Right eh?  Aren’t we all?  Some days, I am all creative and inspired in the kitchen and some others… I am just a busy mom with a full-time job, 2 kids, a husband and a house to keep up in order.  Some days I am just tired and I don’t want to bother too much… Please don’t let me hang there, tell me you can relate.  Yes you do.

Winter has been tough this year, which means that the kiddos exchange all sorts of germs at the day care.  And one mini-superman gets sick, little-princess takes over… that is on average 6 awful nights and long evenings.  You see where I am getting at?  An easy dinner is well deserved. Eventually some vacations too.

The leftover I am talking about today is picadillo, the ground beef, cuban style.

Leftover picallo

The recipe is very simple:

– Leftover of this recipe: picadillo
– Store-bought frozen tart shells (no proud but well… I know I am not alone!)
– A handful of green peas
– Grated cheese

Preparation:

– Put a few green peas in each tart shells.  I am hiding some greens for El Cubano here, not the kids.
– Fill out the shells with the picadillo.
– Sprinkle some grated cheese.
– Bake in the oven 15 min at 375F.
– Serve with some steamed veggies or a salad, enjoy!

You are welcome!  See?  We all have weaknesses… What is yours?

Leftover picadillo

Bon Appét’Eat!

The amount of energy that we waste into complaining about something we don’t have.  The time we lose talking about something we forgot at home while we are on vacations.  We forget the essential: just live the moment.  Enjoy it while it last.  I did say “we”, I am French, remember?  So yup, I do complain.  A lot actually.  When I have my mind sets on something, I am little obsessed.  Some days, I can be an amazing whiner when I decide to.   No, no, stay here.  I am not just that, I am fun too!
This is why I married El Cubano, he will always try to see the bright side of a situation.  “Make the best of it” he says.  He is right.  We all should.

On a less serious note but still in the subject, I wanted to prepare some pasta for my lunch.  Healthy with some grilled chicken.  But I did not have any chicken.  I wanted some basil in it, a little bit of summer in my plate… Did not have either.  However, I had some pesto, fresh tomatoes, fresh garlic and onion so there we go.  Something yummy should come out of this!

Once a little cooked the tomatoes were a little tart but it balanced their sweetness perfectly.  The garlic taste was just enough to compliment the pesto.  And the pasta was just Al Dente!   It made a perfect lunch break at work!

Whole wheat garlic pesto pasta

Ingredients for a single lunch:

– 50g of whole wheat spaghettis
– A drizzle of olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic or more if you really love it
– 2 tablespoons of purple onion
– 2 tablespoons of pesto
– 4-5 Carmello tomatoes
– Salt to taste

garlic pesto whole wheat pasta

Preparation:

– Boil some water for the pasta and cooked them as indicated on the packaging.  Whole wheat pasta are generally a little longer to cook than regular ones.
– Mince the garlic and the onions and sauté it in a little of olive oil in a pan, really just a drizzle to sauté because the pesto later will be oily as well.
– Once the pastas are cooked, throw it in the pan with the tomatoes cut in 4 and the pesto.  Toss well so the pesto is well mix with the pastas.  Add salt to taste.
– Serve while it is hot and enjoy.

Whole wheat pasta garlic pesto

This was a great carb-loaded lunch!  Perfect meal for vegetarians and sportive.

I have a sweet tooth, did you notice?  And when I need to satisfy a craving, I need it to happen quick.  And same for el Cubano or our little kids…  I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree!  (ahah…)

You can do pears as well, or any other fruit.  I have done banana before but that turned out a little mushy I found.  So I stick with the apple, simple. 

Apple crumble

I believe that most version of apple crumble include some oats or something like that… and cinnamon.  Not for me.  Apple does not have to be married to cinnamon (although it is good), give a try to almond.  This topping with the almond powder and the butter is a party in your mouth.  It has a little crisp, the vanilla brings some warmth to the apple.

I generally do 4 ramequins and I freeze the other half of the topping, so I can do a quick impromptu dessert or even snack for the kids and their friends.  It is always a success here, at home.

Apple crumble

Ingredients for 8 ramequins:

– 6 big apples – McIntosh
-75g of almond powder
– 75g of sugar
– 75g of flour
– 60g of soft butter
– 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Apple crumble

Preparation:

– Preheat the oven at 400F.
– Peel the apples and cut them into cubes. Place equally in the ramequins.  Set aside.
– In a bowl, put the butter and the almond powder, mix it together – i do it with my hands.  Add the sugar, mix again.  And finally, add the flour,  mix again, it should be crumble.
– On top of the apples cubes, add a handful of the crumble preparation, if you have little pieces chunky, it is nice too. Repeat for each ramequins.
– Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or when the crumbles appears golden.
– Allow to cool down and enjoy!

Bon Appét’Eat!

And it is a tight!  Mhh actually maybe Winter and stomach flu probably won… I am just back on my feet after 4 days totally knocked off by a stomach flu. El Cubano too.  It was worst even.
Picture this: the parents feeling sick on the sofa and a 18 months and a 3-year-old putting the living room upside down!  Thankfully, I have wonderful in-laws that saved our lives!

