December 2, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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I bet you didn’t know this. Ready?

Yakisoba is a classic Japanese street food made by stir-frying boiled ramen noodles, vegetables and meat or seafood with a sweet and savory sauce.

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It’s an easy and super delish meal that’s made in minutes. Can you really ask for anything more? No.

The most time consuming part entails the prep of your veggies. Especially when you live in a house that has cupboards and drawers which “eat” your kitchen gadgets. What am I talking about? I’ll tell you.

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It never fails, every single time either Steve or I go to look for a pot, pan, colander, measuring cup, spoon or grater, it disappears. That’s not to say I’m not organized, because I totally am. We open up the cupboard and look for specific tools, such as a box grater, and it is nowhere to be found. Here’s what happens next:

1) I ask Steve if he knows where the item is.
2) He answers by saying it should be “in there”.
3) I ask, where is “in there”?
4) He answers by saying, “you know where in there is”.
5) I look “in there” and it’s “nowhere”.
6) He gets up from the couch and puts one of his Sci Fi, screaming ladies, blood spurting movies on PAUSE.
7) We now have the flashlight out (which is running out of batteries from looking for things “in there”).
8) He sticks the flashlight and half of his body IN THERE.
9) He then starts moving things around and shuffling dishes and pots and pans to find the item. (insert loud crashing sounds here→)
10) He then starts removing items from “in there” briskly and placing them on the floor (which makes me crazy because the floor is the floor and even though it’s fairly clean I’m pretty sure I will need to rewash them before using. Ugh)
11) At this point, I bet you’re wondering if we found the damn grater. Well….no. Moving on to point 12 now.
12) Steve now removes half his body from “in there” and decides that he needs to leave the area but not until he reorganizes the entire cupboard by placing all the items on the floor back on the shelves. Oh and one more thing. He calmly states that the shelf inside the cupboard will collapse one day from the weight of all the cookware “in there”. (FYI, I’ve heard this story a million times but he has yet to either secure the shelf or come up with a solution other than a full kitchen renovation……..thanks Steve……..thanks)
13) I’m now holding the flashlight with half my body “in there”.
14) And lo and behold, I’m faced with the back end of the grater which was thrown in haphazardly at the bottom of the cupboard.
15) Next, I yell – FOUND IT STEVE!
16) He then says where?

and I say……….”IN THERE”.

Spicy Chicken Yakisoba Noodles
-½ medium sweet onion, diced (I use a vidalia)
-2 medium carrots, shredded
-½ head of broccoli, separated in to small florets
-1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely diced
-1 cup chicken breast, cooked (I used bbq chicken but you can sub in any meat or even cooked shrimp)
-2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive, vegetable etc.)
-2 packages ramen noodles (don’t use the seasoning packs, just the noodles)
-1 teaspoon spicy avocado or sesame oil
-¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
-¼ cup worcestershire sauce
-2 tablespoons ketchup
-1 tablespoon chili sauce
-1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
*you can use any combination of Chinese greens, bean sprouts or vegetables for this stir fry

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1) Before you start, you are going to prepare the vegetables and sauce for stir frying. (this saves you from scrambling around when it’s GO time)
2) Peel the ginger and grate it with the fine side of box or cheese grater.
3) Peel and grate the carrots with the large holed side of a box grater.
4) Dice the onion and cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
5) Begin boiling a medium pot full of water for the noodles.
6) In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, ketchup, chili sauce and sugar.
7) Stir until the ketchup and sugar are dissolved.
8) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the grated ginger, saute for about 30 seconds to one minute (don’t let it burn like I did, ya…I had to start over again).
9) Add all of the vegetables. Stir and cook until wilted (about 5-10 minutes).
10) Once the water boils, add the noodles and cook just until tender (2-3 minutes). Drain, return to the pot (with the heat turned off) and toss with the spicy avocado or sesame oil to keep from sticking.
11) Pour the sauce into the wok or skillet with the chicken and vegetables with the heat still on medium high. Add the noodles, stir to coat everything in the sauce, and heat through (about 2 minutes). Serve hot.

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See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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November 18, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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I know you will relate to this scenario. The recipe calls for 1 cup of an ingredient and you end up with an open tub of ricotta that you will stick in the back of your fridge and forget about until one day when you have nothing better to do than clean the fridge, then you find a tub of cheese, open it and it reminds you of a science experiment gone awry. (My God that sentence was way too long).

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So as to avoid having to throw out this ricotta, the day I made a savoury recipe, I decided to make a sweet one for two reasons:

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1) I had plums
2) I had the cheese

So ya. That’s about it.

Wait. No…..

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I have another reason. I forgot about the open box of puff pastry that was hanging around.

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Now let’s talk about slicing things. If my husband is around, he offers to slice stuff for me. Why? Because he “claims” that I “butcher” everything. Not true Steve, not true. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have sliced a tomato and he says “what did you do that”!!?

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I have some of the best knives in town thanks to the folks at Zwilling J.A. Henckels. I mean, the best. They are so darn sharp they actually scare me a little. The thing is, I need cutting lessons. Yes, cutting LESSONS.

Recently, I was invited to the grand opening of their new store, which is conveniently located 10 minutes from my office. I’ve never seen so much knife wielding in my life. It’s super cool to watch “REAL CHEFS” handle their cutting weapons. Did I learn anything? Well, yes. The best way to ensure you don’t slice your fingers off is to ask Steve to cut something for you.

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So what did we get to do at this event? EAT AND MEET.  My two favourite things in the world to do.

Here I am with the President of Zwilling J.A Henckels Canada – Mrinal Sharma, who is charming, knows his knives and is very tall.

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I was also really excited to  meet Niside Aloi, who is the public relations and media manager for Zwilling J.A Henckels Canada, a lovely, talented and beautiful young lady whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past year.

Oh, and they let me hold a big knife (in a virtual kitchen).

We sampled tastings from Chef Romain Avril, who is the executive chef at Toronto’s newest hotspot, Lavelle.

His food was totally amazing and beautifully presented in an array of Staub cookware.

An event is never an event without me stuffing my face with sweets, so here ya go. I didn’t realize that those little bombé wouldn’t really fit inside my mouth in one fell swoop. Okay, so I’m not very socially acceptable sometimes, but I try.

So what was I saying?

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Oh ya, this tart. A perfect match for a Zwilling knife. Sharp and beautiful.

Thank you Zwilling for hosting me and my editor Eve at this event! (she got to hold a big knife too)

RED PLUM, LEMON AND RICOTTA TART
-2/3 cup smooth ricotta cheese
-2 tablespoons organic honey
-zest of 1 lemon
-1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
-3 large red plums or any other stone fruit, halved seeded and thinly sliced
-powdered sugar for garnish

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INSTRUCTIONS
1) Preheat oven to 400˚F.
2) Place ricotta, honey and lemon zest into a mixing bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
3) Place puff pastry into a tart pan spread honey/ricotta mixture over the top in an even layer.

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4) Top with rows of thinly sliced plums, until the surface is covered.

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5) Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until puff pastry turns golden brown and puffs around the edges.

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6) Allow tart to cool, 15 to 20 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar, slicing and serving.

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xx, Debi
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November 11, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Not sure what I like better here. The painted pumpkins or these yummy waffles. It’s clear I had nothing better to do the other day when I pulled out my Martha Stewart Craft Paints and went to town on these mini pumpkins. I really didn’t want to toss them out and they were getting a bit yucky looking, since I bought them over a month ago.

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But look.

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A very simple way to spruce up pumpkins for a DIY craft. All you need is paint, brushes and your pumpkins. That’s it. Pretty stinkin’ easy and beyond cute for a tablescape. I chose to do these colours because well……you know I’m slightly addicted to Pinterest and spotted something similar the other night when scrolling through my home feed.

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I also loved intertwining the freshly fallen leaves from my tree (and my neighbour’s who has no idea I snatched them without approval) with these magnificent colours. Fall is the time of year when I have mixed feeling about summer being behind us and seeing signs of winter ahead. Then the stupid trees have to go and do their changing and I can’t think of anything negative about this season anymore because really? There is nothing like a fall horizon to pick up your spirits.

Our garden is barren from vegetables and I can’t find Alice the rabbit anywhere. She must have gone to the side of our house to prepare for the winter (most likely with all the produce she stole from us all summer).

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There was ONE thing she didn’t get her hands on and that was a baby butternut squash my husband found a few weeks ago. It was so small it would barely be worth it to cook and eat but I thought, hey, why not? I can add it as an ingredient in something.

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I took leftover pumpkin filling, this little squash, a banana and bingo bango, we have WAFFLES!

I hauled out my newish Cuisinart Waffle Maker and set everything up so I was ready to go. Grabbed my Vitamix and threw all the ingredients in, gave it a whirl and had a lovely rich batter that was laced with healthy ingredients.

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I think I got a bit too excited to make these and I missed a step.

A very important step.

AND.

That was……..

I forgot to spray the waffle maker with non-stick oil.

See?

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OY.

Here’s what I have learned over the past (100) years of cooking. If your dish looks like crap, don’t admit that you flubbed up. JUST CALL IT RUSTIC.

I mean. It still tastes the same, right?

I managed to eat the rustic waffles while making the next batch, which came out MUCH better.

See for yourself.

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Pumpkin, Squash & Banana Waffles

2 large bananas, mashed
1⁄2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup butternut squash, cooked
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon date spread, peanut butter or almond butter
1⁄4 cup melted virgin coconut oil
1 cup flour (can use any flour here)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

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1) Preheat the waffle iron.
2) Combine the bananas, pumpkin puree, squash, eggs, date spread, peanut or almond butter, and coconut oil in a blender and mix well until everything is well blended.
3) Once smooth, add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and salt and blend until well mixed.
4) Lightly spray the waffle iron (I used coconut oil). Note* – Don’t forget this step unless you want those rustic waffles I was talking about.
5) Ladle the batter into the preheated and greased waffle maker and spread it evenly across the surface. Close the lid and cook, following the manufacturer’s directions.
6) Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and real maple syrup.

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See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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October 28, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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I could probably just write two lines for this blog and it would be sufficient because really? All you need to know is this:

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You can make these spooky treats in less time than you can say BOO.

But wait.  I just need to tell you this…. (you didn’t expect me to just go away quietly did you?)

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The long and short of these mummies are as follows: I got really lazy this weekend. Like really, really downright lazy. I’ve made treats from scratch almost my whole life, but with a few celebrations coming up this week and no time to spare, I had to think really fast.

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I needed something quick as lightening to shoot for a Halloween post, so here’s what I did:

1. Pinterest (I mean, what did we do without pins and boards?)

2. The bulk food store (a truly magical place)

3. Searched my cupboard for things I rarely use (like black icing gel)

Have to admit…

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These are stinkin’ cute.

Just in case you are not as lazy as I am, I’m going to share my all time favourite marshmallow krispy recipe with you. When I made these squares for my boys, they walked into the kitchen, walked out and the pan was empty within 5 minutes. OH the joys of boys.

Happy Halloween from Simply BOOtiful Eating!

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3 INGREDIENT KRISPY MUMMIES

1) Melt chocolate in a microwavable bowl in 30 second increments. Keep stirring in between the 30 seconds until smooth and glossy. About 2 minutes total.
2) Dip marshmallow krispy squares into chocolate, coating the top and sides only. Leave the bottom without the coating. Place each square on a cooling rack. Once you are done, pop them into the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 5 to harden the chocolate.
3) Remove from fridge or freezer and drizzle with leftover chocolate to make zig zag strands like a mummy. Place back into fridge or freezer to harden.
4) Place two drops for each eye with the black gel icing. Let fully harden and serve.

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PEANUT BUTTER MARSHMALLOW RICE SQUARES
-¼ cup butter
-5 cups miniature or 40 regular (250 g pkg) marshmallows
-½ tsp vanilla extract
-6 Cups puffed rice cereal (*I have used brown rice puffs and it works well too)
-3 heaping tablespoons smooth peanut or almond butter

1) In large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add marshmallows; stir until melted and well blended. Remove from heat.
2) Stir in vanilla and nut butter.
3) Add cereal, stirring until coated. You’re going to need muscle for this, trust me.
4) Using lightly buttered spatula or wet fingers, press into buttered (13 x 9″) pan. Cool. Cut into bars.

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See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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October 14, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Everyone has a signature recipe right?  I’ve tinkered with a bunch of meatball concoctions and still circle back to this one each year when we make our high holiday meal. In fact, this is one recipe that can be made anytime because frankly? They are sooooo yummy!

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So, these are aptly referred to as Aunt Debi’s meatballs. Why? Because my niece AKA Little Miss Party gave them that handle and ever since I’ve passed along the recipe to her, she has shared it with others. Now, if memory serves me right, I think it was this meatball recipe that was given to a close male friend of hers. He wanted to make an easy meal to impress the lady he was starting to date.

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(Note: it was either these or my casserole that he made. I can’t remember and this story works better by adding the word “balls” into the equation so just ignore my babbling and read on)

Well?

They are married now so clearly his balls (my balls?) (these meatballs?) were cupid’s catalyst for love.

Okay, so what’s in them? Not really anything so secretive.

I start with the basics: ground chicken, eggs, seasonings and breadcrumbs. Oh, but wait. Not just any breadcrumbs…..they have to be fresh Challah crumbs. This was something my mom taught me. A meatball or a burger is really nothing spectacular until you add the noteworthy Challah crumb. Challah (or egg bread) is light, moist and literally bounces air into any ground meat mixture. Next time you try it let me know if my mom was right.

Wait.

She’s always right.

Moving on to the sauce. It’s easy.  A jar of store bought spaghetti sauce. One tin of tomato sauce, one tin of tomato paste, some brown sugar and then once they have cooked for an hour, throw in a can of whole cranberry sauce and 1 can of ginger ale or sprite. Ya, you heard me. There’s soda pop in DEEZE balls. Most likely why they taste so good.

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Keep in mind, these are special occasion balls. You are not going to be eating a sugary main dish every day (even though the thought has crossed my mind over and over again).

SWEET & SOUR CRANBERRY MEATBALLS

Ingredients: 
2 – 3 packages ground chicken (about 3 – 4 lbs)
3 eggs (rule of thumb, use 1 egg for each pound of chicken)
3-4 pieces of challah, processed into fine crumbs ( same rule of thumb, one slice for each pound of meat)
pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper
¼ cup regular dry breadcrumbs
Sauce #1:
1 jar plain spaghetti sauce
1 small tin tomato sauce
1 small tin tomato paste
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Sauce #2:
1 tin whole cranberry sauce
1 small can ginger ale, sprite or 7 up

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients for the meatballs and set aside.
2. In a large pot or dutch oven, bring ingredients for sauce #1 to a slow boil.
3. With wet hands, form a golf ball size meatball and drop into simmering sauce. Once all your meatballs are in the pot, DO NOT STIR. In fact, step away from the pot for at least 10-15 minutes. This is the trick to ensure that your meatballs don’t transform into a MEAT sauce.
4. Give the pot a good shake once you see the meatballs look lightly cooked. Cover and simmer for one hour.
5. For the second hour, add sauce #2 ingredients into the pot. Continue simmering for another 60 minutes covered. Can be made ahead and frozen or served hot.

P.S. I completely forgot to add in the tomato paste when I made these last week because I dunno why. No one knew the difference and there were absolutely NO leftovers in sight. But you can be darn sure that next time, I’m stashing a few extra balls for myself.

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See ya next week!

Debi
www.simplybeautifuleating.com
@SimplyBeautifulEating

xx, Debi
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Party conversation
  1. mandala tapestry

    Very nice thanks for sharing……..

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