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Monday, June 14, 2010

Meatless Monday – Vegetable soup!

Yes, it is June 14th, and yes it was 25°C outside today, and yes I did decide to have soup for dinner.

Vegetable soup is one of my favourite types of soup, not only is it full flavour but it’s also packed with goodness and nutrients - it's the best way to eat your vegetables! Another key feature of vegetable soup is that it includes no meat or fish products... thus, perfect for my weekly Meatless Monday's features! (See last week's Meatless Monday appetizer here)

When it comes to soups, I prefer a pureed soup over a brothy soup, I prefer the texture, so I decided to puree this vegetable soup. This isn't typically the way vegetable soup is served, but I think it makes it even more mouth-watering. And on the plus side, I feel like pureed soups are more likely to be eaten by picky eaters who hate vegetables, because there aren’t any visible vegetables!


1 ½ tbsp olive oil
1 cup broccoli florets
1 carrot chopped
6 green onions
1 stalk celery
¼ tsp ginger
2 large garlic cloves chopped
32 oz (4 cups) of vegetable broth
½ 28 oz can (14 oz) of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 ½ 14 oz (21 oz) cans of white northern beans

½ tsp coriander
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
salt & pepper


Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in your soup pot, sauté green onions, carrot and celery for 6 minutes. Add in the ginger and garlic – cook for 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable broth and beans. Add spices and honey. Stir and bring it to a boil, reduce heat to a slow simmer. Add broccoli florets and cover and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and puree the soup in a blender or using an immersion blender.

And there you have it, the most delectable, thick, flavorful vegetable soup! Feel free to indulge in one, two... or in my case, three servings!

- Lou

This recipe was adapted from Slice of Feist

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Cinnamon Pancakes

Here's a fun and delightful take on the classic pancake! Now that exams have started it means that there will be lots of cooking and baking to give my brain a break from studying! This morning I opted for a comforting breakfast of pancakes... but I wanted to jazz it up a bit so I threw in a bit of cinnamon! And boy, were these flavorful!

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp of baking soda
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp table salt
1 3/4 cup of milk
2 eggs
3 tbsp melted butter

Sift all the dry ingredients together. Add in the wet ingredients and blend until smooth. Heat frying pan with butter to avoid sticking. Using a ladle, scoop 1 ladle full of batter into the pan. Cook the pancake until you see small bubbles form on the surface, flip it over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve with your favourite toppings! My favourite toppings include maple syrup, butter, whipping cream, any berries (raspberries are my favourite though!)

- Lou

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Monday, June 7, 2010

A Meatless Monday Appetizer!

I haven't been feeling very well today so I had to skip out on my usual "Meatless Monday" dinner post, but I've come up with the next best thing... a Meatless Monday appetizer!! So here's a super easy and tasty recipe for Parmesan straws! The good thing about this recipe is that you can change up the fillings to be basically any flavour you want! This was my second time making these Parmesan straws and both times they have been an absolute hit; these will definitely be on the menu for all future dinner parties!

2 sheets of frozen puff pastry (thawed)
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
All-purpose flour, for rolling

Thaw the pastry and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl create an egg wash by whisking the egg and 1 tablespoon water together. In another small bowl, combine Parmesan, mustard powder, salt, and cayenne; set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the first sheet of dough. Brush with the egg wash onto the dough and then liberally sprinkle the cheese mixture over the egg wash. Roll out the second piece of dough and brush one side with the egg wash. Place the second piece (egg wash side down) on top of the first piece and press down to adhere the two sheets together.

Using a pizza cutter cut the dough into 24 strips about 1/2 inch to an inch wide. Twist the strips and place them onto a baking sheet, pressing down on the tips to adhere them to the baking sheet. (You press the tips down in order for them not to loose their shape.) Bake until golden and puffed about 8-10 minutes.

These are seriously so tasty! They are wonderful straight out of the oven but they are also amazing when they've cooled down.

- Lou

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart's Parmesan Straws

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bite Sized Stuffed Mushrooms

Here's another one of my promised appetizer recipes; stuffed button mushrooms! These bite sized babies are scrumptious, and I actually got a round of applause from the guests! Now that is success. I usually find stuffed button mushrooms to be a little too rich and cheesy for me. This recipe has the perfect balance of flavors. And they are perfect for a dinner party because you can prepare the filling in advance and fill the mushrooms and leave them in the fridge and pop them in the oven when your guests arrive. Twenty minutes later, when the kitchen is smelling heavenly voila, stuffed mushrooms fit for a King!

24 whole fresh button mushrooms
3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tsp canola oil
1/3 cup fresh cream cheese
1/8 Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (the added cayenne gives the mushrooms a nice bite!)
1 cup small peeled cooked shrimp


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean the mushrooms (using a damp cloth or paper towel.) Remove the stems from the mushrooms (sometimes this can be a bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it all goes well!) Set aside the caps and stems. Add the stems and garlic to a food processor and pulse in brief bursts until finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushroom caps and garlic and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until all the moisture has disappeared. Add in the shrimp and turn heat down to medium-low. Stir in the cheeses and spices. Mix together until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Boats

This is one of the first posts of my many appetizer themed posts to come in the near future. On the weekend I was asked to help out at two different events (one being a pre-prom party, and the second a dinner party.) I was helping out in the kitchen working for the most part on the appetizers, so I've got a few appetizers to share! This recipe is an adapted version of the Salmon Mousse over on Annie's Eats

These cucumber boats are perfect for a nice summer event. With the use of the fresh, crunchy cucumber and the soft cold salmon mousse, it's perfect for a warm evening.
1 cucumber (rather thin so that your pieces aren't too large.)
1 cup smoked salmon, flaked with a fork
1 cup of fluid cream cheese
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, finely minced
chives for garnish (optional)


Wash and chop the cucumber (leaving the skin on) into about 1-1 1/2 inch thick rounds. Scoop out the seeds creating a "bowl" in the cucumber. Be sure not to create a hole in the cucumber round.

Flake the salmon with a fork and put it into the food processor. Next add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until the desired texture. (Note: I like mine very smooth.) Scoop out about one teaspoon of the salmon mousse and place it into a cucumber bowl. Repeat the process for all the cucumber bowls. Serve immediately.

And there you have it, a yummy, summery appetizer for your next dinner party!

- Lou

Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats: Salmon Mousse

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