food amongst family and friends

Breakfast at my house, every Saturday February 26, 2013

ImageI thought for years that I had scones all wrapped up. I kept reading about cream scones and I thought they were crazy, that clearly you would need an egg in there to get that lightness that you want in a good scone (who knew whipping cream would be the solution to that?). But finally, I caved, and tried this recipe, and our Saturday mornings haven’t been the same since. These are perfect; light, soft, and delicate, creamy with a hint of sweetness, just what I want with my lazy weekend coffees. This picture is of my family’s favourite flavour, raspberry, but I have also tried lemon ginger (zest of one lemon, a third of a cup chopped candied ginger, lemon egg wash and crystallized sugar at the end), cherry orange (orange zest instead of the lemon and frozen cherries) and roasted pear and dark chocolate (just like it sounds). All flavours have been well received. The best part of these scones (besides eating them): they freeze beautifully. Once they are mixed and shaped, just pop them on a cookie sheet and freeze them solid, then transfer to an airtight container and: TA DA! you have the ability to put freshly baked scones on your table in about 20 minutes, including the time it takes your oven to preheat. Add about three minutes to your regular baking time and nothing else. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does!


1 cup unbleached flour

1 cup spelt flour

1 Tbsp Baking powder

3 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

5 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cubed

a few big handfuls of frozen raspberries

1 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone (unless you are going to freeze all of them, in which case you can skip the preheat)

2. Combine flour thru salt in a large mixing bowl (or in a food processor, I just find this so simple it’s not worth having to wash my food processor).

3. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or by pulsing in the food processor, until mixture resembles oatmeal. Stir in raspberries and cream until it all starts to come together. Turn out onto counter and knead a couple of times, just to get everything to stay together. Pat into a 6-8″ disc, then cut into 8 wedges.

4. Transfer to baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. I always check by pressing the tops; the scones shouldn’t feel liquidy inside, they should be firm all the way through.

5. Let cool a little on a rack, then eat ’em up! Scones are best fresh baked and are great for a few hours, just don’t seal then inside anything; they will lose there crispness.






Huevos Rancheros – my new easy egg dinner August 20, 2012

I’ve been attempting to hit the gym this summer for the first time since I was about 16, which was when I established that gyms just weren’t for me. Then I had kids, and gyms have babysitting, which yoga and running don’t have, so gym it is, at least while school’s out. The upside of the gym (one of them; it turns out the gym is not as bad as I remember, probably due to a long winded explanation I could provide about a creepy and lecherous gym owner in Sylvan), is that I have had a chance to watch a little Food Network while on the treadmill. Now this particular day, I did not remember my headphones, so I was watching a recipe in progress without actually hearing anything, but this is what I got out of it. Also, not having sound and not knowing any of the celebrity chef’s du jour, I don’t know who to credit for this, but she was blonde and looked like she was from the South, but maybe that was just the Mexican food. Anyway, I think I always thought that huevos rancheros was a great thing to make for yourself, but too much work to get 4 (or more) servings on the table at the same time. This changed that, as it’s done in the oven and you can make as many as you want at once, limited only by how many muffin tins you own. Not to mention, it’s pretty enough to serve to guests, fast and easy enough for an on the run weeknight dinner, and delicious enough to make me a convert my first time ever eating huevos rancheros. Try it!

For 6 servings

6 small tortillas, edges trimmed (I used flour, but if you had access to some good corn tortillas, that would work well here)

3/4 cup black beans, cooked (I used canned)

2 Tbsp salsa, plus extra for topping

salt and pepper to taste

6 large eggs

1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese (I used a pepper jack which was good for me, but too spicy for the girls, cheddar would work here as well)

sour cream and fresh chopped tomatoes or salsa, for topping

1. Preheat your oven to 4oo and spray a six cup muffin tin, with cooking spray. Slice a line into each tortilla from the edge, about 3/4 of the way into the centre. This makes it easier to form them into nests in the muffin tin. Either brush the tortillas with oil, or spray with cooking spray on both sides, them place in tins, forming nests, or cups.

2. Stir 2 Tbsp of salsa into the black beans, along with plenty of salt and pepper. This is the only seasoning you are adding, so be generous. Place about 2 Tbsp of beans in the bottom of each tortilla cup.

3. Crack an egg into each cup and pop it in the oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the tortilla are nicely browned and the egg is just starting to set.

