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Monday, October 25, 2010

Pesto Sauce

Basil is one of my favourite herbs, so pesto sauce sounded like a delicious meal for Meatless Monday. Now, it's been years and years since I last had pesto, my mom used to buy it for us and we loved it, then one day, suddenly I hated it. Don't know why, but I just did. So, the other day when I had a craving for pesto, I was a little confused. I thought I hated it? Well, I ended up giving in and making some pesto! It was marvelous. The perfect balance of flavours paired with fresh pasta (from the grocery store... I wish I could make my own!)

Hope that everyone has had a great, and meatless Monday! Sorry this post came so late in the day, I meant to post it this morning... but, sometimes, life just doesn't go as planned!

Pesto Sauce


1 cup basil leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil


Layer all of the ingredients in a food processor, basil first, and on top of the basil (to weigh it down) the pine nuts, garlic clove, Parmesan and oil. Pulse until desired results.

After making this from scratch, and it being so easy, I don't think that I'll ever understand why people buy pesto sauce at their grocery store and don't make it from scratch!

- Lou

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

TGIF!! I don't think I've ever been so excited for the weekend. But man, brrr.. it’s getting cold up around here, and I don’t like it. I've heard rumblings of possible snow? Not cool. As I was studying yesterday morning, my brain wandered around to food. What I should make today. Something sweet? Something succulent? Something rich? I ended up deciding between chicken wings and pumpkin spice cupcakes. I went with the latter. For some reason, perhaps due to senior year stress, I was definitely craving something sweet. Filled with the classic and aromatic fall flavours; cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves with a hint of pumpkin, these cupcakes are sure to boost your spirits when you’re feeling a little blue about the autumn weather. Bake up a batch of these, and in an instant you’ll be embracing the fall, and your new pumpkin treats!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes (makes 24 large cupcakes)
Recipe adapted from: Annie’s Eats


For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ scant tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs

For the Icing:
3/4 cup cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I prefer clear)
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with baking cups.

In a bowl sift the dry ingredients together, and set aside.

In another bowl, using a hand mixer, blend the pumpkin, sugars (granulated & brown) and canola oil together in a bowl. Once mixed, add in one egg at a time. Thoroughly blending after each addition.

Once all eggs have been added, blend in flour in two additions.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out the batter and drop into baking cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the icing:

Blend cream cheese and butter together, on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Stir in the vanilla, and then add the icing sugar in 1/2 cup additions.

Have a great weekend everyone!

- Lou

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

First of all, check out the new Recipe Index I've created! I love it.

Well it's another Meatless Monday! (Technically it's Sunday... but this way you can make this for dinner tomorrow!) For today we've got a soup, which is perfect for these cool fall evenings. I've noticed that it's getting dark a lot earlier these days... makes me yearn for those warm summer evenings! This recipe is courtesy of my mother, who makes the most wonderful, authentic and healthy soups I've ever tasted! I've mentioned my sister before, The Queen of Eggs and Toast, and now it's my mother's turn... the Queen of Soups!

Does anyone have the case of the Mondays? Don't worry, not only will this soup warm your heart and your spirits after a long day at work, or in my case, school, but it's a super easy, no-fuss recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 butternut squash (roasted)
1 medium sized onion (chopped)
1 celery stalk (chopped)
1 medium sized carrot (chopped)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
6 cups homemade or low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 heaping tsp of fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup orange juice
salt & pepper to taste


First of all, roast your squash. Preheat the oven to 375, cut the butternut squash lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Brush both pieces with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, and roast on a cookie sheet, cut side down, for 45-60 minutes, or until the squash tender.

While the squash is roasting, roughly chop you're other ingredients (they will be pureed so no need to be precise!) In a large pot, with the remainder of the olive oil, saute the onions, celery and carrot over medium heat, until the onions have softened and are translucent, about 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, add in the chopped garlic, and saute for another minute or until fragrant.

Once squash is done roasting, spoon the softened squash into the pot. Add the chicken broth and water. Bring to a low simmer, and simmer for half an hour.

When the half an hour is up, using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. Stir in the ginger and orange juice. And seasons with salt and pepper to taste.

How easy is that? Hope this soup helps you get over the "case of the Mondays"... I know it will help me!

- Lou

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chocolate Pecan Pie

So, I sort of mentioned this in my last post, but we have a new look here at Living Lou! I really like this one a whole lot more than what we used to have! I hope that everyone (is there anyone out there?) who visits my blog likes it! Also, again, if anyone is out there, I've also got myself a twitter account... @Living_Lou come follow me!

Now, onto this magnificent pie. I've got to say, as I titled this post, my heart started beating in excitement and anticipation, and my mouth started watering... this is a pecan pie WITH chocolate chips. Seriously, does it get much better than that? You're right, it doesn't.

I was at a graduation dinner party for my best friend on Friday night, and her aunt brought the most magical pecan pie. Picture this: beautiful, glittery fairies, dancing in the shimmering moonlight... it was like that. OK, maybe not exactly like that... but it was the most extraordinary pie I've ever had.

