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Butter Bread

It was a loaf that started with such good intentions.

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Rather than spend my money on store-bought bread this week, I decided to make my own Irish Brown Bread following this recipe.

I searched the city of Toronto for buttermilk and could not find any. So I substituted with plain yogurt.

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What is up with no buttermilk Toronto?? I went to all of three stores and could not find any. My mom says you can make it by adding vinegar to regular milk. But that’s, um, gross.

For some reason, the recipe’s instructions of 2oz butter registered in my brain as 1/2 cup butter.

That’s a lot of butter. And it showed.

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I had to bake it for nearly twice as long so the inside would cook resulting in a rock hard crust. It also didn’t rise.

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My soda bread turned into a butter bread. This is what I classify as a #bakingfail.

I’m not the kind of person to just throw out a loaf of bread though. In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m cheap. Plus, the point of this bread was to save money!

Looking past the difficult texture, the taste  of the bread didn’t turn out so bad. I mean, it is 50% butter after all. I tried to redeem it in the form of french toast.

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Three small slices soaked in egg whites and cinnamon. Eaten with sugar-free syrup.

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Not bad. But still crunchy. This bread can do better.

I took the remaining half loaf and broke it into pieces in a bowl. I then added 1 cup soy milk and let it soak until the bread absorbed all the liquid (about an hour).

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Once the bread was good and mushy, I tossed in 150g cubed ham and placed the mix into a greased square baking pan.

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Poured 2 cups eggs whites over top and sprinkled with 30g old cheddar cheese.

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After almost two hours of baking in a 350F oven, my Butter Bread Breakfast Casserole was complete.

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My baking fail turned into a baking #win!

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Now I’m left with four servings of a grab n’ go breakfast for the rest of the week. Not just that, but the taste and texture is now divine! I highly suggest you try your hand at making an eggy bread breakfast casserole. I do not however recommend doubling the butter in any recipe, no matter how good that may sound :\

 

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In other news, I’m part of a pin-up calendar!!

This is a project that has been in the works since last winter when Deb’s father passed away. Her dad, Marty, was a fan of her food and fitness blogging friends and always joked about how we’d make for good subjects in a calendar. Well, when he fell seriously ill with lymphoma, the joke turned into a reality. You can read Deb’s post here to learn all about it.

We are selling a small number of the calendars with all proceeds going to help cancer research. Please see Deb’s post for more details, or drop her an email at LASmoothieGirl @ gmail.com. I got my copy of the calendar today and am really pleased with how it turned out. It’s such a fun way for this blogging community to come together and show support.

Here’s the full listing of girls featured:

Remember this photo? Well here is your explanation. I got January because it’s my birthday month. I picked the 80s as my retro theme as it’s the decade I was born in! Plus, Jane Fonda is one of my idols ;)

 

Question of the Day: Any recent kitchen failures to share? I can’t be the only one!

Project Food Blog Challenge #3 – Keeping It Classy: A Beer Filled Dinner Party

Three months ago, I moved from my small Atlantic Canadian hometown to the country’s largest city. My first time ever living away from my home province of New Brunswick. Apart from learning a lot about other cultures here in the self-proclaimed “multicultural capital of the world,” I’ve also learned a lot about my own Maritime culture. Or rather, people’s perception of Maritime culture.

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At first, I was taken aback to hear that the rest of Canada stereotypes Atlantic Canadians as heavy drinkers. I mean, we just love our beer as much as the next Canuck!

However, over the past three months, I have learned the stereotypes are in fact true. Us Maritimers really do love our booze more when compared to the rest of Canada. These Ontario folk have two glasses of wine on a Friday and call it a night. Meanwhile, that’s just a usual weeknight in New Brunswick!

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When reading through the third challenge of Project Food Blog, I immediately became weary…

Challenge Prompt: Celebrate! You’ve made it this far, and the next challenge is to hold a party for your friends and family (at least four guests, you can include yourself in the 4 person count). Whether you’re an experienced host or an entertaining newbie, get creative and host a luxurious dinner party where your guests will discover new tastes and exotic flavors. 

First things first, I still live like a college student. I have never thrown a dinner party. Any parties I have thrown have been far from “luxurious.”

Secondly, the majority of my friends in Toronto are all Maritimers such as myself. The type of people who blow through a case of Keith’s and end up gathered in the kitchen for a traditional “Maritime Kitchen Party” by the end of the night.

With this in mind, I decided to create a “luxurious” menu with a little bit of kick. Something that would take the class up a notch and yet make us still feel right at home.

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That’s right my friends, a menu where every dish features beer as an ingredient. 

Who said beer can’t be luxurious? ;)

Because I worked both Saturday & Sunday this weekend, I opted to do the majority of my food preparations Friday night. Then have everyone over after work on Saturday night. The Friday night in the kitchen was kind of fun!

