Monday, January 31, 2011

Barbacoa Beef

In addition to the Chipotle Corn Salsa that I made when we got home, I also made this delicious Barbacoa Beef (also from to go with it.  This beef was amazing! So much flavour, and just the right amount of spice!

I added two chipotle chili peppers and my beef was quite spicy.  If you aren't a huge fan of spice, I definitely recommend trying 1/2 a chipotle pepper, and then adding more to taste if need be.

This was a delicious meal! It was also super easy since the beef cooked wonderfully in the slow cooker.

The next night we layered the corn salsa, barbacoa beef, nachos, and sour cream up and enjoyed tasty taco salads.

Barbacoa Beef

  • 1 1/2 lbs beef (eye of round or bottom round roast)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 to 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • salt and papper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Cut up the beef into cubes, and season with salt and pepper
  2. Heat up the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add the beef.  When the beef is brown on all sides (but not cooked through) place them in the slow cooker
  3. While the beef is browning, place the garlic, onion, lime juice, chipotle pepper(s), cumin, oregano, and ground cloves in a blender. 
  4. Blend all spices until a chunky paste is produced
  5. Add the spice paste, water, and bay leaves to the slow cooker
  6. Cook on high for 4 - 6 hours (or on low for about 8 hours), or until the beef can be shredded with a fork
  7. When beef is cooked through, remove from head and place in a bowl.  
  8. Shred the beef with two forks, and place in a frying pan
  9. Add some of the juices from the crock pot (enough to cover the bottom of the pan), and simmer for about 10 minutes (or until most liquid has evaporated). If needed, you can add more spices to taste at this point
  10. Enjoy in a wrap, alone, as part of a taco salad, etc!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chipotle Corn Salsa

Even after two weeks in Mexico, I still hadn't had my fill of Mexican-inspired food. I found this Corn Salsa recipe on, and it looked delicious!

This was incredibly quick and easy to make.  This would be an amazing side dish at a summer BBQ, wrapped up with meat in a burrito, layered in a taco bowl, served as an appetizer with nacho chips, or as a layer in one of those Mexican layer dips!

If you need a quick and easy side dish, I definitely recommend that you whip this up!  If you would like more spice, you can add more chipotle chilli powder or leave the seeds in the jalapenos.

Chipotle Corn Salsa

  • 4 cups cooked corn (I used peaches & cream corn kernels)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 - 2 jalapenos (seeds and membranes removed), diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • chipotle chili powder, to taste (I used about 3/4 tsp)
  • salt and pepper
  1. If the corn is frozen, cook as per package directions and drain
  2. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Cover, and place in the fridge for at least one hour before serving (to let the flavours meld)
  4. Enjoy any way you like!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Valentine's Day Cake

I know it seems early, but Valentine's day is only a few weeks away!

I saw a really neat tutorial on I Am Baker that had some really cool (and fairly easy!) cake decorating techniques.  I was a big fan of the 'squiggly lines' technique, so I figured that I would give it a shot!

I started out by drawing all of the hearts, and then filling in the blank spaces with pink icing.  I used a #4 wilton tip for the hearts, and a #3 wilton tip for the pink 'squiggles'.

This was surprisingly easy! If you need to quickly jazz up a cake, give this method a try! I am so happy with how my first attempt turned out.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Coconut Lime Cupcakes w/ Lime Buttercream

This past New Year's Eve we had some friends over to celebrate with us.  For dessert I made these Coconut Lime Cupcakes (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World).  These were fun to make, and the batter was dangerously delicious!

These are extremely coconut-y, so they are perfect for those coconut lovers out there.  I enjoy coconut, but it isn't my first choice when it comes to deserts, and I enjoyed these a lot! An additional bonus? These are another fabulous vegan cupcake!

These would be perfect for a Hawaiian Luau or Mexican themed party! This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut (unsweetened)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line the muffin tin with paper liners
  2. Place the coconut oil in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave until completely melted, set aside
  3. In a second bowl mix together the melted coconut oil, sugar, coconut milk, soy milk, vanilla, coconut extract, and lime zest. 
  4. In a third bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and milk until smooth
  6. Add the coconut, and mix until well distributed
  7. Fill cupcake liners and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into a cupcake
  8. Let cool completely before icing
    1. Note, these are delicious naked!
Lime Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 3 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or the juice from 1 to 2 limes)
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  1. Cream together the shortening and margarine until smooth 
  2. Add the icing sugar about 1 cup at a time, beating well between each addition
  3. After all of the icing sugar is incorporated add the vanilla, lime juice, and lime zest
  4. Beat the icing for another few minutes until fluffy
To assemble the Coconut Lime Cupcakes
  • 12 coconut lime cupcakes
  • lime buttercream icing
  • 1 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened)
  1. Pour the flaked coconut into a shallow dish
  2. When cupcakes are completely cooled, spread the lime buttercream on top of the cupcakes
  3. Roll the tops of each cupcake in the coconut, completely covering the icing
  4. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Even though we had only arrived home the night before, when I woke up Sunday morning I couldn't wait to hit the kitchen again. I missed it!

