Food

Blueberry Crisp

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Summer gives us many great gifts and I know I could go on and on but one of those great gifts are the fresh local berries! If I’m being honest, I would say that blueberry typically sits at the bottom of my favourite berries list yet something inside me (perhaps le bebe?) was feeling a blueberry crisp. Even though I’m usually more of a pie fan (all about that crust) the warm crisp served with ice cream didn’t seem like it could be beat. See the recipe below!
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Recipe derived from here.
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 quarts of fresh blueberries
  • 3cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1teaspoon of pure vanilla
  • 1cup all-purpose flour
  • 3cup regular oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1cup butter, melted (no substitutes)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare an 9×13 pan (can use smaller sizes if you prefer a higher pile)
  3. Spread the blueberries in the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the sugar, cornstarch, water and 3 Tbsp lemon juice; cook and stir until thick and clear (like actually clear!), then add in the vanilla.
  5. Pour over, then gently stir in the cooked mixture with the blueberries.
  6. In a bowl combine the flour with oats, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Add in the melted butter; mix until crumbly (don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!)
  8. Sprinkle over the top of blueberries.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until blueberry mixture bubbles and the topping is brown.
  10. Serve with some cold delicious vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy!

xx

Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Muffins

DSC_0039 I love a good muffin, even though they get a bad rap for not being the best for you. So they’re a bit of treat to your regular diet but we all deserve a treat now and then don’t we? I decided to make these muffins since I had some bananas in the freezer but I decided to up the ante from the standard banana muffin by adding a little bit of extra chocolate.

DSC_0041 DSC_0044 DSC_0047 DSC_0059 DSC_0063 DSC_0065 Ingredients: 

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 large or 3 small-medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup milk (I use 2%)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • Additional chocolate chips for top of muffins

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Melt butter. Add sugar, baking powder, salt, bananas, egg, and milk in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. It’s okay to leave chunks of banana in the batter.
  3. Add flour and 1 cup of chocolate chips.
  4. Stir gently with a wooden spoon just until combined.
  5. Spoon batter evenly into each muffin tin.
  6. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips over top of batter.
  7. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes.
  8. Adjust temperature to 350°.
  9. Continue baking an additional 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Cool.

In the Kitchen // Chicken Noodle Soup

DSC_0114 This past weekend at a lovely friend’s cottage, I had a little affair with proper winter. Whisking, snowy winds and all! We haven’t had much snow and I suppose I missed it? It also helped that we were able to curl up and be cozy inside. One of my favourite things about the colder, winter weather is cooking up something warm! Soup is an easy one however I had yet to make Chicken Noodle Soup from scratch. I would usually purchase it pre-made however once I realized how easy it seemed to make – I wanted to give it a go!

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First things first – chopping! Make sure you have a great sharp knife on hand that will help immensely with this step. As you can see, I had the chance to try this new knife from Sabatier which was an insane improvement from my usual knives. It’s amazing how much easier it is to chop when you’re properly equipped.
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Since this recipe yields for 12, having a large stock pot is great which leaves you lots of room.  DSC_0101 DSC_0102 DSC_0110
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Recipe: Chicken Soup, adapted from here.

 MAKES: 12 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds
  • 350 grams of Egg Noodles
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 large stalks of celery (including leaves), diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the chicken in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is falling off the bone, about an hour. Remove the chicken, and let cool to touch. Remove the meat from the bones.
  2. Meanwhile, add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, sage, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram to the broth. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the veggies are tender, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add the noodles, just a few at a time, to the simmering broth. Once all noodles are added, also add in the chicken. Boil noodles for 3-5 minutes until they are tender and no longer doughy. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Shop the Post: Pot/ Sabatier Cutting Board/ Sabatier Knife/ Cutlery/ Dish Towel

xx

Gingerbread Men

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I still can’t believe that Christmas is THIS FRIDAY! Time yet again, is flying by. I was a tad MIA last week on the blog since every family and friends gathering occurred and I’m simultaneously trying to get ready for our holiday trip to Australia (we leave tomorrow- yipeeee!). I hadn’t yet done any Christmas baking and had been meaning to make some gingerbread men – my second favourite holiday treat following my Grandmother’s empire cookies.  DSC_0002

I made the dough a couple days prior (using this recipe), I felt that this was helpful since carving out the time for baking is hard enough. After chilling in the fridge for a couple of days I left out on the counter to bring the dough to room temperature. Note: Don’t leave too long like I did or your gingers will break! 10-15 minutes depending how long the dough had been chilling. DSC_0003

After rolling out the dough (roughly 1/8 inch thick – I had no idea how to really measure that so I simply guesstimated) place your cutter into the dough. Easy, right? DSC_0005 DSC_0008

Simple place them carefully on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and pop them into the oven for 10-12 minutes rotating the cookie sheets from the top rack to the bottom rack midway through. As you can see, some of my guys are a little wonky but that’s okay right? I realized it was because the dough was too warm so my second batch was much better than the first but that’s what baking is all about right? Figuring it out on the way… well for me at least since I’m still a rookie.  DSC_0014

Last step is to decorate! I stay pretty simple with white icing but leave your freak flag fly and decorate as much as you like!

xx

Festive Cocktail Time!

festive cocktails-2 It’s about that time, isn’t it? 5:00pm on a Thursday evening – you’ve worked hard all week and now it’s time to indulge in some very necessary beverages. Since the holidays are in full swing – a couple of my gal pals (Ash and Laura) got together to get merry and cheerful with some festive cocktails. We attempted some twists on some traditional drinks and were pleased with the results.

