Friday, 31 August 2012

Viet-nom nom nom

This is not the most beautiful recipe I've shared with you, but the taste of this Vietnamese Beef dish certainly makes up for it. The combination of fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice tells me there's a chance that I'm going to get over full after the meal. And there's nothing I want to change about that. 

Something else that I love about Vietnamese food is something that I discovered by accident. I was cooking my rice to pair with dinner and I let it cook a little too long; not so long that it burned but long enough that the rice touching the bottom of the pot was a little crispy. 

I hadn't made enough rice to waste the crispy rice, so I just scraped it off the bottom and stirred everything together, hoping that no one would notice. I noticed, but in a good way! The texture of the crispy bottom rice provided another layer to the dish that I hadn't expected and now I'll try to get crispy rice when I make this dish again!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Judge This Book By It's Cover!

I like to think that I am a home cook that makes food that tastes good most of the time. But I don't try and kid myself that my food is always beautiful. 

The mantra that I like to follow is "don't judge a book by it's cover". And I like to use a similar mantra for my food too: "don't judge a dish by it's plating". 

I know that we eat with our eyes, but I'm still working on making my food look as good as it tastes. 

But, friends, I think I've had a breakthrough. This dessert looks as good as it tastes and it tastes awesome! Better yet, it's not very hard to make! Read on to see how quickly your dinner table can look like it belongs in a fancy restaurant. 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Banh Mi with a Twist

Have you ever eaten a Vietnamese Banh Mi? It's a delicious, fresh sandwich made with cilantro, fresh cucumbers, pickled carrots, and sauteed pork on a baguette. At least that's the kind of Banh Mi I've tasted!

My burger style Banh Mi is a little unconventional, but it's easy, delicious, and all the Vietnamese flavours in the original sandwich shine through. I just hope you're hungry when you try it because you might want seconds. :)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Claw in Claw

When I lived on the East Coast, lobster was plentiful and you could often find lobster fishermen selling their catch on the side of the road for less than $5.00 per pound. So, needless to say, I ate my fill of lobster when I lived there!

If I thought things would be similar on the West Coast, just switching the lobster for crab, I would have been wrong. You can find crab fishermen selling their catch, but there are no bargain basement prices here and that means you really have to enjoy every bite. 

The crab I recently had was frozen because I am a little squeamish cooking the whole animal. The only reason I can do it with lobster is because I know where to find the meat, with a crab I don't know where it is besides the legs!

The last thing I want to share before I tell you the recipe for my Garlic and Orange Butter Sauce, is that you should probably put on easy to wash clothing and eat outdoors with a big box under the table for the empty crab claws. 

This sauce is so good that you'll be double dipping, it could get drippy, and you'll be so full afterwards that the less clean up, the better!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Tea-mendous Cupcakes

"Keep calm and carry on" is a beautiful British saying. 

Originally the saying was printed on posters displayed throughout England in World War 2 to be used for public safety and to strengthen morale, but today the saying has become commercialized and used in many different ways. 

When I hear the words "keep calm and carry on" I think of people enjoying a cuppa tea, forgetting their worries, and relaxing. And when I found Anna Olson's recipe for Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Maple Meringue, I could see myself embracing the saying before I took a single bite. 

I made a few changes to Anna's original recipe because I needed to make it my own, but I know you'll still love it. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Discover Your Flavour

Caliente or leve? Hot or mild? What would you choose? At my house that question is always a dilemma.

Most of my family seems to prefer spicy dinners and that's why I am excited to try Old El Paso's new Hot & Spicy Fajita Dinner Kit. But some of my family also leans towards more mild meals, that's why I am also excited to try Old El Paso's new Extra Mild, Super Tasty Hard Taco Dinner Kit and new Mild Taco Seasoning.

They're all great idea for families with busy schedules because you only need about 20 minutes to make something delicious and flavourful, whatever your taste is.

One thing my family can all agree on is that when it comes to Mexican food, we like free Mexican food best. And right now you can visit Life Made Delicious's Facebook page and get a coupon for a FREE new Old El Paso Dinner Kit! But, be sure to hurry to get your coupon, because this offer won't last long.

And if that's not enough, let me know in my comment box below if your family prefers spicy, mild, or a combination of the two on Mexican night and you'll be entered in to win an Old El Paso Mexican Dinner Kit Package including all three of the new Old El Paso products and a fun chili salsa bowl.

And if you want a second entry into the giveaway, comment on my blog's Facebook page.
Please note that I will be choosing the winner on September 20, 2012 and that this contest is only open to Canadian residents. Readers may enter on multiple blogs, but are only eligible to win one prize.

“Disclosure – I am participating in the Life Made Delicious Ambassador Program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

If you're interested in a new idea for a grilled Peach and Pickled Jalapeno Salsa recipe, keep reading below. It tastes great on Old El Paso's Hot and Spicy Fajitas, especially when paired with Old El Paso's salsa!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Breakfast for Lunch

I love an egg salad sandwich for lunch. It's comforting and makes me think of Easter holidays because growing up with a pile of siblings made my house full of hardboiled coloured eggs at Easter, and there are only so many things you can make out of hardboiled eggs. 

This recipe is a slightly unique version of the old standby and while I didn't make it with dyed eggs, it still has a little special surprise...

