Sunday, January 31, 2010

Egg Rolls

I had stumbled across this recipe a while ago on My Kitchen CafĂ©, and thought it would be fun to try and make them. The problem I soon discovered was in trying to find egg roll rappers. Apparently they aren’t easy to find around here.

I finally stumbled upon the wrappers and all the necessary sauces and was able to whip up some up. The key was to look in the correct area of the store – and despite the warnings from the author, they were actually called egg roll wrappers, not spring roll wrappers.

I decided to ½ the recipe as it was going to produce way more than I needed.

Egg Rolls
1 package vermicelli noodles
1lb ground pork
1 lb ground chicken
½ head of cabbage, shredded finely
2 whole eggs
1 egg white (save the egg yolk for sealing the egg rolls)
1/4 pound carrots, shredded finely (about 2-4 depending on size)
1 onion, finely chopped

Cook the noodles according the package instructions (soaking in hot water for 10 to 20 minutes). Once soaked, drain very well and chop noodles up a bit into 2-3 inch pieces (not too short).

Mix all the above ingredients (noodles, meat, cabbage, whole eggs, egg whites, carrots and onions) in a large bowl. Hand mixing works best. Then add:

1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoons fish sauce

Mix together.

Take a wrapper and place filling about a 1/3 of the way up the wrapper. Fold the end over, then fold the bottom up and roll. Seal using the leftover egg yolks.

In a pot heat oil (I used safflower) to about 375F. Drop in the rolls and cook until golden brown and cooked through, you will have to turn them so it cooks on both sides. (I tested the first couple with a thermometer to figure out how long it took to cook the insides.)

I only wrapped about 1/3 of the filling before I ran out of wrappers, oops. I froze the rest of the filling to use later – note this makes a lot of filling.

These were delicious, O loved them and friends enjoyed them. The 30 that I made and wrapped were gone in a matter of days, even after putting them in the freezer! They are completely addictive, and I can’t wait to make up the rest of them (although I am trying to hold out as I can’t imagine they will last very long).

A tip: make a bunch and put them in the freezer after cooked. When you want to have them for supper bake them for 20 min at 350F. They remain crisp and still taste amazing!

Chocolate Dream Cake

I received a cakepan that would allow me to make filled cakes really easily. I couldn’t wait to try it and and decided to make a dreamy chocolate cake filled with all sorts of different kind of levels of chocolate.

Starting with Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cake, I then filled it with a dairy free chocolate mousse (my friend coming over is lactose intolerant, so I wanted something she could enjoy), and topped it all with chocolate butter cream (Martha Stewart) and chocolate shavings.

The cake was very easy to put together – pop out of the pan, fill, stack, ice. So simple, with fantastic results.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake


Makes 2 eight-inch square or 3 eight-inch round layers

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups soured milk (I used 1% plus 1tbsp lemon juice)
3/4 cup safflower oil (or any vegetable oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup warm water
Unsalted butter, for pans


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter round or square cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment, and dust with cocoa.
2. Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, stir in eggs, 1 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes.
3. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake, rotating once, until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes for 8-inch layers, depending on amount of batter.
4. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely, right side up on rack.

Note: the original recipe calls for 1 ½ cups of warm water but only in the directions, which I thought was weird. After adding 1 cup of water, I thought it was a good consistency and baked it. It turned out great.

Chocolate Mousse


4 ounces 80% cocoa chocolate (I used Lindt)
3/4 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs


1. In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine.
2. Add the sugar, vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until fluffy.
3. Add the eggs and beat for 3 minutes until smooth and thick.
4. Refrigerate until serving, or in this case fill the appropriate areas of the cake.

Chocolate Buttercream


Makes enough for 15 cupcakes

1 cups sugar
1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large)
¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly (I used an 80% cocoa Lindt bar)


1. Place sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer set over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is heated and sugar is dissolved. Whisk (with an electric or stand mixter) until cooled and stiff peaks form (the peak remains after you remove the beater).
2. With the mixer running, add butter, one piece at a time, until completely incorporated. Continue whisking until a light, fluffy cream has formed. Stir in chocolate until well combined.
3. Use as needed.

Oh wow, this cake truly was a dream. It was 8 to 9 inches high and full of delicious chocolate. The mousse was divine, and I admit I licked the bowl out, not the normal lick off the spoon, but I full on broke out the spatula and scraped every last bit out of the bowl. So good! The cake was moist and delicious, I will using this recipe again.

The only thing that I would have done differently? Used white chocolate and milk chocolate shavings on the top as well as the dark chocolate. mmmmmmmmmm

Friday, January 29, 2010

Oreo Cakesters - Bulldogs

The bulldogs played midweek (Wednesday at 10:30pm!) this week. Sadly after their last game they had requested the soft oreo like cookies that I will sometimes make, and our my brother in law's favorite cookies. These are really tasty cookies, and come together very quickly.

