Monday, 30 April 2012

Christmas in April - Foodie Penpal

CHRISTMAS IN APRIL

This is my second participation in the Food Penpal. 
It is so much fun to get presents from someone somewhere in Canada!  You get to know them through their blog and usually the links to other blogs that are participating are fun to read too!  If you are interested click the link and join up - you will enjoy it.  Packages are mailed by the 15th of the month and contain no more than $15 worth of treats. On the last day of the month, participants reveal the contents of their Foodie Pen Pal package to the world by blogging about it, Facebook and Twitter :) - it is great fun.  I will take a break from it for a couple of months as my hubby is have surgery and life will be busy while he gets better.


Who doesn't like to get presents???  I loved opening up my April Foodie Penpal from Tamara of Fitknitchick.  Tamara (from Port Moody BC) wrote a really nice note in her card telling me about the products she sent.
I was excited when I opened up the packages :)  I love tea and had never tried the Arbonne Tea - I have a friend who sells this but somehow I have missed that they sell tea! Lindt dark chocolates -her favourite and I have to say mine too! Some wonderful honey sticks from the Honey Bee Centre in Burnaby, BC that I will add to my next cup of tea.
So I promptly put the kettle on for a cup of afternoon tea and somehow the little blue dark Lindt chocolate unwrapped itself and pushed its way into my mouth!! It started to melt so quickly that I had no chance of getting it out of my mouth.  So I had to enjoy the moment of the chocolate melting so smoothly and wonderfully!  My favourite!!  The biscuits are from Martins Marvelous, something I have never seen before and I will have to make something good to go with them! This is what it says about it "We kept things simple by using locally sourced ingredients to make this product line of all–natural, gluten–free and nut–free gourmet products. Now, you don’t have to settle for second best. Marvelous...eh?!" It says on the package I can open them and then freeze the rest - that's awesome!  No waste or stale biscuits here.

I hope you take a moment to check out Tamara's blog and the other links I have added.  Thank you Tamara for a great Christmas in April Foodie Penpal!

If you are interested in participating in the Foodie Penpal program please contact Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean- who by the way puts this awesome program together!  Thank you Lindsay!!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Quinoa Salad


This is probably one of the most tastiest recipes I have made with Quinoa  - great for anytime!   I make it and keep it in my fridge and just grab a little bowl for a snack.  My husband even liked it - and I didn't even tell him what it was :)  Don't let Quinoa scare you - it's easy to cook and great to add in to lots of recipes.  I hope you enjoy this recipe :) - the little extra basil pesto I added in at the end just punched it up a bit!

Quinoa (Tabbouleh) Salad

Adapted from a magazine - I just can't remember which one!)
Ingredients
  • 1-3/4 cups ( 425 mL) water
  • 1 cup ( 250 mL) quinoa
  • 1/4 English cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • 5 green onions
  • 1 large bunch parsley
  • 1/2 cup ( 125 mL) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ( 50 mL) lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ( 2 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp ( 1 mL) chili powder

1. Pour water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Rinse quinoa with cold water several times. Drain and stir into boiling water with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until all water is absorbed and quinoa grains are transparent.

2. Meanwhile, dice cucumber, tomatoes and green pepper. Thinly slice green onions and finely chop parsley. In a bowl, whisk oil with lemon juice, salt and chili powder.

3. Pour hot quinoa into oil mixture and toss well. Cool to room temperature. Toss with chopped vegetables and parsley. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

 I also just add whatever I have on hand – and then in the bowl that I am eating I have tossed in some basil pesto J

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Easy Crusty Chicken with Tuscan Sunset Rub


I know there are lots of great recipes that have chicken cooked in sauces - my hubby calls them soppy sauce chicken - he is not a big fan of chicken cooked that way.  He loves crispy crunchy chicken - I can't bring myself to deep fry chicken - except maybe once a year, although I can cook with the skin on and then take it off to eat it - you lose all the flavour!  Trying to keep things on a bit more of a healthy recipe I found something he loves.  I can make these into chicken fingers or  I can cook the chicken breasts whole.  I personally prefer to buy skin on - bone in, it takes a second to pull off the skin and if I find the bones add great flavour to the chicken.  If I am making chicken fingers - I of course keep the bones and freeze them until I have a bunch to make chicken stock.  I bake the bones to add some flavour for the stock.
So this is such a simple thing to do for crispy chicken.
I soak my chicken in some buttermilk for about an hour.
In another bowl I add Japanese Panko bread crumbs and some seasonings - anything you like.
This time I tried Pixie Chicks Tuscan Sunset spice - WOW!  What a wonderful combination of spices!
I heat my old cookie sheet in the oven with a just a little oil on it and then place my chicken on it and spray the top quickly with Pam.
Place in oven at 375 for 40 minutes for bone in - large pieces.
That's it.... easy peasy - crispy chicken dinner! (or winner winner chicken dinner) :)

I have used - Italian seasoning from the store but I am sold on this product!  I just had a little bit that a friend of mine gave me to try- I was not asked or paid by Pixie Chicks to endorse their product - it is just a personal endorsement of a product I tried and loved.   Check them out and buy one to try!

Have a great one!
Gwen

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Wonderful Cheese Scones

Cheese Scones

 
I have been making these wonderful flavourful cheese scones for years.  They are so easy to make and they fill the kitchen with a wonderful warm comforting smell that will greet your guests or family as you welcome them to your home.
Like muffins - you don't want to over work these - gentle is the key word here and as a side note to my friend - you cannot substitute cornstarch for baking powder! :)
 
 
Cheese Scones


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1 green onion chopped finely (optional)

2 bacon strips cooked and chopped (optional)

4 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut up

1 cup (4oz) shredded cheddar cheese

2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk


Heat oven to 400F

Put flour, baking powder, dry mustard, and salt into large bowl; mix well

Add butter and cut in with pastry blender or rub in with your fingers until the mixture looks like fine granules.

Add cheeses, bacon and or green onion and toss to mix

Break egg into the milk and beat with a fork to blend well.

Pour this mixture over the flour mixture and stir with a fork until dough forms - do not over mix

turn out dough onto a lightly floured board and give 10 to 12 kneads. Cut dough in half and knead each half briefly into a ball, turn smooth side up and pat or roll into a 6inch circle.

Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.


Bake 12 - 15 minutes --- check at 12 or until medium brown.


Cool on rack and then loosely wrap in a dish towel on wire rack...if they last that long :)  ENJOY!! 
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