In the Kitchen

Christmas Gifts and Foggy Days

I love the foggy days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve … when so many of us do not have to report in to work … such bliss. I’ve been enjoying time with family and friends and my new kitchen tools!

Christmas Gifts

The first new “toy” I got was a completely unexpected purchase; a beautiful new Frigidaire range with a stainless steel front.

We had a power “brown-out” at our home – all the lights went dim, the fridge went off, and the brains of our electric stove got “scrambled”. No more oven.

Until the crew at Midnorthern Appliance came through for me just a couple of days before Christmas. And then I was back to baking bread and biscuits!

Christmas Gifts

First up, sourdough biscuits! Having a sourdough starter is like having a pet. It needs to be fed every day. If I do not throw out some of the starter each time I feed it, the bottle I keep the starter in gets too full. So instead of throwing it out, on the weekends I make sourdough biscuits.

Two cups of flour, a couple teaspoons of baking powder, a teaspoon of salt, five tablespoons of butter chopped into pea-sized chunks, and about a cup and a half of sourdough starter.

If it is to dry, pour in a couple tablespoons of milk – do this slowly. You do not want to get it too wet.

Bake in the oven for 12-16 minutes at 450 degrees. Lovely.

Christmas Gifts

But then, sourdough BREAD!! This is the most perfect loaf of bread I have EVER made. It was soft and chewy inside with a firm, crisp crust – but not so crisp it shattered my teeth – and a beautiful sourdough flavour that was strong enough to let you know it was from a sourdough starter but not enough to overwhelm the tastebuds. Umm, it was good!

A big part of why it was so great is the kitchen scale I got for Christmas.

Who knew that measuring flour and other bread ingredients by cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons was so inaccurate? Measuring the ingredients by weight is a much more accurate system. And, if my first loaf of bread is any indication, weighing the ingredients certainly does work!

Christmas Gifts

Yes, let the joys of the season continue!

In the Kitchen

Updated; No-Knead Rolled Oats Bread

I promise this isn’t turning into a bread-blog, but my goodness, did we ever make a beauty of a loaf of bread yesterday! This is our No-Knead Rolled Oats Bread.

I checked out Steve’s Kitchen on YouTube and followed his super simple instructions and wow, what a beautiful loaf! It rose up almost to the lid of my cast iron Dutch oven!

I’ll add the recipe and instructions a bit later today so check back later today.

Update – the “recipe”.

  • 3 1/2 cups flour (I typically use unbleached white flour)
  • 1 tablespoon of yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 cup of rolled oats

Put the water in a big mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients (except the oats). Mix until you have a big old ball of sticky dough. Sprinkle a pinch at a time of flour on top of the ball of dough so that you can mix and knead a little with your hands.

  • Add the rolled oats and work them into the ball of dough.
  • Let it rise for a few hours. Whatever is convenient for you. This last loaf I made I mixed it in the morning and then the kids and I baked it in the evening.
  • Before baking the bread, the kids and I kneaded the dough out into a flat shape and then folded it over on itself a number of times (10 or 15). The kids were having fun so we continued.
  • Then we put it in a pan to let it rise (we call this “proofing” the dough) again for about half an hour.
  • While the dough was on its final rise we put our cast iron dutch oven in the oven and cranked it up to 450 degrees.
  • Out of the pan, into the smoking hot dutch oven, lid on, into the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Lid off for about 5 minutes to let the top get roasty-toasty brown, and the bread is done.

That’s it. Want to see how it is done? Watch Steve make a No-Knead Rolled Oats Bread – he makes it look super easy.

In the Kitchen

Stuffed Peppers with Campbell’s Soup

Yesterday after school the kids and I saw a video of “how to make stuffed peppers” on the Facebook and we decided to try making them in our test kitchen. stuffed peppersThey turned out pretty good – but not perfect. But…we’ll get to that.

.stuffed peppersWe started out by prepping the peppers – we cut the tops off and then shaved a very thin slice off the bottom so that they would sit flat in the pan and then I put them into the oven for about 15 minutes to soften them up a bit.

stuffed peppers

Then we started cooking the grass fed lean ground beef I picked up from Josh at Farm Town Meats in Burnaby.

