkling








Next - cook bacon. Feel free to cook extra for lunch, snacks, whatever.












Next - prepare the sugary goodness. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray VERY WELL (or use butter). Set aside, but not too far.





In medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, water, butter, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Stir occasionally until mixture reaches 300 on candy thermometer (or like I did, wait till it turns golden brown), about 10 - 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda. Then mix in bacon bits. Immediatly pour onto prepared greased cookie sheet and quickly spread out into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

















Allow to cool., Break into pieces, and CONSUME
 Final verdict? FREAKING AWESOME! Meaty and sweetie at the same time! The brittle was slightly soft, but still crunchy. The bacon was amazing against the caramel and the salt added a bit of extra taste. It didn't last long!      Couple Notes - I cooked the caramel for about 15 minutes, my sister-in-law did for about 13, but my pan is massive. I also think I over-greased my pan with butter and spray (I panicked). Won't do that again.
Overall - A gigantic man-tastic win!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sesame Ginger Sweet Teriyaki Salmon with Garlic Quinoa Stir-Fry

Say that 5 times fast ;)

Tonight was Monday which usually means eating the salmon I picked up on Saturday before it goes bad. And as I previously mentioned, I'm looking for ways to expand our recipes and a quick Pinterest searching (including a few of the ingredients I have sitting around) brought up this recipe. Plus the Hubby LOVES Asian style food and I recently acquired a giant piece of ginger and sesame oil - so here we are

I do need to mention that the Salmon recipe is a MODIFICATION of an original recipe. And I modified the modification so it was slightly closer to the original but still going with what I had in my pantry.

The recipe I used is from Ambitious Kitchen but the Original is from How Sweet It Is. I will make notes on the modifications I made, including in how I made it. See websites for originals.

And sorry I'm lacking pictures. As soon as I pulled this from the oven we were so starving I just served and we ate the whole thing in under 10 minutes. Did I mention we were hungry?

SESAME GINGER SWEET TERIYAKI SALMON WITH GARLIC QUIONA

For the Salmon
1 lb Salmon
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (*I used 2 lrg cloves)
3 tbsp dark brown sugar (*I used 2 tbsp)
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil (*this was a lot for me - I used 1tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sesame oil)
*1 tbsp soy sauce - this was from the original recipe, I added it in

For the Quinoa Stir Fry
3/4 cups quinoa, rinsed (*I used what was in the package)
1/2 tsp garlic salt (*I used 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp salt)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced 
2 clove garlic 
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 cup sugar snap peas (*I used green beans)

Extras I used
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Still following me? Ok

Mix all of your ingredients for the salmon and place into a zip lock bag. Marinade fish for 30min to 1hr (I did about 45 min)
Heat oven to 400 when fish is marinated
Place fish on pan with tinfoil lightly covered in cooking spray
Cook fish for 15-20 min depending on thickness

While salmon is cooking start the quinoa as per directions adding garlic salt (or garlic powder + salt) to the water. Cook as directed.
While quinoa / salmon are cooking, heat up olive oil/sesame oil in pan. Toss in garlic and ginger, then bell peppers. I made a boo-boo here - just prior to cooking the veges I used the same pan for toasting some sesame seeds so the pan was extra hot and the garlic kind of burned. Don't do what I did :(
Cook peppers, then add in peas/beans at the end.
Mix vegetables and cooked quinoa. Serve with your now cooked salmon, garnish with toasted sesame seeds.


Yes, I know it's rice not quinoa - just as tasty though!

This was such an amazing and easy recipe. The cooking time was about 20 min total, excluding the marinading of the fish. The fish was a bit too sweet for us, so I might add a little chili powder next time to the marinade and maybe cut the sugar or honey even further.
The quinoa was very tasty, even the Hubby who doesn't like quinoa and my Munchkin who's never even tried quinoa ate the WHOLE THING! Definitely toddler approved!
I cut a bit of the ginger and garlic when making the peppers because I worried it'd be to much with the fish but next time I'll do the full amounts. 
This is definitely a make again. I might even try it on chicken next time and see how it goes.
I have lots of quinoa and vegetables left over. The recipe says it serves 4, but I think they'd be pretty small pieces of fish - just under 1lb served the 2 of us (Munchkin refuses to try fish)

Enjoy! 

I should also add that I made this recipe using chicken last week and it was just as tasty! I've also replaced the quinoa with brown rice and it was also a success!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Big One - DIY Board & Batten

And now for the main event - the biggest DIY project we've done off of Pinterest, and so far my favourite
DIY Board & Batten - AKA how to make a large amount of hallway storage.


