Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Great Dollar Store Purchase and Vegan Strawberry Creamsicles

Growing up I remember having homemade popcicles.
Such a cooling sensation with the summer's heat blazing down.
Why I never thought to make them as my child grew up is beyond me, I'm a bad popcicle loving mom.  Modern conveniences of running to the store to buy them as a treat just seemed more feasible doesn't it?
Now that I think about it, it never entered my mind to make my own.
Until last week.

I was on the hunt.
I even changed my facebook status to request ideas on where one could locate some wonderful containers (reusable is key).
I know they exist, I am positive I have walked numerous times past them in stores yet when I wanted to get them I was lost.
"check Kitchen Stuff Plus", "Amazon", "Home Outfitters" and the "Dollar Store" were the top 4 responses.
Dollar store, you are my friend, my sanity, my thrifty confidant.   I will check you first because cuteness doesn't mean better.

Thank you for carrying these wonderful holders for frozen goodness for a mere $1.50 Dollarama.

Now time to make some treats!

I have some fresh strawberries

and some leftover coconut milk from the Orange/Coconut Dressing I made for some wonderful Chicken Salad Pitas, this should pair nicely with the strawberries to make a creamy popcicle that is not only lactose free but also vegan!  Here we go!

So simple with only three ingredients, so flavorful and a great after dinner snack (or beforehand but don't tell).

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken Salad Pitas with a Tropical Vibe

What happens when mom is sick for a week and has no energy to cook, clean or write?
Take out.

Everyone always says its so nice to go on vacation because you don't have to cook for yourself.
I beg to differ.
When I get back from vacation I cant wait to eat my own home cooked meals. 
This is how I felt come Sunday when I finally started to feel better.
We had eaten fast food almost every night last week.  And when I say fast food I don't mean EVERY meal was from a drive up, take your bag of fried food and go home feeling fat meal, but close to it.

I just wanted to eat a whole watermelon and chew on some spinach.

A light dinner was in need.
It had to be flavorful yet healthy so we could get our vitamins back.

I popped into the local store and picked up a ready made chicken, some oranges and cilantro.  I was sure I could come up with something when I got home.
If nothing else we would have chicken soup with vitamin C for dessert ;)

Noticing a can of coconut milk in my cupboard I decided that it could work with the oranges as a light flavored dressing.  Maybe a hint of spicy?  Great, I had a jalapeno kickin around.
Some escarole and leaf lettuce are ready in the garden.
Let's throw this together and into a pita.

I was a tad concerned this wasn't going to sit well with Little Ugh however he ate it up and said it had a nice refreshing taste.

I'm Listening to: The Way You Do The Things You Do - UB40

Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mash Up Monday - Mini PB & J Cheesecakes

How can you resist a cheesecake that reflects the flavors of childhood?
I don't know about you but I cannot.
I will not.

When thinking of the most notorious of kiddie sandwiches all I can think about is happy moments growing up.

After a long hard morning of picking flowers, making inanimate objects come to life with imagination and chasing the neighborhood kids around I was always ecstatic when my favorite lunch (the peanut butter and jam sammie) was put before me, crusts off and cut on the diagonal.
I was easy to please.
Still am. (Although Mr. BM would probably disagree)

About a month or so ago now I entered and won a giveaway from Jan at FamilyBites and I was thrilled to receive a box full of Kraft products as well as some "free" coupons for some additional items. 
Thanks Jan and thanks Kraft Foods!!
I perused the box when it arrived and one of the first things that stood out for me was a brand new jar of......

I hid this jar so NO one would touch it (I even had a hard time finding it myself today) in hopes of using it for something delicious.
Enter MashUp idea.
Peanut Butter and Jam Cheesecake.  That sounds totally grown up doesn't it?
No crust cutting on this puppy!
Even better with my homemade triple berry jam that I made this week.

I'm Listening to: Harder to Breath - Maroon 5 Go #TeamAdam!
Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Blogiversary to Me

What was supposed to be a happy day in the kitchen making my all time favorite dessert, followed by a post about how I have slowly progressed over the last year turned into me, lying on the couch, begging to breathe threw at least half a nostril, head pounding and wishing to fall asleep to make it go away.
Cough, Cough, Sniff, Sniff - Happy Blogiversary.

Reminds me of my 19th birthday.
In Ontario the legal drinking age is 19 and the age when every teenager puts away their fake id's and invites everyone they know to celebrate with them.
Not this gal.
I was pregnant - or at least I thought I could have been so didn't drink just in case.

In both instances I was super excited for the day when I could celebrate the milestones.
And I suppose in both cases I did, just in different than imagined ways:
19th - hung out with some friends karaokiing while they got inebriated.  Still a great time (knowing I could be having a baby! Oh and I love to sing so that's always a fun time)
Blogiversary - hung out with my boys wishing I had a new sinus. Not such a great time but knowing I will make my dessert when I feel better and be able to enjoy it when I can taste again as well as having the love and support of my boys makes it a blogiversary to remember.

