For The Love of Matcha

We all have favourite flavours and favourite foods. My favourite fruit is mango, favourite candy flavour is banana (the fake one that they use in kids penicillin!)… And anything matcha. I LOVE matcha. My go-to at Starbucks in the green tea latte (made with matcha of course). I seek out matcha ice cream whenever I can. So you can imagine my delight when I found not one but two matcha-based recipes in the new Oh She Glows app. I decided that I had to try them ASAP.

Mighty Matcha Wheatgrass Protein Smoothie

The first one I tried was the Mighty Matcha Wheatgrass Protein Smoothie. My first attempts left something to be desired, so the second time around I added a teaspoon of maple syrup.

Bingo!

Mighty Matcha Wheatgrass Protein Smoothie

Let’s talk details.

Yield:

  • Original Yield: 2-2.5 cups
  • Actual Yield: 2 cups

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: 5 minutes (total time)
  • Actual Prep Time: 3 minutes

Make Time:

  • Original Make Time: included in prep 
  • Actual Make Time: 2 minutes

Notes or comments:

  • As mentioned above, I needed to add some maple syrup to this smoothie for a touch of sweetness. I love the mild bitterness of matcha but this smoothie needed the sweetness.
  • I’ve since made this smoothie with cow’s milk and without wheatgrass, and every combination I’ve tried is yummy (just include the sweetener!)
  • I used honey as a sweetener and it works just as well as maple syrup.

Verdict: Success (with modifications)! This is as easy as it gets. My blender has liquid measurements on the sides so I didn’t even have to use a measuring cup and I didn’t have to eye-ball the milk amount (what can I say, I’m not a fan of doing dishes)! I happen to always have most of the ingredients for this smoothie on hand (wheatgrass juice/cubes being an exception), so I can whip this treat up easily and in the same amount of time as it takes to make hubby his coffee. Total win!!

Mighty Matcha Wheatgrass Protein Smoothie
**Please note, the recipe for Mighty Matcha Wheatgrass Protein Smoothie is not mine. The views and experiences above are my own and not endorsed/influenced by Oh She Glows or any other third party.

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(Not) So Creative Crisp

One thing I love about summer in Southern Ontario is the abundance of local veggies, fruit and berries. Drive in any direction just beyond the busy borders of Toronto and you’ll be pulled this way and that; blueberries here, strawberries there, asparagus, sweet corn… And peaches. You can’t forget the peaches. I don’t go to many public events, but one I try to frequent every year is the Niagara Peach Festival. As you can imagine, they have everything peach on offer: jams, chutneys, smoothies, pies, sauces, custards, tarts, ice cream, and of course, piles and piles of fresh, sweet, juicy peaches.

We go through a LOT of fruit at my house, so of course, I bought two large containers of peaches. On our way home, a friend asked me if I planned to make a peach crisp with some of them. I blinked and nodded. And there’s a peach crisp that just came out of my oven.

But I have a confession to make.

I have never made a peach dessert before.

Never.

No peach cobbler. No peach pie. No peach tart. Although I did make a mixed fruit pie once and it had peaches in it. Does that count?

Anyways, since I’ve never made any kind of peach dessert, I decided to turn to Pinterest and its amazing search bar. The first recipe to pop up when I typed in “Fresh Peach dessert” was this peach cobbler from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I scanned through the recipe and immediately knew that I wanted to use her filling recipe. I already have an amazing go-to crisp topping (I will share it in the next post!), so I decided to forgo Sally’s cobbler topping and do a mix and match instead.

The results?

Ah-MAZE-ing!!!!!

I honestly don’t think I’ll use another peach filling again. Yeah, I might choose to slice my peaches for a decorative tart instead of dicing, but everything else I’m keeping as is. No need to reinvent the wheel people.

I did take a peek at several other crisp/cobbler recipes (just in case), and noticed that they all had quite a bit of sugar for the filling. Nothing against sugar, but when I have naturally sweet, succulent peaches, I don’t need to heap on the artificial white stuff. Sally only uses 1/4 cup of brown sugar for her cobbler and even that can be toned down if you have super sweet fruit.

It’s nothing fancy, nothing new, just an old-fashioned crisp.

