Archives for category: recipe

Who doesn’t love to celebrate love? It’s a wonderful thing! With Valentine’s Day a week away I’m sure many of you have already begun at least thinking about your plans for V-Day. Are you planning on going out for dinner, or staying home for a romantic home cooked dinner? Many local restaurants are extending their Dine-Out menu‘s until the 14th so lover’s can enjoy a 3 course dinner for less. As always Boston Pizza across Canada offer a heart-shaped pizza for Valentine’s Day with $1 of every pizza going towards charity. For those planning to stay home I have a little recipe for a pasta dish to share with you that’s quite simple and so flavourful. Maybe you can even slurp together your pasta a’la Lady & the Tramp.

This is a recipe that I was first introduced to by my boyfriends Grandmother. We beg her to make it for us every time we go to her house. I’ve changed the recipe a bit to make it my own. I promise you this pasta dinner recipe will knock your Valentine’s socks off!

Grandma Z’s Pasta

1 1/2 cups of sun-dried tomatoes

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 small sweet onion chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

2 handfuls of spinach

1 cup milk

1 small tub of Philadelphia cream cheese

1 package fettuccine noodles or egg noodles

Directions:

In large wok fry onions, mushroom,garlic and spinach with a touch of olive oil or butter. When browned slowly add cream cheese, working it in as it melts. Add sun-dried tomatoes. Slowly add in milk to make the sauce less thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer and stir for 5-10 minutes. Add to pasta and mix together. Et Voila!

I have tried every single time I’ve made this dish to take a good photo of what the sauce looks like and I can never do it justice. Just trust me when I say that this is the best pasta EVER!

Hope your Valentine’s Day is full of love and good food!

Since I recently did a posting on Gorilla Food I thought why not do another one on banana bread? Hehe. Yesterday, I baked banana bread for the first time ever! I don’t know what took me so long. Even my 20-year-old little brother told me he had baked it himself before. Although he said the recipe he used including Miracle Whip which sounds pretty interesting…hmmmm. I wish I could have tried a bite of that loaf! I’ve don’t think I’ve ever had a bad slice on banana bread though. Even when it’s the healthiest option in a gas station ‘bakery’ section on a road trip I still love it. So found out why ingredients I would need and behold I had all I needed in my pantry already! I followed a few recipes and then made it my own. It turned out lovely and filled my kitchen with such a sweet scent. Best of all it’s preservative free food, which is the best way to be!

VV Banana Bread Ingredients:

Banana Bread raw mixture

2 cups (500ml) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (50ml) granulated sugar

2 tsp (10ml) baking powder

1 tsp (5ml) baking soda

A pinch of salt ground himilayan rock salt

1/2 (125ml) chocolate chips

1/2 cup (125ml) crushed walnuts

2 cups (500ml) mashed ripe bananas

1/2 cup (125ml) butter, melted

1/2 cup (125ml) milk

2 large eggs
Directions:

In large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate chips and crushed walnuts. In separate bowl whisk together eggs, butter, milk and bananas. Pour over flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon till blended. Spread in greased or silicone pan 9×5 inch (2L) load pan.

Bake in centre of oven at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out smooth. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes then place on rack to cool completely.

Tip: I sprinkled my Banana Bread with a little bit of granulated sugar as soon as it was out of the oven for an extra sweet treat.


 Веселого Різдва! For those of you that are wondering what that means, it’s Merry Christmas in Ukrainian. According to the Ukrainian Catholic calendar Christmas falls on January 7th and today Ukrainians all around the world are celebrating. So, in honour of this and my Ukrainian heritage I’m going to share the coveted borscht recipe from my Baba & Papa. This is a very old family recipe that as far I know has never been published before. I always thought that making a massive pot of borscht was such a daunting tasks growing up as I watched my Baba and Papa make it countless times. The flavours are so fresh and delicious I never realized how easy it actually is to make until I asked. This recipe can me made with or with our meat (mine is usually meat-less) You can also use sour cream or whipping cream. Borscht is also a very healthy soup because it is full of vegetables. To me borscht is soul food and I always request that my Papa makes it every year for my birthday. When I first asked my Baba for her borscht recipe she laughed at me and said there is no recipe you just make it. Confused I then called my Papa and asked what his recipe for borscht was. He gave me a little better idea of how to make it but I realized what my Baba meant by ‘there is so recipe’. Making borscht involves a lot of  you own personal taste. It’s up to you how much vinegar you use. What size your pot is.  How many vegetables or even what vegetables you want to add? Sour cream or whipping cream? With or without meat?  Noodles or no noodles? This is the recipe that I gathered and made from my families recipe but you can make  it  your own. So here it is, the best borscht recipe you will ever taste.

