Friday, February 24, 2012

Bacon Tomato Lentil Pasta

These lentils look so pretty!
 Things I love about this recipe:
(1)   It’s got bacon (and no….I do not have a bacon addiction ….I’ve been tested...)
(2)    I love the bitter flavor of arugula
(3)    The lentils make the pasta seem creamy without actually adding any cream (healthy-ish, right?)
a.     I've also heard that lentils are good for you (wikipedia knows everything!)
(4)   The ingredient list is pretty simple...
a.     Whenever a recipe calls for 'pasta', I try to use brown rice pasta (as a general rule, I 'try' to 'healthify' the rest of my diet in an effort to balance out the amount of bacon that I consume....)
b.     If arugula isn't your cup of tea, you can supplement with flat leaf parsley (, I am not trying to tell you what to do here, but I would really 'recommend' giving arugula another try... )

I adapted this recipe from one I found in a Martha Stewart magazine a million years ago.  It's a good hearty winter pasta and makes for good leftovers. 

(Although I don't always do this....even though I should) I recommend reading the directions in its entirety prior to starting the recipe.  In order to minimize the cooking time,  you can caramelize (- this is possibly the most overused word in my Dad's vocabulary....he'll be excited that it made an appearance on my blog...) the onions and boil the lentils at the same time.

Bacon Tomato Lentil Pasta
(Makes 4-6 servings as a main course)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bacon Caramel Popcorn


I still have bacon left over in the freezer from the Butchery and Charcuterie class that I took last November/December. 

My lovely aunt (the same one who organizes our yearly cookie exchange) sent me this recipe a couple of weeks ago as she knows I have a particular affinity for anything with bacon in it....

I love caramel popcorn.  (and I'm sure I am not the only person that finds it addictive.)

So - because of all of these things, I felt like the stars were aligning for me to make this recipe. 

Bacon Caramel Popcorn 
Adapted from Edible Canada.
(Approx. 10 servings)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sprinkle Spiral Cookies

I stumbled upon these delightful cookies when I was looking for a recipe on how to make Battenburg cake (which is quite possibly my most favourite dessert recipe ever....) (well, maybe not ever, but definitely top 5...).  (Back to the cookies...) There was something about the sprinkles and colours in this cookie that immediately brought a smile to my face. 

A few months ago, one of my very good friends lost her mother to cancer.  In an effort to cheer her up and bring a bit of sunshine into her world, I made these cookies, hoping that they might have the same effect that they did on me - I am of the opinion that sprinkles make everything just a little bit better. 

The recipe and directions were flawless (I found these at Sprinkle Bakes - this girl really is a baked-goods genius), but it did take me a couple of trials to get them right.  I am pretty sure this had to do with my fridge temperature and my mixer (I don't have a food processor as the recipe recommends - so I had to make do with the electric mixer).  Despite the numerous failures, I learned from my mistakes, persevered - and four batches of colourful cookie dough in the green bin later - success!
I'll share my 'lessons learned' in an effort to make future attempts by any other willing bakers just a little easier...

Colourful Spiral Cookies
(Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes)
(Makes about 3 dozen)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Liebster is German word that translates in English to
"dearest", "favourite", "sweet" and "lovely". It’s meant for up-and-coming
blogs with less than 200 followers."

I was so excited to find a comment on my blog this morning stating that Ruth @ Spring of a Curiouseed had awarded my little blog this award. (Thanks Ruth!)  It means so much to me that a fellow food blogger took the time to pick out my blog for this award.  I am still relatively new to the food blogging world and I am thrilled to find that it is so welcoming and supportive. 
Now it's time for me to keep the chain on the go and award the Liebster blog to 5 of my favourite up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers.

Here are the rules
1.     Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
2.     Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
3.     Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
4.     Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed. (Some say just 3 or more blogs of less than 200 followers each)
5.     Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

My Liebster Blog Winners! 

2. Dianna @ Double Batch
4. LiamIs Butter a Carb? (I know you already got one,  but I thought you deserved another just because of the ‘candied bacon’ post…)

Make sure you check them out....There are some really great recipes to be found...

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and this blog.  I really enjoy reading all of your comments.  It's a highlight in my day. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I have never met a sweet potato that I didn't like.  The subtle sweet and starchy qualities make it one of my go-to vegetables.  
(And I've heard that they are pretty healthy too...).
My love of sweet potatoes is what inspired this recipe.  When making potato gnocchi I thought...why not try this with sweet potato? 
What I learned through the process is that (1) Sweet potatoes are not as starchy and have more moisture then regular potatoes.  Therefore, more flour was required in order to get the ‘dumpling effect’.  (2) It's important to make sure that the sweet potatoes are boiled through.  They are more fibrous then regular potatoes...if they are not fully cooked, ricing them can be more difficult. 

I made two different sauces to go with the sweet potato Gnocchi....A simple cinnamon and butter sauce - melt about 1/4 cup of butter in a sauce pan and add two cinnamon sticks and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. 
(and because of my insatiable sweet tooth) I wanted to try a candied sweet potato gnocchi as well, so I made a similar sauce to the above - melt about 1/4 cup of butter in a sauce pan, add 2 tsp ground cinnamon, add 1/4 cup brown sugar and let simmer on medium to low for 10-15 minutes.  I put these sauces on to simmer prior to boiling the gnocchi so they could be sauced as soon as they were done. 

The directions are similar to the those from the potato gnocchi.  You will need a ricer to mash the sweet potatoes in order to achieve the desired texture while avoiding the ‘compacting-effect’ that mashing by hand gives the potatoes. 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
(makes about 10-12 servings)