Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie

Dear Sally,

I feel like I have finally found a groove. Carter gave me seven hours of sleep last night and I feel like a new woman. After countless months of avoiding my kitchen I am learning to love cooking again.

Monday's meal this week was chicken pot pie. This recipe is nice and basic and I tend to add a little something here and there as usual. I was thinking of you and your new beautiful Charles as I was working away in the kitchen. It wasn't that long ago that Carter was brand new and I was reminded of the amazing support of friends and family, especially the amazing meals you made us. I plan to return the favour and this will be one of the items in your freezer soon.

Chicken Pot Pie
Recipe adapted from lovelylittlekitchen.com

Serves: 4-6


4 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup potato, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon "Better Than Bullion" chicken base
2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, rosemary and chives plus more for garnish if desired
1 recipe pie crust (enough for top and bottom of pie)
1 egg, beaten slightly with a fork


Prepare your favourite pastry recipe as directed and set aside for assembly.
In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat.
Add onion, celery, carrot, potato and salt and sauté until onions are translucent and vegetables start to get tender.
Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Gradually whisk in milk, heavy cream and and Better Than Bullion, and bring to a slow boil.
Simmer gently over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken (5 minutes).
Turn heat to low, and add chicken, rosemary, chives and sage.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour chicken mixture into a 9 in piecrust.
Using a pastry brush, brush egg onto the top of the puff pastry.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. The pastry will be a deep golden brown colour.

Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Love you, 


Monday, May 4, 2015

Crispy Quinoa Cakes

Dear Jess,

I am in love with The Oh She Glows Cookbook, and www.ohsheglows.com. I have posted a few, and here is another one! These are full of flavour, and are perfect for lunch, dinner, and even take-out snacks for Alice! (and she loves them, by the way!) I am hoping to do a double batch to freeze for when baby #2 arrives! I used my manual food processor (from Pampered Chef!) quite a bit. If you don't have any form of food processor, then it will be a lot of chopping.

Oh, and I love that you bake these, rather than pan fry them! She knows what she's doing.

Crispy Quinoa Cakes
from www.ohsheglows.com

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
2 Tbsp ground flax + 6 Tbsp water (or 2 eggs)
1 cup destemmed, finely cut kale
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato
1/4 cup finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tahini paste (runny)
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp red or white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp fine grain sae salt, or to taste
3 Tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used spelt)
red pepper flakes, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Mix the ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken. (omit this step if using eggs)

3. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl, including the flax mixture (or eggs) and the 15 cups cooked quinoa. Stir well until the mixture comes together. Don't forget the flour because it helps bind the patties.

4. Shape mixture into 1/4 cup patties with wet hands. Pack tightly so they hold together better. Place on baking sheet.

5. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm.

6. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet and then enjoy!

I served these with fresh spinach and avocado topped with homemade balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, real maple syrup, oregano), and oven roasted potatoes (sweet and regular) in a shallow bowl. Even Jason enjoyed it!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto and Lamb Sausage Pasta

Dear Jess,

Congratulations again on wee little Carter! It was such a pleasure to see you, and meet the little guy on Friday! I can't wait to share in the adventures of parenthood together! You are looking fabulous, and I look forward to our next visit!!

This dish is sublime. Roasted everything, atop quinoa noodles. Alice ate this all up, and was such a mess we had to dump her in the tub after! I hope to make this over and over. (Even do a frozen batch for when baby #2 arrives!)

Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto
from ohsheglows.com

9 large Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/3 cup almonds
2 garlic cloves
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling on tomatoes)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional... I didn't use this)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
You desired amount of cooked Pasta

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place sliced tomatoes on the sheet and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Watch closely during the last 15 minutes of roasting.

2. Put almonds into food processor and process until finely chopped. Remove and set aside.

3. With processor turned on, add 2 garlic cloves and let it whirl around until finely chopped. Now add in the basil and process until finely chopped.

4. Add in the oil, optional nutritional yeast, and 1.5 cups of roasted tomatoes (you will have tomatoes left over). Process until smooth. Pulse in chopped almonds. Season generously with salt and pepper. I think I used about 1/2 tsp salt or a bit more.

5. Pour your desired amount of pest over the cooked pasta and mix well. Chop the remaining roasted tomatoes and stir into pasta.

