Monday, April 29, 2013

Strawberry Fields

Hello Sweets,

Spring is finally here, to anyone other than a Canadian you've probably already been experiencing warmer weather but we just got ours.  I love spring time (but not as much as summer), the smell of rain and fresh cut grass to fresh fruit and veggie stands from local farmers.  Although nothing is better than going berry picking, and here in south western Ontario we have some wonderful berry farms!  I know it's a little early in the season to be picking (actually WAY too early), but I couldn't help but start dreaming about all the wonderful treats that can be made with farm fresh produce :)

My roommate bought too many strawberries and told me to help myself to them, and you know what happens when I've been day dreaming of creative treats and a present like that is drop on me?  You guessed it, I wanted to bake with them!  I recently came across this really cook foodie website where they share all sorts of recipes and tips called Mr.Food.  So I started looking at the different strawberry recipes and came across one that I thought sounded pretty interesting.  I add a few extra ingredients of course, but they were my inspiration!

Fast Strawberry Cobbler
1/2C butter, melted
1C self rising flour
1/2C white sugar, divided
1/4C brown sugar, divided
3/4C milk
2C fresh strawberries, quartered
1/2C water
1Tsp cinnamon

as you can see the additional ingredients were an in progress thought :)

1)  Preheat oven to 350F.  Pour melted butter into a 1 1/2 quart glass baking dish.

2)  In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4C sugar (half of each), and milk pouring evenly over the butter.

3)  In a separate bowl combine strawberries, remaining sugar, and water; spoon evenly over the flour/milk layer.  DO NOT STIR.

4)  Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden.  Serve warm or cold.
*side note*  I ended up with more liquid than I would have liked once it was done baking.  I simply drained it off and simmered in on the stove top to make a simple syrup to go with the dessert, it turned out perfectly!

I think the next time I make this I will try a different berry and possibly use brown sugar only, but who knows what else I'll have dreamed up by then right?  Either way remember to have fun, and if something has gone not according to plan think of a way to make it work for you instead of against you.

So I have now began the cookie research phase and I think I'll be trying a batch tomorrow of one of the first three cookie, after all I need the first three chosen before creating the third!  So be prepared for cookies, cookies, and more cookies!  I am both looking forward to and dreading this all at the same time, since I like things like this to be perfect it will take some time.  I know this has been a fairly short post but I started with a mild migraine and now it is full force, so it is time for this girl to relax.  Until next time............................

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxo

Saturday, April 27, 2013

As Late As the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland

Hello Sweets,

So I know Easter was almost a month ago now :/ and I realized I never shared my dinner experience will all of y'all. It wasn't a big extravagant ordeal, it was actually just my grandparents and myself which is always a nice treat to have, some quality time together. Since there was only three of us we didn't have the typical big meal, but just a simple, small and delicious home cooked meal.
My grandmother has been making all the big family gathering dinners since I was small, and the years she didn't my mother did. But since she is getting older I decided it was high time I took over, and as I'm sure you can guess I was only happy to do so. However my grandmother had a little trouble with the fact she was given relaxation time lol, she must have come in the kitchen or asked to help thirty times! Our dinner consisted of baked chicken breasts, country mashed potatoes, and a yummy garden salad. I, of course brought a homemade dessert I had prepared the night before, and that is the recipe I will be sharing with you tonight along with how I made everything else :)

The salad is a simple green salad with ice burg lettuce , romaine lettuce, carrots, and some yummy cherry tomatoes cut in half and topped with a zesty Italian vinaigrette.  I seasoned the chicken with a tiny bit of olive oil (so they didn't stick to the baking dish), garlic, pinch of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and a bit of lemon juice.  The country mashed potatoes are made just like normal mashed but you leave the skin on, I then made and seasoned them with butter, milk, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Now I saved the best for last, dessert!!