Framing done
I came across the website here on Pinterest. We have a decent amount of room in our front hall, but more places to hang stuff is never a bad idea. The instructions are pretty darn simple - measure out your space and how big you want your board and batten. Obviously this is customized to your individual home. Then divide each section and attach the boards and shelf. Then paint. TADA!

Our project cost more than the original poster stated but that was because we had a large wall space and used pre-primed wood. Plus I had to go to a specialty store for the hooks (because apparently Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Rona don't carry single and double hooks in matching colours).


The whole project took about a week with measuring, cutting, nailing and painting. I'm sure if you didn't have a toddler to contend with it could be done in 2-3 days.
My construction team <3

I then went to Ikea (the bane of my bank account) and bought a bunch of brightly coloured frames and some 'gitch' on sale. I then printed off some printables, again off Pinterest (just look up 'printables' and enjoy!). I loved this idea because I can change them out for different seasons or times of year.

The Final Product
This is a good solid project. I'm not super happy it cost nearly $200 when we finished, but I think it's well worth it. The Munchkin can hang his own coat and bag and it's cleared out some space in our already crowded hallway.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Banana 'Ice Cream' - Win!

I love food. 
There, I said it. I'll try just about anything. I love cooking and baking and most of all eating. And I also love ice cream. However ice cream every night is not so great for my waist line (Thanks Munchkin!). I love something cold and sweet after supper and this Pinterest winner has been my saviour! 
I'm typing out the directions myself instead of copying since the original will make this an incredibly long post...but I digress

DIRECTIONS
1) Start with 2 ripe bananas. Slice them up to about 1/2 " slices and put them on a cookie sheet (this is key - don't blend whole frozen bananas). Place bananas in freezer for a couple hours or over night.
Is there a point to this picture? You all know what a chopped banana on a cookie sheet looks like...right?
2) Place frozen sliced bananas in blender. You can also use a food processor, but I don't have one so blender it is! And blend those suckers! 


Bananas a la blender
The 'gritty' phase

3) As you blend the bananas will first go chunky, then gritty (like breadcrumbs). You might have to stop and push it down a few times. I find it helps if you actually try to push the banana around the blades - it blend faster.
Then suddenly as you blend it'll go smooth like a ice-creamy-custard texture. Stop blending!
STOP!
4) You may now either
  • a) CONSUME!
  • b) freeze for another day (haha yah right - but it does turn into more 'ice cream texture instead of soft serve)
  • c) add peanut butter (about 2 tbsp) and quickly blend to combine
  • d) add coco powder (about 2 tsp) and quickly blend to combine OR
  • e) add a combination of the later two suggestions (say what?)
PB and Coco ready to go!
I'm a fan of the PB, chocolate and banana combo. It's seriously awesome. This 'ice cream' is light and satisfying. It makes about 1 to 1 1/2 cups in total depending on your bananas. Obviously you can easily double this recipe.

Banana/Peanut Butter/Chocolatey goodness


Bonus points to the recipe? Clean. Vegetarian / Vegan. And damned delish. 


Link to original recipe blog is here

Happy Blending!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - Win!

For those who know me, I enjoy cooking and especially baking. I find baking is so much harder because you have to hope you get it right while with cooking you can alter as you go through the recipe. So I'm always looking for new recipes - especially baking treats I don't feel super guilty feeding to my kid. I'd say we eat clean-ish at home, and these cookies fall into that category.

I use plain white sugar for these cookies (gasp!) because I had regular sugar in the house and couldn't justify buying a whole thing of Sucanat for one recipe. So the cookies I made obviously weren't 'clean'. Still tasted good though! I do, however, plan to switch to Sucanat once our sugar is out. We don't use sugar often in our house and Sucanat is a better option when it comes to sugars.

This is also a great no-flour or dairy-free. No we aren't gluten/dairy free here (you saw the french toast recipe, right? YUM!) but it's nice to have something to serve to my more GI sensitive friends and family!

NOTE: The ingredients here show me using Stevia. Stevia is NOT Sugar or Sucanat, and does not have the same conversion ratio. For this batch I used 3/4 tsp of Stevia to replace the Sugar/Sucanat. No difference in taste at all!

Original recipe from http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/Recipes/Recipe/Almond-Butter-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies.aspx

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well
  • 3/4 cup Sucanat
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), broken into small pieces

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in chocolate.
  2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 15 more minutes.
A couple of other notes...I've never use a full 3oz of chocolate, I've found about 2oz is enough for my cookies.