I roasted my lamb sausage at 400 for 20-30 minutes (until cooked through). I also roasted red peppers and onions at 375 for 30-45 minutes. Neither of these things are needed, but were a lovely addition.

Love Always,

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Dear Jess,

This is a new staple recipe for future potlucks, baby showers, bridal showers, tea times... any time...

While at Mary Austin's house, visiting before her Pampered Chef party, she showed me a cookbook she signed out from the library. Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I am seriously considering buying this beautiful book. It is so well laid out, and the photos are gorgeous. It makes you want to eat every single dish in you see in this book.

Since I offered to bring a dip with veggies and/or crackers for a baby shower that was coming up, I decided to copy this recipe from the book. I don't have the page number with me, but if you buy the book, it will be in there... I promise!

I don't think I was expecting this to be anything special. I thought it would be yummy, but a 'whatever-I'll-make-it-this-one-time' recipe. This is one situation where I am always glad to be entirely wrong! This spread is sweet, with a thick texture. It was delicious on sesame rice crackers, but would also be amazing as a spread on a sandwich or wrap!

Also, this makes a LOT of spread. The picture shows about a third of the amount, and I put it on my large dinner plate! But not to worry! It keeps well in the fridge!

Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread
from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

1 very large butternut squash (about 2 1/2lb), peeled and cut into chunks (about 7 cups in total)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp light Tahiti paste
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 small cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp mixed black and white sesame seeds (or just white, if you don't have black)
1 1/2 tsp date syrup (or maple syrup or molasses)

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C

Spread the squash out in a medium roasting pan. Pour over the olive oil and sprinkle on the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix together well, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and roast in the oven for 70 minutes, stirring once during the cooking. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Transfer the squash to a food processor, along with the Tahiti, yogurt, and garlic. Roughly pulse so that everything is combined into a coarse paste, without the spread becoming smooth; you can also do this by hand using a fork or potato masher.

Spread the butternut in a wavy pattern over a flat plate and sprinkle with the sesame seeds, drizzle over the syrup, and finish with the cilantro, if using.

I really do hope you get a chance to make this! The flavours and textures all have a party in your mouth with every bite! Mmmmmmmm... I need to make this again... and soon!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce

Dear Jess,

Yes. Another sweet potato recipe. Please believe me when I say, "Make this recipe!" I had it ready for Jason last night, and he said "It smells like restaurant food!" I'm pretty sure that's a compliment.

You may have noticed many of my dishes these days are veggie based. I have been convicted lately of buying free-range, organic meats. For many reasons. Mainly it's from a 'Stewardship of our Earth' perspective. The industrialization of food (veggies and meat alike) have led to farms killing so much land, because they are not farming the land properly. Be it not giving livestock enough space, and/or drenching the earth with hormones and the like, it is killing the earth and making it unusable for generations! Not just a year or two... generations! I don't think this is a very responsible way of taking care of the Earth that God gave us. Thus, as a first step, I am trying to do my part in making a change. I also like the idea of supporting local farms, which is easy to do if I start to frequent the market on Saturday.

I have always known that organic everything is more expensive, however, I have always believed we don't need to eat meat on a daily basis, so we are spending more money on free-range, organic meat, and eating it less often. Plus, I get to be more creative in the kitchen, as Jason needs filling meals (especially in the winter, as he works outside in the cold!)

This recipe is by far one of my favourites. I even got to make enchilada sauce! (Which I will share here as well!)

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce
from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, page 147

For the Enchiladas:
2 cups sweet potato, peeled and chopped small
1 red onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large handfuls spinach, roughly chopped
2 1/2 cups 5-minute Enchilada Sauce (see following recipe) or store-bought
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or taste
5-6 tortilla wraps or gluten-free corn tortillas

For the Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 medium avocado, pitted
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp fine-grain sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Fresh cilantro leaves for serving
Sliced green onion, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a large 3-qt/2.8L) rectangular baking dish.

2. Make the Enchiladas: Place the sweet potato in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

4. Add the bell pepper, cooked sweet potato, black beans, and spinach. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook for a few minutes more, or until the spinach is wilted.

5. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, the lime juice, chili powder, cumin and kosher salt.

6. Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Scoop 3/4 cup of the sweet botato filling onto each tortilla. Rolld up the tortillas and place them seam side down in the baking dish. Spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas. If you have leftover filling, spoon it on top of the tortillas as well.