So instead of posting my celebratory dessert I am going to reflect a little on the last year.
Hope you enjoy some of the shortcomings and celebrations :)

When I first began this blog it was for therapeutic reasons. 
I needed a release. 
It was a dark time for me and cooking and baking had always made me feel better in the past so I thought, let's give it a whirl.
I didn't care if anyone read my posts (except for my dearest friends and family members who I forced to read them).
My photography skills were less than impressive and really still aren't all that stupendous.
I was pretty much computer illiterate when it came to social networking and blogging so it was a bit of a struggle.
I just wanted to make my food, have my family enjoy our meals again and have my friends say "hey, can you make me (insert any numerous things here) when I come over to visit?"
It was also a place to put them into print so that I didn't lose the ideas, either in my crazy busy brain or my abyss of a house.

My first actual food post I thought was a great start.  Pork Sliders with Cherry Chutney.
We'd never had chutney before and it was darn good.
It started me down the road of invention and innovation with some good ole comfort foods along the way.

I also began a weekly trip to the farmers markets in the summer which got me out of the house and socializing again as well as giving the boys a way to incorporate their opinions and ideas on meals, not to mention a way of trying new things we might otherwise have turned our noses up at. 
Eggplants and turnips to name a few.
They may or may not thank me for that (not yet anyway).

I also became increasingly addicted to cook books, cooking utensils and gadgets and of course the Food Network (Mr. BM listens to this every night before he falls asleep and every morning when he wakes - I'm sorry).

I may not have a million followers and that's ok.  I see my page views and know that I have been growing over the last year as have they.
I recently joined twitter (@ppkongacooks FOLLOW ME!), and created a facebook page and have met some wonderful and caring people through both of those social networks who have amazing blogs and/or ideas which I love to get inspirations from.

I was recently featured on BlogHer's website for my Benedict Burger which is a feeling I cannot begin to explain.  Elation doesn't seem to express the magnitude of happiness that someone other than my family liked my dish!  Thanks Genie!

I'm proud of where I have come from and where I am at now but strive to become better.
Thanks to my followers for visiting, thanks to those anonymous ones as well.
Thanks to all the musicians I listen to during the day who inspire me to dance around my kitchen and love what I do!
I have enjoyed reading all of your comments and even the ones that send me emails directly (which makes me giddy btw)

So, after 1 year, 137 posts, a new mash up page, different foods in our kitchen and a few extra pounds I am happy to report that we have yet to have food poisoning and I will forge on this coming year!

Peas Out!  I'm going back to bed

PS can someone tell my family to buy me photoshop, I'd like to try my hand at that next!
Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, June 20, 2011

MashUp Monday - The Meatlovers Pizza Meatloaf

Don't go telling those infected with the Meatless Monday bug about this post - they will have my head in a bread basket.
There is so much meat its ridonkulous.
Actually its so darn tasty who cares about them, send them the post and tell them to eat it tomorrow.
I blaze my own trails.

I have been sitting on this one for about a week now and thought about making it yesterday so that I could post it bright and early this morning but that wouldn't be true to my roots.
All MashUp meals are created and made on Mondays, no exceptions.

I dreaded my decision this morning when I woke up to what feels like a million razor blades in my throat and little leprechauns yanking on my eyelids.
I'm sick.
Mr. BM is sick.
Little Ugh - not sick YET.

All I could think of is please let me have taste buds so I can enjoy this dish, PAULLEASSSE!
I do have taste buds, what I don't have is an appetite.
I did manage a few bites and of those that didn't feel like they were ripping my throat apart tasted super.

So what is this all about?
Don't mistake this for a pizza recipe with meatloaf on it, its quite the opposite.
This is a versatile way of making interesting meatloaves.
Take your favorite pizza toppings and incorporate them inside, and on top.

Mr. BM's favorite pizza toppings are extra cheese, onion, pepperoni and bacon, and so that is what we had.
Next time I am going to make it Little Ugh's way - the Hawaiian. (making it solely from ground pork)

It worked well
The meatloaf was flavored immensely
It was one of the moistest meatloaves I have ever had.
And you don't need mashed potatoes and gravy!
A nice light salad and bread sticks will do just nicely.

I'm listening to:  Down on the Corner - CCR

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Work In Progress...Artichoke Stuffed Chicken w Asiago Sauce

To err is human, right?

How come I never post my negative thoughts on the dishes we make or any catastrophes in the kitchen?
Well, that's because I am perfect, my food is always a breath of fresh air and I can't make mistakes

I just don't see any need to dwell on the bad.  What I might want to make changes to, you might not, when I make dishes a second or third time I usually change things up here and there anyway so these recipes are more like guidelines for me.
Practice makes perfect.