And then I made my mistake – the same mistake I make over and over again! I added the spice. Too much. What is wrong with me?!

The recipe says a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and I added a half … by mistake … but still. The pepper overpowered everything else. Ugh. And, the kids didn’t like them – and I can’t blame them. Tonight I will re-work the leftovers into a more creamy-tomato chilli that we can have with a bowl of rice.

stuffed peppers

We added the diced onions and the diced up bits of pepper (that we got from the tops and the thin slice off the bottom) and let that cook until the onions were soft – just a few minutes over a medium-high heat.

stuffed peppers

Then I added in a can of Campbell’s roasted red pepper and tomato condensed soup – I bought the soup from our local grocery store – Campbell’s is not sponsoring this post.

stuffed peppers

Stir, mix, let it cook and thicken up.

stuffed peppers

Add in the fresh diced tomatoes and the cup of macaroni I had previously cooked, and let it cook some more to combine the flavours.

stuffed peppers

Then I very carefully scooped the chilli into each of the peppers that I had standing in the Dutch oven before I adding some shredded cheese.

stuffed peppers

Then cover with tin foil and into the pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.

stuffed peppers

And then we served them.

stuffed peppers

Like I said, they looked good, they cooked perfectly, but … the cayenne pepper overpowered everything else. Double ugh. I will have to have a do-over. And leave the spices out of it!

In the Kitchen

The Vita-Mix; My Favourite Appliance

One of my all time favourite kitchen appliances is my Vita-Mix. The Vita-Mix is so much more than a blender! I believe it has a 2 horsepower motor that drives the blade inside the container at something like 20,000 rpm. Crazy powerful.

I used to use my Vita-Mix everyday because it is so easy to use. But then I moved into a condo and, well, the only negative about the Vita-Mix is how noisy it is. So when living in a condo, it is not nice to get up at 6:30am and run the appliance. That will guarantee nasty notes from your neighbours.

So I got out of the habit of using it. But now, after my second hospitalization, and some changes I’m making to my diet, I’m now getting back into the habit of using it!

For example today I used the Vita-mix to make fresh carrot soup. I went out to the garden, pulled up a handful of our carrots, washed them off, and then coarse chopped them into two cups of water.

I brought the water and the carrots to a boil and then let the carrots cook for about two or three minutes.

Then I poured the boiling water and carrots into the Vita-Mix container. A quick rinse of the pot and the dishes from making dinner are almost done.

Sadly, I’m out of veggie stock so I just skipped that. However, I do have oatmeal so I spooned in four heaping teaspoons of rolled oats. Yes, uncooked, dry oats. The rolled oats? Just to add another layer of healthy to the soup. And a big teaspoon of corn starch to thicken the soup.

I also had about a quarter cup of cheddar cheese that I chopped into cubes and added that to the container. And then I set it to blend.

Let it rip for two minutes on the “high” setting and voila- I had a couple bowls of fresh carrot soup.

I poured a couple bowls from the Vita-Mix container, added a pinch of grated Parmesan and a dollop of sour cream and dinner was served.

The best part? My kids actually liked it! And it is healthy!

In the Kitchen

SushiQuik for the Home


The good folks at SushiQuik make a nifty device for rolling your own sushi at home and they were kind enough to send me a complimentary sample of their device so that I could see how it works, play around with it, and make a short video of my experience with the SushiQuik.

As I typically do, I will start with the bottomline – and in this case I will say that this is a dandy of a sushi rolling tool for the beginner.

Before sending me the SushiQuik the supplier asked me to try their sushi rolling tool out and to make an objective video of the device. The truth is, this gadget works really well and it is a handy little tool that I found very helpful when I was at home making sushi – something I probably would not try without this handy little gadget.

Food and Drink

Meatless Monday Serves up Delicious Quinoa Patties

For our meatless Monday meal, Sweetheart took the big bowl of leftover quinoa and made amazing little patties.

Quinoa Patties
Quinoa Patties

I have been told that these tasty little treats are relatively easy to make, especially if you have a stand mixer on your countertop.

Try them with the recipe first and then get creative to do more, if you want.

If you want to make these delicious little morsels, you can get the recipe from Epicurious dot com.