Recipe { Easy Cauliflower Soup }

Even though other parts of the world are enjoying springtime weather, we were blessed with another snowstorm this week. Since it’s still cold, I just want to eat food that warm me up, like this delicious (and easy) soup!

My cousin first discovered this recipe, and I’ve made tweaks to it over time. That’s the beauty of cooking, you can change a recipe to create your own version of a dish – it’s like a creative outlet. This recipe is pretty versatile, and I’ve left alternative options below. Feel free to play around and adjust it to your taste.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup Chicken broth
  • Mushrooms (approx. 227 g)
  • One head of cauliflower
  • One onion
  • One big potato
  • 1 can (540 mL) white kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • Salt & pepper

Steps

  1. Prepare all the ingredients: wash mushrooms, cauliflower and potato.
  2. Roughly cut up the veggies them up.
  3. Add all the ingredients to a big pot.
  4. Over medium heat, bring to boil and let the ingredients steam for about 45 minutes.
  5. Blend everything together.
  6. Serve while hot!

Alternatives

  • Add 1-2 tbsp Italian herbs.
  • Add 1/3 cup cream cheese. This makes it a lot more delicious!
  • Removing the kidney beans
  • Using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
  • Add Sriracha sauce, to taste.

Recipe { Banana Bread }

When I was 16 years old, I decided to cook dinner for my family every night for the whole summer. I would put together meal ideas, a grocery, and then plan how I would prepare everything in time for dinner. It was a lot of work, especially for someone that was just learning how to cook, but I loved it. The most rewarding part was the feeling of taking care of my family and their appreciation. Since then, I have related cooking & baking to showing someone that you love and care about them.

Now that I live on my own, I enjoy cooking for myself, but also for my boyfriend. He has a very busy schedule, so I try to cook him meals that he can keep in his fridge to warm up for dinner when he gets home from work. I also like preparing his favorites treats, like this banana bread, because it makes him happy, but also shows him that I’m thinking about him.

This is a recipe that I got from a Betty Crocker cookbook. A little trick to add moisture to the bread is to add about ¼ cup of yogurt to the mix.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup mashed banana (approx. 5 medium)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil or melted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Steps

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚F and grease pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together: egs, banana, sugar oil.
  5. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir until moistened. Fold in the walnuts.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes.

What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare for your loved ones? What are others ways that you like to show them that you love & care about them? 

Recipe { Bite-Sized Raspberry Pies }

It’s become somewhat of a tradition that every time my boyfriend returns from a trip, I stock up his fridge with food. Since he travels quite a bit, I love finding new ways to make his homecoming special. After a long and tiring trip, what better way to be greeted with a home-cooked meal and some treats!

I wanted to prepare these for Valentine’s day because raspberry pie is one of his favorite desserts, but he was leaving the next day so I didn’t want to have leftovers because I would inevitably end up eating it all by myself. So I thought this would be the perfect homecoming treat, amongst the other things that I prepared for him!

I got the recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Joy the Baker. If you love to cook and enjoy following blogs, I highly recommend her blog – she is incredibly funny and her recipes are really fun!

For the recipe, I cheated a little bit and used pre-made dough (in my defense, I was quite tight on time). Putting together each individual pie took quite a bit of time, but it was well-worth the result!

Recipe { Loving Pancakes }

I wanted to call these ‘Loving’ pancakes because your whole body, from your taste buds to your tummy, will love it: it’s delicious but also healthy!

I’ve been playing around with this recipe for a while, and can finally share the perfect combination of ingredients. There are few tweaks that you can make and I will include them in the ingredient list.

I usually make these on a weekday, but are also perfect for a lazy Saturday morning for the person you love (make sure to double the recipe!).

Ingredients {for one person – yields about 5-6 small pancakes}

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ¼ cup coconut flour (I’ve also used ground flaxseed but didn’t like the taste as much)
  • A dash of vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of almond milk (or any milk that you have on hand)

Optional additions {add to taste}

  • Almond slivers
  • Dark chocolate chips or cocoa nibs

Steps {prep time: 5 minutes | total cook time: 15-20 minutes}

  1. In a medium bowl, mash the banana, making sure that you get rid of as many clumps as possible.
  2. Add 2 eggs, vanilla, almond milk & coconut flour, and mix until smooth.
  3. Heat up a non-stick pan on medium heat, and add a bit of oil (just enough to thinly coat the bottom of the pan).
  4. Pour about 2 tbsps of the mixture onto the heated pan [I usually cook 3 pancakes at a time]. The batter is quite thick so I spread the batter with a spoon to create an oval/roundish shape.
  5. Cook for 5-7 minutes, making sure that it’s not over-cooking. [This is the tricky part: if the pancakes don’t cook enough, you won’t be able to flip them and they’ll just fall apart.] Test the consistency of the pancake by slowly lifting one side with a spatula.
  6. Flip over and let the other side cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy! I love hazelnut butter & berries on these pancakes. A real treat that you will love and not feel guilty about!

