Saturday, January 30, 2010

Comfort in Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever had one of those crazy days where you feel like you've got absolutely nothing under control?? Well, I had one of those today! Let's just say it included cramming to finish an essay for 2 PM today, only to find out it's due NEXT thursday, missing a few buses and getting a little case of "sports induced asthma" (from running across campus from the bus terminal to "hand in my essay")...

So when I got home, wheezy and still feeling like my head wasn't on my shoulders, I plopped down on the couch to endulge in my favorite comfort activity: watching the food network. And guess what?! One of my favorite comfort shows ever was just starting when I flipped on the T.V., Michael Smith's Chef at Home! Things were starting to look up! And even better, his theme for this afternoon is: COMFORT FOOD!

First on the menu came "the perfect chocolate chip cookie". I had to try out the recipe (and was majorly craving chocolate, too). Don't you find that you're always on the hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie? I do, and let me tell you, this recipe comes pretty close to perfection in my books (the best I've ever produced, at least)!

Michael Smith's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 salt
1 cup (or more) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix all the wet ingredients together thoroughly until smooth (the sugar, butter, corn syrup, egg, and vanilla).
Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, and then mix them into the wet.
Finally, fold in the chocolate chips!
Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased or parchment papered cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes EXACTLY (Michael really stressed this one...he said it's the last key to the perfect cookie)!




Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weekend Highlights Round Two

Hey guys. I had a little free time and thought I might as well spend it blogging about everything I ate on the weekend that I didn't have time to blog about!

I'll start off with friday evening, where I had a lovely stuffed pork tenderloin with some simple steamed beans and carrots for dinner (mother made).

It was so tender!

Saturday night the entire Flanagan household got lazy and we got take-out Chinese! We ordered this feast from the most bizarre place ever...Panda Hut Express (on 23rd Ave). Okay...I guess it's not that bizarre, but I had never ordered Chinese food from an old Burger King (or whatever it was) before. The play place was still securely located in the corner of the restaurant.

However, I must admit: play place and all...Panda Hut produces some pretty tasty take-out.

So here it is, my greasy saturday night meal in all it's glory:

After dinner Ashley came over and the two of us whipped up (literally...I think it took us an hour, clean-up included...impressive, I know) a double batch of cupcakes for our friend Alex's birthday!

They definitely were not the most aesthetically pleasing cupcakes that have ever come out of this house, but they did the trick!

Basic White Cake

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoon milk (I used almond milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Line a muffin pan with paper liners
Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs (one at a time), and add the vanilla.
Mix in the flour and milk, be sure not to over beat!
Spoon batter into the prepared pans.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Basic Butter Icing

1/2 cup butter
4 cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
3-4 tablespoons milk (or almond milk)

Beat all ingredients together.
Note: I kind of just threw this icing together without measuring, however I think these measurements should work pretty well! Play with the amounts until you've got a great icing consistency, just make sure to use enough icing sugar so you don't get that awful "straight butter" taste!

And that's my weekend in food finally re-told on wednesday! Happy baking!



Sunday, January 24, 2010

Everything Oats

Good morning everyone! I hope you've all had lovely weekends! I've had such a good weekend, but I have to admit, it was a little too good, because when I woke up this morning I was SO exhausted. I was definitely in need of a little pick me up meal. It was time for some oats packed full of all things good.

Let me tell you, I loaded this bowl up! I started out by piling on the basics: butter and brown sugar.

Then I went for the sweet stuff, and tossed on a good handful of white chocolate chips, almond slivers and dried cranberries.

Then, to make this bowl of oats even more luxurious, I spooned on a hefty helping of cashew butter and chocolate hazelnut spread. To finish the oats off, and attempt to make my breakfast a little healthier, I sprinkled on hemp seeds, and gave it a good dousing of milk!

So filling! Look at the delicious melted white that is what I call a good breakfast.

Well, I'm off to work now. I hope this packed-full-of-goodness breakfast has inspired some of you to start loading up your oats as well!



Friday, January 22, 2010

Trying Something New

Hello folks! So this is a little catch up post from yesterday... Enjoy!

Yesterday when I got home from school I was absolutely ravenous, so I wanted something quick,but healthy, too. I looked into the cupboard and was reminded of the Israeli couscous that we had picked up at Bulk Barn (which I've been dying to try)! I know that regular couscous is done in a it seemed like the appropriate time to try this variety out!

Here's how to prepare Israeli couscous (it is so nice not having to type out the instructions)! If you click the picture, it will get much larger, so do that if you are having trouble reading the tiny print!

I was surprised at the differences between cooking regular and Israeli couscous! This variety is much more like pasta in the preparation department.

Since I was the only one eating, I only did 1/4 cup of couscous (with 1 cup of water). That was the perfect amount for one person! I can't believe how much this stuff makes once it's cooked!
Here it is simmering away:

While I was waiting for the couscous to finish cooking, I munched on dry roasted almonds and listened to Bon Iver (probably the best music to cook to, ever).

I also rummaged around the fridge and cupboard to see what I could pair up with the couscous to make a complete meal! I found left over Greek salad (which was perfect).

And a lovely little can of yellowfin tuna in olive oil! I also grabbed a bunch of cilantro to add an extra little sumthin' to the dish.

It was so tasty! I love the texture of this couscous so much, plus it has a much less "nutty" flavor than normal couscous, so it could work with a much wider range of dishes!

A filling, complete, healthy meal! I just stirred the left over salad right into the hot couscous, along with the fresh cilantro. After that, I just plopped the canned tuna on top, added a little salt and pep, and it was delish!

