Archive | September, 2008

Meal Plan for Sept. 29th – Oct. 5th

29 Sep

I usually try to do a meal plan, if for nothing more than to make grocery shopping and prep time go a little faster. It usually doesn’t always work out, but hey, practice makes perfect!

Monday – Breakfast for Dinner! Breakfast Risotto, hardboiled eggs with Bacon Salt & pepper

Tuesday – Spicy Cheese Enchiladas, spinach salad and baked beans

Wednesday – Crustless Spinach Quiche, Broiled Stuffed Pepper Wedges, honey wheat rolls

Thursday – No Noodle Vegetable Lasagna, Tomato Curried Potatoes

Friday and Saturday – E’s gone, so just leftovers

Sunday – Broccoli and 3 Cheese Soup, Irish Soda Bread


Vote for Meeeeeeeeeee

28 Sep

Voting for Iron Cupcake has officially began, and is open until Thursday, October 2nd at 12 p.m.. Vote every day (it’ll let you!) and try to vote for me!!!

You can vote either by clicking on the Iron Cupcake badge on the right side of this blog, or head over to No One Puts Cupcake in the Corner, and vote on the poll which is usually to the right side of her blog. Remember, mine is Live, Laugh and Grow.

Feel free to tell your friends – this is my first entry, and it’d be a real moral booster to get even a few votes!!!

Not Much Going On Here…

24 Sep

There’s really not much happening lately…

Friday night was E’s father’s retirement party, and it was a lot of fun! Not only was there some great music, but it was nice hanging out with everyone, since we don’t get to see them too often. It was especially nice to see E’s grandfather, who’s been very ill, and Rev. D., the minister who married us. By the time we left the party, it was getting pretty late, so we ended up staying over at E’s mother’s house, so we got to spend time with his sister, and his mom over breakfast the next morning.

Saturday was a bit hectic, but we spent the evening at the 30th anniversary gala for E’s company. It was really great to be able to dress up, go out and spend some time with E’s co-workers. There was a live band who was great, albeit the technical issues, and we had a lot of fun dancing. We got our picture taken (I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard it came out nicely) and a set of commemorative wine glasses, and headed home.

I’ve participated in a few blogging events, and I’ve submitted my entry for Iron Cupcake – voting begins on Sunday, and I hope to at least get a few votes on my first try out! I also made some homemade cornbread for the first time, which came out nicely, and for tonight, I threw together a homemade terriyaki sauce for chicken in the crock pot. I’m not sure how it tastes yet, but it smells fantastic!

If you’re ever in a pinch and would like to make some yourself, the recipe is as follows:

1/2 cup Soy Sauce (I used low sodium)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar (I used Splenda Brown Sugar blend)
1 Tbsp. Sherry (I used Brandy)
3 garlic cloves, minced

All you do is mix the ingredients thoroughly, and use either as a sauce or a marinade. We usually have these items on hand, and it was really nice to be able to control the sugar and salt contents. If you don’t have or want to use alcohol, you can use several substitutions for the Sherry, including apple, orange or grapefruit juice.

Iron Cupcake:Earth – Quite the Challenge

22 Sep

When I first learned about Iron Cupcake:Earth, I was really excited; I love to experiment in the kitchen, learn new techniques, and watching Iron Chef, so it seemed like the perfect competition for me. Ever since this month’s secret ingredient, basil, was announced, my mind’s been swarmed with ideas – citrus, melon, tomato and many others, working themselves out in combinations from the safe to the surreal. I knew I wanted to take part, and E was willing to be my guinea pig, so I signed up.

In the end, I chose a cupcake that wasn’t complicated or pretentious, but simple, flavourful, and delicate. Since most of my kitchenware is still in storage, the only tools I had at my disposal were a balloon whisk and a mixing bowl. Yup, I created this using pure muscle! The biggest challenge, strangely enough, came not from the cupcakes themselves, but from pure luck. From the canister holding 5 litres of flour breaking in half while full, to the smoke alarm going off as the result of hot dishwater, it’s been quite the trip. There were at least three incidents that caused me to almost pull out my hair and quit, but I’m glad I didn’t – these babies were worth it.