Peach Crisp
Here are the deets (does anyone even say that anymore?):

Yield: 

  • Original Yield: one 9×13 pan, 10-12 people
  • Actual Yield: one 9×13 pan, 2 1/2 people for a few days (we’re not sharing!)

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Actual Prep Time: 25 minutes (I didn’t make her biscuit dough, so the timing is different)

Bake Time:

  • Original Bake Time: 40-45 minutes
  • Actual Bake Time: 41 minutes (different topping, but both crisp and cobbler recipes were calculated between 35-45 minutes)

Comments or notes:

  • I can’t make any claims on how the cobbler topping tasted as I didn’t make it.
  • I used 8 peaches to fill the pan but could have easily added a couple more.
  • I peeled my peaches over the pan to get the juices into the mix.
  • Peeling peaches is a lot harder than poaching them, but I didn’t want to bother as my counters were a bit messy and I didn’t have a ton of room.

Verdict: Success!! As mentioned above,I didn’t want the cobbler topping so I only used the filling portion of the recipe. And OMG is it delicious!! The peaches are showcased so well, no other flavours get in the way, and no part of it is overly sweet. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a hot summer evening or enjoy it hot, right out of the oven with a cozy tea in autumn. 

Peach Crisp
**Please note, the recipe for the Peach Cobbler is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are my own and not endorsed/influenced by Sally’s Baking Addiction, the Niagara Peach Festival or any other third party.

    Good Morning, Sunshine!

    Overnight OatsOne of the things I have been working on since the birth of my little one is going back to being healthy. Before becoming pregnant, I did yoga several times a week, worked hard on eating well, and did things to relax. Then, while training for a 5km run, I found out I was expecting, so I stopped running (it wasn’t normal exercise for me, so I didn’t want to overdo it), did yoga for a couple more months (again, I didn’t want to overdo it so I scaled down the asanas I did before stopping yoga altogether), and settled into being comfortable more than anything. I was lucky, since I didn’t have morning sickness (I was sick maybe once?), but I had severe nausea and food aversion for the first trimester and then some. Pork, for example, was out of the question until after my little one was born. For the record, ginger candies and mint saved me during those weeks! (Mint can cause issues during pregnancy, so use with caution and as always, talk to your midwife/OBGYN before trying a remedy).

    I also had cravings, and although I didn’t want leather shoes (my oddest craving had to be Chinese food and chocolate cake… Together…), I did crave chicken nuggets, Kraft Dinner macaroni and cheese (no other brand!), and most significantly, donuts. Normally, I can eat one or two donuts and be done. I think my record was 6. Now, I tried my best to eat well for the duration of my pregnancy, but when you’re nauseated and want donuts and mac and cheese… Well, you eat donuts and mac and cheese. Better than not keeping food down at all, I think.

    After having my little one, our focus was healthy but convenient food; our first few weeks as a family of three made for little time to cook so we had lots of frozen lasagnas, veggie trays, and other quick meals (mostly frozen). After a couple of months, things settled back to normal. We started going to the farmer’s market again, so our diet improved, and we actually had some time and energy to cook and eat healthy. As a breastfeeding mom, losing weight is far from a priority; eating well, getting in some exercise where possible, and spending time with the baby were top of my list. Obviously, I shed weight (one of the benefits of breastfeeding for moms!).

    I’m continuing the trend of keeping healthy as 2015 became 2016, and since the holidays are over and I have more time to myself again, I have started doing yoga once more, as well as focusing on healthy, wholesome meals and snacks, and taking time for myself. It’s easier than I thought it would be, too! I have several tools that I use, one of them being Pinterest of course, and I’d love to share them with you in the next few posts.

    Let’s start with a super-popular recipe from Pinterest… I’m talking about overnight oats. Can breakfast get any better? Rough measure the ingredients, mix together, pop into the fridge, and a healthy, delicious breakfast is ready!

    I have found probably six or seven million recipes on Pinterest for this popular dish, and when I started out I wasn’t sure what to expect, so instead of following one recipe, I sorta combined a few and made it my own (although in the millions of recipes out there I’m pretty sure mine may already exist… I just haven’t come across it yet). Here are the three posts I took for inspiration:

    I’m sure these recipes are amazing, but lucky for me, my personalised, amalgamated version turned out delicious and I haven’t bothered to try any others since. So, let me hop on the Overnight Oats bandwagon and add my version of this easy and healthy food to the millions out there! 

