A few weeks ago, hubs and I went out for a dinner date. We went to Campagnolo (it was divine) and I had my first taste of roasted chickpeas (even more divine). This was one of the best appetizers I’ve ever tasted, and so of course, me being me, I had to try and re-create the taste I’ve been longing for.
Tonight I thought I’d make that attempt. I ended up with a completely different recipe than Campagnolo’s, but hell, this was good too! And not only that, Simone and Giselle literally fought over the bowl of chickpeas when I put them on the table. Just to set the scene: Simone is now 5.5 yrs old, Giselle is 1.5 yrs old. For those of you who know my kids, it won’t surprise you to hear that Giselle won. Actually, they were both winners with their own bowls.
Andrea’s Roast Chickpeas
You can use a can of chickpeas (drained & rinsed) or soak your own over night – whatever you prefer.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Allow the chickpeas to dry on a towel while the oven pre-heats. I then lay them on my clay bake; but if you don’t have that, use a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Roast the chickpeas for 45-60 minutes. You want them darkened, but not burnt. Crispy and not chewy.
Remove from oven and toss in a bowl with salt, garlic powder, cumin, and smoked paprika (sorry, no quantities to provide you here – just sprinkle to your liking). To be honest, you can use whatever spices you like – these are what appealed to me after 30 seconds of Pinterest research. ;)
I highly recommend you check out Campagnolo’s chickpeas in person, but if that doesn’t work, have a look at their recipe and try this at home too.
I just can’t get enough of the fall vegetables this year. Pumpkin, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash are my favourite. I made this soup last week and Giselle went crazy for it. Actually, we all did except Simone, and the reason she didn’t like it was because I put water chestnuts in it so the texture was a touch too “grainy” for her. Bloody hell, will the pickiness EVER end…?
Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash
1 can water chestnuts (drained)
1 large onion (or 2 small shallots)
4 stalks celery
1/4 cup butter
4 cups chicken broth
2 (or more) cloves garlic
1/4 (roughly) milk or cream
I always roast my butternut squash ahead: cut in half and place on a baking tray and cook for roughly 30-45 mins at 350 degrees (until soft). If you want to speed things up, you can always microwave the squash for 10 mins or so, then transfer to oven for final roasting. Let the squash cool after removing from the oven, then scoop out all the inside, discarding any seeds in the centre.
Soften the remaining veggies (carrots, onion, celery) in butter in a large pot on med-high heat. Once soft, add the squash, water chestnuts, chicken broth, garlic, and S&P. Let the soup boil for 20 minutes, then use a hand mixer to puree.
I transfer my soup to a crock pot at this point and leave it on “keep warm” until we’re ready to eat. About 10 or 20 mins before serving I pour roughly 1/4 cup of milk into the soup.
Now take a bow, pat yourself on the back, and serve yourself the largest bowl since you may have to fight off others for leftovers (ok, I have to fight off the baby, but that’s really not much of a fair fight…)
My new fall obsession. Who says fall veggies are blah? I love them, and believe it or not, so do my kids.
Of course they don’t love the same things at the same time, because that would be making my life way too easy. Simone loves these spaghetti squash pancakes and asks for them over potato pancakes. Giselle on the other hand loves my butternut squash soup and can easy eat two bowls at lunch or dinner.
Either way, they’re both eating well (ok, well enough) and I’m not killing myself making these dishes so we’re all happy.
Spaghetti Squash Pancakes
1 medium spaghetti squash
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
1-2 eggs (beaten)
2-4 tbsp flour
cooking oil (Rice Bran Oil is great)
Quarter or half the squash and roast for 30 -40 mins at 350 degrees. After roasting and when the squash is soft to touch with a fork, scoop out the seeds from the centre, then drizzle with oil (I use Rice Bran Oil), the brown sugar, and sprinkle with salt. Place back in oven for 10-15 mins until squash is very soft.
Remove and let cool, then scoop out all the spaghetti squash into a bowl.
Mix the squash with the eggs and flour until you have “batter-like” consistency. Sorry, realize that’s vague but it’s the best description I can provide. It should be smooth and runny, but thick enough to form a lumpy blog on the pan when you fry them.
In a high-sided pan, heat oil on med-high heat. Spoon the batter in and cook about 2-3 mins on each side. Remove and place on paper towel to absorb the remaining oil.
Simone eats these plain, but I love having them with some Frank’s Hot Sauce, and our German Au Pair loves having them with apple sauce. Either way, can’t go wrong! Enjoy the fall veggies.
Just when I thought I had the perfect lemon cake recipe, I found this recipe on Pinterest not too long ago and it’s been a life-changer ever since. Ok, perhaps that’s a little dramatic, but now when I make lemon cake this is my ONLY “go-to” recipe. I sprinkle some icing sugar on top before serving it and in the summer add a few fresh seasonal berries.
Naturally, Simone eats all but the berries. :(
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (softened)
2 cups sugar (gasp!)
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla (my modification to the original recipe)
1 cup milk
Finely grated rind of 2 large lemons (I grate it then chop in tiny pieces)
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from those 2 lemons you used for the rind)
1/3 cup sugar
note: the original recipe calls for more sugar and less lemon juice, but I switched those two amounts as I prefer a stronger lemon-y glaze to a sugar-y one.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a bundt pan.
Sift (or whisk) together flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside.
In a mixer, beat butter together with sugar and vanilla, then add eggs one at a time. Add finely grated and chopped lemon rind. Once these ingredients are well mixed, slowly add the dry ingredients along with the milk. Mix everything well together.
Pour batter into greased bundt pan. Bake for 45 minutes, then insert a toothpick to see if it’s done. If it’s not yet done, continue baking at 2 minute intervals until it’s complete. The top of the cake will have some nice crevasses in it.
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and brush on the glaze. I really love lemon so I use up all the glaze and cover as much of the cake with it as possible.
Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving to make this look like even more of a masterpiece!
As you know, My Picky Kid was born out of my frustration and concern for my daughter Simone, who went through a very, VERY picky eating phase from around the age of 1-3. Things are much better know…whew.
It’s a whole different story with my new baby, Giselle. She eats and eats and EATS! It’s such a different experience and I am loving that I can plop a bunch of stuff down for her and watch her go to town shoving various items in her mouth. A horrible mess to clean up…but well worth it.
Giselle has a great appetite when it comes to fish, so instead of filling her with mercury every day (she loves her canned tuna), I’ve started making more salmon and serving that up to her. My salmon recipes are so basic, nothing fancy here, but the best way to get her to eat some is to mix it up with some plain yogurt once it’s at room temperature – or better – cold the next day. She grabs fist fills of fish and does her best to smear it in her mouth. I smile…then sigh at the mess in front of me.
Here are a few of my favourite ways to prepare salmon. Tomorrow I’m going to try a completely different recipe so I’ll post that one at a later date.
Lemon Zest Salmon
Add to salmon:
- the zest of 1/2 to 1 lemon
- salt & pepper
- the juice of one lemon
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Lime Soy Salmon
Add to salmon:
- the zest of 1 lime
- salt & pepper
- the juice of one lime
- 1/2 to 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Now…here’s where salmon can continue to be the “gift that keeps on giving”. After you’ve had it for dinner, and used up some leftovers with yogurt (or mayo) for a sandwich, think about making some salmon cakes. Hint: this is why I always serve fish with potatoes…so the next day I can mash the two together and fry ‘em up in patties. This is really similar to the tuna nuggets recipe I posted last year.
Here’s how I do it:
Add to (flaked cold) salmon:
- one egg, beaten
- leftover (mashed) potatoes
- 1/2 to 1 cup panko (depending on how much of the above 2 ingredients you have)
In a saucepan on medium heat, fry those suckers up in a little butter mixed with oil until golden brown. You can even prepare the patties ahead of time and refrigerate for a few hours (they’ll keep their shape better). I love serving salmon cakes and my tuna nuggets with lots of fresh lemon squeezed on top.
Here they are before hitting the frying pan.
Oh my sweet, sweet, baby girl. Giselle is such a good eater I can honestly say that I am so relieved and delighted by this. I have never seen a baby so excited, enthusiastic, and happy about food.
What a difference from Simone!
I just had to post a collection of photos from mealtimes: from about 6 months until now (she’s just over 9 months). And wow…look how much she has grown! Not only does she approach each meal with unbridled enthusiasm…she devours nearly everything in her path. Despite the mess, I have so much fun at mealtimes with her. Most days we share a panini at lunch (I love making turkey, avocado, cheese paninis) and fresh fruit. Cottage cheese is also a favourite along with grilled cheese sandwiches. Seriously, what a great baby. Thank you karma!
Let’s call this, “A Brief Photo History of Giselle’s Eating Habits”. Or something more catchy (suggestions?)
When we returned from our vacation last month I pledged to put an end to all my baking: catastrophic, I know. But being the weak person that I am, I made 3 cakes that week and discovered this vegan-y chocolate goodness that is now a front runner in our house. I’ve backed off the baking, for now, but am always looking for an excuse to make this one as it really is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had.
And believe it or not, I’m not a big cake person.
I must admit, with Giselle getting older and my days as a human food source just about coming to an end, I can no longer justify the 4000-calorie a day diet so it’s probably good that I start eating like a real human again. It was a good ride, all those extra calories and not an ounce of guilt! But alas, all good things must come to an end and it’s time to whip this ol’ body of mine back into shape!
That doesn’t mean you don’t have to indulge on this delectable dessert though! Have at ‘er, I’m sure you’ll love it.
Vegan Chocolate Cake
I stumbled across this recipe one night while putting Giselle down to bed. She was in her crib settling herself and I was on the chair surfing around Pinterest on my iPhone. I saw this recipe and as soon as the baby was quiet, went downstairs and made it. Fastest cake EVER! The original recipe comes from Joy The Baker and I’ve modified nothing except used espresso in lieu of coffee.
I think this therefore justifies having cake for breakfast (eg. instead of your morning coffee. Ok, with your morning coffee).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9″ bundt pan, then sprinkle with cocoa powder (instead of flour which will only “discolour” your chocolate masterpiece when you take it out of the pan)
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
In a separate bowl mix together:
1 cup warm coffee (I use 1 cup espresso made from my handy-dandy Nespresso maker. Two capsules = 1 cup so it’s a perfect measurement)
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Before adding the wet ingredients to the dry, add a handful (go ahead and make it a large handful) of chocolate chunks to the DRY ingredients: I buy pure dark callebaut chocolate and shave off pieces with a sharp knife. This adds a great texture to the cake. Don’t use chocolate chips. By adding these to the dry ingredients they will be coated in flour which will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your cake once you pour it into the bundt pan.
After you have mixed all the ingredients together pour into pan (it will be thick) then bake for 30-35mins. At 30 mins check to see if cake is ready, then cook in 2 minute intervals to avoid over-cooking and drying out the cake.
Joy The Baker says to remove it from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 mins before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Sprinkle with icing sugar (I use a fine mesh colander to sprinkle the icing sugar evenly) before serving, or if you are willing to make this less vegan-y, whip up some whipping cream, add icing sugar and food colouring, and ta-da…fancy pants cake is complete!