Tag Archives: eggs

Crustless Chai-Coconut Pie

23 Mar

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Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Egg Farmers of Ontario. 

Spring is definitely in the air and Easter is right around the corner so it was great to receive an eggs-citing (see what I did there?!) lacto-ovo vegetarian friendly dessert recipe from Egg Farmers of Ontario. Their Crustless Chai-Coconut Pie is fairly easy to make and the unique flavour combination is sure to be a hit with the foodies at your Easter table.

What I loved about the Crustless Chai-Coconut Pie is that it is an easy dessert that’s suitable for a special event such as Easter, but it’s also simple enough for less formal occasions.

If you would like to learn more about Egg Farmers of Ontario, please visit getcracking.ca for a copy of this recipe and tons of other egg recipes that are sure to please you and your family.

Crustless Chai-Coconut Pie

An easy and aromatic dessert that’s suitable for any occasion. Dress it up topped with rum spiked whipped cream!

Serves: 6 to 8

Prep Time: 15 minutes   Cooking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1⁄4 cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon

1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) each ground ginger, cardamom and allspice

1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) ground cloves

1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) baking powder

1⁄4 cup (50 mL) butter, softened

1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

3⁄4 cup (175 mL) light cream (5%)

1-1⁄2 cups (375 mL) sweetened shredded coconut

Whipped cream (optional)

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9-inch (23 cm) glass pie plate.

In small bowl, combine flour, spices and baking powder. Set aside. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy and well blended. Stir in cream and flour mixture; mix well. Stir in coconut. Pour into prepared pie plate.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set and golden brown.

Place on rack to cool. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream, if desired.

Tip: Use shredded or flaked coconut for this recipe.

Tip: Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Nutrients per serving (1/6 recipe): 360 calories, 17 g total fat, 181 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrates, 2 g fibre, 6 g protein. Excellent source of vitamin B12. Good source of  folate and iron.

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Meals with My Munchkin: More-ning McWraps at McDonald’s

17 Nov

 

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I was excited to learn that McDonald’s Canada came out with the Kale and Feta More-ning McWrap, a  breakfast wrap that sounded like a great option for my vegetarian diet. As I’ve mentioned on my blog before, it’s hard to find good vegetarian options at quick service restaurants, so I couldn’t wait to try it. Yes, even we vegetarians want the experience of hitting the drive thru for breakfast! Right now my go-to breakfast item at McDonald’s is an Egg McMuffin, minus the ham but with tomato added. I love it and it’s one of things I crave but it’s the only thing I get right now. The thought of a new veggie option was exciting.

As a vegetarian married to a meat-eater, I’ve found over the years there are only a few quick service restaurants we can visit that have good options for both of us. Knowing my dietary preferences and my husband’s, McDonald’s challenged us to try the new More-ning McWraps and share our thoughts. Since McDonald’s also came out with a Sausage and Hash Brown More-ning McWrap, it was a good opportunity to grab my husband and my son for a Sunday morning breakfast outing. Our order – the new wraps for my husband and I and a Hotcakes Happy Meal for my toddler.

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We got our order and started to dig in…per the McDonald’s website, the Kale and Feta More-ning McWrap contains scrambled eggs, baby kale, sliced tomato and feta cheese, all wrapped up in a soft tortilla. The wrap has 21 grams of protein, which is terrific as I’m always looking for on-the-go vegetarian options with protein. I took my first bite and I was happy to see that the wrap was generously filled with the ingredients. As I got deeper into the wrap, I was happy with how the ingredients interacted with one another. The scrambled eggs were moist and the addition of feta cheese gave the wrap a bit of a bite against the fresh veggies. I would have liked to have a little bit of spice in it but that’s just who I am, I always want spicy food. Overall, I really enjoyed it and I would get it again.

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While I was chowing down, my husband dug into the Sausage and Hash Brown  More-ning McWrap. This wrap contains scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, a hash brown and a slice of cheddar cheese, all wrapped up in a soft tortilla. He took a few bites and he immediately said, “this is a whole McDonald’s breakfast in one bite! I like how the flavours are mixing together” – he actually liked it so much that he kept his head down and ate the whole thing without coming up for air. I was barely able to get a photo in. When he was done, he simply said, “Yeah, that was pretty good, I would get it again” – always a good sign : ) What’s great about both of these wraps is that McDonald’s is using ingredients from their other products and meals to create them, which I thought was really smart.

While we munched on our wraps, my son happily sat in his highchair with his cool McDonald’s bib, gobbled up his Hotcakes and ate the yogurt that came with his meal. I appreciate that every McDonald’s location has high chairs and bibs and that there are healthy options on the menu like yogurt and apple slices. Everyone was full and happy, especially my son who also enjoyed checking out the fish tank at our local restaurant : )

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Thank you McDonald’s for creating another veggie option, hopefully there are more items to come! And that’s a “wrap” folks (pun intended).  Have you tried the new More-ning McWraps? If you have, please let me know what you thought of them!

