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Simple Sunday: Another Summer Salad

This morning we were reminded just how much we love the Summer.  We went for a run and it was just so beautiful outside we felt like we could have run forever.  And we have to say that so far this has been one of the best running summers we have had in a long time.  Yes, the heat wave we had a couple weeks ago was a bit much (although we refuse to complain!), but that has gone away and left us with beautiful days like today.

But Summer isn’t just awesome because of its blue skies and warm temperatures.  The abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be found at local stands on just about every corner cannot be discounted!  We know we’ve mentioned this many times before and we don’t mean to be repetitive, but every time we eat a fresh tomato from our own garden, or snack on juicy cherries from just down the road, we can’t help but be reminded of how delicious the summer is!

Which is why we made this salad- to showcase the season’s best!

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This salad brings together what in our minds are sort of like the three “stages” of summer produce.  First comes the asparagus in the spring (which is basically like early summer in our opinions!), then you start to get into more of the actual summer months and get strawberries, and then of course the summer is capped off with delicious, sweet corn.

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Of course, there are a million other fruits and veggies that make an appearance during those times, too, like fiddle heads and leafy greens in the spring, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and apricots mid-summer, and peaches are starting to hit the stands now too! 🙂

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Add some chicken and a little tahini drizzle and you’ve got yourself and easy, delicious and fresh-tasting summer meal!  And feel free to change it up a bit, too- local strawberries might be a little tougher to find now, but cherries are out full-force and would work wonderfully in this salad.  The idea is to use whatever summer produce you can find.

We hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are, and be sure to hit up your local farmer’s market to take advantage of all this awesome food nature has to offer!

Strawberry Asparagus and Corn Salad

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20-30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c. strawberries, sliced
1 c. corn (fresh or frozen)
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

For the tahini drizzle:

3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp water

Directions:

Sprinkle the chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper and bake in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes, or until done.  Alternatively you can barbecue the chicken over medium heat for 20-30 minutes if you prefer.

Meanwhile, toss the asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes until they can be easily pierced with a fork, or grill over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.

In a frying pan over medium heat, add a small amount of olive oil.  Add the garlic and corn and saute until the corn begins to blacken a bit.  Turn off the heat and add the strawberries so they cook down just a little bit and release some of their juices into the corn.

Cut the asparagus into bit-sized pieces and add to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and stir until everything is combined.  Slice the chicken and divide the salad onto separate plates.  Place the chicken on top and finish with the tahini drizzle.

For the Tahini Drizzle:

Combine all ingredients except the water and stir until fully combined.  Slowly add the water until the mixture is drippy but still slightly thick.  Drizzle over top of salad.

~twosaucysisters

What is your favourite part about Summer?  What is the weather like where you live?  How do you like to take advantage of these beautiful days?

If You Can’t Take the Heat… Turn off the Oven

We’re not sure what the weather’s doing over in your neck of the woods, but here in Ontario we just came out of a 2-week long heat wave.  We’re talking 107F.  And this is not a dry heat, this is a hair-frizzing pore-clogging kind of heat that basically renders sweating useless.  (Not that our bodies got that memo- every time we came in from a run we looked like we had just gone swimming fully clothed- how’s that for a pretty picture for ya?)

Anyways, we think it goes without saying that in that kind of heat turning on the oven is completely out of the question.  Even barbecuing seemed like a bad idea, so we were really at a loss as to what to make for dinner for our family.

We’d also like to take this moment to blame the heat wave for our decided lack of posts lately.  We’ve hardly been doing any cooking so we really haven’t had much to share with you guys.  Because you can only post so many salad recipes.

Anyways, we’ll stop making excuses for ourselves and continue on to the good part!

As we said in Tuesday’s post , we had a delicious recipe that uses our pesto coming your way, so here it is…

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Quinoa Salad!

Ok, so right after saying that we didn’t want to start throwing a whole bunch of salad recipes at you what’s the first thing we do?  Give you a salad recipe.  But this is a quinoa salad, so it’s a little different and doesn’t really count.

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We discovered quinoa for the first time a few years ago and basically become obsessed with it.  We started putting it in almost everything we made so it found its way onto the dinner table several times a week.  It became a running joke in our family that if you didn’t know what was in something, it was most likely quinoa.  It got to the point where every time we made anything everyone would ask if there was quinoa in it.

