Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Clara's Blue Slime

Clara found the recipe for this gloppy slime on Our Best Bites blog.

We got really excited about it and made it straight away.

The ingredients cost me around $1.50 and Clara did all the prep work.

We had lots of fun playing around with it.

When Jim wakes up from his nap I'm sure he'll love it too.

Blue Slime

1 teaspoon borax powder
1 1/2 C water, divided
4 oz (1/2 C)  Elmer’s glue, clear or white
food coloring

Add borax powder to 1 cup of water (I mixed it right in my 1 C measure) and stir to dissolve.
Set aside.  Pour glue into a medium mixing bowl and add 1/2 C water. Add a few drops of food coloring until desired color is reached and then stir to mix glue solution until smooth.  Pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture and watch the solids start to form.  Stir for a few moments and then use your hands to gather the mass.  The mixture will be very soft and wet.  Keep kneading until it firms up and feels dry.  Discard excess liquid in bowl. The more you knead and play with the slime the firmer it will become.  Store in a ziplock bag or air tight container and the slime will keep indefinitely.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Perfect Beef Meatballs

I love recipes that I can get my helpers to make.

Jimmy is my right hand man in all things involving pot stirring, meat breading and scooping.

This is Ina Garten's recipe for "real meatballs".

They're so simple and delicious.

She tells you to pan fry the meat balls in small batches.

I hate doing that, so I place the balls on a cookie sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and bake them 20-30 minutes at 350F.

Ina's Perfect Beef Meatballs
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook)

2lbs ground beef (or 1lb ground beef, 1/2 lb veal, 1/2 lb pork)
1 C fresh bread crumbs (about 4 slices put through the blender/food processor)
2 Tbsp chopped parsley (1-2 tsp dried)
1/2 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 C water
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 extra large egg, beaten
olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl using your hands.
Form into 2 inch meatballs.
Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, flipping and rotating the meatballs half way through cooking time.

Banana Almond Espresso Delight

This morning I felt like a blender juice and a coffee and this is what I came up with.

It's almost as good as having a delicious pastry and a coffee.

Jim has a banana with peanut butter on it every morning so I can't wait for him to try this.

He'll love it.

Banana Almond Espresso Juice
(adapted from

1/2 - 3/4 C chocolate almond milk
1 frozen banana (I chopped up and froze a few bananas the night before)
1/4 C almond butter
dash of cinnamon
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

handful of ice (optional)

Blend all ingredients together.

Pulled Pork Pizza and a Perfect Salad Dressing

Tonight we had pulled pork pizza.

It was a success.

Stowe dough + Pulled pork, hot peppers, and sheep's milk cheese = amazing pizza.

Eaten with my new favourite salad dressing!!

House Dressing

1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 C Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp honey or brown sugar
1 Tbsp tomato paste (I used the Kusharee tomato sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp each basil and oregano, dried
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
pinch pepper
pinch salt

 Shake all ingredients together in a mason jar.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pulled Pork Tacos with Tangy Coleslaw

Pulled pork tacos are so good.

I love that they're spicy and fresh and creamy, filling and exotic all at the same time.

I bought a big pork loin and planned to make pulled pork with it but changed my mind and made tacos instead.

The tacos start similar to a pulled pork but the stewing sauce gets really built up with all kinds of flavour.

 The sauce has loads of citrus and smoky chipotle, rich tomato and garlic.

The pork then simmers in this sauce for almost 2 hours.  It will at that point literally fall apart.

Serve the shredded pork on warm corn tortillas with a coleslaw dressed with lots of lime juice on top.

Since younger family members don't appreciate heat as much as Jim and I do, I took out a piece of meat shredded it and left it mostly sauceless for them.

I also offered them simpler toppings of shredded carrot, thinly sliced red pepper and sour cream in place of the coleslaw.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Tangy Coleslaw

(The Neelys recipe from

1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or regular chili powder)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ( about 3 1/2-pounds) boneless pork butt, cut into 3-inch chunks (I used Pork Loin)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup chicken stock
1 small can tomato puree
1 tablespoons honey
1 orange, halved and juiced
1 lime, halved and juiced

1 package corn tortillas, warmed
Sour cream
Coleslaw (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Mix the oregano, chipotle powder, cumin, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.