Mini Apple Cinnamon French Toasts

10 Sep

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Disclosure: I was given samples of Ozery Pita Break’s Just Minis products to try along with some recipe ideas. I only share information about products I enjoy and this is one of them. I hope you’ll try them out too!  

Earlier this year I created a Fattoush Salad recipe using Ozery’s Pita Break’s Large Regular Pita so when they sent me a box with samples of their Just Minis pita products to try out I was excited to try them out.

My baby son is growing up so fast…he’s now a fast moving toddler which means that he can work up quite an appetite. Being a toddler also means that he wants to eat independently, so finding wholesome, great tasting foods that he can enjoy on his own means a lot to me. Bonus points if my husband and I can enjoy them too.  My son is obsessed with bread and one of his favourite ways to eat it is in French Toast. I used Ozery’s Pita Break’s Just Minis Apple Cinnamon flavour and they were delicious. My son was able to hold the mini pita in his little hands and just go for it….it’s always fun to watch him eat : ) He had them plain while my nephews (who are 6 and 13) enjoyed them after school with maple syrup. Overall, they were a hit, which I’ve learned is a big deal when it comes to kids!

Mini Apple Cinnamon French Toasts

Yield: 12 mini French toasts

Ingredients

  • 6 Apple Cinnamon Just Minis, split into halved rounds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk (Note: I increased the amount of milk to a ½ cup as I wanted the pitas to soak up a lot of the mixture. You may want to use more.)
  • 1 tbsp butter, divided

Optional:

  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Maple syrup

Directions:

In a large shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs and milk together. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg (if using). Immerse Apple Cinnamon Just Minis into milk and egg mixture. Turn to coat both sides. (Note: I let the pitas soak in the mixture for about 20 seconds).

Meanwhile, preheat large skillet with lid to medium-high heat, melt 1/2 tbsp butter. Place pita rounds into skillet, cover. Cook for 3 minutes or until golden. Turn, cover and cook 3 more minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffy. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon & sugar mixture (if using). Top with maple syrup (optional). Serve hot.

Note: I chose not to sprinkle the mini French toasts with the cinnamon/sugar mixture or add maple syrup for my son as I felt the apple cinnamon flavour was sweet enough for him (and for my husband and I). You may want to add the extras for older kids.

My husband and I have been trying to reduce the amount of bread we eat but these are a great solution for when we want to have a little for a snack or meal. What I love about Just Minis is that I can do a lot with them, especially since they freeze beautifully and can be ready quickly if I pop them in the toaster or toaster oven. They make a nice snack with some cheese and cut up carrots and celery for work or after school. We also top them with different spreads – baba ghanouj, peanut butter, jam, cream cheese etc., and we also serve them to our son with scrambled eggs.

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To learn more about Ozery’s Pita Break, please visit:

Website: www.pitabreak.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ozerybakery.pitabreak

Twitter: @OzeryBakery or www.twitter.com/ozerybakery

CONTEST: Enter to win an Ozery’s Pita Break “Back To School” prize pack!

This prize is valued at over $75 and it includes:

  • A lunch bag
  • Tupperware
  • Reusable snack bags
  • A toaster
  • A few other goodies!

You can earn entries by doing the following:

  • Leave a comment below this blog post and tell me how you would enjoy Ozery Pita Break’s Just Minis. What would you make with them? How would you eat them?
  • Follow both me, Sandy Avvari-Nayani @savvari and Ozery’s Pita Break @OzeryBakery on Twitter. Then, retweet my tweet about this blog post/contest from my Twitter feed at twitter.com/savvari – the tweet will be pinned to the top of my Twitter feed.

Additional Info:

The contest begins on Thursday September 10, 2015 and will end on Thursday September 24, 2015 at 12 pm EST. The winner will be announced later that day.

You can enter via each method once per day until the end of the contest.

The contest is only open to Canadians with a Canadian shipping address. Ozery’s Pita Break will ship the prize package directly to the winner’s home.

Good luck!

Baked Egg Cups and a contest from Egg Farmers of Canada!

14 May

Early mornings, busy days and late nights leave only a short amount of time for many couples and families to make dinner. An easy solution… “get cracking” and make breakfast for dinner! I’m a big supporter of Canadian farmers, so I was excited to receive an invitation from the Egg Farmers of  Canada to test their Baked Egg Cups recipe. With the summer coming up, I’m looking forward to pairing fresh Canadian eggs with produce from my local farmers’ markets.

The Egg Farmers of Canada conducted a survey in April 2013 with over 3,000 Canadians, aged 18 and over. In the study, they found that distance from farm to grocery store is seen as the key to freshness. Eighty per cent of Canadians surveyed are confident products from within Canada are at peak quality when purchased. Conversely, 53 per cent believe imported foods cannot be considered fresh. “In an age where grocery aisles are filled with foods from around the world, it is clear that Canadians place the highest value on locally produced food, exactly what the system of supply management allows for,” says Bonnie Cohen, Manager of Marketing and Nutrition for Egg Farmers of Canada. “The results are identical regardless of socio-economic status, telling us that all households want the food they feed their families produced by local farmers.”