Fresh Berry Crumbly
2C strawberries, quartered
1C blackberries
1C blueberries
1/4C honey
3/4C all-purpose flour
1/2C rolled oats
1/2C brown sugar
1/2C butter
1Tsp cinnamon
1/2Tsp nutmeg

isn't my tiny bottle of honey super cute :D

1)  Preheat oven to 375F.  In a large bowl mix berries, then coat with the honey.
2)  Sprinkle with 4Tbs of flour and toss.  Transfer fruit into a 8"x8" baking dish, set aside.
not quite 8x8 but it worked :)

3)  In a large bowl mix together remaining flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until large crumbly pieces form.

4)  Sprinkle over berries and bake until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.  Serve warm out of the oven with a side of vanilla ice cream.

 You, as always, can mix up the ingredients from the spices to the fruit. I'm an avid Gordon Ramsay fan, and one of the best pieces of advice he gives is to keep it simple, you don't need fifteen spices to create a delicious dish. As simple as this meal was, it was a huge success.  How do I know you ask? There wasn't a plate with food left on it :), and that is what any kitchen creator hopes to achieve.

I wanted to take a moment to do a disclaimer for the upcoming post over the next week or so, I'm calling it the cookie overload disclaimer. My sister is getting married in June and I am making personalized initial cookies for their reception. I will be making three different types of cookies and the fourth will be a combination cookie, the combination cookie will be a symbol of their life together (I know I'm a cheese ball lol). So I'll make a cookie that represents my sister, one for my brother-in-law (not use to that yet lol), and one for my nephew. Thankfully the flavors they like will marry (pun intended) together well for the fourth and final cookie. I'll give you all a teeny tiny little glimpse into the thoughts/flavors swirling around in my head. I'm thinking along the lines of something chocolate, something banana, and something peanut butter. Now the hard part will be finding the perfect recipes and then making the fourth cookie balanced with all the flavors :) I can't explain how excited and nervous I am at the same time.  I put a lot of pressure on myself in normal baking situations but these will be consumed by 50+ people. I guess this will be a great opportunity to see if I can hack it as an actual baker right? Until next time............

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxo

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One Thing A Canadian Knows.......

Hello Sweets,

I've been away for far too long :( and I feel awful about it, but trying to keep my health and pain at a manageable level can be difficult. I am back on Canadian soil after spending a week with my love and his family just relaxing and taking care of myself and I am ready to get back to writing (again). Since I still have some completed recipes that I haven't written about, I'm diving into the Canuckette vault of goodies!

So what is one thing a Canadian knows for sure? Anything cold! Considering it's almost the end of April you'd expect to see April showers right? Well you could imagine the shock on my face when I saw snow falling from the sky this afternoon, ugh not a happy girl. Although I am Canadian, I absolutely hate, and I mean hate, cold weather lol I know I'm a terrible Canadian. However I do love Popsicles all year round.  No matter what the weather is doing, I still want my Popsicles. It is one of my go-to foods when I'm not feeling well.  Then it dawned on me, I could make Popsicles that would help me get some vitamins and other goodness in me even when I don't feel like eating at all. Previously I brought you "Canuckette's fruity cubes" and now I'm bringing you Canucksicles!!! There simple, easy, and most importantly they are tasty :)

Orange juice
Yogurt (whatever flavor or type you prefer)

1) Combine all ingredients into a blend or magic bullet.

2) Puree the mixture until it is completely liquefied. Then transfer it into a Popsicle mold and place in the freezer to set.

You can change up everything in this recipe; the juice you use, the fruits, and even the yogurt. If you're feeling extremely adventurous try throwing in some veggies, as long as you balance it with a sweeter fruit (like bananas) you most likely won't even notice, better yet, the kids won't!

