Mom’s Light as Air Waffles

Waffles for brunch is one of my Mom’s specialties.  It is a great treat for the whole family to sit down together and enjoy her light-as-air waffles.  These waffles are great because you can have three and not feel bad.  For this brunch Sarah made the bacon and eggs, I made the waffles and Mom made the fruit tray and everything else that made brunch come together smoothly.  Brunch is about the details: fresh fruit, a dollop of whipping cream, Canadian maple syrup, crisp bacon on the side and of course the secret ingredient – love!

My Mom has instilled a love for kitchen gadgets and cooking in me.  So I hope to start my own collection of kitchen gadgets soon.  Jonathan and I love having friends and family around, so I’m sure we will be extending lots of invitations for brunch once we are married and have our own home.  I’m sure our future kitchen will have a waffle maker and many kitchen gadgets.  When I have my own kitchen someday, I won’t be able to resist going into Aurora’s Kitchen Accents store and buying many of my Mom’s tested, tried and true kitchen gadgets.

Ingredients

2 egg yolks

2 cups of milk

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup canola oil

2 egg whites

Instructions

  1. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  3. Add egg yolks, milk and canola oil to the try ingredients and combine until moist.
  4. Fold in egg whites with a spatula.
  5. Get out your waffle maker and cook for approximately two minutes or according to your waffle maker instructions.
  6. Serve with fresh fruit, maple syrup, a dollop of whipping cream and a touch of icing sugar for garnish.
  7. Enjoy!

Salad and Healthy Food

I just did the grocery shopping  for making cupcakes and mini cheesecakes for my sister’s bridal shower this weekend.  Having bought a huge bag of flour, two pounds of butter, 1kg of icing sugar and 3 packages of cream cheese, I am feeling fat just thinking about all of those ingredients.  For that reason I would like to reflect on salad.  This upcoming weekend is going to be a carb-opolooza, so I would like to think happy green vegetable thoughts for a while.  I know my blog features a great deal of baked goods, so I assure you I eat salads and healthy foods too!

Last week Jonathan and I went to Fresh; a restaurant with three locations in Toronto. It’s been around for a while, but it was my first time going there.  I ordered the baby beach pasta bowl which is composed of: grilled red pepper, zucchini & sweet potato with avocado, sun-dried tomato, sunflower sprouts, olive oil, tamari, lemon, mixed herbs and goat cheese.  It was simply delicious and I definitely want to go back sometime soon.  I had never had soba noodles before (soba are noodles made from buckwheat flour).  I also ordered an antioxidant smoothie that was very tasty.  When I was at Chapters the other day, I saw two cookbooks from Fresh –  I flipped through the pages and there were many delicious looking recipes for salads, smoothies, and wraps. They are definitely going on my wish list.

I made the following salad today for lunch.  It has baby spinach greens, cucumber, red pepper, avocado, bacon and Balderson cheddar.  The salad dressing I made was quick and simple: 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar, dash of salt, dash of freshly ground black pepper and two drops of lime juice.  It was a hearty and filling salad.

One of the biggest parts of healthy living is exercise and eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  So here is a beautiful afternoon snack – lovely organic oranges!

Jalapeño and Bacon Poppers

Looking through my last few posts I wanted to try some different flavours. Jonathan recommended jalapeño and bacon poppers. I reluctantly agreed, seeing as I had never purchased jalapeño peppers in my life. My Dad still has trouble saying the word “jalapeño” even though he took a brief Spanish lesson with my sister Sarah in Mexico. He says it “jal-ap-ino” and there are many other versions of his mispronunciations.

I did not grow up with spicy foods and so I was a bit nervous, but I was pleasantly surprised that with all the seeds out jalapeño peppers are NOT super spicy (my mouth was not burning, yay!)  There was still a pleasant amount of spicy flavour though.  Jonathan tried to convince me that jalapeño peppers taste like bell peppers (which they do not).  Just in case the jalapeño peppers were going to be too spicy for me, I decided to make four stuffed mushrooms. Jonathan and I have different versions of the meaning of ‘spicy.’ I’m sure we would both agree that these jalapeño and bacon poppers are delicious!  Slowly I am working up my spice tolerance.  These were not as spicy as a curry dish from the Pinto house.  As Jonathan accurately advised me, jalapeño peppers and hot chili peppers have very different flavours.