Since we had so little food in the house, I decided to make some muffins that we could enjoy as a snack and for breakfast throughout the week.  

I love these muffins because they had an amazing lemony surprise in the middle! I found this stuff in the same section as the jams in my grocery store. It is delicious, and has an awesome texture that is similar to the lemon part of lemon meringue pie, so it is really easy to work with.

Does any one else see a silly face in this muffin?

This recipe is from Company's Coming Mostly Muffins, and it makes 12 tasty (and easy!) muffins.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup blueberries (you can use fresh or frozen)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • approx 1/2 cup lemon spread

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners (or generously grease the muffin pan)
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
  3. In a second bowl, mix together the eggs, melted butter (or margarine), milk and lemon zest
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour the wet ingredients into the well
  5. Add the blueberries, and mix until the batter is just moistened
  6. Fill each muffin cup half full, and then place 1 - 2 teaspoons of lemon spread onto the batter
  7. Cover up the lemon spread with the remaining batter
  8. Bake for about 20 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into a muffin
  9. Enjoy!

This is what we left behind Saturday morning:

And this is what we came home to Saturday night:

I think I'm ready to go back to Mexico now.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We're Back!

Well we are back in cold and snowy Edmonton, and are already missing the sunny and warm beaches of Mexico! We arrived back home last night after 2 wonderful weeks in the Mayan Rivieria. I had good intentions of posting occasionally as the weeks went on, but it never seemed to work out, so my apologies for the lack of activity :)

Our wedding was on January 11, 2011 and it was wonderful! I don't have any wedding pictures yet, but as soon as I get some from the photographer or family & friends, I will put some up. It was a fabulous day, we had such a blast!

On January 19 (last Wednesday I believe) we went to the Tulum beach and spent an amazing two hours walking along one of the most amazing beaches I have ever seen.  Afterwards, we stopped at an outdoor bar/restaurant and enjoyed some delicious Mexican food.

We started with some nacho chips served with pico de gallo and a deliciously spicy salsa.  Also, my mother-in-law had the bartender chop off the top of a coconut so that we could enjoy the coconut milk. After we were done, they were kind enough to cut out the inside of the coconut for us, delicious!

Then we decided to share an appetizer platter, and an order of fish tacos as it was too early for a big supper.

The appetizer platter had such an amazing array of food! The mango salsa was so delicious, and I also couldn't get enough of the little fish bites (I am not sure of the real name). Both my husband (my husband? crazy!) and my father-in-law said the shrimp were awesome too.

Above all, the fish tacos were my absolute favourite. They were so simple, but had so much amazing flavour! I need to find out how to make the sweet and tangy tamarind sauce to go with them, and then I will definitely be making these at home. Kudos to my mother-in-law for knowing what tamarind's are, I had no idea what the sauce was initially!

This was just one of the many amazing days (and many amazing meals!) we have had over the last two weeks in Mexico.  It was such a wonderful vacation, I recommend the area (and our resort the Grand Palladium) to anyone looking for a perfect vacation!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cranberry & Chocolate Muffins

In less than 36 hours we will be on a plane, on our way to sunny and warm Mexico! The timing couldn't be better, apparently a blizzard is moving it's way in and the temperatures are going to drop like crazy over the week. Fingers crossed that the blizzard arrives after our plane is set to take off!

In preparation for the 6 hour plane ride, followed by a wait in customs, and then a 1.5 to 2 hour bus ride to our final destination, I made some tasty and quick muffins to keep us from becoming famished.  I don't know about you, but I need to eat on a very regular basis, or I become a grumpy girl! These muffins will definitely do the trick :)

This recipe is adapted from the Cranberry Sparkle Muffins recipe in the Mostly Muffins cookbook by Company's Coming.  They were super easy to make, and you can use any type of berry that you have on hand.  The recipe originally called for fresh cranberries, but since I had some dried ones on hand from the Christmas season, I threw those in instead and they worked great.

Another bonus about this recipe? It is quite healthy too! I think next time I make these I will try substituting half of the white flour for whole wheat flour.  This makes 12 deliciously light and tasty muffins.

