Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Lazy Saturday...With Awards!

I am so happy it's the weekend. Life has been busy and I'm in need of some downtime. I plan on getting a good nap in this weekend...kind of like Oscar.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Grilled cheese sandwiches are so tasty and it's so easy to add new ingredients to them to change them up. I saw this recipe for guacamole grilled cheese sandwiches on Two Peas and their Pod and thought it would be good to give them a try, since I love avocado. What an easy way to jazz up a grilled cheese sandwich! I was a bit worried they would be too rich, but the cheese and the avocado actually complement each other very nicely. I'll definitely make these again!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Salmon, Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

I have to confess that I had never made risotto before this - that's how much of an amateur chef I am. I've always wanted to try it, though. I saw a mention of salmon risotto somewhere on Pinterest and thought that sounded amazing, so I went hunting for a good recipe.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Strawberry Mousse

There was this bakery that we always went to when I was young. I would always get a slice of strawberry mousse cake. It was essentially a big slice of strawberry mousse, with a layer of strawberry gelatin on top - not much cake involved, except its shape. I absolutely loved it, but I haven't had it since that bakery closed down years and years ago.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli means "pasta and beans." It is a hearty tomato-based soup with - you guessed it - pasta and beans. The versions I have had have also always had Italian sausage in it. Yummy! I first came across it at the Olive Garden and it was one of my favourite things there.

Becoming a Better Photographer

For me, this blog is not only about the things I love, like cooking or gardening. It's also about becoming better at the things I love, documenting my learning experiences, and sharing them with other readers who are interested in the same things. When I started blogging, I read about the importance of photography. I quickly realized how valuable that advice was, especially when it came to taking pictures of the food that I made from the new recipes that I tried. No one wants to make or eat something that doesn't look delicious.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Heart Tulips!

They've arrived! My lovely tulips have started to sprout because of all of the gorgeous warm weather we've been having. This is one of my favourite signs that spring is here. I'm a bit worried that it will get cold again (as it inevitably does at least once or twice more) and that my tulips may freeze, but I'm hoping for the best.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Summer in March

It is beautiful out there right now. I'm not kidding when I say it feels like summer in March. The temperature has been in the 20s, the sun is out, and plants are growing. I'm a realistic enough Canadian to know that this won't last - in fact, the temperatures are set to dip to around 6 degrees this weekend - so I'm trying to enjoy this warm weather as much as I can while it sticks around.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring is Here!

Finally! Less than a week ago, there was snow on the ground, even though you could see it had started melting. That's when I took the first picture. Now, the snow is almost completely gone, though in my neck of the woods, we still get snow into April so it's probably not totally gone for good. But it was unbelievably warm yesterday, and sunny too, so I can't complain. The second picture was taken yesterday.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Salmon Potato Cakes

These salmon potato cakes are tasty, filling, and best of all, pretty easy and quick to make. I adapted these from Chef Michael Smith's recipe. You could use other types of fish in this as well, but I like salmon best because it doesn't make the cake too fishy-tasting or heavy.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Baked Ziti

I love baked ziti. Back in high school when I worked in retail, I'd always get baked ziti on my lunch breaks from this Italian place in the food court. Baked ziti is delicious comfort food. It's pasta tubes mixed with tomato sauce and three kinds of cheese, then topped with more sauce and cheese and baked. It's very simple to make, and creamy and tomatoey at the same time. Can't complain about that! This is the recipe that I adapted from the one I found on

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Easy Shortbread Cookies

I absolutely love shortbread cookies, especially with English Breakfast tea. I've never even thought about making them, but then I saw Koko's blog post on Koko Likes about making shortbread cookies and had to try making them myself.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hello, My Pretties!

A couple of weeks ago, I got really excited for spring to get here and decided to start some plants from seed indoors early, rather than heading to the garden centre right before planting in the spring the way we usually do. Since I never tried it before, I wasn't sure how well it would work out.

The plants did really well. It's only been two weeks, and all except a couple of pods of them have germinated. I've taken the top off of the little plastic greenhouse so that no fungus develops with all the moisture that was in there.

The zucchini and green beans have really taken off. The other plants are a bit slower to grow, especially the flowers, but they're not doing too badly. The zucchini and green beans were doing so well that I actually had to repot them, because their roots were invading the other pods.

I realized that I was out of potting soil, so I had to improvise and mixed what little potting soil I had with some Perlite and sphagnum moss. 

The zucchini were pretty tilted from leaning towards the sun. I had rotated the greenhouse, but I guess not quite enough! I used some straws and twist ties to give them some support so they'd grow straight.

I'll add more potting soil to the pots this weekend (you can see that the bean pots are still a little empty), and will probably repot the pods of the other plants that are getting bigger, like the cucumbers. I was kind of worried at first that the plants wouldn't grow, and now I'm worried they'll be too big when it's time to plant them! I'll just have to make sure that I get containers that are big enough so they don't get root bound before we can put them in the ground. We are thinking about leaving the tomatoes in big containers, because our patio gets most of the backyard's sun, so they may live in pots for the summer anyway. I can't wait to get out there and grow some delicious veggies!


    Days of Chalk and Chocolate

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Spaghetti alla puttanesca is a recipe I originally heard of on Nadia G's cooking show, Bitchin' Kitchen. It's a spicy, salty, delicious dish that is quick to put together and has become my go-to dish when I want something made from scratch but don't have a ton of time to do it. I've made it so much since I first heard about it that I've made the recipe my own. I just looked up Nadia G's actual recipe and it's very different. Funny how things evolve the more that you make them!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spaghetti al Forno

Spaghetti al forno is a delicious pasta and cheese frittata. Breadcrumbs, pasta, eggs, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and prosciutto are layered together and then baked. It's hearty, cheesy and so good with a side of marinara sauce. I adapted this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis' recipe for capellini al forno. This would make three to four servings because I cut some of the ingredients down so that my husband and I wouldn't have tons of leftovers. If you want to make more, there would be plenty of room in the springform pan for an extra layer if you follow this recipe, so you can increase the amount of pasta, prosciutto and mozzarella if you need to.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tomato Braised Chicken with Broccoli and Brown Rice

We came home late from work a few nights ago and I didn't feel like having something frozen for dinner (again) so I made chicken braised in tomatoes and chicken broth with broccoli and brown rice. It was very good - especially for something that I threw together without using a recipe. We both really liked it so I think we'll add it to our dinner rotation.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Blog Tag!

Christy at Sane Simplicity was lovely enough to tag me in this excellent game of tag - probably the only form of tag I have energy for these days. What a great way to get to know other bloggers, and to discover blogs that aren't already on my blogroll. Take a moment to visit Christy at Sane Simplicity if you haven't already - I think you'll thank me for it later!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

I love finding new slow cooker recipes. It's so convenient being able to toss things into the slow cooker and just set it to do the work for you all day. This recipe is adapted from the recipe for chicken enchilada soup on Chef in Training. There's a bit of prep work to do in the beginning, but it's well worth it. It's hearty and full of delicious flavours.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Vanilla Whipped Cream

Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious. I don't have too much of a sweet tooth, but when I get a sugar craving, one of my favourite things to indulge in is a little whipped cream on my latte or on fresh berries. I don't like the stuff you get from a can - the taste and texture aren't as rich as the real thing. I like my whipped cream with a touch of vanilla. Simple and so good.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Panel Window Makeover

When we bought our house, it came with the old homeowner's blinds and curtains. Some of them were pretty dated, but changing them wasn't the highest thing on our priority list. That changed, at least for the panel window by the front door, when our dog decided to try to eat the blinds.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Avocado and Tomato Pasta

This is a quick and easy recipe for a creamy avocado pasta that I first saw on Two Peas and their Pod. I thought it was kind of odd-sounding, but I love avocado and I love pasta, so I figured, why not give them a try together? The avocado actually goes well with the pasta - it's very rich and creamy. I added some tomato and Tabasco sauce to the original recipe, because I like my avocado with a bit of zing.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Getting Ready for Spring

I'm so sick of winter! I've been looking at all sorts of lovely pictures of flower and vegetable gardens online and getting very impatient for spring to get here. I was at Home Depot a while back and noticed that they already have all their seeds in stock, ready for spring. We usually get our vegetables and our flowers from garden centres and farmers' markets, but this year, I need something to do in the (many) weeks before spring gets here, so I decided to start some seeds indoors rather than buying the plants in the spring. Not only does it give me something to do, but it's much cheaper.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Improving Indoor Photos: An Epiphany

I wrote not too long about some blogging tips that I had recently picked up, which included the importance of taking good-quality pictures. I'm kind of ashamed to say how long I went without knowing basic things about photography, like how much better pictures look when taken in natural light as opposed to indoors.

Unfortunately, the only time I really can take pictures in natural light is during the weekend. I work full time during the week, so by the time I get home, it's pretty much dark out (though spring is coming and I can tell because the days are getting longer - hooray!) so anything I want to take pictures of on the weekdays are taken in poor lighting and come out yellow-tinged.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...