For the Basil round of Iron Cupcake:Earth, I’ve made a cupcake that I like to call the Interlude, as to me, it pairs together the best that both Summer and Fall have to offer, so it’s perfect at a time like this. The cake pairs apple and mango that have been marinated in Balsamic vinegar and roasted in the oven with some fresh Italian basil, and the icing is a thick glaze featuring lemon and more basil. I had my doubts, but these were amazing! They had an almost bread pudding texture, due to my lack of completely creaming the butter and upping the fruit content, and they were delicious both with and without the icing, hot or cold.The basil shone through without overpowering the other flavours, and everything meshed really well.

My test-tasters were E and his friend Travis; Travis, who hates both fruit and anything green, was up first. I didn’t want to turn him off, so I didn’t tell him any of the ingredients, and he didn’t get icing on his. His first reaction? “This is really good – what’s in this?” When I told him, he was surprised that not only did they taste great, but that he liked them – he said he’d definitely eat more of them. E loved them, and had them iced, both warm and straight from the fridge. He gave them a 9 1/2 out of 10, and judging by how quickly they’re disappearing, they’re a winner in his eyes, too. I’m definitely going to be making these again, and I wouldn’t change a thing – this was definitely a memorable experience, and I can’t wait for the next challenge!

As much fun as this was, it’s still a competition, which means some incredibly awesome prizes are up for grabs, such as:

A current publication from the publication library of Taste of Home magazine

Head Chefs by Fiesta Products

A metal signet ring from Metal Sugar

“Hello Cupcake,” by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson

The Cupcake Courier

A Jessie Steele Apron

Voting begins on Sunday, September 28th and ends on Thursday, October 1st at Noon at No One Puts Cupcake in the Corner – You can also click on the badge in the right sidebar to vote. Don’t worry, I’ll write up another entry reminding you to vote, and hopefully, it’ll be for me!

Now onto the cupcakes!

This recipe has three parts: the roasted fruit, the cake itself and the glazed icing, and is the amalgamating adaptation of one of Chockylit’s cupcakes and A Good Appetite’s icing. This makes 12 cupcakes, and is a definite must-try!

For the Balsamic Roasted Fruit:

  • 1 apple, sliced in half and cored
  • 1 mango, sliced in half, pit and peel removed
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the fruit in a container, and drizzle vinegar on top.
  3. Cover with lid, shake for 10 seconds, and let marinate for 20 minutes.
  4. Once marinated, drain fruit, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, turning fruit over once during cooking.
  5. Cool for an hour, remove the skin from the apple, and cut the fruit in chunks.
  6. Set aside.

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup roasted fruit
  • 4 large basil leaves
  1. In an electric mixer (I used a whisk), beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add egg beat until combined.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to the mixer along with the milk and beat to combine.
  5. Chop the basil leaves.
  6. Fold the roasted fruit and the basil into the batter.
  7. Scoop into cupcake papers about two-thirds full.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, and then rotate the pan.
  9. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

For the Glazed Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 large basil leaves, finely chopped
  • milk
  1. Mix powdered sugar, lemon juice, basil and 1 teaspoon of milk.
  2. Add more milk as needed by 1/2 teaspoon amounts until you achieve your desired icing consistency.
  3. After icing, allow cupcakes to sit until set, about an hour.

Hi Mom!

19 Sep

I just wanted to take a minute and say hi to my family and friends who have been coming to my blog lately. Every time I see a familiar ‘face’ on my feed, I smile – it always feels good to have people that care about you and are interested in your life, activities and your views.

In honour of my loved ones, I’m posting some of the professional photographs that just came in from our wedding. E and I are very lucky to have had an amazing photographer, Holly Bond Farrell of HBF Photo – we’re even luckier to have her and her family in our lives as our friends.

P.S. My entry for Iron Cupcake:Earth should be in on Sunday – I’ll give you the lowdown on my latest creation, and tell you the details on how to vote for me then! :wink, wink: