Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of 2011

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I believe I'm a little late in posting what I think are the best recipes I've posted in 2011.  I've seen a lot of my fellow bloggers posting about what they think is the best.  I've been meaning to get to it but it's been a rough week...both boys have been sick and I've been sick.  Now everyone is starting to get better so I have some time to think about what I think are the best recipes on Chocolate & Chillies in 2011.  This has been my first year blogging.  I started out looking for a hobby, a way to document my recipes and help to improve my cooking.  Over the year I have discovered so many amazing bloggers and found some great recipes.  In the beginning there were really only 2 readers....my sister in law, Reshma and my cousin, Naseeba.   They were my loyal followers from the beginning...Thank you!  I am now amazed at how many comments and readers I have.  Thank you so much for visiting and for all the comments.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Orange Streusel Coffee Cake

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This is a recipe I got a long time ago from my cousin.  When we were growing up we would drive to Chicago to visit her and her family in the summer. She made this for us one day and we all loved it.  It is very quick to put together.  It is not overly sweet and goes great with a cup of tea.  It tastes best when made with freshly squeezed orange juice but you can substitute regular orange juice if that is all you have.  When the cake is done baking I usually turn the broiler on to crisp up the topping.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Waffles

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This is another breakfast made just for Hasan.  He loves waffles.  This is a recipe I got from Joy of Cooking.  We had more than we could eat so I froze the leftovers.  They can be heated them up in the toaster when you want to have them again.  We had this with some maple syrup.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Pan Pizza

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I loved pan pizza growing up but the last few years I have stopped eating it because it is so greasy.  Awhile ago I found a recipe for it at America's Test Kitchen.  It didn't seem as bad at I thought.  I gave it a try and was very impressed!  As usual I went easy on the cheese to please Hasan.  The amount of sauce they recommend was too much for me.  Next time I will use less.  But I'm thinking it might because I used so little cheese which made the sauce too much.  Sorry about the bad pictures...Hasan was hungry so I didn't have much time to take a nice picture but wanted to share it regardless.  Looking forward to making this again soon!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuna Cups & Awards!

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I don't know where the original for these are from.  I got it from my friend Julie.  When we used to work together she made these for me.  She was so thoughtful when she made these.  She knew I didn't eat pork so she made sure that she used a separate cutting board.  These were so good that I got the recipe from her.  The original recipe had green peppers and celery.  I never buy celery.  Instead of green peppers I decided to put some green chilli to spice it up.  Everyone in my family loves these.  I don't make them very often because they are pretty high in fat.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

1/3 Healthy Pancakes

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A couple of weeks ago Hasan had a cough and I didn't send him to school that day.  Usually he has cereal for breakfast.  On the weekend he asks his dad to make him "yellow unda (egg)".  He only wants the yolk and he makes his dad pile on the black pepper.  I cannot believe how much black pepper he wants.  I've tried making him "yellow unda" but apparently I'm no good at making it.  So since we weren't rushing off to school he wanted something besides the usual cereal.  He decided that he wanted pancakes.  So I pulled out my Joy of Cooking book and looked up the recipe since I have such a horrible memory and can't remember it off the top of my head.  This time I decided to replace some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat and I used vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract.  These were the best pancakes I've had.  When we go out to eat breakfast Hasan usually will get pancakes but I've always found them to be rubbery and lacking in flavor.  Not to mention they only have some sweet syrup to eat with the pancakes.  If you make these pancakes PLEASE eat them with MAPLE syrup....not that sweet sugary stuff.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Easy Vanilla Truffles

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I made these truffles a while ago.  My cousin, Rafia, was visiting from Chicago.  When Rafia was small my mom used to babysit her in the day.  She became a very special part of our family.  When she turned 4 it was time for her to go to school which meant the babysitting days were over.  Rafia lived in Markham which wasn't exactly next door to us.  I remember the last day she was at our house my mom was very upset.  I felt so sad we would no longer have Rafia at our home 5 days of the week.  So just in those few years she became such a special part of our lives.  Eventually her family moved to Chicago which was more difficult than the end of the babysitting.  Now she is a young woman and I am so proud of the person she has become.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baked Garlic Pita Chips

