Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Favourite Beverages

I don't drink soda pop, I don't often drink juice and I hate plain water. What's a girl to do? Here are some of my go-to tricks for quenching my thirst.

Water with Cucumber Slices
I first fell in love with cucumber flavoured water while dining at my favourite local Thai restaurant. It's such a simple and refreshing twist on plain old tap water. And when the water is done, you can still eat the cucumbers! Try it with fresh mint leaves too.

Soda Water with Fresh Muddled Lime & Soda Water with Cranberry Juice
These are my "cocktails". Soda & lime is a staple at home and soda with a splash of cranberry juice is my "going out" treat. To kick it up a bit I occasionally add fresh mint. Make sure your soda water is sodium free. In a pinch Perrier Lime is tasty too.

Clean Iced Tea
Fresh brewed tea, lemon slices and a bit of agave. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Chocolate Peppermint Tea
For an evening treat, I brew a cup of peppermint tea (which aids in digestion) and add a teaspoon of Torani Sugar Free White Chocolate Syrup. Chocolate and peppermint - it's dessert in a mug!

I also drink a lot of tea at home. My favourites are Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice, Twinning's Lemon & Ginger and when I'm sick, Traditional Medicinals Lemon Echinacea Throat Coat.

What are your favourite beverage alternatives?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Butternut Squash Apple Sage Soup

This is almost identical to my Butternut Squash Apple Bacon Soup but instead of bacon, I added fresh sage. The sage made it a completely different soup - but still mega delicious. I served the soup in verrine glasses as a Thanksgiving appetizer. My Grandmother was quite impressed!

1 1/2 lb butternut squash, halved and seeded
2 onions, quartered
2 cloves garlic
2 medium baking apples, quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
4 tsp olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper
4-5 fresh sage leaves

1. Peel and cut squash into large,1 1/2 inch cubes. Place cubes into a roasting pan. Add onion, and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat. Roast for 425 degrees for 30 minutes until squash is tender. Half way through roasting, add apples to pan, toss everything together and place back in the oven to finish roasting.

2. Peel roasted apples (skins should slip off easily). Add apple, squash, onion, garlic and sage to a food processor.

3. Heat the roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup vegetable broth, and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from the roasted vegetables. Add broth to food processor with the vegetables. Blend everything together until smooth. Add honey and pulse to blend together.

4. Add vegetable puree, the rest of the vegetable broth, 1 cup water, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to a large pot. Add whole fresh sage leaves. Bring to boil then simmer on low for 10 minutes. Remove whole sage leaves before serving. Garnish with sour cream and fresh sage leaves.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Leftover Turkey Rice Soup

Wondering what to do with your left over turkey? The easiest thing to do is make soup! Remember back in October when we brined and roasted a chicken then made stock with the carcass? No? Well, go here and refresh your memory. If you're not up to making your own stock but still want to make soup, stay here and let's continue.


8 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock.
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tbsp parsley flakes (and any additional seasonings you like)
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup rice, cooked (any variety)
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped (great way to use up all that dark meat no one eats!)

1. Add stock to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add carrot, celery, chickpeas, tomato, parsley and salt & pepper. Simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes.

2. Add rice and turkey. Simmer for another 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pumpkin Trifle

Hello! I'm back! Are you shocked? I did not abandon my blog. Just been taking a hiatus. To be quite honest I haven't even been cooking all that much the last six months. It's quite sad and pathetic actually. I hope to post a few recipes over the next month, then I will be taking another short break while I move houses.

This lovely holiday dessert recipe comes from my cousin. I made individual portions for Thanksgiving and it was a huge success. There is nothing healthy or natural about this recipe. It's the holidays... let's live a little!

The base of my trifle is spice cake. If you live in the USA you can buy packages of Gingerbread mix, which is what the original recipe called for. In my area of Canada all we have available is Spice Cake mix and it did the trick just fine!

Pumpkin Trifle

- (USA) 2 (14oz) packages gingerbread mix or(Canada) 1 box Spice Cake mix (Duncan Hines - available at Save On Foods)
- 1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 30oz can pumpkin pie filling
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 tsp ground cardamom, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
- 1 12oz container Cool Whip, thawed
- 1/2 cup crushed ginger snaps, optional

1. Bake gingerbread mix or spice cake mix according to package directions. Cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, prepare pudding. Stir in pumpkin pie filling, brown sugar and spices.

3. Crumble half the gingerbread or spice cake into a large trifle bowl, punch bowl or other pretty glass bowl*. Pour half the pudding mixture over top, then add a layer of Cool Whip. Repeat with remaining cake, pudding and Cool Whip. Sprinkle crushed ginger snaps on top to garnish.

4. Refrigerate overnight.

*You could also use individual dessert bowls as I did. Portion the ingredients according to the number of servings you require and layer according to directions.


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