Category Archives: My Recipes & Reviews

Oscar Party Food 2017

Oscar Party Food 2017

Oscar Party Food 2017

The glitz!  The glam!  The thematic food!  We are just a few days away the 89th Academy Awards, one of my favourite reasons to throw a party.  I’m still trying to cram in the last of the Best Picture noms before the big night, but I’ve started to plan my menu.  Oscar Party 2017 is underway!

Let’s take a look at the Best Picture nominations and possible food pairings:

Arrival: Calamari, inspired by the creepy alien imagery.  Maybe with some sort of black squid ink-like dip?

Fences: When Viola Davis serves biscuits to her brother-in-law, they bring a smile to his face, and biscuits bring a smile to my face, so it’s a double win!  Chicken and collard greens work too.  Set in Pittsburgh, you could also do pierogies or cabbage rolls, to represent the European immigrant population.

Hacksaw Ridge: Wine and bread would be a simple snack to represent the strong religious theme throughout this film.  For something a bit more fancy, you could also do sushi to represent this bloody battle against the Japanese.

Hell or High Water: Steak and potatoes make an appearance in this neo-Western crime thriller.  How about some mini potato and meatball skewers?

Hidden Figures: Astronaut ice cream is my go-to for space movies!  A fun and easy snack.

La La Land: A few ideas for this one: a colourful veggie spread to symbolize all the bright and beautiful dresses that danced across the screen.  You could also do a “jazzed up” Hollywood cocktail to prove your love of jazz to Ryan Gosling.  But the obvious La La Land food is chicken skewers (“Sashay, Satay Chicken Skewers”?) to represent Ryan’s dream of opening his “Chicken on A Stick” club.

Lion: This one was easy.  When Dev Patel takes a bit of some jalebi, a sweet Indian dessert, he has a flashback to his childhood in India.  It’s a pivotal moment in the film, and a tasty one too!

Manchester by the Sea:  There’s always one film that is underwhelming, and this year for me it was Manchester.  Thus the food pairing tends to be a bit, uninspired.  How about some beer?   Beer was the reason why Casey Affleck leaves his home in the middle of night, only to come home to a devastating scene.  Or you could do s’mores….(too much?).

Moonlight:  When Chiron reunites with his friend Kevin, Kevin makes him the Chef’s Special: arroz con pollo, a chicken dish similar to paella.

Menu planned?  Check!

Ballot printed? Check!  I like this format from Moviefone.  I always add a few bonus points for the harder categories like Short Film.

Need an Oscar drinking game?  I have a pretty straightforward one!

THE RULES
DRINK EVERY TIME:

  • Jimmy Kimmel makes a joke about Mel Gibson, who glares at him with a big false smile
  • The camera cuts away to Meryl Streep
  •  Viola Davis says something awkward
  • Casey Affleck arrives looking even more unshaven and creepy than the Golden Globes
  • If you lose a category on your ballot
  •  A winner thanks God/Jesus
  •  A winner’s speech gets cut off by the orchestra
  •  A winner tries to make a political statement in their speech
  •  Someone trips on stage
  • The show runs overtime

If you think you might end up a bit too hammered for a Sunday night, use this Bonus Oscar Prop Bet sheet instead.

BONUS OSCAR PROP BET

MY BRIEF BEST PICTURE SUMMARY

I only have Hell or High Water left to watch, but I have to say that this year’s Best Pic lineup wasn’t the strongest.  My personal fave is Lion, a beautifully told story that had me bawling.  La La Land was pretty to look at but I wish there had been more songs to support the story and characters.  I loved Arrival and Moonlight equally.  Stunning cinematography from both.  Arrival breathed new life into the sci-fi genre and Moonlight told an important story in a sensitive way.  Hidden Figures was interesting, but felt a bit anti-climactic (a comparison to Apollo 13 comes to mind).  The film I was most surprised with was Hacksaw Ridge.  I used to love Mel Gibson but like many folk, I have been turned off by his crazy behaviour in recent years.  If you push that aside – Hacksaw Ridge is a fantastically shot war film with a solid story, supported by delicate religious undertones.  Manchester By The Sea didn’t really do much for me, I found it hard to have much sympathy for the main characters.  The best part about the film is Michelle Williams, who always steals any scene she is in.  However I’d watch Manchester any day over the gawd awful Fences which was so boring and poorly adapted from the play it was based on.  No one needs to watch Denzel Washington yammer on for two + hours.  Tortured myself to finish that one.