I began by baking a loaf of Beer Bread with Guinness & Molasses.

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Recipe found here with a few changes.

4 cups flour (I used 1/2 all purpose, 1/2 whole wheat)

1/4 cup sugar molasses 

2 Tablespoons baking powder

12 ounces beer (NOT light beer) (I used Guinness draught)

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs, slightly beaten

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While that puppy was in the oven, I got to work on baking project number two: Guinness Stout Brownies.

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Recipe found here.

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter, cut into cubes

8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 6oz bittersweet, 2 oz semi-sweet)

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

4 large eggs, at room temperature (I used cold eggs and it didn’t explode or anything)

1 cup superfine or granulated sugar

1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) Guinness Extra Stout beer, room temperature

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/8 cup (about) confectioners’ sugar for dusting

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Adding the Guinness to the brownie batter…

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With the baked goods out of the way, I got to my cold salad that would sit in the fridge overnight: Pale Ale Cabbage Slaw.

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I was deeply disturbed when this recipe called to boil the beer right off the bat. Boiling beer feels so wrong!

1 pound red cabbage, finely shredded

1 pound green cabbage, finely shredded

1 package (1 pound) carrots, shredded I cheated and bought bagged slaw

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup sugar

½ tsp celery seeds

1 bottle (12 oz) Pale Ale Beer I used Bud Light Lime

1/3 cup grape seed oil canola oil

¼ cup cider vinegar rice vinegar

1 TBLS honey mustard

1 ½ tsps salt

½ tsp black pepper

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Buying the bagged slaw made the prep for this so easy! By then my bread was done, rising quite a bit thanks to the yeast in the beer. I couldn’t help myself – I had a slice right away!

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The bread powered me through the last bit of Friday night prep. I put the brownies in the oven then got started on the sauce for the Chicken & Tofu in a Peanut & Beer Sauce.

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Beer and peanut butter. Two of my favourite things!

The original recipe comes from here and is meant for chicken wings. Chicken thighs were on sale and tofu is cheap! What can I say, I’m a frugal hostess.

24 chicken wings, tips removed 5 chicken legs/thighs and 1 block tofu

1 12-oz can Lager Beer  used Brava Lager (local!)

½ cup molasses

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoons mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon chopped parsley Forgot this step – oops!

 

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I’ll admit, it felt very odd mixing those ingredients together all in one pot as I see them being so different. But it smelled heavenly!

I prepared the raw chicken and sauce so I could pop it in the oven come party time.

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Meanwhile, I MacGyvered a tofu press to work its magic overnight.

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Soon the peanut butter sauce smells were overtaken by chocolate smells indicating the stout brownies were done…

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What?? You’ve got to test this stuff before you serve it to other people ;)

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Dense, fudgy, rich. A definite stamp of approval.

 

On Saturday, I had two more people confirm they’d be coming. I started to worry that I might not have enough food. Plus, not everyone was scheduled to arrive at the same time. Thankfully, my roommie was on the ball and prepared a Cheesy Beer Dip while I was away at work.

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I’m told the dip was Cheez Whiz, cream cheese, and beer. Bam.

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Along with some Vodka Tomatoes.

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Made by poking holes in tomatoes and letting them soak in the goodness. Thank you Megan!! Both munchies were a hit!

Meanwhile, I still had one last dish to make: Cheddar and Beer Soup.

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The veggies, to offset the butter, beer and cheese of course.

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Recipe found here.

2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)

2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)

2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz)

1 (12-oz) bottle ale such as Bass I used Kronenbourg – a French ale.

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb extra-sharp Cheddar (preferably English; rind removed if necessary), grated (4 cups)

4 bacon slices (3 1/2 oz total), cooked and crumbled

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When buying the cheese, I didn’t really clue in to the fact that I’d be adding the whole pound to the soup.

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To put it in perspective, the volume of cheese was equal to the volume of liquid in the pot!

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Before I knew it, my guests had trickled in and the dishes were ready to eat!

The Starter

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The cheddar and beer soup was very hearty. Mostly cheesy with a slight hint of beer. We briefly discussed how many servings of cheese there were in one bowl, then decided it was in our best interest not to know. I toasted the beer bread and it made for a perfect dipper! The Guinness and molasses flavours definitely shine through.

 

The Main

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The sauce for this was uh-mazing. You must make it. Sooner rather than later.

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With the coleslaw. This was a hit as well. The flavours were very subdued and it was a nice light side dish to go with the heavier dishes. I think the Bud Light Lime was a great choice for this.

