Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later. – Og Mandino

Back in action!

As I mentioned previously, the past few weeks have been incredibly hot and humid here, so I’ve had to stay away from the stove as much as possible. Otherwise I would have overheated the whole house, and I didn’t want to have to deal with that.

This meant I was very limited as to my choices, especially since take out isn’t an option. I decided to break out the slow cooker, which still kicks off a fair amount of heat but my system worked out quite well. The best way to beat the heat is to do all your prep, load the slow cooker, then find the coolest place in your house and plug it in. Since you don’t need to do much other than leave it be, and occasionally twisting a knob or two it doesn’t need to be on the kitchen. Keep it somewhere cool, and let the smell waft through your house.

We got a good rain storm, so I can use the stove again, but I wanted to pass on my personal favorite of the recipes I came up with.

Here’s What You Need

  • 1.5 lb ground poultry
  • 1 medium sized zucchini
  • 6-7 mushrooms
  • 1-2 scallions (depending on size)
  • 1 orange pepper
  • cayenne
  • sea salt & herbs
  • 1 pkg brown rice pasta (shape to preference)
  • 2-3 green onions
  • tomato sauce (2 cans)
  • Daiya Dairy Free Cheese

This can become a vegetarian dish very simply, just ditch the poultry & double up on the veg. =)

There is still some stove work required, but not much.

Put some olive oil in a pan big enough to cook all the poultry, and dice all the veggies. Set the green onion aside, and toss the rest in the pan once the meat starts to change colour. Season everything as you see fit (cayenne + sea salt & herbs, for me.) Keep it at a medium heat and let it all cook down, until the meat is browned slightly.

At the same time, bring a pot of water to a boil, put in a few drips of olive oil and the package of pasta.

When the ingredients in the pan finish cooking, put them in the slow cooker, and when the pasta is done, drain it and add that in too. At this point I added in a healthy amount of cheese and then mixed everything together with the tomato sauce. Topped it off with a layer of cheese, cranked the slow cooker to high and put it in the coolest place in your house for 4-5 hours. Then toss on the green onions, and leave it for another hour or two.

Now is about the time to carry this amazing culinary pot pourri back to the kitchen and serve it up!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I’m about as tired as my little one, so I’m calling this blog sufficiently entried!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Advertisements

This Life Is What You Make It” – Marilyn Monroe

When I first kicked this blog back into gear I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to become. It was more or les a virtual recipe book that I could refer to as need be, then something happened. People start reading. Not just people I knew either, I’ve met quite a few people since I started. In doing so, the main idea for my blog took form.

I love cooking with friends and sharing recipes/ideas, as well as riffing on how to make them better. So I want to replicate that atmosphere in a blog, and apart from encouraging people to comment about how the process goes for them or suggestions for recipes to feature, it is somewhat out of my hands haha. Luckily I received an e-mail this week with Barbara Nolan‘s take on the Breakfast Pizza recipe I posted a few entries ago.

So, basically from here on out, if you try one of the recipes and want to share with everyone, and I hope you do, just shoot off an e-mail to biodomer@hotmail.com with pictures and any tweaks you made to the recipe and I’ll gear up a post and share it with everyone else.

Here We Go!

Starting with the tweaks to the recipe:
Bacon fried in a 12″ pan – I was actually considering changing this to chopped up Canadian bacon in the future.
6 eggs scrambled – I did this with milk but think I might leave the milk out next time.
Daiya Cheddar cheese – Cheddar is my personal favorite kind of cheese.
Black olives spread over half of the eggs
Red/Green peppers spread over the other half
Sea Salt and Garlic & Herbs sprinkled over all

Bake at 350° for 15 min.

She also posed this question – “I am thinking that the consistency of mine may have been different because of using the milk to scramble the eggs.  Did you use anything?” The answer is just a very little bit of water. I find it makes the egg a lot fluffier, which gives your eggs a great little pick me up.

Now for the photographic evidence, and I would like to go on record saying this looks leaps and bounds fancier than mine! Great job, Barbara =)

Photobucket

Photobucket

I look forward to more e-mails from all of you.

Have a great one!

PS – If you send in your goods, you name the post too =P

Failure is success if we learn from it. – Malcolm Forbes

My mother always made the best Mac & Cheese growing up, and I would request it regularly. But when you develop both IBS and an intolerance to dairy, your diet gets tweaked ever so slightly.

I can no longer eat pasta, one of the joys of IBS is everyone reacts to it differently and the triggers are different for everyone. I have no problems with bread, or wheat, or flour, gluten is not my enemy. But for some reason Pasta just does not agree with me. So I just considered Mac & Cheese to be a write off. I figured I had eaten my last one long ago and didn’t even savour it because I had no idea it was my last hurrah.