7. Bake the enchiladas, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, until the sauce is a deep red colour and the enchiladas are heated through.

8. Meanwhile, make the Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce: In a food processor, process the cilatntro until minced. Add the avocado, lime juice, sea salt, garlic powder, and 3 Tbsp water and process until creamy, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.

9. When the enchiladas are ready to serve, place them individually and drizzle or spread some of the Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce on top of each. Garnish with cilantro and green onion, if desired.

5-minute Enchilada Sauce
From The Oh She Glows Cookbook, page 300

2 Tbsp vegan butter or light-tasting oil of choice
2 Tbsp flour (I used spelt)
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 scant cup tomato paste
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1/4-1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the vegan butter over medium heat.

2. Stir in the flour until a thick paste forms. Stir in the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, and cayenne until combined. Cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

3. Stir in the tomato paste, followed by the broth. Whisk until smooth and combine. Bring to a low boil over high heat (covered, if necessary) and then reduce the heat to medium to maintain a simmer. Stir in salt to taste and simmer for about 5 minutes (or longer, if desired), until thickened.

The pictures aren't beautiful, because I think I left them in for a few minutes too long... but oh. my. goodness. I cannot wait to eat this for lunch today!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Quiche

Dear Jess,

As you know I got through fazes of having love affairs with different foods. Right now, I'm lusting after sweet potatoes. I have been making sweet potato, leek soup; oven roasted sweet potato, brussel sprouts and onions; and now, Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Quiche.

To be honest, I didn't expect this to be anything special. Actually I expected Jason to ask me not to make a quiche for dinner again (as it usually isn't filling enough.) To my astonishment, before he was done his first piece, he said - TWICE - "Sally, this is really good quiche!" And then again the next night as we were eating something different for dinner he said "That quiche you made yesterday was really good!" ... I think that qualifies this meal as a huge success. It also means I will be making it again in the near future.

Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Quiche
adapted from www.fourteenforty365.com

4-6 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into medallions
Olive oil spray
2 large handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 eggs, beaten
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1/4 - 1/2 cup goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Peel sweet potatoes and slice thinly with a food processor, mandolin or a very sharp knife. (Watch your fingers!)

Lay potato slice out in a pie dish in a crust-like fashion, spray with oil and bake at 400F fro 15 minutes. After the crust has baked, reduce oven heat to 375F.

Spray a saute pan with oil and saute sliced onion and minced garlic until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach and saute until wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan, and place on top of sweet potato crust. Sprinkle goat cheese on top of spinach mixture.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat your eggs. Add herbs, salt and pepper, and mix again. Pour eggs over your quiche.

In your oven, bake until the quiche is firm and browned, about 40 minutes.

This tastes the best when it's still warm.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Lentil Burgers

Dear Jess,

I have been making a lot of 'patties' lately. Tuna, salmon, chicken... you name it. One reason is because they're an easy lunch for both Alice and me; and second because they're easy to take with us, when Alice needs to eat while we're out. (Plus, they're yummy!) This led me to want to try this recipe.

If you're looking for a cost-effective, vegetarian, filling dinner, look no further! I found this on good old Pinterest, and decided it was worth trying out. I had to make a few modifications, but in the end, dinner was a success!

Lentil Burgers
adapted from www.veganinthefreezer.com
1 cup dried green lentils
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely grated
3/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (not in their shells!)
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I made some from my gluten free bread)
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
all purpose flour (I used spelt flour)
coconut oil for frying

1. Add you lentils and 2 cups of water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Saute onion and carrot in a wee bit of olive oil for 5 minutes (or until onion is softened, but not browned). Add these to a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Add lentils, and mix well.

3. Transfer to a a food processor, and pulse 5 or six times. Just enough to break it down slightly. Transfer back to your bowl, and slowly add flour until it reaches a consistency that can be formed into burgers. (I only added around 1/4 cup... maybe 1/3 cup.)

4. Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan on medium/medium-high heat. There should be a good layer of oil on the whole pan. Heat until a little piece of lentil sizzles when dropped on the oil. Form your burgers into the desired size patties, and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.

5. Serve on desired bun, pita, bed of greens... with desired condiments. (I made a curried mayo, and served them with oven roasted veggies! Mmmmm)

This will also serve as Jason's lunch tomorrow! Win for Sally!