Be sure to visit the Egg Farmers of Canada Facebook page by May 15 for a coupon to save $1.00 off the purchase of 2 dozen eggs! You’ll need them to make the Baked Egg Cups, so why not save a little : ) I’m happy to share that they were really easy to make, as I had everything prepped and ready in 10 minutes, which gave my oven enough time to preheat. I popped them in and less than 20 minutes later, they were ready to go. I’ve included a lacto-ovo vegetarian version of the recipe below. Enjoy!

Baked Egg Cups (Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian version)

Baked Egg Cups (Lacto-ovo vegetarian version)

The original recipe can be found at: http://eggs.ca/cooking-with-eggs/recipe/baked-egg-cups/ and you can see the video at the top of this post.

Ingredients

Baby spinach leaves (approximately 1 cup)

6 tsp (30 mL) crumbled goat cheese

6 eggs

6 tsp (30 mL) milk

2 tsp (10 mL) finely chopped chives or dried herbs

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Spray bottoms and sides of 6-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Line inside of each muffin cup with baby spinach leaves (about 8-12 leaves, stems removed). Then sprinkle 1 tsp (5 mL) of crumbled goat cheese over spinach. Carefully crack an egg over top. Spoon 1 tsp (5 mL) milk over each yolk. Sprinkle chives or dried herbs and black pepper over top.

Bake in preheated 350°F (180°C) oven until whites are set and yolks are cooked as desired, 18 to 20 minutes. Run knife around inside of each muffin cup, then remove and serve.

Variations: 

  • Instead of a muffin tin, use six 1/2-cup (125 mL) ramekins or custard cups.
  • Instead of spinach, use a large kale leaf to line the cups.
  • Instead of spinach, using a rolling pin to flatten a piece of bread and arrange in the muffin tin to form a cup. If you would still like to use spinach, line your bread cup with it before adding the other ingredients.
  • Instead of goat cheese, use feta cheese, cream cheese or a grated hard cheese of your choice.
  • Omit goat cheese and milk; sprinkle grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese over each egg before baking.
  • Over spinach leaves, place a thin slice of tomato and a slice of large white or cremini mushroom.

Sandy’s notes:

I chose to make two of the Baked Egg Cups with flattened pieces of bread (I used up the end pieces) and the other two with baby spinach leaves. I enjoyed both versions, however the spinach version was lighter and more impressive to look at. Overall, the Baked Egg Cups were easy to make, tasty and left me feeling full and satisfied. For a group gathering, I would serve them with a soup, a salad and a fruit tray for a quick and easy brunch, lunch or dinner.

For more information on what you can do with eggs, visit http://www.eggs.ca for recipes, tips, and more!

Egg Farmers of Canada prize pack

Egg Farmers of Canada prize pack

CONTEST: I’m giving away an Egg Farmers of Canada prize pack including a muffin tin, a “Get Cracking” apron, microwave egg cookers perfects for couples and moms-on-the-go, a magnetized grocery list, the Farmers’ Favourite recipe booklet, and a $20 grocery store gift card to buy the fresh ingredients you need to make these tasty Baked Egg Cups. Please note that you must be a resident of Canada to win, it is an Egg Farmers of Canada contest after all!

TO ENTER:

Visit the Egg Farmers of Canada site and check out their amazing list of recipes here: http://eggs.ca/cooking-with-eggs/all-recipes , then leave a comment on this blog post to share which recipe you would make on a busy weekday night.  P.S. Don’t forget to include your Twitter, Facebook or blog site address so I know how to reach you! It’s that easy! You can enter once per day.

Again, you must be a resident of Canada to enter!

Hurry, contest closes on Saturday May 18 at 12 pm EST. Good luck!

And the winner is….Zach Bussey @zachbussey ! Thanks everyone for playing : ) 

 

Disclaimer: I received a basket from the Egg Farmers of Canada with everything I needed to make these Baked Egg Cups.

Whole Lemon Bars and enter to WIN a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook!

21 Apr

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I love lemons. I love how they look and I love how I feel when I smell or taste a fresh lemon. I love the song by U2. Oh and I also love Eduoard Manet’s painting, Le Citron.

Life has handed me a lot of lemons lately, both the delicious, yellow kind and those not so good lemons that disrupt your life. As they say though, it’s all about what you do with those lemons and on a recent weekend I decided to put some of my lovely lemons to good use. I cracked open one of my newest cookbooks, The Smitten Kitchen cookbook, written by one of my favourite food bloggers, Deb Perelman.

I’ve been following her fabulous blog, The Smitten Kitchen, for some time now and I’ve made quite a few of her recipes over the years. What I love about her recipes is that they are perfect for the average home cook. It’s not just about the recipes though, it’s her writing that keeps me coming back over and over again. So when I received an invitation from Random House Canada to attend a blogger brunch in celebration of the launch of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I accepted it immediately. As expected, Deb was warm, friendly and willing to share her stories with the bloggers in attendance. We were all hanging on to every word, as she described her kitchen and what it was like to write, test and photograph all of her recipes. She is one of the inspirations behind my blog and I’m sure she has given countless others the push they needed too.