    Overnight Oats
    You can’t go wrong with fresh fruit!
     

    Yield: 1 serving (this can easily be halved or multiplied)
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Wait/’Cook’ Time: minimum 3 hours, best left overnight

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup steel-cut or rolled oats (if you cut the wait time to about 30 minutes, you can use quick cooking oats, but it gets a bit too mushy for me)
    • 1 cup milk (any kind, including dairy-free)
    • 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
    • 2 tsp chia seeds (you can use flax seeds for a bit of crunch and nuttiness)
    • 1 tbsp jam/nut butter/honey
    • Handful of fruit/nuts to mix before eating (optional)

    Method:

    1. Measure out and pour together your oats, milk, chia seeds, yoghurt, and jam/nut butter/honey. Mix well.
    2. Pour mixture into one or more lidded containers (mason jars are popular, but I use my Sistema soup cup as it’s more convenient for me).
    3. Refrigerate for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
    4. Before eating, add chopped fruit and/or nuts, mixing gently, if desired.

    Variations:

    • Any kind of berry jam and fresh berries
    • Peanut butter and fresh banana
    • Honey and fresh banana and berries
    • Honey and cinnamon and apples
    • Almond butter and apples
    • Honey and cocoa powder and strawberries

    If you have any other flavour combination ideas, I’d love to hear about them! I’m always looking to try something tasty and new!

    Next time, I’ll tell you about a neat little app that’s already very popular that I’ve grown to absolutely adore! Overnight Oats 

    **This recipe is my own and was created based on recipes from Another Root, Tastes Better From Scratch, and Taste of Lizzy T. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Another Root, Tastes Better From Scratch, Taste of Lizzy T, Sistema or any other third party.

    Cooking With A Criminal

    Sometimes while browsing Pinterest boards, I find a pin that’s totally out of place. I’m sure you’ve all seen it before, too. Shoes on the Food & Drink board, puppies under Women’s Fashion (not Cruela De Ville style!), or a cupcake mixed in between pins of pillows and Home Decor. A few months back, I found this pin that made me laugh on the Food & Drink board, and I’ve seen it since several times. It makes me smile and shake my head, but it’s so very true. Snoop Dogg, the famous, weed-smoking rapper, cooking with homemaker extraordinaire Martha Stewart… And it’s the rapper who has never been in prison.

    Right next to that pin was another pin regarding Martha, although this was a bit more complimentary: her Pork Paprikash. I have never made a recipe by Ms Stewart before, but as we had 4 pork loins waiting in the freezer, I decided to give this dish a try. And I’m thrilled that I did! It was flavourful, comforting, and there were leftovers!

    I’m not really a Martha Stewart fan, but I’ll be less reluctant to give her recipes a try from now on. We all need some variety in life, right? Besides, I can’t always post reviews of recipes from Damn Delicious.

     Pork Paprikash 
    Yield:

    • Original Yield: 4 servings
    • Actual Yield: 4 servings

    Prep Time:

    • Original Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Actual Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time:

    • Original Cook Time: 10 minutes
    • Actual Cook Time: 17 minutes

    Notes or comments from the author:

    • Ms Stewart suggests serving this dish over buttered egg noodles, and it certainly is a winning combination, although it would work just as well over arborio rice or couscous. You could also serve it with naan.
    • Hubby chopped the whole tomatoes up in the skillet as the dish finished cooking… We didn’t want giant tomato pieces on our plates. Using a can of diced tomatoes here may be a smart substitution choice.

    Verdict: Success (with modifications)! This is a delicious recipe that we will be making a few times this winter, I’m sure. The paprika adds that warmth and spice you want in a comforting dish that helps you forget about the blizzard outside, and the sour cream gives the dish a creamy, tangy flavour that’s just a little bit special. It may not be ready in under half an hour, but it’s definitely worth the bit of extra time it takes, and it’s still a dish that will be on the table within an hour. You can double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for a quick dinner option!

     Pork Paprikash

    **Please note, the recipe for Pork Paprikash is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Martha Stewart or any other third party. 

