Thursday, November 17, 2011

Take a break and remember..


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gnocchi...easy and delicious!

I LOVE gnocchi! But only the home made varieties leave a lot to be desired! Fortunately they are easy to make and they freeze so well that there is really no reason to waste your money. This is a basic italian recipe, and adding grated cheeses or chopped herbs and spices can give you some great new flavours. A traditional meat sauce is perfect for gnocchi, but cream sauces and pestos work really well too. When I make a batch, I usually cook  half right away and freeze the rest, uncooked, in small ziplock bags (for single servings). When a gnocchi craving hits you all you have to do is drop them into boiling water and about 2 minutes later they are ready to enjoy!

3 lbs  potatoes
2 cups flour + more for kneading
1 egg, ligthly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
(optional 1/2 cup grated parmesan)
1 tbsp butter

-wash potatoes, place in a pot and cover with cold water to cover potatoes
-bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork
-drain and allow to cool for 5 minutes
-peel potatoes while still hot, transfer to a large bowl and immediately mash (or pass through a potato ricer and into a bowl)
-add flour, egg, salt and pepper and combine with a fork and then with your hands until a dough begins to form
-turn out onto a well floured surface and form a ball, cut it into 6 pieces
-take one piece and roll it out with your hands on a well floured surface to form a long rope of dough about 1" thick
-cut across it diagonally into 1" pieces to form gnocchi
-repeat with remaining dough
-at this point you can either cook the gnocchi right away or freeze them for future use
-if freezing lay out gnocchi on a lightly floured cookie sheet and place in freezer for about 2 hrs, then transfer to a zip lock bag (will keep well for several months)
-to cook gnocchi, bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in fresh (or frozen) gnocchi in batches (do not crowd) and cook until  the gnocchi float to the surface (about 1-2 minutes)
-remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl with a tbsp of butter in it, cover and keep warm and repeat with remaining gnocchi

-serve immediately topped with your sauce of choice and a good grating of parmesan cheese

*meat sauce, pesto and cream sauces are perfect for gnocchi

*serves 8 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Do you have a Plan B?

"The most successful people are those that are good at Plan B."                                       ~james yorke 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Roasted Tomato Sauce

To view this recipe please visit the new
Spreading Good Tastes blog at:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today is a new day...make the most of it!

Cute Puppies
"Every morning is a new beginning,
 a new chance for you to rewrite 
the story of your life."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Oven Baked Apple Pancake

With fall just around the corner I've got apple picking...and apple recipes on my mind...
This pancake recipe is a bit different in that you are making just one large pancake and baking it  to serve in's easy to prepare and perfect for a family breakfast or brunch...delicious!

* adapted from a Gooseberry Patch recipe

1 large apple, cored, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
4 eggs
2/3 cups milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter melted and cooled
2/3 cups flour
icing sugar for dusting
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)

-preheat oven to 350F
-lightly butter a 10-inch pie plate
-in a small bowl toss together the chopped apple with the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and transfer to the pie plate
-bake for  13 minutes, remove from oven and set aside
-turn up oven to 450F
-in a blender mix together eggs, milk, vanilla extract, melted butter and flour until well combined
-pour mixture into pie plate, over the apples and bake for 15 minutes
-allow to cool for a couple of minutes then cut into 8 wedges and serve dusted with icing sugar and maple syrup if using

*serves 4 (2 wedges each), or 8 if you have other food to serve alongside  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Something to think about...

KittensWhat we do for ourselves
dies with us.
What we do for others
and the world remains
and is immortal.
~albert pine (english author)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Zucchini Loaf

I first tried this loaf many years ago when I was barely a teen. A classmate's mom became friends with my mom and at some point this recipe was exchanged. I was not a fan of zucchini then, or most other green veggies for that matter, and I  remember thinking " How can there be zucchini in this??? It's sooooo good!". Forward 30 yrs and I now find myself trying to trick my own kids into eating veggies they are not keen on. This recipe does the trick, and it's also a great way to use up all those zucchini that are just about ready in your garden!

*original recipe from Mrs. Calderwood, adapted by me to suit my family's tastes 

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

-preheat oven to 350F
-add first 5 ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk with a fork to combine
-in a large bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla 
-add zucchini and stir
-add flour mixture and stir until just combined
-add cranberries and nuts and stir to combine
-pour into a greased loaf pan
-bake for about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean
-allow to cool in pan on wire rack for about 30 minutes
-remove from pan and enjoy sliced  

Don't give up so easily...


Our greatest weakness lies
in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
~thomas edison

Friday, July 22, 2011

Affogato al Caffe...the perfect summer treat!

If you love coffee and ice cream this treat is for you. "Affogato" means "drowned" in italian and basically that's what you are doing to the ice cream, drowning it with coffee...and yes it's as delicious as it sounds! The variations on this popular italian cafe treat are truly endless. Try it with your favourite ice cream flavour (vanilla, chocolate,etc) or change it up with a different liqueur (nutty flavoured ones are great). Create your very own "affogato"...anything is my version...enjoy!

2 scoops mocha almond fudge flavoured ice cream
1 tbsp Starbucks coffee liqueur
about 1 tsp Nutella
1 shot freshly brewed hot espresso coffee


-place two scoops ice cream in a glass mug
-pour coffee liqueur over top
-drizzle with nutella
-pour hot coffee over ice cream and serve with a spoon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Take a Chance...


"The only time you run 
out of chances is when
you stop taking them."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Insalata Guacamole

There is nothing I love more in the summer time than a nice tomato and bocconcini salad. But since I have been on an avocado kick lately I was inspired to combine the fresh flavours of that very salad with those of my Chop Chop Guacamole recipe...voila my new favourite summer lunch! 
Give it a try!

*an original recipe by jcsmama

1 avocado
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, cut into small chunks
1 whole green onion, sliced
12 mini mini  or pearl bocconcini cheese, sliced in half 
6 large basil leaves, finely chopped
good pinch of kosher salt
good grinding of black pepper
a few tortilla chips for garnish

-slice avocado in half, remove pit, scoop out flesh with a spoon and dice
-in a small bowl gently mix avocado with 2 tsps lime juice and set aside
-make dressing: in a separate small bowl whisk together olive oil, lime and lemon juices and minced garlic
-in a medium salad bowl add tomoatoes, green onion, bocconcini, chopped basil and avocado
-add salt and pepper and dressing and gently and lightly toss all ingredients together
-garnish with a few tortilla chips and serve

*makes one lunch or dinner salad entree, or 2 side salads

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pineapple Frosty

This is an easy and delicious summertime fruit cocktail I came across from the LCBO...give it a try!

*makes one large glass

1 1/2 oz whisky
3 oz pineapple juice
3 oz orange juice
1/2 cup of ice

-pour all of the ingredients into a blender
-blend until ice is crushed and drink is frothy
-pour into a tall glass, garnish with fruit slice and serve

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The secret is in the attitude...

~bob marley

sink cat

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kiki's Tabouleh Salad

Tabouleh is a traditional middle-eastern salad. It makes for a great side dish and can be made a few hours in advance so it's perfect for a bbq or picnic. I also love it as a light lunch tucked into a pita...delicious! It's fresh tasting and healthy and a great way to use up your garden vegetables and herbs during the summer. 

*adapted from cousin Kiki's recipe

1/2 cup bulgur
about 3/4 cup water (enough to cover bulgur)
5 cups parsley leaves, stems removed, washed and dried
2 tomatoes
3 green onions
1 bell pepper ( I like yellow, but green or red is good too)
1 diced cucumber (optional)
1 large clove garlic, minced (optional)
4 large fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (optional)
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp salt

-place bulgur in a small bowl and cover with water, set aside until all water is absorbed, about 30 minutes
-finely chop the parsley and tranfer to a serving bowl
-dice tomatoes, green onions, pepper and cucumber (if using) and add to bowl
-add bulgur and remaining ingredients and toss together to blend well
-cover and refrigerate until ready to serve

*this salad will last a few days in the fridge

*adapted from cousin Kiki's recipe

Monday, June 13, 2011

Corona Beer Pops

Why have beer straight out of the bottle when you can enjoy it ice cold as an ice pop!
I came across this recipe recently while on Stumbleupon and thought I'd share this fabulous find with all of you because it's such a  great idea for a summer party! I can't wait to give it a try!

...for instructions on how to make these pops please go to the link below, which will take you to the Bakers Royale blog (check out some of the other recipes while you're there...they are great!) 

Corona Beer Popsicles

Corona Beer Popsicles

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Listen to your heart...


"It's impossible"said pride.
"It's risky" said experience.
"It's pointless" said reason.
"Give it a try" whispered  the heart.

Chandler's quote! Please Use!! (: (clipped to

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spinach & Feta Hummus Dip

Some time ago while in the USA I came across a prepared spinach hummus dip. I didn't buy it or try it but the idea of it stayed with me. It doesn't seem to be available here in Canada as of yet, leaving me no choice but to try and create my own home-made version. I used my standard hummus recipe and started by simply adding some fresh spinach leaves to it to see where that would take me...incredibly the flavour did not change at all, it still tasted like regular hummus?!! I decided to add a bit of feta and some olives just to play with the flavour a bit and make it different.The excellent and healthy dip that can be made in 5 minutes!

*serves 8+

1-19oz can chickpeas, drained with liquid reserved
1/4 cup of the reserved chickpea liquid

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pitted kalamata olives
2 tbsp feta cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp tahini paste
good pinch of kosher or sea salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)

good grinding of fresh black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

-in a small food processor bowl add all ingredients except olive oil and puree until mixed
-add olive oil and whirl until creamy, adding more oil if necessary to reach desired consistency
-transfer to a serving bowl, with a knife swirl a well around the top of the hummus and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and crumble a bit of feta over the top

*serve with pita chips or cut up veggies for dipping
*will keep in the fridge for about 1 week

*an original recipe by jcsmama

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Power of Love...

Warm Place

"When the power
of love overcomes
the love of power,
the world will
know peace."

~jimi hendrix

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rocky Bliss Bars

To view this recipe follow the link to the new blog Spreading Good Tastes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cooking tip of the day...

"If you're not ready to fail,
 you're not going to learn how to cook."
~Julia Child

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hot Creamy Crab & Almond Spread

This delicious warm spread is a family favourite. It's easy to make and perfect for a get-together...give it a try!

*Ready in about 25 min.
*Serves: 8++

1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
zest of 1/2 a lemon or lime
1 tsp pesto sauce or red pepper sauce (optional)
2 cans crab meat, drained
1 whole green onion, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds

-in a small mixer bowl beat together cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth
-add pepper, mustard,paprika,lemon or lime zest and pesto or red pepper sauce and blend
-mix in crab meat and green onion
-grease a 2-cup oven-proof dish and spoon mixture into it
-top with sliced almonds
-bake at 325 F for 20 min or until hot and bubbly
*serve hot with your favourite crackers

*adapted from an old magazine recipe clipping

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Iced Coffee Frappe

When it's too hot outside (and inside), like today, to drink your usual cup of coffee try making this great recipe. It's super fast and satisfies that java close your eyes and imagine yourself sipping on a tall, cold glass of this delicious coffee treat while sitting at some fabulous little greek seaside cafe, watching the world go by....aaahhh....

* makes 1 glass


1 1/2 tsp instant espresso granules (Nescafe)
2 tsps sugar
1/4 cup cold water
2 tbsps milk
more cold water to fill glass 

-in a container with a tight fitting lid add instant espresso, sugar and 1/4 cup water
-close tightly and shake vigourously for about 45 seconds or until foamy
-pour liquid and foam into a tall glass to which you have added a few ice cubes
-add milk and then top with more cold water to fill the glass
-serve with a straw and enjoy

*jcsmama's version of Nescafe iced coffee

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

This is so true...


People will believe anything,
if you whisper it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Garlic Cilantro Compound Butter

To see this recipe please visit my new blog with this link:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day...

Cute Pictures"There's no way to be a perfect mother,
and a million ways to be a good one."
~jill churchill

Friday, May 6, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Lemon Mascarpone Cheese Frosting

These are the best cupcakes I have made in a long long time! So moist and delicious, and the frosting, which I had been wanting to try on a baked good for quite a while now, was the perfect compliment... I will definitely be making this recipe again...give it a try!

*makes 24 cupcakes

For the Red Velvet Cupcakes:
(adapted from several recipes) 

1 box white or yellow cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 cup milk
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp red food colouring (add more for a deeper red colour if you wish)

-add all ingredients to a  large electric  mixer bowl and blend  for about 2 minutes on low
-fill muffin tin cups to about 2/3 full with batter
-bake as per cake box directions
-remove from oven, remove from tray and allow to cool on a wire rack
-once cool, make frosting, then frost each cupcake and enjoy

For the Mascarpone  Frosting:
(adapted from a Chuck Hughes recipe)

1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
zest of 1/2 a lemon

-add all ingredients to a small electric mixer bowl and blend on medium speed until well blended and creamy
-transfer frosting to a piping bag and frost each cupcake as desired

*refrigerate leftover cupcakes to keep frosting fresh

*yes you can certainly make this as a cake too!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wise Words...

Funny Animals


Monday, May 2, 2011

Pine Cone Cheese Spread

PineconeCheeseball.jpgPicture of The Heavyset Cheese Ball RecipeI came across a great idea for a holiday cheese spread today, smack in the middle of spring of course, when I wasn't looking for it and didn't need it! But it is such a terrific idea I thought I would share it, and hopefully you will remember about it when you have some use for
Check out the links, print the recipes and file them for future reference....enjoy.

The Heavyset Cheese Ball