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All Dressed Up

Even though it’s starting to get a little colder (you have no idea how much it pains us to admit that!) we here at Two Saucy Sisters still believe that it is never too cold for a big ol’ salad!

That being said, there are definitely a lot of ways to change up a salad to make it more seasonable.  Adding cooked, cubed sweet potato or squash adds a nice Fall flair, as do some crisp apple slices.  Pair that with some toasty walnuts and creamy goat cheese and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty fall-ified salad!

But of course, salad just isn’t salad without dressing, now is it?  You could just go with your usual oil-and-vinegar combo, but why not make it a little more special?

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Something you may not know about us is that the house we live in (when we’re not at school) is actually a more than 100-year-old fruit farm.  Most of the orchards are gone now and we only have about 3 acres of the original land left, but we do have a few pear trees that still produce fruit every year.  So, you can imagine that when our gracious father picked us a whole bunch of them, we needed to figure out a way to use them up before they got too ripe.  Who knew the answer would be salad dressing?

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Yup- we made a pear vinaigrette!  It’s a little sweet, it’s a little savoury, and it makes the perfect topping for a Fall-inspired salad!

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This works really well if you just so happen to have a couple slightly over-ripe pears in your fridge.  If you don’t, just leave a pear out on the counter for a day or two and you’ll be ready to make this tasty dressing.  It’s simply a matter of throwing the ingredients in a blender and you’ve got yourself enough dressing for several salads in mere minutes!

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So now you have no excuse not to eat your greens 😉

Happy Fall Salad-Eating!

Pear Vinaigrette

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Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1 ripe pear
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp white vinegar
dash of salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 c. olive oil

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender except for the olive oil, and blend until the pear has been pulverized.   With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.  Blend for another minute or two to ensure the pear is fully blended and everything is combined.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. (Just be sure to set it on the counter a few minutes before using it, and give it a stir before pouring)

~twosaucysisters

Do you ever make fun salad dressings?  What’s your favourite way to jazz-up a salad?

Simple Sunday: Stir Fry

It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve done a Simple Sunday post, but we’re back, and today we have quite possibly one of the easiest dinners you could make!

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Because in our opinion there is no simpler a meal than a stir-fry! But simple does not mean boring or bland- all you need is a few ingredients to give it a pop of flavour.

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All you need is one pan, a handful of veggies, a source of protein and a little seasoning and you’re in business, people!

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Ok, so you actually need two pans, one for the stir fry and one to cook your noodles or rice or whatever you decide to serve it over.  But the pot you cook your grain in hardly gets dirty at all so in our minds it doesn’t really count 🙂

So what went into our stir fry this time around?  Carrots, bok choy, onions, mushrooms and salmon. Only a few ingredients but we assure you our family ate it right up!

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We feel as though the stir-fry has been shoved under the rug.  Its a meal that many cooks turn there noses up at, one that is considered “too simple” or “commonplace”.  Stir-frys are under appreciated in our opinions, so today we’d like to give them the spotlight.  Let them take back the credit that is rightfully theirs.

So grab your frying pans and join us in a deliciously simple stir-fry-making extravaganza!

Simple Salmon Stir Fry

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

450 g. salmon filets
1 tbsp olive, grape seed or coconut oil
ground black pepper
Garlic salt or powder
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches of bok choy
2 large carrots
1 c. sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the salmon filets with black pepper and garlic salt or powder.  Place in the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side.  Put the lid on the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.  Remove the filets and set aside.

Add the minced garlic and diced onion to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes, until the onions soften and become translucent.  Julienne the carrots (aka- cut them into thin match-stick pieces) and add them to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Slice the bok choy and mushrooms and add them to the pan.  Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.  Add all other ingredients and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender yet still crisp.

Serves over rice or noodles, is desired.

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite veggies to put in a stir-fry?

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

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 ;))