4. Take out, top each egg with a Tbsp or so of cheese, then cover the whole thing with tinfoil to prevent over browning the tortillas and pop it back in the oven for another 8 – 13 minutes, depending on how you want your eggs done. You should be able to press on the top of an egg to get a feel for how done the yolk is. We like ours medium, which took a total of about 20 – 22 minutes.

5. Remove from oven when egg is set to your liking and serve with sour cream and salsa or fresh chopped tomatoes (the kids preferred this option).



PS I didn’t price this out, but beans and eggs are always cheap. I would estimate under $7 for the whole meal, and that’s using free range eggs.


Classic Coffee Cake January 20, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast,Cakes,Desserts,Quick and easy,Thrifty — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:56 pm
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This is what my work-from-home day looked like this week: hiding from the freezing outdoors (-32C!) with my laptop, a cappuccino and a slice of coffee cake. Winter has its perks.

The coffee cake comes from Meagan. It’s quick to throw together and you likely have all of these things in your house right now. Be sure to try this one – it’s a keeper.


2 T sugar
1 t cinnamon

3/4 c cold butter
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat or spelt flour
1 1/2 c dark brown sugar, packed
1 t baking soda
1 egg
1 c sour cream or plain yogurt

  1. Using a pastry cutter, combine the butter, flours and brown sugar until crumbly and well combined. Transfer half of this mixture into a greased or sprayed 9×13 baking dish, pressing it into the bottom of the pan to form a crust of sorts.
  2. Give the egg a quick beat with a fork, then add it to the flour mixture along with the sour cream and baking soda. Stir it all together with a wooden spoon until it resembles a muffin batter. Add it to the pan on top of your crust and level it as best you can.
  3. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the cake.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes (mine took 27), until it springs back to a light touch.

The Perfect Not so Guilty Treat – Bean Cookies January 17, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast,Cookies,Make Ahead,Quick and easy,Thrifty — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:06 pm
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There will be a theme in my next few posts, of me trying to come up with good, healthy, energy providing snacks that my children will eat. Harder than it sounds, trust me, but this is a tried and true recipe from Meagan that has lots of good for you whole grains, beans, nuts, and fruit. So far, something my children would eat for dinner if I made them, but harder to get down as a quick, energy providing snack on the way to swimming, which is where the chocolate and, in my case, smarties, not to mention the cookie factor, come into play. Suddenly it’s something they love and I love feeding them and eating myself (especially as a post work out snack – why does running always make me want chocolate?). Feel free to play around with whatever kinds of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate/candy you want; this is the sort of recipe that changes every time for me depending on what I have in the cupboard at the moment. Also, keep in mind that these are soft cookies that are at their best when fresh – I freeze mine in groups of 3 or 4 to take out on days we need a good to-go snack. Makes 24 big cookies or 36 smaller ones.

2 cups oatmeal $0.80

1/2 cup each, all purpose and spelt flours $0.05 and $0.20, respectively

1 tsp baking soda $0.05

1/2 tsp cinnamon (I do mine heaping because I LOVE cinnamon) $0.03

1/4 tsp salt $0.01 (and that was rounding way up)

1, 19 oz can white kidney beans, well rinsed and drained $1.00

1/4 cup butter, softened $0.38

1 cup packed dark brown sugar $0.89

1 egg $0.25

1 tsp vanilla $0.08

3/4 cup chocolate chips (or a combo of chocolate chips and smarties left over from halloween and haunting your cupboard) $1.18

1/2 cup dried fruit (I used dried cherries, but raisins, cranberries, chopped apricots, or dates would all work fine – feel free to use more than one kind) $1.08

1/2 cup each, chopped nuts and seeds (I used chopped almonds and pepitas) $0.84 and $0.47, respectively

2 Tbsp Flax meal (I’ve had this forever and couldn’t find/remember the price, so I’m guessing high) $0.35

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line your cookie sheets with silicone or parchment.  Place oatmeal in food processor or blender and pulse until finely ground. Add flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and pulse until well blended. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add beans, butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla to food processor and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a couple times.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until almost combined, then add the remaining ingredients. Stir until just combined.

4. Drop by large spoonfuls onto cookie sheets a few inches apart. bake 14-16 minutes, or until just starting to brown at the edges. Cool on wire rack.

Total cost $8.06

Cost per cookie (at 24 cookies) $0.34

And just to put that in perspective, the cost of a single cheese string style snack at Costco pricing is $0.21, provides only one food group (as opposed to 3), is very processed, and is way smaller.




