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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Bruschetta Chicken and I miss summer

I miss summer.  As I look out my window at all the snow, and feel the -23*C (-32with windchill), I can imagine the warm sun and green grass.

I am itching to get in to my gardens.  Unfortunately, we have at least another two and a half to three months of winter left to get through.

So, I decided to bring a little summer to our dinner, and make bruschetta chicken.  I had to go out and buy the tomatoes and basil instead of plucking it from the garden, but it was still good eats.

You can do your chicken however you want, grilled, roasted, pan fried.  I wanted to grill, but did not want to shovel off the BBQ, so roasting it was.  I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  The meal was finished off with some cheesy potatoes, and steamed green beans and broccoli.  It was all gobbled up.

I am not a fan of raw onions, as in if I get any in my mouth I cannot choke it down, I start gagging and have to spit it out, so my bruschetta recipe does not have onions.  If you want to know how I make the rest for bruschetta, scroll to below the photo.

Bruschetta (this makes a large batch, you can easily half the recipe)

6 or 7 ripe roma tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
6-8 fresh basil leaves chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Start by destemming and deseeding your tomatoes, then chop in small pieces.  Some people will remove the skins, I never have, and honestly, I don't notice much of a difference whether they are on or off.

Mix in all other ingredients and let it sit while you prepare the chicken.  The longer it sits, the more the tomatoes take up the yummy balsamic flavouring.

Salt and pepper your chicken and prepare how you like.  I baked mine covered at 350 for about a half hour.
When it is done plate it and add your bruschetta mix to the top.  And voila!

To make bruschetta:

Make your tomato mix and let it sit.
Take a loaf of small crusty bread and cut on a diagonal.  Brush olive oil on one side of the bread and put on a cookie sheet, oil side down.

Toast at 450* for 4-6 minutes, until the bottoms are a slight toasty brown.  Arrange bread on a plate toasted side up and either add toppings or keep the bowl out beside the bread for people to load themselves.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A Delicious New Cookie

I had a couple of browning bananas sitting on my counter that I needed to use, and I wanted to dry something different instead of the same old banana bread.

I thought, how about a banana cookie of some sort.  So I went searching, and found a recipe for banana chocolate chip cookies.  It didn't look too hard, and who doesn't like chocolate chips?

Oh my goodness, they are delicious, like little soft banana cakes!  I am not a huge sweets/dessert eater, but even I had to have more than one!

They lasted a total of three days, and I have already had a request to bake some more!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup mashed bananas (I used three in this recipe)
2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 cups flour
1 12oz bag chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks dh had brought home from work and ended up using two cups)

In a large mixing bowl combine the butter and banana.  Add the brown and white sugars in and cream together.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just mixed.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix well.    Add the chocolate chips and make sure they are mixed in well.

Use a small scoop to scoop on to an ungreased cookie sheet.  They should be about 2" apart.  Warning, the batter will be sticky, if you need to use your fingers try really hard not to lick them clean!

Bake at 325* for 13-14 minutes, or until bottoms are a light brown.  Let stand on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

If you need to stack them to store, use a piece of wax paper in between layers or they will stick together.
You have to try one of these when they are cooled down just enough to eat.  The chocolate chips are all melty and warm, so good!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A Month of Elf on the Shelf

Elf on The Shelf was a new tradition that I brought in this year, and I had so much fun doing it!  The boys loved waking up every morning to see what "Bob" had done the night before, and even  the daycare kids ran right in to look for Bob as soon as they got here.

For those of you who do not know what the heck I am talking about, take a look here
Basically, the elf is sent by Santa to a family to help Santa with his naughty and nice list.  The elf watches through the day, and once everyone is asleep he returns to the North Pole to report to Santa.  The parents move Bob to a different spot each night for the kids to find in the morning, and he stays there for the day.

When you purchase your elf, he/she will come with a hardcover book that tells the story, and this year there was even a tv special.  The book says that when your elf comes you need to give him a name.  You are not allowed to touch the elf as he/she will lose his magic and will not be able to return to the North Pole.  You can talk to your elf and tell him your wishes, and he will tell them to Santa.

"Bob" was the name that O and B gave our Elf.  B was a lot more in to the whole experience than O.  B would talk to Bob all the time.  O just looked for him every morning.

Our elf was a mischevious elf, not just hanging out in different spots.  I think that made it more fun for the boys.  Near the end it was getting harder to think of ideas, but Pinterest was a great help with that.

And now for the pictures!  This will be picture heavy, there is a month of mischief to record!  Some are my own ideas, and some are ideas I found on Pinterest.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

New Year, Resolutions, and Rambling

Hi all, I am back!

The Christmas holidays got the best of me and I did not have much time to get on and post.  My New Years Resolution is to be a better, more consistent blogger.  I hope to post at minimum twice a week.

Christmas was a busy time.  Between working, doing daycare, baking, shopping, having five (!) different Christmases, and shovelling lots and lots of snow, I was glad when New Years came and everything wound down.

My favourite present this year was my Kitchenaid stand mixer.  I broke it in on Christmas morning by beating my eggs in it!  Isn't she pretty?
With Christmas money that I got from the husbands parents I also bought myself a brand new set of good quality pots and pans.

 I pretty much had a kitchen Christmas, but I am absolutely okay with that.

I will be doing a post on a new tradition that we brought in this year, Elf on the Shelf.  It was so much fun, and the kids loved it!  I am forewarning you that that will be a picture heavy post.

My mixer has been getting a lot of use.  I am happy to say that I conquered my fear of yeast, and have made bread, and cinnamon buns, and currently have dough for crusty buns rising.  I always had this fear of doing something wrong and the dough not rising, and the amount of work that seemed to go in to bread making.

These are my first attempts at bread, I think they turned out great, and it is almost gone already, so I know it tastes good!
The recipe I used was very easy to follow.  If you are a first time bread maker with a stand mixer I highly recommend this recipe.  You can find it here.

I think that is about all for now.  How was your holiday season?