I’ve noticed how enticing baking has become at my house, and ever since lockdown has been in affect I can’t stop circling the kitchen. Is it just me or are you hungry all the time too? I’m finding new and innovative ways to make my favourite desserts, and boy is it ever delicious! So you’re thinking, “Just refrain from baking,” but you have to understand that baking is in by bones. I can’t do without a proper dessert – even if I only indulge from time to time.
For example, I do chocolate cakes right! For those who have tasted my chocolate delights, you know exactly what I mean. However, I will put a French spin on that recipe to take chocolate caking to a whole new level! It’s what a true baker would do just to up her game, and so I had to go there! Let me share a recipe with you that will make you “bring it” in your kitchen:
French Chocolate Cake
Caution: the scale button does not work for values in parenthesis.
4.4 ounces (125g) baking chocolate of good quality
3 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup (125g) salted or unsalted butter, diced
2/3 cup (125g) sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs, white and yolks apart
1 pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and grease a 9-inch (23 cm) spring form.*
In a medium-size saucepan place on low heat, melt the chocolate with the milk. Add the butter and allow to melt, stirring as needed.
Turn off the heat, then add the sugar and the yolks, one at a time, stirring between each addition. Sift in the flour and stir well.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Carefully incorporate to the chocolate mixture in two or three additions.
Pour into the prepared spring form and bake for about 30-35 minutes.
* If using a bigger form, double the recipe proportions or multiply by at least 1.5%.
*Recipe taken from delscookingtwist.com
Some advice: Make just enough to share or you will feel obligated to polish it off all on your own! I’m so happy to share the chocolate love! Have fun with it, and happy Thursday everyone!
When we talk about deep fried, we are talking about litres of greasy oil and messy splatters, right? Well, not anymore! The new age of deep frying now involves a mere tablespoon of oil (if that), and a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. They are called Air Fryers, and they are taking the world by storm – making meals crispy, but easy on the fat content. Everyone I know who owns one has great feedback about the product, but the question is: Which brand is the best?
According to Best Reviews Guide, the top four placings in which the fryers are voted are as follows:
4) T-Fal Actifry
This low ranking totally caught me by surprise because this fryer is usually the one I often hear about. It comes in two sizes and has a cool to the touch body for easy manipulation. The heat pulse system is for even temperature distribution while cooking, and a removable basket that is also dishwasher safe. All you do is throw in a tablespoon of oil into the uncooked food, close it and set the timer. There are different settings for the various foods that you put in – keeping cooking pretty straightforward.
3) COSORI Smart 12-in-1 Air Fryer
This fryer is a bit of a cheat as it has many different functions: Rotisserie, pizza roast, toaster, broiler, and a cookie baker, just to name a few. The oven can be connected to a smartphone to adjust temperature and time, to find recipes, or to simply turn the light on and off. You could access over a hundred chef-inspired recipes that are updated frequently, and also allows you to share and save. Pretty neat, huh?
2) Chefman 6.3-Qt 4-in-1 Digital Air Fryer
The fact that this fryer needs no time to preheat before use is pretty fancy to me! It has a huge 6 litre unit that can make more than enough food for the whole family. The fryer comes with 2 air flow racks, rotisserie spit and forks, rotating basket/retrieval tool and drip tray. Removable drip tray and dishwasher safe parts make cleaning easy breezy. The internal temperature has a range of 90-400 degrees and 8 pre-set options make any meal easy – from frying and roasting to dehydrating and baking!
1) COSORI 5.8Qt Oil-Free XL Electric Hot Air Fryer
It’s all in the name – an oil-free fryer that does the same job as the rest? I’m truly impressed! COSORI has 11-in-1 pre-sets, and overheat protection that makes your cooking a safe task. A “shake” reminder is also present to ensure that you remember when to move your food around in the basket, preventing an overcooked meal. The 5.8qt basket serves 3 to 5 people, and fits a whopping 5-6 lb whole chicken! Sounds like a one-stop-shop to me.
What are your thoughts? Do you currently use the number one brand in the world of air fryers? If so, I want to hear what you think. Send a photo of your fryer and delicious food to me, and I will feature your story in another addition of Product Talk. That’s a wrap everyone. Remember to cook healthy, and happy Wednesday everyone!
