Saturday, 27 December 2014

Banana Walnut Bread

This Banana Walnut Loaf is so moist, it will be disappear before your eyes. I love the walnuts in this loaf, they add crunch and texture to a smooth, moist banana bread.


3-4 large ripe bananas mashed
1/2 cup softened butter, partially starting to liquefy. I used a very low setting on the microwave to start to melt the butter. Heat at short 20 second intervals to make sure you don't melt the whole thing.
1/3 cup of sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of chopped walnuts


In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas, softened butter, sour cream and eggs at a low speed until combined. Add vanilla and mix just to combine.

In a separate medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and chopped walnuts until they are well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the moist ingredients mixing at a low speed until just combined. Do not over mix.

Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray or by greasing with butter or margarine and lightly flouring the loaf pan.

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, removing when the loaf is brown, firm and cooked through. Get your coffee pot or teapot going, cut and enjoy! Moist,crunchy, flavourful and not too sweet.

Inspired by:  Homemade Banana Bread--

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas Movie Schedule

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Potato Flake Gnocchi

This is a quick way to make and enjoy homemade gnocchi using potato flakes instead of the traditional way that uses boiled potatoes that have been riced.  You will be surprised at how delicious and easy to make they are. Your family and friends will be in awe of your homemade pasta making skills.  Enjoy!


5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups dry mashed potato flakes (do not cook, measure straight out of the box)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 1/2 to 3 cups boiling water (careful when mixing by hand, stir with spoon first to cool off dough)


Thoroughly mix together the first four ingredients (dry ingredients) in a large bowl.  Push dry mixture to the sides of the bowl making a well in the centre.  Add the egg and vegetable oil into the centre of the well and beat together with a fork.  Begin adding water gradually, mixing and kneading as you go.  You are aiming for a moist batter that is not too sticky--I find that 2 1/2 cups of water is just right.  If you find it sticky keep kneading the dough and it will work itself out. Dough should be moist though.

Break off large pieces and roll into a long rope.  Cut into small pieces.  You can just leave the pieces as they, embellish them by pressing a fork on the top to create grooves or you can roll them using a fork or your middle finger so that they curl.  The curling method is used when making Cavatelli another Italian pasta which I will be showcasing on another post.  When curling the pieces your action must be quick and the correct pressure so as to not squish the pasta, this comes with practice.  I like to curl gnocchi because it gives tomato sauce another place to collect.  Lie pasta on a cookie sheet so they don't stick together.  I didn't do this in my photo and I had to be careful that the gnocchi didn't stick together.

Boil a large pot of water, add salt if desired (I don't do this as I don't like too much salt in my diet). Add the gnocchi being careful that they don't stick together when dropping them in.  Gnocchi cook very quickly, as soon as they rise to the top of the water, as in my photo, they are done. Remove with a slotted spoon or strain all together when all have risen to the top of the pot.

Add your favourite sauce and enjoy!

Serves 6 people.  If you don't want to cook all the gnocchi at once, they can be frozen to use for another meal.

Adapted from:  A Charity Cookbook (Junior Achievement) Home Town Cookin'! Contributed recipe from: Tony Valeri.

Friday, 2 May 2014



3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 (8 g) package of active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups of warm water (110 degrees F)


1 can of whole tomatoes chopped into 1 inch pieces (You can use fresh tomato slices also)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dried oregano
Green or black olives (if desired)
Sea salt or regular salt to taste

Combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl mixing well.  Add water a little at a time, kneading and mixing with your hands.  When dough is thoroughly combined, it will be a sticky dough.  Cover it with a towel and wrap another towel or blanket around the bowl.  Let rise in a warm place for at least 1 1/2 hours.  For a thicker focaccia increase the proofing time by 1/2 hour or more.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a round baking pan liberally with olive oil, making sure to grease the sides and the bottom (I use a deep dish pizza pan).  Poke little indentations into the top of the focaccia dough to allow olive oil to pool there.  Drizzle olive oil over top and spread around with hands pushing dough to edges of pan as you do this. Open canned tomatoes and break apart whole tomatoes into pieces. Add olive pieces if desired. Dot the focaccia with the tomato, then sprinkle the top with dried oregano and salt.

Place in oven and bake between 30 to 45 minutes until it is dark golden brown.

Adapted from:

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Italian Easter Bread

Your family will be thrilled to receive these beautiful  braided sweet bread baskets on Easter morning!  As much a work of art as a wonderful treat!

