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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Our First Blogiversary

Happy birthday to us!  Happy birthday to us!  Happy birthday Two Saucy Sisterrrrsss!  Happy birthday to us!

But wait a minute- it’s not our birthdays!

You’re right- it’s not.  Today is our 1-year blog anniversary!  It’s our blogiversary! 🙂

Yup, 1 year ago today is when we wrote our very first post.  Wow.  Can you believe its already been a full year?  Where has the time gone?

This year of blogging has been amazing!  We’ve learned so much over the past 12 months it’s hard to know where to begin.  For starters, we both had no idea how to design a blog or even sign up to create one.  We didn’t know anything about widgets, links, tags, or menus.  We knew nothing about how to promote our blog or how to increase page views.  In fact, we didn’t even know if people would be interested in what we had to say or if they would like our recipes at all!  And photography?  Don’t even get us started!  We think it’s safe to say that we’ve come a long way from taking poorly-lit, unedited photos on top of our stove.

While we still have a lot (and we mean a lot) of learning and improving to do, we’re really proud of how far we’ve come, and we’re so happy that we decided to make the jump from blog-followers to blog-writers!  So for now, it’s time to celebrate!  And what would a birthday celebration be without cake?

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We think we’ve made it very well-known that Chocolate and Peanut Butter is our favourite combo (remember these pancakes?), so naturally for our first blogiversary we had to make a Chocolate Layer Cake with Peanut Butter frosting! 🙂

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Of course, this is a healthy food blog, so this cake is made entirely from bran flakes and vegetables.

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Just kidding! But it is made with all healthy ingredients.

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So how exactly do you go about making a healthy cake, a food that uses sugar, butter and refined flour as it’s main ingredients?

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You start by making some simple substitutions, like whole wheat flour for white flour, for instance. Apple sauce is fantastic because it replaces oil and sugar at the same time. And of course, our favourite natural sweeteners, date paste and honey, fell into the mix as well.

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The other secret to a healthy cake is using some… unconventional ingredients. 😉

Almost all cakes call for butter to make them soft and tender, so we needed to find a healthy substitution that offered fat for tenderizing but not for artery clogging! The obvious (to us) solution? Avocado!

Yes. There is avocado in this cake.

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And then there’s the icing, because let’s face it- cake without icing is not cake.  It’s bread.  But to make healthy icing you need something make it thick and fluffy and give it some structure.  And what ingredient would be better suited to that job than chickpeas?

Yup.  Chickpeas.  We’re convinced that those little legumes were sent from Heaven to be incorporated into any and every recipe imaginable!

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So there it is then.  A delicious chocolate peanut butter cake to celebrate one fantastic year of blogging!  Thank you to everyone who follows us, reads our posts, makes our recipes and leaves us comments.  Thank you to all those who have liked us on Facebook, followed us on Twitter and Pinterest, and to all our family and friends who have supported us during this past year!  We really can’t tell you all how much we appreciate every comment, like, and share.

There will be some changes happening on the blog over the next couple months that we’re really excited about, and we’ll definitely keep you up-to-date as they happen, but all we can say is get ready for a new-and-improved Two Saucy Sisters!

For now though, it’s business as usual.  And chocolate cake 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Makes: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients:

2.5 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 ripe avocado
1 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. date paste
1 c. milk of choice
1/4 c. maple syrup or honey or agave
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp white vinegar

For the Icing:

1 19oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 c. peanut butter (not all natural)*
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. honey
1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Crushed peanuts (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat eggs on medium-high speed. Add in avocado and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and continue beating until fully combined.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir, until just combined.
Spray two 9-inch circular pans with cooking spray and dust with flour. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake on the center rack for 25min, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of each cake comes out clean. Allow to cool fully on a wire rack before icing. In a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips and drizzle over the top. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts and serve.

Store covered in the fridge.

For the icing:

Put all ingredients into a food processor or high power blender and blend until smooth.

