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Week Eleven - Breakfast

French Toast Pancakes


This was a delicious breakfast that I made for my wonderful Gussy this morning, as a special surprise. It is a mix of pancakes and french toast, with a strawberry-banana cream cheese and a blueberry-strawberry compte. Sounds a bit odd, but trust me, it was amazing.

Ingredients (Pancakes)

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4 thick Slices of Bread, cut in halves (I made my own home-made bread from this recipe, but I made it with whole wheat flour

So beat the eggs together until they are fluffy. Add the Flour, Milk, Oil, Sugar, Baking Powder and Vanilla and mix until smooth. Soak the bread halves in the pancake batter.

Put them on a hot skillet and fry for about two minutes on each side. 

Ingredients (Compote)

  • 1/2 pint Blueberries
  • 8 chopped Strawberries
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 Water

Mix the ingredients together in a small pot on low-medium heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture has thickened and the berries have become soft. You can pop the blue berries with the back of a wooden spoon. 

Ingredients (Cream Cheese)

  • 1/4 cup Cream Cheese
  • 3 large chopped Strawberries
  • 1/3 large Banana

Pulse the ingredients in a food processor until they are roughly blended. There should still be some chunks of strawberries.

Squish the cream cheese between two pieces of the pancake bread and serve with the compote over top. Eat with a huge smile on your face.

Week Ten - Book or Movie Themed, Part 2

Kreacher’s French Onion Soup


Super easy, and better yet, super delicious. One of my favourite parts from Harry Potter is (Spoilers Ahead!) when Harry gives Kreacher Regulus’ necklace and Kreacher turns all good and happy in the seventh book. It is so heart warming. Anyway, after a long day trying to destroy Voldemort, Kreacher makes them a big bowl of french onion soup.

"Kreacher came bustling to the table with a large tureen in his hands, and ladled out soup into pristine bowls, whistling between his teeth as he did so."

"He began to spoon soup into his mouth. The quality of Kreacher’s cooking had improved dramatically ever since he had been given Regulus’s locket: Today’s French onion was as good as Harry had ever tasted."

So how could I pass up the oportunity to make a meal from my favourite book series?? So here is my (slimmed down) version of Kreacher’s French Onion Soup. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 2 Sweet onions, sliced
  • 1 Red Onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 5 cups low-sodium, reduced fat beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • French Baguette (preferably Whole Wheat)
  • Swiss Cheese, sliced

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat; add the onions and cook, uncovered, until golden – about 10-12 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 3-5 more minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the beef and chicken broth broth, thyme,bay leaf, balsamic vinegar, and pepper; increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly for about 6 minutes. Adjust the heat to a simmer, partly cover the saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, spoon out the bay leaf.

Preheat the oven’s broiler. Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls. Place a piece of bread on the top of the liquid and a slice of cheese over the bread. To make ours lower fat, we got thinly sliced deli cheese and cut those in half (about 30 calories each).

Place the bowls in the oven 4-6 inches from the heat, and broil until the cheese is golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.

See? Easy peasy. It was absolutely delicious, I’m sure house elves would be proud. 

Nutritional Information

Servings: 5

Calories per Serving: 89 (just soup)

Fat: 2.4 g 
Carbohydrates: 12.7 g
Fiber: 2.0 g
Sugars: 5.4 g 
Protein: 4.9 g

With Cheese and Bread (assuming 0.5 oz Bread/Serving)

Calories per Serving: 159 

Week Ten - Book or Movie Themed, Part 1

Butterbeer Cupcakes and Chocolate Frogs


This was a fun challenge. It was great to come up with a recipe that would fit in with my FAVOURITE book series, probably ever. I didn’t want to just do the classic butterbeer, that would be way too easy. So I tried (hint, tried) to capture the flavours in a butterscotch cupcake with cream soda icing and butterscotch ganache. It turned out well, I think they were yummy. I made the cupcakes much less sweet to balance out the insane sugar rush from the icing. The chocolate frogs were super easy, but we will get to those in a second.


The Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Softened Butter
  • 3 tbsp Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Sugar-Free Butterscotch Pudding

Preheat the oven to 350F

Cream together the Butter, Applesauce and Sugar. When they are nice and fluffy, beat in the Vanilla and the Eggs/Egg Whites one at a time.

In a separate bowl, wisk together the Flour and Baking Powder.

Alternately stir the flour mixture and the pudding into the wet ingredients, ending on the flour. 

Spoon the batter into 12 cupcake papers. Pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

The Icing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Cream Soda
  • 1/2 cup of Butter
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups Icing Sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp Milk
First, in a small sauce pan, reduce the Cream Soda to about half, until it is like a syrup. Set it aside and let it cool.
When it is cooled, pour it into a large bowl with the butter and vanilla. Cream the ingredients together with beaters. Add the icing sugar, half a cup at a time until the mixture goes from smooth, to chunky. Add the milk one table spoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. 
The Ganache

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup Butterscotch Chips
  • 2 tbsp Milk
In a small bowl, microwave the two ingredients together and whisk until smooth. This will be much thinner than a normal ganache, but just as delicious. 

