Sunday, October 31, 2010

The First Snow

Outside the front door
Dear Jess,

Today I woke up and it was only 4 degrees outside. It was also snowing. I decided that today was a good day for staying inside to make warm food.

As you know, in the fall/winter I love to make chowders, stews, chilis etc. Today I decided to branch out and try something new.

On the menu for today: Broccoli and Roasted Red Pepper Quiche (with a brown rice crust), Creamy Tuna Rotini Casserole, and Peanut Butter Gingersnap Cookies!

'Sealed With a Quiche' Pg 68 Eat, Shrink & be Merry
 Broccoli and Roasted Red Pepper Quiche
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup minced onions
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
7 whole eggs
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped bottled roasted red peppers
1/2 cup packed shredded light Swiss cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 plum tomato, thinly sliced

1. Preheat your oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch round cake pan or casserole dish. Set aside. Beat eggs in a small(ish) bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are tender (2 minutes.) Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl. Add cooked rice, 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, and 2 tbsp of beaten egg. Mix well. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan and press down with the back of a spoon to make a crust.
3. Top crust with broccoli florets, roasted red peppers, and shredded cheese, in that order. In another medium bowl, whisk together remaining eggs, salt, basil, and pepper. Pour over vegetables and cheese. Top with tomato slices and sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake quiche for 45 minutes, or until it's puffed up and golden, and eggs are set. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

It comes out of the dish beautifully! And, oh man is it yummy!

'Tinbucktuna' Pg 111 Eat, Shrink & be Merry
Creamy Tuna Rotini Casserole
8oz uncooked rotini pasta
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 tbsp butter
1 cup diced onions
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can (10oz) condensed, reduced-fat cream of broccoli soup, undiluted
2/4 cup packed shredded light old (sharp) cheddar cheese
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cans (6oz each) chunk light tuna in water, drained

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding frozen vegetables to the boiling water for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Drain pasta and vegetables.
2. Meanwhile, prepare sauce. In a large, non-stick pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add soup, shredded cheese, sour cream, parmesan cheese, basil, mustard powder, and black pepper. Mix well and cook until sauce is bubbly and cheese has melted. Remove from heat. Stir in pasta, vegetables, and tuna. Serve hot.

A Taste of Everything!
'Girl-Guy Cookies' - Pg 168 Eat, Shrink & be Merry
Peanut Butter Gingersnap Cookies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp each ground ginger and salt
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light peanut butter
3 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ginger, salt, and allspice. Set aside. Combine granulated sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In another medium bowl, beat together peanut butter, butter and brown sugar. Add egg, molasses, and vanilla. Beat again until smooth.
4. Using a wooden spoon, mix peanut butter mixture and flour mixture. You will be making a stiff dough. Using your hands, shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll balls in reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart (they spread a lot while baking). Flatten cookies slightly using a fork.
5. Bake cookies for 7 minutes. They may appear undercooked, but that's okay. Remove cookies from oven and immediately transfer from pan to a wire rack to cool.

They are chewy and full of winter flavour!

 I hope your weekend was fantastic!

So Much Love,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chili Done Student Style

Dear Sally,

I think it is hilarious that I still miss you even when we are in the same city. Life has a way of getting busy and ever since I started working I have felt too rushed to bother making food. THIS is a tragedy and so last night (while on the phone with you) I thought that should change.
As you know I was making chili and I was so hungry that I didn't really look at what I was putting in but I think the recipe would look a little like this:

3 celery stalks
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper
1 can chick peas
1 can kidney beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 wee bit of water
1 - 2 tbsp. chili powder
salt and pepper
couple dashes of Louisiana Style hot sauce

1. Over medium heat fry the onion and garlic till onion is slightly transparent. Add the celery and pepper and stir. When the veggies are soft I add the beans, tomatoes and spices and stir for a long time :)
2. Serve and eat!

As I was making this last night I started comparing life to the process of making chili. In order to experience the best chili you have to wait for all the flavors to blend and absorb just perfectly. The same is true for life (yes I realize that I may be stretching things just a wee bit). Sometimes we have to be patient in order to enjoy the best possible experience. I think of you and Jay and I am filled with so much joy. You have found something so unique and special that there is no way it can't be the best possible blessing and I am sure that he was worth the wait.
You deserve the best experiences. Patience is a virtue that is definitely worth it.

I love you!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Personal Pizzas

Dear Jess,

As you know, one of my favourite things is date night. Whether it's with your significant other, or your very best friend, quality time together is the best.

Jason and myself recently had one such date night. We were both so tired, and had not seen each other in five days! We were starving and in need of some cheep, tasty, simple food. We were walking to the grocery store, contemplating what we had energy to put together when I had a flashback to my first two years of university...

I lived in Weston with the Robinsons, and every Saturday night Kathy would make everyone personal pizzas. She would use whole wheat pitas as the base, and ask everyone what they would like on it. Toppings ranged from sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, two or three types of cheese, spinach, chicken, pepperoni, bacon, sausage... basically anything your hungry heart desired. (What a wonderful woman!)

As you can guess, this is exactly what we did, and   o h   m a n   was it delicious!

Personal Pizzas
whole wheat pitas
whatever toppings you want!

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your pitas on the pan. Top first with your sauce, and then your desired toppings, and end with cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and toppings are heated through.

2. Devour!

My Pizza had: mushrooms, spinach, green peppers, and hot peppers
Jason Topped his with: mushrooms, pepperoni, green peppers and hot peppers


Saturday, October 2, 2010

So Much Food!

Dear Sally,

I think Friday night was one of many theme parties to come. I love the idea of combining food and costume and great company. What is it about food that seems to bring people together (besides the natural need for sustenance)? The 1920s party was just the start of an epic journey through the history, food, and
fashion. I look forward to sharing many more nights like this one with friends!


The pictures were taken just before all the food was demolished. Sally and I were so hungry we were worried there would
be no food left for everyone else once we got it all togeth
er but thankfully there was lots!

There were yummy chocolate treats such as homemade
truffles and turtles.

I served avocado salsa with chips, homemade tortillas with
dip (no I did not make the dip) and yummy veggie pitas with a lemon-pepper bite!
I learned this recipe from my mother's friend Margie so I am guessing a little but this is what I do.

Veggie Pita Triangles

4- 6 inch multigrain pitas
4 oz cream cheese softened
1 tbsp. Italian salad dressing or 2 tsp dry seasoning
tomato and cucumber slices
lemon pepper

1. Combine cream cheese and salad dressing and let stand for a few hours.
2. Slice cucumber and tomatoes into thin slices and set aside.
3. Spread 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture over a pita. Place the tomato or cucumber slices on top and sprinkle with lemon pepper. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
4. Cut each pita into triangles and serve!