Wednesday, 28 March 2012

So Sorry!

Hello everyone...
I am so sorry for disappearing! I have missed blogging and cooking and crafting so much - Ever since my Uncle died on January 22, 2012, things have kinda changed. I even meant to post a photo of a steak dinner I made in his honor late January, but I obviously never did and let my blogging slip.... My career path changed around the time of his death and I suppose I just became busy with other things....

RIP Uncle Sil, You are missed dearly!

I certainly hope to cook and craft and blog some more - in the meantime, you can follow me on my personal Twitter account (vs my CookinCrafts one, *sniff, sniff* that too has been neglected) at:


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Green Bean & Corn Casserole.

I meant to post this yesterday! oops!

This recipe is great to use when you don't have a full 4 cups of green beans to cook (as per usual the usual green bean casserole recipe) OR when you'd like to add a little variety to your every day meals! It is incredibly easy to make, quick to bake and delicious to consume! 

Green Bean & Corn Casserole

2 cups cooked corn
2 cups cooked green beans
1 can cream soup (I like Cream of Mushroom)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/3 cup of Fried Onions
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Cook corn and beans according to package directions. (I cooked them both in the same pot at the same time for simplicity sake)
2. Drain corn and beans. Place into a baking dish.
3. Stir in soup, milk, soy sauce, salt, pepper and 2/3 cups of fried onions.
4. Bake for 25 minutes @ 350 (F) until the corn/bean mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir. Sprinkle with remaining fried onions. Bake another 5 minutes.

Green Bean & Corn Casserole with Fried Onions

Gooey and Delicious!

  • You can substitute Hickory Sticks for fried onions if you don't have or can't find any... I have used Hickory Sticks many many times and it always works well and tastes great!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Years Feast.

As a tradition, my family usually gets together for a delicious steak dinner on New Year's Day however I will be missing it this year. Why you may ask? I think a little too much sparkling wine might know the answer....

Soooo.... not being prepared to be at home today, I raided the fridge, freezer and cupboards for things that could be made into tasty food to munch on all afternoon. So far, a potato fritatta is being made by Ben's mom and I will be making bruschetta, corn & green bean casserole, a ground pork & water chestnut dish as well as vodka lychee punch to top it all off! What can I say.... the hangover cure is usually more alcohol, lol...

So stay tuned for a deliciously make-shift New Years Feast!....

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Warm Beet & Broccoli Couscous Salad.

If you're like me and pretty darn stuffed from the delicious food this Christmas holiday season brings, you may want to try out this light Warm Beet & Broccoli Couscous Salad. This delicious salad is light yet filling. Couscous is a one of the most healthy grain's and is high in protein. I love adding lemon to most couscous dishes...

1 1/2 cups cooked couscous
4 small green onions, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 head broccoli, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 can sliced beets, drained (or in my case, a can of whole beets and chop them yourself!)
1 can water chestnuts, drained
Lemon juice
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Garlic powder (or fresh chopped of course!)
Salt & pepper

1. Prepare couscous according to package directions. (In my case, I had approx. 1/2 cup regular couscous and 1 cup whole wheat couscous and it worked out fine when putting into 2 cups boiling water).
2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil into a heating pan. Add cooking onion.
3. Begin to steam broccoli and carrots...

Broccoli and carrots in a bamboo steamer.

4. Put green pepper, water chestnuts and beets on top of onions:

5. Finish steaming broccoli and carrots. Add to ingredients into the pan.
6. Drizzle lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder to vegetable mixture.
7. Add cooked couscous and green onions, stir all together. Drizzle extra lemon juice and/or balsamic vinegar if desired. Don't be afraid to use a lot!


Pecans make a delicious topping!

  • If you like nuts, try mixing a 1/2 cup of chopped nuts in with the other ingredients. I would highly recommend pecans, however walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds would be tasty as well.

    Thursday, 8 December 2011

    Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Truffles.

    These are absolutely delicious and so easy to make! They would make a great gift to give away for the Holidays... Try it today!

