Spring!!! Oh how I have longed for you this year. It has been a horrible year for winter colds, especially with such a young baby in the house, which has made winter very unwelcome. But the air is warming up, buds are already appearing on the plants and my seedlings are growing. One long awaited ingredient that makes its way back into our house more regularly during spring are berries. My daughter is too young to understand the concept of seasonal food but she understands the taste. It is a bit of a challenge trying to explain to a 3 1/2 year old that those blueberries she is so desperate for me to buy aren’t going to taste as nice. Sure enough everytime I fall victim to her pleading during the winter months she doesn’t want to eat them. But come spring when they are starting to hit their season they are back on our table and she can’t get enough of them. I don’t blame her, berries are so full of flavour when they are in season but they are a delicate enough flavour that when out of season they are bland and not very sweet. So come spring once they start hitting the stores and markets we do tend to go a little crazy. And why not, they are healthy and I can still buy them instead of sweets and cookies and toddler still sees them as big of a treat. I know those days probably aren’t long lived but as long as they are here I plan on taking full advantage of it.
Today I decided to share some strawberry muffins that I actually made last year, that are also lower in fat so if you are like us and trying to not indulge and lose weight these are a great treat as they are only 89 calories a muffin. I am so excited for the spring inspiration, how about you?
Don’t forget to scroll down to see the other amazing recipe ideas from the Sunday Supper team.
I love Christmas time, the decoration, the music, I even love Christmas shopping and wrapping presents. I do try and make sure everything like Christmas presents are bought long before the madness so that probably helps keep my love for the season so strong. But one killer for most people is the stress of the Christmas meal. Even myself, a lover of cooking even for large groups and a lover of the season, finds myself more stressed then I need to be. So I have come up with 5 tips that are helping me with my sanity this year and I hope that they help you. One thing that I am doing is making these tasty bread rolls several weeks before hand so that they are ready to do on the day without too much hassle.
1. Write down your Christmas dinner in menu form. Seeing all the dishes you are planning on making on paper will help you better figure out if you are overdoing it. I often just have an idea in my head of all the things I want to do and just get the ingredients and start doing it, only to discover I am doing way too much and haven’t planned enough time to do it all. Write out all the dishes, how long they take to prep and cook and see if it is even possible for you to make all the dishes with the amount of oven space and hob space you have.
2. Cook ahead. In part with the writing down figure out what dishes can be made ahead of time to lighten the load on Christmas day. For example this year we have decided to start cooking the turkey the day before. We have so many people round the table that we never get to set the bird down on the table to display any way so this year to make life easier we are cooking the bird and slicing it so it can be reheated the next day. This is going to free up our oven for other things like our roast vegetables and stuffing. It will also ensure a prompt dinner start as the turkey is often the thing that takes even longer then you predicted.
3. Don’t be afraid to delegate. If you are like me you bite off more then you can chew every year. This year we have 20 adults and 3 kids to feed. Plus I have a 8 week old baby that also needs me so there is no way it would be sensible to do it all on my own. So instead this year we are dividing the load amongst us and doing as much as possible the days leading up to Christmas so the day can be spend fellowshipping together and not spent stressing over cooking. Because lets face it, even if you love cooking like myself it can be very stressful on the day.
4. Don’t experiment on the day. Have a new dish you have been wanting to try on Christmas day that you have never done before. TEST IT BEFORE HAND! Do not attempt something you have never done on the day. You are only opening the door to a stressful day and possibly a dinner failure on Christmas day when all the shops are closed. Either stick to what you are familiar or test the dish out a few weeks before hand.
5. Don’t go overboard with fancy table decor. I know you have been pouring over images in Pintrest all year feeling like a failure compared to the lavish table displays you see. But first of all most of the amazing things you find on pintrest are from photoshoots where the photographer had all the time in the world to setup their table, no hungry people wondering where the food is. Also remember your table is going to be full of food so unless you have a table that is big enough you are going to end up having to remove most of the decorations before the food is put on the table which kind of defeats the point. Instead stick to small simple ideas that can be prepared the day before and be delegated to someone else to setup on the day.
Remember Christmas should be a fun, wonderful day spent with family so don’t allow it to become a stressful environment and open up the possibility of stress related arguments on the day.
