Pea Soup for Dinner

Filed Under (Soups, Supper) by Lisa on 26-05-2010

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Yesterday was another cold and rainy day. When it came to dinner I defiantly wanted something warm. I decided I wanted some soup for dinner. I had been thinking about making pea soup for some time, but I had never made it before so I was always a bit hesitant to give it a try. My mom is the queen of pea soup making. Her pea soup always turns out well. It is nice and thick and the peas are completely dissolved. The ham gives it that traditional pea soup taste that only pea soup has. I wanted my soup to be just a good as hers so I got her to give me the recipe. Of course once again her pea soup recipe is another recipe that she has never written down, so she gave me the recipe verbally while I was making it.

My pea soup turned out really well, but it wasn’t as thick as hers usually is. I think it’s because we didn’t quite have enough split pea’s (she usually puts in 1 cup and I had a fair bit less then that) so next time I make it I will definitely be adding more peas to it. I also added perhaps a wee bit too much water to the soup initially. However my mom said to fill the pot ¾ full, but then she later said 2/3 full might have been better. This is the reason I really prefer written recipes. However after making this pea soup (and taking notes as I made it) I know have a recipe for it, to follow next time. My pea soup was still very yummy, hearty and warm. Perfect for the cold weather we had.

Here is the recipe

Mom’s Pea Soup
Serves 4-5

1- 1 ½ cups dried split peas
1 white onion
Deli ham
2 carrots
3 medium sized potatoes
2-3 stalks celery
½ cup lentils
½ cup barley
1 tsp salt
black pepper (to taste)
1 bay leaf
a dash allspice
a dash ground cloves

Fill a large pot about 2/3 full of water (use more water for a thinner soup). Bring water to boil. Add dried peas. Reduce heat once boiling to medium heat (as long as the bubbling continues. The peas need to boil for about 2 hours to dissolve). Dice the onion, and add it to the pot. Dice the potatoes, celery, and carrots, and add to the pot. Chop the ham to desired size pieces and add it to the pot. Add the salt, black pepper, cloves, allspice and bay leaf. Continue to boil on medium heat until 2 hours has elapsed from the time the peas were added. Once the two hours is up, add the barley and lentils (they don’t taste as good if cooked very long), and continue to boil for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Baked Salmon for Dinner

Filed Under (Supper) by Lisa on 25-05-2010

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A few days ago I decided to do some more experimenting in the kitchen. This time there was no recipe involved at all, I completely went out on a whim and made something that I had no idea how it would taste. That something was a baked salmon stuffed with light herb cream cheese, and coated in a sauce I created and then sprinkled with cracker crumbs. The result was a very tasty baked salmon. I will definitely be making this again! I served it with baked potatoes and corn on the cob.

Here is my recipe

Baked Stuffed Salmon
Serves 4

One large Salmon Fillet (frozen)
Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
Garlic powder (to taste)
Paprika (to taste)
Balsamic vinegar (a few drizzles)
Lemon juice (a few drizzles)
Worcestershire sauce ( a few dashes)
½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ cup light mayonnaise
A few shakes light parmesan cheese
½ – 1 cup cracker crumbs
Light herbed cream cheese (½ cup or more)

Defrost fillet for about an hour (removed from package and place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil). Cut the fillet into desired number if pieces. Season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Set aside for another hour or so, to let the spices absorb. Drizzle lemon juice and balsamic vinegar over fish. Set aside for about 30 minutes to let it absorb. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make slits in each piece of fish (where the cream cheese will be stuffed into. Stuff with cream cheese (more is better for a more moist fish). In a bowl add the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce a small amount of cream cheese and parmesan cheese. Stir to form a sauce. Spread over fish. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs. Bake in the preheated oven for about 60-70 minutes. Serve immediately.


Banana Poppy Seed Muffins

Filed Under (Breakfast, Muffins) by Lisa on 22-05-2010

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This morning I was in the mood for muffins. I wanted to make a new kind of muffin, but I didn’t have any particular recipe in mind. I took a quick inventory in the fridge and cupboards, and counters and came up with an idea. I decided to put two of my favorite ingredients together: bananas and poppy seeds. I was a bit skeptical of the combination since I had never seen them combined in a recipe, however I was very pleased with the result. My muffins had the lovely banana flavor that I love with the poppy seed taste that I adore. Both flavors were fairly pronounced but went together very well. I used some rum extract in my muffins since rum complements poppy seeds and bananas very well, and I think that contributed to the irresistibleness of these muffins. I toped each muffin with a little sliced almond to give them a little more crunch.

Here is my recipe.

Banana Poppy Seed Muffins
(makes 12 medium sized muffins)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup (not packed) brown sugar
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
½ cup skim milk
2 tsp white vinegar (t0 make sour milk)
2 large eggs
2 tsp rum extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup poppy seeds
3 medium sized bananas (peeled)
¼ cup sliced almonds

Grease muffin tin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine: the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mix well. Add the poppy seeds and stir to combine. In a blender add the: bananas in pieces, eggs, vanilla extract, rum extract, olive oil, sour milk and blend until smooth. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Spoon into muffin tins. Sprinkle on the sliced almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden on top and a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted. Serve warm or cool.