To make this short and sweet, I just wanted to tell you all, let’s kick Winter out and for that you will need a boost of vitamins!

Green smoothie

For 4 big glasses:

– 2 cups of strawberries
– 2 cups of spinach
– 3 bananas
– 2 cups of water

Green smoothie

Preparation:

– Rince your strawberries and your spinach leaves
– Put everything in the blender and mix
– Pour in glasses and drink up!

My kids loved it, it is loaded with vitamins and you can NOT feel the spinach!  This is the wonderful part!  It was the perfect drink for them since I did not add any sugar.  You turn!

Cheers!

That is right!  Last day of February and -26C this morning.  I tend to think that Spring will never come around…  This is a long and tough winter (Well, at least for me, I am from South of France, remember?).  My previous winters, since 2006, have not been that brutal. 

I am not asking for 20C (although, I would not complain) but just anything in positive degree… Please, please, Winter go away! Am I the only one here?  All together.  PLEASE, PLEASE, WINTER GO AWAY!  It might work :)!

In the meantime, I have a simple recipe to propose.  It is super comforting and the entire family will love it.   It is creamy, it is warm and it is what you need this weekend.

Cauliflower gratin

Ingredients for 4 persons:

– One cauliflower (on average 750g)
Bechamel ingredients 
– Grated cheese, preferably Emmental

Preparation:

– Cut your cauliflower into floret and cook it in a steamer.  If you do not own a steam, it is not the end of the word, I have cooked it in salted boiling water before, cook it until a knife can enter the vegetable easily. 
– Follow the bechamel instructions here.
– In an oven dish, place the cauliflower, pour the bechamel heavenly on top of it.
– Add the cheese on top.
– Cook in the oven 15-20 minutes at 350C and serve! 

Cauliflower gratin

 

Tip:  You can grate some nutmeg on it.   It adds an amazing flavor.

And voilà!  Easy, tasty, it is what I do!  Enjoy and stay warm.

Bon Appét’Eat!

Funny thing, I am French and I am sharing more cuban recipes (like this one or that one) here so far!  After all, I fell in love with a Cuban, his lovely Cuban family and his beautiful island.

Of course, at home, when it comes to cooking, I bring my French touch, el Cubano, his culture and well, we are in Canada so some North American flair too!  What a combo but that makes things in the kitchen more interesting.  I have discovered some Cuban dishes and then adapted them.  I have adapted French recipes because I could not find certain ingredients here.

I remember my very first shopping trip after arriving from France, I had orange juice in my basket and I was just walking around in looking in the aisles like you look at the paintings in a museum.  But that was 7 years ago, almost 8.  I can fill up my cart now, no problem!

Today, you might not need a special trip to the grocery store to make this recipe… It might already be in your pantry and fridge, otherwise, you can pop up quickly in a store and come back to this page!

Ingredients for 4 persons:

1/2 a green pepper
2 tomatoes
1 medium-sized onions
3 cloves of garlic
350g of ground beef
1 and 1/2 cup of purée of tomatoes
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation (30 minutes):

– First, you need to prepare the sofrito.  It is a base in the Cuban cuisine.   Chop your onion, your garlic, cut in brunoise your green pepper and in dice your tomatoes.  Let it simmer.

Sofrito
– Once it has cooked down a little, add your ground beef and cook it at medium heat.  Mix the sofrito and the ground beef together.
– Once the ground beef has cooked a little bit, slow down the heat.  Add the purée of tomatoes, the cumin and the oregano, mix a little.
– Add salt to taste and let it simmer until fully cooked.

Picadillo

 

This is a meat dish that is traditionally served with rice, black beans and a salad.  I love it!  If you have left over, I have a nice quick dinner fix but that is for another day…!

This recipe, la crème aux oeufs or custard or pudding,  is in fact a recipe affair because it is my Maman’s!  What a success that recipe has in the house!  I really like that recipe compared to the crème brûlée because you are using the entire eggs not just the yolks.   Also, I always have milk for sure in the fridge, the heavy cream not all the time.  Crème brûlée is still my favorite though.

The consistency is still creamy but less richer and heavy.  It makes the perfect not-too-sweet dessert for all ages of the family.  Oh and did I mention how easy and quick it is?

IMG_2420

For 8 ramequins:

– 5 eggs
– 130g of sugar
– 750ml of milk
– 2 tea-spoon of vanilla extract or a vanilla bean

– Preheat the oven at 390F.
– Beat the eggs with the sugar.
– Add the milk and the vanilla extract and stir well.
– Pour in a dish that goes in the oven and bake it for 45 minutes at 390F.
– Allow to cool down and serve.

And voilà!  How simple was that?  A homemade dessert that will seduce your family or guests.

IMG_2417

Have a wonderful sunday!  Specially if you are Canadian… ! Go Canada! Goooold!

My little baby will be entering Junior kindergarten next September…  I know it is part of life, baby grows.  As a Maman, it just seems so fast, so unreal.  It feels like yesterday I was holding him for the first time!  I am getting emotional here!