I have previously posted these cookies, so it sadly wasn't a new or fun cookie for the boys this week.

However the cookies were a hit (I had very little doubt on that point) and no leftovers found their way home.

Bulldogs: The boy's lost the game this week by one goal after coming back from being behind by 3 goals.

Next week's cookies: I am really not sure yet, and as O and I will be gone that weekend, I don't know if I will be sending them cookies.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quick "Asian" Noodles

I wanted something to go with the beef and broccoli I was making, and while in the grocery store I checked out the selection of asian noodles – they had the fresh Shanghi noodles ( a soft, thick yellow coloured noodle) on sale and decided to try it. My mother used to cook with them once in a while and I remembered they were pretty good, and there was a recipe on the back of the package. I combined it with a recipe from Steamy Kitchen (15 min Asian noodles).

Quick Noodles

1 lb “fresh” Asian noodles (refrigerated section, with other asian foods)
2 stalks green onion, cut in small slices/rings
1 carrot, thinly sliced or shredded
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon sherry
2 tablespoon cooking oil (canola or vegetable)

1.In a hot frypan or walk heat the oil and add the carrots and green onions, and fry until tender.
2.While veggies fry mix the oyster sauce, soy sauce and sherry together.
3.When veggies are almost done add in the noodles (cooked if the package says to cook them first, but these just needed to be heated) and mix with the veggies. Cover the sauce and cook until heated.

These were pretty yummy, and they were ready I about 10 min or so. They paired great with the beef and broccoli.

The noodles I used:

Ice On Whyte

It has been a great weekend around here, the weather has warmed and festivals are running, making finding some entertainment easy.

This weekend, O and I decided to check out Ice on Whyte which opened on Thursday. We don't usually go this early as not all the sculptures are done, but we wanted to see things before the heat destroyed them.

It was great to see the ice carvers at work!

The Castle theme this year was hotel, which they did a great job of. The bar was great with all the bricks. (Top of post)

I even tried the Ice Slide - which was so much fun, I highly recommend. It takes between 6-7 sec to get down (we had timed races)

If you are Killing time in Edmonton this week, be sure to check out the festival.

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli

I love beef and broccoli, it was also my favourite dish from the little chinese place growing up. The owner/chef/water made amazing beef and broccoli. Sadly, I have moved away from my little hometown, and I think that he has since closed his restaurant. I came across this recipe after hearing great things about the site Steamy Kitchen and decided to try it.

Beef and Broccoli


3/4 pound flank or sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
1 pound broccoli florets
1 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water


1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sherry
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Dash teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth


1. Stir together the beef marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the beef slices and coat, let stand for 10 minutes

2 While beef marinates stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

3 Cook the broccoli using your favorite method (I steam mine, keeps more of the nutrients in them). Keep them tender crisp, as they will cook a little bit more, but not much in the frying pan.

4 Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and instantly evaporates upon contact. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the beef and immediately spread the beef out all over the surface of the wok or pan in a single layer (preferably not touching), fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip the beef slices over, add the garlic to the pan and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until no longer pink, Pour in the sauce, add the blanched broccoli and bring to a boil. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, 30 seconds.

I love this recipe! It isn’t as good as the one from the little hole in wall restaurant I grew up with, but it is still delicious. And the best part – it is so quick and easy to make!

Cranberry Cookies - Bulldogs

It was Bulldog Cookie time again, and I needed to get rid of some cranberries and cranberry sauce from my fridge/freezer. Cranberries go well in cookies right? I am sure they do, so I decided to try and put some cookies together the sauce – the boys are so good about eating just about anything I put in front of them.

I am sorry, but somehow I didn't get a picture of these adorable cookies when they were done baking , but I did get a couple of prep pictures (sorry about the bad quality, the light in my place is worse than usual lately)

Let me just say this – these cookies smelled heavenly when baking!


1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of cranberry sauce

Extra Cranberry Sauce (note: I used all homemade cranberry sauce, but I am sure canned will work.)


1.Cream the butter until light, then add in the sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy (3-5 min).
2.Add the egg, cranberry sauce and vanilla and mix until well combined.
3.Add the baking powder and salt to the flour and add it to the butter mixture until combined.
4.Using teaspoons or a small cookie scoop, portion out the dough. Flatten each piece of dough and place a small amount of sauce in the middle.

Wrap the dough around the sauce

Form a ball, and roll the ball in a little sugar

Note: You can also spread sauce onto one flat cookie and top with another, and pinch the edges together to make a flat cookie.
5. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes, let cool on the sheet for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack.

I loved the smell and pretty light pink of these cookies – they were adorable. The little dark spots were some of the sauce was peaking through made the look a little like a jelly donut.

