homemade potato chips

 

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baked potato chips

One of piepie’s favourite foods is mashed potatoes. I rarely buy white potatoes but when I did this time it was a big bag (…oh Costco…) so I had all these potatoes. I decided to treat the kids after school one day with baked homemade potato chips. They are definitely a labour of love but totally worth it.

what you need:

  • 2 medium potatoes (I used yukon gold)
  • cooking oil (I used grape seed oil)
  • sea salt

what to do:

  1. Wash and peel potatoes.
  2. Using a mandolin on it’s lowest setting (1/16″ if possible) – carefully thinly slice potato into rounds. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can use a knife to thinly slice the potatoes but you will probably end up with thicker slices than I did, therefore your bake time will be longer.
  3. Soak potato slices in a large bowl of cold water. This step is important to release the starches, so that you get a crispier chip.
  4. Lay out paper towels and place potato slices on the paper towel (one layer) and then layer paper towel on top – you want them to be as dry as possible.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F convection. If you don’t have convection, use 425 F.
  6. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and lay potato slices (one layer) to fill the sheet. Lightly drizzle oil over potatoes, and use a brush to evenly coat surface of potato slices. Flip them over to do the same on both sides.
  7. Lightly salt the tops of the potato slices.
  8. Bake in the middle rack for about 4-5 minutes, checking frequently (especially if they are super thin) to ensure they aren’t burning! Once the edges are slightly browned, take the cookie sheet out and flip each potato slice.
  9. Put it back in the oven for about 2 minutes or so. Remove once golden brown.
  10. Place them onto a plate lined with paper towel, then transfer to serving dish. Enjoy! (they won’t last very long)

classic blueberry pancakes with a touch of vanilla & cinnamon

 

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happy weekend!

Sometimes, a good stack of pancakes just hits the spot. A big favourite in our house is cottage cheese pancakes, which we make all the time, even on weekdays because they are so quick and easy (and healthier). But on the weekends we’ve been experimenting a bit with a more traditional style (fluffy & light) and these ones have been tested on friends and our kids many times.  One thing that’s cool about them is that you can have your kids mix it – it doesn’t need to be perfect, in fact over mixed pancake batter makes them dense. They are relatively easy to make and most likely you will have the ingredients in your pantry.  You could even measure out the dry ingredients and multiply it a few times to create your own pancake mix (don’t buy the boxed stuff!) and just add the wet ingredients whenever you want pancakes!

what you need:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • butter for cooking
  • blueberries (we used frozen wild ones)

what to do:

  1. Combine milk and vinegar, stir, and let it sit while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with vanilla, beating until a little bit frothy/more volume (about 2-3 minutes, doesn’t have to be exact).
  4. Add milk mixture – whisk lightly to combine.
  5. Add dry ingredients and whisk a few times, just to get rid of big lumps of flour. Do not over mix!
  6. Let the batter sit for at least 5 minutes, so that the baking powder does it’s work.
  7. In a non stick pan or griddle on medium heat, add butter for frying (about 1 tsp per batch or so).
  8. Ladle batter into buttered pan to cook pancakes, as big as you wish.
  9. Top with some blueberries (about 1 tbsp or so per pancake).
  10. Once the edges slightly change in colour and there are bubbles on top, it should be ready to flip.
  11. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown as well. Enjoy!
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    piepie & boss love helping

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    taking turns with the whisk is key to no fighting…

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    enjoy!

baked spring rolls

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healthy version of everyone’s favourite

Everyone loves a spring roll, and that’s no exception at our house.  I was a little worried about these getting too dry and hard in the oven but they actually turned out really well – still crunchy on the outside with a tender flavourful filling.  It is not as crispy as a deep fried spring roll and the wrapper takes on a slight chewiness, but I think it’s pleasant and the kids loved it.  These are surprisingly easy to make and much less messy baked because there is no grease splatter, plus your house won’t have that deep fried smell lingering after they are made.

You can easily make this vegetarian by eliminating the chicken. I made a few using grated smoked firm tofu and it was delicious as well!

prep: 30 min    bake: 10-12 min    yield: ~12 rolls

what you need:

  • 1 package egg roll or spring roll wrappers (square shaped, in the refrigerated section)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked (leftovers are great for this)
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted

what to do:

  1. Prepare all the veggies by washing them thoroughly. Drain the bean sprouts and lay them on a dry tea towel or paper towel to make sure they are dry. Peel and finely grate carrot. Roughly chop cilantro. Thinly slice up green onions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine veggies and add grated ginger, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.DSC_0945.JPG
  3. Shred the chicken breast with your fingers (like pulled chicken) to somewhat match the length and size of carrots and  bean sprouts. Toss everything together in the large bowl. This is your spring roll filling.
  4. In a small bowl, beat an egg with 1 tbsp water to loosen mixture.
  5. Grab your wrappers and a clean working surface. Dip two fingers into egg wash and trace it along the outside of the square wrapper. Place filling in the wrapper, towards you (about 1/3 of the way) – then fold up the left and right sides, then from the end closer to you, fold tightly over the filling and continue rolling until spring roll is formed. If you can see the filling this is incorrect! You want to make sure it is sealed so that when it bakes the juices of the filling don’t escape (and if you are deep frying them, oil will absorb into the spring roll).
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    my board was a bit orange from grating the carrots…

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    wrap and roll tightly

  6. Lie spring rolls seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Brush tops lightly with melted butter.
  8. Bake at 425 F for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on the outside. Serve with your favourite plum sauce or honey. Enjoy!