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I made this pita chips to go with the Avocado Dip.  It was the first time I made them and they were a huge hit with everyone. They were very easy to make.  The next day I made them again and doubled the recipe.  I found it took a lot longer to get them nice and crisp.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Avocado Dip

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My husband has been asking me to use more avocados in our meals.  I did some Googling and I only came across guacamole or using it as a garnish.  I was so excited when I found this at My Baking Addiction.  Looked super easy to make.  I cut the recipe in half since it was the first time I was making it I didn't want to end up with a lot and we don't like it. 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Simple Cumin Roasted Cauliflower

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I love recipes that are so simple and turn out so good.  I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen recently.  The original had yogurt and pomegranate seeds.  I left those out to keep it simple.  I actually used to make cauliflower like this but cannot remember why I stopped.  When Hasan came home from school he asked to try some and he loved it...he had some more with his dinner too!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mexican Pizza

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After making Light Whole Wheat Baguette I had some dough sitting in the fridge I wanted to use up and I didn't want to make more bread.  I had read this dough can be used for pizza dough so I decided to give it a try.  I had read on a couple blogs about Mexican Pizza and have been wanting to give try it.  My pizza was very light on cheese.  I would prefer much more.  One time I put a little extra cheese on the pizza and Hasan took a couple of bites and stopped saying he didn't like it.  So to make sure he would eat it I went easy on the cheese.  He also has another condition that the cheese must be yellow. Once I tried to put mozzarella and he didn't eat it because it wasn't yellow.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Light Whole Wheat Baguette

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I love bread.  My dad loves bread too.  When we were growing up we would usually have an early dinner on the weekends.  Sometimes my dad would buy a baguette and on a Saturday or Sunday evening my mom would slice it up, toast and butter it.  It would be an evening snack.  I remember me and my brother would be watching tv and my mom would be at the dining table buttering up the bread.  These baguettes are super easy to make.  The original recipe is from the book Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day.  I found this recipe at Good Life Eats.  I was amazed at the thought of freshly baked bread taking so little time...well it didn't exactly take 5 minutes.  The active prep time is probably around 5 minutes but there is an initial rising time of at least 2 hours.  Then after shaping your dough it must rest for 20 minutes and then it bakes for 25 minutes....so this recipe is not going to give you a loaf of bread in 5 minutes.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Black Bean and Vegetable Chili

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My husband is always wanting me to make more vegetarian meals and I've been wanting to make chili for awhile now so I decided to make this recipe this week.  It's been years since I made this.  When I had made it before I didn't know the difference between chili powder and the red chilli powder we use in Indian cooking.  I thought they were the same thing.  The recipe called for 1 tbsp chili powder.  That seemed an insane amount to me and I thought it would be way too spicy.  I reduced it but it was still pretty spicy.  Now I understand that the recipe was not calling for what is labelled in the Indian grocery stores as Red Chilli Powder.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lemon Herb Pasta

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I really loved Baked Lemon Pasta but it just took too long to make for lunch.  So I wanted to make something similar but be quick to make.  I wish I had more fresh herbs to toss in.  I had  just a little leftover from making Pasta with Fresh Herbs.  I would recommend putting in more basil in this pasta.  I had bought some whole wheat rigatoni a while ago that I wanted to try out and I thought this would be a great dish for it.  I was low on sour cream so I mixed in some yogurt but if you have 1 cup of sour cream I would recommend using that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Honey Yeast Rolls

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Now that I finally understand how to work with yeast I have been loving making bread at home. I've made these rolls three times.  The first 2 times the dough over rose because I got busy with the kids and I ended up with Monster Honey Yeast Rolls.  They still tasted great though!  This last time I paid attention to the rising so they weren't as humungous as before.  Next time I will use a springfoam pan rather than a cake pan.  The sides are higher and I had a problem with the honey that was brushed on top spilling over on the oven.  It may seem like the honey mixture you brush on top is too much but it all seeps to the bottom between the cracks and the bottom gets nice and sweet.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Red Chilli Chicken with Black Beans and Rice