After munching on delicious treats cooked up by the amazing Random House staff, we had some one-on-one time with Deb. I was telling her how obsessed my family was with all things lemon and she immediately grabbed her cookbook, flipped to the Whole Lemon Bars recipe and said, “You HAVE to try this, they are so delicious.” Of course, she was absolutely right! This is now my favourite lemon bar recipe as it has the perfect balance sweetness and tartness. I love that I get to use a whole lemon, skin and all (minus the seeds of course!).

Are you a fan of The Smitten Kitchen blog? Well, I’m happy to share that I have one copy of the The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook to give away! Scroll down below the Whole Lemon Bars recipe for details on how to enter. By the way, you HAVE to make these lemon bars. Like right now. Go.

Deb Perelman’s Whole Lemon Bars

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Smitten Kitchen cookbook by Deb Perelman. Copyright 2012 by Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 cup/125 g all purpose flour

1/3 cup/65 g sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons/115 g or 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus extra for greasing pan

For the filling:

1 small-to-medium lemon (about 4 1/2 ounces or 130 g, or about 3 inches long)

1 1/3 cup/265 g sugar

8 tablespoons/115 g or 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

1. Place a rack in middle of the oven and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut two 12- inch lengths of parchment paper, and trim each to fit the bottom of an 8- inch square baking pan. Press the first sheet into the bottom and up the sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, running it perpendicular to the first sheet. Lightly butter exposed parts of parchment or coat them with a nonstick cooking spray. Set the pan aside.

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2. Make the crust: Blend the flour, sugar, and salt together in the work bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is powdery, but if firmly pinched, will hold the pinched shape. Turn the dough crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press the dough evenly across the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Should any parts bubble up, gently prick them again with a fork. Leave the oven on.

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3. Make your filling: Cut your lemon in half, and here’s where I need us all to be, briefly, quite fussy.

Is the white part of the skin especially thick?

If the widest part of the white is ¼ inch thick or less, continue on to the next step; your lemon is good to go. If any part of it is thicker than ¼ inch, however, I find it safest to remove the skin from half the lemon or the bitterness of the pith can overwhelm the bars. To remove the skin, place half the lemon cut-side-down on the cutting board, and remove the skin and pith from the entire half in downward cuts and discard it. The second half, even if just as thick, can be used as is.

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4. Cut your lemon halves into thin rings and discard any seeds. Toss the lemon rounds – lemon flesh and peel – in the bowl of your food processor, add the sugar, and run the machine until the lemon is thoroughly puréed, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and again run the machine until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as needed. Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt and pulse the machine in short bursts until the mixture is evenly combined.

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5. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set. You can test this by bumping the pan a little; it should only jiggle slightly. In my oven, I find that the point at which the filling is set is also when the lemon bars start to get very light brown on top.

6. Let the pan cool completely on rack or in the fridge. Gently cut around the outside of the parchment paper to make sure no sides have stuck, then gently use the parchment “sling” to transfer bars from pan to cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.

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Sandy’s notes: I dusted them with icing sugar, to make them look fancier. I wish I had better photos of the lemon bars but my family ate them all up so quickly! I thought these were THE best lemon bars I’ve ever had. The balance of lemony goodness, salt and sugar was perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe. Enjoy!

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CONTEST: Win a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

I’m giving away a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman! You must be a resident of Canada to win. If you win, the cookbook will be shipped directly to your home.

TO ENTER:

Option 1: Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me what your favourite recipe is from the Smitten Kitchen blog (http://smittenkitchen.com/) P.S. Don’t forget to include your Twitter, Facebook or blog site address so I know how to reach you!

OR

Option 2: Follow me on Twitter @savvari and tweet the following:

I want to win a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook from @savvari #cookbook #contest

You can enter once a day using each option! Canadian residents only.

Hurry! Contest closes on Tuesday April 30 at 5 pm EST. Good luck!

And the winner is…. Leora Heilbronn @leoraheilbronn – congrats!!

 

 

Smitten Kitchen

Martha Stewart’s Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake

27 Jan
Martha Stewart's Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake

Martha Stewart’s Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake

My mother and father always cooked the Indian dishes in my house and in my teens, I started to experiment with pastas, soups, casseroles and baked goods, basically all non-Indian cuisine. Between my mother, father and I, we seemed to have things covered in the kitchen right? Well, after I got married, I realized that I had zero cooking skills when it came to Indian food, at least the South Indian food I grew up with. I was so embarrassed (I still am really), that I was a “foodie” who had no idea how to make dishes from my own culture. The funny part was that my mom and mother-in-law responded to my embarrassment with “Oh, that’s okay. So listen, next time you come over, can you make your spinach cannelloni? Can you bring a cake over too?” I then realized that my family actually relies on my non-Indian cooking skills!

I love to bake but given that it’s just the two of us in our home, it’s not wise for me to bake all the time. I tend to bake when there is a family gathering, since it’s easier to finish a whole cake or a dozen cupcakes with more than 10 people around. The challenge however is that my parents and in-laws tend to enjoy plain baked goods such as pound cake, while my nephews love chocolate and caramel.

