Saturday, January 25, 2014

Special Moments: First Steps

A took 3 whole steps on Christmas day and just started walking more and more since. Although he started crawling since he was six months, walking is quiet different :) He certainly has a new confidence and independance. It is very sweet watching and chasing a toddler around.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potato and Baby Spinach

I'm always on the look out for new ways of cooking quinoa. This is a lovely warm salad and the pumpkin seeds give it a lovely crunch and the raisins a dimension. I adapted this recipe from one I found on food52. It uses butternut instead of sweet potato and is equally yummy. Our vegetarian friend enjoyed it, so it's 3rd party approved.

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
500grams sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, dice
1/2 brown onion diced small
1 and 3/4 cups vegetable stock
pinch of salt
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
2 handfuls baby spinach
1/2 cup raisins 
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)





Method 
  1. Put the quinoa in a bowl and cover it with cool water. Rub it between your hands and pour off most of the water. Add fresh water and repeat two or three times, until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly in a fine-meshed strainer. Set the strainer over a bowl until you are ready to cook the quinoa.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large  pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the sweet potato and carrot and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the quinoa, stock and salt. Bring the liquid to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, set a small plate next to the stove. Pour a few drops (about 1/2 teaspoon) of olive oil into a small skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the pumpkin seeds. Stir and shake the pan until the pumpkin seeds turn from green to olive to slightly golden brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and immediately scrape them onto the awaiting plate.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and add the spinach, pumpkin seeds and raisins. Cover the pot and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Mix and fluff up the grains with a fork. 
 



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Heart Felt Bunny

After Christmas we have Valentine's day to lift our spirits, especially after January when we're waiting for our paycheck. Valentine's day might be seen as commercial but it doesn't have to be. I think it's nice to stop and think of the ones we love. And you don't need to spend money to show that. I like a quiet evening with DH and now A with a nice meal at home. And if I get flowers out of it, I'm not complaining.

Since A's Birthday I have really neglected my crafting. Now that we are somewhat settled I am rearing to go again. I thought I would make a cute Valentine's Day Bunny ornament. The idea is to hang it on the front door knob for DH to see when he comes home. It also fits nicely into A's fist. So maybe I should have put a little bell inside it. 

The front of my Valentine Felt Bunny

The back of the Bunny

Anyway, here is the template if you like my bunny. It's the first one I'm posting on the blog. So please let me know if you have suggestions to make it better.

template

 

 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Yuppiechef The Art of Baking: Lesson 2

I was very excited and inspired when I found the Art of Baking course from Yuppiechef, you can read about my outcome of Lesson 1.  Now I wasn't particularly excited about Lesson 2: Cookies and Biscuits. They have never came out WOW for me and I also found the whole process tedious rolling the dough, cutting the shapes, baking a batch, then again rolling, cutting, baking... 

The recipe in the lesson was for Lemony Butter Biscuits and OMG they came out amazing! These are really the tastiest biscuits I have ever made and probably one of the best I've tasted. Can't believe I made them LOL. Funny how sometimes in life you find a treasure when you don't expect to. So this recipe is a definite winner and I can't wait till A gets a bit bigger so he can help me with the cookie cutting. 

I also learned a neat tip that you can freeze the biscuit dough. So I can keep some dough in the freezer and make the biscuits when I need them, and not have to roll, cut and bake for hours.   

On to lesson 3:Bread :)

Simple and really really yummy lemony butter biscuits

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Special Moments: Little Walking Moster :)

A finally took a good three steps on Christmas (that's the day before he turns 15months if you're wondering). What a great present for mommy and daddy! Since then he's been walking more and more everyday. Right now nothing is cuter then him rushing towards me on his two feet :)

Red Beans and Rice

For the past few years J and I have been trying to eat less meat and dairy. I don't know if we'll ever become true vegetarians/vegans, some patches of the year are better then others. But we're motivated because it is the start of the new year.

I recently bought a cookbook called "Vegan Cooking for Carnivores". It is written by Roberto Martin, who is a personal chef to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. Portia said that "instead of making vegan food, he made food vegan". After I make some more recipes I'll write a review of the book. Now the book claims that if you're going to make one recipe from the book, make red beans and rice. So I decided that one would be it.

I have never heard of red beans and rice before and it doesn't really sound very promising but I was proved wrong. The dish is very exciting visually and taste wise.


I used Frys Vegeterian Spicy Sausages in the recipe. The dish turned out great! I think it could definitely fool a carnivore! The sausages did make it nice and spicy, I think I'll try to make it with some Frys Traditional sausages next time to make it milder. The recipe made a hearty amount so luckily we had left overs for lunch the next day. Yum!

I have vegan chili recipe that I make in the slow cooker and this one definitely replaces it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Peeling Tomatoes Tutorial

Lots of recipe's call for peeled tomatoes. From simple tomato sauce to soups and stews. I would normally then reach for a can chopped and peeled tomatoes. But I learned it is really quick and easy to peel your own tomatoes.

So here's how to do it:

1. Make a criss-cross on the under side of the tomato with a knife.


2. Place to tomatoes in boiling water for about 3 minutes.


3. Put the tomatoes under cold water to cool them down.


4. Peel the tomatoes where you made the criss cross


Tah-dah!