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When I saw this recipe on Annie's Eats I knew I had to make it.  We love black beans.  This was so simple and easy to make.  I added some cayenne pepper to increase the spiciness and as usual increased the garlic.  The original recipe uses 15 oz can of black beans.  In Canada we only get 19 oz so that is what I used. I used basmati rice because that is what we always have on hand.  Make sure to soak it so it cooks well.  The original recipe serves it with just some salsa but I thought sour cream would go great with it too.  Without the salsa and sour cream this is a bit dry.  As usual it wasn't spicy enough for my husband but for me it was just right!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuna Kebobs

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This is a recipe I got from my sister in law.  Whenever she visits from Texas she makes amazing dinners for us and this is one of them.  They were so yummy and didn't taste fishy at all.  This makes a big batch.  I will make the patties and freeze them individually layering plastic wrap in between.  Once frozen I transfer them to some freezer bags so I always have some for a quick dinner.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spicy Garlic Green Beans

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This summer we had an abundance of green beans in our garden.  I've been trying to replicate Kan Shue Green Beans from Federicks.  Although I wasn't successful these turned out really well.  This is a very simple recipe.  My husband told me not to change it the next time I make it.  I'll take that to mean these turned out good.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

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Lately we've been really liking sweet potato fries.  Whenever we get Hero Burgers we now always get sweet potato fries.  They are a great change and much healthier than regular potatoes.  My husband had done some grocery store and picked up some sweet potatoes.  I needed to do something with them and started searching my favorite blogs for sweet potato recipes.  I was finding a lot of sweet potato pie recipes.  As I was searching Smitten Kitchen I came across this recipe.  I was hesitant because of the odd mix of spices...coriander, fennel and oregano???  But Smitten Kitchen has never failed me so I gave it a try and we loved it!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

S'more Rice Krispie Treats without Gelatin

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I was so excited when I figured out how to make Rice Krispie Treats without Gelatin.  I couldn't wait to make different varieties.   This recipe is from Tasty Kitchen by City Baked.  I made a few changes....using marshmallow creme and adjusting the quantities of the other ingredients.  I find when making Rice Krispie Treats using marshmallow creme, it takes a long time for them to harden up.  I made this in the afternoon with Hasan and by evening they still hadn't harden up.  They were much better the next day but they are not as solid as the traditional Rice Krispie Treats.  Regardless, these were great.  Perhaps next time I will reduce the amount of Rice Krispies and see if that solves my problem.  When they were done Hasan was asking me to make them again.  I was planning on making the plain ones but he requested I make it with chocolate again!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Cake

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I think this blog is making me fat....I keep making desserts over and over to get them right and then when I finally do I realize after it's all gone I didn't get a decent picture so I make it again.  This is an example of one of those recipes.  I believe I've made this cake at least 4 times.  I started with a recipe from Smitten Kitchen and made some changes.  This cake is super quick to make and you can experiment with different berries as well.  This makes a thin cake and is absolutely delicious.  You should definitely give it a try.  It's quick to make and bakes in 20 minutes!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

One Ingredient Frozen Dessert

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I don't remember how I came across this recipe but I just had to share it.  Everywhere I read about this they called it ice cream.  It had the consistency of ice cream but I thought it was deceiving because it didn't taste like ice cream.  You are probably wondering what is the one ingredient....well it's BANANAS!  This is a great way to use up bananas.  I personally would avoid ones that are very overripe because it's going to taste like overripe bananas which isn't very appetizing.

I was amazed at how the bananas just transformed to the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  I wasn't crazy about the taste...it tasted like..well...bananas.  I think it needed something more but I wanted to share this because I was just amazed at how the bananas transformed.





Thursday, August 25, 2011

Banana Bread

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When Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook came out I would go to Coles at lunch time and just look at the pictures.  I love to bake and wished  I could make my bake goods look even half as good as the ones in the cookbook.  Sometimes it takes me so long to make even the smallest decision.  I kept going back and forth if I should buy this cookbook...would I really use it or would it sit and collect dust....I had told my husband how I kept going to the bookstore to just look at the pictures in this book.  It was quite pricey...$50 for a cookbook.  I started considering if I should buy it online because books online are a lot cheaper.  A week passed and before I could decide what to do my husband had bought it for me!  I have to say it is one of my favorite gifts.  This recipe is from that cookbook.  I made a couple of changes.  The original recipe has coconut and nuts.  I don't like coconut and nuts in baked goods.  I also reduced the amount of vanilla since I had removed a significant amount of ingredients.  This recipe makes 2 loaves.  I only have one loaf pan so I bake it in my bundt pan.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

