Friday, 30 August 2013

Harry Potter Butter Beer Cupcakes

I remember when my Nana and Papa first brought me the original Harry Potter book. They knew I loved to read and they had heard that the book was really popular so thought I'd love it. Well, they were right. I remember quickly devouring it in my bedroom and eagerly looking for the next instalment.

So when I heard that a Harry Potter cookbook was coming out, the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, I got extremely excited. I knew there would be recipes for all my favourite magical goodies. I knew everything from Pumpkin Patsies to Butter Beer to Pumpkin Juice to Hagrid's Rock Cakes would be represented and I couldn't wait to read it.

I picked it up from my library and I was really glad not to have bought it because the recipes were not what I had been expecting. No recipes were exciting or thought provoking. No recipes were magical. There weren't even photos! No recipes at all for my favourite Butter Beer.

But there was a "recipe" for Crispy Bacon as Ron had eaten it a few times in the books. I hope I'm spoiling the cookbook when I say they instructed us to crisp bacon on a frying pan and eat it. There were lots of recipes for standard things like bacon, roast chicken, and roast beef - with small stories of remember the time that Hermione once ate chicken or remember when Harry had roast beef?

No, this is one cookbook I won't be buying. One of my recipes from last Christmas would have made a better recipe for Hagrid's Rock Cakes than what appeared in the book. And this delicious recipe for Butter Beer Cupcakes that I've adapted from Amy Bites should have been a cover shot.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Great Fish Dish

I know everyone doesn't love fish, or green beans for that matter, but this dish is worth trying. It's easy, quick, and best of all - all the flavours work together so well that it tastes awesome.

I've told Luke that I want real honest feedback from him on my cooking and sometimes it hurts, but sometimes it's wonderful. And the feedback from the dish was one of those wonderful times. The tartness, spiciness, and sweetness were just the right amount and everything was cooked nicely.

Sometimes I wonder why I asked for honest feedback on my cooking, but I know why when I get this kind of feedback. The dish is really as yummy as he says it is and I want all my dishes to improve to get to this same level of yumminess.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Homemade Creamless Corn

I have been known to buy creamed corn from a can from time to time. I love the flavour of creamed corn, but I really hate looking at the gluggy goo slopping from the can. It's just not appetizing. 

So when I had an abundance of corn on the corn in my fridge, I thought of trying my hand at making a homemade creamed corn - hold the cream. I love cream, but I thought I could make a delicious creamed corn without the extra calories so I could still enjoy dessert! 

The dish I came up with was great! The only problem was that the pan was emptied too soon. But I can remedy that too; next time I'll just have to make a double recipe! 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Beet It, Stains

I love eating beets. They can be sweet, earthy, or pickled and they add a beautiful rich hue to my plates. But I don't love the stains they leave when one when accidentally falls off my fork, tumbles down my blouse, and lands on my pants. In fact, I hate beet stains.

But I've learned how best to go about beating beet stains, and before I share one of the best beet salad recipes I've ever had with you, I'm going to share a couple of tips about getting rid of beet stains.

I've tried two methods and they've both worked pretty well. The first method sounds a little crazy, but I use it if I'm out of my favourite stain remover. Just soak a piece of bread in cold water and use it to sponge away the beet stains, then wash the clothes as usual. My second method is to run the fabric under cold water right away, pretreat the stain with my favourite stain remover, and then wash as usual. I'm always interested in learning about new ways to get rid of stains, so if you have other tested ideas, I'd love to hear about them.

I'm going to post my tips about getting rid of beet stains on Resolve's new Resolve Tip Exchange website. It's a great new site to learn about getting rid of stains, all from readers like you and me!

One of the ways that Resolve is encouraging us to enter tips is by offering 12 weekly prizes of $250 and a grand prize of $5000! Each week we can submit a tip to earn a ballot in the draw for the prizes and that's sure got me thinking of tips I'd like to share!

So far I've sent in tips for removing butter and red wine from clothes, but you'll have to head over to Resolve Tip Exchange to find out those tips! For now, since you don't have to worry about permanently staining your clothes from beets, read on for an amazingly tasty Beet and Carrot Salad recipe!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Bake Off Winner!