If you try this recipe, share the picture on social media and use the hashtag #seppyslovepancake so that I can see how they turned out! You can find me on Twitter (@peppy3), Instagram (@seppysmtl), and GooglePlus (@seppysmontreal). 

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Recipe { Cozy Chili & Cornbread }

Words can’t even begin to describe how good this chili tasted. Full of flavor and nutrients, this is such an easy meal for a cold winter night – an instant heart-warming bowl of yummy goodness (just thinking about it makes me crave it).

I can’t recommend this recipe enough. I mean, really, you have to go get the ingredients like, RIGHT NOW. It’s easy, makes a HUGE batch, and is just… oh-so-good. This whole batch lasted me for about 8 meals, which I did NOT mind eating for a week. Yes, that’s just how good it is.

To make it heartier and have my veggie intake for the day, I added mushrooms, carrots, and celery. I also used ground beef because I couldn’t find ground turkey in my grocery store.

This recipe goes perfectly with cornbread, which turned out delicious, even though I substituted the buttermilk with almond milk. Not sure how much it affected the texture since that was actually the first time I’ve actually tasted cornbread, but whatever, it tasted delicious and I am totally making this again. This cornbread could easily use some additions such as sharp cheddar cheese, or sundried tomatoes, but that’ll be for next time.

What’s one of your favorite go-to winter meals? 

Recipe { Croque-Madame }

Saturday mornings should be spent lazily around the house in pijamas, with a nice brunch and catching on blogs, magazines, or TV-shows. What better way to spend a Saturday morning?!!

When I came across this recipe for Croque-Madame on Cupcakes and Cashmere, I knew that I had to try it because : a) I love brunch; b) I love ham, cheese and eggs; c) It looks so damn good I just had to try it for myself.

It was SO easy to make, and it was absolutely DELICIOUS. This is also a perfect recipe to make for a group of people because it looks more complicated than it actually is, so you can impress your friends.

I didn’t really change recipe other than using this simple béchamel sauce by Mario Batali. I would probably even exclude the béchamel sauce altogether next time, or would add parmesan cheese to it. Actually, I didn’t really follow the proportions because that’s just how I roll (although my boyfriend would disagree with this method of cooking…). You can easily add some spices and flavors to the béchamel sauce, or use a different kind of cheese on the bread! That’s the fun part about cooking: there are no rules! (well…sorta…)

What’s your favorite brunch food? Any good recipes I should check out? 

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Recipe { White Chocolate Peppermint Bark }

I wanted to make another easy but fun recipe for the holidays and thought of making chocolate bark. It’s just another great way to impress guests or give to your host if you are going somewhere for dinner during the holidays. There isn’t much more to say about this recipe other than it’s easy and delicious! After a busy week, I took a morning to myself, put on some Michael Bublé and pranced around my kitchen while making this. Yes, there was some shameless dancing involved.

The fun thing about bark is that you can combine any ingredient that you want, like nuts or another favorite candy. Be creative and have fun with it!! Simply replace the candy canes with other ingredients.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups (600 g) White chocolate
  • ½ cup (100 g) Dark chocolate
  • 6 candy canes (or about 1 cup of crushed candy cane)

Preparation

  1. Line a pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Crush the candy canes (I broke the candy canes into smaller pieces, placed them in a bowl and then crushed them with a measuring cup).
  3. Pour the white chocolate in a bowl and place over a boiling pot of hot water. Mix continuously until fully melted.
  4. Mix in about ¾ cup of the crushed candy canes.
  5. Pour the white chocolate & candy cane mixture on the parchment paper and even it out to about ¾-inch thickness.
  6. Melt the dark chocolate and then pour in a Ziploc. Close tightly making sure that it’s sealed and as much of the air is removed. Cut the tip and then pour evenly on top of the white chocolate.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the crushed candy canes over the dark chocolate while it’s still soft.
  8. Cool the bark in the fridge for an hour or two, or until hardened.
  9. Break apart and enjoy!
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{ Ingredients }