I know this post was short but I wanted to ease myself back into the swing of writing and relight my passion and get back to the basics. The good news..... I'm on my way there :)

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxo

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Homeward Bound

Hello Sweets,

I know I've been MIA for a few days, and that's because I'm off to see my soul mate!! So I've been very busy trying to get everything in order so not much creating has happened, but y'all know how much I love spoiling my man's pallet, so I know I'll have lots to write about :)

But in the mean time, I realized I didn't share my Easter weekend meal with all of y'all!  I'm not sure what your holiday meals are like with family but mine is a little different, for reasons I won't delve into, but basically I eat my meals with my grandparents each holiday and we have a nice intimate meal.  Well I have watched my grandmother cook our meals year after year, and slowly but surely she has allowed me to help her more and more.  Since her health has started to decline, she has given me the reins completely (and that's not easy for her lol), and on this Easter Sunday dinner was mine to make from the entire dinner to my homemade dessert (recipe will be included in a later post).  Even though she let me make the dinner she couldn't help but try and assist, and since I love her so much I told her that she could help me by sitting and relaxing ;) after all she has taken care of us for years, now its our turn.

So for our dinner, since it was only three of us, our meal was simply made and delicious :)  I made us some very succulent chicken breast that was simply seasoned and not over complicated, and paired it with home styled mashed potatoes and a fresh garden salad.
 Our salad was made up of ice burg lettuce, carrots, romaine lettuce, baby spinach, and cherry tomatoes.  We topped it with a zesty Italian based dressing that gave it a bit of zing without a whole lot of calories :)
 I roasted our chicken breasts in garlic, crushed red peppers, black pepper, and a little bit of olive oil.  It was only in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at about 400F, the end result is a very flavorful and moist piece of chicken.  The home style mashed potatoes are just a simple and tasty, by leaving the skins on and mashing them with butter, garlic, pinch of salt, pepper, crushed red peppers, and milk to make them creamy :)  If you do the potatoes just right your guests won't need to add any butter or seasoning to them!
This delicious dessert is best served hot right out of the oven with a side of vanilla ice cream.  I won't get in to great detail right now because I have a complete post with recipes and pictures coming soon, but what I will tell you is that it's a crunchy wholesome dessert with some fresh sweetness to it :) I know I know, I'm teasing y'all but trust me it will be worth the wait!

Since it's Nascar Sprint Cup weekend, I'll have a few updates for everyone showing pictures from our weekend and maybe even a recipe or two ;) and for the delicious treats that aren't mine I will be teasing your taste buds with some delicious pictures and tantalizing descriptions.  Until next time..................................

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Completely Canadian and A Shameless Plug

Hello Sweets,

So the weekend has come to an end :(  I hope everyone got out to enjoy some sunshine (if you had some), and created something delicious in the kitchen.  My post tonight is going to be somewhat shorter as I have had a long day and am feeling sort of tired, but I reconnected with an old friend so I think it was worth it!

Let me first start with the "shameless plug" lol because I am SUPER excited, like if there were any other way to emphasize the word super more I am pretty sure I would have done that too.  So as you may or may not be aware I had the opportunity a year ago to not only reconnect with an old friend, but I also got see her in her element (with me as the focus) in her element photography.  Echo is very talented and has a knack for catching the perfect moment and seeing the beauty in everything, I have my favorites but there is one that she caught with my natural smile in a laugh and it is just beautiful.  Well she is currently running a contest for a free natural light session and obviously I entered, not just so I could have another opportunity to work with her but so I could also have professional photos of me and my best friend/soul mate Nathan.  I normally wouldn't include something like this in my blog as it isn't any way associated with food, but so want to have our silliness captured by a true artist.  All you would have to do is click this LINK, like my photo (it's the only couple photo on there) and like the Facebook page it's posted on (CLICK HERE).  The contest is only running for one week so time is of the essence, and I will post some of the photos (if I win) here on my blog for everyone to see what they helped me achieve :)   Also if you would like to use her services or see her amazing portfolio just check out her website; Echo's Visuals.  I would appreciate any help and support y'all can give as it would make me a very happy girl.