I’m on a quest to find cakes that make (the majority of) my family happy, so here’s my latest find. This one is from Martha Stewart, via @nympsam from Twitter. Funny thing, she tweeted to ask how to prevent the top of this cake from browning too much while the inside was still cooking. I suggested that she should cover the top with foil and then (naturally) I asked for the recipe. She took a picture of the recipe, I Googled it and BOOM, there it was! Once again, hats off to Twitter!

Martha Stewart’s Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake 

(This glorious recipe is from Martha Stewart’s website, you can find it here – http://bit.ly/WDCVQv. The recipe remains unchanged, however I’ve added my notes in BOLD throughout.)

Prep Time

30 minutes

Total Time

1 1/2 hours + cooling

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 cup granulated sugar (Sandy’s Notes: You can use slightly less than 1 cup if you would like to. I even made it with 3/4 cup of sugar once and I still enjoyed it).

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, divided (Sandy’s Notes: I used store-bought buttermilk, I’ve never tried to use a homemade version for this recipe.)

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, divided (Sandy’s Notes: See below for instructions on how to toast the sweetened shredded coconut)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar (Sandy’s Notes: This is for the icing. I used half the amount of sugar and ended up with more of a glaze on the cake, which was still tasty.)

Directions:

Sandy’s Notes:

How to toast sweetened shredded coconut: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then spread the 1 ½ cups of sweetened shredded coconut on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan and put it on the middle rack. It can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to toast and you’ll have to keep stirring the coconut on a regular basis. Toast the coconut until a few pieces start to turn light brown. Any longer and you might end up burning it!  Remove the cookie sheet/pan from the oven and transfer the coconut into a bowl. If you leave it in a hot pan, it will continue to cook!

Toasted sweetened shredded coconut

Toasted sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 8 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down bowl. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with two 1/2-cup additions buttermilk, and beat until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in 1 1/4 cups coconut. (Sandy’s Notes: You’ll have some toasted coconut left, you’ll need it for the topping at the end.)

Adding the toasted coconut to the batter

Adding the toasted coconut to the batter

Transfer batter to pan and bake until a skewer inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 60 minutes.

Sandy’s Notes: I found this cake has a tendency to take a LONG time to bake. You may find that the top has browned nicely but when your toothpick or skewer is inserted into the center it still comes out wet after 60 minutes. If that’s the case, cover the top of your cake LOOSELY with a piece of foil and put it back in the oven for a few minutes. This will help the inside cook but keep the top from burning.)

Let cool in pan on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, 1 hour. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on rack. (Store at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to 4 days.)

The finished product, cooling down. Wait, there's one more step!

The finished product, cooling down. Wait, there’s one more step!

Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Drizzle over cake and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut.

Sandy’s Notes: You could skip this step if you don’t want to add anything to the cake, but it really looks and tastes great with the icing and toasted coconut. I used half the amount of icing sugar and created a lighter glaze, which worked out just fine. 

Put a plate or baking sheet under the cake when you're icing and topping it with toasted coconut, otherwise you'll have a bit of a mess on your hands

Put a plate or baking sheet under the cake when you’re icing and topping it with toasted coconut, otherwise you’ll have a bit of a mess on your hands

The verdict: This was one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever made and it was a huge hit with my family! The buttermilk keeps it really moist and the bits of toasted coconut are delicious. A slice of this cake is perfect with a cup of coffee, tea or even better, some chai (spiced Indian-style tea). Enjoy!

The Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake getting devoured mmmm

The Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake getting devoured mmmm

Almond Fresh Noël Nog French Toast

26 Dec
Almond Fresh Noël Nog

Almond Fresh Noël Nog

I had some friends over recently for a pre-holiday gathering and given that some of them are lactose intolerant, I thought it would be fun to try Almond Fresh Noël Nog, a non-dairy “egg nog” that I learned about recently (check out my previous post about Almond Fresh here).

The verdict: We all enjoyed it and we were particularly impressed with how light it was in comparison to regular egg nog. My friend Lisa was particularly happy that she could have an egg nog style drink without the dairy, as she only found out that she was lactose intolerant a few months ago.

I had some Noël Nog leftover after the gathering, so I decided to make some French Toast, using a recipe from Almond Fresh. It was my first time trying out a non-dairy French Toast and I was really pleased with the results! I was able to get the same custardy, rich texture that I enjoyed when I made French Toast with regular milk.

I ended up making this on a morning when my husband wasn’t home, so I cut the recipe back to make French Toast for one (makes 2 pieces of French Toast). I’ve included measurements for one serving in brackets below.

Almond Fresh’s Noël Nog is only available for the holidays, so if you can’t find it, you could substitute Almond Fresh Vanilla and add a ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to the recipe to get the same flavours.