The cookies were good without the filling in them, but most people agreed it needed a little more. Instead of mixing extra sauce into the cookies I used it as a filling. Other suggestions I need to dry were adding white chocolate or craisins. The sauce I used was made with orange juice so it had a hint of orange and some people thought it could use a little more.

The Bulldogs loved the cookies, and a few commented that they reminded them of holiday dinners.

Game Recap:
Bulldogs won 6-5 at their late night game. #13 got a hat trick - woo hoo! It was a tight game and after pulling ahead early, the game became tied in the 3rd remained that way until a shorthanded goal by #13 put them back in the lead with only a couple minutes left in the game.

They boys play again on the 27th.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Olympic Torch!

I was alive the last time Canada hosted the Olympics in Calgary (in my home province), but I was too young to really remember anything about it. Luckily, I am not old enough to remember and I am living in an area that makes it easy for me - at least this time.

The olympic torch made it's treck through our beautiful city yesterday, and I was lucky enough to see it go by. Actually it took a little planning on my part to figure out where I wanted to catch it as it was coming a couple blocks from work and a block from my house - how lucky is that?

It was great to see the crowds of people who turned out to see the torch - adults, kids and dogs lined the street, cheering for the runners. Everyone was enthusiastic and some people were even running down the sidewalks trying to catch up with the torch. Luckily traffic was stopped and people were spilling into the street in anticipation of the torch.

I got to see the passing of the torch from one runner to another, but sadly couldn't get a good picture. I have no idea who it is running with the torch at this point, as it wasn't one of the sections that I had heard who it was.

Owen got to see the torch earlier in the day, as he got to take some time off work to see his boss run with the torch. I tried to go, but it was a little to early for me to be able to take off.

Anyways, the Olympics are almost here, and while I don't get the joy of going to the actual games, I at least got to see the torch go by.

Go Canada!!

Bulldogs - Soft Ginger Cookies

The Bulldogs have had another game and they had requested ginger after the last game. I knew there was some molasses in my cupboard so I figured this would be no problem.

I know that O prefers a nice soft cookie, so after a quick search I found a recipe on all recipes. I didn’t change the recipe much, but what I did is posted below.

Soft Ginger cookie (makes about 3 doz cookies)

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour (+ 2 tbsp, may not be needed)
2 ½ tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
dash of salt
¾ cup soft margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp water (warm)
¼ cup molasses (dark cooking molasses)
2 tbsp white sugar

1. Mix the four, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt together and set aside.
2. In a bowl cream the margarine and sugar. Once it is “fluffy” add in the egg, followed by the molasses. Use the warm water to rinse the molasses from the measuring cup into the mix.
3. Slowly mix in the flour mixture. If it is still really sticky (mine was, I think due to a large egg) slowly add in the 2 tbsp of flour.
4. Using teaspoons portion out the dough, roll it into balls and roll in the sugar. Place on a cookie sheet and flatten to ½ to ¼” thickness.
5. Bake at 350F for 8-10 min (mine took about 9 min). Middle should still be soft, but should fall if touched.
6. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 30 -60 seconds before transferring to a wire rack this will give it a nice light crunch on the outside. Sprinkle a little sugar on top while they are still warm.

O hasn’t been able to stop stealing these, if there is one sitting out when he walks by he has to steal it. I love the little extra sparkle the sprinkle sugar at the end gives them!

I had doubled the recipe, but ended up making smaller cookies than the original and got about 6 doz. cookies. So I now have some unbaked cookies in the freezer. I am looking forward to seeing how they bake up.

Sadly this week O had to sit out the game with Bulldogs due to an injury from a game with his other hockey team (that is right folks, he plays on TWO hockey teams for the winter – 8 months). I checked the score of the game and it looks like while they put in a valiant effort, they lost the game with a score of 5-4.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Quick Dinner – Stirfry

There are some nights during the week that I need a supper I can through together quickly and without much thought (or nights that I just don’t have the energy to make something big). There are also days when I want something a little lighter for supper – without all the butter, cheese and bacon that O loves so much.

We eat “stir fry” of some sort at least once every other week, and usually once a week. Sometimes we put it on noodles, other times we serve it over rice and occasionally rice noodles. We switch up the sauces, and sometimes add a special vegetable, or different meat to keep it interesting. At the bottom I will share some of the most common additions or changes that get made in the house, but first I will give you the basic recipe. Play with it as you like.

Chicken “Stir Fry”
1 green bell pepper
½ bell pepper (red, yellow or orange)
½ onion
2 to 3 stalks celery
2 to 3 chicken breasts
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp honey
½ tsp corn starch
2 packs of “ramen” noodles (I use the cheap store brand, all you need is the noodles)

1.Take the vegetables (except celery) and chicken and cut them into long thing strips. Chop the celery into fairly large chunks.

