Friday, December 31, 2010

Tikka Masala

I realize that this might not look like much, but oh man, this is delicious! My mouth is watering right now because it knows that there are leftovers waiting for me in my fridge right now.

I lost my camera a couple days ago, not too sure where it ended up. So I took these pictures with my iPhone and they didn't turn out too bad!

The original recipe is from, and I really think that everyone should make this soon. It is pretty quick to throw together, and is just unbelievably tasty! It is one of our favourite dishes to make (and eat!).

The original recipe called for 'garam masala' spice. I couldn't find any at my grocery store, but I did find 'tikka masala' spice that is absolutely wonderful. It worked perfectly.

Tikka Masala

  • 3 whole chicken breasts
  • salt
  • ground coriander
  • cumin
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 or 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • fresh ginger (about a 1" x 2" piece)
  • 3 tbsp garam masala or tikka masala spice
  • green chile peppers, or a jalapeno pepper (both optional)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (about 28 oz)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  1. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil, and turn on your oven's broiler
  2. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, ground coriander, and cumin
  3. Cover the chicken breasts with the plain yogurt, and broil for about 10 - 15 minutes / side.  The chicken will be done when it is cooked through, and the edges have a nice char to them
  4. While the chicken is cooking, heat up the olive oil in a large skillet
  5. Dice up the onion, and add it to the skillet. Cook the onion until it begins to turn light brown
  6. While the onion is cooking, dice up the garlic and ginger and add them to the skillet when the onions are light brown
  7. Add about 1 tbsp of salt to the skillet along with 3 tbsp of the masala spice, then cook everything for a few minutes until it is wonderfully fragrant
  8. If you would like to add some heat to the dish, you can add some diced chile peppers or a diced jalapeno pepper when you add the masala spice
  9. Add the can of diced tomatoes (along with the juice), and sprinkle in about 1 tbsp of sugar
  10. Let everything simmer together for about 10 minutes
  11. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and carefully (it's hot!) cut it up into bite-size pieces
  12. Add the heavy cream to the sauce, and let it simmer for about 5 more minutes
  13. Add the chicken, and let the skillet simmer on low for about 5 minutes, or until ready to eat
  14. We served this with naan bread, and it was delicious! You can also serve it with rice or eat it by itself.
  15. Enjoy!

Monday, December 27, 2010


Lately I have been finding myself with some intense cravings for Mexican food.  This may have something to do with the fact that 2 weeks from today I will be marrying my favourite person on a beach in the Mayan Riviera, or it may be because I really love Mexican food.  Maybe a little bit of both.

That's right! On January 8th we are leaving this cold and snowy weather with 45 of our family and friends to hang out in sunny and warm Mexico, and are throwing a wedding in there as well!  We will be gone for two wonderful weeks, so the activity on this dear blog of mine will be a bit slower than usual. I hope you can forgive me :)

This was us in Mexico in January 2010, a few days after we had gotten engaged :)

This recipe for carnitas comes from, and it was absolutely amazing! Even better, it was incredibly simple to make and requires a small list of ingredients.  This had so much flavour, the leftovers were gone in record time. This recipe makes about 6 servings.

I hope everyone had an absolutely amazing Christmas! We had a wonderful time with some friends up North this year. I think I am still full. It may have to do with the fact that there was ham, and scalloped potatoes, and brussels sprouts, and salad, and carrots, and stuffing, and gravy, and homemade apple pie, and homemade blueberry peach pie, and and and, it was wonderful.

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed and cut into cubes
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 7 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/4 up beef or chicken stock 
  • 1 bottle mexican beer, to deglaze the pan (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients together in a slow cooker (except the beer and olive oil) and stir
  2. Make sure the pork is spread out on the bottom of the slow cooker, and cook for 8 hours on low (or about 4 hours on high)
  3. After the pork is done cooking, remove from the juices and shred with a fork
  4. Heat up a pan on the stove with 1 tbsp of olive oil, and place half of the pork in the pan
  5. Cook until some of the pork is crispy (this adds a delicious texture), and deglaze with some of the beer (about 1/4 of a cup)
  6. Cook until the beer is evaporated, then repeat with the other half of the pork and remaining olive oil
  7. Serve in tortillas with avocado, chopped green onions, fresh lime wedges, and whatever other fixings you like
  8. Enjoy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Since I now have a beautiful cupcake stand to fill, I decided to make some gingerbread cupcakes for the Christmas season.  I have never had the gingerbread flavours in cupcake form, so I made two different recipes to compare.