Okay enough of my selfish plug let's get to what you really come here for, deliciousness!  So last week I was craving fruit much more than normal, so I went out and bought a few things, well too many for one girl to consume before they go bad (must have been hungry when I went lol).  So I started to realize I was going to throw money away if I didn't come up with something quick.  Then it dawned on me, I've been eating popsicles like they're going out of style and drinking ginger ale (haven't been feeling well).  What better way to ensure I use the fruit, get some vitamins and minerals in me, and spice up my beverage?  If you get fruit cubes then you my friend are a smarty and deserve recognition for that!  Now I know it seems like I would have opted to make popsicles and who said I haven't, yes you'll need to come back again for that little treasure (ya I know I'm demanding).  There is really no easy way to explain them without pictures so let's get to the good stuff :)

Canuckette's Fruity Cubes
orange juice

1)  Combine all ingredients in a blender, blending until the fruit is completely liquefied (I have a bullet and it was perfect).

2)   Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer to set.

3)  Once completely frozen place in a glass, pour the ginger ale over top of them (soda water would work too I suppose) and enjoy!

It gives the soda just a little zing, and most importantly, it tastes amazing!

So there you have it, short and sweet ;) pun intended.  I also appreciate y'alls support and understanding over the sporadic posts, I have the best readers.  And if you decided to check out the contest I'm in and end up voting I appreciate that immensely as well.

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo

Saturday, April 6, 2013

If Once Is Good, Twice Is Better!

Hello Sweets,

I hope y'all are having a wonderful weekend, spending time with those that are dearest to your heart and activities that feed your soul!  I am conflicted about my weekend.  On the one hand I've finished all my errands (with the exception of picking up a few groceries), but on the other hand I've only slept about 6 hours in the last three days :(  I am at the point where I am tired and awake at the same time, lol oh the trials and tribulations that are my life.

So since I've got the jitters I thought I would write up a quick blog and see if I can relax, maybe even to the point of sleep lol.  This is yet another post that was made during my last visit to Texas but alas it didn't get written, that is until today!  I promise this will be a delicious recipe and I encourage everyone to try it, it has definitely become a staple in my recipe box!  So as you guys know every time I am in Texas we have steak at least once, and I mean EVERY time.  Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining, and my next favorite part of that meal is whatever type of potatoes are on the side (yes I love me some carbs lol).  For a little while now I've been making that dish, we've hard traditional mashed and country mashed (skins left on).  I don't know too many people who dislike baked potatoes, I whole heartily agree if they're not cooked very well they aren't the best, but I love them so much I take great care while baking.  This time I decided to do something that I've wanted to try but just never have.  The only time I've actually had them this way is in a restaurant.  So are you sitting there thinking "just tell us already!!", lol today's post is about the super yummy twice baked potatoes Canuckette style!  Let's not dilly dally any longer, let's get to the meat and potatoes of the post (lol yea I went there).  I also just want to add, in case Dad, now known as "the Captain" reads this particular post, I'm sorry to tell you but you like garlic lol because you loved these potatoes :)

Canuckette's Twice Baked Potatoes
Russet potatoes, 1 for each diner
Extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes
bacon, cook prior allowed to dry and chopped
fresh chives
sorry for the lack of pictures I had a lot going on :(

1)  Preheat oven to 400F.  Wash potatoes, making sure to really scrub the skins clean of dirt.  Poke the potatoes in several places, this is so the potato doesn't explode in the oven.  Rub the potatoes with olive oil, lightly season with salt and pepper.  Place on the middle rack and bake for an hour 15 minutes, or until they are cooked thorough (they'll give a little when pressed).

2)  Remove the potatoes from the oven and drop the oven temperature down to 350F.  Once the potatoes are done allow them to cool slightly.  Slice the top quarter of the potato off  making it a potato canoe if you will lol.  Empty the "insides" of the potatoes into a bowl, be careful no to hallow out the potatoes too much or they will collapse.  Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, some of the bacon and garlic, then mash (or beat with an electric mixer for creamier potatoes) the potatoes with butter and milk, until your reached desired flavor and consistency.

*side note*  Nathan's dad has this crazy little spoon, it's super tiny and looks like a trowel with jagged edges.  Makes for the best digging tool, not too big and very precise!