Season the cubed pork chunks with the spice mixture and put into a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, chicken stock, the tomato puree, honey, orange and lime juice, and the juiced orange and lime halves. Stir together with a wooden spoon. Put the pot on medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Transfer to the oven and cook, covered, until the pork is tender and easily shreds, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Remove the meat from the Dutch oven to a cutting board.

Meanwhile, shred the meat and add back into the pot with the sauce.

Serve with tortillas, sour cream and coleslaw.

Tangy Coleslaw

4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small bag coleslaw or 4-6 Cups of shredded cabbage
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 carrot peeled, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix vinegar, lime juice, oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add cabbage, parsley, carrot, salt and pepper.

Spinach Hummus: Application II

Today, I'm trying the hummus on a flat bread with lots of lettuce, alfalfa sprouts and apple slices.

The kids are having alphabet soup.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spinach Hummus with Apple Slices

My mother-in-law makes delicious apple-hummus wraps.

I frequently make them for myself for lunch.

Spread a wrap with hummus, top with shredded carrots, spinach and apple, then wrap it up tight.

Today I did a variation on that.

I added lots of spinach to my usual hummus recipe and used it as a dip for all the other components.

Add a apple, orange, blueberry and spinach juice and there's lunch.

Spinach Hummus with Apple and Carrot

1 796mls can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 lemon zested and juiced
1/4 C tahini
2 cloves minced garlic (optional)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2-3 large handfuls spinach
1/4-1/2 tsp cumin

Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Serve with sliced apple, sliced carrots and pita chips or crackers.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kusherie: Egyptian Street Fare

Kusherie, a dish popular in Egypt, is probably one of my favourite things to eat.

I was introduced to it several years back at a little restaurant in Toronto.

I always promised myself I wouldn't try to make it at home so it would still feel special to eat it when we went out.

That promise was broken today. 

My friend, Laurie, got me onto this cookbook called More with Less; such a good cookbook.

It's a Mennonite cookbook that emphasizes eating more grains and vegetables, less sugar and all for less money.

Carolyn Yoder from Egypt  offers this recipe for Kushari and when I saw it I resisted the urge to make it no longer.(This is terrible, but it never occurred to me that there might be Mennonites in Cairo?)

It was exactly right and just how I hoped it would taste.

A flavourful bed of rice and lentils that's topped with a spicy-sweet tomato sauce and caramelized onions.


I throw a couple meatballs on top of the kids kusherie in place of the caramelized onions.

A big green salad with house dressing goes well with kushari.

This tomato herb salad dressing is beautiful with the main course.

*No meal prep would be quite complete without my right hand man and mini-chef, Jimmy*

Kusherie (Kusharee)
adapted from More with Less Cookbook 

2 Tbsp oil
1 1/4 C brown lentils, rinsed
4 C stock, hot
1 tsp salt
dash pepper
1 1/2 C rice (I used white basmati)

3 small tins tomato paste
3 C tomato juice, pureed tomato, or tomato sauce (I used 2 cans of V8)
1 green pepper, chopped small
1 handful celery leaves, chopped
1 T honey, sugar or maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
big pinch chili flakes

2Tbsp oil
3 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced

Heat oil over med heat in a large sauce pan and add lentils and cook 5 minutes.
Stir often.
Add 3 C stock, salt and pepper.
Cook uncovered 10 minutes.
Stir in rice and remaining 1 C stock.
Bring to a boil and cover simmering until cooked, about 10-15 minutes.

In a medium sauce pan, heat tomato paste, V8, green pepper, celery leaves, honey, salt, cumin and chili flakes.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 mins.

In a small skillet heat oil and add onions, garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper and sautee on med-low  until brown.

To serve, put rice-lentil mixture on a plate, top with tomato sauce and finish with the caramelized onions.

