Smiling babies. Cute snuggly moments. A whole new level of sleep deprivation.
I’ve been doing this “Being A Mom” thing for almost seven months. Nothing about the mommy blogs, the books or even my midwife’s wise words prepared me for the absolute strangeness of being a new mom. I knew I was going to be tired. I knew it was going to be an emotional rollercoaster. I knew that I would at once be joyful and terrified.
Mommy-brain? Yeah, I was warned.
But I forgot how to make buttercream, ya’ll.
Buttercream. Me. Bye-bye. Gone. I’ve been making the same recipe for TEN YEARS.
I wrote it down, somewhere.
But I’m starting to get the hang of this. I’m starting to feel more confident with cooking again. So I figured it was time to get back at it. Here’s a recipe for how I make Overnight Oats. A set-it-and-forget-it breakfast perfect for mornings that you’ve had zero sleep, not enough coffee, and just need food now.
1/2 cup old fashioned/rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen fruit
Maple syrup or honey to taste
Peanut butter to taste – usually about a tablespoon for me
Take all of your ingredients and toss them together in a Tupperware container, or one of those mason jars if you want to ger complicated. Put it in the fridge, it’s ready to eat 4 hours later. You can eat it cold, it’s delicious. You can heat it up in the microwave too, also delicious. But, if you’ve got a new baby it’s going to be cold by the time you eat it anyway – so save yourself the effort.
My Mom discovered this recipe years ago, and it’s been a family favourite of ours ever since. The BBQ sauce is sweet, and tangy, and the pork literally falls apart and is wonderfully tender.
I usually use pork shoulder, it’s cheap and works wonderfully with the low and slow cooking process. It’s got a lot of fat, so if you prefer a leaner cut it works well with loin or leg roasts. Really, whatever you’ve got.
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups ketchup
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup water
3 lb pork roast
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan, add onion and garlic and cook gently until tender and the house starts to smell delicious.
2. Add ketchup, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, mustard and water. Bring to a boil, stirring often, for about 20 minutes. Sauce is ready when its about as thick as ketchup. Taste and adjust with more hot sauce or salt and pepper as necessary.
3. Rub pork with 1 cup of sauce, put in roasting pan, pour 1 cup water in bottom of pan. Cover and cook in preheated 325 oven for 3 hours.
4. Remove pork from pan, shred. Skim fat from pan juices. Combine 1 cup defatted juices with remaining BBQ sauce. Mix shredded pork and sauce in casserole dish and bake for 1 hour.
You can do this in a crock pot; do up to step three and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Then continue from step 4.
This also freezes well, with sauce separate or mixed in, for up to 3 months in a deep freeze.
The last couple of days out here in the Prairies have been hotter than H-E-Double Hockeysticks. Now a lot of people I know are basking in the heat, loving that it’s been +40, in stead of -40 like it will be in a few short months. Me on the other hand? No. I am not built for this weather, especially since I’ve been working in the bake-shop section of the kitchens at work. It’s been so hot that I start sweating just using the Hobart and mixing whipped cream. That’s a bad sign. A deliciously bad sign.
So what do you “bake” when it’s already baking outside?
The “Oh My God These Are So Good Why Can’t I Stop Eating These?” Cookies.
Yeah, these things are seriously that good. And deceptively easy.
Chocolate Haystacks – yields roughly 2 dozen tablespoon sized cookies
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups shredded or flaked coconut
Melt and mix the butter, sugar, cocoa, salt and milk.
Remove from heat and stir in everything else.
Drop by teaspoon, or tablespoon, or handful (whatever…this is one place where size doesn’t matter) onto parchment lined baking sheets.
Let air-dry and set. Don’t refrigerate! It’ll cause them to be all melty and gross when you take them out of the fridge. Just leave them alone for a while. Sneak one while it’s still warm and gooey though, because that’s just delicious.