    1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 package (250g) Cream Cheese at room temperature
    1/2 cup Icing sugar
    1/2 cup Graham crumbs
    1 tbsp. Vanilla extract
    Pinch of salt

    Ideas of things to roll truffles in: Sweetened coconut, sprinkles, cocoa, white sugar, graham crumbs....

    1. Melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in a small sauce pan on low. Meanwhile using an electric mixer, beatthe cream cheese until smooth. Add icing sugar, graham crumbs, vanilla and salt, and blend well. Mix in the melted chocolate and the remaining chocolate chips. Cool mixture in the freezer until firm (about 15 mins).
    2. Hand-roll into balls the size of large marbles. Toss balls in coconut sprinkles, graham crumbs etc until well coated. Return to freezer and chill thoroughly (about 15 mins).
    3. Enjoy or wrap up in a box to give away! (But keep in freezer until ready to give away!)

     Chocolate chip cheesecake truffles rolled in graham crumbs and icing sugar.

    • Don't roll your truffles in icing sugar unless you want it to come out and look like little donuts!
    • You may need to re-freeze the mixture half way through rolling them if the mixture begins to get too soft as this will make your hands really messy.....

    Note: These truffles were made far too big. haha!! 

    Rolled in Graham Crumbs.

    Delicious chocolate chip cheesecake truffles!

    Friday, 2 December 2011

    Lemon Rice Soup.

    Mmmm. Soup!
    I don't know if it's due to the coldness outside or a desire for comforting home cooked food, but I woke up this morning remembering a delicious bowl of soup that my boyfriend Ben's grandma made for us back in March of this year. I loved it so much she provided me with a copy of the recipe (from a magazine of some type!). As a naturally organized person, I am actually perplexed as to where it is! I will blame its disappearance on moving cities in the late spring/early summer... But alas, it was I who misplaced it... However, I am confident that it will eventually turn up, most likely in the summer time when I don't want soup! ha!

    So without having the recipe, I took to the good ol' internet to find a similar recipe. I searched for "lemon rice soups" and found numerous recipes for "Greek Lemon Rice" soup (aka Avgolemono). I quickly learned that this soup contains egg and that the rice soup I had been dreaming of from last March also would have contained egg. I have never used egg in a soup before and feel it is somewhat 'odd' to do so! I have however tried many yummy soups that contained egg, but I just have never personally felt compelled to try it for myself... until now!

    Traditional Avgolemono consists of a few basic ingredients: chicken broth, rice (or orzo) and eggs. First, I read a recipe that called to separate the eggs. Uhh, that's a pain... no thanks. Next. I read a recipe that called for EIGHT eggs. No thanks, Next! I read a soup recipe that even included a cream of chicken soup can! Whaaat! Soup in soup? Nooooo Thank you! NEXT! I finally came across a recipe I was fond of and was delighted to discover that I had all the other ingredients! This is from TLC's Cooking website. I kinda followed it, of course... Here it is. My version follows.

    TLC's Greek Lemon Soup
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/3 cup minced green onions with tops
    6 cups canned chicken broth
    2/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice
    4 eggs
    Juice of 1 fresh lemon, or to taste
    1/8 teaspoon white pepper (optional)

    1. Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add green onions. Cook and stir about 3 minutes or until green onions are tender.
    2. Stir in chicken broth and rice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender.
    3. Beat eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk until well beaten. Add lemon juice and 1/2 cup broth mixture to bowl. Gradually return egg mixture to broth mixture in saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over low heat 2 to 3 minutes or until broth mixture thickens enough to lightly coat spoon. Do not boil.
    4. Stir in pepper, if desired. Garnish with fresh mint and lemon peel, if desired.
    5. YIELD Makes 6 to 8 servings.
    Recipe Source:

    Homemade lemon rice soup.