*We used the classic Skippy Peanut Butter. If you would like to use all-natural, you can, however the consistency will be drippier and you will have to adjust the sweetener and salt.

Tip: 

To help stack your two layers without the top one sliding off, turn the bottom layer upside down so it’s flat bottom is facing upwards.

~twosaucysisters

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Simple Sunday: It’s All Greek to Us!

Apparently our tzatziki-hummus from Thursday’s post got us craving Greek food, because we’re back again today with another little taste of the Mediterranean. This time it’s in the form of a salad that’s delicious, healthy, and as always- simple 🙂

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And yes, that is the same blue bowl and blue napkins from our other Greek-themed photo shoot.  What can we say? When you find something that works you stick with it, right?

Well, that and you can only have so many blue bowls in your cupboard…

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But enough about bowls, let’s talk about salad!  Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, some pungent black olives and salty feta cheese. Talk about yum!

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Those of you who have had some experience with Greek food (or at least Greek Salad) will notice that we left out one very key ingredient: red onion.  The truth is, no one in our family is a real fan of red onions.  In small quantities they’re ok, but for the most part we all find they just leave an overwhelming onion taste in our mouths that lasts forever.  But of course, if red onion is your thing, we definitely encourage you to add it in to the mix!

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The dressing for this salad has only a handful of ingredients, making it a snap to prepare so you can spend the rest of the time working on the chicken souvlaki feast you’re going to serve it alongside.  At least that’s what our family did, and is highly recommended!

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Oh, and remember that Greek-inspired hummus we mentioned?  That would go pretty well with this, too.  Just sayin’ 😉

Easy Greek Salad

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

3 ripe tomatoes
1/2 large cucumber
1 cup pitted black olives
1/2 large red onion (optional)
1/2 c. reduced-fat feta cheese
1/4 c. olive oil
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano

Directions:

Dice the tomatoes, cucumber and onion (if using) into bite-sized pieces and place in a medium-sized bowl.  If desired, cut the olives in half or leave them whole and add them in as well.  (We cut some of them up and left some whole).  Crumble the feta cheese and add it to the bowl as well.  Stir everything together until it is all evenly mixed.

In a container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and oregano.  Shake vigorously until everything is mixed together well.  Pour the dressing over the salad and stir gently to make sure all the ingredients have been evenly coated with the dressing.  Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.  The salad will keep in the fridge for a couple days. (And even gets better as it sits).

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried Greek food?  What is your favourite Greek dish?

Dipping and Decisions

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Doesn’t that look nice?

This is a picture of Santorini, Greece. Neither of us have ever been to Greece, but it is definitely on our “Must Go” list. There’s so much culture, it’s warm, and of course, who doesn’t love Greek food? Souvlaki, olives, figs – deeeelicious!

One of the most famous dishes to come out of Greece (besides the yogurt) is Tzatziki, and with good reason! It’s creamy, garlicky, yet still fresh and bright, thanks to the cucumber.  So good. One of our favourite dips, actually. It can sometimes be a tough call between Tzatziki and hummus. Well, that decision just got a whole lot easier – we combined them!

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Tzatziki-hummus, anyone?

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A beautiful blend of two different cultures (middle eastern + Greek), kind of reminds us of our Greek Nachos… we sure do love culture-crossing over here!

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For this dip, we blended tzatziki ingredients into the hummus, though for a simpler version (ahem – cheater! Cheater!) you could also blend some store-bought tzatziki into a plain or roasted garlic hummus.

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However you choose to prepare it, this dip is creamy, refreshing and perfect for when you just can’t make that decision between Tzatziki and Hummus.

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Enjoy! 🙂

Tzatziki – Hummus

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Prep time: 5 min
Total Time: 10min
Makes: ~2c.

Ingredients:

2 c. chick peas
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
pepper
water, for thinning.

Directions:

In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine all ingredients except the water and the chickpeas. Blend until combined and creamy. Add the chickpeas and blend until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add water to reach desired consistency, if desired.

