Category Archives: quick and easy

Easy as banana cream pie

All time favorite dessert? Key lime pie. Close second? That would have to be homemade banana cream pie. It’s so creamy and comforting, my grandmother always made it for us growing up. It’s still my request at holidays and whenever I see her. It’s actually less of a pie than a banana custard dessert but tastes amazing all the same.

For the crust, you will need

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

For the filling you will need:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3-4 bananas

Mix together the ingredients for the crust. An easy tip is to mix them together in the baking dish, so that you can just smooth it out in the pan you will bake in. poke the crust with a fork all over prior to baking to make small holes. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 375 degrees or until browned.

To make the filling mix together the sugar, flour and salt in a saucepan. Add the milk and cook over medium heat until bubbly. Cook for two minutes and remove from heat.

In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolks. Stir in a small amount of the warm mixture and blend. Add the yolk mixture to the pan and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, it will start to thicken. Add in the butter and spices to taste (nutmeg or cinnamon – optional).

Place a layer of bananas on the crust

Add the custard on top of the base, then top with more bananas

And there you have it – homemade banana cream pie ready in next to no time. I used whole wheat flour and raw sugar in mine (health food sneak) but play around with this basic recipe and make it your own. Hope you enjoy it!


Fall favourite – beef stew with heirloom vegetables

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The smell of the leaves, the colours, the cold air that makes your cheeks a bit rosy when you’re walking outside. I absolutely love everything about it. Also fall is a great time to start using my slow cooker. If you don’t have one, or if you have one that is gathering dust somewhere, trust me when I say this is one of the best kitchen tools you can have. You can make chili, sauces, soups, stews, even desserts!

We were at the market and there were tons of gorgeous heirloom vegetables, I thought they would be perfect to make some stew. Local heirloom vegetables are gorgeous and taste amazing. We assume carrots are only orange but they can also be red, black or yellow. Beets are not just red they can be orange or yellow too. Visit a farmer’s market and try some of the unique varieties available.

I cubed some beef, and coated in flour, then placed in the slow cooker while I diced the veggies.

 

Add the chopped veggies and two cups of stock (beef or vegetable). Also add cracked pepper, a pinch of salt, Worcestershire (tablespoon) and a few dashes of tabasco. The veggies I used are carrots, onion, peppers, garlic, potato, turnip, beet and possibly one or two veggies that were in the bushel I forgot about (but tasted amazing!)

Mix everything and add the lid. Cook on low for around 7 – 8 hours while you’re at work or 4 hours on high.

Cold weather food is just one of the many reasons I love fall, and I’d like to share a new reason I adore this time of year. Fall is beautiful, comforting, and a great time to gather with family and friends. September of next year, Andrew and I will be holding a small gathering in my hometown – our wedding! Hopefully I will be able to share some of our wedding planning and food ideas once we wrap our heads around all of it. What I do know is that there will be candy apples and a red velvet wedding cake, and that I’m beyond thrilled to be marrying my best friend in less than one year.

Have a great day, and if you get a chance go outside and enjoy the fall – I suggest a comfy sweater and reading a good book on a park bench.


Easy salads for lunch or dinner

Work lunches don’t have to be sandwiches over and over again. Try making a few cold salads and keep them in your fridge to enjoy when you’re in a rush. Two of my favorites are pasta salad and coleslaw.

Pasta salad can be made so many different ways. For dressing use olive oil and vinegar (or lemon), mayonnaise and spices or a prepared salad dressing that you enjoy. Add veggies (peppers, green onion, broccoli, carrots etc.) and mix thoroughly. Leave in the fridge overnight for the flavors to mix and enjoy the next day.

Coleslaw is another great salad to serve with fish for a healthy dinner or bring to work the next day. I really like using red cabbage and shred it with carrots, onion, a bit of celery and fresh dill with lemon juice and mayonnaise. For an extra kick, add a dash of chili powder. Again, leave in the fridge for a few hours to overnight.

There are a lot of great cold salads you can make ahead of time for lunches, leaving you a bit of extra time to enjoy your morning coffee or sleep in.


