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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Nutella Swirl Muffins

I've been holding out. I looked at my pictures the other day and I realized that I had a backlog of photo-documented recipes which did not make it to the blog press!  Here's a one fresh out of the oven and baked today.

I was looking for some muffins to bring to a busy week of work - and with my growing stash of brown bananas in the freezer, and no fresh fruit blooming at any farms yet, I had my idea. Thankfully, I found some magic ingredients that you can never go wrong with - peanut butter and Nutella. I have never paired them together - but now they will be best friends.

Peanut Butter Banana Nutella Swirl Muffins

Adapted from:
Makes about 15 medium sized muffins.


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt 
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 large eggs
3 large bananas (about a cup)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Get your muffin tin prepped with muffin liners or grease the pan if you are not using liners.

2. In a small bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl mix butter and sugar until fluffy (with electric hand mixer or Kitchen Aid)

4. Gradually add peanut butter, banana, and eggs.

5. On a slower speed, mix in flour mixture until well blended.

6.  Drop the prepared batter in the muffin liner so that there is still room at the top (don't overfill! - probably about 3/4 full)

7. Quickly stir the Nutella with a spoon and then drop approximately 1/2 TBSP in each muffin liner on top of the batter.  

8. Using a toothpick, swirl the chocolate around to get the desired swirly effect.

9. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean after poking a muffin to see if it's done!

10. Cool on a wire wrack and enjoy - served warm is best as the chocolate is still gooey.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Happy St. Patty's Day!

I hope you are donning your green shirt, listening to an Irish band of your choice, and sipping back a Guinness. I do have a secret though - I don't actually like Guinness. However, to solve my yearly problem of not being able to partake in this particular St. Patty's Day tradition - I've decided to bake my Guinness in a cake. And oh what a cake it is! 

I can assure you if you need to get your "a Guinness a day" for health benefits (as seen by some classic ads : - you can try some of this cake!

Guinness Chocolate Cake
Adapted from

1 cup of Guinness
10 TBSP unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease 9-inch springform pan with butter
3. Open a Guinness and pour 1 cup into a saucepan – the remainder pour in a glass and drink (or give to someone else).  Add butter and cook over a medium heat until the butter has melted.
4. Whisk cocoa powder, white and brown sugar until combined and remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
5. In a large bowl combine sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Slowly add butter-beer mixture (doesn’t that sound delicious?) and whisk together.
6.  In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add to beer-butter bowl and whisk together until well combined.
7. You will need to make sure your hands are extra clean because you will have to dip your finger in and taste this batter – mmmmm! But remember – you will have the bowl after so don’t go crazy.
8.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and give the pan a few short drops on the counter to shake out any air bubbles. 
9. Bake for 55 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to separate the cake from the pan and remove the springform pan edge. Allow to cool on wire rack – COMPLETELY.  (At least 3 hours – I did it before I went to bed and iced it the next morning).

Once your cake is completely cooled you may apply this delicious icing!

Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from

½ cup of butter @ room temperature
1 package (8 oz) of cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups of powdered sugar (you can add more depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. With an electric mixer, mix butter and cream cheese together on a medium speed until very smooth.
2.  Add vanilla and mix, slowly adding powdered sugar until you get your desired thickness and sweetness.
3. Using a blunt knife or spatula, spread over your yummy cake!

This combo is amazing. Please eat your Guinness cake responsibly.

 Éirinn go Brách!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Grilled Tzatziki Turkey Burgers

Although this is a summer favorite, I have been moving this meal indoors during the winter months to the iron grill on the stove.  I like this twist on the traditional burger for a few reasons. One - it's a healthier option for lean ground turkey and a flatbread bun. Plus, use tzatziki as a topping instead of your usual ketchup or bbq sauce - your taste-buds will never forgive you for waiting so long to try this.

Grilled Tzatziki Turkey Burgers
I am forever indebted to Kathleen for this recipe! xo

1 package of lean ground turkey
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 TBSP whole grain mustard
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
Few good cranks of fresh pepper
Flatbread buns ( I personally like the multigrain but you can get white)


1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix throughly.
2. Form approximately 4 patties.
3. Grill up on the bbq or iron grill.
4. Serve on toasted flatbread bun, lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki

For summer meals - Pimm's, ginger ale, and cucumbers are the trend. For winter, Pimm's, ginger ale, and frozen blackberries as ice cubes is soaring on Twitter thanks to another genius invention to that girl Kathleen!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Take 5 Chicken Marinade

Marinade. Throw ingredients in a baggy and let sit overnight. Cook it. Eat it. Savor it. I literally threw 5 ingredients in a bag in 5 minutes. There's enough sauce left over once the cooking is done to drizzle over the meat and whatever side you choose to serve. This will become a frequent flyer in my kitchen - I bet it would be perfect for a slowcooker kind of day too!