Happy New Year to all of you and welcome back to a fun-filled, action-packed agenda for 2021! I have to say that it is quite refreshing to turn over a new leaf, and concentrate on what’s ahead, rather than what’s behind us. This year I had the privilege of hitting 40, and boy was it ever fabulous! Celebrations were minimum with my family at home, but I dressed to kill in a black dress with heels! Listen, you gotta go big or go home for these milestones, right? Life might feel impossible to control right now, but the one thing you should always be thankful for is more of it;) When I reflect on the road I’ve travelled to get here, I might have needed higher heels to celebrate! Forty is what you make it to be, and with lots of self-care and love, you will be fabulous at whatever age you’re rocking this year too!
I thought we could start this party train with some delicious Fajitas to make dinner exciting tonight, but first I thought we’d slow down to discover something new in the world of ingredients: Liquid smoke.
According to thespruceeats.com:
“Liquid smoke is a natural byproduct of burning wood. The exhaust of a wood fire is basically smoke and steam; fire produces water in the form of vapor, and this vapor, condensed through a cooled tubing, captures the smoke. This liquid is distilled into a concentrate and filtered of its impurities (soot and ash). What is left is a yellowish-brown substance that is liquid smoke. Most brands of liquid smoke are inexpensive.“
Has anyone ever had the chance to use this product in their recipes? I can say that I have not, although I’m a bit tickled about giving it a try. I’m wondering if that barbequed, smoky flavour will be present in the chicken as we prepare it? Well, we are definitely about to find out….
Skillet Chicken Fajitas
Ingredients: 2 large chicken breastssliced horizontally to create 4 fillets (1 1/2 pounds)1/2 red onion, thinly sliced3 bell peppers, thinly sliced (any mix of colors)8-12 flour tortillas Chicken Fajita Marinade: 2tablespoons olive oil3tablespoons brown sugar2tablespoons orange juice2tablespoons lime juice2tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce1tablespoon Dijon mustard1tablespoon chili powder1 1/2teaspoons ground cumin1tsp EACH garlic pwdr, onion pwdr, salt1/2tsp EACH smoked paprika, chipotle chili pwdr, dried oregano1/4teaspoon pepper2teaspoons liquid smoke Chipotle Lime Crema (optional):1cup sour cream2tablespoons mayonnaise1-2tablespoons lime juice, to taste1/2teaspoon salt1/4 – 1/2teaspoon chipotle chili powder1/4cup packed cilantro, finely chopped Filling/Topping Ideas: cheeseGuacamole/chopped avocadosRecipe Avocado Crema(my FAV!)salsaChopped tomatoesblack beanscilantroFreshly squeezed lime juice
Instructions: MARINADE In a large freezer bag, whisk together all of the Chicken Fajita Marinade ingredients. Remove 2 tablespoons to use later for vegetables. Add chicken to freezer bag and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 6 hours up to overnight (longer the better).CHIPOTLE LIME CREMA (optional): Whisk together all of the ingredients. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use. CHICKEN: When ready to cook, let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, dab excess marinade off chicken and add to skillet. Cook chicken undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 2-4 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing across the grain into strips. VEGETABLES: Meanwhile, Add 1 tablespoon oil to the leftover juices in the skillet along with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade. Heat over medium high heat. Add onions and saute 1 minute. Add bell peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add sliced chicken and toss to coat. ASSEMBLE: Layer tortillas with Chicken Fajita mixture and desired toppings. Top with Chipotle Lime Crema.
*Total time does not including maintaining as this will vary between individuals
HOW TO WARM OR CHAR TORTILLAS
I HIGHLY recommend warming the tortillas first using any of the following methods:
Open Flame (gas stove or grill): add the tortillas directly to the burner of your gas stove then flip with tongs once they are charred on one side. You can also accomplish this on the grill as well. If you are using lower quality tortillas, you will want to take special care not to over-char or they will become brittle and break. You still want the tortillas soft and pliable.