Over time I found some pasta alternatives, there’s brown rice pasta, corn pasta, rice vermicelli, udon noodles, and one made of bean sprouts and peas that is white raw, but cooks clear. When you’re not warned about something like that it can catch you off guard pretty quick!

Finding an alternative to run of the mill pasta was easy, as the first one I tried didn’t taste like cardboard. I wasn’t so lucky with an alternative to cheese.

I tried many different types of dairy free cheese and none of them tasted anywhere close, some claimed they “melted” but they didn’t. They ended up with a film over top and just molten particle board tasting lava underneath. I had almost given up, I thought I had tried them all, with no success, but then I noticed Daiya for the first time as I passed by it in the deli. It wasn’t with the other dairy free or vegan cheeses, but around the corner with the “normal” cheese, so I hadn’t paid it much attention. I saw those magic “Dairy Free” words, and tossed it in the cart. When I got home I also noticed the claim that it “melts and stretches”, but took it with a grain of salt. Fast forward to a year or two later, and there is always at least two bags of the shredded in my fridge. It is the best alternative I have found, it DOES melt, it DOES stretch, & most of all IT TASTES LIKE CHEESE!

To me it’s a wonder product, it was a game changer for me, it was with this product that I realized being dairy free wasn’t all that horrible, there were work arounds and they tasted great.

It’s because of Daiya cheese that I’ve been able to make a lot of the recipes that are on this blog, including the one I’m about to share.

I’ve obviously had to tweak the recipe a bit as far as ingredients go, I’ve also added some stuff too because I can never leave well enough alone, this is Mac & Cheese 2.0

The zucchini is something that, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have in my fridge. However, the always fantastic Susie Jimenez sent out a battle cry to pick up a new vegetable, you normally wouldn’t cook with, and incorporate it into your night’s meal. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have figured out just how awesome zucchini is and how much it added to this recipe. I suggest you all give her a follow on Twitter, she’s got some great ideas!

Side Note: If you want to make this dish vegan, all you have to do is omit the bread crumbs and chicken, also use the vegan margarine that Becel has.

The Goods

  • 8×8 pan
  • 1 3/4 cups macaroni (brown rice pasta)
  • 2 tsp margarine (olive oil or vegan becel)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • bread crumbs (omit for vegan)
  • Daiya Dairy Free Mozzarella or Cheddar style shreds
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 4-5 mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1-2 small chicken breasts (omit for vegan)
  • curry powder
  • sea salt & herbs

I tend to cook the chicken in the afternoon so that its cooked when I’m prepared to get everything else ready. Just very simply chop it up into chunks, season it lightly as you wish, over the dish in tinfoil and cook it at 350 for 30 minutes.

Put the pasta in a pot with some salt, water and a little bit of olive oil to keep it from clumping.

Slice up the onion, zucchini, and mushrooms and toss them in a frying pan with some olive oil and some Sea Salt & Herbs and once the veggies start to get some colour, toss in the chucks of chicken. Keep it at a low-medium temperature and let it cook, while keeping an eye on it, and get everything else ready.

In a small microwavable bowl, melt the margarine then, in a larger bowl, whisk it together with the flour, almond milk, salt, pepper, and curry. Now the curry is a recent addition, and we loved it! For those who aren’t familiar with it, you don’t need a lot of curry for big flavour, so be careful not to make it too spicy. We use a yellow curry and keep adding it in bit by bit to avoid a mishap.

The veggies and chicken will be done before your pasta, so feel free to transfer them from the stove to the 8×8 pan. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, rinse it off, and drain a second time. Then add it into the pan with your other goodies. This is where the cheese comes into play. I didn’t put an amount on the list of ingredients for the simple fact that it all comes down to preference, we like it quite cheesy. Put your desired amount of cheese and mix it all together, and pour in your liquid. After everything is in the pan, give it another mix to make sure everything is coated, sprinkle on a layer of bread crumbs and some more cheese and into the oven it goes @ 350 for 30 minutes. The cheese and bread crumbs crisp up and everything else cooks perfectly to the point where it all melts in your mouth.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Once again, if you try this, please send me an e-mail with pictures and any revamps to the recipe you’ve made. My next entry will be Barbara‘s take on the Breakfast Pizza =)