We suppose it was a tad excessive…

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So while the quinoa-craze of 3 summers ago has passed, we still do like to break it out every once in a while.  And it was the perfect thing in this heat wave because it’s a great source of protein that can be cooked in 10 minutes on the stove-top.  Minimal prep and minimal heat required.  Which means more time in the pool- the only suitable place to be during weather like that!

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We had a wicked storm last night that took some of the heat away, so we will most likely be turning on the barbecue again, but you can be sure that if another heat wave like that hits we will be making this salad again!  In fact, even if it doesn’t get so hot, we will probably make this tasty dish again anyways 🙂

Quinoa Pesto Tabouleh Salad

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Prep: 20 minutes
Rest Time: at least 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 c. quinoa (any colour)
2 c. water

1 recipe of Sage-Basil-Arugula-Walnut Pesto
1c. bell peppers (any colour), diced
1/2 large seedless cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Directions:

Place the quinoa and water in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil, uncovered.  Once the water has started to boil, place the lid on top and turn the heat to low.  Allow the quinoa to simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn of the heat and allow to sit on the burner for another 6 minutes.  Remove from the burner, take off the lid and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.

Combine the veggies and chickpeas in a large bowl.  Add the quinoa and stir to make sure the vegetables are evenly distributed.  Add the pesto and stir well.  Place in the fridge and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, so the quinoa has a chance to cool and the flavours have the chance to mingle.

Optional: add some chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, or feta cheese to the salad.

~twosaucysisters

What kinds of things do you make when you’re in the middle of a heat wave?

Party Pleaser

What’s creamy with spice and all kinds of things nice?

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Salsa-chipotle Hummus, of course! 🙂

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We made this hummus a few weeks back when we went to Toronto for two of our good friend’s birthdays, and it was a huge hit! So naturally, 3 weeks later, we’re finally getting around to giving you the recipe! 🙂

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We’re certain that you’ll love it just as much as everyone did at the party!

p.s. This hummus is FABULOUS made with black beans instead of chickpeas! 🙂

Salsa Chipotle Hummus

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Prep time: 10min
Makes: ~2cups

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. salsa
1 or 2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
1 clove of garlic
hot pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: 

Put olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, water, salsa, chilis, garlic and spices into a food processor and blend until creamy, about 1 min. Add chickpeas and blend until smooth.

~twosaucysisters

See a Need, Fill a Need

Does anyone remember the movie Robots?

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There was one line from that movie that always stuck with us- it was Rodney’s motto, “See a need, fill a need!”  Don’t you think that’s a great rule to live by?  We sure do, and that’s what we try to do when we create recipes.  Find out what people want and need and make a recipe that fulfills those requirements.

And that is precisely how these muffins came to be…

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You see, a family member of ours recently underwent knee surgery (Heather, I think you’ll be able to relate to this…) and has been on some serious pain meds for the past few days.  Anyone who has ever had to go through this kind of thing before knows what kind of side effects medications like these can have…

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To put it a little more eloquently, this family member of ours has been experiencing some… difficulty with, you know… “moving things along”.

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The pain killers combined with the fact that he’s pretty well couch-ridden and can’t do a whole lot of moving around to (ahem) “shake things out” has left him with a little difficulty staying, well, regular.

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This family member is also used to being very active, so now that he’s being faced with several months of significantly decreased amounts of exercise, he’s also put in a request that sweets and unhealthy snacks be kept at minimal levels around the house.  (Did we also mention that this particular individual has quite the sweet tooth, and is somewhat lacking in will power? ;))

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He also likes to snack.  A lot. So we knew what we had to do- create a snack that’s full of fibre, but is low in sugar, and unhealthy fats, and of course it has to taste good, too!

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And thus, the super high-fibre date n’ raisin mini-muffin was created!  We decided to make these mini, because that way if he feels like he needs a little snack, he doesn’t have to commit to eating an entire muffin.  But of course, these would be just as delicious if they were full-sized, all you’d have to do is bake them a little longer!