Take 5 Chicken Marinade
Adapted from

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 TBSP curry powder
4 TBSP soy sauce
4 chicken breasts

1. In a medium sized bowl stir in honey, mustard, soy sauce, and curry powder. Pour into a large ziplock baggy.
2. Place chicken breasts in plastic bag and slosh around to coat evenly. Look at your watch and say - Yes, it really did take 5 minutes! Then place in fridge for overnight.
3. After your busy day at work, open the fridge to find your supper waiting. Place in an oven safe dish and pour any remaining sauce into the dish. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 50 minutes. For the last 10 minutes, remove foil.
4. Remove from oven and serve with remaining sauce and side of choice.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Chicken Kiev

I love chicken. But there are a few ways that I typically end up cooking it - and get stuck in a rut. So I decided to branch out and try something I'd never had before - chicken kiev. As soon as I saw there was butter involved - I knew that it couldn't be too bad.  The initial prep is a little bit of work - but the chicken turned out so moist, tender and full of flavor it was worth every pound of the meat mallet.

Chicken Kiev
Taken from America's Test Kitchen 2001-2011.


Herb Butter:
8 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
1 TBSP juice from lemon
1 small shallot minced (about 1 TBSP)
1 TBSP minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 tsp minced tarragon (or if you want a different flavor - use oregano)
3/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1 cup bread crumbs finely processed
salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp Dijon mustard


1. Herb Butter: Mix the ingredients in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula until well combined.  Form into a 3 inch square on a sheet of saran wrap, wrap tightly and refrigerate for about 40 minutes.

2. Chicken: Preheat oven 300 degrees.  Add 1/8 tsp of salt and pepper to bread crumbs. Add the oil and toss until the crumbs are evenly coated. Spread the crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown - approximately 20 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.

3. Butterfly each chicken breast and place in a ziplock bag. Pound the chicken with a meat mallet (smooth end) until the meat is 1/4 inch thickness. Remove from bag and repeat with other chicken breasts.

4. Unwrap herb butter and cut into four even pieces. For each piece of chicken, place a piece of the herb butter in the middle and fold the chicken around it so that it's completely covered - and place the chicken seam side down on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Place in fridge, uncovered, for for 1 hour.

5. Preheat oven to 350. Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate plate or shallow dishes. Season the flour and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.  Whisk the mustard with the eggs. Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg, and evenly coat with breadcrumbs.

6. Place in oven safe dish and bake for 40-45 minutes until instant-read thermometer reads 160-165 degrees. Serve with your favorite style of mashed potatoes or green veggies.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Roasted Grape, Blue Cheese, & Honey Crostini

I love wine and cheese nights! This week a few friends shared in some delicious cheese, olives, and finger foods. The fireplace and conversation were sizzling.  I baked an especially good appetizer - roasted grape, blue cheese, and honey crostini. I have to thank my new obsession with Pinterest for introducing me to a link for this recipe. It was easy and super classy looking.  

Roasted Grapes, Blue Cheese, & Honey Crostini

Adapted from

Approximately 1 pound of red grapes, removed from stem
1 TBSP olive oil
1 French baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
2-3 TBSP Blue cheese for sprinkling
Honey for drizzling finish


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss grapes in a bowl with olive oil. Spread grapes on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

2. Bake sliced baguette for 5 minutes at 400. Remove from oven.

3. Dress baguette slices with grapes, crumbled blue cheese, and drizzle with honey. Return to oven at 400 for another 5 minutes.

Serve! Super yummy and has great contrasting flavors that go with any wine of your choice! 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Classic Cod Au Gratin

With some Newfoundland cod fish that made it's way into my presents at Christmas (thankfully frozen) I've been trying to savor every last piece of it. And this is one of my favorite ways to eat cod! Scrumptious.

Classic Cod Au Gratin
Adapted from


1 lb cod fillets
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup of old white cheddar cheese, grated
dash of paprika


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large pot of salted water, place cod and boil rapidly for 20 minutes. Drain the fish and cut into small pieces discarding any bones. Place fish in a greased baking dish.

3. To make a white sauce, in a medium sized saucepan, melt butter and stir in onion and flour until smooth. Remove from heat and gradually stir in half of the milk. Return to heat and continue to stir until smooth and shiny. Add remaining milk, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until sauce is smooth and thickened.

