Category Archives: Cooking

Sunday rainbows, croissants and painting!

My Sunday went a little like this…

Started off the day by painting in pajamas.

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Brown-butter-banana-Nutella croissant sandwiches are part of a nutritious breakfast (you know, if you actually eat healthy stuff with them).

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I cleaned out my filing cabinet and found my Grade 3 autobiography. It seems I always knew my calling, and somehow had the impression, even at a young age, that I may not make enough money as an artist. Despite this, I still resisted the apparent pressure to become a doctor – it must have been there because I was quite adamant about not becoming one!

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The day was gloomy, with winter winds blowing in again, so I perked it up with my rainbow knee high and bracelet, and my new shirt and neck warmer that my wonderful friend Mandy made for me.

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Date Balls

My brother has his mind in the gutter at the mention of these, but you know I mean round, edible things that have dates in them, right? OK… moving on.

I’ve been making date balls for awhile now, but when my BFF Angela came to visit me, she gave me her recipe. I have combined the two and come up with something super yum, with lots of variations. Not only are these a delicious, sweet snack, but they are filling (with loads of protein) and good for you, too. There will be no photo. Just picture a ball, covered in coconut or Rice Krispies. That’s pretty much it.

Date Balls (dedicated to two Angela’s: my BFF, and my craft-show-partner-in-crime, who is waiting for this post!)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates (quality does make a difference! The super soft honey dates are reeeeally good in this recipe)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/4 of a small banana or less
  • hazelnuts or cashews for inside – optional
  • shredded coconut or crushed Rice Krispies

Combine the dates, walnuts, almonds and flaxseed in a food processor until well mixed and chopped. Then add the nut butter and banana, and pulse until well combined. Roll into balls with hazelnuts or cashews on the inside (for a crunchy centre), then roll in coconut or Rice Krispies. The outer coating is needed, to prevent sticking.

A variation on this is to add a few tablespoons of raw cocoa powder to the first few ingredients and blend for a nice chocolate flavour. This tastes great if you use peanut butter in place of hazelnut butter. But hazelnut is awesome, too. There are too many options, really. Yum.

Patacon (or: what to do with plantains)

My wonderful Colombian friend, Monica, taught me how to make patacon! They are delicious and fun to make.

Start with about 3 green plantains, no black spots.

Cut off ends, score, then peel.

Slice.

Fry in canola oil until the bottom forms a bit of a hard "shell" that resists piercing with a fork. Flip the pieces.

Cook for another few minutes until both sides are lightly browned.

Place on a flat surface.

Put a flat topped glass or cup on top... get ready...

The fun part: SMOOSH! Let your kids do it.

Smooshed!

Back in the frypan for a few more minutes, depending on how crispy/crunchy you like them. Test a few to see!

Voila! Drain on paper towel. Patacon are crispy/crunchy on the outside, and meaty on the inside.

Suggested serving: Patacon with homemade refried beans, brown rice, grated cheddar cheese, guacomole, and yogurt. So good. Put any or all toppings on the patacon.

Enjoy!

 

Fried Pasta with Brie. Who knew?

I had some (loads) of leftover plain pasta in the fridge and it occurred to me that frying it might taste better than reheating in the microwave. After a quick glance online to see if other people have done this before, I determined that frying pasta won’t kill me, so why not give it a go! I love frying leftover rice to the point that it gets crunchy, so I decided to do the same to the pasta. First I cooked a few Tbsp of chopped onions in a healthy dose (lots) of coconut ghee, then added the pasta, S&P,  and fried to perfection. It has such a great texture and crunch! I added a slice of brie on top, which got all melty and gooey and tasted great. I’ll be cooking extra pasta from now on.

Can’t Stop

Can’t stop eating:

Snowball cookies from "Best of Bridge"

Can’t stop sewing:

Denim Do-it-All Bins from Craftzine (Betz White)

Can’t stop listening.

 

 

Letting go of the need to control (my kitchen)

It started out innocently enough. I’ve been allowing the kids to choose one recipe a week that they are in charge of cooking, while I am the “helper”. This morning my daughter made a delicious shredded apple-honey-yogurt with toasted almonds breakfast. It was so good I wanted more after I was done.

We had the prospect of a full day ahead of us, since our camping trip was cancelled (while folks in the rest of the world are halfway to boiling to death, Alberta weather has decided to bring a little taste of autumn – cool with rain). What better way to start an empty day than with baking? We started by making lemon blueberry scones (from Bonnie Stern’s “Essentials of Home Cooking” – LOVE this book). I messed it up a bit by adding the milk that was supposed to go on TOP of the scones TO the scones, but at least added some flour to the batter to make up for it. They tasted good, anyway.

After poring over our kids’ cookbooks, my son (5 years old) chose a recipe for brown sugar shortbread.

Once those were in the oven, the kids started writing their own recipes. “Can we try them today? Please?!” Normally, I would have said no, since we had already been baking for at least an hour, and I don’t like having more than one extra cook in the kitchen, and I am a bit of an uptight parent at times, and I didn’t want to wash more dishes, and I am a perfectionist, and even though I want my kids to develop confidence and experience in the kitchen, I have a hard time letting go of how things “should” turn out. Well, this time I took a breath and said, “Sure.” After all, if they are using their own recipes, I am not attached to how it should turn out, and we weren’t counting on these things to be our meal.

My son wrote a (sort of) cake recipe (dictated to his sister, actually) that fairly resembled a real recipe. It seemed like it could actually work. His sister helped him to make it. One of my daughters made a drink resembling hot cocoa, and the other made some weird concoction that was disgusting in both look and taste. “What should I do if even I don’t like it?” she asked. Dump.

Family members will know who made what!

After all the baking, we made a buffet lunch. The kids are enamored with buffets after eating at one every day for 5 days straight. Let’s see; we had, pb&j wraps, sweet pickles, cheesy crackers, gouda, havarti, strawberries, snap peas, edamame salad, nori, stewed rhubarb and carrots. I’m telling you, I have no interest in anything that has to do with cooking,  baking, cutting, washing, eating, or just being in the kitchen. For now.

I think we’ll order pizza for dinner.