Ingredients:  (Makes Six Bread Nests)

1 Package of Fleischmann's Quick Rise Instant Yeast
1 1/4 cups scalded milk cooled until warm (don't over cool, check yeast instructions for liquids temp)
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup of softened butter
2 eggs beaten (by hand in a small bowl before adding)
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour (estimate) --this is approximate as you need to keep adding small amounts of flour until dough is no longer sticky (I think I added about a cup or more beyond the 3 1/2 to get the non-sticky soft dough I wanted)
6 dyed Easter eggs in assorted colours
Coloured sprinkles (nonpareils)
Egg Wash for the top of the bread:
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of cold water


According to the instructions on the instant yeast:  combine yeast with 1/3 of the flour used in your recipe and remaining dry ingredients which would be the sugar and salt.  

Stir in the warm milk.  Then add the softened butter, and beaten eggs.

Using a dough hook attachment on your mixer keep adding the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  As indicated in the ingredients list above, you probably will have to add a little more flour than the 3 1/2 cups that the original recipe starts with.  Just keep checking your dough after kneading or mixing (with dough hook) in the extra flour until dough is soft and no longer sticky.

You can use your dough hook or you can knead by hand if you don't have a stand mixer.

Place the smooth, not sticky dough, in a greased bowl.  Cover the bowl and keep in a warm place for about an hour. It will be about double the size.

Punch the dough down and divide into 12 even pieces (to make six nests).  I just grab off hand sized chunks of dough and adjust to make sure I get 12 balls of dough.  

Roll each piece to form a thick rope about 14 inches long.  Get two strips of rope and braid them together.  I get someone to hold one end of rope as I braid that way I can pull the pieces together to get an even braid. Pinch each end of the braid joining to form a circle (nest) with a small hole in center.

Place each rope nest on a greased baking sheet and let rise again for another hour.

Brush the risen nests with the egg wash and sprinkle with the colourful nonpariels.

Gently press a coloured egg into the center of each nest making sure the nest hugs the egg.

Bake at 350 degrees F until golden about 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from one that appears on:

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Chicken Enchiladas


2 tbsp. flour
2 tsp chili powder (you can add more if you like the chili taste)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup of 5% or 10% cream
3 cups of chopped cooked chicken (I use a whole roasted chicken that I buy at the grocery store)
1 finely diced small green pepper
1/2 cup or more (I use more) salsa divided
8 or more small or medium/large tortillas (depending on how much chicken you use)
1/2 cup or more of shredded Canadian Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese

I like to use more salsa and cheese to add more flavour. You may want to double this recipe though because it will be eaten!


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch (3L) glass baking dish

Whisk flour, chili powder and salt in a small saucepan, gradually whisking in cream.  Turn on burner to medium heat and whisk constantly until bubbly and thickened (about 5 minutes).  Pour half of the sauce into a bowl and keep the other half in the pan for later.

Add the chopped chicken, green pepper and half the salsa to the sauce in the bowl tossing until well coated. Place an opened tortilla in the baking dish and spoon chicken filling onto the centre of the tortilla.  Divide mixture evenly between the tortillas.  Roll up tortilla and place the seam side down in the baking dish.  Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the enchiladas.  Add dollops of remaining salsa on top of enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese (I like to be generous with the cheese and use more than the recipe states--you can even add shredded cheese inside the enchilada which makes it extra gooey and good).  See make ahead tips below (don't add cheese until ready to bake for the make ahead recipe if you will be waiting a day to bake)

Bake for about 20 minutes or until filling is hot.

Make Ahead Instructions:

Make ahead and keep in refrigerator for up to one day--add cheese just before baking. Bake covered with foil for about 30 minutes and then uncover to continue baking for about 15 minutes or until filling is hot.

Recipe adapted from Milk Calendar recipe Chicken Enchilada Bake

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Cranberry Muffins

This is a fabulous Cranberry muffin recipe with a hint of orange in them.  Even the pickiest eater in your household will love these.  Great for breakfast!  I always double batch them when I make them as one bag of Ocean Spray Cranberries is just the right amount for 24 wonderful Cranberry Orange muffins.

Recipe for 12 muffins but you can and WILL double this recipe in the future.


2 cups of flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of unsalted butter (softened)
1 tablespoon (but I use more) grated orange zest
3/4 cup of sugar, plus more for sprinkling of top of the muffin before baking
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Spray muffin tins with oil cooking spray or grease with butter
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl
Cream together softened butter, sugar and orange zest in a separate larger bowl
Add eggs to the butter mixture mixing well after each egg is added
Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternating with milk--until just combined--don't over mix.
Stir in cranberries
Drop batter into prepared muffin tins, evenly distributing the mix until all tins are full.
Sprinkle the top of each muffin with sugar
Bake until golden brown--about 25 to 30 minutes.  I have found that my oven bakes these muffins quicker, so keep an eye on them checking them at 15 minutes and onward.
Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee or tea!

adapted from:  Delicious Orange Cranberry Muffins