Skillet: heat a skillet (or griddle if you have one) to medium high heat (do not grease). Working with one tortilla at a time (more for a griddle), heat each side of the tortilla for approximately 20-30 seconds until warm and soft. You are not looking for char marks with this method.
Microwave: working with about 5 tortillas at a time, stack tortillas on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then repeat at 10 second intervals if needed until warmed through.
Oven: create separate stacks of about 5 tortillas each, then wrap each stack in foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through (you can bake all stacks at once).
*Recipe taken from carlsbadcravings.com
For those of you who would like give a more detailed recipe of the Avacado Crema a try, I have attached the recipe below for you to go nuts with! Let me know if this recipe was a yay or nay, and if you could get your hands on that liquid smoke. Enjoy every bit of your Mexican dinner tonight, and happy Tuesday everyone!
Ingredients: 1 medium avocado (not large) 1/2cup sour cream or Greek yogurt 2tablespoons mayonnaise 1tablespoon lime juice 1/2teaspoon salt 1/4teaspoon ground cumin 1/4teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions: Add all of the Avocado Crema ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth, scraping sides down as needed.Avocado Crema may be made 8 hours ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed directly to the surface of the crema.
HOW TO STORE AVOCADO CREMA
This Avocado Crema can be made and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days IF you transfer the crema to an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the crema before adding the lid. This will delay oxidization/browning that occurs when the surface of the dip/avocado come in contact with air.
The lime juice will also prevent the Avocado Crema from discoloring too much, but within the 3 days the very top layer will darken slightly. I only notice a slight change in color as I stir the crema around. A change in color of the crema isn’t bad, it simply means the dip is oxidizing.
It snowed today in Toronto – between 5-10 centimeters to be exact. The first snowfall was absolutely stunning, and definitely got everyone on my block in a good mood! The Christmas lights are up around my neighbourhood, and I even read that the city is handing out a prize to the best dressed home for the holidays…pretty neat! If you have been wondering how people are getting their Christmas shopping done, I would have to say “very cautiously.” Although the stores are pushing their late holiday hours, many of us feel that it is not safe to shop among big crowds at the mall at this time.
You really have to take into consideration the rising cases within your area before you venture into long line ups, cashier check outs, and public washrooms. However, don’t let me be the bearer of bad news because there is always the option of online shopping from the comfort of your own home. You can buy anything online; from books to big screen televisions, the choice is yours! Take a break for a moment from making the homemade gifts we discussed last week, and allow me to give you a heads up on the best deals in cyberworld:
MSRP: $56 | Sale Price: $24.95 (54% off), pocketnow.com
Take your photography game to the next level with this powerful and portable telephoto kit. You’ll be able to snap shots with 12x magnification, and an adjustable tripod stand will give you the stability you need to capture the perfect photo in any environment.
$1398, Sony 75-in. 4K HDR Android Smart TV XBR75X800H, costco.ca
LIMITED TIME OFFER
Price valid until 12/03/20Features:
75-in. Smart TV
4K Ultra HD, HDR10, Dolby Vision
Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant
Motionflow XR 240
4 × HDMI
CAD$115.99, Black Hooded Puffer Parka – Women, London Fog, zulily.ca
Hop on to that computer and start browsing! So many deals, so little time! This year will definitely be an easier list to cover now that our travelling has been cut short;) Be sure to take advantage of shipping to your loved one’s front door if visiting is not an option. We are working around a pandemic to spread holiday cheer! We have to learn how to be creative, am I right? Happy Sunday everyone!
It’s back! I’m so excited to announce that Netflix has finally premiered season 4 of The Crown for our viewing pleasure, and it begins with a clash of titles! The queen and prime minister Margaret Thatcher, are formally introduced, but things take a turn for the worst when the prime minister realizes the vast differences between herself and the royals. When she visits the queen and her family in Scotland, she and her husband suffer great humiliations throughout their stay; from receiving separate rooms for her and her husband to sleep in, to wearing heels to stalk game in the forest .
Imagine that the royal family floods into a room for a sip of tea and a bite to eat after a recreational day outdoors, and the prime minister and her husband join them wearing formal evening attire! It was a “laugh until you cry” moment that had you wondering who was more sensible. If you’re not watching it, you need to make it your new fav and invest a few Saturday nights to binge. It’s just that good!