So, I won’t be so silly as to call these little babies paleo…there’s more than enough sugar in that icing to make sure that the words “paleo” and “healthy” don’t even begin to cross my lips when I talk about these. But they’re cupcakes, they’re not supposedto be good for you!
What these are is grain free, and easy. Super easy. I promised my wife that I’d make her cupcakes, but found myself with absolutely no interest in braving the wintery weather to scour the shelves of the hippy food store for xanathan gum, and sorghum flour…and any of the other weird ingredients that are often found in gluten free baking. Why can’t there be a simple gluten free recipe out there? One that doesn’t call for ingredients I’m pretty sure I used in highschool chemistry class? A recipe that’s quick to make, and basic – so I can add whatever flavours I want?
And then I realized that standing in front of the kitchen windows with a whisk in my hand, talking to myself, was scaring the neighbours…and I came up with Mama G’s Lazy Ass Cupcake Recipe.
The icing recipe that follows is super easy as well, and VERY sweet. It goes nicely with the cupcakes because they aren’t terribly sweet. But, if you don’t have a sweet tooth, I’d recommend making a honey or maple-syrup based buttercream instead. Actually…that sounds good…stay tuned for that recipe shortly!
Almond Flour Mini Cupcakes
1½ cups almond flour
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ cup full-fat coconut milk (go for the stuff in the can, not in the box. The stuff in the box is basically coconut drink. Bleh. You can also go with cream, or milk, or even 50/50 almond milk and cream. Just don’t use anything thinner, or without some fatty goodness in it)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raw honey
2 eggs, room temperature
If you’ve got really chunky almond meal, and not almond flour, it helps to pulse that in a food processor for a few spins before you get started. Technically there’s no difference between almond flour and almond meal, but the finer consistency makes a big difference. While you’re debating whether your almond meal is fine enough, go ahead and turn the over to 350.
In a large bowl blend together almond flour, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl (this one doesn’t have to be large, but it may feel inadequate next to the dry ingredients bowl. Bowls are sensitive creatures.) whisk together the coconut milk, melted coconut oil, vanilla, honey and eggs.
With a spatula, blend the wet and dry ingredients together.
Spoon evenly into lined mini-cupcake tins, makes roughly 24!
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until edges turn a lovely golden brown. Remember, we’re working with almonds here…so as soon as they turn golden, or you can smell their heavenly aroma PULL THEM OUT OF THE OVEN. These suckers go from perfect to burnt as fast as a redhead at the beach.
So Easy It’s Ridiculous(ly Sweet) Icing
This, is the lazy man (or woman’s) frosting…and therefore one of my favourites.
100g butter (room temperature)
200g icing sugar
1-2 tsp flavoured extract
Smoosh together all of the above. Add food colouring if you so desire, and either spread it on your completely cooled little cupcakes, or get fancy and pipe it on with a piping bag.
…because honestly, bacon really does make everything better.
This little beastie is a favourite of my wife’s. It has two of her favourite foods all wrapped up in one easy-to-nom bite; meat and bacon. And yes, bacon OBVIOUSLY deserves it’s own category as a food-stuff. And really, I’m not the only one to think so. There are people far more bacon obsessed than I and they’re knocking out some truly scrumptious (and slightly bizarre) bacon-laced concoctions! Need I mention Bourbon-Bacon Brittle ? Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies ? What about the Jack Daniels and Bacon infused chocolate mousse? Heck, my own mother even cracked out Bacon Butter-Tarts for a art show she was catering. They were amazing, sweet, salty and just…so…bacon-y.
Just like this roast!
Don’t be intimidated by this, it’s easy. Super easy. And pretty damned fast to make, if you’re smart and remember to thaw the roast ahead of time!
3lb Double Pork Loin
Trim off the fat – believe me…you’ve got enough fatty awesomeness going on here that you DON’T need this stuff
1/2 to 3/4 pound thick-cut bacon
From your favourite butcher of course! Although the low-sodium grocery store variety goes well here. Don’t spend mad money on fancy flavours and specialty cured bacon here.