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, I was watching Chuck’s Day Off on the Food Network and he was making this really yummy looking spinach dip. Going on about the different cheeses that go into it, and the beer base and I slowly started to check out mentally. A beer based spinach dip sounded great, but when you’re lactose intolerant and they talk about how great the flavors of the different cheeses are, and the boost that they give to the recipe, you just sort of lose interest. But for whatever reason I decided I was going to make it work with my ingredients, I was going to make it dairy free, and it was going to be excellent…I was right!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Los Ingredientes

  • Round loaf of bread (I find Sourdough works best)
  • 1 bottle of beer (We swear by Stella) (here’s a list of Gluten Free Beer to use instead. Note that I have not tried these, but have friends who drink Redbridge)
  • 1 pkg Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds (amazing dairy free cheese, best I’ve found)
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 4-6 mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • roughly 4 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sea Salt & Herbs

Before I get into this, I have to expand on the Sea Salt & Herbs as it can be found in almost every recipe I make. It’s a mixture of, you guessed it, sea salt & herbs that can be purchased at the Bridgewater Farm Market from Rumtopf Farm for $5 a bag. If you live in my general area I strongly suggest picking up a bag and trying it for yourself. I barely make a meal without it.

First thing’s first, put your cheese in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of flour and mix to make sure its all coated so they don’t clump together and put it to the side.

Next, take a bread knife and cut the top inch or so off the top of the loaf of bread and, taking a paring knife, cut out the inside of the loaf, leaving about an inch the whole way around. Scoop out the bread from inside the loaf as you would a pumpkin when making a Jack-O-Lantern and chop them up into little cubes doing the same with the top you cut off earlier. Spread them out on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, along with salt & pepper over top and mix to make sure they are all coated. Make room for the newly formed bread bowl and put them all in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes. Afterwards, take your cubes and put them on a plate, or tray, or in a basket if you’d prefer but keep the bread bowl on the pan, you’ll need it again .

While all this is going on you can fry up the yellow pepper, mushroom, and onion in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and whichever spices you prefer. Keep it at a low heat, you won’t need them until after the spinach goes in with the beer & cheese.

In a pot, bring the beer to a very warm temperature without bringing it to a boil and add in the cheese. This will take longer with the dairy free cheese than normal cheese just because it’s a different consistency. Add in the Sea Salt & Herbs, or your go to seasoning, and with a wooden spoon keep mixing it slowly until it becomes completely melted, then comes the audience participation. Get the person who’s been standing there holding up the counter while you’ve been working to slowly add the spinach to the pot while you keep stirring.

Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for since I mentioned it, I know you have! The veggies you fried up earlier can now be added into the pot too! Once it’s all had a chance to get properly acquainted, take the contents and pour it into your bread bowl. Then it’s back into the oven for another 15 minutes, still at 350, and you can dig in and enjoy.

Remember, if you run out of the cubes, you can always start ripping the bowl apart!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Be sure to check out the other recipes on the blog too, as all of them are dairy free! =)

PS – If you want to make this more of a meal, you can always fry up some ground chicken or turkey, or stick with the veggie theme and double up on the mushrooms. peppers, and onion. Zucchini is also a nice addition =)

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. – John Gunther

Due to seemingly VERY popular demand, I’m going to jump ahead a recipe or two and give you, loyal readers, my newest creation…Breakfast Pizza!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

This one came about very abruptly. Basically while frying up omelet innards I remembered that the pan was oven safe up to 400F, so rather than make an omelet as I had planned I decided to see what would happen if I poured the egg into the pan and baked it. It was a definite success and took about 30 minutes total from prep to table.

The Insides

  • Mushrooms
  • Chicken Bacon
  • Garlic
  • Sea Salt  & Herbs
  • Daiya Dairy Free Cheese
  • Green Onions
  • Eggs (obviously)

Now this is a recipe where the amounts are entirely up to you, mine was made in a 12 inch pan so I had a bit more room to roam. As the picture shows, it made 8 good sized pieces. All that needs doing is the frying of your veggies and the scrambling of your eggs in a separate bowl. I personally leave the green onions out and sprinkle them over the top as I find it allows for more flavour from them. So, fry up the garlic, mushrooms, and chicken bacon (we diced ours) in the pan, and once they get to your desired level of doneness (totally a word), pour on the egg, toss the cheese on top and put it in your oven which has been preheated to 350 for 15 minutes.

These next 15 minutes are crucial, these were a gift handed down to you by the Gods of Breakfast Prep, you have your meal in the oven and nothing else to do. This is the time given to you to clean up your dishes (5-7 minutes tops) and then sit down with your cup of coffee/tea/milk/BBOC (Breakfast Beverage Of Choice) and wait for the timer to let you know that breakfast is served. My pan is non stick so after I took it out of the oven, I just slid it right out of the pan and onto the cutting board with ease, divided it up, plated it, and sprinkled on the green onion.