1 Egg + Almond Fresh Noël Nog + Cinnamon makes some mighty fine French Toast goodness

1 Egg + Almond Fresh Noël Nog + Cinnamon = mighty fine French Toast goodness

Dip the bread into the egg/Almond Fresh Noël Nog mixture

Into the frying pan with a little butter or oil

Almond Fresh Noël Nog French Toast

Almond Fresh Noël Nog French Toast

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 eggs (for one serving, use 1 egg)

1 cup (250 mL) Almond Fresh Noël Nog (for one serving, use ¼ cup)

2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon (for one serving, use a ½ teaspoon)

8 slices bread or brioche (for one serving, use 2 slices of bread or brioche)

Slivered almonds and maple syrup

Directions:

1. In a shallow dish, beat together the eggs, Almond Fresh Noël Nog and cinnamon.

2. Heat a large frying pan over low/medium heat.

3. Soak bread in the Almond Fresh Noël Nog/egg mixture, one slice at a time.

4. Lightly coat the pan with vegetable oil or butter. Cook each slice of French toast on both sides until nicely browned.

5. Serve with slivered almonds and maple syrup- enjoy!

Notes:

-You could easily make this with regular egg nog if you had some leftover from your festivities

-Again, Almond Fresh Noël Nog is only available for the holidays, so if you can’t find it, you could substitute Almond Fresh Vanilla and add a ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to the recipe to get the same flavours.

-I chose to dust my French Toast with icing sugar, instead of using the slivered almonds and maple syrup.

For more info, check out their website at http://www.almond-fresh.com/

They are social media friendly! You can also “Like” them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/almondfresh or follow them on Twitter at @almond_fresh or http://twitter.com/almond_fresh

Disclaimer: I received coupons to try Almond Fresh products in the mail. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Easy Deviled Eggs + WIN an Egg Farmers of Ontario prize pack!

4 Nov

I was “eggcited” to receive an “eggsquisite” basket from my friends at Egg Farmers of Ontario in celebration of World Egg Month, even more so because it was filled with goodies to make a tray of Deviled Eggs! I’ve always enjoyed eating them but I had never made them, so I was a little nervous about how they would turn out since my guests were going to arrive in an hour! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were really easy to make and I was really happy with how they turned out. Looks like I’ve found another “go to” appetizer recipe! Do you have a Deviled Egg recipe to share? Please post it in the comments section below, I would love to try it out.  By the way, there’s a great contest below the recipe if you’re interested : )

Easy Deviled Eggs

Makes 24 deviled egg halves

Ingredients:

12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cooled

1/3 cup (75 mL) regular or light mayonnaise

2 tbsp of finely chopped chives

Salt and pepper

Paprika (optional)

Optional garnish:

Small bunch of young (thin) asparagus

2 tbsp of olive oil

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Once the eggs have cooled, carefully cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place them in a bowl. Set whites aside, wiping them clean of any yolk residue with a piece of paper towel. If you have a serving plate or deviled egg holder, you can arrange the egg white portions now.

Using a fork, mash the reserved yolks until creamy. Mix in the mayonnaise and chopped chives. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you have a piping bag, scoop the yolk mixture into it. Using a wide star tip, pipe the mixture into each egg white half. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can scoop the mixture into a Ziploc bag, cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze to fill each egg white half. You can then lightly sprinkle each egg half with paprika for decoration (optional).

For the garnish, which is optional, wash and dry the asparagus bunch and trim off the woody ends. Then heat the olive oil on medium high heat in a small frying pan. When the oil is hot, lay the asparagus in the pan. Sautee and turn frequently to cook the asparagus on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Once the asparagus have cooked to your taste, remove them onto a cutting board to cool.  Then, cut off the tips to fit the size of your egg halves. You can lay them across each egg diagonally.

Serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to a day.

CONTEST: I’m giving away an Egg Farmers of Ontario prize pack including a Lagostina frying pan, a silicon whisk and some egg-citing recipes. Please note that you must be a resident of Ontario to win, it is an Egg Farmers of Ontario contest after all!

TO ENTER:

Visit www.eggfarmersofontario.ca and click on one of the photos on the landing page to watch videos featuring our proud egg farmers and their families. Then, at the bottom of this blog post, share one (1) “egg-ducational” (educational!) fact you learned. You may enter up to five (5) times. P.S. Don’t forget to include your Twitter, Facebook or blog site address so I know how to reach you! It’s that easy!

Again, you must be a resident of Ontario to enter!

Hurry! Contest closes on Friday November 9 at 12 pm EST. The winner will be announced later that day. Good luck!

YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 2 – My Results

13 Jun

Note: This is Part 2 in my series of posts about YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test. If you missed Part 1, view it here –> http://bit.ly/M8QPne

So after a short wait, I’m happy to share that I’ve received an envelope with the results from my YorkTest Program Food & DrinkScan test. Here we go….

I found that my results were organized into 3 categories:

AVOID (highlighted in RED) – indicates you have raised IgG antibody levels to these foods and you should try to eliminate them completely from your diet.

LIMIT(highlighted in YELLOW) – indicates you have a borderline reaction to these foods and may or may not benefit by limiting their consumption. It is best to eliminate these for a minimum of 4 weeks and slowly reintroduce these back into your diet and see how you react to them.