    So, as a tribute to the lovely M.Mathewson whose recipe I misplaced, here is:

    My own Delicious Lemon Rice Soup!
    6 cups water
    3 chicken bouillon cubes
    3/4 cup white rice
    The last few squeezes of lemon juice I had
    4 eggs
    1/2 a carrot
    1/4 of an onion
    Lemon Basil
    Salt & Pepper to taste

    Since I didn't have chicken broth like the recipe called for, I needed to make my own with bouillon cubes, but I didn't want to have to make the broth and THEN make the rice, I wanted to make it all at the same time.... So....
    • Pour 6 cups water into a large pot and bring to a boil.
    • Once water boils add bouillon cubes and rice.
    • Allow to boil for 1-2 mins.
    • Reduce to low heat, cover with a lid. Cook for approx. 30 mins
    This is when I discovered that the TLC recipe was a wee bit bland. So I decided to add some carrot for some colour and flavour! I was going to add more ingredients but decided I better try to stick to the recipe as close as possible the first time so that the Greek Gods  don't become upset with me! ha!
    • About 5 minutes before the rice is done, melt butter in a small cookpan.
    • Add chopped onion and carrot. Allow to cook for 5 mins.
    • As the onion and carrot are being cooked, crack eggs into a bowl and mix well. Add lemon juice.
    • Pour half of the broth/rice into the egg bowl. If you're like me, you may want to use a measuring cup to take approx. half the ingredients out vs. pour them out ;)
    • Mix eggs and broth/rice mixture. 
    • Begin to add a bit of this mixture back into the cooking pot where the rest of the broth/rice is. Stir in well.
    • Add cooked carrot and onion into the soup pot.
    • Add more egg and broth/rice mixture into the soup pot. Stir in well. Keep doing this until all contents are back in the soup pot.
    • Add parsley and lemon basil if you have it. Otherwise add some spices you like, perhaps some garlic powder or salt?
    • And voila, done! Let me tell you, it tastes divine!!!
    • Flavour would be greatly enhanced with the use of real chicken.

    Homemade lemon rice soup. Simply Amazing!

    Thursday, 1 December 2011

    Brown Sugar Frosting.

    Last night while my easy breezy One Bowl Cake was baking, I searched for an icing recipe to compliment and subtly enhance the simplicity of the cake. I knew I had a tub of vanilla Betty Crocker frosting in my cupboard but didn't use it. With its long expiration date, I suppose I just like to keep it for baking emergencies and opt to make my own icing whenever possible. I am not a huge baker, and certainly am not well acquainted with icings, frosting and sauces alike. I know, it's shocking! Anyways, I decided to use this recipe based on the fact that I happened to have coffee cream in the fridge and it's one of the ingredients!

    So I mixed up this recipe and was very pleased with its outcome! I followed the recipe closely but not completely, and I am happy to say that it all worked out well! Obviously you will see this is a very sugary recipe. Tips on what I would do better are includes, so go on, give it a try it....

    Brown Sugar Frosting
    6 tablespoons of butter
    1/2 cup of light brown sugar
    1/4 cup of milk
    1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
    1/4 teaspoon of salt
    1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons of light cream

    Slowly melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Then stir in your brown sugar and milk. Raise the heat and bring it to a rapid boil. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the sugar, salt, vanilla, and cream. Continue beating until the icing is thick and cool enough to spread.

    But I didn't wait long enough... I spread on the frosting after only a few minutes.... Mmmmm.... O0o0ooooooy Goooooy Goodness!!!!

    My boyfriend tasted a piece and asked how much maple syrup I used.... I was delighted to tell him NONE! But it sure tastes like a maple brown sugary dream!

    • Resist the urge to eat the entire bowl of frosting while it cools if you can! Wait until it thickens a wee bit and is spreadable. You do not want to begin spreading it while it is warm as the frosting will melt and will result in only a thin layer. 
    • This would make an incredibly nice sauce to dip plain cookies in... Or dipped in shortbread. This would also go nicely on pound cake, donuts, biscotti, and muffins...
    • Best served warm. 
    • Can be made ahead and re-heated.
    • NOTE ON THE ICING IN THE PHOTOS: I used a mixture of newer and 'older' brown sugar (aka incredibly hard sugar) and obviously did not mix them long enough. Although I could have sworn I was standing there mixing for a long time! So due to using really hard sugar (or was it my laziness?!), the bumps in the photos are pure tiny lumps of sugar. YUM!

    Super Yummy and Easy Brown Sugar Frosting on top of One Bowl Cake.