I love entering cooking and baking competitions because they're fun, challenge me creatively, and because I love to win! Every month for the last few months I have been entering the Food Network's Bake Off challenge and I have finally been successful and won! 

Last month's challenge was to bake Roger Mooking's Pavlova with Mango, Lychee Nuts, and Raspberries but I took a few liberties and made the dessert my own. I think that, plus how delicious my outcome was, really helped me to win. 

Check out my winning entry online at the Food Network's blog and read on for my adapted recipe. Both are delicious but I really like my decoration of a flower made out of thinly sliced mango. Thanks to Roger Mooking for a yummy recipe to adapt from and thanks to the Food Network for a great Bake Off. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Crazy Ingredient Challenge - Avocados and Caramel?

If I thought that last month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge of pairing cauliflower and chocolate was hard, this month's challenge of pairing avocados and caramel took it to another level. But I brought out my big guns too and I think that the dish I came up with was both delicious and featured avocados and caramel really well.

At first I wanted to make the infamous avocado chocolate pudding that I've seen all over the Internet and I thought I would drizzle a little homemade caramel sauce on top. But then I decided to really stretch myself and make a savoury dish that really let caramel shine. That how I came up with my Creamy Avocado Salad with Caramel Almonds.

Since I'm still thinking about the avocado chocolate pudding, I know it's something I'm going to make soon. So if anyone is wishing I made that instead, just wait because it might appear on Delish in a Dish soon! For now, read on for my yummy Creamy Avocado Salad with Caramel Almonds recipe. 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Minted - Christmas Cards and More!

I know many of us are busy focusing on back to school right now, but it's also creeping closer to my favourite holiday season and it will soon be time to think about planning Christmas and holiday cards. It might sound too soon to some of you, but I know I start receiving cards at the beginning of December which means they must have been mailed in mid November, must have been personalized in early November, and in homes ready to go in October. It's going to be September in a just a few short weeks, so it's now time to start planning to stay ahead of the game!

Minted is a new website that I've just discovered and I am loving Minted's beautiful Christmas photo cards. I also love that choosing Minted cards means supporting independent designers and that the cards are reasonably priced. 

One of my favourite of Minted's Christmas photo cards is the template below. You can customize your photo card with five of your own photos and choose from a selection of colours for the background too.  I love this card because I love to include a simple holiday recipe in my Christmas cards and I would love to include a photo of my recipe as one of the photos. 

This year I am thinking about including a recipe for a simple Christmas fruit salad in my Christmas cards. Read on for my recipe and for a few great holiday gift ideas from Minted!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A Whole Mott of Happiness

I have a love / hate relationship with people at work who have a bowl of delicious sweet little candies on their desks, just begging me to indulge. It's hard to stop myself when I walk by their desks, but I try to say no to be healthy.

Now imagine being a child and seeing all the yummy snacks that the other kids are bringing to school and you're stuck with carrots and celery sticks because mom wants you to be healthy. I feel those kid's pain. Luckily this school year will be different because of Mott's Fruitsations and Veggie fruit snacks!

These fruit snacks are naturally flavoured, made with pear, apple, and carrot juice, gluten free, and have only 80 calories in each package. These fruit snacks are going to make kids and moms happy. And I know I'm going to be bringing a few packages to work to eat when I want one to be digging into the candy bowls.

And Mott's and Life Made Delicious are going to help us out in another way too. We can enter Mott's Fruitsations and Veggie Fruit snacks' contest from the Life Made Delicious Facebook page that could make back to school shopping a lot easier because there are three $500 gift cards up for grabs! And while you're on Life Made Delicious' Facebook page, pick up a $0.50 off coupon (while supplies last) to use when you buy your first (or second) box!

I also couldn't resist baking up some Mini Raspberry Filled Chocolate Cupcakes from the Life Made Delicious website. I topped my cupcakes with some of the berry flavoured Mott's Fruitsations and Veggie fruit snacks and they were gobbled up faster than ever!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Peameal Pileups

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday and since she is vacationing overseas, I only get to send her well wishes over the Internet today. And this year, instead of coming coming up with a dish that I think my mom would love, I decided to share one of her dishes with you.