4. Pour sauce over fish. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and dash some paprika over the top.

5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the sauce bubbles and the cheese begins to brown. Serve in a bowl and a fresh homemade bun, slice of bread, or toutons if you're lucky!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Multigrain Bread

Baking bread always scared me. Yeast is a tricky thing. I have enough trouble with pizza dough. And bread is a lot more time to invest in a dough that is unyielding and dense.  I told myself all these horrrible things. That making bread is something that you have to take 40 years to practice - and only until your threadbare apron is sitting happily on your plump midline as your hair is up in curlers - THEN you can truly make good bread.  And let's face it - I don't want to have a perm when I'm 75 and neither do I want elasta-waist band pants.

So I fought off my demons of bread making - and found myself looking at a dough hook attachment for my mixer. I could at least blame any dough inconsistencies on my machine.

Up went the hair (in a simple elastic - no curlers) and up went the sleeves of my shirt. Despite some moments of doubt...and drawing upon any genetic bread making ability of my grandmothers, I was determined for success! I followed the recipe exactly - and I made two beautiful loaves of multigrain bread.  It was especially delicious with bakeapple jam and french press coffee.

I hope that you can put aside any fears you have today of baking bread - I think it takes practice - so get started :)

Multigrain Bread

Taken from America's Test Kitchen 2001-2011.
Yields - two loaves.


1 1/4 cups seven-grain hot cereal mix (Bob's Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills are excellent choices)
2 1/2 cups boiling water (measure out AFTER you've boiled the water)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, extra for work surface
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 1/4 tsp of instant yeast
1 TBSP salt
3/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds (can substitute for sunflower)
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats


1. Place the cereal mix in the bowl of a standing mixer and pour the boiling water over it, stir, and let stand and cool for about 1 hour. It should look like thick porridge.  Whisk the flours together in a separate medium bowl.

2. Once the grain mixture has cooled, add honey, melted butter, and yeast and stir to combine. Attach the bowl to a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. You should only ever have the mixer on low speed - no higher than 2! Add flours 1/2 cup at a time and let the machine knead until the dough forms a ball (about 2 minutes). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest 20 minutes.

3.  Add salt and knead again on low speed until the dough clears the sides of the bowl (2-3 minutes). Add pumpkin seeds and knead for another 15 seconds. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead by hand until the seeds are dispersed evenly in the dough and it forms a smooth taut ball. Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size - 45-60 minutes.

4.  Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease (with butter, oil or spray) two bread pans and set aside. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and pat into a 12 by 9 inch rectangle; cut the dough in half crosswise with a knife.  with a short side facing you, starting at the fartest end, roll one dough piece into a log, keeping the roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. Seal the loaf by pinching the seam together gently with your thumb and forefinger; repeat with the other loaf. Sprinkle water over each loaf - and roll each dough log in oat to coat evenly. Place seam side down in the greased loaf pans pressing gently into the corners; voer lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in size - 30-40 minutes. (The dough should barely spring back when poked with a knuckle).

5. Bake until the center of the loaves registers 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer 35-40 minutes. Remove loaves from the pans and cool on a wire rack before slicing - 2 hours at least.

Because there aren't much preservatives in this bread - it should last a week so I usually keep one out and freeze the other in a freezer ziplock bag.

Enjoy with some homemade jellies or jams!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Cheese & Spice Potatoes

These are a classic side that goes pretty much with anything. In the meal I prepared in the photos, I cooked some maple glazed salmon with snow peas. It takes minutes to prepare and limited baking time - I find that russet baby potatoes work best.

Cheese & Spice Potatoes
Taken from my Dad's kitchen.


Russet baby potatoes (I usually fill the cookie sheet for a serving of 3-4 people for a side dish)
1 1/2 cup old white cheddar cheese (2-5 year old)
3-4 TBSP olive oil
2-3 TBSP Montreal steak spice


1. Preheat your oven to 375 and line the cookie sheet with foil.

2. Slice the potatoes in thin pieces and place in a medium sized bowl. Pour 3-4 TBSP of olive oil in the bowl and mix with hands until completely coated.

3. Arrange potato slices on cookie sheet so that there are none overlapping and they are evenly distributed.

4. Generously sprinkle Montreal steak spice over the top. Eyeballing it, it's approximately 2-3TBSP.

5. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes.

6. While potatoes are baking, grate cheese and set aside.

7. Remove potatoes from oven and cover with cheese. Return to oven and bake for 5 more minutes.

It's that simple! Some favorite dishes that I've also had these potatoes with include BBQ steak or chicken, fish, lamb, and roast beef. Enjoy!