~twosaucysisters

What’s your favourite – hummus or tzatziki?

Chocolate Lavender

Last Monday was the 3rd installment of Heather’s Meatless Monday round-up.  It was for the letter D and in this case, D stood for dark chocolate.

And we missed it.

How could we miss the week that was using chocolate as the main ingredient?!?

We knew we had to make up for it this week, so we called out to our facebook friends to give us a little inspiration as to what we should make.  After all, we knew we had to do something pretty spectacular to make up for missing dark chocolate week!

One very devoted follower found a recipe for a dark chocolate tart that looked incredible, and so we set to work make our own Saucy Sister (aka-healthy) version.  We decided while we were at it, we might as well make it with gluten-free and vegan options because nobody is going to want to be left out of this one!

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On top of that, the weather is warming up quickly over here (woohoo!) so we decided in the spirit of summer, we would make this a no-bake creation, becuase who really wants to turn on their oven when it’s hot outside?

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You also might notice the sprigs of lavender on the top- that is no accident!  You see, we are in the midst of preparing our vegetable garden for another season, and we have purchased a number of herbs to plant in pots on the back porch.  One that we are particularly excited about is our lavender plant, so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to incorporate some fresh summer herbs into our dishes!

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So we give you a No-Bake Chocolate Lavender tart.  The perfect way to start off a summer of baking dessert-making.  And yes, we realize that we failed to follow the rules and make something from one of the participants last week.  Heather, we are very sorry, but we just had to share this recipe!  And I guess we sort of used Laura’s chocolate-avocado idea, didn’t we?  That must count for something, right?

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If you don’t have lavender, you can leave it out and just add a little more water or sweetener, but it really makes this unique, so we highly recommend trying to get your hands on some!

And of course, head over to visit Heather at Better with Veggies to see what everyone else made this week!

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No-Bake Chocolate Lavender Tart

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Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 1 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

2 c. rolled oats (use gluten-free oats for a gluten-free version)
1/2 c. raw almonds
1/2 c. raw walnuts
1 c. chopped dates
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp water

1 large avocado
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt (use dairy-free yogurt for vegan version)
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 c. hot water + 2 sprigs of lavender
dash of salt

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the oats and nuts and cocoa powder.  Blend for a couple of minutes until the oats and nuts are finely chopped.  Add the dates and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and there are no large pieces of dates left.  Add the water and maple syrup and pulse until the mixture comes together and sticks together when punched between the fingers.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with wax paper.  Dump the crust mixture into the plate and press firmly, making sure to press some of the mixture up the sides as well.  Set aside.

Place the lavender in the 1/4 c. of hot water and allow to steep for several minutes.

In your food processor, combine the avocado, yogurt, cocoa powder, maple syrup, salt and 2 tbsp of the lavender water.  The rest can either be discarded or kept used in something else.  Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Pour the chocolate filling into the crust and smooth with a spatula.  Allow to set in the fridge for at least a couple hours before cutting.

Garnish with fresh sprigs of lavender if you wish.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had chocolate and lavender together?  What are some of your favourite chocolate desserts?  Are you planting a vegetable garden this year?

Simple Sunday: The Half-time Snack

Today is a big day in our household: aka it’s Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game as manager of Manchester United! What an incredible man who has done so much for not just United but for soccer and the English Premier League in general. Alex, we will miss you!

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Yesterday was also a big day in the game of soccer, because it was David Beckham’s last game of his 20 year career! Not only did he have an incredible career, being the only english player to win major league titles in 4 different countries, but he’s probably the most famous and celebrated players of all-time. We wonder why…? 😉

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Oh, David, how we will miss watching you run around on the soccer pitch!

As you can imagine, there has been a lot of soccer watching here lately, and with games being at least 90 minutes long, half-time snacks are a requirement. After all, to cheering takes a lot of energy, right?

