Saturday, December 19, 2015

Loaded Potato Skins

A couple of weeks ago my good friend Amanda and I went on a road-trip and had some of the best potato skins ever at one of Amanda's favourite restaurants, the Atlantic Trap and Gill in Edmonton.  They were so very tasty in fact, that I haven't been able to get them out of my mind ever since. 

A few weeks back I re-created them at home, and they were a huge hit.  I also had a couple of Christmas potlucks to go to and brought these along - not a single one remained! 

- 6 medium russet potatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 4 slices of cooked bacon
- 1 bunch chives
- 1/4 cup sour cream


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub potatoes clean, being sure to dry thoroughly.  Lightly coat potatoes with olive oil and cook for 45 minutes or so, or until potatoes are soft enough for the next step. 

Allow potatoes to fully cool, then scoop out the insides leaving 1/4 of the potato surround the skin.  Reserve extra potato for another use. 

Coat potato skins (inside and out) with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook face up in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes to give the added crispiness essential to potato skins.  Be sure to use a heat resistant pan (I used a pizza pan).  A cookie sheet will warp at this temperature.

Allow potatoes to once again cool completely.  Sprinkle with cheese and bacon, then broil under high heat on the top rack for 1-2 minutes until cheese is bubbly and melted (watch carefully during this step, the potato skins will burn very easily at this temperature). 

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives. 

Monday, December 7, 2015


This recipe appeared in the December 3rd edition of my local newspaper, The Hinton Voice.  

[My friend Sarah hosted a cookie exchange this past Sunday and for this particular cookie event, I decided to make one of my favourite nostalgic cookies  - the Snickerdoodle.  My friend’s mom used to always make us Snickerdoodles when we were little, and my Gramma’s all time favourite spice to bake with is cinnamon so needless to say, these cookies definitely carry a lot of feel good vibes whenever they’re around.

With a name like Snickerdoodles, you have to have to wonder about their history (I did anyway).  Word on the street is that Snickerdoodles are German in origin, and that the name is derived from the German word Schneckennudel ("snail noodles"), a rolled type of pastry also made with cinnamon (quite similar to cinnamon buns). There’s also another theory that the name is no more than a nonsense word without a particular meaning, originating from a New England tradition of whimsical cookie names (pass the Joe Froggers please).

What gives them their particular charm are their crackled tops coated with sparkles of cinnamon and sugar.  Cream of tartar combined with baking soda leavens the dough and with gives it the required lift to make the soft pillowy centres that make these cookies so unique.

As with most any cookie, it’s essential to start with a cold dough.  For best results make the dough the night before and refrigerate. I wouldn’t recommend baking these without at least an hour in the fridge, or my personal favourite method - outside on your deck on a cold winter’s day.]
Recipe makes 2 dozen large cookies

- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla bean extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp salt

For Rolling:
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla bean extract and 2 large eggs, one at a time.

Combine dry ingredients and work into wet batter.

Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour but preferable overnight.

Measure the dough into 2 tbsp balls and roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. 

Refrigerate the dough once again for 15-20 minutes (trust me, this is an essential step for ultimate cookie pillowyness).

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.   The cookies will look slightly underdone on top, but as long as they have a slight crackle on top, they will cool to the perfect texture.

 Once you pull the cookie tray out of the oven, leave the cookies on the tray for 5 more minutes to firm up.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  

Always start the next batch with a cold cookie sheet.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Oven Baked Breakfast Sandwiches

This post sponsored by World Kitchen.  I was compensated monetarily as well as with product for this post.  As always, all thoughts and options are my own, and I only work with brands that I use in my own kitchen. 

This simple, out-the-door breakfast is quick and easy with convenience in mind, and one you'll definitely want to remember this holiday season.  Using a muffin pan, you can make large quantities of easy to assemble, wholesome and nutritious breakfast sandwiches in a breeze! 

If you've never used a muffin pan to make breakfast sandwiches, you've simply got to try this recipe. Pair it with Oven Baked Bacon and you've got a wholesome and nutritious breakfast  that you can not only assemble really quickly, but that you can make the night before or even freeze in advance if you like. I've had success freezing not only the cooked eggs, but an entire assembled breakfast sandwich (simply heat up in the oven or microwave and wrap in foil for a steaming hot breakfast that can be eaten on the go). 