Another note is to use almond butter that's been in the fridge for a while. I tried these once (my 3rd time making them) with a fresh tub of almond butter and they spread out horribly and burnt to the point where I threw them out. And I never throw cookies out. The batter was too runny when using newly opened almond butter. So stick it in the fridge for a while until it becomes hard (after you mix it of course). The batter will be much thicker and you'll end up with cookies instead of a burnt mess!
The cookies will still be slightly soft when finished baking and the edges are browned, that's why they need to sit on the cookie sheet for a while.














Happy 
Baking!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Overnight Blueberry French Toast - Win-omnomnom

Having guests over for breakfast / brunch? Need to feed a lot of people with little fuss? Give this recipe a try!

This past Christmas the Hubby and I had my parents and brother over - that is 5 adults (7 if you consider that sometimes my brother and Hubby can eat for 2 - each) and a picky kid - all over at my humble abode. I didn't want to spend hours or even 'hour' in the kitchen on Christmas day and was SO glad when I came across this fabulous recipe.
Make the night before. Toss in oven while presents are opened and coffee is sipped. Toss some tasty meat products (we did maple & brown sugar sausages) in a pan while french toast heaven is in final baking stages. Then CONSUME!

I did not make the syrup listed in the recipe (I ran out of berries), however it was just as fantastic with regular maple syrup. And I used the real stuff, none of that fake table syrup for this recipe. 


omnomnomnom
This recipe served everyone and we still had leftovers. The 'crust' was a little crispy, but not over done and the inside pieces had absorbed all the eggy goodness without going soggy. The cream cheese was warm and gave the whole thing a really nice texture and taste against the sweet syrup and berries.
I would have maybe sprayed/buttered the pan a little more heavily - it was a pain to clean and soaked for about 24hours before I could even wash it. But that won't stop me making it again!

Link is below...


OVERNIGHT BLUEBERRY FRENCH TOASTFound recipe on: Real Mom Kitchen
French Toast:
12 slices bread, cut into cubes (french or Texas toast work well.  I prefer Texas Toast.)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut in cubes
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
12 large eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 cups milk (I use 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream)
Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 Tablespoon butter  
Arrange 1/2 of the bread cubes in a greased 9 x 13 pan.
Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and blueberries evenly over the bread cubes.
Top with remaining bread cubes.
Mix together eggs, milk, and syrup.
Pour over bread cubes and cover pan with foil. Let chill in refrigerator overnight.
Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until fluffy and golden. Top with sauce.
Serves 8.
Sauce: Cook water, sugar, and cornstarch until thickened. Stir in blueberries and simmer for 10 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Serve over the french toast. 
I found the recipe here http://www.chef-in-training.com/2011/05/overnight-blueberry-french-toast/
Have a happy breakfast!


Additional note - I made this for Easter but I halved the recipe. Still turned out great, just slightly shorter cooking time (about 40 min for me)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ikea LATT Activity Table

For my son's most recent birthday we wanted to make him something instead of buying him something. He has a LOT of stuff and we really didn't want even more. I came across the idea of some sort of activity table and thanks to good old Pinterest I was able to come across this!

L√ĄTT Children&#39;s table and 2 chairs IKEA
http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/50178411/
We started with a LATT table and chair set from Ikea which is $24.99 from our local store. We then went to Home Depot and got paint - the hubby and I settled on a really bright green and white. We only bought the small 'sample' tubs which cost about $5 each and we had lots of paint left over. And for the actual 'activity' portion of the table we settled on Chalkboard Paint. This was more expensive at $22.97, but even after 3 coats on the table we have LOTS left. We also purchased a spray lacquer which is a non-toxic sealant and goes for about $6 - $8 per can.

Painting in progress!
The hubby and I did this project over a week, working on it for about an hour or so each night. We did 2 coats of paint on the table, and 3 for the chalkboard. Then we let it dry and set and then sprayed it with the sealant. And then - ASSEMBLE! Now remember the chalkboard needs to be 'primed' - once the paint is dry and cured, you have to run a piece of chalk over then entire surface and then wiped off with a clean cloth and voila! You're ready to go!

The final (already used) product
Sorry I don't have a better picture of the finished product. You can sort of see that we painted the sides of the table and chairs green, and the legs white. The seats of the chairs were already white so they're unpainted. 
The Munchkin LOVED his table - the above pic is about 10 minutes after he received it at his party. And 6 months later it's still a favourite for colouring, activities and snacks. A definite win!
The whole project cost about $70 with table, paint, and a couple additional supplies like brushes. It may seem a bit steep but we have a lot of paint left over for future projects.

Have fun!

