May 19, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Now I know I’ve completely lost my mind and I’m sure you wanna know why.

I’ve been searching through archived photos of my food photography for the past few months, just came across these and guess what? I don’t even remember when I shot them. It was somewhere between 2014 and 2017. That’s all I know. The other thing I’m pretty certain about is this…..

These muffins were the bomb.

To narrow down the timeline, it’s clear that these were made during blueberry season (well duh, there’s a load of them in the recipe ,so this wasn’t something that I needed the FBI to figure out).

Anyhoo, you know how I feel about blueberries. They are plump jewels of happiness that make everything taste better. Especially when they burst out of a muffin and into your mouth.

Wait.

How about these roses? My husband is always a sucker for good foliage. He makes his way down to the flower markets whenever there is an occasion, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, my birthday or a just-because-I-love-you-day.

Let me tell you what he did for Mother’s Day.

Of course, he surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of roses, similar to the ones in these photos.

Then, he gave me a really cute card with an enclosed paper (hand made) puzzle. Yes, he made the puzzle out of letters that were my “clues” to my gift.

I had 10 minutes to piece together these letters, otherwise Steve informed me that the gift was NULL and VOID.

No pressure, right?

OMG, I suck at puzzles. I could never win Survivor. Plus I’m really bad in math, which has nothing to do with puzzles, but I just thought I would let you know that useless piece of information.

Oh, and we were in the car on our way to brunch when I opened my card. Steve set his iPhone timer for 10 minutes and yelled “GO!!!”

I was fiddling around with the stupid paper pieces for exactly 7 minutes, when he realized that he may have spelled the word wrong. Not surprising, since his spelling is comparable to my math skills. It’s a good thing we can assist each other with daily simple tasks because, really?

So now we are stopped at a red light, he grabs one of the squares of paper and scribbles over the letter making the correction.

I have 3 minutes left and I’m starting to shvitz (sweat).

I figured it out with a minute to spare and guessed it!

You won’t believe this one. He still spelled it wrong.

These where my letters:

L

O

S

V

E

G

A

S

How do you really spell it? Las Vegas.

Do I gamble? No. I hate losing money.

Do I need to go to Las Vegas now, with two weddings coming up this summer? No.

Can I try spelling something else with those letters and still get a gift? All I could figure out was LOVES GAS so maybe a gift certificate to ESSO might be another option. Okay Steve?

Here’s the moral of the story. No matter how you spell it, these Blueberry Oat Chia muffins are a sure bet.

BLUEBERRY OAT CHIA MUFFINS

– 2 extra large eggs
– ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
– 2 medium size, ripe bananas, mashed
– ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tsp baking soda
– ½ tsp ground cinnamon
– ¼ cup cup chia seeds
– ¾ cup quick oats
– 1 cup + 2 tbsp white whole wheat flour (or a mix of all purpose and whole wheat is fine too)
– 1½ cups cups fresh blueberries

1) Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a 12 cup muffin pan by spraying with non stick cooking spray or lining them with paper liners. Set aside.
2) In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the Greek yogurt, bananas,sugar, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, chia seeds and oats mixing until smooth.
3) Add in the flour and gently stir it in until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.
4) Toss the blueberries in 1 tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins, then fold them into the batter.
5) Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, using an ice cream scoop. Fill them almost to the top. Sprinkle with additional oats if desired.
6) Bake for 20 -­ 22 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins begin to turn golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
7) Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. These will keep well in an airtight container for up to 5 days or they freeze well for up to 3 months.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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May 17, 2017

Chef Luke Makes Banana Chocolate Chip “Muffies”

My favorite thing about cooking with Chef Luke…is his excitement to cook each week. He is constantly thinking of new ideas for his show and gets overly excited to try new recipes. Being such a foodie myself I feel pretty darn lucky that my kids love to eat and cook as much as they do.

Today Chef Luke is making “Muffies”.  You may be asking yourself…what on earth is a Muffy? And is Seri spelling it right?

A Muffy is what Luke calls the tops of muffins. He gets a muffin every week before his soccer class…and rips off the top and leaves the bottom for the wolves. He named these muffin tops – Muffies.

So today…he’s making Muffies!  They are amazing.  Like banana chocolate chip muffin COOKIES. Yum!

Watch how Luke whips up these bad boys and you can find the recipe below.

Chef Luke’s Banana Chocolate Chip “Muffies”

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, set aside.
2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar and whisk together.
3. In a large bowl combine mashed bananas, egg, milk and melted butter and stir.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly, mixing together so all is combined well.
5. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour, then shape into large balls.
6. Bake on a greased baking sheet for 15-20 minutes. Do not over bake. Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooking rack to cool all the way.

xx, Seri
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February 24, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

Do you ever bring sweet treats to your doctor’s office when you go for a routine appointment? I DO!

The issue is….all of the front desk office staff know what I do part time and that is….bake….a lot.

Every few months, I bring a little something for this crew and to be honest, they WAIT FOR IT. I also time my appointment strategically after lunch. This way, it’s a great excuse to HAVE DESSERT on an otherwise mundane patient swamped afternoon.

When I baked this cake last week, I posted it on Instagram prior to me leaving the house. Within minutes I received a comment from one of my favourite receptionists at this office….”HOPEFULLY THAT IS THAT COMING TO US?

So here’s the thing. My baking usually causes a bit of a delay to my doctor’s schedule. How you ask?

Well, I walk in with the goods and it is quickly taken away to the “back room”. The waiting area is usually full at this point.

Where’s the doctor?

Eating cake.

Where is he now?

Eating another piece of cake.

Who is waiting to see him?

ME and about 5 other people.

My apologies to those who have to wait and wait and wait and wait because of ME and my sweets.

When I decided to make this, it was a last minute effort to use what I had hanging around the house. I quickly opened my pantry and found a bunch of ingredients that would come together to create a super moist and decadent dark velvet cake with a heavenly white chocolate ganache drizzle.

Bundt cakes happen to be my favourite to make simply because of the pan. It’s a one shot deal. Make your batter, plunk it in and bake. Then drizzle with just about anything because really? This is an idiot proof way to decorate a cake. No crumb coating or fondant needed. Just pure unadulterated CAKE.

And if you’re like me, I’m not really crazy about wasting time decorating and futzing around with cakes. Let me just unleash my bundt and be done with it.

One thing is for sure.

Sometimes it pays to sweeten the lives of those who take such good care of you.

Dark Velvet Bundt Cake With White Chocolate Ganache

– 1 1⁄4 cups vegetable oil
– ¾ cup buttermilk
– ¼ cup espresso or coffee, cooled
– 2 eggs
– 1 tablespoon red food coloring, (I use organic from Whole Foods)
– 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 3⁄4 cups sugar
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
– 1 1⁄2 tablespoons cocoa powder
– 1 3.5 oz package Hersheys Instant Chocolate Pudding
– White Chocolate Ganache Recipe for Drizzle – See below

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Grease and flour bundt pan.
3) In stand mixer combine oil, buttermilk, espresso (or coffee), eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
4) Mix at medium speed until well blended.
5) In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Gradually add to wet ingredients (slowly so they don’t explode in your face). Beat until smooth (about 2 minutes on medium high speed).
6) Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cake plate to finish cooling.
7) Prepare ganache recipe below and drizzle on cooled cake.

White Chocolate Ganache

– 1 cup chopped white chocolate – bar or chips is fine
– ¼ cup heavy cream

1) Place a medium size saucepan filled with 1 inch of water on the stove and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.
2) Place chocolate in a heat safe bowl that fits over the saucepan ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Melt the chocolate slowly over the water, stirring constantly.
3) In a separate small saucepan, heat heavy cream. DO NOT BOIL, otherwise it will scorch.
4) Add melted chocolate to heavy cream and stir to blend. It should look nice and glossy.
5) Let cool slightly and drizzle over cake.

See ya next week!
debi@simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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January 27, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

A few things first before I give you the goods on these muffins.

I had trouble with the title because there are too many key ingredients in this recipe so I settled on EVERYTHING MUFFINS. That basically covers it because I used everything I could put my hands on and threw it in a bowl. My issue is, what happens if I make other muffins in the future and use everything in them too?

I guess I can always call them EVERYTHING MUFFINS – THE SEQUEL.

I believe I have mentioned in the past that I love collecting over ripe bananas. Now it’s gotten past the point of being labelled a “collector”. I know this because I had to clean my freezer out two weeks ago and found a ton of plastic zip bags containing the infamous “dead” bananas. Last week, I got a call from the producers on TLC, they want me to appear on the new reality show called: BANANA HOARDERS.

To crumble or not to crumble, that is the question. These were supposed to be “healthy” muffins. The operative words are “supposed to be”. Then an idea sprung into my brain and I decided to top these with a crowning of brown sugar and pecans. Notsohealthy now but 100% OHSOGOOD.

So how did these transpire? Once again, it all started with the contents of my fridge and my husband. What did Steve have to do with this? He is always, LIKE ALWAYS moving things around in the fridge. From shelf to shelf and from shelf to the recycling bin. He came across 2 1/2 dead bananas and tried to convince me that they were FINE to slice up into my cereal bowl.

Well.

NO.

There is a stage where this ubiquitous dead fruit keeps showing up and you need to make a decision on it’s future.

Let me explain.

Put your dermatologist hat on and do the following:

1) Examine the skin. Look for mostly yellow skins with a few brown spots. Some browning usually means the bananas are just right.
2) Check the banana for firmness by giving it a gentle press or squeeze. Bad bananas will feel very soft and mushy. Unripened bananas will feel hard with little give. A good banana feels soft but not mushy.
3) Over ripened bananas that you don’t want to eat can be peeled and frozen for use in frozen drinks or baking. *(This is considered the MONEY banana – black on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside, a perfect combo for baking)*

Now then.

I had 2 1/2 deceased bananas in the fridge. The issue was the quantity. My banana bread recipe calls for exactly 3 bananas. But is it 3 small bananas? Medium sized ? Or large?

I made an executive (NOT A CHEF BY ANY MEANS) decision and justified the 2 1/2 large bananas to be the equivalent to 3 small ones. Right? Right.

And now we bake. Blueberries in the heart of winter are not local, but for some reason the market had them on special this week so I bought a stupid amount of containers thinking that that I would use them for something.

Here comes Steve, the fridge inspector AGAIN.

“Are you going to use these blueberries before they go FURRY”? He asked.

“Why of course Steve, of course”, I answered (and in my mind, I thought I better come up with something really quick before they do start to resemble chia pets).

Behold, the magical dead banana muffin. Chock full of healthy goodness, but not really good for you unless you omit and substitute some of the ingredients.

If you are sticking to a healthy version, take out the melted butter and sub in applesauce or coconut oil and most definitely ditch the crumble topping (but just so you know, you’ll regret it, just sayin’).

Hmmm….I’m the worst. First I tempt you and then I tell you not to make them the way they should be made.

I have an idea. You can start your diet next Monday.

Everything Muffins
– 1½ cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose white)
– ½ teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– ¼ teaspoon salt
– 1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and dried well
– 3 ripe medium bananas, mashed (or 2 ½ large will work too!)
– 1 large carrot, grated (use medium holes on the box grater)
– ⅔ cup sugar
– 1 egg
– ⅓ cup Greek Yogurt, plain
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– ½ cup melted butter, (or coconut oil or ¼ cup oil + ¼ applesauce)

Crumble Topping
– ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
– ½ teaspoon cinnamon
– 2 tablespoons flour
– 2 tablespoons cold butter
– 2 tablespoons oatmeal flakes (I use the quick)
– ½ cup chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
2) Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Toss blueberries in to coat in dry ingredient mixture.
3) In a separate bowl, mix together mashed bananas, carrot, sugar, egg, yogurt, vanilla and melted butter or if you are using a lighter recipe, the oil + applesauce.
4) Add in flour mixture and stir just until combined. (Do not overmix)
5) Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups using a full sized ice cream scoop. Batter will be almost to the top of the muffin liners.
6) In a small bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and cold butter until mixed. Using your fingers incorporate the oatmeal and nuts. You want a crumbly mixture.
7) Divide topping over muffins.
8) Bake 20 -25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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December 27, 2016

Bacon Bloody Mary

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I know I’ve been enjoying relaxing at my parents house and catching up on some much needed sleep. I am also in full prep mode for New Years Eve, since I’ll be hosting some friends in the city this weekend.

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In anticipation of the big partying days ahead and the fact that I will be entertaining some friends in from out of town, I thought it might be fun to perfect a brunch-friendly cocktail to nurse us back to health.  What better way to do so than with a Bloody Mary?! Seri helped me out and shot this beauty for me to have it ready for you guys in time!

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Here’s what you need:

-vodka
-tomato juice
-tabasco
-Worcestershire sauce
-prepared horseradish
-celery salt
-fresh ground black pepper
-salt
-bacon
-celery stalks
-lemons
-limes
-ice
-cocktail shaker

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Here’s what to do:

1) Start your bacon frying in a skillet.  Once fried to your desired crispiness,  stick onto a bamboo skewer and set aside for later use!

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2) Place mixture of celery salt, fresh ground black pepper and salt on a flat plate.  Take a lime wedge and wet the rim of your glasses. Place wetted rim in spice mixture on plate, coating the rim.

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3) Fill each newly rimmed glass with ice, about halfway. In cocktail shaker, add juice and rind of one lime wedge, one lemon wedge, 2 oz of vodka, 4 oz tomato juice, 2 tsp. horseradish, 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and one pinch each of celery salt, fresh ground black pepper and salt.
4) Also add ice to shaker, then cover and shake well, combining all ingredients.
5) Strain into each cocktail glass.  Should be enough for two bloodys, so mix again for more!

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6) Garnish each glass with a celery stalk, bacon, and a lemon or lime wedge.

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This beautiful, bacon-ey Bloody is the perfect hangover cure… and I will most certainly be serving it up to my friends on New Years Day after we party it up with the Ultimate New Years Eve Party in a Box. Today is the last day to order yours in time for your NYE Bash, so don’t miss out!

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Until next week… Happy New Year!

xx, Abby
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