The first type I made were chocolate gingerbread cupcakes with a classic cream cheese icing (in the silver cupcake liners).  These smelled wonderful as they were baking, but I wasn't very happy with the flavour. In fact, my fiance actually advised me against giving them to friends and family!  To be honest, I had to agree with him.  The molasses completely overpowered the cupcake's other flavours so you couldn't taste the chocolate or the other lovely spices in the cupcakes. So those were a scratch.  I still really like the concept of chocolate with gingerbread, so I think I will play with this recipe and see if I can produce a chocolate gingerbread cupcake worth sharing :)

The second batch of cupcakes were Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.  I found these cupcakes on, and they renewed our faith in gingerbread cupcakes!  These were much lighter in flavour, but you could still taste the spices and the addition of molasses.  The cinnamon cream cheese frosting went so well with these, but they were delicious with classic cream cheese frosting too!  

I do apologize for the dark shots.  The good news is that the shortest day of the year was this past Tuesday, so they days are now slowly getting longer!  Hopefully I will be able to work with natural light again soon :)

This recipe makes 1 dozen cupcakes, and the cinnamon cream cheese icing makes enough to lightly frost 2 dozen cupcakes (as shown), or generously frost 1 dozen cupcakes.  As much as I love my cupcakes naked, these are amazing with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting!

Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Add the flour, water, and molasses and mix well
  5. Add the egg, baking soda, and spices and continue to mix until combined
  6. Fill the prepared muffin tin with the batter, and bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted
  7. Let cool before frosting
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (250 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese
  2. Add the icing sugar a cup at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition
  3. If the icing seems to thin after the last cup of icing sugar, you can add 1/4 cup more at a time until you reach your desired consistency
  4. Mix in the cinnamon and vanilla
  5. Frost your delicious gingerbread cupcakes
  6. Enjoy!

From my family to yours, we hope everyone has an absolutely amazing Christmas this year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nanaimo Bars

If there is one dessert that my mom makes that I absolutely salivate over, it is her Nanaimo Bars!  I believe that this is a predominately Canadian dessert, and it is ridiculously good.  

For me, these goes hand-in-hand with a Christmas celebration at my parent's house.  These bars consist of 3 layers, and each layer goes so well with the other two.  I will admit that I didn't make these, I took pictures this past weekend at our family Christmas brunch :)

If you need to bring a dessert to a party, these are amazing! They are also much much better than the store-bought kind.

Nanaimo Bars

  • For the bottom layer
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 5 tbsp cocoa
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 3/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
    • 1 cup fine coconut
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • For the middle layer
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
    • 3 tbsp milk
    • 2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
    • 2 cups icing sugar
  • For the top layer
    • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 4 squares of semisweet chocolate
    • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  1. For the bottom layer
    1. Grease a 9" x 9" pan
    2. Melt the butter/margarine, sugar and cocoa together in a heavy saucepan
    3. Add the egg and stir to cook & thicken
    4. Remove from heat, and stir in the graham crumbs, coconut, and nuts
    5. Press firmly into the prepared pan
  2. For the middle layer
    1. Cream together the butter/margarine, milk, custard powder, and icing sugar
    2. Beat until light and fluffy
    3. Spread over the bottom layer
  3. For the top layer
    1. Melt the chocolate and butter together over low heat, stirring until smooth
    2. Remove from heat, and let it cool until it is comfortable to the touch but still spreadable
    3. Spread over the middle layer
  4. Place the Nanaimo bars in the refrigerator to chill
  5. After the bars have chilled (for a couple hours or overnight), cut into 36 squares with a sharp knife
  6. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

So Excited!

I got an awesome surprise yesterday when my dad came to pick me up for our Christmas brunch.  He had made me my own custom cupcake stand! How cool is this??

I cannot wait to make a batch of cupcakes to proudly display on this! And the best part? The stand rotates too! Fancy eh?

Thank you so much! :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Marbled Shortbread Bars

I got a really neat cookie cookbook (The Book of Cookies) for Christmas the other day (yes...I may have opened it already) and this recipe looked both pretty and tasty, so I decided to make it right away.

There are a few steps due to the three different layers, but it is worth the work!

This was also my first ever attempt at making caramel, and I am so glad to say that it was successful! Tasty too.