The Chocolate Frogs

As for the chocolate frogs, they were super easy! All you have to do is buy chocolate melting wafers in what ever colour you want. I decided on green, because frogs are obviously green. Duh. I just picked them up at Bulk Barn and they were super cheap. They take about ten minutes to do and look really impressive

Ingredients

  • Chocolate Melting Wafters
  • Rice Krispies
  • Frog Moulds

Melt the chocolate wafters in the microwave. Make sure to keep the power low and check it often to avoid burning the chocolate.

Next coat the inside of the Moulds with a thin layer of your chocolate. Put that in the fridge to harden.

Set aside some of the liquid chocolate.

Mix the remaining chocolate with rice krispies.

When the frogs have hardened, put as much of the rice krispie-chocolate as will fit in the mould. Cover the rest with the chocolate you set aside.

Pop those in the fridge for about 15 minutes, or until they harden.

When they are done, pop them out of the moulds and put them in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Or devour them on the spot. 

Week Nine - Coffee

Coffee-Chili Pork Rub

I’m not the biggest fan of the taste of coffee, but this pork rub was surprisingly good. Gus ate the entire thing! 

Ingredients

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Fine Ground Coffee
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Mustard Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Canola Oil

The Method

Combine the spices on a plate and coat the Pork Tenderloin thoroughly. Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour. Take it out half an hour before you start cooking to let it come up to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375F

In a cast iron pan, heat the canola oil. Place the tenderloin in the pan and sear it for 2 - 3 minutes. Repeat until all sides are seared. When that is done, move the pan into the oven for about 20 minutes (depending on the size of your tenderloin). The meat is done when the internal temperature reads 150F.

Let it rest for ten minutes and slice to serve. 

Easy, and delicious. 

Lower Fat, Better For You Shepherd’s Pie

Here is that spin on a classic I promised last post. Technically, this should be called a “Cottage Pie” because it uses beef instead of lamb, but I’m just going to go with the colloquialism on this one. So, Gus loves shepherd’s pie. I mean loves it, like does-a-little-dance-every-time-I-make-it-loves-it.  Unfortnately, traditional Shepherd’s Pie is filled with starch and fat and all kinds of icky bad stuff that doesn’t make me feel too great afterwards. Luckily, I have come up with a slimmed down version that doesn’t lose out on any of the taste. 

Ingredients

  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 chopped Onions
  • 1 cup of chopped Carrots
  • 1 lb of Extra Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup of Beef Broth
  • 1 cup of Frozen Corn
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Peas
  • 2 Medium Potatoes
  • 1/2 lb of Califlower
  • 1.5 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 cup of Milk
  • Salt and Pepper

The Method

First, preheat your oven to 400F

Peel and quarter your potatoes and put them in boiling water while you work on the meat. Getting them tender should take about 25 minutes.

Now, spray a very large sauce pan with some cooking spray. Add the onions and carrots and saute until they are tender. (To give you a hint at the differences in technique between my cooking and my dad’s cooking, his recipe calls for 4 tbsp of butter to saute the onions).

So get those onions and carrots nice and tender and then add the ground beef. You want to cook this until all the pink is gone. Add some salt and pepper and the Worcestershire Sauce. Mix this up well before pouring in 1/2 a cup of beef broth and adding the frozen peas and corn. 

Cook this mixture on low, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add more of the beef broth to keep it moist as it cooks. 

Now back to the topping.

About 10 minutes before the potatoes are done, add the chopped cauliflower to the boiling water. When both are tender enough to easily stick a fork through, transfer them (with a slotted spoon) to a food processor. Mix well with the butter and milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. I found that I added a LOT of pepper, but that is probably because I love it. The consistency should be just like mashed potatoes. 

Right, now to put it all together. When the beef mixture is done, spread it evenly in a 9x13 casserole dish.

Now spread the potato mixture evenly on top. Rough it up with a fork to form some peaks. These will turn all brown and yummy in the oven. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. If it isn’t brown enough at the end, you can put the oven on “broil” on high for a few minutes, but keep a close eye on it. 

And that is a slimmed down version of shepherds pie.

Nutritional Information

Servings: 6

Calories per Serving: 325

Fat:16.2 g
Carbohydrates:  27.0 g
Fiber: 4.0 g
Sugar: 5.6 g
Protein: 20.2 g 


Gus and I started this blog to chronicle our cooking adventures. We named it after one of our heroes, Jamie Oliver, famously known as the Naked Chef. Though we are not as good as him yet, we are working our way there - we are 'Half Naked' if you will! We are going through cooking challenges, daily meals and special occasions together and taking lots of pictures as we go. Watch out for the occasional fire!