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The Dessert

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The ice cream was actually a last minute thought. After trying the rich brownies, I knew they needed to be paired with cool and creamy vanilla ice cream. You can’t taste the Guinness in the brownies at all, although I dare to say it brings out the intensity in the chocolate flavour. I saw people go back for seconds on this one!

 

The Cast of Characters

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Megan, my roommie, hostess extraordinaire. Living together for three months and already our kitchen has turned into a foodie paradise.

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Amanda, the only non-Maritimer present, but adopted as one of our own.

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Billy and Jer, keeping up the “luxurious” standard.

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Tom, always ready with an inappropriate comeback.

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Colin, who says “no” to mix or ice.

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Me! After pulling off my first ever “luxurious” dinner party for my decidedly un-classy group of friends from back home. We ate, we drank, we ate what we drank. Proof that we Maritimers may like our drink, but damn it, we know how to do our drink well. Thank you to Foodbuzz for inspiring this gathering. My lush friends and I had a blast!

 

Voting for the third challenge opens Monday, October 4. Vote for my booze-infused dinner party here!! And remember to keep it classy blogland!

A Vegan Recipe + A Very Non-Vegan Favourite

Happy Waffle Wednesday!!

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Like how I make the Waffle Wednesday font match the colour of the waffle toppings? Yeah, I like to make my blog look professional like that ;)

This week’s topping comes to us from a box of local strawberries I bought for a dollar because they were on their way out.

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They barely had a day left and I didn’t feel like doing anything fancy with them. So I chopped up the good ones and mixed them into plain yogurt. After a day of sitting in the container I had naturally sweetened strawberry yogurt with huge chunks of berries! I loved this, will definitely not scoff at a box of overripe berries again.

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For the waffle, I mixed up my usual protein waffle batter as of late. Except this time I doubled it to get two giant waffles from the belgian press.

  • 1/2 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • even more cinnamon
  • 2 packets stevia
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 cup almond milk

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I sprinkled flaked coconut and mini chocolate chips on top for good luck. The chocolate chips totally made the waffle. Amazing what a little chocolate can do!

I actually ate the above waffle on Tuesday. After working for 15 hours on Monday, I thankfully didn’t have any clients until 6pm on Tuesday. Which meant I stayed in my jammies until 4pm. However, I still have my Wednesday morning client, which means I’m up before dawn at this time every week now. Thinking ahead on Tuesday, I popped the second waffle in the freezer for an early morning treat.

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I woke up a little earlier this morning so I could eat the waffle at home and not on the streetcar. Had just enough time to pop it in the toaster oven, fry up a couple eggs, and guzzle back a mug of coffee.

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Runny egg yolks combined with sugar-free syrup made for an awesome waffle topper. My oh my. Not to mention, all the fat and protein adequately silenced my morning hunger beast!

Fret not though. I am getting my carbs in as well.

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I was been craving a grilled cheese like woah. I usually don’t get intense food cravings, but the thought of greasy melty cheese between two pieces of hot crispy carbs had been floating in my mind for days. On Tuesday, I finally succumbed with a couple pieces of my homemade Irish brown soda bread and old cheddar cheese.

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To really kick this craving, I did nothing at all to healthify it. Used real butter with thick slices of both bread and cheese. Hit. The. Spot. Kept me satisfied for 5 hours.

Polished it off with a local McIntosh apple.

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McIntosh isn’t my favourite snacking apple. But they’re pretty darn good (and HUGE) when local and in season.

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That’s right my friends. It’s my favourite time of year. Apple season!!

My afternoon off on Tuesday also provided ample time to try out a new recipe:

Snobby Joes.

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This is a vegan sloppy joe recipe using lentils instead of meat. I got it here from the Post Punk Kitchen (my favourite vegan site!) but it actually comes from the book Veganomicon.

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Instead of eating it sloppy joe style on a bun, I ate it on my favourite form of carbohydrate: pita bread.

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The reviews of the recipe said it was a little spicy, so instead of 1 tbsp of chili powder I used 2 tsp chili powder + 1 tsp cumin. But I found it more sweet from the maple syrup! Decent recipe though. Super filling from the lentils.

As a random side note, my muscles are adjusting nicely to my new weightlifting split. Except one thing: my hands are killing me! Apparently my grip strength hasn’t increased with the rest of my strength. Even though my back can pull around heavy dumbbells, my hands are buckling under the weight! It hurts to even hold a pen :( Le sigh. Am doing lots of stretches and hope they will toughen up.

Now I’m off to bed. Away working from 6am to 10 pm again tomorrow! Gah!

 

**Thursday is your last day to vote for The Next Food Blog Star on Foodbuzz. Click here to read and vote for my submission if you haven’t gotten around to it yet. Thank you!!**

Question of the Day: Let’s talk carbs. What’s your favourite kind of carbohydrate? Mine are apples and pita bread, obviously ;)

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