That’s all there is to it, ladies and gentlefolk.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Enjoy, and as always, let me know how it turns out/any tweaks you made to the recipe =)

Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. – Bertolt Brecht

As with any recipe, there are changes over time. Either you want to try some new twist or you are out of an ingredient, you sub something in and never look back. They are ever changing and, as such, some of the recipes from earlier posts aren’t made the same way anymore. This can only mean one thing……..

RECIPE REVAMP!!!!

First up we have the Lasagna Cupcakes, which have become a big hit in this house. As I mentioned with that recipe, Josh Lyons (@JoshLyonsPhotos) suggested a game changer. He suggested folding the corners in on top of it and making it a parcel almost. We went a step further and decided to add in another layer entirely. Start with the wonton wrapper, meat, sauce, cheese method same as always. then put another wonton wrapper on top and press down the middle. This gets meat and sauce, then fold the four corners in and stick them to the sauce. This keeps them in place and allows the cheese to cover the top. We tried it once and haven’t looked back, it kicked the recipe up to a whole new level. Also, even though I haven’t tried it yet, you can also switch out the meat for pan fried veggies just as easily and make this a vegetarian dish. I would suggest zucchini, mushroom, and peppers as they are what I use when making meat free lasagna.

This is what I love about cooking, there’s always a new way to do it, and it brings people together.

For those visual learners, this is what you’ll end up with

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Yes, the cheese looks different than yours, I use Daiya Dairy Free Cheese. Honestly, even if dairy was tolerable, I think I’d still use it. I love the stuff.

Next on the docket is the Make Ahead Potatoes and that is as simple as taking the risk and leaving it in for a bit longer, or turning up the heat to 375. This does require a bit of a close eye, but the results are well worth it. We also added green onion and mixed it throughout. But, unlike the rest of the veggies, the green onion went in raw, which I believe yields a better and sharper flavor.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

When I first made the Any Meal CasSurreal I said that it you can really put anything in it. It’s a culinary building block and a lot of fun to experiment with. My favorite tweak to date was when we have some of the Loaded Chicken Burgers in the fridge, so we broke them down and fried them up and used it as the base for the CasSurreal. Since all of the veggies we normally put in are already a part of the burgers it cut down on prep time. Everything else is done the same. We also made one with the shrimp that is in the same entry as the burgers, its a long entry, which turned out quite good too. My houseguests at the time preferred the shrimp version, whereas I really liked the chicken burger base, so enjoy experimenting with it!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

To date, these are the tweaks and modifications that have been made to the recipes within the blog. As I make changes, I’ll post them here. As well as new recipes.

Also, there seems to be a small but loyal group of readers, so I thank you immensely as I would be the only one reading these otherwise & I already know what I do, I don’t need updates.

I would also like to ask you all to take a look at this blog and send me any questions/complaints/criticisms/suggestions that you may have.

Either e-mail me  iam@tonylantz.com or simply leave a comment below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Also, tattoo is fully healed.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

A tattoo is something permanent when you’ve made a self-discovery, or something you’ve come to a conclusion about. – Angelina Jolie

Going to do a few entries today, bring everything up to date. I’ve had houseguests and a change of employment status so my updating has been slack, but rest assured, I am back in the command chair and ready to blog!

As you can gather by the title of this entry (Don’t worry, there will probably never be another one from Angelina), if they ever had any relation to the post, it has to do with a tattoo. I got my 4th two weeks ago today and it has almost healed.

This is the quickest turn around time from getting the idea to getting it in ink. I’ll post all the pics then explain the meaning behind it.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Design.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The last time this arm will ever be bare.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Stencil.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Outline.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Finished Product.

Explanation.

When talking with Marc Wright, my amazing artist, it started out as an owl with a frying pan, then became an owl sitting on a rack of pots and pans, like you would see over an island in a kitchen. The pots and pans were then switched out for forks and spoons. Then Marc came up with the final suggestion that was perfect.

My dad’s favorite animal is an owl, my mom is/was always in the kitchen cooking and has all these wooden utensils. Owls also symbolize knowledge and they both taught me how to cook, and so many other things about life and family….they’re also occasionally perched looking over my shoulder =P

To avoid crazy long posts, I’m going to keep this one tattoo centric and keep the food posts to the following two.

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Considering I told everyone I would update with more fun stuff yesterday, I felt that today was a good day to do it. Not that I thought it would be a good laugh to get all your hopes up, but yesterday was my dad’s birthday and it was a jam packed day of running around and cooking.

