BBQ’d Peaches

Barbequed peaches sounds strange, I know, but they are actually delicious & a wonderfully easy summer dessert!  We first had them at my friend Vanessa’s house & both Colin & I thought they were fantastic.  Until that point I had never really thought about barbequing peaches but knew it was something I would definitely like to try.

Peach season was in full swing the first time I made barbequed peaches.  I say “I” but I really should say “we”.  I got them ready & Colin did the barbequing (we are a good team that way).  I knew roughly how to make them as I had watched Vanessa do it but I still looked up a few recipes just to be sure.  I came across one by the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond (, which gave me inspiration.  I didn’t really follow her recipe, just used one key ingredient, maple syrup.  We were making these peaches for my in-laws & both my husband & my mother-in-law love ANYTHING maple so I knew peaches with maple syrup would be a hit.

If you’re wanting to try this at home, it’s probably one of the quickest, easiest desserts you can make that still tastes amazing.  There is very little prep time & the ingredient list is small.  All you need is the following:


Maple Syrup

Vanilla Ice Cream

First take your peaches & wash them well.

DSC_1390Next take each peach, cut in half & remove the pits.  Removing the pits can seem kind of tricky but all I did was run my knife around the pit & it popped out quite easily.

DSC_1398Once the peaches are halved, brush the tops with maple syrup.  You don’t need a lot, just coat lightly.  The syrup will pool slightly in the middle of the peaches.

DSC_1401I did all of this prep work before dinner & let the peaches sit & syrup soak in while we were eating.  Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the actual barbequing of the peaches since it was dark (& I think I was doing dishes!).  BBQ the peaches on medium for 10 minutes or so, just until heated through with nice grill marks.

DSC_1403Now get out the ice cream & get ready to dish up your dessert.

DSC_1404Two scoops of ice cream, two peach halves & voila!!  BBQ’d Peaches….

DSC_1407Easy & delicious. Warm peaches, a hint of maple syrup, cool vanilla ice cream… are you hungry yet?  My husband has actually said that this is his new favourite dessert!

Chicken Wings…

I am not a fan of them.  There I said it.  I’m probably the only person who doesn’t like chicken wings, but I just don’t & haven’t for years.  They are far too much work for far too little reward.  The same goes with ribs.  I will eat ribs, but always with a knife & fork & it is not often that you’ll catch me eating a chicken wing.  My husband makes delicious homemade chicken wings (so I am told) & yet I still don’t eat them.  The truth is, apart from being a lot of work, they are just too messy for me.  If I could eat chicken wings, however, without having to touch them…. if I could eat chicken wings like Eric, then I just might… DSC_0258

Cabbage Rolls – For Ambitious Afternoons

Last week was an amazing week, at least in terms of motivation.  Somehow, after months of no motivation & not wanting to do anything, last week I was suddenly very ambitious.

Monday & Tuesday nights were spent editing…  a guidebook for the military center I used to work for.  Now, I know to many of you this sounds like work, but not for me – I love this stuff.  I might have missed my calling… perhaps I should have been an editor!  I have to admit that it was nice to challenge my brain for a change!  Wednesday night was spent editing photos & getting my travel photos ready for my post on Amsterdam.

Thursday I really surprised myself.  I came home from work & proceeded to do some major house cleaning…. bathrooms, vacuuming & washing floors. (I seriously have no idea where I found all that motivation!)  Friday night I put the finishing touches on my post about Amsterdam… & Saturday….

Well, Saturday, I decided to attempt to make cabbage rolls.  I have never made them before in my life.  For some reason I’d been thinking about cabbage rolls last week (I haven’t even eaten them in ages so I’m not really sure why I was thinking of them) & decided I would try them out.  I googled a recipe (I’m not sure why I did this as I probably have a dozen cookbooks with a cabbage roll recipe) & got to work.  For anyone else wanting to attempt this recipe… make sure you have time!!  Lots of it.  This dinner was all afternoon in the making!  I will say, however, the time was well worth it as they turned out to be quite yummy.  If you were expecting as many photos here as my Amsterdam post, I’m afraid you’re out of luck!  I think my husband was beginning to think I was a bit crazy, taking photos of everything!  Besides, cabbage is not an overly interesting subject!

Cabbage Rolls (a Canadian Living Recipe)

What You Need:
2 heads savoy cabbages or green cabbages, each 2lb (I have no idea how big mine were)
2 tbsp butter
2 large white onions, sliced
1/4 tsp caraway seeds, crushed (this proved difficult to do)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 cans (28oz each) crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp butter
3 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup long-grain rice (I used brown rice)
1-1/4 cups sodium reduced chicken stock
1-1/2lb lean ground pork or beef (again I have no much I actually used – one package)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (I forgot to buy this so I did without)
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill (also forgot this)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper

How To Make:
Core cabbages (I had to guess about what the recipe meant by this exactly… see photo below for my best guess!).DSC_0703 In large pot of boiling salted water, blanch cabbages, 1 at a time, for 5 to 8 (8 worked well for me) minutes or until leaves are softened. Removed & chill under cold water (I apparently skipped this step – but I think the only purpose is so that you can touch the cabbage without burning your fingers).

Working from the core end (I found the opposite worked better), carefully pull 12 leaves off each cabbage, returning cabbage to boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes when leaves become difficult to remove. Drain leaves on tea towels; cut out coarse veins. Set leaves aside. Reserve enough leaves from remaining cabbage to cover cabbage rolls in pan.DSC_0712In large shallow Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat; saute onions, caraway seeds, salt & pepper for about 10 minutes or until onions are golden. Add sugar; cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes & bring to a boil; reduce heat & simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened (my crushed tomatoes were very thick so it didn’t need much simmering). Set aside.

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook onions, garlic, thyme & cayenne pepper, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until softened.

Add rice; cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender & liquid is absorbed (since I used brown rice this step took about twice as long). Transfer to large bowl; let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in pork, parsley, dill, egg, salt & pepper.

Spread 1 cup of the tomato mixture in 24-cup roasting pan or Dutch oven.

Spoon scant 1/4 cup of filling onto center of each of the 24 reserved leaves; fold 1 end & sides over filling & roll up (the instructions make this sound very simple – it is not quite so simple). DSC_0715Arrange half, seam side down, in pan; top with half of the remaining tomato mixture. Arrange remaining rolls on top; pour remaining tomato mixture over top. Top with reserved cabbage leaves to prevent scorching.

Cover & bake in 350F oven for about 2 hours or until tender.
DSC_0719So, there you have it… cabbage rolls, for days with lots of ambition. As it happened, the same weekend I also made meatloaf, banana chocolate chip muffins & squash, sweet potato & apple soup so stay tuned for more recipes!

Coconut Key Lime Pie

I needed something to make for dessert for Easter weekend… & I wanted something that was light & spring like.  Although I have a number of different cookbooks, I once again went to the internet for inspiration & searched “Easter Desserts”.  Well, I hit the jackpot as far as I am concerned.  I came across this recipe for Coconut Key Lime Pie courtesy of Martha Stewart (  It sounded delicious, light & spring like, exactly what I was looking for.  I am happy to report that it not only looked & tasted great but it was super easy to make as well.  I even had a little help from Miss Lily “topping the pie”, which honestly, was probably the best part about making the dessert!  Honey has given it his stamp of approval as well & said that I can make it again any time.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Lily carefully sprinkling on the toasted coconut topping!

Coconut Key Lime Pie

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk

1/3 cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice

7 large egg yolks

1 easy Press-In pie crust, made with graham crackers (see recipe below)

2 cups cold heavy cream (whipping cream)

2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

3 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together condensed milk, coconut milk, lime juice (I  used regular bottled lime juice – next time I will use real lime juice for a more prominent lime flavour – or maybe even try to find key limes!)  & egg yolks until smooth.  Pour into crust & bake until set but still slightly wobbly in center, about 40 minutes.

Coconut Lime Pie Fresh Out of the Oven

Let cool on a wire rack, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, then refrigerate 3 hours (or up to 1 day – I made the pie on Friday & we ate it Saturday night & it was still great).

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream & sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.  To serve, top pie with whipped cream & sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Smell the pie & get a little whipped cream on your nose, just to make sure it's alright before enjoying!

Easy Press-In Pie Crust

6 ounces cookies (about 12 graham crackers, 46 vanilla wafers or 30 chocolate wafers)

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp coarse salt

5tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse cookies until finely ground – you should have about 1 1/2 cups.  (Or, if you want to cheat like me, buy a bag of graham cracker crumbs & just start with 1 1/2 cups!)  Add sugar, salt & butter & stir/pulse until combined.

Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom & up sides of a 9-inch pie plate (if using a springform pan, press crumbs halfway up sides). Bake until crust is dry & set, about 12 minutes (I think I did about 14). Let cool completely in plate on a wire rack before filling.

Homemade Waffles

I love breakfast.  It is one of my favourite meals of the day…. I love it so much that I often make breakfast for dinner when it is just me at home.  I don’t make breakfast for dinner that often when Honey is home… I am more motivated to cook for two people than for one… but when it’s just me, there is nothing better (or quicker) than whipping up an omelet, adding a salad & voila, breakfast….er, dinner!

Growing up, weekend breakfasts were always something to look forward to.  Pancakes, waffles, omelets, French toast, eggs sunny side up, soft boiled eggs with toast fingers (this was a favourite at our grandparents) & as we got older eggs Benedict also grew on us.  We even cooked breakfast like this while we were camping… maybe not waffles, but definitely pancakes… pancakes the size of a frying pan, usually with fresh blueberries that we had picked somewhere near the campground… mmmm… I making myself smile (at the memories) & hungry at the same time!

My Dad used to be the omelet guy… getting out the griddle & making a whole batch of omelets at once.  Now, I  say he used to be as I haven’t seen him make omelets of this kind for a few years… but, come to think of it, I think my youngest brother has picked up the torch… making a big batch of omelets like this at my house just last year!  Nellie was & still is the main breakfast maker in the house though, a trait I suppose I have picked up on as well.  It was Nellie who thought me how to make pancakes & waffles from scratch… & really, once you’ve had them made from scratch there is no going back to Aunt Jemima or frozen toaster waffles!

Breakfast in our house now is always a combined effort.  Colin & I work well as a team in the kitchen, whether we are making breakfast or anything else.  I have always found cooking to be relaxing & it is even more enjoyable cooking with my husband.  When it comes to breakfast Colin is the bacon cooker (or sausages or whatever it is we might be having).  He has much more patience for cooking bacon then I do (which is really quite funny because he usually has no patience at all)…. or it seems that way.  I think I never seem to have as much success with bacon as I am also trying to make eggs, toast & possibly potatoes at the same time.  Whereas when he cooks bacon he has only the bacon to focus on.  Having said that, you probably guessed that I am in charge of the eggs, toast & sometimes potatoes.  It is a good system that works well for us.

I don’t make pancakes & waffles all the time… they are better when cooking breakfast for a group as the recipes make a lot.  Pancakes & waffles are also fun to make with little ones… I have often made one or the other when we’ve had the kids over, letting them help stir the ingredients.  Miss Lily, in fact, loves to help Auntie B make pancakes.

Waffles, I think require even less effort than pancakes.  You mix up the batter, pour it into the waffle maker & then wait… there is not even any guessing if the waffles are done, at least not for me.

My waffle maker makes a little beeping noise every time a waffle is ready.  At first (& most times) I found the beeping annoying…. but it does come in handy.  I usually get a few waffles ready & then we sit down to eat.  I continue to make the waffles while we are eating & if it weren’t for the little beeper I would have probably burned hundreds of waffles by now!   But enough rambling… time for the recipe.  I don’t even know where this came from originally, it’s just the one my family has used for years.  I use a Belgian waffle maker but the recipe works for regular waffle makers as well.   I usually make a double batch & freeze the leftovers…

Basic Waffles

2 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together (I usually mix the dry ingredients in one bowl & the wet in another before combining) & place on preheated waffle iron.  If your waffle maker doesn’t have a handy beeper like mine, the waffles are ready when they turn a nice golden colour & are crispy on the outside.  Top with fruit & maple syrup!  Enjoy!

Makes 6 Waffles

Chocolate Banana Cake Two Ways

I seem to have a problem with bananas.  It’s kind of a love hate relationship.  I like bananas but only when they are on the green side.  Once they start to get ripe (to the point where most people like them) they are too ripe for me.  If they have spots on them, they are definitely too ripe.  If they have spots, in the freezer they go… which is where I run into problems.  You would think that I would stop buying bananas every week since I end up with so many in the freezer but I never do.   And if you could see how many bananas are currently in my freezer you would certainly agree that I have a problem.  My guess is that there are at least ten bananas in the freezer, possibly even more.  But there are less than there were a week ago!  I’ve made this chocolate banana cake twice in the last week, which used up six bananas.  Honey has commented on how many bananas there are… far too many by his standards… & you know it is really bad when the bananas start jumping out of the freezer & attacking you!

Usually I make banana bread with the frozen bananas.  I’ve had my banana bread recipe for a few years now & it’s good… recently I’ve taken to making a double batch, making half of it into banana bread & the other half into muffins, adding a few chocolate chips just to mix it up a little.  Last week was number two nephew’s birthday & I decided to try to incorporate bananas into my cake to try to use a few more of them up.  I googled chocolate banana cake & found this recipe (  It’s easy, nice & moist & you almost can’t even taste the bananas.  Last week I made the cake version with chocolate ganache frosting… this week I made cupcakes with butter cream frosting.  Both were equally delicious & easy!  Try this recipe out before your freezer bananas get out of control!

Day 14 - Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting

Chocolate Banana Cake

2 cups granulated white sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium-sized bananas)

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F & place rack in the center of the oven.  Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 13 inch pan (when I made this in the cake form I used a bundt pan & muffin tin when I made cupcakes).  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil & vanilla extract.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & stir or whisk, until combined.  You will notice that the batter is quite thin (I didn’t find it to be too thin).  Pour the batter into the prepared pan & bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (the bundt pan took about 50 minutes as it’s deeper than the 9×13, cupcakes take about 20 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven & let cool on a wire rack.  When completely cool, frost.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp unsalted butter

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized stainless steel or heatproof bowl.  Set aside.  Heat the cream & butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate & allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Stir until smooth.  When ganache has completely cooled, beat until soft & fluffy.  Then spread the frosting on top of the cake/cupcakes.

Chocolate Banana Cake with Ganache Frosting

Butter Cream Frosting

2/3 cup butter

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 cups icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp milk/cream

In medium-sized bowl, cream together butter, cocoa powder & vanilla.  Add icing sugar a cup at a time beating until smooth.  If icing becomes too thick, add milk as needed.

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

A Request for Brie

For any of you who have ever lived abroad you know there is just something about it that is…. well, wonderful.  It is something I can’t quite describe or put into words, but I certainly loved all of the time I spent in Europe.  My first trip to Europe was the summer after I finished my first year of university.  My roommate & I decided we would take five weeks & backpack through Europe.  It was an enormous adventure for both of us but a great experience & one that I am now glad I did in my early twenties.  I’ve also traveled twice to Italy on battlefield tours…. yes, battlefield tours.  (Did you miss the part in my bio that says I like tanks?  Well, that stems from my love of military history & the fact I have  two degrees in military history.  The battlefield tours make a little more sense now, don’t they?)

In anycase, Italy is amazing… Sicily even more so.  I fell in love.  The trips were amazing not only for the fact we were literally tracing the steps of the Canadian Army (which really is the only way to truly understand what transpired) but also for the food & the wine.  Fresh pasta, thin crust, wood fired pizza, seafood like you wouldn’t believe…. do I need to continue?  In one word… FANTASTIC!  If you are ever uninspired by food take a trip to Europe.  I think it is almost impossible to come back without totally falling in love with food again.  But this is not about Italy or Italian food.  This is about France.

I have also spent a summer in France, living & working in Normandy (it was that military history stuff again!).  And it was during my time in France that I met Celine, who is now one of my dearest friends.

Celine & I During my Summer in France

I have known Celine for over seven years now & am thankful that we have become such good friends.  Even though we live far apart now (we are at least in the same country now) our lives seem to somehow run a parallel course & we certainly depend on each other to get through the ups & downs of life.

While living in Normandy, however, Celine & I loved to spend our evenings in her tiny shoebox apartment cooking up a storm & laughing while sipping some (usually cheap) French wine.

Our Favourite French Wine

Those were some of the best nights of the summer & ones that the two of us will cherish forever, of this I am certain.  We were constantly experimenting & coming up new recipes to try.  If you saw Celine’s tiny place (we cooked at my place occasionally but Celine did have the better kitchen) & our limited cooking implements you might be surprised by what we managed to whip up.  Our repitoire certainly increased when Celine bought an oven (which was about the size of most microwaves).  We made pizza (with rice for the crust – sounds strange, I know, but it was actually quite good), pasta with lardons (aka BACON) & creme fraiche was one of our favourites, as was Normandy Chicken (recipe to follow sometime soon).  I even managed to turn out a couple of apple pies thanks to Celine’s oven.  Plus, we even pulled off a dinner party for about 9 people in her tiny place (Celine, please forgive me for the photo!).

Our Dinner Party in the Shoebox Apartment

But cooking is what made that tiny apartment & the dreary grey days of that particular Normandy summer bearable.  As I am typing this I am thinking of so many recipes that I brought back from France that I want to share with you.  But that’s for another day…The recipe today is actually not even one from France… but it is one that I made for Celine, when we had the opportunity to cook together in Canada many years ago & one that she has requested.  I look forward to the next time that we can see each other… hopefully for longer than our last visit & hopefully we have our husbands in tow!  Whenever we do manage to get together, however, I know there will be, as always, lots of good food, good wine & laughter! For you my dear friend, I hope you (& your sister-in-law) enjoy this! 

Balsamic Glazed Pear, Pecans & Onions in Brie

1 lb Brie Cheese (one small wheel)

1 tbsp butter

1 onion, peeled & sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pear, cored & chopped

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp each salt & pepper

1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans

Slice Brie in half to make two layers.  Heat butter in skillet set over medium heat.  Add onion & garlic.  Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until softened.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Add pear.  Cook, tossing for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to brown.  Sprinkle with brown sugar & cook, stirring, until well browned.  Stir in balsamic vinegar & cook for one minute.  Taste & add salt & pepper as needed.  Stir in nuts.

Place one layer of Brie on a platter, cut side up.  Spoon pear mixture over Brie & replace top of cheese.  Serve with crackers and/or thinly sliced baguette.  Recipe can easily be doubled.  Use additional filling as garnish (optional).


Yummy Brie