Alas, I will post about last nights dinner because I know I want to make some revisions and maybe you have suggestions.

It wasn't a failure, but it does need to be tweaked. (although you might like it the way I made it (the boys did) and if you do let me know OR if you make it your own let me know what you did to revise it!)

I'm posting it here also to ensure I remember how it was made and where I want to make my changes. 
If I were to write it down in a book or on a piece of paper it would get lost in the abyss otherwise known as my drawers.

The dish itself was inspired by one of my favorite dips.
Artichoke and Asiago.
Dam I could eat a tub of that to myself, with some fresh bread, or chips.
Heck, I am pretty sure I have scooped a spoonful up and eaten it alone on a few occasions.  (swoon)

Here's my thought process:
Stuff chicken breasts with an artichoke filling and make a sauce with asiago cheese.
Makes sense.
Oh by the way, I should divulge that I have never actually purchased and used an artichoke. EVER.

Me = zealous.
Let's just say I came out with an artichoke sliver, a mess on the counter and an appreciation for the cost of the dip. 
There seemed to be a lot of waste when you only want the heart. (which by the way nearing the end of peeling reminded me of an orchid, delicate, purpley and pretty!)

revision #1 - buy artichoke hearts in a can

Once that task was complete it was a whole other ballgame.
I didn't want anything crazy in the stuffing to take away from the artichoke so I opted for a simple breadcrumb, parm, artichoke, garlicky middle.

revision #2 - maybe just use artichoke and some cream cheese or ??? for the filling.  It was a bit too salty with the parm.

Oh then we make it to the sauce.
It was pretty good, not showstoppingly superb like I was hoping for but darn tasty. 
We aren't wine drinkers although we seem to get bottles from people during the holidays.
So when I started concocting I was planning on wine...until I realized we only had red - fail. 
Call to Mr BM to pick me up chicken stock on his way home.
Here comes revisions 3 and 4:

revision #3 - use white wine in the sauce rather than chicken stock
revision #4 - don't use as much asiago cheese *or maybe with the wine the amount was good?*

I think when I try this again, try making it into a mash up meal by coating the outside with crushed potato chips *like chips and dip*

So, there is my review on dinner.  A few blunders in the kitchen.  Happy, I am human too :)

I'm Listening to: Perfect - Simple Plan
Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, June 13, 2011

MashUp Monday - Carrot Cake Pancakes with Praline Cream Cheese Topping

I cannot take credit for this idea as I have seen it done before but this recipe is mine...but I am willing to share it with you because you really really need to make this for your family!

Honestly, how could you not want to make it??
Dessert for breakfast people?!
Yes please.
In fact, seconds thanks.

Because this was a weekday breakfast I did not make my pancake batter from scratch as I would normally do on the weekends, so for those of you who generally make pancakes from a box this is even more of a reason to use this recipe!

I like that it feels like a dessert but you are adding fruit and vegetables into your meal without even thinking about it.
This is reason #1 to like this recipe.

Reason #2 happens to be the topping for the pancakes
Cream cheese + praline flavored syrup = love, warm pancake love.

Reason #3, I can't think of any more reasons other than it tastes a lot like one of my favorite cakes and that is a good thing.

Try it, bet you'll like it

I'm listening to: Ruby Soho - Rancid
Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The UnTaco

When I mentioned we were going to have lettuce wraps I got the run around.
Little Ugh went from "I'm not hungry" to "I don't feel well" and ended up with "really mom? lettuce cups?"

Not cups, wraps.
Like tacos.
Minus the tortillas, sour cream, and grated cheese.  Not Mexican inspired, but a little Asian flared.

"But those are my favorite things about tacos"
I know, mine too, mine too.
Don't worry, you'll like them - or at least you are going to eat them and pretend to like them!

Picking up a bottle of Memories of Singapore (PC Brand) inspired this dish.
I wasn't really in the mood to create my own sauce.  Sometimes I am lazy.
A simple way to dress up your meat and/or noodles was in order.
It fit the bill.  The flavor was nice, we enjoyed it (rephrase, I enjoyed it, and even had leftovers).

Sometimes going carbless hurts.
Hurts me real bad, like a punch in the face.

I couldn't do it, in fact, I didn't do it - we had chow mein noodles on the side.
But you don't have to, its not a rule.

I'm listening to: Brighter Hell, The Watchmen (from the Horseshoe 2009 - I was there!)
Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rhubarb Resurrection! Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Somehow, someway, the lost, limp, rhubarb was revived, I didn't murder it as previously posted.

I took a chance, I rolled the dice.  Really what was I to lose?

Deciding not to throw it out was possibly the best idea I had all week, well, except to cut the bottoms off the stems and throw them in a glass of cold water for an hour or so. I thought maybe since I do that with flowers when they are lacking in erectness maybe, just maybe it would work AND IT DID!!!

