Good Morning! It has been so long since I’ve last blogged. Sorry about that. Things have been absolutely nuts over here.
Mid-January, I left my full-time job at EIA for a part-time position with an agency in order to spend more time with Anna. I just couldn’t handle the full-time hours anymore, it was killing the mom in me. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out with the agency; however, as there is always a silver lining to any crappy situation, I decided to go full steam ahead with my business, Plated Public Relations. It’s been incredible and busy and oh so much fun running my own business so far. I can honestly say that for the first time in my career, I feel like I have agency and that I am the master of my own destiny. I make my own hours (I work Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 7:30 am – 3:30 pm), but I am quickly learning there is always more work to do then the 21 hours I set out for myself. I am finding a balance between working my butt off and spending time with my girl. And the best part is, my work doesn’t feel like work. My dad always said that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. I feel like I am finally getting there!
With two days a week with my Anna, I have two other days at home with my hubby and baby, and that’s where I have time to cook.
This past weekend, we wanted to give a small gift to our neighbours who have been snow-blowing our sidewalk the whole winter long. I couldn’t think of a better gift than homemade cinnamon buns. The only thing I hate about making cinnamon buns is the time it takes to let them rise (twice) before you can bake them, slather them with cream cheese frosting and enjoy them. These buns rise with baking powder, making the whole process a lot quicker and a whole lot simpler.
For the dough, I used Gold Forest Grains Red Fife whole grain wheat flour. A great thing about this flour is that is already has natural notes of cinnamon flavour, making for the perfect cinnamon bun flour!
Next, I melted butter and milk in a pot on the stove, created a well in the dry ingredients, and stirred until the dough came together. I found the dough to be a little wet, so I added about 1/4 cup more flour to make it kneadable.
Easy Whole Grain Cinnamon Buns (Makes 8 good-sized cinnamon buns. I always double the recipe for extra leftovers!)
You will need:
For the filling:
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
For the dough:
2 cups whole grain flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons butter, melted
For the icing:
1/4 cup cream cheese
4 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 425. Combine filling ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork until well-blended.
In another bowl, combine flour sugar and baking powder. Whisk together the milk and butter in a medium saucepan on medium-high to melt the butter. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the milky butter mixture. Stir until the dough comes together. If the dough is too wet to form a ball, add a little more flour. Transfer to a lightly-floured surface and knead until the dough springs back gently to the touch.
Roll out the dough long and flat. Add the filling, pushing it right to the ends of the dough, covering as much of the surface area as possible. Roll into a large spiral and cut into two-inch thick buns. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and add your buns. Bake for 15 mins, or until tops are golden brown.
While the buns are baking, make your icing by first warming the cream cheese slightly in the microwave. Transfer all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. When the buns are baked, drizzle with icing and serve warm. Enjoy, a lot!
Big News!! Anna took her first steps all by herself today! Needless to say, since she’s almost 18 months, her parents are THRILLED! In celebration, Daddy is taking her swimming and Maman gets to blog!
I made these last weekend and they were a huge hit around here. Very easy to prepare and they disappeared super quickly!
Breakfast Egg Cups
You will need:
1 cup feta
1 tomato, diced
1 pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
pinch each of salt and pepper
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
Preheat oven to 375. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Add feta to each compartment. Next, add vegetables. Beat your eggs with the milk, salt and pepper and Italian seasoning. To make it easier to pour into the muffin tin, I combined the egg mixture in a water pitcher. Pour the egg mixture over top vegetables in each muffin tin compartment. Bake at 375 for 15 mins, until eggs are set. Serve warm.
Good morning! I hope you all had a lovely holiday season. We certainly did, full of great company and incredible food. We were very lucky that we got to spend the week with Justin’s extended family in Canmore. Too much fun. Anna was incredibly spoiled and had a blast too!