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{ Tip: crush the candy canes with a metal measuring cup }

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{ Step 3: melt the white chocolate over a boiling pot of water }

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{ Step 4: add crushed candy cane }

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{ Step 5: spread out evenly }

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{ Tip: to easily pour the melted chocolate in the Ziploc, place it in a wide container like a mug. First start by scooping one spoonful of the chocolate to add some weight to the bottom of the Ziploc for it to hold better }

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{ Tip: squeeze out as much of the air from the Ziploc as possible and cut out a small opening in the corner }

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{ Finished product! }

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Recipe { S’mores Hot Chocolate }

There’s nothing quite like a warm cup of hot chocolate in the wintertime. Add a cozy blanket, a crackling fireplace and a good book, and we have a winning combination!

I love the special holiday drinks from Second Cup and Starbucks, but I get disappointed at the thought of them not being available anymore after the holidays. So I set out to re-make one of my favorites, the S’mores hot chocolate from Second Cup. It’s the perfect way to combine a summer favorite with the wintery cold.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup small marshmallows
  • Whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp ground graham crackers

Preparation

  1. Over medium heat and with a whisk, continuously stir the milk, sugar and cocoa powder until warm and combined.
  2. Add ¾ Cup of marshmallows and continue to stir until fully dissolved.
  3. With your finger (after you’ve washed your hands!) put some honey around the rim of your cup, about an inch all around. Pour the graham crackers crumbs in a small plate. Turn over the cup with the honey rim and cover the rim with the graham crumbs.
  4. Pour in cup and decorate as you wish! You can add marshmallows or whipped cream, or both!
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{ Ingredients }

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{ Shameless self-promotion }

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{ You can roast a few marshmallows on a candle as a cute little topper }

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{ Classic twist with the whipped cream! }

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{ Go ahead, go all out, have it with whipped cream AND marshmallows! }

Recipe { Fudgy Chocolate & Avocado Cookies }

I have many good memories of staying up late with my sister and studying the night away, or staying up until the wee hours of the morning watching TV or a movie. We always managed to make ourselves the tastiest treats, which always included something involving chocolate. When she came to visit for my 25th birthday, I wanted to spoil her and bake her some treats. I had been meaning to try this recipe that I had seen on The Londoner because I love trying alternative ingredients in cooking or baking, so this was the perfect excuse.

The cookies turned out delicious. Although I think I might have put too much avocado (I was too lazy to measure it precisely in a measuring cup), which might explain why the cookies spread so much, but regardless, they were very tasty. Definitely ooey-gooey and you can’t even taste the avocadoes! Yes, we finish most of the batch in one sitting. Don’t judge.

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Recipe { Pumpkin Scones }

After making my healthy pumpkin muffins, I still had pumpkin puree left over. I had seen this recipe of Julie’s blog when she published and had bookmarked it, so this was the perfect excuse to try it. The recipe was so good that I just might make another batch with the remainder of the puree. Fall isn’t over yet and pumpkin treats are perfect for the current weather (with a cup of hot chocolate of course!)

A few things that I did differently:

  • The butter that I used was actually melted, and the scones seemed to have retained their flakiness. Although I wouldn’t recommend doing this, don’t fret if your butter is not chilled like the recipe instructs.
  • I used one cup of white flour and one cup of whole-wheat flour to make a bit healthier and I couldn’t even tell there was whole-wheat flour in it.
  • I don’t usually have cream at home and I actually only had almond milk, which seemed to have worked out fine…and it makes me healthier too.
  • For the glaze, I used Stonewall Kitchen’s pumpkin caramel, which worked perfectly to add a touch of sweetness to the scones.
  • I didn’t have all the spices to make pumpkin spice, so I just used ¾ tablespoon cinnamon and ¼ tablespoon ground cloves.
  • I don’t have a food processor either so I combined the butter and dry ingredients by hand, making sure that I ‘squished’ the butter between my fingers (a little trick I learned by watching Anna Olsen on the Food Network). I also used my hands to combine the pumpkin mixture with the dry ingredients by folding over the mixture until combined. This means that you grab large amounts of mixture at the same time and simply…fold it over onto the rest of the mixture and so on and so forth until it is fully combined!

…coming to think of it, maybe next time I should follow the recipe and it’ll turn out even more delicious…?

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