Chudyk Family Borscht Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cans of tomato soup

1  tetra pack of beef broth

3 large beets

1 large bunch of fresh dill

1 medium white onion

4 stick of celery

3 large carrots

2 large Yukon gold potatoes unpeeled

1 medium parsnip

1-2 cups vinegar

1 package of mixed vegetables (peas, corn, green beans)

1 small tub of sour cream or whipping cream

1 package egg noodles

Water

Directions: In one large soup pot (the biggest one you can get your hands on)

Pour 1 cup water and pack of  beef broth.

Peel and shred beets and add to pot.

Add finely chopped onion, celery. Add small cubed potato and parsnip. Add bite sized carrots slices.

Pour in water as you add vegetables to pot as needed keeping in mind not to dilute broth too much. Just enough to boil vegetables in.

Add 1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables.

Let vegetables cook as needed.

In a separate smaller bowl take one or two ladles of soup until bowl and mix in two spoonfuls of sour cream at a time and then slowly add the mixture back in large pot. Repeat steps until all sour cream has been whisked into soup.

Add half a cup of white vinegar to soup mixture and stir, let simmer.

Taste soup and add more water, vinegar salt and pepper to taste.                                                

In a separate bot boil water and add package of egg noodles.

Keep egg noodles in separate bowl. Then add a handful of noodles to bowl and dish borscht into bowl and enjoy!

This is the recipe that keeps on giving and everyday you store that borscht in your fridge that better it gets.  A fresh loaf of bread or biscuits are a nice accompaniment to this meal of a soup bowl. I made my cheddar rosemary scones which taste great freshly out of the oven dipped into the beet broth. You can find the recipe for the biscuits here. There’s a saying in Ukrainian culture that the louder you slurp your soup the more of a compliment it is to the chef. So slurp away and don’t forget not to wear a white shirt!

For those looking for more of a taste of Ukrainian food check out Prarie Cottage Perogies in Langley for a truly authentic Ukrainian/Manitoban experience. Also, check out the Ukrainian Society of Ivan Franko located in Richmond, BC where they sell homemade Ukrainan food such as perogies, cabbage rolls etc out of their hall from 10am-2pm every Saturday. This year you can also celebrate Malanka (Ukrainian New Years) with them at an all out gala on Saturday January 14th. Check out their website for more details. www.ivanfranko.com

New Year’s Eve is here! Time to celebrate another amazing year, squeeze yourself into a little black dress (after too many Christmas treats), pop the champagne and have a bit of  fun! Like these girls ——————————>>>>

It’s your last day of the holiday season to indulge in Christmas goodies. So enjoy yourself and eat those holiday appetizers. This Christmas I was given my first Company’s Coming cook book from the Entertaining for the Holidays edition. I found this little gem of an hors dóurve recipe which is an excellent way to finish off the last of your Christmas turkey leftovers. Turkey Romaine Spears, they are a quick easy and a tad bit healthier snack for your guests then a chocolate fondue.  Here’s the recipe.

1 cup finely chopped cooked turkey

1/2 cup chive & onion cream cheese

1/2 cup diced tart apple (such as Granny Smith)

2 tbsp chopped green onion

2 tbsp finely chopped red pepper

24 romaine lettuce heart leaves

Directions:

Combine first 5 ingredients in bowl.

Spoon onto lettuce leaves.  Makes 24 spears.

This recipe reminds me of the Chinese cuisine dish; lettuce wrap. I  recommend rolling up the lettuce leaves then putting a tooth pick through the wrap  to keep it together for your guest. It makes it easier to eat.