For this recipe I like using the Baker's Secret 6 Cup Muffin Pan - it makes the perfect amount of breakfast sandwiches for the two of us to have for a couple of days for breakfast.  If you have a larger crowd to feed, you could easily use The Full 2 Cup Muffin Pans and fit 2 dozen eggs into the oven making up to 24 breakfast sandwiches at once. 

Needless to say, with lots of holiday breakfasts and brunches right around the corner, this recipe is definitely one to keep in mind! 
- Large Eggs
- English Muffins
- Bacon
- Cheddar
- Butter or oil (for brushing)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brush Baker's Secret muffin tins with butter or oil (I like to use coconut oil, but olive oil works great as well).
Carefully crack eggs into muffin pan, being careful not to break the yolk (unless you like that kind of thing, then break away!). 

Cook eggs in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked through (if you like your eggs a little on the runny side, cook for 15 minute instead). 

Toast an english muffin and top with an oven baked egg, bacon, cheddar, and your favourite condiments! 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Oven Baked Bacon

This is kind of one of those recipes that's like "seriously, how is this even a recipe?".
It is however, my absolute favourite way to make bacon.  This might be the way you make bacon already, but just incase this helps even one person make the best bacon of their entire life, then this post will have served it's purpose. 
This method will give you the best bacon texture out there.  It's cooked perfectly, and each piece stays looking like a perfect piece of bacon and not some weird looking curled up blob on your plate (tasty, but weird looking). 
- Bacon, lots of smoky, delicious bacon (or enough to fit on a baking sheet without overlapping)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you will thank yourself later for this, trust me). 

Arrange strips of bacon on baking sheet being careful not to overlap any of the pieces. 
Place in a COLD oven.  You read that right.  This is a rare recips where you absolutely do not want to preheat your oven first.  The same goes for when you are are frying bacon, it's good to start with a cold pan, and cook the bacon as it warm up so that the fat doesn't burn and you get a chewy, crisper bacon (I mean, I don't think I've ever rejected bacon before, but no one likes half burnt, half raw bacon!). 
Cook in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or so, or until your bacon has reached desired crispiness I tend to air more on the side of crispy bacon, so if you like yours chewier, just be careful to watch it closely around the 15 minute mark.  You'll want to take the bacon out when it looks slightly undercooked because it will continue to sizzle away for a few seconds after you take it off the pan. 
Pour bacon grease into a can or jar and dispose of parchment paper (see, I told you that you would thank yourself later!)

Now, enjoy all of the delicious, wonderful bacon. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Butternut Squash Pie

Here's my latest recipe, as it appeared in the November 5th edition of my local newspaper, The Hinton Voice

[Move over pumpkin, there’s a new pie in town.

I decided to teach a pie class as a cooking class right before Thanksgiving, and as a result, 6 of the pumpkins that I picked up in BC the week before got sacrificed for the greater good of the class leaving me with only 1 pumpkin for myself (and I had 2 pies to make that weekend).  No problem, I thought – I’ll just run to the grocery store and grab another!  No such luck, since trying to find a sugar pumpkin (the perfect pumpkin for baking) when you’re not in a city or near any pumpkin patches can sometimes be a near impossible feat.

I remember making sweet potato pie, thinking that it was very similar in flavour, so I was about to go that route when I happened to read online that the contents of a popular brand of canned pumpkin (in the US) is actually a form of butternut squash.  It made perfect sense.  Butternut squash is very similar; yet better in every conceivable way.  It roasts quicker, the skin is thin and easy to remove after roasting, the seeds are better for roasting (they have more seed than shell), and even the goop inside is easier to clean since there is far less empty space in a butternut squash than a pumpkin.

I roasted both the pumpkin and butternut squash side by side, and had some friends try a blind taste test.  The butternut squash won every single time – it was sweeter, had a more vibrant color, and was just an all around a better tasting squash.   It was time to put it to the official test though – pie.   When Thanksgiving rolled around, I brought both kinds of pie and I kid you not, the pumpkin pie sat completely untouched on the table until not a single slice of butternut squash pie remained.  Not only was it hands down the greater pie, it also made for an excellent conversation starter too!]