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp hot paprika
2 tsp Montreal Steak Spice
BONUS: Make your own! Recipe at the end of this one!
1/8 cup maple syrup
The darker the better. And don’t even think about using anything other than real maple syrup. None of that fake crap in the plastic squeezy bottle. Use that sh!t and we can’t be friends anymore. I’m serious.
1/8 cup dark-brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325F. Grab your roasting pan, and for easy clean up you can line it with foil, or just hope someone else is doing the dishes. If you’ve got one that fits, plop a rack into the bottom of your lined pan – this helps the bacon crisp up on all sides and stops it from sitting in all the bacon fat.
Mix everything except the pork, bacon, and brown sugar, in a small bowl and set aside.
Take the bacon, one strip at a time and start laying it in the bottom of the roasting pan. Start the end of the bacon at the half-way point of the pan, and overlap each slice slightly as you go. Put enough slices down that it will cover your roast from end-to-end.
Take your spice mixture and slather some on the bacon in the bottom of the pan – this way you’ve got that delicious sweetness going all the way around.
Plop the roast in the middle of the pan, on top of the bacon, and use all but maybe a teaspoon or so of the mixture to cover the roast. Make sure you brush every inch of that sucka.
Wrap the bacon around the roast, strip by strip, and tuck it underneath. This way you don’t have to use toothpicks to hold anything in place…which is awesome because I never have the damned things in the house, and honestly, they just slow the slicing and eating process down anyway!
Brush the last of the spice mixture across the top of the bacon-wrapped roast. Now take the brown sugar and sprinkle it along the top of the roast, rub it in and down the sides as well, try to cover as much of the bacon as possible with a thin layer. You don’t want gobs of sugar – just enough to help caramelize your pig-wrapped-pig!
Roast for about an hour, or until your meat thermometer reads 145F. Then get that baby out of the oven! Let it sit for a few, take it out of the roasty-pan and slice ‘er up!
MONTREAL STEAK SPICE
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon crushed coriander
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
Mix it all. Store in air-tight container. Om Nom with pork, steak, and other delicious things.
Every time I make anything with peanut butter I suddenly have visions of a singing dancing banana float through my head. For some reason he’s incredibly excited about peanut butter and jelly, and according to the banana it’s time for the afore-mentioned PB&J. This wiggling, grinning banana also sings something about a baseball bat. I’m not entirely sure what a baseball bat has to do with peanut butter and jelly, but it can’t be good.
Sometimes the visions are of a cartoon dog in a banana suit, trying to lull his cartoon master into a false happiness by singing the song. The song repeats, over, and over, and over.
It brings chills to my spine.
These cookies, however, are totally worth dealing with those night-marish visions. They’re big, dense, bakery-style peanut butter cookies with all kinds of yummy add-ins nestled in their peanutty goodness. These are ideal for bake-sales, as the recipe turns out an amazing amount of dough. But, is easily cut down by thirds for something more manageable. The dough also freezes really well, just thaw it out in the fridge before trying to bake them.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate, M&M and Pretzel Cookies
Prep: 15 minutes Chill Out and Knit Time: 1 hour Bake: 15-18 minutes Makes: 60 monster-huge cookies Diabetes Level: Grab me some more insulin, would ya?
4 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (don’t even think about using margarine…shame on you.)
2 1/4 cup brown sugar (I always use the darkest I can find, but whatever floats your boat)
3 large eggs
3 tbsp vanilla (Sounds like a lot…and it is! But this recipe is HUGE)
1 1/2 cup peanut butter, use the just peanuts kind (you can try using the “regular” kind of peanut butter, but you’ll have to mess with the recipe a little)
1 cup M&Ms
1 1/2 cup pretszels, chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
In a medium bowl sift/stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Beat in eggs, and vanilla until combined. Add in peanut butter.
In about 3-4 additions add dry ingredients to your buttery goodness. Mix well, scraping from the bottom to make sure you don’t end up with a pure peanut butter sugar lump at the end of the batch.