Happy New Year everyone! I look forward to sharing more of my foodie treasures with you in the new year and thank you for reading and sharing your comments on http://www.VineVie.com and the VineVie Facebook page . Stay tuned for exciting things coming your way from VineVie in 2012. I’ll leave you with a clip from my all-time favourite movie Mermaids starring Cher, Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci preparing for their own New Years Eve 1964.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Sorry about the lack of posting the past couple of weeks. I am been so busy with preparing for the Christmas season. I’m home in the Okanagan now and enjoying the holidays with my family. I’m been devouring my dads Ukrainian food and my sisters sugar cookies. In between my eating and wrapping gifts I came across this interesting sounding cookie recipe that won the $5,000 prize on the TV show The Chew. I haven’t made it yet but it sounds so interesting it’s definitely on my ‘to do list’. Here’s the recipe for Salt & Pepper Butterscotch Cookies. If you make these before I do please tell me how they turn out. It is such a unique combination of flavours but if it won the prize form a nationally televised baking recipe they must be good right? Anyways, I wish everyone a very happy holiday season filled with love and laughter.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 bag (11 oz.) butterscotch chips
  • 1 handful pine nuts (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon flakey sea salt (I like to use Maldon salt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and table salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing non-metallic bowl, with an electric beater, cream together the 2 sticks of butter, sugars and vanilla. If too stiff (you want the consistency of butter cream frosting), place bowl in microwave for 10-20 seconds.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating for 10 seconds after each egg.

Beat in flour, in two or three additions. Stir in butterscotch chips.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small non-stick skillet – add pine nuts and toast, stirring with wooden spoon, being careful not to burn – pine nuts burn easily! If you burn them, start over! Remove from heat when butter is brown and foamy and pine nuts are perfectly golden and let cool for a few minutes, and then stir in salt and pepper.

Add to cookie dough, making sure to scrap all the brown butter goodness into bowl, and stir to incorporate.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place scant tablespoonfuls of dough onto paper, spacing about 1 inch apart.  Cookies will spread. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Remove and let cool on sheets for 3-4 minutes, remove cookies to racks and continue to cool until room temperature. Makes about 3 dozen cookies

http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/Holidays-Catherine-Wilkinson-Santa-Salt-and-Pepper-Butterscotch-Pine-Nut-Cookies

Do you have a foodie in your life to shop for this holiday season? Or maybe you are a foodie, looking to add a little something to your Christmas wish list? I’ve put together a list of a few of my favourite food lovers themed holidays gifts. So have a peek.

First item up is this retro cow-girl print apron. How cute and unique is this? This little sweet treat of an apron is sure to bring a smile to the face of your daughter, friend, mother, aunt and also makes a fun bridal shower gift. Made by Carolyn West of Carolyn’s Aprons you can buy this item for $39.95 on www.getgoretro.com Love it!

What’s more thoughtful than a personalized gift? This rolling-pin is handmade from solid birch and customized handles. It’s a full size, working kitchen utensil, ready for whatever pie crust your bringing its way. The designs on the rolling-pin are wood burned by hand and can be custom designed to fit any theme. Maybe flames on it for your hubby or a sweet flower design for your sister? I just like this one because of a certain M.S. I know, wink-wink. You can contact the designer directly and she is happy to help you. Only $28 on www.etsy.com

Next up are Eggies. If you haven’t already seen these on tv don’t let the cheesy infomercial scare you away. These are actually very handy little items. You simply crack an egg into an Eggies container and boil away like you would a regular egg. When done there is no peeling, no burning, less stinky egg smell, you just open and your done. One of my favourite things about Eggies is that the bottom is flat so you can make deviled eggs to stand up on a platter. Perfect gift for a hostess or to use if you’re hosting a party yourself this holiday season. They are only $14.99 in Canada ($10 in the states) and comes with 12 Eggies containers and 2 egg slices which comes in handy for salads and such. www.Eggies.ca

These adorable cupcake timers are the sweetest gift for the baker in your life. They come in a variety of colours. Just leave it on your counter and see how many people try to take a bite. A handy little gift to have, especially over the holidays when you’re cooking more than one thing at a time. Available for $22.99 on www.etsy.com

This is a unique blend of spices from the gorgeous host of Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi. I choose this latina spice blend as it is such an interesting blend of flavours that most North American mouths aren’t used to. Tastes incredible when blended in with ground beef for burgers, spaghetti, meatloaf or also used in grilling chicken. It’s also gluten-free which is perfect for the celiac on your list. Available for the low price of $7.20 on www.urbanaccents.com

This is one of my favourite new cook books from Chef Emeril Lagasse. Full of amazing ideas from side dishes to desserts and more. All based on ingredients you can easily pick up from your local farmer’s market. This cook book is going to be my sidekick this summer while grocery shopping. The fresh local ingredients list and recipes on every page are all a must try. Available at www.Amazon.ca for $16.99 plus free shipping!