In an effort not to forget things, I’m going to jump back to where my last post and move forward. That means you’ll have to read all about it before you find out the AWESOME gift I got for my dad. I mean, you could just scroll to the end, but then you’d be cheating yourself out of a good read now, wouldn’t you?

I had gotten up much earlier than my other cohorts, so I was chatting with Josh and Emily (@JoshLyonsPhotos & @Emily_Ellyn on Twitter) about food, and Josh’s band Fell on Deaf Ears (definitely suggest checking them out!)

Emily had posted a photo of some amazing cupcake on Facebook andwhen I shared it, Sara, my houseguest, commented that we should have cupcakes for breakfast, then she came upstairs. My brain immediately started working and within a few minutes I had a recipe MOSTLY figured out in my head. I told Sara that her wish was granted and we’d be making Breakfast Cupcakes.

The Good Stuff

  • asparagus, cooked (follow recipe below)
  • leftover Make Ahead Potato, or some sort of potato (hashbrowns, mashed, fried)
  • 7-8 eggs depending on how many other ingredients make it into the muffin tins
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 coloured pepper
  • 1-3 stalks of green onion
  • Daiya dairy free cheese
  • Sea Salt and Herbs

So, the asparagus (pronounced Ass-Par-Agus forevermore, due to Sam’s dad). I have a very simple method and it turns out consistently tasty. set the oven to 400, lay the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil being a bit more generous in coating the tip (adds awesome crunch) and sprinkle some sea salt and pepper. I prefer using a coarse grinder for both S & P as I find it kicks up the taste a bit. Then it’s just a simple 15 minutes in the oven and you are off to the races.

This is a fairly simple recipe and great for making while still half asleep or while the coffee you’re drinking works its way into your blood stream.

the onion and peppers get a quick fry in a pan with some olive oil. Leave the green onions aside as they have more flavour going in raw.

The potato goes into the muffin tin first, to cover maybe 1/4 of the tin. Once again, the Make Ahead potatoes from the previous post work splendidly as a base and depending on the size of the group you served with it initially.

cut the asparagus halfway up the stalk and stick it in the middle of the potato so the tip sticks out like a flagpole once everything is added into the tin. You may need to poke a hole in the potato and then fill it back in around the asparagus.

The eggs and fried veg mixture can be mixed together in a bowl and poured into the tins evenly. Then sprinkle the green onion and cheese over top of each one and it’s into the oven at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.

it should end up looking something like this:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Sam missed out on the initial creation and consumption as she was working. Once we did the dishes, we took the leftovers to her, which means we each had three AND all the asparagus we had left over. good hearty breakfast.

The downside to missing a few days of blogging is the events in between photos becomes a bit blurry….OH! Nevermind, I remember.

I could delete the above sentence, but then you may feel less involved in the process, and we can’t have that.

Sara, B, and I decided to buy some outdoorsy stuff since we were already at Walmart (Sam works there). We got a football, dog frisbee (they were cheaper), and a bocce ball set. We spent the bulk of the day at the soccer field playing and getting burnt by the giant fiery orb in the sky, all in all a great afternoon.

We got back and it was back into the kitchen for me. Sara had never had poutine before so we had to rectify that. But, as usual, I couldn’t just make a normal poutine, I had to be difficult.

Back on the 30th I attended a Heritage Party that featured all things Canadian, including poutine. Being lactose intolerant, I made my own and enough for others to try, cooked it all, put it in a casserole dish, and covered it with foil. When we got there it was tossed in the fridge and then into the oven when we were ready to eat. What resulted was the recently dubbed Poutinserole.

I replicated it, and I think it’s a keeper.

The Inner Workings

  • Fries
  • Gravy
  • Daiya Dairy Free Cheese
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • Ingenuity

with a bit of olive oil in the pan, & the temp low-medium toss in your fries, and once they thaw, throw on the Sea Salt & Herbs. keep frying them until they get a bit crispy, or your desired fry texture. In a pot bring whatever gravy you’re using to temperature (I used a can of mushroom gravy, which was excellent). Combine the gravy and fries in a casserole dish and then mix in the cheese. Make sure everything is mixed well, then cover the dish with foil and, as per usual 350 for about 18-20 minutes. You’re not cooking anything, you’re basically making it more awesome.

I’m giving you fair warning, Poutinserole is not photogenic, but tastes excellent.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Baking allows it to be cut into squares and, if you wish, you can add some more gravy drizzled over top.