Dump in all of your add-ins, and fold the dough over to mix in. This will help stop the pretzels from breaking up too-finely.
Smoosh the dough into the bottom of the bowl, cover with saran wrap and chilll for an hour. Or divide the dough, roll into a ball, wrap tightly in saran wrap, then wax paper, then a zippy bag and freeze it for up to 3 months. Many layers mean yummier dough when it’s thawed.
Go knit for an hour, or…go for a bike ride, or a run or something.
Pre-heat your oven to 350. Grab an ice-cream scoop and your giant bowl of dough.
Scoop out balls of dough and plop onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Smoosh the ball a little so it’s about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch high. Bake dough about 2 inches apart.
Bake those suckas! about 15-18 minutes, or until the edges turn a little brown. Let firm up on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before you even think about transferring them to wire racks to finish cooling.
OM NOM THOSE COOKIES! Once they’ve cooled down a little, melted chocolate is kinda burny.
Don’t have an ice-cream scoop? Measure out a 1/3 of a cup of dough and rock it out that way!
So, those who know me really well know the ridiculousness of me posting a banana recipe.
I hate bananas.
That’s not even an understatement. I absolutely hate bananas. If I’m in a room the size of a basketball court and someone at the other end of the room opens and proceeds to eat a banana my gag reflex kicks into overdrive. My stomach starts to twist and I turn green. Usually I leave the room. For the longest time they were a banned substance in my household, and if my partner had a banana they had better damn well brush their teeth before they even think about kissing me.
So obviously, me wanting to make banana bread makes no sense to anyone who knows me.
A couple of months ago I started working at a smoothie place. And as most people know, bananas are a key ingredient in most smoothie recipes. They smooth out the texture, they help make them nice and thick, and they actually help bring out the flavour of other ingredients.
Smoothies were my “gateway drug” into the world of bananas. It started with a sip or two, just so I knew what the smoothies were supposed to taste like – so I could get the flavour right when I made them myself. And then I leaped into putting them into my own smoothies at work. And then I brought bananas home one day. Next thing I knew I had a full case of over-ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen floor and I was Googling banana bread recipes.
What’s happened to me? How could I let things get this far?!
Over a dozen loaves of banana bread, and about 6 dozen muffins later, I think I’ve perfected Banana Bread Muffins.
For those of you who aren’t baking for an army; this recipe easily cuts down by thirds. Bonus: You can also freeze these little guys, or bake as loaves (adjust temp to 300, bake for about 1 hour. Makes 4 loves)
9 over-ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 cups)
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 – 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 – 3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 – 2 cups chocolate chips
1 – 2 cups chopped walnuts
Smoosh up your bananas in a large bowl. I recommend removing the peel first, because otherwise they make for a very fibrous and unpleasant texture once baked. (Sorry, I’ll try and reduce the smart-assery)
Stir in eggs and sugar until well combined. Add in butter, oil and vanilla.
In a separate bowl blend flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon.
Quickly mix dry ingredients into wet. Do not overmix! Basically once it doesn’t look dry anymore STOP! Otherwise your muffins will suck, and you’ll blame me…and then we can’t be friends anymore.
Add your add-ins with a few quick strokes. (heh…) The amount is not an exact science, so use as much or as little as you want. I go whole-hog and do both walnuts and chocolate chips, ’cause I’m awesome like that.
Plop by the spoonful into lined muffin tins. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Let cool for about 10 minutes in the muffin tins, and then pop out onto wire racks to finish cooling.
So, the joy of eating no grains what-so-ever means that most snack/granola/easy to grab and go bars I simply can’t do. On top of that, I refuse to eat those nasty little hard to pronounce ingredients that are staples of most pre-prepared foods. I want to eat food that’s real, is that too much?
SO! I made these, another one of my “add in whatever you want, just make sure you do the ‘glue’ of the recipe properly and you’ll be fine” recipes!