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Updated: October 9, 2011
I made these again this week and I wanted to update the picture.  The one below is not any reflection of how yummy they were.  I've updated the recipe too.  I think I had a typo for the cayenne pepper because it was way too much.  The jalapenos from my garden were very small and this recipe makes enough for about 22 small jalapenos

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I know...I know...my picture for these sucks.  This is what happens during Iftar time.  There is no time to take good pictures.  I wanted them to be done right when it was time to break our fast so they would be nice and hot.  On top of it Bilal was running around, tripped and landed on his face.  He started crying so I had to drop everything and make sure he was okay.  By that time it was time to break our fast so picture taking time was over.

It is so hard do anything when Bilal is awake.  He is constantly climbing on the sofa and starts jumping up and down.  I'm always so scared he is going to fall and get hurt.  But I had to post this recipe despite the horrible picture.  These were so good.  I had planted jalapenos in the backyard.  Hasan and I had picked a bunch in the afternoon.  I thought it would be a great idea to try Jalapeno Poppers.  I Googled some recipes and I didn't have all the ingredients for any of them so I came up with this.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

General Tso's Chicken

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We love eating Chinese food.  More specifically we eat Hakka Chinese but lately it's just has not been very appetizing..too much grease and bored of the same thing.  I've been following the blog Rasa Malaysia for awhile and thought it was time to give one of her recipes a try.  Whenever we get together with my family and we have Hakka Chinese we always seem to get General Tso's Chicken.  The recipe seemed very simple and quick to make.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Cake Pops

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Ever since I discovered Bakerella I have been dying to make cake pops.  They just looked so cute!  The first time I tasted them was when my cousin made them.  She has a cupcake business called Polka Dot Cupcake Shoppe.  They were so amazing...actually everything she made was amazing...looked awesome and tasted even better.

 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

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I've never had a black bean burger before.  My husband is always asking me to try to cook less meat.  I found this recipe at Annie's Eats.  It looked so good..mine didn't look as good but it sure did taste good.  They are very easy and quick to make not to mention healthy.  I served them with Honey Wheat Sandwich Buns.  I also made a "special" sauce to go with them which was great...no need for any other condiments!  I was scared Hasan wouldn't eat them.  I didn't tell them there was no meat.  He kept asking what was for dinner and I just said burger.  He loved it and didn't miss the meat at all!  But he refused to have the "special" sauce and had his with some ketchup.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Orange Sherbert

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I found this recipe at Kraft Canada.  It's actually a recipe for popsicles.   I was hoping these would taste like Creamsicles...I LOVE CREAMSICLES!!  But it actually tasted like Orange Sherbet...which I also happen to love :).  This recipe has only 3 ingredients and s very quick to make.  The most time consuming part is waiting for it to freeze.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Honey Wheat Sandwich Buns

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I have always wanted to bake bread.  I really really wanted to use the dough hook for my mixer.  For the longest time I have had such bad experiences with yeast...my dough would never rise.  It was always so disappointing.  I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.  I suspected it was my water temperature.  So I bought a thermometer so I could confirm.  Apparently what I thought was warm water is not....I was so excited when I saw my dough actually rose!! YEAH!!!!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Szechwan Fish

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We love Hakka Chinese.  Everyone I recommend it to ends up loving it too.  Hakka Chinese is Indian Chinese Food.  One dish that is on all the menus is Szechwan.  Every restaurant I've had it at has a totally different recipe so I'm not exactly sure what is it that defines a dish as Szechwan.  I suppose I could Google it but I'm just too lazy to do that.  I came across this recipe at AllRecipes.com and made some changes and used fish instead of shrimp.  This recipe is very quick to make.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mummy's Indian Spiced Shrimp BBQ'd

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My mom has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember.  She fries the shrimp but I thought this would be great on the barbeque!  It's very quick to make. We used a wok on the grill to make these.  You can also put them on skewers.  If you would like to fry them instead, in a non-stick skillet heat a couple of tablespoons of oil and fry with the addition of 2-3 whole green chillies.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Mummy's Chicken Pie

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My mom makes a really good chicken pie. She got the recipe from my cousin, Shaytaj appa.

My cousin, Rafia, LOVES this pie.  Whenever she visits from Chicago my mom makes this...actually she makes 2 or 3 pies and there is usually barely any left (Rafia doesn't eat all the pies....it is both of our families that devour them).  The one thing about these pies is my mom uses puff pastry for the dough...puff pastry is loaded with saturated fat.  I would love to make my mom's pie but as is it wouldn't be a regular in our home.  My husband also loves this pie and has been asking me for awhile to make it but with a more low fat dough.  So I've been searching for awhile for an alternative to the puff pastry....I found it a few weeks ago at My Halal Kitchen.  She made a chicken pot pie and used phyllo dough and even better...she didn't use melted butter to brush between the sheets...YEAH!!!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Achaar Ka Kheema (Ground Beef in a Spicy Tomato Sauce)

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Growing up I was a very picky eater.  I feel bad how much I bothered my mom.  I rarely ever took second helpings...but when my mom made Achaar Ka Kheema I always helped myself to some more.  I loved this dish growing up.  It is very easy to make..it smells amazing but the downside is that your home will smell like this dish for a couple of days afterwards. This dish tastes best with some hot roti or naan.  You have to make your own Achaar Masala which is very simple to do. I usually make a bunch and keep it in a jar so I have it on hand whenever I want to make this dish.  I also always keep a tin of canned tomatoes just so I can make this dish.  My version is basically the same as my mom's but I use a lot less oil.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Chocolate & Chillies on Manu's Menu

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Manu's Menu is a food blog I follow.  Recently Manu started a section for her readers to share recipes she has posted that they have made.  I loved her recipe for a Mango Lassi and I had to give it a try.  I ended up making some changes and came up with my own version.  Please visit Manu's Menu and take a look at her great recipes and the section MsM In Your Kitchen.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vote for Chocolate & Chillies

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Vote for Chocolate & Chillies over at Babble to help us get into the Top 100!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eggless Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

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I need to start paying more attention to what I'm doing...but then again sometimes my lack of attention turns into something delicious...like this cake.  This is not supposed to be an eggless cake but I forgot the egg.  I had put this in the oven and was upstairs and it dawned on me...I FORGOT THE EGG!!!  This was the second time in a week I forgot to add the egg in something I was baking.  But this time I have an excuse....Hasan was helping me and I was trying to make sure he didn't make a mess.  At the same time I had to keep one eye on Bilal too.  But in the end I couldn't stop eating this cake.  I think I ate half of it in one day!  (But it's a thin cake so really it was like eating a quarter of a regular cake)  I usually don't like raspberries but I loved the tartness of the raspberries and the subtle sweetness of the cake.  It would definitely go well with a cup of tea.  My husband wasn't very fond of this cake..he thought there were too many raspberries but I think he also ate almost half the cake in one day.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

La Rocca Cakes & Gelatin

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I love chocolate cake...in particular I love Truffle Cakes.  I have actually been searching for a recipe for one but have not been able to find one that is like the one from La Rocca.  Recently my dad had bought the Truffle Royal Cake by La Rocca Creative Cakes.  As I was opening the package I noticed there was gelatin in the ingredients...uh oh...can't eat this.  My sister in law, Reshma, emailed La Rocca Cakes to find out the source of the gelatin.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce Revisited

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Recently I made Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce again.  This time I increased the garlic and reduced the tomato sauce.  I didn't have any Parmesan so I left that out and I used Rotini instead of Fettuccine.  It tasted great the first time I made it but this time it was even better!!!  My son loved it and calls it "Bahut Zyada Yummy Pasta" :).  You should definitely give this a try.  It doesn't take a long time to make.  The sauce is enough for 4 cups of Rotini pasta.  I've updated the post to reflect the changes I made this time.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Kheema with Bamiyan Kabob Chutney

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We love eating at Bamiyan Kabob...all of us...including both kids (ages 4 and 1).  The dishes at Bamiyan Kabob are served with a chutney.  I don't like this chutney.  But besides that the food there is so good that it doesn't need anything else.  So we always have tons of this chutney leftover.  I hate throwing out food.



