January 30, 2011

Thai Lettuce Wraps

When my husband and I head to Kelowna for a date night, we almost always go to Joey’s Grill for dinner because not only do we love their atmosphere, we love their chicken lettuce wraps. We haven’t made it to Kelowna in a while and I had a hankering for the wraps, so I decided to make them at home. Google was no help on finding their secret recipe so I assembled what I thought they were made of and I have to tell you – they came pretty close. I think maybe a little more soya sauce would have made them identical.

Here is what I did:


* 2 Tbsp. oil for stir-frying
* 1 head fresh iceberg lettuce (or any kind of lettuce you can use for a wrap)(or a flour wrap if you’re like my husband and prefer bread over lettuce)
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tsp minced ginger
* 1 red jalapeno, de-seeded and finely sliced (omit if you prefer very mild wraps)(it wasn’t overly spicy – I might add two next time)
* 2 shallots, finely sliced
* 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded, (could use cooked baby shrimp or pork as well)
* 1 carrot, grated
* 6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
* 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (I used green because I had it on hand, but red would work too)
* 4 green onions, chopped
* 2 cups bean sprouts
* (You could also add noodles – I opted to leave them out.)


3 Tbsp. lime juice
3 Tbsp. regular soy sauce
3 Tbsp. peanut satay sauce

(I pre-mixed this in a measuring cup.)


1 cup fresh cilantro (or basil, if you dislike cilantro), roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh dry roasted peanuts, chopped or ground


1. Drizzle oil into a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, red jalapeno and shallots. Stir-fry one minute or until fragrant.

Stir-frying tip: add water whenever the wok gets dry instead of more oil.

2. Add chicken (or shrimp/pork), carrot, mushrooms, cabbage, and green onions. As you stir-fry, add the sauce. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry briefly to mix.

4. Cut off the stem part of the iceberg lettuce so it’s easier to separate the leaves.

5. Heap 2 tablespoons (or more) of filling in the center. Top with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro (or basil) and peanuts.

I had the leftovers for lunch today and they tasted even better.


January 3, 2011

Baked Brie With Chutney

We hosted a Christmas party for Matthew’s work staff and while the dinner was catered, they let me prepare the appetizers. (I love appetizers, both serving them and eating them.) I had never served baked brie before and a friend mentioned spreading chutney on it first before baking it and I couldn’t see why that wouldn’t be fantastic. It was.


1 wheel Brie cheese

1 small jar of chutney (I used my plum chutney)

1 cup chopped cashews

Crackers or sliced baguette for spreading


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Place the Brie on a large pie plate or oven proof dish. Spread a generous layer of chutney over top and evenly sprinkle with the chopped cashews.

3. Bake for 15 minutes or until cashews are golden and the cheese inside the rind is melted. Serve with crackers or sliced baguette.

January 2, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms With Bacon

My sister-in-law made stuffed mushrooms for Christmas dinner and I decided to make them again on New Year’s Eve. She used breakfast sausage but I had bacon on hand and this is how I made them:


1 pound medium fresh mushrooms
6 Bacon slices, diced
1/2 cup minced onion
4 ounces Cream cheese, room temperature


Clean mushrooms, remove and chop stems. Set aside.

Fry bacon in a skillet. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towel to drain. In bacon drippings, saute onion and chopped mushroom stems until tender; drain.

Soften cream cheese, then blend in cooked bacon and vegetables. Press mixture into mushroom caps, mounding it a bit. Place in a dish and bake, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen stuffed mushrooms.

September 6, 2010

Apricot Chutney and Apricot Jam


Our neighbor John has apricot trees and has way more apricots than he knows what to do with. He asked my husband to come and pick some for us and said husband came back with three ice cream buckets overflowing with apricots. I’m not a huge apricot fan, mostly because they aren’t very sweet. What to do with all of those apricots, then.

Can them, that’s what.

I decided to make apricot chutney, using the recipe I have for plum chutney. I quadrupled it and added an extra cup of sugar to compensate for the lack of natural sweetness in the apricots.

Apricot Chutney


4 cups light brown sugar
5 cups white sugar
2 cups white vinegar

8 tsp salt
8 tsp mustard seed
8 large cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup sliced onion
2 cups candied ginger, sliced
16 cups apricots, pitted and sliced


Combine sugars and vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Add rest, and simmer until thickened (One to two hours)

**I am generous with my measurements of mustard seed, ginger, garlic and onion.

(16 cups of apricots yielded me 6 500ml jars (6 pints).)


I also decided to make jam because (I like toast, and) John is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I’m pretty sure that chutney isn’t his thing and we wanted to give him some of what we made with his apricots.