Cranberry & Chocolate Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt (I used low-fat plain, and it worked great!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (if using plain yogurt)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • extra sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F, and grease a muffin pan
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt
  3. In a second bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until fluffy
  4. Add the eggs (one at a time) to the margarine/sugar, and mix well after each egg
  5. Add the yogurt, and vanilla if using, to the wet ingredients and mix well
  6. Prepare a well in the dry ingredients, and slowly pour the wet ingredients into the well
  7. Add the dried cranberries and chocolate chips to the bowl, and mix slowly until the batter is just moistened
  8. Fill the prepared muffin tin with the batter and then sprinkle the top of the batter with the extra sugar
  9. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into a muffin
  10. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, before turning onto a rack to cool
  11. Enjoy!

I will do my best to add some new material to the blog over the next couple weeks, but I am not sure what the internet situation will be like. Please bear with me if I am unable to access it over the next two weeks :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cucumbers with Dill Sauce

We had a bunch of friends over to celebrate New Years this past Friday and my fiance had requested that we serve 'those cucumber things with the dill stuff on top". Umm, what? I had no idea what he originally meant, but after some further explanation I had enough information and whipped these up!

These were so incredibly easy to make, and were really tasty.  The combination of cream cheese, sour cream and dill also makes a great dip for veggies! This makes enough for about 2 dozen pieces.

Cucumbers with Dill Sauce

  • 2/3 cup softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 large, or 2 medium, seedless cucumbers
  • extra dill for garnish
  1. Cut the cucumber into slices about 1 to 2 cm thick and lay all of the slices out on some paper towels
  2. Whip together the cream cheese, sour cream, and dill until well mixed
  3. Place the dip in a piping bag with a large star tip, or in a ziploc bag and cut off one corner of the ziploc bag
  4. Flip over the cucumber slices, and pipe (or spread if you wish) the dill dip onto each cucumber (it is easier to have the dip stick to the cucumber if some of the moisture is removed from the surface)
  5. Garnish with a small piece of dill to finish
  6. Enjoy!
Only one more week until the big day!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chicken Spring Rolls

No, that isn't my manly thumb, my fiance was kind enough to wait for me to take the picture :)

Every year on January 1st my family makes a huge meal that consists of a delicious variety of chinese food.  My dad heads the operation, and we make all sorts of wonderful dishes.

I still hadn't located my camera at this point, so all of these pictures were taken with my iPhone!

There is lemon chicken (a crowd favourite),

Sweet and sour meatballs, 

Pork chop suey,

Beef and greens,

Chicken fried rice,

Chicken chow mein (I helped make this dish!),

and dessert of course!

This year we made some California Rolls and some Chicken Spring Rolls to bring to the dinner.  These spring rolls are delicious, and require simple ingredients.  These also freeze really well, so you can make a large batch and just take them out as you need them.

It takes some practice to get the rolling technique down, but here is how we rolled ours up.  To help seal the spring rolls, mix some cornstarch and water together (in a 1:1 ratio) and brush it along the edges of the wrapper to seal.  

First place the filling in the bottom half of the square, and then fold up the bottom corner.

Fold in the sides, and then place some of the water:cornstarch mixture along the top corner.  Roll it all up, and then place it with the seam side down to seal. Now you have some tasty spring rolls!

This recipe makes 2 dozen spring rolls, and they are amazing alone or with some plum sauce for dipping.  This recipe was inspired by the Baked Pork Spring Rolls recipe on

 Chicken Spring Rolls

  • 3 chicken breasts, ground or cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups coleslaw mix (or a mixture of shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek sauce (if you want some spice)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 24 square spring roll wrappers
  • cooking spray (ex: Pam)
  1. Cook the chicken in a frying pan until fully cooked and lightly browned, set aside
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the coleslaw mix, sliced green onions, olive oil, hoisin sauce, fresh ginger, minced garlic cloves, and sambal oelek (or any other hot sauce, if using)
  3. Add the chicken, and mix well
  4. Mix the corn starch and water together in a small bowl
  5. Place about 2 tbsp of the chicken mixture on the bottom half of a spring roll wrapper, and use the water/cornstarch mixture on the edges to seal it as you roll it up
  6. Repeat for all spring roll wrappers
  7. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425 and line your baking sheets with parchment paper
  8. Lightly spray the springrolls with the cooking spray on all sides
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes to ensure all sides are brown and crispy
  10. Serve with some plum sauce for dipping
  11. Enjoy!
Perfectly crispy!