Sunday in the kitchen

Do you have a Dutch friend? I do...and she's the very best. Not just because she's Dutch...she's beautiful and smart and so much fun to hang out with! And did I mention that she is Dutch? As in chocolate sprinkle sandwiches, and gouda cheese, and speculaas! I mean, who couldn't hang out with someone who eats chocolate sprinkle sandwiches! Who'd ever heard of such a thing?? I certainly hadn't in my mock-meat-sandwiches home. (I can't believe there was a time in my life when I actually ate mock chicken loaf sandwiches with processed cheese slices! Does anyone out there know what mock chicken loaf is? Wait...I don't want to know!) Then this whole exotic world of Dutch cuisine opened up to me when we became BFFs some 20-something years ago. I always looked forward to being invited over on New Year's Day for croquettes and oliebollen. And oh what I wouldn't do to get invited over for supper when meatball soup was on the menu! These memories all came flooding back recently when my father-in-law, who is also of Dutch heritage, made us meatball soup for Sunday lunch. It wasn't quite the same soup as I remembered from my high school days when my friend and I were inseparable, but it was pretty darn good. So good I had to try and make some for myself! I served it up with this delicious soda bread recipe. Eet smakelijk!
Meatball Soup
1 lb. ground beef 
1/2 C bread crumbs
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 carrots, peeld and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery
6 C soup stock
1 can of stewed tomatoes
4 large leaves of Swiss chard
Mix together meat and bread crumbs and form into meatballs. Fry at med./high heat in a large soup pot until browned on the outside. If you can do eggs, add an egg to the mixture - this will help hold them together better. Add onions and garlic and continue frying until onions are translucent. Add in potatoes, carrots and celery, before adding soup stock and tomatoes. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Before serving, add chopped up Swiss chard to the pot.


Sunday in the kitchen

Today I spent my afternoon in the kitchen focusing on things purely indulgent. Why not? It's minus-too-cold-to-even-matter outside, and we're coming off what has been reported as the most depressing week of the year, so we needed a little pick-me-up around here! And I picked up a little helper along the way who wanted to join me in my kitchen escapades! We had too much fun photographing ourselves making silly faces while we waited for our popcorn kernels to get popping hot...
Mix that popped popcorn with sugar and chocolate and watch your winter blues melt away! New Year's resolutions? What New Year's resolutions? Is anyone still following their New Year's resolutions? Screw it! Give me more of this Caramel Corn Chocolate-Pecan Bark (sans pecans) from Cooking for Isaiah. Check that out....
Of course I can't send that in the school lunches...messy, sugary, bouncing-off-the-walls energy that teachers tend to frown upon.  
So we made cookies too...still keeping with the over-indulgent theme, they had chocolate, and they had sugar, but on a far more acceptable level. Look at that focused determination! 
Thumbs up!
Gluten-free Double Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies
(based on this recipe from Silk)
1 C Earth Balance margarine
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C agave
1/4 C soy milk
1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp warm water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. mint extract
1 C chickpea flour
1 1/4 C brown rice flour
1/3 C cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 C chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F
Cream together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add milk, flax seed mixture, and extracts. Mix in dry ingredients and fold in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 mins.

What's cooking in your kitchen?


this moment

From Soulemama - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Sundays in the kitchen

It doesn't get anymore Sunday dinner-like than roast chicken. It's pretty darn easy too. I needed easy today. With our last official post-Christmas party yesterday, making something I could throw in the slow cooker and return to my cozy spot on the couch, was in order today. Throw a few extras on top, like lemon and garlic, and you're done! Return to couch, put your feet up and relax. It's what Sundays were made for! I eventually peeled myself away from Netflix to make up some of my very favourite mashed potatoes with dill, and a side of Sweet 'n' Sour Red Cabbage from La Dolce Vegan. Voila!

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic
1 organic whole chicken
1 lemon (I use ones that have been in the bottom of my fruit drawer that need to be used up fast!)
A couple cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to season

Place chicken in slow cooker. Slice up garlic and lemon. Place garlic under the skin of the chicken. Sprinkle salt and pepper over skin of the chicken before topping it off with lemon slices. Let the chicken roast the afternoon away on low-medium heat. 

Dill Mashed Potatoes
Peel and cut up about 6 potatoes (this serves about 4 people) and boil until tender. Drain and mash up with 2-3 tbsp. dairy-free margarine, 1/2-3/4 C soy milk, and 1 tsp. of dill.


Sundays in the kitchen

The holidays are over - 'sniff'. Time to get back to our regular lives with our regular routines. Work, school, regular meals that don't involve over the top turkey dinners and too many desserts to choose from. So many choices that I just gave up and chose them all! But that was last year - you can't look back! Time for fresh starts and new features on this blog! After a two-week break from proper homecooking and bagged-lunches baking, I'm back in the kitchen! I spend almost every Sunday in the kitchen cooking up a big family meal and baking food for the upcoming week's lunches. Join me here every Sunday as I share some of the things that are cooking in my kitchen! While the roast is roasting away in the slow cooker, I whipped up this batch of granola that, doubled, should get us through a couple of weeks of breakfast! Mmmm! This should help inspire me to get my butt out of bed tomorrow morning! For the lunches, there's these granola bars as well as some yummy banana muffins - see recipe below! I adapted this recipe from a family banana bread recipe. Make it up as a loaf, or as muffins! This recipe make about 1 dozen muffins.
Banana Bread
1/2 C oil
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C honey
2 tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp. hot water
3 bananas
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 C flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt 
Optional add-ins: 1/2 C chocolate chips, 1 C walnuts (my personal favourite, but with nut allergies, not allowed in our house!), 1 C frozen blueberries folded in.

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together wet ingredients before adding dry ingredients. Add optional ingredients if you choose. Pour into greased loaf pan or into muffin tin and bake for about 40-50 mins. for a loaf, and about 20-30 mins. for muffins.
What's cooking in your kitchen?