House Dressing

1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 C Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp honey or brown sugar
1 Tbsp tomato paste (I used the Kusharee tomato sauce) 
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp each basil and oregano, dried
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
pinch pepper
pinch salt

 Shake all ingredients together in a mason jar.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lemon Garlic Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Tonight was one of those nights I know I will remember for a long time.

We enjoyed good, sweet time with Gramma, (aka, Gramma Dodette) and later had a surprise drop in from Dad.

The time was made even better by the fact that I wasn't fussing over dinner the whole time.

I assembled the dish in the morning and left it in the fridge until I was ready to cook it.

It's a good make-ahead meal to keep in mind.

We ate it with green beans, a big salad and some rosemary focaccia bread.

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Roasted Potatoes
(adapted from: - recipe # 346661)

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 teaspoon salt
6-8 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
salt and pepper
1 lemon, juiced
olive oil
1-2 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350°.

Set out a large roasting pan.   (I used 2- 9 x 13 inch baking dishes)  Place chicken in pan(s), leave space between the thighs.

Make a paste with the garlic and salt using side of large knife,(I used my mortar and pestle) then rub all over tops of chicken.

Place potatoes in a large bowl, add salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.

Sprinkle chicken with black pepper.

Place potatoes on and around thighs.

Pour chicken broth into side of pan.

Sprinkle lemon juice to taste over top of dish.

Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes or until done.

Turn chicken and potatoes over halfway through cooking time.

Add more chicken broth during baking, if pan becomes dry during cooking.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Roasted Tomato Meatball Soup

Every Wednesday I make soup.

We have soup because Wednesday nights are busy, soup is fast and it having a 'soup night' takes some of the guess work out of what to make for dinner.

This past Wednesday's soup was particularly good.
It is an oven roasted tomato and red pepper puree with tons of mini meatballs thrown in.

Pretty simple but really different than most of the other soups I make.

I added about a cup of cooked rice and balsamic vinegar right at the end.

It's a most filling soup. I served it with naan and some of Shaida's delicious yogurt.

Roasted Tomato Meatball Soup 
(Eat Shrink and Be Merry Cookbook)

2 Cans San Marzano Tomatoes, drained (I kept the juice and cooked it down for tomato paste) or 8 roma tomatoes chopped
2 large red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme

 2 cups beef broth
1 can V8 juice
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or (2 tsp dried)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 C cooked rice, optional
salt, pepper- to taste


1lb extra-lean ground beef
1 chopped green onion
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp each thyme and oregano
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 450.

Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and, on it, toss together tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, oil and herbs.
Roast in a single layer for 15 minutes. 
Stir and turn oven onto broiler. Broil veggies for another 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs. Combine all meatball ingredients and mix well. Form 48 mini meatballs. 
Remove veg from oven. Transfer the veg to a soup pot, add stock and blend with an immersion blender until well pureed. (or puree in a blender half at a time with 1 C stock each time) Add the rest of the soup ingredients.

Bring soup to a boil. Add meatballs. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through - from 5 to 10 minutes.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Guest Post by Clara Stowe: Granola Parfaits

Mom suggested that we make parfaits for our snack.

So, I started making mine.

When I was almost finished making mine, I started making one for Mom.

They tasted awesome!

Mom and I had to add more granola while we were eating them.

Now I'm going to tell you how to make them!

I hope you like them as much as we did.


Fruit and Granola Yogurt Parfaits

~your favourite granola (For mine, I used a peanut butter granola that my mom makes for me.  For my mom's I used her granola with nuts and cherries.)
~your favourite yogurt (Mine: Strawberry Rhubarb. Mom's: Vanilla)
~sliced strawberries
~fresh and/or frozen blueberries
~strawberry or mint leaves for garnish

Fill about 1/3 of the jar with yogurt, then fill 1/3 of the jar with granola, then another 1/3 of the jar yogurt again.
Then put on your sliced strawberries. (Just do one layer of strawberries.)
Then do one layer of blueberries.
(I put a small circle of frozen blueberries on the top of mine.)
You use the yogurt like glue so everything stays.