non-recipe posts, pamplemoussi's pips

pamplemoussi’s pips, volume iv

Just a short one today! It’s been a really stressful week. And next week is going to be even MORE stressful as I’m travelling to Regina for work! That’s right, I get to go somewhere even colder than Toronto.  I’m probably 20% excited and 80% anxious. This will be my first work trip and it’s a very grown up feeling!

One thing I made this week that turned out amazingly was this one-pot pasta! I’ve been hearing about it endlessly but figured it wasn’t impressive as everyone was saying it was. But my friend Matt sent me a pin and raved about this recipe (don’t you love how pinterest lets you do that?). So I made it that very night and it was delicious!

Untitled Untitled
Before… and after!

I left out the pine nuts and used 1 tsp dried basil instead of the fresh. Oh, and I used 1 tsp on red pepper flakes… but that may have been a bit too much? Will and I liked it, but I think we always want slightly spicy food in the middle of a deep freeze. It was such an easy and quick meal, it’s definitely going to enter our weeknight meal rotation.

 

I really enjoyed this Toast story about scented markers. Why did the black ones always smell so disgusting? It’s a frequently used colour!

 

Untitled
You might ask, what have I been doing to try and relieve some of my stress this week? Well, mainly just shipping Tessa and Scott. I watched their entire show on the iPad during my lunch breaks this week and it’s amazing. They are just the cutest and so good at skating. I keep telling Will that we need to learn how to ice dance so people can find us that adorable. Probably not going to happen as the last time we went skating together,  he tried to skate really fast and drag me around and I found that terrifying enough!

Alright, I’m out! Tonight I’m headed to the grilled cheese fest, so I’m pretty excited about that. Grilled cheese is probably in my top five favourite foods so I’m excited to try some of the Toronto restaurants and food trucks that I haven’t made it out to yet.

recipes

Peanut Butter Brownies

pb brownies

I first tried peanut butter brownies at this cute little bakery in the basement of St Lawrence Market. I bought a massive behemoth of a brownie, intending to eat a bit for lunch and save the rest for after dinner… and then I scarfed it in a fit of midafternoon hunger. Oops.

And when I decided to replicate it a few weeks later, I decided to use my favourite brownies recipe ever. I wasn’t even a brownie person until I tried this recipe. I think I’d just had too many brownies at bake sales that had come from a mix and I was used to cake brownies. I don’t like cake, so I definitely don’t like cake brownies. But these brownies, they’re something else. They’re so fudgy and chewy. And foolproof! And I’ve now made them so many times I don’t even need to look at the recipe anymore.

Continue reading “Peanut Butter Brownies”

pamplemoussi's pips

pamplemoussi’s pips, volume iii

Wow, the third Friday in a row that I’ve managed to keep this up! Three times makes it pretty official, in my books.

So last weekend was Family Day here, and I planned to do a lot of cooking and baking and then I did… none. To be fair, we had some out of town guests, so we did what you do with guests and acted like tourists. Lots of eating in pubs and having brunch in restaurants where they put whipped cream on everything. My favourite part of the weekend was definitely going to the new aquarium that opened up right by the CN Tower. There were glowing walls of jellyfish and tanks were you could pet little sharks and horseshoe crabs, but my favourite part was the tunnel where you stand on a moving walkway and sharks swim RIGHT OVER YOU.

Aquarium! Aquarium!
Oh and there was also a blue lobster. Look at him! He’s beautiful!

 

My sister is travelling around California right now (lucky duck) and she’s been sending me amazing photos of stuff she was tempted to buy me, including some realty hilarious cat statues. And then she sent me this:
lays

WHAT?!?! Garlic cheese bread CHIPS? American friends, you’ve been holding out on me for not telling me these exist. It looks like they’ll the equivalent of the “pick your flavor” contest that Canadian Lays also had… but ours were so gross. Maple moose tasted like campfire, the caesar salad tasted like sour cream and onion chips that were slightly off and even the most promising ones, the pierogies were just more salty than flavourful. My fingers are crossed that my sister brings these ones back for me so I can try them!

I’ve got a post about peanut butter brownies coming soon, but I almost made Deb’s chocolate peanut butter cheesecake instead. Just look at those delicious layers! I will definitely make it for the next birthday around here.

Lastly, so my dad sends me Onions articles all the time, which is funny enough on its own, but this video he sent about Netflix’s new plan is PERFECT. That is exactly how I watch Netflix. Too many choices paralyzes me!

recipes

Healthier Taco Salad

taco salad

There have been times in my life when I lived on taco salad for weeks. Weeks. It’s a slippery slope: I’d buy some lettuce, cheese, beans and corn chips and think, hmm, maybe instead of tacos I’ll do taco salad, just for a change. And then I’d eat it for every lunch and dinner for like, two weeks straight! I don’t know what it is about taco salad that appeals to me, but I think a big part is that I’ve only ever had my own homemade version. Ugh, why can’t restaurants do a veg version of it? It would be so easy to omit the beef and just do beans. Or nothing! Sometimes a girl just wants some lettuce, cheese and salsa, ya know?

Continue reading “Healthier Taco Salad”

pamplemoussi's pips, recipes

pamplemoussi’s pips, volume ii

How embarrassing, a whole week without a recipe. Sorry guys. But there is a long weekend coming up, and I’d like to spend some of it cooking and blogging. Because, as a woman I work with said in a group email, “Don’t forget Monday is Family Day. Spending time with your loved ones. Young and Old. Tell them how much they mean to you and enjoy the day together.” And I like to think of my blog readers as my family, mainly because my only blog readers are family members. Haha. Ha.