Whenever we go to Bamiyan Kabob we always bump into someone we know.  One time we bumped into my cousin, Anjum, and her family.  They were getting takeout.  She was saying how they love this chutney and she even makes kheema with it.  My husband immediately started telling me I should do that too.  It turned out really good and now whenever we have this chutney in the fridge I make this kheema.  It's very quick to make.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

KRAFT Parmesan Cheese

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UPDATE
I heard back from KRAFT and here is their response:

Thank you for visiting http://www.kraftcanada.com.


Most of our Kraft cheeses marketed in Canada, with the exception of our imported Brie, Blue and Camembert cheeses marked "Product of Denmark," do not use animal-based rennet.  They use a microbial enzyme.

Kraft imported Danish cheeses may use either calf rennet or a microbial enzyme, and are identified by their "Product of Denmark" label and "pie slice" shape.

If the word "lipase" appear in the ingredient line of a Kraft product then it will be of animal origin.

Thank you for contacting us and please add our site to your favourites and visit us again soon!
Kim McMiller
Associate Director, Consumer Relations

So KRAFT Parmesan Cheese is not Halal due to lipase.  I have seen some fresh Parmesan cheese that does not have lipase in the ingredients.  But make sure you email the company to confirm if it conforms to Halal Standards.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May YBR @ Spice Foodie

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This month I am participating in Your Best Recipe on Spicie Foodie.  Please take a look to see some amazing dishes.  Each month participants submitted what they felt was their best recipe in that month.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spicy Fish Tacos with Creamy Chilli and Cilantro Sauce

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We really enjoyed the fish tacos I made a few weeks ago.  Recently I saw another recipe on Cookin' Canuck that looked so good.  I wanted to give this a try because it looked like it would be more spicy than my first try at fish tacos.  As usual I increased the spices.  These were very quick to make.  The Creamy Green Chilli and Cilantro Sauce was really good.  The recipe called for 2 oz of green chillies.  In Canada they don't put ounces on our tins.  I figured this would be half a tin.  I added this and gave it a taste....wasn't spicy at all.  I tasted the green chillies and they weren't hot so I added the whole tin and I was so glad I did!  You can top these with whatever you like.  We had lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and some Simple Guacamole.  I also loved that the sauce used all low fat ingredients (which I would have done anyways).



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Simple Guacamole

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I have one recipe for Guacamole on this blog and it turned out good but it involved more chopping than I would like.  I adapted this recipe from one I found on Simply Recipes.  What I love about this recipe is that there is very little chopping and it is very fast to make.  I used my chopper to make this but you could also use a food processor.  We had these with some fish tacos I made (a new recipe which I will post soon...)


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Strawberry Cake

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Now that warm weather is here the grocery store has lots of sweet strawberries.  I had bought 2 packets from Longo's....then I went to my mom's and she had bought a packet for Hasan...so now my house is overflowing with strawberries.  I hate it when food goes bad so I knew I had to do something with them or else I was going to end up with some rotting strawberries.  I found a recipe at Smitten Kitchen which was perfect because it used strawberries, had no vanilla (I am all out of vanilla powder) and it used 4 egg whites (I had exactly 4 egg whites sitting in my fridge).  I replaced the butter with margarine and made a low fat cream cheese frosting.  I made half the recipe because the whole recipe was way too much for our family.  I didn't have cake flour so I just used all-purpose but reduced the amount.  I should have sifted it but I was lazy.  Next time I would do a proper substitution to make the cake less dense.  I omitted the food colouring.  The original recipe uses frozen strawberries which would be a great idea when strawberries aren't in season.  This was so yummy...I am really looking forward to making it again!



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Easy Thin Crust Pizza

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When my brother and I were in public school we always came home to eat lunch.  Once in awhile my mom would make pizza.  When we were walking in the hallway to our apartment we could smell the pizza...hmmmm...that was my favorite lunch.  I've always heard that pizza is so easy to make and I've been wanting to give it a try.  This was not my first try.  I tried a recipe with proofing the yeast..my dough didn't rise and it turned out very dense.  This was not my first bad experience with yeast.  I thought maybe I should just give up on yeast and search for a yeastless recipe.  I found one and that turned out very dense and was not good.  After searching the web I decided I should check out Smitten Kitchen.  She always has great recipes.  I found this recipe and it turned out great.  There is no proofing of the yeast.  Just mix it all together!!!!  This makes a thin crust pizza.  I love thin crust but the problem is I end up eating way to much.  You can double the recipe (I haven't had the chance to try that).  (UPDATE: I tried to double this recipe and it didn't turn out well)  I've made this twice.  Once with all all-purpose flour and the next time I replaced 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour.  I preferred the one with whole wheat.  I didn't really make any changes to this recipe.  The original uses all-purpose but says you can replace up to half with whole wheat.