So what makes these high fibre?  They have wheat bran, oat bran, rolled oats, and whole wheat flour.  They also have dates and raisins, which are also good sources of fibre.  So when all’s said and done, one of these mini muffins has 2 grams of fibre, which, considering their size, is quite a bit!  And if you were to make them into large muffins, they’d be about 3 times the size, which would put them at about 6 grams per muffin!

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You could even amp-up the fibre content even more by adding some ground flax seeds and chopped almonds to these muffins- something we would’ve done if we hadn’t been all out!

And as for the taste?  Well, we realize that you don’t often hear people saying “yummm… fibre…” but we promise you will love these!  Everyone in our family loved these- in fact, we just made these yesterday, and we’re already thinking we’ll have to make another batch pretty soon…

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Mmmm fibre! 🙂

Date-Raisin Mini Muffins

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Prep time: 15min
Bake time: 10-12min
Makes: 30 mini muffins

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. bran
1/2 c. oat bran
1/2 c. oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1 egg
1/2 c. yogurt (any kind will do, we used strawberry!)
1 c. milk of choice
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 c. maple syrup

1/2 c. dates
1/2 c. raisins

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Combine milk and vinegar and set aside for 5min (to make “butter milk”).
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the wet, only adding the milk after having sat for 5 min.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry along with the dates and raisins and stir until just combined.
Fill greased mini-muffin tins with the batter.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had a surgery and experienced difficult side effects after wards? What did you do to overcome those difficulties?

Simple Sunday: Apple Parfait

As we have said before, a really important part of healthy eating is healthy snacking! We don’t know too many people who can make it all the way from lunch to dinner (or breakfast to lunch, or dinner to bedtime…) without needing that extra something to tie them over until then.

Snacks should be quick, easy and not complicated. At the same time they should be enjoyable, tasty, and of course, nutritious! After all, every time you eat is a chance to give your body important nutrients. That being said, each time you eat should also be fun and exciting, right?

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Right! 🙂

And it should be pretty, too, because pretty food tastes better! (and that’s a scientific fact!)

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Well, ok, that may or may not be scientific, but the proof is in the pudding apple parfait!

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Fresh, juicy and sweet apple chunks layered with creamy yogurt and crunchy granola, this snack was a snap to prepare and out-of-this-world delicious!

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We used plain yogurt mixed with vanilla and cinnamon, but you can use any flavour you want! (Apple – berry anyone?) Also, any granola will do just fine, pick your favourite! For our parfaits, we made an apple-cinnamon version of this granola (recipe to come!). If you’re using store-bought granola, make sure you read the nutrition label to make sure it’s not too high in sugar (10g or more per serving), and watch for aspartame in sweetened yogurt.

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The process is simple: Assemble your ingredients, find a pretty glass and layer them up!

Enjoy! 🙂

Apple Yogurt Parfait

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Serves: 2
Total time: 10min

Ingredients:

3/4 c. plain yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

OR

3/4 c. of your favourite yogurt

1 apple
3/4 c. granola
cinnamon, for topping

Directions:

Core and dice your apple into small pieces.
If adding vanilla and cinnamon to your yogurt, mix them now.
In a tall glass, layer your ingredients starting with yogurt, then apples, then granola. Continue this pattern until all ingredients are used up.
Sprinkle cinnamon on top and enjoy!

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite quick and easy snacks?

Pancake in a Jar Round 6 & 7

That’s right, you read the title correctly. Today we are bringing you TWO pancake in a jar recipes!

Oh, Danny, where would we be if we hadn’t stumbled across your deliciously awesome idea?

Strawberries have been on sale at No Frills a lot lately (3 for $5!!) , so naturally we had a lot of different breakfast ideas swirling around on our heads, particularly pancake in a jar recipes. We were bouncing back and forth between a chocolate pancake with strawberries on the bottom, or a regular pancake with strawberries on the bottom and chocolate sauce. Being as indecisive as we are, instead of choosing we made both! 🙂

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Strawberry Chocolate Brownie

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Strawberry Pancake with Chocolate Sauce

    First, let’s talk about the first one: The Brownie.

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We’re calling it that because it actually tasted like a brownie! We were both blown away by it’s deliciousness, it easily makes it into the ‘favourite’ category!