- 1 pie crust  (I use an all butter pie crust for this, which you can find on the blog)
- 2 cups butternut squash puree (see note below)
- 2 eggs, plus the yolk of a third egg
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom


Cut butternut squash in half, scrape out insides and rinse.

Place the squash halves cut side down and bake at 350 degrees until a fork can easily pierce through, about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cool, and remove skin.


Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add cream, sugars, salt, and spices. 

Pour the filling into an uncooked pie shell.  Bake at a high temperature of 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Then after 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted about an inch from the crust comes out clean.  About half way through cooking if the edges of the pie look too brown, you can cover them with foil.

Pie will look slightly puffed up when it comes out of the oven but will settle as it cools. Allow the pie to cool for 2 hours before serving.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Roadtrip, a Harvest Supper, and a Bridal Show

Two of my best friends in the entire world are getting married next summer, and and one night over phyrohy's last spring they gave me the honour of asking me if I would be in their wedding.  I of course said yes, and thus began my first ever journey of being a Bridesmaid! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Some days you just want to colour…

A page from my most recent adventures in colouring. 
So, the inevitable happened - I missed a day blogging yesterday as part of NaBloPoMo.  It was 11pm and just as I was drifting off to sleep after a long, yet content day the realization that I hadn't posted anything yet.   Ultimately though, sleep won (I literally have no willpower when it comes to doing things vs sleeping). I reflected on the day that had passed, and decided that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't post that day.  I spent a much needed day getting a bunch of work off my to-do list (check out the new class list on the blog's home page!), getting organized with some of the volunteer organizations I'm apart of, and then capped the evening off  in the best way possibly - having drinks and colouring at a local bar/lounge with my closest friends. You read that right, my friends and I had a highly engaging evening filled with adult colouring. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last year I had the privilege of interviewing the band Big Sugar (you can check out the interview here, and the band's frontman Gordie Johnson's old family recipe for Weekly Tomato Sauce here).  It was my very first interview on the other side of the mic and needless to say I was incredibly nervous!  As a result I spent the entire evening before the concert stress baking - and that was the night these cookies were born.  I decided to take the opportunity to share the cookies with the band - as soon as the interview was over, Gordie invited me to the greenroom and signed a couple of cd's for me (total fangirl moment right there) and started stacking the cookies in his mouth two at a time.  In between bites he told me that they were the best fucking cookies he had ever had in his entire life. I probably would have thought I was dreaming if I hadn't been a complete nerd and completely forgot to turn the recorder off after the interview.  Heh. 

The next time I saw Gordie I brought these cookies again - I think its safe to say the picture pretty much speaks for itself. 

The next day, I got a message from Gordie saying that the cookies didn't even make it to the BC border (about 45 minutes away) before they were gone.  Needless to say I think it's safe to say this recipe is a winner! I haven't shared this recipe on the blog until now for some crazy reason, so in honour of National Blog Post Month, I thought I would share! 

- 1 cup butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1-2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 3.4 oz package vanilla pudding mix
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1-2 good quality chocolate bars (my favourite is Lindt)
- 2 caramel chocolate bars (my favourite is Caramilk), frozen
- 1/4 tsp coarsely ground sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until well incorporated.  Add vanilla pudding mix (this is my favourite part, the dough smells SO good). 

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add chocolate chips and coarsely chopped chocolate bars (not caramel chocolate bars just yet). 

Roll dough into 2 tbsp size balls. 

Remove caramel chocolate bars from freezer and cut each individual square into 4 pieces and place on top of each roll of dough (1 square = 1 cookie).  

Top with coarsely ground sea salt. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes in pre-heated oven until edges are golden brown (cookies will firm up as they cool). 

Allow cookies to cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. 


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Old Fashioned Butter Pie Crust

Back in September we went to visit my Grandparents who live on Vancouver Island.  We arrived right at the tail end of harvesting season so my Gramps and I decided to visit some orchards and pick some apples. Well, needless to say one thing led to another and before you know it there was just over 200 lbs of freshly picked apples, pears, and squash in the back of my car, all ready to be made into something delicious.  As you can imagine, the next few weeks were filled with apple everything.  I made apple crisp, apple sauce, pear sauce, apple butter, and many, many apple pies

 The thing about having over 100 lbs of apples is that by the end of it, you get pretty darn good at making pie. 

