October 13, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

First of all, I was going to title this “Two Tablescapes and a Kugel” but then I thought nah, too confusing.

Although I’m going to talk about tablescaping in this post, by no means should the decor overtake what’s really the star of the show here, and that’s my late mother-in-law’s Apple Raisin Kugel.

As most of you know, we just did a major renovation on the main floor. Before everything began, packing ensued. And when I mean packing, I mean PACKING. As organized as I usually am, there was an issue with the items that were placed in large rubber containers. As we placed our entire kitchen and dining room into the containers, I asked Steve to be sure to label each one so it would be effortless finding things after the reno was complete. Would you like to know how he labelled almost 20 large containers?

Like this:

Kitchen

Dining Room

Uh…….ya.

“Where’s the wine glasses Steve”?

“In one of the 15 containers that says dining room”.

Okay, this didn’t work out for me AT ALL. I have scoured through most of the containers to find the necessities that were placed back into the kitchen, but I’m missing about 100 things.

One thing in particular was a collection of my mother-in-law’s recipes that were typed up and neatly placed in a binder. WHERE IS IT? I dunno. All I know is this, I have her old recipe box which had her hand written recipes inside. Lucky, lucky me!

So today I’m going show you how I set the table for two separate occasions over the past two weeks – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur AND of course, share this unbelievable kugel recipe with you.

When I decided to host both dinners for the high holidays, I wanted to include an edible component to the centrepiece. And by edible, I mean, your guests can actually graze on the runner. Yes!

As we sat down to our Rosh Hashanah meal, I was asked if the grapes on the runner were “real”.

Hang on a sec.

Never in a trillion years would I put plastic fruit on the table. NEVER EVER, NO HOW, NO WAY, NOT HAPPENING.

I told them to feel free to go wild with the centrepiece and guess what? They had a wonderful time eating those fresh blue grapes, in fact they even got to take home leftovers. There were a ton of grapes on the table along with fresh blue plums and apples.

The look and feel of an edible runner is both chic and organic at the same time, not to mention a perfect excuse to nibble at while the courses are changing over.

For both meals, I used apples and pears as placecards, to seamlessly combine the look and feel of a market fresh tablescape.

You may be wondering what I did with the leftovers? Well, you’re looking at it right here. I used the apples in the kugel and the rest of them in a strudel (not shown). This week, I’m going to use the pears in a recipe too. It’s safe to say that they served two purposes and were recycled into something delish.

There you have it. Fall inspired and super easy to do.

MYRNA’S APPLE RAISIN KUGEL (NOODLE PUDDING) 

– 1 package egg noodles, medium size
– ½ cup butter, melted (1 stick)
– 6 eggs, beaten
– 1 cup sugar
– ½ teaspoon cinnamon
– pinch of salt
– ½ cup raisins
– 2 – 3 large granny smith apples, shredded (I used 6 small apples) 

1) Preheat oven to 350F
2) Boil noodles according to package directions in salted water, drain and rinse with cool water.
3) In a large bowl, add noodles, eggs, melted butter, salt, sugar, cinnamon, raisins and grated apples.
4) Place in greased 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.
5) Bake uncovered for 50 – 60 minutes or until golden brown.
6) Note* – can be made ahead and reheated or frozen and reheated.

See ya next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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October 6, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

The best part about developing a recipe is the “creative aspect”. I’m not talking about getting fancy with ingredients here. I’m saying that you need to use stuff that is already in your possession. I usually open my fridge and spice cupboards, pull out this and that and then experiment by mixing different sauces and spices.

It’s the way I cook. It’s the way I was taught to cook by my mom. It’s the way I like it.

Does everything always turn out perfectly? Well, no. But lucky for you, it won’t show up here until it’s tried, tested and approved. Not only by me, but my only victim right now – Steve.

So, last night I made this chicken and MANNNNNN was it ever good. The only thing I would say is that this recipe needs a HEAT ALERT. I used fresh chili peppers here and they are dangerous.

This is the second time I’ve done something this stupid, but I’m going to let you in on it even though you will be shaking your head while reading this.

Yep. I cut the peppers and then rubbed my left eye. Do you know what ensued next? Me running around the kitchen splashing cold water in my eyeball and basically screaming.

Screaming, splashing, running. I was a sight for sore eyes. Oh wait. It was my EYE that was sore. Nevermind.

The only way I can describe it – painful and funny at the same time. But then again, that’s what it’s like to live with me. Ask Steve. He knows.

As with the majority of my shoots, I make things ahead of time so we don’t have to wait to eat our meals. Times have changed since the boys lived here. They were used to watching their food walk past them and became very accustomed to eating lukewarm meals. No wonder they moved out.

What I’m getting at is this. The longer this chicken sits in the sauce, the better it gets. Sweet, sticky, chili laden HEAT.  And speaking of sauce, I made this recipe on my insta story and I found that there was a teeny problem with the ratio of liquid. I needed MORE! So what does one do? Double the sauce recipe and bingo bango it was PERFECT.

Another winner of a chicken dinner.

SWEET HEAT LIME CHILI CHICKEN 

– 7 – 8 chicken thighs, skin on
– Salt
– Pepper
– Garlic powder
– oil for frying
– Sauce
– Juice of 2 limes
– 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
– 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
– 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
– 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, store bought
– 4 tablespoons brown sugar
– ½ teaspoon garlic powder
– ½ teaspoon black pepper
– Garnishes
– Sliced chili peppers
– 1 sliced lime
– Chopped fresh parsley

1) Heat a large skillet on the stove with 2 tablespoons of oil. Pan fry chicken on both sides until skin is browned and crispy. Remove from pan and place into large oven proof casserole dish.
2) Preheat oven to 400F.
3) Prepare your sauce by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until blended. Pour over chicken.
4) Bake chicken for 25-30 or until juices run clear. Switch oven to BROIL and crisp the chicken skin until brown. DO NOT STEP AWAY FROM THE OVEN. The chicken skin crisps up really quickly and it will burn.
5) Garnish and serve.

xx, Debi
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September 22, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

I just had one of those “OMG I FORGOT TO POST THIS” moments and although I’m knee deep in Rosh Hashanah prep I’m bringing you a recipe that’s furthest thing from traditional Jewish fare ever.

Now, posting this the day before the start of the Jewish New Year is going to definitely garner me a seat in business class on the next flight to H.E.L.L.

But, there’s a reason for this so hear me out.

These beauties were made a few weeks into the summer and as you can see I dressed them up with some pretty garden flowers. There was no way I could wait another minute to post this because, well, everything is coming up really “fallsie” right now so these just won’t fit into the recipe lineup for the season.

Besides the fact, it’s finally summer around here (even though it’s mid September) and the temperatures today are not conducive to wearing sweaters and jackets. HOLD UP a second. By no means am I complaining. Our summer season is so short and we had so many weekends filled with crappy weather so…..if it’s not too late for barbecuing, you need to try these shrimpapaloozas. Yes, that’s my new word for shrimp that are on steroids.

Wait. Do you actually know what the difference is between a shrimp and a prawn? Of course, I’m going to tell you so you can tell your friends.

Prawns have claws on three of their five pairs of legs, shrimp have claws on two of their five pairs of legs. Their gills and body shape are different too. As far as cooking them goes, they are virtually identical and interchangeable.

But really? Who gives a hoot about how many claws between these two shellfish. In my books, a prawn is just a GIMONGOUS shrimp and to be quite honest, the bigger the better for me.

How will I repent for my sins (and this post) next week? I figured it out.

Today I’m going to give you this recipe and link you to one of my all time faves for the NEW YEAR.

To those of you who celebrate, Shana Tova. May your lives always be filled with sweetness, love, health and happiness.

GRILLED JUMBO PRAWNS WITH LEMON GARLIC BUTTER

– 8 -10 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined and washed
– Salt & pepper
– juice of one lemon
– ½ stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
– ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
– ¼ cup finely chopped sage
– 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1) Preheat an indoor grill or outdoor barbecue. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Mix lemon juice, butter, parsley, sage and garlic in a small bowl.
2) Brush shrimp with butter mixture and place on grill. Continue brushing with butter until shrimp is cooked through – about 2 minutes on each side. If these are large shrimp they may take a bit longer. Serve hot and enjoy!

MY FAVOURITE ROSE APPLE TARTS

click here – Rose Apple Tarts

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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September 15, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

The issue with having a garden in your backyard is keeping up with the endless amounts of provisions you reap if you are lucky enough to have a good growing season. Enter Steve. He is out there on a daily basis picking reaping the benefits of what he has tended to all summer long.

The majority of the time, he ends up eating half of the ripe tomatoes the second he picks them off the vines and then comes in swinging another baseball bat size zucchini which really has no place for me to store in the kitchen. Those zucchs are really great to use in so many recipes during the summer.

I bet you didn’t know that you can freeze shredded zucchini. Neither did I until I saw it on Pinterest the other day.

There was one zucchini in particular that was sitting and staring at me from the kitchen counter. It was literally driving me crazy to look at because, I mean, really? It didn’t go with the new decor. In fact, zucchinis don’t go with ANY decor.

We have a giant fridge but there was no room for this sucka anywhere inside of it. Why? Because this guy had too many brothers and sisters that were already occupying the space reserved for humongous vegetables. It looked exactly like the Goodyear Blimp and each time I saw it on the counter, I cringed. I finally had enough and said “off with his head (and butt)”.

I threw the whole thing into my food processor and shredded it until I could no longer recognize it’s similarity to a big flying balloon.

So what was I going to do with all this zucchini?

Easy.

I had all the makings of a chocolate banana bread within my reach and I figured why not just add in the zucchini for a “healthy factor”. Who am I kidding? Between the chocolate and sugar, this wasn’t super “good for you” but it sure was delish and rated on a scale of +10 according to those who tasted tested it. Once again, I threw in substitute ingredients that really should have been other things but somehow this came out just fine.

Example 1:

I used 45% dark chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips for the guts.

Example 2:

I didn’t really need to throw in a banana, yes I know I said it was a chocolate banana bread but I had to change the title due to the fact that I used half a banana in the recipe. Otherwise, it would have just been called a chocolate zucchini bread. It was a last minute entry from the fridge before it hit the garbage. Gawd I love dead bananas. Oh and by the way, if I had a whole banana I would have most definitely added it in but half was better than nothing.

Example 3:

I used a small container of blueberry greek yogurt instead of plain greek yogurt because I didn’t have any and I certainly wasn’t running to the market to get a large container when I only needed a 1/4 of a cup.

My motto is “use what you’ve got otherwise it will rot”.

What’s the worse thing that could happen? Usually nothing.

Here’s what transpired when I sent a text out to my three boys with a picture of this bread. One of them dropped everything and came up to the house to ensure the gets at least two pieces. The other two were delivered the balance this week and my eldest said “that bread should be illegal”.

If you want to hide your zucchini and puddles of chocolate, this ones for you.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BANANA BREAD 

– 1½ cups grated zucchini
– 1 cup all purpose flour
– ¼ teaspoon baking powder
– ¾ teaspoon baking soda
– ¾ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I used mini)
– 1 bar dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
– ½ cup good quality cocoa powder
– ½ cup white sugar
– 2 large eggs
– ¼ teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– ¼ cup vegetable oil
– ¼ cup GREEK yogurt
– ½ ripe banana, mashed

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a loaf pan by lining with parchment paper or nonstick spray. In a large bowl mix dry ingredients together with chocolate chunks. In another bowl whisk together sugar,eggs,vanilla, yogurt, oil & mashed banana. Mix until smooth.
2) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Don’t overmix. Add in Zucchini and mix until the Zucchini is dispersed evenly throughout the batter. Place batter into loaf pan and spread out evenly. Take chocolate chips and sprinkle over batter, press them in lightly with your hand.
3) Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

xx, Debi
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September 8, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Sorry I’ve been missing in action over the past week. The next kid is getting married on September 10th so it’s been a bit busy. The standard prep, hair, nails, face and trying on my dress every day to make sure it still fits (because I’ve been scarfing down obscene amounts of sweets lately…..I’m using summer as an excuse).

So how about these figs. Let me tell you about them and also confess something to you.

I’m not a big fig fan. I think it’s the skin flesh or the tiny little seeds. What is it? I dunno. I can tell you one thing, it’s not the same as eating a fig bar. Those are REALLY GOOD and the cookie part is as soft as a pillow so who gives a damn about the fig interior.

Then why did I choose to make this recipe? Well, it’s like this.

I always get sucked in to those little street markets that display all their fresh produce right on the sidewalk. I couldn’t resist these perfect little figs. They were actually calling my name even though technically I dislike them.

I had a vision for these little fruits but sometimes things in my kitchen doesn’t always go as planned. I cut these little suckers in half, styled each one on a rustic looking plate, topped them with crumbled goat cheese, honey and pistachio nuts (which I made Steve shell for me) and then starting taking pictures of them. But wait. I noticed something. The pistachio nuts were not green enough.

Now listen. If my nuts aren’t green enough, they are not going to be photo worthy. And you know how nuts I am so you can understand why I had to start this whole recipe over again from scratch. Don’t worry, the figs weren’t wasted, I used them in another recipe where the colour of my nuts didn’t matter.

Oh, and I’m not the least bit sorry about those nuts. I had more figs and a bunch of green things so I could make this recipe instead.

As a matter of fact, this was so good I may have become a fig fan now.

Uh. Not really.

FRESH FIG SALAD WITH PEAS & GOAT CHEESE
– 8 – 10 fresh figs, cut in half
– 1 cup green peas
– 1 cup microgreens (I used arugula)
– 1 cup fresh blueberries
– ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
– 2 tablespoons organic honey
– 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
– dash of salt and pepper

1) Place first five ingredients on a platter. Drizzle with honey and oil. Season with salt and pepper. toss and serve.

xx, Debi
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