Given that we did a lot of running and jumping and such we were quite hungry and the Poutinserole takes some doing. As such I had an appetizer in mind that doesn’t take too long to throw together, but tastes like a lot of work went into it.

The Essentials

  • Shrimp (cooked and deveined)
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • Margarine
  • Garlic or Garlic powder (Not Garlic salt)

In a pan, toss in some olive oil on low-medium and once that heats up a bit toss in your shrimp, and once those get comfortable, hit them with a healthy dose of Sea Salt & Herbs, and keep them going on a low-medium temp.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

While they’re in the pan, mix your margarine (or butter if you prefer) with either minced garlic or powder and melt it down, either in a small pot, or microwave (which we opted for). Once it’s liquid pour it over the shrimp and keep tossing it in the pan until they are completely coated.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Once they get a good coat of garlic butter, plate them and enjoy. Make sure you also have a little bowl of plate for the tails.

The reason for keeping it at a low temp is that these lovelies are already cooked and you are basically heating them up and locking in the flavours you have added.

This is where there I take a bit of a break from cooking as there wasn’t much time, we did a whole lot of running around those few days. Not only that but Sara made us an excellent breakfast one morning and gave me time to get some work done.

You’ll have to ask her what all went into it, but it tasted so friggin’ good!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

What I do know is that the sourdough had some becel underneath a heaping spread of homemade strawberry freezer jam my mother had whipped up the day before.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Should last us a few days 😉

During the time away from the kitchen we went to Peggy’s Cove

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I get my picture taken with this sign each and every time I go to Peggy’s Cove

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

spent another day at the field playing with our new toys, Sam was able to come this time.

(No pictures available)

Sam had to go to work, and we three that remained were way to hot to cook so we went to Waves. We ordered Sweet Potato Fries and Chipotle Mayo to start and I got the same thing I get every time. Chicken Clubhouse without cheese or bacon.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Waves has the best fries in town, and their sweet potato fries are no exception.

The following day the 4 of us were up early and off to Halifax, Sam and I played tour guide as we hit up the essential shops on Barrington. Renaissance (they sell Chucks), Rock Candy (Rock shop that I can never leave without buying something, Freak Lunchbox (candy store to end all candy stores), & Oddjects (wacky fun shop that can’t be explained unless you visit).

Dad’s birthday was yesterday and I KNEW I could find him something at Rock Candy. For a while, each gift giving event I would give him a Beatle’s CD, then I shot myself in the foot, gave him the gift of all gifts and presented him with the entire Beatles collection in stereo that they released a few years back. Ever since I try to find unique and inventive gifts, sometimes thinking very far outside of the box.

Normally any time you find something related to The Beatles and there are four of them, it’s very simply one for each member of the band. I found a set of four pint glasses with that exact motif, and it just didn’t do it for me. I thought it was too predictable and something I could have picked up anywhere with little to no effort and that, does not, a good gift make. One the other side of the store, under a Misfits alarm clock, I found THE gift. Again a set of four pint glasses, but instead of each being the face of one of the members, each was a different album cover. It was perfect, Beatles related, yet not something you could find anywhere, it was a treasure and would go splendidly with his Jimi Hendrix coffee mug.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I also got him a M*A*S*H 4077th keychain, because we used to watch it together all the time when I was growing up.

Next we went to Oddjects and I found this black and white polka dot cookie jar that stood on four legs with green and orange leggings and little black boots/shoes with a tag reading $15. I couldn’t see a matching lid anywhere and assumed that was why it was cheaper. Now, my mother has a rather odd cake plate that this would compliment, it was originally given to her as a gag gift and she uses it proudly. As such, I knew the cookie jar was perfect. When I took it to the counter the lady told me it had a lid, I told her I must have missed it. When she went and got it for me, I knew why I missed the lid… It doesn’t match at all, it’s like two different people made the two halves….it’s AWESOME.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Is this not the best cookie jar you have ever seen?!?!?!!

If you have a better one than this, please post a pic in the comments.

Dad loved the birthday gifts and mom loved the cookie jar and couldn’t stop laughing.

Yesterday was Dad’s birthday, we did it, we made it to yesterday!

We didn’t do much during the day, went downtown, talked to Marc, our tattoo artist. Sam, B, and I made an appointment for Monday (pics to come). Then we went to get donairs, Sam and I told B and Sara that they HAD to get a proper donair while they were here. In Vancouver we never could find one that tasted as good as they do here, with real donair sauce.

I can’t eat them anymore because of IBS and I’ve yet to try to make a Tony Friendly version, but I’m sure it will come.