We saw the Moscow Mule cups and knew we had to do something with those and realized that pomegranates were in season and needed to be celebrated.

THE MERRY MOSCOW MULE

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 ounces of pomegranate juice
  • 2 ounces (about 2 shots) Vodka
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • 12 ounces Ginger Beer
  • Pomegranate arils for garnish
  • Candied ginger for garnish
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine all vodka, juices, and ginger beer and pour over ice. This makes two drinks.
  2. Garnish with Pomegranate arils and lime wedges if desired.
  3. Enjoy!

2 festive cocktails

THE ORANGE OLD FASHIONED WITH ROSEMARY

INGREDIENTS

– 1 sugar cube

– 2 ounces of rye

– 3 dashes of orange bitters

– Splash of club soda

– Large orange slice for garnish

– Sprig of rosemary for garnish

– Large ice cubes

– Slice of orange

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine rye, soda and bitters and pour over sugar cube. This makes one drink.
  2. Add large ice cube and garnish with a slice of orange and rosemary.
  3. Enjoy!

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Shop the post from Indigo: Marble and wood cutting board, Moscow mule mugs and Gold-striped napkin.

Shout out to Hello Midge Flower Studio for providing us with some lovely blooms, she’s the best.

xx

Peach Cobbler Round 2

And it’s September! Luckily, I really love this month for many reasons so I’m happy to see it arrive. I’m admiring all things fall including the fresh and local fruits while we still have them. A funny thing happened with me and peaches this year, though. Not sure of the reason why, but I had purchased peaches from my local market and almost instantly (the day or two after) the peaches would go bad! Not just soft or bruised – totally gone. Perhaps I wasn’t careful enough in their transportation home or too much direct sunlight but either way, I had many plans to make peach cobbler and then it never happened because my peaches wouldn’t last. Have you ever had this problem? Anyways, I didn’t wait the next time and went straight to it. I’m calling this Peach Cobbler Round 2 since I have already shared a recipe but feel as I’ve upped my baking game since then.
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When searching for a recipe, I was looking for something that was a little on the easier side of spectrum and this one came up as low maintenance and I had the ingredients on hand which was a win! I made a couple of alterations to it (like reducing the sugar) which I think benefitted it in the end.

Ingredients:

    • 1cup melted butter
    • 1 cup flour
    • 12 cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1teaspoon salt
    • 2cup room temperature milk
    • 1 room temperature egg
    • 1 basket of fresh peaches
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1teaspoon nutmeg
    • 12 teaspoon of pure vanilla

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As I mentioned – I was not risking my peaches going bad again so they were rather ripe when preparing so I watched this video on how best to peel ripe peaches and it worked! I have to say I was a little skeptic but happy they ended peeled easily.

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder & salt
  3. Stir in milk & egg and add vanilla
  4. Pour evenly over melted butter
  5. Combine peaches, sugar & spices and spread over batter – DO NOT STIR!
  6. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350°F until batter comes to the top and is golden brown

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One of the interesting part about this recipe was melting the butter at the bottom of the pant before adding the “batter” mixture. It really made sense to me seeing as you normally butter the bottom/sides of a pan before baking anyhow. I also used an oven-to-table pan since I was bringing this cobbler with me to bookclub.  DSC_0027

Do not mix the peaches and the batter! It felt a bit odd placing the peaches on top of the batter but they mostly did move to the bottom during baking. DSC_0031

And voila! Just serve with ice cream or frozen yogurt.

xx

Summer Berry Popsicles

DSC_0051 What better way to beat the heat than a delicious popsicle treat? After I’m reviewing this post I laughed out loud because that line sounds like a child’s poem or something!

I came across this recipe and was inspired to try them myself because they can be enjoyed in the AM as well as PM since they are basically yogurt and berries. Since I still consider myself quite the amateur in the kitchen, I was nervous that they may be a little more difficult than they appear but luckily they were quite simple and turned out with a couple of learnings along the way. DSC_0006 The great thing about this recipe is that you can use pretty much any summer fruit that is in season. I’m certainly going to try peaches in my next batch.

Ingredients:

2 cups of fresh blackberries, or the berry of your choice!
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened Greek-style yogurt

Instructions: 

If using blackberries, or another large berry,cut them in half. Place berries in a bowl and squeeze 1 tablespoon lemon juice over it (save the peel; you’re going to use it). Add the honey, stir to combine. Set aside.
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DSC_0018 DSC_0015 Place lemon peel, water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook, stirring, until it comes to a boil and sugar has dissolved. It makes a delicious lemony simple syrup. Simmer for 5 minutes more and remove peel and chill syrup completely. You can do this in the fridge, but took the advice to set the bowl of syrup in a larger bowl of ice water. Within 15 minutes, it should be chilled.
DSC_0021 Whisk yogurt and chilled syrup together. Mine has a pinky tinge to it because I used a spoon that touched the berries.
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Soften up the berry mixture and any juices that have accumulated by flattening with a fork until desired texture. I kept some chunks of berries but just make sure that they are small enough to fit into popsicle mold.   DSC_0030 Assemble popsicles by alternating pouring a little of the yogurt mixture, then a little of the berry mixture into each popsicle mold leaving 1/4-inch from the tops (to leave room for expansion as they freeze).
DSC_0038 Use a popsicle stick to swirl the ingredients together.
DSC_0035 DSC_0045 Place in freezer overnight. You could leave them for less time however I didn’t want to risk it and didn’t mind waiting. Following the directions on the popsicle mold you are using.
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Watermelon Sangria

Well, sadly I’m back from our vacation and back to regular programming. I had planned/scheduled some posts for the blog while I was away however I didn’t expect that some of our locations were as remote as they were without wifi (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but was rather just unexpected). Stay tuned for Travel Chapters on London and Scotland but in the meantime – I’m unpacking, getting my place back together and will be day dreaming about pints, chips. DSC_0004 If there was a fruit ambassador for summer – I would vote for the Watermelon. So delicious, pretty in colour and obviously ripe during this time of year. I thoroughly enjoy it on it’s own but who doesn’t enjoy fruit with a little alcohol sometimes? Sangria could easily be my favourite drink of the summer and well, put watermelon and sangria together and it’s just a summer party in a cup.

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 of a Watermelon, cubed
  • 1 Mango, diced
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 1 Grapefruit, diced
  • 1 Bottle of Rose
  • 2 ounces of Triple Sec

Instructions:

Simply mix ingredients, stir together and serve! This recipe serves 4-6 people and the longer you let it sit, the better it gets when you bite into the bits of fruit at the end. Enjoy! DSC_0014 DSC_0006

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xx

 

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

You know those friends that are just naturally great in the kitchen? It may not even be their kitchen but they can work it better than you can? Yah, well that friend in my life is Nicole. She is so impressive and I was beyond excited when she suggested we get baking together!
DSC_0007 She proposed something summery but also healthy and having just picked up some fresh rhubarb from the market  – Strawberry and Rhubarb Muffins it was! Adapting from this recipe, they turned out moist but full of grain goodness! They are perfect for that grab and go item in busy mornings and also pair well with a cup of coffee.
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Strawberry Rhubarb Hazelnut Muffins

RECIPE: 

by: Little Red Book + Nicole

Serves: 20

What You Need
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup rhubarb (2 large stalks)
  • 2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • ⅔ cup plain yogurt
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
What To Do
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a standard size muffin pan.
  2. Mash one banana. Wash and dice 1 cup rhubarb and 1 cup strawberries.
  3. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups wheat bran, 1 cup oat bran, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. In a smaller bowl, combine 2 large eggs, ⅔ cup milk, ⅔ cup plain yogurt, ⅓ cup melted butter, ⅔ cup honey, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; mix well.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients (including banana) into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until just combined. Add the strawberries, rhubarb and stir to combine.
  5. Fill the muffin cups with batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for a few minutes, then remove them and serve warm or let them cool on a wire rack.
Notes
Adapted from A Couple of Cooks

Farmers Market

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::Jacket (on sale!), Shirt (on sale!), Pants, Shoes (also on sale!), Sunnies, Tote::

A couple of years ago, I noticed that there’s really quite a difference in taste and flavour when you purchase ingredients from local vendors or markets. Seems a bit silly however I would normally just head to my grocery store to pick up produce but now the grocery store is like a last resort. We are so lucky to live in Toronto where we are surrounded by a number of different markets to hit up. I also suscribe to the local food delivery service Fresh City Farms which is fantastic.  It’s one of my favourite things to do – be inspired by a recipe, head to a farmers market and back home to attempt the challenge. I say challenge because lets be honest, it doesn’t always turn out.  DSC_0013 Last week, my girlfriend and I hit up the Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market. Luckily we dodged a heavy rainfall but once the clouds broke, there was sunshine! Fun fact of the day was that I picked up my bike from it’s tune up and locked it up for the first time this year and it actually didn’t unlock! I had to leave it there and after many, many, many attempts and different people trying, my bike was free!  DSC_0005 DSC_0003

Delicious baked goods from Evelyn’s Crackers DSC_0002 DSC_0004 DSC_0009 DSC_0017

Looking for a market that’s closer to you? Here is a round up of the best Farmer’s Markets in Toronto.

xx

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