I just had to get the recipe, and being the sweet and wonderful woman that she is, she gave it to me! I made this for Thanksgiving, and everyone loved it. I mean seriously loved it, there was one piece left, which quickly I devoured late that night, before my Dad could get to it.

I loved this pie so much, I was seriously considering making one the next day... and the day after that, and then again today. I can't get over how positively perfect (that's fun to say!) this pie is. It's got a sweet, crunchy crust, with a layer of chocolate chips in the filling, and then it's topped with crunchy pecans.

For all of you Americans out there, I highly recommend you make this for Thanksgiving. I promise, it's so easy, it's literally the second pie I've ever made, and it turned out perfectly. Everyone will love you, and I promise you'll be invited back next year. And for everyone else who's either already celebrated Thanksgiving, or who doesn't celebrate... make it this weekend, and the next weekend, and the next weekend... I know I will be!

Chocolate Pecan Pie

1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (I pulsed mine in the food processor)
1 cup chocolate chips


For the crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a mixer, blend the ingredients together, it will have a crumbly texture. Press the dough into a pie pan, and bake for 10 minutes.

For the filling:

Using a mixer, blend the ingredients (excluding the chocolate chips and pecans) together with a mixer. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Once the crust is done, take it out of the oven and pour in the filling. Cover the top with the chopped pecans and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

This is recipe is so easy, and it is utterly the perfect pie.

- Lou

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick little note to wish my fellow Canadians a wonderful Thanksgiving! Hopefully everyone is able to move after their feast and are currently laying around, ready to fall into that "Turkey Coma".

I've spent the weekend busy baking and cooking, and enjoying the vibrant fall colours!

I don't know about you guys, but to me, the weather we've experienced this weekend has been some of the best in Thanksgiving history!

Also, do we like the new look??

- Lou

p.s Follow me on Twitter... @living_lou

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin... it's my new obsession. I've never baked, nor cooked with pumpkin before, and now that I have... let's just say I'm never turning back. These days I just want to make everything pumpkin. Literally everything I think of, somehow pumpkin makes it's way into the recipe... next up this weekend is pumpkin waffles!

So what's better than pumpkin you ask? Well, pumpkin AND chocolate. Yes, we've officially entered fall baking heaven. Here's a delicious recipe for a moist pumpkin chocolate chip bread! I would eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner - that's how good it is!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

1 and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/3 cup chocolate chips


First pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Next, in a medium sized bowl combine the dry ingredients, and in a large bowl combine the wet ingredients.

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, making sure it is well blended. Mix in your chocolate chips. Once everything is mixed together, line a bread pan with parchment paper, and pour the batter into the pan.

Cook for 50-60 minutes.

Make the best of the seasonal pumpkin and bake this bread! You won't regret it.

- Lou

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Foolproof Sunday Roasted Chicken

Sunday's are typically the day when we sit down with our family and have a nice meal; around here, a nice roast chicken is typically the perfect Sunday dish. A roast chicken is basically a blank canvas, you can do whatever you want with it. If you're in the mood for spicy, well make a nice spicy roast chicken with some cayenne pepper, if you want something aromatic how about stuffing some herbs underneath the skin? Literally, endless possibilities.

Another important staple of any home cook's inventory is a few foolproof dishes, that don't require much thinking and are always fantastic. Something like a roasted chicken, covered in butter (can you say YUM!), on top of whatever vegetables you have on hand. This is definitely a recipe for a foolproof roasted chicken, I bet my sister, the master of eggs and toast, could even make it!

Foolproof Sunday Roasted Chicken

1 roasting chicken
2 tbsp melted butter + 2 tbsp cold butter (chopped into pieces)
a handful of baby carrots (6-8)
half a red onion, roughly chopped
1 lemon (cut in half)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat oven to 375.

First let's ready our dish, spread olive oil on bottom of roasting dish. Next chop onions and garlic, (and any other vegetables you may be using). Arrange the onions, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, and carrots at the bottom of the dish (we will be placing the chicken on top.) Leaving aside a few pieces of chopped onion, 2 cloves of chopped garlic and a couple baby carrots. (These will be used to stuff the chicken).

Next, wash and dry your chicken, and place on top of the vegetables. Cover the chicken and vegetables with the juice of half a lemon, then place the lemon in with the vegetables. Stuff the chicken with the other half of the lemon, a couple and the vegetables you left out on the side, and one clove of the garlic.

Use the last clove of chopped garlic and place the pieces behind the wings and legs of the chicken.

Now the fun part! Brush the melted butter all over the chicken, and scatter the chopped pieces of cold butter in the vegetables, around the chicken and inside the chicken. Season both the chicken and vegetables with salt and pepper.

Finally add in the water, and roast the chicken for an hour and a half. Basting every 30 minutes and turning the pan half way through to make sure both sides of the chicken brown evenly. Feel free to add in more water if you see the need.

A simple, foolproof chicken, you can have this recipe done and in the oven in 15 minutes!

Happy Sunday!

- Lou

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