The cream cheese, garlic and bacon part of the recipe I knew I would love and the jalapeño flavour complemented the other flavours quite well. Another part of this recipe that I like is that the poppers are not deep fried like they would be at a pub. The Panko crumbs that I dipped the cream cheese, garlic and bacon mixture in, gave the tops of the poppers and nice crispiness.

Ingredients
250g container of Western Light Cream Cheese – Western brand is nice and fluffy
1 clove of minced garlic
6 slices of bacon – sliced into small pieces
4 or 5 jalapeño peppers and 4 or 5 mushrooms if you so desire
1 cup of Panko crumbs
1/4 cup of canola oil to drizzle on the baking sheet

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Cook the bacon until crispy or however you like your bacon. Chop the bacon into small pieces. Dry off the bacon with a paper towel and then add to a bowl.
3. Mince one clove of garlic with a garlic press and add to bowl.
4. Add Light cream cheese and stir until combined.
5. Slice the jalapeño peppers in half. You may want to wear gloves to remove all of the seeds and the vein part of the inside of the pepper.
6. If you are making a few stuffed mushrooms – wash the mushrooms and take out the middle stem bit so that there is space for the cream cheese, garlic and bacon mixture.
7. On your baking sheet cover with tin foil and then drizzle with a bit of canola oil (you could also use cooking spray).
8. With a small spoon evenly distribute the cream cheese, bacon and garlic mixture onto the jalapeño and mushroom halves.
9. Roll the cream cheese top part in Panko crumbs and then place on the baking sheet.
10. Bake for 10-15 minutes on the middle rack (I did 10min). Then place the baking sheet on a top rack so that the Panko crumbs will brown a bit for 5-10 minutes (watch them to see when they have turned golden brown on top – I took mine out after 7 minutes). Oven temperatures will vary.
11. Enjoy!

Savory Bacon and Cheddar Muffins

My wonderful fiancé Jonathan is usually on the ball when it comes to food trends.  So when he asked for savory bacon muffins, I had to oblige.  Together we searched around the internet for a recipe and then I modified it to what you will see below.

Further enhancing the savory flavour of the bacon is delicious sharp Balderson aged cheddar cheese.  The regular orange cheddar is also used for colour and flavour.  Instead of using sugar in this recipe I decided to use buckwheat honey that comes from a farm near Peterborough, Ontario.  Buckwheat honey has a richer darker colour and slightly more molasses like flavour.  It was also less sweet than regular sugar, which is perfect for savory muffins.

While making these muffins Jonathan showed me the blog Freezer Burns.  This is a blog devoted to reviewing frozen foods from the grocery store.  After watching some videos from this food enthusiast, I am extremely happy that I make homemade treats such as savory bacon and cheddar muffins.  No Bagel Bites or Pizza Pockets for you, Jonathan!

The end result was a tasty treat.  Muffins are best enjoyed the day they are made for optimal freshness, but they also freeze well.  If you like bacon, you will love these muffins!

Ingredients

  • 7 strips of bacon
  • ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup of grated Balderson aged white cheddar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp buckwheat honey
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs

*Buttermilk can be made at home.  Mix one tsp of lemon juice with one cup of milk.  Once the lemon juice is added, stir!

Instructions:

1.  Cook bacon over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes or until crisp.  Drain bacon on paper towels; let cool and crumble or slice.

2.  In a bowl or measuring cup grate the cheeses.  Set aside enough cheese for garnishing the muffins.

3.  In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, pepper and salt; stir in remaining bacon and Cheddar.

4.  Whisk together in a separate bowl the milk, buttermilk, oil, and eggs.  Then pour over dry ingredients.  Stir with a wooden spoon until moistened. (Don’t over stir muffin batter) Spoon the muffin batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups.

5.  Garnish the muffins with extra cheese and bacon bits.  If you need more cheese that is okay too (the more the merrier).

6.  Bake in centre of 375°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch and muffins are golden.

7.  Store in an airtight container for two days.  Or freeze the extra muffins for up to three weeks.