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A few weeks back, we posted a recipe for salsa and mentioned how we would do a Simple Sunday post about our home-made tortilla chips – well, here they are! 🙂

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These are about as simple as they get, people! There are only 4 ingredients, and they take 15 minutes tops to make. All you need are some tortillas (we like to use the small ones best), lemon or lime juice, course salt (sea or kosher) and pepper. That’s it!

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These are great for when you want chips and salsa (or nachos) but don’t have any on-hand, or if you want chips that are full of flavour but much lower in sodium than their store-bought counterpart.

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So whatever your sport, grab some salsa and get snackin’!

Home-made tortilla Chips

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Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 12-15min

Ingredients:

Your favourite tortillas
Lemon or Lime Juice
Sea salt (or kosher)
Ground black pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Spread the tortillas across a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the tortillas into triangles. You don’t have to cut all the way through them, just enough to draw lines so that they will easily snap once baked.
Put in the oven and bake for 8min, then flip the tortillas over and bake for another 3-5min, until golden and crispy.
Serve with your favourite salsa and enjoy!

~twosaucysisters

What’s your favourite game-time snack?

Pizza Party

We grew up in a busy household.  With four kids, all of whom were involved in sports, music lessons, clubs, etc., and two full-time working parents, you can imagine things got a little hectic once in a while!

But our mom was a real champ, and always made sure we had a healthy, home-cooked dinner on the table for us.  You can probably all understand, though, that by the end of the week she was pretty tired of thinking up of something for dinner.  So she started a tradition that made Friday night pizza night!  Obviously this idea was not met with any resistance from us kids, because lets be real- who doesn’t love pizza?

Of course, the pizza we had on these nights were of the store-bought variety since making pizza from scratch would kind of defeat the whole purpose of not having to cook that night, but that didn’t bother us one bit.  Heck, if our mom wanted us to eat pizza every Friday night we sure weren’t going to complain about it!

This tradition has continued over the years, and while we don’t have pizza every Friday, we still like to bring it back once in a while.  But we like to do it with a little bit of flair 😉

We consider ourselves pretty lucky because our family isn’t stuck on classic pepperoni and cheese- they like to get a little more adventurous with their pizza, which is much more fun for us!  So for our pizza night, we made not one, but two pizzas!

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For the first of these two pizzas, we capitalized on our family’s love of Thai food, and made a Chicken Satay Pizza.

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When we told our brothers what it was, they shrugged and said “We don’t know what ‘satay’ means, but it tastes like Thai food on a pizza!”. Well said, bros, well said.

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This particular pizza is also a bit of a “rebel pizza”, because it breaks pizza rule #1: Cheese! This pizza has no cheese whatsoever. We know, we know, what’s a pizza without cheese? Normally, we’d agree, but you’re just going to have to trust us on this one – this pie doesn’t need it! In fact, we don’t think our brothers even noticed it was missing. 😉

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Chicken Satay Pizza

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Makes: 1 large pizza (8-12 slices)

Ingredients:

1.5-2 lbs whole wheat pizza dough
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 green onions, sliced
parsley

1/3 c. all-natural (no salt or sugar added) peanut butter*
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp siracha (or other hot sauce)
1/4 c. water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a large pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Roll out the pizza dough until it fits the size of the pan.  Brush with olive oil.

In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice and siracha.  Stir until smooth.  Slowly add the water, stirring until the sauce becomes smooth and drippy.  Spoon about 2-3 tbsp of the sauce onto the pizza crust.  Top with chicken and vegetables.

Bake the pizza for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and drizzle with remaining sauce.  Return to the oven and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and the bottom of the pizza is firm.  Top with parsley.

*You can use whatever peanut butter you have on hand, however it might change the consistency of the sauce a bit, and your sauce will probably taste a little sweeter.

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And now on to pizza #2: Caramelized Onion BBQ Chicken Pizza!

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We really can’t say enough about this pizza!  It is a little more work than the satay pizza, but oh man it is 100% worth the effort!