What I really wanted to share with you is that I am starting to gather ideas and recipes that will fit his lunch bag and keeping in mind that it needs to be peanut-free.

I made this corn bread and cooked it in mini muffin pans. It makes perfect little bites for the kids and even for the parents to go with a soup, like the creamy butternut squash soup or a summer salad.

small bites corn bread

I had to work on my recipe as I found it to dry and too blend. This one is perfectly moist and I used big grains of salt which adds some crunchy. I love it!

Ingredients (for 36 mini corn breads):
160g of flour
160g of corn flour
8g of dry yeast
1 tsp of big salt
1 egg
250ml of milk (I used 3.25%)
75g of butter

small bites corn bread

Preparation:
– Mix the flour, the corn flour, the dry yeast and the salt together.
– In a bowl, beat the egg, pour the milk. Mix well. Then, add the butter previously melted. Mix again.
– Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until properly mixed together.
– With a table-spoon, pour some of the preparation in the mini muffin pan. You most likely will do 2 batches.
– Cook for 15 minutes in the oven previously warmed up at 375°F.
– Repeat until your mixture is finished.

3…2…1… Now! Enjoy! If, by any chance, you have some left over. You can store 3-4 days in a ziplock bag.

corn bread

The ones we did not eat on the day of, we warmed them up and opened them up and spread some cream cheese on it. The kids asked for more!

I know I wish it was that easy…  But there are flavors, smells that just bring back somewhere with somebody.  For me, it is parsley, it sends me back in my childhood when I would go on my vacation at  my grandparents.  When a little wind would blow, I could smell the parsley from my bedroom window.   It seems like nothing at the moment, but now, it just reminds me of a my dear Papy and Mamie and that big house in the vineyards.

There is also lavender.  Specially since I live here, in Canada.  It makes me travel back to the South of France, where I am from.  I am on vacation for a few seconds… In fairness, let me bring you along with me and give you a little taste of ”Je-ne-sais-quoi”….

Provence

Provence-France (8)

Provence-France (10)

Do you see yourself walking around in those little French streets yet?

Provence-France (7)

Provence-France (9)

Provence-France (5)

Alright, back in the kitchen…  Gather a few ingredients and you’ll travel some more!

Inspired from a recipe in Perfect Baking for about 12 cookies:
– 50g of sugar
– 100g of soft butter
– 1 tsp of chopped lavender
– 150g of flour

lavander

Lavender cookie

– In a bowl, mix the sugar and the lavender.  Add the butter and stir until it becomes a little fluffy.
– Add the flour gradually, stir until well mixed.  The dough holds together.
– Roll the dough and make some shapes of your choice.  I choose to make thin cookies but you can make them thicker.  Re-knead and re-roll the dough until finished.
– Bake in a warm oven at 300F for 7-8 minutes or longer if thicker, the cookie should be a little golden.
– Allow to cool down if you can wait…

Lavender cookie

I hope you had a pleasant flight and thank you for choosing Bon Appét’Eat Airlines! Hehe!

 

A little hypocrite I must admit as I am a chocolate lover and I did get some to my husband… sssh don’t tell him yet!  I  am not a crazy fan of Valentines Day as I do think it is a marketing day, another reasons to overspend since everything is overpriced.  However, this year, with my 2 little ones in Day Care, it is absolutely too adorable to prepare the cards to exchange with all the other friends.  It is going to be a sweet day!

Sweet, but let’s change it up.  I know, I know, I like to stick to the classics sometimes, but for once, no chocolate.  This tart is the love you need today.  It is called Linzer Torte.  I have done it for years, and I miss baking it for my mum because she just loves it.

Linzer Torte

Ingredients for a 9-inch tart plate
– 60g of almond power
– 100g of flour
– 40g of sugar + 30g
– 100g of soft butter
– 300g of strawberries, ideally fresh so it will be local… or choose frozen.

Preparation:
– Put the almond powder, the flour and the 40g of sugar in a big bowl, mix well.  Add the butter cut into cubes and mix everything with your fingers, until you are able to form a ball with it.
– At this point, I cheat!  The crust is so crumbly that I do not roll it but I place the dough directly in the plate and ‘roll it’ with my palm.  It is actually as fast and I do not dirty as much.
– Wash the strawberries and cut the leaves of it.  Cut them in 4 and place them all in pot with 1/4 cup of water and the 30g of sugar.  Cook it on the stove at medium heat until the strawberries are soften.  Stir regularly.  It should not be fully cooked.
– Spread your strawberries and decor with some leftover dough you might have.
– Put in the oven at 325F for 25 minutes or when the crust looks golden.

Linzer Torte

Strawberries can be substitute by the fruit of your choice, I have done raspberries in the past but you might want to add a little more sugar and cook them on in the pot less time.

Here is another suggestion of presentation:

Linzer Torte

I wish you all a wonderful day with the love of your life!

And if you really wanted chocolate, there is still my chocolate cake recipe!  What is it going to be for you?

 

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