If you need a delicious dessert that isn't heavy on the sweetness, then this is definitely a good option.  This recipe makes a full 13" x 9" pan

Marbled Shortbread Bars

  • For the shortbread layer:
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
    • pinch of salt
  • For the caramel:
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
    • 1 can condensed milk (about 14 oz)
    • 2 teaspoons instant coffee mix (the powder/granules)
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • Chocolate topping:
    • 6 oz semisweet chocolate 
    • 1 oz white chocolate
  1. To make the shortbread layer
    1. Preheat oven to 350 F
    2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt
    3. Mix in the butter until a soft dough forms
    4. Press into the bottom of a 13" x 9" pan
    5. Prick well all over with a fork
    6. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown
    7. Let cool before adding the caramel layer
  2. To make the caramel layer
    1. While the shortbread is cooling, place all of the caramel ingredients in a saucepan
    2. Stir over medium heat until the butter melts and it begins to boil gently
    3. Boil until the caramel is thick enough to hold it's shape for a few seconds (use a spoon to drizzle a ribbon of caramel back in the pot and it stays for a few seconds).  Note: the recipe said this would take 6 - 8 minutes, but my caramel took about 15 minutes
    4. When caramel is ready, pour it over the shortbread and smooth it out with a spatula
  3. To finish off the squares:
    1. Place the semisweet chocolate (either squares or chocolate chips) in a microwave-safe bowl
    2. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval
    3. When the chocolate is melted, pour it over the caramel, and smooth with a spatula
    4. Place the white chocolate in a plastic sandwich or ziploc bag
    5. Microwave at 30 second intervals, massaging the bag between each interval, until the white chocolate is melted
    6. When the white chocolate is smooth, cut a small hole in one corner of the bag and draw lines across the semisweet chocolate, about 2 centimetres apart
    7. Using a toothpick, swirl the white and semisweet chocolate together
  4. Let the chocolate set, cut into squares, and Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash

Since our kitchen has been overflowing with sweet baked goods these last few weeks, we were craving something that was on the completely opposite end of the spectrum.

We had both potatoes and broccoli in our fridge that needed to be used, so I found this delicious side dish recipe on, and modified it based on what we had available at home.

This turned out wonderfully! It was easily our favourite part of supper that night.

If you are looking for a quick and easy side dish that can go with almost any main course, give this a shot.

Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash

  • 2 cups baby potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium pot, bring a couple inches of water to boil
  2. Place a steamer on top of the pot, and steam the potatoes for about 10 minutes
  3. Add the broccoli to the steamer, and steam with the potatoes for another 10 minutes
  4. Place the broccoli in a bowl, and mash
  5. Add the potatoes, cheese, bacon, and milk to the mashed broccoli and mash it all together
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Cupcakes 2

Another one of my girlfriends had also requested Christmas themed cupcakes this past weekend, but they were for an adult Christmas party so I went with a more classic look.

Her favourite cake/cupcake flavour is vanilla, so again I went with the delicious Vanilla Cupcake recipe that I love. These really are some wonderful vanilla cupcakes!

I baked these in solid red cupcake liners, and topped them with classic vanilla buttercream. I then decorated them with a mixture of these amazing little sliver balls, and red & green jimmies. 

After having a kitchen full of Christmas cupcakes, I am definitely in a wonderful Christmas mood!

Have a fabulous Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ultimate Christmas Cupcakes

This past weekend I had 3 orders of cupcakes for friends, in addition to preparing my own treats for two Christmas parties! So it was a busy weekend for baking, and I loved every single minute of it.

One of my girlfriends requested some cupcakes that were 'everything Christmas!' for a kid's Christmas party.  This was so exciting, I couldn't wait to cram as much Christmas joy in a cupcake as I possibly could!

I started with my favourite Vanilla Cupcake recipe, and then split the batter between three bowls. One bowl was dyed red, the second bowl was dyed green, and then the third bowl was left white.  I then dropped the different colours of batter by small spoonfuls into each baking cup until they were full of the three colours.

After the cupcakes were done baking, I was so happy with the results! The colours were wonderfully vibrant, and screamed 'Christmas'!

To decorate the cupcakes, I stuck with a white vanilla buttercream so that I could use the awesome Christmas sprinkles that I have.  I topped each cupcake with both my mini gingerbread men sprinkles, and red & green jimmies.

