Bring in spring

With spring in the air and summer just around the corner it is a great time to add some new ingredients into your evening meals.  At this time of year I am always looking to add some seasonal ingredients into my meal plans.  Currently, asparagus, strawberries and rhubarb are just hitting their peak.

Asparagus is an easy add to any meal, roasted, baked or even barbecued it is a perfect side dish to any protein.  I like to bake mine at a high heat with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and some grated lemon rind.  Another delicious topping to roasted asparagus is feta cheese and sliced grape tomatoes.  Here are a few more asparagus recipes: roasted garlic asparagus,  sautéed asparagus and grilled balsamic asparagus.

Most often we think to use strawberries in desserts, but topping some spinach with sliced strawberries is a wonderful flavour combination.  I found a great recipe for a strawberry spinach salad from @cookinglight.  The recipe called for chicken as well but we ate ours without.  I also added blackberries as they are also in abundance at this time of year.  Instead of making a dressing for the salad you let the berries sit in a mixture of oil and vinegar and then add it to the salad.  To finish it off you sprinkle with feta and pecans.  I decided to candy my pecans and the salad turned out amazingly!  Here is another great looking strawberry salad recipe.

I love rhubarb!  For me simplicity is the key, I love stewing rhubarb and using it as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.  Another great idea for rhubarb is baked in muffins with cinnamon sugar topping.  A recipe that I have been wanting to try is strawberry rhubarb crisp bars from @smittenkitchen.  If you are looking for something different, then give Jamie Oliver’s meringue with rhubarb and cream recipe a try.

Happy cooking,
Sara

 

Spring cookies

It is always fun to make seasonal cookies.  It is even more fun to include children in this tradition.  Baking is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen.  Measuring, pouring, cracking and mixing are all things that kids can do.  I was very excited to make some Easter cookies and include the pastel M & Ms inside the batter.  I have made this recipe many times and shared it with you earlier in the blog.  This sugar cookie recipe from @averiesunshine is simply the best!  Follow exactly what the recipe says, and do not skip placing the dough in the fridge.  Remove cookies from oven when they are just slightly golden around the edges.  From the top they don’t even look cooked, but I promise they are soft and chewy.  I added some pink, purple, green, yellow, blue jimmies and sprinkles to the batter.  I love the crunch that it gives this soft buttery cookie.

Happy baking,
Sara

Easter feast!

How are you spending your Easter weekend?  Will it be a large gathering or something small with family?  For the past couple of years I have hosted Easter, last year we had Easter lunch and the year before dinner.  Lunch was easier and less stressful than dinner, and we had more time to spend visiting and catching up.  This year we will be out-of-town for Easter, so I am unsure what it will look like.  I have pulled some recipes together that will help you create an amazing Easter meal.

Baked ham from @williamssonoma this is the ham that I made a few years back, it turned out delicious!
Honey-Mustard glazed ham from @chowhound
Scallop potatoes from @natashaskitchen I have also made these potatoes, not low-fat but a must have.
Potatoes Anna from @neighborfoodie a different and slightly lighter take on potatoes.
Roasted carrots from @pioneerwoman
Rosemary roasted carrots from @ohmyveggies just a slight twist on the original.
Kale salad from @gimmiesomeoven
Broccoli salad from @natashaskitchen
Strawberry shortcake cheesecake from @lifeloveandsugar I made this cake a few years ago and it is a great spring dessert.
Lemon icebox pie from @lifeloveandsugar how can you go wrong with a lemon dessert in the spring?
Strawberry rhubarb crisp from @cookingclassy why not use some in season fruit to complete your Easter meal.

Hoppy Easter,
Sara

Brownies vs. Blondies

What is your go to dessert?  Is it cake, pie, cookies or maybe a tray of brownies?  I have been thinking about if I enjoy a brownie or a blondie better, and I think I like the versatility of the blondie.  It is easier to add something extra to the blondie to change the flavour like candy or spice.  I have found some of my favourite recipes to share with you, but please let me know which do you like better?

Brownie:
Crazy brownies from @pioneerwoman these are insanely delicious.  I have made them several times, but make sure you serve these with a big glass of milk!
Best cocoa brownies from @smittenkitchen I have never made a recipe from Deb that I did not like!
Secretly healthy zucchini brownies from @yammiesnoshery you will not believe the calorie count of these!
New and improved healthy brownies from @ambitiouskitchen you will need to check this recipe out to see how she makes these good for you brownies!  They are gluten and dairy free.

Blondies:
Cake batter blondies from @sallysbakeblog these would be a very fun addition to any birthday party.
Peanut butter cup blondies from @alidaskitchen who does not love peanut butter cups?  These look amazing.
Salted caramel blondies from @addapinch I am in love with everything salted caramel and I am sure that these would not disappoint.
Snickerdoodle blondie bars from @bakedbyrachel there is something so delicious about the mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

Happy baking,
Sara

St. Patrick’s Day

For those looking to enjoy something more than just green beer this Friday I have spent some time looking for some delicious recipes to serve for St. Patrick’s Day.  From breakfast to dessert I have your day covered from beginning to end.