ENJOY (highlighted in GREEN) – these foods can be eaten without restriction, unless you already know that these foods do cause you a reaction and you have been avoiding them, in which case you should continue to do so.

Below is a breakdown of what was on each of my three lists. Here’s a copy of my results file –>Sandy – YorkTest Program Results

Based on the information I was given, the list I needed to be most concerned about were the foods and beverages that were marked in RED (my items to AVOID), in order of appearance.

Sandy`s list of items to AVOID (highlighted in RED):

  • Cow’s Milk
  • Yeast
  • Grape (Pinot Gris/Grigio)
  • Juniper
  • Grape (Red/White Zinfandel Mix)
  • Grape (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Grape (Chenin Blanc)
  • Grape (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Grape (Shiraz)
  • Grape (Riesling)
  • Guarana
  • Beetroot
  • Lentils
  • Grape (Chardonnay)
  • Elderberry/Elderflower Mix
  • Salmon/Trout  – Not supposed to be part of my diet
  • Beef – Not supposed to be part of my diet
  • Dandelion/Burdock Mix
  • Grape (Concord)

Sandy`s list of items to LIMIT (highlighted in YELLOW):  

  • Rooibos (Redbush tea)
  • Lychee
  • Grape (Merlot)
  • Prune
  • Almond
  • Egg White
  • Hibiscus
  • Tuna – Not supposed to be part of my diet

Sandy`s list of items to ENJOY (highlighted in GREEN):

My list of “items to enjoy” was (thankfully!) a very long list, too long to post here. Here is the link to the PDF file of my results —> Sandy – YorkTest Program Results

Based on the above RED (AVOID) list, my number one offender was Cow’s Milk! Yikes! As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I am not happy with these results. I rely on dairy both for nutritional value and enjoyment. As East Indian food is a staple of my diet, avoiding plain yogurt was going to be a challenge as I have it with rice at least 3 times a week. I also love cheese, so it was certainly going to pose a problem.

Item number two on my avoid list is yeast! Again…yikes! Ohh how I love bread…

Cow’s milk and yeast were followed by a LONG list of grapes which make some of my favourite wines such as Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Riesling. I don’t drink wine often but I do enjoy the occasional glass with dinner or while socializing with friends. Why oh why did some of my favourite wines have to be on the list?

Beetroot I could avoid pretty easily as it wasn’t a major part of my diet…but it was still upsetting to find out that something so delicious could be causing harm to my system.

Lentils…wait…lentils?!?  I`m an East-Indian vegetarian, how am I supposed to avoid lentils?!?  Okay Sandy…breathe…

There were thankfully a few items that I didn’t feel that I had to worry about. Juniper, guarana, elderberry/elderflower mix and dandelion/burdock mix were all items that I’m not in contact with often, so avoiding them would hopefully be easy.

Moving on to the YELLOW (LIMIT) list, I was also in a bit of trouble as almond and egg white showed up here. What`s the name of my blog again you ask? Ah yes, that`s right, MILK & EGGS…trust me, the irony of it all is not lost on me. This was getting funnier (read: more terrifying) by the minute.

On the “yellow” list were lychee, rooibos, prune and hibiscus which are all items of low significance in my diet. I was quite happy to find that a majority of my AVOID (RED) and LIMIT (YELLOW) foods and beverages were ones that I rarely come into contact with, so that put my mind at ease.

I did find it interesting that salmon, trout, beef and tuna were on my RED (AVOID) and YELLOW (LIMIT) list as I had specified that I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I decided to contact YorkTest Canada to find out how these items came to appear on my intolerance results, especially since I don’t consume any meat, seafood or poultry. I was very surprised to find out that in order to have an IgG reaction, the food particles must be in your system….so that meant that particles of salmon, trout, beef and tuna were in my body? But how? I’ll update you all when I have more answers…

After reviewing my results and hearing that I had particles of seafood and beef in my system, my mind was racing and I was feeling a lot of different emotions at the same time…

First off, I felt joy and relief in FINALLY having detailed insight into the foods/beverages that are giving my body a hard time. I`m also feeling fear and frustration as I consider what it will be like to remove some of the foods/beverages that I rely on the most. Horror of horrors…will I have to look into becoming a vegan?!?! Would I have to change the name of my blog to Almond Milk and Egg Yolks?!?

I took a step back from the situation and realized that should probably wait for my first phone consultation with the Nutrition Advisor before I panicked too much (it was too late for that!). I felt confident that they would start me off on the right path…

Want to learn more about the YorkTest Program? Visit their website at http://www.yorktest.ca/ or follow them on Twitter and Facebook

Stay tuned for my next post in the series YorkTest FoodScan`s Food and Drink Intolerance Test – Part 3 – IgG antibodies and a call with the Nutrition Advisor

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this series of blog posts, I’ve received a free Food & DrinkScan and enrollment into the program. The opinions expressed are my own.

YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 1 – Why I Took the Test

4 Jun

 

 

For over 15 years now, I’ve gone through life eating anything and everything that fits the lacto-ovo vegetarian profile, meaning that I follow a vegetarian diet with no meat, poultry or seafood but I do consume dairy and eggs. Some of you may think that it’s limiting but there are so many products and cuisines from different countries to try that I’m never lacking for options.

Unfortunately in the past few years, I’ve found that I’m unable to drink plain milk from a glass or have avocado. How did I find these things out? I paid attention to my body and after some time I realized that my stomach was getting upset whenever I consumed either of these items. From that point on, I avoided avocado entirely and only consumed lactose-free milk if I was having a glass of milk or including it in my cereal. I still ate yogurt, cheese and dairy in other food products because I didn’t feel any reactions taking place. I was happy that I had paid attention to my body and had figured out what it didn’t like. Unfortunately, there were still days when I felt “heavy” and also days when I was tired, even after sleeping perfectly well the night before. I basically got used to feeling like this and on the days that I felt terrific and energetic, I simply ignored the bad days and carried on.

After years of living this way, I read an article in January 2012 that changed everything. Barbara Turnbull, one of my favourite writers from the Toronto Star, published an article, Food Intolerances Can Be Found With a Blood Testhttp://bit.ly/y3WKwn and it hit me that perhaps my issues with milk and avocado were more complicated that I thought. In the article, she talked about food intolerances and how simple tests could assist in finding out exactly which foods could be affecting the body in a negative way.

A few months later, I remembered reading the article and I decided to do some research on the food intolerance tests she had referenced. On my hunt, I found out that one of the companies mentioned, the YorkTest Programwww.yorktest.ca – was active on Twitter and Facebook and was using social media to spread the message about food intolerance testing. I contacted the company to find out more and it turned out that the program not only includes the test, it also includes one-on-one nutritional counseling sessions via phone to help you interpret your results and provide you with advice on the types of changes to make to your diet. It is also one of the only tests with science on its side to support the results. YorkTest has clinical evidence to ensure the accuracy of the results that it presents to patients. I was so pleased to get these details and I was even happier to hear that many supplemental health plans are able to assist with partial or full coverage of the test costs. Why hadn’t I heard of this test earlier? Surely there were others who would benefit from taking the test too…if only they knew about it…

It was at that moment that I decided to contact YorkTest Canada to see if they were interested in allowing me to take the test and document my journey in a series of blog posts. I wanted to go through the process for my benefit but also to help others understand what food intolerance testing is all about. I was thrilled to find out that they liked the idea and that they not only wanted to run my blood sample against their set of common foods, they also wanted to run it against a new test (coming soon) that covers beverages as well! A few days later, I was excited to receive a YorkTest Program package in the mail…

Included in the kit was a pamphlet explaining the differences between food allergies and food intolerances and I learned that food allergies are usually quick to develop and can often be life-threatening. Reactions can take place after having even a small amount of an offending food. Symptoms of food intolerances can develop slowly and can often take hours or days to appear. Due to this, it can be difficult to determine exactly what is causing the issue. According to information I received, food intolerances are believed to arise when certain incompletely digested food particles enter your bloodstream and are treated as foreign substances. Your immune system then produces tailor-made antibodies (IgG), which attach to the food in question. Researchers believe that the inflammatory response in the body can cause certain symptoms and that bloating, tiredness, constipation, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eczema and other issues can be caused by food intolerances. After reading this, I just knew that this test was going to help me out.

I was excited to take the test and I was happy to find out that it would be easy to take at home. Apparently all I had to do was collect a drop of blood in the collection vial, send it back to YorkTest Canada and shortly afterwards, the scientists at YorkTest Laboratories would be able to identify food intolerances across 100 common foods and drinks including:

Foods:                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Dairy, seafood, fruit, herbs & spices, meats, nuts, grains, vegetables

Beverages: 
Beer, wines, hard liquors, juices, coffee, tea and energy drinks

This all sounded great but first I had to get over the hurdle of pricking my own finger to draw blood! Thankfully, the kit included easy-to-follow instructions on how to take the test and included everything I needed to process the test correctly. A copy of the instructions can be found here on the YorkTest website – http://bit.ly/LWfAD3

After preparing the collection vial, I used the provided antiseptic wipe to remove any residue from my finger. When it came time to actually pricking my finger to collect the sample, I found that the lancet they provided made it so easy and virtually pain-free. All I felt was a tiny prick, as the push button on the lancet did the work for me. I massaged my finger to encourage a drop of blood to form to collect the sample and closed the collection vial. That was it! They had even included a finger bandage in the kit, which I didn’t really need as the pinprick was so small. Then, I labelled my sample and filled out the Patient Information Form to provide YorkTest Canada with some background on my symptoms. I sent the forms back along with my blood sample and used lancet (they look after safe disposal) and all I had to do now was just sit back and wait for the results…

Want to learn more about the YorkTest Program? Visit their website at http://www.yorktest.ca/ or follow them on Twitter and Facebook 

Stay tuned for my next post in the series – YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 2 – The Results!

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this series of blog posts, I’ve received a free Food & DrinkScan and enrollment into the program. The opinions expressed are my own.

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