Tea time is of course, my favourite scene so far, and I just had to base my baking off of that moment. So, in honour of this embarrassing moment, we must make scottish shortbread!
Scottish shortbread recipe
350g plain flour
125g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Caster sugar, for dusting
2 x 23cm round sandwich tins, buttered and base-lined
Set the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Put the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the bowl. Work the mixture until it forms a ball (do not beat the mixture). The mixing may take a while.
Divide the mixture into 2 and put a portion into each tin, pressing it into an even layer.
Use the handle end of a fork to flute around the edges of the tins, then use the prongs to prick over the surface.
Place the tins in the centre of the oven and bake for about 30-40 mins, or until the mixture is a pale golden colour.
Remove the shortbread from the tins and cut into petticoat tails, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Dust with caster sugar before serving. (Not suitable for freezing).
So, it’s official! It snowed this morning, and the very sight of it instantly gave everyone the winter blues:( You have to admit that moving from summer weather the week before, to a white Christmas in the middle of November, isn’t the most exciting news. As a matter of fact, I was thinking that it might be time to invest in one of those alarm clocks that mimic the sun rising as it goes off. Seriously! The time change thing is really messing with me as I get older, and I realize how dependent I am on the sun’s rays for my energy and vitality. Does this sound like any of you?
I will make my way to the heart of this segment, which is Caribbean-inspired flavours for the cold, almost winter days. There is nothing better than a gorgeous bowl of chicken curry with a side of rice and peas or better yet, a soft and delicious roti to tantalize your taste buds! I’ve got the perfect recipe for you to try – and yes, you are welcome;)
1 Potatoes large, cut into 1-inch chunks (omit for keto/low carb)
1 cup Water
Heat the Instant Pot on Sauté and once it is hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add ginger and garlic, and stir for 20 seconds.
Add chopped onion and mix well (about 1-2 minutes).
Add the Jamaican curry powder, the sliced scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, salt and allspice and mix well.
At this point, if you have any browning or sticking that has occurred, use 1/4-1/3 cup of water to deglaze, scraping well, and allowing the water to evaporate.
Add chicken, potato, and 1 cup of water and set your Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. If you are NOT using potatoes, reduce water to 1/2 cup.
Allow the pot to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes and then release all remaining pressure. Stir and serve.
Tips And Tricks For Making This Jamaican Curried Chicken
You can make this low carb by leaving the potatoes out of the recipe. Omitting the potatoes reduces carbs by 6 gms per serving.
You can serve this with rice to help cut down on the spice.
All the heat in this recipe comes from the Scotch bonnet pepper, so reduce this if you need it less spicy.
*Recipe taken from twosleevers.com
If you’re not into chicken, go ahead and do chickpeas instead. I promise you it is just as mouth-watering and delightful. Scotch Bonnet peppers are extremely spicy, so if you are not into too much heat, beware! A little piece of pepper goes a long way, so for those who like the challenge I recommend a quarter piece at a time. Instant pots are handy in the kitchen, but if you don’t have one don’t worry, ‘everyting’ is irie mon! You can also use a skillet to achieve the same dish. I hope you enjoy my warm vibes on a frosty day. Happy Tuesday everyone!
As we burrow into the heart of November, thoughts of Christmas may play on our minds, which is a hint that the season is well on its way. This year is truly a year for sentiment – a chance for people to show their appreciation for one another in very simple, but thoughtful forms. Instead of heading out to purchase mom a big screen tv, consider putting together an album of the year’s best pics to laugh over some hot cocoa. This year has definitely been the year of deep reflection and significant change. Meaningful gifts for the holidays help us to focus on what is important, and will also keep our minds focused on the people we love as we head into the year 2021.
Here are a few ideas you could try during your Sunday afternoons at home:
Scrapbook past memories to create a book your family or friends will enjoy every Christmas. Give a gift that keeps on giving.
2. Old Christmas Card Comebacks
Dig up your old Christmas cards that someone has given you, and repurpose it into a brand new one for Christmas. Be creative and cut and paste, date and photocopy past messages to create a card your loved one will never forget!