When we got back from getting donairs I had to start making dinner. It can take a bit of time, but the result is well worth it.

I call them Loaded Chicken Burgers, and they are aptly named.

Components

  • chicken bacon, 7-8 strips diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 3/4 a good sized harder apple (not a mac), cubed
  •  3-4 stalks of green onion
  • 2 lbs extra lean ground chicken
  • Daiya dairy free cheese
  • several splashes of italian dressing
  • 2 eggs
  • stove top stuffing
  • cayenne
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • 5-6 mushrooms can also be added, we kept them out as Sara’s not a fan

You’ll need two pans for this one. Olive oil in both, low-medium temp, in one pan put the diced chicken bacon and cover the pan with foil. In the other add the onion, pepper, and apple (once again leaving out the green onion).

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Stir both occasionally and cook them down. You’ll be able to tell that both are done when the bacon starts to crisp (chicken bacon is already cooked when you get it) and the apples will still have a bit of crunch to them. The reason for that is the stove top stuffing will steal some of the juice from the burger, and the apple gives it back as it cooks down inside.

Mix the bacon with the veggies and set aside to cool down. In a good sized bowl, add the chicken and green onion, then toss in your veggies and bacon. Get right in there and knead it with your hands, have to make sure its blended well. Afterwards, put the cheese in, followed by the stove top, mix thoroughly, then add the Italian dressing and one egg. Knead again and form a patty freehand. If it looks like it may fall apart as it cooks, add the other egg. Providing it looks solid, don’t bother with the second egg. Sprinkle on the cayenne and Sea Salt & Herbs liberally as it has to reach its way through all the meat.

If you have a burger press, then that’s great and if not, simply eyeball them to the size you’d like.

I have a press and this made 20 1/4 pound burgers.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Cooking method is up to you as well, it was a beautiful day so we BBQ’d. If the weather isn’t in your favor they fry up really well in a pan.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

That’s it folks, we have reached the end. I hope you all enjoyed our trip through the past couple of days in the kitchen and beyond. Let me know how you like the recipes.

In closing, This is the Sea Salt & Herbs I keep talking about.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

“Every great film should seem new every time you see it.” – Roger Ebert

*NOTE* – Both of these recipes have had additions/tweaks made to them and the additional info can be found Here!

normally I’ll go full tilt for one meal a day, and Saturday, that meal was Lasagna cupcakes and Make Ahead Potatoes. Neither are all that labor intensive and both taste awesome! I think I’ve stepped up my game a bit because I have friends staying with me from Vancouver and they’ve seen all the pictures I post with what I’ve cooked and now they get to try it, so I don’t want to miss any chances to impress.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

They are a cinch to make, and just so everyone felt involved we made an assembly line.

The Goods

  • 2-3 mini muffin tins (can also use regular muffin tins)
  • 24-30 Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 pkg ground meat (we used chicken)
  • sauce of your choosing (we used Hunt’s mushroom & basil)
  • cheese (we used Daiya Dairy Free Mozzarella)
  • seasoning for meat, completely up to you

(To make these vegetarian, simply ditch the ground chicken and supplement veg of your choice. I have made them with zucchini, mushroom, peppers, and onion with excellent results.)

I’ll tell you right off the top, these babies are going in at 375, so turn your oven on when you think you should to be ready to cook. Put some olive oil in a pan and bring it to temperature. Add your ground meat and once it starts to break apart and get a little bit of colour add your onion and seasoning/spices. Cook on a low-medium heat for maximum flavor.

While it’s cooking get one of your houseguests/family/friends AKA prep cooks to put a wonton wrapper in each muffin tin. This is where you have a decision to make, you can either use a glass, cut circles out, and place them in the tins OR you can say screw that, and put in the entire wrapper, which is MUCH more fun!

By the time you’ve decided between circles or squares, your meat has probably finished cooking and now all you have to do is layer in the sauce, meat, and cheese.

Once again, we implemented the assembly line, meat, sauce, cheese, repeat. I will say, we didn’t heat the sauce, it went right from can to tin. It will cook during the 18-20 minutes spent in the oven, but it is your call.

The last decision you have to make for this dish comes between the first and second layer of meat,sauce,cheese, (when using the mini muffin tins) and that is whether you want to fold the corners back in and cover them with the mixture (Thanks to Josh Lyons for the suggestion, its a great one!) or leave them exposed to the elements (see what I did there?).

So these go in, as I said, @ 375 for 18-20 minutes, and come out looking like they do above.