When I made this my dough didn't double in size and I was getting all upset with myself knowing I screwed up somewhere.  But I continued on and made the pizza.  I was so surprised how good it turned out!  I put olives on half the pizza because my son loves olives...I don't.  He cannot understand why I don't like olives.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Low Fat Fudge Brownies

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I love finding recipes that taste great and are low fat.  I found this recipe at Obsessed with Baking.  I made a few minor changes to the recipe.  I used semi-sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet, reduced the vanilla to 1 tsp (since that is all I had) and I used one egg white.  This is originally a Cook's Illustrated recipe.  So far I have had good results with Cook's Illustrated recipes so I was eager to give this recipe a try.  At first I didn't like this brownie very much.  I don't like coffee and I could taste the coffee.  I took these over to my parents.  My mom really liked them.  The next day I couldn't believe how good these brownies tasted.  I find some chocolate baked goods really do taste better the next day.  I was so sad I only had 4 brownies left.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

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We really enjoyed the Spring Green Risotto I made a little while ago.  I had some arborio rice left and thought I would try to make a mushroom risotto.  I used the Porcini and Cremini Mushroom Orzo "Risotto" as a guideline.  It turned out really well and my 1 year old son loved it!  The next day it held up much better than the Spring Green Risotto.  I didn't put any cream cheese in it which helped it to not turn into a big pile of mush the next day.  I'm looking forward to trying more risotto recipes but it is something I wouldn't make regularly since it has a lot of starch.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Beef with Broccoli Lower Sodium Version

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I am always trying to make our dinners more healthy so it can be something we can enjoy over and over.  A while ago I made Beef with Broccoli which was so yummy but it was loaded with sodium.  I wanted to try this again but reducing the soya sauce.  I cut the soya sauce in half.  It turned out very good but the original was still above and beyond this.  In this version, the orange flavor was more pronounced.  I love how quick this is to make.  This is a dish I can make regularly.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

McCain Purely Potatoes

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For the last few years I have been participating with BzzAgents.  It is a word-of-mouth marketing network.  Anyone can join.  You get offered campaigns where you get to try new products for free. Then you submit reports about all your conversations regarding that product.  Your comments can be good or negative but most important it must be honest.  It is a great way to try new products and spread the word about them.  My latest campaign is for McCain Purely Potatoes.  You can find them in the frozen section of your grocery store.  The potatoes are already washed, peeled and diced.  They come in sweet potato or white potato chunks.  You can put the whole packet in the microwave to make mashed potatoes or roast them in the oven.  I picked up the sweet potato packet.  I was only able to find them at Longo's.  Wal-Mart didn't have them.  They were pretty expensive for the amount you get...around $4 for one pack.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

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I've seen a few recipes for Cookies and Cream Cupcakes.  My son loves Oreo cookies so I thought this would be a good recipe to try.  I settled on a recipe I found at Annie's Eats because it had actual Oreos in the cake and it just looked so good.  I made half of this recipe and I replaced the butter with margarine.  I also made a low fat version of the cream cheese frosting.  It ended up being very thin and I wasn't able to pipe it.  It was also too much since I wasn't piping.  I found the cupcakes way too sweet.  My dad called me the next day and told me they were way too sweet and his sugar had gone up.  The recipe called for putting half an Oreo at at bottom and then putting the batter on top.  I loved this idea and the way it looked.  But when eating I wasn't too fond of it.  I thought it was way too many cookies in the batter.  So I made another batch and reduced the cookies by half and I didn't put the half Oreo at the bottom.  I also coarsley chopped them so the cookies were more distrubuted.  In the first batch I broke the cookies into 4-5 pieces.  They turned out much better.  I still have to work on a good low fat cream cheese frosting but I've posted what I did below.


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