For dinner last night, my wonderful father made a chicken pot pie (i LOVE this meal) using left over pie dough (from the monster pie a couple days ago). I love my dad! It was always!

I had some MORE left over Greek salad with dinner. I don't mind eating so much Greek salad though...I love anything that's got a ton of garlic in it!

Yesterday was full of unique and wonderful flavors. I definitely recommend trying out the couscous! You will be pleasantly surprised. Anyways, it's about time to go and cook up tonight's dinner! Happy friday everyone!



Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Morning Oats

Good morning everyone! Have you ever woken up to find something on your kitchen counter that just inspires your taste buds for the day?! Well I have...and this morning I stumbled across a lovely pan of brownies, freshly baked up last night by my amazing mother! The site of these beauties certainly inspired what I needed for breakfast today...something sweet!

When I decided that brownies alone were not a healthy option for breakky, I turned to the obvious answer...Oats! With crumbled brownies, and almond milk of course.

I was definitely in need of a breakfast with some staying power, as I have no breaks in between my classes today! This little bowl did the trick!

I only had time to wolf down a small bowl before I had to run to catch the bus, but it sure was satisfying. I whipped up the oats in the microwave, put on a little butter, and brown sugar, then crumbled away with the brownies and doused the bowl with almond milk!

And since I just can't seem to get enough almond milk ever, I had a small glass with my breakfast as well. So don't be afraid people, experiment with your oats! Oats are a wonderful thing...I mean what else justifies eating brownies for breakfast??



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Highlights From The Weekend

Hello everyone! So I'm FINALLY catching up on posting all my many noms from the weekend! Here are the highlights of all that I consumed:


So it seems that all I took photos of on friday were some grapes that I munched on after school, and some potato wedges that I made for friends to eat when I had a few people over before going out friday night! I also made sweet potato fries, but they turned out a bit floppy and were not photo worthy...

These went down just fine with some drinks on friday night! After nomming on fries and guzzling our drinks we all headed out to Designer Drugs, who were playing at Pawnshop on friday (put on by Easy Love). It was so fun! The place was so packed that the floor was shaking (is this a good thing? I'm not sure...).


Saturday morning Ashley and I woke up with our ears still ringing, and to the smell of something delicious being baked up! Turns out Mom and Dad had baked some banana bread that of my favorites!

I had a slice of banana bread smothered with chocolate-hazelnut spread and a glass of almond milk (of course) for breakfast!

Mid-afternoon, as Ashley and I were still lounging (recovering) from our night out, we were in need of a snack!

I decided to re-try the sweet potato fries, and see if I could make a non-floppy version. I cut the sweet potatoes a bit thicker than the night before and left the skin on. This definitely helped...they were delish!

Sweet Potato Fries

2-4 sweet potatoes (or yams)
2-5 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes under cold water.
Cut into wedges or shoe-string fries, whatever you like!
Toss the cut fries with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast in the oven until cooked!

Saturday evening Mom and I took a little trip over to Bulk Barn, which has recently opened in South Edmonton Common...I am in love with that store! They have every type of nut butter, grain, baking ingredient and candy you could ever imagine! Plus a huge array of pinatas and cake pans (bizarre, I know).

We picked up a few things there that I am very excited about (and some staples too)! We bought: dry roasted almonds, chocolate covered banana chips, delicious coconut covered apricot bites, raw shelled hemp seeds and israeli couscous (very excited to try this)!

We also picked up some cashew butter! I've never tried it's amazing!

Here are some raw shelled hemp seeds, these remind me of sunflower seeds! They are so good to sprinkle on oatmeal and cereal! These little puppies are packed with proteins, essential fats, vitamins and enzymes!

For dinner saturday night we had fish tacos (another first of mine...I'd never had them before)!

For some reason I had always been afraid of fish tacos...I just didn't understand how the two things went together, but I must tell you my friends, I was wrong! I am now a major fish taco fan.

I always need a little something sweet after dinner, Saturday night I opted for a slice of banana bread with cashew butter!


Sunday morning I worked, and rushed out of the house without any breakfast (never a good thing)! I quickly tossed some fruit in my bag for sustenance, and that's all I ate until dinner!

Luckily dinner turned out to be a favorite of mine! I wolfed down this delicious split-pea soup that Mom made when I finally got home from work! It was so good, we don't have this often, but when we do I definitely do not take the meal for granted (I helped myself to a couple bowls)!

Later in the evening, Dad and Ian (what a pair) whipped up a GIANT apple pie in one of Uncle Peter's massive pie plates (Ian did not believe that you could actually make a pie so huge).

It can be done! I'm not sure what recipe they used...I think they may have just whipped something together, however I must admit (I am not usually a pie lover) that this pie was GOOD! I actually enjoyed pie for once in my life! Hooray!


I haven't been snapping as many photos of my food lately (ever since the tragic falling of my camera) this is all we've got for monday! It seems the only thing I felt was photo worthy was this bizarre "hot chocolate" I found in the cupboard! When I opened up the jar all there was inside were little chocolate bits...which I guess are traditional?? Anyways I thought I might as well go with I made a cup!

I heated up a bit of almond milk in the microwave with some of the chocolate bits, stirred that up and added more almond milk then heated it through. This type of hot chocolate is okay...but it's a bit chunky I found! So I've just started eating the chocolate not melted into milk...

And there are the highlights! A couple recipes, and lots of food adventures (for me)! Hopefully I stop this laziness and start posting more regularly again...that would be good!