I hope you're feeling well, and still have energy! I hope to see you before the baby arrives!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bonfire Bangers and Beans

Dear Jess,

My morning sickness is slowly abating, which means I have been able to cook more often with less gagging (yay!) I have been taking advantage of this - much to Jason's stomach's joy - by getting out all my cook books and creating comforting, warm, yummy-in-my-tummy food! This recipe is one such meal.

Long story short: I was craving perogies. When I lived with the Robinsons in Toronto, Kathy made the best perogies and sausages. It was always my favourite meal... well... it was a close call between perogies and sausage; or homemade pizza Saturday nights. But I digress. I was craving perogies, thus wanted a good recipe for sausages. I looked in all my cookbooks to no avail. I finally revisited BBC Good Food online, and tah-dah!

Bonfire Bangers and Beans
adapted from www.bbcgoodfood.com

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, shopped
1 celery
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 796mL can of diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp thyme (or one fresh thyme sprig)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 can navy beans
5 turkey sausages

1. Heat oil in a large fry pan. Add onion and celery. Cook for 5-10 minutes until softened. Turn up the heat and add the tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, honey, mustard, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and 200mL water. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over a low heat for 15 minutes. Add the beans, and simmer for 15 minutes more, topping up with a little boiling water if needed.

2.  Meanwhile, heat your oven to 350F. Toss the sausages with 1 Tbsp olive oil and spread out on a casserole dish. Cook for 30 minutes until browned all over, turning occasionally. Pour the beans around the sausages, then cover and place the pan in the oven. Cook for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and serve with baked potatoes. (Or in my case: perogies!)

I seasoned my perogies with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and a dash of chili powder; and fried them with chopped scallions. They were served with sour cream and salsa.

Dinner is served!

I hope you're feeling well!! I miss you and love you (as always!)


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Comforting Chicken Soup

Dear Jess,

Wham. Bam. Thank you Tana Ramsay.

This. Soup.



Make this soup! The fragrance, the ease, the yumminess! This is by far, the best chicken soup I have ever tasted, made, laid eyes upon... I was nearing the end of making it, and in walks Jason from running errands. "Ooooooooooooo... Sally!' were his exact words after inhaling the aromas of this soup. It's so good that even though I made it on Saturday, right this minute I have another pot of it in the works.

For a while now, I have wanted to make a chicken soup where you cook the entire chicken in the soup. Two of my friends had mentioned that they had tried it and will never go back. I searched for a recipe on the Internet, and didn't really find anything that peaked my interest, or met my expectations. I had given up all hope, and turned to Tana Ramsay's book Home Made. I knew I would find a delicious soup recipe there, even if it wasn't the one I was looking for. Little did I know that fortune was about to shine it's big, beautiful, bright face upon me. Low and behold, on page 6, there is a delightful recipe called Comforting Chicken Soup. And guess what... you cook the whole chicken in it!

I made a few alterations, though I feel I stayed true to her vision.

Comforting Chicken Soup
adapted from Tana Ramsay's Comforting Chicken Soup, Home Made, Page 6

1 Chicken weighing about 2 3/4 lb
2 sticks of celery
2 carrots
2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
1 sprig tarragon
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup spelt flour
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1. In a large stock pot, with lid, Put the chicken into the center of the pot and surround with HALF your celery, HALF your carrots, HALF your leeks, and HALF your onions. Throw in the bay leaf, peppercorns, tarragon and a generous pinch of salt and pour over enough water almost to cover the bird, leaving the top of the breast clear. It will poach in the steam. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Put on the lid and cook very gently for 1 1/2 hours.

2. When the time is up, remove from the heat and allow to cool for as long as it takes to remove the chicken safely. Put the chicken to one side.

3. Pour the cooking broth through a fine sieve into a clean container (I use a large measuring cup) and discard all the vegetables and seasonings.

4. Meanwhile, in a clean pan, add oil, remaining onion, celery, carrots and leeks. Fry until soft, but not coloured. Add the flour and stir well to make a smooth paste around the vegetables. Fry for a couple of minutes, then gradually stir in the broth. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the times. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then liquidize in batched with a blender (and return to pot), or take your immersion blender to it.

5. Add red wine vinegar.

6. Using your hands, remove the breast meat from the chicken carcass, discarding the skin. (I put the dark meat away for another soup.)

Shred the meat into very small pieces and add to the soup. Season with salt to taste and serve in warm bowls.

A perfect soup, for a Canadian winter.