Here is where I found the original idea for the activity table...
http://designbuildlove.co/ikea-latt-childrens-activity-table-hack/




Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bottled Batter Pancakes - Win

I'm slowly going through everything and realizing how many little Pinterest things I've done! Here's a quicky - pancake batter in a Ketchup bottle.
Yes we've tried it but in a clean BBQ sauce bottle. The hubby made pancakes and had batter left over and I proceeded with my usual "Hey, so I saw this neat thing on Pinterest..." My dear hubby put the remainder of the batter in the bottle. It was great because it gave us all a little variety for breakfast during the week when you can quickly punch out a couple small pancakes during the morning rush out the door. 
Now we usually have a bottle of batter in our fridge! Definite win!

021011-ketchup-pancakebatter
You can also do some fun designs if you are the art-for-breakfast sort of person.

One of the (many) links for this idea and the image is here ...
http://simplystated.realsimple.com/2011/02/10/flower-pancakes-via-not-martha/

Sharpie Decorated Mugs - Fail!

I'm going to take a stab and guess most people like to save a few bucks, especially when it comes to the holidays. We seriously can't afford to spend $50 plus on each person, or even half that sometimes. So I found this seemingly great idea off Pinterest for Sharpie Decorated Mugs. I figured this would be an awesome project for my son to do for the grandparents - cheap, creative, and personalized. Sounds great - right? WRONG!

The entire project cost about $16 for all 4 grandparents - $10 for 4 mugs and $6 for a packaged of colour sharpies both from the Superstore. If you search around Pinterest you'll see many links for this project and all are the same. Buy mug, wash mug, decorate mug with sharpie, bake, and TA-DA! Until you wash it...

After washing the mugs I let Munchkin go crazy with the Sharpies all over the mugs. He had a blast. As he'd draw something I'd ask him what each thing was and wrote it down on the mug (dog, cat, mommy, dinosaur, etc). The colouring took a couple sessions for all 4 mugs since my son has the attention span of a gold fish - again, he's 2!



 Looking neat - Right?

After we finished the colouring the mugs looked great and I was really excited. Then we baked them at 350 for 30 minutes as instructed. And that's when the problem started.
1) The colours seriously faded - big time. Especially the yellow which turned some sort of gold-brown colour. Not super attractive
2) As a Pinterest-craft rookie I should have done more research about the project. One of the major failings of this craft is the ink comes off with washing - or in our case, by rubbing your finger on it...lightly. We even re-baked the mugs at 350 for an additional hour and it still came off.



And....fail

So all and all I really was hoping this project would work but it didn't. I thought about trying again with new mugs and Sharpie Paint Pens but those were way too messy and too expensive for my dreams of a cheap(er) Christmas gift.


Taco Seasoning - Win!


This is one of my more recent culinary experiments from Pinterest.
In an effort to expand our dinner menu I turned to good old Pinterest for new recipes and ideas. And I came across this Taco Seasoning recipe. I picked this one over the others because I already had everything in my pantry.
It's flavourful and very tasty. I cut the cayenne pepper in half because the hubby isn't a huge spicy food fan, but it still has just a little bit of heat. Even my picky toddler had some (but mostly the taco shell and cheese).

It was definitely a win. The recipe makes a large amount so you can use it for multiple recipes - I use two tablespoons per 1 pound of ground beef. I keep it in a tupperwear container cause that is what I had :)
Link to the original recipe website is below
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions:
  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together.
  2. Transfer to a clean container for storage. Store in a cool, dry place for up to six months.
  3. We like spicy meals here, but if you prefer a less spicy version, simply leave out the cayenne pepper.
  4. Substitute this homemade taco seasoning spice mix 1:1 in any recipe that calls for taco seasoning. I typically use about 2 tablespoons per pound of ground beef.
Enjoy!

It's smells pretty darn yummy!

http://unsophisticook.com/homemade-taco-seasoning/

Welcome!

Hello!
My name is Kate and I'm a Pinterest Addict. I am also a working wife and mother of two kids, a 6 year old boy and my toddling baby girl. And I do actually try some some of the things I pin on Pinterest. Some are crafts, some are DIY projects, most are recipes. 

One day, I was once again looking at the comments of a recipe, seeing everyone comment on how tasty it LOOKED but no one had actually TRIED it. And that was the start of this blog. No one pays me to do this and I don't get any kickbacks or freebies, so all you get is honesty and pics that don't use photoshop. This is my attempt to document what has worked and what didn't. Most of the time there will be pictures as I document the adventures.

Please do not use my photos and claim them as your own. If you re-post a recipe or craft, please credit the original poster/blogger. Thank you 

I hope you enjoy!