Bacon makes everything better and bacon and eggs go so well together, so why not try pairing them together for lunch? Try my Bacon and Egger and you will never look back!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

I Relish Corn Relish

I love grilling sausages, putting them in a soft bun, and topping them with a generous amount of corn relish. But sausages and corn relish are both things that I've never tried making on my own. I don't have a meat grinder or a sausage casing machine, so I'm not ready to try making sausages just yet. But with corn and peppers in season, I think it's a great time to finally try making corn relish. 

Canning veggies seems a lot harder than making jam because there's the added step of processing the jars and I don't have a pressure canner. But I've learned a few tricks and now I feel comfortable canning without a pressure canner, at least comfortable enough to try making corn relish. 

My corn relish tastes great, my jars are tightly sealed, and I'm satisfied with my efforts. I don't even think I need to keep my first batch as a tester, but I will because it looks so good!

I may not know a lot about canning yet, but I'm an eager learner and I'm excited to head to the market this morning to pick up some more fresh veggies for my next project. 

Read on for a few tips that I've learned about canning using the water bath method and my recipe for Sweet Corn Relish! 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Whole Wheat Success

Have you ever committed to baking for someone's birthday and realized that you were out of all flours except for whole wheat? I have and I was nervous for the success of my dessert until I tasted it. 

I think the only reason that my whole wheat cupcakes were a success was because I was baking a cake that had little pieces of coconut throughout the batter. I think that the coconut disguised the whole wheat flour and no one noticed the textured flour at all. The lemon glaze that covered the dessert might have helped a little too, but I think the coconut was the clincher for success!

These Coconut Lemon Cupcakes were such a success that I think I might even use whole wheat flour next time I bake them, even if I have a large stock of all purpose flour! 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Grill Masters!

Some people love to lay in the sun on a beach. Others can’t imagine anything better than speeding down a highway on a motorcycle. My mom's and my favourite summer activity is to grill on a deck surrounded by friends and family. 

We may not be Bobby Flay’s protégés just yet, but I think we’ve learned a few great tips and tricks for barbecuing. 

Here’s a Top Ten List for Grilling, dedicated to my mom on her birthday. Thanks for teaching me all you know about the grill, Mom!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Blueberry Fields Forever

Is there anything more wonderful in life than heading out on a warm, sunny day to pick berries? 

There's nothing to get hung up about in blueberry fields. You can relax, take your time in a lovely field of fruit, and pick berries until your heart's content. And if you pick one berry to eat and another for your basket, who really cares? 

Alright, well maybe the last question does have an answer... But when I go and pick berries, Luke feels the need to pay for an extra pound of fruit as a "tip". I think that means that my enjoying a little more than my fair share of snacking is just fine. And I see everyone enjoying a taste, so I think a little snacking is built into the u-pick pricing. 

Then, when you get back home, it's time for the real fun to begin. What will you make with your delectable goodies? 

Here's a great recipe for a Blueberry Froyo. I've been told that it tastes just like a frozen blueberry pie!

Friday, 10 August 2012


I don't know how to fillet a fish and I am not really interested in learning either. It looks a little too messy and complicated so I'll happily spend a few more dollars to buy my fish prepared for me. 

I am interested in learning about the difference between a fillet and steak of fish. Steaks are pieces of fish that are cut perpendicular to the backbone of the fish and they generally have bones in them. Fillets are pieces of fish that have been cut (of filleted) away from the backbone and they generally don't have bones in them. 

Knowing that shows me that I am even more picky about my fish than I thought, because I choose to only cook with fillets of fish. I hate finding fish bones in my food!

Here's a great sandwich recipe for my fellow fillet-o-fish lovers. It's easy to make, easy to eat, and tastes delicious (if you love fish)!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Waste Not, Want Not

I love Asian food. I love cooking with leftovers to make something new. I love easy cooking. And I love not wasting anything. 

Today's post is a winner with my above rules / loves. And the best part of it is that you can make this dish all in one large pan or wok. I know you're going to love it. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Olympic Dinner

When I am watching the Olympics I don't want to be bothered to cook up a storm and make complicated meals. I want to pay attention to the games and cheer on my fellow Canadians. 

A win can be missed in a moment and I don't like watching the recaps as much as the live show.  You don't have as much adrenaline, you already know what's going to happen, and it's just not as much fun. Watching the recaps without having already seen the live show is almost like reading the last chapter of an exciting book first. 

Today's recipe is a really easy and delicious Pulled Pork Sammie. There's so little work involved that you barely have a chance of missing any of the action in the Olympics and I think it tastes like a gold medal sandwich too. :)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Fresh is Best

There are two kinds of ricotta you can buy, dry and fresh. Dry ricotta is crumbly and, well, dry. Fresh ricotta is bought in a tub and it's a lot moister than it's dry cousin. I've only used dry ricotta once and I don't think I'll be using it again. 

I did not think I'd ever say that I'd never buy a cheese again, but I meant what I said. I just don't know how to use it and cook any of my ricotta filled recipes because everything just turns out too dry. Maybe if I add more liquid when cooking with dry ricotta my dishes would turn out ok, but it's not worth the extra effort of experimenting for me. I'm going to stick my fresh ricotta. 

Today's recipe is a Broccoli and Ricotta Cannelloni and to get the consistency right, you'll need to use fresh ricotta (trust me, I have a batch of the cannelloni in made with dry ricotta in my fridge right now...)