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    sillies dipped theirs in honey

cheddar & scallion loaf

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the aroma while this bread bakes is ridiculously good

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a happy piepie waiting for the bread to cool

I have to hand it to my husband, he makes an amazing loaf of bread.  There’s no doubt that I’m the head of the kitchen in our house – but he has me beat in the bread department. It is adapted from a “Taste of Home” recipe, super simple but you need some time for the dough to rise twice.  It works great for a lazy rainy Sunday! The kids love helping out and it is one of those very satisfying moments for me to see them interact with daddy in the kitchen.

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punching out the dough for the 2nd rise

We have made this bread dozens of times and the top two favourite combos are sharp cheddar & scallions, and cinnamon, raisins & pumpkin seeds.  You can certainly play around with different ingredients and find your favourites!

prep: 20 min + 2 hrs time to rise     bake: 30 min       yield: 2 loaves

what you need:

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar (you can use organic cane sugar)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • *optional 1 egg and extra shredded cheese

what to do:

  1. In the large bowl of your stand mixer with dough hook, dissolve yeast in warm water, stir gently. Add the sugar, salt, oil, cheese, scallions and flour. Turn the mixer on (slowly) to combine everything. 
  2. Flour your working surface slightly.  Turn the dough onto surface and knead with your hands until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  3. Grease a large bowl (quite a bit larger than your dough) and place dough in, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
  4. The dough should double or more in size after an hour – if it doesn’t try putting it in the oven on warm (low temperature, around 180 F) for about 5 minutes then turn off the oven and let it rise for another 30 minutes.FullSizeRender.jpg
  5. Remove the tea towel and turn the dough out onto floured surface – punch the dough to release the air. Cut the dough in half, then press it gently into greased loaf pans (we use silicone ones).
  6. Place damp tea towels over the loaves and allow them to rise until doubled, about another hour.
  7. If desired, you can brush the top of the loaves with egg wash (beat an egg) and top with a little more cheese.
  8. Bake loaves in the middle rack of your oven at 375 F convection for 30 minutes.
  9. When the top is evenly golden brown, it’s done! Remove and when cool enough to handle, turn onto a rack to cool some more. Slice and enjoy!IMG_0846.JPG

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christmas guacamole

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super easy, super pretty – perfect for the holidays

Who doesn’t love guacamole!? It’s such a great party appetizer, it’s healthy, and it takes minimal effort to make it. With December just around the corner, our weekends are already starting to fill up with Christmas parties and gatherings (’tis the season!). And along with that my mind starts spinning for new ideas for dishes while hosting and also thinking about what yummies I can bring to other parties. I was staring at my fruit basket on the counter and noticed the pomegranates beside the avocados…and it occurred to me that bright vibrant red beads of this juicy, tangy and sweet fruit might be a pleasant surprise in a smooth creamy bite of guacamole.  So I decided to give it a try…and guess what? It’s so good, so beautiful, and so much fun. The pomegranates not only add a festive touch but they are a sweet and textural pop in your mouth!

what you need:

  • 3 avocados
  • 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1 small garlic clove – finely grated
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
  • 1 lime (zest and juice)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

what to do:

  1. Remove pomegranate fruit from pith. One way to do this is to shallowly slice along the outside of the fruit all the way around – then use the tip of the knife to split it open.  Carefully remove the red jewelled fruit from the white pith (juices will stain your clothes so be careful!).
  2. Cut avocados in half and remove the pits. (Best way to do this is to cut in half, twist to open, then carefully use your knife to spear the pit, twist and remove).
  3. Scoop avocado flesh into a bowl.  Add garlic, cilantro, 1 tbsp green onion, lime zest and juice – mash with a fork until mostly smooth.
  4. Add a little bit of salt and pepper – taste and adjust.
  5. Spoon mixture into serving dish and sprinkle pomegranate and remaining 1 tbsp green onion over top – serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!CSC_0822.JPG

salmon lettuce wraps

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so good and good for you

We eat salmon at least once or twice a week and it’s usually pan fried to get a bit of a caramelized crust on the fish, seasoned with just a bit of salt & pepper.  This time instead of serving it alongside stir fried veggies, I decided to try it in a lettuce wrap. Creamy avocado, crunchy tangy cucumbers and carrots, and warm caramelized salmon, all wrapped up in a tender lettuce leaf – pretty delicious! I think this might be my new favourite!  Boston bib lettuce is not a lettuce I normally buy (it’s in a huge plastic clamshell and I always think it’s expensive!) – but it really does make a difference to use this type of lettuce because it is soft and pliable but still has a nice crunch along the middle stem part. It does make for a very nice vessel for the ingredients inside and holds up without ripping or tearing mid-bite.