But I do have a quick meal idea for today, complete with a super fancy instagram picture! So that makes up for it, right?

This sauteed kale pasta was a pinterest find, but I think the original recipe was even simpler. I add a few extras, but they’re all things I always have laying around. Like for some reason I always have a couple lemons in the fridge. And ever since I discovered how good crushed red pepper is in oh, everything, I add it to all my pasta dishes. This uses a whole bunch of kale for just two people, but if it’s for more people I think you can get away with just increasing the pasta and seasonings and leaving the kale the same.

pips volume ii

Start a large pot of salted water boiling, and when it boils, add 1/2 a package of spaghetti (this is for two people mind you, you may need to increase it for more). Meanwhile, chop 3 cloves of garlic, and cook them in a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat in a frying pan. Chop one bunch of kale into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces. When I got Will to do this, he put it in a colander and then used kitchen shears to chop it into very small bits, which worked well! Saute the kale in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. While it cooks, season with a pinch of salt, lots of fresh ground pepper, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, and the zest of one lemon. The kale is ready when it’s cooked down and soft. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the frying pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the pasta, and squeeze the juice of half a lemon. Toss to mix, and top with a little freshly grated parmesan. Delicious! One of the best 15 minute dinners we make.

pips volume ii
If you ever want to know what my life was like from oh, ages 10-24, please go read this book. So so good. I was obviously reading sections aloud to Will to be like, “She also wrote entire diaries just about boys she had crushes on!” And I was so excited to finish it that I stayed up super late on a work night. A work night!

I loved this story about the division of domestic labour in a relationship. It’s funny how these tasks just become yours on some unspoken agreement. Last night Will was tired and asked me to fill the humidifier with water (god, we’re so old), and I was definitely like, “But that’s your job!” He also always handles cable and internet accounts, and cleaning the tub (he finds it weird that I refuse to clean with bleach). And his coffee is way better than mine (which is especially weird because I worked at Starbucks for years!). When I asked Will which tasks he thought of as being mine, he immediately was like, “Cleaning my glasses! You just get the smudges off so much better.” Good to know I’m bringing some good skills to this partnership.

pips volume ii
Lastly, sometimes we try to be all fancy with our cheese and crackers, but I have to be honest with you, this is just Smuckers. So lazy.

non-recipe posts, pamplemoussi's pips

pamplemoussi’s pips, volume i

A surprising number of my posts never get posted because they don’t work out as I wanted them too or I deem them too short to be a proper recipe. And that’s sad! Some of these things are little tidbits that I think might make your cooking lives easier, as they have made mine. So I’m starting a weekly feature here, I’m going to call it “pamplemoussi pips” because I have an unhealthy love of alliteration, and it sort of works together (pamplemousse = grapefruit, pips = seeds). But if you can think of a better name, I’m open to suggestions.

With that, the inaugural pamplemoussi’s pips!

food tips
Someone at work gave me some of this MIYU beauty tea, and although I’m obviously not going to believe that a tea will make me pretty, it is really delicious. Plus the tea itself is pretty, full of rose petals and candied pearls. And it’s a nice alternative to my millionth cup of coffee in the afternoon.

 

We eat a lot of nachos around these parts, and earlier this week I discovered the secret to making them even tastier: homemade taco seasoning. Because like, regular taco seasoning is full of salt and if there is anything nachos do not need, it is more salt (also after watching a bunch of Heart and Stroke ads this week, I have learned that I do not need more salt). So! The recipe is:

  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Mix that together and add it to nachos, along with mozzarella and cheddar cheese (after they come out of the oven, some diced avocado and a squeeze of lime would be nice too).

food tips
Two minutes after I took this picture, the fire alarm went off in my hallway, and I was forced to evacuate, leaving the precious nachos behind (I must hasten to assure you that it wasn’t my nacho cooking that set of the alarm, although it wouldn’t be the first time). Eventually we were cleared to go back inside as it had been just a faulty detector, but nonetheless, we had four fire trucks and at least eight fire fighters show up within minutes! Toronto Fire, you are highly impressive.

One of the reasons that I finally stated a food blog was that I was really inspired after I read orangette’s book (so good, so buy it immediately and buy a copy for your mom too, it seems like the kind of book that moms would like). Reading Molly Wizenberg’s speech about food blogging made me feel all the things. It’s true, I started this because I need to write! And being forced to write is amazing.

Lastly, I made this Cookie and Kate kale salad for dinner the other night and it was AMAZING. The dressing was really spicy and delicious. Plus I always try to eat citrus fruits with kale because the viatmin c makes it easier for your body to absorb the iron in green leafy vegetables.

food tips

recipes

Garlic Cheese Bread

garlic bread sticks

On nights when I just don’t feel like cooking, we often end up ordering pizza. And pretty much every time I push for Dominos. Not because they’re the cheapest or the most delicious, but because they have GARLIC CHEESE BREAD. Will always jokes that he’s going to give up on ordering me pizza and just order me garlic bread, to which I’m like, “Yes, that sounds good, please do that,” but apparently that’s not a healthy way to eat in his opinion. Bah humbug, I say. I’m not eating garlic cheese bread for my health! That’s what all those kale salads are for!

Continue reading “Garlic Cheese Bread”