What is your favorite type of muffins?


Cranberry Almond Muffins

Filed Under (Breakfast, Muffins) by Lisa on 15-05-2010

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About a week ago, I decided to do some more experimenting with cranberry muffins (since we still had some cranberries in the freezer).  I found a recipe in the Company’s Coming Mostly Muffins recipe book by Jean Pare for Sunny Cranberry Muffins. I changed the recipe quite a bit to suit my tastes and the ingredients on hand.

My muffins were a huge hit! I made them in the morning for breakfast and all 12 were gone by noon. They were super soft, with a crunch on top from the lightly toasted almonds. The muffins were very flavorful. The rum extract complemented the pineapple juice very well which created an explosion of flavors!

I will definitely be making these again. My mom liked them so much she made them this morning!

Here is my adapted recipe.

Cranberry Almond Muffins
*makes 12 medium sized muffins

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
½ cup sour milk (add 2 tsp white vinegar to skim milk)
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tsp rum extract
½ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
¼ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin. In a large bowl add the flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Mix well. Add the cranberries and stir to combine. Add the eggs, sour milk, rum and lemon extracts, pineapple juice, and olive oil, and stir until a smooth thick muffin batter is formed. Spoon into muffin tins. Sprinkle with almond slices. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm or cool.

A Cake for Mom

Filed Under (Cakes) by Lisa on 11-05-2010

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A few weeks before mother’s day my mom started talking about a cake she had not made in years. It was a pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I asked her where I could find the recipe, and then I made it for her as part of her mother’s day gift.

The recipe was originally from one of her coworkers who passed away in a plane crash 15+ years ago. I made huge changes to it since it was way too unhealthy for my liking (even though cake is meant to be unhealthy, it took unhealthy to a place I didn’t want to go).

I was a bit skeptical of putting crushed pineapple in the dough with out pureeing it (I puree almost all fruits and vegetables in my baking except berries), but since it was part of the original recipe I did it, and I was amazed at the result. The crushed pineapple took the carrot cake to a whole new level that I didn’t know carrot cake could go to. Delicious would be an understatement. It was heavenly. I also added some coconut to the recipe since coconut and pineapple where made to be together. The cream cheese icing was a bit sweet for my liking even though I reduced the amount of icing sugar in it.

My mom loved the cake.

Here is the recipe.

Marlene’s Carrot Cake (adapted by Lisa)
Makes one 9X13 cake

1 cup white sugar
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple
3 eggs
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup pineapple juice
¾ cup skim milk
2 tsp rum extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Cream cheese icing

8 oz light cream cheese
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup salted butter
¼ cup pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Prepare 9X13 pan (grease or spray). In a large bowl add the: fours, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and white sugar. Mix well. Add the coconut and pineapple and stir until well combined. In a blender add the: chopped carrots, olive oil, eggs, vanilla extract, rum extract, milk, and pineapple juice. Blend until smooth. Add pureed mixture to the dry mixture and stir until smooth. Pour the cake batter into 9X13 pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool. Ice.

To make the icing

In a medium sized bowl add the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, and pineapple juice and blend with electric beaters until a smooth soft icing forms. Ice the cake once the cake has cooled.  Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.

Cod For Dinner

Filed Under (Supper) by Lisa on 10-05-2010

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Lately I have been trying to incorporate more sea food into my diet. In the last 6 months or so I have likely eaten more sea food then I have eaten in the rest of my 25 years.

A few days ago I decided to make some cod fish for dinner. I had never made cod before, so this was a new experience for me. I searched for a recipe online, and found one at allrecipes that I thought sounded easy and delicious. The recipe was for Baked Cod with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. I changed the quite a bit to suit my tastes and the ingredients on hand.

My cod turned out very well. The horseradish flavor was fairly strong, but the red pepper gave the sauce the perfect amount of sweetness that balanced out the strong horseradish flavor. The cracker crumbs absorbed some of the sauce and gave the fish a nice slightly breaded texture. Inside the cod was soft, moist and very flavorful. I think seasoning the fish and letting it absorb for some time before cooking is key in getting the fish flavorful from top to bottom.

I served my fish with baked potato, butter corn, and maple garlic carrots.

Here is my adapted recipe

Baked Cod with Horseradish Sauce

3-4 medium to large fillets cod (frozen)
1 large red pepper

8 dashes Worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp horseradish
1 tbsp olive oil ¼-½ cup water
About 1 cup crushed crackers
Salt
Black pepper
Garlic powder
You will also need aluminum, foil

Defrost cod for about an hour. Cut into desired number of pieces. Place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Season with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside. Let the spices absorb for about 30 minutes (min). Cut the red pepper into pieces. Place the red pepper, and horseradish in a blender. Add the olive oil and enough water to create a thick sauce (you might need to add it gradually with blending). Blend until a thick sauce is formed (I had a few small chunks of red pepper in my sauce but I used it anyways because I thought it would just add to the flavor of the sauce). Spread the sauce evenly over the fish. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs over the sauce. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 50 minutes. Serve immediately.