Tasty and good for you Carrot Muffins October 27, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast,Make Ahead,Muffins — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:56 am
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When I saw this recipe in Canadian Living, I knew I had to try it, because they had already done everything I do to all my favourite muffin recipes; replaced fats with yogurt, cut the sugar, upped the spice and made it whole grain. And other than adding in some raisins and spelt flour, I had nothing left to change. These are tasty and spicy and moist and you can feel good about eating them or feeding them to your kids (mine ate these right up). Plus, browned butter; who knew what that could do to a muffin?

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed

2 eggs

1 cup plain yogurt (I used fat free greek style)

2 cups grated carrots

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup spelt flour

1/3 cup ground flax seeds

2 1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Pinch ground cloves

3/4 cup raisins

1. Brown butter over medium heat in a small saucepan, by melting it, then cooking until it stops foaming and browned bits appear on the bottom, swirling occasionally. This should take about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

2. Preheat oven to 350 and prep 12 large muffin tins or 24 mini muffin tins (I did half and half).

3. Whisk together flours, flaxseeds, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together browned butter with sugar, then beat in eggs and yogurt, finally adding the carrots. Add dry ingredients and raisins to the wet ingredients and stir just to combine.

4. Spoon into greased or lined muffin tins. Bake big muffins for about 23 minutes, small ones for 15-18 minutes or until the top springs back to a light touch. Let cool in tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely.





PanCAKES – heavy on the cake October 6, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast,Quick and easy,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:14 am
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I’ve never been a big pancake person, I think because most of my pancake experiences as a child were at pancake breakfasts with boxed batter and no flavour. However, in the last year or so, I have begun to appreciate the fine art of the pancake, especially since the girls love them and they make a great fast, easy and (often) healthy dinner served with fruit and yogurt to top. These are my go to hearty and healthy ones, these are a fall treat that are so moist and fluffy you won’t know what to do with them, and these are the perfect traditional pancake that you can turn into whatever you want. Who knew you could find such variety not only in the flavour, but also in the texture of a pancake? Which brings me to this recipe. I was looking for something easy, fast and carb heavy without the fiber, as everyone had had the stomach flu (including me) and I thought pancakes would be a good fit. Thankfully, I knew Meagan had loads of pancake recipes on her site and this is literally the first one I saw. I skipped the bananas (I’m not a fan) and used orange zest instead of lemon (just what was in the house) and my new favourite pancake was born. These actually remind me of an orange pound cake a little, only spongier instead of crummy (and by that I mean having crums, not crappy). They are dense and delicious and I love the orange zest; why have I never thought of doing that to a pancake before? Try these.

1 1/2 cups flour

3 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup yogurt (I used a fat free greek yogurt, which I think added to the density, but any old yogurt will do, I’m sure)

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

zest of half an orange

1. Stir together dry ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together remaining ingredients in another bowl, then add to dry.

3. Cook them in a hot skillet with either melted butter or cooking spray (I used the latter) by dropping onto skillet in large spoonfuls and flipping once they bubble, then transferring to a plate once browned on the other side. I usually throw them all in a pie plate and keep them in a 275 oven until all are ready, then serve.




A Perfect Cup of Coffee October 4, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast,Drinks — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:12 pm

Given that the founding members of this blog all appreciate a great cup of coffee, it only seems fitting to have a post on creating the perfect cup of coffee at home. Of course, this is my preferred method of attaining caffeine euphoria each morning, but I’m sure it is just one of many ways to get there. I like this method because it’s simple and a bit old fashioned. No fancy machinery required….unless you want to, that is.

The Equipment
French press: I prefer a Bodum as they seem to hold up to more wear and tear
Coffee grinder: a conical burr grinder is ideal, but any old grinder will work
Kettle of sorts: anything from a stovetop kettle to a fancy variable temperature kettle will work
A wooden or plastic stirring utensil
A much loved mug!

The Beans
Ideally, your beans will be fair trade, organic and roasted locally so that they’re fresh. If they’re black and oily, that means they’re either over-roasted or old or both. Perfect beans aren’t often cheap, so just go with the best you can do. For a treat, I have yet to find a better roaster than Transcend – thankfully they deliver to Calgary with reasonable shipping rates.

The Process

  1. Heat water to just below boiling (197-200F)
  2. While water is heating, grind beans to a large/coarse grind
  3. Add grounds (~60g  for 1L of water) to french press and top with a pinch of salt to cut any bitterness
  4. Once water boils, remove from heat for 15 seconds, then top up the press with water
  5. Stir and put on lid with press in top position
  6. Let sit 4 minutes, then press!