What food are you making for your Oscar Party?  I want to know what you think of the nominations, and your Oscar predictions!

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

You know what I love more than overpriced chocolate and flowers? These Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes of course!

Seriously, I truly adore quinoa, chickpea and latkes. Coming together as one, in perfect harmony.

I’ve always been more of a savoury kind of gal.

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Here’s the deal with Valentine’s Day. I love the story of Saint Valentine, a priest who was imprisoned for ministering Christians who were being persecuted by the Roman Empire. He performed weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. While imprisoned, he healed the daughter of his jailer, and on the day of his execution he left her a letter signed “Your Valentine”.

I’m all about celebrating a day of love, but c’mon do we have to ruin another holiday with excessive consumerism? (But of course we do!). Somewhere deep within my dark soul lies a cheesy romantic, but it’s going to take more than shitty chocolate and expensive flowers to make me swoon.

What’s that you say? Would I like some brie and baguette? Oh well, you shouldn’t have…<<blush>> <<eyelash flutter>>

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

I know we all say “but you should be celebrating your love all the time, not just on Valentine’s Day”. Every day kinda does feel like Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend, because I always feel loved, and hope I make him feel the same. I like the spontaneity of nice gestures or when we give each other little gifts throughout the year. Like when he bought me this cute skull egg mold:

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes-Skull Eggs

Skull Eggs

I know, so sweet right?  Skulls are always better than hearts, in my opinion.

However if you read my blog, you know I love any excuse to create thematic food. I’ve had this heart shaped mold sitting in my drawer for ages, so for my Valentine’s Day post I decided to make my Quinoa Chickpea Latkes and give them some extra love!

This was a recipe I developed during the first year of my blog, and I actually won third place in a local newspaper contest. My recipe was featured in the Toronto Star and I won a free ticket to this awesome local food event called Feast of Fields. The inspiration behind the recipe was to create a gluten free pancake-latke hybrid for my friend who suffers from many food allergies.

The Quinoa Chickpea Latke was born.

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Originally I named my creation a “latcake”, a potato-like pancake, but now I feel it leans more towards a latke. But my latke is made with all kinds of tasty and nutritious ingredients. Quinoa is the base and the egg mashed with the chickpea binds the whole patty together. Packed full of protein from the quinoa and chickpeas, these latkes are also high in fibre with the addition of flax seed and spinach.

Super food latke? I think so!

I love these patties because they can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or even as a vegatarian burger for lunch or dinner. They’re so versatile and go with any number of sweet or savory toppings. My favourites are tofu mayonnaise with pickles, salsa or apple butter. My boyfriend loves them with red chili jelly!

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes
Print

Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked organic quinoa
  • 19- oz (540-mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cups flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 cups organic baby spinach
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • oil for frying (I prefer avocado oil)

Possible toppings:

  • tofu mayonaise
  • gherkins
  • red chili jelly
  • mango chutney
  • apple butter
  • broccoli sprouts
  • hummus
  • tzaziki
  • cottage cheese
  • avocado

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa as per directions or in a rice cooker.
  2. Drain and rinse chick peas.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and chick peas and mash well with a potato masher.
  4. Add flax seeds, pesto, curry, salt and pepper.
  5. When the quinoa is cooked, add to the large bowl along with the spinach.
  6. Mix well until the spinach wilts from the hot quinoa. Shape into six to eight 2.5"-3" round latkes.
  7. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place 3-4 latkes in the skillet and cook for 4 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Carefully flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove and cover with foil to keep warm.
  9. Repeat for remaining latkes. Top as desired.
Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

I like to look at Valentine’s Day as a day of love for anyone in your life, and <<cliché>> the best way to say “I love you” is with a homemade gift. I remember as a kid we would make a valentine for every kid in class so that no one was left out. Maybe we can still turn this holiday around folks! Cook up a batch of these latkes, and bring them to the office, or give some to your neighbours.  Spread the love!

What was the last nice gesture you made for someone you love? Let me know what toppings would be tasty on these Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes!

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Mac & Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Let’s here it for Mac & Cheese Slow Cooker Chili!

<<crowd roars>>

It’s Superbowl time!

<<crickets>>

OK, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a big football fan. I never really watched football until I met my current boyfriend and I still don’t follow the sport. But I do like to put on my cute Argos hat and go to a live game once and awhile. Live sporting events are always fun, and I even won a years worth of pizza once!