Easy weeknight cream cheese pasta

When the weather starts to get cooler, pasta is a great comfort food.  It’s also really easy to make after a long day, and there are so many recipes out there to choose from.

We made a delicious cream cheese pasta the other night, and it was the perfect dinner to eat curled up on the couch with a movie.

What we did

Boil the pasta. When the noodles are halfway cooked, heat a pan on medium and saute garlic in a few tablespoons of butter. (Use as much or as little garlic as you like. I prefer 3-4 cloves, but only if someone else is eating it too. Then we both have garlic breath.)

Add chopped green onions to the pan and heat for a minute.

Add one package of cream cheese, a pinch of sea salt, and lots of fresh cracked pepper.

Heat and slowly stir, until you have a smooth and creamy sauce. If your sauce is too thick, thin it with a bit of milk.

Mix the sauce with the pasta, and garnish with a bit of fresh basil if you have any on hand.

What’s your favorite cold weather comfort food?


Rice Paper Wraps

It can be a lot of fun getting outside of your comfort zone in the kitchen and trying new things. I made rice paper wraps for the first time years ago, it was a bit of a disaster to be honest, but once you get the hang of it rice paper wraps are a really easy and versatile ingredient. You can add meat or tofu and any veggies you like. (They’re also a great date night food to make together!)

If it’s your first time trying them, the two best bits of advice I can give you are:

– Use two sheets, one sheet is too thin

– DO NOT overfill your wrap, it will just be an absolute mess

Rice paper wraps are available at most Asian grocery stores (I live near Chinatown in Toronto and pick mine up at a store called The Lucky Moose). For veggies we used cilantro, red peppers, lettuce and green onion with a bit of satay chicken. First chop all your veggies and set aside.

Dice the chicken and brown in a pan. Add chili sauce (I used a prepared lemongrass satay sauce)

Wet two sheets of rice paper together in lukewarm water. They will start to soften, put them onto a plate and add your ingredients

Fold over the top and bottom to seal in the sides, then fold over the top to put the ingredients into a “pocket”.

Continue rolling the rice paper wrap tightly

Now, do this a bunch more times and you will end up with a plate full of delicious wraps!

You can experiment and fill these with anything, avocado tastes great. For a dip mix crushed garlic with chili sauce, soy sauce and minced ginger.

Enjoy! 🙂


Cheeseburger Pizza

Craving fast food but can’t choose between a burger or slice of pizza? Well it turns out you can have both! I’ve seen cheeseburger pizza as an option when ordering delivery, and even though I’ve never ordered it I was curious. So, I tried to recreate it at home and actually it was pretty amazing.

Brown ground beef (you can use vegetarian ground beef substitute if you are a vegetarian, or if you’re trying to cut back on the amount of meat in your diet) with diced onions, fresh cracked pepper, Worcestershire sauce and chili flakes.

Instead of using traditional pizza dough, we used leftover puff pastry rolled out with a bit of flour. Otherwise you can just as easily use a premade pizza base or even pita shells. Top with tomato sauce. (I added red peppers, not really a “cheeseburger topping” but I was trying to add a bit of veggies to make this slightly healthier.)

Add the browned beef to the pizza, then top with shredded cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 20 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through and the cheese melted.

I was curious, but not brave enough, to try this with sliced pickles. If anyone tries it let me know what it’s like!


French Toast with Figs

French toast is really quick and easy for a weekend brunch, you can pretty much top them with whatever fresh fruit is in season. I made these with fresh figs that I cooked in a splash of dry red wine – they weren’t as sweet as using berries but still tasted great. (Sautéed apples are still my favorite.)

Clean and dice the figs (or other fruit), heat a pan on medium and add the fruit with a splash of red wine. Once cooked through, mix to create an even fruit puree. (If you like you can add sugar to the fruit while cooking to make it sweeter.)

For basic french toast, whisk together 2 eggs with milk, brown sugar , cinnamon and vanilla. Dip your bread slices into the egg mixture and place in a heated pan with melted butter.  Top the french toast with fresh fruit mixture and enjoy!