I made this desert on our last day (like we needed any more calories by then). But it was just too good to pass up.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie (Modified from Flapper Pie and the Blue Prairie Sky by Karlynjn Johnston)
You will need:
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup chocolate baking crumbs
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
For the brownie:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup flour
Peanut butter mousse:
1 package (226 g) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup whip cream
3 tablespoons icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients for the crust and line the bottom of a pie tin. Bake for 5 mins and let cool. For the brownie layer, melt butter and combine all other ingredients in a bowl, leaving the flour for last. Incorporate the flour gently, and do not over-mix. Add to crust and bake for 20 mins, until set. While the brownie is baking, make the mousse. In a bowl with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and beat again until fluffy. Add whip cream, sugar and vanilla, and beat until soft peaks form. Once the brownie is set, cool completely (I put it outside for about 15 mins. Perfect!). Add mousse layer and freeze pie to set. Serve thawed. Enjoy!
Tis the season to be busy. I swear, I haven’t had a weekend day where I haven’t been running around for a while. It been a little exhausting. I took some time to cook some super delicious food this weekend, though. For a nice pre-Christmas lunch at my parents, I made deliciously addictive potatoes.
Deliciously Addictive Potatoes
You will need:
1/2 pack of reduced salt bacon
8 red skinned potatoes
1 white onion
1 cup shredded double smoked cheese
Begin by slicing the bacon into small pieces and cooking until crispy and the fat has rendered. Dice potatoes and onions and add to a casserole dish. Bake at 425 for about 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are soft and crispy. Add cheese and melt. Serve immediately.
I’m happy to report that Anna loves oatmeal, or “Gruau” as we all it in our Franco household. She also loves pretty much anything I put in front of her so I am an incredibly fortunate mom. This was a really simple dish to throw together in the morning when you’re up before your baby for no good reason.
Coconut Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
You will need:
two cups rolled oats
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Begin by preheating your oven to 375. Combine oats, cinnamon and shredded coconut. Ad coconut milk and blueberries and mix well to combine. Add to a greased baking dish and bake at 375 for 45 mins, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the oats are set. Enjoy!
Anna’s been into feeding herself with a spoon lately. It’s messy as anything, but it’s so cute to watch. She also loves soup! This mommy loves to make anything her baby will devour, and she had two bowls of this when I served it up for lunch.
I also used homemade bone broth. It’s so easy to make after you’ve cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot. Simply take off all the meat, put the bones back in the crockpot, and fill with water. Let it boil all night and you have delicious broth in the morning.
Sweet potato chicken noodle soup
You will need:
1 large sweet potato
2 sweet bell peppers
2 celery stalks
1 cup diced mushrooms
1 cup noodles
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
8 cups bone broth
Begin by placing broth and diced sweet potato in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Dice up all other veggies and saute in a skillet. Once potatoes are tender, use and immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add noodles to sweet potatoes and broth and cook until done. Add chicken to skillet. Add veggies and chicken to soup. Enjoy!
I’m realizing more and more lately that my culinary adventures are shifting because I want to now make dishes that my Anna love. As someone who shows their love through food, nothing makes me feel more accomplished in the kitchen then when the people I love enjoy the food I make.
Pre-mommy Jacquie wouldn’t have considered to create a cheesy taco pasta, but because Anna hasn’t been feeling great lately, I wanted to make her something she would devour, and a tomato-y, cheesy, taco pasta was just the ticket on a sick day for her.
If you’re a fan of my Taco Pie, than this dish is for you. It uses the same base of ingredients for the sauce, and is such a comforting dish that you will definitely be going back for seconds.
You will need:
For the sauce:
- 2 cups salsa
- 1 can sweet corn
- 1 can black beans
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- Pasta (I used rotini)
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, to serve
Begin by filling a large pot of water to cook your pasta. Prepare sauce while waiting for it to boil. In a medium saucepan, combine salsa, corn, beans and cream cheese. Heat until cream cheese is melted. Add cumin, garlic and chili powder to the sauce and mix thoroughly to combine. Once the water is boiling in the large pot, cook pasta according to package instructions. When pasta is cooked, combine sauce and noodles. Serve topped with cheddar cheese. Enjoy!