When I was all done, I stepped back and couldn't stop smiling. These cupcakes definitely fit the requirements.

I hope the kids enjoyed eating the cupcakes as much as I enjoyed making them :)

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Peppermint Fudge

This fudge is absolutely amazing! I have been sneaking pieces of this every time I pass my fridge since I made it a couple of days ago.  

This recipe is really easy to make, and doesn't involve any complicated candy making (which is always a bonus!). The recipe originally said to strain the mixture to remove the remaining candy bits, but I loved the small pieces of crunch that the little candy bits produced in the fudge when I didn't strain mine.

This recipe is from, and I strongly recommend that you make this for your next Christmas party.  I absolutely love this stuff!

Peppermint Fudge

  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 10 candy canes, unwrapped
  • 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 3 1/4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 5 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Spray a 9" square baking pan with baking spray, then line the pan with parchment and spray the parchment paper as well
  2. In a food processor, pulse the candy canes until they are very finely chopped
  3. Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl
  4. In a medium saucepan add the pulverized candy canes, cream, mini marshmallows, butter, sugar, and salt
  5. Stir over medium heat until well melted, and whisk until smooth
  6. Pour the peppermint mixture over the chocolate chips, and let stand for a minute
  7. Stir the mixture until nice and smooth
  8. Pour the fudge mixture into the prepared square pan, and smooth the top with a spatula
  9. Lick spatula, and enjoy the pure bliss
  10. Place the pan in the refrigerator to set for about 3 hours
  11. Cut the fudge into 1 1/2" squares to serve
  12. To store, place in airtight container in the fridge
  13. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chai Snickerdoodle Cookies

These last few days have been busy! As a result, I have a ton of wonderful christmas goodies to share with you over the next week :)

I will start with these Chai Snickerdoodle Cookies.  I originally saw this recipe on, and they looked like a really fun cookie that contained a lot of wonderful seasonal spices.  

I really enjoyed the light flavour of these cookies.  They made a wonderful treat because they weren't overpowering in the sugar or spice department.  I will definitely be making these again! I made about 3 dozen cookies with this recipe.

Chai Snickerdoodle Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the spice mixture:
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ginger
    • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/8 tsp cardamom
    • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt 
  3. In a second bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Add the oil and eggs to the sugar/butter mixture, and mix well
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and continue to mix well
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, cardamom, and sugar
  7. Roll the dough into balls (about 1 1/2" in diameter) and roll each ball of cookie dough in the spice mixture
  8. Place the cookies on the parchment-lined baking sheets (about 2" apart) and bake for about 8 - 12 minutes (or until the tops begin to crack and the edges are a very light golden colour)
  9. Let cool, and Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Cupcakes

I had a request for 2 dozen mini Christmas cupcakes due today, and had pretty free reign to decorate them as I pleased for the season. 

I decided to do half as bright red poinsettias, and the other half with some cute Christmas trees!

Since a nice red is so hard to obtain, I ended up trashing the red icing I had made (it was more of a bright pink or orange...I'm not really sure which!) and used one of the Wilton Red Decorating Icing tubes.  These are fabulous because you can fit your wilton tips onto them, and go nuts! 

I had a lot of fun making these, and I hope everyone enjoys eating them!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Earlier this week I had 4 sad brown bananas looking at me from my countertop.  Usually my go-to is to make Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (they are a serious favourite), but I wanted to try something else with my lonely bananas.  

I searched around and found this recipe on  It was created and posted by Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod, another great cooking blog.

I will admit that I was worried when I was mixing these up, it seemed like there wasn't nearly enough liquid ingredients to go around.  But after I continued to mix everything together, the batter came together really well!

The banana flavour is quite subtle in these cookies, and we thought they were absolutely delicious!  They are also quite filling, so they made an amazing and quick breakfast for work.  I made 24 cookies from one batch.

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used semisweet)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a couple cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth
  3. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt
  4. Add the vanilla and egg to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well
  5. Add the mashed banana to the wet ingredients, and again mix well
  6. Add the flour to the wet ingredients, and mix until the batter just begins to come together
  7. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips until well distributed
  8. Drop large tablespoons onto the cookies sheets (I fit about 8 - 10 cookies per sheet) and bake until the edges are golden brown.  The original recipe said to bake for 15 - 18 minutes, but mine were done in 8 - 9 minutes
  9. Let cool, and Enjoy!