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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Poached Chicken Breasts

Poached chicken may not be the most appetizing looking dish in the world, but everyone knows that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

Even though I totally judge books by their covers. Shh.

But this is poached chicken, so just don't judge it. Even though it's not a book and doesn't have a cover.

Poaching is just another low fat and easy way to cook chicken. For some reason, I never think to poach chicken unless I'm making a chicken stock, but it does make a nice and basic meal. If you're just starting to get comfortable in the kitchen I think poaching chicken is a relatively simple dish to make that won't hinder your confidence. Plus, you'll end up with some chicken stock in the end.

Plus it makes your kitchen smell yummy, and can be used in hundreds of dishes.

Poached Chicken Breasts (serves 2 or yields about 3-4 cups shredded chicken, depending on size)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 cups water
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt


Bring water, onion, garlic and salt to a bowl. Add chicken breasts and oregano.

Turn down the heat and simmer, partially covered for 35-40 minutes.

When finished cooking, remove chicken with a slotted spoon, if using in another dish shred with two forks, if not, serve. Strain liquid and reserve for stock.

Soon, I'll be posting a favourite recipe of mine to use this poached chicken in.

- Lou

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Muffins

Today is a special day, not only because I’m sharing whole wheat chocolate banana muffins on the blog, but also because I realized that I missed Living Lou’s first birthday last week! It was on the 9th, but I’m interrupting the regular Meatless Monday program for this very special occasion.

I can’t believe the site is a year old - it’s so exciting! It’s been a crazy, hectic year but I can’t imagine it without Living Lou and the amazing food blogging community.

When I started this blog I was a 17 year old, guitar playing, film loving, high school junior, trying to find an outlet as exam stress built up. Today, I’m still that same soccer playing, muffin loving girl but, I’m now 18, and a high school senior. This past year has been absolutely wild, you’ve seen me host a Royal Wedding Brunch, celebrate many Meatless Mondays, and embrace baking with prune puree and soon enough you’ll see me take on my fear of baking with yeast.

Most people like to celebrate their blog’s anniversary with cupcakes or cake, but you know me and muffins are my absolute favourite, so I’m celebrating our anniversary with these Healthy Banana Chocolate Muffins. You’re probably thinking, “Who celebrates with something healthy?!” well, truth be told, you would never know that these are healthy.

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Muffins (makes 12 muffins)
Recipe adapted from: Handle the Heat


3 mashed bananas
1/3 cup prune puree
1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 scant tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 375 and line a muffin tin with baking cups. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine mashed bananas, prune puree, egg and sugars. Add flours, cocoa powder, flaxseed meal, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix lightly with a rubber spatula and fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups (I like to use an ice cream scoop) and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Store muffins in an airtight container at room temp for up to 4 days. Although, they probably won’t last that long.

Well, Happy 1st Birthday Living Lou and enjoy these healthy, whole wheat chocolate banana muffins.

- Lou
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Maple Glazed Salmon

Salmon was one of the first things I made when I began cooking again a year and a half ago. Pan fried salmon with green beans and mushrooms sauteed in butter. My mom, dad and myself gobbled it up, I remember it like it was yesterday. It is still one of my favourite meals, and I’m still making it today, or at least making variations of this classic dish. Salmon, green beans and mushrooms are like those old friends you can always turn to. Although, I think it’s pretty hard to have three old friends to turn least when you’re still in high school. Anyways, that’s beside the point.

This is a new take on my favourite - Maple Glazed Salmon. I’m Canadian, and we live for maple syrup up here and I don’t know if it’s my Canadian side talking here, but this maple glazed salmon is pretty darn delicious.

I would think that macaroni and cheese, chili, or a big warm bowl of soup would be the most common choices for a comforting dish. Well, if you know me you probably know that I’m not like most people, so, it should come as no surprise that neither of those three are my favourite comfort foods. To me, salmon is one of the most comforting dishes. Is that weird? Probably. I also hate when people talk to me during movies so I enjoy seeing them alone...again, slightly odd. Sometimes, I prefer to eat vegetables over candy. I love words, my dad and I do SAT vocab flashcards for fun. I love going out and forget to do my homework until late Sunday night... wait, that's normal.

I’m not weird, I’m limited edition.

Maple Glazed Salmon (serves 3)
Slightly adapted from: Canadian Living

1 lbs salmon fillets
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp soya sauce


Preheat oven to 400 (convection oven) or 425 (conventional oven). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine maple syrup, Dijon mustard and soya sauce in a bowl. Brush sauce over salmon.

Bake at 400 (convection oven) for 8-10 minutes or at 425 (conventional oven) for 11-13 minutes.

Enjoy this maple glazed salmon with Spicy Broccoli or Green Beans in Vinaigrette.

- Lou

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Baked Potatoes on the Barbecue

May is in full swing and with the beautiful, warm weather comes grilling season! Steak, chicken, shrimp, burgers, hot dogs... are all the obvious carnivorous grilling favourites, but we can't forget about the veggies. Cooking baked potatoes on the barbecue is probably one of the easiest and most delicious dishes for a cookout. We really love potatoes over here - fried, mashed, roasted and of course baked! You can top the baked potatoes with sour cream, cheese, bacon, chives, butter - all sorts of different flavors. There's something for everyone when it comes to baked potatoes. This isn't really a recipe, more of a 'how-to' so let's get started.