3. Mason Jar Christmas Candles
Put together a beautiful décor piece that the receiver can use in their home for years to come.
4. Classic Christmas Home Videos
Capturing past hysterical Christmas moments to make an official video the whole family can come together to watch, and laugh until they cry.
There is so much work to be done before the big day! Start your brainstorming to come up with the perfect gift that will never be forgotten. Spread some cheer this holiday season! It will certainly be a welcomed change. Happy Sunday everyone!
It wasn’t anything fancy, just a juicy salmon and a hearty mushroom risotto to compliment! Fabulous! Those who know me, know that this is a typical weeknight dinner, and why not? Can’t we eat with sophistication, but within a tight time frame? Of course we can! Rachel Ray (TV Chef and show host) says that if you cut and prep ahead of time, it could actually cut your cooking time in half. So, I put the theory to the test and saved a whole half hour! Also, if you have a magic bullet, or something like it, try blending your onions, garlic, and other herbs along with some olive oil. The chopping is eliminated and the pesky chunks of garlic you missed are now a wet rub.
When you make recipes often enough, you tend to memorize them which makes it fairly simple to get through in a hurry. On the nights that you may not have a lot of time to spare, go with what’s familiar to avoid mistakes. Your hungry family, or your own belly will thank you! When you get those delicious, high end meals out of the kitchen in an hour or less, you’ll have to thank me for making you look so good;) Here’s to less time cooking, and more time eating! Happy Tuesday everyone!
LISA’S BAKED SALMON
1/2 medium white onion
1 clove of garlic
Salt and Pepper (sprinkle)
2 fresh leaves of basil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard powder
Red pepper flakes (sprinkle)
Soak the salmon in cold vinegar and lemon water for 10-15 mins.
Rinse and drain.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, mustard, and red pepper flakes. In the blender, blend the remaining ingredients and pour on top of salmon.
Rub in all of the ingredients thoroughly and bake on 350 degrees for 20 mins.
A change of season demands a change of wardrobe, and I am ready to shop ’til I drop for the best of what Fall-turn-Winter has to offer! The look we are trying to achieve: Go get em’ professional, who happens to have an after hours cocktail date. A full length jacket, with sassy boots and a few accessories to impress, are just a few items in our “Like a Boss” vibe!
Wool/Cashmere Ribbed Scarf in Flannel Grey, $248, CORGI
Such a bossy look with nowhere to go? Start making plans! You can’t possibly go to this extreme when no one is watching;) If you love a particular item, buy it and make it your staple. You don’t need everything to be high end, but there’s alway the concept of mix and matching! Be wise, shop smart, save a bundle! All the best to you, and happy Monday everyone!
Another weekend gone by and I don’t know about you, but I am completely exhausted! It was an action-packed Saturday when we headed out to Collingwood to see the Scenic Caves. I have to say that we had an incredible time! There were so many interesting trails, and some that lead to a huge suspension bridge that had an awesome view of the Georgian Bay. According to my fitness app, we made 17, 894 steps, and I felt every one of them;) You couldn’t even ask for better weather, too! The temperature was up to 18 degrees celsius, or 64 degrees fahrenheit for our US friends! It almost felt like a summer repeat, which got me feeling good all over:)
The caves were the best part about the trip, with so many entrances to explore. The most exciting cave of all was the “Fat Man’s Misery” cave, where tight spaces was the central theme. Oh man, did I sweat through a few of those passages, and I had to reach back and help fellow cave explorers behind me, but overall it was definitely an exhilarating adventure! The only negative thing was the pricing to get in. It cost my family of five $140 to enter the park to do trails, caves, and play in the playground. A bit pricey to be one with nature, if you ask me.
Needless to say that Sunday is a complete bust! I can’t move an inch, but the basics were done: Raking leaves, laundry, dinner, bathroom clean up, hair washing and styling (for my daughter). All of this before Monday morning, and before you know it you’re back at it again, but with a ton of memories under your belt that makes each day worth the fuss. I wish you all a fabulous week ahead, and happy Sunday everyone!