Next on the docket is a little gem called Make Ahead Potatoes, reason being you can make it ahead of time and simply toss it in the oven before your meal. When I got IBS, I also managed to become lactose intolerant, which meant I couldn’t eat this one anymore, which SUCKED. But recently, I’ve found dairy free cream cheese, and sour cream and I was off to the races!

The original recipe is HUGE and feeds roughly all the players in the NFL, so I knocked it down a few pegs.

The Innards

  • 8×8 pan
  • 4-5 good sized potatoes, peeled and roughly cut
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp margarine
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • cheese for the top

This will be cooked @ 350 so, once again, preheat accordingly. Fry the onion and yellow pepper in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Boil the the potatoes, drain, and put in a large bowl. Put a little bit of margarine in with them and give them a rough mash, then switch to a hand held mixer, this will make the potatoes extra smooth. Mix in the other ingredients as they appear. Once the veggies have been added, transfer to your 8×8 pan. The potato WILL  go above the edge, that’s fine and half the fun. Just smooth out the top and generously apply a layer of cheese and that sucker is ready to go into the oven @ 350 for 40 minutes.

Let it be said that you can add any extras you would like to this dish, I think the next time we do it I’ll add chicken bacon for good measure.

These are the dairy free alternatives I used for this recipe:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Making use of all of these still make it taste great and the three other people who were eating it said that they wouldn’t know that it was made with dairy free anything. This was the end result.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

If you want a bit more of a crust, you can leave it in a bit longer, or after the 40 minutes, switch it to broil. But be advised that if you choose the broil method, keep a VERY close eye on it as it can go from crust to crisp without notice.

That brings everyone up to date on the culinary goings on up until yesterday morning, but rather than bog one post down with a boatload of recipes and such. I’d hate for you to get too excited and try and lick/eat your screen.

To close this out, here is my step-kitten, Molly

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

“If I’m Not Back In Five Minutes, Just Wait Longer!” – Ace Ventura

I apologize right off the top, I’ve got a massive head cold so this post may become a bit loopy.

keeping up with Canadian content, another apology, this time for a lag in updates. Two friends from Vancouver arrived on Tuesday and as such I haven’t had much spare time to fill everyone in.

Yesterday my cousin Tim decided to take a trip up to visit, so we all spent the day sitting around, shooting the breeze. I tend to post photos of the things I cook, as they tend to be somewhat out of the ordinary, and Tim was looking forward to finally being able to TRY some of it. So, when it came time for Supper, I decided to step it up a notch and make Cordon Bleu Roll-Ups, but with a bit of a twist.

This is the recipe as I found it:

Photobucket
As I said before there are were deviations from the recipe, but I wanted to make sure everyone had the same starting points to allow you all to make your own tweaks.

Being lactose intolerant, I switched the milk for almond milk, and no one knew any different, just make sure that it’s unsweetened. The cheese was also switched out for the Daiya Dairy Free cheese I mentioned in the previous post.

I also found, not having panko crumbs on hand, that the amounts on the dry ingredients were a bit excessive and you really only need the 1/2 cup flour and the 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, panko or otherwise to suit your fancy.

The main difference between mine and the recipe above is that I didn’t use ham. I know what you’re thinking “Chicken cordon bleu is ham and swiss!” “It makes no sense!” “you’re a crazy person!” I look at it this way, my girlfriend doesn’t like ham, so I changed the recipe. Keeping her happy seems like the opposite of crazy, to me.

As an alternative, I fried up roughly 4-5 mushrooms, 1/2 a yellow pepper, & 1 medium onion and used that mixture in place of ham.

Everything else went according to recipe, apart from the fact that we used the BBQ. It was an incredibly hot day yesterday and using the oven would have been very stupid. So we used the pizza pans we have set aside for grilling, put a little bit of olive oil on them and loaded them up with the Roll-Ups (we doubled the recipe).

When all was said and done, this is what we ended up with:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, and we were able to make them to suit everyone’s needs:

Sam doesn’t like ham? CHECK! we used veggies instead

Sara doesn’t like mushrooms? CHECK! we fried onions and peppers separately for her.

Mom can’t eat peppers? CHECK! she gets onions and mushrooms.

We found the best way to do it so that everyone got the most out of it was to do 4 with mushrooms and onion and 4 with pepper and onion. We also kept them together rather than slicing them up, but this is what they look like once they are opened.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

obviously this is one of the mushroom ones.

Tonight we’re going to be making some lasagna cupcakes, which should be up sometime tomorrow.

Be sure to let me know how you like theses/any alterations you make to yours!

In closing, this is my kitten. She’s all tuckered out from being a moron all morning.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App