My mom loves peameal bacon and she loves to BBQ, so it only makes sense that this sandwich is one of her favourites. It has grilled peameal or turkey bacon, fried zucchini, melty cheese, sweet peppers, and a really flavourful tomato marmalade. I have a feeling that you're going to want to eat one of these sandwiches as soon as you see the photo.

Happy Birthday, Mom! Thanks for sharing such a yummy recipe!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Summery Grilled Cheese

When you think of grilled cheese, I bet most of you think of two pieces of crispy bread sandwiching together soft melted cheese with maybe a little ketchup on the side. Maybe a few of you think of something a little more gourmet like an aioli on the side or a spread in the middle, but I don't think any of you think of what I'm about to share with you. 

Today I made Life Made Delicious'  Cedar-Planked Brie and Berries and it was awesome. The cedar plank added a smokey delicious flavour, the honey drizzle added a sweetness, and the fruit added a little extra tang. I can't say that I've ever thought to grill a wheel of Brie before, but now I can't imagine not doing it again! 

Open your eyes to a new world of summery grilled cheese with this delicious recipe! 

Friday, 9 August 2013

Guest Posting on Rants From My Crazy Kitchen

Yesterday I guest posted on Rants From My Crazy Kitchen and I think I brought a really excellent creation to the table. I love lemon meringue pie but I wanted  to make it into a slightly more everyday style dessert. What I ended up creating were Lemon Meringue Thumbprints, and they're delicious!

I'll let you head over to Rants From My Crazy Kitchen to read my full post, but I'll post my recipe here now. I just can't resist sharing my new delicious cookie with you in as many ways possible!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Local Canadian Food Heroes

This month's Canadian Food Experience Project challenge was a tough one. First I had to come up with who my local Canadian Food Hero was and then I had to come up with a recipe to share from that hero.

For me the challenge wasn't coming up with a hero, it was choosing just one! I go to my local farmer's market as often as I can to buy fresh veggies and Artisan products. I also love going to cooking classes in my city and learning from culinary instructors always makes me excited because I know I'll be able to bring home new techniques. Finally I love shopping at boutique food stores and promoting buying local. If all those people aren't food heroes, I don't know what is.

I finally came up with a duo of heroes and I know anyone who's visited Silk Road or attended a Heidi Fink cooking class will agree that I made the right decision. Silk Road is a local Victoria BC tea store and Heidi Fink shares her food knowledge through cooking classes, local Victoria China Town tours, and has also created one of my favourite Silk Road tea salad dressings.

I've used Heidi's salad dressing in a quick and yummy Asian stir fry. The sweet, smokey, and savoury salad dressing makes each bite of this stir fry amazing - and it's all due to the beautiful Silk Road Lapsang Souchong tea.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Not Such a Small Fry

Is there a person out there who does not love fries? I can't imagine there is anyone, but if there is a person out there that doesn't love fries - this post is for you. It's for you because it's going to convince you that you actually can love those crispy little treats.

The fries in this post aren't just any fries, they're healthy and still taste awesome! They're not deep fried, they're not not made of potatoes, and they have a little cheese in their breading. And like I said, they're awesome!

Curious yet? These fries are made out of squash and zucchini, breaded with a little Parmesan cheese, and baked! Read on for the recipe!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Nutty for Lentils

I used to think if lentils as a heavy starch, something to eat instead of potatoes. Now I have learned exactly how wrong I was. Lentils are a great protein, not a starch! And at a price of just $2.00 or so for a big bag, they're a great deal too. 

This dish is full of spicy curry, cooling yogurt, salty cashews, and sweet raisins. I think it will have you going back for seconds, so make enough for everyone!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Caprese Portobello Burgers

I love a good Caprese salad - mozzarella, tomato, and basil are a great combination. However, I also love to get creative in the kitchen and making a Caprese salad night after night is not very creative. So when I learned a new recipe for a homemade basil mayonnaise, I couldn't resist making a play on one of my favourite salads by turning it into a sandwich. 

The basil mayonnaise turned out so delicious and the mushrooms were a perfect vessel for a warm tomato and cheese mixture that I know I'll be making this dish again and again.