Insert me jumping around the kitchen like someone who just won the lottery.
(I'm not saying you should let your produce go bad so you can see if I am right - just trust my happy post as accurate)

Maybe I subconsciously knew I could get it back and that's why I didn't toss them in the trash?
Well, whatever the reason is, it doesn't matter, all that matters is now I can make dessert.

I decided to check out the good ole interweb since I have never baked with rhubarb before.  I have my go to crumble recipe that I use for all fruit so it was just a matter of deciding if anything needed to happen to the fruit.  Did I simply cut it up, throw it in the dish as I would apples?
I borrowed Chef Emeril's idea of cornstarch, sugar and a touch of lemon juice for the fruit portion.
I have to say it was really tart, maybe too tart for me.
Is it supposed to be like that??

I'm Listening To: The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mashless Monday - Rhubarb Murderer


There isn't a mashup meal tonight, not even a hint of one.
It's 11:02pm and I did not succeed in creating a recipe worthy of posting.

Its been a disturbing couple of days.
I haven't spent much time in the kitchen.
I even let my fresh farmers market purchase, rhubarb, go to waste!!  Do you know how sad I am about that?!

I bought it with so many intentions. 
Fool that I am, I left it out, then thought maybe I should put it in the fridge (not even in the crisper!).  It's limp, lifeless.
Folks, I'm a rhubarb murderer!!!
But I have so many remorseful thoughts - that has to count for something right?

I am rhubarb ignorant, I admit it.  I should have done some research on how to store it before I bought it. 

Man, it wasn't even one of those impulse buys. 
You know, like when you are standing in the checkout at Walmart waiting for the person in front of you with 30 items, finds 2 items that scan the wrong price and of course NEED to have it rectified immediately, then when they finally come up with the right price and get their total they realize that they only budgeted for 22 items and then had to take a few non essentials off their bill only to have their card decline anyway so you patiently pick up a magazine to start leafing threw it before you want to explode only to find a great article that you just have to finish reading, but its now your turn and there are people behind you so you buy it sort of impulse buy?
Does that ever happen to you?
Maybe that's just me....

I should have just used it when I had the chance.  Shame on me!
Just call me IM - Ignorant murderer
Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Homemade Broccoli Slaw

When its humid I have no desire to cook inside the house, there is really no good reason to heat up the confines of my tiny kitchen when its not necessary.
Besides that, its BBQ season!

Recently I spotted a habenaro lime bbq sauce at our local grocery store and thought, I wanna use that.
I picked it up last night on the way home planning on dousing the chicken breasts I had defrosting in it when I realized that I am really the only person in the house that likes extreme spice.
I doubted that it was crazy in the "spicy" capacity but wanted to have a cooling back up just in case.

The real star of this main was the coleslaw, or A/C for your mouth as I would like to call it and not the bbq sauce.

Now generally I don't touch the stuff with a ten foot pole fork. 
I'm pretty sure it was the neon green fast food joint coleslaw sludge that turned me off at a young age, reminds me of Slimer from Ghostbusters. *shiver*
I have to say that cabbage isn't regularly in our meal plans either so it gets a bum rap all around from me personally.

This slaw was made with broccoli slivers to replace the dreaded C word along with a bunch of other crispy veggies. 
It had crunch, texture, flavor and the dressing helped to work as a great cooling method for the not so spicy habenaro BBQ sauce.

I will totally make this again (in fact we have a family picnic next weekend and I just might make it to throw on some hot dogs!)

I'm Listening To: Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rice Puddin for an Old Man

I was blessed with a wonderful visit from my folks this weekend.
Wow, ask me when I was 16 if I would ever say those words HAHA
Just kidding mom/dad, I loved you then too....

The rents live about 2 hours from me, which is likely why I still talk to them.

Far enough away that I don't see them often, yet close enough for an afternoon visit with some lunch, some tea, some dessert and a quick trip to the bridal shop to show them my dress!!! (btw, they love it)

My parents are huge advocates of this blog, my mom and dad tell me all the time how much they want me to make them this or that when they come to visit so I figured something special was in order.
Wanna know what I made for lunch?
get ready
cold cut sandwiches!! HAHA!  I didn't even make homemade mayo or bread - tisk tisk.

Alright, lunch itself was a little boring, generic, do I dare say amature?  But that was sort of the feel I was going for since I wanted to make my dad's favorite dessert of all time and take the hype of lunch...
Rice pudding!

Again, not super fancy but a creamy, slightly sweet dessert with a bit of a twist. 
Softened caramelly apples in place of the more traditional rum soaked raisins.

Dad loved it (right dad?) You didn't even need your dentures or your seniors discount card!

Print Friendly and PDF