But I digress.

Every year I help my boyfriend throw a Superbowl party, and in return, he helps me with my annual Oscar Party (with minimal complaints). Personally, I love any excuse for a thematic party!

Cantaloupe helmets anyone?

We’ve done the epic dip stadium, pretzel bits, wings, thematic shooters and of course, the classic chili. But I had yet to attempt a mac and cheese chili. I had read about merging these two awesome dishes together in my Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook so I decided to use my go-to chili recipe and slow cook it, mac and cheese-style!

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

 One tip I picked up from America’s Test Kitchen is to mix the raw meat with a panade, a mixture of bread and milk often used in meatballs. This way you can still brown the meat ahead of time to develop the flavour, but prevents it from overcooking in the slow cooker. Also, it helps to line your slow cooker with aluminum foil for thick dishes such as this, to prevent burning.

My fave chili recipe evolved from a Weight Watchers recipe that uses turkey.  Healthy and light it has been my go-to recipe for years.  But I knew I had to use beef for a mac and cheese Superbowl chili, so what to do?  Well, I recently learned a secret from my boyfriend’s Italian grandmother.  I could never figure out how she made such light and flavourful meatballs, cabbage rolls and lasagna.  The answer was so simple, she uses beef AND chicken!  I would never have thought to mix together red meat and poultry.  So I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to test out this combination.  I think this Mac and Cheese Chili would make Nonna proud!   

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Red, green and jalapeño peppers join forces to add a light, sweet crunch. There is a good dose of heat from the chilis as well as hints of cocoa and a splash of beer to give the tomato sauce some added richness. I used Daiya cheddar cheese because my poor boyfriend is lactose intolerant. I find this brand really holds up nicely when melted, blending in with the pasta and holding the whole meaty dish together.

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Let’s dive in shall we?

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Oh YES! This Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili is a tower of epic cheesy proportions. One spoon cannot even handle all the mac and cheese chili action that is happening. Packed full of juicy meat and macaroni, swimming in rich tomato sauce and spice, this is a meal fit for a king, or a group of hungry football fans. The best part is that it only takes two hours in the slow cooker!  This crazy delicious marriage of our two favourite comfort foods is super filling, and the leftovers are perfect to freeze for a later date.

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 slice of sandwich bread, ripped into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion minced
  • 1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 green pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 x 398ml can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 x 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • 1 pound (454g box) elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup strong, dark beer or stout
  • 2 x 227g packages (2 cups) shredded Daiya cheddar cheese
  • crusty bread & butter for serving

Instructions

  1. Line slow cooker with aluminum foil sheets and coat with vegetable spray, this will prevent the mac and cheese from burning.
  2. Make a panade by mashing the bread and almond milk into a paste in a large bowl using a fork. Using your hands, mix in the beef, turkey, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions, bell peppers, japaleno, garlic, chili powder, tomato paste, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes. Soften until lightly browned approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently scraping up any browned bits.
  4. Stir in the beef and turkey mixture, breaking up any large piece with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in crushed and diced tomatoes and cocoa powder. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in macaroni, broth, beer and cheese and transfer to prepared slow cooker. Cover and cook until pasta is tender, about 2 hours on high.
  6. Gently stir pasta, adding some hot water if the chili seems too thick. Season with salt and pepper and serve with some toasted, buttered crusty bread on the side.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2017/02/06/mac-cheese-slow-cooker-chili/

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Mac and Cheese Slow Cooker Chili

Our Super Bowl party was really fun, I even tied for second place for the prop bet and I had no idea what I was doing! We also made Brunswick stew in honour of Atlanta and some skillet corn bread for New England. I also found this recipe for football deviled eggs courtesy of My Mommy Style. So cute!

Football Deviled Eggs

Football Deviled Eggs

Also check out these awesome cupcakes that my friend made!

The highlight for me was Lady Gaga, I’ve always loved her and this performance was no exception. I feel as though she really took advantage of the platform and maximized the whole space from the skies, to the crowd to her big dance troop. I loved all the glitz and glam of her set. The power of her voice is amazing, especially with the physical intensity of the show. It’s funny and sad how everyone nowadays seems so shocked when an artist doesn’t lip sync.

I had decided to root for New England, so after the nail biting overtime I cheered in victory! A winning team with champion Super Bowl party food. My work here is done!

What did you make for your Super Bowl party?  Have you ever made a mac and cheese slow cooker chili?