What’s a better hostess gift than a fantastic bottle of wine? This Okanagan winery called Moon Curser formerly known at Twisted Tree Vineyards has an amazing repertoire of reds. All wines are made from grapes grown exclusively on the East Bench in Osoyoos. They are strong, full-bodied sometimes smoky wines that are sure to be a hit for any wine lover on your list. Another reason why I like Moon Cursor wines is that they support local farmers who supply the grapes for this wine. So next time you’re sipping on that Moon Cursor Cabernet Sauvignon it just could have been hand planted by me at my boyfriend’s family vineyard in Osoyoos. One of my favourite wines from Moon Curser is there Contraband which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (29%), Carmenere (23%), Malbec (23%), Merlot (20%), Cabernet Franc (4%) and Petit Verdot (1%). Available at fine wine retailers or at www.mooncurser.com for $25 a bottle.

Last but not least on this foodie Christmas wish list are glamour gloves. The fanciest way to wash those Christmas dinner plates. You need something to make washing dishes fun right? These plastic dish washing gloves come adored with accents, including a faux diamond ring! These are so cute I’m tempted to wear these even when I’m not washing dishes! Available on www.simply-whimsical.com in a variety of colours for $15.

Hope everyone has a lovely holiday season. Please remember to help those in need this Christmas and make a donation to your local food bank. There are over 70,000 people in British Columbia that rely on your generous donations.

Happy Holidays!

Today I decided to try a recipe that I came across on  the very addicting website www.pinterest.com. These No-Bake Energy Bites sounded like just the thing I needed, sweet without the calories. Who doesn’t want that, right? I went to my nearest Capers aka Whole Foods Market to get the ingredients that I needed. After my shopping experience in Trader Joe’s on the weekend and seeing what great prices the lucky Americans get on organic food I was totally let down by what Capers Market had to offer.  I needed to get a bottle of vanilla extract, which was going for $1.99 a bottle at Trader Joe’s, the price of vanilla extract at the Canadian equivalent of Trader Joe’s? $7.99 a bottle! That’s craziness, why do Canadian always have to pay so much more for everything? Capers Market was a complete let down as they had such a small bulk food section and not the right prices. So I picked up  a few things from there and headed over to the trusty ol’ Great Canadian Superstore where I found vanilla extract for $2.99 a bottle, plus I picked up an awesomes weater from their Joe Fresh label (love that I can grocery shop and get new clothes and makeup and the same time!). Once I finally had all the ingredients I needed I headed home to make the bites. They are very simple to make, hardly take any time and don’t make much of a mess either. I will definitely be making these again. The recipe below yields about 10 bites which just is the perfect amount you can eat before getting sick of them. This is my adaptation of the Pinterest recipe.


Ingredients:

1 cup Oatmeal

1/2 cup creamy salted peanut butter (or another nut butter of your choice)

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1/2 ground of whole flax-seed

1/2 milk chocolate chips

1tbsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix all above ingredients in bowl until throughly incorporated. Let chill in fridge for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into medium-sized balls and enjoy. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated. Lasts up to one week.

Rosemary is one of my favourite herbs. It’s a wonderful herb to use practically any season. Add it into mashed potatoes, toss in on a massive oven roast and voila instant earthy flavour. I like to buy it fresh and then dry it out myself. As with most herbs, it lasts a really long time as well. Here is my recipe for Rosemary Cheddar biscuits. These little biscuits are great for a side dish during family dinners or with a warm bowl of homemade soup. Not only do they taste heavenly out of the oven, they also fill your home with an intoxicating holiday aroma.

Rosemary Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:
2 cups All Purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp sugar – white, brown or demerara
2 tbsp rosemary chopped – preferably fresh
1 cup aged cheddar cheese
1 whole stick of melted butter
1 cup buttermilk

Directions:
1. Melt butter in microwave and set out for 5 minutes to cool down.
2. Add buttermilk to melted butter and stir. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar with a wire whisk. Add rosemary and shredded cheese and whisk ingredients.
4. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and combine with spatula.
5. Spray pan with non-stick spray. Yields 10 – 12 biscuits.
6. Bake biscuits on middle rack for 12 – 14 mins. until tops are golden brown. Brush a little butter or margarine on stop of biscuits while fresh out of the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy.