2.In a wok or large frying pan, heat oil and cook the strips of chicken until just done.
3.Add in the vegetables and cover. Cook until the vegetables are just tender, stirring often (I cover, so the vegetables steam a little and then I don’t have to chop them as small, but they don’t take forever to cook)
4.As the vegetables are cooking mix the soy sauce, ginger, corn starch and honey together in a bowl. (If using solid honey, just microwave for 10 seconds to soften and everything will combine) Cook the noodles according to the direction,drain and DO NOT add the seasoning packet.
5.When the vegetables are tender-crisp (or done to your liking), add in the sauce you mixed and stir to coat.
6.Optional: Add the noodles, stir to coat and fry a little.


1.Serve over rice instead of noodles
2.Serve over vermicelli rice noodles
3.Add bean sprouts with the vegetables
4.Add a little garlic to the sauce or with the vegetables
5.Use a bottled sauce of a desired flavour – we are fond of Szechuan
6.Add some broccoli to the vegetables
7.Add some carrot to the vegetables

As I have said previously, this is a staple in our house. We enjoy it – it is quick, light and is packed full of veggies!

Friends who have tried variations of this have also enjoyed it.

Have ideas for other variations? Let me know, we are always looking for new ways to change this dish up a little!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Quick Dinner - Grilled Tuna Melt

There are some days that I need a quick dinner – or a dinner that is easy to transport. Sandwiches are great for a supper on the go and for something quick, but after eating plain old sandwiches for lunch a few days a week – you don’t really want them for supper. The other problem with a sandwich is that I like my suppers to be at least warm in the winter. So when I am feeling a bit lazy or need something quick we will often have a grilled cheese, but even that gets old after a while.

I decided to spice it up a little while ago and do a tuna melt instead of a plain grilled cheese. Now in the summer I will often make these as an openface sandwich, but I needed these to be portable, so I decided on a grilled version – kind of like a grilled cheese.

Grilled Tuna Melt.

2 cans of tuna, drained
3 to 4 tbsp Miracle Whip (or mayonase)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/3 to ½ cucumber chopped
salt and pepper
grated cheddar cheese
slices of bread

1.In a bowl combine the tuna, miracle whip, celery, cucumber, salt and pepper until mixed You want enough mayonnaise/miracle whip to hold everything together.
2.Butter two slices of bread. On the unbuttered side place tuna mixture (between ¼ cup and ½ cup, to your liking), sprinkle with cheese and top with the second slice of bread (buttered side out).
3.In a hot frypan, grill the sandwich – just like a grilled cheese, until the bread is toasted and cheese has melted.
4.Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each sandwich.

I usually get about 4 to 6 sandwiches depending on the size of the bread and how full I decide to fill them that day.

I love these sandwiches on a cool night. They are warm, creamy, cheesy, crunchy and just comforting! They made a great portable supper when I needed to run some food to O who was working late one night, and was great for him to eat as he could just pick it up.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lemon Slices - Bulldogs

The Bulldogs had their first game of 2010 and it was an interesting game to say the least, but more on that later.

I wanted a more refreshing cookie this time, as we just finished the holidays and I thought people might be a little tired of the holiday cookies and chocolate (I am not, but that is besides the point). Also, I love cookies that I can just slice and bake, so I was excited to try these. I wasn’t as organized this weekend as I should have been (I am going to blame this on the holidays one last time) and ended up baking the cookies only 3 hours before we had to leave – and the recipe said to refigerate overnight, hmmmm. Other adjustments were made, especially to cut down the number of cookies – when the new cookbook said “big batch” the really meant it, with most recipes averaging around 100 cookies!

Lemon Slices (Makes about 4 doz)

Recipe adapted from The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook - Good Housekeeping

1 large lemon
¾ cup soft butter (unsalted)
½ cup granulated sugar (+ more to decorate)
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest (heaping tbsp)
2 tbsp lemon juice ( or juice from ½ large lemon)
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

1.Cream together the butter and the sugar (both granulated and powdered). Add in the vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix until well combined.
2.Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into the butter mixture.
3.Separate the dough into two balls and shape each ball into a 6 inch log. Wrap each log in saran wrap and freeze for 30 to 45 minutes. Slice each log into ¼” slices (crosswise)

Lay cookies on a tray, sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.
4.Bake at 350F for 12 minutes.

These were a nice cookie, that are a little lighter and have a bit of crisp to them. They boys enjoyed them (especially the goalie) and there were no leftovers.

The Bulldogs:
After 3 periods, 1 overtime period, 1 stick to the face, 1 puck to the face and one fight, the game ended in a tie. They didn’t get the shootout due to time constraints, and the boys think that lemon (while very tasty) isn’t a good pregame cookie. Of course they blame it on the cookies….

Next Bulldog game is Sunday January 10th. They have requested more ginger cookies….