Corned beef hash from @bonappetite

Baked potato soup from @skinnytaste

Skillet Irish soda bread from @smittenkitchen

Beef and Guinness stew from @jamieoliver

Bangers and mash from @williamsonoma

Shepherd’s pie from @lifeinthelofthouse

Meat pie from @tasteofhome

Chocolate Guinness cake from @nigellalawson

Irish coffee cupcakes from @marthstewart

Lucky Charm bark from @sallysbaking

Happy cooking,
Sara

 

Leprechaun bait

The recipe that I used for the Leprechaun bait is another tried and tested recipe from my grandma Illa.  She made these every Christmas, rolled them in red and green sprinkles and kept them in a Christmas box.  I changed a few things with this recipe, but it is mainly the same one she used for many years.  Instead of making large popcorn balls, I made them kid size, and rolled them in all things green.

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
1/4 cup of butter

32 large marshmallows
8 cups of popcorn (you can use an air popper or stove)
1/2 tsp salt
Sprinkles of any kind (I used shamrocks and green jimmies)

In the top of a double boiler heat butter and marshmallows till melted.  Place popcorn in a large mixing bowl.  When marshmallow mixture is melted add it to the popcorn.  Stir to combine.  Leave this mixture to cool for a few minutes as it is too difficult to form into balls when it is hot.  To make smaller popcorn balls I used a spoon slightly larger than a tablespoon(for ease of rolling cover your hands in butter).  The recipe made between 30-35 small balls.  Once formed roll in desired sprinkles.  Store in an airtight container, but really just eat them!

Happy baking,
Sara

Illa

It is a known fact that I grew up surrounded by women who were, and still are amazing cooks.  My grandma Illa was one of these women, and although no longer around I am constantly reminded of her, especially when I am in the kitchen.  As today is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day I thought that I would share Illa’s recipe for peanut butter pie.  This pie is quick, easy and delicious.

Illa’s Peanut Butter Pie
1/3 cup peanut butter
4 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup milk

Mix the above ingredients together.  If you are looking for a smooth texture then use your electric beaters.  When combined fold in 8 oz of softened cool whip.  Pour this mixture into a prepared Oreo cookie, or graham cracker crust.  This can be store-bought or homemade.  Place pie in freezer to firm up.  Before serving, drizzle the pie with chocolate sauce.  Cut and enjoy!

Happy baking,
Sara

Weekly meals Feb. 13-17

Meal updates from last week:
The shredded beef tacos did not turn out like I had imagined.  I microwaved the tortillas as instructed, but they all tore as soon as I rolled them up.  The dish ended up looking really messy.  The meatballs in the turkey soup were great, but the broth was very bland.  I do not think that I will make this recipe again.  The cranberry protein balls were a huge hit!  The flavour and texture of these ones were very different from the peanut butter based ones.  I will be making these again.

Love week, we will be eating in Monday-Thursday which includes Valentine’s Day.  Friday we will be eating out, and we do not have plans for Saturday.  The weather is supposed to be lovely so I will be firing up the bbq for two of my meals.

  1. Lasagne soup from @farmgirlsdabble I will serve this with a caesar salad (I have made this soup many times and it is a huge hit.  I omit the ricotta when serving to my kids).
  2. Valentine’s Day menu:
    Lobster tails with artichoke risotto from @travelcooktell and a green veggie on the side: asparagus, green beans or a salad.  For dessert I will be making the no-bake cheesecake that I posted last week in Sweet Treats.
  3. Greek turkey burgers with tzatziki from @foodiecrush (I will serve this with a greek salad)
  4. Grilled Hawaiian chicken teriyaki bowls from tastesbetterfromscratch.com (I have made this bowl before, and the flavours are amazing together!  I will be making steamed rice for the bowl base, not the coconut rice that the recipe calls for).

For breakfast this week I will be trying out a new recipe for oatmeal breakfast bites.  For snack I will be going back to the protein balls from @thelemonbowl they have been the biggest hit in our house.  This week I will be looking for recipes for protein balls that are lunchbox safe.

Don’t forget to print the dinner-list-3 for your weekly grocery shopping.

Happy cooking,
Sara

Sweet treats!

Valentine’s Day is coming soon, so I have put together some sweet ideas for your special someone.  Whether you are celebrating with a group, your significant other or kids, these recipes are sure to please them all.

Cookies:
Marbled sugar cookies from @bakedbyrachel
M&M cookies from @averiesunshine (I have used these for Easter cookies and they were delicious, just change up the colour of M&Ms)
Gummy Bear cookies from @1littleproject (these would be great to make with kids)
Frosted sugar cookies from @cookingclassy

Something a little healthier:
Graham crackers from @becky_lovetobeinthekitchen (I have made these many times and sent them to school for parties paired with some cheese they are delicious)
Fruit skewers from recipebyphoto.com
Fruit salad from @whitandwhistle

Ta-da!
Chocolate hand pies from@sallysbakingaddiction (hand pies are an easy show stopping dessert)
No-bake cheesecake from @inspiredbycharm (cheesecake, easy and delicious)
Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache from @twopeasandtheirpod (this looks amazing!)

Happy Valentine’s Day,
Sara