Pumpkin carving is one of my favourite Halloween traditions, it’s creative, fun and very messy. The left over pumpkin ‘guts’ add a delicious fall flavour when used for pies, muffins etc. You can eat the seeds by them selves or add them to trail mixes, pesto sauce or even put on cereal. Pumpkin seeds are a ‘superfood’ and are full of amazing health benefits. Here’s a list from LiveLighter.org detailing those benefits.
1. Tryptophan. Like other foods of the season (turkey, for one), pumpkin seeds have been found to contain a compound called tryptophan, which naturally helps fight feelings of depression. Those who indulge in the seed of the pumpkin will find themselves satisfied and content.
2. Zinc. This mineral is often found in multivitamins because it not only helps bolster your immune system, it also effectively fights against osteoporosis. A half cup a day provides about a third of the amount you need.
3. Magnesium. This is just one of many electrolytes needed by the body, and one in which most people are deficient. Luckily, a half cup of pumpkin seeds can give you almost your entire recommended daily serving of magnesium.
4. Phytosterols. These compounds found in pumpkin seeds pack a 1-2 punch when it comes to your health. For starters, they have been proven to reduce LDL cholesterol, which can often lead to heart disease. In addition, they may be effective in the prevention of many different forms of cancer.
5. Iron. For those of you that suffer from anemia (ladies, this one’s for you), a diet high in iron can really make a difference in your energy level. A half cup of pumpkin seeds has about half of your recommended daily intake of iron, so think about adding them to your cereal or throwing some in a smoothie before you reach for those stomach-churning supplement pills.
6. Additional benefits. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, studies have also shown that pumpkin seeds are effective at preventing and reducing benign prostatic hypertrophy (BHP), an enlargement of the prostate gland commonly found in men over fifty. They may also be helpful in treating arthritis (due to anti-inflammatory properties), as well as providing high levels of manganese, phosphorous, copper and vitamin K. Finally, they are a high-protein, low-calorie snack that can be eaten plain or mixed with many other foods.

Not only are these little seeds ridiculously good for you but they can be tasty as well. This Halloween season I wanted to try a twist on the regular salted pumpkin seed recipe. Here’s my recipe for Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds


Ingredients:
1tbsp crushed chili peppers
1tsp granulated garlic
1sp vegetable oil
1sp pepper
1tbsp salt


First step is to wash the seeds thoroughly and try to remove as much of the sticky ‘guts’ from the seeds as possible. I find that a strainer works well if you transfer back and forth from a bowl and pick out the stringy guts as you go. It’s a messy job and definitely the most tedious part about baking pumpkin seeds.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, bake at 350 for 10 minutes, flipping seeds throughout. Once out of the oven, let cool for a couple of minutes and enjoy.

Happy Halloween everyone!

I’m a smoothie lover, I make one pretty much every morning. It is the best way to get a massive helping of fruit and nutrients in a quick way first thing in the am. I keep a plethora of fruit in my freezer to keep my smoothie habit up. Everyday is usually a different smoothie recipe as I like to switch it up and keep it interesting. The more fruit I can cram into the blender the better. For one person I find that you typically don’t need any more than a cup and a half of liquid in the blender, whether that be water, juice, milk etc (I find a mix of liquids is best). Costco sells a huge bag of mixed fruit that I find lasts for months. It’s full of peaches, grapes, pineapples, melons and more than I sometimes blend all together or pick through to make different smoothie flavours. A blend of frozen and fresh fruit makes for a lovely texture and as we all know, fresh is best. Other ingredients that I add to my smoothies are different liquid supplements. I add 1 ml of Aloe Vera juice, which is  full of over 200 biologically active components and helps support a healthy digestive system, and supports muscle and joint functions as well as many other benefits. Another liquid supplement I sometimes add to smoothies is Liquid Omega-3. I use a flavoured liquid as I find plain fish oil is just too yucky to swallow, plus the flavour hides the fishy scent. Omega-3 has many amazing health benefits such as helping to maintain strong bones, teeth and night vision. It’s also great for keeping skin supple looking and is a healthy immune system support to name a few. Since these two liquid supplements aren’t exactly the most delicious flavours I find that anything over 1 ml is too much. Toping off your smoothie with yogurt is a healthy way to add sweetness and mask the supplement flavours. I use a variety of yoghurt but anything that’s has probiotic or even greek yoghurt works well. Another wonderful way to boost your smoothies nutrient count is to add greens. A small handful of spinach adds iron while a small helping of romaine lettuce is a huge vitamin A,C and K supplier. So next time you’re grinding up coffee beans for your morning boost, try a smoothie instead!