    The No-Can Policy

     Cream of Mushroom Soup I’m all for swapping out crap-filled, store-bought foods and staples for homemade versions. Why buy a can of sodium-laden, preservative-filled chicken stock when you can make a huge batch at home and freeze it in different portion sizes? Toaster strudels? I’ll go make some puff pastry. Cream of mushroom soup? Fresh mushrooms and cream please! Now, not everything you buy in store is bad for you, of course. And not everything is necessarily worth the time and effort if you can buy it for a decent price. It won’t kill you to buy jarred pasta sauce, especially a good-quality one made from wholesome ingredients, and no one I know has died a horrible death because they had a Dellisio pizza for dinner. The point is to know what you want to and can make yourself, and know what you should just buy.

    I’m a huge fan of soups, especially on a cold day, and I have a love of (not all that healthy) cream soups. Hey, winter will be here soon. I need my insulation.

    Back to soups. I came across another Damn Delicious soup I had pinned and decided that this Cream of Mushroom Soup and some fresh rolls (I’ll talk about those on Wednesday) is what we needed that week.

    Boy was I right! The soup turned out amazing… Although the rolls were even better. But the soup was truly fantastic. It was creamy, rich, fragrant, filling, and very flavourful. We had leftovers the next day (although I had to make a fresh batch of rolls), and it was just as delicious. We had enough soup to freeze two servings, too, and it was just as good thawed as it was freshly made (just don’t heat it in the microwave… Much yummier and easier to do in a pot!) 

    Cream of Mushroom Soup Yield:

    • Original Yield: 6 servings
    • Actual Yield: 6 servings

    Prep Time:

    • Original Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Actual Prep Time: 40 minutes (I didn’t buy pre-sliced mushrooms, and the onion and I were not friends)

    Cook Time:

    • Original Cook Time: 20 minutes
    • Actual Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Notes or comments from the author:

    • For the soup to be as thick as hubby and I like, I had to double the amount of cornstarch slurry that Chungah uses. That gave us a nice, thick soup.
    • I had to double the amount of butter I used for cooking the mushrooms, as they absorb it and would have burnt if I hadn’t added more. Mushrooms love butter, so never be afraid to add extra if your recipe seems to leave them a bit dry!

    Verdict: Success (with modifications)! This soup is delicious. I’ll be making it again for sure, and maybe doing a double batch to freeze some more for a lazy day. The flavour is nice and rich, nothing like the canned stuff, and even though it took a bit longer than posted to make the soup, I’m thrilled and amazed at how quickly it came together and how well the flavours developed in such a short time.

     Cream of Mushroom Soup 
    **Please note, the recipe for Cream do Mushroom Soup is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Damn Delicious or any other third party.

    Semi-Healthy Crisps

    Eating healthy definitely doesn’t have to consist of eating salad and flavourless meats and skipping dessert. On the other hand, you can’t expect to survive on a deep-fried, sugar and corn-syrup filled diet. I find it very important to eat healthy but there’s no way I’m totally giving up things like cookies or sweet potato fries. Moderation, people. Moderation.

    When I come across recipes likes these Zucchini Parmesan Crisps from Damn Delicious, I tend to want to try them out asap. Healthy, cheesy, and crispy? Sign me up!

    Hubby and I needed a nice side (read: wanted something like fries) to have with fish one night, so I suggested we give this recipe a try. We both really like zucchini, and these seemed to fit the bill perfectly. There were a few glitches for us with this recipe, but the end result was very tasty. Zucchini Parmesan Crisps 

    Yield:

    • Original Yield: 4 servings
    • Actual Yield: 4 servings (we ate all of the crisps with dinner… No leftovers here!)

    Prep Time:

    • Original Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Actual Prep Time: 30 minutes (the egg-flour-breading process for the rounds took quite some time for us, and we worked quite efficiently)

    Cook Time:

    • Original Cook Time: 10 minutes
    • Actual Cook Time: 15 minutes (close enough)

    Notes or comments from the author:

    • Maybe my two medium zucchinis were bigger than those that Chungah used, or maybe I have them too thick of a coating, but I had to double the amount of Panko-Parmesan breading for this recipe. That’s right. Double! The given amount for the egg and flour were fine.
    • As the zucchini rounds cooked, I noticed that each batch took a little less time to reach our desires doneness. Our first batch took a minute 15 seconds per side and our last (we did six or seven) took about 45 seconds per side. A few of the rounds were a touch darker than we wanted because we forgot that this can happen!