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Because really, who doesn’t want a brownie for breakfast? Crazy people, that’s who!

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After all this talk about the Brownie-pancake in a jar, don’t forget about the second one! Not to be outshone, it turned out to be equally as delicious!

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While slightly more traditional, it was super fluffly, full of awesome strawberry flavour, and smothered in chocolate sauce.

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You really can’t go wrong with something smother in chocolate sauce! 🙂

So here you have it: two pancake in a jar recipes! (Though you won’t have to wait long for pancake in a jar 8.0, either! 😉 )

Strawberry Brownie Pancake in a Jar

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Prep time: 5min
Cook time: 5min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp coffee granules (optional)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp almond butter
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c. chopped strawberries

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix in the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.
Divide chopped strawberries in the bottom of two medium sized mason jars. Divide batter between the two jars and put on top of strawberries.
Cook for 5 minutes in the microwave, until firm to the touch.
Top with yogurt and additional strawberry if desired.

Chocolate Strawberry Pancake in a Jar

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Prep: 5min
Cook: 5min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 c. butter milk (or 1 cup milk of choice + 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice, allow to curdle)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp butter extract (optional)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp almond butter
3/4 c. strawberries, chopped

For the Chocolate Sauce:

2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
water

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix in wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
Divide chopped strawberries evenly between two medium sized mason jars. Divide the batter evenly between the two jars and put on top of the strawberries.
Microwave for 5min, or until firm to the touch.
Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder, vanilla and maple syrup. Add water a little bit at a time, until you’ve reached desired thickness.
Pour the chocolate sauce over the cooked pancake and serve!

~twosaucysisters

Simple Sunday: Cheater Bruschetta

How many times growing up have you heard the phrase “cheaters never prosper”? Probably more than you can count!  We think it’s safe to say that the general consensus among the population  is that cheating is bad.

But today we’re here to tell you that they’re wrong.

Ok ok, we retract that statement- how about instead we just say they’re not completely right.  Sound better?

Because you see, sometimes it’s ok to cheat!  Sometimes, it’s actually a good thing!  Like with this cheater bruschetta!

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It looks like homemade bruschetta bread, right?  Well that’s because it is- sort of.  The thing is, we love bruschetta bread, but we don’t always feel like going to the trouble of making it from scratch, nor do we always have  a jar of bruschetta mix on hand.  But you know what we always do have on hand?  Salsa!

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We love salsa! So one day, when a craving for bruschetta hit, we thought bruschetta is made of tomatoes, right?  And salsa is made of tomatoes too, is it not?  So why not make salsa bruschetta!

Brilliant!

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Anyone who’s a born-and-raised Italian would probably look at us with mild disgust for even proposing that salsa can be used to make bruschetta bread, but what can we say?  It’s fast and super easy, and it tastes pretty darn good!  If you happen to have fresh tomatoes that you want to dice up and throw on top, be our guest!  And here we’ve used cheddar cheese to top (because that’s all we have in the fridge right now and we’re trying to use it before it goes moldy…) but you can use whatever cheese you like!  In fact, we prefer to top with goat or feta cheese 🙂

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So just to clarify- it is not ok to cheat on a test, or in a sporting event, but it is perfectly acceptable to cheat in kitchen! 😉

Happy Simple Sunday everybody!

Cheater Bruschetta

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Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 4 min
Serves: 5-6

Ingredients:

1 whole wheat french bread
1 – 1.5 c. chunky salsa
1/2 c.  cheese of choice

Directions:

If broiling in the oven, pre-heat the broiler.
Slice the french bread length-wise and place on a baking sheet or oven-safe plate. Put under the broiler or on broil setting in a toaster-oven for 2 minutes to lightly toast the bread.
Once toasted, Spread the salsa across the loaf, covering evenly. Sprinkle with cheese of choice and place back under the broiler for another 2 min or until the cheese is melted.
Cut into smaller pieces and serve!

~twosaucysisters

What sort of foods do you “cheat” with? Besides bruschetta, we almost always replace low-fat sour cream or cream cheese with plain yogurt and cottage cheese, because we pretty much never have sour cream and cream cheese on hand but always have yogurt and cottage cheese! 🙂