Baked Potatoes on the Barbecue

baking potatoes


Wash and pierce the potatoes using a fork. Individually wrap them in tin foil, and bake for 40-45 minutes on the barbecue over high heat.

Cut open potatoes with a knife to check doneness, they will be hot so be careful for the steam. The skin should be soft and open up easily.

Happy meatless Monday everyone and enjoy your baked potatoes and grilling season!

- Lou

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Roasted Mushrooms

Maybe it’s just me, but I think that roasted mushrooms are a pretty classy food. Think about it; they pair nicely with both white and red wines, they can work well with beef, or in a risotto or in a salad. In general, mushrooms are a class act. Like Audrey Hepburn, who was probably one of the most chic and elegant people ever. No, I’m not comparing Audrey Hepburn to mushrooms, I was just on the topic of class and she came to mind, after all she’s pretty classy herself.

It’s like in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Holly announces to Fred/Paul that she’s going to sing-sing and says that she can’t go with a green face, or in Roman Holiday when Princess Anne says to Joe Bradley that she’s never been alone with a man, let alone in her night gown. Yes I’ll admit that I’ve seen those movies a few hundred times and each time I’ve enjoyed every second. It was also Audrey Hepburn’s birthday yesterday - she would’ve been 82.

Fun fact: I have a massive painting of her in my room, it’s pretty, and black and white and makes me smile.

Back to the mushrooms, these are so juicy, they literally melt in your mouth. The ingredients are so basic, but they really bring out all the good sides to mushrooms. I think white wine, garlic and butter are the holy trinity when it comes to mushrooms.

Roasted Mushrooms (serves 4)
Recipe adapted from: Authentic Suburban Gourmet

1 lbs white button mushrooms
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
freshly cracked pepper
Parmesan cheese for serving


Preheat oven to 450.

Wash mushrooms and pop out and keep the stems.

Toss mushrooms with olive oil, white wine, garlic and pepper. Place in baking dish and sprinkle pieces of butter over the mushrooms.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Since we’re on the topic of class, I’ve been listening to Billy Joel’s “She’s Got a Way” on repeat all day. Something about this song just conjures up an image of a sophisticated, elegant, gracious woman. I want to be her when I grow up. Alright, enough of this classiness, go and enjoy your decadent, classy, juicy roasted mushrooms.

- Lou

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Healthy Pancakes

With so much going on in the world right now, today seems like the perfect day for pancakes, or breakfast for dinner. Such a simple dinner means you will have time to read up on the news, or tune in to your local news station. What a historic weekend we have experienced, two events which will be forever remembered.

I think that breakfast for dinner has to be one of the most loved meals, there’s just something about eating eggs, bacon and pancakes for dinner that is just so special. Today I’m sharing with you one of the best pancake recipes I have ever made. These pancakes are not only sweet and fluffy, but healthy too. Finely grated carrot adds to the sweetness and gives them a nice colour and flavor, the cinnamon is just the cherry on top. You would never know these were whole wheat pancakes with flax and bran unless I told you.

Healthy Pancakes

1 cup finely grated carrot
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup bran flakes*
1/4 tbsp ground flaxmeal*
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup milk
2 egg
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp brown sugar
butter for frying pancakes (2-4 tbsp)

*If you do not have flaxmeal or bran just add another 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour.

Whisk all the dry ingredients except brown sugar together in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, combine carrot, milk, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar.

Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until combined.

On a griddle or frying pan over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of butter. Depending on the size of your pancakes fry in batches. Flipping over once bubbles began to appear on the uncooked side of a pancake. Flip over and cook for another minute.

Serve warm with maple syrup.

Wrap up this historic weekend and begin your week with tasty, healthy pancakes.

- Lou

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Torte

Finally, there is only one more day until the wedding which means that I'm sharing my last brunch recipe today... Chocolate Pecan Torte. This is probably my favourite dish from the brunch because well, truth be told, I love chocolate. This torte is flourless, which means that all our gluten free friends can enjoy it too! The texture is not that of your typical flourless chocolate cake, the pecans are chopped so that they retain some texture.

I know some people out there are getting tired of hearing about the Royal Wedding, but I think that's one of my favourite parts. I love the buildup - the excitement throughout the media, the constant chatter about who we wish would design the dress (... Erdem!), even the constant streams of specials about the royal family are entertaining to watch.

Chocolate Pecan Torte (serves 6)
Source: Vogue Entertaining Cookbook

1 1/4 cups pecans
5 oz semi sweet chocolate + 2-3oz for glaze
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp.
1/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
8 egg whites


Preheat oven to 350.

Butter, flour and line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

Pulse the nuts in a food processor a few times so that they retain texture. Pulse the chocolate in a blender* but do not let it get powdery.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Beating after each addition. Fold in the nuts and chocolate.

Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it up. Fold through the remaining egg whites.

Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before turning it out onto a platter.

To serve: Melt chocolate in the microwave, about 2-3 minutes. Taking it out after each minute and stirring. Pour melted chocolate over the cake and using an offset spatula spread the chocolate evenly over the top of the cake. Cut the cake into slices before the chocolate sets.

* My food processor is not very powerful so I found using the blender worked for chopping the chocolate. Make sure you're using the chop button/setting.

Well, the wedding is finally tomorrow and here I am wondering what I'm going to do with myself once it's all over.

I guess I could get a start on my homework...

- Lou

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