3)  Once you've completed the mashed potatoes spoon back into your potato canoes, at this time you can top your potatoes with more bacon, chives, and cheese or you can add after.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

These are so delicious, adding the olive oil all over the outside give a slight crispiness to the skins.  If you are careful enough you can discard the tops, or for a more dramatic presentation use them as tiny lids.  To be perfectly honest these were distractingly good, which is the reason there wasn't a final picture.  You can add or change any of the spices or even the type of oil.  What I can give you is a direct quote from Nathan about how delicious these were; "Uh, yeah, these are definitely the potatoes to be used with my steak EVERY TIME you're here. "

Well there you have it, I am officially back in my blog swing :) and it feels great.  I still have some sweet treats coming up so don't forget to check back because this girl is going to keep on writing as it puts a smile on my I really do have one right now!  Until next times............................

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Jumping Back into the Saddle

Hello Sweets,

It feels like it's been a lifetime since I've written an actual post.  My health is still not where I'd like it to be and my sleep is pretty much non existent, but I hate not writing so I've decided to jump back in!  I'm going to start slow to make sure I'm not pushing myself too hard, so today's post will not have a recipe (although I am talking food), but I have a few tucked away that haven't been written yet so if all goes well tomorrow will be full on Canuckette's creations!!  I know I'm pretty lame lol, but hey I love myself and it's the small things in life that can really make you happy. For example; smiles from my best friend/soul mate (he's got eyes you can get lost in), and my blog with its lovely readers :)

So I've been back from Texas for a while now and wanted to share with y'all a special dinner that Nathan and I had the night before I left to come back home.  Since we weren't together for valentines day we decided to celebrated on our schedule, which actually works out well as it isn't hella busy lol.  I, just like any other person, have certain foods that I just absolutely love but don't necessarily eat often due to different circumstances.  Well I'm pretty sure I've shared this particular delight with you before, but just in case you missed the last post, "I love lobster!", and all other crustaceans. lol  I haven't come across any seafood that I didn't like :)  So when I was down for my visit and they say the Red Lobster "Lobsterfest" was on, all it took was one excited look in Nathans direction and that was where we were going for our dinner *insert happy dance, and repeat*.

To make a complete date day, Nathan took me to a matinee at the Fork and Screen theaters, for those who don't know what they are picture a smaller theater with recliners instead of uncomfortable chairs and full service at your seat (including adult bevies).  We went and saw The Great and Powerful Oz in 3D.  The nice thing about this version is that it's more true to the original story.  Don't get me wrong I love the old school Judy Garland version but it's nice when they get closer to the original story (which doesn't happen too often, for example "My Sisters Keeper" and don't even get me started on that fiasco lol).  Of course we both ordered our go to lunches, and kicked back and enjoyed a movie together.

pretty sweet setup right? 

After the movie we had a few hours before we left for dinner so we just went back to the house to get lost in each others conversations and eyes (yes we are that much in love lol).  Needless to say when it was time to leave for dinner my taste buds and I were so ready for some lobster.  The hard part would be choosing what I was going to have lol.  We arrived at a later time in hopes of the restaurant being less busy, but because it was March break time it was still slightly busy.  That didn't deter us, we just took a seat at the bar and waited for our little table pager to go off.  It didn't take too long (I think because everyone else was tables of 4+), we sat down and scoured the specialty menu which ended up taking me a little longer than I had expected because I couldn't make a decision lol.  Take a look at what we decided to indulge in :) ;
 They have a great Pinot Grigio that went fantastically with the seafood
 I had the Lobster lovers dream with both rock lobster tail, sweet split maritime lobster, and a lobster/shrimp fettuccine Alfredo.  Nathan had their Surf and Turf, it came with the rock lobster tail and a sirloin steak, and of course his double mashed potatoes :)  Needless to say it was a delicious dinner and we were both very satisfied.  Now I want to recreate their cheesy garlic biscuits at home because they are so darn good!  And if you are interested in these delicious meals yourself, the promo is still on so check it out here!

Well my sweets, I feel a lot better knowing you'll have something fresh and new to read and I promise to be more consistent moving forward because clearly it is something I am very passionate about, and I was missing it more than I realized.  Don't forget to check back in the next few days because I've got some delicious treats to share with y'all.  Until next time..............................

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo