Battle of Ingredients #7: Easter/Spring Edition

Battle of Ingredients

Welcome to the next Battle of Ingredients. My co-host Starry Traveler Phoebe and I gathered this time with friends for a little Easter/Spring celebration.

Heres what we did!

Wine

Barefoot Sparkling Moscato

Tonight’s wine from our friends is the Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato. It was light and sweet. A more in depth talk will be in the wine recap next month.

Main Meals

Lamb Chops – Phoebe

Lamb Chops

Phoebe gets the big task of taking care of the meat dish this time around. We did research and realized that Easter usually revolves around ham or lamb and after some talk, she decided to take on making lamb chops. They were marinated and topped with salt and various herbs. It took about 2 hours to cook in the oven.

This one turned out pretty good. It wasn’t cooked through but I’ve had chops before and they usually aren’t plus it was marinated and seasoned just enough to have a lovely taste.

Ratatouille – Kim

Ratatouille

Recipe via Pinterest: https://www.ricardocuisine.com/en/recipes/5312-ratatouille?epik=0DYovE_IWH0tx

Trying out a quick one pot ratatouille this time as our primary vegetable dish. I followed the recipe above fairly closely. Eggplants aren’t in season right now so they were hard to find good ones. So the portion for that was a little less. However, this ratatouille was both easy to make and tasted pretty good. I may have overcooked it a little and it would have benefited from having some pasta or something to serve with. In comparison to the original, I think I skimped out on diced tomatoes a little. Everything’s a learning curve and I certainly had fun making this one and would try it again particularly using a pot this time instead of a pan since there is a lot of vegetables to add in so it started getting a little crowded and that affected the cooking time.

The better version would be to slice everything thinly and then organize it and pop it into the oven to cook. Perhaps a future trial.

Dairy-free Scalloped Potatoes – Kim

Dairy-free Scalloped Potatoes

Recipe: https://veganinthefreezer.com/dairy-free-herbed-scalloped-potatoes/

Next up is something of a side thing which was the scalloped potatoes. I recently made scalloped potatoes for a Goodfoods box and thought about it for this meal as a dairy-free style and found the recipe above on Pinterest. Scalloped Potatoes were done in the afternoon in advance as to free up the oven space and then reheated. We used a mandoline to quicken the process. We used some unsweetened almond milk (unfortunately, I only had the vanilla flavor) and we took a chance with it to see if it would affect the taste. It did still have a slight vanilla flavor which felt a little weird but overall, the texture is still there. I’d redo this one with the herbs (as the recipe above indicated but I didn’t have any this time around) and also with some unflavored and unsweetened almond milk. We only ended up with one portion left over so I’d say it had a decent result.

Dessert

Marshmallow Wands – Kim

Marshmallow Wands

Recipe: http://www.twosisterscrafting.com/springtime-marshmallow-wands/

The ideas I went through for the dessert was numerous but with the two dishes above, I wanted to go for something a little simpler so I went with these springtime marshmallow wands which is basically skewering three marshmallows and then coating them with dark chocolate and adding sprinkles then letting the chocolate harden. Its times like these that I wish I knew how to temper chocolate before coating it so that it would have that lovely crunch when you bit into it. Anyways, I am still learning and these did turn out really great. I know that the coating could have been better but I learned a lot from this recipe as simple as it may seem. Marshmallows and dark chocolate is just yummy! It is a little on the sweet side so I only made enough so everyone had one.

This wraps up this Easter/Spring edition of Battle of Ingredients!
Not quite sure what is next one but might be a spring Farmer’s Market edition for 2018.
Its still in discussion right now 😉

Do you celebrate Easter and what foods do you make?

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Battle of Ingredients 2018: Chinese New Year Edition

Welcome to the first Battle of Ingredients of 2018. Let’s call this Year 2! We didn’t get a full year for 2017 but this year, we are already much more organized. Battle of Ingredients has changed over the months and we are working with themed dinners more than we are working on ingredients however, we do try to stick within using seasonal ingredients available to the province of Quebec or ingredients related to the theme we are working with.

I have added Battle of Ingredients to the menu on top so you can check out any of the past events we’ve done that you may have missed in 2017.

The first Battle of Ingredients this year is a little belated celebration of Chinese New Year! Phoebe and I welcome everyone to enjoy this lovely event. Our best friend is back home so we luckily had her drop by to be part of this event along with the usual cast of guests.

Wine of the Night

Main Meal

Battle of Ingredients

Honey-Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry (Kim)

My contribution of the event comes from a recipe that Phoebe shared with me earlier in the week on Pinterest right HERE.

Stir-fry dishes always are a staple of a Chinese meal. I’m not a very skilled cook so this dish worked perfect for us. Its pretty easy to make. The original recipe asks for carrots but being the forgetful person I was, I picked them up at the grocery story to look at but forgot to put them in the basket so I replaced it with green beans. I kind of supersized the menu so I had to modify the sauce a little bit. My meal actually turned out to be a healthy blandness that I like but I offered salt and pepper to everyone to add if they preferred it stronger. The way to improve this one would be to use the chicken broth instead of water. However, this meal did make for some tender chicken as I did use thighs and vegetables had a nice crunch.

Battle of Ingredients

Ginger-Garlic Abalone (Phoebe)

Phoebe went with a lovely abalone dish. Abalone is a staple of a classy Chinese dinner ingredient. Sometimes the simplest way to make a dish is to go back to the basics. She used frozen abalones along with ginger and garlic on the top and put it to steam. It still had a little bit of the fishy taste here but to us, it was still very good. However, she did forget to bring green onions which would have helped with added a little more flavors to mask the seafood taste that some people (aka my husband) doesn’t like.

Sticky Rice (Outside contribution aka my mom)

Sticky rice is one of the Chinese dishes that you can find at dim sum restaurants and its also one of my favorite things to eat. Luckily, my mom had a potluck the day before and she contributed the sticky rice that one of her friends made to use for our Battle of Ingredients. It was delicious. One year, I will figure it out and I’ll give it a go.

Dessert

Tangerines, Dark Chocolate & Wife Cakes

I slacked off on my original plan to make Baked New Year Cake (recipe HERE) and Egg Tarts (recipe HERE). However, we did have some tangerines which is pretty normal to have for a Chinese New Year fruit dessert as well as some Wife Cakes, which is a delicious Hong Kong pastry made with winter melon. Without any coordination, both Phoebe and I ended up picking up some Theobroma Chocolate from Costco. I like the Raspberry flavor Dark Chocolate one and she got the Original 72% Original Chocolate one.

That wraps up our Chinese New Year Edition of Battle of Ingredients!
We had a few months of hiatus but we are back!
We are getting back into the groove of things 🙂
Our next one will be next month with a little Easter celebration!

My Weekly Adventures #43

Yesterday I already did the Mother’s Day recap, you can all head over to check that out HERE if you missed it!

The last two weeks went by in a flash, pretty much like 2017 has been. It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows (figuratively and literally), seeing as Montreal had a state of emergency issued over the weekend for the amount of rain we had been getting and flooding in various districts. It was a mess to say the very least. However, this coming week is looking up. We’re supposed to get a ton of sunny days and great weather finally! 🙂

Game Warp & Youtube

Perhaps one of the biggest things to go on in the last two weeks is the move from That Moment In’s Youtube to Game Warp’s own Youtube. It has taken us a year to make this decision but for us, despite having to restart on the subscriber count, its a fresh start. There were many reasons into doing this. We’re still under That Moment In and write our articles under that but as my post HERE explained, it opens up the option for us to make other types of videos. Of course, if you were subscribed over at That Moment In for gaming and didn’t see my notice, head on over to our Youtube HERE and subscribe to not miss out on what’s coming up. We are aiming to have content every day but we are only two people and rely heavily on what we have access too so it might not always be playthroughs on new games however we try the best we can to stay current or at least dive into the indie scene and give devs their space or highlight games that we’ve tried out no matter what they are.

For more info on this, I urge you to click on the link above to read more. I don’t want to be too repetitive for those who have read that post. Game Warp is a ton of fun but if you aren’t into gaming, that’s alright, I’m still here chatting up on everything else that you enjoy! 🙂

Cirque du Soleil –  Volta

Volta

Volta

Two Fridays ago, my girl friends and I had a night out to go to see Cirque du Soleil Volta. I love Cirque du Soleil. Two years ago, I went to go see Kurios. Its probably somewhere on the blog, probably a My Weekly Adventures a while back. We didn’t get really great seats and the story was a little abstract but there were some great stunts. The highlight of the show were the BMX bike stunts and man, it was exhilarating. There was one where it was a gymnast hung in the air by her hair and that was fantastic as well. It was funny and the music was really good, which usually is the highlight of the show. It was rainy but still very fun.

Birthday Bash (not mine)

My friend and their little one along with Mother’s Day was celebrated all together with a bunch of friends at a great restaurant. Here’s all the food on the menu which I or other people had. It was super delicious and it was very fun. Obviously, to respect their privacy, I’m not sharing any pictures with other people whoever, it was a fun Friday night. I was pretty tired however it was nice to go out and chat with other people.

73% Dark Chocolate by Chocolat Favoris

Chocolat Favoris

I’m not sponsored or anything by Chocolats Favoris (wouldn’t that be the dream, right?). However, we went there with a big family gathering over the weekend for chocolate and I found this 73% Dark Chocolate. Oh my goodness, this is just heavenly. I thought 70% chocolate was pretty delish but 73% apparently is the absolute perfection.

Cute Kitty Pic

Upcoming:

  • Battle of Ingredients
  • Double Features

That’s it for this Weekly Adventures!
What have you been up to?

Baking: Sugar Cookies (with 4 different toppings)!

The holidays are fantastic.  We take turns spending time with our friends and this year, we had a few friends drop by for a little potluck and game night to ring in the New Year’s.  Some of you know that I’m in absolutely love with baking.  With My Weekly Adventures post, before rambling about recaps and updates, I gave a quick look of some Boxing Day finds and the one I’m most proud of is finally getting the standing mixer.  For New Year’s Eve, I put it to the test and after much debate between various recipes, I decided to go with Sugar Cookies.  It does sound kind of familiar since I did do Chocolate Sugar Cookies on the baking date with my friend right before Christmas. Except, I’ve been eyeing this recipe in Butter Baked Goods, one of the cookbooks I own.

Here it is!

“Big” Sugar Cookies
(from Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykins)

Sugar Cookies

Sprinkled with icing sugar

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla
coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Sugar Cookies

2nd batch: With Sliced Almonds

 1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Onto a large piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and oil on medium to high heat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the sugar and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat briefly after each addition.  Add the vanilla and beat again to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.

6. Use the ice cream scoop to drop 24 equally sized portions of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Use the palm of your hand to press down lightly on the top of each dough portion to flatten slightly, then sprinkle with a little sanding sugar.

7. Baking in the preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges and cracked in the center.

8. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.

Sugar Cookies

3rd batch: with Dark Chocolate (Lindt 70% Cocao)

Notes:

  • I ended up with double the batch (48 cookies) with probably smaller size cookies.
  • Replaced vegetable oil with olive oil
  • Sprinkled with icing sugar for first batch but then used, sliced almonds, dark chocolate and snowflakes sugar decorations
Sugar Cookies

4th batch: with sugared snowflakes

These sugar cookies were pretty good. There was a good crunchy consistency.  I put the batches for 15 minutes in the oven. Suffice to say that the snowflakes was a true experiment and they ended up melting so that isn’t a great idea. The dark chocolate toppings were the big hit and ended the night with most of them eaten. Sugar cookies are a very easy solution.  I did these without a sifter and a proper ice cream scoop or parchment paper.  My new home needs some improvement in the supplies portion but that is on our shopping list. To be honest, cookies are my go-to whenever I need a quick fix for baking.  Preparation is usually quite minimal (unless you need to use cookies cutters which adds a step and maybe some kneading the dough depending on what you make) and the bake time is usually under 20 minutes (unless its biscotti which needs to baking sessions). I love quick solutions.  Sometimes life is about enjoying the simple things and sugar cookies definitely fits that category.

On a side note, the promise I made (to my husband and myself) with the new mixer purchase was that it would be the motivation to step back into my favorite activity ever: Baking and work towards improving this year.  Consider these sugar cookies to be the first step back in the kitchen.  For the record, there should be another recipe up soon for the Baking Through Disney.

How do you like to top your Sugar Cookies? Are you fan of cookies? What type do you like?

Sand Art Brownies

This is a great little gift idea for families with little kids.  My coworker was the one shared this with me.  She got it from her mother who I think learned about it at the community center.

This was the one gift that I had already decided on giving this year and I knew exactly who would get it also. It ending up being for my brother’s sister and her family.  She thought it was very nice.

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The only problem was the my jar was too big so I ended up adding in some gingerbread cookies (these ones) onto the top to keep the layers of ingredients from shifting. So make sure that you get the exact right shape of jar.  When I went to Walmart, they had ones too small or too big labelled and this one had no size so I could only assume.

Here is the exact paper as to how I made it and the exact page my coworker had photocopied for me.  You can print out the page and cut out the lower part and give with the jar as instructions to how you make these brownies.

Sand Art Brownies

However, for this little craft, if you look at the jar.  The top layer was not vanilla baking chips.  Somehow, these are impossible to find anywhere, so when I went to Plattsburgh, I was able to pick up Christmas Mint and Dark Chocolate Chips so I layered the top with that

It was really fun to make.  Plus, its a fun activity for the family.  That makes it a very awesome gift!