    Verdict: Success (with modifications)! This is a delicious side or snack that you can feel pretty good about having. These bad boys can be baked in an oven (10-15 minutes at 350) if you want or need a healthier alternative, but even the fried ones are much better for you than potato chips or commercial donuts (baked donuts are awesome). I’ll be making this recipe time and time again I know. 

     Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

    **Please note, the recipe for Zucchini Parmesan Crisps is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Damn Delicious or any other third party.

    The Lemon Rosemary A-Side

     Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes 
    If you’re a non-athlete like I am, and if you would permit me to give you a word (or several) of advice, then remember this: If you’re asked to do a charity walk/run of 5km or more, do only one per weekend. Unless you want to be sore and not able to move from your couch.

    I’ve done the Toronto RBC Run for the Kids two years in a row now. Last year I had been training to run the 5km, but found out I was pregnant, so I walked it instead. This year, I signed up again, ready to jog behind my stroller… I ended up walking it (briskly, though!). Now, 5km isn’t a massive distance, but when you include having to get up at 7, prepping yourself and your little one, driving up to the race location, and then doing the walk/run… Well, I was tired by the end. Of course, this year, I also signed up for the Terry Fox run with a group I’m part of, not realizing that the race was the day after the RBC 5km. Also, it started earlier and was farther (so, more getting up really early and driving far, grump!) We ended up walking 6km at the Terry Fox run (although three of our group got lost and ended up walking a total of about 20km), and by the time I walked in the door on Sunday afternoon, I didn’t want to walk anymore. Two races in a weekend are never a good idea, even if you’re just walking them.

    Enough of my complaining! I seem to always start with these asides, don’t I…

    Let’s chat about side dishes, instead. To me, they tend to be an afterthought most of the time. I’m a huge fan of both one-pot meals and dishes that require a basic ‘sort-of’ side (like having Beef Broccoli and making rice with it)… You know, the kind of side that doesn’t require much time or thought or work. Sometimes, though, you want a side that’s a bit more than just your boring starch or steamed veggie.

    Hubby and I have a favourite sausage from the farmer’s market we like to have every now and then, and we usually have it with mashed potatoes or a potato salad (if hubby feels like making it). That’s a bit repetitive though, so when I decided that we were going to be having sausages for dinner, I decided to look through my Pinterest boards to find a fun side to try. I stumbled upon Chungah’s Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes (can you tell I love the Damn Delicious blog??). We didn’t need 6 servings, so I cut the recipe in half and added the ingredients to my shopping list (we had most of them already).

     Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes 
    Maybe it was because I did only half the recipe, but the lemon rosemary flavour was very mild… Or maybe it’s supposed to be more subtle? Or maybe I’m spoiled by the very lemony Greek-style potatoes hubby makes sometimes? Whatever it is, I was definitely hoping for more flavour, and I didn’t get it. Saying that, I will tell you that the potatoes came out nicely done, crisp on the outside and creamy in the inside. They paired very well with the sausages too! It’s a side I’ll definitely be trying again, with some changes of course. Want the details?

    Yield:

    • Original Yield: 6 servings
    • Actual Yield: 6 servings (after halving the recipe, there were enough potatoes for 3 people, so the original amount would have fed 6)

    Prep Time:

    • Original Prep Time: 5 minutes
    • Actual Prep Time: 7 minutes (close enough)

    Cook Time:

    • Original Cook Time: 30 minutes
    • Actual Cook Time: 35 minutes (the slightly larger potato pieces were almost on the verge of being undercooked, so if you have bigger pieces, I’d recommend keeping them in the oven for a bit longer)

    Notes or comments from the author:

    • In the post, Chungah mentions that these potatoes are blooming with flavour… Unfortunately I didn’t get that when I cut the recipe in half the first time. If you do half the potatoes but keep the rest of the recipe the same (juice a while lemon, use all of the rosemary, etc.) the flavour is very much there and it’s just delicious. I do think that using the full amount of potatoes would be fine too, of course.

    Verdict: Success (with modifications)! Like I mentioned above, there wasn’t enough lemon rosemary flavour to these potatoes the first time around. Make sure to make the full amount and you won’t be disappointed though! These are so easy, I’ll definitely be using them as a side for dishes other than sausage!

     Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

    ** Please note, the recipe for Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Damn Delicious or any other third party.