Carrot and Coconut Muffins

Filed Under (Breakfast, Muffins) by Lisa on 04-05-2010

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A couple days ago I wanted to make something warm for breakfast. I decided to make some carrot muffins.

I used one of my own muffin recipes morphing to suit my carrot muffins. I added some coconut to them to make things more interesting. The result was a very hearty tasting, moist muffin. The carrot and coconut complemented each other well. My muffins were a house hold hit, and gone within less then a day.

Here is my recipe

Carrot Coconut Muffins

1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup not packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/3 olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp rum extract
½- ¾  cup skim milk
2 tbsp white vinegar (to make sour milk)
½ cup unsweetened medium shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
3-4 medium to large carrots chopped into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut) and mix well. In a blender add the carrot pieces, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, rum extract, olive oil, ½ cup skim milk, and vinegar. Blend until smooth. Add the carrot liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir to create a smooth batter. If needed add more milk if the dough is too thick. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm or cool.

Strawberry and Sprout Salad

Filed Under (Appetizers, Salads) by Lisa on 03-05-2010

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I have been reading my Reader’s Digest Low Calorie Cookbook for quite some time now. I had been eyeing a recipe for Mixed Salad Leaves with flowers and blueberries for a long time, and I finally decided to give it a go a couple days ago.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to make the salad just like the recipe states. Many ingredients such as flowers are just not available in the grocery stores (we do grow nasturtiums in the garden but they won’t be blooming for quite a few more months).

I compromised on many ingredients and basically created my own salad recipe that was inspired by the salad in my Reader’s Digest Cook book.

I used mixed salad greens that included arugula (which was in the recipe) that I was unable to find by itself in any grocery store here. I also used strawberries instead of blueberries because I couldn’t justify paying the same price for a tiny container of blueberries when the strawberry container was huge. I used garlic sprouts instead of the alfalfa sprouts that the recipe called for. I think the garlic sprouts where a great substitution because they gave the salad a nice “zing” that I don’t think alfalfa sprouts could have achieved.

My strawberry and sprout salad turned out really well. I was a bit nervous about how the strawberries would taste in it since blueberries are a lot more sour then strawberries,  but the salad was amazing! It’s sweet, and tangy, and oh so refreshing. I felt like I was eating lunch and dessert all at the same time since the strawberries were nice and sweet. It was a great salad which I will be making again today for lunch 😛

Here is the recipe.

Strawberry and Sprout Salad

Mixed salad greens
Garlic sprouts
Several fresh strawberries cut into small pieces

Honey mustard dressing
2-3 tbsp Olive oil
3-4 tbsp Lemon juice
About 1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
A few shakes salt
A few shakes black pepper

Add all the greens, sprouts, and cut up strawberries into a salad bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl add the olive oil, and mustard. Stir to combine. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Pour over salad. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Cranberry Muffins

Filed Under (Breakfast, Muffins) by Lisa on 02-05-2010

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Yesterday morning I was up early, so I decided to whip up some muffins for breakfast. I decided to make some cranberry muffins since we have some cranberries that have been in the freezer for a long time. I had never made cranberry muffins before, so this was a new experience for me.

The recipe I used was from Company’s Coming Mostly Muffins by Jean Pare for Cranberry Sparkle Muffins. I morphed the recipe as usual to suit the ingredients on hand and my tastes.  The original recipe calls for white sanding (dusting) sugar, but I just used regular white sugar. I also reduced the overall amount of sugar. I also used half whole wheat flour and half all purpose white flour instead of just white flour like the original recipe states.

My muffins turned out fabulous! There are fairly tart when they first come out of the oven, but the sweetness of the sugar sprinkled on top makes for a sharp contrast in tastes (tart and sweet). Once cool the muffins are just yummy, and the tartness is hardly noticeable. All of my 12 muffins were gone in just a few hours!

Here is my adapted recipe.

Cranberry Muffins (adapted from: Company’s Coming Mostly Muffins)
(makes 12 medium muffins)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ cup margarine
½ cup white sugar
1 cup no fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
(topping)
1- 1.5 tbsp white sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl add the flours, salt, baking powder and ½ cup white sugar, and mix until well combined. Cut or crumble in the margarine. Add the eggs and yogurt and stir until a soft dough forms. Add the cranberries. Stir or knead the dough to combine. Spoon into muffin tins. In a small bowl combine the 1-1.5 tbsp white sugar and the cinnamon. Mix well. Sprinkle evenly on each muffin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are lightly golden and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm or cool.

Do you have a favorite recipe for cranberry muffins?

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