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 5 Minutes Chill out and Knit Time: 15-20 minutes
2 cup packed dates, pitted (deglet noor, A.K.A. Honey Dates)
1/2 cup honey (or sub maple syrup for vegan option)
1/2 cup creamy almond butter
5 cups of whatever the heck you want!
1 cup toasted green pumpkin seeds
1 cup toasted almonds
1 cup toasted coconut flakes (if you can find the BIG flakes, all the better!)
1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 cup toasted chopped macadamia nuts
optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, pinch of sea salt etc.
Toss dates into a food processor, and grind them up until small bits remain. It should roll itself into a ball in the processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you’re going to have to get creative. You’re looking for a dough-like consistency.
Place the nuts and dates in a large bowl – set aside.
Warm honey and almond butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over nut and date mixture and then mix, break up the dates so they spread out nicely. You can skip this step, and use just basic arm power…but this holds the bars together so much better…and doesn’t tire you out nearly as much 😉
Once it’s all mixed together, plop into a parchment lined 9×13 baking dish and smoosh it in. Try to get it uniformly flattened. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge to harden (really, this only takes about 15 or 20 minutes) Press down until uniformly flattened.
Remove bars from pan and chop into bars, make them as big as appropriate. I typically do about 16-20. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days, keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or toss a portion of the batch in the freezer to keep even longer. I typically wrap my in plastic wrap, or those little snack-sized zippy bags so they’re ready to grab and go.
I made this recipe for a friend’s mom who is celiac and craving sweets. These cookies contain no gluten, just make sure you buy certified gluten-free ingredients. The recipe itself is extremely adaptable and goes well with just about any combo of ingredients and add-ins!
Absolutely Everything (except flour!) Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3 eggs (or 4 egg whites, and 1 whole egg)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
¾ cup chopped peanuts, walnuts, pecans (or 1 cup flaked coconut)
1 ½ cups chocolate chips (or M&Ms!)
Preheat oven to 350
In a large mixing bowl beat peanut butter and butter until well mixed. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder and baking soda and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl.
Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Stir in the oats, nuts and chocolate.
For chewier cookies – let dough chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. For crunchier cookies, skip this and just get straight to the baking!
Drop by tablespoon full onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Let sit on cookie sheet for at least 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
*Can also make giant cookies, ¼ cup in size. Place these about 4 inches apart and bake for 15 minutes.
So these are an adaption on a recipe I found in one of my many cookbooks. As soon as I find the original source, I’ll cite it.
But until then, enjoy this recipe for grain free, egg free, dairy free snackies that are high in protein and actually taste good. I make two batches of these each week. One for me and my wife, and one for her best friend. This recipe gets the gold stamp of approval from hard working police officers and military folks!
Chocolate Protein Bars
PREP: 15 minutes BAKE: 50 minutes TOTAL TIME: 1hr 5min
2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup green pumpkin seeds
8 Deglet Noor Dates (honey dates)
2 cups almond meal/ground almonds
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup chocolate chips (or be fancy and go half white chocolate and half dark chocolate! Or get really fancy (and horribly expensive) and use cocoa nibs)
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
4 tbsp whey powder
4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
up to 1 cup honey/maple syrup/whatever sweetener you want (…or don’t, if you have an aversion to awesomness…whatever, it’s up to you.)
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup almond butter (at room temperature, I can’t stress this one enough. Unless you’re looking to skip arm day at the gym that butter needs to be room temp.)
Preheat oven to 200 F. Line a 9”x13” baking pan with parchment paper.
In a food processor combine: coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and dates. Blend the hell out of it until it’s kinda like coffee grounds. Pour into large bowl.
With a spoon, stir in almond meal, coconut flour, chocolate chips, wanuts, whey powder, cocoa and honey (if you’re using it.)
Stir in coconut milk and almond butter.
Smoosh into pan.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Recipe easily halved, but really…why would you? But if you want to: Cut all ingredients in half, bake in 9”x9” for 50ish minutes