If your kids are like mine, they like to see what they are eating! (Especially piepie, no mixing for her…) – this meal is easy for that and suits the kiddie divided plates perfectly.

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after seeing me take a picture of the above wrap…piepie reminds me “I don’t want mine all mixed up together mom”

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of course once piepie wanted it separate…so did boss…

You can definitely use store bought pickles or pickled veggies, but it honestly takes one minute to make your own quick pickled veggies and they still maintain a vibrant raw vegetable appearance. These homemade leftover pickled veggies are great to top off salads or other dishes for another day – it will stay good in the fridge for about a week.

prep: 15 min    cook: 15 min    yield: 4

what you need:

  • salmon filet (enough to serve 4, about 12 ounces)
  • grapeseed oil
  • 3 mini cucumbers
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 cup or so white vinegar
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 jalapeno *optional
  • salt and pepper
  • small handful of cilantro
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 avocados
  • boston bibb lettuce
  • 1 lemon

what to do:

  1. Carefully remove one large lettuce leaf at a time, wash and allow to dry on a clean dish towel or paper towels.  Set aside.
  2. Wash carrots, cucumbers and jalapeno. Peel carrots, then cut all these veggies into bite size pieces. Remove seeds from jalapeno if you want it to be less spicy.
  3. Place carrots, cucumbers, and jalapeno slices into a mason jar and add vinegar and sugar, shaking it slightly until sugar crystals dissolve. There should be enough vinegar to cover almost all the veggies. 15 minutes should be enough time to get some pickled flavour into the veggies.
  4. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
  5. In a non-stick pan on medium heat, add 1/2 tbsp grape seed oil, then carefully place the salmon in the pan. Cover with a lid and fry for about 5-7 minutes – once the salmon is crusted and caramelized on the bottom side, flip it gently to cook on the other side – about another 5-7 minutes. (This will depend on the thickness of your fish. You can easily check the doneness by breaking it apart a bit at the thickest part of the fish and make sure it is solid pink and not opaque pink. Although some people prefer their salmon slightly medium or medium rare in the middle – it’s your preference).
  6. Remove salmon from pan and set on a serving dish to rest while you cut up your avocado into long slices.  The easiest way to do this is cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, then use a spoon and scoop out long lengthwise slices.
  7. Wash and roughly chop green onions and cilantro. Cut lemon into wedges (to squeeze on top of fish).
  8. Lay out all the ingredients and let your hungry eaters build their own wraps. Enjoy!

Ricebowl with turkey leftovers

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deliciously rich and fresh

How many turkey sandwiches did you eat this week? Be honest! We actually didn’t have any bread at home so our leftovers were literally eaten exactly the way we had it on Thanksgiving (and, still delicious!) but today we finally ran out of the sides dishes. You know, no more mashed potatoes, squash, green beans…etc…what we had left was the funny little bits of turkey (you know those, perfectly good little dark and white meat pieces but they aren’t in one big attractive slice!).

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rice awaiting saucy turkey & egg

So I thought a rice bowl with tons of crunchy greens, saucy turkey, and a runny egg (my favourite!) would be a nice change after a few days of repeated thanksgiving dinner.  It’s definitely a fresher taste and warms your belly at the same time!

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load it up with chopped greens!

Happy lunch time for me! I’ll probably make this for dinner for the rest of them fam! What you can do is chop up a bunch of veggies and let everyone load up their own bowls with what they want!

what you need:

  • left over turkey and gravy
  • rice (I cooked up some white and brown), about 1/2 cup per person.
  • shanghai or baby boy choy (about 2-3 per person)
  • mini cucumbers (1 per person)
  • green onion and cilantro
  • egg (1 per bowl)

what to do:

  1. If your turkey is in big slices, chop up roughly to bite size pieces or shred it with two forks (think pulled pork texture). Reheat it with your gravy in a saucepan on medium low heat (if you’re low on gravy, use chicken stock or some other broth to make it more saucy).
  2. Cook rice!
  3. Wash bok choy thoroughly (it can be very sandy inside so make sure you tear off each leaf from it’s bulb and wash well). Also wash the rest of your veggies.
  4. Chop greens up into small bitesize pieces.
  5. When ready to serve, poach or fry eggs so that the yolk remains runny (over easy).
  6. Assembly -put rice at the bottom of your bowl – then top with turkey gravy mix, egg, and lots of greens. Garnish with cilantro and green onion.
  7. Poke the egg to break yolk and mix everything to get a bite of all ingredients while eating. Enjoy!