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In fact, this was probably the favourite of the two if you asked our brothers.  Us? We’re still on the fence, but that’s not really surprising, now is it? 😉

Caramelized Onion BBQ Chicken Pizza

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Makes: 1 large pizza (8-12 slices)

Ingredients:

1/2 large white onion
1.5 tbsp olive oil

1.5-2 lbs whole wheat pizza dough
1-2 tsp olive oil

1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 c. extra-old cheddar cheese
Cilantro

1/2 c. diced pineapple
1/2 c. tomato paste
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
4 drops liquid smoke
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp dried onion flakes
1/2 tsp molasses
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat 1.5 tbsp olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat.  Slice the onion into thin strips and add to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 20-25 minutes, until the onions are browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.

While the onions are caramelizing, prepare your sauce.  Add all sauce ingredients (pineapple, tomato paste, etc.) to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a large pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Roll the dough into a large circle to fit the pan.  Brush with a little olive oil.  Spread the sauce over the pizza, top with chicken, caramelized onions and cheese.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned and is firm on the bottom.  Top with cilantro.

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As you can see, we didn’t include a recipe for pizza dough.  Truth is, we did in fact make our own dough, but it didn’t turn out exactly the way we wanted it to, so you’ll have to wait for the perfect whole wheat pizza crust 😉  For now, feast on pizza made with store-bought dough! It’s all about the toppings anyways, right?

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So the question is… creamy, peanut-lime taste-of-Thailand?

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Or sweet-and smokey back yard barbecue?

You decide.

~twosaucysisters

Word Play

When it comes to food, the term “blackened” is not a descriptor you would typically want to use to describe your dish.  To us, anyways, the word blackened is kind of synonymous with other words like “burnt” or “charred”- doesn’t exactly get your mouth watering, does it?  No, it sort of just leads us to think of another word… “inedible”.

Think about it- blackened cookies, blackened toast, blackened pizza… suddenly you don’t feel well and you’re (cough, cough) “not hungry”, right?

In fact, the term blackened is right up there with words like “wilted”, “fermented” and “sapid” (who knew that word means something tastes good?!?)

Yes, for the most part if your dish is blackened, you probably burnt it and it probably isn’t going to be very, well… sapid.  (There.  We tried using it and we were right- it just sounds weird.)  But there is a time when the term blackened is a good thing.

A very good thing.

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If you hear the word blackened in front of the word salmon, you can forget all of your preconceived notions of what you thought the word meant, erase the images swirling in your mind of charred, dried-out fish, and dive in fork-first!

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Because this salmon is slammin’! (Sorry- we couldn’t resist!)

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But in all seriousness, we may never eat salmon any other way ever again- it was that good.

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There are 2 simple steps to creating this mouth-watering dish, and only about 25 minutes until it is on your plate! The secret to perfectly-done blackened salmon (aka-not burnt) is to sear it in the pan and then finish it off in the oven!  That way you get a crispy outer-layer, but a flaky, succulent inside.

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Succulent. Now there’s a word we want to hear more of!  Or how about delectable, exquisite, or tantalizing? 

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Actually, if there was a word that combines all of those we’d have a dead-ringer!

Delecquitalizing? Tantaquitable? Hmm… maybe we’ll just let the pictures do the talking 😉

Blackened Salmon

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

1 lb. salmon (you can also use fillets)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt (or garlic powder + a dash of salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

In a small dish, combine all the spices.  Generously coat both sides of the salmon with the spices and gently rub into the flesh.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, place the salmon in the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the spices are blackened, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes to blacken the other side.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and move fish from the pan onto the baking sheet.  Bake in the centre of the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon is no longer dark pink in the middle and flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with avocado-corn salsa (recipe below).

Avocado-Corn Salsa

Prep: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1/2 a large avocado
3/4 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 tomato, diced
1 green onion, diced
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small dish and serve.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had anything that’s been “blackened”? What are your favourite food-descriptor words? (We’re always looking to expand our repertoire ;))