My go to crust for throughout this entire ordeal was this old fashioned all butter pie crust.  It's simple, it only calls for 3 ingredients, and honestly it makes for a pretty darn great tasting crust.  It rolls out beautifully, makes for a flaky pie crust, and browns just the right amount in the oven. 

PS - If you're local, be sure to check the "Classes" tab at the top of this page to sign up for this month's pie making class using this crust!  

Recipe Makes 4 Crusts
- 5 cups flour
- 1 lb butter (4 sticks), cold*
- 1 cup ice cold water
* Note: Butter must be VERY cold, but not frozen.  For best results, make sure butter has been refrigerated for at least 2-3 hours first. 

Place flour in a bowl. 

Cut butter into small cm size pieces, and place in flour. 

Mix butter with hands, pinching each piece to incorporate into the flour.  Do this until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (about 2-3 minutes).   Alternatively you can use a pastry cutter or knife, but I find this method is not only more hands on (ha!) it also makes for more buttery pockets in the crust. 

Slowly pour water into flour/butter mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time.  You might not use all of the water, or you might use slightly more.  Once the mixture reaches a dough like consistency and can be rolled into a ball without being crumbly, it's ready. 

Cut ball into 4 equal size pieces, and shape into a disk.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours (or overnight) for best results. 

You can freeze the dough as well, simply add disks to a freezer bag, and allow to defrost in the fridge overnight (or 2-3 hours on the counter) before using.
Use as recipe directs! 


Monday, November 2, 2015

Classic Macaroni Salad

I recently spent Canadian Thanksgiving with my brother and his friends.  While I was there his friend's wife Emily, who is from LA, introduced me to a traditional American Thanksgiving dish - "Green Bean Casserole" (seriously, where has this been all my life? It was SO good. You can see it pictured above to the left of the gravy decanter).  In addition to my Gramma's famous Apple Pie and a new recipe I was trying for Butternut Squash Pie (look for the recipe in this week's edition of Hinton Voice, or on the blog this Sunday!) my brother asked me to make a macaroni salad.    

I hadn't really made macaroni salad before and I wanted something really traditional so I took to google to look for a recipe.  I found this recipe and this recipe and decided to make somewhat of a frankenstein between the two.  Both recipes called for celery, but you will never find that in anything that I make (worst vegetable ever!).  If the thought of celery doesn't completely disgust you, it sounds like a  might be a nice addition to the dish, but please, don't take my word for it. 

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I received a message from Emily asking me for this recipe because she enjoyed it so much. Because I signed up for NaBloPoMo this month and have to come up with 30 posts (I know, I know, I'm totally crazy, we go over that in yesterday's post) I decided to turn it into a recipe for the blog!  Thanks for the motivation for my first recipe post of the month Emily! 

- 2 cups (uncooked) macaroni 
- 1 cup mayonnaise*
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 green pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped

* Lighten this recipe: You can get away with adding half the mayo, but ONLY if you plan on making the salad directly before serving.  If you plan to make this the night before like I did, you will need the entire cup because the pasta will absorb most of the mayo, and nobody likes a dry macaroni salad. 

Cook macaroni as per package directions for 1-2 minutes past "al dente".  You don't want the noodles to be too soft or the pasta salad will be soggy.  Once cooked, drain and rinse noodles with cold water until completely cool. 

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, and salt & pepper.  Add to drained pasta, then toss with chopped green peppers and onion. 


Sunday, November 1, 2015

National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo)

I did something absolutely crazy recently - I signed on to be a part of National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo), which means that I'll be writing a post a day for the entire month of November. 

I haven't been posting as much as I would like to lately, because honestly, life just got in the way. 

A few friends expressed concern when I told them I would be doing this.  "Are you sure this won't burn you out?" and "that's A LOT of posts…".   I saw the concern in their eyes.  I hear you friends, but I've got this. This is exactly the creative kick that I need.  

I'm going to be realistic. Each day I will be posting something.  It's not necessarily going to be a recipe (though trust me, there will be plenty of those).  Today for instance, is this post.  I recently went to an awesome Food Blogger Conference in Montreal and had a cross-Canada adventure in the meantime so a few posts will probably be about that as well. 

Either way, you will be hearing a lot from me this month.  I'm feeling great about it right now but I'm going to need your support and encouragement to get through this!  