Make ahead bread rolls
400g strong bread brown flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp easy-blend dried yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
250mL warm water
So with the holiday season coming up I decided to focus on brunch ideas this month. The holiday time is full of big family and friend gatherings and eating big meals. So we like to keep things simple and stick to only two meals a brunch and then the larger meal. Small snacks can be served during the rest of the time but by limiting the meals to only two it helps relieve a lot of stress if you are catering for a large group plus since so many calories are consumed during the large meals it seems wise to limit the amount of meals we consume.
Before I share this amazing recipe I think it should be noted that I am not a baker. It is not my area of strength and very rarely does anything I bake turn out beautiful, tasty but not beautiful. I could probably get a lot better if I practiced more but baking is not a healthy thing so I try and limit the amount I do it. I say this because it is a common issue with people. I know so many people that say they aren’t good at baking so they don’t even try any more. They instead stick to store bought pastries, cakes and cookies, or buy only box mixes. But I want to encourage people to give it a try. Yes your results might be like mine, not perfect looking but trust me when I say these were so tasty they didn’t last long enough for us to look at them for long. Not only do home made baked goods taste better and are cheaper buteven more importantly they are better for you then store bought since they have less preservatives and other additives. And since baking isn’t great for the waist line I say any small thing you can do to make it better for you is worth trying.
Trust me when I say if this non-baker can make these then you can. This recipe can easily be made the day before and stored in the fridge until the morning.
Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls
150g (3/4 c.) soft brown sugar
50g (1/4 c.) granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
(1/4 c.) finely chopped nuts (I prefer pecans but only had chopped mixed nuts on hand)
14g (1 Tbsp) butter, melted
438g (3 3/4 c.) plain flour
12g (2 Tbsp) sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas
100g (7 Tbsp) butter, melted and divided
175mL (3/4 c.) milk
2 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp milk
Adapted from Inside Bru Crew Life
I am back! Second trimester is here and I am feeling more alive. I have really missed blogging but no matter how much I wanted to blog I just had no energy these last few months. I didn’t have too bad of a time morning sickness wise but for weeks all I wanted to eat was avocado toast (you really can’t get the Californian out of me) and as much as I think avocado toast is the best thing ever spreading fresh avocados on toast isn’t really a recipe so not really blog worthy. But while I haven’t had energy to blog I have been compiling an amazing list of recipes that I want to share with you.
Today’s recipe has me so excited I almost feel like I am shaking. Now why on earth would a recipe excite me this much, well let me explain. I have probably mentioned before that I grew up in Hong Kong and we spend about 8 months in Nanning, China. While we were there we were introduced to some incredible local dishes and ingredients that outside of that area we never saw again, including a vegetable that looked like the vines of a pumpkin. One of our favourite dishes included a long thin green with a slight flowered head, we were told they were garlic greens. I have served for what feels like forever for this ingredient. No Chinese restaurant that I went to seemed to have ever heard of it and as time went by I started to forget about it. But the other day we went to our favourite Chinese supermarket and there in the veggies were jui cai, or flowering chives. I got so excited I tried to explain to Chris how amazing this find was but he said I was so excited I wasn’t really making any sense.
I am not even positive if these are the exact vegetable that we had but boy does it look, smell and taste like it so surely it must be, right? I cook Chinese meals all the time, some of them are dishes I remember for Hong Kong or inspired by China and sometimes they are inspired from dishes I had in the US or here. But this is the first time I made something that smelled so much like Nanning for a second I could actually close my eyes and see images of it in my head. This dish blew my mind because it was the closest authentic taste of the food from that area of China that I have had since I left 14 years ago.
Chicken and Jiu Cai Stir-Fry
100g (3.5 oz) Jiu Cai (flowering chives), chopped into 1 1/2-inch lengths
500g (1 lb) chicken pieces, diced
80mL (1/3 c.) water
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp rice wine
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Adapted from Pig Pig’s Corner
Something just happened in this house that really shouldn’t have since I have been trying so hard to stick to a diet. But when these incredible muffins caught my eye I just couldn’t resist stopping what I was doing and make them. And let me just say they do not disappoint. I had to rely on Google translate to try and follow the recipe so at times I wasn’t really sure about the instructions but let me say each bit was so incredible that if there was a small error somewhere we didn’t notice it at all.
Nutella Stuffed Snickerdoodle Muffins
290g (2 1/4 c.) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
120g (1/2 c.) sugar
1 egg yoke
100mL (a little less then 1/2 c.) olive oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
180mL (3/4 c.) milk
3 tsp cinnamon
65g (4 Tbsp) butter
Recipe from Winnish