Apricot Jam


16 cups apricots, pitted and sliced (You can peel them if you want to, but I didn’t).
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice


Combine apricots, sugar, and lemon juice in a large pot. Bring to boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.

Cook until thick (20-25 minutes) and keep stirring to prevent sticking or burning. Remove pot from heat and skim foam from jam. Pour into prepared jars.


September 1, 2010

Stuffed Jalapenos

Matthew’s sister came to visit a few weeks ago and prepared an appetizer that made our mouths happy…and made me call her for the recipe. It’s so, SO tasty.


9 Jalapeno peppers

1/2 block of cream cheese (I used the low fat variety and it was just as tasty, for those who care about counting calories).

Crushed pineapple – 4 Tbsp, or more if it makes you happy.

Bacon. (Mmmm…Bacon.) (Or prosciutto if you like that better. I’ve made it with both.)


Cut jalapenos in half and hollow out (You can leave a seed or two in if you have a high tolerance for hotness…or are crazy.) (HINT: Use rubber gloves when handling said peppers.)

Mix cream cheese and pineapples together.

Fill hollowed out jalapeno peppers with cream cheese mixtures. Wrap with 1/2 a slice of bacon or prosciutto.

Bake at 375 until crispy ~ approximately 35 minutes.

jalapenos, cream cheese, pineapple, bacon

Even without seed, they are quite spicy, yet somehow a minute or so later you find yourself reaching for another…

February 26, 2009

Fudge Topped Brownies



1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 1/2 cups Semi Sweet Baking Chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)


1. Heat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. In large bowl, stir together butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, eggs, milk and 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla; beat well. Stir in nuts. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake 40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.

4. Just before brownies are done, in heavy saucepan, melt CHIPITS Semi-Sweet chips with sweetened condensed milk and remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla.

5. Immediately spread over hot brownies. Cool in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate. Cut into bars.

January 1, 2009

Bacon Wraps



Water chestnuts
Sweet & sour sauce

Homemade sweet and sour sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
Squirt of mustard
4 Tbsp soya sauce


Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Wrap a piece of bacon around a water chestnut, and hold together with a toothpick. Spoon sweet and sour over top so that each wrap is covered.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (Ish – it depends on your oven). Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn.

Try to stop at one. It’s impossible.

November 30, 2008

Chocolate Bark

One of the quickest and easiest recipes I have. The fact that it tastes amazing is a bonus.

Chocolate Bark


Eight squares semi-sweet chocolate (Can use bittersweet if you prefer)

Six squares white chocolate

1 cup whole, toasted almonds

1 cup dried cranberries (Optional. We don’t do fruit in our chocolate, so we leave it out.)


Place semi-sweet chocolate squares in a small bowl and microwave for two minutes on MEDIUM power.

Remove from microwave and stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

Repeat with the white chocolate.

Stir 1/2 cup of almonds into each of the bowls and stir to cover.

Drop spoonfuls of chocolate onto wax paper on a cookie sheet, alternating white and dark chocolate.

Use the end of a knife to swirl the chocolates and make the marble effect.

Chill until firm, then break into about twenty pieces.


November 16, 2008

Veggie Supreme

Veggie! Supreme!

This is a veggie casserole that we make at least once a week over the winter.



2 cups broccoli
2 cups cauliflower
1 ½ cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup grated cheese
1 box seasoned croutons – crushed


2 eggs
½ cup mayo (or Miracle Whip) (Use low fat to be “healthy”)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 can cream of mushroom or chicken soup (I use the low fat variety)
½ of the cheese


Preheat oven to 350. Steam veggies for 5 minutes – drain. Put in casserole dish. Beat eggs, and add rest of the sauce ingredients. Pour over vegetables. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and add croutons*

Bake 20 minutes covered, and 20 minutes uncovered.

* In place of store-bought croutons, I usually take whole wheat bread and crumble with a chopper. They are softer and healthier as well.

November 9, 2008

Carrot Cake/Muffins

Nekked muffins


2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour (You can substitute a cup of whole wheat flour)
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) each granulated and packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup (175 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2 cups (500 mL) grated carrots (I used pureed carrots. I am all about the HIDING of the vegetables.)
1 cup (250 mL) applesauce

1 pkg (8 oz/250 g) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (50 mL) butter, softened
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar


Grease and flour 13- x 9-inch (3.5 L) metal cake pan; set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together granulated and brown sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla until smooth; pour over flour mixture and stir just until moistened.

Stir in carrots and applesauce. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven for 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack.

Muffins take less time to bake. I set the timer for 20 minutes and see how they are faring. It all depends on your oven.


In bowl, beat cream cheese with butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Beat in icing sugar, one-third at a time, until smooth. Spread over top of cake/muffins.

With icing!

These can almost be considered healthy. Almost.