If you see a post you connect with, or a recipe that you like, please drop me a message, leave me a comment or even send me an e-mail. I appreciate your feedback so very much and I adore reading messages from all of you! 

I can't wait to push myself, and see just how creative I can be in the upcoming days.  I have a fun recipe scheduled for tomorrow, so be sure to check back and cheer me on! 


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pad Thai Fries

This post was brought to you by McCain Foods Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of McCain Foods Canada.

If you're looking for a quick and easy post-thanksgiving dinner that doesn't involve turkey, you've come to the right place!  This recipe for Pad Thai Fries takes less time to throw together than the time than it would take for take-out to arrive.  

This is one of those great kinds of recipes where each ingredient doesn't have to be measured, poured, or weighed.  Aside from the fries, everything else is essentially a flavourful garnish, so you can just use your best judgement when it comes to plating your dish. In fact, a fun family dinner night could include setting all of the topping ingredients on the table, giving everyone a plate filled with fries, and full reign to load up on their favourite flavours. 

I love McCain fries because they use only real, natural ingredients.  The only ingredients in their fries are potatoes, canola oil and sea salt.  Now there's a brand I can get on board with!  

You can find more culinary inspiration using McCain fries by clicking here or by checking out #MODIFRY and #Superfries on Instagram

- Your Favourite Peanut Pad Thai Sauce
- Chopped Peanuts
- Carrots
- Cilantro
- Lime
- Red Chili Peppers


Cook McCain Straight Cut Fries as per the package directions. 

Meanwhile, warm up Peanut Pad Thai Sauce in a medium saucepan.  Once warm, pour into a glass measuring cup (a gravy boat would also work in a pinch!).  

Drizzle Peanut Pad Thai Sauce over fries, the top with juliened carrots, chopped peanuts, sliced chili peppers, fresh cilantro, and a couple of twists of lime. 


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cynthia's Chai Tea

This recipe appeared as my October column in my local newspaper, The Hinton Voice - this recipe is courtesy of their reporter Cynthia Bigrigg, who makes wicked awesome chai tea! 

[A couple of months back my friend Cynthia (and reporter at the Voice) and I were chatting recipes.  She mentioned that she brews her own chai tea, often several times a month. Upon hearing this I immediately made plans with her to share the recipe with you all this fall.  Well fall is now upon us, so the other night while brightly colored leaves swirled to the ground, we got together and made this recipe.  Let me tell you, it was the best darn chai tea I have ever tasted!

This chai tea can be made as a concentrate and stored for up to a week in the fridge – though guaranteed it will be long gone well before the week is over.  You can add the cooled mixture to cold milk for a delicious iced chai, or warm it up for a steaming hot mug of this popular beverage.

So what is chai tea exactly? In India, the word “chai” simply means tea.  Here in the west it refers specifically to a spiced Indian style of tea – a tea made with traditional Indian spices and milk.  Often times this beverage is referred to as masala chai, which is actually more popular in India than coffee! 

Chai itself has a history that dates back thousands of years.  Through those thousands of years it has evolved to include countless variations and a worldwide fan base.  You can find chai tea lattes in nearly any coffeehouse, and now, in the comforts of your own kitchen without the use of processed syrups and chemicals.

Legend has it that a king was the first to create chai as a cleansing and vivifying beverage.  While I doubt I will be serving it to royalty anytime soon, I can’t think of a better beverage to accompany a good book, a quiet moment of reflection, or a visit with a dear friend.]

Recipe makes 6-7 cups of tea

Time: 20 minutes

- 1 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 10 whole cloves
- 6 whole allspice
- 6 white peppercorns
- 5 black peppercorns
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 + teaspoons black tea
- 3 cups water
- 4 cups whole milk
- honey to taste (optional)


1) Boil spices with water

2) Remove from heat.  Steep, covered for 5 minutes.

3) Bring mixture back to a boil.  Add tea, remove from heat.  Steep 15 minutes, then strain. 

4) If serving right away, add milk and heat through.  If storing mixture, add milk as desired.  If you prefer your chai sweet, add a bit honey to taste.

- Nutritional Info (per serving) -

Calories – 91    Fat - 5    Carbs – 7     Protein - 5   Fibre - 0
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